Apr 26 2011 1:49pm

The Wheel of Time Re-read: Knife of Dreams, Part 2

Knife of Dreams by Robert JordanTip your hat to my newly restored constitution, kids, for this is the Wheel of Time Re-read!

Today’s entry covers Part 2 of the Prologue of Knife of Dreams, in which we have a new boss who may actually not be the same as the old boss, a belated realization that the memo from the brass may not have said what it seemed to say, and the dubious merits of (possible) promotion through the medium of invisible facial blemishes.

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

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

And now, the post!


Prologue: Embers Falling on Dry Grass [Part 2]

What Happens
Pevara sits with another Red Sitter, Javindhra, in Tsutama Rath’s flamboyantly decorated rooms. Tsutama is now the Ajah’s Head (“the Highest”) and Pevara thinks that her exile had only made her harder. They are discussing the rumors about Dumai’s Wells which had finally begun to circulate; Pevara defends against the notion that Katerine or Tarna spread them, saying there was no way to keep sisters from learning what happened eventually through their eyes-and-ears.

Galina's death had lifted a great weight from Pevara's shoulders – the Highest, a Darkfriend; oh, that had been agony! – yet she was uncertain about Tsutama. There was something… wild… about her, now.

Something unpredictable. Was she entirely sane? But then, the same question could be asked regarding the whole White Tower. How many of the sisters were entirely sane, now?

Pevara asks if Tsutama brought them here because of the letter she had received (addressed to Galina) from Sashalle Anderly. Tsutama tells them Sashalle confirms most of what they’ve heard from Toveine and other sources, but also claims she is “in charge” of most of the sisters in Cairhien. Javindhra asks how that is possible, and Tsutama ignores her to read the section where Sashalle informs them that she and a number of other sisters have sworn fealty to the Dragon Reborn, and that she, Irgain Fatamed and Ronaille Vevanios have been Healed of stilling by an Asha’man named Damer Flinn, and that she swears what she did was for the good of the Red Ajah and the Tower. Javindhra opines that Sashalle is clearly delusional, but Tsutama doesn’t agree, and tells Pevara that in light of all that’s going on, she has decided to move forward with Pevara’s scheme re: “these flaming Asha'man.” Pevara winces to hear the idea named as hers, though she had been surprised at the lack of outrage from Tsutama when she had presented Tarna’s notion of bonding the Asha’man to her. Javindhra had been violently against the idea, and mutters that Elaida will never stand for it. Icily, Tsutama replies that Elaida won’t know about it until too late; Elaida is Amyrlin now, and this is Red Ajah business. Javindhra acquiesces hastily, but Pevara notes that she seems to be hiding a smile. Tsutama kicks them out, and Pevara goes to meet with Yukiri, mulling over who should be approached first about the bonding scheme. Yukiri reports that Marris broke that morning, but her “one other” is out of the Tower, probably with the rebels.

Pevara sighed. It had seemed so encouraging, at the start. Terrifying and nearly overwhelming, too, yet they had appeared to be making a good beginning. Talene had only known the name of one other Black sister actually in the Tower at present, but once Atuan had been kidnapped – Pevara would have liked to think of it as an arrest, yet she could not when they seemed to be violating half of Tower Law and a good many strong customs besides – once Atuan was safely in hand, she had soon been induced to surrender the names of her heart: Karale Sanghir, a Domani Gray, and Marris Thornhill, an Andoran Brown. Only Karale among them had a Warder, though he had turned out to be a Darkfriend, too.

Luckily, soon after learning that his Aes Sedai had betrayed him, he had managed to take poison in the basement room where he had been confined while Karale was questioned. Strange to think of that as lucky, but the Oath Rod only worked on those who could channel, and they were too few to guard and tend prisoners.

Pevara knows they are at an impasse, and the threat of discovery grows every day, and she contemplates whether they should just come forward with who they have now. Then Yukiri tells her that Talene has been summoned to appear before the Supreme Council, and is now begging them to hide her. Pevara thinks they should go with Talene, and destroy the Black Ajah’s highest-ranking members at one stroke, but Yukiri points out that if even one of the Black sisters escapes in the attempt, their cover will be blown and they will become the hunted. Pevara admits to herself that it was a foolish idea.

But she wanted to strike out, at something, at anything, and small wonder. The head of her Ajah might be insane; she was tasked with arranging for Reds, who by ancient custom bonded no one, to bond not just any men, but Asha'man; and the hunt for Darkfriends in the Tower had reached a stone wall. Strike out? She wanted to bite holes through bricks.

Then Yukiri asks if the Red has heard anything from the sisters with Toveine, and Pevara reluctantly tells her almost everything they’ve heard from Toveine, except the accusations against Elaida. Yukiri in turn tells her the Gray heard from Akoure Vayet, but they will keep silent for the sake of the Tower for now. They are arguing over whether to go to Elaida with what they have when they are interrupted by Seaine, who has urgent news. She starts telling them about a letter the Whites received from Ayako Norsoni, but then sees that they already know about Toveine’s group, and moves on:

“I've just come from answering a summons to Elaida. She wanted to know how I was getting on.” Seaine took a deep breath. “With discovering proof that Alviarin entered a treasonous correspondence with the Dragon Reborn. Really, she was so circumspect in the beginning, so indirect, it's no wonder I misunderstood what she wanted.

Yukiri and Pevara are both chilled by this news, and Pevara knows they have lost their one assurance that Elaida was not also Black Ajah.

Alviarin glides through the Tower, hiding her inner turmoil, and realizes she is touching the spot where Shaidar Haran marked her.

The Great Lord had marked her. Best not to think on that. But how to avoid it? The Great Lord… On the outside she displayed absolute composure, but within was a swirling tangle of mortification and hatred and very near to gibbering terror.

She retrieves a bundle of messages from behind a tapestry and returns to the White Ajah quarters, ignoring the looks of either pity or contempt from the other Whites. She overhears two sisters arguing about the unnatural rate of food spoilage in the Tower, and almost smiles, but then overhears another sister deliberately loudly discussing Alviarin’s new penance for being stripped of the Keeper’s stole (a strapping every morning before breakfast), and hurries to her rooms before anyone can see her cry in humiliation. She wishes she dared kill Elaida, but takes comfort in the rumors about Dumai’s Wells Katerine is spreading, and knows the news about the Black Tower will soon be out as well.

Break the White Tower from within, she had been ordered. Plant discord and chaos in every corner of the Tower. Part of her had felt pain at that command, a part of her still did, yet her greater loyalty was to the Great Lord. Elaida herself had made the first break in the Tower, but she had shattered half of it beyond mending.

Abruptly she realized that she was touching her forehead again and snatched her hand down. There was no mark there, nothing to feel or see.

She deciphers the first message, which reports that Talene had been seen leaving the Tower packed for a journey, and allows herself to feel hope that she was right about Talene looking to Doesine and Yukiri for guidance; she needs a threat to the Black Ajah to keep the Great Lord’s protection, without which she is sure Mesaana will kill her instantly, for witnessing her humiliation. The next two messages tell her that both Doesine and Yukiri sleep with wards against intrusion, which will make kidnapping them difficult, and Alviarin decides to consider that for a bit. She tries not to think about day after day of being beaten by Silviana, and begins writing out orders for Talene to be found and Doesine and Yukiri to be watched closely for an opportunity to take them.

She wrote furiously, unaware that her free hand had risen to her forehead, searching for the mark.

And this concludes the Aes Sedai Politicking portion of our Prologue. Please untangle your brains and return your Amyrlin Seats to their full upright and locked positions.

Or something. Look, I don’t know.

I don’t know about all this hoopla either, mainly because post-ToM, the plots here are either (a) moot, (b) maddeningly hanging off a cliff, or (c) completely gone from my brain. Like Javindhra’s deal: do I even need to care at this point why Javindhra is all maybe secretly stoked about something she professes to be violently against? Is this at all relevant to my interests?

Nope, can’t remember. *shrug* Maybe she’s just sick and tired of Elaida’s stupid ass and is happy people are doing things which will piss her off. Which normally I would find a rather contemptuous reason for switching political allegiances, but in this case only causes me to promote Javindhra to a rather higher grade of Sense than I am generally inclined to initially assign Reds. Because sometimes I am catty. On multiple levels, even.

The bonding-of-Asha’man scheme itself is annoying to think about at this particular moment, because the whole Black Tower Thing was just about the single biggest cliffhanger plotline of ToM, and ARGH SOMEONE KILL TAIM ALREADY PLZKTHX.

(Is it 2012 yet? No? Crap.)

Not to mention, I find the entire issue rather irksome on a more philosophical level as well, with Tsutama and Javindhra all just discussing whether to bond the Asha’man without even considering what the Asha’man themselves might have to say about it. I just love institutionalized sexism, don’t you? It’s my FAVORITE.

At least Pevara gives that aspect of it some thought. But then, we’ve long since established that Pevara is practically a freak of nature for a Red, what with the considering of men to possibly be actually human and stuff. Of course, Tsutama appears to be such a Red’s Red that she’s apparently gone right through the far end of galloping misandry into actual Crazy, and then somehow circled back around into making rational decisions, sort of, even when they involve channeling men. Which is a rather eye-crossingly impressive feat, if you ask me. Wow.

So that’s fun, I guess. The rest of Pevara’s POV, on the other hand, is just boring to think about, because Egwene thankfully makes the whole Black Ajah Hunters Thing irrelevant Real Soon Now. It’s maybe not entirely fair of me, because that scene followed by the orders re: Doesine and Yukiri Alviarin’s writing in the next bit probably should be an effective tension generator over whether the Hunters’ cover really is about to be blown.

But, well, sorry, but no. It’d be one thing if this had actually been going somewhere, but knowing, as I do, that this entire plotline essentially deflates like a week-old party balloon the moment Verin steps in with her Gordian-Knot-severing Death Scene of Awesome in TGS, well, that just takes all the interest out of it for me. Really, the fizzling of the Black Ajah Hunter plotline tends to get filed with Masema’s death as examples of story arcs that really deserved better resolutions than they got.

Alviarin: again with the cliff-hanging, here, because as far as I know this is the last POV we get from Alviarin, and we have no idea as of ToM what happened to her after she fled the Tower in TGS. I continue to cherish my mostly-looney theory that Leane will get to be the one to off her in AMOL. It’s all symmetrical and shit, y’all!

I wasn’t so much paying attention to post-KOD fan discussion at the time, but all the same I remember that a lot of people compared Alviarin’s “mark” from Shaidar Haran to the mark Cain gets after being cursed by God. And certainly there are a lot of similarities, if in a certain inside-out way. The short version of Cain’s mark, in case you aren’t familiar, is that Cain and Abel were the sons of Adam and Eve in Genesis; they each offered a sacrifice to God, but God only accepted Abel’s. This pissed Cain off, and he killed his brother Abel. As you do. In retribution, God cursed Cain to wander the earth, but placed a mark on him which indicated that anyone who killed Cain would suffer God’s vengeance.

So you can see where the parallels come in: certainly Alviarin’s work in breaking the Tower apart is that of turning sister against sister, pretty much literally, just as Cain turned on his brother Abel. And even though unlike Cain, Alviarin’s mark comes from, shall we say, the opposing team, they both serve the same purpose: to protect the bearer from those who would otherwise take revenge on them. Nicely done reference, all in all.

I also remember I thought that it might indicate that Alviarin might be on track to become the first of The Forsaken: The New Class (along with Taim, perhaps), but I think a lot of people disagree with me on that one. Which is SHOCKING. Well, no it isn’t, and there’s probably a perfectly good reason or reasons why I’m wrong, but hell if I can think of what they might be.

And… that’s what I have to say about that. And ooh, lookit, it’s 4:00 AM. Say goodnight, Gracie, and see you next week!

1. ftbleighjkjk
Thank-you Leigh!
P.S.: Taim must have the most glorious death scene of all time, else I am OUT of this fandom.
Richard Fife
3. R.Fife
My only thought is that RJ wanted the complexity of real life to show a bit in the story by having plots that kind of just get taken over, etc. It serves a purpose, in the end, that the sisters of the Black Ajah Hunters and the Reds doing what Reds do fed to Egwene's success and the final Chevokian use of the 13^2 trick. It might seem awkward and almost like there isn't a payoff, but in retrospect, I don't mind it /that/ much, in a post-modern "stories don't have to be neatly fit together puzzles" sort of way.

It also still let us examine the way the tower would handle accepting the Black Ajah in its ranks and Male channelers without a SuperGirl there to hold their hands.
4. Paulie
Ok, read the post...I have a really hard time keeping all the AS in order. I tend to gloss over names when RJ gets on a roll. Is that just me? Or are others out there with me on this? Unless it's a major player...I just try and keep straight which are white meat and which are dark meat. Ya know?
Marcus W
5. toryx
I agree with both R. Fife and Leigh about the uselessness (or lack thereof) of the Black Ajah Hunters. I think R. Fife is right about what it does offer us, and the complexity of life and how life happens when one's making plans only to totally make plans utterly useless. That all makes sense to me and I certainly enjoyed the Black Ajah Hunt while it happens.

On the other hand, it doesn't make for such interesting re-read when you know that very little is going to result from it, which is where I agree with Leigh.

I got to thinking about the whole 13^2 trick and various theories people have presented about whether or not it can be undone. I don't know the answer to that, nor am I going to speculate about it. But I got to thinking that it'd really be interesting to see how messed up a person would be if they'd been cured of the turning.

Can y'all imagine how traumatic that would be, to realize that you had been pretty throughly evil, not only committing terrible deeds but actually enjoying it? The more I think about this, the more I want to see it explored and the more certain I am that it never will be. Because, damn it, we don't have time for that kind of thing.

6. rmrpbutt
Now that some one has brought Taim up, I have a question for those actively involved in fandom (which I never was). I know I have read that RJ said that Taim is not Demandred. Does this necessarily mean, though, that Demandred is not Taim, or is that just splitting hairs? Think about it...if Taim is a personna/alias, then he can't be anybody since he doesn't exist. Maybe I just don't remember what RJ said clearly enough, but is it posible he was trying to throw us off the track?

I just don't like the idea that Moridin/Ishamael is Taim when it was so clearly set up that Demandred is Taim :-)
Rob Munnelly
7. RobMRobM
Do we know if Javindhra is black? Sounds like it from this chapter.

Do we remember what ultimately happened to Talene? I can't recall.
Chin Bawambi
8. bawambi
Maybe we do toryx...our great healer Nyn has seen Rand's brain don't forget maybe she can heal what shouldn't be possible and then we get to have that exact scene in the anti-climax?

Bawambi of the reallyreallythin Aiel
Kerwin Miller
9. tamyrlink
Tsutama has always confused me.
i cant find it anywhere (although i havent looked that hard) but i seem to remember a Toveine POV where she said her exile (her and tsutama were exiled for the vileness) had made her harder but had pretty much left the other 2 a wreck. and then here is Tsutama all functionally crazy and not a wreck.
i kinda thought that she would be a good persona for Mesanna but that was short lived.

also, did Talene leave on her own or was she ordered away from the tower by the BA Hunters? Because she is never seen again...
Sam Mickel
10. Samadai
It seems very odd to me to not like something you remember liking, just because you don't see the resolution you want to see. Maybe it's me, but I can feel the tension in the story every time I read it. I guess I could be strange, but even on my umpteenth reread I still can feel all the (holy s*^t) moments as well as the first time I read them.

Though it doesn't specify that I can remember, it seems likely that the BA hunters sent Talene away from the tower. They were certainly aware that if the council of BA leaders caught Talene, they would all be dead or something equally worse.

Maybe Tsutama has over the course of the last 20 years realized that the course of action she helped establish(supposedly) was a real shame (some people do grow). Maybe she uses the idea of bonding Ashaman as the penance the red deserve for the crimes of the past. (hunting down and gentling men on the spot with no trial, killing Sierin? though that one was set up by the BA, I think it was Chesmal that said "she induced the Red Ajah to murder the Amyrlin". So she comes back after going through her personal trials and latches onto the bonding idea as the perfect penance for the whole of the Reds.
Stefan Mitev
11. Bergmaniac
Too many Aes Sedai names in here. I've read this series quite a few times, yet I have to resort to help from the Internet sites with some of them. And half of them are there just to make the numbers and have no role in the plot, but get a detailed description. Do we really need to know the name and the description of every Sister Alviarin meets on her way?

The whole Asha'man - Aes Sedai bonding deal is frustrating, with the Compulsion element especially. How about an equal male - female relationship for a change?

BTW, what gave tsutama the idea that there's any chance Taim and Rand would allow the Asha'man would agree to being bonded? It's such a long shot, it only worked because Taim is a DF and rand had left him without any supervision.
Kimani Rogers
12. KiManiak
Thanks Leigh,

It sucks to be reminded that the idea for the Red to bond the Ashaman was Tarna’s, what with her now likely being all 13x13ed (13+13ed? 13^2ed? 13by13ed? Whatever).

(Oh, and don’t worry Leigh; 2012 is coming. Let’s just hope we get AMoL before the prophesied end of the world).

I did appreciate a look into the inner workings of the Red Ajah’s leadership group. I’m surprised we didn’t see a little more of Tsutama in TGS or ToM, what with Egwene’s involvement with the various “leaders” of the AS in the Tower.

And as for the institutionalized “isms” (race, sex, class), well Leigh they are the best! What’s not to love?! :-p

Other then that, yeah most of these plots seemed to just fizzle out or maybe they were resolved in a non-memorable way. The BA hunters plot does seem like a unrewarding story arc, once you’ve read TGS & ToM. Who cares about Javindhra’s mysterious half-smile, or Doseine & Yukiri’s not-even-almost kidnapping? Bummer.

I have no strong feeling one way or the other about Alviarin’s “mark” by the Dark One. At this point, it could either become a very important plot point or it could fizzle out and die just like some of these other plots did. Nice comparison with Cain and Abel, btw. I wasn’t part of those post TGS discussions, so I kinda missed that one.


R Fife@3 – Good point about the BA hunter plot. I think some folks may be kinda annoyed due to the introduction of a lot of story-arcs/plots in the middle books that didn’t seem to really go anywhere. But, hey; that’s how RJ wrote it.

toryx@5 – re: reversing the 13x2…13x13…13^2…whatever – actually, I would love to see Tarna or someone else we’ve met have the process reversed and then see how it affects them and how they deal with it. Imagine, seeing the worst possible version of yourself and being reminded that you gloried in it. However, I also don’t think we’ll get to see it in AMoL.

RobM@7 – I don’t think we’re ever told about Talene, or see her again. Maybe she’ll show up in AMoL.
Hilde Sørensen
13. edlihs
On encyclopaedia-wot under the entry for Saerin Asnobar:

When Talene receives an order to attend a Black Ajah Supreme Council meeting, Saerin hides her in the basement but she runs away anyway. (KoD,Prologue)

Javindhra is one of the ones who doesn't want to leave the Black Tower. She does not have dead eyes. Chapter 53 "Gateways"

Alviarin was ordered to withdraw from the tower by Mesaana in ToM chapter 38 "Wounds"
Brandon Daggerhart
14. TankSpill
I still stand by the (presupposed, by me) fact that the entire purpose of Pevara and the Black Ajah Hunters was to prepare them (and only them) for identifying what's going on in the Black Tower, and kicking Taim's ass. With Logain's help of course, but I really want (and feel that it will happen) Pevara to ultimately be responsible for purging the Black Tower.
Don Barkauskas
15. bad_platypus
As I said on a much earlier post (CoT Prologue, Part 2), I think that focusing on the Black Ajah Hunters' failure is looking at it the wrong way around. It's really more a testament to the effectiveness of the Black Ajah heart system, which did exactly what such a system is designed to do: minimized the damage when a breach of security occurred and gave the Black Ajah time to organize a counterstrike. Even under ideal circumstances (e.g., without the Tower split), the Hunters would have had a difficult time cracking it open, and with the conditions they were working under and the time frame they had to work in they did remarkably well.

I think this plotline also was necessary to make the reader truly able to appreciate Verin's accomplishment. Granted, she had (a lot) longer to work at it and was working from inside, but still it makes her job all the more remarkable when the reader has seen just how hard a nut to crack her task really was.

Also, just an idle question: we know there are some Black Ajah that Verin missed; do we know of any false positives? It wouldn't surprise me greatly if there weren't---I could definitely see Verin not putting it down if she weren't sure---but it also wouldn't be surprising if she made a mistake or two.
16. Mathguy
@9 Tamyrlink

This is a great resource for checking out almost-remembered POVs:

Nevermind the scary title, it's a word count analysis of each POV in each book...ever wonder who had center stage the most? The answer lies within.
Corey Sees
17. CorwinOfAmber
@Bergmaniac and Paulie
I used this to keep them straight:

I have the same feeling about the BAH plot (actually, the acronym sums it up nicely...). I was really excited the first time around, and now I don't see the point. Though it would seem unrealistic to me if someone in the tower hadn't been at least trying to investigate the BA. I wonder if Jordan meant for them to go somewhere, but had to condense plot lines once he decided to let someone finish the series? I'm still hoping we get some sort of pay off for this plotline in AMOL; I like Pevara too much to be entirely happy if she gets lost in the shuffle.
Linden H
18. Lynd
So, potentially dumb question, since it's been a few years since I read KOD and I haven't read ToM since it came out. But I'll say it anyway: was Tsutama 13x13'd?

Only reason I ask is the bit Leigh quoted in her recap:
"Galina's death had lifted a great weight from Pevara's shoulders – the Highest, a Darkfriend; oh, that had been agony! – yet she was uncertain about Tsutama. There was something… wild… about her, now.

Something unpredictable. Was she entirely sane?"

Though I seem to remember Tarna being described as more dead-eyed than "wild," so more likely she's just regular insane.

And I'm still mad about Tarna. Dammit. I liked her.
19. AndrewB
Any idea as to why Mesaana chose to have the specific Black sisters that she fight on her behalf in ToM (during the battle in the World of Dreams)? My question is not why 19 Balck sisters were present (the number of dream terangreal that Sheriam stole), but rather, those particular 19.

Alviarin makes sense as she is the leader of the Balck Ajah. I beleive from the text of WoT it is implied that Mesaana knew that Alviarin was the head of the Black Ajah. I can also see why Evellien (the Grey sister -- I probably spelled her name wrong) was chosen - this confirms to the reader that she was in fact Black; we were never quite certain.

But I cannot fathom why the other 17 others were "given such an honor." (I think that these Blacks would view it as an honor -- or at least a sign of their superiority.) I hope that RJ/BWS have more of a reason than those were the first names that came to his head when writing the scene.

If the answer to this question is not provided in AMoL (which I think will be highly unlikely), then perhaps the proposed post Wheel of Time series encyclopedia will provide the answer to this question (along with the names of all of the Black sisters who were in the World of Dreams during the battle).

Thanks for reading my musings,
Birgit F
20. birgit
TOR Questions of the Week, February 2005-July 2005
Week 2 Question:
Is the mark that Alviarin received from Shaidar Haran the same as that the Forsaken received from the Dark One? If so, is she now a Forsaken, or some sort of lesser Chosen?

Robert Jordan Answers:
The mark that Alviarin received from Shaidar Haran was not the same as that given to the Forsaken, though it shares one function: Shadowspawn will recognize her as belonging to the Dark One. They will not obey her as they will the Forsaken, however, but she doesn't have to worry about one trying to kill her, either. She is not any sort of lesser Chosen. You might think of it more like the tattoo some people get put inside the ear of their dog, an identification so others will know who the dog belongs to as soon as they see it.

Oh, and don’t worry Leigh; 2012 is coming. Let’s just hope we get AMoL before the prophesied end of the world
If the DO wins TG, the world will end. Is the Maya prophecy a dark prophecy?
Jeff Weston
21. JWezy
Paulie@4: Does that make Whitecloaks "the other white meat"?
22. gadget
I think the point of Javindhra is that we strongly suspect that she is black ajah: she is at the black tower and does not want to leave and does not have the "dead eyes" that victims of the 13x13 trick have. So she still has some ongoing relevancy to the plot.

As far as Alviarin's mark goes, there was quite a bit of speculation that this was a "New Forsaken" mark, but RJ clarified in an interview that it was not a Forsaken mark, it did not force shadow-spawn to obey her, but rather let them know she was the Dark One's personal property. She left the Tower with the rest of the BA after the Seanchan attack to avoid being exposed by Egwene & co. We last saw her being ordered by Messana to pull the rest of the BA out of the dream world battle, right before Egwene pawned Messana.

I kind of agree with both sides about the BA hunter plot, it did give us some interesting insights to the White Tower and the internal workings of the BA, so it did lay the ground work for what a momentous achievement it was to "get rid" of them at last. Yet one of the things that I think made it worse was that this strory arc (like the borderland rulers story arc) was prolonged over multiple volumes (confined to the prologues I think), giving it a drawn-out feel that made the non-Resolution a more difficult pill to swallow.
23. Paulie
@21 JWezy:
Yeah, I guess they would be...since they want to be good, but really aren't as good as our regular "white meat" people. Slightly distorted and all that. Much better now that Galad is in charge though.
Tricia Irish
24. Tektonica
Nice to have you back, Leigh...and feeling good! Glad you've recharged.


I still stand by the (presupposed, by me) fact that the entire purpose of Pevara and the Black Ajah Hunters was to prepare them (and only them) for identifying what's going on in the Black Tower, and kicking Taim's ass. With Logain's help of course, but I really want (and feel that it will happen) Pevara to ultimately be responsible for purging the Black Tower.

Brilliant! That's the only reason I can see for the whole BAH plot...good acronym. I hadn't thought of that, but yeah....otherwise it was an interesting plot development that went nowhere.

And I'm in the camp that glazes over at all the AS names. I don't even try to keep them all straight anymore.....except for those like Tarna that move forward.

When do we get Mat back?
Corey Sees
25. CorwinOfAmber
Speaking of drawn out plotlines...
I love the idea of Pevara and co. playing a major role in the resolution of the Black Tower plotline. And how appropriate to have a drawn out plot that seemingly went nowere help finish off another plot that has been drawn out by being avoided.
Rich Bennett
26. Neuralnet
Thanks for the reread! It was painful to wait two weeks.

As much as I love the way the BA story arc ended with sneaky Verin and her black book. To me it always felt like Verin's book might have been something specifically added by Sanderson to wrap one of the more complex/less interesting storylines RJ left behind. It just doesnt seem like RJ would have let us off that easy. I love these last books but my curiosity meter is high for what RJ really left behind and what parts of the story BS had to invent in order to get us an ending.
James Jones
27. jamesedjones
Re: BA Hunters and their effectiveness

The wheel weaves, over and over again. All this sh-tuff that's happening now, has happened before. ...lotsa times. Cadsuane thinks she almost caught the BA once, but she didn't. No one has. But you have to assume that other AS have gotten close before.

I believe that the BA Hunter plotline establishes the fact that the BA has made slips in the past, and probably invited investigation, but they were always effective in eliminating the investigation and anyone involved. Given a few more weeks or months in a tower with no rebellion to cause chaos, and Alviarin would have taken both Doesine and Yukiri, tortured them into revealing the other hunters, and removed the threat (plus punished Talene in a very evil and fatal way).

Verin's checkmate at the end of her life was the only way that this ended well for the good guys. It was the only part that hadn't happened before.
Captain Hammer
28. Randalator
toryx @5

Can y'all imagine how traumatic that would be, to realize that you had been pretty throughly evil, not only committing terrible deeds but actually enjoying it? The more I think about this, the more I want to see it explored and the more certain I am that it never will be.

Already has been explored. Dude's called Angel/Angelus...
Corey Sees
29. CorwinOfAmber
Actually, after going back, Verin's Black Book of Sneakiness is well forshadowed. I have no doubt that this was a Jordan thing. I'm definitely willing to bet that, if Jordan's notes for the last three books are published, a lot of people will be surprised about who wrote what. I don't envy Sanderson's position at all; if there's anything fans don't like, it's his fault, if anything was well-written, it's obviously from Jordan. Yeesh. Brave man.

Whedon = love
Though I would love to see that explored in the context of WoT... (also, possibly one of the worst fanfic mashups ever?)
30. Paulie
Upon learning Verin was BA. It dawned on me that we should have known that. I don't have nearly a good enough memory to quote the book or chapter...but remember when Verin is talking to Cads and she is about to poison her...until she hears that Cads wants to help Rand? A non-BA AS would not have been able to do that.

Of course, you all probably already knew that and I'm just a little dense about figuring all this out...but it sure seemed like a huge clue right there.
Jay Dauro
31. J.Dauro
Paulie, why would you think that a non-BA AS would not have been able to do it. The 3rd oath would not apply.

If Cads was to ask if it was safe, they would have to say no because of the 1st Oath. But they are not prevented from killing, just from using the One Power to kill. (And if she believed that Cadsuane was Black, that doesn't even apply.)
32. pwl
Of course, you all probably already knew that and I'm just a little dense about figuring all this out...but it sure seemed like a huge clue right there.

Actually, a much bigger clue was much earlier. Verin straight lies in tGH, when she tells the boys that Moiraine sent her. Moiraine explicitly says later that she did not send Verin.
There were many theories on Verin over the years (very old Verin, Purple Ajah, etc). It's amusing how it serves as an example of fans over-thinking things. Verin was so obviously good that there were all sorts of theories explaining how she wasn't BA...except she was, just not for the traditional reasons. I really enjoyed that resolution.
Hugh Arai
33. HArai
bergmaniac@11: When have the Aes Sedai ever considered asking the consent of anyone? They consider themselves entitled to dictate.

birgit@20: Not an expert but if IIRC the Maya themselves believed 2012 was simply the end of a great cycle and that there had been a previous one and were comfortable with the idea of there being another one. Just marks another lap for the Wheel of Time and by implication the failure of the DO to break the cycle. :)
John Massey
34. subwoofer
Yay! Drunky McDrunkerton has sobered up finally;) We get a post...

And I'm chalking up your not remembering Javindhra's deal and what year it is to the alcoholic stupor you were in too.

Few things- Pevara re Galina- the Tower has it's knickers in a knot about angreal floating around out there- shouldn't their undergarments be likely bunched up with so many Black Ajah floating around out there? I don't see anybody organizing a posse yet. And Galina- look for the body y'all... mind you, she is playing footsie with Thereva now.

Alivarin- mark and all, I'm somewhat disappointed. What's with the marking the forhead deal? How about somebody be original and put a glowing boot on the backside "let all who can see this know your ass is mine" type deal. C'mon, these are baddies- let's be bad.

We seem to be juggling Aes Sedai names like penguins and puffins. Most of these ladies are incidental to me unless they all start stepping up come Last Battle time and actually do some good. The jury is still out on that one. I'm not holding my breath tho'.

The Tower really pussy footed the BA hunt. It was somewhat painful. Egwene just ripped the bandage off.

As far as AS bonding Asha'man and vice versa, well, nobody asked the guys and IIRC and some folks have mentioned it, the girls did the bunched knickers bit when the Asha'man bonded the women. Meh... Wait till the guy's move into the Tower and the women find the seats left up. Yeah that would be epic. somebody would invent a weave to auto lift or lower the seat. Good times:)

John Massey
35. subwoofer
Or... somebody could ward a seat so it could not be lifted or lowered. Imagine AS going to the loo in the dead of night and all you hear is a scream and a splash. Heh. Ok, ok, I do a lot of pontificating during my days. Something's bound to come up.

Tsutama... don't think she's wonky at all despite Pevara's impression. Let's face it, she is the only one that does give credit to Asha'man for Healing stilling, something previously thought to be irreversible. And if that is why Pevara thinks Tsutama is bonkers, that shows how far off the mark she is. I'm going with Sam in thinking that Tsutama may be the sanest one of the bunch.

Brandon Wood
37. brad21088
I really enjoyed the Black Ajah Hunters story arc and was conflicted at its resolution: on the one hand, the scene with Verin was one of my favorite in the series and was a great twist, but on the other hand, I wanted more to come of the Hunters. Pevara is one of my favorite side-characters, so I'm hoping that she at least gets a moment of awesome in AMoL.
j p
38. sps49
Would the 13->13 victims count a Shadowspawn for weaves like whatever Rand did at Marabon to kill the Shadowspawn and drive the Darkfriends to death? And could that be used to cleanse the Black Tower, easy peasy?
39. RobertMee
Great post... and I'd forgotten how quickly the BA Hunter storyline seemed to get finished. It's sad in a way, but it's also cool that more than one person figured out that the Oath Rod could be used to UNBIND Oaths. Certainly a concern going forward in time.
Alice Arneson
40. Wetlandernw
rmrpbutt @6 - RJ made it pretty clear that Taim is not Demandred's stage name. So yeah, you're splitting hairs with this. Also, there's no real reason to think that Taim is Moridin's stage name either; it's just as likely that he's Moridin's flunky, IMO.

RobMRobM @7 - We don't know about Javindhra's allegiance yet, as far as I know. There's been a fair bit of speculation, but I don't think it's been proved one way or the other. The "small smile" came right after Tsutama snarled at her about "Do you intend to inform Elaida despite my express wishes?" One possibility is that she's smiling about hiding this from Elaida; considering the various things that had happened to those of Elaida's original inner circle, there's a fair chance that Javindhra's support of Elaida has rather eroded since the coup. She may be perfectly happy to put one over on Elaida, just on principle. The fact that she rushes off afterwards muttering about "communications" is more interesting, to me. Talene... see next paragraph.

tamyrlink @9 - Re: the cirucmstances of Talene's departure... It's been left very vague, but I'd like to point something out. We have all assumed she left the Tower for parts unkown, and wonder if she'll be back. However, the encyclopaedia-wot notwithstanding (great stuff, but they have occasionally been known to include things that are, in fact, only their interpretation of the events), we don't know where she is. What we really know is that she was seen leaving the Green quarters with fat saddlebags and a small chest "early" on the day she was supposed to appear before the Supreme Council; later, Yukiri mentions to Pevara that Talene had begged Saerin to hide her, so Saerin put her in a room in the lowest basement. For all we know, she could still be there. No one saw her ride out.

Neuralnet @26 - The problem with your theory is that RJ dropped hints of Verin's book, code & "life work" over quite a few books, so it could hardly be "Brandon's invention" to tie off the plot. And we've been told repeatedly that the plot was all RJ; Brandon is primarily fleshing out the narrative over the bones RJ left. There's a lot more to it than that, but Brandon is "inventing" very little in terms of plot development or resolution. RJ left a lot of detail on the fate of various characters, and I'm personally quite sure that Verin's finale was determined a long time ago. YMMV.
41. Shagrat and Meshack
13x13, "dead eyes" and the human-shaped Chosen constructs in the prologs of TGH and TPoD, with their "deader than dead" eyes ... are we looking at the same thing? We know the Chosen (and the AoL Darkfriends) used a game with formerly living people turned into playing pieces ... any ideas?

Anyway, I'm sure the current Uncrowned Queen of Malkier, formerly "I-am-the-Wisdom-of-Emonds-Field" Nynaeve, will have something to say and probably do, about it.
John Massey
42. subwoofer
Don't have much time but I think Wetlander is onto something. In earlier books we hear about Laras' secret hidey hole. We learn about the 13 D. Egwene, when imprisioned finds out about the horrible cells in the Tower basement. We also discover the secret hidey room the BA Hunters hang out in. I wouldn't be surprised if there is a maze of secret rooms and passages yet to be talked about. It may result in a futher assult on TV or the exodus of Sisters from TV or how the BA like Aliviarin have been getting around.

Rob Munnelly
43. RobMRobM
@41. No, those are Aginor made constructs that make perfect servants (because they read your mind and learn what you need but have no long term memory). In a 13 x 13, you are yourself with the good suppressed and the evil enhanced.
Jonathan Levy
44. JonathanLevy
15. bad_platypus
I think this plotline also was necessary to make the reader truly able to appreciate Verin's accomplishment. Granted, she had (a lot) longer to work at it and was working from inside, but still it makes her job all the more remarkable when the reader has seen just how hard a nut to crack her task really was.
That's a pretty interesting insight. It hadn't occurred to me at all beforehand.

45. alreadymadwithtsutama
On Tsutama:
I agree with Leigh. However she arrived at her current state of mind, I do kinda think it awesome that rather than throwing a kneejerk hissy fit, she asked for the relevant documentation on bonding males. That makes her an OK Red in my book.

Also, I have this pet theory that she knows the Red Ajah got punk'd by the Black way back during the time of the vileness. And being one of the scapegoats she's after payback(hence references to her looking like a hunter), and that also this made her freakishly rational about the idea after being held accountable for what was essentially a massively homicidal kneejerk reaction.

As to the Black Hunters:
Despite their plotline being eventually OBE(Overtaken By Events), I do believe theirs was an exemplary exercise in inter-Ajah cooperation. Egwene said so. Much as I dislike agreeing with her. I don't believe they'll be of any use against the Black Tower though.

Paulie @30
AS are able to do that. The only prohibition is against using the Power. Nothing about killing Sisters through more mundane means.

Harai @33
Good call on the AS attitude about dictating. On the other hand, I don't believe it was quite that. I guess they just didn't think it would hurt to ask. It's not like they intended to dictate to so-and-so Asha'man to just sign up and be bonded. As previous AS POV's have noted, some had selected their Warders before the would-be Warders in question even realized they wanted to be Warders. It's not so much dictating as figuring they could be very persuasive.

subwoofer @42
Not really surprising that there would be a whole host of hidey holes in the White Tower. Everybody has commented about the White Tower being designed to support so much more people than it does right now.
James Hogan
46. Sonofthunder
I'm sorry....this prologue is not as much fun as Part 1. No Galad awesomeness in this one...move on. I do like seeing Alviarin in such consternation though - after seeing the way she treated Elaida(yes, I actually *did* feel sorry for Elaida!!), I take grim pleasure in the payback Alviarin receives. I still think she'd make a decent neoChosen though.

And...sub@ 34, 35? Top form, sir. Top form.
Sam Mickel
47. Samadai
Now that I have read some more posts, an idea has come to me. Maybe it has been explored. It seems to me that it wasn't really about finding out who belongs to the BA, but more about who can be trusted. More about how, not only is it possible to work together, but it also brings the AS closer together. Think about ToM the part where the hall was called together in secret. Egwenes supporters arrive, Saerin stands, they ask what the motion is, she says an important one, they stand as well. All because they worked together and trust each other( became friends?) So, in retrospect I believe that the BA hunters plot line was ended successfully.

Sub@ 35
Thanks for the agreement. (It's good to know someone pays attention to what I say,even when it's not some silly story I wrote)
48. Paulie
Ok, good point by a couple of people. AS can kill anyone they want...as long as they don't use the OP to do so. That's kind of a creepy thought. Could they kill someone by mundane means and then use the OP to clean up and cover up? I wonder if that would violate the Three Oaths of Halving your Life...
Birgit F
49. birgit
WoT and the Maya Prophecies I:
Elaida Foretells The End
In one Age, called the First Age by some, an Age yet to come, an Age long past, the Empress of the maya ordered her slave Suffa to Foretell the future. Suffa Foretold The End in 2012, but she always misunderstood the meaning of her Foretellings. She believed that it was the end of the world, but it was just the end of a series of novels. There are neither beginnings nor endings to the turning of the Wheel of Time. But it was an ending.

Wot and the Maya Prophecies II:
The Bore in the Cogwheels of Time
When Moiraine asked the 'finn about the nature of the Bore, they showed her a strange carving from another Age:
Min uses Fel's books to interpret the picture. There is not one Wheel of Time but several cogwheels in the cosmic clock. Each wheel has a Bore at one point. When all the holes are aligned, the Dark One can try to stop time by jamming the gears. Rand has to remove the crumbling Seals because the DO could use the cuendillar to block the clockwork. Egwene will have to guard her cuendillar harbor chains well so the BA can't steal them and stick them in the Bore to stop time. The purpose of the Dragon is not the seal the Bore but to keep the DO from blocking it while it is open. When the Wheels turn, the Bore will disappear again.
Benjamin Moldovan
50. benpmoldovan
amw@ 45: I have an idea for you. If there’s nothing else preventing you from doing so, you could always go black as either amw or “already mad” or something, and then sign off on each post as “already mad with (whatever)” That way, nobody can successfully post and pretend to be you. (Don't know if anyone's ever done that to you yet, but I'm just sayin...)

Sam Mickel
51. Samadai

You are about 6 books too late for that conversation. :D

whoo-hoo #51
Don Barkauskas
52. bad_platypus
Wetlandernw @40:
Also, there's no real reason to think that Taim is Moridin's stage name either; it's just as likely that he's Moridin's flunky, IMO.

While I generally agree with you, for some reason the following phrase from ToM, Chapter 53, strikes a chord in me:
"And you see," Taim said, walking with one hand folded---fingers making a fist---behind his back.

It doesn't specify his left hand, but this is exactly the subtle type of clue that might be put in to hint at the Taimoridin theory. Or it could be a complete red herring. No real conclusion here; just something that immediately struck me the first time I read it.
53. alreadymadwithdeadhorse
Samadai @51
Yep. Battery on the deceased equine is pointless. In any case I do have a legitimate login I use for registration-required content. I'll probably bring it out when AMOL teasers come out....

bad_platypus @52
So... what's with the fist?
54. Zander
I see we have a Friday Night Lights fan in Leigh, eh? Season 5 is awesome, btw, in case you haven't already seen it.
Don Barkauskas
55. bad_platypus
alreadymadwithdeadhorse @53:

It just struck me as a strange way to be walking around. I can see both hands behind the back, but just one? Earlier (tGS Prologue), we see him flexing his left hand as if he's having pain, and this might the result of escalating pain.

Or it might be nothing. Like I said, it's so far from proving anything that it's barely worth mentioning---it's just a strange detail to have been put in for no reason. And my immediate reaction on reading that description was "Oh, so maybe the Taimoridin theory is correct." It's not a completely rational reaction, but then again, WoT people have not always been especially noted for their completely rational defenses of theories.
56. Blood_Drunk
Wow, I wrote a long reply yesterday and it isnt here, maybe I posted it wrong.
Anyway, I think that Pevara is still relevent b/c in ToM one of the good Asha'man had a talent for making gateways and he said that he could almost feel one forming but then it didn't happen. I think if he links with Pevara they can make a gateway together despite the dreams-spike. That way they can warn Rand and attack the tower from within.
57. ryamano
Another thing that did not get the conclusion it deserved: why the Aes Sedai with Perrin started seeing Masema.

In one of Sanderson's books I think Perrin thinks to himself that it's going to remain a mystery unsolved now. This might be Sanderson saying that Jordan didn't tell anyone what exactly was the deal with that before dying, so we'll just try to ignore that ever happened. Probably Aes Sedai business, too mysterious for others to understand.
Tess Laird
58. thewindrose
bad_platypus - taimoridin - it sounds like a medicine:)

Samadai - great thought about how the BA hunters are still working together as of ToM.

I don't think Tsutama is BA, would someone who belongs to the BA be exiled to a farm(is that where she was sent?) and actually serve out the sentence?
However I do think that Javindhra is a black sister. Maybe Pevara will take her out during the Black Tower purge...

Noneo Yourbusiness
59. Longtimefan
Oh subwoofer, (34/35)

I do not think chamber pots have seats to be left up.

And then there is the fact that Aes Sedai don't... well you know... have bodily functions. They are magical after all. (and practically perfect in every way. Even with the lack of umbrellas in the the stories. Well, there are the two tiered parasols from the sea folk which may not be effective against rain but they have not be shown in such conditions. Now if Mary Poppins was from the Sea Folk would she have been allowed to watch after an uptight bankers children with tattooed hands and chains running from earrings to nose rings? Indeed, would she have flown down in her "at sea" form of dress or would she have covered up? It is a puzzlement, but that is the King and I and that is a whole different British nanny story.)

As for this portion of the prolouge, meh.

I remember waiting for the book and then really enjoying the prolouge because I foolishly hoped that it was hinting at things thay may be resolved (or at least moved forward) by the end of the book. I do remember the tension of the Black Ajah Hunt as being very well written and attentive to the frustraion that does happen in some circumspect investigations that trails fizzle out and waiting for new clues or new ideas does take a while.

I think the thread here is more of an expositional nature and less of a plot based thread. There is some plot attached but the point of the arc is not to resolve the hunt but to have Aes Sedai reveal the power structure of the sitters and the Ajahs and show the interior of the White Tower during the Split from a non Eliada point of view.

Which is not so much a viewing but a chewing. Eliada is a character that just might as well be salting the walls. She did not have the vine covered stools removed to punish the Sitters who reported to her, she just chewed them out of existence.
60. Wortmauer
Paulie@48: AS can kill anyone they want...as long as they don't use the OP to do so. That's kind of a creepy thought.
I was a little startled the first time I read about the Tower's secret histories, where a former Amyrlin was smothered in her sleep because those in power were tired of the occasional attempts to restore her to power. But yeah, the Oaths don't forbid that sort of thing at all.

(Of course, even if non-Black AS couldn't smother someone themselves, they could ask a servant or Warder to. I hope you find this a reassuring thought.)

benpmoldovan@50: That way, nobody can successfully post and pretend to be you. (Don't know if anyone's ever done that to you yet, but I'm just sayin...)
Someone did a long long time ago and was uncovered. Later, near the end of WH, I posted something under the name alreadyfarmadding, as a gentle homage to alreadymad, and because there was much talk about that fair city we were in at the time. It fooled a couple of people, which wasn't my intent, so I set it straight.
Alice Arneson
61. Wetlandernw
birgit @49 - Well played! Bravo!! :)

bad_platypus @52 - It's a valid theory. As you say, it could be a hint or it could be a red herring - or it could be an accident. As far as I can tell, there's insufficient evidence to claim anything other than a theory regarding Taim's connection to one or more Forsaken. I sure do look forward to finding out, though!! I wonder how much we'll look back and find in terms of foreshadowing when we know what the answer is.
Chris Chaplain
62. chaplainchris1
Very little time again this week. So, great post Leigh! Interesting conversation, all! And...I'm out!

Ok, not quite. Very briefly (for me):

1) Agree that nothing definitive about Taim is known. I'm currently leading toward Minion Moridin - and I note that Graendal *believed* Moridin was busy in the Blight marshalling forces, which would if true would make it tough for him to be at the Black Tower. If true.

2) I loved the BA Hunt plotline, and agree that it fizzled. It's not a complete waste of time, though, and not just b/c it highlights what an amazing job Verin did on her own (which I'd not thought of, and that was a great point whoever made it). But it also lets us see Aes Sedai who are competent and good people. Not Supergirls, but not blind to priorities, and able to work together across Ajah lines to fight the Shadow. We *desperately* needed to see competent, decent Aes Sedai - especially in the Hall, b/c boy has *that* organization sucked. Once Egwene meets the BAH in TGS she makes this point - that hunting the BA is important, but she's even more excited to see them working together to do it. She challenges them to make healing the White Tower their priority, and they seem to do so.

The healing of the White Tower, then, becomes the pay-off for the BA hunt. I still would rather have seen the escalating tension of their intent to question Alviarin vs. Alviarin's scheming to kidnap two of them...but the reunion of the Tower is pretty big stuff, and they're key players.

It's possible that without their work, and their talking up Egwene to their Ajah heads and the other Sitters, that Egwene wouldn't have been chosen to replace Elaida after the Seanchan attack.

We also learn that Saerin and Seaine both were relatively effective leaders of resistance during the Seanchan attacks - factoids that wouldn't have any resonance with us if we hadn't been introed to them through the BAHunt.

Moreover, in TOM the BA Hunters are still being advisors and supporters of Egwene. Saerin, Yukiri, and Seaine research Mesaana, for instance. Some of them accompany Egwene to the meeting with the WOs and WFs. And so on. The point being, our time with these ladies is not completely wasted.

Like the rest of you, though, I really like Pevara (as I did Tarna, darn it!), and I'm hoping for a big pay-off from her and Androl.

Ok, that wasn't short, but it was stream-of-consciousness quick! Save some cookies in the bunker (or cheesecake! Somebody bring cheesecake!), and I'll be back soonish.
63. Wortmauer
Longtimefan@59: I've nothing to add but *clap clap clap*. You're in fine form, and the Mary Poppins among the Atha'an Miere speculation was most entertaining.

The BA hunters: they did accomplish something other than outing Talene and co. As others have noted, they gave us a story of Aes Sedai working across Ajahs during the Elaida administration. (Which I wish I could have called the Reign of Tairen, but alas, wrong administration. Fish guts.) For that alone I was happy to be reading about them.

But, even more germane to the plot, aren't they the reason Verin couldn't find the Oath Rod when she wanted it, so she had to take the Hour of My Death Escape Clause? Come to think of it, there was actually a third alternative. She could have convinced someone to still her - assuming she knows it would actually free her from the Oaths. I know most of the Aes Sedai don't know this, or Siuan wouldn't have had much luck fibbing her way around SAS politics. But Verin is exactly the sort of person who would know or guess that sort of thing. Pretty sure she also knew about Damer Flinn's Healing.

Then again, that would require a lot of fortitude. The poison had a foul taste (mostly covered up by the tea), and unswearing on a binder is exceedingly painful, but severing is "the deepest pain anyone could know, beyond any power to deaden". This according to Moghedien in the vacuole after her Mindtrapping. Even if one has faith in Flinn's ability, it doesn't sound like much fun, does it.
Corey Sees
64. CorwinOfAmber
@58 thewindrose
Never take a medicine with the word "death" in the title! That will not end well!
John Massey
65. subwoofer
@Sam- always buddy:)

@Brigit-hmmmmm...it has potential> Reminds me of the movie 13 Ghosts where things hit the fan when the timer counts down.In this case it is a cosmic timer. At least the Pattern spat Rand out, tho I am not sure what to make of the harbor chains. I don't think they're really portable. Maybe if the Forsaken cornered the market on cuendillar tea cups?

@LTF- you must be mixed up here. AS don't sweat. I don't think they can ignore the need to go.... And in Avi's trip to Ruidean whatsherpickle had to use the er... necessary. There's this bad movie called Demolition Man and they go on forever and a day about 3 sea shells instead of TP.... maybe that was what you were going after;)

Theresa Gray
66. Terez27
The Black Ajah hunters served a few important purposes:

1. They (along with Alviarin) were a red herring to detract from Verin. This was probably the most important purpose they served.

2. They were a foreshadowing of how Egwene might gain support in the Tower Hall. I always assumed that was their main purpose, and I predicted that Egwene would be raised by the minimum number of sisters in the Tower Hall with no rebels counted, mostly because of the Hunters and the plot with the Ajah Heads.

3. They were able to pass on some interesting information about the Black Ajah and also serve as a look inside the neutral faction of the White Tower politics.
67. alreadymadwithBAHunters
Agreed that the Black Ajah Hunters could have had a more dramatic end to their quest, but we see being foreshadowed even here that their search already has or will soon fizzle out. What's worse, it was also only a matter of time before the roles got reversed and the Black started hunting them.

What's more important is that they demonstrated that it was possible for women of different Ajahs to trust and work with each other. A particularly valuable lesson during a such a trying time for the White Tower. Egwene would laud them for it, and it would pay dividends during the Seanchan assault when some of the Aes Sedai involved would form teams from sisters of disparate Ajahs and go on to fare much better than say the Greens' handpicked task force. The Greens only ended up having their asses handed to them.

Wortmauer @60
Mehhh. I like to think my posts have a certain flavor of their own, which regulars on the re-read will recognize. :P
Maiane Bakroeva
68. Isilel
Bergmaniac @11:

The whole Asha'man - Aes Sedai bonding deal is frustrating, with the
Compulsion element especially. How about an equal male - female
relationship for a change?

When (not if) these men go mad, every advantage would be needed to contain them quickly and without collateral damage. And that's what the bonding the scheme is about - not just an edge against FS, but mode of containment that wouldn't provoke immediate violent conflict with the by-now numerous and powerful male channelers.

The AS don't yet know about the Cleansing, remember, and even after Cleansing it is an open question whether the men who are tainted will go mad at some point.
The most awful thing about the taint for these 3 millenia was that the madness it caused was completely unpredictable and didn't obviously depend on the amount of taint that a channeler had absorbed.

There are places to deplore WoT misandry, but that's not one of them. Male channelers can't be and shouldn't be equal until they are proven to be as safe as female ones.
After all, it has been shown that critical faculties of tainted male channelers _are_ impaired in different ways.
They may be functional, for now, that doesn't mean that they can be really trusted to continue that way.

Naturally, Cleansing + Nyn's madness Healing are going to change things - but even then, millenia of conditioning based on very real, factual danger shouldn't be overcome in a trice, IMHO.
It certainly should be more difficult even than Seanchan accepting channelers as people, with normal citizen rights.

Anyway, I remember being disgruntled with the BAH storyline running against the wall here, since it was one of the few plot-lines that I enjoyed in the last few books until KoD. OTOH, retroactively, I actually like what this plot-line did, namely:

Shown us that there are capable, non-idiotic AS apart from Moiraine, SGs and, I suppose, Cads. Among the Red, even.

Shown us _why_ all the previous people people who became aware of BA and were ostensibly in positions of power (such as Siuan, Sierin Vayu, etc.) didn't manage to get rid of it. This is huge - otherwise it was just the "AS are congential morons" trope.

Set up Verin's awesomness.

Prepared plausible allies for Egwene within the WT.

And hopefully prepared Pevara's MoA in cleansing the BT.

Now, speaking of Alviarin - yet another capable villain deconstructed. How can a woman who was tortured by Ishamael himself be so ground down by strapping? And would it really have killed RJ to have _one_ clever evil-doer in a truly elevated position who doesn't depend solely on personal oomph? Why not make her a junior FS and have her use Shadowspawn and DFs in truly advantagious manner?! Argh! points to her for noticing the BAH, though. I was genuinely worried for them here.

And BTW, what's the deal with the exiled former Red Sitters? Why should they be broken or driven insane by 20 years of agricultural labor? I mean, they are not strangers to either hard manual work or privation.
And how idiotic must a farmer be to mistreat an AS doing penance on their farm?
For that matter - do they make AS swear not to use OP while on penance (then how would it be different from stilling and how could they survive 2 decades of it?) or what?
Theresa Gray
69. Terez27
@Isilel - If anything, I think Berg was deploring misogyny here, with the bonds in Logain's group.
Stefan Mitev
70. Bergmaniac
Yeah, Terez is right, that's what i meant mostly, and also I didn't remember that Tsutama and Pevara knew about the Cleansing at this point, so my bad. Bonding male channellers to help dealing with taint madness pre-Cleansing is something I don't have problems with. After that - it seems that the progression of the madness stops, so there's not much point.

I also like the BA hunters plotline, mainly because it's nice to see some Aes Sedai who are smart and have common sense for a change, I hate the way they were dumbed down over the course of the series. And this plotline has an awful lot more plot movement, revelations and tension than most others in books 8-11.
Sorcha O
71. sushisushi
Oh, I don't know, I found this sub plot to be one of the more interesting ones in KoD, but then again, I'm a sucker for Aes Sedai internal politicking. As others have pointed out above, it really gives you a good idea of how a group of competent AS might interact on a more normal day, even if the Fearless Black Ajah Hunters are hunting Blacks and not just manipulating thrones, etc. While the whole thing grinds to a halt because of the 'one others' being out of the Tower and it gets superseded by Verin's bombshell later one, it still provides the set-up for Egwene's ascension to Amyrlin Seat and the reuniting of the Tower, as well as (hopefully!) the resolution of the Black Tower plotline as well.

I remember hearing a rumour that the Fearless Black Ajah Hunters was going to be one of the unresolved plotlines and I'm *so* glad that didn't happen. Besides, I just like Pevara, who is as gutsy as hell. I hope her and Androl manage to sort out the gateway issue, for starters.

alreadymad@45 I like your Tsutsama theory. It would explain a lot about her return to the Tower in fighting form. I wonder if she had anything to do with Sierin's death, too? Because that was also massively sketchy (and an example of the end of a previous Black Ajah Hunt) on the manipulation front.
Hugh Arai
72. HArai
If they're worried about the male channelers going mad they should be stilling them. It seems to me that bonding as currently practiced by both men and women is clearly about controlling the person bonded. Light leash or heavy, it's still a leash.
Sam Mickel
73. Samadai

The problem with that (stilling them) is that at this point they know there are hundreds of Ashaman, Way too many to go out and still without a big fight. A lot of ppeople would be killed, and the problem wouldn't be resolved. Bonding them on the other hand allows them to control their actions if they become insane( the reds don't know that Saidin has been cleansed yet) that way they wouldn't be allowed to hurt anyone, including themselves. Of course the AS also don't know that bonding one of the ashaman won't necessarily give them control either.
Hugh Arai
74. HArai
samadai@73: They can't bond them without their consent without a big fight after the first one or two anyway. Which brings us back to "what makes them think the Asha'man will agree to be bonded?". I wouldn't.
75. palanm
Hi, first time poster. Could those turned to the black by 13^2 be cured by stilling them and then mending the stilling? The 13^2 trick only works on those who can channel so stilling might disrupt it.
Stefan Mitev
76. Bergmaniac
Harai - Gentling is not a viable option anymore since it can be Healed. That's why Pevara and Tsutama made the bonding plan after the reports from Toveine about Logain from the sisters in Cairhien who were Healed by Flinn after Rand stilled them at Dumai's Wells.
Daniel Goss
77. Beren
@74 HArai
As far as the Asha'man agreeing to be bonded . . . I'm not so sure they wouldn't. At least, they might have been somewhat amenable to the arrangement before the Cleansing. If I were going to inevitably go mad and possibly hurt those close to me, I would want someone standing by with the ability to restrain me when (not if) that happened. The Aes Sedai are working from some incomplete information, to be sure, but I don't think that it's unreasonable to assume that a man who knows that he will shortly be a danger to himself and others would want to be bonded to an Aes Sedai who can help and/or restrain him when he goes over the edge. This is not to say that they aren't working from a position of extreme arrogance when they just assume that their solution is the best one and don't even consider the possibility that their offers will be rejected, but the fact is, they may have been right had Saidin not been cleansed.
78. Wortmauer
Months or years later, I still can't figure out why people think the trick involving 13 people channeling through 13 Myrddraal should be labeled as 13x13 or 13^2. There aren't 169 parties involved here, there are 13 people plus 13 shadowspawn. So, 13+13, or 13x2.

I guess it must be common belief that the 13 channelers are each channeling 13 flows, one through each Myddraal, for a grand total of 169 flows of the Power? That seems really unlikely to me. First of all, I don't think it's a very natural reading of what Sheriam describes in TDR:
It took thirteen Dreadlords--darkfriends who could channel--weaving the flows through thirteen Myrddraal. You see? Not easily done.
Also, early in TSR, Egwene seemed awfully impressed with Rand:
Perhaps Nynaeve could come close, if she was angry enough, but Egwene knew she herself could never have done what he just had, split her flows that many ways, worked that many things at once. Working two flows at once was far more than twice as hard as working one of the same magnitude, and working three much more than twice again working two. He had to have been weaving a dozen.
I can't think very many Aes Sedai, whatever their allegiances, could weave 13 flows at once. I've always interpreted it as one flow and one Myddraal per channeler.

(Well, I haven't read ToM yet, so if this procedure is spelled out more clearly in there, maybe y'all are right to call it "13x13" after all. But if they do weave 13 flows each, I have to say, that still seems implausible. "Not easily done," indeed.)

That is all.
79. AndrewB
Isilel @68 said "Male channelers can't be and shouldn't be equal until they are proven to be as safe as female ones."

With Aes Sedai such as Elaida, the people of WoT were definately in safe hands. Who needs Allstate? Oh yes, we cannot forget the Windfinders. Thank the light that they have chosen to take part in the affairs of the Shorebound. A more quality of channeler we cannot hope to find.

And last but not least we have the Seanchan. They really know how to make female channelers safe for society. The worst part of RJ's decision not to include any substantial scenes on the Seanchan home continent was our failure to see Seandar's top cultural event of the year: the Seandar Kennel Damane Show. That would have made for a riveting chapter or two.

(FWIIW, I understand your point. The sarcastic devil in me could not help but comment. The above was my attempt at humor -- it is not my inent to offend.)

Thanks for reading my musings,
Alice Arneson
80. Wetlandernw
Isilel @68 - Good list of justifications for the BAH plot! I agree.

Also: Very good points on not only the rationale for the Asha'man-bonding plan, but the justification for that rationale. I whole-heartedly agree with that as well. I hadn't really thought hard about it before, but it's shudderingly clear why this is properly the purview of the Red Ajah. It also gives me a different slant on Tsutama; those years of exile obviously did some strange things to her, but they seem to have given her a certain weird clarity of understanding which is more difficult to attain for those who have remained in the Tower. She seems much more willing to do what (she thinks) needs to be done regardless of the standard (comfortable) protocols.

Terez & Bermaniac @69 & 70 - In context of this chapter, where no one in the WT knows about the Cleansing, an "equal male-female bonding" absolutely must be unacceptable, for all the reasons Isilel pointed out. If Berg's original comment was intended to deplore the perceived misogyny of the Asha'man who bonded the AS, it certainly wasn't clear. It sounded much more like "why does somebody always have to be in control instead of being equals" - which, while it would include Logain's group, implies the "two wrongs don't make a right" motif. The difference is that, given the amount of information available to the characters, the past bonding is more than just wrong: it's incredibly dangerous for everyone; the proposed bonding, while dangerous to the AS involved, would be in the interests of the safety of the greatest number of innocent bystanders (a.k.a the world at large) as well as the Asha'man involved.

@general - In the larger context, where only Rand's group (who have, until ToM, almost completely isolated themselves from everyone else) know the truth about the Cleansing, it's no wonder every AS (rebel, Tower or neutral) who learns of it nearly freaks out, even without knowing about "the extra bit." Just how much control over her channeling does the bond give him? It's the stuff of nightmares. Then add in the Dark influences in the BT (which they also don't know about), and we can only be grateful that Taim was too arrogant to have his group do the bonding and relegated it to Logain & Co. They might still go mad, but at least they won't be actively pursuing the interests of the Dark One.

This is one of the things that continually bothers me in discussing the books. It's so easy to think in terms of what WE know, and forget that THEY don't know the same things. It's also far too easy for us to discount their cultural influences/prejudices, simply because we don't share them.

@many... There's no proof that the progression of the madness stops after the Cleansing; it's only the addition of further taint that stops. How do we know that more taint means more madness? It's entirely possible that the taint merely begins a progressive degeneration that will end in madness even if no further taint is absorbed. From the limited evidence presented, the latter seems at least possible, and maybe probable, IMO. Naeff's issues seemed to be continuing to increase even though the taint was gone; even if they are not increasing, there's madness there. How long could someone go on feeling like they're constantly being watched by Myrddraal, without starting to come unglued? (The only men who won't have any cause for concern are those who didn't start channeling until after the Cleansing. Maybe Algarin is safe, but he's the only one we know, IIRC. And Naeff, because Nynaeve Healed him.) Does that layer of blackness with those little hooks just sit there passively now? Is it a manifestation of the absorbed taint, or a manifestation of the madness? Would Nynaeve see that same blackness in someone like Noam? What about someone who had gone mad for other reasons, unrelated to the OP? We make a lot of assumptions based only on our own expectations of "how it ought to work."
81. alreadymadwithashawarder
HArai @74
It's not like we have no precedents for Asha'man agreeing to be bonded without blackmail, p***ywhipping or any other means of duress. Last I heard Karldin Manfor willingly allowed himself to be bonded. This was long after Cads worked her blackmail on the other three and it happened in Tear IIRC. If you'll remember in EOTW, Warders are still held in high regard. And while only a select few would willingly travel to Tar Valon for Warder training, Asha'man recruitment is far more proactive.

Consider for example that you're a small town boy. Nothing to look forward to but farmland and sheepherding. You grew up on stories of the bravery and skill of Warders. Nevermind those pesky Aes Sedai. You'd trade your freedom for some of that Warder mojo. Except you'll never get out of your flyspeck of a village.

Enter the Asha'man recruiters. They tell you that not only do you have a chance to get out of your mundane life and be a professional soldier in the service of the Dragon Reborn, they also tell you you can ride the lightning and trip the light fantastic.

So you eagerly sign up. Only to learn later that the Dragon Reborn will allow you to go back to your original dream of being a Warder. Have the best of both worlds! Why in hell not?

Admittedly if it were me I'd screw being a Warder and work on those flashy pins instead. But given how broad a cross-section of society the Asha'man were able to recruit from, somewhere out there (or maybe in there) an average Joe Asha'man will be thinking along the lines I outlined above.

Wetlandernw @80
Good points on the nature of taint madness. Here's what I think. Nynaeve likened the effect of the Taint to a compulsion. It worked exactly like one, bypassing the natural thoughts and reactions and with those hooks implementing a different set of conditioned responses instead. Even the treatment was similar. Given such similarity, I'm inclined to think the Taint also acts like compulsion in one other way. I don't believe it progresses without external influence.
Of course you may have a point in that even with just the same amount of pressure a person's mind may still progressively slip towards the point of no return. The only example we have so far is Naeff. He was immediately relieved and immediately realized that his paranoia was also part of the Taint. As to the Black Tower at large... I don't think any new casualties due to madness were reported.
Lucas Vollmer
82. aspeo
I think the 13x13 thing is usually read as 13by13. As in 13 myrdraal being channeled through by 13 channelers. I read it the same way as I would read an area designation for a room, i.e. 10x15 or 10 feet by 15 feet.
I'm not sure if that explanation makes sense, but that's how it has always looked to me at least.
Hugh Arai
83. HArai
@various: Pre-Cleansing, the Asha'man are apparently policing themselves, harshly but effectively. They can and do take steps when someone's madness becomes dangerous. Rand takes care of one personally - I don't remember his name (the one that was guarding Min and went child-like). Rand's offer on formation was for them to learn to channel and fight against the DO until they go mad or die. They signed up on those terms. They don't need a Aes Sedai to follow those terms. Although I agree it's likely that an Aes Sedai would think they do, I remain unconvinced the majority of the Asha'man would.

Sure some Asha'man may agree to the bond, but apparently some men in most Randland cultures do. I'm looking specifically at what AS could offer to an Asha'man as a benefit to a male channeler specifically. They can't claim it will prevent the taint or the madness. So all they have is "if you go dangerously mad I will attempt to constantly compel you". Woo. Sign me up.
Marcus W
84. toryx
My only real regret about Saidin being cleansed is that we'll never get the chance to see what happens to the bonded Aes Sedai when an Asha'man goes mad. That could have been really interesting to see. Or fully anticlimatic.
Sam Mickel
85. Samadai

I think this might be the first time I have ever disagreed with you. (shock)

Although it is from Rand himself, and he isn't known to be the greatest with healing. He tells Ituralde that since he cleansed the taint that though some of the Ashaman might be crazy, there will be no more progression of the madness. Now I don't know how much Rand knows about this, but if he is correct, the channelers won't get worse than they already are.
86. Paulie
@83 HArai - in regards to agreeing to bonding. If I recall the AS/Asha'man bonds we've currently seen have had a positive effect on both channelers. The women and men both seem fiercely devoted and protective of each other. Also, what about linking? That is one benefit of a bond that would make both stronger.
Don Barkauskas
87. bad_platypus
Wetlandernw @80, Samadai @85:

Samadai's quote is supported by Word of God as well. From the Theoryland interview database:
Q: I know the male side of the Source is clean, but those who were driven mad before, will they be cured?
RJ: No. Whatever the degree of taint channelers have won't change. (they won't get more)
Not 100% black-and-white, but the implication seems clear.
88. Paulie
But didn't Nyn find a way to cure the madness by removing the black hooks in the brain?
Sam Mickel
89. Samadai
Paulie @ 88

Yes, Nynaeve found the way to cure the taint. As of the end of ToM, we know that she cleaned the taint madness from Naeff, Narishma, and Flinn( well those last 2 are suspected to be clean as Nynaeve said she would do them before she left)
Daniel Goss
90. Beren
@83 HArai

I agree with you on almost every point. The only thing that I have been trying to get across is that from the Aes Sedai perspective, working from their limited knowledge, their plan is probably the best one that can be made. They have no way of knowing how or even if the Asha'man have planned for their eventual madness. In fact, as they see it, their ajah has been the one that has stood between madman channellers and the world for hundreds of years. However, in this situation they cannot gentle them all, cannot hope to capture them all, and in fact don't have enough red sisters in the tower or out of it to even match the men one-to-one. All in all, the only surprising thing here is how any red sister who is even remotely concerned with fulfilling her self-stated duty to the world (protecting it from male channelers) has not come up with this same plan.
*edit for grammar
91. s'rEDIT
Sorry I took so long to get here. RL interferes again.

@Leigh: as always, many thingks!

Wetlandernw@80: I have wondered if Naeff's madness would turn out to have some kind of basis in Randland reality. For instance, I had thoughts about the description of how Bloodknives hide in the shadows. They're not Myrddraal, but they are something real not just his mind playing tricks. (Maybe I've just watched too many movies where the crazy person turns out to be quite right about a fact that first seems fantastic or illogical to others.)
92. Paulie
s'rEDIT @91: Is that something like the thought, "Just because you're paranoid, doesn't mean they're NOT out to get you."?
Alice Arneson
93. Wetlandernw
Re: me @80 and various responses - I'm not saying that I'm positive it works one way or the other; I'm just saying that there are mulitple possibilities. Despite Nynaeve's opinion that Naeff's madness was not increasing, and Rand's confidence that the madness wouldn't progress once sai'din was cleansed, I don't think we can take it as proven. How many times have we been told that a character can state as fact something they believe to be true, but that sometimes they are wrong? And as I said, depending on the effects of the madness, it could build on itself. IMO, the conviction that dozens of Myrddraal are constantly watching you (or variations on that sort of theme) would have a distinct possibility of unhinging your mind completely even without further taint effect.

bad_platypus @87 - No contest regarding the amount of taint they will have; that's obviously not something that will increase without further input. He didn't say (at least in that quote) that the madness wouldn't increase. Of course, the big thing about that quotation is the fact that the question (and therefore the answer, to some degree) was geared towards wondering whether the Cleansing would remove the taint and all its effects from men who had already been channeling. To that, the answer is clearly NO. If they're alreadymad, they still will be.

Paulie @88 - Of course she did. The problem is, Nynaeve is one (very unique) woman; how many other AS will be remotely able to learn what she did? I'm betting Sharina will be able to, and maybe more of the older novices (the same ones who have learned her method of Healing so quickly). In a peacetime setting, with full cooperation between the White and Black Towers, it would be only a matter of time until all the men were cured. Unfortunately, the Towers are mostly at odds and the BT is being heavily influenced by DO & Co. This is not the best circumstance for the massive effort required. In addition, Nynaeve's discovery won't happen in Randland-time for roughly another 4 months, so it doesn't affect what Tsutama and Pevara are thinking any more than the unknown-to-them Cleansing does.

s'rEDIT @91 - I've wondered about that too, although my speculation was more on the order of him discovering that, once healed, he actually can sense Myrddraal more specifically than others. Supposedly all AS and their Warders can sense Shadowspawn, so I've assumed that once they figure it out, the AM should be able to do so as well; my thought was that Naeff might find that he has a more finely-honed ability than others, or else that he'll be able to teach the rest of the AM how to sense them as well.
Hugh Arai
94. HArai
Paulie@86: I suspect those "positive effects" have more to do with the specific individuals than with the bond itself. As for linking, unless Sammael is badly mistaken, in an Aes Sedai - Asha'man pair the AS would not only have to pass control to the Asha'man but he would decide when the link ended. Not a great idea if you're supposed be bonding them "to keep them from harming themselves and others" and not something the AS are likely to be offering as a potential benefit.

Beren@90: Oh I know it makes sense to them. Doesn't make it any less irritating to see in my opinion.
95. alreadymadwithnaeff
Naeff's madness was not just seeing Myrddraal. He also noted that the paranoia was gone when Nynaeve healed him.
Maiane Bakroeva
96. Isilel
HArai @94:

Oh I know it makes sense to them. Doesn't make it any less irritating to see in my opinion.

Eh, why is it irritating? Channeling men failed to police themselves in the past, after all, with disastrous consequences for everybody. Nor can they be really expected to do so successfully for duration. They are not sane, after all, even before they go completely batshit. And really, the BT had no way to prevent an Asha'man who can Travel from deserting until Taim installed his purple umbrella.

They are held together for now by the impending TG and the DR... but what would have happened afterwards? It was an entirely valid concern for AS to have.

Re: linking - let me express again my extreme distate concerning Jordan's decision to make it impossible for women to lead in a 1:1 link. In a series about balance, it seems to enshrine female inferiority. Ahem.

But anyway, I think that the idea of bonding (not link, argh!) as containment is simpler, i.e.:

that the bond will provide a _very_ precise warning when somebody has just gone over the edge, that the compulsion component will help to keep them under control and that if everything else fails, killing his minder will automatically kill the mad male channeler too, either immediately or soon thereafter.
Sorcha O
97. sushisushi

if everything else fails, killing his minder will automatically kill the mad male channeler too, either immediately or soon thereafter.

Um, this is not necessarily a Good Thing, considering the way that Warders tend to react when their AS gets killed, going totally beserk. Now add the ability to channel and an already tenuous connection to reality? In some ways, the last thing Randland needs is more beserk male channellers out of control, given the history of the Breaking. I could see the collateral damage from such incident(s) being rather large and not something that the Reds seem to have thought through (or maybe they have and that's where their existing modus operandi of capture and gentle would come back into play...)
98. s'rEDIT
Just can't win. Tried to apologize to Leigh for my scrambled word, but it didn't post, so here I am again.

@Leigh: THANK YOU!

And . . . just to add my vote about the BA sideshow . . . I was just as disappointed as many others. In fact, it left me a bit disoriented, like almost losing your balance on a tightrope. I really appreciate the summation Terez27 contributed to this thread (as well as comments by Samadai@47 and chaplainchris@62). All of these helped me put the BA plotline into perspective.
Stefan Mitev
99. Bergmaniac
Let's consider this - the only reason the Asha'man haven't already caused some mass atrocities due to the taint insanity is an extreme luck or if you'd like - plot convenience. Realistically there should've been at least a few deserters who weren't found in time, went insane and destroyed a few towns in Saldaea or half of Ghealdan for good measure. Or someone really strong who went insane in the middle of the night and blasted most of the BT into pieces before he was overpowered by the other Asha'man. The combination of Traveling ability and an insanity which can come into effect at any time with little or no warning was incredibly dangerous potentially and the measures Taim employed were far from certain to prevent the dangers. The Black Tower was a huge risk, and Rand made it worse by leaving it without any supervision. So I can't blame the Aes Sedai for trying to do something about it.
Bill Stusser
100. billiam
There is another problem with the bonding of male channelers. If the AM is stronger in the power than the AS, she won't be able to compel him at all. I know the reds don't know that since only those who know about Alanna bonding Rand know it, but there it is.
101. alreadymadwithmadwarders
No, AS won't be able to compel the Asha'man, however the emotional component of the bond will also make him more agreeable to her suggestions. That is if the bond was willing on the Asha'man's part. As Rand has demonstrated, bonding an Asha'man under duress will only backfire on you.

And distasteful as it is, the only way for Asha'man to gain any credibility outside the battlefield is for the Aes Sedai to take them in hand. Everyone who has seen them in action knows them only as effective tools of war. Aes Sedai obviously hold that channelers can be so much more and can see to their education in matters outside of warfare.

sushisushi @97
Good call.

Bergmaniac @99
It's neither plot convenience or extreme luck. It's Rand's ta'veren nature.
Thomas Keith
102. insectoid
Sorry I haven't commented in a while, gang—RL, baseball, and a Web project I'm working on have robbed (pardon the pun) me of the time to do anything except read the posts.

But here I am, better late than never! I know I'm really way behind (for me) but I'll catch up. Happy Beltaine/Bel Tine/May Day/etc.!

Glad to hear you're feeling better, Leigh. Nice use of a Who reference!

Eh, having a nutter in charge of the Red Ajah might not be such a bad thing. Might take a nut to talk everyone into bonding Asha'man.

(Is it 2012 yet? No? Crap.)


All we know about Alviarin after the BA purge in TGS is that she showed up at the battle in T'A'R in ToM. The Biblical parallel (re: her mark) is interesting.

Still upset about Tarna. Damn 13+13 trick!

Sub @34/35: A weave for toilet seats... you're killing me! XD

Birgit @49: Nicely done!

LTF @59: O_o I'll never think of Mary Poppins the same way again.

John Massey
103. subwoofer
This may be coming in a bit late too... but was Asuwana a Darkfriend? Or is he like Maseama, a prime example of zealotry gone wrong? From my reread of the prologue, it seems like the Trail of Light is legit and the Children actually have the correct tennants in place to properly guide and live by a code. It is only when somebody spreads heresay and missinformation that things go sideways.

Another thing, this Tsutama person- if she is so kukoo for cocoa puffs, how is she the Highest? Did the Reds draw straws or something? I get the impression that she is full of piss and vinegar and just bitter about the whole exile thing... just keeping more on the DL is all.

I also don't recall asking permission of anyone in the cards for bonding. Seems like stuff is taken for granted here. There will be surprises in store for all. With all the Travelling going to take place, you think there'd be more info dumping going on so everyone is on the same page and assumptions are kept to a minimum.

Hugh Arai
104. HArai
Isilel@96: Why is it irritating? Because the apparent assumption is that they are going to go to the Black Tower and bond the Asha'man and that's that. Decided on the basis of reports they aren't even sure they believe. And the world will be as they wish, because they say so. That's irritating no matter who is doing it, be it AS, Children of the Light, Rand, SuperGirls or anyone else. They could maybe plan to scout the situation? Find out dependable information on Asha'man abilities, numbers, connection to the frickin' Dragon Reborn who they already pissed off to no end, etc. etc. etc. Nope. "We're the Red Ajah and we know all there is to know about men who channel." Bah.
105. alreadymadwithambondees
insectoid @102
Still holding out hope for Tarna. After all, even before the Black Tower fiasco she'd already been described occasionally as hard, unfeeling, etc.

subwoofer @103
Not sure about Tsutama. They probably thought somebody who'd survived through the last dark time in Red history was a good choice. Either that or she'd been able to seriously rebuild her creds since her return.
Of course they mean to ask permission. Bonding without it is still taboo, I'd imagine. Even for the Reds. They're just glossing over the fact that the men might refuse. But that's actually par for the course as far as POV's from Aes Sedai regarding their Warders are concerned.

HArai @104
Only those covered by Rand's agreement w/ the Salidar faction can bond without the men having the option of refusing. No such stipulation for Taim's agreement with the Red Ajah. Besides, that IS why they sent a small party first. To investigate, experiment and scout out Asha'man abilities. They might have reached out to the Dragon Reborn, if they knew where he was. Such as it was, they just probably figured the Black Tower was autonomous enough to decide on such agreements by itself.
John Massey
106. subwoofer
Oh yeah... I also recall reading something about there not being many er... damane channeler women that are darkfriends... Suroth wanted to talk to one about helping her. Any thoughts on that one? Maybe there is an upside to the Seanchan after all?

107. alreadymadwithdfsuldam
damane can't be darkfriends. The Seanchan have de-humanized them too much. Suroth was referring to suldam for that one.
108. s'rEDIT
Just to live up to (part of) my name:

@Subwoofer: I think you meant tenets not tennants/? ;)
Meanwhile, I had assumed he was more like Masema than actual Darkfriend . . . not necessarily taking orders from the DO directly, but accomplishing his purposes nevertheless.
109. alreadymadwithmasema
Errr... Masema got duped by one of the Forsaken masquerading as Rand complete with a light show. So in a sense, he was taking orders from the Dark One as well.
Sorcha O
110. sushisushi
subwoofer@103 The thing about Tsutsama is that while we see her from Pevara's POV being all wild and hunterish, that comment about the other two Reds coming back from exile all jumpy is actually a thought from Elaida's POV at the start of LoC (just came across it last night). Given Elaida's notorious grasp of how things really are, as opposed to how she would like them to be, I think we can take its accuracy with the proverbial cartload of salt...
111. alreadymadwithtsutama
sushisushi @110
That's what I figured. If Tsutama looks hunterish, then it follows she must be hunting something. The only ones worth hunting after her exile are those who duped the Reds into starting the vileness in the first place.
And she must have done some serious work, if she managed to rebuild her creds enough to become Highest among Reds.
John Massey
112. subwoofer
@s-edit- yeah, I blame Tor2.0, they did away with the spell check:(

@Sushi- really- Elaida? That dang woman would get the signs on bathroom doors mixed up.... even if they were anatomically correct.... of course, being Aes Sedai, they would probably use the Fang and Tear-drop thingy as symbols.

@alreadymad- the line is:

"Relatively few sul'dam turned to the Great Lord, oddly- and she no longer really trusted any sul'dam, but perhaps Atha'an Shadar could be trusted more than the rest."

113. alreadymadwithdarksuldam
subwoofer @112
Like I said, Suroth refers to suldam in her POV. Athan Shadar is just Old Tongue for darkfriend. Meaning she might be able to trust a suldam more if the suldam were darkfriend.
Damane still can't be darkfriends. They don't even consider themselves human anymore.
James Hogan
114. Sonofthunder
sub @ 103...I don't think it's clear one way or the other, but I don't believe Asunawa is a DF. I think that if he was, we would have eventually found out, and now...it's a bit late for Asunawa. I'm pretty sure he's just another power-hungry and slightly insane Whitecloak. Similar to Valda, but just a little more crazy. I guess you have to be a particular kind of nut to run the Questioners, and Asunawa fits the bill.

In other news(don't think I've mentioned this here before!), I finished Wise Man's Fear a few weeks ago and have come to the conclusion that Rothfuss is awesome. Not quite Jordan level...but his writing is just so pretty! I almost don't even care where the plot is going...I just relish reading every word.
115. s'rEDIT
@sub: nice try, but spellcheck can never identify a misused term, only a misspelled one, i.e., spellcheck could have told you that tenant was misspelled, not that you should be using tenet.

So we're still left not really knowing whether there could be darkfriends among the sul'dam?
Don Barkauskas
116. bad_platypus
s'rEDIT @115: In the passage quoted by subwoofer @112, it says "Relatively few sul'dam turned to the Great Lord..." clearly indicating that some do, just not as many as in the general population.
Jay Dauro
117. J.Dauro
If you haven't started following Jo Walton's reread of Kingkller (here on Tor.com), you really need to check it out. Only 3 pieces so far, but already we are seeing how much Patrick is layering into these books. Another series I am waiting on.
118. Cadsuane9000
I was just reading the comments here while waiting for the new post to go up, I definitely disagree that the plot with the BA hunters fizzled out. It didn't go where we Expected, true, but it completely tied into Egwene's success in uniting the tower (same for the whole 'ferret' plotline). Egwene meets one of the ferrets (that bosomy one, I forget her name), and that leads to her meeting the BA hunters, who just happen to be six Sitters for the Tower. Eg impresses them all with her awesomeness, and then they are instrumental in getting her enough votes to become the one true Amyrlin. Plus, even on top of them being key to her victory, their usefulness continues, because now Egwene has a built-in circle of ballsy Sitters who she knows she can trust. They help her get info on Mesaana, and they help her with her mini-coup in ToM. Plus, it was their BA hunt that gave Egs the idea to have all the sisters re-take the oaths.

So yeah, BA hunter plotline, DID NOT FIZZLE!!!!
119. qbe_64
Masema and the BA hunters resolutions were fine (I'll toss Malden in there too). If they seemed small compared to the story lead-up to it, it's because the lead-up was unnecessarily overextended.
120. SADFace
I think a few chapters a head we have Noal rubbing his forhead while talking to Matt about whatever happened to Jain. Is this somehow related to Alviarin's forhead rubbing?
William McDaniel
121. willmcd
Ah, it's the "Aes Sedai names" portion of the Prologue. After the rather shocking mass plot-progression of the first three PoVs, it occurred to me that, based on their pacing, the Pevara and Alviarin sections would have fit nicely into Crossroads of Twilight. The BAH especially is quite directly about failure to accomplish anything, and Alviarin does little but fret over her "mark" (nice summary by Leigh on the Cain allusion, BTW) and lament how her plans have fallen apart.

This gives me a bit of cause to wonder if RJ was making yet another commentary on the isolation of the White Tower; i.e., out in the world, the wheels are really turning, but in Tar Valon, everything is as stagnant as it ever has been.

I appreciated the denoument on the fizzling of the BAH plotline, with R.Fife @3, jamesedjones @27, and chaplainchris1 @62 all having really good thoughts.

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