Feb 25 2011 2:23pm

The Wheel of Time Re-read: New Spring, Part 6

New Spring by Robert JordanHaaaaay, party people. Welcome to another Wheel of Time Re-read, yeah?

Today’s entry covers Chapters 11 and 12 of New Spring, in which pies are puzzlingly promised, preferred hues successfully bestowed, and rodents (apparently) satisfactorily distributed.

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

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

And now, the post!

Chapter 11: Just Before Dawn

What Happens
Moiraine dresses tiredly, wishing she had talked Siuan out of pulling the prank. A knock sounds at her door, and Moiraine answers to find seven sisters, one from each Ajah, waiting for her. Elaida is one of them, and Moiraine forces herself to meet her gaze evenly.

Another hour, or just a little more, and they would be equals, at least to some degree. Never again would Elaida be able to make her quail.

They collect Siuan from her room, and the sisters surround them both as they head back to the testing chamber. When Tamra demands to know who comes, in the words of the ritual, Moiraine and Siuan answer together. One of the sisters catches her breath, but Tamra only pauses a moment before continuing the ceremony. Moiraine and Siuan continue to answer in tandem, and soon are admitted together into the chamber. Inside, Tamra and Aeldra wait with all the Sitters of the Hall as well as two more sisters from each Ajah, each of the latter waiting with an extra shawl. They are required to step through the oval ring to get to Tamra, and Moiraine is glad that she won the argument so that Siuan goes first, though in return Siuan had insisted Moiraine be the first to swear on the Oath Rod, which Moiraine considers unfair.

“Under the Light and by my hope of salvation and rebirth, I vow that I will speak no word that is not true.” The Oath settled on her, and suddenly the air seemed to press harder against her skin. Red is white, she thought. Up is down. She could still think a lie, but her tongue would not work to utter it now. “Under the Light and by my hope of salvation and rebirth, I vow that I will make no weapon for one man to kill another.” The pressure grew abruptly; it felt as though she had been sewn into an invisible garment, much too tight, that molded her from the crown of her head to the soles of her feet.

To her chagrin, sweat popped out on her forehead, yet she managed to keep her face calm. “Under the Light and by my hope of salvation and rebirth, I vow that I will never use the One Power as a weapon except against Shadowspawn, or in the last extreme of defending my life or that of my Warder or another sister.” That garment shrank to still greater snugness, and she breathed heavily through her nose, clamping her jaws to keep it from becoming a gasp. Invisible and utterly flexible, yet oh, so tight! This feeling that her flesh was being compressed would fade, but not entirely for a whole year. Light!

To Moiraine’s delight, Tamra gives the rod to Siuan instead of completing the ceremony, ensuring they will both become Aes Sedai at the same moment. Siuan swears the Oaths without faltering, and Tamra instructs them to complete the ceremony by choosing their Ajahs. They both walk toward the Blue sisters, having made their decision more than a year ago.

The Blue sought to right wrongs, which was not always the same as seeking justice, like Greens and Grays. “Seekers after Causes,” Verin had called Blues, and the capitals were there to be heard in her voice. Moiraine could not imagine belonging elsewhere. Siuan was smiling, which she should not have done. But then, so was she herself, she realized, and she could not make it go away.

Once their direction is clear, the other Ajahs and Tamra all exit, leaving Aeldra and the Blues. Leane gives Moiraine her shawl and Rafela gives Siuan hers, and the three Blue Sitters (Eadyth, Anlee, and Lelaine) welcome them with a formal kiss. Aeldra kisses them as well, and adds to Moiraine’s startlement that they each owe her a pie, as the sixth sister to give them the welcome kiss. Eadyth chides Aeldra for being undignified, and charges Leane and Rafela to escort Moiraine and Siuan to their new home. The Sitters and Aeldra leave. To Moiraine’s horror, Rafela tries to convince them to be escorted in the old way, which involves being “clad in the Light,” but Leane derides her attempt to revive customs that haven’t been used in over a thousand years.

“I doubt anyone but a few Browns even remembers the custom. Rafela is half mad with trying to bring back dead customs. Don’t deny it, Rafela. Remember the apple blossoms? Even the Greens don’t remember what battle that was supposed to commemorate.”

Strangely, though Rafela had reached the shawl a year before Leane, she only sighed. “Customs should not be forgotten,” she said, but without any force.

Leane teases Rafela about other customs she’s tried to revive, to her embarrassment, and hustles them out. Moiraine is bemused at this different face of Aes Sedai, never shown to Accepted, and inquires if they are allowed to ask questions. Leane says they may, but some cannot be answered until they meet the First Selector, which is the title of the Head of the Blue Ajah. Rafela warns them they must never reveal that title, either, and begins regaling them with arcane customs, some of which Moiraine finds practical and others silly.

She was not about to have the beginning of her search delayed by something as ridiculous as not wearing all blue on the first day of the month. Light, surely they did not enforce that one. Safer to be sure, though.

They reach the quarters of the Blue Ajah, and enter to find every Blue sister in the Tower waiting for them inside.

Man, so we don’t even get to see the prank? That’s weak. I was all expecting a tense sneaking-through-the-Tower bit. Well, at least they didn’t get caught, I guess. Yay, and all.

And more sincerely: Yay, they are Officially Blue! The raising ceremony was actually refreshingly simple and straightforward. Tamra gets major cool points for taking Moiraine and Siuan’s insistence on being raised together in stride. Although—no, I’ll get to that in a minute.

Also, hi, Leane! Hi, Rafela! …And, uh, hi, Lelaine, I guess. And—

Wait, “Eadyth” and “Anlee”? Who the hell are these people? Where did they come from? Where did they go later? Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot, over?

Seriously, it kind of boggles my mind that we STILL don’t know some of the infrastructure here. We know that at least one of these two sisters is no longer a Sitter by the time of Siuan’s fall from power, because the two Blue Sitters who show up in Salidar after fleeing the Tower are Lelaine and Lyrelle (Moria is selected in Salidar). However, we’ve never, ONCE, found out who the third pre-schism Blue Sitter was or what the hell happened to her, at least not as far as I recall. Fans used to speculate that the third Sitter was Cabriana Mecandes, the sister Semirhage tortured and murdered in LOC, but the next chapter makes that rather unlikely (though admittedly not impossible). But assuming she wasn’t Cabriana, was the third Sitter Anlee, or Eadyth, or someone else entirely?

And regardless of who she was, why hasn’t anyone among the rebels made a fuss or even passingly wondered what happened to her? This is especially true if the third Sitter was Eadyth, since we find out in the next chapter that she was not only a Sitter, but also the Head of the Ajah. So you’d think a sister who was both a Sitter AND the Ajah Head dropping completely off the map might be noteworthy, right? Well, apparently, you’d be wrong.

…Okay, checking further, it’s possible that both Eadyth and Anlee simply died of old age in the interim; they’re both described here as being white- and gray-haired, respectively, which means they were super up there in years, so that’s reasonable. So, fine, maybe Anlee and Eadyth both bit it at some point, and Lyrelle was selected to replace Anlee, no big. It still doesn’t explain, though, why we’re never told who replaced Eadyth, either as a Sitter or as Head of the Blue, nor why none of the rebel Blues make any mention of that person’s absence once they all re-congregate in Salidar. In fact, I’m not a hundred percent on this but I’m pretty sure we still don’t know who heads the Blue among the Rebels.

I don’t get it, man. There doesn’t seem to be any conceivable reason why Jordan would need to withhold the identity of the third Blue Sitter (or the current or former First Selector) from the readers, so I can only assume this is just an oversight that was never considered important enough to fill in. And okay, I grant that it probably really isn’t all that important in the grand scheme of things, but the geek in me continues to find the gap faintly itchy and irritating.

Well, whatever. Moving on!


Chapter 12: Entering Home

What Happens
Anaiya welcomes them with a kiss, pretending annoyance that Aeldra “stole” her pies, and Kairen Stang hopes they pay her back by baking poorly; Moiraine laughs and feels like she has come home. They make the rounds, receiving kisses from all forty-one gathered Blues before coming to the Sitters. Eadyth tells them there is something she must tell them before they leave the Blue quarters again, and tells Cabriana to escort them to their rooms. Moiraine is puzzled by the meek way Cabriana behaves toward them, and asks if Eadyth is the First Selector. Anaiya, walking with them, answers that she is.

“It’s unusual for the First Selector also to be a Sitter,” Anaiya went on, “but unlike some, we Blues like to make full use of ability.”

Folding her shawl and laying it across one arm, Kairen nodded. “Eadyth is perhaps the most capable Blue in the last hundred years, but if she were a Brown or a White, they’d let her potter off wherever she wanted.”

“Oh, yes,” Cabriana said, making a tsking sound. “Some of the Brown Sitters have been disgraceful. For Sitters, at least. But Browns always let their minds wander. In any case, you may rest assured that whatever talents you have, a use will be found for them.”

Moiraine exchanges a glance with Siuan, not liking the sound of that last, and thinks this place might have just as many undercurrents as the Sun Palace. Moiraine finds that her personal effects have been transferred to her new quarters, which are next door to Siuan’s, and Cabriana adds anxiously that they can choose other rooms if these don’t suit. Moiraine notes that Cabriana is clearly the low man on the totem pole compared to Anaiya and Kairen, but cannot figure out why Cabriana treats her and Siuan with the same amount of deference as she does Anaiya. The others leave Moiraine and Siuan alone to eat, but Siuan is much more interested in what Eadyth is going to tell them; Moiraine has no clue, but agrees with Siuan that it all sounds very like Daes Dae’mar. They change into blue dresses left for them, and Moiraine is pleased that she finally gets to wear her kesiera again, affixing the gold chain so the sapphire hangs in the center of her forehead.

Studying herself in a wall mirror with a scroll-worked wooden frame, she smiled. She might lack the ageless face yet, but now she looked the Lady Moiraine Damodred, and Lady Moiraine Damodred had navigated the Sun Palace where hidden currents could pull you under even at fifteen or sixteen. Now she was ready to navigate the currents here.

She and Siuan go to Eadyth’s rooms, and she wonders why Eadyth looks like she’s tasting something bad. Eadyth sits them down and hesitates for a long moment before turning to them.

Folding her arms beneath her breasts, she took a deep breath. “For six years you have been taught that the second greatest rudeness is to speak directly of someone’s strength in the One Power.” Her mouth twisted again briefly. “In truth, I find it difficult to do so now, necessary though it is. For six years, you have been strongly discouraged from thinking of your own strength in the Power or anyone else’s. Now, you must learn to compare your strength to that of every sister you meet. In time, it will become second nature, and you will do it without thought, but you must be very careful until you reach that point. If another sister stands higher than you in the Power, whatever her Ajah, you must defer to her. The higher she stands above you, the greater your deference.”

She warns them that penances for misjudging standing are usually harsh, as they are set by the offended sister. Moiraine nods slowly, finally understanding Cabriana’s behavior, and why Elaida had deferred to Meilyn and Rafela to Leane, and is very grateful that she and Siuan are nearly identical in strength. Siuan asks if they have to obey anyone that outranks them, but Eadyth only repeats that the higher a sister stands above you, the greater your deference, except in cases where a sister has been specifically appointed above you, for example as chief emissary on a diplomatic mission. Then she declares an urgent need to brush her teeth, and kicks them out. In the corridor, Siuan comments that this isn’t so bad; they already aren’t so far from the top, and will get closer as their potential is reached. Moiraine points out that it isn’t that simple:

“At what point does deference become obedience? Even if she did not call it so, that is what she meant. We must observe the other sisters closely, and until we know for certain, we must err on the side of prudence. A month from now, I mean to be leagues from Tar Valon, not sweating on a farm across the river.”

They are intercepted by a sister named Cetalia Delarme, who immediately outrages Moiraine by referring to her as a “pretty porcelain doll”; Moiraine says nothing, though, noting that Cetalia is as strong as she and Siuan will be in five years. Cetalia goes on that she’s heard Siuan is a great one for solving puzzles, and gives her a stack of pages with the names of playing cards on them. Moiraine can’t make head or tails of it, but Siuan quickly identifies the order as that of a game called Arrays, though she’s never played it herself. Cetalia is impressed, and peremptorily drags Siuan off to test her on more puzzles, over her protests. Moiraine is grateful that they will only have to put up with this for a week or so before they leave, and goes back to her rooms. She is interrupted almost immediately by Anaiya, who offers her Healing from the pain of taking the Oaths, and also tells her Tamra has sent for her. Moiraine, thinking that perhaps Tamra means to make her one of the searchers, goes eagerly.

Hours later, Siuan protests to Cetalia that she doesn’t want a job as her assistant, but Cetalia is having none of it, and kicks Siuan out to eat. Siuan curses herself for wanting to impress people and showing off, and thinks that now she’ll be stuck in the Tower for years, until she gets strong enough to tell Cetalia to stuff it. She goes looking for Moiraine.

The sight of Moiraine always made her smile. Cetalia had been wrong in one particular. She was not a pretty little porcelain doll; she was a beautiful little porcelain doll. On the outside, anyway. Inside, where it counted, was another matter. The first time Siuan saw her, she had been sure the Cairhienin girl would crack like a spindle-shell in a matter of days. But Moiraine had turned out to be as tough as she herself, if not tougher. No matter how often she was knocked down, she climbed back to her feet straightaway. Moiraine did not know the meaning of “give up.”

She is surprised, therefore, to find Moiraine disconsolate; Moiraine tells her that Tamra has assigned her to distribute the bounty. Siuan asks if it could be to get her out of the way of the search, but Moiraine doesn’t think so, pointing out that she does have experience in managing an estate, after all. She asks what Cetalia wanted, and Siuan grumbles without thinking that she just wanted Siuan to look at a bunch of fifty-year-old reports on happenings in various nations. Moiraine, however, immediately divines what this means:

“Cetalia heads the Blue Ajah eyes-and-ears.” It was not a question. Trust her to see straight to the heart right away.

“Don’t even whisper that. The bloody woman will boil me down like an oil fish if she learns I let it slip. […] Look now, handing out the bounty can’t last more than a few months. After, you’re free to go. Let me know where you’re going, and if I learn anything, I’ll try to get word to you.”

Moiraine answers that she doesn’t know if she has a few months, and confesses to Siuan about the possibility of having to be Queen of Cairhien. Siuan blinks, but opines Moiraine would make a great queen. Moiraine counters that she is not willing to take the chance that having an Aes Sedai queen would not go badly for Cairhien, and further points out that no one has ever ruled Cairhien without eventually having to stoop to “kidnapping, assassination and worse” to hold on to power. She begins to cry, and Siuan reassures her that everything will be okay, a bit surprised that the First Oath allows her to say it.

“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.

Lan and his men gather at the foot of Kinslayer’s Dagger, and Lan sees that the Aiel they’ve been following must already be into the mountain passes. Bukama hopes that Pedron Niall (who currently commands the coalition) doesn’t try to “paint his face” (meaning try to gain glory by attacking), but Lan answers that he won’t, knowing Niall is too smart for that. He looks to the north, feeling the urge to go back; Bukama, noting this, comments that “only a fool jumps from one war straight into another." Lan answers that a month or two will be rest enough, but Bukama bargains him up to four. As the army disperses in the wake of the cessation of the Aiel threat, he and Bukama turn south toward Andor and Tear, avoiding Tar Valon.

Lan did not speak at all unless Bukama addressed him. He felt the pull of home sharply. All he wanted was a return to the Blight. And no encounters with Aes Sedai.

Yeah, Lan, I’m thinking you’re kind of S.O.L. on that last wish. Heh.

It’s funny that you guys chose to have a big debate about the strength hierarchy thing in the comments to the last post, considering how much more appropriate it would have been in this one. But then again, it’s not like this territory hasn’t been covered multiple times, at length, by everyone and their dog, including me, so it’s all good in the end.

Siuan’s comments about the strength thing are… well, I can’t entirely blame her for it, because it’s a pretty natural reaction, but damn if that isn’t a classic case of privilege, there. I can’t help but think of what that conversation with Eadyth would be like if you were, say, Daigian—i.e. someone very weak in the Power. Seriously, what must that be like, to be informed that not only are you at the bottom rung of the ladder, but you will always be at the bottom rung, and there’s not a damn thing you can do to not be on the bottom rung, ever?

That would fucking suck, is what it would be like. I would be pissed as hell, man.

Someone pointed out in the comments recently that the strength thing was strategically necessary for the story, as there is no other reasonable way the Supergirls could have ended up in charge of everything in the short time frame they have before Armageddon rolls around. Which, okay, but “because the plot needed it to happen” is generally not considered the most classy rationale for things existing in a story, you know?

Argh. And the most annoying thing is that, even given my issues with the whole set-up, seeing Moiraine and Siuan’s status get elevated like that was still a heady thrill-by-proxy, just like it was for when the Supergirls (or the Superboys, for that matter) got to step up and take charge in the series proper. Damn wish-fulfillment fantasy getting in the way of my principles and shit, I swear.

I have to admire Moiraine for her reasons for not wanting to be queen of Cairhien. The Aes Sedai thing aside, I have to agree I wouldn’t exactly be enthused about taking on a job that pretty much demands that you be a part-time sociopath, regardless of whether I would be good at it or not. In fact, if I thought I would be good at it, that would be my cue to run the bloody hell away from it at top speed, methinks. Yikes.

The sight of Moiraine always made her smile.


Siuan could have kissed her. In fact, she did.

Uh-huh. And the part about how they totally broke Tower protocol to be sworn in together. Oh, and I left out the bit where they entered the swear-in holding hands, or the part where Moiraine rhapsodizes about how Siuan is awesome in every way, just as Siuan does in the quote from the summary above. Yeah, thank goodness this is just a girl-on-girl and therefore by definition temporary and dismissable pillow friend thing, ‘cause, you know, otherwise I might think this actually was a real relationship. Silly me!

I wonder if Jordan was even aware of the mixed signals he was generating here, and how belittling they are when examined in any depth. The ironic thing is that if he had just left the pillow friend thing out of it, and kept Moiraine and Siuan’s relationship strictly that of BFFs, I would have been totally happy to accept that. Just as I would have been happy to accept them being in an OTP, True Love Forever relationship as well. It’s this damn wishy-washy either-neither thing that cheeses me off. Oh well.

And that’s our show, kids! Have a lovely weekend, unless you’re in my neck of the woods, in which case you’re kind of hosed as far as “lovely” goes. New York weather is officially fired, I swear. See you next week!

lake sidey
1. lakesidey
Thanks Leigh!

I'm going to resist the temptation to go to the re-opened can of worms re: the S&M relationship and instead ask: does anyone remember what happens to Aeldra (does she survive the pies? I can't recollect hearing of her again). Also, Eadyth (as Leigh also points out) seems to have vanished, somehow, in the next 20 years. Pity, as she sounds very competent.

Also: Anaiya, Kairen and Cabriana all mentioned within a few lines of each other. Clever, clever RJ.

Kerwin Miller
2. tamyrlink
the third (nameless) pre-schism Blue Sitter died...during the schism
Benjamin Moldovan
3. benpmoldovan
Wasn't Eadyth the third? It said straight out that she was a Sitter.
4. FellKnight
Brandon Sanderson recently confirmed that Lelaine is the First Selector during the series timeframe.

lake sidey
5. lakesidey
Oh, and Leigh? They do get caught. That is why both of them need healing - because the tightening oaths on top of their recent strapping from the MoN (presumably Merean) was causing them more than the normal discomfort. Also, Merean mentions it to Cads later in NS (both the prank and the fact that they were punished and hence "took the oaths while too tender to sit down" or some such).

About the Blue head - I kind of assumed that Lelaine was the First Selector of the Blue (and remained so in Salidar). A sitter for many years, for most of that time the strongest in the power among the Blues (which is once more true btw, now that S&M have been powered down).

(Edit: FellKnight@4 already made the point about Lelaine, and with better backup info. Cheers!)

"Another hour, or just a little more, and they would be equals, at least to some degree."

Dream on,'ll be the far side of 5 years before you're near to equals.

Justin Levitt
6. TyranAmiros
lakesidey @ 1: The pies are in the next chapter, I think. And Aeldra does get her payback for stealing Anaiya's pies. On the other hand, Siuan nabs Sheriam's pie, which is quite tasty.

I always liked these chapters for what they were, a slice of life at the Tower before things start to go down in the timeframe of the main series.
lake sidey
7. lakesidey
@6 TyranAmiros: Yes indeed, and I remember she falls sick on eating them. But I don't think she is mentioned again either in NS or later....which is why I wondered if she survived the pies. Her vanishing is weird, she being the keeper and all (though no weirder than Eadyth's I suppose); still, some mention of her fate should have been there. When Sierin took a new keeper (Duhara?), what happens to Aeldra?

What happens to a keeper when an Amyrlin dies, anyway? Does she go back to her old Ajah, or what? (Anyone? Terez, or any other lurking encyclopaediae?). I can't seem to remember any specific case, except Alviarin who was certainly sent back to her Ajah (the White, I mean, not the Black). But that was when she was removed as keeper, not because her Amyrlin died. I am confused?

I liked these chapters too, but glad to see Lan popping up for a moment (alas, he's going to go West, I mean South, for the next 4 months and 2-3 chapters). His viewpoints are very welcome, I always wished he would have a few more in the main series!

8. flodros
Hi Leigh,

Great re-read, been following for a while but this is the first time I've got here early enough to post early(ish) in the comments.

Also, Siuan and Moraine were caught and punished for the prank. IIRC the Mistress of Novices explains later in the book, to Cads, that they were probably the first 2 AS to take the oaths after just having a switching (or something).

Suddenly, all the talk about healing in this chapter becomes apparent.
9. flodros
Lakesidey beat me to it. Sad face :(
Kerwin Miller
10. tamyrlink
i always just figured sisters go back into the Ajah. maybe with a little more prestige for having had a high rank position. When Sierin Vayu dies, Duhara goes back to just being a Red. and Amira (her MoN) ends up a Sitter, till she steps down for Elaida and then dies at Dumai's Wells (not that that has anything to do with anything lol). i was gonna say Sheriam went back to the Blue but i mean with the Schism and her running the Salidar Six she didnt really have much choice in the matter lol.

idk why, but i always saw Anaiya as First Selector in Salidar (till she died). because if it were Lelaine, (after the Tower in Exile was established) it wouldnt have been a 3 way power struggle between Sheriam (and the SS) and Lelaine and Romanda. if it were Lelaine, wouldnt she have brought Sheriam to heel? But Anaiya is in the SS and she wouldnt stop Sheriam from leading, and clearly, some Ajah heads try to work from behind the scenes.
Brandon Wood
11. brad21088
Cue the myriad comments about Jordan writing so that everyone can see different things, and since you're clearly a leftist dyke, you're reading too much into it, etc etc etc, even though Jordan himself said on numerous occassions that they did have a sexual relationship and he did mean to write it that way... UGH.

Anyway, I hadn't thought about that RE: how someone like Daigian would feel. And man, you're right! That really would suck hard! I think I'd leave the Tower and travel the world, doing various things depending on my Ajah (e.g., if I was Yellow, I'd travel around healing people in rural communities) that way I wouldn't have to be at the bottom; I could be at the top of all the non-channellers! But seriously, I do think I'd get out of the Tower to avoid having to obey everyone above me, and not out of some avoidance of authority thing. It's just annoying to think that you're as well trained as someone else and you have to do what they say because they're stronger? Uh, no thanks. What if they demand you do something incredibly stupid?
Kimani Rogers
12. KiManiak
Thanks, as always Leigh. Good post and parting thoughts, there. Let’s see…

The Blues make full use of their Sisters’ capabilities? What does that mean? How would that be demonstrated; other than Siaun’s placement as Cetalia’s assistant/ intelligence officer in training? (Moiraine was appointed by the Amyrlin, not her Ajah). Do we have proof of this anywhere else in the series?

And yes, we talked a lot about the Aes Sedai ranking system in the last re-read post, so I won’t go much into it here and now. I just find it weird that they make a complete 180 from not using strength in the Power as a measure (or to even be discussed) as a Novice/Accepted and then it becomes the crux of their assessing status and rank once they are Sisters. And the fact that not talking about strength in the Power is a pretty strong custom as well as using that same strength to assess status, makes me question whether these somewhat competing customs have somehow grown beyond what their intended purpose was. It really wouldn’t surprise me if the deference custom grew from “when in battle, to establish a chain of authority” to “at all times, since we’re constantly at war with the Shadow.”

Still, I find it funny/weird that Eadyth and other AS are extremely uncomfortable (to the point where physical symptoms of discomfort manifest) talking about something that they use as a major component of operating in their everyday lives. I'm sure we do something similar (any parent with a teenager probably has difficulty talking about sex, alcohol, other drugs, etc), but it's still funny...

When does deference become obedience? How come Eadyth didn’t provide clarification? Yeah, I couldn’t have been Aes Sedai because I’m not a big fan of operating with generalities and vagueness (also, there may be a problem with that whole wrong gender thing). If they didn’t define “deference,” I would politely disagree but defer to anyone above me whose choices I was not a fan of, but refuse any direct orders (and then probably be sent for a penance that I would object strenuously too, ending up in some large confrontation with my Ajah Head about my definition of “deference” compared to their loose interpretation of what they think “deference” means; again, like I said, I couldn’t be an Aes Sedai).

I wonder if the ranking system is why Daigian is out of the Tower (until Cadsuane snatches her up and adds her to her retinue)? Like brad21088@11 said, I would get as far away from the Tower and seeing a multitude of Aes Sedai on a daily basis, as I could.

Lan is back! Let the dunking in ponds and insect-bites begin (Ok, still a few more chapters to go, I guess)!
Luke M
13. lmelior
Note that we see Cabriana, Kairen, and Anaiya are close friends, which led Nisao and Romanda to finally suspect Halima all the way in KoD.

Also, I couldn't find any reference to what happened "forty or fifty years ago." I saw the Whitecloak War was twenty years earlier and kind of in the same area. That would have been an interesting connection to make, since Salidar was abandoned during the Whitecloak War and that's where the Blues and their allies rendezvous later on.
D. Funk
14. archaeo
Re: the First Selector, it turns out it is, in fact, Lelaine by the time we get to the series.

"Who is the First Selector of the Blue Ajah? (and if that gets RAFO'd) Have we seen her on screen or her name mentioned??
Brandon: The glossary in the back of Towers of Midnight says, "The First Selector is currently unknown, although it is suspected that Lelaine Akashi fills this position." That suspicion is correct."

Via Theoryland's excellent compendium of author quotes.

I also didn't really mind disappearing characters, given that the following years would end up being fairly turbulent in the Tower. What with three new Amyrlins, the "vileness" and all the attendant grossness, and the likelihood that Ishamael gets out in a few years to spur the Black Ajah to new heights, it's no real surprise that a lot of these women get murderized. Plus, there's always good old old age.

I am also going to skip the M&S shipping unless somebody else wants to wrangle about it, since I'm sort of tired.

KiManiak@12, the vagueness sort of drives me nuts too, but given that there are, in fact, punishments, it sort of reminds me of, uh, driving. You spend your first several years as an AS in the Tower, probably, doing the sort of jobs Moraine and Siuan get suckered into, and during that time you're corrected when you're wrong, allowing for a relatively smooth learning curve. That said, I still think it's an ass-backwards way of deciding rank, but uuuugh.

I'll have more to say on this later, but I am moving this weekend and I think I sort of wore out my schtick last week.
Kerwin Miller
15. tamyrlink
KiManiak @12 i think they discouraged the novices and Accepted from thinking about strength because they would probably start pulling rank on each other, distracting from studies, and building strength cliques among themselves. and i think it was mentioned somewhere that they would try to compare their strength against the sisters.
Don Baumberger
16. D-Luxxx
Okay, a few things here:
1. I don't think we get to find out who the First Selector is in the series proper because it's supposed to be secret. Remember, you can't talk about it. 1st rule of Blue Ajah is you don't talk about Blue Ajah buisness to outsiders (which pretty much encompasses every main character in the book). I'm thinking that even Suian wouldn't be privy to the info, until she regains her power due to being the Amyrlin (and thus technically of all and no Ajah) and then just a plain powerless woman. Then when she is accepted back into the Blue, she wouldn't be able to divulge that info to the Super Girls anyway. We don't get much chance to see her interacting with her Ajah. Egwene chooses Green (and is also Amyrlin), Nynave choose Yellow, and thus, there would be no reason for them to know. And finally, since there is no Blue Ajah in the tower, we don't get to see any of the inner politics that we get from other Ajahs in the tower POVs.

2. As to the power heirarchy, I agree that it is a good way to get the Super Girls into positions of power quickly. However, there is another way to look at it. Being as there are only a small number of Aes Sedai, you are still "superior" to every non Aes Sedai. It's like being a millionaire. Sure, there are plenty of billionaires out there, but you still have more than most of the population. Not too shabby when you look at the big picture. The problem with this heirarchy is that those who are power hungry or ambitious have another way of gaining power... the Black Ajah. Unfortuantly the very plot point that gives the Super Girls the ability to move through the ranks quickly is also a driving force behind many of their woes. I do find it interesting that some of the more powerful sisters have gone to the "dark side" anyway.
Richard Boye
17. sarcastro
re: First Selector

As Leigh knows, I have long groused that it is damned annoying that we never get even a throwaway thought bubble about the missing third Blue Sitter. If she was killed in the coup du tour, than you'd think that was be a huge sticking point in the reconciliation efforts, no? If she just wandered away and went into a cloistered cottage somewhere you'd think that Siuan would say something like "It's a shame that Anlee (or whoever) never made it to Salidar."

I think it’s weird. RJ liked to play coy about things, but then clearly relished giving us clues later to fill in the gaps - if he was purposefully being vague about the First Selector and/or the Third Sitter, it was very unlike him to have dropped the subject altogether.

For another matter, it always apparent to me that Anaiya was the Blue First Selector (or at least it was, until RJ wrote aNS and had to have a Better Idea because he made Anaiya somewhat junior.), but it's evident to me that she is a stealth power among the Blues, and when she is killed, Maigan takes her place on the Salidar Six council (note: both Anaiya and Maigan were part of Siuan's entourage to Fal Dara in tGH).

In fact, RJ could have simply tied up this loose end by dropping a line somewhere that Maigan was the Third Sitter, but somehow her arrival in Salidar was very tardy and thus, Moria was selected (and since the Blue weren't part of the Young/Atypical Sitters Scheme, it would have made no difference).

All of which leads me in a round-about way to say that I don't actually think that Lelaine was supposed to have been the First Selector the whole time (as others have noted, then a good deal of the internal tedium of Salidar politics makes no sense), as envisioned by RJ, but since I think that BS has a less deft hand than RJ when dealing with the interlocking skeins of Aes Sedai relationships and strata, he has announced it so, even though it is less than a good fit.
Stefan Mitev
18. Bergmaniac
One of the things i noticed here was a mention that there's a custom in the Blue Ajah which forbid its members to get married, but it's not clear whether they enforce it or not. If it's the former, Moiraine and Siuan might get in trouble, since both plan to marry, though they may get an exception as special cases. ;)

Interesting that each Aes Sedai get such a big yearly allowance - 1000 gold crowns. We knew they were rich before, but I didn't know each of them got so much money. It's such a big change for those like Siuan who've been raised in poverty. Though on the other hand this position requires to spend a lot, clothes alone cost a fortune, as we will see in the next chapter and further in NS, Moiraine spent a small fortune on dresses, though Siuan was more stingy.

Come to think of it, the Supergirls haven't gotten any allowance yet, at least not on screen. Probably Nynaeve got hers offscreen in ToM. Elayne hardly needs it, of course.

Oh, and apparently once upon a time the new Aes Sedai had to go naked through the corridors of the Tower on the first day, at least this is no longer enforced, thankfully, that would've been a bit too much even for this series. ;)
Simon Southey-Davis
19. Glyph
Ah, you guys - I was hoping no-one'd let slip and Leigh wouldn't find out until the relevant chapter! ;-)

I'll leave the ranking thing mostly alone too, save one comment: Eadyth's 'reveal' really emphasised how jarring the transition is. "We've spent years beating this out of you, and now you've got to make it your instinctive behaviour with everyone you meet. Oh, and we all clearly hate it, but we're going to do it anyway because that's what we do."

I can see the point of keeping the novices & Accepted on an equal footing as much as possible, at least officially, but it still seems weird to totally invert that on becoming full sisters.
Richard Chapling
20. Chappers
Never again would Elaida be able to make her quail.
If Elaida's as bad at cooking as she is at everything else, that was a lucky escape...

KiManiak @12, tamyrlink @15
They probably also think that novices and Accepted are stupid enough to try and force their strength to become AS faster (especially the "Ooh, ooh" girls like Egwene among them...). Agree on the danger of them comparing themselves to Sisters, as well.
Daniel Smith
21. Smittyphi
Wouldn't Moiraine and Siuan jump to pretty much the top of the food chain automatically with Cads, Meilyn and ¿someone? else higher? Once those two took the oaths, barring official positions of authority, wouldn't they be equal to Elaida? I think Moiraine said that you could never see the current abilities of a channel but the full potential. She saw the "raging bonfire" that Nynaeve was despite her wilder power weilding ability.

Thanks for the post Leigh.
Mikey Bennett
22. EvilMonkey
Strength counts for nothing unless you are Aes Sedai. That is their feeling on it and it shows whenever they encounter another group who does things better than they do. Or even individuals. Aviendha is as strong as Elayne and Eggy, so Sisters are actively recruiting her to join the Tower, yet at the same time they denigrate and belittle anything she does with the Power b/c she ain't AS. Caddy Sue looks at Nynaeve like a spoiled child b/c she had yet to hold the Oath Rod, although in their strength hiearchy Nyna sits at the very top.

As far as Daigain goes, or even Sleete's AS, of course it makes sense if they want to get the hell outta the Tower, seeing that there is no advancement there for them. And that in my opinion is the true flaw in a strength based ranking system. Sure it's unfair for those with low wattage, that's a given. But what about the strongest AS? If they have any ambition at all they will stay in the Tower, making it so that only the less capable sisters have a real incentive to be outside. Take Siuan for example. She would have been a good puzzle-master/problem solver regardless of how strong she was. Yet, would anyone have considered her for the position of spymaster and later Amrylin if she had Daigain's strength? How many people with skillz are the Tower losing, or even turning to the shadow because their system bases rank on an inborn ability and advancement by the weak is effectively nil? Meanwhile you have sisters on the outside who can barely light a fucking candle practically being forced outside where all the bad guys live, just so they have a chance to do their part saving the world without being treated like a child by her peers. Moraine and Caddy Sue are exceptions that prove the rule. Is their any doubt that with their strength Moraine and Cads would have been Sitters at the very least? Their temperments keep them away from the Tower, but they are strong enough to get respect anywhere. That would not be true if Sorilea, who all agree is very capable, went to the Tower for novice training. I see it as a waste of talent on both ends of the spectrum. The most powerful are administrators who sit in an office and rarely use that power for anything. The weakest, no matter how bright or talented they may be, can never expect to be put in a leadership position with their peers; they can only be leaders if there are no other AS around. So if the shyt hits the fan in the Borderlands, say a large scale Trolloc breakout, the sisters who would be most effective at flinging fireballs and lightning are working in the Tower. The people who will give out sooner and be the least effective at the power intensive tasks are on the front lines. Look, we know all people aren't created equal, some are born into better circumstances or with more talent or whatever. But hard work and determination, gumption grit and/or brains should count for something. In the Tower, those things seem to count for far too little.

Great Post Leigh!
23. FTHurley
I agree it's generally annoying that Siuan and Moiraine are clearly in some sort of relationship that goes beyond friendship and at the same time that relationship gets dumped as the plot moves along, without any on-screen emotional remifications. All I'll say is that IF you're inclined to give Mr. Jordan an out on this one, here is the one reason it might make some sense:

They're both Blues. Seekers for Causes. Devoted to the mission. Whatever you want to call it. How could they allow their own relationship to be cast aside in pursuit of a goal? Because that's what Blues do, to the ammusement/frustration of the other Ajahs. I suspect the same would have happened had they both been in relationships with men (were that, you know, allowed in the Tower). Of course, this leaves open the annoying problem of both of them later in the story finding nice men to marry, which sort of brings this back to a tawdry British boarding school story, except about girls. It definitely would have been more open-minded to have them find each other when the whole battle thing was finally done. So I guess I'm still a little annoyed. But maybe not quite as much, since I suspect most of the Blues would be terrible partners regardless of orientation? Maybe? Of maybe I just like the story and am looking for a reason to not let stuff bug me (not that there's anything wrong with that).

Anyway, enjoying the re-read. Thanks!
Claire de Trafford
24. Booksnhorses
If you knew about the ranking system in advance would it affect your decision about which ajah to choose? Browns and greys, for example, might not need as much raw power as the much vaunted battle ajah? Anyway it seemed very odd that the conditioning would be so strong as to make the head of the ajah unwilling to talk about it given the length of time spent as novice/accepted versus her time as AS.

@Chappers 20 - chortle. Perhaps some other type of fowl play instead?
25. imagen247
RE: Suian and Moiraine

Am I, like, the only person in the world to break up with somebody and remain good friends? Clearly, time and distance takes its toll on Moiraine and Suian. Not to mention, the fact that Elaida, of all people, recounts to herself about how it seems that upon reaching the shawl the two of them go separate ways, almost acting like strangers. While the second is mostly subterfuge, it would also take its toll on people.

to recap:
Youthful relationship that fades to a strong friendship after 20 years of separation and a public facade of disinterest. Why does stir up so much controversary again?
26. Hammerlock
Funny bit: Moiraine and Siuan were very close in strength then...and they probably still are since both are reduced. Linked fortunes, indeed.
27. FTHurley
@imagen247: That's sort of what I was getting at about them both being Blue. Dedicating yourself to a cause for two decades and not seeing someone can't help to maintain the bonds. I sort of liken it to a couple of young lawyers who are married, both spend five years working insane hours to make partner, figuring they can spend time together once they achieve those goals. The problem is two-fold. Not only are they growing apart during those years, but they also are fundanmentally different people once back together. They're not two kids fighting to make it - they're two establish successful people. I mean, how COULD Moiraine have a relationship with the Amyrlin Seat??
28. gadget
Smittyphi@21 M&S are clearly not at the top of the food chain because they have not reached their full potential yet, and won't for a few years. Women can tell current strength as well as utlimate potential when in close proximity to another female channeler (If they are practiced at it, which the Super Girls are not through most of the series). The ranking hierarchy only counts current strength, not ultimate potential.

I believe that it is with male channelers that you just cannot tell what the ultimate potential will be until they reach it. In fact you cannot tell the current potential, you can only tell how much of the power they are holding and gauge from there.
29. Tesla_Sunburn
25. Imagen247
I think the problem is that we never really see any transition whatso ever. One minute they are obviously hot and heavy and the next they are leaving without a thought. I think the post that suggested that the blue's obsession with causes was a factor is on the right track. However having recently reread the scene in tGH I find myself thinking that they never really let go of that connection. However a talk between Suin and Moraine in aMoL would be welcome.
Gary Masterton
30. GM
"Seriously, what must that be like, to be informed that not only are you at the bottom rung of the ladder, but you will always be at the bottom rung, and there’s not a damn thing you can do to not be on the bottom rung, ever?That would fucking suck, is what it would be like. I would be pissed as hell, man."

Ugh, yeah, Leigh, it must suck. It would probably suck if you looked like john merrick and were doomed to the bottom rung physically, or if you were an idiot and doomed to the bottom rung mentally, or unable to talk to the opposite sex and doomed to the bottom level romantically. But thats life. Theres always someone at the bottom, and i dont think RJ invented the PowerScale derived from ones Power in the One Power to expedite character development and ascendency, its because it makes perfect sense.
Jenny Jackson-Smith
31. opengirl
I think the Suian and Moraine thing wouldn't have bothered me if the relationship had been treated as a real romantic relationship that eventually ran its course -- through time, or through their dedication to their cause -- and their friendship remained as they went on and connected with men... or women. But that's not how it reads, at least not to me. It's been a while since I read New Spring, but I seem to recall both the girls discussing men with eachother... like discussing how they might like to kiss men again, which gives the impression that they viewed each other as a sort of place holder. Which just... ugh.

On a different topic... you know, I hadn't really thought about how awful that heirarchy thing would be if you weren't strong. Man, that is an awful system!
Mikey Bennett
32. EvilMonkey
GM @30

Yeah those instances you mention suck. The difference between your examples and the AS ranking system is that there are things you can do to offset your shortcomings if you don't feel sorry for yourself. There are idiots who are millionaires because they used other talents to be successful. There are ugly people or people who are shy, they still find love and or sex because they are using other things to compensate. There are people born poor who took advantage of opportunities when they presented themselves and turn out happy and well adjusted. The thing about the Power Based ranking is that there is no compensation at all. If you have low wattage then no matter what your other talents are you will never gain a real leadership position and you will always be treated like a child by your own peers. Siuan is making an accomodation with herself with her now low wattage. She can twitch skirts from the shadows and she's got Egwene's ear, yet she must live with the knowledge that any Sister above her (a lot of sisters) could displace or humiliate her with absolutely no consequences. Siuan got a little status from being the Amrylin's instructor, but if it were an older AS who got the job, one with the ranking system of the Tower completely ground into their bones, then Siuan would not have been able to effect anything. Nobody listens to a mouse, except for an Amrylin who doesn't know any better. And even the little power she does have is just as an appendage to someone way higher on the totem pole than her. Daigain can only effect change in the world by riding Cadsuane's coat tails, no other sister is taking her seriously.
33. Tesla_Sunburn

Thats really ignoring the issue here. That judging people's ability to lead and solve problems by their strength in the power is just DUMB. In the series characters who are smart, or able are ignored for the stronger ones. What would you say to an organization that judged its leadership through arm wrestling? Its the same thing.

I've heard rumors that the origin of the Aes Sedai hierarchy was the original Aes Sedai needing to coral others to their group. This is meant to be another tradition that only lasts because its tradition.
They don't judge
Tricia Irish
34. Tektonica

No you are not the only person to break up with someone and remain friends. I had 3 serious relationships before I got married, and I'm friends with all of them. (My husband was a bit aghast when he learned he'd have to meet them all eventually, but he has, and he likes them...duh.) Isn't that a real "relationship"? We liked each other, genuinely. It didn't work out for various reasons, but we still like each other.

Just like Moraine and Siuan. Timing is everything, and S & M had a very special time together, and now life is drawing them away from each other. (Causes) They will always be friends because they truly care about each other.

They have spent many years apart now and have needed to maintain a facade of indifference, but we see in (is it?) the DR in Faldara, that they are still close, in private.

Ranking: I'm not getting into the whole ranking system discussion, as you guys have said it all, but I do vote for a new system, eventually. The current one seems expeditious, but arbitrary, and does not account for intelligent judgement. I think things must needs change with the addition of so many older novices, and other groups (Kin) of chanelers.
John Massey
35. subwoofer
But then again, it’s not like this territory hasn’t been covered multiple times, at length, by everyone and their dog, including me, so it’s all good in the end.

Yay! Leigh- you finally took my advice and got a dog! Good on you, your life will be better and you'll never regret it:D

As for these sisters... y'know, I have a confession to make other than the main crew of the Enterprise OG members that set out from TR plus the odd annoying royal, and Siuan... I honestly view the other AS like the Teacher in Charlie Brown shows or obligatory Red Shirts... don't know 'em and I do admire RJ for creating this world, he must have taken forever and a day to map out all these folks. If he misses the odd character, I'll give him a mulligan. The level of detail here, it is possible the odd character forgot to tie their shoe laces.

"It's just jibber jabber"- Charlie Harper

... and we can lump said actor into one of the great injustices in the world. But hey, Mother Theresa and Princess Di passed on within days of eachother and who did the media cover more? Just sayin'.

er.... jej- happy birthday:)

Lelaine- honcho of the Blue? Well that blows... but it goes a long way to explaining how the Debacle know as Elaida and the split in the Tower could come to pass. We get inklings of the hands manipulating the puppets and them giving over for Egwene but really- all those women- epic fail. Mesaana worked them all, or at least Aliviarin did. Dang rented mules.

Edit- Ranking system- I'm going with Sam's bazongas idea on this one, but I don't think there has to be a bazonga to body ratio going on, just keep it simple. Still curious to see the integration of the men. And as somebody wise in the last post pointed out, Rand has bags of power... and nobody AS wise(beyond those who swore an oath) seems to be deferring to him...

James Jones
36. jamesedjones
35 subwoofer
er... this Brad guy- wowza...

Please don't feed the trolls.

And, wow Leigh, I've never been chuffed about who all of the sitters were. It's like there's this huge discrepancy between power of position versus influence in the story. The sitters should be ranked up there with reps and senators, but their impact is more along the lines of aides and interns. I might know my local rep's name (and I might not :P), but I'll never worry about the aides and interns that work in the office, no matter how much influence they might have.
37. Qtip6
Did anyone else get chills about the ceremony involving apple blossoms, remembering the first chapter of Towers of Midnight?
Alice Arneson
38. Wetlandernw
Leigh, the prank is mentioned again later. I wasn't going to spoil it for you, but others already did that.

RE: who are these people??? I'm compiling a list of who we meet in NS and what happens to them re: the main series. Will post that later.

Oh, about the 50-year-old reports... that would be 70 years before the main series. Anything related to all those other 70-years-ago things? Zarya/Garenia leaving the WT, Verin making a mistake, and.... I forget what else. There was at least one more, though.

And the most annoying thing is that, even given my issues with the whole set-up, seeing Moiraine and Siuan’s status get elevated like that was still a heady thrill-by-proxy, just like it was for when the Supergirls (or the Superboys, for that matter) got to step up and take charge in the series proper. Damn wish-fulfillment fantasy getting in the way of my principles... LOL!! Yeah, it really stinks, doesn't it? Know exactly what you mean.

About the pillow-friends business - I personally choose to ignore it and read all this as BFFs, because it really does fit that scenario. That way I don't have to worry about whether it was dismissive of a "real relationship" or whether they were just such amazing kids that they chose to set it aside and never think about it again for the greater good. I know, I'm one who frequently brings in the RJ quotes and reminds people that "even if it's not in the books, you can't ignore the fact that the author said sai'dar would have been tainted too" or whatever. In this case, though, I'm going to exercise my right to ostrich, and ignore it. I don't have a problem with the way it's written.

lakesidey @1 &7 - no, she didn't die from the pies, but she did need Healing. Given that Aeldra also has white hair, it's a safe assumption that she died in the intervening 20 years. Also, the Keeper and Mistress of Novices go back to their old Ajahs. We see Merean later, going about her business, ditto Duhara, Amira, Silviana and Tiana.

EvilMonkey @22 - No, Cadsuane treats Nynaeve like a spoiled child because she acts like one too often. The fact that she hasn't gone through the full raising (test & Oaths) certainly doesn't help her case. But then, as we'll see soon enough, Cadsuane doesn't tend to a legalistic adherence (or any adherence, for that matter) to Tower "customs as strong as law" very often anyway.

Your complaint about only the weak leaving and all the strong staying is flawed, because it assumes that all AS want to hold some level of power and influence within the Tower. For those who do, of course, your argument is applicable. For those uninterested in political maneuvering, it's completely irrelevant except as it affects their ability to avoid being given unpleasant assignments by others higher in the rankings. We have plenty of examples of strong AS leaving the WT besides Cadsuane and Moiraine, so it's not any sort of rule at all. Siuan, while she probably wouldn't have been made Amyrlin if she were lower in Power, would probably still have become spymaster. Cetalia's commandeering of Siuan as her assistant was based on puzzle-solving ability, not strength. Given the previous statements that "we Blues like to make full use of ability" and "whatever talents you have, a use will be found for them" it's a safe bet that with Siuan's mental abilities, she'd have become spymaster in any case, IMO.
39. aweguku
I wonder if people might be missing a point about Power and where people stand. It seems in this series that intelligence and power might coincide. I mean the stronger AS also seem to be the smarter AS.
Thomas Keith
40. insectoid
Late to the party again. Everyone havin' fun? Thanks for the post, Leigh!

I've got nothing concrete to say, really. However...

I think it would have been cool if we had seen M&S's prank on Elaida. If it had worked. Which it didn't. Also, Anaiya is cool. That is all.

Am I the only one who's slightly amused at Moiraine's annoyance to Anaiya's frilly decorations?

The mention of Cabriana/Anaiya/Kairen in nearly the same sentence is a nice touch, I think.

I'm also rather annoyed that so many characters are mentioned in NS (Eadyth, Anlee, etc.) that are never mentioned in the main series.

It sure is nice to hear Siuan using her colorful fish metaphors. ;)

And... wow. That's quite a bit of something for nothing.

41. Tesla_Sunburn
39. aweguku

Eladia was high in the power. Nynneve was strongest for a long time and while not dumb is not the smartest. Mogiedien was one of the craftiest Forsaken. grendal is not strongest in the power but is the smartest person alive.

And what of all the normal people in the world whom this rule negitively effects(by making Aes Sedai conflate the two)?

It is clear that more power also effects your ability to progress in the power faster. Maybe it also improves one's intellect. If it does wouldn't a more "normal" ranking system still allow the strong to naturally rise to the top without pushing down any brilliant, but weak in the power, Aes Sedai?

And Isn't that better?
lake sidey
42. lakesidey
@39 aweguku: I must respectfully disagree. Consider on the one hand Daigian, Corele, Hattori, and on the other hand Elaida, Nicola, and our very own supergirl Elayne (brave, yes, smart, no!). Just some of the cases where there is no (or negative) correlation between Power and Intelligence.

@38 Wet: thanks for the clarification.

@35 Sub: "by everyone and their dog, including me" doesn't necessarily mean the speaker got a dog. Semantically, it could equally well mean they are someone's dog. Just sayin' _ducks_

@30 GM: I like your take on it....a way of looking at it I hadn't considered!

@26 Hammerlock: Not really - Siuan is now of just below average strength, while Moiraine has dropped all the way to below Daigian level (assuming she's not exaggerating in ToM). She's above Morgase, and probably Sorilea, but that's about it. So there is quite a difference in their abilities now. Though Moiraine's angreal might make up (if the white tower doesn't try to take it away, as it would power up a strong AS far more - it must be nearly as strong as their white rod if it can really make Moiraine stronger than she was before!)

@16 De-luxxx: "I do find it interesting that some of the more powerful sisters have gone to the "dark side" anyway."

I suppose that's not really Elayne says about the oath rod "300 years is a long time, but I can't say I'm thrilled at the thought of giving up half my life..." etc etc. Now think if instead of 600 years you get offered immortality? (Especially if you're the jealous type, and figure out that no matter what you do in the tower you'll never be a legend like Cadsuane?) If you are anyway going to be pouring tea for her for 300 years, might as well do it for the Forsaken and get to pour tea for them forever....wait, that's stupid. OK so maybe they're stupid, too?

Stefan Mitev
43. Bergmaniac
Hey, Elayne is smart, especially by the (pretty low) Aes Sedai standards. She's just too brave at times. ;)

But Elaida alone is enough of a proof that there's no correlation between channelling strength and intelligence. She's beyond dumb, a complete idiot.

Most of the Forsaken are pretty stupid too, though you could say this is mostly out of plot necessity. If they used their brains more, they would've killed Rand 10 times already.
Birgit F
44. birgit
Novices and Accepted are taught that there are two things one doesn't talk about: a sister's age and her strength. The AS use strength for ranking, the Kin (who don't know the AS system) use age. Why do both groups that got this indoctrination use it for rank while other groups use different systems?
John Massey
45. subwoofer
Now hang on, I am still burning a candle that Leigh has a dog. It could happen, Leigh's smart;)

Forsaken... I'm not entirely sold on them being a collective sack of hammers. What I think RJ is amplifying is their weaknesses being their downfall, namely the infighting, back stabbing, jealousy, and many of the other seven deadly sins, mostly I think it hinges on the lack of cooperation and teamwork. During the Cleansing we see how the Forsaken truly work together, they don't. One of them even says something to the effect of "these children have learned to link" or some such. I think there is a reason the Aes Sedai, above everyone else- Wise Ones, Windfinders etc know how to link. That is what everything comes down to, the good guys know how to work together, the bad guys each struggle for ultimate power on their own. That is also going to be the downfall of the DO, he will be fighting independently, and Rand will have a circle against him.

John Massey
46. subwoofer
Going to the dark side does have an allure though. You get to wear black, stay up late, leave the seat up, tell stories about the one that got away... plenty o' positives to being negative. Maybe the first one went over because they needed to answer the evil question "does this dress make me look fat?" and wanted to live after?

I dunno, I think the logic behind being a baddie- and Alviarin is White so logic had to take place at some point, is the upside is you get to live forever and you vie for top of the heap for ultimate power- the greed angle, some folks can never have enough of a good thing, and some folks are afraid of death.... and some folks are just plain cranky. At some point it all boils down to one of those three- unless you happen to be Sneaky Verin.

Kerwin Miller
47. tamyrlink
in the Blues at least, it isnt always about strength. when Aeldene Stonebridge (how i remember these names i dont know) comes to Salidar in an outrage that her position as head of the blues eyes and ears has been made public knowledge and that its reports have been passed out of the ajah, she tries to get suian to give up the amyrlins network, and suian almost caves to her due to the instinctive heirarchy, and suian says Aeldene is stronger now, even tho she's "no more than middling". on the 13th depository saidar scale i think Aeldene is like a 6 or 7 and suian is a 5 now.
Jane Smyth
48. Kaboom
As mentioned by some and proven with Elaida, it's unlikely there is a strong link between strenght in power and intelligence.
What I had mentioned in the previous tread, it that there seem to be a link between strenght in power and strenght of character (first mentioned by Moiraine I think). While Elaida clearly does not have a high intelligence, she does have a strenght of character.
So do Nynaeve, Elayne, Egwene, Moiraine, Siuan and Sharina. You could add in that list the former damane Alivia. It would require lots of strenght of character to make the kind of change she did. Was also the only former damane that could manage that.
Stefan Mitev
49. Bergmaniac
Sorilea can barely channel, and she has more strength of character than pretty much anyone in this series. Morgase is as weak as they come in the Power yet manage to make it through all those terible things that happened to her. There are other examples like Alise among the Kin.
Jane Smyth
50. Kaboom
Yes, there are lots of people that cannot channel at all that have great strenght of character. But have we seen someone that was strong in channeling that was weak in her character?
lake sidey
51. lakesidey
@50 Kaboom: Someryn? (And possibly Talaan, for runnin off, though I guess we should reserve judgement until we find out what happened to her)

BTW I am not sure what you mean by strength of character exactly - some of the examples above what I would rather call "force of personality", people about whose character we know little. (For example Taim has a forceful personality, but am not sure if I would describe him as having strength of character.)

Kerwin Miller
52. tamyrlink
some of the Knitting Circle were strong and they had weak characters till Nynaeve gave them backbone. i think it was Elayne that said "none of the Knitting Circle were weak"

But save for the damane, i don't think we've seen any weak minded female channellers. Hell, there aren't even that many weak minded women in the series.
John Massey
53. subwoofer
Which brings up another thing- the Kin were relatively weak but they had a different way of doing weaves- ie. the flexible shield that gave and expanded so Elayne and Ny couldn't shatter it. Don't have to be strong to whoop a little butt. Just whiley. Egwene comes to this conclusion as well in ToM. Perrin can't channel a lick and he leaves Egwene sputtering, then Egwene reflects that Bair is stong in the Dream but cannot channel either. I think there will be some deference to age and wisdom coming up...

lake sidey
54. lakesidey
If it helps, tamyrlink, we'll shortly encounter one in the course of the re-read. Once we get back to Lan the man and the women in his life, anyway....

@53 sub: That's nothing to do with strength or a different way of doing weaves - Berowin herself says it is a Talent with her (like Androl and the gateways) and none of the other kin could replicate that. (Experience did help her to hone it, but then again, where would she have practiced against someone as strong as Nynaeve? Moggy was hardly likely to have offered herself as a sparring she would have practiced against people of maximum Kirstian/Zarya level of strength)

John Massey
55. subwoofer
Yeah, but it was a new twist on doing stuff... like Aviendha and the undoing of weaves. I think it can be taught.

Weak minded women... haven't met that many in RL either.

For the books we have Else that seemed like a flooz. And there was also a couple of minor serving girls that fell to weaping, but for the most part all the women know what time it is. Lookit the one girl that Mat was flirting with who made Mat dance with her just to keep her quiet. I think all the main characters are strong willed in their own way regardless of gender.

Alice Arneson
56. Wetlandernw
FWIW (completely different subject) I've been compiling a list of the WT initiates we meet in NS and what happened to them. Here's a quick summary, fairly loose. I'll tighten it up and give more detail if it becomes relevant.

Novices: we meet three. One will become Aes Sedai, finally, in CoT. One is too weak to test for Accepted. One is sulky and we learn nothing more about her. There are less than a hundred novices, and less than 20 of those will be allowed to test.

Accepted: we meet 21 of the "less than 60" in the Tower at the time. All of those we meet will show up in the main series except for the one who doesn't return from her AS test. However, 7 of those are mentioned three times or less in the main series; e.g. Coladara is mentioned once as being King Paitar's advisor, and Zemaille is seen only the one time Alviarin encounters her in the library. Also, of the 20 raised to Aes Sedai, 4 of them are BA, which is true to the "one in five" ratio given for the WT in TGS. In addition, one (so far) is presumably turned to the Shadow by the 13 & 13 trick.

Aes Sedai: we meet 41, both in and out of the Tower, not including those who are raised during NS. (There are at this time somewhere around 1200 to 1300 Aes Sedai.) Of those 41, we know that 9 die in the book, plus one more in the years before the series for a total of 10 known dead. There are 8 more who are not mentioned in the series, who have presumably died or retired; at least, 5 of them are described as having either white or gray hair. It's possible some of them are just relatively obscure anyway. Of the remaining 23, 12 are seen 5 times or less, including several who are referred to by other characters but never seen on screen (e.g. Cabriana and Jennet). (Side note: two of these never show up in the series until KoD, and are among the group who captured Egwene.) That leaves us with 11 Aes Sedai in New Spring who have some sort of significant role in the main series.

Summary: 41 on-screen Aes Sedai
10 die before main series
8 more are never mentioned in series
12 are in series with 5 or less mentions
11 have significant role in series
6 are known (by us) to be BA

One more thing, for those who like to talk about how "most" Aes Sedai cloister themselves in the White Tower and isolate themselves from the rest of Randland. This is a misperception, possibly based on the fact that we meet many of them in and around the WT or the SAS camp. Moiraine clearly notes in Chapter 2 that there are twice as many AS scattered throughout the nations than there are residing in the WT. So for the 423 living in the WT, there are somewhere around 846 out and about the world.
John Massey
57. subwoofer
I wonder if the Tower has a big "bat signal" to get all the Sisters back home. If not, there would be a heck of alotta pigeons flying about to find and bring back 846 Sisters.

Kerwin Miller
58. tamyrlink
Wetlandernw @ 56

"So for the 423 living in the WT, there are somewhere around 846 out and about the world."

this is right. at the time of the schism (what 20-23 years after NS), there are about 1000 AS and a third of them are out in the world waiting out the split to see how it resolves. the WT has about 250 and the SAS has a little over 300.

i myself never thought it odd that some sisters dont turn up again. they can get old, and as we saw with Tamra's searchers, despite their channelling abilities, regular things can happen to them. they can die just like a regular person can: arrow, accident, etc. and when u think about it, all the sisters of Moiraine and Suians generation of AS will all get old and probably die about the same time (unless the oaths are removed). i think the gap in numbers comes because the Tower is (was) dwindling, so the ummm graduating classes of AS were larger back several hundred years ago. so that large class would all presumably get old and start to die out around the same time.

random but do they count retired AS in these counts of total living AS? i mean sure they're AS but they arent active so would one count them?
lake sidey
59. lakesidey
@56 Wetlandernw: Nice analysis! Thanks....

Interesting, your last point....because in the series proper I seem to recall that almost 2/3rd of the AS were in the tower (or, later, in Salidar), and just about 1/3rd (would be around 300) are roaming loose, so to speak (this count does not include others like Adeleas/Vandene/Romanda/Cads who were retired or presumed dead but aren't, and who might come out of retirement at some point.) So maybe the trend towards cloistering is a recent one. Or maybe I am just reading too much into that stat and many of those were actually roaming AS who came to one agglomeration or the other because of Elaida's proclamation or the "come to Salidar" messages.

Certainly in Moiraine's early years as AS, travelling around was much more common than now - later in NS, there were nearly half a dozen AS in Chachin alone (and that before Cads, Merean, etc turned up) and all of them had been out of the tower for long enough that they did not recognise Moiraine when they saw her.

For all we know, the sudden deaths of a lot of the regularly travelling AS around that time (including powerful ones like Aisha and Kerene, and for all anyone knows to the contrary, Cadsuane) might have made a lot of sisters nervous....and made them a bit more reluctant to go roaming. Not that they would admit it, just another of those customs which became popular.

Also, with such a high turnover of Amyrlins (and sitters) in the last couple of decades, a lot of sisters might have come back to the tower (either in the hope of getting a high position or, I don't know, to do some politicking if they could?) and then stayed.

I seem to remember a historical parallel - when Genghis Khan's Mongolians attacked Europe, they came to the borders of what is now Germany (I think) and met no opposition which would even slow them down. The only reason they didn't over-run Europe was that Genghis died, so the whole bunch of them went riding back (several months' journey!) to be there at the choosing of his successor (or to make their own claims). Lots of jockeying for position happens over several years and eventually Genghis' grandson Kublai became the next Khan to rule for any length of time. By which time Europe was forgotten, and he chose to attack the nearby South-East China....and now I seem to have gotten so far away from the original line of discussion that I am rivalling Marco Polo as a traveller. Time to stop, methinks!

Edit: and it seems Tamyrlink beat me to some of that!

John Massey
60. subwoofer
Well IIRC Moiraine has a Gandalf moment and has to do some research and she goes out to the boonies to find some Sisters, one Brown, one Green and they have been compiling research for eons. Anyways, their Warder was so domesticated he did the gardening and all that stuff and it was only the appearance of Lan that made him remember that he was something more. How many other Sisters are like this?

Ummm.... come to think... didn't both these Sisters crop up later and one gets killed and .... ahhh it's starting to come back to me now...

Life has been one big stretch of cold, snow, shovelling, dirty diadees and general not wot lately...

Sara H
61. LadyBelaine

I wonder if the Tower has a big "bat signal" to get all the Sisters back home. If not, there would be a heck of alotta pigeons flying about to find and bring back 846 Sisters.

Actually, they do, and we've seen it before. Probably lots of different types of 'Bat Signals,' actually.

Remember when Nynaeve and Elayne were abducted by that seamstress (Ronde Macura) in Amadicia? Nynaeve's attention was flagged to Ronde's shop by a woven decoration of ribbons and flowers which was a secret Yellow Ajah emergency signal to approach that spot and retrieve a message - when Nynaeve asked for and received the message, it was "All sisters are welcome to return to the White Tower. The Tower must be whole and strong."

Elaida must have directed the sisters under authority to send out a message of return , on all channels. It just so happened that she also sent out directives that Nynaeve, and more importantly Elayne, were to be apprehended and returned to Tar Valon. Ronde just happened to be ready to deliver the emergency message when Tar Valon's Most Wanteds Nos. 1 and 2 walked in.

edit: Subwoofer@60

Yes, the retired Green and Brown were Adeleas and Vandene, who show up in Salidar, end up being Elayne and Nynaeve's chaperones to Ebou Dar, and basically getting whacked by the Black Ajah.

A whole bunch of retired sisters came out of the woodwork to join either Tar Valon or Sallidar - Romanda being an example.

However, there is roughly a third of them that are hanging out somewhere, waiting on the fence. One presumes that they'll head for Tar Valon now that the Tower schism has been sealed. Teslyn and Joline and Edisina, for example, despite their er... mixed poltics all were headed back to the Tower together.

Queen Tylin's advisor just left abruptly and went home, in wake of the schism.

There also remains the question of that coven of Aes Sedai hanging out in that inn in Caemlyn, having evidently taken no side.
Eric Hughes
62. CireNaes
Two things.

Don't underestimate the drive Siuan and Moiraine had to become Aes Sedai (just like Egwene). When you strive along with someone towards a goal in a militaryesque training environment you develop a bond. If someone washes out or is recycled, it is amazing how quickly you forget them because the goal of becoming what you came there to be is everything. When you graduate, you don't lose your bond with some of your class completely, but there is a dramatic shift brought about because the stress is taken away and it makes you much less clingy or in need of comfort from your fellows. This kind of training environment relationship is completely different than one that develops outside that stress factor. No, I am not denying that their relationship was sexual even though I don't agree with it being one of those "backwards" deontologists and all (RJ's Conan series should be enough to convince anyone that pillow friends were much more than cuddle buddies). Nor do I deny that they didn't have a strong friendship, but if one of them hadn't made it (i.e., failed their test, burned out, etc) I think it would have surprised any reader who has not experienced that kind of training how quickly the other would have pressed on, graduated, and moved past the relationship since they no longer share the stress of their common goal.

Now that they have graduated they will both go on to do different things since they are talented in different ways and that will naturally cause them to drift apart. How the Blue Ajah utilizes its members only accelerated this process (perhaps things would have been different if they had both chosen the Green). The sex was a stress reliever and nothing more. The friendship was genuine. Another comparison with a much lower stress factor would be a High School sweethearts scenario. I think RJ accurately depicted how a relationship would most likely have played out between two talented and driven people in that kind of scenario. That they both moved on to establish relationships with men also fits the main premise of the story (men and women together are stronger than just men or just women). If it keeps tweaking your nose then you're letting your emotional and intellectual eisegesis override the cultural metanarrative RJ was driving at. Moving on now.

As was mentioned, strength in the power does have its benefits. I don't think it is directly connected to intellect though. I do think it has a dramatic effect on one's natural talent with the OP, which can imply intellectual aptitude until you really get to know the other person.

Whether that talent is developed will be entirely dependent on one's work ethic and willingness to continue learning. Kind of like when Carin studies all the time and is barely hanging on, but Patch Adams just blows through the test because of his amazing memory. Now can Carin eventually be as good as Patch? Yes, but it will take her much longer and will require a lot more work on her part. Could she have surpassed Patch in her practice of medicine if he clowned around too much later on in life (don't spoil it for others if they haven't seen the movie you guys/gals)? I think so. Talent only takes you so far if the work ethic isn't there to support it. Talent takes you much further than your peers though if you do work at it. This is why I think Egwene has surpassed Elayne in ability with the OP. Equal talent, different goals and work ethic. Both are smart though. Don't confuse Elayne's tactical mishaps with a lack of intelligence. Her grasp of the political proves her intellect. She just has a brash nature and doesn't have the enough experience yet to temper her intuition. Pre-Zen Rand was just like her in so many ways (and still is in some ways based off of how hard he pushed himself at Maradon). The two were practically made for each other. To call Elayne stupid would be to label Rand as the same. They would both score as very high N's in the Myers-Briggs personality test.
63. aweguku
I didn't mean only people strong in the OP could be smarter but that their ideas and plans are given more consideration because of their strength.

Also using Eladia as an example of someone dumb is wrong. She is smart, just incompetent. Consider she had herself appointed advisor to the Queen of Andor, a place she new would be Key for the last battle. Then she led the coup in the White Tower to oust Siuan and become Amyrlin. It was only after she became Amyrlin that her incompetence showed. Not that I like her but she was pretty smart for a while.
andrew smith
64. sillyslovene
@62 CireNaes

If it keeps tweaking your nose then you're letting your emotional and intellectual eisegesis override the cultural metanarrative RJ was
driving at.

Very good point. Definitely needs to be kept in mind.
65. Maac
Re "pillowfriend"ness

I think what pings people is not whether or not it's normal or typical to remain friends with someone one has had a relationship with -- it's not a question of what happens in the real world (which doesn't have to have a plot, story arc, and resolution -- real life can just happen, willy nilly). It's a question of what the author chooses to happen in his fictional and completely-controllable-in-every-aspect world, and why, and what that ultimately says.

M and S have a relationship, and it fades, and they remain good buddies. But within the Wheel of Time world, it is also significant to consider 1. Is this the only gay relationship given "screen" time? 2. If not, are they any other gay relationships that are presented positively and last? 3. Are het relationships presented in a similar way, and do they last? and 4. What is the author(s) then trying to say about gay relationships? Always keeping in mind that since the vast majority of relationships presented in fiction are het, one or two lousy ones are not going to affect the general perception of het relationships in the same major way that a bad/negative/failed gay relationship in fiction will affect people's perceptions of real-world gay relationships.

Of course, for me to properly answer that one, I'd have to reread the whole series, and I only ever got up to Book 5. Maybe when it's done I'll start again.

Anyway, this has been a really fun series of recaps and comments threads to lurk on! Thanks all. ;-)
66. Tenesmus
I am hoping that Brandon can fit a decent reunion scene with Gareth, Siuan, Moiraine and Thom all together.   Gareth and Thom in the same room?  Can't wait to read it!
Theresa Gray
67. Terez27
Oh wow, S&M huh? Now we're getting really kinky...
Alice Arneson
68. Wetlandernw
Maac @65 - There's also the question of whether the author really had a whole lot he wanted to say about gay relationships beyond "they happen." If he were writing a story wherein gay relationships were significant to the plot, or (better yet) the fact that they were gay had a significant relevance to the plot, all your questions would be of real discussion value. The fact that he was writing a story wherein men and women are not only different, but those very differences are significant to the plot, and the only way the whole world works "right" is when they work together in balance, makes your questions side issues. (Unless you're doing a class on homosexuality in literature or something like that, of course; then they'd matter for that study, anyway.) Some people might find them of interest, while others don't; either way, they don't have great significance in understanding the story itself.
69. JimF
Leigh writes: "...No matter how often she was knocked down, she climbed back to her feet straightaway. Moiraine did not know the meaning of “give up.”..." Now we know the music when M appears: cue Chumbawamba "I get knocked down" (actually "Tubthumping" is the name of the song, which perfectly symbolizes the Blue Ajah!)

56. wetlanderw "...Aes Sedai: we meet 41, both in and out of the Tower, not including those who are raised during NS...." Wow, you really are into this. I congratulate you. Have you any idea how many AS we have seen in this entire series?

One of the things I love about this series is simply its scale: there are thousands of years of history, hundreds of characters, dozens of nations, myriads of specialized chapter icons, boodles of Aiel tribes and sects, etc. And that takes a toll in that some of these have to explained, and Jordan does it by telling a story, or having the persons involved give their POV, or some such. Now we're at 13 or 14 (including NS) books and counting (again, I insist that one more book will not end this series properly).

Tolkien was more efficient (although he latterly bemoaned the fact that LotR was "too short." He had to write five books to really tell the story fully, and his son has published at least a dozen other explanatory works.

Nevertheless, we who gather here would want it no other way, I suspect. Broad, rich, complex - why it's like real life!
70. JimF
in re: "pillow friends" or whatever. Good comments by 62. CireNaes; 65. Maac; 68. wetlandernw.

There are a handful of relationships in these books that are important to the story: Rand/El/Min/Avie (keeps 3 babes with special powers/connections close to The SuperHero); Nynaeve/Lan (a power meets a cause); Mat/Tuon (I know, he's been dealt a shitty hand by the foxes, but he knows that he has to play it out); Perrin/Faile (ties the Borderlanders to Rand, and brings in further Aiel, Seanchan and wolfish ties).

Thom/Moiraine drives enough chapters to be its own book, as does the Siuan/Byrne story.

So, we end up with no male homosexual relationships in the entire book, and a handful (3, maybe 4?) of apparent female homosexual relationships (and these made more notable by Jordan's comments than by the actual text of the books). One - the most described - of these "couples" now shows up in the above list of "important relationships" as part of heterosexual pairs driving the story.

So, I conclude: Leigh is making mountains out of molehills here. Jordan had the capability to write "wet sheet" prose if he cared to, but he really never did (Rand and Min, Rand and Aviendha are told first hand and well; Rand and El and Nyn and Lan are in a sense, second hand; Mat has never owned to more than "a cuddle").

And that is that. Jordan perhaps spiced the books up a little bit, and talked that aspect up a little bit, but sexual relationships don't mean shinola in these books. And to keep nattering away at Jordan for not giving us one bright shining moment of sweaty cunnilingual rumpled sheets is a waste of time and bandwidth.
71. Maac
Wow. It's a little silencing and belittling to call someone "nattering" and "a waste of bandwidth" when "I disagree" or "I want to discuss a different topic, so I will" would work just as well. There's always more than one way to approach a text, after all, and it's just as easy to ignore the ways that don't interest one. It is not a "waste of time and bandwidth" but might actually be of some interest to people who are actually affected by these sorts of portrayals in literature and media, who find opinions and treatment of them being affected by fictional portrayals found in more than just one book or series.

At any rate, these aren't really "my questions" -- I don't have an answer to (or any great staggering need for same) to these questions and don't claim to -- I am merely pointing out that the answer "So and so really did happened in my real-world relationship" does not carry the same ramifications, and therefore cannot answer, Leigh's literary questions, in case anyone was inclined to attmept answering. Jim's sum-up of the relationships in the series is an excellent start, actually.
Alice Arneson
72. Wetlandernw
Maac - Yes, but "nattering" is a much more interesting word than "disagree" and expresses a perfectly valid opinion about the interest level evoked by the topic. Stick around long enough and you could realize that one comment rarely qualifies as "to keep nattering away" so it's not likely to have been directed at you personally.

JimF - Sadly, I must admit that I have a tendency to wander off into little research projects like this. :) I don't know how many AS we actually see in the series, but with some of the online resources available, I'm betting I could find out within half an hour or so. I've been rather curious about it myself, so I might actually go look, now!
Alice Arneson
73. Wetlandernw
So - quick and dirty answer, since it includes everyone from New Spring and some Aes Sedai we never actually meet, but only hear mentioned by others:

264 named Aes Sedai (about 980 to 1000 NE)

25 Blue
28 White
40 Brown
33 Gray
37 Red
40 Green
35 Yellow
26 whose Ajah is not identified

There you go, courtesy of, one of the many great sources of WoT detail and trivia. :) And in somewhat less than half an hour.

I totally agree, JimF, that one of the things that makes WoT so "real" is the scale and complexity, combined with the almost "throwaway" details like an Aes Sedai who is mentioned only once, but somehow still seems to be a real person. It not only makes it a great read (especially with a few handy reference tools to help keep things straight), it make for very interesting discussion, because there's so much there there. If you know what I mean.
lake sidey
74. lakesidey
@71 Maac: Firstly, hi!

I don't think the "waste of bandwidth" comment was specifically directed at you - it's just that this topic has been beaten to death, jumped on with hobnailed boots, resurrected by the Dark One, and killed again in the last few re-read posts. Which is why several of us are probably not very enthusiastic to start on it again.
:looks around guiltily and gets back to work:

Jonathan Levy
75. JonathanLevy
4. FellKnight
Thank you very much for posting the link to Sanderson's answers - I had totally forgotten about that, and only now have I read his answer to my question. :)

15. tamyrlink
Good points.

20. Chappers
Very droll!

@several re: Weak sisters leaving the tower.
You know, if the weakest Sisters did this consistently, the tower would be empty. Because once the weakest sisters (rank 1) are gone, then the second-weakest (rank 2) are at the bottom, so they would leave, and then rank 3 would be at the bottom, etc. etc. etc.

You'd be left with just the Amyrlin and the Keeper, and then the Keeper would be at the bottom, and... :)

26. Hammerlock
Nice parallel, hadn't noticed it.

32. EvilMonkey
The thing about the Power Based ranking is that there is no compensation at all. If you have low wattage then no matter what your other talents are you will never gain a real leadership position and you will always be treated like a child by your own peers.
That's not 100% true. If you are skilled in other things, you can be assigned a task by your Ajah, or the Amyrlin, or become a sitter in the Hall. Merana is weak in the power, but she is in charge of an embassy of 9 Aes Sedai because of her negotiating skills.

61. LadyBelaine
Teslyn and Joline were part of the tower coup - they were sent to Ebou Dar as a punishment.

66. Tenesmus
You already read it in TFoH:50, when Bryne invites Thom to come over and play stones once in a while. :)

Edit: To correct reference. Thank God for Encyclopedia WoT!
76. JimF
@71. Maac I'm sorry if I offended you. My comments weren't directed at you in any way. Lakesidey@74 is exactly correct on interpretation of my comments. I don't think there is anything sexual in these books worth one half of two separate installments of Leigh's generally brilliant recap of NS to focus on. "She could have kissed her - and did!" is hardly the grist of "an alternative reconstruction of the sexual politics of Randland". I stand to be corrected.

And thanks for your compliment regarding my summation of (some of) the several relationships in tWoT.
77. JimF
73. Wetlandernw: That's great work! I knew it had to be a couple hundred at least. And so many wonderful names. If I were back in the day of creating children I'm sure one or another of tWoT names would have been circling around my cranium!

I haven't ever checked out but I will after I get some sleep. Good night!
Chris R
78. up2stuff
Hey all. I had a REAL loony theory this morning, but it is WAAAAAYYYYYY off topic, and I did not want to derail things here. It has to do with what to do about Rand and Avi's quads and how they can save the Aiel.

I posted it to the TOM Continuation thread since it really doesn't go here. Suffice it to say though, I would REALLY like some feedback ASAP, so I thought I would post a request here where I know people are looking rather than see if someone stumbles on it. Its number 829, here.

I will leave some waffles and, Maple, Blueberry, and Strawberry Syrup in the bunker for anyone who looks.
John Massey
79. subwoofer
Right, if everyone stays quiet and I'm lucky I can make a couple of posts before the baby wakes and everything slides sidways rapidly.

Hi Maac- y'know, I could not figure out what you were talking about because when I mistype "the" I usually do it "het", so I was constantly thinking that you were mistyping "the" in sentences and you should go grey so you could edit... then it struck me that the sentences made not a lot of sense so I figured out that you distilled the word hetrosexual.... ahhhh, comes the dawn. Heh, it was a rough night, still giddy with fatigue.

I am not sure that RJ was going anywhere with the BFotPS (Benevolent Friends of the Pillow Society). Given RJ's background, it feels like something that would occur in the story as a comment to relationships in general, but what sticks out to me for relationships are the role reversals that happen frequently. For instance Morgase holds all the power with Tallanvor in their relationship and finally cuts the poor guy a break at the end. Tuon also has Mat over a barrel and really makes him go through the paces before Mat makes any kind of headway. Perrin... well, he got what he wanted... may the Light have mercy on him. Rand- well his relationships stand out to me because of the multiple romances that seem to exist harmoniously. Wow. The Aiel way of doing things is really baffling, complete role reversal and the multiple wives thing seems to me to be the women's idea. Faile, Elayne, Berelain, Min, Tuon, even to an extent Ny, they all do the pursuing.

In RL IMHO ladies too have much control in relationships. For instance, my wife had stages of our relationships way out of sync with me. When I thought we were boy/girlfriend it turns out we were just friends... when we were engaged, my fiance still introduced me as her boyfriend... now that we are married, I think she acknowledges that we are engaged;) The ladies set the tone, the men go along, and I don't think RJ's world and RL differ all that much.

.... also, I am amazed at all the folks -Wetlander- that can and do keep track of soo many characters when I basically nail down the main er... 10 or so... and that is after 20 years of reading. Mind you, I am following and retaining all the guys in the Combine now so I guess we have other focuses. Focusi? Other things to focus on. Yay cloud.

Sara H
80. LadyBelaine
Jonathan Levy@75

"61. LadyBelaine
Teslyn and Joline were part of the tower coup - they were sent to Ebou Dar as a punishment."

Right, but I cannot fathom how this is in anyway is responsive to my comment which was:

"However, there is roughly a third of them that are hanging out somewhere, waiting on the fence. One presumes that they'll head for Tar Valon now that the Tower schism has been sealed. Teslyn and Joline and Edisina, for example, despite their er... mixed poltics all were headed back to the Tower together."

In other words, since Teslyn and Joline (both former Sitters under Siuan, supported Elaida and were slapped for it) and Edesina, a rebel who fled Elaida's ascension (hence my comment about 'mixed politics'), all were headed back to Tar Valon together since the schism was healed, certainly the cowardly third portion of the sisterhood who took no side, would also come home since the dispute that they were hiding from is over.

I fail to see what your response has to do with anything.
Kerwin Miller
81. tamyrlink
Joline was part of the coup but i dont think she was a Sitter under Siuan. I know she was under Elaida tho...
Julian Augustus
82. Alisonwonderland
Lakesidey @74:

I don't think the "waste of bandwidth" comment was specifically directed at you - it's just that this topic has been beaten to death, jumped on with hobnailed boots, resurrected by the Dark One, and killed again in the last few re-read posts. Which is why several of us are probably not very enthusiastic to start on it again.

The blame for that, to be perfectly blunt, falls on our esteemed leader, who seems incapable of moving on from this particular subject.
Eugenie Delaney
83. EmpressMaude
Joline was the Sitter that the Greens in Tar Valon (well, actually, it was just Adelorna) picked to fill the Seat held by Faiselle, who had defected to the Rebels (again, at the direction of Adelorna). Elaida also nailed Joline with a huge penance for failing to do something ...I forget (hold on, oh, according to Encyclopedia WOT, she was in charge for the search for Siuan). The Greens sent her into the Hall as a gesture of defiance, but then Elaida checkmated them by unchairing her and sending off to the unimportant position of Emissary to Ebou Dar and chucked in Teslyn as well, as way of demonstrating Ealida's autonomy from the Red Ajah.

What I never understood is whether the Aes Sedai in Tar Valon reconvened the Hall in the Tower right away, or not. Because if the Five Ajah leaders immediately sent of the Obstructionist Five (Ob5) off to join the rebels, then it seems that there definitely vacancies in the Hall under Elaida for some time.

For example, The Greens were down to just two (Rubinde and Talene) and had not selected a third when Elaida was still running the Tower via her junta council. Why? Because Joline wasn't a Sitter, Faiselle was gone, and the Seat was empty when the Green (Adelorna) installed Joline as an FU to Elaida after Joline has her task for a long enough period for to have been deemed a failure. (The WoTFAQ was invaluable in composing this post. )

As an aside, I still prefer the original FAQ Article : 2.6.5: Who's Who in the Halls of the Tower; What’s the Mystery About the "Too-Young" Sitters? to the one now on Dragonmount which is vague, wrong about specific details and arrives at a generally incorrect conclusion. IMHO.

In any event, I do agree with LadyBelaine's response that all of that generally doesn't affect her original comment.
Eugenie Delaney
84. EmpressMaude

While I generally agree that this is a subject that has been exhausted, alas, it is a large and obvious component of the Moiraine and Siuan storyline in aNS, and it would be hard too skip it, particularly since we are discussing each book in discrete subdivisions, remarking on what is notable or irksome or just plain cool in each section.

Sad to say, as done as this topic is for us, it's Writ Huge in this book and in this section and it's the proverbial Bi-Curious Elephant in the Room.

What would *you* have chosen to discuss for this latest installment of our group discussion?
Leigh Butler
85. leighdb
Alisonwonderland @ 82, others:

Please see the introduction section of this post.
lake sidey
86. lakesidey
@82 Alison: Well, it's her blog! She can write whatever she wants, but I suppose many of us reserve the right to not talk on it if they don't feel like it....besides, reading one or two paragraphs in the original post, that's manageable, but reading 80 vitriolic comments on it....not.

Edit: Aarrghh! I need to stop taking so long composing posts. Leigh already said that. Oh well...

But then, I'm not sure if I want to discuss Joline either. So I'll jump back out for now and try to get some work done (yeah, right)

On an unrelated note - does anyone know why the Wheel of Time Re-Read Index lists this book as

"Prequel: New Spring
Book 1 of the Wheel of Time"

It should be either book 0 (since tEotW is listed as book 1) or book 11 (if we do be going by publication order in the numbering). It's a small thing, but it has been eating at me...(is confused?)

Chris R
87. up2stuff

thanks again for your efforts in this. It has made the always daunting, yet enjoyable task of revisiting the WOT even more so.

I for one, don't mind when a topic is revisited or brought up. Through the years, my perspective on certain issues changes, and it is interesting for me to find out that I may no longer feel the same way as I did before. Without revisiting topics, I can't recieve new insights, or just look at things with a different mood. I feel like I am missing out when that happens. If I find that a section of a thread is not interesting me I just scroll on.

I appreciate your efforts and enjoy every posting.

John Massey
88. subwoofer
Well folks, reality is, Leigh gets the ball rolling, but as individuals we can choose what to say, or not, on any given topic. Reminds me of a Mike Meyers skit-"Please, do not get me started, it's so unfair, I'm getting a little verklempt- talk amongst yourself- I'll give you a topic... the Holy Roman Empire, was neither holy, nor Roman, nor an empire... discuss". Couldn't find that exact clip, but Leigh reminds me of Linda Richman;)

The topic is fairly hot button, I remember when it was fresh we collectively wailed on Bela for a couple of hundred posts, now we struggle to break the one hunny mark. Meh. To be completely honest, until it was brought to my attention I never really noticed the whole BFotP idea, I just figured RJ latched on to the whole "women are touchy feely, they hug, cry, kiss and all that stuff alot" idea. For me the same logic applies for when women go to the washroom in pairs, it is just something they do. The Blue's eyes and ears make complete sense, most ladies can spread gossip and rumor like wildfire and they don't even need pigeons;) Women hug, women cry, women kiss, it is just something they do. For all I know, in boarding school they share socks, bras, underwear and all that stuff. I just thought of something... does "pillow fighting" take on a whole new context in this situation?

Chris R
89. up2stuff
Something about the M & S relationship that just occured to me about them just parting ways, is that I am not sure they REALLY considered the ramifications. I dont have the book handy, but I thought their guise of a cool, calm parting of ways was just to cover Moiraine's motive to GET OUT...GET OUT...GET OUT before they made her queen of Cairhien.

IIRC, there is some reflection on M's part when Siuan finally tracks her down to tell her that the Amyrlin is dead and how brave she had been to track her down, with no provisions on a (gasp) HORSE. I dont recall the details of that Monologue, but it did seem pretty potent to me. Maybe we are all looking for more though.
Kerwin Miller
90. tamyrlink
and moving right along....what was i gonna say...umm...anyone notice how a lot of the AS in the main series are revealed here to be so young (as AS go?) It sort of drives home the fact that S & M are only about 40ish in the main series...a lot of young AS have positions of importance. (Myrelle heads Green Ajah in Salidar, Leane and Sheriam are young for the posts that Siuan names them to and she's a very young Amyrlin herself.)

(just trying to change the subject)

I've heard talk about a bunker....
Alice Arneson
91. Wetlandernw
tamyrlink @90 - FWIW, I realized in my compilation that Leane was already AS before this book started. But then, she was the newest Blue, so I suppose she's probably not really that much older than these two. There are some interesting comments in the book about numbers of Accepted and novices, and the way they are dwindling, both in numbers and in strength. In a few more chapters, Cadsuane will break all the tower customs to give us an infodump.

LadyBelaine @80 - The way your comment was written, it sounded as though you were including Teslyn, Joline and Edesina in the fence-sitters. You started your paragraph with the third or so who were hanging out waiting on the fence, and then in the same paragraph said "Teslyn, Joline and Edesina, for example..." which sounds very much like you were using those three as an example of the behavior of the fence faction. It was a completely understandable interpretation of what you wrote, even if it's not what you meant.
John Massey
92. subwoofer
Actually Tamyrlink brings up an excellent point- it is very convenient that all the AS from Moiraine's .... generation are all movers and shakers. AS are supposed to live for a long time so I am surprised that there is so much turnover in these positions. You figure if somebody is holding down the fort as Mistress of Novices or Sitter or something, they have said position for decades if not centuries unless they get bored and want new er... challenges. But as these ladies become geriatrics and methusilahs maybe they want quieter passtimes, like needle point. I dunno. By that same token, what is the deal with the high turnover in the key Seat- Amyrlin? I figure that is the safest job, theoretically, so the Amyrlin should maintain stability for I dunno, 50 or 100 years at a shot. So far, there are monarchies that have held their thrones longer that the last few batches of Amyrlins.

I thought the Tower was supposed to be this symbol of stability in an ever changing world. Yet we have an Amyrlin that is like 40 Stilled, a 20 something in the current Seat and most Sitters- Wetlander you can help me out here- seem to be under 100. What gives with the Sisters from previous generations that are 50-200 years old? They all wandered away while Moiraines group took charge? Seems to me that with all the collective wisdom available from the... older AS, nobody is really taking advantage of that and using it to govern.

Mikey Bennett
93. EvilMonkey
As far as the Sister Bunch up is concerned, lets just say the Pattern does its homework. Thinking of that makes me appreciate just how awesome the concept of Age Lace is as a plot contrivance. It ain't just, "Wow these guys are lucky, look at all the improbable, impossible, or just plain strange things they do and get away with!". Most of the shyt that goes on here is like 20 to 80 years in the making. Now say the Pattern was a procrastinator like yours truly, the Shadow would have won by now. I mean really! What equates to the # 1 and #2 pick in the AS draft class just happening to be the ones to get Gitara Moroso's message from the Creator. What if Sheriam and Katerine were the ones attending the Amrylin on that fateful night? Game over before it starts. If Setalle Anan doesn't get burned out 70 or so years before then Mat probably dies, Joline is on a boat to Seanchan with a collar around her neck and the Supergirls would probably still be looking for the Bowl of the Winds while the world bakes to a crisp. If Verin doesn't get recruited into the Black Ajah Egwene would probably still have a Keeper that feeds every scrap of info to the enemy. And if Moraine didn't end up escaping that inn later in this book then Caddy Sue might have been the one to find Rand 1st. How disasterous would that have been?
Alice Arneson
94. Wetlandernw
Leigh @85… First, no one is denying your right to write what you wish, how you wish. It’s your blog, you can write what you want to. (Gah! Now that song is in my head again!!) But the rest of us also have opinions, and it appears that in the opinion of more and more of your readers, this particular subject has been raised… shall we say, a more-than-generous number of times. That doesn’t prohibit you from bringing it up again, or bringing it up on every post, or refusing to discuss anything else, if that’s what you want to do. But if you do, you can’t honestly be surprised if it becomes more of a joke than anything else, or if people start moaning about the lack of other substantive commentary.

Second, something I should have said some time ago. IMO, it’s unfair to RJ to claim that this example (Moiraine & Siuan)

…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.

(emphasis mine, quoting from the commentary on New Spring Part 3) All it really implies is that in this particular story, this particular relationship was important in many ways - but not in the sexual aspect thereof.

Third, someone (ANYONE!) please explain why, after all the complaints that “RJ didn’t write homosexual relationships very well” there are still complaints that he didn’t include more. If he wrote GLB very badly, why on earth would anyone want him to have written more of it? He did some things very well, and others not so well; I find it incomprehensible to be upset that he didn’t include more of the latter.

Subwoofer @92 – I’ll have to go look up the current list of sitters and see what I can find about their age. Note, though, that some of the NS Accepted bunch show up as the “too-young Sitters” that puzzle Siuan. It’s not really normal for someone to be a Sitter when they’ve worn the shawl for less than 50 years at least, IIRC.
Sara H
95. LadyBelaine

LadyBelaine @80 - The way your comment was written, it sounded as though you were including Teslyn, Joline and Edesina in the fence-sitters. You started your paragraph with the third or so who were hanging out waiting on the fence, and then in the same paragraph said "Teslyn, Joline and Edesina, for example..." which sounds very much like you were using those three as an example of the behavior of the fence faction. It was a completely understandable interpretation of what you wrote, even if it's not what you meant.

I suppose I could accept that was a reasonable view of what I meant if I hadn't included the line about the sisters who waited out the schism returning now that the partisan lines have been glued together. Your (polite) efforts at pointing a reasonable counter-interpretation would make sense had I not mentioned the healing part, by which as example I used the mixed-politics group of Teslyn, Joline and Edesina returning together now that everyone has buried the hatchet. You excised that bit, and without it, your version is an acceptable reading. With it, I would suggest it is not.

edit: politics, not poltics!
Tess Laird
96. thewindrose
I have noticed along with some of you the interesting waves of sisters. We have Cad's bunch whose contemporaries are at this moment in the story getting knocked off by the BA. Notice they don't get her! (I don't think she was one of the searchers or things may have been different for her).
Then there is the Siuan/Moiraine bunch who we are meeting as Accepted and new sisters here. Finally there are the super girls and the tainted and post tainted Ashamen in the series proper.

Mikey Bennett
99. EvilMonkey
Windrose @ 96

Cads = Kobe Bryant
Elder statesman, Best among the older players. Getting a bit long in the tooth but can still get it done. Hearkens back to an age with a lot of talent but still we can see the decline right over the horizon. No Brainer, First Ballot Hall of Famer.

Moraine and Siuan = LeBron James and Dwayne Wade
Bright spots in a time of decline. In the midst of a severely diluted talent pool they are the top two members of a historically amazing draft class, determined to bring back the golden ages of their organizations. Suffered bumps in their stellar careers but are still covered in Awesomesauce (The Decision and the Heatles, Moraine catching hell in Finnland and Siuan getting stilled and the eventual boot). Future Hall of Famers who still feel their missions are incomplete.

The Supergirls = Kevin Durant, Derrick Rose, Blake Griffin

The new blood. Accomplishing things their elders envy though still lacking the necessary experience to become legendary. Off to an excellent start in their careers. Durant (Nynaeve) already at the top of the game scoring wise. Rose (Egwene) a general of one of the best teams, a member of a legendary franchise. Griffin (Elayne) exciting to watch in action. Powerful. The leader of a team in trouble (Trolloc attack in Andor, the Clippers being 15-32).

Art imitates Life imitates Art.
John Massey
101. subwoofer
@#@#%&!!!! Dang post was just eaten! Tor! Assemble! There was brilliance that was just lost. And I have a horrible memory!!!

Ahem... lemme see here. Er... right, @ Wetlander, thank you for that, Tamyrlink and some other comments made has me on the fringe of something in terms of the youth angle. We can chalk it up to the provenence of the Pattern but it is still troubling.

Siuan was the start of this. At the time she was the youngest Amyrlin raised. Why the precident? And why all the other young ones rising to prominence? Sheriam as Mistress of Novices was from the same generation. Leane... a couple of others... and the young Sitters that Wetlander spoke of. We have what 20 or so Sisters raised per year, there are just under 2000 Sisters floating around out there, what is it that these are the ladies that are where they are?

I guess what bothers me is that there is so much potential from the Sisters we get hints of. Like that Seonin?something- anyways, she takes charge in TGS and she isn't young, I think. Same with that Red that goes hunting BA Pevara? another AS that has been around for a while and has a wealth of experience and power. Why the deuce do these ladies get passed over and we get exposed to the others? The useless ones that spend time busting Mat's chops for a couple books, the others get bonded by Asha'man, and a fair chunk of them get taken down by the Dragon, by Oath or otherwise.

These other ladies are the reason I still have hope for the AS. It is not the Sisters that we see who annoy the snot out of me that gives me hope, but the ones that we only see glimpses of. I think the Tower, Egwene etc... can rise to the task of TG. Some of the older ladies can show the youth a thing or two and not the Romandas and Lelaine's of the world. Cadsuane is a prime example, we may not like her, but when the chips are down, she gets stuff done. I think that there are more Sisters like Cadsuane, we just have not seen them and that is what I am holding onto hope for. Some of these ladies are going to step up.

Julian Augustus
103. Alisonwonderland
Lakesidey @86:

@82 Alison: Well, it's her blog! She can write whatever she wants, but I suppose many of us reserve the right to not talk on it if they don't feel like it....besides, reading one or two paragraphs in the original post, that's manageable, but reading 80 vitriolic comments on it....not.

Certainly, it is Leigh's blog, and I don't begrudge her the right to write whatever she wants. I try read to find time to read this blog and posters' comments every week because she usually brings a refreshing perspective and a sense of humor to each post that invites participation.
And that is the rub. Let me refer you to your own comment at 74:

it's just that this topic has been beaten to death, jumped on with hobnailed boots, resurrected by the Dark One, and killed again in the last few re-read posts. Which is why several of us are probably not very enthusiastic to start on it again.

If there are 80 vitriolic posts about this subject, as you say in 86, surely neither you nor our esteemed leader herself would dispute that those comments arose because she chose to bring the subject up. My comment was entirely factual.
Let me add that I myself did not make any comment either for or against the points of view expressed on this topic, in all the times it has been brought up for discussion.

I would suggest that, much as it is Leigh's right to say whatever she wants in her own blog, it is also true that what she says in the blog matters, because it is what sets the conversation going. If she chooses to bring up once again an emotive subject that has already been discussed ad nauseam, it is her right to do so. But it is also not out of the way to point out that, if the subject generates inflamed passions, we shouldn't blind ourselves to the fact that the vitriol is flying around because Leigh thought the subject was worth bringing up again for discussion.
Alice Arneson
104. Wetlandernw
LadyBelaine @95 - Well, I had intended no argument, just pointing out that it could readily be interpreted as JL did. I didn't copy the whole thing, since it had been posted once and copied twice already, but I don't see that the intervening sentence clarifies your intent. In any case, JL's comment was only an attempt to be helpful, since it seemed there was some confusion. FWIW, I thought the same thing he did when I read it, but cut it from my comments since he had already addressed it.

Really. It sounded like you were using them as examples of the FAS, rather than examples of healing the WT as you intended. ::shrug::
105. JimF
103.Alisonwonderland: I agree with the concept conveyed in your post. But as I seem to have been one of the culprits in bringing the lesbian relationship to the forefront again, I must say it wasn't from vitriol or inflamed passion or any such thing. It is, as I stated, that I - as a critical reader of these books - don't see much in it.

Could S&M have had some kind of sexual relationship? Maybe. If one goes by the books, the evidence is slight. If one goes by what Jordan is supposed to have said at one or another book signing, more likely. However, I was never at one of those events, and what Jordan said comes to me as second-hand news, perhaps even misreported or misinterpreted by someone I don't know. So, the BOOKS are the REFERENCE, as far as I'm concerned.

In a prior comment, 84.EmpressMaude says we're going to see a lot more of this as NS plays out. That may be; I haven't read this book. But so far, we have two young women sharing a bed, and according to the book, staring at the ceiling and wondering what the morning will bring. And so on.

And yet we have people bitching and blasting Jordan: 1) because he didn't write GLBT characters/relationships; 2)because he did a crappy job of writing GLBT c/r; 3) because his GLBT characters converted and became Hetero characters; and maybe 4) and 5).

What I think is that we have one of those ancient discussions about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. Sound and fury, signifying nothing.

Maybe a more profound question: does everything in this world have to be deconstructed? Or else, may we just enjoy it, glide over the little puzzles, delve into some of its perplexities and folds as we see fit, be amazed by the concepts it proposes, and finally, giddily follow the shebang to its denouement? That, for over 20 years, has been my approach to tWoT.
lake sidey
106. lakesidey
@103 Alisonwonderland: True, but that is not something we can do anything about. Besides, you will note that in 74 I just said 'several of us' - that doesn't include myself. Let me make it clear again that while I may find those discussions boring, I don't give a fig whether people argue themselves to death over them or not. (Except perhaps to feel a bit sad that one of my favourite characters is being dragged into a sordid sex scandal on the eve of her marriage)

My point there was, I was explaining a probable extenuation for someone else seemingly over-reacting (the 'waste of bandwidth' comment). I had in fact written a much longer post, on other topics as well, but it got swallowed up and I didn't have the time to retype it - work deadlines were (and are) not kind to my walls-of-text.

In 86, too, my basic point was that we have no right to stop Leigh writing what she wants. But not taking the discussion further is entirely in our collective hands. And if that means some commenters want to be rude to other commenters to achieve that, well, I can see where they're coming from.

P.S. Nice username!

Jonathan Levy
107. JonathanLevy
80. LadyBelaine
I had an explanation written out, but then I saw Wetlandernw@91 explained it better, and channeled my thoughts again @104. I see you disagree @95, but I don't think this little misunderstanding is worth pursuing.

94. Wetlandernw
First point - again, well said. :)
Theresa Gray
108. Terez27
JimF@105 - Nice try, but RJ said it on his blog. So, direct from the Creator:

[quote]RJ's blog 30 September 2005 "YET ANOTHER POST"
[color=rgb(0, 0, 0)]And for MJJ, as posted by DomA, 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.

[color=rgb(0, 0, 0)]The deni[color=rgb(0, 0, 0)]al on this subject amuses me. Keep it up, guys, so I can keep laughing at you.
Birgit F
109. birgit
If Setalle Anan doesn't get burned out 70 or so years before

It can't have been that long ago because stilled channelers don't slow any more and she would be too old after 70 years post stilling. Encyclopedia WoT says Martine Janata was stilled ca. 975 NE. The Kin Heal Setalle Anan at her first childbirth 20 years ago. She knew Zarya (= Garenia) 70 years ago when Zarya was a novice and Martine was still AS.
110. JimF
This being Oscar time, and wanting to waste no more bandwidth, I propose a theme song for The Wheel of Time - The Movie. This could be either the overall theme song, or that of Rand, or that of the Love Triangle gals, or, God forbid, Lanfear's Theme. (I sense it in a way similar to 'Take My Breath Away' in Top Gun, so Lanfear seems not a good choice). Listen to it on YouTube (link below), and see the lyrics below that:

Coming Back To You - Macy Gray (Lyrics)
Songwriters: Gosselin, Jared; Gregson-williams, Harry; Mcintyre, Natalie; Moffett, Freddie; Speir, Caleb; White, Phillip

I've been here before.
I'll be back for more.
Maybe this time I can stay
Forever more,
Forever more.
Wonder what the future brings.
Fortune tellers and time machines.
I predict what they'll predict for me:
That I keep coming back to you,
(coming back to you),
I keep (coming back to you),
I keep (coming back to you),
Hey, I'm (coming back to you).
One day they'll get it right.
I will live and I will die.
A million times, as long as you are mine,
I keep coming back to you,
(coming back to you),
I keep (coming back to you),
I keep (coming back to you),
I keep (coming back to you).
Go back and go ahead, over again I'll meet you, baby.
Tomorrow, yesterday's impossible to leave you, baby.
Any way and ev'ry day,
I'll take you baby.
They call it deja vu, but I'm, I'm just in love with you.
(They call it deja vu, but I'm, I'm just in love with you.)
(They call it deja vu, but I'm, I'm just in love with you.)
(I'm just in love with you.)
(Forever more.)
(I'm just in love with you.)
Keep coming back to you.
(Been here before.)
Coming back to you.
(Back for more.)
Coming back to you.
(Maybe this time I can stay.)
Coming back to you.
(Coming back to you, coming back to you.)
(Coming back to you.)
Over and over again.
I've been here before.
I'll be back for more.
Maybe this time I can stay.
111. jimF
Laugh away, Terez28:

"...JimF@105 - Nice try, but RJ said it on his blog. So, direct from the Creator:..." I never read that either. So as far as I am concerned, it doesn't exist and/or is irrelevant.

Now quit bothering me; I'm scoring the music for the movie and the play. We have Moiraine Aes Sedai with Chumbawamba's 'Tubthumping' {I Get Knocked Down} and a much grander theme with Macy Gray's 'Coming Back to You'. Any ideas?
Hugh Arai
112. HArai
Jonathan Levy @75:

That's not 100% true. If you are skilled in other things, you can be assigned a task by your Ajah, or the Amyrlin, or become a sitter in the Hall. Merana is weak in the power, but she is in charge of an embassy of 9 Aes Sedai because of her negotiating skills.

Doesn't that last just long enough for Kiruna and Bera to show up, take over on the basis of strength and ignore Merana from then on? Because obviously their strength in the Power makes them better choices to negotiate with Rand . So much so that they get included in the "kneel or be knelt" at Dumai's Wells.

Terez27@108: I don't deny hot sweaty pillow friend sex at all. RJ said it happens so it happens. RJ also said it wasn't supposed to be considered a big deal by Randland societies. And *gasp* somehow it just doesn't seem to be a big deal so far as the story is written either.

@many: So Siuan and Moiraine fall out of love over the course of 2 exceedingly busy decades where they were separated virtually all the time. Thom and Morgase are no longer in love. Gareth Bryne and Morgase are no longer in love. Just like in the real world, people fall out of love in Randland regardless of that love being same sex or not. I don't see why if the Siuan/Moraine "break" implies same sex relationships can't possibly be important or are in some way inferior, the Thom/Morgase or Gareth/Morgase breaks apparently don't imply the same thing about hetero relationships. It just seems like a hell of a stretch.
Jonathan Levy
113. JonathanLevy
112. HArai
Doesn't that last just long enough for Kiruna and Bera to show up, take over on the basis of strength and ignore Merana from then on?
Yes, you're absolutely right about that. But I'm inclined to accept Merana's explanation, that this would never have happened when the Tower was whole. (LoC:49)
...the one thing Merana was sure of was that the embassy was crumbling around her. It was the sort of thing that would never have happened when the White Tower was whole, when an ambassador had the full power of the Tower and the Amyrlin Seat behind her, and no matter if she had taken thirty years to reach the shawl and barely had enough strength to keep from being sent away. They were only a collection of Aes Sedai now, slipping into their relative places without thought.
Edited to add reference
Theresa Gray
114. Terez27
@JL - The point that everyone keeps missing that Leigh is trying to make is that the inclusion of homosexual relationships in the text was gratuitous lesbian porn for RJ despite its PG presentation in the books, otherwise known as 'fan service'. If RJ hadn't dropped so many lesbians in with barely a mention of gay men - if he hadn't included homosexual relationships in the plot at all - then the subject would not come up so often. I don't recall anything you've said on the subject, though; I'm mainly laughing at the 'la la la' people who keep trying to pretend that pillow friends aren't even lesbians. Which is in its own way even worse than RJ's sexist fanservice.
Jonathan Levy
115. JonathanLevy
114. Terez27

If you want to know what I think about the permanent discussion of this topic, read TPOD part 16 comments 117 & 199 and TPOD part 17 comment 133.
Theresa Gray
116. Terez27
To be honest, I don't really care. Nothing personal. ;)
Tess Laird
117. thewindrose
EvilMonkey at 99 - that is great! I am still laughing at Cads = Kobe:)
subwoofer - you were robbed - I know you had 100!

Just keep swimming;)
James Hogan
118. Sonofthunder
Agree, windrose! Great job with that, EvilMonkey. I greatly enjoyed it!!! One more note on Kobe=Cads...both venemously hated by many.

Also, Nicola = Melo? Both jump ship for what seems to be a greater path to glory.

And I'm sad I didn't get 117...that's my fav number to get!!
Rob Munnelly
119. RobMRobM
Romanda = Shaq. Past her prime but still a key contributor in spots?
Heidi Byrd
120. sweetlilflower
@many: you know, I log on almost every day and read Leigh's recap and the comments. And, yet, I rarely post. The reason I do not post all of the time is that sometimes, the current discussion is not that interesting to me. Perhaps I really care about the current discussion, or something new occurs to me while I am reading Leigh's commentary, and then I will post. However, if you don't like the subject, please, SHUT UP AND GO SOMEWHERE ELSE! There is no actual benefit to you or us. I understand that you feel some sort of right to complain and bitch about what other people are writing, but you are actually extending the conversation by remarking upon it. So, if effect, if you complain about subject x, then other people are going to remark upon your complaint of x, and then you will feel the need to defend your opinions of x. So, instead of the subject naturally dying away and a new one being brought up for discussion, YOU, by complaining have personally caused the subject to be further beaten to death. So, in conclusion, if you don't like what other people are talking about, shut up or introduce something new for discussion.

If I have offended you, good.
Kerwin Miller
121. tamyrlink
lol well I tried to change the subject!
122. Maac
All righty -- anyone who's bored, just scroll past me, please. ;-)

@112 -- the reason it's not a stretch is that heterosexual relationships are so much more predominantly portrayed pretty much in every possible medium that one outcome or another will not affect the audience's perceptions and opinions of heterosexcal relationships very much. They're already familiar with the wide, crazy, beautiful variety with which these relationships can take place. One bad or "twisted" or tragic or thwarted or belittled heterosexual relationship in fiction is not going to make anyone alive say "Hmm, see, that's how those straights are, I knew it, tsk tsk." They're the "template," so people are much less inclined to take one and generalize from it -- these relationships are not threatened or demonized or endangered anywhere important, in any fashion, and people who engage in them are perfectly free to do so without much remark from any quarter.

Gay relationships are not like this -- the vast overwhelming majority of the time in fiction, they are still stereotyped, made tragic, made temporary, made to teach some sort of grand lesson, and/or simply not seen. Most of the time, they still don't get to just be. So each representation of a gay relationship, until the world we live it becomes much different, carries that much more weight -- in the context of a given, particular story AND in the wider context of the world, of all stories, of any portrayal that comes down the road -- for actual gay people and people who are their friends, family and loved ones. This is why people discuss it, this is why there is an emotional response, this is why people get a bit nervous and want to mount defenses.

The two sorts of relationships are not equal in the real world, and therefore having the same exact treatment in fiction does not and cannot yet always have the exact same ramifications.

Not that I want to prolong anyone's unwanted discussion, but I have trouble ignoring questions when I see them. Sorry! :-) Again -- anyone who's bored, just please skip. Relurking. Carry on!
Rob Munnelly
123. RobMRobM
No - this is all good. The people who choose to flog Bella have done so. SLF properly pointed out - appropriately - that silence is often the best medicine if you think an issue is overdone. We're pretty quiet here today, as the issues are getting played out. Looking forward to tomorrow's post.
Alice Arneson
124. Wetlandernw
Not that this is a point of actual discussion, but it was interesting to read the Oathing. I can't help wonder if Egwene will, with relative ease, replace the Three Oaths with a single Oath that includes the gist of the three. Seems like the easiest solution, if an incomplete one.

Here's a question, though. The Supergirls have figured out that it's the Oath Rod that causes the ageless look and places the limit on lifespan. Have they figured out that it's the swearing of three oaths (as opposed to one) that creates those effects, or do they only know "It's the Oath Rod that does it"? Anyone have thoughts? Or any idea how they might figure it out, short of long-term experimentation or an infodump from a Forsaken or Rand/LTT?

It was interesting to note here (though Egwene didn't mention it, but she had more on her mind) that Moiraine felt it tightening more with each Oath; can they use that to make the leap that each additional Oath has an increased effect on the body?
Sorcha O
125. sushisushi
>> Installing WoT Random Name Generator
>> Installing Patch 1.5 Aes Sedai
>> working...
>> Please input initial letter (S/M?) S
>> Mythological resonance (Y/N?) N
>> Please select some random vowels (a/e/i/o/u?) aei
>> working...
>> working...
>> please be patient...
>> Today's randomly generated Aes Sedai name with too many vowels is
>> Saerin
>> Please input initial letter (S/M?)
Alice Arneson
126. Wetlandernw
sushisushi @125 - LOL! Maybe that's what RJ used...

subwoofer @101 - I just reread your post with a slightly more functional brain... There's an interesting thing coming up in a few chapters (the one where Cadsuane shows up), where she talks about the highest in strength as of that time. One of the reasons Cadsuane and, to some extent, Romanda stand out from their generation is that the only others who stood anywhere close to Cadsuane in strength (and apparently in strength of character, too!) were murdered by the BA. Romanda escaped because she was in retirement, but 5 (at least) of the older and stronger (both OP and character - or personality if you prefer) were sent out to look for the DR by Tamra, and were subsequently hunted down and killed, along with any man or boy who showed signs of being a little too lucky. Lelaine may well have escaped only because Tamra didn't want to send Sitters out on the hunt.

In between Cadsuane's age group and Moiraine's, only Lelaine and Elaida are even as strong as Moiraine, and not one is stronger once Meilyn and Kerene are gone. So you have more than 200 years worth of AS whose strength in the OP is, if not negligible, at least not outstanding. However, you are IMO entirely correct in that there ought to be a goodly number of those women who have the benefit of experience and training, who may turn up as being the ones who simply roll up their sleeves and get things done. We've seen a few of them, as you mentioned; Pevara, Yukiri, Gabrelle, and several others, while they may not have a very appealing job or circumstances, turn out to be well able to find a way to cope with their world turning upside down without going into a panic. I wonder if the bad impression we have is that a lot of the AS we've seen really are those younger women who may have more OP chops but lack the experience to bend rather than break under pressure.

I've concluded, in other words, that I agree with you. The hundreds of AS who are still off screen hold out hope to us that when it all hits the fan, we won't be totally left in the hands of the overconfident few we've met so far. The percentages might still not be high, but some of them have to be worth something. Even Teslyn turns out to have some redeeming qualities, after all! :)
lake sidey
127. lakesidey
@124 Wet:Egwene took the three oaths in a single breath. Besides, I don't think she even noticed the tightening consciously, after being beaten several times a day this would be a mild tickling sensation.

But - a point to note; Egwene should also know now that the Three Oaths are not foolproof. Let's see....
(1) Thanks to the whole Mesaana business, she knows it is possible to fake the three oaths. And in multiple ways (so hard to ensure all loopholes are blocked off!). Even if you manage that....
(2) Almost a quarter of the sisters, over the years, went black, so the Oaths hardly prevent anything of the sort. And even if you could reword them so that they do...
(3) We now know the oaths can be removed - and now that Travelling knowhow is widespread, short of keeping the oath rod on her person at all times, there is no way to prevent it being used for such. And if you could...
(4) There are other oath rods whch could possibly be used to undo the oaths (admittedly she doesn't know of them). And if they are never found....
(5) All it takes is one man you trust who knows Damer Flinn's way of healing. Get him to still you and then heal you back to your full strength - but with the ability to "lie like a wool merchant" or whatever. Would need a hell of a lot of trust, admitted, but theoretically possible.

(And I'm sure there's more ways to build a better idiot...and all this is besides the fact that the Asha'man have no such Oaths, and are already scarily powerful weapons, and the Three Oaths tilt the balance further against AS. The Three Oaths were what made AS what they were, true, but the world has changed and maybe the AS will have to as well.)

Maybe Egwene will realise that enforcing the Three Oaths is like locking a barn door floating free in space....but I doubt it.

I have this vision of Rand at the field of Merrilor, after eloquently convincing most of the other people round to his point of view turning to Egwene and saying sweetly "...and by the way, Egwene, that rod you Sisters swear your oaths on? It's actually this thingy we used to use to bind prisoners who had committed the vilest of crimes and couldn't be trusted to reform; the penalty was a few years off their lives as well....Just saying. Now about those Seals...."

@125 sushisushi: ROTFL...(and now we know where you got that username from...)

@120 sweetlilflower: Well said. Spoken like a true sweet lil flower, too! Are you by any chance related to Pretty Butterfly from Terry Pratchett's "Interesting Times"?

Valentin M
128. ValMar
Wetlander @ 126

Very nice analysis! One can't get this kind of info on the Encyclopedia.
Mikey Bennett
129. EvilMonkey
SonOfThunder @ 118

I was thinking of Melo as Sheriam. Great player overshadowed by the icons of her draft class. A little selfish. Left a decent organization to join the dark side b/c they felt like that's the winning team. Seemingly only commited to their own stats (Melo doesn't play defense, Sheriam doesn't put the work in that other darksiders do, like Galina, Alviarin, or Temaille). Also Romanda as Shaq is a good one RobM.

Maybe sideways is the best ways, at least if we want to keep Leigh off the rampage.
Mikey Bennett
130. EvilMonkey
SonOfThunder @ 118

I was thinking of Melo as Sheriam. Great player overshadowed by the icons of her draft class. A little selfish. Left a decent organization to join the dark side b/c they felt like that's the winning team. Seemingly only commited to their own stats (Melo doesn't play defense, Sheriam doesn't put the work in that other darksiders do, like Galina, Alviarin, or Temaille). Also Romanda as Shaq is a good one RobM.

Maybe sideways is the best ways, at least if we want to keep Leigh off the rampage.
Chris Chaplain
131. chaplainchris1
Jonathan Levy @75 & 113, HARai @ 112 - this is such a minor thing, but on Merana's behalf (I like her, for some reason), I just want to point out that she's really not 'weak' in the power, not by Aes Sedai standards. She's coeval with Alanna and Verin, and thus well able to Travel.

She is weak_er_ than many of the most prominent, including Kiruna and Bera (who weren't really of her embassy), but also apparently Masuri, Seonid, Faeldrin, Rafela, and others who were directly of her embassy. So all of your points - that she was placed over people who were stronger, and that this would have held under normal circumstances but didn't given the state of the Tower - are all agreed. I just don't want poor Merana called weak. :)
Valentin M
133. ValMar
Oh joy, now comparing AS with basketball (?) players. I declare myself dissatisfied with this discussion and demand you all cease! ;)
Rob Munnelly
134. RobMRobM
@133 How about Elaida = Charlie Sheen?
135. sushisushi
ValMar@133 At least you realised they were talking about basketball. I just assumed it was American footballers...
lake sidey
136. lakesidey
@133 ValMar: At least you know who all these basket cases people are. I haven't even heard most of the names being bandied around!

Alice Arneson
137. Wetlandernw
lakesidey @127 - I'm thinking inside the "box" that Egwene has to deal with: namely, the insistence of the existing AS that the Three Oaths, sworn on the Oath Rod, are what make them AS. We've seen stiff resistance already to even the idea of retiring out of the Oaths; abolishing them altogether is a bit much to imagine, and I think Egwene would be a fool to try it as matters stand now. So I was trying to come up with ways that might be acceptable within the existing framework.

OTOH, if Rand (or a Forsaken) were able and willing to explain the origin of the Oath Rod, it might make them rethink the situation. If he were also able to explain the side effects, that would be even better, but I don't get the impression that, even in the AOL, they realized the effect of multiple Oaths. It's a pity, because if they really wanted they could keep them with much lesser effect on their lifespan.
Heidi Byrd
138. sweetlilflower
Well, maybe they have to swear three instead of just one really long one. I don't know why, but perhaps that's why oaths just kept getting added instead of the original oath being amended. It could be some weird effect of the Oath Rod that keeps the swearer from adding too many conjunctions. Hmm... except now that I think about it, the second oath has quite a few of those....

@ lakesidey #127

Nope, although I appreciate the reference. Perhaps in the future I could just wish for people to live in "interesting times" and hope they get sacked by the Silver Horde instead of wishing for people to stop acting in a logically falliable manner.
Valentin M
139. ValMar
I've heard one or two of them, like Shaq. The only Irish basket player I know.
Elaida as Charlie Sheen? Maybe if she went to sunny Mayene with Alviarin, Beonin, and a couple of Accepted for a weekend of debauchery. Then issue a proclamation or two on how hard she's working and how pathetic everyone else is.
Hugh Arai
140. HArai
chaplainchris1@131: I actually like Merana too. That's why I was miffed on her behalf that Kiruna, Bera, and Verin as I recall neatly eviscerated her embassy. She actually seemed like she had a reasonable approach for someone who only knew Rand as the Dragon Reborn.

Wetlandernw@137: Maybe they could point out Semirhage turned to the DO in favor of swearing on an Oath Rod? That might carry enough impact to break through the purely emotional arguments.
lake sidey
141. lakesidey
@138 sweetlilflower: Logic, don't talk to me about logic! Here I am, brain the size of a planet, and I have to teach logic (and worse, maths) to college kids. There ain't no justice...

One Oath to rule them all:

"Under the light and by my hope of rebirth and salvation I swear that I will speak no word that is not true, make no weapon for one humanoid sentient to kill another and eschew the use of the One Power as a weapon, except against Shadowspawn or Darkfriends, or against sentient beings threatening the life of any White Tower Initiate or Warder"

@140 HArai: Good point. Though I suspect there would be some whose knee-jerk reaction would be "if Semirhage didn't like it, it must be a good thing". There're always a few...

Also apropos of nothing, I suspect the Aiel would make great basketball players. Towering and very fast and agile. Only need some training in "not killing the opposing team in the heat of the moment". (Do Aiel play sports, even? The only games I can remember seeing the adult Aiel indulge in are cat's cradle and maiden's kiss. Oh, and the "10,000 m round the camp, because the Wise One said so", but I don't think that counts?)

Thomas Keith
142. insectoid
Lakesidey @141:

"Under the light and by my hope of rebirth and salvation I swear that I will speak no word that is not true, make no weapon for one humanoid sentient to kill another and eschew the use of the One Power as a weapon, except against Shadowspawn or Darkfriends, or against sentient beings threatening the life of any White Tower Initiate or Warder"

Well, that pretty much covers all the bases, doesn't it? Try and find a loophole in that, silly Aes Sedai!

Hugh Arai
143. HArai
Lakesidey@141: I believe the Aiel were engaged in some sort of leaping game after the battle with the Shaido where Mat killed Couladin. Something about drunken Tairens breaking bones trying it...
144. JimF
You guys are a hoot!

And 127. lakesidey "...I have this vision of Rand at the field of Merrilor,..." That would be sweet. Eg would fold her arms under her breasts, turn her back on Rand, and mutter: "Men!" Then she would convene the Hall of the Tower right there on the grass and ask for the Greater Consensus to allow her to go mano a mano with him, and blast his silly ass back to Dragonmount. How dare he have an idea. It's not like, after all, that The Dragon Reborn would know how to tie his shoes without the firm guiding hand of a woman AND an Aes Sedai.

I think things are going to get out of hand there on the Field of Merrilor.
145. MickeyDee
The best post I have seen in months.
John Massey
146. subwoofer
I dunno, Rand has mellowed in his old age, Egwene has to find faith.

These here oaths... I suppose they have to be bullet proof, but as the world knows, AS can stand the truth on its head if they want to. The first Oath is pretty dodgy unless somebody pulls an Egwene and says words to the effect:

"If you wish to speak, know that I will pin you by the Three Oaths into answering directly."

Stuff like that should happen a bit more often. I dunno, seems to me like people have problems asking yes/no questions, being direct, folks give the AS enough room to be cryptic and vague. By that same token, if the AS have to speak the truth 24/7, sometimes that could do more harm than help. Diplomacy goes out the window, bargaining... all sorts of stuff would slide sideways... it would be like the movie "the Invention of Lying". I am not a big fan of the oath about the weapons... that needs some work, and the third Oath about doing no harm except in defense of life and against the Shadowspawn. I think there should be a general oath to walk in the Light and do all that is possible to fight the Shadow. The rest is duck soup.

147. JimF
@114. terez27 I see on review I promoted you to 28 in the wee hours of the morning, for "good initiative". However after this beauty: "..I'm mainly laughing at the 'la la la' people who keep trying to pretend that pillow friends aren't even lesbians. Which is in its own way even worse than RJ's sexist fanservice...." I'm busting you back to 27 for "bad judgment."

RJ may have showed a dirty mind in meeting with various of us nut jobs in person, or in blogging, but I doubt that many serious readers of this work are going "la la la" about these relationships. It just that, well, Randland is pretty much like here in all mundane matters; yawn; now to read on. And you can probably discern what I think about "fanservice". Sounds Seanchan to me. You're not a Seeker, are you?

I do however see and concede your point in what you said in that post. Maybe RJ should have omitted this entire facet of life in his writing about this big, brawling world that at some point is/was/will be our world. But then we come back to a point I raised @105, whatever he does he's going to catch criticism, especially when any idiot (self included) can anonymously post his/her flamboyant opinion for the entire world to see.

My take on these books, again, is that they are immensely enjoyable, have dominated my reading list for significant chunks of the last 20 years, and although Jordan could throw up some real clangers in probably more ways than I recognize, I just let it slide on by to get back to (for me) the fun stuff. Now that's the last I'll utter/mutter/spout/brilliantly set forth on this topic. Over and out.
148. JimF
146. subwoofer "...Stuff like that should happen a bit more often. I dunno, seems to me like people have problems asking yes/no questions, being direct, folks give the AS enough room to be cryptic and vague...."

Probably more contention has arisen in these rereads and our own minds, about how absolutely secretive or evasive this whole collection of superheroes and dunces is. As my old Grandma said "they wouldn't say mmmpf if they had a mouthful of it."

We have seen a few occasions where they talk forthrightly and WALLA! ;) good things usually happen. Otherwise, we have hell in a hand basket, all because of their reticence. Maybe we're beyond that now (Perrin has spoken to Faile about the wolves; Egwene saw Perrin in T'A'R and knows he's a dude there; and so on). Now with the world on the precipice, maybe they'll talk.

I like your proposed oath: "...I think there should be a general oath to walk in the Light and do all that is possible to fight the Shadow...." It sounds current: "I swear to uphold the Constitution..."
Leigh Butler
149. leighdb
Hi all,

Due to unexpected circumstances, there will be no Re-read post tomorrow. The Re-read should resume as usual on Friday.

In the meantime, have a smile.
Jonathan Levy
150. JonathanLevy
116. Terez27
No problem :)

120. sweetlilflower
We tried that, but then we get all these people complaining about people complaining about subject x!

124. Wetlandernw
Good idea, though it would throw a monkey wrench into Egwene's plan to have the Aes Sedai retire into the kin. If the 3 Oaths are reduced to one, then Aes Sedai might not retire, and if they did it would be at a much greater age, and for a shorter period of time. This would reduce the numbers and influence of the Kin.

127. lakesidey
Yeah, you've got a good point there with that list of disadvantages. But there is another side to the coin, and it's not clear (to me, at least) which way the scales will go. But just as there are ways to get around the oath rod, there are also ways to make it more effective. For example, the swearing-in can become a yearly ceremony, rather than a once-in-a-lifetime thing. With Travelling it shouldn't be difficult to get every Aes Sedai back to the tower once a year.

Compulsion can be checked for, and inverted sound-altering weaves can probably be broken or detected with a little work (e.g. Lanfear was able to cut Rand's flows of Saidin even if she couldn't see them, so an inverted weave of Saidar shouldn't be too hard).
Also, with point 5 (stilling and healing) you would lose the Ageless look.

131. chaplainchris1
Your correction is noted! Also, I think there was a question of age there - Verin was so much older than Merana, that she had to show her deference despite their parity in Saidar.

142. insectoid
Here's a loophole:

Cairhienin Wife: Oh Aes Sedai! My husband is trying to kill me now that I've discovered he's having an affair! Kill him for me and I will pay you half of his life insurance policy!

Aes Sedai: (Bleaches Wife's dress with Saidar) He's trying to kill a Novice! Die!

144. JimF

146. subwoofer

It occurs to me that part of the Serenity which Aes Sedai are required to display on the ir Test is necessary because of the First Oath. The authoritative and serene facade of the Aes Sedai is the only thing that lets them get away with the quarter-truths their Oath compels them to say. If an Aes Sedai gets flustered, the first Oath can be used against her just in the way Egwene did.
Thomas Keith
151. insectoid
Leigh @149: OH, the horror! Whatever shall we do? We'll have to start comparing Aes Sedai with baseball players next...


JLevy @150:

Here's a loophole:

Cairhienin Wife: Oh Aes Sedai! My husband is trying to kill me now that I've discovered he's having an affair! Kill him for me and I will pay you half of his life insurance policy!

Aes Sedai: (Bleaches Wife's dress with Saidar) He's trying to kill a Novice! Die!

Arrgh! Curse you, Aquascum!! ;)

lake sidey
152. lakesidey
@150 Jonathan Levy: "Also, with point 5 (stilling and healing) you would lose the Ageless look."

Curses, foiled again!

"Aes Sedai: (Bleaches Wife's dress with Saidar) He's trying to kill a Novice! Die!"

No no no...It has to be an "initiate of the tower". If wearing white were all it took, all the gai'shain and da'covale would be initiates of the tower. Not to mention Lanfear.

I wonder why white is the preferred colour for the bottom dogs in much of Randland society (AS, Aiel, Seanchan...) At least the apprentice windfinders don't seem to wear white.

@149 Leigh: Life happeneth eh? Ah, don't worry...we'll survive somehow...(any ideas for a good crazy poll, people?)

@146 Sub: Mmm, duck soup.

@143 HArai: Thanks! I remember it now...

Jonathan Levy
153. JonathanLevy
152. lakesidey

Aes Sedai: That woman was an initiate of the Tower of Distressed Damsels, an organization which I founded in my mind five seconds ago, and which she automatically joined when she asked for help. Therefore, she is clearly a Tower Initiate. Not the White Tower, mind you, but the oath does say that I can protect any Tower Initiate, as long as she's White. Check the oath if you don't believe me: "any white Tower-Initiate".

Oh you meant something else? Well, you should have phrased it better. Bye-Bye Hubby! :)

Here's another random thought re: Elayne.

Elayne's interest in Rand appeared out of nowhere. I believe Isam said it best - "I talked to Rand for five minutes a year ago. I love him." Jordan has often been criticised for how he makes Twoo Wuv appear with no prior warning, and this was considered a typical example.

On the other hand, we've often seen Elayne rush into risky adventures without a care for the consequences. This is a well-established (though not well-loved) character trait of hers.

Perhaps one can be used to explain the other? Elayne meets a guy and thinks he's handsome. A year later she meets him again and discovers he's the Dragon Reborn. On an impulse, she charges forward into his bedroom to make him hers.

Granted, the motivation is different, as is the nature of the danger, but impulsiveness is still there. And the degree of risk in fooling around with a man who can channel and is supposed to break the world is considerably greater than interrogating Black Ajah alone, or picking apart a gateway.

Maybe it's a bit in-character for her after all?
Stefan Mitev
154. Bergmaniac
A delay in the re-read just when it was about to reach the most crucial moment in the whole series - the detailed explanation of the Randland etiquette on dealing with your seamstress and what kind of dresses Moiraine and Siuan ordered. Such a shame, I was so waiting for this... :)

Rand and Elayne - both are really young and good looking, so their "love at first sight" doesn't bother me much, especially when we add the in universe explanation of ta'veren. I find their relationship after Tear the problematic part. They are supposed to be really in love, yet they've met exactly once in the 7-8 months since then, despite having Travelling available for most of that time. I know they've been really busy saving the world, gaining thrones and other important stuff, but come on, nothing stops them from getting together once every few nights or so.
Jonathan Levy
155. JonathanLevy
154. Bergmaniac

Keep in mind Rand has received two very confusing letters from Elayne, and doesn't know what to think about them. He isn't really sure if she likes him any more. Plus, he doesn't know where she is. And soon enough he's got Aviendha to distract him.

Poor fellow! :)
Mikey Bennett
157. EvilMonkey
double post. Sowwy
Daniel Smith
158. Smittyphi
I know I'm a bit slow in responding but @Gadget #28 -
Where does it show that Aes Sedai can show current and potential? I'm not saying you're wrong as I'm on the low end of remembering stuff about the WoT. Just curious.
159. Mike123
Single oath of "I will walk in the light and fight only the shadow..." is a bad idea. For example, AS Sally has the fortelling that King greatness will have a great grandson that will turn to the Dark. AS Sally is concerned becasue she feels there is nothing that she can do but wait and see if she can prevent the turning. Or is there? What if she killed King greatness. She could successfully argue in her own mind that she is serving the light by preventing a baddie from being born.
The oaths as was explained in the books, I forget where and by whom, that they are basically hollow, but their main function was to help save the tower and allow the leaders of other nations a false sense of security when dealing with AS.
Because as Suain demonstrated, one can still think lies. The Oaths, as we all can agree and may have already said, does not really change who an AS is. An oath about not lying doesn't prevent them from being untruthful. An oath about not killing, doesn't prevent them from starting wars, or simplying saying, "hey warder, go kill that guy and steal his boots."
Without morals and ethics, no oath on the rod would truly be binding, but with morals and ethics, there is no need for the binding rod.
Just my two cents.
Tricia Irish
160. Tektonica

It's always struck me as very odd that Rand and Elayne haven't made contact since the Big Night.

Rand doesn't know where Elayne is, and I'm sure it never occurred to him to ASK someone. No, not in WoT! Why, he doesn't even know he's going to be a dad! Imagine his suprise on the Fields of Mellior! (Wait isn't Mellior some baddie DF? Or is that Mellor? Sigh, I'm losing it.)

All in all a very sketchy relationship, imho.
Mikey Bennett
161. EvilMonkey
Smitty @158

AS can sense both current and potential power with practice. Look at Siuan being drafted into being an aprentice spymaster. She stood lower than the current spymaster at the time. She said that she couldn't wait till she got her full potential so she could tell the broad to shove off.
Stefan Mitev
162. Bergmaniac
Rand doesn't need to ask where Elayne is, he has the Warder bond, it's really helpful when you are trying to find someone. ;)

And it's not like Elayne has been hard to find anyway, since she spent the lat 5 books in the Caemlyn palace, the most logical place for her.

What makes this whole thing even more odd is that those two have a lot of non-personal stuff to discuss too, being two of the major political leaders in Randland.

My guess is Jordan intended Rand's surprise at being a dad to be an important plot point at merrilor, so until then he planned for Rand and Elayne to stay away from each other.
Marcus W
163. toryx
The thing about the strength thing is that we come from a world where one's accomplishments are generally considered to be of greater worth than the circumstances of one's birth. It's a pretty popular theme in just about every aspect of American culture, from songs to books to movies.

Unfortunately, generally speaking, that's not really true. It can be true, sometimes. But when someone does overcome the circumstances of one's birth to accomplish great things I tend to think that luck has a larger role in that than the things that everyone has access to: determination, ambition, developed skill or a general will to succeed.

Then we have the White Tower where one's value is entirely dependant on a completely random aspect of one's born ability and it neatly takes away the fantasy (in a fantasy novel no less!) and yet leaves us with the tidy fact that all our beloved Aes Sedai characters happen to have that randomly assigned quality.

No wonder we're of mixed emotions about all this. RJ is being both very realistic about it and giving us a little of what we want. That's clever.
Kerwin Miller
164. tamyrlink
i would love to see one Bene Gesserit loose in Randland.

i wonder how much of the WT Egwene brought with her to the Fields of Merrilor... Tuon may attack a Tower that barely has anyone in it, and then they may have to attack the Tower to get it back from her. Didn't Tuon say at one point that she would rule from the White Tower once the Return was completed? Before she told Beslan that the seat of the Empress on this side of the Aryth Ocean would be Ebou Dar.
Benjamin Moldovan
165. benpmoldovan
I think if nothing else, the Third Oath should be modified to include Seanchan (excluding civilians). The Seanchan are dangerous, and the AS need every advantage they can get against them.
Matt Belanger
166. mabwi
I'm pretty sure Rand has stated (thought?) repeatedly that he doesn't want to risk Elayne (and Aviendha, and Min) by being around them. If his enemies know he loves them, they'll attack them. So there's that factor to keep him away from Elayne. There's also the desire to avoid it looking like he's propping her up on the throne of Andor - she has to be seen to take and hold Andor without Rand's assistance.

Risking all that for a booty call would be a really, really bad idea, so it's best that they keep apart for now.
Birgit F
167. birgit
Wait isn't Mellior some baddie DF? Or is that Mellor?

Doilin Mellar, also known as Daved Hanlon, the Darkfriend who pretends to rescue Elayne from assassins and becomes captain of her bodyguard. He now has one of the copies of Mat's foxhead.
Jenny Jackson-Smith
168. opengirl
I know many people are irritated about yet another 'rant' about the pillowfriends/legitimacy of gay relationships issue, but I have to say, I'm glad to see it... because I know it irritates me. I love this series (as we all obviously do), but this is something that irritates me every time I read it (obviously not enough to get me to stop). I do often wonder if it's just because of my very obvious bias (being a gay lady myself), but seeing that it bothers someone else puts my mind at ease. And I know it's been hashed and rehashed, but sometimes something still bothers you after you've talked about it more than once. And just because something has been discussed once doesn't mean it isn't worth discussing again (although I admit it must be frustrating to have the same discussion with the same people in the same forum over and over again, I am new here, so I haven't participated in any of these before). It's a real issue. No matter how much I love these books, and how many times I reread them, and how many times I try and tell myself to just ignore it, it irritates me -- to the point that I just wish RJ had left us lesbians out of it.
169. XLCR
Good points OG. I think the real problem was that RJs personal and cultural background just wasn't up to the challenge of writing realistically on the subject. In fact, many of his generation and culture are still suffering from a strong anti-gay bias. So maybe we should just be glad he was at least more open-minded than many of his peers.

The lesson I suppose is that writers should write to their strengths. As I mentioned in an earlier post, he was very good writing about military life, and certainly had a clue about the politics of hierarchial organizations. Gay relationships were just uncomfortable for him, out of his depth and all that. Maybe we would be better off without those parts, but I suspect in his own way he was trying to demonstrate open-mindedness, and perhaps we should overlook the occasional cluelessness and just give him kudos for trying.
170. JimF
153. JonathanLevy "...Elayne's interest in Rand appeared out of nowhere...."

Actually, that interest is one of my favorite stories in the whole works. Elayne is disobeying her mother by climbing a tree to watch the "dragon proceedings" when boom, someone comes over the wall which is both impossible and completely against the law (i.e. "out of nowhere"?), settles in the tree, then falls out when she admonishes him. Now she gets to play nurse to broken-pate, and then has to appear before Mom where all disobedience and various mysteries about the (ooh, really cute!) stranger are revealed.

Then! Off she goes to the WT, only to find (wait for it!) her next-door-neighbor and bosom buddy is The Stranger's fiance, who actually is cooling on the affair. And! she meets another Babe who has also met The Stranger (aka Rand) who thinks he's the grooviest too, and gives off the most delightful auras, and yet another one! who used to change his diapers and spank his little booty.

Over quite an extended period of time, she's thinking and hearing about this guy. And then they meet again in Tear, where he has just demonstrated he's a Magic Man (cue Heart, playing etc.). Here she clears the decks with Egwene, and makes one of the two boldest, sweetest plays for another's attention we ever see in the books - and wins (more or less).

It's a good story. (And I happen to really like El, especially for her dealings with Mat and her boldness).
Jenny Jackson-Smith
171. opengirl
Kudos indeed, @XLCR... and I do think he was trying to be progressive and inclusive. It actually reminds me of various, shall we say, older people I've met who will insist they aren't racist (ie: "I'm not racist, I think Bill Cosby is hilarious!"), but will talk in great sweeping generalizations about "the blacks". Or they will say things that they believe show their tolerence, but instead show the limitations of their acceptance (ie: "I have no problems with mixed race relationships, but I just worry about the children!") It's maddening, because it comes from a good place in their hearts, but it's so hard to try and explain to them that what they are saying is, in fact, racist.

I don't know if I'm explaining this right, but... well, that's what it reminds me of... and it's still frustrating 5 rereads in!
172. JimF
The Fields of Merrilor. Rand opines that he is going to break the seals regardless of what Egwene has to say, and he's going to require something of the crowns assembled in order that he goes to Shayol Ghul. He's afraid they may turn him down (ToM: Epilogue: And After).

Obviously this will be A Big Moment in the books. Now, it strikes me that he admonished Cadsuane to treat him as Aes Sedai; after all, he was one of the oldest living AS (through Lews Therin) and the only surviving male AS who had not turned to the Dark.

He was also CinC of the AS (and so far as I can gather, the side of the Light) in the War of the Breaking. Is his demand here to be that he is again accorded that rank, and then to order the battle by placing his trusted, battle-tested associates (Rhuarc, Bashere, Perrin, and Mat in particular, among others) as the leaders of various large integrated units of Aiel, Randlanders, Aes Sedai, Asha'man and whoever else is around? To charge them to put aside the national ties to make an army headed by the very best strategists and tacticians, and consisting of various units that each has its especial worth in different roles?

We've seen a number of disjointed war scenes, with various lords and country units going off here or there and making a mess of things. We've more recently seen some more coordinated battle scenes. Jordan knew something of war. I have to imagine that his final battle would bring this knowledge to a firm focus.

Just guessing.
Mikey Bennett
173. EvilMonkey
JimF@ 172

...and yet Verin (sooper sneeky and an authority on the subject) believed that the LB may not be at all what Rand thinks it is. At this point I cannot even begin to contemplate how this thing will go. With the way these last 2 books went with all the surprises I am sure there will be wrinkles no one ever anticipated. All I know for sure is that there will be blood.

BTW, I am certainly not questioning RJ's ability to write war. His battle scenes are among the best in fiction. I have just been conditioned by these last 2 books to have all my predictions stood upon their head.
174. JimF
@173. EvilMonkey "...stood on their head...." You got that right. The last two books did things I couldn't ever see coming, and no doubt, the next (two I say) will again. It's possible Rand could end up sipping tea with The Dark Lord like Neo lunching with the French program run amok (name escapes me. la la la).

But I kind of doubt that. We still have some war scenes (Lan was last seen charging about 10 million Trollocs and Neverborn) and there were these funny pointy-toothed Aiel lookalikes, and by the way, call Caemlyn. Something funny goin' on down there.
175. XLCR
Oh man, don't get me started. My pet project at the moment is to figure out just how the Sheanchan will be brought around in time for TG. My first theory was that Tuan would demand that Mat come with her and be her hubby and he would say, "Sorry babe, but I have these obligations to be there at TG since my buds expect me and I............umm, blew this horn thing and besides, it just ain't cool to be like hanging back to pick up the pieces at a time like this, what will people say and all that." And then she'll get all emo and realize she really wuvs him and everything and so she goes, "Whatever you say, because like, I'm your babe and really into you and it's all cool now".

But I've blown off that one, it just doesn't scan right. My new one is based on a little bit in ToM about an attack on a Sheanchan port by strange black-sailed ships. My new theory is that the Athan-mere finally make themselves useful. I mean, we all knew they wouldn't be much good at TG there not being much water around there and all, so maybe they will finally come through somewhere else.
I'm thinking knocking off the home Sheanchan ports first would be the right plan. Then with their home support cut off a synchronized strike against Abu Dar, Tanchico, and Falme with massive numbers of wind-finders would be devastating. It's a military axiom that cutting off an amphibious landing force from it's control of the sea puts it in serious trouble. Just check what happened to Cornwallis at Yorktown. Maybe Tuon will come around when the dagger is in her back, so to speak.
j p
176. sps49
I know exactl how Moiraine is about to feel about "New Spring". I have traveled from Cali to Wisconsin (for a job interview, knock on wood) with the heaviest coat I own, facing a high of 24F tomorrow, while hearing that today's 38F is a welcome warm spell featuring some people in light jackets or just shirts.

It's not funny, even though I expect our Great White Northern contingent to mock me. Brr!
James Hogan
177. Sonofthunder
JimF @ 174...the Merovingian. I think that's how you spell that bloke's name. And that's also one of my favorite parts of the movie...followed shortly by the chateau scene. *now has craving to watch Reloaded*

Also, thanks for the thoughts on Elayne a few posts up. That really does help to explain her a bit better. I do like the Rand/Elayne relationship, starting in TSR. Sure it's not heavily foreshadowed like some of his other relationships, but all the seeds are there. And also, I get the sense that they have really good times talking together...spending so much time together in Tear. Of course, they do spend much of that time snogging, but hey, they're young. I get the sense that they're quite fond of each other for other than merely physical reasons. Think of all the anguish Rand goes through in TSR over her stupid letters!!

Their innocent young love wanes a bit as they both take on more responsibilities...but that's to be expected. I think Rand has a better relationship with Elayne than he does Aviendha!! As much as Rand and Avi spark, I think they're a bit too culturally different to have a fruitful long term relationship...even if they are destined for each other.

Which brings me to another point that irks me about the series...Rand tied to three women. I do so wish that instead of being destined for 3 women(loving them all equally!), he'd settle for only one. As much as it makes for a great scene(Lan almost losing it!) when he declares his love for them...I just don't like it. I think his distance from Elayne should have cooled both their loves for each other(plus, their pride would not have helped their relationship in their roles as Dragon and Queen)...maybe in FoH he could be shown finally getting over Elayne, fueled by his ongoing tryst with Avi. He realizes that while he likes Elayne, he doesn't love her. He appreciates the time he had with her but realizes they won't have a future together. He sends her a letter telling her so(he gives it to Egwene to give to her) and she promptly has a tantrum. Following, she decides that he's just a typical man anyway and that she doesn't need a man - she's going to be Queen of Andor and has no time for distractions. Also, this means no pregnancy plot!!

As for Avi, as much as Rand and Avi hit it's only temporary. Once Rand's in Cairhien, they slowly drift away, with Avi telling Rand solemnly that she is a Maiden and always will be and cannot give that up for him. He's a bit confused and hurt, but moves on. Just in time for...Min!! Who is Rand's "true love" and soulmate.

I think this would work out a lot better...but alas, Rand needs three women apparently. Plus, this way Elayne could fall in love with someone else...can anyone say Jahar? That would be an awesome match.

Excuse my ramblings...apparently I need to stop drinking so much fuels my weird imagination. *peers suspiciously at coffee cup*
Jonathan Levy
178. JonathanLevy
170. JimF

Don't forget that she was pushed into precipitate action because she knew Berelain was in his chambers :)
Tricia Irish
180. Tektonica
Morning all! Hope this is coherent, as I'm just starting my first cup 'o joe.


Thanks for the spelling clarification....I couldn't get the right spelling of Merrilor...I said Mellior, or was it Mellor (knowing that was the DF), then there is Thom Merrilon. Too many M's and L's. LOL.


I agree, Rand shouldn't publicly seek out Elayne so the DO knows he's in "wuv". And I understand Elayne not wanting to appear aligned with the DR publicly, for political reasons.

But, he does have Traveling, and he can alter his appearance, as he did for the Big Night. A few "afternoon delights" or late night "rendevous" would have made the relationship seemed more realistic. Hell, it would have made it into a relationship! Instead of just a one night stand. ( I know they had a budding relationship in Tear, but that was only like 2 weeks and a long time ago?)

Look, I know this didn't happen, and it's silly to wish for. I just think it's unrealistic. When you've got that young passion thang going on, hell and high water won't keep you apart, let along Tarmin Gaidan! I guess I'll just have to put it down to RJ's theme of "Lack of Communication".


Good speculation. I imagine Rand will demand something from the assembled multitudes in exchange for facing the DO, and giving his life for them all, as per prophecy. Cooperation, peace amongst them, let his battle captains run the show, configuration of countries after the LB? etc. I wonder what else?


I agree with you too about Rand having 3 women. In the service to the ongoing posts about RJ's writing of different sexual relationships, this always seemed like some cliche male fantasy to me. *ducks*

I know there are allegorical reasons for the 3 women, but really....Rand barely sees Elayne, he and Avi fight like cats and dogs, and he really seems to need Min. Make a choice, dude, and choose Min please. **shrug**

**runs for Bunker** in the door....please....I know how to change diapers!!
181. FellKnight
@sps49, it must be a matter of perspective. I live in Canada, and I have always associated the borderland winter scenes with northern Canada, where the high temperatures will rarely break 0 degrees Fahrenheit (and the wind makes it oh-so-cold-indeed). 24F is positively balmy! Try -40 without the windchill sometime... then we'll talk ;)

Tricia Irish
182. Tektonica

Hysterical!!! ROFLOL. Great way to start the day. I guess you've had your coffee!!
John Massey
184. subwoofer
@SPS49- mock you? Hells yes! This morning it is -24F and with the windchill it is -45F. And I work outside. Lemme tell ya, enjoy the warm spell;)

Diadees? Sure, c'mon in. For whatever reason my little one didn't poo for a day and when she finally did, it was the mother load. Ooze everywhere. I didn't think it was possible- all that outta one little bum.

@Tamyrlink, hmmmm... so have we made comparisons of the Aiel to the Fremen?

Tess Laird
185. thewindrose
Jessica = Moiraine Stilgar = Rhuarc

Jonathan Levy Very funny! Poor Chu;)

SPS49 - It was -5F at 7am, but no wind - and the sun was showing - beautiful day - I didn't even wear a hat.

Heidi Byrd
186. sweetlilflower
just to rub it in, its 55 degrees Farenheit right now with a high of 67 degrees for the day. Gotta luv Atlanta!
Tricia Irish
187. Tektonica
OK, you asked for it. Read it and weep..... Weather report from South Florida:
High today 80, sunny. Y'all come down now!
Ron Garrison
188. Man-0-Manetheran
@134 RobMRobM:
“How about Elaida = Charlie Sheen?” OK, now that’s the first bellylaugh I’ve had on this board in a looooong time.

Hi all. I’ve been reading, but once again, haven’t had anything to say. As others have said, Bela has been flogged enough.

JonathanLevy: Whew! Excellent.
James Hogan
189. Sonofthunder
50 F(10 C) here in northeast Scotland...and sunny! Think we've had sunny weather for five straight days here(an all-time record, methinks). Gorgeous.

But then I look at Tek's post and cry...oh Florida! I will be in Florida in June - think it may be just a touch warmer then.
j p
190. sps49
According to the rental car thermometer, it is 18F right now in Menomonee Falls, but I find the lack of wind a comfort. My tan would probably flake off in an 18 degree wind.

And I'm properly impressed by the true cold weather folks. -5F with no hat? Working in a windy -25? (F or C, there's not much difference) I'm surprised people still live in Canada :)
Rob Munnelly
191. RobMRobM
@187. B*tch. (LOL)
Sam Mickel
192. Samadai
JL @179 that was extremely funny, good job

Tek@187 my 40 degrees and raining says :P to you. ;)

We need some good entertainment here today.
193. JimF
@179. JonathanLevy: Hahahahahaha! You got way too much time on your hands. Good story!

I especially liked the way Chu through a spanner in the works: "Why?" indeed.
Amir Noam
194. Amir
Jonathan Levy @179:
Nice :-)

Any inspiration from this classic?
Tricia Irish
196. Tektonica
RobM: Harumph. That was an invitation to all! The rest of the northeast seems to have migrated here this week. Roads and restaurants are clogged.

Sonofthunder....June will be beastly here, as I'm sure you know. You've got your seasons/countries reversed. I'm migrating to the mountains then.

Amir: A bit of Python is always appreciated! Thank you! Loved the young Rowan Atkinson!

I love it when things go sideways.
Bill Reamy
197. BillinHI
Having lived on the east coast for most of my life, I'll take our weather in Hawaii: low 80s and mostly sunny today and no real humidity to speak of. (Was in Florida once many years ago in October when it was in the mid to upper 90s - both temperature AND humidity!). I wouldn't even want to go back to Maryland winters which, of course, are nothing compared to the Borderlands and Blight!

Edit to add: Not to mention that the same weather forecast could be used the whole year 'round and not be far off. We are getting a bit more rain this wet season than has been usual for some time, but we really need it, as some areas of the islands have had the worst drought conditions in the country in the last year or so.
lake sidey
198. lakesidey
Around 30 degrees here. Centigrade.

Shudders at the numbers being bandied about in those comments up there...

Andrew Foss
200. alfoss1540
Do I dare call myself 200? Great post Leigh!
Luke M
201. lmelior
Well I couldn't hold back any longer, I went ahead and finished New Spring. I don't know why I didn't remember more from it. It's so good! I'm itching to talk about the end, which surprisingly isn't really that far away in re-read time. We're just about halfway done already!

180. Tektonica

Thanks for the spelling clarification....I couldn't get the right spelling of Merrilor...I said Mellior, or was it Mellor (knowing that was the DF), then there is Thom Merrilon. Too many M's and L's. LOL.

I don't have anything to add, I just wanted to confuse you further with my screen name.

179. Jonathan Levy: Funny stuff!
John Massey
202. subwoofer
Well we gots freeze-the-brass-balls-off-a-monkey weather up here. It be cold. I always used to say, it is pointless to be this far north unless you are directly involved in oil... and I was so it made sense. Now, family and kid... pretty tough to take up and leave, dang settling down and roots and all. But this winter has been especially brutal, think Winter's Heart where Rand breaks the DO's grip on the weather and it gets really cold to make up for the imbalance of the hell on earth it was. Gah.

@Tek- sure enjoy the weather, I'll think of you fondly the next time a hurricane blows through. It may be cold up here, but my house has little chance of being destroyed by the cold... then again, a hurricane is over in a few days, if not hours, while winter lasts for what feels like forever... hmmmmmm.

@lakesidey, you shudder, I chatter. Sounds about right;)

WoTish... I will never look at Siuan's nipples in the same way again.

Alice Arneson
203. Wetlandernw
subwoofer - So who gave you permission to be looking at Siuan's nipples anyway? And what does your wife think of that? :p
Tricia Irish
204. Tektonica
Why Wetlander, Jonathan Levy did @ 179

Imelior@201: trying to mess me up? It's easy!
Heidi Byrd
205. sweetlilflower
@sub: How were you looking at Siuan's nipples? Your comment sort of implies that you spent some time contemplating her nipples and will now view them in an entirely different manner. Very creepy...
Thomas Keith
206. insectoid
JLevy @179: Wow. Well, that was... very long. ROFL XD

Kind of a gloomy partly-sunny and 64° here.

Sub @202 et al: LOL!!

Debbie Solomon
207. dsolo
I must admit that I never paid much attention to the "pillow talk" friendships. I got the impression that the AS considered them a youthful indulgence, and turned a blind eye to them. Similar relationships seem to exist anywhere that young people are limited to interacting only with others of the same sex (boarding schools, etc). In addition, it is also common for young people to experiment with different types of relationships. Bisexuality is much more acceptable today, than it was in RJ's era, so I'm not surprised that he limited his depiction of it. At least the society doesn't have rabid homophobes in it. Perhaps, in those societies, it's no big deal, so no one mentions it.
Also, I'm not bothered by Rand's multiple relationships. That's something that is between the participants. I don't like the idea of unbalanced relationships, which many cultures that allow multiple wives have, but that is not the case here. The women are not subject to Rand, and, in fact, are all independent in their own right. Their relationship is more akin to modern day polyamory. Our societal norm is one man/one woman, but their are many types of families. As long as they are not exploitive, then they are none of my business. I actually find it interesting that RJ looked at many different cultural norms for relationships.
Debbie Solomon
207. dsolo
I must admit that I never paid much attention to the "pillow talk" friendships. I got the impression that the AS considered them a youthful indulgence, and turned a blind eye to them. Similar relationships seem to exist anywhere that young people are limited to interacting only with others of the same sex (boarding schools, etc). In addition, it is also common for young people to experiment with different types of relationships. Bisexuality is much more acceptable today, than it was in RJ's era, so I'm not surprised that he limited his depiction of it. At least the society doesn't have rabid homophobes in it. Perhaps, in those societies, it's no big deal, so no one mentions it.
Also, I'm not bothered by Rand's multiple relationships. That's something that is between the participants. I don't like the idea of unbalanced relationships, which many cultures that allow multiple wives have, but that is not the case here. The women are not subject to Rand, and, in fact, are all independent in their own right. Their relationship is more akin to modern day polyamory. Our societal norm is one man/one woman, but their are many types of families. As long as they are not exploitive, then they are none of my business. I actually find it interesting that RJ looked at many different cultural norms for relationships.
Kimani Rogers
208. KiManiak
SoT@177 – Wot reread withdrawal has called me back to this post. And since we’ve moved away from a specific topic (that will remain nameless) that I held little interest in discussing, and have went sideways in a different direction…

Rand should end up with Min over Elayne and/or Aviendha? Au contraire... As much as I like Min, I’d rather see Rand end up with Aviendha. I’ve liked that pairing since TSR/TFoH. Avi wouldn’t have left him to be a perpetual Maiden; she was an apprentice Wise One at the time (as of ToM, she is essentially a Wise One), and Wise Ones can and have married Aiel Chiefs (Rhuarc and Amys, Bael and Melaine), so she could seek to marry the Chief of Chiefs. If Avi didn’t think Rand were promised to Elayne, then she wouldn’t have worked so hard to stay away from him in TFoH and TDR. I could see Rand being drawn to her due to her courage, her passion, her inner strength. Plus, there’s something sexy about a woman who could possibly take you down if the situation calls for it…

JL@179 – Um…. Wow! I don’t even know where to begin… Incredibly creative!

Tek@180 – I’m with you on Rand’s lack of “visiting” the other 2/3rds of his romantic trio (even his hook up with Elayne in WH was due to Min’s actions, not his). Rand is supposed to love all 3 of his women the same, but he’s spent the last few months (book time) just sleeping with Min. That’s not sharing the love.

Oh, and as for being “silly to wish for,” when the discussion has gone incredibly sideways as it has on this post, I think any topic is fair game. I was tempted to introduce another “Egwene is wrong in her treatment of Rand” post or another “Elayne continues to survive in spite of what we’ve been taught about natural selection” post, in a vain attempt to change the subject from another topic that may have been slightly beaten to death, resuscitated, and beaten to death again...

@many – it is raining today in the Bay Area, California, but we’ve recently enjoyed some nice 60-70 degrees days as well. Hey, we have a moderate climate all year long: never too hot; never too cold.
BillinHI – I do envy you, sir.

@202 – 205 – The “Siuan’s nipples” banter had me cracking up!

dsolo@207 – (playfully) NO! Don’t reopen that door! :-)
::It’s Ok, Bela; we promise to stop beating you if you promise to stay dead::
Valentin M
209. ValMar
What is this talk of nipples and stuff? Has someone discovered WOT-themed Gentlemen Special Interests website? There's bound to be one...
Valentin M
211. ValMar
J.Dauro @ 210

I see. Internet and google is such a great thing.

You can find the definition for everything in 10 seconds. I wonder if this rule is true...
lake sidey
212. lakesidey
Things seem to have died down here....hmm. Friday is sure taking its own sweet time coming!

And now for something completely different.

Winter is coming. In July.

Lynn McDonald
213. meal6225
March Madness is very nearly here Spring can't be far behind. The basketball scouts must get out to the Waste more the Aiel are certainly an untapped source of hoops talent. The veils might hamper court sight.
Thomas Keith
214. insectoid
J.Dauro @210: Saw that one coming... ;)

Lakesidey @212:
Winter is coming. In July.

OH, that just makes me jump for joy. Especially since I'm still stuck on Book 3.

Meal @213: And BYU fell on their faces last night. Ha-Haw!

Mikey Bennett
215. EvilMonkey
Lake, you juss made my day. And ruined it. The good news? Its a very welcome piece of literature that I've been waiting for for years and I can use to lessen the pain of waiting for Book 14. The bad news? I have to reaquire the series b/c I lost my entire book collection in 2009. Gives me an excuse to buy books again but ohh soooo expensive!
216. XLCR
Aaaahhh!! (slaps forehead) I just got it. Winter is coming!

That has to mean GRRM has FINALLY gotten off his butt and written another book in his series. That could be really great if he can restrain himself from killing off the few original characters that remain. My fave is the 11 year old sister, can't even remember her name anymore. Last we heard of her those who were sheltering and instructing her blinded her for failing to follow orders. I hope they decide to let her see again and send her home to rule for the Stark family

Winter is coming!
Mikey Bennett
217. EvilMonkey
Anyone wanna start off a re-read post of The Song of Ice and Fire?
218. JimF
@217.EvilMonkey "...Anyone wanna start off a re-read post of The Song of Ice and Fire?..." God no! I was riveted to those books when I read them, but I could not reread them. GRRM is a sick mind. The treachery and brutality and - let's speak frankly - evil in those books sort of warps one's soul. Once through is enough, and it will take real resolve to read the next installment.
Mikey Bennett
219. EvilMonkey
I don't know Jim. I am sort of attracted to the idea that there is no such thing as a good character or an evil one. Even the best of characters have to do dispicable things in order to survive. Even the darkest of characters has a bright side, a reason that they feel justifies their existence. These characters are in a way more real than those that inhabit the Wheel, even though as the series progresses even our main good guys have blood on their hands. In the Song, there are no sides. No big bad Shaitan and his 13 Forsaken Lutenants on one side and no Creator and his champions on the other. The pattern doesn't alter chance so that we can keep the characters we have grown to love living the entire series. Good and evil lives in all of us, the only thing determing what happens next is your own decisions. And lets face it, sometimes the other guy is just smarter than you. Or more ruthless. Or kinder. Or what ever. In effect, the Song is the No Excuses League.

Don't get me wrong, I love RJ's world too. I wouldn't be on here if I didn't. I just can't throw away GRRM's either. Although I'll probably just end up pissed off when he kills off Arya or something like that.

Alice Arneson
220. Wetlandernw
EvilMonkey - You just listed about half the reasons I've decided never to read that series. Then again, I believe in absolute good and evil, so... there you have it.
lake sidey
221. lakesidey
@220 Wet: How about just plain good writing? That should be reason enough....even if you believe in absolute good and evil, these are fictional characters in a fictional world, so they need not be pure good or pure evil, right?

Also, fwiw, there is some pure evil in the books (and I don't mean the queen and the mountain). While our characters are struggling with each other for petty supremacy (and, yes, thrones) something really really evil is stirring in the North. As they say, Winter is coming. As for pure good, well, RAFO (heh heh)

If you can't make up your mind, but don't want to get too invested and just want to dip your toe into his world, read "the Hedge Knight". Short story set approx a hundred years before the main sequence (a prequel, like the original New Spring, and in fact written for the same "Legends" anthology). Statutory warning though - after reading Hedge Knight I went out and laid hands on all the three available at that point.

Alice Arneson
222. Wetlandernw
lakesidey - Like I said, that was about half the list. The rest are many and various; in the (extensive) discussion we've had here in the past on this subject, I've become firmly convinced that I wouldn't enjoy them enough to put in the time and effort. There are enough things on my "to read" list that I have far more reason to believe I'll actually enjoy, so I have very little incentive to try.
223. Jobert Rordan
I think the problem with Moraine is that she likes to drink from the wrong cup, if you understand my meaning. And by that, I mean she dives with the wrong pair of waffle-irons. It's really a matter of fish and plows, I suppose. Take Lan for example. With him, it's always butter-side-up and "Oh, but I'll be there at 5 o'clock and not a moment after" and so on. But then Moraine comes up all treading lightly upon the soles of the One Ring of Power. And tell me if I'm wrong, but Gollum has no business even showing up in the White Tower. If Gollum were a fish, then Rand would basically be like his uncle, and that's more of a problem than I think Robert Jordan wanted to admit. We know the Aes Sedai were in trouble when Batman showed up without his utility belt. And that's another thing that I think is confusing (and frankly unacceptable) about RJ's writing style. He has never ONCE made a single mention of lolcats, but yet we constantly receive hundreds of minor characters who don't really even progress the plot forward, as well as extra books that do little more than delay in getting to the good stuff. It'd be like putting glue on your toast. Before putting it in the toaster. That you forgot to plug in. On Wednesday. Of LAST YEAR. Senseless. Senseless and tragic, really. I've read these comments for a while, and I'm pretty sure I speak for everyone here unanimously when I say that we'd like to know what happens if you drove through the Ways on a forklift. Because that raises all kinds of questions. Like, did they have propane back then? Or would the forklift run on one-power gas? And what color would a forklift even be back then? Would it be a people-sized forklift, or would it accomodate ogiers as well? I miss Hurin. He could sniff things. I wonder if he had an advanced sense of taste too, because smell and taste are related I hear. Speaking of relations, if Rand and Elaine were cousins, would that make Perrin basically the equivalent to Crocodile Dundee in the Wheel of Time? I mean, if you look at the similarities, Perrin has a beard, CD has, well, a big knife. Which are practically the same thing. Except you don't shave a knife I suppose, but that aside, they're pretty much interchangeable. Anyway, congratulations Leigh for another fantastic re-read. I have to admit, I'm actually not even reading it at this point because I actually don't really care about New Spring in the least, but I have to applaud RJ for finding so many ways to delay the series. He's probably the coolest author I've ever met in person. Except for Mat Cauthan, who's also pretty good I guess. And maybe George Lucas. And that guy in CSI Miami with the sunglasses. I'd like to see the 4 of them have coffee while wearing capes, that would just be swimming in win. Amirite??? Anyway, peace out guys, buy my album. I love you.
James Hogan
224. Sonofthunder
*blinks* o_O

JR @223, I have no words...but that just may have been the best post of all time.

And Wetlander...I identify with your feelings as to ASoIaF - it was a series that I quit midway through the 2nd(or maybe the 3rd? I forget) book. Apologies to all you hardcore GRRM fans here...I know it seems like heresy to quit halfway through, but I just couldn't handle it any longer. Believe it or not, it was just messing with me too much and I just couldn't keep was just not good for yeah, Wetlander, you're not alone. Although for the rest of you, I'm quite happy y'all seem to be soon getting another piece of the puzzle!!
Valentin M
225. ValMar
I would like to say that saying there's no good or evil in GRRM's series is at best over-simplification. Or simply not correct, IMO. There is an ultimate, Fantasy Evil, which threatens everyone and has to be defeated or else.
People in the series also do things which can be called "evil" if one is so inclined. I suppose it helps to make them seem a breed apart from the rest of us for exhibing the darker side of humanity.
I always wonder what people mean by Pure Good and Pure Evil. Not in terms of God or Satan (obvious) or specific actions. Much of what we enjoy in the "civilised" world today has been built on actions like the ones perpetrated in aSoIaF. Was Hanry VIII evil?
Tricia Irish
226. Tektonica
Jobert Rordan@223:

ROFLOL....very good! I'm thinking you might have a nom du plume that we DO recognize, Jonathan?
228. The Lost Bannerman
JR @223 That is amazing, I have read this blog from the start and have never posted before. Everyone gets so deep in the weeds on what the people are thinking and doing in the story and try to dig into RJ's head on what he was thinking. Grab the lawn mower and come back to the yard, take the story as it is an epic awesome involved story. Man some of the questions you asked were amazing- Like the power for the forklifts in the ways- they would have to run on cuendillar encased batteries filled with copper wire/nickel and acids from grapes like the Egyptians used, also it would be very quiet as not to bring out Machin Shin to play tag with. Though the question is what would Rand be trucking around, Lanfear in a cage, bags of Apples, his Ego or possibly his 3 loves on a divan. As to Batman in the Tower he showed up because of the Seanchan attack, the fire balls Egwene was throwing at the raken and to'raken looked like the Bat Signal when it hit one in the air, or it was when Egwene knew she was going to be in trouble when she got captured at the river that she sent the mental image of the bat she saw in the air out for help. It just took a while for him to get from Gotham to Tar Valon in the bat mobile because of the high price of gas right now, he had to hitch a few oxen to it to get in from White Bridge. Though I don’t know why he took that route when he could have taken the left in Albuquerque… I don’t think he made it in time for the river crossing with Gareth Bryne though and had to wait afterwards and then Egwenes inauguration,-though I heard he did get a little messed up because some RED AS thought he was a Seanchan blood knife and after the healing he ended up a warder to Myrelle. Robin and Thor were last seen in the sparring yard with Sleete, he was chatting them up for the new Warder program. New Spring as a transition of who what where and when in the past has raised so many more questions and subjects especially about same sex relationships, who cares, love is where you as an individual find it, wherever and whoever it leads to. Ai’nt that right PIP’s? At least RJ has it in there, give the man some props for that. RJ could have had say Loial and a Windfinder fall in love or the weird fade Shadar Haran have a heart and long for Lan like Nynaeve. Would that not stir the pot nad get the questions flying like a bunch of monkeys. Man is that Gorilla Glue in my toaster on an everything bagel? Who put it in the freezer, Mat? Man I got to go there's a banner running through the tent right now singing Jack o' the Shadows and they took the toaster with them....Awesome post Leigh but where was Tuesdays? Am Freaking out over here in Afghanistan without it.
James Whitehead
229. KatoCrossesTheCourtyard
@223 Jobert Rordan, too freakin' funny. Poor Bela will be happy for the distraction. ;-)

I hadn't heard that Martin had finally finished the next book; or that he had even started writing. Was beginning to worry that he wasn't going to finish the series ever.

I have enjoyed the series for the most part, although not as much as my friends who suggested the series to me have; they are already planning screening parties for the cable series coming out dramatizing the books (HBO or Showtime, not really sure).

I guess we're all geared up for the next post from Leigh if we're talking about another drawn out fantasy series. ;-)
Sam Mickel
230. Samadai
To all talking about the GRRM book. The post says the Martin is not done with the book yet. the publisher just posted that date expecting him to be done with it.
Chris Chaplain
232. chaplainchris1
@225 Valmar, I agree. The world of A Song of Ice and Fire is definitely more depressing than most of the WOT, but there is certainly good and evil. And there are certainly good and evil characters. It's just that all of the characters are a bit more mixed, as in real life, so that basically good people have some big flaws, and basically horrible people have a few humanizing things to them. But there's definitely a right side, or a more right side, imo.

Maybe two right sides, since I sympathize quite a bit with Daeneyrs. I'm not sure yet if we're watching her corruption or her maturation in statecraft. Possibly my overall view of the series will depend a lot on what happens with her.

But for the most part, our "good guys" are pretty good, and quite real and likable. *THAT*, imho, is what makes the books hard to read, since so much that is horrible happens to them, and so many of them are dead. There are defintely scenes of ugliness that are painful to read - in some ways, it's like the bulk of the series is as difficult to read as Rand's parts of TGS were. And ok, it's a little worse than that, since some of the ugliness is...more prosaic, I guiess, more brutish, than Rand's balefiring Natrin's Barrow.

But it is not, for me, a series that fails to make me care about what happens to the characters (some of them, anyway). I *do* care about what happens to those people.

Or I did 10 years ago, anyway. I'm not sure that I believe the release date, and I'm certainly not going to hurry to read it - at the least, I'll probably wait on it in paperback, or check it out from the library - since it still won't finish the series, and we still don't even really know what Teh Evil is, and it'll be years I'm sure before the next one...

Speaking of which, re-read post? Pretty please? *twitch*
Hugh Arai
234. HArai
EvilMonkey@219: I'd miss Arya too. On the other hand I'll be unhappy with GRRM if Sansa doesn't either smarten up a lot or get disposed of soon.

SonofThunder@224: Speaking as one GRRM fan, no apology necessary. It's not to your taste and that's sufficient. Likewise, from the reasons she's given in the past I'm sure Wetlandernw is correct she wouldn't like the series, but she didn't have to explain herself, that's up to her.

Chaplainchris1@232: I think it seems brutish mostly because of the comparatively low magic level of Westeros. People can't be "shielded" or "wrapped in flows of Air" or so on and there's no Healing. Even balefire is "clean", a one-shot instant kill. The violence in ASoIaF is up close and messy because there aren't any alternatives and it tends to have permanent consequences on both sides.
Valentin M
235. ValMar
chaplainchris1 @ 232

Yes, there are definitely Good guys. In fact, they were such from the very beginning. I mean both the wolves and the dragons (who developed later in the series).

As for Daenerys, I think we haven't seen enough to say if she is moving down the "naughty" path. Also, there is a very fine line between corruption and maturity in leadership- especially in Medieval times.
If you were referring to the short chapter in the last book- it is clear that she has a good heart and bad consequences directly or indirectly linked to her pain her badly.

Let's just hope this time the book comes out. According to GRRM this date is much more reliable than the previous ones.

Lastly, this has been discussed before and Wetlander clearly stated her case re aSoIaF. The conclusion was that she mustn't go anywhere near these books :) I haven't re-read them at all yet. I'll wait till the series is finished and then see.
236. AppleBrandy
I haven't read all the comments, so sorry if this has been mentioned before, but there is a modern phenomenon of "Lesbian until graduation." I personally know 2 women who “came out” as freshman in college, and are now in their early 30s and happy with their husbands. Moiraine and Siuan are about the right age (16-22 in Moiraine’s case, 14-20 in Siuan’s) for the same thing, and the situation in the White Tower seems like it could create the same effect more easily than modern US college would.
237. JWilcox
Seriously? This is the second rewatch/reread on this site that I was following to be abandoned mid-way without so much as a "by your leave"! I appreciate the author's efforts, and recognize that they have other responsibilities, but to completely dismiss your audience like this is very insulting. I don't know if I'll bother with this site at all in the future if this is how they treat their projects.
William Fettes
238. Wolfmage
Fair enough to people who don't want to read GRRM. There is lots of stomach churning content in the series, and people like WetlanderW, who have a vivid imagination and an eidetic memory, understandably don’t want to permanently saddle themselves with Martin's often brutal and perverse imagery.

That said, I strenuously object to any notion that those without the capacity for such a lasting mental impression must somehow be moral relativists or sexual perverts. There’s a fundamental difference between being descriptive and being prescriptive. Moral perspective comes from evaluating how characters make choices in the world, and applying exogenic universal values and internal values germane to the setting to those choices, not from applying some kind of rigid cosmological construct to the world which metes out punishment and rewards based on some moral scorecard. IMO that's both an impoverished kind of morality and an improverished kind of storytelling. Of course, you can and should respond to moral themes as they emerge from character progression in terms of book-wide and series-wide arcs, but there should never be any strict allegorical test applied to see that it's all 'safe' whatever that might mean.

Indeed, whenever possible, consequences to characters should be organic and dispassionately deterministic regardless of the inate goodness or evil of the character. It's both good storytelling and it's necessary to suspend belief. To that end, there is certainly nothing wrong with subverting a reader’s expectations around the typical bubble of invulnerability that surrounds viewpoint characters.
Stefan Mitev
239. Bergmaniac
JWilcox - what do you mean? The WoT Reread is not abandoned, it's still going on.

Maybe you are confused by the old index of the WoT reread blog posts, which is n't updated anymore and ends at Part 6 of New Spring, but at the top of it there's a link to the new index, and the reread has already reached Knife of Dreams.
Rob Munnelly
240. RobMRobM
Re ASOIF and readability - I have told Wetlander that she should go out right now and read the Dunk and Egg stories. All the Martin and much very little brutality.

I was just reading the Hedge Knight again (I'm currently reading the collection of Martin's shorter works, Dreamsongs, Volume 2, which has the story in it) and, knowing Wet as well as I do (virtually anyway) I'm 100 percent confident she would love it. Both Dunk (Ser Duncan the Tall) and Egg (his squire) are great characters - especially Dunk, a low born, illiterate who very strongly believes in the importance of honor and other knightly virtues but also has a good sense of humor. Dieightful stuff.

241. Jwilcox
errrr, don't I feel like an idiotic dick now. (hides behind paper bag) Obviously I need to pay attention to the whole page. Perhaps the same thing happened to the rewatch I thought abandoned as well.

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