Feb 15 2011 2:12pm

The Wheel of Time Re-read: New Spring, Part 3

New Spring by Robert JordanHappy Tuesday, people, if that not be a contradiction in terms. To celebrate, have a Wheel of Time Re-read!

Today’s entry covers Chapters 5 and 6 of New Spring, in which I contemplate love, war, and the Book of Mormon.

No, really. Well, sort of.

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 not-controversial-at-all post!

Chapter 5: The Human Heart

What Happens
More than a hundred women have gathered at Moiraine and Siuan’s station to claim the bounty, and Moiraine notes with distaste that the crowd includes a number of noblewomen in silks, pushing as obnoxiously as anyone. Steler tries to control the crowd, but has no success, and Moiraine worries for a moment that a riot might break out, until Siuan climbs up on her chair and weaves Air and Fire, telling them to be quiet in a thunderous voice that shuts the whole camp up immediately. She warns them all to behave or they’ll regret it, and the women then line up meekly. The first woman in Moiraine’s line is a noblewoman who wants to frame the bounty coins, and she is not pleased when Moiraine is distracted by another woman nursing a baby but pointedly ignoring the line; Moiraine manages to get the information about her from another woman in line, and wonders how Siuan manages to sound so in charge that no one argues with her.

Whatever thoughts Moiraine had of adventure in hunting for the Dragon Reborn faded in short order, along with the thrill of being outside the city walls. Asking the same questions over and over and writing down the answers, carefully setting aside the filled pages to dry and starting anew on a fresh sheet, soon became boring drudgery. […]

The only two infants born that day, after Gitara's Foretelling, were girls and, like every other newborn, birthed within a mile of the camp. Some other Accepted was going to find the boy-child without knowing what she had found. She herself likely would not hear of it for years. Light, but it hardly seemed fair. She knew, and it meant nothing.

Moiraine takes pity on one particularly desperate-looking mother and adds her child to the list even though it is clearly too old, but this backfires when the rumor spreads and more women with obviously-too-old children come dashing up to join the line. Moiraine’s temper flares and she scares them badly enough that these quickly back off; she is embarrassed by this until Siuan murmurs approval, for maintaining the respect due the Tower. She notes that Steler actually gives them a slight nod of respect when they break for lunch, too, and a woman from the camp brings them wine unasked-for, as thanks for helping the desperate mother earlier. As they are eating, an Aes Sedai named Meilyn (White), one of the most respected women in the Tower, approaches on horseback, accompanied by her Warder and another sister who Siuan and Moiraine recognize with great dismay as Elaida a'Roihan. Siuan immediately attempts to preempt any reprimand by blurting that they have permission to be there, but Meilyn cuts her off to say she knows about Tamra’s orders, though she is clearly not very happy about them. Elaida observes that they are surprised to see her, and smiles and assures them that she will “call” on them soon.

Moiraine had been sure her heart could sink no further, but she had been mistaken. It was very hard not to groan in despair.

Meilyn sighed. “You pay these girls too much mind, Elaida. They'll get above themselves if they start thinking they're your pets. They may already.”

Moiraine exchanged shocked glances with Siuan. Pets? Goats staked out for lions, perhaps, but never pets.

Since gaining the shawl, Elaida had never deferred to anyone other than the Amyrlin Seat or a Sitter that Moiraine had seen, yet she bowed her head and murmured, “As you say, Meilyn. But it seems possible they might test before the end of the year. I expect them to, and I expect them to pass easily. I'll accept nothing less from either.”

At Meilyn’s inquiry, Moiraine tells her that they have about fifty more names to collect, then asks impulsively if all the camps have been so… Siuan mutters what she wouldn’t say (“spawning like silverpike”), and Moiraine blushes, to Meilyn’s amusement.

“When a man believes he may die, he wants to leave something of himself behind. When a woman believes her man may die, she wants that part of him desperately. The result is a great many babies born during wars. It's illogical, given the hardship that comes if the man does die, or the woman, but the human heart is seldom logical.”

Moiraine is horribly embarrassed at such frank talk, and distracts herself by contemplating Meilyn’s awareness of her Warder, which she thinks seems almost like mind-reading. Meilyn notices, and comments on it, and Elaida snorts. Meilyn casually observes that logically Reds should need Warders more than any other Ajah but the Green, which is near to an open insult, but to Moiraine’s surprise Elaida doesn’t react. The sisters leave, but their presence has made the remaining women in line more doubtful that Moiraine and Siuan are Aes Sedai themselves, and give more trouble. Steler tries to cut the line off, worrying about getting back to the Tower before dark, which almost causes a riot; Moiraine and Siuan rush to finish their lists before Steler hustles them out, trotting them all the way back to the Tower and barely making it before sunset. Moiraine helps an extremely saddle-sore Siuan back to their quarters, where they find Katerine waiting for them. Katerine tells them Moiraine has been summoned to the Mistress of Novices’ study; Siuan offers to go with her, but Moiraine points out that Siuan can barely walk, and goes alone. Inside, Merean instructs her gently to sit down, to Moiraine’s surprise.

“There is no way to make this easy, child. King Laman was killed yesterday, along with both of his brothers. Remember that we are all threads in the Pattern, and the Wheel weaves as the Wheel wills.”

“The Light illumine their souls,” Moiraine said solemnly, “and may they shelter in the Creator's hand until they are born again.”

Merean is startled at Moiraine’s calmness at the news, but Moiraine thinks that Merean didn’t know her uncles, all three of whom were cruel, overly-ambitious men who scorned Moiraine’s father for becoming a scholar. Merean decides Moiraine is in shock, and tells her she doesn’t have to go out tomorrow, but Moiraine demurs and says she would rather keep her mind occupied. Merean agrees reluctantly, and Moiraine returns to her room and prays on her knees for her uncles for an hour.

A penance. She did not mean to be one of those sisters who took on penances at every turn – maintaining a balance in their lives, they called it; she thought it ostentatious foolishness – yet she should feel something for the deaths of her own blood kin, however horrible they had been. It was wrong not to.

She goes to bed, and has nightmares of a faceless young man calling lightning and razing cities to the ground, waking up weeping. She decides she can’t deal with being alone that night, and sneaks into Siuan’s room; Siuan has also been having bad dreams, and Moiraine climbs in bed with her. Siuan asks what the Aes Sedai can do even if they find him; Moiraine answers that they can bring him to the Tower to protect him, and educate and guide him. Siuan counters that they can’t teach him to channel, though; Moiraine acknowledges the point, and thinks she has to believe he can survive learning on his own.

Neither of them could close her eyes through the rest of the night. Moiraine did not know what Siuan saw, lying there staring up at the ceiling – she could not make herself ask – but she saw a babe crying in the snow on Dragonmount, and a faceless man calling down lightning. Being awake was no protection against these nightmares.

There is nothing like war—or no, scratch that. There is nothing like the aftermath of war that so sharply illuminates both how utterly shitty and how completely wonderful people are. I think it’s how both of these extremes manage to exist simultaneously in such situations that makes it so surreal.

Well, okay, the wreck and ruin and death and all probably contribute to the surrealness, too, fine, but leave me alone, I’m trying to make a point here.

My point is, this is one truth that Jordan totally gets, and it very much comes through here, in the greed of the women in the line and yet their support for one another at the same time, and even more in Moiraine’s reactions to them, her simultaneous contempt towards but also compassion for them. Her impulsive gesture of help, and the way it backfires but also doesn’t. Selflessness and selfishness, despair and hope, pushing back and forth, in an uneasy see-saw that cannot be reconciled, only ignored in better times.

I don’t know, I’m not in a space where I can describe it accurately. But hopefully you get an idea of what I’m talking about.

So, there’s that. And now, on a less philosophical and more, er, Ed McMahon note, heeeeeere’s Elaida! Dun!

I guess that answers my question about whether we ever see her and Moiraine and Siuan on screen together, eh? Hey, I told you guys I wasn’t reading ahead.

And since I’m still not—reading ahead that is—allow me to wonder now whether we ever find out what her angle is re: her interest in Moiraine and Siuan. Obviously it has something to do with their potential, but Elaida must be spectacularly unobservant if she really thinks there was a snowball’s chance in hell of either of them choosing Red when they’re raised. I mean, come ON.

There was a lot of really nice insight into the younger Moiraine’s character here, particularly concerning matters in which, by the time we meet in her in TEOTW, she’s pretty much gotten past (or at least has learned to camouflage). Her thinly-veiled disdain for the noble class, for one, which could be interpreted as a kind of self-loathing were it not for the information we get on her family later on in the chapter (and in the next), and the ambivalence she feels for feeling that way. And also her Cairhienin-bred discomfort with Certain Topics, of course, which was pretty amusing, though mostly because Siuan managed to use it to mention fish, again. Jeez.

So, I don’t remember a lot about NS, but I did distinctly remember that Merean turns out to be Black Ajah in it. However, I did not remember that she was also Mistress of Novices, which, yeek. Maybe we should be less surprised at how many in Moiraine’s “class” turned out to be evil?

Also, once you add in that Sheriam was also Black and was also Mistress of Novices later on, double yeek. Even given that I’m sure there was an interim MoN between them (or maybe even two, who knows), man that’s a crap track record for the position.

Also, this is totally random but I have to love that I’m pretty sure Laman Damodred’s name is a reference to, of all things, the Book of Mormon. As the FAQ observes, “The Book of Mormon makes mention of a character named Laman, brother of the prophet Nephi, who was stubborn and rebellious and refused to eat from the Tree of Life.” And maybe chop it down instead, eh?


Chapter 6: Surprises

What Happens
The next morning as they are getting ready to head out again, an Accepted named Sheriam tells them that no less than three sisters have confirmed that the Aiel really are retreating; then she demands to know why Moiraine and Siuan are grinning like that, but of course they don’t tell her why, which is that maybe now they can go closer to Dragonmount. All activity stops, however, when Merean enters the Accepted gallery wearing her shawl, which usually means either someone is either in big trouble or is being summoned for testing. She comes up to Moiraine and Siuan (Moiraine is having trouble breathing), but then tells them that Tamra agrees with Merean that Moiraine is in shock, and has agreed that she should stay in the Tower and copy out the lists already made, some of which are almost illegible. To Moiraine’s dismay, Siuan agrees that this is a good idea, but this backfires on Siuan when Merean decides Siuan should stay too, to keep Moiraine from “brooding.” Merean shows them where they will be working, and leaves. Moiraine demands to know what that was about, and Siuan points out that this way they will get to see all the names, not just the ones they were taking.

“We could be the first to know who he is. I doubt there could be two boys born on Dragonmount. I just thought it would be 'you,' not 'us.'“ She breathed a gloomy sigh, then suddenly frowned at Moiraine. ”Why would you be brooding? Why are you supposed to be in shock?“

Last night, revealing her woes had seemed out of place, a trifle compared to what they knew the world faced, but Moiraine had no hesitation in telling her now. Before she finished, Siuan enveloped her in a strong, comforting hug. They had wept on each other's shoulders much more often than either had availed herself of Merean's. She had never been as close to anyone as she was to Siuan. Or loved anyone as much.

They eat breakfast in the Accepted dining hall, lingering until Laras’s glares chase them off, and go to work. Aside from the drudgery of the work, Moiraine is appalled by how many names there are, and how vague some of the accounts of the babies’ origins are, and begins to despair of ever finding the Dragon Reborn in this mess. As the day wears on, Elaida appears for a while to stare at them, but they give her nothing to criticize and soon she leaves. They find nothing that seems significant, and return the next day to continue, though they had not been given specific orders to do so. This upsets the clerk who had been assigned to continue the work, who stomps off in a temper, and soon returns with Tamra herself, who studies them intently.

“I had intended you to have a freeday, to read or study as you chose,” Tamra said slowly, still considering them. “Or perhaps to practice for your testing,” she added with a smile that did nothing to lessen her scrutiny. A long pause, and then she nodded slightly to herself. “You are still troubled by your uncles' deaths, child?”

“I had nightmares again last night, Mother.” True, but once more they had been of a baby crying in the snow, and a faceless young man breaking the world anew even while he saved it. The steadiness of her own voice amazed her. She had never thought she would dare give an Aes Sedai answer to the Amyrlin Seat.

Tamra gives them permission to continue, and to Moiraine’s shock also obliquely gives her permission to channel to remove the inkstain on her dress she had gotten when she jumped up. Siuan had missed this nuance, but Moiraine knows the Game of Houses better than she. They go back to work, and Moiraine soon finds a name that might fit the criteria, though the report is vague. She notes that Siuan is surreptitiously keeping a separate list of her own of certain names, and begins to collect names to add to it. They are interrupted mid-morning by Jarna Malari, a Sitter for the Gray, who ushers Moiraine out to walk with her. Jarna asks after her uncles, and then asks who she thinks will succeed to the Sun Throne now that Laman and his brothers are dead. Moiraine is astounded that a Sitter would ask an Accepted’s opinion of politics, but answers that she supposes it will pass to another House.

“Perhaps,” Jarna murmured, half lidding her eyes for the space of the word. “House Damodred has acquired an ill reputation that Laman only made worse.”

Moiraine frowned before she could stop herself, and hurriedly smoothed away the lines hoping that Jarna had not noticed. It was true. Her father had been alone among his generation in lacking a dark character, men and women alike. The preceding generations had been nearly as bad, when not worse. The deeds done by House Damodred had blackened the name. But she did not like hearing anyone say it.

Jarna observes idly that Taringail is ineligible because of Andor’s “ridiculous” laws about the Queen’s consort, and asks, what of Moiraine’s elder sisters? Moiraine answers honestly that Anavaere and Innloine are well-thought of in general, but neither are suited to rule, and would gain no support among the Houses if they made a bid for the throne. Jarna stares at her for a while, then sends her back to her work. Siuan asks what that was about, and Moiraine lies that she doesn’t know. She has a horrible suspicion she does, though, a suspicion which is confirmed when six more Sitters, one from each Ajah, visit over the course of the day to ask the same questions, and Tsutama Rath finally asks flat out:

”Have you never thought,“ Tsutama said casually, toying with the red fringe of her shawl, ”of being Queen of Cairhien yourself?"

Thus she gained another nightmare to join the babe in the snow and the faceless man. She sat on the Sun Throne wearing the shawl of an Aes Sedai, and in the streets outside, the mobs were destroying the city. No Aes Sedai had been a queen in over a thousand years, and even before that, the few who admitted it openly had fared badly. But if that was the goal of the Hall of the Tower, how could she forestall it? Only by fleeing the Tower as soon as she did gain the shawl and staying away until matters resolved themselves in Cairhien. She spent most of that sleepless night praying to be tested soon. Even tomorrow would not be too soon. Light, she was not ready, but she had to escape. Somehow.

Okay, so here’s the thing that really bugs me about the lesbian relationships that show up in WOT: it’s not that they’re not there, it’s that they don’t matter. And that’s a load of crap.

In this chapter, Moiraine makes what is (in my opinion) an incredibly strong statement about her feelings toward Siuan. Here, I’ll quote it again:

She had never been as close to anyone as she was to Siuan. Or loved anyone as much.

One thing I definitely remember about NS is how clear it makes that Moiraine and Siuan had a sexual relationship while together in the Tower, but I really blinked when I read the above quote, because I found it startlingly inconsistent with the casualness of the way that aspect of their relationship is expressed practically everywhere else (that I recall).

And in retrospect? That kind of makes me mad.

Because, you know, from most people, saying something like this—specifically, saying this about someone you’re also involved with sexually—would indicate a very serious romantic relationship indeed. I mean, wow. And yet, somehow, this is not what it means at all, nor does it seem to have any real effect on Moiraine’s (or Siuan’s) later decisions in the slightest as far as I can recall.

Granted, I know perfectly well there’s an awful lot about NS that I don’t remember and if I turn out to be wrong about this I will cheerfully eat crow over it, but when Moiraine and Siuan go their different ways later on I really don’t recall any of the kind of grief and heartbreak I would expect to see when a couple that feels this strongly about each other are forced to separate, more or less permanently.

Which is, of course, because in the eyes of the author (and therefore, the characters, whether it be incongruous or not), they aren’t a couple. Despite having every earmark of being one, from a deep mutually supportive friendship to an (apparently) healthy sexual relationship to what sounds to me at least like a bloody declaration of love from at least one half of the pair, the possibility that this could be something more permanent than a “friends with benefits” arrangement is clearly never even considered.

And that bugs the crap out of me.

And before you jump all over this, please note that I am not saying that there cannot possibly exist a scenario where two people share a mutually deep platonic relationship right alongside a mutually shallow sexual one. Obviously, such a claim would be nonsense, because this clearly happens a lot—often enough that it has its own term. And even though I have a feeling that the percentage of how often the “benefits” part ends up destroying the “friends” part, one way or the other, is rather high, nevertheless, sure, it happens. Successfully, even. I totally give you that.

I’m not even saying it’s impossible that Siuan and Moiraine could have had such a “friends with benefits” relationship. Sure, fine: it’s totally possible that Moiraine didn’t mean love love in that quote, only really really good friendship love. I’ll raise my eyebrow a bit, but okay. So yes, it could have been only that between them and nothing more.

That’s not what annoys me. It annoys me, not that Siuan and Moiraine weren’t deeply in love, but that it’s clear to me that there is no way in a million years that they could have ever been. Not as long as it’s clear that same-sex couples can never be more in WOT than, at best, a momentary pastime. And only if you’re a girl, of course.

(And because I just know someone’s going to bring it up: no, one sentence, out of literally hundreds of thousands of sentences in WOT, about servants in the Tower that maybe could kinda sorta if you squint real hard be talking about gay men doesn’t count, because even if that is what it’s referring to, that is just an epic cop-out and, no. Not good enough, sorry.)

The only possible exception I can recall that implies a same-sex relationship could ever be more than that is Ailil and Shalon, and the fact that that relationship is, baldly, an adulterous affair puts it on rather shaky ground as a positive example of anything.

It bugs me—no, more. It saddens me, because it implies that as far as WOT is concerned, there is no way a homosexual relationship could ever be as important and lasting as a heterosexual one. And that is, as I mentioned, a load of crap.

…And holy verbosity, Batman, it’s three thirty in the morning! There was more in this chapter that I intended to get to, obviously, but I’m going to have to wrap this up here. Everyone play nice in the comments, pretty please, and I’ll see you again on Friday. G’night!

Bill Bácsi
1. billbacsi
It's always a good Tuesday with Auntie Leigh!
2. Ajbcool
Pfffhahaha I'm LDS here, and I remembered the Tree of Life in there, but didn't made the connection with Laman in the WOT and Laman, brother of Nephi! That's hilarious.
lake sidey
3. lakesidey
Well, I think part of the reason they don't show any (public) displays of affection later was because they took a conscious decision to appear to be at loggerheads (to explain Moiraine going away when Siuan was raised Amyrlin), else people might suspect Moiraine was going hunting the DR. So Siuan got closer to Leane (in a strictly non-sexual way, I mean) and distanced herself from Moirane.

Yes, they may have a blazing hot relationship now, but the next time they meet here, Siaun is bringing news which curdles their collective toes and love is not very high on their priority list. Besides, Siaun poses as Moiraine's maid, which makes it even tougher. By the main story, well, they've had twenty years to decide to sacrifice their one true wuv in the interests of finding the DR without raising suspicion.

Besides, after bonding a warder, I have a feeling Moiraine is going to be very careful with the lovin' for a while. He can sense everything she does, after all...and she is still prudish at that point!

We might know more if we got to see the twenty years in between....

John Massey
4. subwoofer
So we see hints at why Siuan has the necessary skills to become Amyrlin.

Elaida. Gah.

Can we continue the rant from the previous post? I really don't want to talk about pillow friends. I'm calling "dibs out" on the whole thing.

5. HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
Obviously it has something to do with their potential, but Elaida must be spectacularly unobservant if she really thinks there was a snowball’s
chance in hell of either of them choosing Red when they’re raised. I
mean, come ON.

Elaida, spectacularly unobservant? NAAHHHHH.
6. AndrewB
If an Aes Sedai becomes queen (hello, Elayne), will she have to eventually abdicate so that her heir takes the throne? Aes Sedai have longer than normal lifespans. It would be akward for a ruler to rule say for 200 years and not have the throne pass to her child or grandchild (in some circumstances). Just a thought if we need something to talk about.

How different would the series proper have been if Moraine became Queen of Cairhien? Presumably, she wiould not have been involved in the search for Rand. Suian would have had to take over. Moreover, if Suian successfully found Rand and spirited him and the others out of Two Rivers, would Suian have been able to realize that she had to surrender control of the plans to control Rand? (Like Moiraine did in TSR).

I think Suian would have let go. After Egwene beomes AS, Suian starts to learn to let go (albeit reluctantly -- as Egwene said in no uncertain terms that she would not have Suian trying to tie strings around her). I believe the ability to let go was buried deep within her character. I do not think it camer into being simple because she was originally stilled & rehealed at a lesser strength. If it was not in her character originally, it would never had materialized.

I would like to expand my thoughts but this is all I have time for at the moment. Thanks for reading my musings.

Lannis .
7. Lannis
(And because I just know someone’s going to bring it up: no, one sentence, out of literally hundreds of thousands of sentences in WOT, about servants in the Tower that maybe could kinda sorta if you squint real hard be talking about gay men doesn’t count, because even if that is what it’s referring to, that is just an epic cop-out and, no. Not good enough, sorry.)

Thanks for the rant recap Leigh. Loved it, as always. :)
8. Megaduck
"And since I’m still not—reading ahead that is—allow me to wonder now whether we ever find out what her angle is re: her interest in Moiraine and Siuan. Obviously it has something to do with their potential, but Elaida must be spectacularly unobservant if she really thinks there was a snowball’s chance in hell of either of them choosing Red when they’re raised. I mean, come ON."

You know, I always thought that this was a sort of love triangle and that in Elaida's head she is compeating with Suian for
Moirain's affections. She want's Moiraine raised so they can have a relationship that is not AS to Accepted.

This makes Elaida's later crippling of Suian at least partially an act of revenge against someone who won in love.
Brandon Daggerhart
9. TankSpill
I honestly don't recall ever reading anything about any "obvious sexual encounters" between Moraine and Siuan - granted, I could be being obtuse, but coul;d someone provide a bit more insight (possibly in the quotation-style) as to if this is the case, or if Leah is just mis-remembering?
10. pwl

All I remember from NS is some mention of tickling in places one normally does not allow non-intimates to touch (specifically with reference to messing the other up while doing the 100 weaves), but Jordan was pretty explicit that they were getting sheets sweaty when asked about it.
stephanie keenan
11. adriel_moonstar
I love the WOT re-read, and most of Leigh's are spot on, but this obsession with same-sex relationships... It makes me think of the people who get so upset about the use of "that word" in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn that they lose sight of the fact that the book was a revolutionary anti-slavery tract with an heroic black protagonist (written by a white man in the nineteenth century). And yes I do get that having evil Galina as the only explicit reference to homosexuality in the series is offensive. (But not apparently offensive enough to make any of us stop reading.)

Besides I don't think the exact nature of Moraine and Siuan's relationship really matters. The point is that they gave up a very important part of their lives to try to SAVE THE ****ing World. (And quite frankly, from the twenty years later vantage point in my own life, it would have been a much greater sacrifice to give up my best friend from university than the guy I was engaged to at the time...)
stephanie keenan
12. adriel_moonstar
Kate O'Hanlon
13. KateOH
Isn't WOT full of people who supposedly love each other going their seperate ways to they can secure victory in the last battle? My take on it was that Moiraine and Suain loved each other but weren't in love, they had to go their seperate ways to find the Dragon Reborn and they didn't angst about it too much because that's not the sort of people they are. I don't want to let Jordan completely off the hook here, he's really bad with same sex relationships, but he's also pretty bad as hetrosexual relationships.
Jamie Watkins
14. Treesinger
In the Gathering Storm, Cads dines at the restaurant called the Wind's Favor, the owner Quillin Tasil, certainly appears to be gay man to me.
F Shelley
15. FSS
About Elaida and the way she treats Moiraine and Suian. Let me just say, I've seen the type, and RJ probably did too.

You see, I am a graduate of one the USA's fine military academies. The aluminum one in Colorado. And I've seen upperclass cadets (Sophomores, Juniors and Senior to those of you who wisely avoided the military academies) who saw their job as upperclass cadets to make life as miserable as possible on the freshmen, in order to both weed out the ones who can't take the stress, and to strengthen those who can. In other words, they think they are doing the freshmen a favor by treating them like shit so that they'll be better cadets and/or officers. (if any other grads read this - I'll refer you to mighty mach 1's rep, or honor guard for that matter).

So, when I read Elaida's scenes with Suian and Moiraine, it was pretty obvious to me that she was helping them, in her mind. And the mistress of novices thought so too, if you'll recall in a chapter or 2 when someone rats out Elaida for abusing Moiraine and Suian. Meran tells them Elaida was in trouble for helping them prepare too well for the Test for the Shawl. It was almost like she was helping them cheat.

Anyway, I'm convinced RJ, who was a graduate of the Citadel, probably saw the same type of upperclass cadet at times, and used that dynamic to create the animosity that existed between the three of them.

To sum up. Despite Moiraine and Suian hating her, Elaida thought she was helping them. She then thought Moriane or Suian ratted her out, almost getting her birched. She then hated the two of them.
16. MasterAlThor
Hello all,

I have the very shiny New Spring Graphic Novel to go along with the reread. So I gotz shiny pictures to go with our favorite moments. Tis cool. Verily.

Pillow friends,

Ah....should it be important? Should it be more important than hetero relationships? Well the obvious answer is no. As for the whole there isn't any man on man love...what if RJ isn't comfortable writing about that? I find it appareant that he was not even comfortable writing about women on women. He threw some in there to make it a bit more realistic. Did he miss the boat on the male equivalent? Yep, but I don't find it as maddening as Leigh. Those types of relationships do not matter to the larger part of the story. If our hero or some of the main cast was out and out...out...then it would be fairly important to explore those relationships.

Anyway thats what I think about that.

Seriously, you guys need to get you a copy of the graphic novel. You can look at the pics and see what Suian looks like. And some of the others. Plus the story is just so damn cool.

lake sidey
17. lakesidey
@ 6 Andrew: come to think about it, what you said has already come to pass, kind of. Morgase was queen, and she abdicated (albeit for different reasons!) and so now Elayne is. Admittedly Morgase is not Aes Sedai, but clearly she looks a lot younger than she actually is, so it seems likely that the benefits of channeling have accrued to her - she would almost certainly have a longer lifespan than most (and so Elayne would have had to wait a long time if not for that convenient plot twist!). Though she'd have got there eventually; a strong channeler like Elayne should live an even longer time.

Which reminds me, when Elayne still didn't know she had twins, and was hoping that her child would be a daughter 'to ensure the succession' I was all like, "dudette - all you need is one female in the next three generations or so. You have more important things to worry about!!"

And yes, if Moiraine had gone on to become queen of Cairhien, Lan would have ended up either dead in the blight, or suffering a fate worse than death married (and possibly bonded to) the brat who will show up later in NS. Thom would not have had the blood of a Cairhienin king on his hands (unless something happened to Moiraine in the meantime). And so on. Law of Unintended Consequences FTW.

Oh, and we'd probably not have got one of my favourite bits of the series, back in tEotW, when Moiraine tells the history of Emond's Field - I can just see Siuan telling it instead "...and the men of Manetheren heard that the Trollocs were coming down on their land like a horde of silverpike. But they did not give up. They were the men of the Mountain Home (whose waters incidentally had some of the finest fresh-water fish to be found this side of the Aryth ocean). Any other time, songs would have been written of that march; they marched back up to their homeland like the salmon in spawning season...."

Just sayin', I'm glad Moiraine chose to run away from queendom.

@8 Megaduck: I love that theory!

@9 TankSpill: I think Merean explicitly refers to them as pillowfriends later on (and Moiraine doesn't deny it, just thinks "there were some things that should not be talked about in public!").

Leigh, a thought: We mainly come across the mention of pillowfriends in places like the WT when there are lots of women with few men (with a few (dis)honourable exceptions. Hi Galina!). We get very few POVs from the rank-and-file in the reverse situation (Asha'man before the Taim split, Whitecloaks, etc) I'm fairly sure that in such groups, you'd have found your fill (if that's the word I want) of gay men. Single-sex colleges and hostels, after all, seem to have more than their fair share of such relationships in the real world - why not in RL? Feel free to shoot this down if I have missed something...and Happy Tuesday!

18. Terez27
@Leigh - Seirin Vayu's Mistress of Novices was also fishy, primarily because the Black Ajah was obviously involved in Tamra's death, and presumably also involved in the strangeness of Seirin's submission to the Red Ajah. Seirin was Gray, but Amira (the MoN) was Red, and so was Duhara (her Keeper). And of course, Duhara is a confirmed Black.

The strange bit is that Amira stepped down as a Sitter when Elaida returned to Caemlyn, but I wonder if Galina had something to do with that. Amira was killed at Dumai's Wells, though, so we will probably never know for sure. It's hard to think of any legitimate reason why the Blacks would let her step down from the Hall, since they would want as many votes as possible, but it may be that Galina was simply that confident that she could control Elaida as well as any Black.

As for the lesbian thing, it's pretty clear that lesbians were included in WoT because RJ really believed that his attraction to the idea amounted to some sort of liberal attitude toward homosexuality. Well, maybe not - there's no real excuse for the 'no male nudity' thing, but he was rather unabashed about that.

There's also some hints for possible wife-swapping between Thom and Bryne, since they have shared a lover before (if not at the same time). Why not again, since their wives are already cozy?
19. Greyhawk
Jordan's depiction of women in general annoys me as often as not. However, while I concede that the lesbian interpretation is a logical inference (I only read the short story and have not reread that and so do not recall if and how explicit it is made later) it also seems contradictory to an "enlightened" (in quotes because what constitutes enlightened is not the same for everyone) view of what it means to be homosexual. Anyway, let me get to my point--many make the case today that being gay is not a choice but a fundamental component of a person's being, i.e. nature vs. nuture. While I do not know what Jordan's personal view on that point was, it is pretty clear that whatever the arguments about how successful he was, Jordan attempted to portray women in a more positvie and independant light than is often the case. Given that background, it seems incongruous to think that Moiraine and Siuan were in a true homosexual relationship given that later in the series they are portrayed as heterosexual in their relationships with Thom and Gareth respectively.

Before I post, I will say that for those that raise the question of bisexuality, yes that could be at play; however, IMHO, it is not. If anything I am tempted to analogize to the scenario found in prisons, where heterosexual inmates perform homosexual acts while in prison. However, as many parallels as might be able to be raised between a prison environment and a pre-shawl experience in the Tower, I do not think the circumstances match-up, expecially when at the Accepted level. So that brings me back to, were Moiraine and Siuan really supposed to be in a physical relationship as well as a platonic one--and if so--what was Jordan's thinking on that front--an idealized Greek concept of love?
Theresa Gray
20. Terez27
That reminds me of slashfic where the characters are only gay for each other. It happens far less often in real life.
Rob Munnelly
21. RobMRobM
I don't have the books but the relevant love connection discussion is when Cads interrogates Moiraine up in the Borderlands. Moiraine has internal discussion about being forced to acknowledge openly matters that should remain private.

Nice re-read post, Leigh.

Stefan Mitev
22. Bergmaniac
That was a fine rant, Leigh, good job.

But what I found more interesting in this chapters was the bit about the Cairhienin succession. Moiraine had two older sisters, but evidently they had zero support for the throne, unlike her, who's supposed to be a viable candidate. This is a clear indication that succession in Cairhien had nothing to do with who's the elder child., and explain something that bugged me before - why Elayne's claim for the Sun Throne was considered "as strong as anyone's" or something to that effect, when she had 2 older brothers.

IIRC we never learned from her PoV what Moiraine felt about Taringail, her half-brother. Here's the only time he was mentioned in NS, and even that wasn't by her. Given that she's ready to marry the man who is strongly implied to have assasinated him (or at least arranged his death), I guess chances are she didn't like him much. It'd be nice to have this cleared in AMOL, but it probably won't be.

Moiraine was a bit slow on the uptake in these chapters. She should've seen instantly what a good opportunity Merean's suggestion to rewrite the lists would be for her hunt for the Dragon. Later it shouldn't have been such a surprise that a Sitter came to her to get her opinion on the Cairhien Succession, since she was one of the prime candidates for the throne after the death of her uncles. I guess the stress of the world saving mission she started on was getting to her, so we can cut her some slack. ;)
Daniel Smith
23. Smittyphi
Lets try this again.

I'm LDS and the Laman and the similarities to the Book of Mormon was what I thought of immediately when I read that.

I'm staying out of the pillowfriends/slasher discussion.

Other than that, great post Leigh
24. pwl
what was Jordan's thinking on that front--an idealized Greek concept of love?

His comments on it have been to the tune of "there are a bunch of hormonal teenagers sequestered without the opposite sex. What do you think is going to happen?"
It does, of course, carry the unfortunate implication of "pillow friend" relationships being something grown out of (which is something said in the series multiple times, so perhaps more than implication). While that is "the case" in real life in some situations (although not really, it's more that social pressures force conformity, so feelings are suppresed), it should hardly be the situation in a world without a strong heterosexual bias (which is what Jordan has implied before, to the best of my recollection).
Eigor Maldonado
25. e-mann
I have to respectfully disagree with you Leigh; I never viewed Moiraine & Siuan as having a loving couple relationship. But me being a man I can’t put into perspective your point of view. So I had to go to the next best thing and asked my wife (She’s not a WoT fan). I explained the relationship of these 2 to her and if it brought images of a relationship between couples. She explained to me that for her, growing up she always had very good friends, and yes they would sleep together, hug, holds hands/arms and other stuff but in no way did it seem sexual. I see a lot of the same activities in WoT but very few of them ever brought about images of sexual relationships, just girls with very good friendships. So unless I am missing something; & I don’t want pry into yours or anybodies personal life, I can’t understand how it is you view some of these characters relationships to each other in the way that you do. This is just an opinion.

(hides under desk)
Theresa Gray
26. Terez27
e-mann@25 - RJ confirmed that 'pillow friends' have a sexual relationship. Specifically, he said that they get all hot and sweaty and muss up the sheets.
lake sidey
27. lakesidey
@18 Terez: Seirin Vayu's Mistress of Novices was also fishy....Seirin was Gray, but Amira (the MoN) was Red, and so was Duhara (her Keeper).

I am not sure I buy that - look at Egwene. She thinks of herself, deep down, as being of the Green (for all her talk of the Amyrlin is of all Ajahs), but her first keeper, Sheriam, is Black and Blue (and not just because Halima was, er, hitting on her) and her first MoN, Tiana, is Grey (and maybe Black? I can't remember, but why is she no longer MoN in ToM? Someone help!). Her second keeper, Silviana, is Red and her second MoN, Rosil, is Yellow.

Also Elaida (Red) has a Keeper who is (Black and) White (admittedly she didn't have much choice in the matter, and later replaced Alviarin with a red, but still). Over half the Amyrlins we know of seems to have chosen Keepers from other Ajahs. Strange, given that I seem to remember it stated somewhere (tGH?) that traditionally Amyrlin and Keeper were from the same ajah...

Come to think of it, just like an Amyrlin, a MoN also should really be of all ajahs, and no ajah, to be fair. Else she'd try to convince newbies to join her ajah, right? Now if you mix all those seven colours, what do you probably get? Black. Yeah, so now we know why there are so many Black MoNs...

(And if we're into wife-swapping, I vote we add Tallanvor too, he satisfies the same criterion as Thom, and Gareth, and the late lamented Rahvin and Taringail for that matter. They all were lovers of poor Liz Taylor Morgase. I thought of adding the tool Valda also, but as it is Leigh is going to have a hissy fit or three)

Stefan Mitev
28. Bergmaniac
Maybe Laman was the elusive gay male in the series. A middle age king who never married - sounds really fishy. No matter how much of a terrible person he was, there must've been plenty of candidates to marry him for the power and prestige, especially in the rank-obsessed Cairhien.
Theresa Gray
29. Terez27
@lakesidey Ah, but there are other reasons aside from that to believe that Sierin Vayu was Black or a puppet of the Black, starting with the exilings and the floggings, and ending with Alviarin's way of thinking that the Black 'certainly' had had nothing to do with Sierin Vayu's death (Chesmal claimed credit for inducing the Reds to kill her before she could order Chesmal's arrest, but we don't get any detail on that, and Chesmal wouldn't have known if Sierin was Black - Alviarin suspects Elaida had something to do with it).

Also, Tallanvor doesn't qualify because Morgase was never the lover of Siuan or Moiraine. No coziness there. In fact, Morgase had a thing with Moiraine's brother, ew...

@Berg - Even if he was, it's still the same problem - RJ didn't discuss male homosexuality because it was a squick for him, as opposed to the attractiveness of the lesbians.
Joseph Armao
30. joeyesq
@Terez - I actually laughed out loud at "squick". Great word.
Thomas Keith
31. insectoid
Great post, Leigh! It's nice to be re-reading a book that attracts so much discussion! :)

Elaida: Not going to say anything here; I'll have a LOT more to say about her on Friday. But I may need to use a thesaurus... so for now I'll just give a small ::gnash::

Merean, Jarna: ::gnashes teeth::

I think I'm going to sit with Subwoofer on the sidelines away from that Other Issue.

MAT @16: Good for you! We have it as well. (And again, I'm going to save my rant on Elaida till Friday. The GN sort of bolstered my opinions of her.)

Maiane Bakroeva
32. Isilel
and a woman from the camp brings them wine unasked-for, as thanks for helping the desperate mother earlier.

Interestingly enough she seems to be wearing a Knitting Circle (of the Kin in Ebu Dar) pin and be quite knowledgeable about Moiraine and Siuan's real status, yet they don't detect any channeling ability in her. I always wondered what it was about.

And now another little rant: addition of unnecessary and contradictory details or the saga of Moiraine's wicked uncles and balooning family. I mean, what? In the world with AS Healing and in a royal family no less, how is it plausible that 3 power-hungry, powerful and rich men wouldn't have heirs?

I mean, Laman was so cold and ambitious that no woman would put up with him to be a Queen of Cahirien, one of the richest and most powerful nations of the world before he chopped down the Tree?!! ORly? And his brothers, all but the youngest, were the same? Ridiculous.

Then we have the problem of Dalresin's 2 wives, who both died young and himself being already dead before his brothers. They had access to AS Healing, so were those murders? Or what? And if they were, why doesn't Moiraine think about it? Why introduce such incongrous details?
Wouldn't it have been much more dramatic and interesting if it was Moiraine's father who'd died with Laman in battle?
And of course - why introduce extra siblings for Moiraine? Where are their offspring in the series proper and why didn't we hear about them since? I thought that maybe Caraline was going to be ret-conned into Moiraine's niece, but nope.
IMHO everything worked much better when Laman had just one sibling - the parent of Taringail and Moiraine. It may even have been better if it was a sister, since at least her husband(s) could have plausibly died in battles or maybe duels. Or if it was her father, her mother could have been still alive, why not? It would have added poignancy to Moiraine's decision to stay away from Cahirien.
Though I always wondered what Laman was thinking when he married his heir to Tigraine, making him ineligible for the throne of Cahirien. Maybe Taringail was a bit too impatient to get promoted and Moiraine still didn't spark at the time and was available in a pinch?
Or would the Mantears, unlike Morgase, have allowed Taringail to claim the throne of Cahirien?

They had wept on each other's shoulders much more often than either had availed herself of Merean's.

Hm... what happened to crying on Verin's shoulder as Moiraine reminisces in TGH? That was another disappointment for me - TGH suggested that Verin was M&S's special mentor and supporter when they were in training, and I hoped to see some of that relationship. Instead, Verin was barely present and merely repeated the same motions as she did in TDR.

Also, isn't it strange how making Moiraine a queen was the idea of the head of the BA? And of course Barthanes, the next head of House Damodred was a DF. I wonder if there wasn't some 13x13 planned and if Moiraine didn't dodge more than one bullet by running away.

Finally, the lesbian relationship. I couldn't believe it. First, RJ wrote that weird scene in TGH where M&S fell all over themselves claiming how they are interested in men in general and how they regret not finding Mr. Right and founding families and now this? Why? This seems like a ret-con after somebody pointed out that WoT lesbians are EVIL, so he quickly threw together some patently good characters for a meaningless fling. Don't change horses during the crossing, dude!

Oh, and IMHO Elaida totally had a crush on _Siuan_ and heartily detested Moiraine. Her interactions with the 2 of them are subtly different and Siuan may have actually "benefitted" from her treatment or at least overcome the obstacles, while Moiraine never would have. But that is for the upcoming chapters.
lake sidey
33. lakesidey
@28 Bergmaniac: Moiraine's take on why Laman remined single "...Laman Damodred, a distant man who burned with ambition, the only warmth in him. Moiraine's opinion was that he had remained unmarried for the simple reason that even the inducement of becoming Queen of Cairhien was not enough to convince any woman to marry him."

But again, this is the viewpoint of Moirane the prude, who would not even think of even a hated uncle as a possible homosexual. So you might be right at that....

To open a new can (pack?) of worms, does anyone know (a) how trollocs reproduce and (b) are there (m)any female trollocs? Or are they mass-produced in a factory like the Uruk-Hai of Saruman? Because if not, then maybe they also have pillowfriends.... (They aren't asexual I am sure, because I seem to recollect that Myrdraal are twisted relations of Trollocs, and they have a history of forcing their attentions on human women. Or femsaken.)

OK, I have no idea where I was going, there. Possibly I ought to sleep. Or at least, join Sub and co on the sidelines for this topic. My imagination is running wild, to say the least.

Chris Chaplain
34. chaplainchris1
Up to 31 posts already - and I'm sure more by the time I finish! Wow, NS has definitely re-energized us. More and more, I'm thinking it was probably a good re-energizer for RJ, too.

Leigh's Yeek on the Mistress of Novices position is echoed by me in the Sitters of this era - mostly Jarna Malari, who is the head of the Black Ajah. But also a small yeek for Tsutama Rath, who's one of the Sitters behind the "vileness" that is due to start happening between now and the next 5 years - vileness that will include executing men who can channel without trial or record, including men like Thom's nephew Owyn. Vileness that also, iirc, includes letting themselves be manipulated (by Black sister Chesmal Emry) into murdering Sierin Vayu. These are the crimes that Tsutama and Toveine Gazal were sent into exile for, so it freaks me a little that Tsutama in our time has not only been recalled from exile but is now the freaky Highest of the Red Ajah!

Ok, I raise my "yeeks" to a YEEKS. This is a woman who, according to Pevara, may very well be unbalanced; and even here, pre-unbalance, she's willing to break Tower law re: men who can channel, falsify records, and MURDER THE AMYRLIN SEAT. Granted, we don't know what her role in that was, but still....

So "yeeks" for the Hall of the Tower during this period containing this psycho and Jarna, the Head of the Supreme Council of the Black Ajah.

Also, seeing Jarna and Tsutama and thinking about Sierin Vayu reminds me (referencing the last thread) that Siuan *did* make at least 1 effort to unmask the Blacks, by leaving an anonymous note for Sierin Vayu as Amyrlin. This note apparently led to Sierin doing some investigating and being murdered for her trouble.

No wonder Siuan as Amyrlin didn't push too hard. She knew that two strong Amyrlins, Sierin and Tamra, had been murdered by (or by instigation of) the Black Ajah. That would make me...circumspect...too.
Stefan Mitev
35. Bergmaniac
Yes, Laman and his brothers being unmarried is totally implausible and bothered me too. It's an obligation of every noble to produce heirs, and this applies especially to the king. The fact that the 3 top members of the Damodred family all stayed single till middle age is totally unbelievable.

I've always wondered where Caraline fit in the Damodred family tree. I though she was the daughter of one of Moiraine's sisters, but then I noticed a mention that she was Moiraine's cousin according to Cadsuane. Caraline also called Elayne "My young cousin" to complicate things further. Then there's Barthanes, for whom there are no clues at all where he fit into the family.

"Though I always wondered what Laman was thinking when he married his heir to Tigraine, making him ineligible for the throne of Cahirien. Maybe Taringail was a bit too impatient to get promoted and Moiraine still didn't spark at the time and was available in a pinch?"

I think that's likely. Taringail was after all an ambitious man, he planned to get rid of Morgase and take over Andor. When he married Tigraine, Moiraine must've been around 14. Tigraine went to the Waste in 972 NE, she already had a child from Taringail, so the marriage was probably somewhere around 970 NE, maybe a bit earlier. Moiraine was born 956 NE, so it's possible she hadn't shown the spark yet at the time of the marriage.
36. Megaduck
@32 Isilel

Really, I had noticed that her treatment of Siuan and Moiraine was different but I came to the opposit conclusion. Elaida always seemed far more hostile to Siuan then Moiraine to me. I think it was the line where Elaida says that Siuan will never be an AS because she does not have a scrap of serinity in her that I read as contemptuous. I do agree wit FSS @15 that thinks she's helping right up to the moment she almost gets birched.

I also think that Elaida doesn't really know Moiraine very well. Elaida always struck me as someone who was very much a Dom in all her relationships, she has to be in charge. This is why she doesn't like Siuan much who is also very much a Dom.

However, Moiraine is the "Pretty Little Porcelin Doll" who always seems to follow what Siuan is doing. I think Elaida sees Moiraine as very much a Sub and misses the steel in her spine. So I really don't think Elaida is in "Love" with Moiraine, I think she's more in lust with the pretty little sub that exists in her mind.
37. Lsana
I know that RJ specifically said that the "pillow friends" are lesbians, but do we ever get a confirmation that Suian and Moiraine's relationship is sexual?

Because the evidence I see is all for a very strong friendship. I might have used Moiraine's line about my high school best friend up until I fell in love with my husband. And I wouldn't have meant I wanted sex, just that I loved her more than anyone outside my family.

Moiraine and Suian might have used each other to satisfy certain...um, "needs," but I don't think that they were precisely lesbian lovers. They were two very close heterosexual friends.
F Shelley
38. FSS
Y0u know, the (by far) dominant discussion of this thread has been who is and who isn't a lesbian. Maybe RJ did us all a favor by NOT talking about it more than he did. Jeez - you'd think most of the commenters we're discussing the next season of "queer as folk" or something.

Not that there's anything wrong with that :P
James Jones
39. jamesedjones
I'm gonna vote "Present" and just ignore avoid all of the topics presented.
Brandon Wood
40. brad21088
@14: He had a wife who was a successful merchant. They had a daughter together who went to the White Tower and joined the Brown Ajah, impressing Cadsuane with her knowledge of world events and news, which lead Cadsuane to her parents. What's annoying is that I can remember that tiny part of one of the novels, but I forget major plot points. Sigh.

Jordan's mishandling of same-sex relationships (it's not even really mishandling; there's nothing there to mishanlde) doesn't bother me nearly as much as the comments from many of the readers. I don't think Jordan was an anti-gay douchebag, but many of his fans certainly are!

I've ranted about this myself in the comment and it's a fun waste of time, but I'll not repeat myself and instead say this: it would be really awesome and nice if people would actually read what Leigh is saying. Keep in mind she's doing a re-read and summary of the frickin WoT series, no small feat! She's clearly a huge fan (hello, the WoTFAQ anybody?) and loves the series. To suggest otherwise is plain ole stupidity. All she's saying is that, out of the many things Jordan did wonderfully, he dropped the ball in one area. Just as all authors do: you can't write a series so massive and not have done something wrong; no one's a perfect writer, not Tolkein, not Lewis, and no, not even Robert Jordan got everything right. We can nitpick about "oh did Suian and Moiraine really have a sexual relationship" or "oh I don't think it's that big of a deal," but at the end of the day, the truth is that same-sex relationships in the WoT series aren't portrayed in the same Light (haha, I'm punny!) as opposite-sex relationships. Does this mean that Leigh or other readers of the series who agree with her are going to lead the horrible liberal PC police in burning all copies of the WoT books? No. All it means is that Leigh noticed something wonky in the series, I've noticed it as well, and hey, so do a bunch of other readers who are sensitive to same-sex relationships (whether you're in one, have family members or friends who are, etc.). The point is that you kind of have to admit that, at the least, Jordan didn't handle same-sex relationships in the same way that he did opposite-sex ones, and at the most, that his handling of same-sex relationships was inconsistent and mildly offputting. Do I get in a huff every time Yet Another Sadistic Lesbian pops up in the series? No. Galina and Therava are interesting, believable characters. Do I long for a chapter where Suian and Moiraine talk about feelings and feed their cats (haha, jokes). No, I don't. I don't want a graphic description of a same-sex encounter, I don't even really care that there aren't gays running around Randland openly, all I'm saying, and all that I've ever noticed Leigh or any other fans out there who are "on my side" in this "debate," is that Jordan didn't write same-sex relationships well or believably, or whatever word you want to use. He flopped on one little issue. No big deal in the grand scheme of things, but it is something worth pointing out, especially in a summary post with commentary at the end. Leigh commented on something that stood out as being strange in the book. And it IS strange that Moiraine loves Suian more than she's ever loved anybody, yet in the rest of the series, we see no further displays of affection, and at the end, Suian ends up with someone else and so does Moiraine. If Suian had ended up with a black, one-legged lesbian I would still think it was strange, because she didn't end up with Moiraine when they're supposed to be deeply in love with each other. Now I'm rambling, so just to sum up: no one (on this discussion board) is saying that the WoT is awful, or that Jordan was homophobic, or anything silly like that. All anyone is trying to do is point out that he was inconsistent with his portrayal of same-sex relationships.

And now I need some strong Two Rivers tabac.
Theresa Gray
41. Terez27
By the way, Moiraine is far from prudish or she would never have had a sexual relationship as a teenager. She's just Cairhienin. That means proper in public, wild in the sack. Or so the story goes. The nobility have these ideas about public propriety but logically that means they have to make up for it somewhere, as we see on the Feast of Lights in LOC.

@Lsana - The fact that Moiraine gets offended when Merean tells Cadsuane about Siuan being her pillow friend - 'spreading out all these intimacies' - is about as clear as RJ ever gets about these things.
j p
42. sps49
I second the comment that the New Spring graphic novel is a nice accompaniment. Not that everyone looks like they do in my head, but it is well done.
43. Tesla_Sunburn
Moiraine and Suin probably seperated inpart do to the anti-relationship propaganda every Aes Sedai goes through. Yes its focus was on Hetero relationships but it seems to come out as an aversion to any close relationships.

Also I'd imagine any long term relationship between women would be mared by the same problems Aes Sedai have with men. Any Aes Sedai-Normal Women Long Term Relationship would feature the Aes Sedai expecting obedience from her partner(and likely using the Power to force the arguement).

Aes Sedai-Aes Sedai features that Binary control aswell(I defer to this person or she to me) they are just used to it. So anyone who isn't "in" to that, would end the relationship often.
Chris R
44. up2stuff
Terez @18,

would there have been enough coordination in the Black Ajah, to really push for Amira to have retained the Sitter Seat? Just thinkin that they dont really know who's who among themselves, so who would know whether to keep her without explicit FS insturctions?

Also, you point out votes, but I dont know that that would be any more plausible either. Since they dont know whos plans are BA supported, how could they support them. I THINK we saw this even in the Little Hall with the SAS where one Black sister worked in opposition of another. Stands to reason in my mind that it would hold true regarding Amira, too because she would not know when a Black sister needed support.
Vincent Lane
45. Aegnor
What evidence is there that Moiraine and Siuan had a sexual relationship? Its been a while since I read NS, but I don't remember anything. I could have missed it though. I'm assuming there is more to it than the quote you indicated "She had never been as close to anyone as she was to Siuan. Or loved anyone as much."

That does not indicate a sexual relationship in and of itself. But like I said, its been a while since I read NS and there very well could be other indications.
46. Drewd
I don't usually comment here so I don't think my opinion matters nearly as much as some of the other, much more regular, posters. But I'd like to offer a suggestion, if I can. Would it be possible to do one, and only one, post to discuss the frustrations, theories, rants, disappointment, etc over Jordan and homosexuality? I feel like this topic keeps coming up and each time I'm a bit sad that we don't get to talk about what's actually in the book (as opposed to what's not), because we get sidetracked onto this discussion.

So can we just do one big Wot Reread Gay Post? And then afterwards, we can talk about other issues?
47. ican'tremembermyusername
Leigh, I'm confused by your recurring complaints on the homosexual stuff. Jordan is depicting cultures based on pre-industrial revolution real world equivalents. Which of those featured societies where homosexuality was openly discussed? Going even further, in how many of today's cultures across the world is it ok to be gay? There are, what, 195 countries in the world today. How many of those allow homosexuality legally and/or culturally?

It seems false and artificial to try to put 21st century Euro-American mores (as if even those are unanimous) on such a fictional world.

There is so much else to discuss that seems more important.
48. ican'tremembermyusername
And, btw, I don't think you're really wrong. It seems obvious that Jordan was much, much less comfortable with the idea of depicting any male-male relationships than he was the pillow friend thing. Still, having any homosexual activity seems more notable than not having more of it, and I guess I'm tired of reading commentary on that one topic.

I think that, in the same way Jordan felt that adolescent all-girls school at the tower might lead to some pillow friendliness, he missed an opportunity to show the same sort of thing happening in one of the all male environments.

But Jordan is not suddenly going to start writing male-male in the next chapter, so let's accept it and move on.
49. Tesla_Sunburn
RJ said strait out that Homosexuality was perfectly fine in Randland. Nobody cares. Thats Word of God. Seriously if you don't want to take part in the discussion, don't. Several conversion take place at the same time in these boards. You don't have to comment about it. Sorry but a descussion of the portrial of gay characters in Wheel of Time is a valid topic when a chapter make obvious reference two female characters Sexual Relationship.

P.S. If you are resistent to the idea that thats whats going on in this chapter I recomend to search for quotes by RJ on what Pillow Friends are or the exact Relationship of Moiraine and Suin.
50. ican'tremembermyusername
I am taking part in the discussion, I don't have to agree with you to do that. I wasn't trying to be ugly about it, and I fully realize it's a legitimate topic for discussion. It just seems to end up dominating the comments every time it comes up. I think that says more about us than it does about Jordan and his books.

And I am not resistant to the idea that there are pillow friends, or that Moiraine and Suian were pillow friends, I didn't say that.

Homosexuality isn't the only thing we seem to get hung up on here regarding Jordan's world building. Jordan built a world for his books, it's his creation. We seem to spend a lot of time here complaining that he didn't build it differently. Some discussion of that is legit, even necessary. But at some point it seems we've been there, done that, covered it, ok.

Personally, at this point, I'd prefer to discuss the world as Jordan built it, not as we might wish it to be.
51. ican'tremembermyusername
BTW Tesla @post 43 - I agree with that interpretation. Moiraine about said as much (in TGH, maybe, can't remember) that when they were raised to the shawl they parted ways and got to work on their cause. That Suian thought in TOM how focused she had been on her cause for so long reinforces that impression to me.
Vincent Lane
52. Aegnor
Tesla, are Moiraine and Siuan ever described as being pillow friends in NS?
Rob Munnelly
53. RobMRobM
@52 - yes.

@46 - Nice try, Drewd, but not going to happen.
54. archaeo
Well, I had a thoughtful little reply to the conversation about same sex relationships, but after I looked at it I saw it was less thoughtful and more dumb.

Looking through Theoryland's most excellent compendium of Jordan quotes, we see that he has opined on this, suggesting (and I'm paraphrasing) that we just haven't seen the gay characters and that they're around, doing their thing. An easy answer, but not an unwelcome one. I'm inclined to think he was being sincere and not just covering his ass.

Other than that, I guess I don't have anything intelligent to say about it now. I agree with Leigh that Jordan mishandled Siuan and Moraine's relationship, but I'm inclined to think it has a lot more to do with the immaturity of the series in TGH as compared to the thick canon established by the time he wrote NS.

As to the general issue of GLBT characters in the WoT, I'm divided. The inclusion of such significant lesbian subtexts without any mention whatsoever of gay characters bothers me, but I'm also more or less completely inured to it. If I were going to be upset every time my much-maligned sexuality were ignored in popular media and fiction, I wouldn't ever leave the house. Jordan's treatment of lesbian characters is rather nuanced (with heroes and villains, etc.), and I'll accept the idea that we just haven't gotten to see gay characters that exist.

Of course, this acceptance doesn't take in all the people complaining about even discussing it or saying that it takes up too much space or whatever. I agree with you on Siuan and Moraine's relationship, unremembered user name guy @51, but "I'd prefer to discuss the world as Jordan built it, not as we might wish it to be"? Buddy, this is the world that Jordan built, however imperfectly, and I'd much rather look at interesting issues like torture, sexuality, and gender than, well, whatever it is you think is "the world as Jordan built it."
55. /rant
I think it comes down to the whole all girl bording school/college situation. May be generalizing here, but you put a bunch of teenagers/twenty-somethings in a stressful environment with no members of the other sex... things are going to get freaky even if the participants aren't necessarily full-time gay as it were. Moi and Suian are friends (ie love), but it is more the situation that leads to the sexual conduct. Same thing might go for the Asha'man (maybe less so b/c they can bring wives/family) or Whitecloaks (wonder what their holy books say about that) or other single-sex societies. I imagine this sort of thing may go on with Maidens as well as with male Aiel societies.

I know this doesn't help the why aren't their real leasbians or real gay men in the story, but at a certain point it just gets exhausting to hear Leigh complain about it... It is RJ/s story, perhaps he found writing about female pillow-friends less awkward and therefore less forced. Nobody wants a throw-away those two guys are gay comment just to appease the fans, it would be jarring and unnecessary. In the context of novice and Accepted life when we are following along with their day to day activities... well then it has a larger role to play and may in fact help with character development.

/rant to Leigh's rant.
56. pwl
Personally, at this point, I'd prefer to discuss the world as Jordan built it, not as we might wish it to be.

And that is part of the discussion. Jordan says he built a world where society in general does not care about sexual orientation, yet he wrote homosexuality as something that happens when one the other sex is not handy for an extended period of time (which does, of course, have some historical precedent) and/or something that is simply dropped when one moves beyond childish things. Neither is a particularly enlightened view, yet can be good fodder for discussion and reflection.
Obviously a lot of people are crazy about the books, and many people are still around from the Usenet days even. But that is no reason to insist that we not discuss deficiencies or unfortunate implications in this otherwise riveting, open, and rather liberal world, and even to recognize potential author blind spots. We all have them, and it can be instructive to see how people go off the tracks on certain subjects.
57. MasterAlThor

If you are going to call someone out....then by all means do it.


hey longtime no see. How are things?


I will be in your neck of the woods for about an 1hr 40min. Maybe nextime I will be there longer.


You not playing today?


I see you


PS shouts to Lannis (Igotmynameinthebook) and Sub
58. MasterAlThor

Very good comment. I understand what you are saying. I also understand what some of the others are saying when they say "can't we talk about something else?"

/rant and others

I made that comment once. I spent a lot of wasted time trying to put out fires. People care about the subject and so since they do care about it they have every right to talk about it. You just have to be patient and wait till a new post is posted or someone teases out a little unknown nugget of information.

What I am saying is that it was wrong for me to want to move the conversation forward toward more important things (at least things that I thought were more important) cause at some point something is going to come up that is a hot button for you and you are going to want to talk about it. Someone else won't. And if they say something about it, these same people who seem to be against you now, will be the first people to stand up and defend your need to discuss it.

So just wait your turn, your time will come.

Stefan Mitev
59. Bergmaniac
"If you say so, Siuan." Moiraine did not sound as if she believed, either. "There is one thing I can remedy. May I offer you Healing?"
Siuan could have kissed her. In fact, she did."

This quote, plus the already mentioned offended reaction by Moiraine when Merean told Cadsuane that Moiraine and Siuan are pillow friends, are pretty convincing to me that they aren't just close friends. This also pretty serious hint:

"They were going to be sharing that bed, and Siuan knew exactly which ticklish spots could reduce her to helpless laughter and pleading."

Not so much the sharing the bed part, since that's a common occurence in WOT without anything sexual going on - the inns are always crowded and people have to share. But the exact knowledge of the ticklish spots is certainly suggestive. ;)

Jordan is depicting cultures based on pre-industrial revolution real world equivalents. Which of those featured societies where homosexuality was openly discussed?

The cultures in Randland are very different than the pre-industrial revolution in the real history in terms of gender politics, religion, etc. There's no organised religion, so the main reason for the taboo on homosexuality is out.

Moiraine as Queen of Cairhien - in New Spring it was made really clear she hated the idea not only because finding the Dragon was more important. "The Sun Throne would be a sentence for life".
Given the political situation in Cairhien, I can totally understand her. Assassinations, kidnapping and the likes are constantly used in their version of Dae Dai'Mar, and after the disaster which her uncle brought upon her country, she'd have faced plenty of opposition determined not to let the Damodred House ruin the country more. Even with the backing of the Tower, she'd have had a hard time holding onto the Sun throne and it would've required resorting to the same kind of ruthless means as were typical for her Damodred predecessors and she didn't want to do that. Plus becoming a ruler after such a disaster woud've been a really thankless job, trying to rebuild the country and to recover from the loss of the trans-Waste trade, which was one of the main sources of wealth for the realm.

I am wondering how she will take the news that Elayne is he Queen of Cairhien now. It's not clear whether Rand consulted her before he chose Elayne for the job back in TFOH.

Rob Munnelly
60. RobMRobM
@57. I'm playing, just in small quantities. Having trouble getting excited about the plot to date. I'll have a comment to make when Moiraine gets her post-test wardrobe and more in the Follow the Yellow Brick Road to the Borderlands scenes to come.

How ya doin?
61. Dedic8ed
Several comments to make about the sexuality bit. And sorry to make such a long, drawn-out post as my first ever post on this board, but these comments have been building every time this subject comes up on the re-read (which I love, Leigh... rant about anything you want, even the spankings, it's all AWESOME!).

First of all, not to put thoughts into RJ's head, but in our society there really is a juxtaposition between the two genders and homosexuality, especially when you look at entertainment. You put two girls gettin' it on in a fantasy novel, a genre which, let's face it, is predominantly read by a certain demographic, yes, there will always be some idiots who disapprove, but a lot of people will simply consider that "fanservice". But two men do the same thing, and a lot of people are going to start characterizing it as a "gay novel".

Secondly, we've got the fact that we are getting LOTS of slice-of-life bits about the female characters; between the AS, the Kin, the Sea Folk (seriously, are their men even allowed to speak?), the Aiel Wise Ones, hell, even the Black Ajah girls, that there's far more room for interpersonal relationships. On the other hand, the male-dominated arenas are given very little of that sort of thing; our big three are running around being epic, and the few times that things slow down for them we're focusing on Mat-Tuon, Perrin-Faile, and Rand-Min-Avi-Elayne. We don't get to focus on many male characters outside that bunch, and even when we do it's all revolving around what the wonder boys are doing.

Finally, there is a truism that the hangup on "non-traditional" sexual lifestyles in our society is mostly based upon religion and man's "interpretation" of whatever holy book he holds to be the truth. In Randland, there's one major religion, and it's not even really organized. The only people who've taken on the "I know what the Creator is thinking and everyone should agree with me" roles are Masema the whackjob, and Lothair Mantelar, and we see just how well his little religion-based experiment worked out. I like to actually compare the sexual mores of WoT with that of ancient Greece; there was no actual law against homosexuality, and it was quite common... yet you won't find records of men marrying men from that period, because that sort of relationship is simply not going to produce offspring (which was the primary purpose of marriage at that time), and modern concepts like institutionalized adoption which allow modern people to have that sort of family didn't exist.

Oh, and let's also remember that all of the "lesbian" encounters RJ has shown have really been more or less euphemisms; we're not seeing what's going on there. I know that RJ has spoken on the fact, but from strictly reading the words a slightly less worldly reader might consider none of the relationships to go beyond simply cuddling.

At least he didn't retroactively decide a major character was gay like a certain other well-known author did. But that's a whole 'nother can of worms that I'm not opening here.
John Massey
62. subwoofer
Hi MAT- I'm still stoked, just not about this. I flew through these chapters and the most I got out of it was not so much the er... topic that I am not talking about. What really got my attention is Elaida behaving like one of the DO's minions- at least entering the first circle of Shayol Ghul. Elaida's dress is described in detail... again... and Moiraine comments that the dress has embroidered thorns, which seemed appropriate. As RJ did write this book out of sequence, it seems to me a deliberately heavy handed method to paint Elaida as a hobag from day 1. Fitting, but heavy handed. It is almost like there is no redeeming qualities in her at all. Elaida just has a huge ego to go along with her ability to channel a whole whack of power.

The other thing that I took away was that the other Aes Sedai viewed Elaida as giving the girls "special attention" as opposed to busting Moiraine's and Siuan's chops which is what she was really doing. We'll see more when Moiraine is raised to the shawl, but both girls are rumored to be in the same class as Elaida for power and that flat out has Elaida jealous... and bitchy. If only one of the girls found the courage in them to push Elaida off something high... like Dragonmount, or the top of the Tower or something, we could have been spared Elaida's huge gaffs later.

Also, the girls did stumble onto a plan that sure beats gallivanting around the slopes of Dragonmount.

As I read these chapters I also noticed how humble Moiraine is. She takes Siuan's praises, all the while holding Siuan up as the example she is striving to meet. And her uncle Laman's death. Yeee. She loses three of her kin and must be in some kind of shock, even though other thoughts are going through her head at the time, it never even occurs to Moiraine that she could be in line for the Throne. Imagine how different things would be if that happened. Also, it is implied that Tam may have been the one to do the killing, or at least, Laman may be the source of Tam's heron marked sword. Very interesting.

The dreams about the Dragon, faceless at this point, but calling down lightening feels like the ingrained fear that all Randlanders have of male channelers. I think that is the Pattern at work, trying to reach out to Moiraine. Either that, or Tam was passing by Tar Valon and Rand's ta'vereness was at work here. I wonder how many other people in the Tower had the same dreams.

Edit- hi dedic8ed. Welcome. You are about to find out what a flame war is. S'ok. I brought marshmallows... er... hide.

Joe Terrenzio
63. Terren
Begin Random Thoughts re: Pillow friends

So I am almost through the first season of The Wire. I live in a cave in the Waste, so I only get to watch TV when it is something really good, any many friends told me The Wire is the best TV show ever. (I'd say its very good, but I wouldn't make such a bold claim) Of course one of the characters is a lesbian, and we get to see her girlfriend, and the occational make-out sceen or fade to black in the bedroom. And, in my humble opinion, this relationship does not forward the plot, affect the character's motivations that I have seen so far, or otherwise factor into the show in any pertinant way. But hey, it is inclusive because a major character is lesbian.
This just seems really jarring to me.
To connect this to the discussion - I get the same feeling from a lot of RJ's presentations of pillowfriends in the later books, and from people's demand for more expansion on GBLT relationships in WoT.
There is so much already going on, I don't see why we need to know that 10% of the population (of whatever statistics you want to use) are not heterosexual.
Moiraine and Siuan both had fully developed characters with complex motivations and a close friendship relationship long before NS or any other hints of prior pillow-friendship. The big reveal that when they were 22 and 20 they loved each other and had mad passionate sex does not, in my reading, further the characters as already frimly established. If anything it was rather odd to me.
Now of course when AMoL reveals that Rand only has a thing for 3 women because of his deeply repressed desires for Mat and Perrin combined with his severe narcissism, that will have major and immediate plot impacts.

End random thoughts.
64. Tesla_Sunburn
ican'tremembermyusername, I apologize I posted in a rush and thus didn't specify who I was talking to, lumping everything into one post. If you didn't do something I was probably talking about someone else. As it stands there are several people which seem to object to the vary discussion.

As it is the Pillow friend references are subtle but thats because RJ prefered to write subtly on all things. I would infact say that if we lived in some sort of crazy future where there was no hetero relationship, with all reproduction being artificial, a very similer discussion would be had for Hetero sexual encounters.
Stefan Mitev
65. Bergmaniac
@Sub - Why would Tam have been the one to kill Laman? They were on the same side in this battle.

Moiraine's disdain for the noble class - I don't see it. She dislikes the obnoxious fools amongst them who neglect their duties (of which the Murandian noblewoman in Chapter 5 is a prime example, or the Tear High Lords), but respects those who know how to take care of their responsibilities and the people who serve under them (Lord Agelmar, Ingtar, or Morgase, for example).
66. archaeo
Subwoofer@62, I'm afraid I don't have the time to look it up specifically, but I feel like Jordan said that Rand, Mat, and Perrin became ta'veren shortly before or during the events of TEotW. The pattern didn't need them for anything during their childhood years; Rand's "I was raised better" comments in ToM suggest that the pattern had done all it needed to do by putting Rand in Tam's hands in the Two Rivers. If he had been ta'veren as a kid, the Two Rivers would've been insane and not a boringly normal Hero Incubator.

I sort of agree that Elaida could've been a much more subtle character, though. I think her rise to power still makes sense, but Jordan missed an opportunity of developing her as a much more well-intentioned character, especially in these early scenes. Oh well.
67. MasterAlThor

It's good here, I am trying to make a comeback on the reread posting. Was a little burnt out over the last few books. All good in your neck of the woods?

Glad you are still stoked. Get thee the GN and be even more stoked.

Rob Munnelly
68. RobMRobM
MAT - yes, my daughter has successfully recovered from her tumor surgery, which was confirmed benign, so life is all kinds of good on that front (except that she doesn't seem to want to do much homework and may not survive the evening if she pushes my spouse a bit more). My son has settled into his new school and likes it, so that is good as well. It's been incredibly snowy up here in the Northeast and we're all going stir crazy staring at 4 foot deep snow in the backyard and 6-8 feet plowed embankments around driveways and roads but we'll survive. After all, the groundhog saw his shadow so less than five weeks to go....

69. MasterAlThor

Whoa, wait.....your daughter had a tumor that needed to be removed???? Umm, I have been gone longer than I thought.

Well I am glad that she is doing well and that she is healthy. The homework thing I know all too well. My 17yr old is looking at being on my permanat bad side if he doesn't graduate on time.

Where is your son going to school now?

How far northeast are you??? I am in Michigan and we are starting to watch the remains of SNOWMEGGEDON 2011 melt away.

Oyi!!!! Phil saw his shadow did he??? Spring should be around the corner then. Of course the lake doesn't give a fig about that.

Mikey Bennett
70. EvilMonkey
I don't normally jump into the gay thing in Randland. That I do so now is testament to the provacative discussion prompted by this excellent addition to the Wheel. I am sure you've noticed that with the (possible) exception of Therava and the definite exception of Alil and Shanlon, the only 'pillowfriends' in this series are Aes Sedai. I say that to say that the Aes Sedai are unique in that their training consists of an all-girls school featuring people with a stressful workload and a bunch of excess hormones. No other group of peoples in WOT do that. Armies are all male, yet for the most part the camp followers are women. Wise Ones and Windfinders aren't restricted from playing with the opposite gender. Seanchan actually has females in the ranks. Eaganin may look like the classic 'bull dyke' when she's first introduced slapping around Bayle Domon, but she is definetely not (I mean she married the poor bloke later, right?). Asha'man bring their families along and are allowed to live with them when they aren't training. Even Whitecloaks, insular and so called bastions of purity though they may be, are still a military order and therefore are not restricted to relations with the opposite sex. The only organization that really comes close to what Tower initiates have to go through is Warder training, and even there they aren't really restricted from females, just the ones training to fart fireballs. Guaranteed if a full fledged sister wanted to trip up some potential Warder in a stable somewhere nobody's going to say anything. Otherwise, Hammar would have had some words for the sisters tending Galad after Mat brained him back in TDR. RJ is obviously referencing how a situation like that tends to produce pillow friends, some of those relationships being longer lasting than others. For example, Elaida outgrew her attachment she had as a novice and Accepted, yet Medani (one of the ferrets) clearly did not. It's hard to portray male-male pairings in the same light as the WT lesbianism because the Tower is the only place in the world where it happens. Personally I think putting a gay male character in would probably look like he was trying to shoehorn it in, much like I felt Rawlings did when she announced that Dumbledore was gay. I suppose RJ could have done so in a way that didn't look contrived if he so chose, but I don't believe it would have been germaine to the story. Even with Alil and Shanlon, the reason the relationship was taboo wasn't because they were lezzin it up, the important part and the basis for blackmail was that Shanlon was married. I mean do we for one second believe that the story would have been enriched if Mat or Perrin liked men, or even one of the Male Forsaken like Asmo or Belal? I just think RJ handled it right by pretty much not talking about it, and when doing so be as circumspect as possible to convey the message. As I recal, not even the hetero relationships go into a bunch of sweaty sheet type detail. Love the reread Leigh but I just happen to disagree.
Tess Laird
71. thewindrose
I am pretty sure that the Aiel took down Laman and his two brothers. The Aiel take Laman's heron marked sword back with them to the waste, and it eventually lands into Aviendha's sheet(she can't touch a sword you know;) and she gives it to Rand.

I wonder if the Aes Sedai finally figure out why the Aiel are so pissed, and lead Laman out like a lamb for offering?

And here is a red herring(knowing as we do that Elaida isn't BA) -
(Elaida)Her brocaded dress was not a muted red or a faint red, but a bright hue, as though she were screaming her Ajah to the world. Her cloak, lined with black fur, was exactly the same shade.

A lot of time RJ liked to mark BA sisters with a bit of black clothing.

And I found this funny -
"Cairhienin," Meilyn breathed. She sounded very nearly...amused!

I wouldn't say that Moiraine a total prude, it is more a common characteristic that is portrayed by many of her fellow Cairhienins.
John Massey
72. subwoofer
@Berg- here-

"At some point during his time as a soldier, Tam acquired a
power-wrought, heron marked blade. No specific explanation as to where he acquired it is given, but a conversation between Tam and Rand during The Gathering Storm hints that Tam may have acquired the blade from Laman Damodred. During The Eye of the World Lan mentions to Rand that his sword is exceedingly valuable, being both heron-marked and power-forged, suggesting that Tam could have never acquired it from a merchant. In the conversation, Tam mentions killing a blademaster because it 'needed to be done' though he regrets it. The Aiel accepted Laman's jeweled sword as proof of his death, but nowhere is it specifically stated who killed Laman."


I admire Moiraine and Siuan's determination for finding Rand, even though the mere idea of the DR gives them nightmares. What drives me up the wall and around the bend is:

""What can they do, Moiraine? Even if they find him, what can they do?"
"They can bring him to the Tower," Moiraine replied, putting more confidence into her voice than she felt. "He can be protected here." She hoped he could. More than the Reds might want him dead or gentled, whatever the Prophecies said. " And educated.".... "He can be guided". That would be the most important of all, to make sure that he made the right decisions."


Really? Accepted and they want to put the Dragon on strings. Has no Aes Sedai learned anything from history? From people? Nobody likes to be manipulated or danced around like a puppet. Why would Rand, the guy supposed to save the world from the DO, be any different? This is paving the road for a few books worth of disaster.

@Archeo, oki doki, then the Pattern around Rand made the Aes Sedai have dreams. Point is, a whole lotta people had the same dream.

... and Moiraine also fears being made a puppet by the Tower-
" No Aes Sedai had been a queen in over a thousand years, and even before that, the few who admitted it openly had fared badly. But if that was the goal of the Hall of the Tower, how could she forestall it?"


73. ican'tremembermyusername
Alright, I've been won over. In response to my pleas for less talk about this topic many of you have made great points.

My only woe, though, that results from more talk on this pillow friend stuff: Leigh has many, many good things to say. In her post above she laments running out of time to say some of those things. I already know how she feels about Jordan's reluctance to write about the homosexuality, even though he claims he's built it into his world. I want to hear her thoughts on other topics.

There was more in this chapter that I intended to get to, obviously, but I’m going to have to wrap this up here.

I feel I've missed out on a point because Leigh chose to talk about sexual relationships again. Oh, well, hopefully, whatever it was she'll get to next time.
Mikey Bennett
74. EvilMonkey
Missed an example, the Kin. But even they aren't in the same class as the WT. These women live by the rules of novices and Accepted, including the bit about no sex. The difference is that they are older, hormones having a chance to calm down. I see it as a 20 year old nun as compared to a 50 year old one. The twenty year old is going to have to fight the biological imperative a lot harder than the fifty year old. Not to mention that the Kin is not compulsotory. If a woman wants to go out and have kids she can leave the Knitting Circle. It's not like the others are going to go look for them and those women who leave still have an incentive to 'disapear' and live life as normally as possible. As far as the regular novices and Accepted, the Tower isn't through with you until it chooses to be.
76. archaeo
Sub@72, I thought only Moraine and Siuan had dreams? You know, the kind of dreams you might have after you find out that the end of the world is coming and you've directly involved yourself in the search for the person who will bring that end about? I should probably crack open my book and check, but I don't recall anybody else having similar dreams.

Sometimes a dream is just a dream. Also, if I recall correctly, the dream-transferring thing has more to do with being able to channel rather than ta'veren-ness? And they'd be having Rand's dream, in any case, since that seems to be how it worked in TDR.

Terren@63, I think Kima's lesbianism is a perfect example of the kind of thing I would like to see more of in fiction, with characters who are gay without their sexuality being the point of the plot. It's a characteristic, like being a Jets fan or having red hair. Omar's sexuality falls into the same situation, for the most part.

Jordan got the female sexuality part (to a certain extent), but failed to include even gay subtexts, which indicates those blind spots a couple of other commenters have suggested. I'm not advocating for having token gay characters, but when you're trying to evoke an entire world (The Wire's Baltimore or Jordan's WoT), the absence of something like that (especially with the presence of the female converse) sort of stands out.

Of course, I'm also one of those people who thinks The Wire is the Best Television Show Ever, so feel free to disagree. : )
Patricia Bauler
77. tshania_sedai
I think we need to put the Moiraine/Siuan pillowfriend relationship in context with Moiraine's perspectives on love and life of an AS from the previous chapters. We know at this point she pretty much views the opposite sex as not an option, but it seems to come mostly from the White Tower training she has received. She thinks heterosexual relationships are not practical and not sustainable. She never says she is not or was not interested in men, just that having a relationship with one would never work in practical terms. However, pretty much every Novice or Accepted we have seen has pretty much 2 things on their mind - becoming AS and sex. Most of the Novices have the dream of becoming AS and marrying The Man of Their Dreams, but by the time they get to Accepted they consider this notion as ridiculous (the Supergirls are an exception as they were not in the Tower long enough to get their relationship desires beaten out of them). And the really boy crazy AS either do eventually (rarely) marry or end up as Greens. So, while I don't know how freaky all-girl schools get in general, living with the perspective that you will NEVER have a relationship with a member of the opposite sex (you know, assuming you are into that) might change your ideas on who or what you are willing to "mess up the sheets" with.

As for Moiraine's strong statement on her love of Siuan - it seems like Moiraine's family and the nobility in general are sort of crappy people to hang around, especially in Cairhein, as they always are playing The Game. I am sure Moiraine could never really trust anyone to much. Finding another person who shared her life goals and is not a crazy ***** (looking at you Elaida) who was able to provide support without an agenda was probably a luxury Moiraine had never had before. I always viewed Siuan and Moiraine as BFFs who both put the career first and were ok with that. Living in the Tower, it was probably obvious that they would not be able to maintain the same sort of relationship as AS as they have as Novice/Accepted. So while they both valued their relationship and each other, they knew from the beginning that it would not last. I think that is why when they later have to go their own ways there is not the sort of desperate sadness you might expect - they have had several years to understand that this is how things would be, and they have had the training to handle it with the outward dignity befitting an AS.

As for their heterosexual relationships that manifest later in the series - Siuan didn't really start thinking about a relationship until after the stilling (and meeting the right man), at which point she had not been AS for a while. The impracticality of a heterosexual relationship had been removed for her, so while she grumbled the whole way she felt free enough to do as she darn well pleased in that regard. Moiraine basically went to hell and back, and faced with that prospect probably decided that she would take any happiness afforded her, regardless of how long or short that happiness might last.

So, basically, in conclusion, I don't think the Siuan/Moiraine lesbian relationship was underplayed or ignored in the series. I just think that for these characters, there were things that were mutually more important to them. I am not trying to make a case for homosexual relationships in general or their portrayal or lack thereof in the series as a whole. I am just saying I think the relationship between Siuan and Moiraine was handled believably and that their relationship wasn't viewed as unimportant, just less important than saving the world.
Rob Munnelly
78. RobMRobM
MAT - yep, had the big tumor scare last month. Not a fun 24 hours from discovery during an MD appoint until the oncologists opined the clementine orange-sized tumor was almost certainly benign.

My son had a tough time at his special needs school so we had to transfer him to another. Almost got stuck with him at home with one hour a day of tutoring, which would have made life at home difficult.

I'm here in not so cold (today) Massachusetts, home of the AFC champion New England Patriots. Got 70 inches of snow in six weeks from late December to early Feb. Snowmageddon indeed.

Scientist, Father
79. Silvertip
Great post Leigh.

Does anybody know how old Moiraine and Siuan are at this point? (Could probably be guessed based on how long they were novices/accepted, if that is ever said). If they're teenagers or not far removed, it would go a long way to making the "Never before and never again" to "Oh yeah we used to have a thing" pivot feel more realistic.

I'm basically with @brad21088 on this one. It's a flaw in Jordan's writing, but that's all it is: an individual flaw in a great series. What else is a reread for if not to talk about things just like that? I can only read or type "Yeah, and was awesome too" so many times before I get bored with the whole enterprise. Gotta chew on stuff like this too.

If Jordan was smart enough to know that his own discomfort would have led him to do a bad job writing about gay relationships, it was probably a good call to not do so.

But a word for folks objecting to Leigh's choice of (and return to) topics: hey, it's her blog, she can rant if she wants to. She's not writing the cliffs notes or a comprehensive review; a reread blog is for personal thoughts and reactions, whatever they may be, even if it's a major takeoff on what Jordan would have considered a minor point of the chapter. If what she thinks is important about the chapter isn't what you do, fine, that's no blame to either of you. Write your own blog if you feel strongly about it and have enough ambition. Send me a link, I'll give it a read!

80. PillowFriends
I too took a second (and third) read to the part about Moraine and Suiane being pillow friends. Was it true love or a matter of convenience, I don't know.

I've always appreciated that Jordan included lesbians in the story, as it made it easier for me to relate with the characters- though I'm a man and not a woman. Jordan made it very clear that the red ajah was a lesbian dominated ajah, in my opinion. And though that ajah has many negative characteristics, it was refreshing to find inclusion and acknowledgment of lesbians in the WOT world. I just wish there were positive gay characters as well (I keep waiting for one- hint to Brandon).

On that thought, you KNOW the muscle bears would be from the Two Rivers and fighting with Perrin. And I'm SURE Elayne has her gays designing dresses and modeling for the Caemlyn fashion magazines. And where is Rand's type-A perfectionist personal assistant?! And lastly, with all these inns and restaurants (do these people ever STOP eating?)....where is the happy gay couple with the bed and breakfast?
Mikey Bennett
81. EvilMonkey
Mediani, Elayne's former pillowfriend and former ferret wasn't exactly a negative or evil lesbian character. Neither are Alil and Shanlon.
Theresa Gray
82. Terez27
As for the type-A perfectionist personal assistant...Norry? :)
Noneo Yourbusiness
84. Longtimefan
Hello everybody, Look at all the comments in this not at all controversial post. :)

Just to be a jerk I am going to state that as one of the few people on this comment board (that I am aware of) who is in a relationship with someone of the same gender (I do not use the ridiculous acroynm but those are not reasons needed to be discused on this site) I have, shall we say, a strong interest in appropriate representation in any context of something that is both easily dissmissed and misunderstood which while it may not be a part of other peoples lives it is a part of mine.

Fictional representation or lack thereof does encourage and reinforce real life attitudes and behaviors.

Stoytelling does not exist in a vacuum. Any action, thought or idea people have in real life they seek out in stories they enjoy. Not just published stories but conversations and even comment sections on websites. :)

This concept is not just limited to people in relationships with someone of the same gender or the opposite gender. It happens in the series all the time with all manner of ideas. It is part of what makes the charcaters so engaging and the story so rich. The commonality of behaviors and choices that people have in the story mimic the ideas, actions and thoughts of people reading the books. Those that do not are either dismissed out of hand as unbeliveable or slowly accepted as plausible but not something the reader would have done.

While there are some who find the depth of social realism in the story fantastic and well nuanced (much like real life) there is a ligitamate observation to be made that there is a nuance missing that one can find in real life. And this observation has been made several times as others have pointed out.

The lack of interest on certain people's part to participate in any further discussion is understandable as the books are written and the point itself will not change no matter how much it is discussed. It is also a way of pushing aside a topic that some people have no interest in. I do the same thing although I tend not to state it outright and instead just do not comment. Some people have to make their disinterest known. it happens.

However, Should anyone have made it this far this may sruprise anyone who may not have read a similar post I made back a couple books ago when the topic came up before.

The lack of people in relationships with someone of the same gender may be considered a flaw in world building considering the two factors that there are 1) an enormous number of characters many of whom are in relationships even if they are mentioned only in passing (an example is Sora Grady who is married to an Asha'man who may not be a minor character but is not first or even second tier (aruguments for a strong third tier character are reasonable) and all the first and most of the second tier characters have started off with or developed a relationships at some point in the series) and 2) it has been stated (while late in the series and at the neverending questions of fans more than from authorial interest in making a statement since that stance could have been presented if intended much earlier in the series and was not) that relationships with someone of the same gender is not of any concern in the social construct of the fictional nations.

However much a flaw this may seem I believe that it is entirely intentional. Not maliciously intentional just literally intentional.

The point of the story is a battle of Good and Evil and the need of men and women to work together to combat the yin and yang of Light v Dark.

People in relationships with someone of the same gender do not fit this needed dichotomy in the overall story arc. They are not capable of fulfilling the literary metephor.

The foundation of the series does not allow for anything other than male/female relationships as the strongest component to battle against the unraveling of the Pattern.

So is it limited and unrealistic to have no people in healthy an acknowledged relationships with someone of the same gender in the series? Yes. Is it neccesary to have them? No.

Not because it only reinforces a series of ideas that while valid are remarkably limited. That is just something that happens, unhelpful to social development as it may be.

It is unimportant to the story to have relationships with someone of the same gender because it is not part of the yin/yang philosophy upon which the whole series is built.

In fact if I was going to ask for anything to be rewritten it would be to take out the left handed compliment of phase based, woman only relationships. Those few scenes could be rewritten to remove any hint of sexual interest and still play the story out without loss of dramatic tension.

It would be better if Moiraine and Suian had just been really good friends with no implied sexual subtext or alluded depth of a relationship beyond strong plutonic ties. Because then It would not have ever crossed any ones mind that, in cannon, relationships did exist between people (well women) of the same gender and that they can be so easily cast aside because they may happen but they are unimportant.

As Leigh said...

"It bugs me—no, more. It saddens me, because it implies that as far as
WOT is concerned, there is no way a homosexual relationship could ever
be as important and lasting as a heterosexual one. And that is, as I
mentioned, a load of crap."

And that is not just a problem in fiction. It is a problem in real life. Again, art imitates life and most people are ok with it.

It does nto make it correct, it just makes it common. Since 90 percent of all people do not have to worry about having their relationship validated under its inheirent component of gender they can chose to cast this topic of the re-read aside as tiresome and unimportant and state so for all to read.

Which is just keeping in theme with the series so yay for life imitating art.

I am not always a jerk but today just is not one of my funny days. I wonder why.
85. Iasnek
I always drew a connection between the male/female channeling traits and their relationships in my mind. Women could link with each other, so they could also form relationships with each other. A man and a women channeling together are stronger than multiple women, though, so the majority of the relationships are between men and women. While this isn't in any way backed by the books, I never imagined a gay couple, as men can't link together by themselves ( this may also be related to my sexuality, ha).

Actually, now that I think about it, it matches up with the books quite well. Correct me if I'm wrong, but the Aiel seem to only have multiple women and single man relationships, and not the other way around. That fits with links almost always having to have more women than men.
Thomas Keith
86. insectoid
EvilMonkey @81: Buh? Oh... you mean Elaida. :)


Theresa Gray
87. Terez27
Which, of course, just means that there are multiple sexist aspects of RJ's writing rather than just the one in question.
lake sidey
88. lakesidey
And now for something completely different.

If Elayne decides (maybe after the last battle, if everyone relevant survives) to give Galad/Berelain the rulership of Cairhian (maybe as a tributary king or something), I'd be interested to watch Moiraine's take on it. After all that, a Damodred back on the throne....and a good one, as in one who will not do the kind of things her uncles did.

@79 Silvertip: They, like Elaida, spent 3 years each as novice an accepted, which puts them at around 21, 22?

@72 Sub: Accepted and they want to put the Dragon on strings. Has no Aes Sedai learned anything from history? Well at this point they are indoctrinated by the tower for the last 6 years and want desperately to be AS (and hence think the way AS are trained to - i.e., that the WT knows best and so AS are supposed to guide everyone else's steps.) To Moiraine's credit (and Siuan's I guess) they have learnt to overcome this attitude over the next couple of decades. They both agree that he should not be brought to the tower, though they still try to nudge him in the direction they want - and then Moiraine goes a step further and acknowledges that as the Dragon he is not totally clueless - he needs aid and not guidance (and no other AS apart from Nynaeve has really walked that route - certainly none of those who went through the WT indoctrination)

A thought - had Moiraine stayed in the tower, she would probably have become Siuan's keeper. Because they wanted to hide their friendship and the search for the Dragon, Leane got dragged into it. At least S&M knew what they were risking - I have a feeling Leane didn't even know she was being dragged into 'still' waters untill it actually happened. Gotta feel sorry for her! I wonder what she's up to these days? (Hope Egwene remembered to get her out of that dungeon!) Edit: yes, of course, she's at the big "channelers of the world unite" meeting. Me and my memory.

@70 Evilmonkey: I don't much like where the Potter books went later (for other reasons), but I don't think that was thrown in as an afterthought - well before that last book came out, JKR had already mentioned Dumbledore's preferences to the directors of the HP movies who wanted to throw in a romantic relief angle between him and McGonagall shudder. Besides, JKR, whatever her faults, didn't seem to shy away from awkward relationships; Hagrid is half giant for example, and Fleur quarter veela. And there was even that brother of Dumbledore (Aberforth?) who had some 'trouble with goats'? (Yes, I went there. Sorry, all)

@62 Sub: Whoa, I didn't know Tam was suspected of killing Laman. That opens up a whole range of complications - will have to think on it.

@44 uptostuff: That's an excellent point. And a good reminder that it isn't just our heroes who get fouled up because of total lack of communication, but the villains too. And at least our heroes occasionally sit down and talk things through - the villains never do (for all their coffee hours).

Jonathan Levy
89. JonathanLevy
5. HeWhoComesWithTheNoon

11. adriel_moonstar
38. FSS
39. jamesedjones
46. Drewd
50. ican'tremembermyusername
53. RobMRobM

Yes, the Monster has Reared its Ugly Head. Now starts The Great Hunt for the Male Homosexual Couple (more elusive than ol' Nessie), and the Talmudic wrangling over phrases which May Prove They Did The Deed. Oy Vey.

And I'm not kidding when I say Talmudic Wrangling. Siuan and Moiraine have nothing on Yael and Sisera (Judges 5:26-27):
26 Her hand she put to the tent-pin, and her right hand to the workmen's hammer; and with the hammer she smote Sisera, she smote through his head, yea, she pierced and struck through his temples.
27 At her feet he sunk, he fell, he lay; at her feet he sunk, he fell; where he sunk, there he fell down dead.
Riddle: How many distinct sexual acts do the previous two verses portray?

What, you thought that was a murder scene?

Ha! Amateurs!

15. FSS
I think this perfectly explains Elaida's behavior.

17. lakesidey
Lol! Loved your version of Siuan's Tellings of the Wheel.

46. Drewd
So can we just do one big Wot Reread Gay Post? And then afterwards, we can talk about other issues?
Brilliant idea! Stick it next to the WoT Gun Control Post.
Birgit F
90. birgit
Extinguishing her lamps, she wove a ward to keep her dreams from affecting anyone else's - that could happen with those who could channel; others nearby could find themselves sharing your dreams - and crawled beneath her blankets. She truly was tired, and sleep came quickly. Unfortunately, nightmares came, too.

NS ch. 5
The Dragon nightmares can't be coming from outside because the ward that keeps her own dreams from spreading to others also keeps other people's dreams out.

If people compain that everybody is only discussing pillow friends, they should suggest other topic themselves. That way other people might join that discussion.
Theresa Gray
91. Terez27
Berg@59 - I passed up the opportunity to get in on the Queen Moiraine discussion for various reasons, but here I am now. As to something you said earlier:

Moiraine as Queen of Cairhien - in New Spring it was made really clear she hated the idea not only because finding the Dragon was more important. "The Sun Throne would be a sentence for life".

I find that a lot of people like to take this quote out of context, and it bothers me because there were some very specific reasons why Moiraine did not want to be queen, just as there were some very specific reasons why Siuan did not want to be Amyrlin.

Moiraine had some strong ideas about what it would be like to be queen of Cairhien. Her fear of the Sun Throne came from these assumptions:

1. That the people would not accept an Aes Sedai ruler. Moiraine certainly did not want to be the first Aes Sedai ruler in a thousand years, and from the day she was approached about the Sun Throne by the Sitters, she began to have nightmares of mobs looking for a witch to burn. Siuan tried to tell her she was being silly, but Moiraine was adamant in fearing it anyway. But now that Elayne has become the first Aes Sedai queen in her stead with no mobs, Moiraine need not fear this any longer, especially considering that she now has a close Aes Sedai ally in the Queen of Andor (not to mention numerous other allies in positions of great power).

2. Moiraine feared that being queen would change her. She knew enough about the games of the Cairhienin court to know that they would challenge her to the point of making her become a tyrant like her great-grandmother Carewin. She feared that it might even make her *gasp* 'stoop to kidnapping, assassination, and worse' to keep the peace. But that was more than twenty years ago. Moiraine has had to stoop to such simply by virtue of being Aes Sedai - as Thom said, the Aes Sedai invented the Game in the first place, and Moiraine very coldly considers assassination in her POV of early TSR: 'Alteima would certainly return to Tear on an equal footing with Meilan or Gueyam, ready for more plotting. She would have Rand assassinated before that, if he was not careful. Perhaps an accident could be arranged in Cairhien.' -- in Cairhien no less! Where better to have someone assassinated? But more importantly, Moiraine has grown so much as a character, not just in the past 20 years, but since that POV in TSR, that she can probably rule Cairhien with little incident simply by force of her reputation. She did, after all, defeat Lanfear on the docks of Cairhien itself. There were a good number of witnesses, including some of the Cairhienin nobility, and Moiraine is already a legend among Aes Sedai for what she did there (which implies that most believe it, at least among the rebels). Aside from that, the throne is only vacant in the first place because Thom personally assassinated Galldrian. Elayne dropped hints in TOM that his 'crimes' in Cairhien are known. Could it be that Zera talked? Regardless, whether Moiraine's and Thom's reputations are already established, it should take little trouble for the two of them - arguably the two most skilled players of the Game in the entire series - to bring the Cairhienin in line.

3. She had a mission to find the Dragon Reborn. She knew that the world depended on finding him and keeping him safe from the Shadow. It was vitally important, and to Moiraine's credit, she would not accept any alternative to pursuing this mission. But now that mission has been accomplished. Obviously Moiraine has to do something important for the Last Battle itself, but even that might well involve taking the Sun Throne. It might also have something to do with the Aiel - Moiraine's relationship with them is quite profound on a number of levels. She is the niece of the ultimate Treekiller, but she was also the first wetlander woman to enter Rhuidean, and the Wise Ones respected her even before they witnessed her take out Lanfear in Cairhien.

4. She feared the boredom of a real job. Obviously, this is the least mature of her reasons for not wanting to take the throne, and the most similar to Siuan's reasons for not wanting to be Amyrlin:

TITLE - New Spring

CHAPTER: 3 - Practice"I wager you will be in the Hall of the Tower by the time you have worn the shawl a hundred years, and Amyrlin before fifty more," she said, not for the first time. It brought the same reaction it always did.

"Don't ill-wish me," Siuan said with a scowl. "I intend to see the world. Maybe parts of it no other sister has seen. I used to watch the ships sail into Tear full of silk and ivory from Shara, and I'd wonder it any of the crew had had the nerve to sneak outside the trade ports. I would have." Her face matched Tamra's for determination. "Once, my father took his boat all the way downriver to the Sea of Storms, and I could hardly pull on the nets for staring south, wondering what lay beyond the horizon. I'll see it, one day. And the Aryth Ocean. Who knows what lies west of the Aryth Ocean? Strange lands with strange customs. Maybe cities as great as Tar Valon, and mountains higher than the Spine of the World. Just think of it, Moiraine. Just think!"

Moiraine suppressed a smile. Siuan was so fierce about her intended adventures, though she would never call them that. Adventures were what took place in stories and books, not in life, as Siuan would point out to anyone who used the word. Without a doubt, though, once she had the shawl, she would be off like an arrow leaving the bow. And then they might see one another twice in ten years if not longer. That brought a pang of sadness, but she did not doubt that her own predictions would come true, as well. It did not take Foretelling.

Siuan got stuck in the Tower while Moiraine got to go traveling and saving the world. And while Moiraine apparently intends to do even more traveling:

TITLE - Towers of Midnight

CHAPTER: 57 - A Rabbit for SupperShe smiled. "My previous Gaidin has been appropriated by another by now, I hope."

"I'll take the job," Thom said, "though you'll have to explain to Elayne why her court-bard is someone's Warder." He hesitated. "You think they can make one of those color-changing cloaks with some patches on it?"

"Well, you two have gone bloody insane, I see," Mat said. "Thom, didn't you once tell me once that the two most painful places for you to be were Tar Valon and Caemlyn? Now you're running headlong down the hillside that will end with you living in one or the other!"

Thom shrugged. "Times change."

"I never have spent much of my time in Tar Valon," Moiraine said. "I think we shall enjoy traveling together, Thom Merrilin. Should we survive the months to come."

It seemed like such a throw-away line to me when I read it, since it seems that Thom and Moiraine should have both had enough of traveling by now. Thom was more or less forced into it by the drama in Caemlyn, but as Elayne has observed, the man was made to be a court bard. Which would require hanging out in a court, of course.

I don't think that the story of the Sun Throne is over yet. Part of the reason for that is that everything seems deliberately tenuous with Elayne's taking of the throne in TOM. No time for a coronation, and already an implication that the Cairhienin are determined to give her more trouble than they are really worth. I'm not so sure that the choices she made regarding the untrustworthy nobles were good choices, and I wonder if this will have something to do with the events that lead to Moiraine taking the throne.

But the other part of the reason is the parallelism between Moiraine's predictions for Siuan being Amyrlin, and Siuan's efforts to talk Moiraine into going for the queen thing:

TITLE - New Spring

CHAPTER: 12 - Entering Home"I do not know that I can afford a few months," Moiraine said in a small voice, dropping her eyes, very unlike herself. "I... I have been keeping a secret from you, Siuan." But they never kept secrets from each other! "I am very afraid the Hall means to put me on the Sun Throne."

Siuan blinked. "Moiraine, a queen! "You'd make a wonderful queen. And don't bring up those Aes Sedai queens who came to bad ends. That was a very long time ago. There's hardly a ruler anywhere who doesn't have an Aes Sedai advisor. Who's ever said a word against them except the Whitecloaks?"

I believe that the only real purpose of the Sun Throne plotline in New Spring (which was, of course, added in the novel version) was to show that Moiraine had a strong claim to the throne, and to foreshadow her taking it through comparisons with Siuan so that it would not come completely out of nowhere for the average reader in the end.
Daniel Holm
92. dholm
Personally, I get the feeling that while Siuan and Moiraine love one another, they aren't "in love", so to speak. I think they are simply more attracted to men than they are to women -- thus the 'friends with benefits' situation they are in. They are pretty much locked away from men, after all -- it's not that surprising that a platonic-love relationship could develop into a sexual relationship, given the circumstances.

Considering the more-or-less taboo nature of said relationship ("pillow friends" is regarded as being something girls do, but not women -- sort of like the idea of "experimenting" when in college), I'm not surprised that they do not see it as anything more than that.

But that is pretty much the crux of the issue, isn't it? It sort of gives the vibe that same-sex relationships between women in WoT aren't "real" -- they all pretty much treat it as the old "it's just a PHASE" cliché, except for Galina... who's evil. Yeah. RJ could have handled it better.
James Hogan
93. Sonofthunder
I just want to go on record on saying that I think Moiraine would make an outstanding queen of Cairhien. Thom could use his sweet skillz to solidify her hold on the throne against any opposition and then after Thom is gone, Moiraine can reign for years and years, hence balancing Elayne in Andor. And Moiraine's actually Cairhienen, so the people will accept her. And she's awesome and deserves a throne. As much as she doesn't really *want* a throne, I think Cairhien needs her. Otherwise, all they have is Elayne, who will only pop her head in from time to time, treating Cairhien as a lesser province of Andor, most likely.

I do like the way Jordan teases out her utter horror at the idea of being queen here though. At her young age, especially after the death of her uncles and her knowledge of the Damodred family's sordid past, she has reason to be frightened and unnerved at the prospect of ruling Cairhien. I'd be totally freaked out myself!

But if Moiraine can't be queen, Galad and Berelain should definitely rule. The throne needs to return to House Damodred, one way or the other! Galad may have been raised in Andor, but he's still a Damodred. And Berelain would be an excellent queen. Still though, if I had any say(which sadly, I do not), Moiraine would be queen. Because Mo is just that awesome.
94. archaeo
Terez@91, I just found the place on Theoryland with your new FAQ, and it's awfully good stuff. On Moraine taking the Sun Throne, however, I think you might be a little off.

For one thing, I would expect a bit more foreshadowing in the main sequence of the series, especially when Moraine is sitting in Cairhien. For another, the Sun Throne plot in NS seems pretty well explained, providing the needed push to get her out of Tar Valon while piling on an illustrative conflict that establishes what Moraine is really about. I don't know if you're giving Elayne enough credit, either, since her reasoning in ToM seemed sound to me. And, of course, we have Moraine herself stating her intention to travel with Thom, who has also expressed his wish to move about when he received the court bard position from Elayne.

Mostly, the problem that I have is that Moraine taking the throne seems like a pretty silly thing to throw into the AMoL mix. Between bringing whatever information she has to Rand and fighting in the Last Battle, where is she going to find the time to get mixed up in some good, old-fashioned politics? Why would Elayne give up the throne to her? And what would it accomplish besides putting her in a position she has never given any indication she wants?

But, uh, I'll definitely eat crow if you end up being right anyway.

Edit: Sonofthunder@93, I'm sure Moraine would make a good queen, but, again, I note that she doesn't really seem to want to be one. Elayne, despite all of her other issues, shows every willingness to take the job and treats it like a sacred duty; I imagine she'll strive just as much for one country as the other.

That said, I wouldn't be surprised if she set up a regional governor. Maybe that's where she'll put one of these other deserving contestants. But, like I said, there just doesn't seem to be enough time for Elayne to lose the throne to somebody else, or any indication that one of our other main characters wants it. Hell, Camelyn might not be there when she gets back, and she might move the whole court to the Sun Palace.
Theresa Gray
95. Terez27
archaeo@94 - Are you talking about the blog section at Theoryland? I've been bugging Tam to make a page for my FAQ index but he hasn't gotten around to it quite yet. A busy man, he is. So that's the only place at TL where I think you can find my FAQ, for now. I need to link it in my sig or something like I did at DM.

As for Moiraine...RJ could have used any number of reasons to make Moiraine want to escape Tar Valon, but he chose the Sun Throne. I don't think it was accidental at all. Elayne's biggest fault in TOM was her tendency toward empire-building, and her gloating over how she might become the most powerful ruler since Artur Hawkwing. Her move with the untrustworthy nobles is unwise because it allows them to plot and scheme in an environment where no one knows them or understands how to counter them, and the only purpose it serves it to create a connection between Andor and Cairhien so that her rule is more secure. It eventually has the chance to destroy the culture of both nations, and I think we might have seen some hint of that with Elayne's less-than-impressive grandaughter.

Moiraine taking the Sun Throne is not about politics, but about thematic resonance and interconnectivity. It is a reward for Moiraine in a sense, though she doesn't seem to see it that way in New Spring, of course. A chance for Moiraine to change the blackened reputation of House Damodred, and to become known in history as one of the greatest rulers of all time.

As for why Elayne would give it up...why wouldn't she, other than power-hungriness on her own part? She only has a chance at claiming the throne because of Rand's support, and she only took an interest in the throne in the first place because Rand needed someone he could trust to rule Cairhien.

There has been other foreshadowing for it throughout the series, though it's a bit more subtle than it was in New Spring. And again, Moiraine's comment about traveling doesn't mean anything more than Siuan's comment about seeing the world mattered in New Spring.
Gerd K
96. Kah-thurak
I truly hope that AMoL will not add another irrelevant side plot to the Wheel of Time series, and focus on the Last Battle instead of the making or unmaking of Cairhien Queens...
John Massey
97. subwoofer
I agree- maybe there will be a really long ending, epilogue type deal "leavetakings". Much will depend on who is left living and if there is a home left to go too.

One thing that troubles me is that Rand had Loial and co go on a trip to seal off waygates and yet we see instances of these gates in use. Is there going to be a big thing where the ways are cleaned or is Fain and his cloud going to fight the Way's cloud... or maybe that is where the DO will be sealed this next time or something. These other dimensions have always bugged me in that it gives and understanding of time and space that is very advanced.

I am hoping that the book ends much like it began, people going back home to the Two Rivers and life going on, hopefully by Perrin, or maybe Tam. Mat is going on a trip and Rand? Well if he lives, he has at least three options to choose from.

Edit- somebody else can get the one hunny today:)

James Hogan
98. Sonofthunder
I could think it could be easily done in a minimal amount of words(even though this would be going against the track record of any previous political situation involving Elayne).

Early on, mention riots and upheaval in Cairhien(especially with their armies stripped and an Andoran queen) in passing. Elayne can hear about it on the FoM. Later on...

Elayne slowly sat down, cursing Rand yet again for what he had done to her body. Even sitting was an arduous task, made even more difficult by the delicately stitched silk green dress she was wearing for the first time. It had been made to accomdate the babes in her body, yet for some unfathomable reason the dress was high-necked and long sleeved. If she had not been Aes Sedai, sweat would have been pouring down her back about now. She sighed in frustration before smoothing her face and turning to Moiraine, "Moiraine, I...I have something difficult to say."

Moiraine nodded her head slowly in acknowledgement, "Yes, Elayne? I trust this will be quick. I must return to Rand before he decides he doesn't need me after all."

Hearing Rand's name made Elayne's blood boil anew. That...man! She wished she knew a weave to turn him to a woman so he could understand what he had done to her. As it was, he had just smiled in gentle amusement when she had very diplomatically told Rand how inconsiderate he had been. Strangely enough, Nynaeve had told her afterwards she should not "strain her voice so". Elayne sniffed in remembering Nynaeve's haughty tone. Just because she was married didn't give her the right to act so imperious. But no, that was no matter. She was a queen, not some milksop noblewoman.

"Moiraine, I've been...thinking." Elayne smoothed her skirts quickly to avoid her hands shaking. "With the near destruction of Caemlyn by the darkspawn, I realized that as Queen of Andor, I had failed in my duty. I was not there to defend Caemlyn."

Moiraine opened her mouth to speak but Elayne cut her off, "Moiraine, you must understand me. I am not telling you this just to unburden my grief. My thoughts were dark for a time, imagining Andor ravaged by Trollocs. After this is over, I must return to Andor and rule properly, as my mother before me. And..." Elayne stopped again, barely stopping herself from biting her lip. "I have decided that to rule Andor, I must belong solely to Andor. I cannot rule Cairhien."

Moiraine's eyes widened almost imperceptibly.

"And Moiraine, I would like to ask you...would like you...to rule Cairhien in my place." Tears began to leak out of Elayne's eyes but she did not move otherwise. She would be strong.

"Well, Elayne," Moiraine touched her cheek briefly with a porcelain white hand, "This is...unexpected. But, Cairhien needs a Cairhienen ruler. One who understands it. I accept on two conditions. One," she raised a finger, "I must stay by Rand's side until the Last Battle is over, for good or ill. Two, Cairhien is a sovereign nation, with no ties or fealty due Andor."

Elayne opened her mouth to protest but then sighed. "It is done. Oh light, it is done." And then her shoulders shook in uncontrollable sobs. Beneath her sobbing the words came out, "Curse...that man!"

Moiraine slowly rose from her chair, ignoring Elayne. If that had been her, she would not have wanted to be stared at. Her legs wobbled slightly as she made her way to the tent door. She must tell Thom.
Maiane Bakroeva
99. Isilel
Subwoofer @72:

Really? Accepted and they want to put the Dragon on strings. Has no Aes Sedai learned anything from history? From people? Nobody likes to be manipulated or danced around like a puppet.

I really don't understand the outrage here. Would you want some callow backwoods hick of a kid who is liable to go crazy and unleash WMD on your posterior in control of your country/world? One who is prophesized to cause much destruction too. No?
Then why are you so put out by in-book characters feeling the same? They don't know how much ta'verenness will help him, they don't know that he'll have memories from his previous incarnation ditto, their view at this point is completely logical.

Oh, and Moiraine was totally guiding Rand until the end. She advised him on how to deal with nobility, she stopped him from nipping to fight Rahvin by his lonesome and she led him to the docks to stage the confrontation with Lanfear in a most advantagious manner possible. What was it if not guidance? Unless you buy into Rand's sophomoric idea that "guidance" means being made into an automaton piloted by somebody else.

Much as I commiserate with Siuan for getting stuck in the WT, she really dodged the bullet if her idea of grand adventure was to sail to Shara or to Seanchan, LOL! Not that she could have known, of course.

Without a doubt, though, once she had the shawl, she would be off like an arrow leaving the bow. And then they might see one another twice in ten years if not longer.

Never understood this, personally. Nothing prevents the thick friends among the AS from sticking together. Kiruna and Bera do. This and "you will be Amyrlin" seems like a pretty awkward fan service to me.

No takers to theorize as to why the BA were so hot to make Moiraine the Queen of Cahirien? Particularly, as it seems that both Galldrian and his great rival Barthanes were both DFs...

Thewindrose @71:

I wouldn't say that Moiraine a total prude, it is more a common
characteristic that is portrayed by many of her fellow Cairhienins.

A characteristic that was invented specifically for NS, since the
Cahirienin women that we have seen in previous volumes didn't adhere to it at all. But whatever.

IMHO, it is a pity that RJ felt that in order to make Moiraine feel "young" he had to borrow from Elayne and SGs in general.

Generally, I think that NS was a missed opportunity to deepen and humanize Moiraine's character in a distinctive manner. I mean, she doesn't feel anything in particular about the Aiel War and her ravaged homeland, nor about her unnecessarily extended kin.
She was supposed to love her parents, but we see nothing that supports it. She doesn't even have their pictures/miniatures in her room, nor does she think about them, ever. Where Pevara's deep love and sorrow for her long-dead family is palpable, Moiraine's falls completely flat.
It seems clear that Moiraine strongly disliked Taringail, as she didn't hold his assassination against Thom, but again NS fails to supply the background.
She is supposed to be a good-natured prankster as a Tower initiate (something the SGs patently never were), but we don't see it either, as her upcoming beastly behavior towards Lan is in a different category entirely, IMHO. Etc.

NS could have provided so much more, IMHO. Imagine how much more significant for Moiraine's character it could have been if her father had been killed in the Aiel war or murdered by previous to it and she had to struggle with herself to abandon revenge/retribution.
If she had to resolve to never see her beloved mother again, so she wouldn't become a target.
If we finally got some inkling as to her relationship with Taringail and some clue as to how the bizarre situation of Elayne being unaware that Moiraine is her aunt came about.
Finally, if she had a serious crush (rather than really mild and meaningless flirtation) on somebody who turned out to be a DF and that was the basis for her strict "married to her duty" stance back in TGH.

Oh, and dropping the whole being Verin's protegé angle so tantalizingly hinted at in TGH was just... evil.

I really don't see where the idea that Tam was connected with Laman's death came from, BTW. There is like, zero evidence in favor of it.
Stefan Mitev
100. Bergmaniac
Terez - you make very good points (IIRC we had a similar discussion on Theoryland a few months ago, my nick is David Selig there, if anyone cares), but after ToM, I think it's unlikely. Narratively it makes little sense to spend 3 or 4 chapters describing how Elayne got the Sun Throne and then the next book to turn out that it will be Moiraine's, especially so late in the series.

Another point is that Jordan made just about everything possible to ensure that The Young Heroes
end up in charge of the world in the end and replacing the old guard. Egwene as Amyrlin, Rand with all of his titles, Perrin and Faile in Two Rivers and eventually Saldaea - even Tuon is really young. Moiraine as Queen would be a bit out of place.

Meta-reasoning aside, I agree that a lot of Moiraine's reasons in NS to run away from the Sun Throne are moot now. Still, my impression on this reread was that besides those reasons, she just didn't want this kind of a job which would restrict her at one place and force her to operate mostly by proxy, not get stuff done herself. That's the vibe I get from her PoVs and general behaviour in the other WoT novels too.

Personally, I think Moiraine is better off without having to deal with a cutthroat court and deserves a long rest and then a job that allows more freedom than the position of a Queen would give her. Whether she feels so herself is debatable, of course. I am inclined to say "yes". She has changed, but she hasn't changed that much.The part about travelling with Thom around the world at the end of ToM was a strong hint for me, though I can see that why it can also be taken as a Siuan-like parallel and a hint in the opposite direction.

On the other hand, if it happens quickly and Moiraine actually wants the job now, I wouldn't her mind getting it if it's done in a somewhat plausible matter. I like Elayne but I see being Queen of Cairhien as a thankless job she doesn't really need and, at least in the short term, would be better off without it.
Sorcha O
101. sushisushi
EvilMonkey@74 You make some good points about the Kin, but I certainly got the impression that you couldn't just up and leave if you felt like getting married. The Knitting Circle is their ruling council, made up of the 12 oldest members in Ebou Dar, but is by no means the entire Kin (there's nearly 2000 of them!) Their very severe system of discipline follows the rules for novices, with some influence of Accepted rules, so no wilders, no teaching each other new weaves, keep the channelling as low key as possible and no getting married. I don't see that sort of system having a loophole to allow you to take off and do what you want, when their entire attitude is of a secret society organized to hide an essential unchangeable attribute of the members.

I'm pretty much with Longtimefan on the same-sex relationships, in that, apart from RJ's reported discomfort with the topic of gay men, they don't fit nicely with his overall literary schema of the genders working with each other. Which makes me sad, considering how much time RJ spent overturning patriarchal conventions in his fantasy world.

JonathanLevy@89 I'm going for either eight or one very long one ;)

Also, hello Laras, junior cook! Also, one known Black Ajah and one we didn't know about when this came out. Meeting Jarna was another one of those moments of recognition that you could have easily missed, unless you had been paying really close attention to the Black Ajah's history mentioned in the prologue to CoS. I know I had an inkling that she had been mentioned before, but didn't get the full import of her plan until I did a slower reread with the EncyclopediaWoT...
Theresa Gray
102. Terez27

Ah, okay. Yes, I remember the discussion we had on this, and I think I was the first one to quit because it seemed to me like you couldn't really properly address my points about it, and it all came down to you thinking Moiraine would be better off without the throne. I don't really understand this perspective. Why should it be different for Moiraine than it is for Elayne? I understand that Elayne was raised to rule and Moiraine was not, but the job would be equally honorable for both, and there is no reason why it could not be equally satisfactory for both. Also, there are a lot of young rulers, but not all of them are so young (Darlin and Caraline come to mind - they are not old, but they are not so young as the rest), and Moiraine is pretty young as far as Aes Sedai go anyway.

I don't think that it would be too involved to include in the last book at all really. It would be particularly appropriate if Moiraine helps Mat save Caemlyn while Elayne is off at Merrilor. We already have to deal with the business of the truce with the Seanchan, and that will probably be a good place to take care of the necessary politics (I think they will all end up under Seanchan rule, but that is another discussion). I think Elayne's taking of the throne was more of a red herring than anything else. There were only a couple of chapters dealing with it, so it wasn't a grand diversion or anything. I think she was only ever a placeholder, and she continues to be so now.
Maiane Bakroeva
103. Isilel
Terez27 @95:

As for why Elayne would give it up...why wouldn't she, other than power-hungriness on her own part?

Oh? You don't think that it some cases it can be beneficial for 2 countries to unite into 1?
Cahirien is ravaged, resource and population-wise and it would be incredibly difficult for it to recover on it's own. And at that stage of social developement no other country is going to heavily invest in them _without_ political unity. Marshall plans just aren't in it, at this point.

Also, if uniting 2 countries is wrong, then wasn't Hawkwing and isn't Tuon equally wrong to try to unify more than that? Wouldn't it be very wrong of Mat and Tuon to go back and re-unify Seanchan Empire in the future? After all, if ruling both Andor and Cahirien well is impossible in your view, ruling more than that should have been completely unthinkable?

IMHO, the only plausible scenario of Andor and Cahirien separating again is if Elayne dies during the TG. Rule of a minor is clearly not feasible in Cahirien, as lack of Galad(herid)'s name among the possible Darmoded claimants during Moiraine's discussion with the Sitters clearly shows. In such a case, sure, Moiraine would probably be the best option.

Subwoofer @97:

One thing that troubles me is that Rand had Loial and co go on a trip to seal off waygates and yet we see instances of these gates in use.

Loial's trip was an obviously futile make-work from the start, designed to solely get him away from Rand, so that Rand could go crazy with loneliness and suspicion. I mean, Moiraine demonstrated in TEoTW that a channeler could easily open a "closed" Waygate in a rather permanent fashion. And Ogier "guarding" the Waygates would be quite useless in such case too.

Rand, for reasons only known to himself seems to have only warded the now destroyed Waygate in Shadar Logoth against Shadowspawn, choosing to devote his time to some IMHO less important pursuits instead.
And incongrously enough it apparently didn't occur to Egwene that Waygates in general and that of Tar Valon in particular could provide entry to the enemies, despite witnessing their use by Shadowspawn back in TEoTW.

As a complete aside - both the stories of famous march of Mantherenians to the last defense of their home and of the siege of Tar Valon seem to leave out the role of the Ways, which were still usable at those times. Maybe they weren't such an impressive feats, after all, and only came to look that way after the Ways fell out of use?
In particular, I never understood why Hawkwing couldn't just seize the ships seen supplying Tar Valon when they next stopped at any other port in Randland - all of which were controlled by his Empire. But if it were actually the Ogier who mainly provided supplies via the Ways, with occasional smuggler ships distracting Hawkwing et al., it would be much more believable, IMHO.
Theresa Gray
104. Terez27
@Isilel - I don't think I even commented on the benefits or lack thereof in reference to nation-merging, so I'm not sure why you inferred that from my comment.

Obviously Elayne has come up with several benefits in her mind to justify what she is doing (for Rand), but there are several drawbacks as well, not least the danger of destroying Cairhienin culture. It may be that Elayne does not care much about that, but that is beside the point. There is no reason for her to combine the two nations so long as there is someone else who Rand trusts that is available to rule there.

I don't necessarily think it is 'wrong' - I just think it is unnecessary. But I bet you Elayne would say it would be wrong for the Seanchan to conquer Andor, whether they collar channelers or not, so in that she is a bit of a hypocrite. I particularly dislike her attitude about the Two Rivers being a part of her realm. She has no right to claim it.

Also, I certainly never said it was 'impossible'. You set up a number of straw men in that post.
Maiane Bakroeva
105. Isilel
Terez27 @104:

Obviously Elayne has come up with several benefits in her mind to justify what she is doing (for Rand), but there are several drawbacks as well, not least the danger of destroying Cairhienin culture.

It is not in Elayne's mind that Cahirien is completely depleted and needs outside help to survive. It was getting this help under Rand's auspices, but once Rand is gone as the DR/Emperor? Without political unity as a surety for return on investement nobody has the reason to continue supporting them after TG. Times will be hard for everybody.

And what makes Cahirienin culture so precious that it must be enshrined, unlike all other cultures that are getting changed and submerged right, left and center?
Countries have been appearing, disappearing, merging and splitting throughout WoT history and now at the end of an Age all the more so.
And somehow it is OK for any number of characters to rule huge swarths of territory and change cultures, but in Elayne's case it would be a complete anathema, even though she has much stronger prior ties to Cahirien than any number of other new rulers to their recently aquired territories? Honestly, I don't get it.
Theresa Gray
106. Terez27
Cairhien might need outside help in the absence of someone strong on the inside, but that is exactly what Moiraine is. As mentioned above, alliances should be plenty enough to keep Cairhien alive after the Last Battle, most especially with a strong ruler.

Nothing makes Cairhien's culture particularly special, but there is no reason to destroy it if it can be avoided. Just because shit happens doesn't mean that it should.

As for not getting it, I think that you are trying very hard not to get it.
107. MasterAlThor

Fictional representation or lack thereof does encourage and reinforce real life attitudes and behaviors.

Stoytelling does not exist in a vacuum. Any action, thought or idea people have in real life they seek out in stories they enjoy. Not just published stories but conversations and even comment sections on websites. :)

This concept is not just limited to people in relationships with someone of the same gender or the opposite gender. It happens in the series all the time with all manner of ideas.

Go on with your bad self. Sorry that you are not in a funny mood, I understand as I have been kinda moody myself. I appreciate your nod to my cause.

Something that my mother told me once when I was younger was that "as long as you know who you are and what you believe, nothing anyone else says or does will hurt you."

I am sure you have heard some version of that message. While I don't really have a dog in this hunt, I do respect you and yours. At the end of the day that is all that you are really asking for. Which is the same thing that I seek.


Funny time with Terez will now commence.

Hey, Isilel is my nemesis (not really) find your own. LOL

Hi Isilel
108. archaeo
Terez@106, etc., I really don't understand why this plot development is even remotely desirable. What does it add to the ending? What conflict does it resolve? I honestly can't think of any way to make this theory "work" in a satisfying way; it only serves to knock Elayne down and elevate Moraine to a position she has never given any indication she's interested in. It doesn't wrap up any subplots, it doesn't answer any unanswered questions... I mean, seriously, what are the advantages in the context of writing a satisfying story?

To concur in part with Isilel@105, technological breakthroughs are going to end up messing with a lot of the cultural insularity endemic to Randland, which has had 3,000 years of enforced isolationism due to Ishamael and the aftereffects of the Breaking. One way or another, a lot of these cultural tics are going to fade as alliances are allowed to flourish for the first time since the AoL, and I doubt Elayne can really do much to speed that up or slow it down.
109. pwl
re: Tam and Laman:

Would someone care to explain how Laman's sword can simultaneously be simply ornamented with a heron and in Tam's possession at the same time as being jewel-encrusted and in the possession of the Aiel? Someone was asleep at the wheel with that wiki entry.
Rob Kerr
110. useofweapons
I wonder to what extent RJ's portrayal of female/female relationships, and lack of male/male relationships, is yet another inversion of RL sexual mores and power/visibility of males vs. females? It seems surprising to me, given Leigh's heretofore superb ability to detect these inversions, that this has not (as far as I can see) even been suggested as a possibility.
111. Lsana
@72 subwoofer,

I don't understand this argument about why Tam is supposed to have killed Laman. It seems to be going something like this:

We know Tam killed a blademaster, it was a blademaster with a power-forged heron-marked sword. This sword would have been something special, unlikely for a commoner to own it, much more likely for someone like Laman to own.

However, we know exactly what happened to Laman's sword (which was indeed power-forged and heron-marked): the Aiel took it back to the Waste and traded it around for a while. Tam, on the other hand, took his to the Two Rivers and put it in a box. Ergo, Tam's sword was not Laman's.

I agree that it isn't impossible for Tam to have been the one to kill Laman, but I don't see how the sword could provide any evidence for it.
Stefan Mitev
112. Bergmaniac
Cairhien's culture is not that different from Andor's. They share a language, there are close connections between the two countries, marriages between the Andoran and Cairhienin are not uncommon, etc. Main differences are Cairhienin obsession with the Game of House, they are much more formal in their behavior and the gap between nobles and commoners much bigger. I think most will agree that Cairhien will only benefit if Elayne succeeding in reducing the incessant scheming which led twice to disaster for the country in the last 20 years, and continues Rand's policy of not differentiating between nobles and commoners before the law, as is the case in Andor too. I am pretty sure Moiraine will try to do the same if she ends up on the Sun Throne.

Terez - I think I was the first one to quit because it seemed to me like you couldn't really properly address my points about it, and it all came down to you thinking Moiraine would be better off without the throne. I don't really understand this perspective. Why should it be different for Moiraine than it is for Elayne? I understand that Elayne was raised to rule and Moiraine was not, but the job would be equally honorable for both, and there is no reason why it could not be equally satisfactory for both.

Because we know Elayne expected to become a ruler, has been preparing for that almost her entire life and actually likes the job. On the other hand, we have no such evidence for Moiraine and a clear proof that 20 years ago becoming a Queen of Cairhien was the last thing she wanted. Sure, things are much different now, but that doesn't mean she'd want the job. If forced into it, she'd do a great job no doubt, but that's different.

Isilel - "If we finally got some inkling as to her relationship with Taringail and some clue as to how the bizarre situation of Elayne being unaware that Moiraine is her aunt came about."

I actually think Elayne is aware of that, she just never thinks about it and neither is this ever mentioned directly by anyone in the story for some reason. This is a really strong hint:

"Moiraine had grown up in the Royal Palace
in Cairhien, not destined to reign, but related to the ruling family and no doubt overhearing the same lectures. "
Elayne's PoV in TSR, Ch. 6.

And it would be way implausible if Elayne was unaware that she has a close relative who's an Aes Sedai and is called Moiraine. Even if Morgase was trying to distance themselves from the Damodred family, Elayne should've been taught this for political reasons since Moiraine is a possble important player in the Andor-Cairhien relation and a claimant for the Sun Throne. And we know Moiraine had seen Elayne before TGH, which mostly likely mean she was on an official visit to the Palace in Caemlyn and introduced herself. "You can call me Alys" woudn't have worked there, especially with Elaida present.

Why nobody ever acknoledges this in story is one of the things which really bugged me on my last reread. At least something like "Elayne is my niece, we aren't close, but I wouldn't want her to get hurt" by Moiraine when Thom asked her why did she want to send him to Tanchico with the girls. Or "BTW, your niece is coming to the Tower and she has great potential" by Siuan back in TGH. Or something like that from Elayne, a minor throwaway line would've sufficed.

Speaking of which, I wonder where will get something like "You know what, Moiraine, I never asked you how you feel about me killing your half-brother" by Thom. Probably not, but who knows. ;)
Ron Garrison
113. Man-0-Manetheran
Ok, I haven't been contributing much of late even though I was looking forward to the reread of New Spring. The rant d'jour almost had me closing the page and walking away. Again. But I shall ignore it - not because it has no merit, but because I'm just weary of it.

In an attempt to discuss the story, I tagged a couple passages during my reread:

"Unlike the Amyrlin's study, Merean's was rather small and quite plain, the walls paneled in dark wood, the furniture study and completely unadorned for the most part. Moiraine suspected that women who had been Accepted a hundred years ago would recognize everything in the room. Maybe two hundred years ago."

deja vu?: Didn't Egwene have this same thought during her capture? It's been a long time since I read NS, but it seems like I just read similar lines recently.

The other passage that stuck out for me was this:

"'They can bring him to the Tower,' Moiraine replied...'He can be protected here.'...'And educated.' The Dragon Reborn would have to be educated. He would need to know as much of politics as any queen, as much of war as any general. As much of history as any scholar. Verin Sedai said that most mistakes made by rulers came from not knowing history; they acted in ignorance of the mistakes others had made before them."

See what our author has done here? With the three ta'veren, the Wheel has given the DR "as much of politics as any queen" through Perin's experience with the three queeens - "as much of war as any general" through Mat, and "as much of history as any scholar" through his own epiphany on Dragonmount. I look forward to watching that play out in ToM.
lake sidey
114. lakesidey
I wonder - let's assume for a moment that Moiraine really doesn't want this particular queening job (and I really hope so, she's too cool to become a Cairhienin queen, and spend an hour a day with the hairdresser). Elayne would have a rough time ruling both countries with detailed personal attention (and repairing the damage to the two capital cities, both of which will be in a shambles as of a few days from now (or a year, since that's how long we have to wait for aMoL)).

Galad is a possibility, but they haven't really been that close - and anyway Galad could always help rule Mayene. But Elayne has another person she can call on to help handle Cairhien, someone she trusts more than Galad, someone more closely related to her than Galad (or Moiraine), someone with years of actual queening experience. Ladies and Gennelmen, please wecome ...ta-daa... Morgase Trakand, Queen-regent of Cairhien.

And what of Moiraine? She and Siuan should take their warders and go explore/take over Shara (one of the Great Generals, the most skilled player of the Great Game, the destroyer of Be'lal and Lanfear, and the former Amyrlin Seat. They can pull it off, if anyone can). Now there's a *really* big country to rule, and totally used to obeying channelers; who wants Cairhien anyway? Like Mat and Tuon, headed out in the opposite direction, they have bigger fish to fry....

James Jones
115. jamesedjones
57 MAT

You definitely need to be here longer, next time. If for nothing more than the BBQ and Tex-Mex.

Also, I'm continuing to abstain from the major discussions. O:)

Last, if anyone is going to be in the DFW area this weekend (for more than an hour and a half). ConDFW will be hosting their annual SciFi & Fantasy lit convention. Brandon Sanderson is one of their Guests of Honor. It's a .org website. Since this is just letting friends know about an author-of-the-conclusion-to-the-subject-matter event, please don't mark it as spam just because you're bitter you won't be able to make it. :P
Birgit F
116. birgit
Why nobody ever acknoledges this in story is one of the things which really bugged me on my last reread. At least something like "Elayne is my niece, we aren't close, but I wouldn't want her to get hurt" by Moiraine when Thom asked her why did she want to send him to Tanchico with the girls. Or "BTW, your niece is coming to the Tower and she has great potential" by Siuan back in TGH. Or something like that from Elayne, a minor throwaway line would've sufficed.

When Rand asks about the relationship between Morgase and the former queen, he finds out that the nobles in Andor all consider themselves as cousins. Why should Elayne or Moiraine put special importance on their relationship when all nobles are considered related?
John Massey
117. subwoofer
Right, many things to cover and just two paws to type with. Now folks, I am not going to quote Rand and Tam's conversation from TGS as I am sure we all have books and can read. If you don't have the book- whatsamattaforyou? If you can't read, your momma is so fat...

Anyways, Tam and the sword. It has been mentioned by Lan and a couple other folks in WoT that Power wrought heron marked blades are very rare. I think each one made can be traced back to their origin. So I'm not really sure about Laman, I think he's a few bricks shy of a load, but I am thinking that he was a descent enough blade master and rates fairly high on the gaudy scale, so I can see him having an "ornamental blade" for show, and a gooder to actually use for fighting. One on a mantle somewheres and one on his belt. The Aiel took the er... useless one, and Tam, a simple soldier, took the gooder. This is not gospel, just how I can see things happen. I didn't write the wiki, if you have further issues, bug the wiki guys, I just think it's cool and I'm drinking the koolaid in this instance.

@Is hey, you've been busy... lemme see here. First off, to paraphrase- "resistence is futile", or in this case, don't putz around trying to change Prophecy, nothing but bad can come of it. The Dragon Reborn is not some backwater hick, he's the rebirth, reincarsomething of one of the greatest channelers ever. Cadsuane at the very least knew that the Dragon heard voices, it is only a matter of connecting the dots to realize that LTT is spun back from the Pattern. For all Moiraine knew, one of the nobles she inteviewed could have given birth to the Dragon, then the resources and education of a noble upbringing would have been at the Dragon's fingertips, making him not some backwater hick. The Pattern has a way of making sure the Dragon has at least two hands and a flash light to find his way in the Dark.

And the Dragon is a guy. Hick or not, any guy that can channel and can hold a thought in his head knows to get nervous with a bunch of Sisters crowding around, espeicially when the number approaches 13. No matter how good Moiraines intentions were, she shoulda seen that red flag. If you don't believe me, ask Logain.The other issue I have being that anybody tied to the finding of the DR has wound up suspiciously dead. If the Amyrlin is not safe, who is? TV is definitely on the outs.

As for Moiraine "contolling" Rand from the word jump, well, I'll let you have that one. Rand trusted her in the end, and missed her, so sure. But for a few books Rand has been pushed in other directions by other individuals when he isn't off on fools errands getting holes poked in him. Half the time I think Rand gives in to be free of the constant nagging.

As for waygates, yeee. That would really blow goats for all involved if the ways were being used by the Trollocs and folks are not watching their back doors. I am going to have to look to see what Loial supposedly did, but I though it was something more secure. In TGH we see Liandrin using the Ways with limited understanding- not Ogier like- so we know the BA have some knowledge of them. I hope somebody- Mat, Rand, Egwene, comes to the same conclusion Isilel does and realizes that the Waygates in Tar Valon, Fal Dara etc are all quick paths to destruction for Team Light.

Valentin M
118. ValMar
Sub @ 117
Rand didn't think the sword was useless. It is as good as any heron-marked sword, just with some fancy jems on it- added later I assume.
Sam Mickel
119. Samadai
Re: the Waygates. Loial and Karldin Manfors job when they were asent away by Rand was for them t ofind all of them and ward them. Manfor was probably suppose to ward them to kill shadowspawn the same way Rand did to the waygate at Shadar Logoth. The reason Loial had to go was because he could feel the waygates as he got closer to them. They warded the ones they could, but were unable to get to some of them.

This makes me wonder about Manfor, and if he isn't a darkfriend(doesn't Beldeine Bond him, and she has some kind of knife circling her head in Mins vision) If he is a darkfriend, and he "did" ward the caemlyn gate, then obviously that is the reason Verin warned about the gate.
James Jones
120. jamesedjones
Re: Waygates

Rand thought to himself, as he set his trap around the one in Shadar Logoth (LOC), that he couldn't destroy it. He might need it. Dumb thought.
F Shelley
121. FSS
Here's the quote re: Laman's sword...

What lay inside
was a sword, the scabbard so encrusted with rubies and moonstones that it was hard to see the gold except
where a rising sun of many rays had been inset. The ivory hilt, long enough for two hands, had another inlaid
rising sun in gold; the pommel was thick with rubies and moonstones, and still more made a solid mass along
the quillons. This had never been made to use, only to be seen. To be stared at.
122. pwl
I just think it's cool and I'm drinking the koolaid in this instance.
Care to explain why Tam was not brought up on murder charges? Peasants don't kill nobles and get away with it, especially not Cairhienin ones. And especially not when they're on the same side of a war. There's a reason Thom needed a pardon, and he didn't kill the king in front of thousands of soldiers.
Stefan Mitev
123. Bergmaniac
"When Rand asks about the relationship between Morgase and the former queen, he finds out that the nobles in Andor all consider themselves as cousins. Why should Elayne or Moiraine put special importance on their relationship when all nobles are considered related?"

Because there's a big difference between the very distant relations between most nobles (so much so that most of them aren't related at all by normal standards), and aunt-niece relationship, which is what we have between Moiraine and Elayne. Sure, there are some things which help explain it to a degree - Moiraine's distancing from the Damodred family and that Elayne never knew Taringail who died while she was a baby. I am not saying they have to act like a close family or to make a big deal out of it, but the total lack of acknowledgment of it by all characters in the series seems really strange to me. A few mentions here and there are all I am asking for.
Thomas Keith
124. insectoid
My goodness, you guys/gals've been busy! At least you've (hopefully) moved on from bickering about That Other Thing. :)

SoT @98: ::claps:: Very nice! Sure, I can picture that happening.

Re: noble relations: Just wait until Rand lets slip that he's the son of Tigraine, in front of Elayne. (It could happen.)

John Massey
125. subwoofer
@pwl- er... great you quoted me:) Shucks I'm all flattered... now if you would just refer to the sentence before the quote...

@FSS- thank you for that quote, that was my initial impression as well, although ValMar is right, the sword is serviceable, after it was altered. No blademaster could use that sword as it was with all the jewels and such. At the very least it would have been uncomfortable to hold, I also have the feeling the balance was off.

@JEJ- exactly. Shadar Logoth is a big pit filled with water. I am not sure if the gate is even still there or if it went the way of the city when Rand cleansed Saidin.

@Sam- that would really suck. Karldin Manfor. According to Tar Valon, Manfor and Loial just went from Stedding to Stedding to convince the Ogier that the waygates need to be guarded... and Manfor refused to go into the Stedding. He's also bonded to Beldeine- one of the TAS that was captured at Dumai's Wells. From what I can tell, she is not BA, but if Manfor is one of Tam's cronies, he should not be hanging out with Rand or concerned about Dobraine's well being when he was assassinated. Come to think, he should of been happy if one of the Seals was stolen. I dunno, jury is still out on him. But it does seem like there do be no wards on any of the Waygates, beyond what the Ogier chose to do. This could be a huge fail on Rands part that needs correcting.

Jay Dauro
126. J.Dauro
Samadai @ 119

Karldin and Loial were to visit all of the Stedding, and convince the Elders to guard them. And they visited all except Stedding Shangtai. They did not manage to convince all of the Stedding to guard them.

They were not sent to ward all the waygates. (ACOS 27 & COT 24)
Chris Chaplain
127. chaplainchris1
@Terez, I’m afraid your Demandred theory is much more plausible to me than the Moiraine the Queen theory. Agreed that Moiraine has the chops to do the job, but I don’t see it happening. Elayne's designs on the Sun Throne seemed pretty convincing to me - esp. her desire to rule both nations to increase her power relative to the Seanchan threat and the possible other "super-nations" that might form from Rand's other holdings, post-Tarmon Gai'don. Your theories about Moiraine becoming queen might've seemed plausible to me before TOM, but now I don't buy it. (I'm also losing faith in my theory that Thom, like his nephew, will learn to channel - thus extending his lifetime and giving him and Moiraine more time to live happily ever after.) And I don't see Elayne "gloating" over becoming powerful - I see her fearing that she'll have to be that powerful for her land to survive.

As for Galad and Berelain - Berelain seems pretty committed to Mayene, and I don't see her taking up permanent residence in Cairhien. And she wouldn't have the benefit of Gateways like Elayne does. And Galad's committed to the Whitecloaks, who need a new home, and Mayene really needs an army. I predict the Whitecloaks, as Galad takes them through a Reformation, will settle in Mayene as guests and allies of the First, who won't have to...manuver...Tairen High Lords anymore to maintain Mayene's independence.

Back to the Queen Moiraine theory – I can’t see that it would have much thematic resonance with Siuan’s fate, since Siuan’s not Amyrlin anymore. The resonance I see is that both Siuan and Moiraine, who’ve sacrificed their personal lives and much of their power to shepherd the world to the Last Battle, will (if they survive) get to live for themselves and their husbands a little. More power to them.

In any case, Moiraine’s not lived in Cairhien for 20 years. Who does she know that’s gonna support her? If Elayne doesn’t rule and some other Damodred does, why not Caraline, who is after all High Seat of House Damodred? Being married to the King of Tear (and a Steward of the Dragon) as well as being High Seat, she’d be able to marshall a lot of influence.

But in the end I think this is all just useless (but interesting!) speculation. It seems clear to me that Elayne will end the series as Queen of a united Andor and Cairhien.
Chris Chaplain
128. chaplainchris1
Well, *I* thought (@34) some insight into why Siuan's tenure as Amyrlin didn't lead to more Last Battle prep or anti-Black Ajah activity was interesting. Still do. :)

Re: Elaida, I don't know that I agree that Jordan missed an opportunity to make Elaida more nuanced. She's not a cackling villain at all here - it seems clear that she *is* concerned with seeing that both Moiraine and Siuan achieve the shawl. Thus she takes a special interest in their education. Her harshness with them is an example of her severity - she doesn't see herself as being harsh, just doing what's necessary. When she comes to believe they spurned her help and got her in trouble with the Mistress of Novices, she develops a grudge matching the one that both Moiraine and Siuan already have for her. That grudge is a major factor, down the line, in Elaida unseating Siuan.

Some commentators' thoughts about her possible romantic interest in one or the other seems like pure wild interpolation and projection into the text to me, but ymmv. I also don't understand the apparently widespread projection that Siuan and Moiraine were "in love" - they loved each other, a different thing, and apparently per Jordan were physical in their relationship - but they also discuss with each other the types of men they're interested in and who they will bond and whether they'll marry their Warders. There's never a hint that they see themselves as a 'couple' or that either intends the physical relationship to be long-term - or that they view it as 'romantic'.

Terez's quote @91 is instructive - Moiraine thinks "Without a doubt, though, once she had the shawl, she would be off like an arrow leaving the bow. And then they might see one another twice in ten years if not longer. That brought a pang of sadness..." Once they become AS, Siuan will go off to have adventures - this is well before either of them thinks about dedicating their lives to finding and safeguarding the Dragon - Siuan will go off to have adventures, and they will see each other very rarely. None of this nonsense about them sacrificing their relationship for the sake of the world - they *don't have* that kind of relationship, and never did.

@77 - many good points, but it's just inaccurate to say (as many besides you are doing) that Siuan never thought about relationships with men until after being stilled. She and Moiraine *talk* about relationships with men, and she does some fooling around with Cal the footman in this book.
Theresa Gray
129. Terez27
pwl@109 & Lsana@111 - agreed. I was wondering about that, and why so many people seemed to think it made sense, but hadn't bothered to address it as I figured someone else would. :) It falls under the category of anything that tempts me to start editing the wiki outside the interview pages. I have a policy against it.

archaeo@108 - As I already said above, it's desirable because of thematic resonance on several different levels. Not everything has to be about solving a conflict, but in this case, it could go a long way to help resolving the Aiel conflict, particularly the Aiel-Cairhien conflict. Not that the Aiel wouldn't accept Elayne as a ruler of Cairhien, assuming that they stay in the Waste and something like the Silk Path re-opens, but Elayne is not a treekiller, except by half her blood. Moiraine is the niece of Laman and was raised in the Sun Palace. Moiraine as queen is the best way by far to resolve the treekiller prejudice among the Aiel - they have already accepted her and even respected her, but only as queen can she change the way the Aiel view the Cairhienin in general. I wouldn't be surprised to see Olver get tied up in that resolution, too.

As far as Moiraine's interest goes, you have to keep in mind that most people view positions of power as something to be sought after. You might say that Moiraine has only spurned it because she always saw Aes Sedai as being higher up on the food chain than Queen of Cairhien, which is of course true in a sense.

But assuming that she simply sees a position of rulership to be undesirable, then consider the fact that, as Perrin observes in TOM, those who least want to rule are sometimes perhaps the best people for the job. Peter Ahlstrom told me before TOM came out that that was the reason why he liked the idea of Moiraine and Thom ruling Cairhien. Neither one of them ever even considers taking the throne, despite the fact that one killed the old king and the other has the best claim. Not that Thom ever really had a chance at it, but the point is that neither was interested in the trophy that so many like Colaveare and Bertome Saighan would give an arm for.

Then we have Elayne who has thought to be one of the most powerful rulers since Artur Hawkwing, in contrast to her ancestor Ishara who wisely carved out her little chunk around Caemlyn while her compatriots fought over Hawkwing's throne. I don't think that Elayne is necessarily 'wrong' when it comes to Cairhien in that regard - in Moiraine's absence, Rand was necessary, and in his stead, Dobraine (who was not powerful enough to take the throne, and not necessarily trustworthy enough to be allowed to claim it either) and then Elayne - but I do think she oversteps herself with Perrin, and quite a bit at that. Not that any of us were necessarily surprised, but contrast Perrin's humility with Elayne's irrational insistence that she has any kind of right to claim the Two Rivers as part of her territory.

The reason why it's important is that the Hawkwing's Empire aspect of the story was one of the most intricately planned from the beginning. Details in TEOTW and TGH make that incredibly clear. In TEOTW, Ishamael tells Rand that Hawkwing's dream of one land and one people was something that he took great care to destroy. Not much later, Elyas tells Perrin and Egwene that there was never a more peaceful, prosperous time for the people, but that Hawkwing was harsh with anyone who challenged his power. If you read the history in the BWB, it becomes clear why: Hawkwing took great care to stamp out the various cultures, eradicating previous borders and redrawing the land into neutral districts, and though some of the previous rulers were given governership positions within the Empire, it was never quite on home ground. Ishara's grandfather and the other nobles of Aldeshar - the last nation to fall to Hawkwing - were probably treated the worst at first, scattered to various corners of the Empire, though Hawkwing eventually relented and allowed them to come back home. Ishara's mother was made governor over the province of Andor, which included Caemlyn, which was not a part of Aldeshar, but Caembarin.

The point is, life was good under Hawkwing's rule, and only the nobility had a problem with it. In some part you could say they were justified because their cultures were at stake, and Hawkwing seemed determined to make his Empire a giant melting pot. But the nobility gave him the most grief because they mourned their loss of power, as was made evident in the war following Hawkwing's death.

Contrast that with Tuon's approach. She allows all of the various rulers underneath her to keep their thrones, and the nations to keep their borders. She allows Galgan to make power-plays in her direction - it seems to be rather expected, actually, and she finds his ambition to be healthy.

So, to sum up, no, I don't think that Elayne was wrong to claim the Sun Throne. There were many good reasons for her doing so. I just don't think that she should keep it after Moiraine returns. If Tuon is going to make an effort to preserve cultures, then Elayne should as well.

As for the argument about technological advances...I don't buy it. Europe remains, for example, much as it has been for hundreds of years, with its small and insular cultures. There is a great deal more diversity in those countries than there has been in the past, but national identities remain strong, even across countries with the same language sometimes. The melting pot is not inevitable.

Berg@112 - The cultures of Andor and Cairhien are contrasted so many times in the series that I don't see how you can try to make an argument that they aren't all that different. They are very different, in many ways. Also, there is enough scheming going on in Andor that it makes little difference. No one is going to bring an end to scheming - it's called the Game for a reason (as in, some people enjoy it, like a good game of stones). Moiraine and Thom are good enough at it, however, that the nobility doesn't stand a chance against them. Elayne, I'm not so sure about. She's a little dim sometimes, especially lately.

I already addressed above the unimportance of Moiraine's lack of desire to claim the throne, and further above the fact that her reasons in New Spring have long since become null and void. But the fact that Moiraine was not raised to rule makes no difference that I can see. She was raised in the Sun Palace, and she knows how it is done. In fact, she was determined to teach Rand everything she knew about it, and he has often followed her advice.

lakesidey@114 - The thing about the Blue Ajah is that it is full of women who are dedicated to causes. Regardless of the fantasies Siuan and Moiraine had about gallivanting, the fact is that neither of them will be happy without something important to do.

chaplainchris@127 - Why do their predictions for each other have to happen at the same time to have any thematic resonance? I don't follow your logic. As to who would support Moiraine - I think any of the Cairhienin would support one of their own over the Queen of Andor. Caraline is a poor and illogical choice for Queen, as she will be living in Tear with Darlin, and that would cause as many problems for Cairhien as the proposed double-rule of Elayne.

Also, the Demandred FAQ page is not 'my Demandred theory'. It's just an analysis of all the evidence and a presentation of the most likely options. I have argued against Roedran more than I have argued for it, and Roedran is only one part of the page.

Edited for a godawful typo.
Alice Arneson
130. Wetlandernw
Siuan wanted to see what was beyond the Aryth Ocean - maybe she'll go with Mat & Tuon to straighten up the mess later. Tuon might need two good generals to do the job.

Okay, I no longer regret that I wasn't able to get to this post sooner. Sheesh. And so far, New Spring retains its position at the bottom of my WoT order-of-preference list.
Amir Noam
131. Amir
Jonathan Levy @89:

Riddle: How many distinct sexual acts do the previous two verses portray?

In the immortal words of Tom Lehrer:

"All books can be indecent books
Though recent books are bolder.
For filth (I'm glad to say) is in
the mind of the beholder.
When correctly viewed,
Everything is lewd.
(I could tell you things about Peter Pan,
And the Wizard of Oz, there's a dirty old man!)"
Theresa Gray
132. Terez27
Like. Since I found the RJ quote about the hole in the ground, no one tries to argue with me about the Tar Valon map any more, at least.
lake sidey
133. lakesidey
(Wall of Text alert - I think I shall just refer to it as a WoT alert from now on)

@129 Terez: to add a couple of thoughts to what you said

"You might say that Moiraine has only spurned it because she always saw Aes Sedai as being higher up on the food chain than Queen of Cairhien"

If Moiraine does think that way (I am not convinced she does) then we could also postulate that not only is AS > Queen of Cairhien, but even within the AS food chain she also knew she was going to be very high - pretty much at the top in fact (once Cads retires/dies/whatever, at least). That is no longer true - life in the WT (post Finnland) would mean deferring to everyone around. And even if they get fully healed by Damer, there are still plenty of stronger channelers around now. Agreed Siuan and Leane seem to have made that adjustment, but for all their claims to the contrary, it still hurts sometimes (see Siuan's grumbling to Gareth when Rand visits the WT!).

I fully agree, btw, that she'd be a great ruler (all the more so because she doesn't want it). I only think it would make her a little less cool. In my humble opinion, anyway.

"Europe remains, for example, much as it has been for hundreds of years, with it's small and insular cultures......The melting pot is not inevitable."

True, but that is becase they have remained separate countries by and large. If Hitler's conquests (or Genghis Khan's) had lasted longer, they'd be a significant bit closer to the melting pot. Look at the USA, or China, or the erstwhile USSR - cultural differences across the breadth of each of those empires (for want of a better term) were orders of magnitude smaller than across Europe. (India - partial exception that proves the rule? Rare case, anyway)

"She's a little dim sometimes, especially lately."

Do you know, you have a positive Talent for understatement sometimes?

"I wouldn't be surprised to see Olver get tied up in that resolution, too."

That's if he survives. He isn't even old enough to have hair on his chest, and he's already thinking with it. Sigh. But then, he seems to have some of Mat's luck rubbing off on him, so maybe....

(Loony Olver theory - many of RJ's plotlines are explicitly leading to some fantasy/myth in today's world. Olver will give us the legend of the ugly duckling who became a swan - he will grow up tall and dark and handsome (and a fell warrior too) and will become the third husband of one of our long-lived channelers. No, really!)

About the " Blue = causes" bit sigh yes I hadn't thought of that. (I actually came up with that theory on the spur of the moment, and tossed it into the mix just for fun. I like loony theories!). Though, as a half-hearted attempt at defense - (1) Leane's changed her ajah and no longer seems so cause-hungry (and, as an aside, isn't it ironic that Siuan still managed to bond a warder before Leane did?). (2)Both Si and Mo are weaker than they were, and 20 years wiser (?) as well, so maybe they would be less ambitious now. And.... (3) maybe bringing order back to Shara would count as a significant cause! (Yes, yes, I know....not likely. A guy can dream, though!)

I have a great number of loony theories, and an excellent track record in that each and every one whose plotline has been resolved, so far, has been proven totally loony. 'tis fun!

134. Gorbag
Well, Leigh, I wish you'd let us know just what you meant by "Happy Tuesday, people, if that not be a contradiction in terms."

Do you mean that "Tuesday" is inherently in contradiction to "people", or "Happy" is in contradiction to "people", or "Happy" is in inherent contradiction to "Tuesday" ... or what? Inquiring minds wants to knows!

Getting on to the topic of the flames therein ... I can't say I noticed terribly much about Moiraine and Siuan's love-life - call me insensitive - and you may well be right - but I took from the scenes that this Foretelling event had thrown both of them such a curveball that they had put all such matters far, far behind them - out of fear for the beloved, you understand. You don't paint a target on the back of the person you love - you sacrifice your pleasure in their company if by doing so you allow them the freedom to carry on with their lives.

That being siad, I can see where you're coming from - after the stand-offish friendliness between the two in tGH, to hear that the two had been in a relationship so intimate 20 years before ... it stretches credibility. You'd expect the author to have prepared us somewhat - but he hadn't.
Jonathan Levy
135. JonathanLevy
101. sushisushi
I'm going for either eight or one very long one ;)
Very close! The official answer is seven, as each verb in verse 27 is interpreted as a distinct act. But personally, I'm willing to add another one for verse 26. I mean, she pounded him with a tent stake - how can that not be a sexual reference? :)

103. Isilel
Loial's trip was an obviously futile make-work from the start, designed to solely get him away from Rand, so that Rand could go crazy with loneliness and suspicion. I mean, Moiraine demonstrated in TEoTW that a channeler could easily open a "closed" Waygate in a rather permanent fashion. And Ogier "guarding" the Waygates would be quite useless in such case too.
Great paragraph, and every word true. That said, Loial's trip does have one other literary purpose. It's a necessary part of his character growth before addressing the Great Stump. Over the series Loial has matured from a hiding runaway to a leader of the Ogier, and this voyage of his - where he has to speak to many Ogier leaders at many steddings - is part of the process. His marriage is another element of it.

131. Amir
Go poison a pigeon! :)

It's great that so much Lehrer is available on youtube. Makes me feel glad I didn't dish out $$$ to buy the whole collection... ;)
Theresa Gray
136. Terez27
lakesidey@133 - I think it would make Moiraine a lot less cool if she simply retired from the world after the Last Battle. But that's just me.

re: Europe - As I mentioned earlier, Tuon intends to keep all of the countries separate with their respective rulers, and I imagine she intends on sending the Return mostly into unpopulated areas where the old nations didn't survive. If she was planning on doing like Hawkwing and redrawing borders and appointing 'governors', that would be a different story.

As to Leane changing Ajahs - that was deliberately a contrast to Siuan, who found her reason to live in a big fat Cause (that is, herding the rebellion in the right direction). And Blues are allowed to have one Warder. Greens are typically choosy about their first, so it's not surprising Siuan beat Leane to it.

Also, I wish we had just ONE mention of an Aes Sedai with a child. I can believe that it's rare, but it seems to be unheard of...
Sorcha O
137. sushisushi
Samadai@119 Well, Karldin was one of the three 'deserters' that Taim added to his list in CoT (along with Flinn and Narishma), which kind of mitigates against his being a Darkfriend, at least of Taim's faction. No idea on significance of the circling knife over Beldeine's head - she could be stilled, get in a knife fight, or end up with Elayne's dagger-of-invisibility-from-the-Shadow, for all we know so far.
Theresa Gray
138. Terez27
I like the idea of Aviendha's knife being the 'blade of light'. But I like the idea of Callandor being the 'light...held before the infinite maw'. In other words, I like the idea of Callandor being the Epic Fail that seems to be predicted in the prophecies, though we don't know the details. Can't wait to get them (love those 'ha you only thought you knew what that meant' prophecies in the last two books). So, 'all that he is can be seized', and Rand is 'consumed by the Midnight Towers', which means he has to die. Some helpful person kills him, and then they burn his body (three women before a pyre, or funeral bier) and then Logain does something spectacular and then they resurrect him with the Warder bond (three shall be one) and give him the 'blade of light' (Aviendha's knife). It fits with Brandon's rules for deus ex machina (though I'm sure it was all more or less planned by RJ) because the 'blade of light/three shall be one' prophecy was introduced well after the knife, and even after the function of the knife was discovered.
139. Lsana
@136 Terez27,

What gives you the idea that Tuon is going to send the Return into mostly unpopulated areas? Last time I saw Fortuona, she looked quite determined to conquer everything that had once belonged to Hawkwing and leash every Aes Sedai. This doesn't sound like a woman who's willing to limit her ambitions. Sure, she is allowing the local rulers to act as her "governors" for lack of a better word, and she is willing to let them swear fealty in their own way because she thinks the oaths will be more likely to be honored. However, its pretty clear that she views all of Randland as rightfully part of her Empire, and I'm not seeing her restricting the Seanchan from returning to any of "their" land.
140. pwl
great you quoted me:) Shucks I'm all flattered... now if you would just refer to the sentence before the quote...

Relevance? Whether or not you wrote the wiki does not affect how your pet "kool-aid" theory makes absolutely no sense.
Stefan Mitev
141. Bergmaniac
IMO the rediscovery of Travelling will have much stronger effect on making the Randland cultures closer to each other than any political changes. This would be a huge change once people get used to it and it becomes more widespread. It would make the contacts between different cultures and countries so much more easier. Big changes are coming and the cultures will become much closer over time no matter who becomes the monarch of which country.
Theresa Gray
142. Terez27
@Lsana - Mostly the fact that that's where she has already been sending them so far. They are moving inland so as to not flood the already-populated areas. It only make sense for them to mostly set up in the abandoned areas - they will bring life to them. She's determined to conquer everything, but from what we have seen, she is also willing to preserve cultures and accept many of the natives' ways.
144. Freelancer
Eros. Fileos. Agape.

Leigh, there are many ways to express love for another human being. They don't all mean romantic want-to-spend-my-life-with-them love. Remember also that Siuan and Moiraine spend time fantasizing about the wonderful princes they would each marry some day. There is a rare level of simpatico in place between the two, but that should not be confused with TWU WUV™. And getting mad about it is actually telling in the opposite direction. There is something you want to read, and it isn't happening. This says nothing about Jordan...
Chris R
145. up2stuff
Sub @117

Yo momma is so fat...

"How fat is she?"
146. Rebellives
I never read their relationship as sexual, just that of close friends. Yes, they slept in the same bed, but I never thought it anymore than holding each other for comfort. To their parting ways without tears and separation anxiety; I think that could be explained by being Aes Sedai. They knew they had jobs to do.
Janet Hopkins
147. JanDSedai
I don't want Terez to be the only one arguing for Moraine as Queen of Cairhien. I always thought that it was self-evident from the sub-text that Moraine would be called to greater visibility in the WOT world. So, thanx to Terez for enumerating the textual references that lead to this conclusion.

Those of us who have had to wait years on end for the sequels have thought long and hard about where RJ might be going with the various sub-plots and trying to anticipate him. And Queen Moraine satisfies the thematic resonances that RJ took so much care to lay down, even before this book.

So, Moraine doesn't *want* to be queen? When has the Pattern ever considered personal preferences?!

As for the "gay-lesbian" discussion, I notice this was primarily posted by ''red" people; presumably this is the first time they have talked about this issue, as opposed to those of us who have seen it come up several times.
Theresa Gray
148. Terez27
Thanks for the support Jan. :D As for the gay thing, I always jump in when I see it, usually just to argue with those who try to deny that it even exists (which is annoying because they judge based on their own moral parameters rather than RJ's).
Mikey Bennett
149. EvilMonkey
For everyone weighing in on Moraine as Queen...

Is it plausible? Sure. She has a more than decent claim, she has the respect of the Aiel (the best infantry troops on Randland period) which is important because they currently share a border and it seems that they will be the 4th age's shock troops. Always want to be on terms with the biggest stick out there. And speaking as being on good terms with a big stick, she will definetely have Aes Sedai support; the current Amrylin is her protege for cryin out loud. And Rand likes her. Nuff said.

Does she have the chops? Obviously. Her childhood training planted good mettle, and her Aes Sedai career has augmented that. Her hubby is a master as well. She is well suited for leadership and as we have seen throughout the series is cool under pressure. When the lightning bolts are flying, Moraine is probably a good person to have around. This is important as 'the world not done with battle' per Nicola. Carhein is going to need a strong queen and Moraine certainly passes on that score.

I think many readers are rejecting the notion that she will be made queen is that they like her and don't want bad things to happen to good people. Face it, Carhein as a monarch seat is probably the most thankless monarch spot there is. Only Gheldan was worse, and only when Masema was doing the crazy dance all over the countryside. The plotting for power is on a level only bested by the White Tower, and that only by an inch. Due to the atrocities visited upon the common populace, they are not going to have much love for any sitting monarch, it has been sacked 2wice in the last 20 years. Its a hell of a lot of work to do to even bring the country back to a semblance of respectability, much less a world power. One hell of a tall order. Knowin the type of person she is, we expect success. We fear the person she will become to achieve that success. And since we know that she doesn't want it, we respect her right to choose. Maybe the texts support it that this is setting up for Mo to run Carhein, I haven't read with that in mind. Me personally, I dont want her to mainly because she doesn't want to. If it happens anyway, I wont be surprised or even overly disapointed. All will be well, all will be well, and all manner of things will be well.
Donna Harvey
150. snaggletoothedwoman
I never took the reference of M & S to be anything except two young women in a stress filled situation, both trying to be Aes Sedai. To follow the tenents of the White Tower as if they had already took their oaths. I may be dense, but I had friends that I was close to, and sex was never an issue. I know RJ said there was fooling around going on, but not to the level some people wish to think. I liked this glimpse of a younger Moraine and Siuan, they still had all those shiny corners that the White Tower hadn't rubbed off yet! I really don't blame Moraine for not wanting the role of Queen, from the sounds of it, she never had much respect for her relatives. Her father is another story, she did respect him and was glad the other relatives disregarded him. He was a scholar, you can see where her love of learning comes from. AND she does have a good sense of humor, dry indeed, but it is there!
Jonathan Levy
151. JonathanLevy

149. EvilMonkey

For everyone weighing in on Moraine as Queen...
Is it plausible? Sure. She has a more than decent claim, she has the respect of the Aiel (the best infantry troops on Randland period) which is important because they currently share a border and it seems that they will be the 4th age's shock troops. ...she will definetely have Aes Sedai support; .... And Rand likes her. Nuff said.
Does she have the chops? Obviously. Her childhood training planted good mettle, and her Aes Sedai career has augmented that. Her hubby is a master as well. She is well suited for leadership and as we have seen throughout the series is cool under pressure.

I must disagree. Moiraine has no political support in Cairhien. This is important - remember the Andoran Succession plot? House Damodred has no political support in Cairhien, after the disasters which it caused under Laman and his brothers. Moiraine has been away from Cairhien for twenty years, which means that everyone who counts considers her a stranger.

The respect of the Aiel will work against her if she tries to use it. Remember how Elayne had to get her own mercenaries because she knew she couldn't use the outsider Aiel?

The fact that she is Aes Sedai will also work against her, and will be more significant than the support of the White Tower. No queen has been openly Aes Sedai in ages. There's a reason for that. The Cairhienin will suspect that her primary loyalty lies with Tar Valon, not with Cairhien. This will undermine her support.

The fact that Rand likes her will not help. Remember how furious Elayne was when Rand thought he would 'give' her the throne? She was angry because it made her look weak. Same thing for Moiraine. Rand is going to disappear very soon, and everyone knows it, including Moiraine. If she relies on him to gain the throne, she will lose it as soon as he goes away. She knows this.

All you have done is list Moiraine's resume, and say that it is an impressive one. Granted, it is very impressive. But gaining a throne is not the same as applying for a job at Walmart, or getting elected homecoming queen. The question each nobleman asks himself is not 'Who has the best resume?', but 'Who can I trust to be faithful to me, and at the same time command the obedience of the other nobles?'. Moiraine is a poor candidate because she is an outsider, a stranger, comes from a hated house, and has foreign loyalties.

Robert Jordan was very much aware of these considerations. The painfully protracted Andoran succession plot is proof of this, not to mention the copious amounts of Egwene-politicking to which we are exposed. In my opinion, Moiraine gaining the throne of Cairhien would be very jarring, and not at all typical of Jordan's writing.

152. Dolphineus
Siuan and Moiraine were not lovers or pillowfriends or lesbians. Don't see where people get that from. Sorry

Also, Leigh's constant ranting about how Jordan handles same-sex relationships is a complete turn off. I don't read WoT for its relevent lesbian themes. Get over it please.
Thomas Keith
153. insectoid
JLevy @135:

Go poison a pigeon! :)

ROFL!! I love that song.

Free @144: Well said sir! Haven't seen you around here for awhile.

Random question: My mom and I are wondering... when did Moiraine first meet Thom Merrilin? Did they first meet in the TR, or had they met before, sometime in the 20 years prior to TEotW?

Thomas Keith
153. insectoid
GAH! My first ever double post. :(
Stefan Mitev
154. Bergmaniac
From Jordan 's blog:

"pillow friends are not just good friends. Oh, they are that, too, but they also get hot and sweaty together and muss up the sheets something fierce."

As we see later in NS, Siuan and Moiraine were most definitely pillow friends, and Moiraine got totally embarassed when Merean told Cadsuane that, so it's really clear that they were in fact lesbian lovers.
155. pwl
Also, Leigh's constant ranting about how Jordan handles same-sex relationships is a complete turn off. I don't read WoT for its relevent lesbian themes. Get over it please.

You're not here to read WoT, you're here to read Leigh's blog. Feel free to leave if you dislike the subjects that come under discussion.
Maiane Bakroeva
156. Isilel
Hi, MAT! Well, I made no claims of constancy as a nemesis - if a mood for argument is on me and you don't provide me with fodder, well... ;).

Terez27 @129:

Contrast that with Tuon's approach. She allows all of the various rulers underneath her to keep their thrones, and the nations to keep their borders.

This is not exactly true, is it? She only made this exception for Altara, but not for Tarabon and Amadicia that are being directly ruled by Seanchan.
I also find it strange that you ignore the alienness of Seanchan culture and the fact that impotant parts of it are being enforced even in Altara - like leashing, abasement before the Blood, slavery, Seekers, Listeners, etc. Tylin and Beslan have to adopt Seanchan customs, too.
Even in Altara, which is being treated with a gentle hand, the changes to laws and culture are already far more drastic than anything that a unification of Andor and Cahirien could produce.
And if you don't consider that Altara, Amadicia and Tarabon aren't too much for Tuon to rule at once, then certainly the same applies to Elayne with just 2 countries to handle and blood links to both.

As to strong ruler being somehow able to fix Cahirien - I couldn't disagree more. The only reason that they aren't dead yet is that Rand forced Tairens to supply them with free grain. Probably as a result of this, Min was forseeing a huge famine in Tear in KoD. Moiraine can't can't provide food out of thin air.

Concerning Cahirienin culture - yes, it should change. It evolved in an incredibly rich country that grew fat on centuries of exclusive trans-Waste luxury trade. They can't afford to continue in the same vein in their current and much humbler circumstances.

Moiraine is my favorite character bar none and I'd like her to have something very important to do after TG. I just don't think that ruling Cahirien is it.

Subwoofer @121:

The Dragon Reborn is not some backwater hick, he's the rebirth, reincarsomething of one of the greatest channelers ever.

Which greatest channeler had a pretty chequered record too, so even if they had known that the new Dragon would have memories of his previous incarnation, which they didn't, it wouldn't have been all that comforting.
Re: the Dragon being nervous around AS, wasn't the staunchest supporter of Guaire Amalasan a renegade AS?
IMHO, all the ideas re: educating and guiding the DR were completely logical.

And I don't equate guiding with controlling, as Rand did. Moiraine guided Rand until the plunge through the arch, but she didn't control him.
Chris R
157. up2stuff
You know, I think I read a quote from RJ once where he said same sex male relationships DO exist in Randland, just none are ever "onscreen." Many, including our awesome Leigh SEEM, to feel that is a cop-out. I don't know.

I just re-read Leigh's commentary section, and she herself admits that with one exception, S & M seem to be "Friends with Benefits." However, her interpretation of the word "Love" in the comment she quoted, puts this in what SHOULD be the "Twue Wuv" category of relationships. But even then, it could STILL be "F.W.B.".

What surprises me is the comment about how no same sex relationships (theirs, or as I am reading you Leigh, ANYONE'S same sex relationships) could be as important as the Hetero ones. I don't know if THAT conclusion is really accurate. Admittedly, I can't keep many details straight and trying to remember who is who is NOT something I am good at, but isn't this relationship kind of unique to any other on-camera one? It seems like MOST of the others are VERY imbalanced.

What I mean is, Elaida and Galina are both PSYCO-UBER-WITCHES. Their relationships are controlling and dominating, bordering on abusive. Dont MOST of the relationships we DO see, have one of these character types? Not good examples for relationships.

Then we have Moiraine and Suian, both good, caring, strong, supportive, NON-CRAZY people. They have the good healthy friendship that Leigh mentions, and maybe they indulge themselves, but are defininately NOT lesbians, IMHO. In support of RJ's comment about off-camera homo-sexual males, maybe this is a SIMILAR situation. Do we ever see an ACTUAL lesbian couple anywhere in the series or are they maybe just off camera at the same LBGSA as the Gay men?

It just seems like a little bit of a jump when the ONLY positive relationship of this orientation excludes all the others. If I am right, and we simply don't have any POSITIVE committed Lesbian Relationships, this could be a little more supportive of his Male-Male comment as well.
On the other hand, I am probably forgetting one of our couples and so WAY wrong.

158. Freelancer

We have no text that I'm aware of to suggest a meeting between Moiraine and Thom prior to Winternight in the Two Rivers. Thom recognizes, not Moiraine, but an Aes Sedai instantly, and reacts with severe caution. As for Moiraine's reaction to first seeing Thom, all we have is Egwene's observation that Moiraine didn't seem pleased to see him there. I believe that we are meant to conclude from that her interest in remaining anonymous, and the likelihood that a gleeman would recognize an Aes Sedai jeopardizes the clandestine nature of her investigation into Rand, Mat and Perrin. I can't see it for anything more than that.

However, we do know from Moiraine's comment to the SGs in Tear that she already knows the face of the man she will marry. That came prior to her visit to the Aelfinn via the doorway in the Great Holding, causing common conjecture to suggest that it was something from her Accepted test, like Nynaeve's nursemaid Sharina. But if such were the case, I believe that Jordan would have included a slightly greater telegraphing of response from Moiraine at meeting him in Emond's Field.

What we can be completely certain of, is that Moiraine didn't learn of Thom from a Gitara Moroso Foretelling.
Alice Arneson
159. Wetlandernw
Well, I guess Leigh and I are in the same boat on one thing this time around: she and I both wanted to read something that's not there. She wanted to read about significant homosexual relationships in the WoT, and I wanted to read significant insights on what's actually in New Spring. Guess we are both doomed to be disappointed. Then again, at least she was easily able to stir up "discussion" (such as it is) with her comments, and I'm still not convinced that New Spring contains all that much of interest to discuss. Oh well.
Alice Arneson
160. Wetlandernw
Freelancer @158 - For some reason I had the notion that Moiraine knew about her future relationship with Thom from a Min-viewing. That would place it, most likely, in Baerlon when they arrived from the TR in the first book. Sadly, I can't dredge up any recalled evidence for this - not even enough to go searching for what I think I remember. (Quite possibly, it was a conflation of Min's comments about being able to see two people together and know they would marry, and Moiraine's confidence that she knew who she would marry, and Min's thoughts about Moiraine-related things being the only ones that had ever failed.) I only bring it up to see if it triggers any response from anyone else, or if I'm the only one with that notion.
161. Freelancer

You're correct, I completely ignored the possibility, which most certainly has been put forward, of a Min Viewing being responsible for her foreknowledge of herself and Thom. But that's where it must remain, a possibility on a list of same, because there is no significant textual evidence in its favor. It could be that Jordan meant for us to build that connection, from Min's description of her ability including that she sometimes knew when two people would marry. That, however, is about the extent of a connection.
Alice Arneson
162. Wetlandernw
Yeah, that's what I thought. I'm kind of glad, actually; if there were anything more concrete, I'd be severely disappointed in myself for not remembering it better. :) I wonder if we'll ever find out.
Valentin M
163. ValMar
Wetlander, Freelancer @ 160-1-2

I think you are right about a Min's viewing about Mo and Thom in Baerlon. If you recall, when Rand/Mat told her that Thom died in Whitebridge, when everyone met in Caemlyn, Moiraine told them that she didn't believe Thom was dead (very roughly said, sorry).
Thomas Keith
164. insectoid
Free @158 et al: Thanks for the info! It's nice having gurus like you around. :)

Keep in mind, of course, that each already knows a great deal about the other (TSR ch. 17), which seems odd for them knowing each other for only a year.

Mikey Bennett
165. EvilMonkey
JL @ 151

You know what? I hope that u are right and I am way off base since I do not want the story to take that turn. I am sure the creator, aka RJ, could find other valuable things for this strong female character than to take the thankless job as the Queen of Carhien, assuming she survives the LB of course. I was just arguing that it isn't outside the realm of possibility for her to obtain the job as well as be good at it. Being friends with the Aiel is good not so much because she would ever use them, just so that they cannot be used against her. Your points about Elayne's struggles in the Andoran succession are invalid because the rules are different between the two countries. Foreigners can have a definite impact in the Game as Carhein plays it. Just look at how Rand shook things up when he was posing as an Andoran Lord (which still cracks me up since he technically is). And if Moraine is in fact able to pull a coup and use the Aiel, she would probably get more support than you think. After all, Carhein is suitably frightened of another Aiel sack. The Aes Sedai Queen thing is also a dead issue. They already have one of those in Elayne so Moraine would not be unique in that respect. Finally, Moraine grew up with most of these people; in what way are they strangers? She may not have the political capital as most of the claimants for the Sun Throne, yet do you really think it would take that long to achieve that? With Thom as a Husband? With her being a beast in her own right? And with the Tower sending a few sisters to wisper in some ears? And as far as Damodred having a deservedly bad reputation, if Laman would have had kids then it would not have mattered because there would have still been a Damodred on the throne. Even when Riatin took the throne Barathanes Damodred was the most powerful noble in Carhein with a fair to decent chance to take the throne back. I don't think its as much of a stretch as you seem to believe. The problems you stated are the things that I feel would make her job hard enough for her to become an ogre of a person, and that is something I don't want to see from a character I really like. Yet those concerns do not make it impossible for her to get the job or do well at it.
John Massey
166. subwoofer
@pwl- I have given a name to my pain.

I didn't write the wiki, if you have further issues, bug the wiki guys,

By the same token, I like the theory about Callandor having little to do with Sealing the DO away... I suppose I get taken to task for that one even though the theory isn't mine.

Asmo's killer... yep, liked that, its my fault.

I like Galad hooking up with Berelain. Guess I have to explain that in detail.

I like the theory about the Moridin Rand connection and linking and the death and body swap idea. Guess I am going to have to go into minutia to explain that one to everyone.

I like it when Berelain got spanked...

Wait... hang on... no I don't. Defending plausable actions for a work of fiction where logic takes a back seat to the will of the Pattern. If stuff was supposed to make complete sense, I'd be reading An Investigation of the Laws of Thought... In other words, if I like stuff, and say I like stuff and say I'm leaving it at that, guess what, I'm leaving it at that. I do not have the time or the inclination to pour over the books to defend myself. I also do not feel the need. I asked nice and yet you persisted. Now can we move on and talk about friendly stuff? Like pillow friends?

@up2stuff- yo momma is so fat she wakes up in sections.

- yo momma is so fat she eats Wheat Thicks.

- yo momma is so fat she sat on a quarter and a booger shot outta George Washington's nose.

-yo momma is so fat she jumped up in the air and got stuck...

Ahhhh I miss Wilmer doing that show:) I confess, watching that show I feel like those folks that keep Jerry Springer on the air.

John Massey
167. subwoofer
@Wet- I think you may be partly right. One thing about New Spring, it is remarkably easy to read. I wailed through the book in a few hours. As far as delving into theories and keeping up with intrigue, it is kept at surface level. I think it has to do with the logistics of keeping things to the main characters. With the WoT proper series, we have book upon book to build up stories and connections. It is hard to get think into that series with things happening 20 years before. I like it because Lan is in my top 3 favorite characters because of what he accoplishes and he has no special advantages. He is just badass and awesome... please do not make me explain this in detail... I didn't write the Lan character;)

lake sidey
168. lakesidey
@167 Subwoofer: Explain your liking for Lan in detail anyway. It will provide one of those desperately sought instances of man-love! Isn't it worth it, to make Leigh happy?

(If you're really desperate, Leigh, you could easily assume something was going on between Lan and Bukama..... spending all that time together and all....the way some idiotic souls assume that Batman and Robin obviously must be lovers, how could they not?)

@160 Wetlandrnw: I am somehow not comfortable with the Min theory, the wording is awkward. The acceptatron would show her the "face" of the man, Min would have told her the name. But yes I do agree that if she already knew, then her reaction was remarkably restrained even by AS standards. Though we get nothing of her reactions really - the focus of the POV characters (Rand et al) in their first meeting in Emond's Field is clearly Thom.

When Thom joins them when they're about to run from the Two Rivers, the conversation between Lan and Moiraine goes: Lan spoke, stiffly formal. "Is this part of the Pattern, to, Moiraine Sedai?" "Everything is a part of the Pattern, my old friend," Moiraine replied softly. "We cannot pick and choose...." I wonder if this 'pick and choose' dialogue comes from already knowing something we don't...?

Unlike Moiraine, who we can't be sure of, Thom definitely has no clue till a lot later. Somewhere later I recall him saying something to the effect "she was a fine figure of a woman" and then correcting himself angrily: that was no way to be thinking of an Aes Sedai. (I don't have the book handy). So at least from his side, he probably fell in wuv all on his own.

169. Blurry Vision
Finally caught up on the re-read... Never bought into the Moiraine & Thom relationship - they bonded over, what a quick convo or two? At best, Mo feels respect for Thom & more so than for most people - which isn't a bad reason to hook up. But, to me, the Mo&Thom and Si/Bry are like quickies for the Aes Sedai. They're going to live a couple hundred years, and a 15 year marriage for each is like a 6 month fling for the rest of us. There's probably something deeply felt between Si/Bry because he was a knight in shining armor when she really needed one. However, after the men's deaths and the A/S respective realizations that each is free, a logical solution is that Mo and Si are going to get back together again once all that "duty" stuff is done with and they can be part of the Kin or something. When you're 150 years old or something and the only people who can relate to that are other A/S, it's probably a more likely ending for them.
Sorcha O
170. sushisushi
On Moiraine as Cairhienen Queen: Regardless of whether or not the character would like the job, this is why I follow these re-reads (and was a horrible lurker on rawsfrj, many, many moons ago). I would never have thought of that long-term solution to Cairhien's leadership problems in a million years, but you guys have not only come up with the idea, but have teased out the pros and cons of it, both for the character and for the narrative. Love it!
Stefan Mitev
171. Bergmaniac
We don't for certain that Moiraine knew the face of the man she would marry back when she implied it to the Supergirls. Her actual words were "I could wager I know the face of the man I will marry better than either of you knows that of your future husband.” Typical Aes Sedai statement, implying something, but leaving the door open.

And if Moiraine knew of a Min viewing about her marrying Thom, she'd have been much more certain she would survive Finnland IMO. She only had "a small shred of hope" just before she went through the red doorway.
Chris A
172. Christohopper

Sorry to pull something from waaaaay up the top of this immense column of text, but I couldn't help noticing this in the first paragraph of post #17:

"Though she'd have got there eventually; a strong channeler like Elayne should live an even longer time."

It was referring to Elayne succeeding Morgase to the throne of Andor.
Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't recall that strength in the Power was ever correlated with the maximum lifespan of channelers.

Not a critical point, but it leapt out at me as I skimmed through the previous posts :)
Birgit F
173. birgit
Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't recall that strength in the Power was ever correlated with the maximum lifespan of channelers.

Slowing does depend on channeling strength:

Knife of Dreams book tour 13 October 2005, Harvard Coop - Allen Bryan reporting
Q: Does the rate of slowing depend on your strength in the Power?
RJ: Yes: Basically; you age at 1/X your normal rate, with X being dependent up to a point on Power strength. The Power acts as a natural rejuvenator on you; even at the point of death you won't look or feel worse than a normal 65-year-old.

John Massey
174. subwoofer
Wait, what? Batman and Robin are not...?

... How else can we explain the tights? I never understood why heroes ran around with their underwear outside their pants.

Le sigh- sometimes I wish I hadn't missed on the opportunity to see RJ live and in person. Back when I was living in a tree, I didn't get daily feeds on what is going on in the world. Poopy. I think that would have given me an even greater connection to this world rather that just being on the fringe of it all.

James Hogan
175. Sonofthunder
Yep sub...I have the same regrets. Oh I wish I'd been a reader of WoT earlier...alas, my journey began in the fall of 2008. I would have loved to sit across from RJ and talk for hours with him about this world he's created...
John Massey
176. subwoofer
I was lamenting because I thought to myself that I'd have to move heaven and earth to go see him, and as it turns out, in the twilight of his writing, he actually came to my home town, and I was too busy doing... whatever it was I was doing, to even notice that the man came here. Dang!

Er... and as far as Thom and Moiraine... from what I could get from TEotW, I am going through the series again, the trip through the Ways to Fal Dara Moiraine gives comfort to the boys about Thom being alive and the Pattern is not done with him yet. No hints about a relationship, I think Free may be right and we have to infer certain things about this.

Rob Munnelly
177. RobMRobM
Random thoughts -

- Welcome back Free. With you, me and Master Al'Thor back in the game after quieter periods it's almost old home week.
- Terez and others - while Moiraine is qualified to be Queen in Carhien, I'm with those who believe it's not going to happen (and I for one will be disappointed if it does).
- Yes, clear to me from text that Min told Moiraine about Thom and their future together.
- I'm very impressed with the reasoned discourse on the same sex issues but am personally burned out from our many past debates on the issues and am giving those posts only a light read.
- Whether here in the Blight adjunct (Massachusetts) has been gorgeous - close to 60F today and yesterday. New Spring indeed. Looking forward to Leigh's next post.

Tess Laird
178. thewindrose
RobMRobM wrote:
Welcome back Free. With you, me and Master Al'Thor back in the game after quieter periods it's almost old home week.

Would that be assisted living?

I am with the crowd that thinks that Min told Moiraine about her dearest Thom. Also, with all the thoughts that she has about cute boys with nice smiles in this book, I always thought of Moiraine and Siuan as the best of friends - who dabbled in the fwb territory but were never going to be married to each other. Didn't get that feeling from what was written at all.

179. pwl
By the same token, I like the theory about Callandor having little to do with Sealing the DO away... I suppose I get taken to task for that one even though the theory isn't mine.

If there was something very obviously wrong with the theory, visible without even "pouring over the books", this might be comparable.

Asmo's killer... yep, liked that, its my fault.

If there was something very obviously wrong with the theory, visible without even "pouring over the books", this might be comparable. As it was, it was vague enough to make several different theories (I was a fan of the Two Servants theory, myself, when the truth was a little simpler).

I like Galad hooking up with Berelain. Guess I have to explain that in detail.

If they were mortal enemies, or Whitecloaks that have sex are summarily sentenced to death, this might be comparable.

Defending plausable actions for a work of fiction where logic takes a back seat to the will of the Pattern.
Again, how is it plausible that a Lawful Good commoner killed a Cairhienin King while fighting in an army ostensibly fighting against Darkfriends? He would have been lynched before there was time to hold a murder trial. There's a reason Thom had to skip from Cairhien, and he didn't commit his murder in front of thousands of soldiers. "Pouring over the books" has nothing to do with it. It's preposterous even on a first glance. Was Laman holding court on Dragonmount so Tam could wander off and pick up Rand with blood fresh on his hands from regicide?

If you want to be irrational, that's fine. But don't pretend it's anything but, or that I'm somehow bullying you with encyclopedic book knowledge. I'm just pointing out how the theory makes no sense even on a casual glance. Perhaps you'd feel better on a fanfic forum where the worst you have to deal with are opposing shippers and nobody cares about sensible plot events?
Chris Chaplain
181. chaplainchris1
More comments as this thread is about to dwindle to nothing:

@174 subwoofer - hi woof! Hope family is well. I laughed at the "
Wait, what? Batman and Robin are not...?" However, I must point out that they're not wearing tights! Per Tor.com, anyway:

They're wearing trunks, like circus performers. Or that's the story, anyway. :)

@147 JanDSedai - I'm sure I'm taking part of your statement wrong, but this grated on me:
Those of us who have had to wait years on end for the sequels have thought long and hard about where RJ might be going with the various sub-plots and trying to anticipate him. And Queen Moraine satisfies the thematic resonances that RJ took so much care to lay down, even before this book.

In the first place, many of us who don't buy the Queen Moiraine theory have also been waiting years on end for the sequels (I don't go back as far as many, but I do go back 15 years with the WOT, which ought to at least be respectable), and have been thinking long and hard about the stories and where they are going. I infer from your statement that you think otherwise, and if I'm wrong, I apologize. (Your statement about 'red' people also felt condescending towards new folks. As someone who stayed red for more than a year because I simply didn't want more mail from another website until I had a good feel for Tor.com - which still sends me too much email, btw! - anyway, as one who was red for quite awhile, I caution against making too quick assumptions about how much a red poster has been around the WOT or fandom discussions.) I felt your statement was condescending to those who didn't share the theory, and implied that if only they had enough history and had thought enough about the WOT then they would certainly change their minds.

I assure you, many of us go back a long ways, and have also spent much time theorizing, whether or not it's been online or in the same forums as you or Terez or others. (In my case I participated in some discussions on rawsfrj, though I don't recall discovering it until some time around ACOS or TPOD.)

In the second place, saying that "Queen Moiraine satisfies the thematic resonance that RJ took so much care to lay down" sort of glosses over the disagreement, which is over precisely that question. Namely, does the theme resonate, and does this seem to be something foreshadowed by RJ? I don't believe it does, but more on that in the following post (breaking this up because I'm being wordy again, sorry!).
Chris Chaplain
182. chaplainchris1
Continuing on the Queen Moiraine theory:

@129 Terez, you say:
As far as Moiraine's interest goes, you have to keep in mind that most people view positions of power as something to be sought after.

I don't agree with that statement at all. Ambition and drives to power vary quite widely. I know many very humble, quiet, servant-types, who are happy to remain in the background, help when they can, and eschew limelight or influence. They certainly don't want to be called out and put on display as a leader.

You might say that Moiraine has only spurned it because she always saw Aes Sedai as being higher up on the food chain than Queen of Cairhien

You might say it, but only by (imho) doing violence to the text and to Moiraine's character. I won't spend much time on it because it doesn't seem to be at the crux of the theory, but Moiraine's thoughts about why she doesn't want to be queen never say anything about being more powerful as Aes Sedai than as a mere queen. Nowhere am I aware of a desire for power in her thoughts, so this statement about what we "might say" about her motivations strikes me as bizarre.

Further down in the same post, you say:
chaplainchris@127 - Why do their predictions for each other have to happen at the same time to have any thematic resonance? I don't follow your logic.

In the first place, I think it stretches the meaning of the word "prediction" to say that Siuan predicted Moiraine as queen. What Siuan said was that Moiraine would make a good queen. That's not at issue (we all, barring young Moiraine, agree that she'd do an excellent job), but nor is it a prediction in the way that Moiraine's prediction of Siuan becoming Amyrlin is.

But more importantly, the issue of thematic resonance has nothing to do with timing, and I regret I was unclear earlier. My intent in pointing out that Siuan *isn't* Amyrlin now is not about chronology, it's about the ultimate destiny of Siuan and Moiraine. Having Moiraine become queen as Siuan became Amyrlin doesn't resonate with me because it wasn't Siuan's ultimate destiny to be Amyrlin. So Moiraine having the rule of Cairhien as her ultimate destiny would feel like a discontinuity to me, rather than something that resonates as right, true, and complete.

Siuan and Moiraine did, and in my opinion still do, have a shared destiny. (No, not *that* kind of shared destiny. There were never together in that sense.) It was to find and protect the Dragon Reborn; both dedicated their lives to it, both lost any semblance of a personal life and much of their personal power and dignity in pursuit of that goal. Like true Blues and Servants of All, they dedicated themselves to a cause - getting the world through the Last Battle.

Their shared destiny will be, in my opinion, the freedom to finally live for themselves instead of everyone else, after the Last Battle. Siuan's upcoming marriage to Gareth (if both live), her thoughts about her cause having consumed her life, her wonderings about what life after the Last Battle could be like - this seems to me to be where things are leading for Moiraine and Thom, as well.

And yes, I liked that Frodo and Gandalf earned a nice cruise to Valinor, but for me it would completely undermine the "thematic resonance" for Moiraine to become queen. It would mean that instead of earning herself a life of her own, she'd still be pressed into service.

Of course I don't see Moiraine and Thom (or Siuan and Gareth) riding off into the sunset and disappearing. But I could happily see Moiraine and Thom traveling together and taking up smaller, more personal causes as they travel, Moiraine finally free to be compassionate and helpful on an individual level for folks, instead of having to sacrifice little people for the Greater Good tm. I'm thinking here of Moiraine being forced to lead the party to flee Baerlon instead of going to help the innkeeper and see to any injuries, for example. I'd like to see her free to travel, and sing with her husband, and right wrongs, and be out in the world being an Aes Sedai who helps the common people (the way we all complain Aes Sedai should be, but aren't!), and have a life. (Maybe even be one of those Aes Sedai with kids we never see.)

Anyway - that's the direction it seems to me that both Siuan and Moiraine are going in - sacrificing everything to get us through the Last Battle, finding themselves unexpectedly, blessedly free afterwards. But Siuan getting to live for herself and Gareth, while Moiraine has to take on the burden of a crown? Not seeing the thematic resonance there.

Btw - I could see another thematic resonance, if Moiraine and Siuan (and Gareth and Thom) don't survive the Last Battle. It could be that Moiraine and Siuan will *literally* have their lives consumed by their quest (thus neatly resolving the issue of outliving their husbands). I really, really hope not, but I could see thematic resonance there. In that case, the hope of post-TG lives of freedom for these two would only be idle imaginings, or a brief interlude, one more thing to be sacrificed to save the world.

Caraline is a poor and illogical choice for Queen, as she will be living in Tear with Darlin, and that would cause as many problems for Cairhien as the proposed double-rule of Elayne.
Much worse problems, in fact, since Elayne can Travel at will and the distance isn't a real problem for her. I agree that Caraline would be a poor and illogical choice. But my point is that Caraline is High Seat of House Damodred. As such, how can another member of House Damodred take the throne over her? Elayne's claim to the throne is via her Damodred blood, but she's a Trakand, High Seat as well as Queen - of equal or greater rank than Caraline. Moiraine is of lesser rank, so it would be awkward. But I agree that this isn't a strong argument against Moiraine as Queen - it might be awkward but would only need Caraline's nod of approval. It would need that nod, though - otherwise, Caraline and Darlin together could make a play for Cairhien. Since they've agreed to follow Rand, they've agreed to support Elayne, as Darlin Sisnera and Ailil Riatin have. They haven't agreed to support Elayne - so Moiraine getting support would need Elayne or Rand to campaign for her, I'd think.
Also, the Demandred FAQ page is not 'my Demandred theory'. It's just an analysis of all the evidence and a presentation of the most likely options. I have argued against Roedran more than I have argued for it, and Roedran is only one part of the page.

This whole paragraph is...strange. A) I didn't reference Roedran, so I don't know why you do. I referenced it by referring to Demandred, and complimented the page in its entirety. I'm certainly aware that it contains more than just the part about Roedran - I *did* read it, after all, and would hardly have complimented it had I read it only in part. Referring to it was intended to convey that, though I disagree with you about the throne of Cairhien, I often find you cogent and persuasive. I sometimes also find you abrasive, and I did so here. B) I apologize if referring to the page as your theory was offensive or broke some protocol. As a layman, and a non-member of Theoryland (you did post it here, so surely you intended to have more than just members of Theoryland read it?), I'll point out that analyzing evidence and presenting likely options is a pretty good quick-and-dirty definition of theorizing. So I'm not sure why you object to my calling it a theory. C) If the objection is to my referring to it as "yours" (posted by and compiled by you) - or as one theory, rather than several - then ok, I guess. But I intended nothing dismissive by referring to the page as either yours or a theory - rather, I complimented it. If the form in which I did so was objectionable, whether through ignorance of Theoryland convention or for some other reason, then I do apologize. But I read your correction as censorious and dismissive, rather than (for instance) graciously informative of a minor error in nomenclature. Possibly I'm being over-sensitive, and feel free to correct me. But if my compliment offended, in future I can certainly be much slower to compliment you.
John Massey
183. subwoofer
@pwl- Edit- aww forget it. I don't think you get it anyways and I have bigger fish to fry. You were probably that same kid that touched a hot stove even though your mom told you not to, or poked a bear with a short stick. And I was never in the navy so I don't know why you are going on about ships.

Oh snap!- lookit-
How all that actually works, of course, is another question, and one I’m going to let slide under “because it’s cool, okay?”- post 5 Leigh.

I didn't write the wiki, if you have further issues, bug the wiki guys, I just think it's cool and I'm drinking the koolaid in this instance.- me.

And yet nobody-you- seem to be taking Leigh to task for that, so guess double standards are in effect. Cool beans.

Theresa Sumrall
184. smaller
Haha! I had the misfortune to be raised mormon, but I never connected the WoT Laman with the ridiculous strawman character of the same name in the BoM. That's really funny.

Possibly because I was pronouncing their names differently - in my head the WoT character was , and mormons typically pronounce the BoM character as or .
(Wow, getting IPA characters to display here is an enormous pain - that undisplayed character is meant to be turned v, the second is a schwa.)
185. RichR
Sierin was not Black Ajah. Some of this is surmise, but most is based in the text. Essentially, there are three key facts of importance: Siuan tipped off Sierin Vayu about the Black Ajah, Cadsuane once nearly rooted out the Black Ajah, and Chesmal induced the Reds to kill Sierin because she (Chesmal) and several others were going to be arrested. The obvious conclusion is that Sierin had Cads hunt the BA, and Cads did so, supplying the list that got Sierin killed. So here's how it goes:

* Siuan passes her left-handed note about the existence of the Black Ajah to Sierin.
* Sierin sets Cadsuane to hunting the Black Ajah.
* Cadsuane hears about the odd goings on in the Borderlands, so goes there.
* She encounters Moiraine, claiming to be searching for a Warder and having some urgent business. Coupling her unexplained presence where strange things are happening with the fact that she disobeyed a direct order from the Amyrlin, Cadsuane was obviously suspicious of her. That explains Cadsuane's behaviour in New Spring.
* Despite never finding out what Moiraine was up to, Cads makes a list of BA and turns it in to Sierin.
* Sierin trusts Duhara, her Keeper, who passes word to her fellow Black sisters.
* Chesmal, one way or anther, ends up with the information and arranges for Sierin to be killled.
186. mrexperience
Thank you Mr. Jordan for not including male homosexuality in a big way. He's alluded to it. I think that is totally enough; since the plot doesn't need it to advance and he as an author couldn't relate.......(neither can I for that matter. In my country, Buggery is still illegal!)
I'm just saying that sort of symmetry was not necessary or warranted in this particular series.
187. d.t.
For the gay men discussion, sorry if this has been posted, I gave up around post 80, but Brandon has said that there is a fairly major gay main character that is going to be revelaed in A Memory of Light. It's been a while since I've read the books (part of the reason I am reading this) but I have had a suspicion that Talmaines is gay (that is Mat's second in command's name, isnt' it?). Leigh sure picks some strange things to rant about though.
188. d.t.
I have a feeling someone is going to take that last sentence out of context and rant at me about it so a quick explanation that will hopefully diffuse any situation. we get a lot more women pov's than men, and specifically from women in position to notice such relationships. If we replace some of these woman with men in a similar position, we might see some gay people in Randland, but we don't, so we didn't.
189. Thane
Re: Siuan/Moiraine's love. I honestly believe it was/is real. It's what underscores and emphasizes the lengths they were/are willing to go to to insure Rand was found and kept safe.

They KNOW he world's eternal fate rests upon their actions. That's not something to be taken lightly. In fact, it's something that in the real world we cannot even comprehend. We THINK our actions are sometimes important. But they KNOW. They know the prophecy is real. They know the dark one is real. They know this is for all the marbles in all the world across all of time.

They're sacrificing their love for that effort.

I am however pretty interested to see a scene between them post the last battle.

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