Apr 12 2011 2:18pm

The Wheel of Time Re-read: Knife of Dreams, Part 1

Knife of Dreams by Robert JordanHowdy, chirren! Welcome back to the Wheel of Time Re-read!

Today’s entry, after a nice diversion into prequel-land, brings us back to the series proper, hooray! Today we cover Part 1 of the Prologue of Knife of Dreams, in which people are marvelously productive and proactive, as long as you measure them by the amount of bloodspatter left as a result. Er, 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.

Quick note: JordanCon 2011 is this weekend, holy crap, and I will be there! So please watch this space for the blogging I am pretty sure I’ll be doing from the con to fulfill all your vicarious con-like needs. Yay!

And now, the post!

Before we jump in, I should probably note that KOD came at a very weird (read: bad) juncture of my life, and I have a distinct feeling that that has colored how I feel about it, both at first reading and now. And what I mean by that is, KOD was the first (and last) installment of the series that I felt almost indifferent to, and I’m about 98% certain that this is an entirely undeserved reaction on the merits of the book itself.

You know how when you say “it’s not you, it’s me” that it’s almost always a total lie? Well, in this case it really wasn’t a lie, because I’m pretty sure it was me.

I think I’ve talked about this before, so I don’t feel the need to get into too much detail, but it should probably suffice to note that KOD was published in October of 2005, which was two months after Hurricane Katrina wrecked my native home of New Orleans, and sent me and most of my loved ones (not to mention millions of other people) into a tailspin, literally and figuratively.

At the time the book came out, much of New Orleans (and a lot of the rest of the Gulf Coast) was still under water, and would be for months to come, and far too many of my friends and family were still displaced, living with out of town relatives and/or in trailers and temporary housing. Including, as it happened, some who were staying with me all the way out in Los Angeles (where I was living at the time), because they had nowhere else to go.

To say that I was a tad distracted from WOT fandom at the time (and, frankly, for quite a while afterwards), therefore, is a laughably drastic understatement. I know I bought and read KOD when it came out, but later I found I remembered virtually nothing of the book at all. Which probably isn’t all that surprising considering what else was going on at the time.

It seems that in times of stress, your brain imposes a stern cap on the number of things it is prepared to give a crap about, and I had clearly overstepped mine. Which is fine, but for some reason that indifference toward the book on my part has continued to this day, even when it (obviously) hasn’t for the series as a whole.

I dunno, it’s a thing. Like bad associations, I guess. It’s not fair, but there it is.

So there’s your, like, disclaimer or warning or whatever. Which may not be exactly heartening, but for me, I’m honestly curious to see if I can overcome that bad juju vibe this time around. Let’s find out, shall we?


Prologue: Embers Falling on Dry Grass[Part 1]

What Happens
Galad rides toward the manor house the Seanchan had given Eamon Valda with Trom, Byar, and Bornhald. Galad tries to convince the other three that they should not put themselves at risk by accompanying him, but all three refuse to let him go alone, and Galad is secretly glad, even though he does not expect to survive this. They arrive at the manor to find Valda in the stableyard along with fifty Children, as well as Asunawa and six more Questioners. Valda asks Trom sternly why he isn’t on his way to Nassad with the other Lords Captain.

“An urgent matter, my Lord Captain Commander,” he said smoothly, making a very precise bow, neither a hair deeper nor higher than protocol demanded. “A Child of my command charges another of the Children with abusing a female relative of his, and claims the right of Trial Beneath the Light, which by law you must grant or deny.”

Asunawa cuts in to observe this is a strange request, as usually the accused is the one who asks for trial by arms when he knows he is guilty, and in any case the Trial hasn’t been invoked in over four hundred years. He tells Trom to give the name of the man to him, but Valda interrupts to remind Asunawa that he is the Lord Captain Commander, and makes a speech declaring that he supports the trial, and if the accused man tries to refuse he shall be hanged on the spot. Galad had been enraged when Bornhald had first drunkenly confessed the rumors to him, but now he feels ice cold.

“Eamon Valda, Child of the Light, I call you to Trial Beneath the Light for unlawful assault on the person of Morgase Trakand, Queen of Andor, and for her murder.”

Valda shows no reaction, but Asunawa says this is ridiculous, and orders his Questioners to arrest Galad as a Darkfriend. He is shocked when several Children in the yard draw steel in protest, as is Valda, but Valda quickly recovers and taunts Asunawa over it. He declares Galad’s accusation a lie, but accepts the challenge. To Galad’s surprise, Byar quickly advises him of Valda’s weaknesses as a swordsman as they prepare for the duel, and Galad advises Bornhald to keep an eye on Asunawa; Bornhald is confused by this, but agrees. Trom invokes the formal ritual of the Trial, including that the combatants must speak privately first to see if bloodshed can be avoided.

“Nothing to say, boy? Small wonder considering that a blademaster is going to cut your head off in about one minute. I want one thing straight in your mind before I kill you, though. The wench was hale the last I saw her, and if she's dead now, I'll regret it.”

That smile deepened, both in humor and disdain. “She was the best ride I ever had, and I hope to ride her again one day.”

Red-hot, searing fury fountained inside Galad, but with an effort he managed to turn his back on Valda and walk away, already feeding his rage into an imagined flame as his two teachers had taught him. A man who fought in a rage, died in a rage. By the time he reached young Bornhald, he had achieved what Gareth and Henre had called the oneness.

Galad is prepared to kill himself to kill Valda if it comes to that. They duel, dancing the forms. Valda wounds him twice, and Galad soon feigns exhaustion, tempting Valda to become overconfident, and when he goes for the feint, Galad disembowels him.

For a moment it seemed that the man was unaware he had been hit. He took a step, began what might have been Stones Falling from the Cliff. Then his eyes widened, and he staggered, the sword falling from his grip to clatter on the paving stones as he sank to his knees. His hands went to the huge gash across his body as though trying to hold his insides within him, and his mouth opened, glassy eyes fixed on Galad's face.

Whatever he intended to say, it was blood that poured out over his chin.

He toppled onto his face and lay still.

Galad still only feels emptiness. He looks around to see all the Children applauding except for Asunawa and the Questioners, who have disappeared. Bornhald tells him Asunawa headed for the border, and Galad knows he is going for the other Lords Captain. Trom says that rather than risk a mutiny, he will write out Galad’s release from the Children and give him a head start, but Galad refuses on behalf of all the others who will be punished in his stead, not to mention those who are not in favor of allying with the Seanchan.

Arms folded across his chest, Trom studied him as though seeing him for the first time. “What would you do, then?”

“Have the Children find someone, anyone, who is fighting the Seanchan and ally with them. Make sure that the Children of the Light ride in the Last Battle instead of helping the Seanchan hunt Aiel and steal our nations.”

Another Child points out that might involve Aes Sedai, and Galad replies that if they intend to be at Tarmon Gai’don, they will have to fight alongside Aes Sedai. Many of the men grimace, but no one dissents, not even Byar, who says that sometimes to fight the raven, you must ally with the serpent. Another Child states he’ll even work with Asha’man if they fight the Seanchan.

“It seems matters will play out as you wish, my Lord Captain Commander,” Trom said, making a much deeper bow than he had for Valda.

Galad tells him that’s a poor joke, but Trom reminds him that’s the law, and Galad was the one to say what no one else would. Galad still thinks it nonsense, but Trom says they’ll see what the other Lords Captain think, and gives him Valda’s heronmark sword. The other Children applaud their approval, and Galad sighs.

He hoped this nonsense would fade away before they reached the camp. Returning there was foolish enough without adding in a claim of that sort. Most likely they would be pulled down and thrown in chains if not beaten to death even without it. But he had to go. It was the right thing to do.

Rodel Ituralde sits on a hill with one hundred Domani in Tarabon and watches the Seanchan supply camp attached to the village called Serana below. He knows that the loss of this camp will be a blow to the Seanchan, and thinks of the fresh company of Taraboner soldiers that had joined it the night before. He wishes that they could have waited for the sole damane there to leave, but Ituralde knows his Taraboner allies are too skittish to change plans now. At the prearranged time, two hundred Taraboner Dragonsworn, led by a man named Tornay Lanasiet, burst out of the trees to the west and begin making a showy spectacle of themselves before racing toward the camp, which responds predictably. Lanasiet halts his men half a mile from the camp, which is closer than what Ituralde ordered but will have to do. Ituralde watches as the Seanchan commander seems to ruthlessly trample people in the streets who appear to not have heard him coming, and forms ranks with the sul’dam and damane in the fore.

Turning his head for a moment, Ituralde spoke loudly enough for the men behind him to hear. ”Be ready.“ Saddle leather creaked as men gathered their reins. Then he murmured another prayer for the dead and whispered, ”Now.“

As one man the three hundred Taraboners in the long line, his Taraboners, raised their bows and loosed. He did not need the looking glass to see the sul'dam and damane and the officer suddenly sprout arrows. They were all but swept from their saddles by near a dozen striking each of them at once. Ordering that had given him a pang, but the women were the most dangerous people on that field. The rest of that volley cut down most of the archers and cleared saddles, and even as men struck the ground, a second volley lanced out, knocking down the last archers and emptying more saddles.

The Seanchan-loyal Taraboners try to fight, but are swiftly outnumbered, and soon flee. Lanasiet’s men give chase, and Jaalam comments to Ituralde that he won’t be back; Ituralde is annoyed to have lost a third of his forces, but lets it go, and gives orders to burn all the supplies in the camp.

In truth, he had already set the important blaze. Breathed on the first embers, at least. If the Light shone on him, if no one had been overcome by eagerness or given in to despair at the hold the Seanchan had on Tarabon, if no one had fallen afoul of the mishaps that could ruin the best-laid plan, then all across Tarabon, above twenty thousand men had struck blows like this, or would before the day was out. And tomorrow they would do it again.

If all works to plan, hopefully this would infuriate the Seanchan into chasing him all the way back across Almoth Plain into the trap he has set, but even if they don’t, he has other plans as well.

Suroth lays awake in bed, fretting over Tuon’s disappearance and all the other disasters that had taken place in the last few days: the escape of the Atha’an Miere, Tylin’s murder, Renna and Seta’s defection, the theft of damane by Egeanin Tamarath. Suroth dismisses the possibility, however, that the latter incident is connected to the others. Suroth knows that even if no one suspects her of killing Tuon herself, if Tuon is dead she will be required to apologize in person to the Empress, which could end with her execution or worse, being sold as property. She is resolved to kill herself before letting it come to that, but she holds out hope that Tuon is not dead, as Tuon has engineered her own disappearance before this. The disappearance of Tuon’s personal guard and all her sul’dam and damane bolsters Suroth’s hopes; however, she is worried that she can discern no reason for Tuon to have made herself disappear, and she has every Seeker she knows about searching for her. Suroth’s thoughts are interrupted by Liandrin, who tries to sneak in until Suroth proves she is awake. Liandrin lies that she would never hurt a fellow Darkfriend, and points out that she has been helpful to Suroth by disposing of Alwhin. Since Alwhin’s suspicious death had brought more Seekers and attention into Suroth’s household, it had been the opposite of helpful. Then Liandrin tells her General Galgan has sent for Suroth, and Suroth is infuriated that Liandrin waited to tell her this. She decides it is probably time to have Liandrin collared, and orders her to go to Rosala and ask to be beaten.

Because you delayed telling me of the general's messenger. Because you still call yourself 'I' rather than Liandrin. Because you meet my eyes.

She could not help hissing that. Liandrin had huddled in on herself with every word, and now she directed her eyes to the floor, as if that would mitigate her offense. Because you questioned my orders instead of obeying. And last – last, but most importantly to you – because I wish you beaten. Now, run, and tell Rosala each of these reasons so she will beat you well.

Suroth goes to meet with Galgan, whom she loathes, partly because she knows the only reason he hasn’t tried to take over command from her is so he won’t have to be responsible for the Tuon situation. He tells her the news from Tarabon: dozens of supply trains and outposts attacked and destroyed all over Tarabon, in one day, by a few hundred men, most of them Taraboners wearing Seanchan-assigned armor, though they do not appear to be from the Seanchan-loyal ranks.

“Several have been identified as Dragonsworn believed to be up in Arad Doman. And the name Rodel Ituralde has been mentioned a number of times as the brain behind it all, and the leader. A Domani. He's supposed to be one of the best generals this side of the ocean, and if he planned and carried out all this,” he swept a hand over the map, “then I believe it.” The fool sounded admiring! “Not a mutiny. A raid on a grand scale. But he won't get out with nearly as many men as he brought in.”

Suroth declares that she wants this Ituralde’s head, and Galgan says that Turan will chase him all the way back to Arad Doman “with his tail between his legs.” Suroth is not satisfied with that, and orders Yulan to put almost every raken they have on finding him as well, ignoring his wish to hold some of them back. Galgan shrugs and opines that as long as she doesn’t want the to’raken too it’s fine, as “that plan must go forward”. Incensed at his attitude, Suroth stalks back to her rooms. Suddenly she finds herself encased in a box of light, with a woman who seems made of flames who announces that she is Semirhage. Suroth prostrates herself instantly, and Semirhage asks her how she would like to name herself Empress.

Suroth's stomach clenched. She feared she might vomit. “Great Mistress,” she said dully, “the penalty for that is to be taken before the true Empress, may she live forever, and have your entire skin removed, great care being taken to keep you alive. After that – ”

“Inventive, if primitive,” Semirhage broke in wryly. “But of no account. The Empress Radhanan is dead. Remarkable how much blood there is in a human body. Enough to cover the whole Crystal Throne. Take the offer, Suroth. I will not make it again.”

Suroth begins to sob, and explains to Semirhage that Radhanan’s death made Tuon Empress, and if Tuon is dead, she is now responsible for the death of an Empress, and will have to apologize to whoever of Tuon’s siblings is now on the throne. Semirhage laughs.

“I see I didn't make myself clear. Radhanan is dead, and her daughters, and her sons, and half the Imperial Court, as well. There is no Imperial family except for Tuon. There is no Empire. Seandar is in the hands of rioters and looters, and so are a dozen other cities. At least fifty nobles are contending for the throne, with armies in the field. There is war from the Aldael Mountains to Salaking. Which is why you will be perfectly safe in disposing of Tuon and proclaiming yourself Empress. I've even arranged for a ship, which should arrive soon, to bring word of the disaster.” She laughed again, and said something strange. “Let the lord of chaos rule.”

Suroth is horrified even as she is thrilled at the notion of being Empress herself, but points out that if Tuon is alive, she will be difficult to kill. Semirhage counters that it’s clear Tuon’s sul’dam and bodyguards are looking for her themselves, so Suroth only has to find her first. Suroth finds the notion of killing the Empress is not so distasteful after all.

Holy crap, you guys, stuff is happening. And in the Prologue, no less! It’s all too shocking!


Seriously, for killing the Tooliest Tool that ever Tooled in WOT, I will forgive him any number of dumbass tattling-on-his-siblings, joining-the-Whitecloaks, starting-wars-over-boats stunts. I bow before your totally righteous righteousness, dude. Boo-fucking-YAH.

Not to mention that FINALLY there is a character in a position to be properly enraged over the way Morgase has been treated, which is something I’ve only been annoyed about since TFOH. It’s not quite as unequivocally awesome as it would have been had Morgase herself been the one to exact revenge on her various (various!) tormentors, but I’ll take it, don’t fret.

Also not to mention that Galad’s unintentional coup here was (a) hilarious and (b) the first indication I’d seen that the Whitecloaks were going to be anything other than a giant, obnoxious, needing-to-be-eliminated pain in everyone’s asses—you know, like the way they’ve been for the entire series until now. Which was quite the welcome surprise.

Not that I think it’s going to be all sunshine and roses on the Light side even after all that went down between Perrin and Galad in ToM (this is WOT we’re reading, here), but before Galad killed Valda I’d honestly assumed that the Whitecloaks were going to need to be wiped out or something to get them out of the way, because I couldn’t see how else they could possibly be integrated. Guess that’ll show me, eh?

So, double-plus yay on that opening, fer sure.

Ituralde: …aaaand this was not nearly as interesting. Yes, kudos to him, it’s really all quite tactically brilliant, I’m sure, and certainly I am not against anything that cramps the Seanchan’s style, but I think Ituralde’s storyline was introduced too late in the series for me to be able to invest anything in it emotionally. It’s just one more plot thread among seventy bazillion other threads that still haven’t been resolved, and as such it was more an irritant to me than anything else.

The only really interesting thing in the whole scene, to me, was the nicely subtle appearance of more ghosts (the people Ituralde thinks the Seanchan guy trampled), which I totally missed the first time around and only noticed when doing the recap. Clever, but that’s not much to build a scene on.

So, whatever with you, Ituralde. Sorry, dude. I’m sure you’re a really cool guy, though!

Suroth: This, on the other hand, was definitely interesting, but I find I’m developing something of a loathing for recapping Seanchan scenes, because while the level of detail to all the nuances of their crazy over-elaborate cultural memes is generally quite fun to read, it is a bloody nightmare to try to summarize. I just ended up leaving a whole lot of it out, so you should probably read that bit yourself if you want to get all the nitty gritty of every last eyelash flicker and whatnot.

(Also, you should read the actual duel part of Galad and Valda’s duel, because it was lots of evocative-yet-cleverly-nonspecific sword forms and stuff that, again, I enjoyed reading but really did not feel the need to recreate.)

Anyway. The big shocker, of course, was Semirhage’s news. Like, holy crap, dude; talk about productivity. She must get up very early in the morning!

Also, I believe this makes her the only Forsaken to date in the present-day storyline who has actually succeeded in destroying an entire civilization (or at least seriously jacking it up).

Off screen.


Because, okay, on the one hand, good, because the LAST thing we need is Yet Another Plotline to follow, but on the other, really? And yes, I know Jordan said the action would never go to Seandar, but…well, I’m sort of wanting to pout, right now. Finally some real Forsaken-y action, and it’s…offscreen. Pfeh, sort of!

But you know, congrats to Semirhage, in a weird disturbing way, for continuing to hold the title of Most Villain-y Villain in WOT. Girl is eeeeeeevil, you guys. Yikes.

And that’s all for now, my peeps! I look forward to seeing some of youse at JordanCon. Ciao for now!

Peter Leventis
1. PL1
KoD, the book where the plot began to move again...
F Shelley
2. FSS
Hi Leigh! Kudos to you for throwing in an Eddie Izzard reference.

Death, death, death, lunch. Death...
Stefan Mitev
3. Bergmaniac
Hey, a new book is started. Cool. I am not nearly as fond of KoD as most people, but it has its moments, and the Prologue is one of the best in the series.

KoD's prologue certainly seems to be at least partly in response to the torrent of criticism against COT's lack of action and plot movement. Right from the start a lot of pretty big things happen, there is a cool duel, WC leadership was changed, and the biggest event of all was the reveal of Semirhage's killing spree in Seandar. When I first read it, I was really shocked how big of an event this is and loved it (at that time anything happening was welcome after CoT). But later on I had the same reaction as Leigh - "Why the hell weren't we shown this?" It's a grandiose event - a huge empire thrown into chaos, the slaughter of the ruling family, etc, yet it was just reported. And on the other hand, we get all this stuff about what dress random Aes Sedai Number 149 is wearing today and what are the main main characters having for breakfast explained in detail...

Still, I really like the Suroth part of the prologue, it moves the plot along nicely, does quite a bit to further flesh out the Seanchan society and of course, Semirhage looked like a total badass (mostly offscreen though, alas). Getting Galad's PoV after all this time was nice too, and yeah getting rid of Valda was long overdue, the guy was a slimebag and also boring to boot.
Marcus W
4. toryx
I knew I liked Galad, particularly when he wasn't busy fawning all over Nynaeve.
Theresa Gray
5. Terez27
@Leigh - I rode out Katrina in Gulfport. My house was a block from the beach, and of course it got flooded - the frame remained, but the whole house had to be gutted. And my workplace was the first to open after the storm (the next day), and work was hell on earth for many months to come - almost a year.

Oddly enough, that was the time at which I started to get really, really obsessed with WoT and Theoryland. It was like my therapy during the months when everything was so freaking nuts. I drove to Hattiesburg to find a brick-and-mortar store where I could buy KOD on release day (I actually tried to get it the day before, too), and I've been an HCFF ever since.

Edit: In case anyone was wondering...my dad's house was not flooded, so I moved in with him while our house was being rebuilt (it's still not finished, but we managed to get it good enough to live in after a few months). Living with dad was not fun, but it's better than being homeless. I was just happy to have a place to stay.
6. lordnaryb
Yay! This is my favorite book (although it doesn't contain my favorite scenes).
Rob Munnelly
7. RobMRobM
"Most Villain-y Villain in" - sounds like a Milli Vanilli reference, no? Girl, you know it's true.

Boy, I really enjoy KoD. Let the Queen of re-reads rule.

Kat Blom
8. pro_star
Leigh - cheers for the reread!

Yeah, I've got nothing else...Zombiestar is very...zombie-ish right about now. I'll add something exciting later maybe.I have to laugh at the Tooliest Tool that Ever Tooled though.
Daniel Goss
9. Beren
I have to say that I loved (?) the mental image I got when Semi described killing the empress.
"Remarkable how much blood there is in a human body. Enough to cover the whole Crystal Throne."

For some reason, I picture her taking this woman, who loved to set her children against each other to the point of forcing adolescents to dodge assassins, and squeezing her out like a tube of toothpaste.
Marcus W
10. toryx
I'm actually glad that the murders of the Seanchan Empress and her court happened off screen. I didn't want to get bogged down in events on a different continent, I didn't really want to know anymore about the Seanchan than we were already given and it helps to offer more to Semirhage's mystique and power not to witness the event. Knowing that she's not only been to that part of the world but became knowledgeable enough about the Seanchan culture to completely send it into chaos...well that's just impressive.

In my opinion, witnessing those scenes wouldn't have advanced the story in any valuable way. Besides, if Jordan had lived, he could have written it up in a different story/ novel/ series.
11. Amber222
Lovin' this re-read! I started reading these books when I was 15, so now it's great to go back and re-read along with you. I'm still on TFOH, but after each few chapters I love coming here for my daily dose of snark. Hopefully, I'll catch up to you sometime this summer! Anyway, keep up the great work! I've had quite a few LOLs reading your blog!
12. steveo_in_sd
As we recap this one, it will be interesting to see if a sense of nostalgia develops in your re-reads and the comments consodering this is the last one written by RJ.
James Whitehead
13. KatoCrossesTheCourtyard
@3Bergmaniac, I can just see the legions of WOT fans shouting "Get on with it!" a la Holy Grail. ;-)

I had the same reaction as Leigh did regarding the introduction of Ituralde. Seemed like a neat character at first blush, and definitely pans out that way; just way too late to bring in someone 'new.'

When I first read the duel between Galad & Valda somewhere in the back of my mind I was worried that something or someone was going to stop it. If he could've wiped out the Questioners at that time as well, I would've been a happy man; but you take what you can get.

As for Galad 'avenging' Morgase, I thought it was a nice touch of symmetry (if that's the right word really, drawing a blank here) that he was the one to do it. Of her three children she worried for Galad most it seemed to me.

All we have read is that Galad is at best 'prissy,' at worst a 'monster.' Yet he killed Valda for what he did to his mum & what he said about her. He's really, truly angry and killed Valda for the love of his mum; his Inigo Montoya moment has truly humanized him. This in turn, I think, will definitely help him reshape the Whitecloaks long term - if they survive.

@10toryx, I agree with that. I think I would've put the book away for a long time if we eneded up getting some Seanchan chapters. I did love how Semirhage stated the death of the royal family in a way that implies that she did it to Suroth. None of this "I cast the blind fools down" stuff for her. Nope. Just, "Damn that's a lot of blood. Meh! Who knew?" Definitely adds to her creepy factor in my book.

14. AgingComputer
Galad's loyalty to Morgase is even more interesting when you consider that he is her stepson, not her flesh-and-blood.

Can't remember how well he actually knew Tigraine but interesting in any case.
Captain Hammer
15. Randalator
As great an accopmlishment as the civil war in Seanchan is for Semirhage I don't think it's a real plotline. It's basically just ENTER Semirhage - random person killed by Semirhage - EXIT Semirhage, lather, rinse, repeat. There is no plot apart from that. Semirhage kills a whole bunch of people a the top of the nation causing civil war, that's all there is to it.

Might have been cool to see as a prologue viewpoint in the case of the empress but on the other hand it would have taken the surprise of the revelation to Suroth from the reader.

Btw. looking forward to you caring more for KoD after this re-read...
Adrian Roberts
16. Adrian1794
Wow for the first time I've actually managed to catch up on the re-read. Excellent work Leigh, really enjoyed it.

KOD has been my favorite book in the seris due to some truely awesome scenes with Mat and Nynaeve.

Before KOD I always thought someone would take the White Cloaks by the scruff of the neck and remind them that they are their to fight the shadow before everything else, so I was really glad when Galad stepped in.
17. Hammerlock
"Also, I believe this makes her the only Forsaken to date in the present-day storyline who has actually succeeded in destroying an entire civilization (or at least seriously jacking it up)."

Leigh, I respectfully disagree, for the following:
Asmodean giving Culadin dragon tattoos.

Granted, still second place to Semi, but that action gave rise to the sacking of Cairhain, Dumai's Wells, and lateraled the Shaido fun-ball to Sammael to then seed the Shaido over the entire south leading to The Plotline That Never Ends with Malden.
Stefan Mitev
18. Bergmaniac
I am not saying there should've been whole chapter in Seandar about the massacre and its aftermath - 10 -15 pages showing it and a tiny bity of its consequences would've sufficed. Surely that's way more relevant to the plot than quite a few of the KoD chapters, which could be easily summoned in something like "Mat buys a horse for Tuon" or "Faile is still a captive and miserable".

"Galad's loyalty to Morgase is even more interesting when you consider that he is her stepson, not her flesh-and-blood."

IIRC Morgase noted in her PoV that she loved and cared about him as much as she did with her own children, maybe even a bit more, since he really needed it after his mother disappeared and then later Taringail had his "hunting accident". So no wonder he loved her so much. Plus he was still only a few years old when Tigraine went to the Waste, and probably doesn't remember much oof her, if anything.
19. Lsana
When I was thinking back over my reactions to KoD, I started thinking that there might be something to the "You're least favorite WOT book is the first one you had to wait for" theory after all. KoD was the first one I had to wait for, and while it's not my least favorite, I don't love it the way most other fans do.

After CoT, I thought, "Robert Jordan could publish his grocery list and it would be an improvement." After KoD, I thought, "You know, I think he did publish his grocery list." The entire book felt like a checklist to me: things happened, but because they "needed" to happen rather than because they arose organically out of the story. Also, this book was the first one to break my suspension of disbelief.

As far as the events in the prologue are concerned:

Galad: Leigh said everything that needed to be said, so I'll just second that BOO-YA!

Iterlude: I had completely forgotten about this part and will probably have forgotten again by the time we're done with the re-read. Again, what Leigh said.

Suroth and the Seanchan: I find myself agreeing with both sides of the debate here: I do think it's a good thing that we didn't move the action to the Seanchan, but I would have liked to see everything in action rather than just getting a paragraph report on one of the best Dark coups. I think I would have preferred if it happened in a place I had seen among people I actually cared about. As it is, it's another, "Bad things happened to characters you never met" moment.
Rich Bennett
20. Neuralnet
Thanks for the reread Leigh! Hang in there. you are in the home stretch now. I remember being so happy with this book after the letdown of a prequel and the slow moving last couple of books (finally back to the real story and some action). I love the sword form descriptions and this is one of the best battles in the series. Funny to think this is the last full book Jordan wrote.
21. s'rEDIT
::waves to everyone, especially the OGs::

First and above all: Leigh, THANK YOU!

I've spent the last 3+ months trying to get through the re-read blogs, reading every posted response . . . so I feel as if I know everyone, even though you don't know me. I'll keep reading that history and try to catch up, but anyway, I thought I'd at least come here now, since I just finished trying to play catch-up on the series I'd abandoned after CoT by reading through KoD, tGS, and ToM (also working my way through the thousands over a thousand comments to the ToM Spoiler Review).

I'm looking forward to reading more of the articulate, well-reasoned thoughts you all post. I miss so many of the implications in Jordan's writing. He may think he's being obvious *cough, Asmodean, cough cough* but they go over my head way too often. That leads me to my one comment for now: I missed the trampled ghosts, even on a re-read! Thanks Leigh, for pointning that out.
Genevieve Williams
22. welltemperedwriter
Indeed, this is when I finally started liking Galad instead of finding him insufferably annoying. It also made me rethink some of his other appearances in the series. His name is evocative, of course, since Galahad from the King Arthur legends is considered a quinessential example of chivalry and purity (he's also a bastard, though his father acknowledges him upon adulthood, at least according to Malory). I found myself thinking that maybe Galad felt he had to be the best at and about everything--like he always has something to prove. It makes me a bit displeased with Elayne for her treatment of him. (The parallels aren't perfect, btw; in Arthurian legend, Elaine is Galahad's mum.)

Also, Valda just needed killing. I mean my god, he's practically twirling his mustache in this scene...
Don Barkauskas
23. bad_platypus
Hammerlock @17: Good point on Asmodean, but to be fair, all he was really doing with Couladin was trying to distract Rand a little. I highly doubt he foresaw even a small part of the consequences of that action.
Marcus W
24. toryx
I'm another of those who wasn't particularly moved or impressed by the Ituralde bit of the prologue. Like others have said, he was brought into the series too late for me to really care. Sure, he's a Great General and he can accomplish all kinds of wonders in tactical encounters. I'd have just as soon he'd been relegated to a couple of paragraphs in the same manner as the deaths of the Seanchan Court.

Bergmaniac @ 18:

The thing is, this is Jordan we're talking about. You know that there's no way he could accomplish a scene like that in just a few pages. He'd have to spend 10-15 pages describing the dress, the origins of the crystal used in the throne, the way old crones mixed sap from various plants to create just the right shade of indigo that's used to paint the Empress's eyeshadow, and on and on. Not to mention the characters that would have been created and their various backgrounds. It would have been madness, utter madness!
25. Hammerlock
He was aiming for discord. I agree he probably didn't think it would amount to an Aiel civil war, but he knew it would be bloody and loud.

Plus, you have to a) give Asmo credit where you can-he's kinda pathetic, and b) laugh at the fact that with that action he was more effective than a lot of the other Forsaken.

Actually, another qualifier in the "Forsaken that Actually Did Stuff" category is Rahvin--though indirectly and in absentia than anything else. By utterly tarring Morgase's reputation with several noble factions and then deposing her, he set up the Second Plotline That Never Ends with the Succession and siege of Caemlyn.
26. Lsana

Galad's mother abandoned him when he was 2-years-old. Then his father died in an "accident" (really murdered by Thom to keep him from trying a coup on the Lion Throne). Galad wouldn't have known about the murder, but he probably did know that everyone was glad that his father was dead. He grew up with a stepmother who wasn't the most demonstrative emotional person in the world. I doubt he could ever be sure of where he stood with her.

So yes, given all that, I imagine that he did feel the need to be perfect growing up. Elayne's complete inability to sympathize with him does strike me as a flaw in her character.
James Hogan
27. Sonofthunder
Don't have much time but...

Firstly, Galad. Is. Awesome. This is the moment when I thought, "Well, all right then. Galad, I think I actually do like you as a character now." And this scene(one of my top-20 scenes, I'd say, off the top of my head), from his quickly supressed brutal rage at Valda's sneering barb to the description of the duel itself to the Whitecloak's acceptance of Galad as their true leader....just an amazing, amazing scene. One of my favs of the book - set the whole tone of the book for me. "This book is going to be good. Great stuff. And now when I read the earlier parts of the series, I still find myself loving Galad, just because this scene changed my perception of him forever.

And I always liked Ituralde! Sure, he's never going to be a major character like Bryne or Galad...but he's a fun minor one. Good to know that Team Light has some quality generals. And besides, he gets...what? A few pages every prologue until TGS? It's not like there's much time wasted on him. I always enjoy his POVs.

And Suroth, ugh. I'm VERY glad we didn't get a million Seandar scenes detailing the constant plots and machinations around the Crystal Throne before Semi lays waste to it all. In my mind, it almost works better this way. Semi just casually lays it out there. "Oh, by the way...I just assassinated the whole imperial court. And ignited a massive civil war. And basically destroyed your civilization. You be good now, Suroth." It works for me. toryx, you have a very good point @24, as well. I think Jordan would have needed another two books to adequately describe Seandar's spiral into destruction.

And again, Leigh, thanks!! Just reading your recap of half the prologue brought a smile to my face!!
Rob Munnelly
28. RobMRobM
Re Ituralde - he needed to be here. Huge western swaths of Randland and we had no sense of the culture. The intro of Ituralde gave a cool way to personalize the Domani men (as opposed to the Leane version of the Domani women). I enjoyed this portion of the prologue very much but was put off in TGS when Brandon and/or RJ made him and Gareth Bryne both Blademasters. Overkill - why should a great general necessarily be a master swordsman too.

Re Galad - he needed to have the blinders taken off re the cr*p the Whitecloaks were pulling in reality. Much better character afterwards trying to match goals and practice of Whitecloaks.

@18 - "Surely that's way more relevant to the plot than at least a quarter of KoD chhapters, which could be summoned in something like "Mat buys a horse for Tuon" or "Faile is still a captive and miserable". You infidel!! And dont call me Shirley.

Actually, count me in as one who was glad he skipped the Seanchan scenes. Focus needs to stay here in Randland.

s'redit - waves back.

Theresa Gray
29. Terez27
@Rob - If it was 'necessarily', then Niall and Agelmar and Bashere would be blademasters, too. But they aren't. Nor are most blademasters generals. It's not unbelievable that two of the Great Captains were also blademasters - most especially not the two who essentially worked their way up through the ranks (Bryne from the minor nobility, Ituralde from non-noble blood, as opposed to Bashere for example, who obviously has earned his title, but did not start at the bottom, and Agelmar who appears to have been of the high nobility all along).
30. halibulu
Actually Leigh, Graendal was equally effective in destroying a nation. She brought about a war with the Seanchan that wiped out more than half of the standing Domani army (although even she didn't expect her orders to turn out like that), and she turned most of the ruling body into mind-slaves, setting up for the country to be thrown into madness, famine, war-torn, and a danger to every citizen like we see when Rand's forces finally arrive. All done off-stage of c0urse, and not quite as immediate and lacking the dramatic flare of Semi's annihlation of the Seanchan.
Also, Rodel did come late into the story, and it did not help that his story was progressed only one prologue at a time with no chapters involving him, but I think all of you would be hard-pressed to say you didn't feel a connection to him during his struggles in Towers of Midnight, because holy crap, if ever there was a time to feel for a guy it was then!
Jeff Weston
31. JWezy

Well, for once, the google has failed me. It offers up that "HCFF" might mean:

Hollywood-China Film Festival
High-Capacity Fog Foam
High Country Fly Fisher

None of these seem to fit, however. Is it perchance "Hard Core Fantasy Fan"?
Rob Munnelly
32. RobMRobM
T - not unbelievable but still disappointing to me. I don't need blademaster status to think that those guys are awesome. The fact that the status became "known" only after Brandon began picking up the series is troubling. I enjoy Brandon and admire his excellent work but sometimes I just prefer RJ's subtlety. It and Bry have to be blademasters. Elaida has to be a total idiot as opposed to a flawed leader, etc. I'd like more gray. Rob
Joe Terrenzio
33. Terren
I always thought KoD was the best in book in a years.

I love it for its development of Mat from plain old badass to Prince of Ravens uber-badass (and before the whole now I'm married and must become a whiney emo man but at least I don't talk to wolves so I'm not as bad as Perrin).

At first reading, the whole Ituralde plot line was really dischordant to me and I definately had the, "what, another POV character?!" reaction. However I've grown to really like Ituralde. He is a belieable character, and he is one I've been wanting to know because of the whole Graendal mess. I always found the 5 Great Captains interesting in theory, but have been disappointed in Bryne's recent time on screen.
Plus, as RobM pointed out, he provides necessary persepective into an entire part of the continent we have been to, but don't really know about.
34. Hammerlock
@Rob--depending on when you started the series, I can almost guarantee you have more grey by now. See? Request granted! :)
Marcus W
35. toryx
I don't really agree that the perspective Ituralde offers is a necessary one. I've never felt any particular need to know more about the Arad Doman region, and I definitely didn't ever really think my experience in Randland was lacking without a male Domani character.

Furthermore, Ituralde's whole storyline is rather frustrating to me. He puts forth all that effort and lives into doing the impossible and in the end, he's merely scooped up by Rand to do another impossible job while all his efforts go in vain. Then, even the second impossible job is pretty much useless as he's betrayed, the whole region is overrun and Rand arrives just in the nick of time to actually make the impossible possible.

It seems to me that all of that time spent with Ituralde merely existed to allow us to see just how kick ass Rand really is. And really, we didn't need Ituralde for that.

Anyway, that's just my opinion. Whenever I read a section with Ituralde I was generally bored and pretty much forgot everything that happened as soon as I read it because in the grand scheme of the story, nothing he did really mattered. He's just one more "famous" character in a whole tapestry of them.
Rob Munnelly
36. RobMRobM
@34. Touche! I only began the series six months before Leigh began the re-read but even so. I'm going to hit Wetlander/Freelancer territory later this year.

Matthew Hunter
37. matthew1215
I remember liking KoD because things started to happen again, after the long duldrums.

The Rodel plotline is introduced unfortunately late, and would probably have worked better as a minor character introduced earlier as part of a seanchan resistance or something. Even here, it's almost difficult to justify including him as a new character. I don't think we've ever even met him from a primary viewpoint character before. I don't mind the character's existence, and he's sort of necessary (all the other Great Captains are busy being dead or commanding something, I think), but definitely... awkward. I wonder if Mat could have (or was originally intended to?) replaced Rodel; similar skillset, in roughly the same area, and frankly, it would give Mat a little more credibility as a general. As it is he's going to get to the Last Battle with a military reputation puffed up to the reader and *relatively* little experience to back it up. Real experience, that is, not holes in his head filled with other people's memories.

Galad definitely has his moment of awesome here. I have to admit that I was expecting it ever since he first started reading the whitecloak books way way back in... tDR? He was believable as the sort of person who not only *could* and *would* join the Whitecloaks, but could both lead them effectively and reform them to stop being a menace. Talk about a big payoff. Plus, this event really justifies the whole Morgase-flees-Caemlyn plotline, which I know occasionally grated on folks as being a little overly long and minor.

Leigh -- see you at JordanCon, hopefully.
Matthew (Master of the Blades)
j p
38. sps49
Bleh; still not a good WoT book.

The Neverending Faile Rescue continues, Luca's Circus again, Morgase et al still incognito, and more Andoran Succession were the bland meat of this book, and the resolutions to three of these four were long in coming.

The Semirhage confrontation didn't have much of a buildup nor release of tension for me; the Gift from Adeleas was better written.

The Rand passages and most of Mat's parts were fun, especially when Tuon decides Mat's fate!

So this is a subpar book to me, and only seemed better at first because it followed Crossroads of Twilight.
Stefan Mitev
39. Bergmaniac
RobM - Elaida was a total idiot long before Sanderson started writing WoT. KoD showed it quite clearly - I remember how I was amazed by her stupidity time and time again on my first read, not that it wasn't obvious to me before. So many blunders, so many blatantly wrong decisions, so much stubborn denial of reality...

Her actions in TGS were completely in character IMO.

I like Ituralde and his subplot, though both are far from my favourites. There are some problems with his storyline, like the ridiculously huge numbers of troops both he and Seanchan had. Nice foreshadowing at the end of his passage here, BTW - "He always looked ahead, and always planned for every eventuality he could imagine, short of the Dragon Reborn himself suddenly appearing in front of him."

Speaking of messing up a whole culture, Graendal created a lot of trouble in Shara, apparently there is a civil war there after she kidnapped the monarchs.
Tricia Irish
40. Tektonica
Thanks Leigh! I do hope you come to like this book better this time, after sharing it with us. **sappy smile** But, really, I do.

Yay Galad!! I always liked Galad, and not just his dark good looks. I never found him NEAR as annoying as Gawyn. Galad was always clearly a good guy, if sometimes not exactly practical about it. I'm glad he has found a balance finally and I'm so glad Mr. Scumbag is gone! Wheeeee!

I'm an Ituralde fan too. His scenes of guerrilla warfare were awesome. He had been mentioned as one of the 5 captains for so long, it was great to see him get some real action. (I agree is latest appearance in ToM wasn't nearly as effective for him.)

Going to Seanchan with Semi would've been a big quagmire. Indeed, another book or series would've been necessary, imho. RJ never digressed that long or far from one of the main characters. I don't think we get any other deeper pov's from any of the "baddies" of the series, do we? (Which might have been very interesting.)

Personally, I was so relieved when KoD came out! The 3 preceding books almost drove me away. Maybe RJ was checking off his "things to do" list, but I was glad he was. 'Bout time.
Richard Fife
41. R.Fife
Seanchan just need to get on scooters, so they can zoom around and go "ciao..."

Totally agree on Ituralde, but I also was somewhat annoyed that it took that dang long to meet the last Great Captain, and I can barely make myself care.

Also: HCFF Hard Core Fan Freak, aka www.theoryland.com, the looniest of theory mills about the Wheel of Time.
John Massey
42. subwoofer
Whoot! Love this book! Alls I gots ta say is "The Golden Crane" yeah!

@Leigh- er... we spell WEEEEEE! with an "h" ? Hmmmmmm, I gotta go back and edit a LOT of posts then;) I've already said all I need to say about NO in previous posts so we'll leave it at that too.

Rodel... seems like lots a folks are giving the guy flack. Well, look at it this way, we get to see the world outside of Rand and the TR crowd's sphere of influence, this is how everyone else is slogging along. And like the phrophecies say- Rand has to unite all the lands, and we don't really get a good view of the chaos going on until we see the effect that Seanchan has and that some people are not just laying down and taking it.

As far as being a blademaster, it works. Skill with a sword takes a sharp mind and good tactics... the Great Captains should at least be able to not stab themselves in the foot.

Galad and Valda- this fell right off the pages of the "Princess Bride". Leigh it right, it was a good read as far as fight scenes go. And Valda was a schmuck, but a skilled one with a sword. I am glad that this was a fight that actually lived up to the billing because all the other "blademaster" fights kinda left me feeling like "what? they give out heron swords in boxes of cracker jacks?"

Asunawa- dick. What is it with these ... 'priestly' type guys? Reminds me of the Cardinal Rutger Hauer played in Sin City. Some guy with a "short man" complex. I could snap them in half without breaking a sweat but they hide behind the trappings of their office and the power gets to their head where they feel the need to do the wrong thing with impunity. Is it too much to ask for a holy man that is actually holy... outside of Rand that is.

@Rob- um... not possible, Freelancer has his name in the Bible... Old Testament- don't think you are closing in on that any time soon;)

Michael McCarthy
43. KilMichaelMcC
Something I've never really bought about this prologue is the bit where Galad says to the other Whitecloaks that if they want to fight in the Last Battle, that means they'll be fighting alongside Aes Sedai. Now, Whitecloak doctrine holds that Aes Sedai are all darkfriends. Tell a Whitecloak there'll be Aes Sedai at Tarmon Gaidon and they should expect them to be fighting for the Shadow.

Galad knows better than that, of course (one reason I frankly had trouble buying into him joining the Children in the first place) but all the rank and file Whitecloaks with him here, they don't even question him when he states that Aes Sedai will be fighting for the Light? Really?
John Massey
44. subwoofer
Oh yeah a big WELCOME to the group for hammerlock, s'rEDIT, Amber222, and all the other good folks out there. Canapés are on the left, help yourselves:)

@KilBigMacs- er... it didn't go over that well, Leigh kinda glossed over some of it, but the bottom line was at some point at the Last Battle, channeling will be involved, and anyone that doesn't understand that has their head in the sand. I think some of the Children have figured out that much at least. It falls into the category of "the enemy of my enemy is my friend".

john mullen
45. johntheirishmongol
As a character, Galad was badly implicated by his sister and brother, but he was never as annoying to me as all that. Then here, it was obvious how amazing he could be by being totally true to his code.

Ituralde is a really nice second level character, but he was way too late in the series.

As for Semirhage, she is fabulously nasty and evil. It would have been fun to see how it went down but it wwould have added at least another book to the series.
Sanctume Spiritstone
46. Sanctume
I recall that KOD was soooo good because the plot moved a lot, that I read it over night!

And Semirhage was just pure "pwnage!"

I'm enjoying this re-read.
Kimani Rogers
47. KiManiak
Thanks, Leigh.

I appreciate you putting into context your feelings regarding this novel and connecting real world events with how we view any art form. Katrina struck hard, and the aftermath wasn’t anything pretty, either. A lot of us have had family and friends directly affected by those events. Leigh, I hope that all that your family/loved ones lost were just possessions. I know we try hard for the most part to not go all political here, so I’ll refrain from going there (except to just ask how Brownie did a hell of a job? What would be considered a poor job? Ok, I’m holding the rest back.)

Anyway, on to KoD! And, yes, all kinds of stuff happens right away. Thank God! We start off with the Children of the Light. I remember when I first read this, I didn’t think that would bode well for the likelihood of this novel being better than its immediate predecessors. Boy, was I wrong. So, Asunawa sucks and seeks to abuse his power, Valda is slime (although, apparently he was a far better swordsman than we knew, since we’ve evidence of Galad’s badassness in LoC). This does lead to Galad’s rise to power within the Children.

Btw, I think it funny that the current generation of Andor has provided (ranked by power & prestige):
1)The Dragon Reborn;
2)The Amyrlin Seat;
3)The Prince of Ravens/Leader of the Band of the Red Hand;
4) The Queen of Andor & Cairhien;
5) The Lord of the 2 Rivers/Liegelord of the Queen of Ghealdan;
6)Lord Captain Commander of the Children of the Light ;
7)The Queen of Malkier and the Aes Sedai strongest in the Power (that isn’t currently a Forsaken);
8) The Amyrlin’s whipping boy…er, Gawyn.

Rodel Ituralde gives us a hint of why he’s considered one of the Great Captains. We get a sneak peek of the super-freshness that he shows us more of in TGS and especially ToM. I think its clear he’s a very brilliant strategist. I wouldn’t say he’s the best of the Great Captains; we haven’t really had a chance to see Bryne, Bashere, or Agelmar in action.

I really enjoyed Ituralde and his various threads; I don’t mind that he was introduced later in the series. So were most of the BA hunters, Silviana, the Kin, the gholam, etc. If you’re a good character, then you’re a good character no matter when you’re introduced to the reader, IMHO.

And…I don’t really care that much about Suroth or Galgan. Although this did kind of show how being ta’veren helped Perrin from having too much Seanchan attention on his efforts in Ghealdan. Oh, and Tuon can now be Empress, when she makes her way back from “getting to know” Mat.

Alright, let’s see what all of the folks had to say in the comments…
Jay Dauro
48. J.Dauro
Ituralde is first mentioned in TFOH as one of the Great Captains.

Ituralde's plot line starts in LOC - 6,( before Cadsuane)

He is mentioned in TPOD - 12, as she sends the forged letter.

He is most of Graendal's plot to escalate the fight between Arad Doman and the Seanchen, and is necessary to force the conflict here. Yes, it gives reason for Rand to "scoop him up", but it also is what prevents the Seanchen from scooping up Illian and Tear. It is part of what allows Mat to "pull the stopper" in KOD (by pulling most of the raken to Tarabon.) It also helps in the conflict between Galgan and Suroth, leading to Suroth's downfall. So he is doing much more than just showing us a glimpse into Arad Doman.

We see him in the Prologues of COT, KOD and then his major action in TGS and TOM. But this was all laid out long before, and presented this way so that we can speculate as to what Graendal is plotting. Which is really every bit as major as what Semirhage does in Seanchen, and Graendal does it all by pulling strings.

We couldn't get much of a POV from him without giving away the trap.

I really hope that we get to see what RJ laid out in his notes. I expect many people to be very surprised. I doubt Brandon is making many of the decisions people accuse him of.
William Fettes
49. Wolfmage
Terren @ 33

“I always thought KoD was the best in book in a years.”

Agreed. Aside from Leigh’s obviously traumatic experiences, I don’t really understand how anyone could claim to be ambivalent about it. It has so many Crowning Moments of Awesome, and the plot actually moves forward.

matthew1215 @ 37

“As it is he's going to get to the Last Battle with a military reputation puffed up to the reader and *relatively* little experience to back it up. Real experience, that is, not holes in his head filled with other people's memories.”

Can’t say I agree with that. You seem to be applying a dichotomy of simulation/inauthentic/exogenous versus reality/authentic/indogenous to dismiss Mat’s prowess, as if only memories ‘earned’ through his own agency in the current timeline count and can be relied upon to achieve military effectiveness. But that’s hardly an apt framework when the ‘Finn memories are just as real as his own memories; they involve real battles, real risk and real death.

Indeed, the ‘Finn memories are so real they’ve become completely interwoven into his own memories, indistinguishable without conscious effort by Mat to separate them. This seamlessness is crucial, as it puts paid to any notion that they might not be drawn upon as efficiently and reliably as his own personal memories.

Tektonica @ 40

"Yay Galad!! I always liked Galad, and not just his dark good looks. I never found him NEAR as annoying as Gawyn. Galad was always clearly a good guy, if sometimes not exactly practical about it. I'm glad he has found a balance finally and I'm so glad Mr. Scumbag is gone! Wheeeee!"

Yep. I was somewhat lukewarm on Galad at the beginning because I generally don’t like rigid, authoritarian people, or tattletales. But those are rather minor irritants compared his brother’s flaws. Galad is both more intelligent and more principled than Gawyn.
Richard Fife
50. R.Fife
...my post at 41 was marked as spam? I has a sad... That just seems wrong, all things considered. Probably because I linked to a website...

Anyway, HCFF stands for "Hard Core Fan Freak", and comes from The Theoryland of the Wheel of Time and an anecdote where someone called them exactly that. They then embrassed it. Not a bad place to check out, they have lots of neat, looney theories. I even posted one on there once upon a time positing that the Dark One is The Great Serpent, ie, Time itself. I then went on to call him an emo cutter.
Joe Terrenzio
51. Terren
Semi never impressed me until the whole I murdered the Imperial family thing, but then she immediately reverts to second or third tier evil, ineffectual plotting, and general unimpressiveness.
I understand that she has done a lot of important evil work behind the scenes, but when we actually see her she is just unimpressive, this singlar incident excluded.

In TGS it takes the Super Fade and Elza for her to accomplish anything, then she blows it by gloating instead of just killing Rand. (unless of course you think the DO knew Semi would do this and it would force Rand to channel the TP and this was all part of the Shadow's plan to destory Rand, but I think that gives Team Dark far too much credit)

At least the other forsaken we have seen on screen, Be'lal possibly exceped, have proved their reputations. Semi has never stuck me as worth of her scariest of the big bad scaries reputation.
52. Azuarc
Going to have to disagree on Ituralde-boring-Semirhage-cool perspective.

I happen to like Ituralde. I like his scenes. I like the actions. I like the way he thinks. He's not about interpreting other people's choice of words in a conversation, but he's still clever and inventive, and gets poop done. If you're seriously complaining about storylines added too late to the series...um...storylines are constantly being added, and some of them are WAY less interesting than his. I agree with whoever mentioned up above that we needed a little bit more to what was happening in the west. The early series takes place almost exclusively in Andor, Cairhien, Tear, Illian, TV and the Waste. We need to see what's happened in a post-Masema world to combat the Seanchan.

Since, y'know, they DO need to be dealt with. Unlike the Whitecloaks, who we can actually bring around once they have the right leadership, since at least their culture isn't horribly weirded out and they don't beat people for speaking in the first person. I go on an emo-rage just about every time I have to read something related to the Seanchan, as I just have no patience for those people. As villains, they were mildly interesting in The Great Hunt. Since then, they've just a non-stop source of irritation. Not good antagonism. Just groan-inducing. I don't want to read ANYTHING about them, and the only part of Suroth's scene that makes me remotely happy is that the Empress (May She Live Forever!) failed to live up to her title. But now we have to find out about successions, which means more Seanchan crap, so yeah...not really happy.

I'll gladly take more Ituralde instead, thanks. Or pretty much any other military action. Or even hearing about what dress color someone is wearing. Or how the use of the word "snow" rather than "ice" implies some sort of covert political advantage in the course of a conversation.
54. s'rEDIT
Thanks for the welcome, subwoofer*! I plan to hang around and sit at the feet of some of the erudite, WOT old-timers.

A question: I missed (or forgot) something mentioned by Bergmaniac, above . . .

When do we learn that Graendal kidnapped the monarchs of Shara, causing civil war there?

*Confession: My name may not be in the OT, but I'm right up there with Freelancer and Wetlandernw, neither of whom ever heard me as I kept saying "me too! me too!" about various things, during my reading of numerous two-year-old posts.
craig thrift
55. gagecreedlives
Finally we get to KoD which is the first book I had to wait for and was (is still maybe) my favourite.

I always get goosebumps when I read Galads duel and this caused me to do a complete 180 on the character. Next time I read the series I stopped paying attention to Elayne’s assertion that he was a monster and tried to look at events he was involved in from his eyes. And he comes up looking pretty damn good.

On the minus side doing this made Elayne start looking like a spoilt whinger.
Jay Dauro
56. J.Dauro
s'rEDIT @54

LOC-6 - We see she kidnapped the monarchs

Graendal had already moved on, to a very dark-skinned man and woman with curly hair, both of great beauty. The slender pair played oddly elongated harps, with chimes that resonated to the plucked strings in crystalline echoes. "My newest acquisitions, from the lands beyond the Aiel Waste. They should thank me for rescuing them. Chiape was Sh'boan, a sort of empress, newly widowed, and Shaofan was to marry her and become Sh'botay. For seven years she would have ruled absolutely, then died. Whereupon he would have chosen a new Sh'boan and ruled absolutely until his death in seven years. They have followed that cycle for nearly three thousand years without a break." She gave a small laugh and shook her head wonderingly. "Shaofan and Chiape insist the deaths are natural. The Will of the Pattern, they call it. To them everything is the Will of the Pattern."

In LOC - 17 we find that there is fighting in Shara. Part of it is word of the Dragon Reborn, but it is also possible the kidnapping has led to this.

Terren @51

Semi was not to kill Rand, she got into this trouble to start with because she hurt him. (That's why Moriden refused to rescue her.) Shaidar Haran reminds her of this when she is freed. She would prefer balefire to what would happen if she killed Rand.
Kimani Rogers
57. KiManiak
Re: viewing the Empress and her families destruction on-screen vs. off-screen – I admit that this part doesn’t bug me that much. I’d love to see the other kingdoms and their society in more detail (I’d rather find out more about Shara than Seandar, myself), but I guess RJ was fairly adamant that the action would just happen in Randland, proper. Oh, and hearing about what Semirhage did offscreen does allow the reader’s imagination to go into overdrive about how evilly capable she can be.

Finally, don’t you wish a lotta Faile’s captivity plot would have happened offscreen? For all we know, RJ could’ve dragged out the assassination of the Imperial family along the lines of how he did the Plot Line Of Doom. Be careful what you wish for…

I think Ituralde’s scenes aren’t wasted. RJ hinted at the Great Captains early on in his series, and this is one of the few times we actually see a Great Captain in action. We get just enough of him for a few books, then he joins the plot in earnest in TGS, and kicks ass in ToM. The man is responsible for holding off thousands of Trollocs from conquering an important borderland city for days, if not weeks.

Hammerlock@17 – You’re right. We can track the blame for Couladin and Sevanna (and therefore the Plot Line Of Doom) to the indirect actions of Asmodean. Someone should balefire that dude…

welltempered@22 – re: Galad – I also think he may have felt he had something to prove. I never got why Elaine disliked him so. I’m glad that ToM had her rethinking her position, and treating him like a brother.

JWezy@31 – Thanks for voicing the question. I wouldn’t have even guessed Hard Core Fantasy Fan. R.Fife@50, thanks for the explanation.

Mathew1215@37 – Mat with little experience? Mat’s been showing his grasp of strategy and tactics since TFoH. Numerous battles against the Aiel in Cairhien (TFoH), the strategy against Sammael (ACoS), and the numerous skirmishes against the Seanchan while leaving Altara (KoD). Mat’s been involved in more actual battles than just about anyone else in WoT, with the exception of Ituralde (and Rand, of course). And he’s been in a number of smaller number fights, as well.

JDauro@48 – Excellent points about Ituralde. I was trying to remember when he was first mentioned and when he became part of the story. Thanks for breaking it down. Azurac@52 made some good points, too.

S’Redit@54 – Welcome! We find out about Graendal & her “pets” in LoC Chapter 6. Graendal meets with Sammael before she (in disguise) meets with Rodel Ituralde.

EDIT: And I see J.Dauro beat me to it. Which is only fair,because I wouldn’t have checked that chapter if you hadn’t reminded us when we first met Ituralde in your post @48.
58. CorwinOfAmber
Far from being upset we didn't get to see Semirhage **** up Seanchan, I think it's more effective this way. Like "figs and mice" or "Nine Horse Hitch," I think Jordan knew that what we would come up with in our heads would make Semirhage much more terrifying and evil than anything he would write. Also, seeing any of it would ruin the surprise at this revelation and the effectiveness of the line: "Remarkable how much blood there is in a human body. Enough to cover the whole Crystal Throne", which is one of my favorite WoT quotes.

Maybe it's because I didn't have to wait for most of the series (I started reading just as KoD came out, and, squeezing a book or two in every break from school, I got to TGS just after it came out), but I didn't have the same problem most people seem to with a lot of the middle books. Well, maybe CoT was rough, but apart from that. Not having to wait for these books and say, "I waited years for THIS!?" probably has a lot to do with it, but I also have a high tolerance for annoying characters. The only real trouble I have here is Faile, not that I dislike her as a character, I just absolutely HATE reading about people in captivity; it makes me angry and uncomfortable at best.

KoD undoubtably got things moving again, which is part of why it signifies the beginning of the end for me. The reappearance of shadowspawn is the other important point for me. After they showed up in Tear, I had a huge, "that's what I've been missing!" moment. That's how I organize the books in my head: EotW-TFoH are early. Then we stop traveling, start Traveling, the pacing seems to lag, and shadowspawn disappear (except for some long overdue, but brief, Sammael smashing action), which characterize LoC-CoT making up the middle (this section also contains the greatest amount of headdeskery). Then the pacing picks back up, shadowspawn are back (and in greater numbers), and Rand is all, "Oh snap! Last Battle is coming! Better get moving!" thus KoD-AMoL make up the late books.
That's just how I think about them, anyway.
Matthew Hunter
59. matthew1215
Wolfmage @ 39: I'm not saying Mat's memories aren't integrated into his own knowledge. Clearly they are. I'm saying that for one of the three major characters propping up the side of happiness and joy, and the one whose major special talent is being a kickass general, he doesn't get to do much generaling as *himself*. In his past memories, sure, lots of that. In the present, as Mat, he fights a few battles during the initial Aiel invasion, leads the Band of the Red Hand around a lot without much actual fighting, gets stuck in Ebou Dar while the band hires out as mercenaries without him (!), invents some stuff, and generals his way out of Seanchan territory.

Now, imagine that Mat had been the one to pull out Rodel Iteralde's gambit on the Seanchan. The two roles end up in basically the same place -- stuck in the middle of nowhere until Rand/Verin Travel them where they need to go -- but it would have been a hell of a lot more interesting for Mat to be doing that than buying dresses for Tuon and trying to be inconspicuous. And what is Mat doing in tGS/ToM that is more important than being a Great Captain defending the borderlands from the Trolloc Horde where Rodel ends up?

(Yes, yes, inventing stuff and perpetual-motioning gholams and rescuing people -- but those are Hero things, not Great Captain things. Once Mat is able to Travel, there's time and narrative space for it. In fact, being overrun by Trollocs could help provide some inspiration for inventing things).

Anyways. My main point is, for a Great Captain, Mat's not done much Great Captaining on screen, and I'd like to see more of it.
Matthew Hunter
60. matthew1215
KiManiac @ 57: In my post @ 59 I actually called out most of those. (Mat wasn't actually leading troops in the main assault on Sammael in his own right; Rand was leading that action and Mat's role in it amounted to being a distraction). I figure Mat has been modestly involved in two major wars (Aiel versus Cairhien, Rand versus Sammael) and was not the supreme commander in either. He got one major battle in his own right against the Seanchan, with only his little Band on his side, and did well. But that's at most 3 significant conflicts. How many can Rodel or Bryne or Agelmar or Bashere or even Pedron Niall claim? Two of them are borderland generals in a constant state of war with the Blight, Bryne has a war of succession and the Aiel war (I think, I'd have to check to be sure), commanded a nation's armies for 20 years, plus an Aes Sedai civil war. Mat gets two assists and one major victory. He deserves more, since being an effective military leader is such a big part of his role.
Roger Powell
61. forkroot
R Fife@50

...my post at 41 was marked as spam? I has a sad... That just seems wrong, all things considered. Probably because I linked to a website...

Tsk, tsk... it's just harder to rickroll us these days ...
Any chance we'll get some more interviews from JordanCon?
Roger Powell
62. forkroot
I know Leigh always saves the cover art commentary for the last post on a given book, but I can't help myself.

KoD continued the tread of just awful covers from DK Sweet. Pardon me for being whiny, but I like to look at the cover of a book and use the artist's conception of the characters as a starting point for my internal picture.

So ... the dumpy shopkeeper-type in the middle of the cover is supposed to be Perrrin? (I need brain bleach)

Fortunately... there is an antidote: THIS is Perrin
http: //www.tor.com/blogs/2011/01/raymond-swanland-and-the-towers-of-midnight-ebook-cover

I would pay some serious coin for leather-bound editions of the Wheel of Time with the e-book covers.
Claire de Trafford
63. Booksnhorses
Woof and Rob - guess you guys are cowering in the bunker in terror now after those gibes!

The discussion about how evil the Forsaken have been has been illuminating but reminded me of the scene in Life of Brian 'just what have the Romans ever done for us?'. Turns out they have actually been more evilly than I'd given them credit for. Even Elaida's descent into meglamania and paranoia could have been part of the plan.
64. ImmortalOne
As well as the war between Cairhien and the Shaido Aiel Mat also fought against Rahvin's White Lions. Though mainly trying to escape Rand's Ta'veren pull, he fought several battles - mostly while seriously outnumbered.

Besides comparing Mat's resume to the other Great Captains' is a little silly. They have all been generals since about the time of the Aiel War 20 years ago (or longer) while Mat has been 'Great Captaining' as you said for only a few months, perhaps a year. And in that year he has done more than most of the other Great Captains.
Kimani Rogers
65. KiManiak
Mat1215@60 So first, the qualifier that I’m a big Mat fan.

I think RJ has written him to be the “lovable rogue” type character, and that if you were to ask Mat he would tell you he’s seen more than enough battles and has more than enough experience. Actually, he kinda does say something like that at the end of KoD, when he’s thinking about paying the butcher’s bill during his campaign in Altara.

I believe your points/arguments are:

1) Your post @ 37 said that Mat needed more “credibility” as a general; that his reputation was “puffed up” to the readers, and that he had relatively little experience.

2) Your post@59 said that he doesn’t do a lot of generaling; that he & Ituralde should have changed places; and that Mat hasn’t done much to prove he’s been a great Captain on screen.

3) Your post @60 said that he hadn’t been in as many battles as Bashere, Agelmar, Ituralde, Bryne or Niall; that Mat deserves more; and that being an effective military leader is part of his role.

So, tackling them one at a time…

1) Mat seems to be written as a character who doesn’t care that much about how the average person views him; about his credibility as a general or a legend or whatever. He seems written to care only whether/not the people he commands (and his close friends) respect/trust him. And they do; as a matter of fact he’s got enormous respect from his men. He’s notorious for keeping a promise, doing what he feels is right and even Nynaeve stated that Mat was one of the finest men she knows (to Tuon, in TGS).

Also, the Band of the Red Hand appears to be well known (although apparently not by Norry). They have a fairly decent reputation, and he as their leader would share in that reputation.

Finally, we see in ToM that there are numerous rumors of Mat in Caemlyn, some true, some not so much. His general reputation appears to be that of a legend. It would not be a stretch for the average person to hear the legends and project that Mat would be a capable general as well. Anyway, Mat’s capabilities have credibility with the only person who matters; Rand.

2) Mat essentially created the Band of the Red Hand due solely to his skill and prowess on the field against the Cairhien. Mat (along with Bashere) created the battle plan for the attack on Sammael. Mat created and executed the plan that led to several successful battles in Altara; and was so effective that the Seanchan general Lord Galgan (who we can assume is the participant and victor of several battles) was manipulated into removing an entire army out of Mat’s way. That’s right, Mat out-generaled a seasoned vet and many of the Seanchan’s main commanders.

Why should Mat and Ituralde change places? They had different resources and would probably have handled those situations in fairly different ways. How would Mat have stood against that many different Shadowspawn in Maradon, and done a better job than Ituralde?

Finally, no one has labeled him as a Great Captain, yet. His skill set would probably demand it, but rumors had him training under Agelmar; or his actions in Altara gave the impression that they could have been orchestrated by Bryne or Bashere or one of the Great Captains, according to General Kadere. I can’t recall anytime where has Mat claimed being a Great Captain, or expected to be viewed as one.

3) Why does the number of battles matter? Onscreen in the series, Ituralde has been in or orchestrated several battles; Bryne has only been in one (if you count the Tower raid in TGS). Is Ituralde a better Great Captain than Bryne due to the numbers? Mat has the composite life experiences and memories that probably add up to more battles than the 5 Great Captains combined. The number of battles doesn’t make them great; it’s their experiences that do.

Mat would probably argue that he doesn’t deserve to be in any battles, and if he had his way he would avoid battles whenever possible. He would probably tell you that he deserves less battles…

As for Mat’s role, who defined it as being an effective military leader? We assume that he and Perrin are supposed to support Rand during the Last Battle. That support can manifest in a number of ways, some of which have already occurred (Mat did rescue Moiraine, who apparently is necessary in order for Rand to win the Last Battle).

I think Mat’s done quite well for himself so far. We'll see even more of his incredibleness in AMoL.
Roger Powell
66. forkroot

I think Mat’s done quite well for himself so far. We'll see even more of his incredibleness in AMoL.

Agreed, and I think there's something else that I think Mat will have to do in AMoL as well...
I was thinking about all of the major characters and how each has come through their plot arcs and grown. Most notably the Edmond's Fielders (Rand, Mat, Perrin, Egwene, and Nynaeve) who are of course the most important characters. We see a lot of growth in the next level too . (For Lan and Moiraine it had happened off-screen. Props to the New Spring re-read for bringing that into focus.)

We've seen Elayne grow, we've seen Galad grow, we've even seen lovable ol' Loial grow and step up to play their parts in history.We've seen huge growth in Avienda. In ToM we've even seen some growth out of everyone's favorite doofus (Gawyn.)

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that there was one essential character who has clearly not completed her plot-arc growth and that is Tuon. Oh we've seen some growth there, to be sure, but most of it happened while she was exposed to Mat.

In TGS and TOM there's an awful lot of regression to the "BWA-HA-HA" mindset with the attacks on the White Tower and so forth.

Given the statements made by Verin and Rand/LTT it's likely that the final battle is likely be two very distinct conflicts. My guess it that one of those will be very personal, involve Rand, and will like take place near Shayol Ghul. The other will be the "Mother of All Battles" (Saddam Hussein is dead - no royalties paid) and will involve a lot of our other favorite characters doing heroic things.

I do not see the Light winning the big battle without the active alliance of the Seanchan and that means bring Tuon around to Tylee Kirghan's point of view. I also don't see how the story gets her there without the influence of the Prince of the Ravens.

So ... it seems like Mat has a lot to do .. he's got to get Moiraine back to Rand, he's got to do something about Camelyn (unless Perrin can take care of that?) and he's got to get the new Empress (may she live forever or at least not end up like her mother ... ::shudders::) to come around.

Oh yeah ... something about a Horn too? Seems like we will see a lot of Mat in AMoL. I can't wait!
Matthew Hunter
67. matthew1215
KiManiac @ 65: First, don't get the impression I'm being hard on Mat, here. (If nothing else, he's got a good name going for him...) Second... let me see if I can express what I'm trying to say a bit better here. Mat as a general gets a moment of awesome when he (in tFoH, roughly) starts to demonstrate serious knowledge of battle in front of Lan and the Aiel. That's not experience leading men, that's the ability to read a map and make a plan like a general. He's not leading, just demonstrating that he's *capable* of leading. In the battle that follows, he sort of stumbles into commanding the Band and starts leading for real. So far, so good. Then he does a lot of marching, a lot of intimidating, and gets himself into the battle with Rahvin... which turns him into a crispy critter. That one doesn't go down into the win column even if Rand balefired Rahvin so hard Mat crawled out of his grave. And Mat was hardly in the lead for that one anyway. More marching, more politicing, more "hero" stuff rather than "general" stuff, some credit for the thing with Sammael, then the whole time in Ebou Dar separated from most of his people, and finally a major application of his foot to Seanchan rear-end, before he's off to do more hero stuff and setup for what will be his big payoff battle scene in aMoL, but up til then he's only really commanded in one campaign.

Now, to address your points.

1) I know Mat doesn't care about his reputation, and I'm not saying that's a problem. I know that, in the books, he has a reputation, and he's been built up to the reader with a reputation. I'm saying he hasn't *yet* done much to earn it *for me as a reader*, and I think that shuffling Mat into Ituralde's role here in this campaign would have given Mat more depth as a general and potentially improved the story more than using a relatively new character for most of it. Jordan could handwave the characters into believing Mat is a badass. I'm a bit harder. I'm not saying that I don't buy the character, as written, is capable -- I'm saying more showing and less handwaving would have been more effective here.

2) I have read the series, you know. Mat gets credit for the Seanchan campaign and I think it's a major feather in his cap. (The other two count as assists in my opinion -- or really, an assist and an origin story for Mat as Great Captain).

Why should Mat have taken Ituralde's place? Because it might have made a better story, by giving Mat a longer and more effective buildup to his expected crowning moment of awesome in aMoL, and by removing the need for Ituralde as a new viewpoint character late in the game. I'm not saying Mat would have done a better job than Ituralde, just that the result might have been a better (and more focused?) story.

3) Why do the number of battles matter? Mainly because Mat as General hasn't really gotten as much play as it could/should have. Again, I'm not saying Mat's a bad character, or a bad general, just that I would have liked to see him leading in battle more in order to *show* me, as a reader, that he's a kickass general. He only really gets to do that on his own in one battle prior to aMoL at least, and Ituralde's storyline seemed to me like it could be grafted into Mat's easily enough and result in an improved overall story.

But, of course, that's just idle thoughts. I didn't mean to spark a lengthy debate about it.
Alice Arneson
68. Wetlandernw
toryx @10 - I'm actually glad that the murders of the Seanchan Empress and her court happened off screen etc. - I'm totally with you on this, pretty much for all the reasons you gave. Well said - and now I don't have to try. :) Except to add (in part due to other comments) that the fact that we didn't know these people makes it even better to have left it off-screen. Semirhage's attitude toward & casual retelling of the whole thing was far creepier than seeing any of it, IMO. (See also, Son of Thunder @27...) Creep factor is far more meaningful for her character than gore factor, I think.

AgingComputer @14 - Galad wouldn't remember Tigraine much; we don't know exactly how old he was when she left, but she told the Aiel of "an infant son" which would imply, I think, a couple of years at the outside. Morgase is the only mother he's ever really known, and we know from both their POVs that they truly cared for one another like mother and son. She even took advantage of the fact that he was known to be her stepson to pretend that she didn't care about him (to Niall and maybe Asunawa, IIRC) because it was the only way she had to protect him; her thoughts reveal that she loved him as well as if he were her natural son. (I know others have answered this, but obviously from a different perspective, so I'll leave it in FWIW.)

Bergmaniac @18 - Wow, I'm glad it was RJ writing this instead of you! It's much more interesting to read his way...

s'rEDIT @21 - Hey, you're here!! Well done, dude! Been cheering for you, you know. :) (Ditto @ 54 - actually, I did hear you on a couple of occasions. It was fun. I actually go back and see what people are saying on the old threads.)

JWezy @31 - "Hard Core Fan Freak" - it's a title that theorylanders glory in, a bit like Ishamael and "Betrayer of Hope." (R.Fife @50: They then embrassed it.?? Reeeal - ly? Was that supposed to be embarrassed or embraced? ;p I suppose either would fit, depending on how you feel about theoryland.)

Hammerlock @34 - More grey since starting the series? Count me in on that list... LOL!

KiManiak @47 - loved the list of Andoran notables! Very fun.

J.Dauro @48 - Good points on Ituralde. If we'd seen any of his actual activty before, we would have known a lot more about Graendal's activities too, which would have ruined the suspense.

matthew1215 @ several - Just have to throw this in:

"I don't intend getting close enough to the fighting to need armor. A general who draws his sword has put aside his baton and become a common soldier."

In some cases, Mat has led his men in battle; in others, he has planned the battle that others executed. In the most significant ones, it was his expertise and not his presence in the battle that made the big difference. IMO. I expect that in the last book, both will be strongly in evidence - but I'm betting that it's his skill in strategy and tactics that will make the biggest difference.
69. juli.jim1
I have read lots of blog and sit,but its a diffrent and realy helful blog post.
Thanks form tghis nice sharing..
Cats as Comedian
Birgit F
70. birgit
Mat can't be the one fighting Ituralde's campaign because he has to make an alliance with the Seanchan through Tuon, not fight them.

This book felt like something was happening again and the books might actually end sometime. The two endless storylines of Perrin freeing Faile and Elayne trying to get the throne finally end and Tuon marries Mat after their long tour through the countryside. There are also several good scenes in the book (Galad's duel, The Golden Crane, Honey in the Tea).
Theresa Gray
71. Terez27
@Wetlander - Fife probably had a few before posting. I hear he's a lush. (PS - 'embarrassed' fits if you consider that maybe Frenzy embarrassed the folks who were blabbing about us by posting it on the internet. And since they were silly, they get referred to as 'it'.)

And he was probably trying to link to the interview database, which has the pertinent quote at the bottom of the index post.
Wayne Wilson
72. stylusmobilus
Thanks for the post Leigh. Top notch as usual.

And, as usual, all the blog posts are so good that I have absolutely nothing useful to add. How is everyone?

Knife of Dreams, for me was a return to the powerful fantasy story I've been obsessed with for 15 years. And yes, it does remind me of Hurricane Katrina as well. It is interesting to note that some are still rebuilding after that storm, and the scars that it has left on America's citizens and psyche.
Stefan Mitev
73. Bergmaniac
I am a bit curious about the several claims so far that this Prologue made readers rethink their views on Galad's personality. What's different here from the way he was described by others? We knew he deeply loved his stepmother and always set out to right any wrongs no matter the personal cost, so challenging Valda to a duel after he heard the reports about what he did to Morgase, was the most natural thing. And of course we knew he was a badass with the sword since TFOH.

The only minor surprise is at the end, where he stated the Whitecloacks would need the help of the Aes Sedai in the Last Battle. But that's simply common sense, since he knows the power of channelling much better than most Whitecloacks and had spent enough time around Aes Sedai and Tower trained women (like his stepmother) to realise that not all of them are Darkfriends. Good to see he has some common sense (sorely lacking quality in Randland), but still...

@Wetlandernw - you mean you like the 15 pages chapters where the only remotely significant thing that happens is something like "Mat buys Tuon a horse"? ;)

I'd take a desription of the Semirhage massacre of the imperial family over that any day of the week over that, but maybe it's just me.
craig thrift
74. gagecreedlives

For me personally I think it was because I had Galad pegged as a bit of a bastard based on another characters assertion and he didn’t put his best foot forward when we first meet him he wanted to imprison Rand. (although rereading that I tend to think Galad was right to do so).

So first impressions weren’t great and from then on in we only really viewed him through the supergirls eyes and besides his looks they weren’t exactly complimentary. And joining the Whitecloaks certainly didn’t help.

And beyond that I didn’t really give him much thought until this prologue. After I read it, it gave me a new appreciation for the character and now when I reread it I tend to think most if not all his decisions were either right or at least justified
Jay Dauro
75. J.Dauro

I cannot answer for Wetlandernw, but in my case, yes, I would much rather read "A Stave and a Razor" than the account of Semi destroying the Seanchen. I rather enjoy Mat's bargaining, andhe does buy the makings of a new Two Rivers bow also.

I find the line
"Remarkable how much blood there is in a human body. Enough to cover the whole Crystal Throne."

much more effective than chapters of description.
John Massey
76. subwoofer
Methinks Fifester has just plugged in before the con so folks are reminded of him and his upcoming blogs... try the meat pies;)

Folks have been busy since I went to sleep:)

Mat chapters may not have accomplished much, but they were fun to read. Mat spanking whatsherpickle. Mat actually digging a hole in the rain. Mat and Thom going to a seedy bar with the princess. Mat having poo flung at him from the ladies. Good times. Just what we need to shake up the plod of Perrin and Faile.

As for Mat's generaling... well, we know, but sometimes it is good to save the best for last. The LB is coming, I've a feeling some of these Great Captains are going to bite it. Somebody has to step to the fore. And Mat could not be putzing around in Domani... it has been said to be like quicksand, why would we want to subject Mat to that? A foreigner bringing an army of mercs onto Domani soil... yeah, that worked well for the Seanchan. Besides, Mat needed to get dragons made and be set up to lose an eye. He couldn't do that being in a long protracted campaign.

As far as Galad... about the only thing I am curious about is if he starts channelling. He does know about the "oneness"- flame and thingy. Galad is related to Rand... the Children have problems with channelers, what better way to get them over the hump than to have their LCC start magic usin'?

Edit- will find the proper meat pie quote later:)

Jonathan Levy
77. JonathanLevy
9. Beren
I have to say that I loved (?) the mental image I got when Semi described killing the empress.

"Remarkable how much blood there is in a human body. Enough to cover the whole Crystal Throne."

What it brings to my mind is the threat she makes when she is being interrogated by Cadsuane - her weave that removes all the blood from a human body and replaces it with something else.

78. Polaris
It is hard to believe that even one of the Forsaken could have took out the entire Seanchan leadership so easily. Where were all the damane loyal to the Empire? We're told many times that the Empress and other Blood own many damane. Later, when you see how easily Semirhage is captured, it again makes it hard to believe she could have taken out the entire leadership of the Seanchan.

KoD was not one of the great WoT books. The parts with Mat and Tuon were great, stuff with Rand was pretty good, and the rest was very slow going. I find Egwene's storyline very unbelievable and Elayne's entirely annoying. I like Perrin less and less (or at least his actions) since Faile came into the picture. The only other good things about KoD are that Loial is in it and the death of Valda!
Richard Fife
79. R.Fife
@Forkroot Sadly, I think I'll be avoiding doing the same interview madness as last time. But I am the moderator for the Team Jordan panel at J*Con, so that is kind of like an interview. Portal Stones will, I'm sure, be recording it.

@Wetlander and @Terez27 I actually plead typing fatigue. I've been pounding out more words this past month than is healthy, even to the detriment of my wrist and my sleep. I meant to say embraced, as they have shirts with it on there. And while I do enjoy the spirits, I was sadly stone sober when I typed that.

@subwoofer I am going to make an honest attempt to at least skim through the commentary and make comments again, but I won't be as much of an obsessive troll as I used to be. Just not enough hours in the day.

and to several.. Me? Rickroll people? What kind of base fiend do you take me for? *busy trying to re-write the history books from two years ago*

Two years... dang it's been a while.
James Whitehead
80. KatoCrossesTheCourtyard
@78Polaris, Knife of Dreams might not be one of the best of the series but compared to the book it came after it is a masterpiece. ;-)

@79R.Fife, you could've simply said you meant embrassed as you wanted to visit Hawkmoon at Castle Brass in order to get away from the Gran Bretan's Dark Empire? (Obscure Michael Moorcock reference if you haven't read him) ;-)
Rob Munnelly
81. RobMRobM
KoD is probably my fifth favorite in the series (after TSR, TDR, FOH and LOC). Lots to like.

- Love the Mat plot line (even with the slow Valan Luca start). Wrap up ("Lion on the high plains") is one of the best in the entire series.
- Love the Eg plot line, limited as it is. Honey in the Tea is a top 10 chapter for the series.
- Love the Golden Crane.
- Very much like the Seanchan efforts to find Tuon (Cup of Kaf in particular).
- Very much like the wrap up to the PLOD.
- Very much like the various Rand activities and loved the final scene with Semi.
- Very much like the Merise-Jahar ash bonding presentation.
- Like the machinations in the Rebel AS camp without Eg there.
John Massey
82. subwoofer
@63Claire- there will be no cowering in the bunker for me.... I'm er, resting in my tree house these days;)

And folks... let us not forget that Mat is the "son of battles". Methinks that is a huge title beyond any Great Captain... he's special.

@KiManiak- the King of the Malkieri doesn't rank on your list of influential but his wife does?

@Fork- yeah, I didn't recognize Perrin on the cover. Must be on a diet or something. No hammer( am referring to the one he got in Tear) or nuthin' that marks him as a big hulking blacksmith. And are we getting the backside of Berelain? I feel cheated somehow.

@Rob, I second the search for Tuon thread being good. Loved Karede
thinking Thom was the brains of the outfit. Loved the bit about Tuon remembering the doll.

...and a lion loose on the high plains.

Roger Powell
83. forkroot

It is hard to believe that even one of the Forsaken could have took out the entire Seanchan leadership so easily. Where were all the damane loyal to the Empire? We're told many times that the Empress and other Blood own many damane. Later, when you see how easily Semirhage is captured, it again makes it hard to believe she could have taken out the entire leadership of the Seanchan.

Yep - she was really easy to capture. It only cost Rand a hand. And it took Cadsuane's ter'angreals and skill, and Nynaeve's immense power - not to mention Logaine (the second strongest known male channeler other than Forsaken) . I doubt the Empress had that sort of offense and defense available to her; furthermore Rand's party was very much on their guard.
It's no leap of faith to assume that Semi struck the royal family totally by surprise. Even after the fun began, no damane would be a match for Semi - and they can't link. Look how badly Egwene kicked their ass during the battle of the WT.
Hugh Arai
84. HArai
Re: Galad (and other Children) being willing to work with channelers:
I don't think it's clear that Aes Sedai = Darkfriend is doctrine as established in Way of the Light. Everyone seems to cite TSR17 but I don't see it there. If it's "doctrine" the way Asunawa and his torturers are doctrine, it doesn't surprise me Galad and his supporters are willing to think past it.
Roger Powell
85. forkroot

And are we getting the backside of Berelain? I feel cheated somehow.

That hound dog? No way - I think that's supposed to be Galina. This is allegedly the scene where she meets with Perrin after having been abducted by Gaul and Neald.
Stefan Mitev
86. Bergmaniac
Harai@84 - You are right. Galad said in ToM "Not all women who wield the One Power are evil inherently," he said. "That is a mistaken tradition of the Children. The Way of the Light doesn't make that claim; it just says that the temptation to use the One Power can corrupt."

But as often happen with similar organisations in history, the complexity of the original doctrine was reduced to something much simpler and attractive for the fanatics - "All witches are evil and has to be killed on sight". And with the Questioners being totally in favor of this position, no wonder most Children fell in line with their views.
87. AndrewB
Sorry I am late to the party. 80+ posts already. Yikes.

Only read up to ~40 or so. I appologize if somebody else beat me to the punch.

Matthew1215 @ 37. I disagree with your comments re Mat. He has had experience. He lead the troops in TFoH. It was his leadership that saved everbody's bacon and started the genesis of the Band.

Further, he and the Band tustled with adherents of Rahvin's guard. Remember when Mat tells Moraine the news regarding Morgase. She taunted him by saying that he was constantly battling Rahvin's soldiers.

Tektonica @40 - I disagree with you re It's performance in ToM. I agree with Bashere. When you look at what he had to deal with, It's performance is nothing short of miraculous. He had very limited troops against a vastly superior army. Anyhting short of somebody of his caliber would have been dead and crushed weeks before Rand arrived.

Wish I could say more but I got to go back to work.

Thanks for reading my musings.
88. XLCR
Just checking in here. I've been here all along, but didn't have much to say about NS. Not a bad read, just doesn't have the intensity of the main series. I've got a new theory about Mat and his skills and memories and have been waiting to return to the series to introduce it. I posted here a few months ago about my father's passing, and about his unusual skills with cards. Well, something has happened that sheds a new light on those skills. A member of my immediate family has been tenatively diagnosed with Savant Syndrome and Asperger's Syndrome. These are often genetic, and the finger points strongly to my father.

I have spent a lot of time researching since I discovered this, and many thanks to the University of Wisconsin, who are the current leaders in Savant research. I always supposed that my father's card counting skills came from hard work, meaning he spent a lot of time calculating all of that stuff out. Now I know that's not likely. He was an easy-going guy with poor reading skills who dropped out of high school in his second year. I know I wasn't exposed to the mathematics of odds until Advanced College Algebra, so there was really no chance he knew anything about them. Instead I've discovered card counting is a well-known 'splinter talent' among Savants. In other words it probably came to him out of nowhere just like Mat's talents.

Besides splinter skills Savants are known for musical and artistic talents, my father could play anything, and was outstanding as a pianist. They are most famous for their unusual powers of memory, one might remember the movie 'Rainman'. Be advised, however, that the guy played in the movie was an Idiot Savant, and not all Savants are idiots. They all have some problem though, around half of them are retarded to some degree, and the other half suffer from some form of Autism or related problem. I suspect my father was at least ADD, and may have had Asperger's.

The cool thing about Savant memory, aside from calender tricks and other splinter skills, is that researchers insist Savants seem to have access to data in their massive memory banks they can't possibly have. Yes, I know, this sounds crazy, yet almost everyone involved in Savant research has, however reluctantly, come to this conclusion. Their attempted explainations are the most interesting. They babble on about 'genetic memories' or 'racial memories'. They don't go into detail because, let's face it, any attempt to do so would not be science, it would in fact be leaving science far behind and floating into the realm of pure speculation. Genetic or racial memories........."The old blood sings strongly in this one".

So let's review, Savants always have some mental problem, let's say Mat is ADD, any proof in childhood? Yes, I'd say. Wasn't he always up to something, in trouble for things, active, not much of a reader, all of the signs of an ADD child. In his teen years he begins to manifest the ability to know what the dice are going to do, and this power grows to the point he can 'outfox' the snakes and foxes by sheer power of instinctively knowing the odds and the right answers.

And then there is the memories, which seem to have manifested to some extent BEFORE his first deal with the snakes and foxes. There we go back to the concept of unexplained 'racial memory'. U of W research suggests that brain damage in some people (usually in the left forelobe) forces the brain to 'rewire' itself by switching to a 'backup' brain area. (usually mid-right brain) This can be genetic, but there have also been cases of people who have suffered injury to the left forebrain and woke up as 'instant Savants' with all of the powers and talants. Which of course has led to research to see if Savants can be created by artificial means.

The same researchers believe that Savants have access to the sub-conscious memories that normal people can only access only though dreams or hypnosis. Once again there seems to be proof through hypnotic experiments that it is possible to access memories and skills seemingly out of nowhere.

So there it is, Mat is a Savant, the snakes and foxes merely accentuated memories that he already had access to by bringing him to his full Savant powers. There need be no complicated theories about snakes and foxes reading and capturing people's memories down through the generations. The answers are all right there in the sub-conscious. It also neatly and completely explains Mats incredible luck, and it does so without magic or without complex fictional constructs.

It also proves beyond a doubt that truth is stranger than fiction.
Marcus W
89. toryx
My favorite part of KoD is Egwene's plotline. Up until this book I never particularly cared for her but I love these chapters.

I generally like Mat's chapters, particularly after Luca's damned circus packs up and leaves but the truth is I've never taken a liking to Tuon. She irritates me about as much as Faile does a lot of other readers and as a result the Mat chapters are less enjoyable for me. I always thought their relationship to be rather forced (by the pattern) and the way Sanderson has handled it in the later books only makes it worse.

I'm going to commit absolute sacriledge here and say that I'm not a fan of the Golden Crane moment. I know it's meant to be moving and stirring and all that, but Lan's distaste for the whole thing ruins it for me. If he had embraced it I would have enjoyed it more but as it is, it just reminds me of Aragorn from Lord of the Rings. All in all it felt as though it was a moment told to me more than shown and I just wasn't moved.

Galad, on the other hand, is awesome. So is the ending of the book...I don't think I was ever as surprised by a previous book's ending as much as I was by this one. Good stuff.
Birgit F
90. birgit
the King of the Malkieri doesn't rank on your list of influential but his wife does?

Lan doesn't belong on a list of important people from Andor, but the Two Rivers are officially a part of Andor (at least in the queen's opinion).
Kimani Rogers
91. KiManiak
forkroot@66 – Yes, I would definitely be ready for that; Tuon’s gotta grow and she’s gonna need Mat’s help.

In fact, Mat’s still got to:
1. Save Caemlyn & the dragons/cannons from Shadowspawn
2. Deliver Moiraine to Rand and be present at the Field of Merrilor
3. Convince Tuon to ally with Rand
4. Reclaim his Horn
5. Lead the Forces of the Light during Tarmon Gaidon, “The Mother of All Battles”
6. Buy Rand & Elayne’s twins each a pony

I also can’t wait.

Mat1215@67 – Hey, no problem. We’re just “talking” here, and I assumed based upon your previous posts that you ultimately just want to see Mat do more awesome/ incredible things, which I’m definitely not opposed to. It appears that you and I just may view the quality of his previous/ current experiences and story arc different, and that’s cool with me; diversity of opinion is what makes these comments fun.

In regards to your belief that Mat may not yet have earned his status yet in your eyes, I would say that I think one of the reasons RJ created the ta’veren plot device was that a lot of skills, abilities and positions of authority our Superboys have achieved in the books would be implausible in any other way.

The reader’s just supposed to accept Rand’s blademaster skills after 5 or 6 books; or Perrin’s ability to wield both an axe and a hammer better than warriors who have trained with the spear, some probably for longer than he’s been living; or that Mat is viewed by seasoned, crusty battle vets with major respect and affection after one day of surviving battle skirmishes against the Aiel in Cairhien.

But, I think your frustration with not seeing Mat do more is a valid one. I would have been more than happy for RJ to have replaced the pages he spent on Faile in the Shaido camp and Elayne’s acquisition of her throne, with Mat doing almost anything.

sub@82 – Lan is totally badass, but he wasn’t part of the most recent generation of Andorans (Andorians? Andorites? Andorics?). My list just included folks of Rand’s generation born in Andor and prominent in the books (which is why Nynaeve was there but not Lan). I also chose not to mention Min, although she is kinda an honorary Wise One.

Also, you would complain about viewing Berelain’s backside?

EDIT: And I see Birgit has beat me to the punch. So, um, yeah, what she said.

XLCR@88 – interesting theory.
Matthew Hunter
93. matthew1215
Andrew @ 87: Sure, he has *some* experience, I'd just like to see Mat do more generaling than introducing a new character for it when Mat is in the right time and place to do it.

KiManiak @ 91: I have a similar problem with Perrin's skills (actually, more of one, since Perrin never seems to practice and doesn't really have a good "explanation" other than being a freakishly strong beserker type). Rand spends large chunks of screen time practicing and training under Lan's tutelage (and remember, Lan is probably the most badass swordsman in all of Randland) and sparring with others, not to mention learning Aiel ways from Rhuarc, plus has a past life with insane sword skills to draw upon. I can buy Rand's skills. Mat's generaling skills are right at the level where I can *almost* buy them if he gets to exercise them more. Perrin, well, I just sort of gloss over that and try not to think about it.
Bill Reamy
94. BillinHI
Toryx @ 89: I totally agree on Tuon. While most other Light-side characters have their pain-in-the-ass moments counterbalanced by as many (or more) good moments, Tuon has definitely stayed on the PITA side. Other than recognizing Mat for who and what he is, she continues to act more like a Dark-side character. Obviously this has to change in AMOL (I hope!).

While I tend to agree that Lan was channeling Aragorn until very late in his ride to Fal Moran, I have to say that Nynaeve's conversation with Weilin Aldragoran in The Queen's Lance chokes me up every time I read it. Truly a CMOA for Nynaeve!
95. s'rEDIT
XLCR@88: Thank you so much for posting about your father (belated condolences) and about Savant Syndrome and Aspies. Fascinating!

OT: Although I've never been diagnosed, I've compiled a list of known Asperger's traits that are characteristic in my life. Whew! What a relief it was to finally have an explanation of mannerisms, thinking patterns, and attitudes that had been identified as "problems" for much of my life. Unfortunately, I don't have any Savant skills to balance that out, though!

Regarding the off-screen Seanchan overthrow: when I saw a coworker rereading KoD to prepare for tGS, I told him I'd given up WOT after CoT (for obvious reasons). He proceeded to "spoiler" me by explaining how RJ had actually shortened a storyline to eliminate the Seanchan royalty! This encouraged me enough that I've come back to try to catch up before AMoL.
96. XLCR
s'rEDIT, from my research about the characteristics of Asperger's I
suspect that FanComs, fantasy blogs and boards like this one are a very
good place to find Aspies. They strongly tend to be attracted to this
sort of thing. Asperger's is something they have only begun to diagnose
in childhood recently, it becomes harder to spot as they get older
because they tend to learn coping mechanisms, so many of them are out
there undiagnosed and wondering why they seem to be their own worse

If one were to take a poll, which I will not out of respect for privacy,
I would not be at all surprised to find a number of Aspies here, some
still undiagnosed. If any here wonder at all, on-line tests are
availible. Trust me, knowing is a relief.
Rob Munnelly
97. RobMRobM
@96 - My father in law absolutely was an undx'ed Aspie. I have some tendencies in that direction but not enough to qualify.

(I know a lot about this because my son was dx'ed with PDD and an autism spectrum disorder, so we did a lot a reading and attended a lot of conferences in this area. Fortunately or, more likely, unfortunately, his issues have manifested in a different direction. He's still PDD but appears to be on some other spectrum.)

John Massey
98. subwoofer
@birgit and Ki... oki doki, it just threw me cause we have the DR at the top of the Andoran born and I thought he was born on the slopes of Dragonmount... and from the maps in the books and other places that I have been staring at, methinks that is not in Andor so Rand should not be on that list then. But if he is then let us lump in Lan 'cause he's a king without a country otherwise and Elayne's bum is not big enough yet for two thrones.... note I say "yet", she does gobble sweets like no tomorrow. I wonder if there is a weave for weight loss?

@Fork... yeee... then it is a good thing that I thought whatsernuts was pucker ugly. Yup Galina can't hold a candle to Lady B.

@xlcr.... interesting. I'm not really gonna weigh in with my opinion of all the disorders etc. that seem to be coming outta the woodwork in modern medicine.

Kimani Rogers
99. KiManiak
sub@98 – You got me :-) A good distinction to make; Rand was born on Dragonmount. I did initially say “the current generation of Andor,” so let’s just go with the “from Andor” definition that birgit@90 gave ya.

Rand may have technically been born on Dragonmount (is that just considered unincorporated land; I wonder) but he’s from Andor. Lan can’t make that claim. But since you brought it up, I would have put Lan above Nynaeve on the list (he is the actual Monarch of Malkieri after all).

And, I even left a nice little set up for whomever wants the big hunny…
Chris Chaplain
100. chaplainchris1
And, I even left a nice little set up for whomever wants the big hunny…

Thanks, KiManiak! It's my first! (*edit to add - why do I always have to edit and re-d0 the quotation? Grrr.*)

I have no time to write - but am enjoying everyone's comments. In brief: I like KOD a lot, mostly for the Egwene in the Tower plot arc (which is a much smaller part of the book in reality than it is in my head - where it's great, Egwene's manuvering rocks, and it colors my perception of the whole book). I also like the advancing of the plot. And the removal of Valda, who is indeed the Tooliest of tooly-headed Tools. (*Edit to add - oh yeah, isn't this when Nynaeve rouses Malkier? Major CMOA there.*)

Also in brief: I like Ituralde, I think he does important stuff, and it's nice to see what it means to be a Great Captain (he's a great one for Crowning Moments of Competence, which are just pleasurable to read). I think he's been signposted enough in the course of the books to not feel new or shoehorned in. (He's much better foreshadowed than Cadsuane or even Tuon, in my opinion.) He seems much more important to the plot than any Andoran noble (even Dyelin) or really any Borderlander monarch, obviously excluding Lan. Heck, war has broken out pretty universally, Tarmon Gaidon is here, and the Great Captains are needed. Ituralde shows us what they can accomplish.

Why does the prologue change the opinion of Galad for so many people, someone asked? For me, it was the first evidence that Galad existed for any reason other than to royally mess things up. It was the first evidence that he could reason, for that matter. He's great here, and he disposes of Valda and bids fair to make the Whitecloaks something other than Tools, so he gets major points. Unlike many others, though, this doesn't re-color my perception of him at earlier points in the story. Elayne's portrayal of him is somewhat caricatured, but there's some basis to it. He starts a war by his recklessness, b/c rescuing his sister and Nynaeve is "the right thing to do." Never mind whether it's "right" to blunder about using martial force indiscriminately in an already highly charged environment, never a concern whether his "right thing" means the deaths of any number of completely innocent people. I grant that he meant well. But he had no thought for the consequences. Doing the right thing without thought of the consequences *for yourself* is admirable. Doing what you *perceive* as the right thing, without a care for the consequences *to others*, even when those consequences include the risk of grave bodily harm or death to complete innocents? Not admirable. Inexcusably rash and thoughtless comes pretty near the mark.

For that matter, can someone with a clearer memory of the middle books remind me why Galad decided joining the Whitecloaks in the first place was the "right thing"? I get how their inflexible sense of right and wrong would appeal to his, especially in a world gone crazy and uncertain. But they teach that the woman he reveres as his mother is a witch trained by witches. They've always taught that and he's always known it. He's known that his mother hates even having them in Andor. He knows that they dogged the heels of his sister from Caemlyn to Tar Valon, and hung around just hoping to get a chance to take a shot at her. How in the *world* did he convince himself that swearing allegiance to people that want to exterminate people like his mother and sister is the "right thing" to do?!? I'm sure there was some rationale I don't remember.

But at any rate, my opinion of Galad is still somewhat mixed. He's definitely on the rise - his fight with Valda wasn't won because of his (impressive) swordsmanship. He won by out-thinking Valda. And he followed that up with presenting the Whitecloaks with a plan to ally with Aes Sedai and the Dragon Reborn against the Shadow. The ability to think critically outside the box is one he had not shown before this moment, and I was and am thrilled to see it. Morgase's coaching of his critical thinking skills in TOM helps to, although I find it hard to believe (or excuse) Morgase not insisting on teaching him better in the first place. But then, that's true in some ways of all her kids. All 3 have good raw material (I'm giving Gawyn the benefit of the doubt - he's getting better and I liked him in early books), but are dangerously and recklessly rash in many ways and have needed a lot of maturing.

And I'm out of time and space, if not comments. See y'all later! Thanks for a great reread, Leigh, and I hope the KOD bug is able to bite you better this time!

(Btw - for some reason, the discussion of seeing/not seeing Seandar has me thinking of how we've not seen Shara. More and more, I suspect that *is* where Demandred set up, and the "fighting in Shara" is the "consolidation of his forces". Oh, I don't know. The arguments for him being in Murandy are quite convincing. But the Seandar discussion has me remembering that "the action being set in Randland" didn't prevent the Seanchan from leaving home and invading. So it wouldn't stop the oh-so-mysterious Sharans, with repugnant customs including breeding for channelers, from doing the same. I'm suddenly reminded of those very mysterious and freakily-unprecedented red-vieled non-Aiel folks at the end of TOM...)
101. KatieG
re.subwoofer... Rand's birth mother was Tigraine,the daughter heir before Morgase.
103. AndrewB
Terren @51 said: "unless of course you think the DO knew Semi would do this and it would force Rand to channel the TP and this was all part of the Shadow's plan to destory Rand, but I think that gives Team Dark far too much credit."

Believe it or not, I subscribe to this very theory. I beleive that the DO knows about the link between Rand and Moridin. As a means of having the Dragon Reborn turned to the Shadow, he arranged Semirhage to be set free and given access to the Domination Bonds. He hoped that she would torture Rand so much that he would reach for the True Power through his link with Moridin.

I also believe that the DO was willing to sacrifice Semirhage as part of the plan -- he was not happy with her near killing of Rand and subsequent capture

(Query: why should the DO forgive Mogi but not Semirhage -- or at least allow Mogi to live. Perhaps it is as simple as Mogi's failure did not almost result in Rand's death.)

In my opinion (I was tired of typing "I believe"), the DO's plan only failed when Rand had his epiphany on Dragonmount.

With what Ishy/Moridin (or perhaps it was another Forsaken] said earlier in WoT (re sometimes the DO seemed more interested in turing LTT to the Shadow than defeating him) & Verin tells Egwene before she dies (re that the battle will play out in a way that Rand would not anticipate), a major part of the Last Battle will involve the DO's last ditch attempt to turn Rand to the Dark Side. This may possiblly involve the death of Elayne, Avi or Min.

ClairedeT @63 said: "Even Elaida's descent into meglamania and paranoia could have been part of the plan."

I have always beleived (and will continue to believe until contradicted by future books) that Eladia's meglamania and paranoia were due to Fain's influence. The Black Ajah and other dark forces made the best use of Elaida's meglomania and paranoia. At other times, however, they were equally at the mercy of Eladia's paranoia.

BTW, I would love to see Fain take down one of the remaining Forsaken or Isam. Either would be a scene to read.

Jonathan Levy @77: Actually, it was Merise who questioning Semirhage; Cads was merely in the room observing (TGS, "A Tale of Blood" -- Chpt 5)

Thanks for reading my musings,
John Massey
104. subwoofer
@KiManiak- oddly enough, I do believe that the shadow of Dragonmount falls on Tar Valon... there was something there about its creation and TVs genesis etc. I do know that some people say Dragonmount's shadow falls on half the world. Anyways, if anything it falls in the territory of TV, and even though it is a city-state, belongs to TV. Maybe this is the big clue that we miss in the first four books? Rand is actually a subject of TV and as LTT he is the last raised male Aes Sedai. Wowza.

As for the rest of that territory, seems like Mat or Perrin could occupy that comfortably. Heh.

@Katie- Galad, yup, whatshernuts was his mumsie, but anyways he is related to Rand so maybe he does have the spark. Just speculating at this point.

Anyway you slice it, this book really worked for me. Even the plod was good... heck, it ended here.... with a big fight even. Very satisfying. Didn't get the Rolan thing tho', but the world isn't flat anymore so I'm not supposed to "get" everything. And that BA scum meets misery in the form of the Shaido WO for the rest of her life. Very satisfying indeed.

craig thrift
105. gagecreedlives

For what its worth you could just as easily say Nynaeve started the war by setting 2 opposing armed groups looking for the same thing without advising either of them (or even just Galad since she spoke with him last) that the other is also searching. I don’t believe that by the way just saying you could do it. I think the Whitecloaks vs The Prophets Madmen battle royal was going to happen no matter what as long as both groups were within striking distance. The boat was just the catalyst.

At work so don’t have the books handy but I do believe there is an off the cuff remark by Galad that alludes to the fact that the reason they were there anyway was because they were going to have to “deal” with Masema and his men.

As for joining the Whitecloaks in the first place I think he was quite taken by the original idea of the Whitecloaks after reading The Way of the Light and joined in the belief that by leading by example and using political influence he could bring the Whitecloaks around to what they should have been and not what they have turned into.

He certainly couldnt join or influence the White Tower at all.
Alice Arneson
106. Wetlandernw
Bergmaniac @73 - Just that I found RJ's 15 pages more interesting than a single line that says "Mat buys Tuon a horse." It would disrupt the flow, you know. Then again, I liked the horse, and I don't particularly like detailed descriptions of sadistic massacres.

(Seriously, though, I do enjoy the development of the relationship between Mat and Tuon, especially the third or fourth time through when I'm more aware of the "between the lines" stuff and the subtle implications inherent.)

J.Dauro @75 - Yes, that. Exactly.

R.Fife @79 - Not to make your life miserable... I just had to do it for old times' sake. I've missed picking on you, you know. (Scary lady FTW!!!)

forkroot @83 - Well said. As Anath, no one would be on guard against her, at least as an assassin - they'd be too busy wondering how and why she was back in Seanchan. And you know, that inability to link can be a serious drawback for the Seanchan, can't it? I wonder if that will come into play again.

chaplainchris1 @100 - Hah! Your version of "in brief" looks a lot like mine - several pages long. ;p

Incidentally, I like your thoughts on Galad. He's always been tagged as "doing the right thing" but there's also the manner of the doing. So if you do the right thing but in the most bull-in-a-china-shop, damn-the-torpedoes fashion, have you really done the right thing? Sometimes doing the right thing means that you stop and think through the consequences and alternatives before choosing a course of action to follow. Thank you - I've been slipping around the edges of that for years!
craig thrift
107. gagecreedlives
Wetlandernw @106

"Incidentally, I like your thoughts on Galad. He's always been tagged as "doing the right thing" but there's also the manner of the doing. So if you do the right thing but in the most bull-in-a-china-shop, damn-the-torpedoes fashion, have you really done the right thing?"

I see where you are coming from but the above sort of behaviour doesnt exactly make Galad unique in Randland now does it. Hell you could probably find examples of all the major characters doing what they consider the right thing without considering the consequences.

The only character that seems to have enough self awareness about this is Perrin and that only happened in the last book.
Hugh Arai
108. HArai
chaplainchris@100: As has been pointed out earlier, the Way of the Light doesn't teach that his mother is a witch taught by witches. It says that the One Power has the potential to corrupt. Which I think is a fair statement to be honest. Just because some of the Children go farther than that wouldn't invalidate the ideas to Galad, he's used to everyone doing something different than "what they're supposed to". He knows his mother and sister aren't corrupt so that doesn't really enter into it. Think back though, look at what Galad and Gawyn see of the Tower and it's politics. Lies by omission, dancing around the truth, vicious factionalism - and likely most worrying, Elayne starts lying and evading right along with the rest. As readers we know the reasons, but they don't. The Aes Sedai don't really come off as the clear side to support.
William Fettes
109. Wolfmage

I agree with your assessment of Galad. As HArai points out above, it's Lothair Mantelar's The Way of the Light that serves as the basis for his conversion. That’s only fine and dandy as far as it goes, however.

There remains a huge moral problem for Galad in reconciling the ostensible founding principles of the Children, and the reality of the current-day organisation. I don't think you get a free pass for joining an abhorrent organisation just because they originally had noble founding principles that may or may not ever have been institutionalised. I mean, if you had a well-founded reason to be ignorant about the gap between the reality of Children and the maxims of The Way of the Light, it might be different. But Galad cannot reasonably hide behind igorance of the thuggish bully-boy nature of 90% of the rank and file members of the Whitecloaks, their rampant prejudice against Aes Sedai, and their routine usage of torture by the Questionners. If he was, that hardly washes with his age, his privileged upbringing in Andor and his general experience.

The fact that he manages to subsequently achieve a high office within the Whitecloaks, entirely accidentally, to reform the organisation cannot count at the time he joins, either. During this early phase of joining, we don't even have any indication that he thinks drastic reform is needed.

That said, Galad is still a significantly more moral and principled person than his brother.
Sorcha O
110. sushisushi
chaplainchris1@100 The reason why Galad joins the Whitecloaks despite the fact that they would like to exterminate his mother and sister is that, as Elayne says as one point, he always does what is right, no matter who it hurts, even himself. My impression is that he's thinking of the big picture of the war against the Dark and purposefully *not* thinking about his personal connections, then, at least. Things start to get a bit muddier from this point onwards, particularly with Morgase's reveal, but by then he's already in situ as the LCC.
Stefan Mitev
111. Bergmaniac
Galad said quite a few times one of the main reasons he joined the Children was what the Aes Sedai did to his sister, and to a much lesser extend, Egwene, towards whom he had a bit of a crush on early on and he also knew Gawyn's feeling about her. He was definitely thinking of his personal connections. I also've always wondered how did he went from "I dislike the Aes Sedai for using my sister and risking her life" to "I have to join the organisation which wants to kill her and my mother". Something doesn't add up. As Wolfmage noted, surely he must've been aware of the big difference between the Children's current practices and the original doctrine, and in normal circumstances many years would've had to pass before Galad rose high enough in the ranks to be able to change that.

Something else that never made sense for me was that Galad didn't ask Morgase for her opinion before joining the Children and didn't even notify her for months. Really strange behaviour for a devoted son, not to mention a good subject to the Queen of Andor. Surely he knew there was a very good chance he'd be used as a pawn against Morgase given the tension between her and the Whitecloacks.

*edited for clarity, thanks, Wetlandernw".
Rob Kerr
112. useofweapons
@XLCR -- I'd be interested to see some studies on the topic. At first glance, it would appear completely nonsensical to suspect 'genetic memory' (which has a total lack of evidence from other studies), and I would initially suspect confirmation bias on the part of researchers in savant studies (who I imagine often enter this line of research for intensely personal reasons, which would clearly lead to potential biases that would be hard to guard against). Do you have any specific studies where those conclusions are reached that you could link to?
113. mike123
"26. LsanaTUESDAY APRIL 12, 2011 03:25PM EDT@22,

Galad's mother abandoned him when he was 2-years-old. Then his father died in an "accident" (really murdered by Thom to keep him from trying a coup on the Lion Throne)..."

Do we know this to be factual? If so, where?
Stefan Mitev
114. Bergmaniac
Mike 123 @113 - Moiraine stronlgly implied it when she talked to Thom in TSR, Ch. 17:

"Thomdril Merrilin. Called the Gray Fox, once, by some who knew him, or knew of him. Courtbard at the Royal Palace of Andor in Caemlyn. Morgase’s lover for a time, after Taringail died. Fortunate for Morgase, Taringail’s death. I do not suppose she ever learned he meant her to die and himself to be Andor’s first king. But we were speaking of Thom Merrilin, a man who, it was said, could play the Game of Houses in his sleep. It is a shame that such a man calls himself a simple gleeman. But such arrogance to keep the same name.”
Thom masked his shock with an effort. How much did she know? Too much if she knew not another word."
Sydo Zandstra
115. Fiddler
I really like the part with Ituralde. My thoughts at first reading about this subplot were like 'finally we see some level of resistance that is not directly related to the wonderboys or supergirls, or ta'veren stuff', which I found really refreshing (on par with finally seeing some competent levelheaded AS).

re: Galad.
There was no switch in how I perceived him, since I never disliked him in the first place, and ever since he joined the Whitecloaks, I could see where this was heading (this is RJ after all, not GRRM or Erikson ;-) ).

What DID surprise me in the whole scene with the duel between Galad and Valda was seeing Dain Bornhald and Byar there at Galad's side. Apparently RJ decided Bornhald deserved some kind of redemption.

As for the whole starting the fight at the docks in Samara, if you read that part well that fight was going to happen anyway. I see no evil in this. What I did see was that Galad realized his sister, the Daughter Heir of Andor, was in an area that was reigned by Mob rule at a time where the situation could escalate at any time. And he wanted Elayne and Nynaeve out of there asap. And he didn't know the other side was securing the boat for Nynaeve also.

If anything, I find the that situation ironic. Rather realistic too. History is full with little conflicts that started in a similar way.

RPG-wise, I'd consider Galad to be more Lawful than Good. Those are not necessarily the same. ;-)
Alice Arneson
116. Wetlandernw
Bergmaniac @111 - You might want to edit this:

Galad said quite a few times one of the main reasons he joined the Children was what they did to his sister...

I was trying to figure out what the Children did to Elayne & Egwene, and why he'd join them because of it, until I realized that your "they" was about the Aes Sedai. :)

That said, it really does make you wonder how he made the leap from "Aes Sedai are not trustworthy" to "I must join the Whitecloaks" - and as you say, he specifically said that the second was the result of the first. Huh? Dude, your logic is weird!! (Galad, not Bergmaniac) Re: your second paragraph, one wonders how he could grow up as the Queen of Andor's son and not register the realities of politics, even if he didn't get specific training in it. Wouldn't it make you suspicious when Eamon Valda, someone high up in Whitecloak ranks and who actively hates Aes Sedai, was specifically recruiting and promoting you? Someone who knows perfectly well who you are, and that both your mother and sister trained in the Tower? Hello... anyone home? Granted that Valda was probably playing on his (incorrectly assumed) "unwanted stepson" position, the fact that he was a son of royal families of two countries would make him a particularly valuable recruit politically. He's not stupid - he should have realized that.

As for his not consulting with Morgase, he may have tried and been unable to get to her, but we really don't know. There's certainly no indication that he did, but we do know that "Lord Gaebril" got into Caemlyn and gained control of Morgase during the time that Galad & Gawyn were in Tar Valon training with the Warders. (It was very shortly after Mat trounced G & G with his quarterstaff that he went to Caemlyn with Elayne's letter for Morgase, and Gaebril was pretty firmly in charge at that point.) It may be that he heard things that made him realize that he wouldn't be welcome - or safe - or he may even have tried and been unable to reach her.

Okay, now I'm confused: does it make more sense for him to not even try to consult Morgase, or to realize that someone else has gained a formidable level of influence over her and decide it's not worth the effort? All in all, I think I'd rather suppose that he decided it was time to go carve his own path in life, since he had no particular duties in Caemlyn. I can hope that when G & G went to Caemlyn, it was with the idea that Galad might be looking for a new career, while Gawyn was to gain further training to prepare him to act as Prince of the Sword for Elayne. I wouldn't be surprised to find out that Morgase assumed he would become a Warder once he'd done some training; there were certainly a fair number of Aes Sedai who thought it would be a good idea to bond him as soon as he indicated any willingness. :)

The implications of either Galad or Gawyn getting any clue to the situation in Caemlyn and not doing anything about it... just don't make sense. As near as I can tell, none of her children knew what was going on in Caemlyn until after she disappeared. I hope it's true.

(Okay, that was a ramble. Didn't even prove anything, did it? Well, somebody might have wanted something to read, if they're really bored. If they weren't before, they are now....)
Hugh Arai
117. HArai
Bergmaniac@111: None of Morgase's children checked in with her about any of their chosen paths. I think it indicates more that they all felt they needed to do things she wouldn't like and they all chose to skip facing their formidable mother and her formidable temper.

@various: I think people are still making too much of this whole "the Children want to kill Elayne and Morgase" thing.

I don't think they're monolithic like that, any more than any of the other groups in Randland are. You have some fanatics like Byar and Asunawa, that clearly believe anything opposing them is a DF. You have people like Dain Bornhald whose father was destroyed by channeling women and mistakenly but understandably blames the Aes Sedai. I'm sure exposure to Fain didn't help. Those people would probably want to kill Morgase and Elayne, sure. They aren't the entirety of the Children though. You have Pedron Niall, the elder Bornhald and Valda and those like them who are all much more interested in the fact Morgase is Queen of Andor and in manipulating and controlling her for political reasons than killing her because she can channel a trickle. The Aes Sedai = DF thing is simply an excuse they find useful propaganda because the Aes Sedai are their main rivals so far as influencing rulers and nations goes.

Those are the two "factions" of Children we see all along until KoD where it becomes clear that there is a third group of the Children who have been following those two but would much rather follow someone like Galad when the option is there.

I think Galad was specifically recruited by Valda to be a lever on Morgase. Valda gave him a personalized copy of the Way of the Light, had talks with him in inns and so on. I find it highly unlikely that while Galad was being recruited Valda went on about how all channelers must die. He would have been sold the ideals and carefully isolated from the more rabid Children. All of Morgase's children are rather naive despite their training, and I think if Valda's people were careful, they could keep him in the dark. I think it's significant that it's immediately after it becomes clear Morgase is no longer in charge of Andor and thus Galad is no longer useful that Galad discovers how his mother has been treated. Valda's people don't care enough to keep up the facade any longer and don't quite realize what they're messing with in Galad.
118. alreadymadwithrodel
RobMRobM @28
I think it's been pretty much foreshadowed that Bryne was a Blademaster. When Rand's Heronmark sword was outed in Morgase's court(god that was way back EOTW) he was the one who stood directly in Rand's way. Everybody else shrank back. He stated rather authoritatively that the sword belonged to Rand. With the kind of authority that implies he is at that level of skill himself. And just here Galad points to him as his teacher. Otherwise, I also agree it's not necessary for a general to be a blademaster. Didn't somebody have a proverb about a general's sword being the army itself?

JWezy @31
Agreed, Terez27's HCFF remark threw me. Not one of the more common acronyms we throw around here.

gagecreedlives @55
But Elayne IS a spoiled whiner. She's just mad at Galad for not cutting her any slack. She was the Daughter Heir. Everything was gonna be hers one day. Sure she was taught that she had to earn it, deserve it, but that lesson doesn't really sink in until she's seen more of the world. As a child all she knows of Galad is this older boy who's been abandoned by his mother, orphaned by his father and raised as having some authority over her(being an older brother) who keeps giving her a hard time.
@74Everybody else thought so. Only Morgase thought he should be set free.

AndrewB @103
No Cads didn't question Semi directly. She just went straight in and bitchslapped her.

Agree with the previous comments that Rodel's sneakpeeks are a good dose of freshness. Particularly since everybody else has met one of the ta'veren trio or the Girrls at least once, or is an AS or an Asha'man or a borderlander. Rodel's presence is a statement that one can be badass without being on the periphery of the Two Rivers people's interactions.
Jay Dauro
119. J.Dauro
In TEOTW 13 we are told

but all agreed the Children hated Aes Sedai as much as they did Darkfriends.

In 17 when they find Moraine thely say, "Aes Sedai!" ... "Die!"
Although I can remember Pedron Naill thinking that keeping Morgase alive may bring benefits, most others want to execute her for being trained in the Tower. Until Galad, can you point to any Whitecloack we see who doesn't want to kill AS on sight ?


I too have wondered whether we will see a circle of 13 with angreal opposing the damane. We have seen a circle easily shield individual channelers in KOD.
Marcus W
120. toryx
I side with Harai @ 117 about Galad and his joining the Children. I think he explained it quite well.

I also would add my voice to those who point out that Morgase wasn't exactly included in any of the decisions her children made. Which actually makes quite a lot of sense. They're all of the age when one's children stop checking with mom first before making up their own minds. Galad was the eldest of them all and I don't think he had any obligation to receive Morgase's permission.

Gawyn's the one who completely forgot/ ignored his responsibilities. Aside from that first encounter with Gawyn in EotW, I've always liked Galad more. Galad's decision to join the Whitecloaks was absolutely rational from his perspective. Note the emphasis.

Furthermore, as others have efficiently pointed out, Galad is not singlehandedly responsible for that war way back when. Nynaeve has every bit as much responsibility for it, if not more. Either way, when you're in a town packed up with powderkegs like that one had been, the slightest spark will set it off. If Galad hadn't someone else would have mere minutes or hours later.

All in all, Galad isn't bad. He's just been in a lot of unfortunate circumstances. And most of what we've seen of him has been from highly prejudiced perspectives (Elayne, Nynaeve).
Ben Norris
121. I_have_no_life
Galad is still an idiot. He is intelligent, but he would totally be a religious leader in our reality. He wants to believe stuff, so he does. Yeah, he killed Valda, but that was only enough to remove him from my SHITLIST. He is near the bottom of the hatelist until ToM. He is order-obsessed and idealistically delusional. Plus, Elayne hates him, and I think Elayne is awesome (screw you Aviendha for distracting Rand.)

The Three Greatest Diseases of all Time:
1. Religion
2. Idiocy
3. Boredom
Benjamin Moldovan
122. benpmoldovan
Chaplainchris @ 100: Bingo, exactly right about Galad. It reminds me of something else I read fairly recently. About how any number of crimes have been committed by well meaning people without the ability to think things through logically. How it’s better to have someone who can think clearly, and gain wisdom with experience, than someone more experienced who means well and thinks they’re doing the right thing, but never is able to reason things out.

Gage@105: Good point, though. Nynaeve should have handled that better, too.
Alice Arneson
123. Wetlandernw
alreadymadwithrodel @118 - No Cads didn't question Semi directly. She just went straight in and bitchslapped her.

Not entirely accurate. Cadsuane went in and knocked Semirhage's feet out from under her, then spanked her. No slapping involved.

J.Dauro @119 - While I suspect that not all Whitecloaks are as rabid in their hatred of AS as others, I don't recall any Whitecloak before Galad publicly suggesting that AS are in any way acceptable either. Niall clearly didn't believe they were necessarily in need of wiping out, and was quite ready to use Morgase as a political tool rather than kill her, but then he pretty clearly didn't truly believe all the traditional rhetoric of the Children in many other respects. He kept his personal opinions pretty well hidden, but in his POV he was completely pragmatic and was far more interested in the glory of Pedron Niall (via the Whitecloaks) than in any ideology.
124. XLCR
The best resource is the Wisconsin Medical Society, associated with the University of Wisconsin. I will not post a link because of the possibility this post would be spammed out if I did. So you want to Google the word savant, then scroll down to the entry for the Wisconsin Medical Society. That will access most of the best research on the subject, including some good PDFs. Interesting that in the same breath as your accusation of bias you are in fact showing your own bias by accusing academics you know nothing about, having neither seen their work or their credentials, of distorting the facts.

In fact the reports I've read show the usual predilictions of scientific researchers, that is, they want no part of anything that fails to follow scientific methodology. Those statements were made by people who found themselves completely unable to find any accepted or conventional answers, and marked the outside limits of their research. The idea of genetic memories was not representative of a line of research, more like a vague, desperate, throw-away term attempting to explain the unexplainable before closing the books on the whole subject.

More promising has been the use of MRI testing which seems to show Savants operating with their right brains, and using memory banks that normal people do not seem to have conscious access to. That bids fair to explain why and how they become Savants, but it still does nothing to explain many of the things they actually can do.
James Whitehead
125. KatoCrossesTheCourtyard
@123Wetlandernw, suffice it to say that the Whitecloaks opinion of Aes Sedai is as jaundiced as the Red AS opinion of men, male channelers in particular.

Also, I do remember Fain being able to tweak that jaundiced view even in Nial. I just can't get to my books at this moment to verify this. Sorry.


PS - I know you are correct about Cads & Semi but 'bitchspanked' doesn't have the same oomph as 'bitchslapped.' Although bitchspanked is definitely more Cads style. ;-)
Hugh Arai
126. HArai
J.Dauro@119: The first part of that sentence is "Stories told about the Children by peddlers and merchants and merchants guards varied from admiration to hatred". It's a Rand PoV summing up the rumors he's heard before he's ever even been to Baerlon. Not exactly an expert, and likely exaggerated by the fact he's half wondering if Moiraine is a Darkfriend at that point in time. A few pages later Thom says "Tear hates anything to do with the Power even more than Amador, and Amador is the stronghold of the Children of the Light." We don't take that as proof all Tairens want to kill Aes Sedai.
Hugh Arai
127. HArai
J.Dauro@119: As for the "Aes Sedai.. die" in 17 I just confirmed to myself what I thought I remembered: That was Dain Bornhald.
Shall I pick Elaida and use her as proof of what all Aes Sedai believe?

No, we don't see a lot of friendly Children but then until Galad we don't see the Children from a PoV that isn't biased against them. For that matter what we do see is very limited to obstacles for our heroes. I don't think they show the whole any more than the Sea Folk hags our heroes deal with represent all Sea Folk, or the Tairen Highlords represent all Tairens.
Roger Powell
128. forkroot

No, we don't see a lot of friendly Children but then until Galad we don't see the Children from a PoV that isn't biased against them. For that matter what we do see is very limited to obstacles for our heroes. I don't think they show the whole any more than the Sea Folk hags our heroes deal with represent all Sea Folk, or the Tairen Highlords represent all Tairens.

Excellent points and I'll buttress then with examples. Let's start with Mother Guenna - a Tairen who does not seem to be anti-Aes Sedai. Also consider Jorin din Jubai who was the Windfinder who befriended Nynaeve and Elayne. She was certainly not an unpleasant person.
I think it's fair to say that a lot of the Whitecloaks are "followers" - if they are led by a fanatic, it will increase their tendency towards fanaticism, whereas if they are led by a morally straight person like Galad then they will reflect that.

Consider also the redemption of Dain Bornhald. I think TOM proved that deep down he has a conscience and a sense of right and wrong. He was challenged by associating with a fanatic (Byar), fed misinformation about his father's death, and tainted by contact with Fain. Yet, at the most crucial time, his innate moral sense helped him save Perrin.
Alice Arneson
129. Wetlandernw
Kato @125 - Yeah, well, inaccuracy for the sake of impact is a dicey proposition at best. It works, sometimes, but there's always the risk of discrediting yourself when people realize that you're willing to bend the truth just to sound better. ;p

On a loosely related subject, I'm still trying to figure out the apparent widespread fascination with the term "bitchslap". As near as I can tell, the only difference between a bitchslap and a normal slap is that the speaker (or writer) wishes to prove their ability to be vulgar. And this proves... what, exactly? other than the fact that in our culture, somehow vulgarity is perceived to add emphasis. Weird, if you ask me. Although no one did, of course.
Stefan Mitev
130. Bergmaniac
Let's see what the Big Book of Bad Art says about Whitecloacks attitude towards Aes Sedai:

"According to Whitecloak definitions, all Aes Sedai are Darkfriends, or at least evil, as are any who support them. Their claim is based on the belief that it was the Aes Sedai and the One Power that destroyed the world during the Breaking. There is no doubt that the Children and their attitudes are responsible for the intolerance of Aes Sedai in Amadicia. Anyone with the ability to chan­nel is outlawed there. By law any channelers are to be imprisoned or exiled, but in actuality most are killed while "resisting arrest."

Pretty clear, and Galad with his extensive education should've known it. After all, Morgase once couldn't even enter Amadicia to sign a trade treaty simply because she had Tower training. Amadicia is a neighbour of Andor and the Whitecloacks are seriously involved in the Andoran politics, so chances are Galad as a high ranking royalty was taught a lot about them.

Geoffram Bornhald considered all Warders Darkfriends, as we see when he talked to Perrin and Egwene. Just the possession of a Tar Valon mark was considered by him a serious clue that Perrin was a Darkfriend.

Niall believed that all Chidren considered the Aes Sedai Darkfriends and that this is the official doctrine and anyhing else is blasphemy:

“The split in the Tower is real. The Black Ajah rose up, the victors hold the Tower and the losers were driven out to lick their wounds in Salidar.” He looked at Balwer, and nearly smiled. One of the Children would have been protesting that there was no Black Ajah, or rather that all the witches were Darkfriends; the newest recruit would have. Balwer merely looked at him, not at all as if he had just blasphemed against all the Children stood for. “The only decision to make is whether the Black Ajah won or lost. I think they won. Most people will think of whoever holds the Tower as the real Aes Sedai. Let them associate real Aes Sedai with Black Ajah. Al’Thor is a creature of the Tower, a vassal of the Black Ajah.” Lifting his winecup from the table, he took a sip; it did not help the heat. “Perhaps I can fit it in with why I haven’t moved against Salidar yet.” Through his emissaries, he had been using the failure to move as proof of how dire he saw the threat from al’Thor; he was willing to let the witches congregate on Amadicia’s
doorstep rather than be diverted from the danger of the false Dragon.
“The women there, appalled after all these years at how pervasive the
Black Ajah is, repelled at last by the evil they’ve been immersed in.
. . .” His inventiveness ran out—they were all servants of the Dark One; what evil could repel them?—but after a moment Balwer took it up."
Alice Arneson
131. Wetlandernw
Berg - good quote! Niall couldn't really care less if AS really are darkfriends or not, as long he can use either view to his own political advantage. OTOH, even he believes that they are all servants of the DO, and any Whitecloak less cynical than himself would think it blasphemy to suggest otherwise for any reason.

It's a wonder they didn't all hang Galad on the spot for suggesting that they can fight alongside the AS.
132. alreadymadwithspanking
Wetlandernw @123
Spanking IS a form of slapping. It's just hitting a different part of the body.

Or I could say I was just talking (typing) figuratively.

Bitchslap is more than just a single slap. It's a series of slaps designed to show dominance.
Hugh Arai
133. HArai
wetlandernw@131: That's the point though: They didn't all hang Galad and they free him from Asunawa who clearly does believe the AS are with the DO. The obvious reasons why they would free him are either that they don't all believe AS are DFs or they don't care. Since the ones we see in ToM clearly do care about fighting for the Light, my money is on the former. Niall didn't have a perfect grasp of the views of all the Children. He didn't even see the strike coming from that other cynical bastard, Valda.

Bergmaniac@130: You'd think Galad would know that, true. But then you'd think Morgase would know that too right? And where does she go when she flees "Gaebril"? Amadicia. Clearly the Andoran royal family thinks they know something we don't know. I admit I don't know what that might be.
134. alreadymadwithstanding
Wetlandernw @131 & HArai @133
You also have to consider that Galad had just had his MOA. His standing w/ the Children was suddenly as high as anyone could be. He was in a position to recommend a course of action that normally would never have been considered. And live to tell about it.
135. s'rEDIT
Question about Ituralde:

I haven't seen this particular question discussed, although I haven't visited Theoryland either, so fogive me if it's old and cast aside.

If Rodel Ituralde is also known as "Little Wolf" AND the "Towers of Midnight" exist in Seanchan and therefore could be representative of that Empire (yes, I know we decided the towers in Egwene's dream are the Forsaken), why couldn't the dark prophecy simply mean that Ituralde will be killed in a fight with the Seanchan?
Hugh Arai
136. HArai
alreadymad@134: Good point. Although the time between his duel with Valda and the Lords Captain rescuing him from Asunawa should probably have been long enough for them to no longer be caught up in the moment. I need to read ToM again, but IIRC some of the LCs that rescued him weren't even at the duel. Still the winner of a duel "under the Light" should have pull, it's true.
137. alreadymadwithlordscapt
HArai @136
True but the Lords Captain by this time also had more time to look at Galad's plan objectively(that is if Galad's plan became widely known). When they met up they had the opportunity to compare Galad himself to Asunawa.
The Lords Captain made their positions clear. Galad spoke of reuniting the Children and finding allies to fight the Seanchan (who still had Children enslaved in the fortress, a sore point to most) whereas Asunawa marched them several legions only to turn their swords on the other half of the Children. Galad spoke of unity and brotherhood, Asunawa wanted only blood.
In addition, most of the mainline Children would balk at the idea of a Questioner having overall leadership. That was a huge reason in of itself.

The other possibility is that they did not really know what Galad's plan was. But realized that whatever it was, it would have more sense than Asunawa's plan.
Roger Powell
138. forkroot

If Rodel Ituralde is also known as "Little Wolf" AND the "Towers of Midnight" exist in Seanchan and therefore could be representative of that Empire (yes, I know we decided the towers in Egwene's dream are the Forsaken), why couldn't the dark prophecy simply mean that Ituralde will be killed in a fight with the Seanchan?

Actually that was discussed quite a bit in the TOM discussion thread.
Alice Arneson
139. Wetlandernw
alreadymadwithspanking @132 - Bitchslap is more than just a single slap. It's a series of slaps designed to show dominance. Then why do people consistently use it here in cases where only one slap took place? Again, as near as I can tell, the only purpose is exaggeration - or gratuitous vulgarity just for the fun of it.

alreadymadwithstanding @134 - That's probably the only reason he did live to tell about it. They were both stunned by the event, and awed by his courage & skill. It gave his words more weight than they ever would have carried in a situation sans MOA. Quite possibly many of the CoL are less rabid about their hatreds than certain foaming-at-the-mouth types we've seen; probably most of them joined more for the employment than for the ideology. Still, the long-standing tradition-as-strong-as-law would have made most of them extremely reluctant to vocalize anything resembling tolerance, much less approval, of Aes Sedai. Alliance? That's a stretch not one of them would have dared before this moment.


ditto @137 - Big picture stuff... I often think the rank-and-file Whitecloaks have roughly the same opinion of the Questioners as they do of Aes Sedai. They are disliked but feared, and given (feigned?) respect only because of the fear. To have a Questioner at the head of the organization wouldn't sit well, would it? And Asunawa certainly seems to inspire... what's the polar opposite of trust? No, he would maintain that position only as long as enough of the captains were either out of reach or fearful of personal reprisal. Good point.
Roger Powell
140. forkroot

I can't wait til we get a post from alreadymadnotwithstanding

Stefan Mitev
141. Bergmaniac
Desperate times call for desperate measures. After being crushed by the damane, the more sensible and less fanatic Children probably started to consider that an alliance with the Aes Sedai might not be so bad and it would be the only way to have a chance against the Seanchan. "The enemy of my enemy..." and all that.

And of course, hearing this suggestion from someone who had just won a ritual duel thus favored by the Light made this suggestion much more convincing than it would've been under normal circumstances.

BTW, I've always thought Morgase wasn't thinking clearly due to the effects of the Compulsion when she decided to go to Amadicia. Otherwise this decision just make no sense for me since it's common knowledge what happens to Tower trained women there and that the Whitecloacks were Morgase's main political enemies for years, actively trying to undermine her power in Andor.
Hugh Arai
142. HArai
Bergmanic@141: She apparently spent a few weeks gauging if she could rally support in Andor first. She argued with Tallanvor that they should go there. Tallanvor favored Ghealdan. She's apparently clear-headed enough to deal with Ailron and his court when she gets there. It doesn't seem like she's in a "Compulsion-fog" or anything like that. She's fine unless she actually thinks about Gaebril himself.
Roger Powell
143. forkroot
So the Whitecloaks are suspicious of channels, eh? I wonder if they would have listened to Galad if they knew that he was the Dragon Reborn's (half) brother?

In fact, I'm wondering if Galad will find that out in AMoL and what his reaction will be?
144. srEDIT
forkroot@138: I've seen a lot of discussion there, but not of this question in particular.
Kimani Rogers
145. KiManiak
Just because (or, what one will do when one is procrastinating):

How is a bitchslap different from a regular slap?”

Answers from the urban dictionary www.urbandictionary.com. Oh the things you find on the internet… :-)

(Btw, I love that there are multiple variations based on whether you make it one word or two):

A) Bitchslap (1 word)
1. overpowering backhanded slaps to the face and body, delivered by a supposedly docile female to a supposedly dominant male.
2. To slap someone (particularly but not necessarily female) who is being rude or nasty, perhaps screaming a lot (i.e., being a bitch). The idea is to get them to calm down and behave. It doesn't necessarily mean you really hit the person; there is such a thing as a verbal bitchslap
3. The literal and/or metaphoric slapping or whacking someone in order to knock some sense into them.
4. When a man slaps another man as he would a submissive female (rather than punching him), therefore a degrading and humiliating blow.
5. To smack a punk with the basckside of ones hand
6. A methaphorical or real verbal or physical action that was intended to put sense into somebody.
7. To verbally pummell some arrogant and ignorant fool with a precision comeback.

And there are several more!


B) Bitch slap (2 separate words)
1. To open handedly slap someone. Denote disrespect for the person being bitch slapped as they are not worthy of a man sized punch. Suggests the slap was met with little resistance and much whining

( I had to include the example for this one):
Keith owed me that $20 for weeks and I had to bitch slap the M.F. to get it back.

2. As distinguished from the more common "pimp slap", a bitch slap is preceeded by ample forewarning and delivered with a flourish or exaggerated post-blow hip movements. Nonetheless, the blow is firm and may involve an open forhand or backhand.
(A "pimp slap", to the contrary, is regularly delivered without announcement and oftentimes over breakfast at an IHOP, on a subway platform, or numerous other indiscriminately chosen venues. The blow is always, always struck with the back of ones hand as to do otherwise is bad form. And the hip motion that accompanies a pimp slap provides the torque to knock a bitch silly.)
3. A Bitch Slap is a sharp, openhanded, stinging, yet generally benign slap – similar to being slapped by a bitch. When you “bitch slap” someone, you are slapping him or her like a woman would! Scratching, hair pulling, cursing, and crying generally follow a well-placed bitch slap.
(Contrary to most definitions, the “bitch” is describing the “slap” rather than the destination)

4. To disrespectfully slap someone in the face with an open hand. The implication is that the person being slapped is not manly enough to be worthy of a real punch. Term is used figuratively to mean putting someone in their place (or diss) in no uncertain terms.

And there are several others of that one, too.

To tie this back to Cadsuane and Semirhage (because now, this is relevant to the discussion at hand) I would have to say that Cadsuane was adhering to the bitchslap (1-word) definitions numbers 2 & 3.

Have a nice day everyone.
146. mrexperience
I so Agree with @27; Rodel Ituralede is first of all one of the coolest names in the whole series. I mean, who names his son Rodel? At first you have to get to know him but he is also part of the 'badass' cast of the light. I think his story line gets more interesting as we go along. KoD is one of the better books of WoT. Sorry Katrina precluded your ability to enjoy it Leigh. Hope you change your mind on the Re-read......CoT.....snooze
Hugh Arai
147. HArai
forkroot@143: I'd be curious to see Rand and Elayne's reactions too. Rand places a lot of weight on family and his birth mother gave up Galad to have Rand. Elayne on the other hand spent all that time maintaining Galad's not her brother - and it looks like he's going to be her "half-brother-in-law" :)
148. alreadymadwithbitchslap
See? It's not just about the amount or degree of physical contact. It's the show of dominance. Knocking Semi off her pedestal. Showing her who's boss.
Maiane Bakroeva
149. Isilel
Peg me as another one who is lukewarm towards KoD. It doesn't correspond to anything negative in my personal life, nor was it the first WoT book that I had to wait for (TPoD holds this dubious honor), but I was very much an embittered lapsed Jordan fan when it came out. In fact, I only read the spoilers on-line initially and only got the book once I started following Leigh's re-reads.

And yea, sure, it is a great relief that the 3 major storylines that were bugging me for years were finally brought to a close, but it took most of the book to get them there.
And since the reason I wanted them gone was that they were boring me, I didn't appreciate them monopolizing KoD at all. Nor did I find the pay-offs to be worth the pain.

Not being a particular fan of Mat, I didn't enjoy watching him doing nothing surrounded by characters most of whom I rather dislike, and in a setting that has been completely mined out of it's entertainment value on previous occasions.
And enough has been said about the other 2 PLoDs.

Nor did I like the complete ruin of Semirhage as a capable villain/credible threat. And no, her destruction of Seanchan Imperial family doesn't change that as it couldn't happen to a nicer group of people ;) and is clearly hugely beneficial to Our Heroes.

Egwene's storyline, Rand's downward spiral, the BA hunters and, funnily enough, this prologue were the only interesting bits for me.

Now, as to Galad, there really is no plausible explanation as to how a fellow like him could join an organization which kills channelers when he very deeply cared about 2 channeling women and had a crush on a third.
It may not have been in their mission statement, but it _was_ their modus operandi and given his upbringing, Galad knew it in advance. I also have to agree that it was a disloyal action to Morgase as Queen of Andor, as they were her political enemies. So, yea.

Nor do I see how bringing a few thousands of giant cry-babies with huge sense of entitlement into the fold was so critical to the Last Battle that we had to waste so much time and so many characters on it.
Why not convert the Shaido if you are about it? At least they'd have been more useful against actual Shadowspawn and hey, ta'veren can do anything.

Having said all this - I always understood why Galad was the way he was. All his life he has known that his mother had failed in her most sacred duties, not to mention abandoned him, with the most disastrous consequences imaginable.
And while he was just a kid then, he probably sensed that his father wasn't far behind in this respect.
So, of course _Galad_ tried to be the opposite of that, to make up for his parents failures. Of course he fiercely loved Morgase who was a parent to him after his own parents have abandoned him.

And he is totally awesome here in the prologue. I love this fight - it is really the best one in the series, IMHO, and Galad's blademastery feels wholly earned unlike cough... perfomances of some other characters.

Ituralde- I was also concerned at yet another important character introduction at this late stage... and yet I love the fact that _somebody_ who is not a main character doesn't just bend over for the Seanchan and in fact shows them what for with cleverness and determination, rather than ta'verenness/overhelming arcane power/ prophecy. I liked his campaign against Seanchan and I liked that even among conquered Taraboners, some people were ready to resist them.

Semirhage... sigh. I am not sure that I would have liked to see her slaughter of the Imperial family, but it being off-screen, done to people we don't care about and also being so clearly beneficial to Our Heroes seriously detracts from the menace potential of this act.

The one good thing is that it shows that Seanchan social organization isn't as beneficial and stable as their fans like to insist and that the sacrifices in freedom and dignity that their system imposes aren't worth it.
Like in every rigid dictatorship, remove the autocrat and everything degenerates into bloody chaos, even worse than what the Seanchan invasion "saved" Tarabon from.
And of course the chaining of damane didn't really help them against a channeling evil-doer who really knew her business. Allow me some Schadenfreude at this.

But otherwise, Semirhage is already beginning to suck. Tuon had a habit of vanishing and Semirhage didn't manage to take advantage of it to abduct and re-model her in _2 years_? Hello? How incompetent is she?
Oh, but there is more - Semirhage seemingly neglected to put inverted finder weaves on Tuon's jewelry. Which, given Tuon's habits above, yea, points out that Semi really doesn't have 2 neurons to rub together.

Additionally, if regaining Tuon is important to her (and it is), if keeping control of Seanchan in Randland is beneficial to her, why does she leave it all in Suroth's hands? Argh!

Not to mention her upcoming utterly lame plan to capture Rand...

I disagree that Mat should have replaced Ituralde, but IMHO his storyline would have been incomparably better if he had to contend with the most logical and important danger - Semirhage, rather than with the make-work RJ had to conjure for him to try to make his storyline look relevant. YMMV.

P.S. I want my spell-checker back! Do you hear me TOR? I want it baaack :)!
150. alreadymadwithsemischaos
I don't think Seanchan is all that beneficial to her. It worked as a powerbase from which to operate but now that the endgame has almost started it made sense for her to start moving in on the Westlands.

At this point I don't think she cared what happened to Seanchan anymore. She'd done her share of chaos already. And was handing it off to Suroth as sort of a hand-me-down trinket.
Sydo Zandstra
151. Fiddler
Put on the shoe if you think it fits you.

Not the whole world is Christian.

I've been around here long enough to know who is where on their beliefs. And that's no problem to me.

But this is a FANTASY SERIES, people, so please stop applying your religious morals to people in this fantasy series, because it is not only fantasy, but RJ did not share your belief.

Yes, this was triggered by the whole Galad debate. And a lot of people going moral on this annoy the hell out of me.
Alice Arneson
152. Wetlandernw
Fiddler - I'm baffled. What are you talking about?
Chris Chaplain
153. chaplainchris1
Fiddler - seriously, what Wetlander said. Other than some gratuitous religious bashing up above - the rather insulting comment that Galad's thoughtlessness and inflexibility would "totally make him a religious leader" in our world - I don't see where anyone brought religion up at all, nor that anyone is doing any moralizing. Frankly, I don't see any so-called debate on Galad's morality. The debate is about his ability to think through the consequences of his actions, and what reasons he had to join the WCs, and if they make logical sense. Unless there are posts I'm missing?

By the way - since, so far as I can tell, I'm one of the first on this particular thread to challenge the Galad admiration - and since I do so on the basis of his critical thinking skills - and since as you might guess from my email address I am a religious leader of sorts (albeit on a strictly local level) - well, I find the charge that religious people are ipso facto more moralistic and less able to think critically than non-religious people more than a little ironic.

I 'm doing a reread of TEOTW, and tonight read a section where Moiraine tells Egwene that Aes Sedai are still just people. Some are brave, some cowardly, a mix of smart, stupid, kindly, cruel, etc. (Interesting given the "different flesh" nonsense other AS try to foster, yes?) The same applies here, imo.

Oh, and about Nynaeve in Samara. As I recall it, all she did was ask Uno and Galad to look ships. She never intended or told them to use force. Maybe she was naive - which does go to a critique of her critical thinking - but, well, one of the hardest things for basically smart but inexperienced young people to anticipate is just how disastrously stupid people can be. (Boy, that doesn't sound cynical at all, does it?) Anyway, I hardly think failing to anticipate Galad's actions makes her as responsible for them as he is. There's perhaps blame to share, but in my opinion Galad gets the lion's share. (Though I grant the several good points about how chaotic things were and that it may have been inevitable that fighting would break out.)
Maiane Bakroeva
154. Isilel
Alreadymadwithsemichaos @150:

I don't think Seanchan is all that beneficial to her.

Semirhage wasted 2 years to insinuate herself into Seanchan structures and when they are finally in Randland, where she could use them, she just drops them? What was the point then?
She could murder the Imperial family without spending 2 years there, just like Graendal didn't need to spend a lot of time in Shara to abduct their rulers.
It is not like Semirhage engineered the Return either - that one was in work for decades, long before she was released and would have happened without her.
John Massey
155. subwoofer
@Fiddler- I get what you are saying... especially back at post 115. If we take into reference what Elayne said back when... can't recall the book but it was something to the tune of Galad does what is right, no matter who suffers... Well, true, at that time, RJ did paint Galad in that light. Not necessarily Huma, or even Strum for that matter, more like Lawful neutral. That being said, in these last few books I think we are exposed to the idea that even Galad is not a static character and has evolved his moral code in the last little bit. Or more to the point, Galad has evolved the Children's black and white code to the next level.

The good vs. bad no matter the consequence does make sense. For Galad, fighting the DO and being at the Last Battle to oppose him is paramount. The reality is, Aes Sedai will be there too, and there will be channelling. Now is it productive to go on this tear and bugger around with the " witches" or get your butt to Tarmon Gai'don and let battle sort things out? I think that is Galad's approach.

I know that some folks have let their faith and values influence their blogs, but let's face it, that is what this is about. We draw from who and what we are and post our views based on our experiences and beliefs. No small surprise that Christ pops up, even here, a world RJ created very pointedly with a very limited BS... er Belief System. I get it though, cause otherwise imagine the flame wars... you thing the gender bending issues get folks into a lather.

Meh. It is what it is. I'm wearing comfortable underwear so it is all good. And things could be worse, here we are in the safety of our homes blogging about a hobby, while folks in Japan and other parts of the world are struggling for existence. I think we are doing ok.

.... incidentally, wasn't it Niall that brought Galad into the fold?

... and if anybody can find a good quality clip of Mike Epps, aka Powder from the movie How High- doing some "pimp slappin'", put it up here, I think it could be enlightening;)

John Massey
156. subwoofer
Annnnnd, IMHO, ok, sometimes I am not so humble, anyways, to me, the three greatest "diseases" to plague mankind, er, personkind... ok things that hold folks back are:

1. Apathy
2. Ignorance
3. Doubt

bad teeth should get an honorable mention.

Heidi Byrd
157. sweetlilflower
@Sub, I can get on board with apathy, but number two should be willful ignorance and number three is entitlement.
Heidi Byrd
158. sweetlilflower
So, I've been thinking about Semihrage's evilness and how different prople have been disappointed in her actions. One thing that keeps occuring to me is that she has a lot of sociopathic tendencies in that she sees other people as objects and enjoys "playing" with them as toys. As far as I can tell, the only thing that really brings her "joy" is inflicting pain on others. This attribute does not make her a brilliant tactician or strategist, it just makes her unpredictable and scary. She is very good at killing and torturing, but we have never heard of her pulling off some great strategy or battle. Semi is not Greandal. It seems completely in character for Semi to enjoy the psychological torture of Tuon and giving her a "penance" every now and then and otherwise feeling very comfortable and calm in her control of the situation. She is not a planner, or a worrier. When she does feel like the situation is getting out of her control, she goes and kills the entire Royal family to increase chaos and have a little fun. Her version of "blowing off steam". Again, this seems in character for a sociopathic sadist. You may, of course, disagree.
Birgit F
159. birgit
.... incidentally, wasn't it Niall that brought Galad into the fold?

Valda was the one who recruited Galad. Probably wasn't his best idea.
John Massey
160. subwoofer
@sweetlil- 2 things- get thee to the conn

and this...

There is an old story about the Devil's yard sale. The Devil decided to out of business (wouldn't that be nice?) so he held a yard sale to get rid of his old tools. As one woman walked around the yard she saw many tools that appeared to be in great condition; tools labeled, discouragement, bad times, sadness etc. However, one tool stood out because it was so old and beat up and also carried a large price tag. It was labeled "doubt". "Why", she asked, " Is this tool so beat up and so expensive?" The devil replied, "Because this is the one tool I always use. It works best because no one suspects it's me."
And we rarely do. Entertaining reasonable doubt seems like such a wise thing to do. But the point of view of doubt is a prison where we are
incapable of taking action. After all - with a state of mind of doubt -
we are never sure if we are doing or saying or being the "right thing."

Valentin M
161. ValMar
sweetlil @ 158

Reasonable analysis of Semi. It will explain a lot why she did so little from the excellent position she was in.
162. AndrewB
alreadymadwithrodel @118 said "AndrewB @103
No Cads didn't question Semi directly. She just went straight in and bitchslapped her."

Not the seen I was referencing in my comment. By way of refresher (genesis of my comment). Joanathan Levy @77 mentioned that Cads was questioning Semirhage when she started talking about the times when Semirhage replaced the blood from her prisioners with some other fluid. I pointed out that Merise was questioning Semirhage when Semirhage gave her recollections.

Cads spanked Semirhage after she spilled her floor onto the floor. Serene was questioning Semirhage during this chapter.

Sweetlilflower @158:

Wonderful characterization of Semirhage. One thing additional that can be added about the type of person she was: a bully.

As with many bullies, she can throw a punch but she can not take one. If you recall, Semirhage is crying when she was stashed away in the room before she was freed.

It is this aspect of her persona that shocked me the most. Up to TGS, we had seen Semirhage as a sadistic soul her tortured her victims for pleasure's sake. For Semirhage, the purpose of breaking somebody was not to turn him/her to the Shadow or get information out of him/her; rather, it was something she "enjoyed." Hence her use of the line "slicing into somebody let her see what that person was made of" typically brought a smile to her face. However, when she thought about that line in TGS, it did not.

I must say, I did not see this aspect of her character (i.e. that she was a bully at heart). In some way, I lost respect for her (as much as one can respect a fictitious, sadistic character). i could have accepted that she was a sadistic villian. Hey, some people are just evil (hello, Charles Manson).

Yet now that I know she was a bully, I do not like her character as much. (I am not saying RJ/BWS did a bad job creating Semirhage's entire character -- in fact, they did a very good job.) At the end of TGS, I was not disappointed that she will no longer be in the series.

Greandal, on the other hand, I did not like what happended to her at the end of ToM. I want at least on of the Chosen to make it to The Last Battle (and possibly beyond) as a worthy adversary to Team Light. I think the punsihment that Greandal will receive (assuming she is allowed to live and the Dark One resurrects her) will make her nothing more than an ineffective toadie -- See Mogy and Cyndane.

I still am holding out hope that after Team light wins, somebody will be charged with capturing darkfriends, Dreadlords, Black Ajah and any Chosen who survive the Last Battle. Say for example, the Red Ajah -- a new purpose for their Ajah. In conjunction with Ashaman. The Ashaman will need an Ajah-like parallel -- maybe some of them can work with the Red Ajah to hunt down Dark followers. A sort of Randland post-WWII Nazi hunting orginization.

If anybody from Team Jordan is reading this (as if) and RJ did not leave any contradictory instructions/writings/notes as to what the post-Last Battle landscape will look like (e.g. that the One Power ceases to exist), can you please include such "Shadow Hunters?" Pretty, please with a cherry on top.

Thanks for reading my musings,
John Massey
163. subwoofer
@Andrew- yeah, kinda like the 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo. Scoobs and Shaggy, Scrappy, Flim-Flam and Daphne had to round up all the baddies that they were tricked into releasing. I can see the Reds doing something useful for once. I do see a comeback for some of the Forsaken in the final book. Call it a hunch, but the DO is going to pull out all the stops come LB time. And Fain will kill them all with his knife.

I still like ol' flame head as my fave among the Forsaken, gone, but not forgotten.... well if we are picking from the douche-side for folks.

164. AndrewB
Subwoofer @163 -- FWIIW, My favorite Forsaken is Graendal.

BTW, do we know what the names of all the Forsaken meant in the Old Tongue? (Question is directed to anybody out there). I think I know/remember the following:
Ishy: Betrayor of Hope
Sammael: Destroyer of Hope
Mogy: Spider
Semi: Lady of Pain (this may have been what the fandom thought it meant and later confirmed in a WoT novel)
Lanfaer: Daughter of the Night

Thanks for reading my musings,
Alice Arneson
165. Wetlandernw
Andrew, the only ones we know Old Tongue translations are:
Ishamael, Betrayer of Hope
Lanfear, Daughter of the Night
Sammael, Destroyer of Hope
Cyndane, Last Chance

In addition, we know that a moghedien was a tiny, deadly spider in the AOL, and that the aran'gar and osan'gar were the right- and left-hand daggers in a particular (and deadly) form of dueling.

To the best of my knowledge, we have no meaning for Semirhage; although she is known in some places as the Lady of Pain, I get the impression that's more a description of her proclivities than the translation of her name.
Theresa Gray
166. Terez27
It is kind of similar to hemorrhage. It always makes me think of that.
John Massey
167. subwoofer
Hemorrhage! Good call!- forever will I have that association now:)

Kimani Rogers
168. KiManiak
Isilel@149 re: “Nor do I see how bringing a few thousands of giant cry-babies with huge sense of entitlement into the fold was so critical to the Last Battle

Heh. A little harsh on the White Cloaks there, aren’t ya? I almost rose to defend them before I remembered I didn’t like them that much. Still, 10-15k more trained soldiers at the Last Battle wouldn’t hurt. Which is why I also hope somehow Lan and his 12,000 at Tarwin’s Gap can be saved. Pretty tough odds, though, without Nynaeve or Rand sending some help their way…

sub@155 - I think you may be confusing Mike Epps with Omar Epps. Omar was in Higher Learning; Mike was in How High. Easy mistake. I looked and found a few examples on YouTube of “Baby Powder” preparing for his pimp slap (love the other guy pouring baby powder on his hands), but they were all horrible copies or glitchy clips.

sweet@158 – Yeah, I’ve always seen Semirhage as scary and intimidating. Not really a master strategist. She’s definitely one of those “I like to play with my food before I eat it” types. I also agree with AndrewB@162 that she is basically a bully. You hit back harder and she folds. I still respect her for what she was though. Intimidation and fear were some of the Shadow’s better tools (look at the Myrdraal).

Andrew@162 – re: post AMoL activities – Yeah, I’ve tried not to let my imagination run too wild on how Randland will look post TG (I refuse to accept Avi’s future visions from ToM; I’m going with alternate/possible future), but chances are good that many Dreadlords and Shadowspawn survive. I think hunting down the Dreadlords would be an excellent use of the Red Ajah, and I would also add the Greens to that mix. I personally think that Aes Sedai and Ashaman should bond each other and coin a new term; instead of Warder be more like a “Partner” or something.

Terez@167 – For some reason, Semirhage’s name has always sounded somewhat “draconic” to me. Must be associating it with some dragon in fantasy; I just can't figure out from where...

JordanCon attendees: We want pictures; we want stories; we want uploaded videos!
Valentin M
169. ValMar
Well, 10 000 WCs. Quite a number of pages for them. Rand/Light have already about 80 000 Tairens, similar number Illianers, 100 000 from the united WT, Cairhienin, 100 000+ Andorans, 200 000 Borderlanders just in the South, the Domani, Mat's lot, Perrin's lot, and all the rest who I forgot. With the Aiel they approach a million. And the Seanchan are there too.

I think the Lightsiders may do without the WC ;) Probably the plotlines involving them had other important stuff happen there (no sarcasm there)
Theresa Gray
170. Terez27
If you want videos, watch @portalstones on Twitter - he's been recording pretty much everything, and he'll be posting videos soon enough.

Also, I'm driving Brandon to the airport tonight, so I'll have a chance to interview him then. Can't wait! I'll take suggestions for questions.
John Massey
171. subwoofer
thanks Ki, HL was a good movie , Tyra was young... slimmer, and purty, sigh, but Omar has no sense of humor. Wah.

Got nuthin for Brandon. Everything I have involves who lives and dies... and maybe who gets spanked...

Alice Arneson
172. Wetlandernw
So ask if there are any spanking scenes in AMoL! ;p

I've always wanted to know just what Cadsuane was referring to when she thought about using blackmail on the three Asha'man, but I suspect that's a better question for Maria. It hardly seems fair to ask Brandon questions about obscure comments in books he didn't write...
Theresa Gray
173. Terez27
I don't think Maria has left yet, so maybe I'll get a chance to ask her. Good question - I've always wondered about that too.
174. AndrewB

I have 3 questions:
a) Will there be adverse consequences because Rand lost his angrael when captured in LoC? (probably will be a RAFO answer)

b) In ToM, did Graendal tell Mesaana how to avoid the Three Oaths in return for the angrael she had when SH came to exact punishment for Graendal's failures?

c) Who killed Amo? -- whoops, force of habit.

Thanks for reading my musings,
Theresa Gray
175. Terez27
On the second question, for one the timing is wrong. For another, he'd almost certainly RAFO that.
177. s'rEDIT
Thanks, Terez27! Can't wait for the audio!

btw, is anyone else just a little bit sorry that we've lost Lews Therin's separate voice?
Alice Arneson
178. Wetlandernw
Way cool! I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who thinks the "blackmail" question isn't obvious... :)
179. AndrewB
Terez27 -- re my 2nd question (see 174 above) why is the timing wrong? (Although you are probably correct that my question would have been RAFO'd

Thanks for reading my musings,
180. alreadymadwithmoridin
Isilel @154
Seanchan as in the faction now making waves in the Westlands, yes, still very much relevant to Semi's plans. Seanchan as in the continent, not so much.
Agreed, not putting finders on the girl was probably shortsighted. But she was already a confidant of Tuon's so she probably didn't expect her to run off without telling her.

Wetlandernw @165
Moridin is Death.

And I always figured Cadsuane used dodgy reasoning to get the Flinn etal bonded to her lackeys. This must be what she refers to internally as blackmail.
Benjamin Moldovan
181. benpmoldovan
Ok, Tor, what the heck is going on? I keep trying to bookmark my place in this thread, and I keep getting these messages:

"Showing posts by: function" and

"There are no matching items for this blogger."

And yes, I did click on "Bookmark", not something else.

Specifically, I was trying to bookmark #149 or 150. Neither worked.

Alice Arneson
182. Wetlandernw
alreadymadwithmoridin @180 - I thought Moridin, I just (apparently) didn't type him. Hmmm. Oops?

Re: blackmail - a lot of people jump to that conclusion, but it doesn't make any sense to me. What would she use as leverage? Why would no one else (including them) ever even think about how they were pressured into it, or acknowledge that it looked a bit dodgy? It just doesn't connect, in my mind. As far as I can see, the only reason people get to that conclusion in the first place is that they (the readers) don't see anything else unusual in that segment of the story, so "that must be it." FWIW, I once asked Maria about it on facebook, and she said something like "I think I know, but I'll have to look it up to be sure when I get home." But they were in the middle of ToM editing, as well, so it probably got lost in the shuffle. I'm hoping Terez had a chance to ask her about it, but she might have gotten the same answer. I noticed that Brandon said much the same thing - "I'd have to look it up to be sure" kind of answer. This gives me hope that the stock answer is the wrong one.
183. alreadymadwithblackmail
That's just how smooth of an operator Cads is. The other party didn't even realize they were had. Cads however always knows what she's doing, and doesn't indulge in self-delusions. So in her mind she did do blackmail. But the reasoning altogether while dodgy to her, was convincing enough to the Asha'man that they thought the reasons valid enough.

I think Cads' reasoning is dodgy.
Alice Arneson
184. Wetlandernw
Could be. I hope someday we get a straight-out answer from Team Jordan, though. Just because I really, really want to know.
Hugh Arai
185. HArai
wetlandernw@184: I've sort of been reduced to hoping that (and the issues with most of the other bond permutations) gets cleared up along with the Logain/Taim deathmatch I'm hoping for in aMoL.
Leigh Butler
186. leighdb
Hey guys,

sorry to do this to you, but I am seriously not well at the moment, and haven't been since Sunday. So there will be no new Re-read post today. We will resume KOD next Tuesday.
Kat Blom
187. pro_star
Happens to the best of us Leigh!!! Drink lots of juice, feel better, and rest up!
Valentin M
188. ValMar
I hope it's just a result of lack of sleep and alcohol + age ;) As I approach 30 I find myself feeling worse after having one too many.

Get better and present us with ASOIAF post on Friday!
Marcus W
189. toryx
Leigh: I'd have been shocked if you'd been able to put together a post for today. The last time I went to a Con and had a similar experience re: alcohol and lack of sleep, I was sick for about a week after. Talk about putting your immune system into jeopardy!

Feel better soon!
190. alreadymadwithrage
Not to mention that FINALLY there is a character in a position to be properly enraged over the way Morgase has been treated, which is something I’ve only been annoyed about since TFOH.

Now that I think about it, Galad wasn't the only character who was "properly enraged" at Morgase's experience.

Rand was as well. He went after Rahvin for that particular reason as well. Which is kinda ironic, since both ended up going after the baddies for what they thought was murder, only for Morgase to turn out alive. In any case, by a twist of fate Tigraine's sons end up handing out Morgase's payback another point of similarity. Just musings.
Amir Noam
191. Amir
ValMar @169

I think the Lightsiders may do without the WC

Never underestimate the logistics needs of an army that is almost a million strong. Such an army must have considerable laundry needs, and the Whitecloaks are obviously very accomplished at bleaching, so I definitely see a role that they can play.
Tess Laird
192. thewindrose
Amir - you forget how good Sisters are at cleaning their clothes - definite competition on who can stay cleaner.

Have to say that I wasn't surprised to see Rodel get some screentime, we are approaching TG, so we need to see each of our Great Captains in action. Rodel is a master at guerilla warfare tactics, and also fighting in close quarters(see him in action in ToM).

Agelmar knows how to fight huge armies of shawdowspawn.

Bashere knows how to handle crazy leaders and still get stuff done - see Tenobia and Dark Rand(Light Rand as well!).

Gareth bloody Bryne can put up with any Aes Sedai you can name and hold his own .

Pedron Naill is dead( he was all about the old glory days anyways - like a grown man who talks about that hail mary pass he threw in high school to win the confernce game.

Mat is to young to be considered a great captain - he needs to kick butt in TG and then he will get the designation.

tempestof theangryatreallifeforinterferringingoingtojordancon:(™
Valentin M
193. ValMar
amir, thewindrose @ 191, 192

I think you've stumbled upon the real reason for the animosity between the WC and the AS :) With their use of the OP the AS have been undercutting the WC in the bleaching, laundry, etc., trade.
John Massey
194. subwoofer
Yur not sorry, Boozy Mcboozerton... and then to add insult, yur probably gonna have that other post on Friday... gah.

In my experience, the best way to get over a hangover is not to sober up... keep drinking... for awhile. It helped Hemingway.

And get a dog... a St. Bernard, that way there will always be a supply of booze on hand, and you'll have a dog. It helps, trust me;)

195. alreadymadwithstbernard
Lol. Sub. nice pic.
Joseph Blaidd
196. SteelBlaidd
Re: need for WC. 15k TRAINED CALLVERY>twice their number untrained fot in millitary effectivenes.

Also Galad is absolutly perfect as Viceroy of Carhien:
Ties to the Local Nobility
In relationship with Barilain who was The Dragons Administrator of Cairhien and known to be good at it.
Intensly honorable and known to be.
Unambitous for power, not likly to try to set up own kingdom.
197. AndrewB
It has been quiet this past week. Apparently, Leigh is not the only one recovering from JordanCon.

Here's a question that popped into my mind the other day. I do not remember if this has been previously addressed. Moreover, I do not remember it being discussed in WoT series.

Can a damane use an angreal or sa'angreal to enhance her strength? Or does the a'dam prohibit an angreal / sa'angreal from working? We have been told that the a'dam prevents damane from forming circles.

Maybe this question will carry us for a day or so.

Thanks for reading my musings,
198. Wortmauer
AndrewB@197: Can a damane use an angreal or sa'angreal to enhance her strength? Or does the a'dam prohibit an angreal / sa'angreal from working? We have been told that the a'dam prevents damane from forming circles.
The reason they can't form circles is because the a'dam itself forms a link, or circle. A link with ... rather specialised properties. But we know that, in general, a participant in a circle can use an angreal. In the first circle I can remember, in TDR, the Amyrlin used a sa'angreal in separating Mat from his dagger. (Love that scene. "I am a free man, Aes Sedai. I am no Aes Sedai meat.")

However, there's still a question: the way one uses an angreal is to draw the Power through it in some way. I suspect a damane couldn't do so on her own; her sul'dam would have to know how. (We learn in the Bowl scene in TPOD that it isn't completely intuitive, you need to at least know the principle of how it works.) And, so far as we know, the Seanchan haven't even heard of angreal.
John Massey
199. subwoofer
Quiet? I've been extremely loud... at least in my own head :P

Naw, I've just had bigger fish to fry. My daughter is teething and there is no cry free zone right now. Any helpful suggestions would be appreciated. I've tried bourbon, but she's still crying after I pass out.... er... help!

John Massey
200. subwoofer
Oh... lookit this... a bright shiny new 2 hunny spot.... yay me:D

And spring is here- means I can get out my truck just in time for happy weather and have a little fun:)

Sorcha O
201. sushisushi
Wortmauer@198 You know, it's a bit weird that the Seanchan don't seem to know anything about *angreal, alright. I could understand that if the a'dam link precluded the use of an angreal or sa'angreal, but we have insufficient information to tell if it does or not. I mean, what we know about the dynamics of linking and angreals should mean that they would work with an angreal, but only if the sul'dam knew to draw through the angreal as well as the damane and that's where my head starts to hurt. Also a'dam circles are decidedly non-standard links, so who knows?

So, presuming Deain gets collared on Luthair Hawkwing's command, and if damane can't use angreal, that would mean they either end up as WoMD used by marathdamane or locked up somewhere and forgotten about. Or first one and then the other as the various AS rulers got collared. (I'm having interesting speculative thoughts about the basements of the Towers of Midnight here...) I wonder is that why the Seanchan were so leery of the explosion at the Kin's farm? They thought it was 'a weapon' - their main obsession with the Power seems to be Make Things Go Boom, so a super-powered Power object would be a logical fear as the cause of a Really Big Boom.

What I think is a good bit stranger is the seeming lack of ter'angreal among the Seanchan, particularly as Deain obviously not only knew what they were, but how to make them. Apart from the Crystal Throne itself, I don't think we've had any sniff of anything ter'angreal-like from the Seanchan, have we?

No useful suggestions, sub, sorry, am still recovering from the flu from hell here, so I have nothing but sympathy...
Andrew Foss
202. alfoss1540
Given the the a'dam is an angrael, and the Seanchan seem to have a decent supply of them, then where is the a'dam/angrael factory? Who is making them (It took the Supergirls to make them on this side of the Aryth pond). How/where do they get them.

And while we are at it, as for other Seanchan innovations, what about forkroot. We only hear of it en route from Tanchico to Amadecia, and from all accounts it was unknown (maybe only to the SG's). But the Seanchan then use mass produced amounts of it for control of their pets (which Perrin then takes advantage of). Who came up with this brilliant root and when.
Alice Arneson
203. Wetlandernw
subwoofer @199 - Hyland's teething tablets. Worked wonders for my kids.

sushisushi @201 (and related) - We have it on good authority (BWS) that the Seanchan only know how to make one ter'angreal - the a'dam. They were, apparently, given the Bloodknife rings (which are also ter'angreal) by someone outside Seanchan, so presumably a Forsaken (unless they had a huge, huge stash of them from 'way back when), and they have the Crystal Throne which has been around for "many longs." Given that they can no longer make ter'angreal it's a fair bet that they can't make angreal either, and to the best of my knowledge we haven't seen any awareness of such things among the Seanchan. (Hopefully none of the captured AS had an angreal on them at the time...)

As for Deain and the making of ter'angreal... As I understand it, she invented the a'dam and gave it to Luthair & co., thinking that she would therefore have his undying gratitude. Obviously not, but I do think she was the last one collared. (My impression only, based on the way I read that brief passage.) Since Luthair & co. had nothing but hatred and disdain for Aes Sedai in general, it's quite possible that they either were unaware of such things as angreal, or that they considered them anathema. A couple of generations of everyone assuming that all "objects of power" need to be smashed to smithereens (if possible) and tossed into the deep blue sea, and soon you have nothing left but the Crystal Throne and the a'dam. (And the Bloodknife rings, but we don't know when or where they showed up first.) It's even quite possible that Luthair outlawed the making of any *angreal except the a'dam; either way, the making thereof could die out fairly quickly.

Oh, and on the original question... we have no reason to think that the a'dam would preclude use of an angreal, but as sushisushi notes, there is still the need to know how to use it. I suspect the sul'dam would have to do it through the damane somehow, since neither would be able to do it on her own. Given what we know, I'm betting there are a number of the more experienced sul'dam who would be able to learn it quite easily, but they might not be willing; it might tip them over the edge into direct channeling, and that's where they claim their "moral authority" over the damane.

alfoss1540 @202 - Ronde Macura is, as far as we know, the one who discovered the Power-affecting properties of forkroot. After being treated rather... harshly by the Aes Sedai (for losing Elayne, IIRC), she went to Tanchico, where she gave (or sold) the "secret" to the Seanchan. They latched onto the concept in a hurry, given their eagerness to leash all the marath'damane in Randland, and began searching out, cultivating, harvesting and processing all the forkroot they could. It may be a little improbable that they could come up with the quantities we find upcoming in the timeframe given, but... that's what suspension of disbelief is about, right? ;) And if you want a rationale, try this: what if forkroot is a more or less a common weed, like dandelions? Picture it - these strangers are offering a dollar a plant for all the dandelions you can dig up and bring them! The entire peasantry would be digging and bringing; it would be a new cottage industry, and the kids would be working harder than anyone at a job that requires not much more than a willingness to go all over the countryside and do some digging. In that scenario, it's at least marginally plausible.
204. AndrewB
Wetlandernw @203 said: "They were, apparently, given the Bloodknife rings (which are also ter'angreal) by someone outside Seanchan, so presumably a Forsaken (unless they had a huge, huge stash of them from 'way back when)"

I got the impression from ToM that the Bloodknives have been around for many generations. As i read ToM, I thought the use of Bloodknives has been a standard military tactic where they needed a suicide squad to infiltrate enemy lines and inflict substantial damage. The unit seems to be an honored unit. That would imply it has been known to Seanchan society for a long time. Remember both a former damane and suldame knew enough to recognize the Bloodknives' knife (ToM -- where Gawyn questions them re the knife he got from the Bloodknife)

I gather that the Seanchan have tried to recover the dead bodies of the Bloodknives where possible (to keep reusing the ter'angreal).

I suspect that the weaves to make the rings were taught to damane by a Darkfriend Suldame/Damane pair at the behest of Ishy during one of his "out-of-prison" cycles.

Although given the direction of the series, I do not think we will ever learn the origins of the Bloodknife rings. If we are lucky, this is a question that might get answered in a post AMoL encyclopedia.

Thanks for reading my musings,
Birgit F
205. birgit
There are some damane who can make a'dam (but not other ter'angreal).
The Bloodknife rings are probably a leftover from the time when AS fought each other for power before Luthair came to Seanchan.
The Seanchan have started making farmers grow forkroot.
Alice Arneson
206. Wetlandernw
Andrew - I agree that "If we are lucky, this is a question that might get answered in a post AMoL encyclopedia." You're also quite correct that the "well-known" aspect of the knife & ring indicate that they've been around Seanchan for a long time, so most likely they are either left from before the Paendrag takeover, or they were provided by Ishamael on one of his periodic escapes from the Bore. Anyway, it doesn't sound like they're a recent acquisition, as would be the case if Semirhage provided them.

FWIW, though, someone asked Brandon about the Seanchan making ter'angreal (after TGS, therefore after we'd seen the rings, and somewhat in context with them) and he specifically said "the Seanchan only know how to make one kind of ter'angreal - the a'dam." The way he said it sounded significant to me, though I might be reading too much into it. As I understand it, we know they aren't making more Bloodknife rings, only a'dam, and it might become a factor (somehow) if there are a small number available in Randland and they find that they can't recover the ones they use there. And of course, with Seanchan in upheaval, Tuon can't send for more from the homeland, so she's limited to the ones she has on hand. (She, or anyone else who has authority to use them, anyway.)

Or maybe it was Brandon's way of directing us away from pointless speculation on massive use of Bloodknives in the remaining books, if (for example) those five were the only ones Tuon had. That would mean that, once they had served their purpose of giving Gawyn his MOA, they won't matter any more. ::shrug:: It's all speculation at this point.
207. Wortmauer
Wetlandernw@203:And if you want a rationale, try this: what if forkroot is a more or less a common weed, like dandelions?
Not impossible, but I find it unlikely, if it were a common dandelion-like weed, that Nynaeve would never have heard of it prior to the Ronde Macura incident. Sure, it could have gone by another name in the Two Rivers, but given the geography, I would expect it to at least grow there. Nynaeve should have recognised it and its minty flavor.

I agree that it's puzzling how the Seanchan came up with so much forkroot in so little time. Maybe it just grows really fast, and the Seanchan just planted a lot of fields of it. How little time is it? According to one chronology, Perrin visits the Celestial Seanchanings factory 235 days after we first learn of forkroot courtesy of Cheech and Chong's adventure in TFOH. You can grow a lot of things in less time than that, particularly if you're just picking leaves, rather than waiting for tubers or fruit. And Amadicia has a southern climate. Though they did have a dry dry summer and a fierce winter, thanks to the Dark One and the Bowl of the Winds, which would tend to slow down the whole farming thing. Also, wow, I'm rambling.

I also don't have an offhand estimate of when the yellow spy turned her yellow coat or how long it took the Seanchan to ramp up their operation.
Sorcha O
208. sushisushi
Wetlandernw@203 Argh, I totally forgot about the Bloodknife rings! That's really interesting that they were given them by someone. I wonder was it Ishy being naughty again?

I got the impression that Deain was the last one collared, too, of the original Seanchan Aes Sedai, as opposed to those caught by the institutionalized yearly testing. Good points about tossing the angreal supply overboard and outlawing the making - both of those would radically reduce the supply and knowledge, particularly when the making seems to be a rare talent.

I'm sure that at some point while Egwene was captured that one of the sul'dam said something about her hopefully being one of the rare few who could make a'dam. There must be a room full of damane somewhere over the other side of the Aryth making them, though, because didn't Semirhage come to her meeting with Rand with a box full of male a'dams? The original was only found in TSR, and Suroth got her hands on it in WH, so the copies must have been made since.

And if forkroot was as common as dandelion, I'd make a fortune on my garden. Too many things have interfered with weeding for the last year, so it's dandelion city out there at the moment.
Sorcha O
209. sushisushi
BTW, tomorrow is St. George's Day, which is the traditional day to pick your dandelions, so anyone interested in herbal wine, you know to get yourself organised now (and if you want to come clear my garden out, be my guest...)
Kimani Rogers
210. KiManiak
Wetlander, AndrewB, and birgit 203 – 206 re: Seanchan and ter’angreal – I find this interesting and a little peculiar. Damane can only duplicate the a’dam? The only other ter’angreal we’ve seen the Seanchan actively use (I think) are the Bloodknife rings? And common belief is that those can’t be duplicated, so there is only a finite amount given to the Seanchan at some point in time? Finally, BSW verified this (or at least, that the damane can only duplicate the a’dam)?

Okay, so here’s my problem: How did Semirhage end up with 6 domination bands at the ready for her planned ambush of Rand (when she was impersonating Tuon)? I had always assumed that the damane could duplicate any ter’angreal they had, which is why I never questioned the number of domination bands.

But if what you guys are stating is correct (and birgit almost always has the facts down and Wet almost always recalls what Team Jordan has credited/discredited), then there is some kind of problem.

I’m assuming the original domination band is still in the hands of the Seanchan (otherwise you would think there would have been some mention of it disappearing onscreen by Tuon or one of the Seanchan royalty when discussing the Dragon in TGS or ToM). So if the damane that can duplicate the a’dam didn’t also duplicate the domination band, then how did Semi get 6? And if that damane did duplicate the domination band, then how come she can’t duplicate other ter’angreal?

Has this question already been asked and either answered or RAFO’d and I missed it? Wet, when you mentioned what Brandon specifically mentioned ("the Seanchan only know how to make one kind of ter'angreal - the a'dam.") were you pointing out that BWS was indirectly stating that the domination band copies came from someone else?

Because I can take that little detail and run with it. If that was BWS was indirectly stating, does this mean that one of the Forsaken (it would have to be Moridin I think; otherwise at least one of the other Forsaken should have been better prepared to fight Rand with some type of ter’angreal) or another Dreadlord has the ability to replicate (and possibly create) ter’angreal? And if so, does that partially explain Moridin’s secret warehouse of ter’angreal we see in ToM? And if so, couldn’t it also allow for the possibility that the Dreadlord would also have the ability to create angreal (or at least a ter’angreal that is a weapon, like the balefire rod)?

Anyway, all these questions now pop up. I'm really curious; has the whole thing with the domination bands and questions regarding their duplication/replication been discussed elsewhere and I've missed it?

EDIT: I see sushisushi also caught the domination band exception. (Domination band exception. Hmm, sounds like a potential title of a Big Bang Theory episode)
Alice Arneson
211. Wetlandernw
KiManiak @210 - Egeanin gave the original Domination Band to Suroth who, presumably, gave it to Semirhage rather than Tuon; I dont' recall any occasion when Tuon was ever made aware of its existence. IIRC, it was the orignal that was stolen from Cadsuane and used on/destroyed by Rand; the copies are presumably still in safekeeping, since the only way we've seen to destroy one is to use the True Power on it.

We don't know who made the copies, but it certainly didn't have to be damane. I would think it not terribly likely, since Suroth thinks about how hard it is to find a DF sul'dam, and the damane can do nothing without one. Still... possibilities: One possibility might be that Semirhage abducted one of the a'dam-making damane and used her to make them. (Knowing Semirhage, she'd probably have killed the damane afterwards and no one would have known anything except that she'd vanished.) It's also possible that, as you say, one of the FS made the copies; most likely Semirhage, Demandred or Mesaana. Unfortunately, we don't know what Talents any of the FS have, so... we don't know if any of them can make ter'angreal or not. We can be reasonably sure neither Graendal, Sammael, Asmodean nor Moghedien could, given their thoughts on the subject of finding stashes. My best guess would be Demandred, since we know so very little about him, but that's completely a shot in the dark. I vote against a BA, just because I don't think any Aes Sedai, black or not, would/could hide the ability to make *angreal.

Maybe one of the reasons for BWS's emphasis that the Seanchan only know how to make a'dam is to set us up for the revelation that one of the FS cam do it, or that they have a Dreadlord with the ability... We'll find out in another year or so, if that's the case. If not, we can only hope it will show up in the post-AMoL encylopdedia.
Alice Arneson
212. Wetlandernw
FWIW, here's the relevant quote from Brandon:

Q. Mr. Jordan stated that the Seanchan only know how to make one kind of ter'angreal. Then there are the Bloodknives' rings. Is this a departure from Jordan's notes, or a discrepancy in a past answer?
A. Neither. The Seanchan only know how to make a'dam.

This doesn't prove much about the Domination Band; one could argue that it's an a'dam and so is included in what they can make, but... well, make of it what you will.
213. AndrewB
KiManiak @210 said: "I’m assuming the original domination band is still in the hands of the Seanchan (otherwise you would think there would have been some mention of it disappearing onscreen by Tuon or one of the Seanchan royalty when discussing the Dragon in TGS or ToM)."

Actually, the original domination band was destroyed in ToM. This was the "male adam" that Cads kept in her box. After Semirhage was freed, Elza handed her the original domination band. This was the adam that they used to collar Rand. He destroyed the adam when he channeled the True Power.

(As an aside, I refrained from referring to the original domination band as ODB, which in some people's mind may be transalted as "one dirty ." An interesting abreviation when discussing something related to Semirhage. Well anyway, back to the topic at hand.)

I might be wrong, but I thought the domination band was unique. It had to wrist bands -- a user could put both on her wrist or split them among two "suldame" to control the male channeler. All the other adams that Semirhage brought with her were single-wristed bands. They could be used to trap either female channelers or male channelers. Although if a female suldame was paired with a male channeler through an adam, both would receive excrutiating pain (IIRC, this weas explained in TGH when Egwene was collared).

As a result, Semirhage just brought excess adam -- from her point of view, it did not matter how many female or male channelers Rand brought with him so long as he did not exceed five additional channelers.

Thanks for reading my musings,

edit: I see Wetlandernw has beat me to the punch regarding the fate of the domination band
Jay Dauro
214. J.Dauro
KOD 27 - A Plain Wooden Box

There were six of the larger circlets, and five of the silvery leashes. Semirhage had been prepared no matter who he had brought with him.

So 5 a'dam and 6 domination bands. There is no mention that any of the six were different than the others, so we really don't know which (if any) of the six was the original.
Kimani Rogers
215. KiManiak
Wet@211&12 – I thought that the Domination Bands had been turned into the Seanchan in general, and not just Suroth in specific, and so was therefore known to exist by more than just Suroth. However, I can’t recall what text led me to that conclusion, so barring any evidence to the contrary (and I’m really wrapped up in Malazan right now, so I’m not really motivated for an in depth search) I’m willing to go with your statement that it was only given to Suroth. Either way, no problem.

My issue above was that Brandon seemed to be indirectly stating that the damane were incapable of copying the Domination Bands, which brings us to the question of who did the copying. It therefore shouldn’t be some damane that Semirhage coerces into copying it; Brandon’s quote seems to state that the damane wouldn’t know how. Plus, isn’t the thing made from cuendillar? It also seems questionable to me that any of the Forsaken (including even Moridin, the more that I think about it) would actually be the one to do it.

Why would they help each other out like that? Even the alliance that Semi, Mesaana and Demandred seemed to have doesn’t seem to facilitate this happening. Why would Semi entrust the Bands to Demandred for copying? Why would he trust her enough to give her multiple copies of something that enables her to capture and control any male channeler, including himself? Why would the Dark One direct his other Chosen to make DB copies? Why would Moridin? I thought the Dark One just wanted the Dragon captured, so why not just instruct Semi to capture the Dragon and kill anyone else instead? Moridin's got Taim 13x13 folks at the Black Tower; why would he care about catching/converting 5 more and risking losing out on capturing the Dragon when it would probably be easier to just kill them instead? So many questions…

I actually can’t fathom who would work with Semi to make these copies, and for what purpose. For whoever did though, I think it’s reasonable for us to assume that that person is making all other kinds of ter’angreal as well. Again, maybe this explains Moridin’s terangreal storage room. So yes, maybe this was indeed Team Jordan setting us up for a big reveal of massive amounts of terangreals in Moridin’s possession in AMoL.

AndrewB@213 – it seems JDauro@214 gave similar responses to the ones that I was planning to. I’ll just add that before the Domination Bands were “discovered,” there doesn’t appear to be any type of male channeler controlling device used by the Seanchan. I believe the Seanchan just killed them.

As for “ODB” - Now, when I see that I think of a member of the Wu Tang Clan myself. But that’s just me :-)
Maiane Bakroeva
216. Isilel
Wertlandernw @211:

Egeanin gave the original Domination Band to Suroth who, presumably, gave it to Semirhage rather than Tuon; I dont' recall any occasion when Tuon was ever made aware of its existence.

Well, there was this cryptic conversation between Semirhage in her persona as Anath and Tuon on a ship, where Semi said something about Tuon being dangerous to Rand and how he mustn't realize it until it is too late. Or something along these lines. I have always thought that Suroth must have informed the center and there was a plan for Tuon to trap Rand with a Domination Band.
Tuon is very practiced in wearing 2 bracelets too, as she demonstrated to Mat's AS and which is somewhat pecular for a sul'dam.


I may be misremembering, but IIRC it wasn't clear whether Cadsuane's DB was the original or a copy.


Why would the Dark One direct his other Chosen to make DB copies? Why would Moridin?

Well, apparently Semi's lame attempt to capture Rand with a DB was on direct orders from on-high, so why wouldn't the DO order it? And as we now know, Moridin was perfectly safe from the DB, being the channeler of the True Power, so why wouldn't he?
In addition, a'dam is really easy to copy, apparently, so DB may be the same.
Perhaps Elayne was more successful than she knew in her attempts to teach SAS the making of ter'angreal, eh?
Or maybe Moridin or one of his bond-girls has a minor ter'angreal making Talent - just enough to make the copies of really easy ter'angreal, but nothing more.

Speaking of Semi's "plan" (which doesn't deserve that description) to capture Rand and his retinue - ya, I don't see how it could have possibly worked either.
She had only 6 sul'dam along, for one, and they weren't even all DF's. Her only chance to overcome Rand and his 5 channelers was to channel herself and that would have immediately lost her the support of the non-DFs. Not to mention - what if Rand's half-dozen came in linked?
This is one of the main reasons why I hate this plot point so much - it is just idiotic beyond belief. Villains from morning cartoons come up with better. What a waste of a villain!

Sushisushi 208:

I got the impression that Deain was the last one collared, too, of the
original Seanchan Aes Sedai, as opposed to those caught by the
institutionalized yearly testing.

Not quite - it took 8 centuries more for Paendrags to conquer all of Seanchan continent, so Seanchan "AS" probably continued to exist up to that point in the ever-shrinking free territories. Which gives the lie to the notion that the Empire was oh, so wonderful, BTW.

And also, I strongly suspect that they probably killed Deaine pretty soon after her well-publicized collaring, since as an inventor of a'dam, she may have left some kind of back-door in it or found a way to defeat it eventually.
Given the alleged horribly back-biting nature of Seanchan pre-Conquest, it seems very strange that she was, so apparently trusting of Luthair and/or his heirs.
Stefan Mitev
217. Bergmaniac
I always thought that it was Semirhage who copied the DB.

I definitely agree that her plan to capture Rand later on on KoD was really stupid. And let's not forget how easily Semirhage put the DB on Rand later simply by disguising herself as a servant and thus getting near him without making him suspicious. Just goes to show once again how pathetic and unnecessary risky her "fake Tuon" plan was.
218. Shadow_Jak

Speaking of Semi's "plan" (which doesn't deserve that description) tocapture Rand and his retinue - ya, I don't see how it could havepossibly worked either. She had only 6 sul'dam along, for one, and they weren't even all DF's. Her only chance to overcome Rand and his 5 channelers was to channel herself and that would have immediately lost her the support of the non-DFs. Not to mention - what if Rand's half-dozen came in linked?
This is one of the main reasons why I hate this plot point so much - it is just idiotic beyond belief. Villains from morning cartoons come up with better. What a waste of a villain!

She didn't plan a direct confrontation. Remember, she expected to be taken for the DotNM coming to negotiate with the Dragon Reborn.
And it could easily have worked except for Caddy's ter'angreal seeing through her disguise.

Anyone think he would have refused to meet with her alone to discuss the details of their agreement? As we saw in TGS, she only needed a few seconds to slap on the collar.
Maiane Bakroeva
219. Isilel
Shadow_Jak @218:

Anyone think he would have refused to meet with her alone to discuss the details of their agreement? As we saw in TGS, she only needed a few seconds to slap on the collar.

When Rand was in ostensibly safe environment, distracted and she was disguised as a completely unthreatening servant. He would have been much more wary of an enemy leader. Not to mention, what if he had been linked?
Also, meeting alone would have been a highly suspicious request from her too. A notorious channel-phobic wanting to meet with a channeler alone, where he'd have a chance to do anything he desired to her? Major breach of character.

Additionally, the number of a'dams and DBs in Semi's posession indicated that she intended to collar Rand's retinue too - and I really don't see how it could have been at all possible, with just 6 sul'dam, half of whom weren't even DFs.

No, nobody who had 2 neurons to rub together would have come up with such a "plan".

And Rand versus FS has become a completely boring routine that lacks any suspense. Yes, despite his channeling sickness even. He clearly had an upper hand here and it took a lot of painful contrivance to get him hurt.

Which is why it would have been much more interesting if Semi came after Tuon, and Mat and his coterie had to deal with her, IMHO. Show us the tripod in action, for Pete's sake! Have Mat's romance develop via genuinely important and dangerous events, rather than in odd vacuum.

It is very disappointing IMHO that most of the supporting main characters main plot participation was reserved for AMoL and before that they were on make-work character-building excursions... for 5 freaking books :(. While genuinely important stuff was handled by Rand (with a bit of help from Nyn) in a mostly perfunctionary and unsatisfying manner.


Semi neglecting to put finders on a crucial pawn who is known for her sudden disappearances and on her faithful shadow was more than a slight oversight - it was gross incompetence, IMHO.
I mean, at least one of the disappearances must have happened during Semi's tenure even.
And no, it has been specifically shown that Tuon _didn't_ trust Anath and confide in her and Semi was cognizant of the fact.

It also doesn't make sense that Semi would have been content to spend 2 years as Tuon's flunky without anything to show up for it. Yes, she was a sadist, but she wasn't free to indulge in her proclivities on the grand style when among the Seanchan, so that couldn't have been satisfactory on that level.

And according to the ugly book she was an adequate general and a successful territorial governer during the War of Power, so it doesn't make sense for her to not care to make any use of the superb tool which Seanchan in Randland could have provided to a halfway competent villain.

And finally, Semi was a FS - even if she was less focussed on N'aeblisshood than others, she still had to show the DO some successes to keep him happy. And for these 2 wasted years she had zip.
220. KatieG
In TEOTW Balthamel and Aginor are showing a lot of wear from the sealing, and I remember some mention in other books of less visible effects in the rest. So, since almost all evidence of forsakenly competence is pre breaking ……
Conclusion: she DOESEN"T have 2 neurons to rub together.
221. AndrewB
When Egwene enters the third arch in her Accepted testing, she sees herself as Amyrlin with Beldeine, a Green Sister, as Egwene's Keeper. I believe that the signifigance of this is to emphasize to Egwene her connection to the Green Ajah. After she comes out from this arch, Egwene asks Alanna about what it means to be a Green Sister.

Thereafter, Egwene thinks of herself as a would-be Green. On her travels on the road to Tear and with the Aiel, she identifies herself as a member of the Green Ajah. Further, while a captive in the Tower, she laments the stubborness of the Green -- she says to herself that if she had chosen an Ajah, Egwene would have chosen the Green.

IMO, the fact that Egwene saw Beldeine as her Keeper is irrelveant; any Green would have served the same purpose for Egwene.

With the above in mind, was there any significance in Egwene having a baby girl named Joiya when she went in the first arch?

As far as I can remember, this is the only time in WoT that two characters have the same first name. (I do not include Mat saying his first name is Thom when Rahvin asks Mat his name in TDR.)

Joiya is the name of one of the Black sisters who fled the Tower with Liandrin. IMO, the name of Egwene's daughter must have some significance -- I just do not have any clue.

Any thoughts about what, if any, significance that Egwene has a daughter who shared the same name with a member of the Black Ajah?

Thanks for reading my musings,
Alice Arneson
222. Wetlandernw
Isilel @219 - Not sure what the lack of DFs among Semirhage's sul'dam (or damane) has to do with the plan to collar all of Rand's retinue. They're sul'dam; Rand's team are unleashed channelers. She wouldn't need DFs to convince them to leash anyone they can - they'd do it with no orders at all. I agree that attempting to pull it off with even numbers would be dicey, but Semirhage was channeling when they arrived, and had disguised her ability and inverted her weaves. Without Nynaeve's and Cadsuane's ter'angreal, Rand's team would have thought it an even match and been taken by surprise by whatever Semirhage did, even when they were half-expecting a trap. They "shouldn't" have been able to see it coming, and that advantage "should" have been enough to allow the damane (with Semirhage's unrecognized assistance) to knock them out long enough to collar them all. Rand's team was warned by the paralis-nets; without those, Semirhage's plan would probably have succeeded.
223. alreadymadwithdeain
On using angreal:
Errr... Using angreal was pretty intuitive to Rand. Not just using one but identifying one too. But this is Rand we're talking about... Maybe LTT whispered to him how to find and use one.

On Deain being collared:
I thought it was explicitly stated that Deain WAS the last one collared. Plus some notes about her screams echoing all over. (starts searching for appropriate passage)
Marcus W
224. toryx
Sometimes I wonder if people forget that the Forsaken (and other Darkfriends) don't know as much as we do. Everything seems simple when you've got a 20/20 perspective after the fact.

The biggest mistake the Forsaken tend to make is one shared by virtually all of them: They undersestimate present day people. And that's not really a surprise when you consider how little the Aes Sedai know of the One Power and the devices that are used with it. The Forsaken view the AS as children and for good reason. Given that perspective, Semirhage had no reason to prepare a more capable plan. With any other group it would have been very successful.

She made a mistake and a disasterous one at that. But it doesn't mean she's an idiot or incapable. She failed due to her arrogance more than anything, which is a pretty common trope for fantasy bad guys.
Stefan Mitev
225. Bergmaniac
I don't buy this. The debacle at the Cleansing of saidin should've taught the Forsaken not to underestimate current day channellers. Jordan confirmed Semirhage was there, BTW, though she was offscreen. So she probably noticed that Cadsuane and co had a bunch of useful angreal and ter'angreal too. So she knew she had no chance in an open battle with his 6 damane against Rand's top channellers.

Semirhage's plan relied on somehow getting Rand alone with her and putting the DB on him. Given that he had plenty of reasons not to trust the Seanchan, it was a really dumb plan. Far easier to just disguise as a servant and sneak up on him without all the hassle of arranging a meeting - which is exactly what she did later, ironically enough. Or Compel someone to do it, if she didn't want to risk it herself.
Don Barkauskas
226. bad_platypus
Bergmaniac @225:

Yes, Semirhage was there (according to Word of God), so she likely noticed the angreals, but she wouldn't necessarily have seen the paralis nets in action. Alivia had one, but I'm pretty sure only Cyndane encountered her; and none of the Forsaken got close enough to Rand and Nynaeve to encounter Cadsuane's paralis net.

So unless Cyndane told Semirhage (possibly through Moridin), she could easily not have known.

This reminds of me of a point: Cyndane was clearly completely flummoxed when her weave unraveled before it hit Alivia, and had no idea that a ter'angreal could do that. How does that square with Rand demonstrating to Cadsuane that his Lews Therin memories include the properties of the paralis net? Was it just a Light side invention that was developed right before the end and never deployed?
Theresa Gray
227. Terez27
Since people are mostly paying attention here (at least, I think this is the most recent post), I've posted the signing questions featuring blindillusion (and there are more signing questions from WSB upthread).
228. alreadymadwithparalisnet
bad_platypus @226
Rand identified some of the paralis net's components and their uses, but IIRC he also noted there were other items he could not identify. The saidin sensor and weave disruptors I believe fall under this category. This confirmed that Cadsuane's set was a Breaking era creation.
Theresa Gray
229. Terez27
Also, I posted the full transcript of my interview with Brandon, which I thought I had included in the last post but didn't apparently. Wetlander gets a shout, and Freelancer.
Don Barkauskas
230. bad_platypus
alreadymadwithparalisnet @228: Good call. That sounds right; I'll have to check the books when I get home, but I believe you've got it.
Alice Arneson
231. Wetlandernw
alreadymad @223 - It's in TGH, chapter 40, but I haven't looked up the details. I just remember the phrase about "her screams echoed through the Towers of Midnight when she was collared."

Terez @ 229 - So fun reading the interview - you're so right, verbatim is MUCH more fun! ::waves back:: Hi, Brandon!! :)

Loved the part on name pronunciation - mostly because he validated my pronunciations of Lan and Tar Valon, which have bugged me every time I heard a different version. :)

As for the rest, it was great to read. Poor guy - he gets asked so many questions, and between trying to figure out which ones to answer and which not, and the things that he'd have to look up... I don't envy him!! Thanks for asking all our questions!
Jay Dauro
232. J.Dauro
TGH - 40
When Luthair Paendrag Mondwin, son of the Hawkwing, first faced the Armies of the Night, he found many among them who called themselves Aes Sedai. They contended for power among themselves and used the One Power on the field of battle. One such, a woman named Deain, who thought she could do better serving the Emperor - he was not Emperor then, of course - since he had no Aes Sedai in his armies, came to him with a device she had made, the first a dam, fastened to the neck of one of her sisters. Though that woman did not want to serve Luthair, the a’dam required her to serve. Deain made more a'dam, the first sul'dam were found, and women captured who called themselves Aes Sedai discovered that they were in fact only marath'damane, Those Who Must Be Leashed. It is said that - when she herself was leashed, Deain's screams shook the Towers of Midnight, but of course she, too, was a marath'damane, and marath'damane cannot be allowed to run free.

So it is not mentioned whether she was last, but it is implied that many were collared before her.
233. hawkido
@227 Terez
Hey in these questions there was a big breakout discussion about balefire and clotes not remaining... I have the answer to that...
If I balefire you and you die in the past then your clothes would not be where I balefired you, they would still be in your dresser neatly folded, with a hole in it.
Theresa Gray
234. Terez27
Well, that would totally depend on how strong your balefire was. Moiraine could only manage enough to burn back a few seconds.
235. hawkido

well then his clothes would be a few steps back over behind one of the red stone pillars.
236. alreadymadwithbalefire
If the beam was big enough it could disintegrate the clothes themselves...
William McDaniel
237. willmcd
I like the idea espoused by CorwinOfAmber @58 that KoD is the "beginning of the end" of the series. I've often tried to analyze the series in terms of beginning, middle, and end, and I always get hung up on the transition from Beginning to Middle. Specifically, TFoH; it has a slowdown in pace (for the first 40 chapters at least, until the fighting starts in Cairhien) which feels more akin to the "middle" books than the early ones, but at the same time Rand rapidly builds more political power and takes out a Forsaken at the end, which are more like the early books. Don't know.

Anyhow, regarding the KoD Prologue, like so many others when I read this the first time in 2005, I loved it, and was excited to see things happening again after the drudgery of books 8-10. But in reading it this time I saw a new pattern: the common thread in these first three PoVs (Galad, Ituralde, Suroth), is that they all relate to the order brought by the Seanchan rapidly crumbling. The Seanchan lose their alliance with the Whitecloaks (who may now start fighting each other), they start to lose Tarabon (which was quite secure), and the royal family is assassinated back in Seandar, throwing the government of the empire into chaos.

We as readers fist-pump as we read these things, because we don't like the Seanchan (most of our perspectives on them forever colored based primarily on Egwene's captivity in TGH). Yet, with the Last Battle approaching, what the Shadow wants is to see the forces of humankind wiping each other out, and giant steps are taken in that direction in this chapter. Indeed, at least two out of these three developments were initiated by the Shadow (Graendal with Ituralde, Sermihage with the assassinations; can't think of any direct connection between Galad and the forces of the Dark), presumably because the Seanchan were gaining too much power and creating too much stability.

Looking from a "short time until the Last Battle" standpoint only (which is to say, ignoring our visceral reactions to the undesirable aspects of Seanchan culture), these PoVs do not bode well for Team Light (however much we may like them instinctively). Ergo Semirhage's repeating of the maxim "Let the Lord of Chaos rule".
238. hesuchia
I actually don't hate the Seanchan like a lot of people do. Their discipline and order is pretty respectable and since the blood generally stay in their own areas once a place is settled, it seems like most people really don't cross their paths and their lives aren't affected too much (it mentioned this in some pov somewhere). Plus I can't really hate it with the whole Mat/Tuon storyline. I don't hate Mat, he becomes a leader of Seanchan, therefore I can't hate Seanchan ;).

As for Ituralde...I love that guy. Normally I zone out with military maneuvers, but with this and his later battle in that one city (I'm not looking up the name), he's a master at guerilla warfare. There's something awesome about a much weaker force hitting the right pressure points that make a much larger force collapse in on itself. Also I loved his line about how he *wants* the Seanchan to chase him because he has a trap lined up. And if that one doesn't work, he has another. And another if that one fails. Awesome foresight and intricate strategizing. Made especially cool with the whole Galgan/Suroth conversation where Galgan says not to worry since the military leader in Tarabon (I'm not looking up his name either) will chase Ituralde back to Arad Domon (falling right into Ituralde's trap if he does!).

I read the early books twice, but the middle/end ones only once since I stopped reading in the middle of the series the first time: both for all the dragging plotlines and the fact that the series was only like 3/4s completed anyway and I'd have to wait too long. So I don't really remember a lot of this stuff as clearly, like if the traps work before Rand shows up. I just love that he has the stuff going. Bryne is a great captain but all he's done is sit and people just telling stories about how great he was. Bashere is pretty cool, it's nice to get his perspective also. Niall didn't do much except stay in one room and reminisce at how good he used to be. Agelmar didn't really do much except having people mention he was in the battle at the blight offscreen. It's nice to finally be introduced to the fifth great captain and actually have him *do stuff*. *Cool stuff*.

Of course Mat is super-captain, but that's obvious and clearly awesome so I don't really need to explain (though I can't wait til Tuon actually sees him in his element, instead of having that constant image of him as Tylin's pet, burn her (RIP)).

Subscribe to this thread

Receive notification by email when a new comment is added. You must be a registered user to subscribe to threads.
Post a comment