Mar 22 2011 2:24pm

The Wheel of Time Re-read: New Spring, Part 11

New Spring by Robert JordanTop o’ the Tuesday to ye, peoples! Welcome to another installment of the Wheel of Time Re-read!

Today’s entry covers Chapters 21 and 22 of New Spring, in which pretty much everyone annoys me. Whee!

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!

Short scheduling note, which camouflages a somewhat major announcement, at least for me: So it turns out I am moving out of New York City next week, and going back to my hometown of New Orleans, at least for the time being. I’ve known about this for a while, of course, but it hasn’t impacted the Re-read until now, so I haven’t seen fit to mention it before.

But now, since it turns out that preparing for and then executing a 1,500-mile move is something of a major undertaking, there is a distinct possibility that next Tuesday’s post may be postponed or canceled. I’m going to try not to do that, but I can’t guarantee anything at this point. I will keep y’all posted in the comments.

So wish me luck, and enjoy the rest of the post!


Chapter 21: Some Tricks of the Power

What Happens
The party rides hard to Chacin, and it fulfills Lan’s expectations of being a journey he would rather forget. Alys continues her search for the Sahera woman at every village, and in between interrogates all three men about themselves, to little result. Ryne continues to flirt with her, but even he avoids her inquiries. Bukama continues to nag Lan about the pledge, and Lan continues to refuse to discuss it. Twice, Alys shields them with the Power from fierce storms, and seems surprised when they thank her. On the fourth day, they are set upon by bandits; Alys frightens them with a thundering voice (“You dare impede the way of an Aes Sedai?”) and a display of Fire, and Lan gives them a count of ten to get lost. The bandits clear out, and Alys berates Lan for letting them escape, asserting that they should have been captured and brought to justice; Lan marvels that she really seems to think she could have handled almost fifty men herself. On each of the nights on the road, Alys torments him in different ways: flicks of an invisible switch to keep him awake, sand in his clothes, ants in his bedding that she somehow made bite him all at once.

That first night he had sat in the wet to let her know he would accept what she had done. If they were to travel together, better to end it with honors even, as she must see it. Except that she did not.

[…] Clearly, she wanted some response, some reaction, but he could not see what. If she felt that she had not been repaid for her wetting, then she was a very hard woman, but a woman could set the price for her insult or injury, and there were no other women here to call an end when she went beyond what they considered just. All he could do was endure until they reached Chachin. The following night she discovered a patch of blisterleaf near their campsite, and to his shame, he almost lost his temper.

Lan begins to pray they reach Chachin before she kills him, sent by Edeyn or not.

Moiraine doesn’t understand why Lan is too stubborn to show any remorse for dunking her, but as long as he refuses to apologize or show her the respect due an Aes Sedai, she is determined to continue punishing him.

He was frozen arrogance to the core! His disbelief of her right to the shawl was so plain he might as well have spoken aloud. A part of her admired his fortitude, but only a part. She would bring him properly to heel. Not to tame him utterly – a completely tame man was no use to himself or anyone else – but to make certain he recognized his mistakes right down to his bones.

She thinks it odd that neither of the other men commiserate with Lan, and that none of them will share anecdotes of their past with her even after she shares some of her own. She still isn’t sure whether any of them are Darkfriends. She finally locates Averne Sahera in a village called Ravinda, but there’s no way her son fits the prophecy, and her irritation at that is amplified by Lan’s continued arrogance. Planning for the night’s punishment, she asks Lan whether he is allergic to wasp stings.

He twisted in his saddle, half reining his stallion around, and suddenly grunted, his eyes growing wide. For an instant, she did not understand. Then she saw the arrowhead sticking out from the front of his right shoulder.

Without thought, she embraced the Source, and saidar filled her. It was as though she were back in the testing again. Her weaves flashed into being, first of all a clear shield of Air to block any more arrows away from Lan, then one for herself. She could not have said why she wove them in that order.

She sees the archer in the trees and seizes him with Air just as Ryne and Bukama’s arrows kill him. Moiraine is deeply upset, since to her that skirted very close to using the Power as a weapon even if it was not on purpose. Ignoring the arrow in him, Lan goes to investigate the body; it is a man named Caniedrin, who knows Lan and Bukama. Bukama asks him why.

A weak voice answered in gasps. “Gold. Why else? You still have… the Dark One's luck… turning just then… or that shaft… would have found… your heart. He should have … told me… she's Aes Sedai… instead of just saying… to kill her first.”

Moiraine tries to Heal him, wanting to ask if “he” was Gorthanes, but Caniedrin dies before she can do anything. She examines his purse, finding ten gold Cairhienin crowns, which she concludes was the price paid for her assassination. Lan asks if she’s taken to robbing the dead while Bukama and Ryne are yanking the arrow out of him. None of them request Healing for Lan, and his stoicism only irritates Moiraine more. She finally asks him if he will accept Healing, and Lan shies back until Bukama makes a comment that he might need his right arm in Chachin. He leans forward then; affronted, Moiraine Heals him rather violently. Lan frees the assassin’s horse so it won’t starve, and Moiraine decides to repay that kindness by foregoing the wasps she’d had planned.

There had to be something memorable, in any case. She had only two more nights to crack him, after all. Once they reached Chachin, she would be too busy to attend to Lan Mandragoran. For a time she would be.

Okay, so maybe I was wrong last entry about Lan being childish regarding the sitting in the wet thing, at least according to his own rationale. However, I find that I’m having the same problem here with Lan that I often had with Faile during her and Perrin’s courtship phase, which is that he is displaying a screamingly frustrating inability to comprehend that maybe instead of it being that everyone is insulting him all the time, maybe it’s that everyone else doesn’t bloody understand his obscure bizarro customs.

That’s probably more than a little unfair of me, but then again maybe not. Faile and especially Lan are hardly delicate sheltered flowers who’ve never been off the proverbial farm; they are both experienced world travelers who cannot possibly have avoided noticing by this point that other cultures react differently to things than their own do. And they’re also both smart enough to have followed that observation to its logical conclusion. And yet, it seems like they both just don’t. And it is Annoying.

Sheesh. Maybe it’s a Borderlander thing.

Of course, it’s not like Moiraine is covering herself in glory here either, but my frustration with her is not so much that she can’t understand Lan’s reactions, because honestly they would puzzle me too. However, she is being uncomfortably bully-like here. One retaliation I could see, but just continuing to torment the guy, well.

I think the interpretation we’re supposed to get here is that Moiraine is trying to figure out how to make him respect her, and is too young to realize that you can’t force respect from people. You can force deference or compliance or a dozen other things that mimic respect, but true, genuine respect can only ever be earned. And sorry honey, but filling a guy’s bed with fire ants ain’t the way to do it.

It was amusing, though, how well the two of them automatically worked together when it came to handling the bandits, even if Moiraine clearly doesn’t agree. I’m trying to figure out if Moiraine really could handle fifty attackers at once, or if Lan was right to think she was over-confident. Moiraine’s pretty strong in the Power, so I guess it’s theoretically possible, but it seems like with fifty variables in there that’s way too much to handle just logistically, no matter how much raw strength you have – especially if you’re trying to take your opponents alive. It’d be different if she’d just planned to drop a giant fireball on them, I suppose.

The assassin: sent by Gorthanes (the Cairhienin dude who was following her in Tar Valon) or Merean/the Black Ajah? “He” could also refer to Ryne, I guess. Man, I hate when I can’t even keep track of the number of people who want to kill me, don’t you?


Chapter 22: Keeping Custom

What Happens
The moment they enter Chachin, Lan curtly tells Alys that their pledge is fulfilled and she should go her separate way. Ryne and Bukama both decry Lan’s rudeness, but Alys only looks at him, and Lan gallops off without waiting for the other two, heading straight for Aesdaishar Palace at the center of the city, knowing that’s where Edeyn would be. Ryne and Bukama catch up to him and keep silent, and Lan wonders if he is a fool for coming here.

He owed Alys a debt for her Healing, as well as for her torments, though in honor it was only the first he could repay. No. He had to get that odd little woman out of his head, although she seemed to have lodged herself inside his skull, somehow. It was Edeyn he needed to concentrate on. Edeyn and the most desperate fight of his life.

They are admitted to the palace with little trouble, and Lan finds it worrisome that the shatayan herself leads them in, an honor usually reserved for royalty. Ryne seems irritated by the simple room he is assigned, but Bukama is pleased. Lan is relieved when the shatayan gives him a suite that is opulent but not for royalty, which she senses.

“No one can know what the future may hold, my Lord,” she said, “but we know who you are.” And then she offered him a small curtsy before leaving. A curtsy. Remarkable. Whatever she said, the shatayan had her expectations of the future, too.

Lan finds out from the servants assigned to him that Queen Ethenielle is not in residence, but Prince Consort Brys and the Lady Edeyn Arrel both are. Lan changes and sends the servants away to wait. First there is a summons to Edeyn’s quarters, which Lan refuses, and then a note (“Come to me, sweetling. Come to me now”), which he burns. Finally the shatayan reappears and invites him to an audience with Prince Brys, which he accepts. Brys meets him in a large hall filled with courtiers; they are old friends. Brys introduces Lan to his son Diryk, who excitedly plies Lan with questions about his exploits. Then they walk to where Edeyn stands; Lan bows, thinking she could do nothing here in public. Edeyn murmurs that it would have been easier had he come to her.

And then, shockingly, she knelt gracefully and took his hands in hers. “Beneath the Light,” she announced in a strong, clear voice, “I, Edeyn ti Gemallen Arrel, pledge fealty to al'Lan Mandragoran, Lord of the Seven Towers, Lord of the Lakes, the true Blade of Malkier. May he sever the Shadow!” Even Brys looked startled. A moment of silence held while she kissed Lan's fingers; then cheers erupted on every side. Cries of “The Golden Crane!” and even “Kandor rides with Malkier!”

Lan pulls her up and reminds her that “the Great Lords have not cast the rods” to determine the King of Malkier, and she points out that three of the surviving five of them are in the room, and that “what must be, will be.” She fades into the crowd, and Brys draws him off to a private walkway. Brys tells Lan he didn’t know what Edeyn intended, and offers to withdraw his welcome to her, but Lan demurs, still stunned at her adroit move. Brys asks what he will do, but Lan doesn’t know. Eventually he heads back to his rooms, where he finds Edeyn waiting for him. She commands him to bring his daori, the braid of his hair she had cut from him the morning after their first night together. Lan points out she just swore fealty to him, and she answers that even a king is not a king when alone with his carneira. He brings it, and she brings him to the balcony overlooking a garden, where a young woman is strolling on the path.

“My daughter, Iselle.” For a moment, pride and affection warmed Edeyn's voice. “Do you remember her? She is seventeen, now. She hasn't chosen her carneira, yet.” Young men were chosen by their carneira; young women chose theirs. “But I think it time she married anyway.”

Lan tells her they have to talk, but Edeyn goes on that it’s time he got married too, and since none of his female relatives are alive, it’s up to her to arrange. Lan is shocked at what she is suggesting, and tells her he won’t do something so shameful, but Edeyn only says that perhaps they do need to talk.

Edeyn would never give up all of her advantage. Not until she presented his daori to his bride on his wedding day. And he could see no way to stop that bride being Iselle.

Yeah, well, I think Future!Nynaeve might have something to say about that….

So, Malkieri customs kind of suck. People who don’t understand anything about feminism might find that opinion surprising coming from me, considering the amount of power it seems that women wield in that culture, but see, here’s the thing.

The reason I am a feminist is not because I think women are better than men or that women ought to “win” over men, whatever that means, but because I believe in gender equality. And equality, by definition, doesn’t have one side “winning” over the other. An imbalance of power is an imbalance of power, no matter which side of the fence it happens to be on, and I am instinctively primed to rail against anything which takes a person’s choices away based on factors outside of their control, such as their gender.

Therefore, I am not any more pleased at the prospect of Lan being forced into a marriage he doesn’t want than I would be by a woman in the same situation. That shit pisses me off, full stop.

I’m only slightly less unpleased about Edeyn trying to shanghai Lan into being a king, though that is less annoying to me for probably spurious and possibly hypocritical reasons. Politics and the shenanigans associated with politics just don’t push my buttons in quite the same way, even if they should. I mean, it wasn’t Lan’s fault that he was born into royalty any more than it was his fault that he was born male, and yet for some reason I can be more detached about the royalty part.

Maybe because on some level the whole “king” thing still strikes me as entirely fantastical in nature, whereas marriage is something “real.” This is silly, of course, because hello, hereditary rulers are perfectly real, and in fact still exist today. But it’s not something I have any direct experience with or any reason to be concerned about, unless the world goes seriously pear-shaped in the next thirty to forty years. Which, granted, isn’t outside the realm of possibility, but….

I sense I am digressing. My point is, questions of what marriage means and who is allowed to control it are issues that are very real and present in my own life here and now; questions of whether a prince can be forced to become a king, not so much. Take it for what it’s worth.

So Edeyn is not exactly my favorite person at the moment. And also, dude. All questions of gender politics aside, marrying your daughter to your former lover? That’s just skeevy. If an incredibly clever move politically. But still, eesh.

Last and least, Yet Another Extraneous Icon for this chapter. I think there's some conservation law being broken here. This is also possibly one of the nerdier things I've ever been piqued about, and that's saying something.

And that’s all for now, kids! Enjoy the rest of your week, especially if, unlike mine, it doesn’t involve packing up everything you own. Cheers!

Tyler Goostree
1. tgoostree
I am definitely suffering from Leigh reread withdrawls....

Thanks for the post Leigh. Awesome as always! :)
Daniel Smith
2. Smittyphi
It is skeevy Leigh. I was a bit taken aback by the whole thing.

Moiraine descends to her lowest level of childishness here although it is funny to read.

Lan and the arrow: Awesome. He waltzes over there to the guy, with an arrow stuck in his shoulder and doesn't miss a beat. I wonder how well he could duel someone with an arrow stuck in his shoulder? I say he wins at least half the time.

Great post Leigh
Ben Frey
3. BenPatient
Wait, isn't that Lan's daughter, too?

Surely not...
Rob Munnelly
4. RobMRobM
Leigh - you finally read the Borderlands in the re-read and you decide to move back to Illian. Do be careful. Rob
Sam Mickel
6. Samadai
BenPatient @ 3

No it is not Lans Daughter. She is 17 and he is only in his mid 20's I believe.

Have a good move Leigh. I would come help if I wasn't
3000 miles away. :D
Sam Mickel
7. Samadai
I enjoyed these 2 chapters, Moiraine is awesome in her power, less so in her "fun"

Lan is hard set by choices he can't make
Kat Blom
8. pro_star
Good luck with the move Leigh!!!

Well, at least Edeyn knows her daughter won't be stuffed into an...ahem...totally miserable marriage? having taken Lan for 'test drives' herself?

Oh I feel so dirty for even typing that...skeevy skeevy skeevy.
F Shelley
9. FSS
no one else is going to go there?


...and here's to you, Mrs Robinson...
...Jesus loves you more than you could know...
...whoa whoa whoa...

that is all

do...do, do, do, do, do, do.

ok, that's all
Kimani Rogers
10. KiManiak
Thanks for the post, Leigh. Good luck on the move!

Um, Moiraine continues to annoy me on their travels to Chachin. Lan, not so much. I do like how Leigh pointed out that Moiraine weaved Air to protect Lan first, and then herself. She’s not all bad, just acting childish; or, to be more precise, like a spoiled brat.

Lan probably didn’t get that Moiraine wasn’t aware of his Borderland customs, but why should he have to explain why he sits and take punishments to someone who appears to be so cruel and petty as to torment him night after night? Maybe talking about it would have her “punish” him even more.

As for the Faile and Lan comparisons, well there’s a big difference between not explaining your customs to your husband, vs. with a stranger that you happen to be travelling with and began your association by trying to steal your sword and then insulting you.

As for Lan being smart enough to realize that other cultures behave differently, I would argue that to Lan’s perception this person has claimed to be Aes Sedai, and Aes Sedai often give the impression that they know almost everything. If he tried to educate her about his customs, he could expect that an Aes Sedai would claim to already know and then punish him more.

I do agree with Leigh’s comments about Moiraine trying to force someone to respect her, not realizing that respect must be earned.

I don’t recall whether we ever get clarification on who sent the assassin, so I think Leigh spelling out the three most likely folks is as good as we’re gonna get.

I gotta give it up to RJ. He created/shaped a really weird culture/customs in regards to the Malkieri. So, the man’s first can select who the man marries, if all of his female relatives are dead? And his first can command that man, whenever they are alone, even if he is the king?

Plus Edeyn is a piece of work. Marrying her daughter off to the man she deflowered? What the pursuit of power does to some people. I’m with Leigh on this one. Skeevy. :-)

I’m not going to dive into the “what is a feminist” waters, but I will say that I share Leigh’s feelings about equality among the genders.
Theresa Gray
11. Terez27
@Leigh - The term 'feminist' is kind of a sorry one, not just because of all those lovely images of rabid bra-burners that come to so many folks' minds when the word is spoken, but because it sort of implies a promotion of women in particular when that's not what most feminists are about. We typically have the same feelings about equality whether it applies to women or racial minorities or homosexuals or whatever.

Your point (or a similar one) has come up in the recent debates on sexism in WoT, particularly in reference to the sexual freedom of women vs men. Those women who take advantage of sexual freedom are often portrayed badly, such as Myrelle and Tylin who are both essentially rapists. But of course, Mat is everyone's hero (and not a rapist). And then we have Rand, who believed he was a rapist after having sex with a woman who was all about it. Weird stuff going on there.
James Whitehead
12. KatoCrossesTheCourtyard
@9FSS, "Son. Lan. May I call you Lan? One word for you, cuendillar."
Kimani Rogers
13. KiManiak
FSS@9 - I was thinking it, but I'm glad you went there :-)
14. mazza313
hi! what's going on with the reread and chapter numbers here?
Marcus W
15. toryx
Good luck with your move, Leigh. No more winter for you, eh?

Having not actually read anything but the novella (and hardly remembering that at all) I can only form my opinion from the summary but I think it's sort of curious that, in a sense, Lan had as little choice in marrying Nynaeve as he's getting here. At least it's the woman he loves, though, right?

I really feel sorry for Lan. It seems his entire life he's never had his own choices to make. I'm sure that's the definition of royalty right there, but as someone who cherishes his freedom to live his life as he chooses, the story of Lan strikes me as quite the heartbreaking tragedy.
16. AndrewB
Good luck with the move Leigh. I see that you waited until after Mardi Gras to move. Are you driving from NY to NO or are you flying down and having your possessions shipped? I hope you will still get to Jordancom. I was looking forward to reading your comments re Jordancom.

Thanks for reading my musings,
VJ Bruce
17. vjbruce
It's been forever since I posted here, and even then I've only posted a couple of times, but I did want to say Good Luck, Leigh! I hope the move goes smoothly.

Also, I was bored last Friday so I went and read your new re-read on the Ice and Fire book. Dang, I didn't want to start another series until after the last WOT book, but now I think I'm going to have to. Thanks a lot. :)
lake sidey
18. lakesidey
Busy today, so will just pop by to say "Enjoy the move, Leigh!" 1500 miles? How much is that in Randland Leagues? 400?

And yes, skeevy seems to about sum it up. I haven't much to say about these chapters right now (except, Lan is still awesome. "The man had an arrow pulled out of his body, and he blinked!")

Hugh Arai
19. HArai
@Leigh: When in the Borderlands, do as the Borderlanders do. Lan is travelling with two other Borderlanders when Moiraine attaches herself. If anyone needs to adjust their expectations it's her. Lan is an experienced traveller it's true, but he's the one "at home".
Kathy Keith
20. Babokathy
Thanks for the insight into who might have been the sender of Moiraine's assassin. I really had thought it was Ryne (because of what happens later) because the assassin seemed to be talking straight at Ryne in his confession. Ryne and Merean could have co-conspired the set-up before leaving Chachin.

Merean would have lots of coin at her disposal. Doesn't Merean seem rather amazed that Moiraine shows up later, because maybe she assumes Mo is dead?

I think it is less likely at this northerly juncture, that it was Gorthanes sending him; Gorthanes knew she was Aes Sedai. Gorthanes probably didn't know Lan, Bukama or Ryne, even though the first two were in the Aiel War down "south". Merean could also have arranged the assassin all by herself, and hoped Ryne would also be dead, to cover her tracks.

No, Gorthanes probably gave up his tracking of Moiraine once he knew she'd flown the coop. No more throne worries. (But it still bothers me that we never find out who he was!)

If Moiraine used the Power to hold the assassin while the others killed him, was she using the Power to kill? Does being an accessory to killing count as breaking her oath? Not if she was using it in self defense; in any case, her oath would have stopped her, if not, I think.

I simply loved Mo's little Lan torments! Reminds me of the old TV show Bewitched! But it's too bad that she doesn't seem to use her prankstering later in the series.

Rajesh Vaidya
21. Buddhacat
The assassin does give away his origin - he mentions "You still have ... the Dark One's luck ...." He himself may not be a DF (didn't say Great Lord of the Dark or some such), but he was hired by a DF, who are on a "kill the lucky ones" spree.
Jamie Watkins
22. Treesinger
Lan turns in surprise just as an arrow strikes him saving his life by having the arrow go through his shoulder rather that his heart. The exact same thing happens to Perrin when he is pick up the forkroot. I guess RJ decided to repeat his plot device. Is this a troup?
Bill Stusser
23. billiam
On the whole Lan being stubborn about Malkieri customs. I see it along the same lines as the samurai. Do you really think someone who is willing to kill himself for losing honor is going to change how he acts just because someone else doesn't follow the same bushido code?
Thomas Keith
24. insectoid
Oh, wow Leigh... heading back home? Good luck and may the Force be with you!

Moiraine: Okay, the nightly torment thing is the worst kind of childish behavior—bullying—for for an AS to have. Still kind of funny, though. I would have enjoyed seeing Lan lose his temper.

Lan: Still awesome. Can walk around with an arrow in his shoulder, and only blink when it comes out. The End!

Edeyn: Skeevy is darn right!

RobM² @4: That's... strangely appropriate. :)

Babo @20: ::blinks:: Long time no see on the re-read!

Barry T
25. blindillusion
Nothing so much to say in regards to the chapters...in fact, I think this is the first comment I've made for NS?....Perhaps? Meh.

Not a good time to be Lan, though. ...And how many people say they would be Malkieri, when asked, "What country would you be from if you lived in Randland?" Um, no.... Just saying.

Anyway, happy tidings on moving back to the South, Leigh. 'Tis the best place in the US.... Just saying.

Though it is freaking hot around here right now. Bleh.
Captain Hammer
26. Randalator
Yes, um...skeevy. Definitely skeevy. Not causing any naughty thoughts at all. Especially not about Mrs. Robinson and her daughter. Nope, none whatsoever. All clean thoughts, here. Nice, clean thoughts...


I'll be in my bunk.
john mullen
27. johntheirishmongol
Welcome back to the south, Leigh!

I can understand Lan having an cultural bias against showing emotion but Moiraine should have been taught about different customs before ever leaving the WT. There is no excuse for her stupidity here *except plot device*.
Tess Laird
28. thewindrose
Hi all : :Weaves a wave::Busy with family and work, but am happy for a moment to visit.
The Pond - always brings a smile to my face. Moiraine the little prankster, it is easy to why Lan had a hard time believing she was really a sister. So I looked up chapter 22 Watchers in tGH:
Movement caught her eye, and she turned. Lan was lounging against the yellow brick fireplace, as imperturbable as a boulder. "Do you remember the first time we met, Lan?"

She was watching for some sign, or she would not have seen the quick twitch of his eyebrow. It was not often she caught him by surprise. This was a subject neither of them ever mentioned; nearly twenty years ago she ha told him-with all the stiff pride of one still young enough to be called young, she recalled-that she would never speak of it again an expected the same silence of him.

"I remember," was all he said.

"And still no apology, I suppose? You threw me into a pond." She did not smile, though she could feel amusement at it, now. "Every stitch I had was soaked, and in ehat you Bordermen call new spring. I nearly froze."

"I recall I built a fire, too, and hung blankets so you could warm yourself in privacy."{...}"I also recall that while I slept that night, you dumped half the pond on me."
{...}"In the weeks that followed, did you suspect that I would ask you to bond to me? I decided you were the one in the first day."

"I never guessed," he said dryly. "I was too busy wondering if I could escort you to Chachin an keep a whole skin, a different surprise you had for me every night. The ants I recall in particular. I don't think I had one good night's sleep the whole ride."

She permitted herself a small smile, remembering. "I was young," she repeated.
{...}Moiraine sniffed. "Your humilty, Lan Gaidin, has always been more arrogance than most kings could manage with their armies at their backs. From the first day I met you, it has been so."

Love Lan and Moiraine working together - or not!

j p
29. sps49
Only a bit less squicky is a bride receiving her new husband's daori from his carneira. Most women I have been involved with would be likely to hit the carneira with the daori, then maybe choke her with it.

(What happened to the font selectors (e.g., italics)?)
Stacy Berger
30. anIceFan
There had to be something memorable, in any case. She had only two more nights to crack him, after all. Once they reached Chachin, she would be too busy to attend to Lan Mandragoran. For a time she would be.

I didn't catch this the first time reading through, but this looks like the first forshadowing of Moraines intention to bond Lan.

Good luck on the move to Narlins.
Tricia Irish
31. Tektonica
Oh Leigh! I'm moving this week too...it's horrible and discombobulating ! I'm wandering around in a daze with 3 changes of clothes and a toothbrush.
Good luck to you!

Moraine was most irritating here. Lan is in his home territory. She picked up with them. How about a little respect. Such a spitfire! Of course, Lan is Mr. Stoic. Could people just talk, please. No. Sorry I asked.

And Edeyn....yes, skeevy. Way skeevy. Ick. I agree with your definition of feminism completely. I wonder if it will ever really manifest in the way we hope?

*waves at Wind and all* Sorry I'm so absent...see the first paragraph.....but I am reading all your great commentary.
Stefan Mitev
32. Bergmaniac
I still find Moiraine's behavior here terrible, totally immature and not funny. She was being a bully to Lan and was behaving like a 10 year old. That's why this trip is one of my least favourite parts in the series. I get the feeling Jordan thought it was to be supposed to be funny, but I don't see it this way at all.

Then we have the Malkieri customs in the next chapter, which are almost as frustrating. Arranged marriages without consent of those who are getting married suck for both men and women. Add to that the mother-daughter love triangle aspect part and it gets quite creepy.
Andrew Foss
33. alfoss1540
#28 windrose - Thanks for the reference. Makes the event make more sense.
William Fettes
34. Wolfmage

"People who don’t understand anything about feminism might find that opinion surprising coming from me, considering the amount of power it seems that women wield in that culture, but see, here’s the thing."

Yeah, too often the word feminism is misappropriated to mean a caricature of what mainstream feminism is all about, most often by people who haven't met any mainstream feminists or read any feminist literature such as Simone de Beauvoir. A minority of extreme feminist do deserve some blame for this caricature - but mostly it's a lazy media portrayal fed by smug, post-equality South Park-esque generalisations and the counter-counter-cultural wars.


"I still find Moiraine's behavior here terrible, totally immature and not funny. She was being a bully to Lan and was behaving like a 10 year old. That's why this trip is one of my least favourite parts in the series. I get the feeling Jordan thought it was to be supposed to be funny, but I don't see it this way at all.
Then we have the Malkieri customs in the next chapter, which are almost as frustrating. Arranged marriages without consent of those who are getting married suck for both men and women. Add to that the mother-daughter love triangle aspect part and it gets quite creepy.

I 'd say I'm a bit more open to the intended comedic purpose of these scenes than you, but yes, Moiraine’s behaviour is rather petty and childish here to such an extent that it’s a little overdone. It's nice to see Gandalf-like characters of majesty and mystique prior to their full ascendency, but the level of regression went a little too far for me.

Also, I agree the mother-daughter thing is extremely creepy and I dislike this aspect of Malkieri custom."

blindillusion @ 25

"Not a good time to be Lan, though. ...And how many people say they would be Malkieri, when asked, "What country would you be from if you lived in Randland?" Um, no.... Just saying."

This is a good topic for discussion IMO. Are we behind some form of Rawlsian veil of ignorance when we answer this question? For those who don’t know what that means, it’s just a thought device of abstracting away contingent facts about our material position and identity. It’s designed to privilege core ideas about justice and fairness to reveal how we might structure society if we faced some non-trivial chance of being at the bottom rung.

I’m a city-person by nature, so naturally I’m predisposed to be near where the action is in terms of major centres of trade and commerce, seats of learning, technology and cultural achievement -- moreso than a kind of frugal, isolated existence in the countryside. But then again, the average non-wealthy denizen of Tear or Bandar Eban is not doing so wonderfully by my reckoning that risking a squalid life in a Randland's big cities wouldn’t give me some pause. Hygiene really isn’t great at this point of development – with herb lore being a poor substitute for a real understanding of biology and germs - so all those people in one place does pose a genuine risk of disease and infection.

Regardless of that, if I get to be a noble with servants and estates, it’s nonetheless a relatively straightforward choice for me to be in a city.

As for which country or city-states I would choose, I’ll start with the ones that I couldn’t stand:
-Far Madding – it's a horribly misandrist society and up there with the worst place to live in Randland IMO outside the comedy Blight option.
-Altara – I like many aspects of Altara, including the cavalier, libertarian sensibility, but the whole woman stabby-stabby thing is hazardous to your health. Not cool.
-Tar Valon – On the surface it ticks many of the right boxes in terms of sophistication and development, but I just get the sense that all that cleanliness and law-abiding behaviour is part of the shadow cast by the Aes Sedai. The people have an awe-like reverential attitude to the Sisters that I could never share, and I tend to generally dislike severe systems of law and order as well (and I'm pretty sure Tar Valon has one). So, that would wear thin pretty quickly for me.
Murandy – I don’t know if this is unfair or not, but the people of Murandy (especially Mindeans) seems profoundly quarrelsome and stupid. That would get old fast. Though chatting to Roedran about Comadrin and Fog and Steel would be pretty cool.
Amadicia – No way I want to be that near that many Whitecloaks. Even post-Gallad, so many of their rank and file are ignorant bully-boys and thugs. Also, their attitude to torture and their prejudice against the Aes Sedai, and the Power generally, strikes me as supremely offensive.
Borderlands – frisky Saldean farm girls aside, the constant sense of impending doom – and fear of ending up in a Trollock cookpot - doesn’t exactly strike me as a positive lifestyle choice.

So, that leaves Tear, Andor, Cairhien, Tarabon and Ilian. Even with all the scheming and horrible people, Cairhien does hold a certain allure for me due to the exciting nature of politics there, and the food would be good at least. Tear would be alright too, despite their prejudice against the Power being almost as bad as Amadicia's. Ilian would be alright as well if the swampy smells weren't too bad. Not really sure about Tarabon - the food again sounds pretty good but it's seems a bit dangerous. Andor is probably the safest bet although it might be a bit more culturally generic and conservative for me.
35. Shadow_Jak
Young men were chosen by their carneira; young women chose theirs.

What? No comments on this? Talk about your odd customs!
What about young men and women who bat for the other team? I'm sure we need some commentary here.

**Back to the bunker**
36. Shadow_Jak
Leigh, leaving the Big Apple for the Big Easy?
Welcome to the South!

Windrose @ 28
Thanks for the timely reference! Very much enjoyed it.
Rob Munnelly
37. RobMRobM
Really enjoying the Graduate jokes, especially Kato's. All Lan needed was scuba gear and the pond scene could have served as the opening scene in the flick. And I had this vision of Lan taking Iselle into a tavern and having Siuan dancing behind her and shaking the tassels affixed to Siuan's chest in a figure 8 pattern. Ah...

Hey Wolf - you forgot an important one - cue the Beach Boys: "I wish they could be Arad Domani giiirrrllss...."
John Massey
38. subwoofer
Moving back to the Big Easy Leigh? You know that city is on the coast... and it is below sea level... not the best of plans if you look at it on paper. Did you happen to pick a 5 story walk-up?

I have several options for you so you don't miss your Tuesday post.

Plan A. Don't miss the post- text and drive, everyone and their dog seems to be doing it.

Plan B. Read the chapters tonight and crank out a post that TOR dot can store for a Tues release.

Plan C. Come to your senses and skip that other thread in lieu of posting for WoT.

Plan D. Give all your stuff away- result- nothing to move, more time to do a post.... er, don't give away your computer. Maybe the desk with all the head shaped dents in it.

Plan E. Break out the bourbon and start drinking. I don't know what that will solve but it never hurts to give it a try:)

Plan F. Leigh gets a dog. I am sure that will solve all the problems in the universe... or at least our little corner of it.

OTOH I am glad you finally latched on to the Bizarre Malkieri angle that I have been going on for a couple posts. Malkieri honor reminds me of trying to grasp ji'e'toh, except the rules are based on self flagilation, unseen slights and a backassward view of chivalry. When Lan wanted to kill that messenger at the begining, I knew something was off- now he's getting pulled about by the short and curlies by a woman that scares me more than Sarah Palin... well, I can understand why the man wants to head off to death all the time. It's the only way he can get a decent night's sleep.

Moiraine. Girl's got some growing up to do, she's still playing at childish pranks. For all the calm AS serenity, I think some folks have cottoned onto the crux of the flaw with most Sister's logic- respect has to be earned, not demanded. You get what you give.

39. Shadow_Jak
Terez @11

Your point (or a similar one) has come up in the recent debates on sexism in WoT, particularly in reference to the sexual freedom of women vs men. Those women who take advantage of sexual freedom are often portrayed badly, such as Myrelle and Tylin who are both essentially rapists. But of course, Mat is everyone's hero (and not a rapist). And then we have Rand, who believed he was a rapist after having sex with a woman who was all about it. Weird stuff going on there.

I never viewed either Myrelle or Tylin as rapists, nor thought they were portrayed badly.Tylin was following Ebou Dari customs, although maybe to a bit of an extreme. I'm sure Mat never though of it as rape. He just wanted to be on top!
And what did Myrelle do? Whatver it was, Moiraine was just as culpable. She engineered the bond swap, with Myrelle's consent of course. They did their best to keep a good man alive. Can't fault either for that.
John Massey
40. subwoofer
@Blind- hang on here, IIRC, I have always maintained that I am from the Borderlands. I'm gonna have to look back here, does anyone remember what part of the re-read we asked about that? Hang on... maybe I did say Rhuidean... but the Aiel have a damn hard way of life too. And the woman beat on often get the upper had in relationships there too. I think the one thing that keeps me outta the Seven Towers is the winter. In RL this year was a ball buster- something to the tune of freezing the brass balls off a monkey. Definitely looking for a warmer climate.

Theresa Gray
41. Terez27
Shadow_Jak@39 - Myrelle used the bond to Compel Lan to have sex with her, which wasn't strictly necessary. Yeah, it's her main method for dealing with Warder Rage, but she knew about Nynaeve. As for Tylin, both RJ and Harriet have talked about how that was supposed to show what it might be like for a man to be raped (which, of course, rarely happens...and when it does happen, it's almost always another man raping him). They meant it to be a joke, but all the same...
42. Shadow_Jak
@Leigh's commentary

Sheesh. Maybe it’s a Borderlander thing.

And them that don't know him won't like him
And them that do sometimes won't know how to take him
He ain't wrong he's just different
but his pride won't let him do things to make you think he's right

All sorts of wisdom in Country music, I say. ;-)
Sing it Willie!
43. Shadow_Jak
Terez @41

Tylin - OK, if RJ and Harriet said it I won't argue. (unlike some arround here ;) )

Myrelle - I know she had sex with him, but I don't recall it being stated that she used the bond to compel him.
I'll have to check that one out when I have my books handly
Alice Arneson
44. Wetlandernw
Leigh - Good luck, indeed!

BenPatient @3 - Hardly, since she's 17 and Lan is only 25. Edeyn first shanghaied him became his lover 10 years ago, when he was 15. (Speaking of eesh... Eeesh.)

RobM @4 - Well, given the way the Borderlanders behave with their weird customs, maybe it's logical.

sps49 @29 - Totally agreed!
Birgit F
45. birgit
Cadsuane moved behind Merean, asking the same question, adding, "A fondness for ... pranks, Larelle said. A troublesome child?"
Merean shook her head with a smile. "Not troublesome, really. High-spirited. None of the tricks Moiraine played were mean, but they were plentiful.

NS ch. 17
Did Moiraine change because she was angry that Merean described her that way to Cadsuane or does Merean have a strange idea about what is a mean prank (she is BA after all)? Moiraine's torment of Lan doesn't sound like harmless fun (Lan ch. 21: "Perhaps Edeyn had set the woman to watch him, but it was beginning to seem she meant to kill him after all. Slowly.")
Medicine in Randland can't be that primitive if Moiraine knows about allergies.

Though chatting to Roedran about Comadrin and Fog and Steel would be pretty cool.

Even if he is Demandred?

Tear would be alright too, despite their prejudice against the Power being almost as bad as Amadicia's.

Being a commoner in Tear doesn't sound like much fun.

The last dregs of the city gave way to country and pitiful scattered farms. Not even a Congar or a Coplin, Two River folk notorious for laziness among other things, would keep a place as run-down and ramshackle as these rough stone houses, walls slanting as if about to topple over on the chickens scratching in the dirt. Sagging barns leaned against laurels and spicewoods. Roofs of cracked and broken slates all looked as if they leaked. Goats bleated disconsolately in stone pens that might have been thrown together hastily that morning.
He tried not to look at the tumbledown farms. Were the olive groves in the south as bad? The people who worked those did not even own the land, it all belonged to High Lords.

TSR ch. 22
Jonathan Levy
46. JonathanLevy
22. Treesinger
Lan turns in surprise just as an arrow strikes him saving his life by having the arrow go through his shoulder rather that his heart. The exact same thing happens to Perrin when he is pick up the forkroot. I guess RJ decided to repeat his plot device. Is this a troup?
I don't remember the Perrin incident, but I do remember Slayer surviving Perrin's arrow in exactly the same way, not to mention Moghedien surviving Birgitte's in a similar though not identical way.
James Hogan
47. Sonofthunder
Moiraine is a bit of a punk in these chapters, can't deny. I understand that she wants an apology, but to pull all those nasty pranks on him? Not cool at all. Seriously, it's as if she's a ten year old farm girl instead of a twenty-something Aes Sedai. I don't see how she can justify behaving in such a way to anyone, much less someone that's given her an oath. I suppose maybe RJ did mean it to be funny, but it totally isn't, at least to me.

Also, speaking of sympathy for Lan...Edeyn, ugh. I don't get the whole carneira thing, either. Why would that ever be a good idea? Seems like too much extra baggage to carry through life...and as we can see, is causing Lan no end of trouble now.
Wesley Parish
48. Aladdin_Sane
46.Jonathan Levy

/me wants Moggy to get stilled (or burn herself out) and wind up working n a certain menagerie while Valan Luca, blindfolded, takes pot shots at her.

Yes, arranged marriages are not a good thing - unless both parties trust the arranger/s completely. I think Lan expects Edeyn to derange any marriage arrangement she works out for him. Still, some societies have proven resilient even with such customs.
John Massey
49. subwoofer
Well, theoretically your "first" is supposed to be special, and the first for a future king even more so. I dunno about the idea of er... wandering to a house of ill repute and checking out the wares with my pops, that might be... awkward. I can't recall the selection porcess for Lan, but it is nice that he still knows who she is... kinda wierd that everyone else in the world does too.

@Wolfmage- I hear ya on the WC, but by the LB, I am thinking some of their ideology will change. At the core of the WC belief is the idea of following the Light and being good, somewhere along the way that thought was twisted by human nature. I think some kind of redemption is in order.

And yeah, Tar Valon- may be nice to visit, but to live in a place where a Sister may appear at random and has carte blanche to ask what she will... I bet no one pays their taxes late there.

Captain Hammer
50. Randalator
Shadow_Jak @43

It wasn't explicitly stated. One can argue that it's sorta kinda implied in the scene in the camp but there is no real proof what she did or did not do...
Ivan S.
51. Mediokrates
Re: Carneira
Ok, so it seems the major topic of discussion is the carneira thingy.

Here goes...
First, from the information given, Lan was only 15 and Edeyn was older than 30 when she first took him to her bed. Second, Lan was not considered a man yet, as he had not yet received his sword or hadori.
Third, Edeyn spent 6 months parading him on her arm and tucking him into bed.
Wow... So Malkieri customs allow a grown woman (with a 7-yr-old daughter) to bust a 15yrolds cherry, and treat him like a dandy in public, and then like a child in private. That is creepy.
We are told that Lan received the hadori years early. Does anyone else feel that Edeyn (born to be a queen. How is that so?) took Lan before another more age appropriate woman could? For political reasons? She does seem ambitious. Has she planned this all along?
Edeyn then tries to use the carneira thing to force Lan to marry her own daughter (which Lan views as scandalous, so I assume this goes against Malkieri custom), right before doing the nasty with him.
Sounds like a porno.
Did anyone pick up on the Lira incident in ch 16, where Lan believes she might see insult in his refusing her, to the point of pulling a knife?

Re: Myrelle, Tylin
I believe that Myrelle used the bond to compel Lan to "come to her," whatever that means. However, I do recall (can't find the ref.) that AS used sex to save such warders, believing it would take their mind off their dead AS. Whether this is rape or not... I don't know; what I can say is that Myrelle's intentions were not selfish (entirely, though I think it possible she had/has a little thing for Lan), and she put herself at risk just by taking Lan's bond.
Tylin, on the other hand... Well, it may sound like a great role-playing game, as long as you're playing a game. I've read that RJ wanted to touch upon the subject of male-rape, as part of his role-reversal theme. There's a difference in trying to make male-rape funny, and using humour to address the subject.
Originally, when I first read that chapter, I took it at face value, and found the scene humourous. However, I was 15 yrs younger then, with more raging hormones, and more likely to find things titillating than offensive.
I'm now forced to admit there seems to be quite a lot of female on male violence within these books, which seems to be culturally accepted. From face-slapping to rape. It seems to me that RJ has a habit within this series of taking events that would be unacceptable in our world, turning the genders and making it acceptable in RL.

Re: Ryne
Why was he upset in the palace? Lan was right, he got a better room than he would've gotten any where else. Or is he upset that he is considered Lan's retainer by the palace, and not his equal?

Re: Moiraine
Very childish, and her use of the OP seems very inconsistent in this book. We see her using the power to half-drown a man, for a perceived insult, and torment him for days. Surely not what they taught as appropriate use in the WT.
When they are waylayed by 50 bandits, she uses the OP to intimidate them. However, in the next chapters, she uses the OP to strike a woman who insulted her horse.
IMO Moiraine could've taken all 50 bandits. Through the use of her shield she could've protected herself and the men. With the bandits lining up nice and neat all it would've taken is a couple of fireballs to break them. Since they didn't attack, I'll admit the fireballs are out of question, but what about striking them all like she does the horse-insulter?
She also uses a fear-inducing weave, which acts un-cannily like compulsion, to force a woman into taking a potion which will leave her defenseless to possible rape and murder. She sees this as justice and has no qualms.
But tying an assassin up, who is subsequently killed gives her fits.
Doesn't make sense to me.
a a-p
52. lostinshadow
Good luck with the move Leigh and may the Creator give you the patience you need to deal with all the hassle that comes with it.

Don't have much to say on these chapters... have to say the carneira idea is an interesting one... I wonder where RJ got the inspiration for it.

It's not so much the age difference that bothers me, but the long term power it gives the woman.

Moraine remains childish with the continual pranking, regressing a bit too much. Perhaps this idea of AS always appearing in control does not actually really teach the sisters how to control their emotions. Maybe they're just repressing them so they end up "acting out" whenever they get the chance.
Chris Chaplain
53. chaplainchris1
The carneira thing - on the one hand, I'm a little mollified b/c however wrong-headed, the customs surrounding it at least say that there is some sacredness or at least seriousness to sex...at least first-time sex. I roll my eyes a little, though, at the idea that the first time is such a great gift that you owe the, er, giver "part of your soul fovever" or whatever it is. I'm thoroughly annoyed by the idea of using it as a "rein".

And yes, I guess I am going to go here - I guess it's only me and Nynaeve who think the first time preferably ought to be with your spouse? Oh well.

About Moiraine's pranking - I think folks are missing a point. She is tormenting Lan, yes, she wants an apology, yes, her behavior is execrable, yes. However, she's also evaluating him as a potential Warder. And not just in the way that many new sisters "evaluate" men by, f'r instance, ogling in the Warder training grounds. No, I find it highly significant that this becomes an issue for her right after Siuan's told her about the Black Ajah. She now sees finding a Warder as a vital issue, and Lan has possibilities. But she also thinks it's possible that he, or Ryne, or Bukama, or all of them, are Darkfriends.

Lan is made of sterner stuff than Ryne and is not in awe of her - she's clearly dismissed Ryne from Warder-consideration, despite his outward politeness and flirting and arguably greater blade skills. So I think Moiraine is testing, as well as tormenting, Lan. Sneaky Moiraine is always playing Daes Daemar, and I think she is here. She's trying to get Lan's measure, as well as (ick) bring him to heel. Doesn't make it better imo, but it does make it less...childish, I guess.

Oh...speaking of Ryne, yeah, he was upset b/c he's jealous of Lan. Jealous of his luck, his "way" with women, his notoriety, and now his room. I do think he has some friendly feeling for Lan - I think that's why he seemed sad when telling Moiraine that everyone has to do die somewhere. Some part of him feels remorse over his orders to kill Lan. But...he's a skeevy Darkfriend in the end.

@Mediokrates, I thought Borderlanders, including Malkieri, receive their swords and are considered men at 14? The hadori is more significant than the sword for Malkieri, but they do (iirc, I can't find a ref. in the Encyclopedia) reach "adulthood" at 14.

I still think it's a skeevy custom, and Edeyn's current use of it is skeevier.

Still @Mediokrates, I'm also surprised that we didn't discuss Moiraine's fear-weave - which is a Blue Ajah secret, uses Spirit, and *does* seem like it must be a relative of Compulsion. I'm even more surprised that we didn't discuss Moiraine's "justice" with the innkeeper, too. I was behind in the reread until this week (now I'm ahead), but when I read that scene again over the weekend it was really disturbing. Talk about punishment fitting the crime...

Anyway, you make several good points, including with Lira and her knife. Lan doesn't actually seem to be unwilling though, just bound by custom. Of course, there's nothing wrong with a custom that says women choose who and when to be involved with...unless the custom says the guy doesn't get a say in it.
Chris Chaplain
54. chaplainchris1
@46 and @22 - I do remember the Perrin incident - when he and Tylee are picking up forkroot from the Seanchan. It also reminds me of TGH ch. 9 "Leavetakings", where the last minute dancing of Rand's horse causes an assassin's arrow to narrowly miss him and strike Siuan.
Theresa Gray
55. Terez27
Shadow_Jak@43 - Do you really think Lan would have chosen to cheat on Nynaeve? Really? It's made clear enough from the first scene with Myrelle and Lan - she had to use the bond to Compel him to even come to her at all. As for Tylin, it never really struck me as rape exactly, since Mat liked it, but it really was. She pretty much kidnapped him, starved him, etc. Some people find it really upsetting. I'm not one of them, but Luckers is, for example, and sometimes I wonder if I should find it more upsetting than I do. Here's the quote on that one:

A Crown of Swords book tour 21 June 1996, Charleston - Brian Ritchie reporting
RJ wrote the Mat/Tylin scenario as a humorous role-reversal thing. His editor, and wife, thought it was a good discussion of sexual harassment and rape with comic undertones. She liked it because it dealt with very serious issues in a humorous way. She seemed to think it would be a good way to explain to men/boys what this can be like for women/girls, showing the fear, etc.

56. pwl
I thought Borderlanders, including Malkieri, receive their swords and are considered men at 14? The hadori is more significant than the sword for Malkieri, but they do (iirc, I can't find a ref. in the Encyclopedia) reach "adulthood" at 14.
The borderlands are not monolithic. Kandori boys have their adulthood ceremony at 14 (actually fourteenth nameday, but I think the Seanchan are the only ones known to have a separate day of birth and nameday). I do not think we have been told at what age Malkieri are considered to reach majority.
andrew smith
57. sillyslovene
@53 Chaplainchris1

And yes, I guess I am going to go here - I guess it's only me and Nynaeve who think the first time preferably ought to be with your
spouse? Oh well.

You're not alone. I guess that makes three of us...
58. pwl
Oh, I forgot to mention that Shienarans receive their sword on their fifteenth birthday (according to Masema's internal monologue in TGS anyway). If you needed evidence of difference between Borderland nations.
59. Lsana
@34 and others,

The issue with the word "feminist" is that most of the ideas that were originally associated with feminism aren't any more. The radical notion that women are human beings? The idea that they should be able to choose who to marry or not to marry at all? That they should be allowed careers? Even be paid the same as men who do the same thing? These are no longer considered "feminist"; they are "normal", and those who need to be distinguished are those who don't hold these views. Therefore, when someone feels the need to call herself/himself a feminist, the assumption is that there must be something more to it than the basic ideas of equality; those battles are over, and equality won.

Since I don't know many self-described feminists personally, I don't know if it is true that they are mostly meaning something more or just keeping the name to describe the orginial ideas, but I think that just as much as the media stereotypes is the reason that the word "feminist" isn't really associated with equality.
Ivan S.
60. Mediokrates
@ chaplainchris1 et al.

"The gift of his sword on his tenth nameday had made him a man by custom along the Border, though years early for it, yet among Malkieri that band of braided leather had been more important." NS ch 16

I may have misread that. So Lan was made a man on his tenth bday, earlier than custom in the Borderlands. Yet among Malkieri, the hadori is more significant.

Re: Carneira
I'm struck by this concept, in light of someone else posting a link to comments made by RJ & BS regarding genders in RL, in the last reread . I noted that near the end of the page (I didn't read the whole thing, but this caught my eye) there was a paraphrase attributed to RJ stating he attempted to create a world without sexism.
I didn't think he had succeeded.
Now I completely agree that a woman should be able to choose when she wants to "enter a man's bed." But the same should be true of a man.
It seems to me that RJ has given males in many cultures in RL no say in the matters of sex, love, & marriage, to various degrees. Flip flopping outdated sexist views does not negate the existence of sexism.
The same goes with gender based violence. We get all sorts of examples of wives beating on their husbands, which seem to be written as humourous elements of the story. Elayne busts a gut when she learns that Tylin has forced herself on Matt, but is all indignation when she thought is was the other way around.If this world lacked sexism, then her reaction should be the same regardless of who did it.
Then there's the Ogier, Ebou Dari, Far Madding, etc...
Back to the carneira thing... are we to assume that a woman's male version of a carneira would or wouldn't have the same influence over her? Would he get to decide when and where, when in private? Who she should marry (provided her male kin are dead)? Or is that just a female carneira privilege?
Kinda takes on different undertones when Lan considers having sex with Edeyn as a way to regain "lost ground" (an allusion to battle). So now we have men using sex as a weapon... geesh.

I just don't find the gender-flop aspect of the story very convincing as an attempt to portray a world without sexism. I've always maintained that the best sci-fi & fantasy use their worlds to explore the human condition. Sure this can be done by standing tropes on their heads, and then exploring the philosophical implications... but I don't get the sense that is what RJ was doing. Turning tropes on their heads... certainly, exploring the implications... not really. As much as I like the story, I would say his use is better described as attempts at comedic relief.
If you want to read a book about gender-role reversal and lack of sexism, I can think of no better book than Left Hand of Darkness. (Edit: Some of the original Dune series too. Very philosophical.)

Re: Warder
I believe that Moiraine implies through a POV that she began considering Lan as her warder, soon after the pond. I never considered she might be testing him. However, she seems much more concerned with illiciting a reaction from him than anything else IMO.
Marcus W
61. toryx
Lsana @ 59:

Therefore, when someone feels the need to call herself/himself a feminist, the assumption is that there must be something more to it than the basic ideas of equality; those battles are over, and equality won.

I think this is actually part of the problem. A lot of people seem to think that the battles are over and that equality won but it's simply not true. Women still, by and large, make less than men in the same field. They're still prejudiced against in many professions and still have to fight to be taken seriously in scenarios that are traditionally dominated by the "men's club."
There's been a hell of a lot of progress in the past several decades but the fight's a long way from over (especially considering recent events in the US), and that's something that a lot of feminists of today are continually struggling against.

Sorry, didn't mean to jump off topic, but this is really important and I had to speak up.
Tess Laird
62. thewindrose
Mediokrates - RJ was not trying to make a world without sexism. He wanted to explore what would happen if he turned the tables and only females could use the one power - which is why he has saiden tainted. This would in effect turn the table to where females have 'more' power and might produce more gender equality(I don't really see that happening in the book myself - fwiw). Leigh points out many places in the books where there is the role reversal dynamic going on.
This is from RJ's blog as found on the Thirteenth Depository:
On the large scale, the gender relationships in the Wheel grew from the very beginnings of the books, really. I recall seeing a paperback book back in the 70s, a fantasy novel about a young woman who wasn’t allowed to become a magician of whatever sort it was because she was a woman. The notion struck me as interesting, since it was the first fantasy novel with that theme that I had ever seen, but what really stuck with me was this. That novel was a simple reflection of the then-current mundane world, but what about if it were men who were not allowed to become whatever it was? Now that would be an interesting twist, and unexpected. Why would that be, and how could it be enforced? As Harriet has often pointed out, many of the world’s gender inequalities stem from superior male upper body strength. (To which I usually say, “Oh, dear! Isn’t that awful and unfair!” While pulling off my shirt and flexing my biceps, to be sure,) From that genesis grew the division of the One Power into a male and a female half with the male half tainted, giving a reason why men not only would not be allowed to become Aes Sedai, as they were not then called, butmust not be allowed even to channel, again as it was not then called. From that, and from the history that I was even then beginning to put together for this world, though I didn’t realize it then, came the result of 3000+ plus years when men who can wield the ultimate power, the One Power, are to be feared and hated above all things, when the only safety from such men comes from the one stable center of political, and other, power for those 3000+ years, a female center of power. The view I then had was a world with a sort of gender equality. Not the matriarchy that some envision — Far Madding is the only true matriarchy in the lot — but gender equality as it might work out given various things that seem to be hard-wired into male and female brains. The result is what you see.

However you want to look at the books, I would say people are going to get what they want out of them. I highly enjoy the these books and even enjoy views other then my own . I can truely say that my enjoyment has grown from joining this forum:)

Tess Laird
63. thewindrose
Also - Jonathan Levy - this carneira thing totally needs and interview Ruben and Levy! Pretty Please!!

64. Shadow_Jak

Shadow_Jak@43 - Do you really think Lan would have chosen to cheat on Nynaeve? Really? It's made clear enough from the first scene with
Myrelle and Lan - she had to use the bond to Compel him to even come to her at all.

Lan was not cheating on Nynaeve. Remember the message he passed on to her with Rand? Something to the effect that she should forget him. (Wish I had my books here). And anyway, from the NS reread, we know the Malkerie sex mores are pretty odd at best.On the other, Moiraine had already told Lan that if she died, he would be compelled to go to Myrelle. So that was her idea and already done with the passing of the bond.
Also, interestingly enough, (just checked Encyclopedia WOT) Myrelle is also from Ebou Dar. I had forgotten that. So maybe she just used the ole knife in the bedpost trick. ;-)
lake sidey
65. lakesidey
@53 Chaplainchris1 and 57 sillyslovene: +1. And then there were four...

@56pwl and others: Lan received his sword at 10. Keemlin in ToM 3 days short of his 14th birthday. Masema at 15. Wide variation there. I suppose it is more of "when your elders decide you're ready to fight with more than a practice sword". In the sense you could hold your own against a trolloc or two, I guess. So it is about your fighting prowess (but not necessarily about becoming a responsible adult)

The hadori seems to be more of a coming-of-age ritual as a man (as distinct from "as a warrior") - after that (at age 16) you no longer need "parental guidance" and are officially fully responsible for your actions.

Also - it is mentioned somewhere that men were chosen but women chose their first carneira. So it is NOT the same for girls. I am guessing the other rituals are different too. Oh, and Edeyn's daughter is not really too enthusiastic about Lan either, any more than he is. That's going to be some "politically convenient marriage" if it goes through....

William Fettes
66. Wolfmage
Lsana @ 59

“The issue with the word "feminist" is that most of the ideas that were originally associated with feminism aren't any more. The radical notion that women are human beings? The idea that they should be able to choose who to marry or not to marry at all? That they should be allowed careers? Even be paid the same as men who do the same thing? These are no longer considered "feminist"; they are "normal", and those who need to be distinguished are those who don't hold these views.”

Quibbling aside about outstanding problems such as whether women really do have pay parity (they don’t), I agree that the feminist project has been a victim of its own success. Many of the most basic tenets of the movement have been internalised by the larger body politic as fundamental and self-evident. However, I would argue this very success should prompt us to acknowledge what we owe to feminist conscious raising rather than rejecting the label as redundant. All those gains were fought for tooth and nail by self-identifying feminists against heavy opposition, including from other women. It’s just far too easy to allow ourselves to view the struggle against those obstacles as a fait accompli victory of inevitable common sense because we already know the outcome now, and the more blatantly sexist attitudes of yesterday seem so illogical and offensive to us today. But we must remember we are all free riders on the success of that movement – with society as a whole having benefited immensely from the impact of greater personal autonomy for women and the influx of women into business, academia, trades and the marketplace of ideas.

Moreover, I would also object to this process of label-narrowing being applied to feminism when it doesn’t seem to be universal to other struggles. We don’t regard all free market advocacy as a 'fundamentalist' today merely because the Western world has a fairly neo-liberal consensus in favour of open markets, deregulation and competition. Those values and ideas are entirely mainstream, but they’re still given an extremely generous presence in our political discourse because there’s always a question of striking the right balance, and the advocate side believes it’s important work to keep on reminding us about what these ideas mean and the need to be vigilant against economic populism and state intrusion in the economy. We know there are exremists - anarcho-capitalists, Randians, and fringe libertarians - but we don't allow those people to define the very idea of being pro-free market.

Feminism today is no different from this. And when we see the kind of
ubiquitous sexualised advertising marketed at young girls today, and all the inappropriate role models being offered up from pop and rap music, and reality tv being crass, simulating sex and doing stripper-like dancehall moves on our tv screens, I’d say the need to remind ourselves of the importance of this project, and being vigilant against back-sliding, is equally self-evident.

“Therefore, when someone feels the need to call herself/himself a feminist, the assumption is that there must be something more to it than the basic ideas of equality; those battles are over, and equality won.”

I would argue it’s a bit of a failure of imagination to posit that because the label feminist may have become a bit daggy and unfashionable to some people who now take for granted all these hard-fought gains, that this assumption is valid. As I said above, obviously there are extremists out there whose agenda isn’t more progress towards equality or vigilance against back-sliding, and I’m not saying we simply ignore that. But it’s always better to engage with the most mainstream and charitable interpretation of an idea or movement than to fixated on the fringe, less palatable parts to the exclusion of all else. Allowing ourselves to be defined entirely by our extremes is a toxic approach to political dialogue that makes the sensible middle of disparate groups estranged from each other.
67. Shadow_Jak
Toryx @61

There's been a hell of a lot of progress in the past several decades but the fight's a long way from over (especially considering recent events in the US)

Sorry, as you said, off-topic, but I'm really curious to know ... Which recent events?
Genevieve Williams
68. welltemperedwriter
I may be entirely alone in finding the carneira idea intriguing in a somewhat positive sense, but it's also fairly evident to me that Edeyn is quite manipulative and ambitious, and is using her privilege with Lan and her considerable understanding of his personality to her own advantage. If Malkier didn't have the carneira custom, she'd find some other way to do it--quite possibly the same thing but in a less formal way. In other words, I think there's a distinction to be made betwen the custom itself, whether you approve of it or not, and the use Edeyn is making of it. Arguably, she's abusing the privilege that being Lan's carneira affords her. (The age difference is pretty hinky, at least in part because of the power/authority differential at play here.)

A similar dynamic set in the real world is the movie Cheri; since several of the principal characters are courtesans, it's not quite the same though.

I've never particularly subscribed to the view that one's spouse should be one's first/only, either. Not because I don't think that sex is important; quite the contrary, in fact. But I'm pretty sure my ideas in this arena aren't exactly mainstream.
Alice Arneson
69. Wetlandernw
@53 Chaplainchris1, 57 sillyslovene and 65 lakesidey: +1. The fifth, I give you.
70. Shadow_Jak
So I guess in Malkier, they don't have much call for *pure* white bridal gowns, eh?
Wonder if Lan was startled to see a little red on his and Nynaeve's wedding night.
"Blood and bloody bedclothes Nynaeve! You could have bloody warned me!"
Genevieve Williams
71. welltemperedwriter
I hope not, Shadow_Jak, since in the Two Rivers at least, white is the color of mourning...
Theresa Gray
73. Terez27
I don't mind being called a feminist. I don't think I've ever been called one in a derogatory fashion. I just don't usually think of it that way. I bet that's at least partly because I was raised conservative and didn't really head over to the other side until my 20s.

By the way guys, I'm arguing with this chick on Brandon's facebook page. You guys should join in. Check out this gem:

If Leigh or any of the other feminist ranters want to write something that is interesting enough to read, they can fill it with all the man-hating feminist garbage they want. I won't be reading it.

I forgot she said it was her final word. Oh well.
Debbie Solomon
74. dsolo
re: age at which Borderlanders become men, adolescence and childhood are recent concepts in our own culture. For example, as I understand it, the Bar Mitzvah at age 13 is a ritual to celebrate becoming a man. Children were expected to work from a young age, and armies used boys 10-14 years old as messengers, etc. Cabin boys were generally 10-12 years old. RJ never spells out whether or not there is a choice of rejecting an offer from a carneira, but given the general hormone level of young teen boys, it's probably not much of an issue. As for the spouse being your first one, I don't believe that Lan intended to marry. He knows that his destiny is to die in the Blight. That's why he kept trying to push Nynaeve away. As for Moraine passing his bond, she did it to save Lan, and couldn't pass it to Nynaeve because she wasn't full AS yet. Most sisters don't know when they're going to die, or probably more of them would do that. Although, I'm not sure of the timing. Was Myrelle with Siuan's group, because Moraine never went back to the White Tower after meeting Rand.

re: her tormenting of Lan, yes she is being childish and yes it's part of her immaturity. As for knowing Malkieri customs, she remembers a little about them (as history), but since she is younger than Lan, Malkier was already a dead country before she was born. The AS probably concentrate more on current politics. Malkieri customs are dying out, as they are absorbed into other countries (example is Ryne and his Arafellin bells). Speaking of Arafellin bells, how is that practical in a battle situation? Long hair can be grabbed, and bells just pinpoint your location better.
Tess Laird
75. thewindrose
dsolo - I have also wondered about having bells in the hair and warfare. But I don't think on the borderland there is a lot of guerilla warfare going on. Most of the battles described in book are light side armys marching to Tarwins Gap(or other known battle points) and battling in mass against a horde of shadow spawn - so no need to be quiet. If Lan had bells in his hair, that would be different. He likes taking the fight into the blight - where the abilty to get around without being heard would have been needed at times*.
*Once you are fighting with the weapons that Randlanders have and ride(horses) - silence just isn't in it. So I think the bells would only hamper a person who is trying to sneak around - Araflleins wouldn't make good theifs:)
Long hair - I don't think it would be as much of a problem. Many real world armies throughout the ages had long hair. I think maybe getting an infestation of lice or something would be what you need to worry about more.

Marcus W
76. toryx
Shadow_Jak @ 67:

Thanks for asking but I don't think I'm going to go into more detail. It'd possibly lead to a fairly political and therefore sensitive discussion and I don't think this is the right environment for it. If you really want to know, feel free to contact me privately at my alias comments box.

Terez27 @ 73:

How awful. It's bad enough when men take that sort of attitude but it's always particularly sad when it's a woman who is doing so. There are female members of my family who are pretty profoundly against equal rights for women and I have to really bite my tongue whenever the subject comes up.

welltemperedwriter @ 68:

I agree with you that the carneira idea in general is intriguing in a positive sense as well. I not only don't have a problem with pre-martial sex, I actually believe it's profoundly healthy, and I think it's pretty awesome Malkier has traditions that promote it.

I really do hope that Edeyn is actually abusing her position in a fashion that would normally be frowned upon by Malkieri society.
Sorcha O
78. sushisushi
Hope the move goes well, Leigh!

Johntheirishmongol@27 I'm not sure that Moiraine's education about different customs would have included Malkeiri ones, given that the country was dead at least fifteen years before that education started and the majority of the survivors were hurriedly integrating themselves into the other Borderlands. Although, you would think it would have at least merited a passing mention in Customs of the Westlands 301. Although I suspect that's what Moiraine is vaguely remembering when she thinks fuzzily remembers something about distressed women.

Chaplainchris1@53 That would assume that you had met your future spouse at the point of what seems to be a big coming-of-age ceremony in Malkeiri custom. I could see, for example, where you would get a carneira-spouse situation for couples like Rand and Egwene at the start of TEOTW, where they're pretty much expected to be engaged once she comes of age. Although it makes me wonder about the less socially adept blokes who might be wandering around until their twenties or later, if they couldn't catch some young woman's interest. At least a young woman in that situation would be able to just jump someone and say 'right, you're my carneira, off we go'.

Lsana@59 Some of those points you make about the original feminist desires are truer than others and much of it depends on what country you live in. I am lucky to live in a country which allows women the vote, access to contraception and the ability to go out to work and retain her own property on marriage, but I'm very aware that's not the case everywhere in the world. And that's very much focussing on the area of institutionalized and legally supported sexism, not even going near the whole area of cultural sexism. I'd like a world where I can work without being expected to wear make-up and tights when my partner doesn't have to, be constantly bombarded with advertising that I'm not thin, pale or busty enough, be concerned about my safety when running after dark, or have to suffer random comments on my appearance from ransomers, just because I'm female and they're not. A world where these things didn't happen would be one where equality has truly won and wouldn't need feminists to try and redress the balance.

dsolo@74 Yep, the idea of the 'teenager' in Western culture is pretty much an artifact of post-WWII society. The further back you go, the more it seems to have been much more of a case where you were a child, until you were an adult, at least from the perspective of education/work. And I suspect that you can tie up belled braids, if you need to sneak. A helmet would probably work, too.
Tricia Irish
79. Tektonica
toryx@61 and Wolfmage@66:

Thank you. Well said and all too true. I'm proud to call myself a feminist, in that I promote equality of the sexes, not superiority of either. I have a daughter in her 20's now, who despite my tutelage, is just now "getting" what discrimination means in the work place. Real Life is a great teacher.

I do think RJ's take on gender politics is a bit confusing at times. Here I think he was going for humor with a bit of "social climbing" on Edeyn's part.

As for the whole Carniera thing. What skeeved me out was not an older woman "educating" a young man in the ways of amour, it was that then she wanted him to marry her daughter. Mrs. Robinson indeed.

As for the sexual discussion, I'll just say that I am firmly NOT in the camp of several posters above, for various reasons.....

toryx@76: I agree. Healthy.
80. Jenny C.
As a Swede, I have a little experience with royalty as a real thing and I can confirm that yes, royals have a lot of choices made for them because of how they are born, and it's just as unfair as for any other group. But it is indeed hard to sympathize with their hardships, even when for instance our princess recently was forced to marry a grade-A douchebag for no other reason than somehow our people haven't grown out of the need for a good-looking prince of suitably high breeding to ensure the continuation of the royal bloodline and maintain the image of greatness.

The job of the royals is to give the people an image of greatness, you see. Emphasis on "image".

It's just that they're rich, I suppose. They're the most privileged people there are, and their privilege in fact includes the right to abdicate should they find their personal freedom is more important to them than living up to the expectations placed on them. Earth women and Malkeri men don't have that right.
81. sleepinghour
In a way, Lan's marriage to Nynaeve ended up following Malkieri customs: she chose him to be her carneira/husband and has to obey him in private because of the Sea Folk marriage vows. There are other parallels like Lan burning his daori before being bonded by Moiraine, and Nynaeve's braid being burned off in the AS test before she goes to pick up Lan's bond.

Re: Myrelle, I don't think Lan slept with Myrelle voluntarily--aside from his feelings for Nynaeve, it would've made the situation even messier if Myrelle ended up attached to him. All he really wanted at that point was to die. Myrelle had to Compel him through the bond to make him come to her in LoC, and when he stepped out of the tent in ACoS:

Murmuring something to Lan, Myrelle touched his arm. He flinched slightly, like a nervous horse, but his hard face never turned from Egwene.
From his reaction, I think he was aware Myrelle had been Compelling him and understandably not happy about it. (In fact, Lan is the one who tells Egwene that she now has a hold on Myrelle and Nisao.) In any event, she got a dose of karma later in the story with being coerced into bonding Kairen's former (and not particularly attractive) Warder Llew.
Valentin M
82. ValMar
Terez @ 73

I read this conversation on FB. It's really dissapointing to see how blinkered people can be. Leigh is trying so hard to phrase her comments just so people like that woman don't react like she did.

Re: carneira/Edeyn, I believe this is not how it normally operates. I get the impression that Edeyn is taking advantage of the custom in order to secure power for herself in the short-to-medium term and her daughter in the long term.
When Malkier was whole, I suspect Royalty and major nobles where careful when it came to their carneira. Probably were heavily chaperoned.

As a side note, I don't get why would it do people any good to have sex only after marriage. In places where this is seriously enforced (by state and/or social custom) it is associated with appalling abuse of girls and women.
Jonathan Levy
83. JonathanLevy
Reuben: Good evening, and welcome to the show!

Levy: Good evening.

Reuben: Our guest today is Dr. Noonian Way-Ramon, a uh, Doctor of Gender Studies from Stanford University, and Dean of Womyns studies at Berkeley.

Way-Ramon: Good evening.

Reuben: Good evening.

Levy: Uh Dr. Way-Ramon, we'd like to discuss with you the um, remarkable revelations by Brandon Sanderson this week -

Reuben: Bombshell might be a better word!

Levy: Uh yes, um, in which in a series of twitter posts he revealed that "A Memory of Light" will contain a male homosexual character, and that that character had been added on his own initiative in response to fan criticism.

Way-Ramon: Well, I think that my reaction was fairly typical - shock and disbelief, perhaps tinged with a bit of outrage.

Reuben: Outrage?

Way-Ramon: Yes well, in a multi-volume series one quite naturally expects there to be a large degree of consistency between them...

Reuben: Naturally.

Levy: Quite naturally.

Way-Ramon: ... and when a new author is introduced - whatever the circumstances - the need to maintain consistency becomes even more acute ...

Reuben: Of course.

Levy: Of course!

Way-Ramon: ... and we know for a fact that Robert Jordan left copious notes for AMOL ...

Reuben: Copious!

Levy: Copious.

Way-Ramon: ... it therefore strikes me as a complete outrage for Sanderson to announce that HE has decided to add a homosexual male to the series...

Reuben: Outrage!

Levy: An outrage.

Way-Ramon: ... when it is in fact perfectly obvious that Robert Jordan was planning to do so himself.

Reuben: Ah.... what?

Levy: I'm not sure "perfectly obvious" is the first phrase that comes to mind.

Way-Ramon: Well, perhaps I am indulging in a bit of hindsight, but this character IS foreshadowed multiple times throughout the series - including a few prophecies - and in fact the entire cosmology of the Wheel of Time virtually requires his appearance.

Reuben: Um... ah... the entire cosmology? No less?

Levy: Please Doctor, do elaborate for our viewers.

Way-Ramon: Oh certainly. Well you see - we must remember that the so-called "Third Age" is an age dominated by decline and darkness, and haunted by a sort of "Original Sin" dragging humanity down into -

Levy: Um, by "Original Sin", do you mean the -

Way-Ramon: Yes Yes, I mean the fact that during the whole age - over three thousand years - there has not been a single Male Homosexual couple -

Levy: Oh -

Way-Ramon: - and this is compounded by the multiplicity of female Lesbian couples -

Levy: Uh, of course -

Way-Ramon: - not to mention the oft-noted Gender Spanking Imbalance.

Levy: Yes yes, I see.

Way-Ramon: And so at the end of this age there arises a Messianic Homosexual - with obvious Jesus parallels - who will redeem humanity from its Homophobia, and usher in a new age -

Reuben: After the last battle?

Way-Ramon: Yes, yes - a gay-friendly age, mind you - with plenty of male-on-male spankings -

Levy: Of course.

Way-Ramon: - single-sex fraternities featuring weekly masked toga parties -

Reuben: Yes thank you!

Way-Ramon: - with rubbing oils, scented candles -


Way-Ramon: - and supple leather thongs.

Levy: ...

Reuben: Yes thank you for that, uh, detailed description of the next age -

Way-Ramon: The Karaethon cycle is very clear on these matters.

Levy: Dr. Way-Ramon, could you perhaps give us a few examples of the specific prophecies on which your uh, remarkable theory is based?

Way-Ramon: Well the main one is in the TGH prologue, if I may quote - uh, "Yet one shall be born to face the Shadow of Homophobia, born once more as he was born before and shall be born again, time without end. The Drag Queen shall be Reborn, and there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth - "

Reuben: The Drag Queen Reborn?

Way-Ramon: Ah yes, the Drag Queen Reborn is a re-incarnation of the previous age's Drag Queen, Lews Therin, of whom it was said: "All was shattered, and all but memory lost, and one memory above all others, of him who brought the Shadow and the Breaking of the World. And him they named Drag Queen".

Levy: You know I've always wondered about that prophecy, I mean, the Bore was drilled by Mierin and Beidomon, and the Breaking was wrought by the Dark One's Counterstroke, so in what sense could the Drago - uh, Drag Queen be said to have 'brought the Shadow and the Breaking'?

Way-Ramon: Well the text of "The Strike on Shayol Ghul" makes it perfectly clear. You see, when the war of the Shadow seemed all but lost, the Hundred Gaypanions made a daring strike against Shayol Ghul with the one woman who rejected the Fateful Concord and agreed to help them Link, only to discover - too late - that she was actually Lews Therin in a skirt.

Reuben: ...

Levy: ...

Way-Ramon: It's no wonder they all went mad.

Reuben: Yes well I suppose I can see how that would result in his memory being damned.

Levy: And it certainly explains why they called him 'The Drag Queen'.

Reuben: I'm still not sure what you're suggesting, Dr. Way-Ramon. These prophecies clearly refer to Rand Al-Thor - are you suggesting that he's going to be outed as a homosexual? After uh, having had sex with three different women? After countless POVs in which he shows his attraction to the female sex? And after his love was confirmed by three of them via the Warder Bond?

Way-Ramon: Not at all. And this is where the genius of Robert Jordan shines through. You see, Rand Al'Thor is not the Drag Queen Reborn. He's just a red herring.

Reuben: A red herring!?

Levy: A red herring?

Way-Ramon: Yes, it's quite brilliant, really. It hit me like a thunderbolt the first time I understood where Jordan was heading.

Reuben: I can quite imagine.

Levy: Well, who is it then?

Way-Ramon: Well, I wouldn't want to spoil it for your viewers...

Reuben: No do tell us, please.

Levy: I'm sure our they're as eager as I am to hear your crac- your interesting theories.

Way-Ramon: Well, it's obvious in hindsight. The Drag Queen Reborn is actually Demandred. You see, he's been disguised as Min Farshaw ever since LOC.

Reuben: ...

Levy: ...

Way-Ramon: It makes perfect sense if you think about it. Rand hardly knows Min at all, and neither do the Aes Sedai who come with her. It's much easier to pull off than Mesaana disguised as Danelle. And isn't it awfully suspicious that she's the only woman in the whole continent who wears pants?

Reuben: ...

Way-Ramon: Besides, where better for Demandred to hide than right under Rand's nose? And under his thrusting loins, as the occasion required.

Reuben: ...

Levy: ... I suppose Rand simply overlooked the, uh, anatomical differences?

Way-Ramon: Well, a web of compulsion was necessary before and after each act. It's no wonder Rand's brain is completely covered by TOM.

Reuben: ... but wasn't Demandred very weak with compulsion....?

Way-Ramon: Yes, that's why he had to wait until he got his hands on the little-fat-man angreal. You'll notice "Min" pounces on Rand only after it mysteriously disappears. And who but a Foresaken would want to have sex after seeing a hanged corpse? I mean, "she" practically tears Rand's clothes off right after seeing Colavaere.

Reuben: ...

Levy: So do tell us, how exactly is Demandred - of all people - going to betray the Shadow of Homophobia and redeem Humanity by coming out of the closet?

Way-Ramon: Well, I don't want to give away too much, but the key to that question is in this prophecy: "Red on Black, the Drag Queen's blood stains the rock at Shayol Ghul. In the Pit of Doom shall his blood free men from Homophobia."

Levy: Do elaborate, please.

Way-Ramon: Well, it will all be resolved in the famous - and brilliant - final scene which Jordan planned some thirty years ago. I wouldn't want to ruin it for your viewers -

Reuben: Please please, I'm sure there's no fear of that.

Levy: I cannot imagine how eager they are to hear your thoughts, Doctor.

Way-Ramon: Well, if you insist. Now we've got to keep in mind that the tension here has been building for quite a while - thirteen books, not to mention some twenty-odd real life years -

Reuben: Of course.

Levy: Of course!

Way-Ramon: - so a conventional resolution, such as holding hands, or kissing in public, or even a gay wedding would be wholly inadequate -

Reuben: Wholly inadequate!

Levy: Indeed.

Way-Ramon: - and therefore the inescapable conclusion is that in the Final Scene, the blood of the Drag Queen shall redeem humanity via a collection of small bruises and scrapes -

Reuben: (...bruises and scrapes...?)

Levy: (...what?)

Way-Ramon: - on various parts of the body, such as the hands, and knees, or possibly the elbows -

Levy: (*headdesk*)

Reuben: (*headdesk*)

Way-Ramon: - as the Drag Queen's naked flesh is gently buffeted against the sharp rocks of Shayol Ghul -

Levy: (*headdesk*)(*headdesk*)

Reuben: (*headdesk*)(*headdesk*)

Way-Ramon: - uh, by a series of gentle but firm thrusts -

Levy: (*headdesk*)(*headdesk*)(*headdesk*)

Reuben: (*headdesk*)(*headdesk*)(*headdesk*)

Way-Ramon: - uh, from above and slightly to the rear.

Reuben: ...

Levy: ...

Reuben: Where do you find these people?

Levy: I swear he sounded perfectly sane on the phone.

Reuben: Did you do ANY research before inviting him?

Levy: Uh, the wikipedia entry-

Reuben: Did you read ANY of his books?

Levy: Look, the reviews on amazon gave him five sta-

Way-Ramon: Excuse me, uh, do you mind if I go? I mean, if the interview's over...

Reuben: ...

Levy: ...

Reuben: Doctor Way-Ramon, I couldn't help but noticing that throughout this interview you always kept your eyes on those little notes you brought.

Way-Ramon: (sweating) uh yes I wanted to keep my thoughts composed, you see -

Reuben: And even when I speak to you now you keep your gaze below my shoulders.

Way-Ramon: uh.. uh.. the room is .. uh bright, very bright uh.. my eyes you see -

Reuben: Doctor Way-Ramon, I would ask you to look me in the eye.

Way-Ramon: Um - My Lord, uh, I am not worthy to -

Reuben: Meet my gaze, Way-Ramon.

Way-Ramon: (cringes)

Reuben: I thought so. Go and tell your kind that they can no longer hide amongst my interviewees.

Way-Ramon: ...ah... you're... you're not going to kill me, M'lord?

Reuben: Not today. Send my regards to your brother.

Way-Ramon: (exits)

Reuben: ...

Levy: ...

Reuben: ...

Levy: ...

Reuben: You know the silver-worked boots were a reaaaaal giveaway.

Levy: I said I was sorry!

Reuben: ...

Reuben: Not to mention his NAME...

Levy: I SAID I was SORRY!!
Stefan Mitev
84. Bergmaniac
Royalty in Randland seem to have more freedom about who to marry and whether to marry at all than most historical analogues. Laman, for example, remained unmarried well into middle age, which is really uncommon for historical monarchs. In Andor it's accepted for even Queens and Daughter-Heirs to marry commoners. Even the Queen getting pregnant without a marriage or even without announcing the father is accepted easily. Even the Seanchan Empress was able to marry a guy who was not a noble, not even a Seanchan subject, and without this being part of any political deal, though I guess the foretellings helped a lot in this case. ;)

Faile, who's second in the line of Succession in Saldaea, ran away from home and evetually married a country bumpkin, and his parents cared only whether he can understand the Saldaean customs in dealing with your wife, not whether he's a Lord and what are the political consequences of the marriage. Tenobia remains unmarried and people are convinced this will stay so for a long time, but don't care much. Or maybe they are afraid to push her on this in fear of being send to the gallows when she gets mad. ;)
Rob Munnelly
85. RobMRobM
@83. Way-Ramon. Too funny. Didn't pick that up until the big reveal at the end. Rob
Tess Laird
86. thewindrose
Jonathan Levy - Way-Ramon and the silver boots hahaha!

Tricia Irish
87. Tektonica

ROFLOL. You are so good at this! Hysterical! Thank you.
Benjamin Moldovan
88. benpmoldovan
Wetlandernw@69 et al... that makes six then, so there's a few of us, anyway.
Captain Hammer
89. Randalator
Terez @73

I wouldn't join in because arguing with morons like that is as pointless as freezing hot water for later use.

Jonathan Levy @83

Completely made out of WIN.

One minor quibble though, according to the nutjobs wasn't the previous age's Drag Queen called Louise Therin Telamon?
James Whitehead
90. KatoCrossesTheCourtyard
@83Jonathan Levy really funny. I didn't get it until the boots were mentioned sadly. ;-)

@89Randalator, maybe 'Lews' was the Drag Queen Reborn's stage name in the previous age?

Jonathan Levy
91. JonathanLevy
89. Randalator

Louise Therin - very clever! I wish I'd thought of that myself, I definitely would have used it. :)

Thank you for your kind words.
Thomas Keith
92. insectoid
Why am I not logged in? ::grumblegrumble::

JLevy @83: ROFLMAO! Like RobM² I didn't pick up on the Way-Ramon thing until you mentioned the silver boots. XD

Randalator @89: Louise Therin... very clever!

Tina Pierce
93. scissorrunner
53. Chaplinchris1-
I’m # 7

89. Randalator -
ROFL!!! Can I use that one?
Theresa Gray
94. Terez27
@Randalator - It's not completely pointless. Debates do change minds from time to time, and it's usually the observers/lurkers rather than the people you're actually arguing with. I won't go so far as to debate idiots on YouTube or anything, but it's Brandon's Facebook, so...why not?

I feel bad sticking up for Leigh sometimes since I get the impression she doesn't like me much (and why should she? though it could be she doesn't care one way or the other) and also because I can't help thinking she would do a better job of it if she could be bothered. But I can't help it. :)

edited because I forgot a few important bits
Joseph Blaidd
97. SteelBlaidd
I reiterate the point made above that the hang up abput the diference
in age between Lan and Edeyn is a particular hang up. In other
countries no one would bat an eye. THis dosent make how she is useing that rellationship to manipulate him any less reprehensible.

On pre-marital chastity, I'm with chaplinchris, for both religious and practicle reasons.

People tend to "play like they practice." so not having sex with someone youare not married to before marrage in practice for not having sex withsome one you are not married ot affter marrige.

From a book on changes in behavior when people go to collage collage(emphassis mine).

Many emerging adults "maintained with complete assurance that one would be stupid to get married without first having lived together for six months to a year. . . . By cohabiting for the good part of a year, one is able to 'test drive' the relationship and confirm before it is too late that the marriage really will work."? This is a fantasy; the reality is something different. "None of the emerging adults who are enthusiastic about cohabiting as a means to prevent unsuccessful marriages seem aware that nearly all studies consistently show that couples who live together before they marry are more, not less, likely to later divorce than couples who did not live together before their weddings."? Cohabitation significantly increases the risk of divorce. "The divorce rates of women who cohabit are nearly 80 percent higher than the rates of those who do not. In fact, either something about living together before marriage itself or the very notion of approaching marriage with the mentality of hedging one's bets by shaking out the relationship with a provisional uncommitted marriage-like test, or both, significantly increases the probability of subsequently divorcing. But emergent adults are oblivious to these facts."? For example:

One college professor described a survey that he had conducted over a period of years in his marriage classes. He asked guys who were living with a girl, point blank, "Are you going to marry the girl that you're living with?" The overwhelming response, he reports, was "NO!" When he asked the girls if they were going to marry the guy they were living with, their response was, "Oh, Yes!" The professor asked "Why?" The girls usually replied, "Because we love each other and we are learning how to be together." The guys, however, explained that they would not marry the girl they were living with because, "She was easy for me. How can I trust her to be faithful in marriage?"?

They have a reason for their lack of trust. "Not
surprisingly, partners in a cohabiting relationship are more likely to be unfaithful to each other than married couples: . . . men in cohabiting relationships were 4 times more likely to be unfaithful than husbands and . . . women in cohabiting relationships were 8 times more likely to cheat than wives."?

John Massey
98. subwoofer
Wowza! This thread has been really hopping since we paired down to one post. I'm not one to play the blame game but- stares pointedly at the powers that be at TOR - way to kill a good thing here people. One week and we are not even scratching one hundred.


Or it may be a result of everyone having to bleach their eyeballs after reading JL's post. I don't think I can look at Min the same way again...

Come to think, why does she wear pants? It kinda makes sense- and some of er... Cha Faile seem to have adopted said look as well but geeze....

WoT wise, I can't help but feel cheated by the death of Lan's groupies. Aragorn had a few of his long lived folk kicking about when he took the throne, Lan lost most of his protectors getting where he was going and the last one was pushing 70 and doesn't make it to the end of this book. I suppose a case could be made for some of the Hadori wearing people that crop up later, but even as Lan notices- those guys wearing any royal guard's tunics inherited it from their dads etc. AMoL is going to have "The Last Ride of the Malkieri". Le Sigh.

Heidi Byrd
99. sweetlilflower
Since we are pretty much dead here, I thought I would post something funny from the Alcatraz series. BTW, for those of you who have not read it, it is hillarious! Anyway, there is a person who shows up and everyone calls her "She Who Cannot be Named" because her name is really difficult to pronounce. Anyway, BWS shortens it to SWCBN and it made me think of how we sometimes refer to Cadsuane as SWMNBN. I just thought I would share that little tidbit with you...
James Whitehead
100. KatoCrossesTheCourtyard
@98Subwoofer, JL's post was one of the better, and definitely funnier, theories as to who Demandred is hiding as. ;-)

Also, would like to add my disappointment to Tor's decision regarding the reread/read situation. I am enjoying Leigh's GRRM read, but neither will be done anytime soon; which might be TOR's plan anyway.


PS - What ho! One hundred. My first. ;-)
Rob Munnelly
101. RobMRobM
If this is a once per week thing, Leigh needs to do three chapters at a time. Leigh for three, Leigh for three....
Tina Pierce
102. scissorrunner
sweetlilflower, I second your recommendation! The Alcatraz books are so fun!
Rob Munnelly
103. RobMRobM
Love all those Smedry powers! Showing up late, falling down, waking up ugly, breaking things, etc. Awesome.

Jay Dauro
104. J.Dauro
Hey, I can wake up ugly. Problem is I go to sleep that way too.

But I love the Alcatraz books.
Alice Arneson
105. Wetlandernw
Well, as there doesn't seem to be much going on, it must be time for a ramble.

I've come to the conclusion that there is one, single, fundamental flaw with the Three Oaths. (Well, okay, that's not quite true; I think there are more, but it sounds a lot more ostentatious to say it that way. :p) The Big Problem - the only one I'm addressing right now, at least - is that the White Tower doesn't teach its initiates the meaning of the Oaths. "What??" you may say. "How is that The Big Problem?" As past discussions have clearly shown, the exact meaning of an Oath, in practice, is based solely on the perception of the individual. We've argued definitions; some have claimed that the meanings are so obvious and clear that it's simply stupid to interpret them the way some AS apparently do.

The first thing to note is that it's not really a matter of "interpretation" as such; that is, if you are bound by an Oath Rod, you don't get to do something and then argue in court about how you interpreted your oath in that situation. It's not an issue of legal justification; you have to believe, bone deep, that your interpretation is correct, or you are physically unable to do what you want. To use an example from last week's discussion, when Moiraine balefired Be'lal, she believed that the circumstances warranted use of the One Power as a weapon. Whether that was because he was a Forsaken (included in the SS&DF clause) or because she believed her own life was somehow in danger doesn't really matter; if she had not believed that her Oath allowed it, she simply would not have been able to do it.

The other thing, and the reason it's been on my mind the last few days, is the way Moiraine interprets some things in these chapters. I'll get to details in a minute, but the big thing to note is that each individual not only has her own understanding of her Oaths, but that understanding very likely changes over time. As a new-minted Aes Sedai, Moiraine was very sure of herself and what would or would not be valid, but it seems to me that there are some changes from her understanding in NS as opposed to 20 years later in the series proper. Some people will just see that as an authorial inconsistency; it seems to me more likely that it was a deliberate (if subtle) indication that as Moiraine matured and gained wider experience, her perception of the meaning of the Oaths changed with that maturity and experience.

Time for a couple of examples. When Caneidrin attacked them, Moiraine's first reaction was shields of Air protecting Lan and herself (why not the others?) and her second was to seize the archer with more Air. She was seriously upset that he was hit by both Ryne's and Bukama's arrows while she was holding him, because that felt like being forced to break her Oaths, but since she didn't know they would shoot right then, she was able to hold him; that is, it did not violate her perception of Oath and action. (It would be interesting to see how she felt about seizing a would-be assassin with air over the next few years... Is there any mention of her doing so in the rest of the books? The recognition that it could be considered "making a weapon" or "using the OP as a weapon" might hinder future use, particularly in a similar situation.)

Earlier in the same chapter, there is the ambush by forty or so brigands. Moiraine is furious when Lan gives them an out, rather than fighting them. She was, apparently, hoping to goad them into attacking so that she could use the OP on them, with the expectation of taking the survivors to a magistrate. This would indicate a parallel expectation of not survivors - as in, a significant proportion would be killed in the fight. I would say that the combination of these two events sheds an interesting light on Moiraine's perception of the phrase "the last extreme." It was argued last week that this phrase clearly means "after I have exhausted all other means of defending my life or that of my Warder or another sister." While that may be a logical deduction to us, to Moiraine it seems that "the last extreme" is defined by the fact that she is defending her life. She could obviously have used the OP to weave shields of Air and simply chased the brigands away with weaves similar to those she used to get their attention. Her clear understanding and itention, though, was that if she could provoke them into attacking, she could use the OP either offensively or defensively. Interesting twist, no?

(Note, however, that since there was no fight, we don't know 100% whether she really could have done so, or only thought she could. It makes you wonder what happens if an AS persuades herself that something is true when at the core she doesn't actually believe it. Could Moiraine have thought she would be able to use the OP offensively, but have discovered that instead she was only able to defend? It would be a bit disconcerting to charge into battle and then discover that any offensive weaves simply refuse to form...)

So back to the original proposition: a significant problem with the Oaths is that they are interpreted very inconsistently, depending on the perception of the individual AS. While it's probably true that everyone knows that as long as he doesn't attack an Aes Sedai, she won't use the OP to stop his heart, there's no guarantee that she won't use it to: hurt him, damage his property, destroy his livelihood, etc. Not too many are likely to do so, of course, but even without the BA to twist things, one hot-headed sister could create some serious mistrust.

At the time each Oath was institutionalized, I'm sure everyone understood what it meant. The problem would come from continuing to assume that everyone shared that understanding, to the point that no one bothers to explain it. Over time, assumptions change; with new initiates coming in from different cultures and varying ways of thinking, the generally accepted meaning would begin to shift unless it is carefully spelled out as a part of novice or Accepted training. If the training included a session on defensive skills, for example, and it was made clear that your oath constrained you from using the OP as an offensive weapon until you had exhausted all possible means of defense, Kiruna wouldn't have been able to wade into the melee and start flinging fireballs. As it is, her interpretation was clearly that once she was in the battle and could be harmed by weapons (mundane or OP) she could use the OP as a weapon in any way she liked. The same goes for the definition of "weapon." If novices were all taught that any use of the OP to cause pain, injury or death is using it as a weapon, there'd be a lot less Air-switches used.

You get the idea; I'm sure you could come up with plenty of other ways to codify the definitions. Human nature being what it is, I'm sure some would still manage to find ways around them, as well, but if they were all working from the same, clearly-defined set of meanings and assumptions, they just might be perceived differently.

So that was a lengthy ramble, and I'm not sure there's a lot to actually discuss about it, but... I'd been thinking it over and thought I'd share. If we're lucky, someone will find a way to pick this up and run it some more. :)
Hugh Arai
106. HArai
Wetlandernw@105: You seem to be operating from the basic premise that the Oaths were actually intended by the Aes Sedai to be limiting. If they're intended to be propaganda that could be another reason they're so easy to creatively interpret. The First Oath is a distraction obscuring just how much manipulation they indulge in, the Second Oath distracts from the fact they're willing to amass and use weapons and armies the normal way, and the Third Oath is a distraction from the virtually limitless things they can do to someone with the OP short of flat out killing them.
Theresa Gray
107. Terez27
It could also be that, as some believe, the Black Ajah was behind the institution of the Oaths in the first place, and many weren't happy about it, and the tradition has remained. However, many current Aes Sedai have a certain amount of religious feeling about the Oaths, so there's at least a tad bit of hypocrisy there. Siuan's speech on the Oaths to Egwene, though...she basically admits it's about propaganda. But she is more honest than some, probably.
Jonathan Levy
108. JonathanLevy
105. Wetlandernw

Ok, let's pass the time until Tuesday :)

Yes, different Aes Sedai interpret the oaths differently.
Yes, each Aes Sedai's interpretation changes over time.
But why is this a problem?

Because different Aes Sedai will react differently under similar circumstances? Isn't that true of every aspect of every human behavior?

Because it's not possible for a muggle to predict how an Aes Sedai will act? Can he predict how a magistrate/lord/queen/soldier/taxman will act? Is not the mystery surrounding Aes Sedai an important and valuable part of their facade?

Besides, the average Randlander doesn't even know the precise phrasing of the Oaths. Even if there were a precise and binding interpretation of them, he wouldn't know that either, so he'd be in exactly the same position.

I think it is a fallacy that if only there were a precisely phrased and sufficiently detailed statute that was binding, then the behavior of adult humans could be controlled. This is a legacy of the powerful bureaucracies which control our lives in the modern world, and which have imprinted their paradigms on us. But Human Will, Human Diversity, and the Law of Unintended Consequences will always defeat such efforts.

Consider the Aelfinn and the Eelfinn. There is a parallel between their Chamber of Bonds and the Oaths: The finns are magically Bound to fulfill the treaties which are made in the Chamber of Bonds to the letter, much as an Aes Sedai is bound to keep her Oaths. And yet they always find a way to win at their game. No matter how clever Mat thinks he is, and how detailed his demands, they find a way around them.
109. Freelancer
Feminism, by pure semantics, is suggestive of preference. Someone who believes in equality in all things, with no bias or preference, is simply an adult. Hows about we all just be adults.
Tricia Irish
110. Tektonica

Certainly a good point on inconsistency amongst the AS.

Firstly: I think the 3 oaths are nonsense and propaganda, perhaps initiated in the past by the BA. That said, I don't think the AS know of the original use of the oath rod (punishment), or how it shortens their lives. (Knowing the incredible egos of so many AS, I can't imagine it will last long when/if they find about about the life shortening properties.)

Secondly: I think one well-worded oath would do the trick for binding the AS both together as a unit, and safely and morally in the minds of the muggles.

Thirdly: It doesn't matter whether there's one oath or three, there should be moral/ethical instruction in AS school. In fact, this may already exist, as we don't know much about their "classes" per se.

For instance, a series of classes;
-in combat conducted by the Green "warrior" *cough* ajah
-in weilding logic to obfuscate your true mission by the Whites
-in using diplomacy within the bounds of the first oath by the Blues

But, which ajah would teach ethics and morality? Ummmmm.......
A special advanced class by the Amyrlin herself, perhaps?

In truth, we are given little information on ANY of their classes and courses of study, so this is all mere speculation on my part.

I do think their is an ethical "gap" between the intent and meaning of the Oaths, and how they are used and interpreted. Even allowing for individuality and circumstantial judgement, I perceive an intent to wiggle out of and manipulate the Oaths, through the twisting of words and self-delusion. A decidedly omniscient viewpoint about what it is the world needs seems to guide most AS's worldly decisions. Not that a firm hand and guidance isn't needed at times!

Freelancer@109: **waves** Nice to see you!
And yes, wouldn't it be nice if all of humanity being Adults would solve the inequity problems facing the women of the world. Alas, it's going to take some more beating of the drums of feminism before parity can be achieved, to shift a few more ingrained attitudes. Balance is the goal.
111. MasterAlThor
Leave it to Freelancer to throw gas on a fire. Well said.

Some good thoughts there. I personally think that the 3 Oaths need to go the way of the Dodo.

112. MasterAlThor
ValMar @82
Here is the reason why it is not a good idea to have sex before getting married.

I have 5 children. One is not even mine, one lives with his mother, the other is adopted and the final two live with me and my wife. I have also had experiences with things that luckily were curable.

I understand that you could say that "well that is just you". So then I will point out for you stats for the black community. See how many single parent households there are.

Also, look at the divorce rates in the US. Now dig a little deeper and see how many have to to with affairs. One might say that doesn't count cause affairs don't have anything to do with premarital sex. Really? Take it from someone who has a little knowledge about this. Yes I had an affair on my wife. It was the worst thing I have ever done in my life. It had a lot to do with the fact that I had premarital sex.

In my youth I had a very different outlook on sex. If I wanted it I could get it anytime. I mistakenly took that attitude into my marriage.

Luckily my story has a happy ending. My wife wins hands down as the GREATEST WOMAN ON THE PLANET. She stayed and forgave me. We worked through my problems and have a much better relationship. Our faith has a lot to do with this.

So there is my answer to your question. There are many more numerous reasons. One only has to look at society as a whole to find them.

J Levy,
You are my new hero. hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahhahahahahahahahahahahaha


Edit: Sorry I forgot to add the effect that having 3 children and having to deal with 2 other women has had on my wife. Just imagine an ex girlfriend who doesn't go away.
Marcus W
113. toryx
subwoofer @ 98:

It's just my opinion, but I don't think the decrease in posts has anything to do with the other Read Leigh is doing. It's simply a matter of A) There isn't that much to say about these particular chapters of NS and/or B) There isn't a lot more to talk about that hasn't already been discussed.

I get that you're not happy about the choice Leigh and TOR made. But really, dude, it's not going to destroy the WoT re-read.

RobM @ 101: I've seen you bring up the Leigh doing three chapters at a time thing about 20 times. Believe me, she's seen your suggestion by now. If she wants to do it, she will. If she doesn't, she won't. It's her decision. Regardless, however, keep in mind that she's only, like, moving across the country. I don't know if you've done it before or not but I have (twice) and it's a royal pain in the ass. I'm amazed that she's doing as much as she has.

To All: Good golly, some of you are a bunch of whiners sometimes. Give Leigh a break already. We're lucky she's still doing this project at all considering how much work it is and how long she's been doing it, not to mention the crap people give her when she makes a decision y'all don't approve. Yes, you've a right to your opinion but it's all been said and done. Move on.

tektonica @ 110:

I completely agree that the Oaths are nonsense and propaganda, but given the propensity for both amongst any bureaucratic entity, I just can't see the Black Ajah being entirely behind them. I wouldn't be surprised if they first brought the subject up but given the Aes Sedai, I can seen them running with it without having to be pushed into it at all.

MasterAlThor @ 112: I appreciate the reality of such things from your experience but really, having a lot of children has absolutely nothing to do with premarital sex. Neither, for that matter, does faithfulness or adultery. It's just not that cut and dry. Responsible adults can act responsibly regardless of whether they're in favor of premarital sex. That usually includes using birth control and not breaking one's vows.

Good for you on having such a forgiving wife.
Teresa Nielsen Hayden
114. tnh
Subwoofer @98, I think this thread is less dead than stunned by JL's post. My brain still feels fizzy after exposure to it.

Freelancer, it would be nice if it worked, but speaking from experience, "everyone act like an adult" isn't enough to bring about universal good table manners.
Rob Munnelly
115. RobMRobM
Toryx - understood. Sorry I've been beating Bela on that point.

While not an excuse, I'll note only that without three chapters/week it seems clear that this re-read will extend far beyond any reasonable publication date for AMOL - which would be a huge pity. This re-read has been special and I'd like it to conclude with the finale pre-AMOL that it deserves, Leigh deserves and we - who have been with it on a regular basis for over two years - deserve. I hope that works with Leigh and the powers that be at Tor.com. I'll henceforth drop the subject.

Hugh Arai
116. HArai
@moderators: I had a post that would have fallen at #77 that got held back for moderation. Since it's been a few days now, can I assume it failed the moderation check? If it did, can I ask why? I'd like to avoid doing whatever it was in the future, but to do that I need to know what I did.
117. MasterAlThor

It can be that simple. In an ideal world everyone is a responsible adult. We live in reality where there are some and a heck of a lot more who aren't.

While you believe that having children out of wedlock and adultery have nothing to do with premarital sex, I wholly disagree. I have seen first hand how it affects my wife. And it is not just her. What I mean is that this would have affected anyone I chose to marry.

Example, if I married say Berelain (quiet you) don't you think that it would matter that I had few children before we got married? Ask any person who has to raise a step child if they would perfer not to. I am not saying that they don't love the child. But they most certainly don't love the ex.

How many black teens do you know? Just bear with me here. I can only speak about things I am familiar with. In the black community, among the majority of males, it is a badge of honor to have as much sex as possible before you are 20yrs old. Think I am joking or making it up? Have you seen the rap videos in the past 20 yrs?

A lot of this comes from young black kids seeing older black guys treat women like sex objects. Why? Cause the older guys who are supposed to be role models are humping everything that moves.

Let's move on to how it affect young black girls. Their whole self worth is destroyed. They look for love and get some guy who tells them what they want to hear. Then they give it up and he moves on. She is crushed and the process starts all over again.

Still think it's not cut and dry?

I can go on and on about how in my life and those around me would be different if I didn't engage in premarital sex.

Look at it this way. Say I didn't have any kids before I got married. The fact that I had my sense of pride wrapped up in how many women I could sleep with (a majority of them responsibly) harmed my wife. I am sure you can give me that.

There are reasons for people not to have premarital sex. I have listed just a few. I don't agree with doing it, but I don't live anyone elses life. Make your own choices and live with the consequences.

And let me head some silly person off at the pass before they can ask. Yes I am teaching my children not to have sex before they get married. Am I a hypocrite? Well what kind of parent would I be if I lived through troubles and didn't warn or try to keep my children from them? I'll wear that title proudly if it keeps my kids from suffering through what I have.

Hugh Arai
118. HArai
Master Al'Thor: I don't deny any of your experiences. I simply disagree that a person's marital status is some sort of "ok/not ok" switch. In my opinion, none of these things you describe are caused by being unmarried, they're caused by a person being too immature to properly respect themselves and others. However, a person can get to that level of maturity whether or not they're married. There's no magical maturity that comes with a marriage license. It's the love, respect and commitment that make the difference and you don't have to be married for them to be there and getting married won't put them there for you.
119. MasterAlThor
I don't mean to say that there is some magical switch. I am saying that premarital sex has consequences.

I was answering ValMar's question. Pointing out reasons for not having premarital sex.

Valentin M
120. ValMar

Firstly, I am glad that you and your wife are still going strong.
But I have to agree with toryx and HArai. Your example shows the virtues of birth control and personal responsibility. Boasting (and exaggerating) about their sexual exploits is something men do across the world. Getting women/girls pregnant and leaving them is a different issue altogether.
121. pwl
ITT: MAT blaming pre-marital sex instead of poor impulse control and immaturity for marital issues. Man up and recognize that it wasn't something you did in the past that made you cheat, it was actually deciding to cheat when you did it.

Dude, people that don't fool around before marriage cheat too. And get divorced approximately 50% of the time. They have the same problems with raising other people's kids in subsequent marriages, if they remarry. The only difference between people who have sex before marriage and those who don't is that they had sex before marriage. You haven't linked pre-marital sex to anything else, except an argument from anecdote on your own life. And you might be interested to talk to white kids sometime. Black kids aren't the only ones that brag about getting lots of tail, and it's creeepy the way you keep referring to "black kids" as if they're some sort of horror movie protaganist.
122. MasterAlThor
Thank you. But you are still missing the fundemental point I am making. Premarital sex has consequences and it is not all it is cracked up to be.

I find your comment about me manning up to be a bit rude. I have owned my mistake, which makes me able to talk about it freely here. I also said that it was my method of thinking that I brought into my marriage that allowed me to believe that cheating was ok.

Both of you and HArai are thinking that I am saying that marriage is the cureall. Or at least that is how it appears to me. That is not the case. ValMar asked why should people not have sex before they are married. I have used my own life as a testimony as to why one shouldn't.

As for my use of "black kids". I grew up as one. I think that I have the right to use it. I won't say African American because I personally find that demeaning. I am an American plain and simple. My color just happens to be black. But all of that is a rant for another time.

You guys may not find the truth of my answers. You may say that really I didn't answer the question. But I disagree. The causes and reasons don't take away from my answers.

It doesn't matter how you try to seperate this into different issues. If you have sex, responsibly or not, you can have problems. If you wish to avoid those problems try not having sex. None of this is to say that you won't have problems after you get married. I am not saying that getting married is the answer. It isn't for everybody.

I just was answering ValMar's question. I think that I did a pretty good job.

123. Shadow_Jak
MAT@ 122

I just was answering ValMar's question. I think that I did a pretty good job.

I agree. Good job, Mat.
There are many good reasons to save sex for after marriage. Preventing unwanted pregnacy is certainly a primary one.
For birth control, abstinence works every time.
John Massey
124. subwoofer
Yay! Stuff to talk about:)

@Toryx- nyahhhh:P I have barely scratched the surface of my ability to whine. And FYI I have clearly blamed TPTB at TOR. Leigh's only fault is that she still doesn't have a dog yet. I'm telling ya, it would solve lots;)

@tnh- yup I'm thinking JL is the culprit. Drag Queen Reborn. Gentle yet firm thrusts.... gahhhhhh me eyes!

@Wet- let us look at these oaths another way- what if the Black Tower was asked to swear them? Or Rand? I think Rand/LTT would look at the Amyrlin like she has things backwards.... something to the tune of "we only used the binder on baddies"... The boys of the BT would just fall about laughing. Are these oaths really nec? Or can they just swear that they are not DFs nor serve the DO and call it a day?

William Fettes
125. Wolfmage
There's plenty of hard evidence that abstinence, especially taught in a ham-fisted way and without regard to the primary informational needs of teens surrounding the practice of safe sex, can be quite damaging. It leads to absurdities like sex delay which merely pushes back the date of catch-up sexual recklessness, and anal sex to save your virginity. These are well documented phenonema.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with abstinence as an informed choice - but it's not a one size fits all. Certainly, sex before marriage shouldn't be conflated with promiscuity in general. That doesn't make any sense. Whilst I certainly respect that such a bright-line distinction may have helped TAM draw clearer boundaries between his current life and the attitudes which engendered his past mistakes – the fact that such a distinction cannot differentiate between a mature, thoughtful person who has decided to have sex within the safety of loving and deeply respectful long-term relationship, and someone who is just root rat going from one one-night-stand to another, suggest that it's pretty obviously an arbitrary line in the sand that won't fit everyone. Dig a little deeper and 9 times out of 10 you'll find religious sexual morality lurking underneath all such purported universalist claims.
John Massey
126. subwoofer
Sorry, was juggling eating, holding baby and typing... things may have not come out right.

I was thinking- yeah, I know, shocker- anyways... what about that Taim guy. Question to the folks out there- has Taim taught anybody the use of Bale Fire? We know some of the old skool baddies have er... forbidden it's use so where I am coming from is that if Taim is a er... servant of the Forsaken, then would he be passing on a forbidden weave? Or more to the point, would he be paranoid of the damage that Bale Fire can do in the hands of a bunch of dudes that have no hesistation to undo the Pattern? These guys to do some serious damage if left to their own devices the way the Dragon is doing right now. I am not sure if there is any other weaves that are being passed along, but we have already seen the rekindling of Power made weapons.

Eric Hughes
127. CireNaes

Dig a little deeper and 9 times out of 10 you'll find religious sexual morality lurking underneath all such purported universalist claims.

Or perhaps a better understanding of true intimacy and an attempt to recapture the spiritual component of sex. I will be the first to admit that there are those in religion that have a way of confusing the fence with the playground, but I think what you're missing in MAT's argument is how truely wonderful sex without physical, emotional, and spiritual adversity can be. The only weakness in the presentation of abstinance contained within a sconce of religiosity is found when the presenter just focuses on the physical benefits. But even if one must consign emotion to a completely biomolecular understanding, there is plenty of supporting evidence on what multiple partners does to someone making a switch from promiscuity to a singular "soul mate" as well. Shoutbox me if you're curious about it. I think it could really speak to your need to view sex as primarily "informational."
andrew smith
128. sillyslovene
@ y'all-

While it is apparent that some don't accept MAT's anecdotal/personal evidence (I'm glad to hear things are going well for you) as at least one reason to abstain from sex until marriage, I thought these links discussing a recent publication in the Journal of Family Psychology would be, at the very least, an interesting addition to the discussion. (sorry I don't have a link to the specific paper, it's behind a subsciption wall)



Both the Economist and WebMD (along with many others) covered this study which shows increased relationship satisfaction, stability, and quality of sexual intercourse correlating with delaying sexuality until marriage. Now, the Economist rightly points out that these are initial findings and more research will be necessary to corroborate further and figure out how far the levels of corrolation and causation go. However, the researchers' methodology and data are strong, and the correlation seems enough to posit a strong correlation hinting at causation between the facts I've mentioned (along with others) and remaining chaste until marriage.

And before anyone jumps on it negatively, yes, the study was done by a professor at BYU (a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint, or Mormon, school). But with a sound methodology and strong backing of scientific method, the question would be, so what? It was done well enough to be accepted and published by a prestigious peer-reviewed journal of psychology (a largely non-conservative, non-religious field- if anyone was to pounce on something for hinting at being solely religously motivated and not scientifically valid it would be them), and considering that its respondents encompassed a large field of religious denominations and non-religious individuals, that fact should not be used as an attempt to disregard the study. Similarly, just because there might be or is specifically "religious sexual morality" inherent in the question/hypothesis doesn't negate the results of a scientifically conducted study, nor should it be used as an attempt to silence people's opinions in the public sphere. (I'm not saying you were @wolfmage, but you seemed to be at the very least sneering or belittling religiosity as a source of morality, something very close to it...)

As for the study, it provides a scientifically valid reason for waiting for marriage:
“Regardless of religiosity, waiting helps the relationship form better
communication processes, and these help improve long-term stability and relationship satisfaction.”
Joseph Blaidd
129. SteelBlaidd
I reiterate the point made above that the hang up about the difference in age between Lan and Edeyn is a particularly American hang up. In other countries no one would bat an eye. This dosent make how she is useing that rellationship to manipulate him any less reprehensible.

On pre-marital chastity, I'm with MAT and chaplinchris, for both religious and practicle reasons.

People tend to "play like they practice." so not having sex with someone you are not married to before marrage is practice for not having sex withsome one you are not married ot after marrige.

From a book on changes in behavior when people go to collage collage(emphassis mine).

Many emerging adults "maintained with complete assurance that one would be stupid to get married without first having lived together for six months to a year. . . . By cohabiting for the good part of a year, one is able to 'test drive' the relationship and confirm before it is too late that the marriage really will work."? This is a fantasy; the reality is something different. "None of the emerging adults who are enthusiastic about cohabiting as a means to prevent unsuccessful marriages seem aware that nearly all studies consistently show that couples who live together before they marry are more, not less, likely to later divorce than couples who did not live together before their weddings."? Cohabitation significantly increases the risk of divorce. "The divorce rates of women who cohabit are nearly 80 percent higher than the rates of those who do not. In fact, either something about living together before marriage itself or the very notion of approaching marriage with the mentality of hedging one's bets by shaking out the relationship with a provisional uncommitted marriage-like test, or both, significantly increases the probability of subsequently divorcing. But emergent adults are oblivious to these facts."? For example:

One college professor described a survey that he had conducted over a period of years in his marriage classes. He asked guys who were living with a girl, point blank, "Are you going to marry the girl that you're living with?" The overwhelming response, he reports, was "NO!" When he asked the girls if they were going to marry the guy they were living with, their response was, "Oh, Yes!" The professor asked "Why?" The girls usually replied, "Because we love each other and we are learning how to be together." The guys, however, explained that they would not marry the girl they were living with because, "She was easy for me. How can I trust her to be faithful in marriage?"?

They have a reason for their lack of trust. "Not surprisingly, partners in a cohabiting relationship are more likely to be unfaithful to each other than married couples: . . . men in cohabiting relationships were 4 times more likely to be unfaithful than husbands and . . . women in cohabiting relationships were 8 times more likely to cheat than wives."?
Valentin M
130. ValMar
If a person has strong enough conviction to enable them to avoid sex before marriage (in a culture where they have a choice), this person probably already holds stronger than average feelings re: faithfulness to their partner. Therefore the above statistics are not a surprise.
Overall I think Wolfmage made a number of good points much better than I. People don't have to conflate premarital sex only with promiscuity, STDs, single parenthood, just as we shouldn't conflate it's avoidance only to religious fundamentalism, abuse of women (usually) in places where it's enforced, spread of STDs.

Most (or all) of us here live in places where people have access to info and advice on these matters and are free to make their own choices depending on what they feel is right, without fear of ostracism or worse. Each to his own and no one size fits all.
131. MasterAlThor
As a side note, I don't get why would it do people any good to have sex only after marriage.

Here is what you asked. I gave you plenty of reasons why not. I find the reasons I gave to be valid.

Yes responsible people could find happiness and have a productive working relationship. But just because you can do something doesn't mean that you should. And IMO I think that is a rarity, not the norm.

You are right when you say that it is not a one size fits all. But my answers were never intended to be that. If anyone has inferred that from what I wrote, then that is their problem. I have been very careful to not say that this is how it should be.

132. MasterAlThor

I had a comment that got flagged as spam. Any reason why? I don't believe that I said anything spamworthy.

Sorcha O
133. sushisushi
Sooo, back on the subject of that whole Wheel of Time thing, then? The extended discussion of the Oaths was fun, but I really have little interest in reading extensive opinions about pre-marital sex, without even tangential reference to the Holy Books (cf Jonathan Levy).

sub@126 Do we even know that Taim knows how to use balefire? Am I forgetting something? I don't remember Taim or his lackeys knowing how to use balefire, just Rand, Nynaeve, Moiraine and the Forsaken, until Rand showed Narishma how to make it in TGS. Both Rand and Nyn produced it spontaneously and we don't know who Moiraine learned it from, or if she figured it out from first principles from something in Vandene and Adeleas' books. Although, if we assume that the escaped Black Ajah have hooked up with the Black Tower Dreadlord Factory, then there's a pretty good chance that Demandred has shown up off camera to give them a few nasty lessons, given that he agree in LoC to use balefire. Doesn't bode well for AMoL, does it?
Sam Mickel
134. Samadai
Not that it has anything to do with this, but I was reading USA Today newspaper. One of the headlines in the travel section was, "Latest BA strike threat may hit wedding travel." You know you are spending too much time in the WOTverse when you read that as Black Ajah
Leigh Butler
135. leighdb
94. Terez27

I feel bad sticking up for Leigh sometimes since I get the impression she doesn't like me much

*blink* Why on earth would you think that?

and also because I can't help thinking she would do a better job of it if she could be bothered. But I can't help it. :)

It's not a question of being bothered. The question is not whether I can be "bothered" to defend myself every time someone says something negative about me or my views; the question is whether that's a productive use of my unfortunately limited time.

As much as I would love to participate fully in the comments here, both negative and positive, I simply don't have the ability to do so. So if it comes down to a choice between only responding to negative criticism, or not responding at all, I think it's better to choose the latter, don't you?

But again, as always, I may not respond to comments except rarely, but I ALWAYS read them. I always appreciate that so many people feel strongly enough about WOT and the things I say about it to comment in the first place. That in itself is a kind of compliment even if the actual sentiments expressed aren't.
Hugh Arai
136. HArai
MasterAlThor@132: Did you quote someone in your post? I've had a couple of very tame posts flagged as spam in various threads and the only thing in common was quoting people.
Theresa Gray
137. Terez27
Leigh@135 - As to why on earth I would think that, it's probably because I'm insecure (mostly about being a new kid on the block, and you being one of my favorite people from the Old School) and look for indications in people's comments where there aren't necessarily any. Also, didn't mean to be offensive with the 'if she could be bothered' bit. I can be pretty flippant with language like that sometimes. The intended implication in this case was that you probably shouldn't bother (especially when it comes to tracking down shit-talking people on Facebook).
Rob Munnelly
139. RobMRobM
@138. Please troll elsewhere. Life is too short.
James Whitehead
141. KatoCrossesTheCourtyard
@139RobMRobM (aka Robb), for some it's not short enough.

Irene Gallo
143. Irene
Graham D. Townsend @138 and 140
Your posts have been deleted by a moderator. Personal attacks will not be tolerated.
Teresa Nielsen Hayden
144. tnh
MasterAlThor @132, HArai @136:

I had a comment that got flagged as spam. Any reason why? I don't believe that I said anything spamworthy.
MasterAlThor@132: Did you quote someone in your post? I've had a couple of very tame posts flagged as spam in various threads and the only thing in common was quoting people.

Torie isn't here. This is Teresa.

Try not to take the flagging personally. This site has touchy spam filters. They snag a few legit comments practically every day. We do our best to spot and release them without too much delay.

And while we're on the subject: many thanks to the readers who've flagged spam that got through our defenses. It's much appreciated.
146. MasterAlThor
Thanks Teresa.

I will follow your advice.

Heidi Byrd
151. sweetlilflower
You are certainly welcome to go found your own publishing company and setup a website where readers of your books can come and discuss those books. When you have your own place, you may say whatever dross and trash you feel the need to inflict upon others. We don't really care what you find "satisfying".
152. HEU
@151 Thank you for your kind suggestion. You have certainly proved me right. I am grateful for that as well. On this blog the prevailing theme is that 'either you are an unpaid advocate of the authoress or you dont bother to air antagonistic views to that of the the authoress, but if you dare to disagree with the authoress then you are no longer 'eligible' to comment here'. Quite authoritarian, I must say. It'll be a sad day if an American citizen has to establish his own 'publishing company' and print his own books in order to air his views. We, then, will be no different from the despots our government fights abroad. Ms. Butler herself talks a lot about equality. However, I find it quite discriminatory that voices of dissent are not tolerated and snuffed out as quickly as possible. Last but not the least, my earlier comment was not directed at you, so it would be very kind of you if you refrained from forcing your way into a discussion which does not involve you. Thank you very much.
Alice Arneson
153. Wetlandernw
HEU @152 - No one here has a problem with disagreeing with Leigh; I do it myself on a regular basis. However, it is required that you treat others with a certain level of respect and basic courtesy. If your comments were deleted by a moderator, it is generally the case that it was not the opinion* that caused the problem, but rather the mode of expression. You may disagree with people's opinions all you like, but you may not attack the person; this policy is pretty strictly enforced around here. If you want to try again, and phrase your opinions in a more courteous fashion, by all means do so.

*Of course, if your opinion consists solely of trashing Leigh personally, tor.com is under no obligation to include it on their site. This is their space, they pay for it and maintain it. If you don't like that, tough. No one will stop you from posting your opinions on your own blog space, so your freedom of speech is not at issue.
Rob Munnelly
154. RobMRobM
HEU - It's a legal truism that if you don't have any supporting law you pound the facts; and if you don't have any supporting law or facts you pound the table. You're pounding the table, man. Offer well-reasoned arguments and people will listen. Many productive commenters came into this blog like loose cannons ** cough cough Freelancer ** but settled down into valued participants. I hope you do the same. Rob
William Fettes
155. Wolfmage
HEU @ 152

It's my experience that you can pretty much say whatever you like here within reason. As long as you can express your thoughts without gratuitous ad hominem attacks or excessive aggravation, you will not be censured. I don't know why your post might have been deleted in this instance, but it's most probably because you were too intemperate, not because you dared to question our illustrious hostess.

As a rule, Leigh reads most of the comments but seldom responds due to time constraints. So your expectation that she would respond is not an apt one anyway.

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