Tue
Apr 5 2011 2:37pm

The Wheel of Time Re-read: New Spring, Part 13

New Spring by Robert JordanHey kids! Through hail and lightning and actual freakin’ tornadoes (seriously, WTF), I deliver your Wheel of Time Re-read!

Today’s entry covers Chapters 25 through the end of New Spring, in which a story is begun.

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!

Cover art check in! And… eh, I have no real opinion on this cover. It’s fine. The castle is pretty. The trees seem a little autumn-y for “New Spring,” and I’m bemused at the saddles, which look like the most uncomfortable riding tack ever conceived (seriously, is that a real style, there?), but as these things go it’s pretty inoffensive. Onward!

 

Chapter 25: An Answer

What Happens
As Moiraine follows the shatayan, she is distracted by wondering if Siuan has ever been with a man, and if not, hoping she doesn’t let this footman be the first just to reach Ines. She sees Ryne and Bukama sparring in a courtyard and realizes she will have to avoid them and Lan, but given their low stations she doesn’t think that will be a problem. She meets Prince Brys and some of his relatives, and Moiraine is extremely bored until she meets Brys’s son Diryk:

“And how did you earn your bruises, my Lord Diryk?” she asked, hardly listening to the boy’s soberly delivered story of a fall. Until…

“My father says it was Lan’s luck I wasn’t killed, my Lady,” Diryk said, brightening out of his formality. “Lan is the King of Malkier, and the luckiest man in the world, and the best swordsman. Except for my father, of course.”

“The King of Malkier?” Moiraine said, blinking.

Brys tells her that Lan is the king “if he wishes it,” and then asks if she’s well. Moiraine makes her excuses and says she might keep to her rooms for the next few days. On the way back, worrying about running into Lan, she runs straight into Merean instead, with the shatayan and a bevy of servants. Merean notes that she’s still not wearing her ring, and Moiraine asks if she is alone; Merean answers that Larelle “decided to go her own way,” and Moiraine replies that she meant Cadsuane.

The more she had thought about Cadsuane, the more she had become convinced the woman must be Black Ajah. What surprised her was Larelle. Larelle had seemed bent on reaching Chachin, and without delay. Of course, plans could change, but suddenly Moiraine realized something that should have been obvious. Black sisters could lie. It was impossible – the Oaths could not be broken! – yet it had to be.

Merean backs Moiraine up and wonders why Moiraine is so eager to see Cadsuane considering Cadsuane had promised to spank her till she couldn’t sit for a week, and suggests Moiraine be “very still and quiet” until they can talk. She leaves, and Moiraine wonders if Merean is one of Tamra’s searchers, or if she is Black and Larelle is dead in a ditch somewhere. Having been outed as Aes Sedai in front of the servants, she changes her mind and tells her guide to take her to Lan Mandragoran’s rooms. Lan tries to refuse her entrance, so Moiraine just walks in to find him practicing the sword, shirtless; she notes he has nail marks on his back, and blushes, wondering that he could actually inspire that level of passion in a woman. Lan growls that he has no time for her or her games, as he is waiting for someone. Moiraine replies dryly that his “lady love” need not fear, as Lan is not her type, and declares that she is calling upon him to uphold the pledge made by Malkier to ride when the Tower calls. Lan answers that he will help her if she will answer a question truthfully.

For the first time since she had met him, he met her eyes directly, and his stare was blue ice. “When Malkier died,” he said in tones of quiet steel, “Shienar and Arafel sent men. They could not stop the flood of Trollocs and Myrddraal, yet they came. Men rode from Kandor, and even Saldaea. They came too late, but they came.” Blue ice became blue fire. His voice did not change, but his knuckles grew white gripping his sword. “For nine hundred years we rode when the White Tower called, but where was the Tower when Malkier died? If you are Aes Sedai, answer me that!”

Moiraine hesitated. The answer he wanted was Sealed to the Tower, taught to Accepted in history lessons yet forbidden to any except initiates of the Tower. But what was another penance alongside what she faced? “Over a hundred sisters were ordered to Malkier,” she said more calmly than she felt. By everything she had been taught, she should ask a penance for what she had told him already. “Even Aes Sedai cannot fly, however. They were too late.” By the time the first had arrived, the armies of Malkier were already broken by endless hordes of Shadowspawn, the people fleeing or dead. The death of Malkier had been hard and blood-soaked, and fast. “That was before I was born, but I regret it deeply. And I regret that the Tower decided to keep their effort secret.”

Lan stares at her a while, then asks what help she needs. Moiraine tells him she wants a sister named Merean Redhill followed. Lan seems reluctant to leave his rooms, somewhat to Moiraine’s disgust, but tells her he will ask Bukama and Ryne to do it; Moiraine tells him, only Bukama, and not to tell him why. Lan agrees without asking questions, and Moiraine hopes she is not making a big mistake. She returns to her rooms to find Iselle there; Iselle is clearly doubtful that Moiraine is really Aes Sedai, but informs Moiraine that she does not wish to marry her mother’s carneira, and has decided to go to the White Tower instead. She adds that she was tested years ago, but was too young to go then, and that her mother was furious over it.

“She has always said I was to be Queen of Malkier one day, but that means marrying Lan, which I would not want even if Mother weren’t his carneira. When you tell her you are taking me to the Tower, she will have to listen. Everyone knows that Aes Sedai take any woman they want for training, and no one can stop them.“ That full mouth pursed. ”You are Aes Sedai, aren’t you?“

Unamused, Moiraine tells her she can go by herself if she wants, and “Suki” kicks her out. Moiraine asks what she learned, and Siuan answers, only that Cal is a good kisser, and then indignantly insists that’s all it was at Moiraine’s look. Siuan is appalled at Moiraine’s request of Lan, opining that a man who claims the throne of a dead country is “nine kinds of fool,” but Moiraine doesn’t think he’ll tell tales even so, and Siuan heads off to see what else she can get out of Cal. She returns much later to report that Lan had gotten them a message: Merean had spent most of the day with Brys, which isn’t very helpful. More helpful is that Siuan had managed to bring up Ines’s son in conversation with Cal, who told her that Rahien had been born the day after the Aiel had begun their retreat from Tar Valon.

Moiraine and Siuan shared a long look over that. One day after Gitara Moroso had made her Foretelling of the Dragon’s Rebirth and dropped dead from the shock of it. Dawn over the mountain, and born during the ten days before that sudden thaw.

Siuan goes on that she’s led Cal to believe she’d been dismissed from Moiraine’s service, and he’s offered her a bed with Ines’s servants. Then she snorts again at Moiraine’s look and adds, not his bed, and hopes she’ll be there when Moiraine falls for a man. Moiraine dismisses this as unimportant.

Merean had spent all day with Brys? Without going near Lady Ines? One of Tamra’s chosen or Black Ajah, that made no sense, and it went beyond credibility to believe Merean was not one or the other. She was missing something, and that worried her. What she did not know could kill her. Worse, it could kill the Dragon Reborn in his cradle.

Commentary
Ha, Moiraine’s such a snob sometimes. Her being all horrified that a mere footman might be Siuan’s first was kind of hilarious. (She’s against Siuan’s doing it for spying purposes as well, which I quite agree with, but she’s also clearly like, plus, he’s a footman! Heh.) Moiraine and Siuan’s conversation about this also makes me rather gleefully curious to see what Siuan’s reaction is to Moiraine being with Thom. I don’t know if we’ll actually get to see this in AMOL, but it would definitely be fun to see.

For the record, by the way, I do not have a problem with either Siuan or Moiraine being interested in men or ending up with a man, at all. Some people seemed to take my remarks on pillow friends in earlier entries to mean that I thought the two of them should have been portrayed as in love with each other and no other way, but that’s not what I was saying. I wasn’t lamenting that Siuan and Moiraine aren’t in True Love; I was lamenting the fact that going by the way same-sex relationships are portrayed in WOT, True Love between them (or any other same-sex couple) could never even have been a possibility. The difference is subtle, but important.

Anyway. So here we find out why Lan’s so very down on Aes Sedai, and I have to say, as reasons for grudges go that’s a pretty good one. And again with Moiraine and Lan’s interaction we see the repeated theme of the dividends paid by giving honesty where dishonesty is expected. Not just in that Moiraine tells the truth to Lan, but in the negative example of the Tower deciding to lie (by omission) about failing to get there in time to help Malkier.

And seriously, what a dumbass move. Even if you thought there would be no Malkieri around to resent you for it (which is not true, demonstrably), wouldn’t you think that it might also lessen the Tower’s already-debatable awesomeness in the eyes of other nations as well, to make it seem like you were all “Pfft, whatevs” over an entire country being eaten by evil? The evil your institution was pretty much created to specifically fight against, I might add. No cognitive dissonance, there? Hello? Is this thing on?

Larelle: Is definitely dead in a ditch, then. Sorry, Larelle!

 

Chapter 26: When to Surrender

What Happens
Lan sneaks through the halls, hiding to avoid being seen by Merean and Iselle, who are deep in conversation. Edeyn had untied the knot in his daori that had kept him in his rooms for two days, but she was announcing his marriage to Iselle soon, and Lan wants to run, but he is determined to see Bukama first, to ask whether Bukama would want him to stay. At the top of a stone staircase, something trips him, and Lan just manages to go limp enough not to have every bone broken on the fall down. He realizes that the trip must have been done with the One Power just as a guard runs up to tell him Bukama is dying. Lan runs, but Bukama is dead by the time he gets there, a knife in his back.

He hoped Bukama was reborn in a world where the Golden Crane flew on the wind, and the Seven Towers stood unbroken, and the Thousand Lakes shone like a necklace beneath the sun. How could he have let anyone get close enough to do this? Bukama could feel steel being unsheathed near him. Only one thing was sure. Bukama was dead because Lan had tangled him in an Aes Sedai’s schemes.

Lan stands and runs.

Moiraine embraces saidar as Lan bulls his way into her room, and sees that he looks like someone had been beating him. Flatly, he informs her of Bukama’s murder and that someone had tried to kill him, Lan, with the Power, and that since Lan doesn’t think Merean saw him, that leaves Moiraine. Moiraine winces, and answers that she wouldn’t be so sure Merean didn’t notice him.

“Perhaps I should not have asked Bukama to watch Merean. She is very dangerous. The woman was Black Ajah; she was certain of that, now. Sisters might make painful examples of people caught snooping, but they did not kill them. But what to do about her?

She suggests Lan get Iselle away from Merean, but Lan thinks she is safe for the moment, as he saw her going somewhere with Brys and Diryk. Moiraine suddenly puts it all together, and asks where Brys would go for privacy. Lan catches on, and wants to raise the guards, but Moiraine tells him there is no time, and they have no proof; she commands Lan to take her to Brys. They run through the halls, Moiraine trying not to be afraid, and arrive at Brys’s private balcony walk to see that Merean has bound Brys and Diryk with Air while a confused Iselle looks on. Ryne is also there, watching. Moiraine tries to shield Merean, but it bounces off the stronger sister; Merean calmly tells Ryne to finish the job he started by killing Bukama. Ryne attacks Lan while Moiraine duels Merean. The only reason she doesn’t lose immediately is because Merean wants to question her before killing her (and tells her so). Lan is losing to Ryne, and Merean decides to hurry things along.

Diryk floated into the air, struggling against the bonds he could not see as he drifted over the railing. Brys’s head twisted, following his son, and his mouth worked around his unseen gag.

”No!“ Moiraine screamed. Desperately, she flung out flows of Air to drag the boy back to safety. Merean slashed them even as she released her own hold on him. Wailing, Diryk fell, and white light exploded in Moiraine’s head.

Moiraine recovers to find she is shielded and on the floor. Lan and Ryne are still dueling, and Moiraine struggles to rise as Merean throws Brys over as well, and then begins to do the same for Iselle. Moiraine gets up and drives her knife into Merean’s back, killing her. The shield vanishes, but Moiraine is unable to embrace saidar in time to save Iselle; Lan pulls Moiraine down from the railing, where she had tried to pull Iselle back, advising her to “never watch a death you don’t have to.” He is grievously injured, but Ryne is dead. Moiraine shakily goes over to Merean and pulls out her knife, and Lan comments she is “a cool one.”

“As cool as I must be, she told him. Diryk’s scream rang in her ears. Iselle’s face dwindled below her. As in the test for the shawl, all her calm was outward show, but she clung to it tightly. Let go for an instant, and she would be on her knees weeping. Howling with grief. “It seems Ryne was wrong as well as a Darkfriend. You were better than he.

Lan shook his head slightly. “He was better. But he thought I was finished, with only one arm. He never understood. You surrender after you’re dead.

Moiraine nodded. Surrender after you are dead. Yes.

She Heals Lan as much as she can, and then cremates Merean’s body with the Power so no evidence of it is left. Lan asks why, and Moiraine tells him that there is no proof Merean was Black Ajah; she can’t lie about what happened, but she can keep silent about it. She asks if he will do the same. Lan (who didn’t flinch at the mention of Black Ajah) only comments that she is a very hard woman, but Moiraine acknowledges the assent, and answers that she is as hard as she needs to be.

Commentary
Damn, y’all.

I remembered that Moiraine fought and killed Merean in NS, but I definitely did not remember the amount of collateral damage that came with it. “That poor little boy!” seems so inadequate a response, and yet that’s about what I’m coming up with. Not to mention Brys and Iselle—and Bukama, indirectly. And Larelle! And who knows how many others.

It’s just too bad Merean couldn’t have been killed more than once, in my opinion. Actually, better would have been if she could have been taken alive and questioned, of course, but we know why that wasn’t going to happen.

I also didn’t remember that Moiraine essentially covers up the crime. I understand the reasoning, mostly, but I have to say I’m kind of uncomfortable with it ethically. Diryk and Brys and Iselle died so pointlessly and terribly, and now their loved ones don’t even get to know the truth. That sucks, not to put too fine a point on it.

And what was the official story, anyway? That they all just happened to slip and fall off the same balcony? That they jumped? I’m having trouble coming up with a plausible scenario that doesn’t involve foul play, frankly. Which I’m assuming the cover story would have to be, to prevent suspicion possibly falling on either Lan or Moiraine, who were after all seen running like crazy people through the castle right around the same time. Not to mention the fact that Lan’s armsman got murdered moments before. It may not add up to anything logically, but man, if I were in charge I wouldn’t be letting either of them leave the castle till I got to the bottom of all that.

So, enh, maybe a few holes there. But ultimately it’s pretty irrelevant to the story we’re trying to get to, here, so I’ll let it go.

Also, Moiraine and Lan kick ass. But we knew that.

 

Epilogue

What Happens
The city is in mourning the next day, the disappearance of Merean (and Ryne) going unnoticed. Moiraine passes a dead-eyed Edeyn in the hall on the way back from searching and destroying Merean’s belongings, and goes back to her apartments. Siuan greets her with the news that Ines’s son is definitely not the one, and Moiraine tells her all that’s happened, pointing out that Merean had wanted Diryk dead the most. Siuan doesn’t understand why she would care about killing an eight-year-old, let alone Lan; Moiraine answers that it has something to do with luck, but she can’t figure out what. Siuan muses for a bit, then:

Suddenly she stopped dead and said, She never went near Rahien, Moiraine. The Black Ajah knows the Dragon was Reborn, but they don’t bloody know when! Maybe Tamra managed to keep it back, or maybe they were too rough and she died before they could pry it out of her. That has to be it! Her eagerness turned to horror. Light! They’re killing any man or boy who might be able to channel! Oh, burn me, thousands could die, Moiraine. Tens of thousands.

Moiraine agrees, but ruthlessly points out that this gives them an advantage in getting to the real Dragon Reborn first, and gives them more time to find him. Siuan stares at her, but concurs. She says they can go in the morning, but Moiraine tells her to go back to the Tower and use her job with the Blues’ eyes-and-ears to search that way. Siuan is reluctant, but at length agrees, muttering about the penance she’ll get from Cetalia for running off. She comments that she hopes Moiraine warned that Lan fellow.

“I heard he rode out an hour ago, heading for the Blight, and if that doesn’t kill him – Where are you going?”

“I have unfinished business with the man,” Moiraine said over her shoulder. She had made a decision about him the first day she knew him, if he turned out not to be a Darkfriend, and she intended to keep it.

Moiraine gets her horse and dashes out of the city, finding Lan burning something that smells like hair. He says that he had hoped she was done with him, and she answers that it will sorrow many when he dies in the Blight. Lan disagrees, and she tells him only fools die before they must, and that she wants him to be her Warder.

He stared at her unblinking, then shook his head. “I should have known it would be that. I have a war to fight, Aes Sedai, and no desire to help you weave White Tower webs. Find another.”

“I fight the same war as you, against the Shadow. Merean was Black Ajah.” She told him all of it, from Gitara’s Foretelling in the presence of the Amyrlin Seat and two Accepted to what she and Siuan had reasoned out, the deaths of Tamra’s searchers, every last bit. For another man, she would have left most unsaid, but there were few secrets between Warder and Aes Sedai. For another man, she might have softened it, but she did not believe hidden enemies frightened him, not even when they were Aes Sedai. “You said you burned your past. Let the past have its ashes. This is the same war, Lan. The most important battle yet in that war. And this one, you can win.”

Lan stares north for a long time, then suddenly draws his sword and kneels, swearing to her (“By my mother’s name, I will draw as you say ‘draw’ and sheathe as you say ‘sheathe.’ By my mother’s name, I will come as you say ‘come’ and go as you say ‘go’”). She tells him there’s a little more to it, and bonds him with the Warder weave.

He rose smoothly, sheathing his sword, studying her. “Men who weren’t there call it the Battle of the Shining Walls,” he said abruptly. “Men who were, call it the Blood Snow. No more. They know it was a battle. On the morning of the first day, I led nearly five hundred men. Kandori, Saldaeans, Domani. By evening on the third day, half were dead or wounded. Had I made different choices, some of those dead would be alive. And others would be dead in their places. In war, you say a prayer for your dead and ride on, because there is always another fight over the next horizon. Say a prayer for the dead, Moiraine Sedai, and ride on.”

Startled, she came close to gaping. She had forgotten that the bond’s flow worked both ways. He knew her emotions, too, and apparently could make out hers far better than she could his.

She nods, and he asks where they are going. She tells him, back to Chachin, and then Arafel.

“The world, if need be. We win this battle, or the world dies.”

Side by side they rode down the hill and turned south. Behind them the sky rumbled and turned black, another late storm rolling down from the Blight.

Commentary
I quoted way too much of this epilogue, but that’s what you get when there’s so much stuff so awesomely phrased.

And yay, they’re bonded! And Questified! And Lan immediately starts taking care of Moiraine’s mental well-being, aw. And regardless of her speeches, you know he would never have consented to being bonded in the first place if he hadn’t developed a true respect for her badassedness. Not that he would have put it that way, of course, but that’s why I’m here! *beams*

Annnnyway. I felt kind of bad for Edeyn here, who after all lost a daughter, but I felt worse that I didn’t feel worse for her than I did. Um, if that makes the slightest amount of sense. Trapping Lan in his rooms for two days? Ugh. That is so not acceptable. The only one I wanted to smack more than Edeyn for doing it was Lan for putting up with it.

The revelation that the Black Ajah didn’t know what they were looking for probably would have been more exciting if we hadn’t known this from the series proper forever ago, but that couldn’t really be helped, I suppose. And Jarna Malari, at least, is going to regret this whole scheme Real Soon Now, if she hasn’t already.

I also think it’s tangentially interesting that Moiraine’s last thought on Cadusane (which I left out of the summary, I think) is to decide that she was probably Black. I wonder if that will come into play in AMOL at all? It would be kind of horribly hilarious if Cadsuane decided her promise to spank Moiraine still held—assuming she doesn’t get to actually do it, of course. Because that would not be funny at all, in my opinion. Well, we’ll see!


And so ends, quite satisfyingly, New Spring! It was a refreshing change of pace, I must say. Good times. So have a lovely week, y’all, and assuming I’m not flattened by Nature before then, we’ll be back next week with a triumphant return to the main series, starting with Knife of Dreams. Whoo!

116 comments
F Shelley
1. FSS
Welcome back to the deep south! enjoy them thar tornados!
oh - and hail is just God playing dodgeball with you!

remember, dodge, duck, dip, dive, and dodge (and pray!)
Kat Blom
2. pro_star
Leigh, your use of capitalizing True Love made me think of the princess bride..."and wuv...twue wuv...will find you...fowewwa..." I may be misquoting, it's been too long since I've seen it lol. Eep to the wrath of Mother Nature, stay safe!!!

I am curious when/if Moiraine and Cads meet up in AMOL...could be quite interesting....
Jobert Rordan
3. Jobert Rordan
I have to say, the thing that really caught my eye in this story was not so much the obvious issue of whether or not it should be ok for novices to have access to Facebook when in the White Tower, but rather the fact that Lan had such a soft side for kittens. The fact that he single handedly appealed the Supreme Court's decision to overthrow the Aiel's claim that their "ji" was imposing on their "toh" was only fuel to the fire that eventually lead to what many now refer to as "the Dragonmount Clause", which basically states that in in fact a forklift CAN travel through the Ways, that it will more than likely be an issue that MUST be addressed at some point, if in fact the documented facts of the world, under the appearance of a published book-series in an alternate universe, ESPECIALLY if being summarized or "re-read" by a particular individual. And that's pretty much the whole reason that Rand and Perrin and Hurin and Uno and Rhuarc went clubbing in Illian. There were enough golden bees to choke a trolloc, but the fireworks were just enough of a distraction that the Forsaken could successfully throw their own party without Lews Therin crashing it like he always does. Ultimately, my main issue with New Spring is not the fact that I found the spring particularly old, rusted, and in need of replacement, but more the fact that too many people in the book were still relying on the standard tricycle for transportation when Big Wheels are far more stylish. And I never understood why so many people knuckle their foreheads when it's far more practical (and comfortable) to just give the standard "ssup" nod. That's an oversight that will probably lead to chaos for our protagonists come the Last Battle. It's as Tam said that one time, "A man is like a fish who has just swam into a cave that is filled with honey and wolves that can speak to people in their dreams; sometimes you just have to get in there, flip your tail around, paint a portrait of your situation, duplicate it and send it to the local magistrate, get ripped off, and then file a copyright claim to the Throne of Andor." And wiser advice was never spoken. Thanks for the re-read Leigh, I look forward to your thoughts on KoD! I'm going back to carving a statue of myself out of this leftover meatloaf. I love you.
Daniel Smith
4. Smittyphi
Glad the tornados didn't affect you Leigh. There was a surprising amount of killing down to good or innocent people in that last chapter by Jordan's standard.

The bonding - Good stuff. I loved the quoted portion you included. Most poignant.

"You surrender after you're dead." One of THE best lines in this series.
F Shelley
5. FSS
And who else thinks Lan's sudden sword unsheathing at Moraine's head was his subtle answer for the ant bites?
Sam Mickel
6. Samadai
I can't believe that the tower didn't just send another 100 sisters so that they could take Malkier back from the shadow. a couple hundred AS with the armies that arrived late could probably have driven the shadowspawn back across the hills, and maybe even farther. I mean I know why they didn't (their stupid pride).
john massey
8. subwoofer
Things really suck for Lan. Imagine if the weave for Travelling had not been lost. Then Aes Sedai could "fly" and the cavalry would have arrived on time. At least Moiraine was honest, which is a lot more than any other Aes Sedai has ever been.

Woof™.
Lee VanDyke
9. Cloric
The cover of this book always makes me feel like it might be a proof of concept from tEofW, same type of scene, etc. Maybe DKS hears "Journey, beginning, horseback, GO!" and voila! Who knows, but I agree, pretty inoffensive for the most part. After the travesty that was KoD (Portly Perrin), and tGS (not sure how to describe my myriad issues with that one), almost anything would be okay.
Jobert Rordan
10. Jobert Rordan
@ Smitty. I know, just imagine if the forklift drove off the edge of the platform in there. There's no telling what would happen. I love you.
tailspinner
11. tailspinner
Holy moly. I can't wait for next week. Great re-cap.
tailspinner
12. TheWheelWeaves
I just noticed for the first time that the cover of New Spring is modeled after the cover of the TEOTW but with a younger Lan and Moiraine. A nice touch.
Marcus W
14. toryx
Through hail and lightning and actual freakin’ tornadoes (seriously, WTF), I deliver your Wheel of Time Re-read!


New York winters aren't looking so bad now, are they? :)

Re: The Aes Sedai helping Malkier - I always wondered the same thing that Lan did. The other thing I've always wondered (since Eye of the World, in fact) was why there aren't more Aes Sedai living in the borderlands. The borderlands are supposedly one of the few places where AS aren't just feared but actually respected as well. They're the most important nations in Randland for holding out against the blight and various Trolloc holds. Yet whenever something actually happens (like Tarwin's Gap in EotW) there doesn't happen to be any AS around to help.

That makes no sense to me, at all.

Anyway, now that New Spring is at last done, we can get right back to the regular program of slowly saving the world even as Rand walks the razor's edge of madness. Hurray!
Bill Reamy
15. BillinHI
Loved that epilogue with Moiraine bonding Lan!

I know there are many things we won't get to see/find out in AMoL, but I really hope that Cadsuane and Moiraine meeting up is one that gets in the book! Could be awesome!

As to weather, EEP! I'm never so glad to be living in Hawaii as when I see clips of the horrific weather on so many parts of the mainland and it's year-round even! Stay safe (and dry), Leigh.
Captain Hammer
16. Randalator
Leigh

And what was the official story, anyway? That they all just happened to slip and fall off the same balcony?

Well, as the old saying goes: "Strange things happen this close to the Blight." Just think back to TGH when the air solidified and almost got Rand killed while sparring with Lan.

Lan: "Dude! Swordfighting with your chest...what are you? Braindead?"
Rand: "The wind pushed me!"
Lan: "Oh. Carry on then."

Apart from the bubble of evil theory it could be anything from "argument turned to fight turned to tragedy" to "Gray Men/assassins/Lord Voldemort killed them". Borderlanders seem to be pretty accepting of any explanation judging by Lan's reaction in TGH.
john massey
17. subwoofer
Right comment went up in smoke due to microwave interference with wifi. Crap basket....

Lan- his fight was covered in awesomesauce, pure win it was. Goes to show, fighting is not about prettyboys dancing around with swords but killer instinct where you fight to your last breath. Lan has that figured out and has shown it time and again.

Moiraine and Lan- loved the scene and it is so believeable that Lan consented to her, the only Aes Sedai that has been totally upfront and honest with him. Yay for Moiraine killing her first BA... I'm not going to see anybody crying "foul" over this one am I?

The cover- well lemme see, we swap hairstyles and we have Tuon instead of Moiraine riding out. Seems like the artist had CoT on the brain when he did this one. Meh. Gimme the bonding scene at the end or Moiraine and Siuan being given the shawl together or when Moiraine has a spout of water coming on Lan for the E-Book cover. Any one of those would get my paw of approval.

Edit- oh yeah, the book started slow but definitely finished well.

@Randalator- how about banana peels? I am not sure of the variety of fruits available, but some sort of fruit type device with a peel for slipping on would do. Pretend that they were trying a slap stick skit and it went horribly wrong.

Woof™.
Matthew B
18. MatthewB
With respect to the Tower keeping their failure to reach Malkier in time a secret, i suspect some particularly cold-blooded Aes Sedai decided that it was more beneficial to have nations thinking that the White Tower would decide who lived and died than to show themselves the least bit fallible.

The wrong choice, imo, but very consistent with the kinds of decisions we see from the halls in both the Tower and the Exiles.
Tricia Irish
19. Tektonica
Well, that was fun. Thanks Leigh.

Loved Moraine's dumbfoundedness when she finds out Lan is the King of Malkier! Cover/book. And the truth about the AS not showing up for the Borderlanders when Malkier went down? Can you say assinine? What were they thinking? The WT image could've used that lift.

I didn't remember all the deaths either. Mo is definitely cool here and shows that being under control in the testing might just be a legitimate requirement. And I don't get the instant cremation either. Why wouldn't Edyen want some legit "evil doer" body, and proof of what happened?

And yay...Lan and Mo are on the hunt together! It was nice to see open honesty for a change. I guess that's pretty much the way it has to be between an AS and her warder, but it was nice to see it before she bonded him. It certainly displayed an earned trust and respect for Lan.

And...the tornado front, weather wave just blew through here, dramatically, and now the sun's out. So weird.

Looking forward to Knife of Dreams!
Matthew B
20. MatthewB
One of the big (perhaps unintended) themes of the series seems to be that duplicity creates problems and honesty solves them.
john massey
21. subwoofer
... Perhaps if the Aes Sedai actually rode like the hammers of hell were chasing them instead of maintaining a stately pace- re. Aes Sedai not running in the test- they may have arrived in time to do some good. And even if they were late, hello, shadowspawn at 6 o'clock, set phasers to "frag" people. Engage the enemy already. What a schmucky outcome, show up late to a party and don't tell anyone you came.

Mind you, show me a woman that is punctual, and not indignant when you tell them how a clock works...

*flees for bunker*

Woof™.
Daniel Smith
22. Smittyphi
For more wheel of time goodness, we want the TOR cover! Put that up instead of Portly Perrin and Little Lina
Captain Hammer
23. Randalator
Tektonica @19

And I don't get the instant cremation either. Why wouldn't Edyen want some legit "evil doer" body, and proof of what happened

What? Announce to the world that there are Black Ajah running around randomly killing people? That would have earned Moiraine a swift stilling and execution given the current upper management in the WT. Even with the most progressive leadership she probably wouldn't have avoided the stilling and just barely the execution. If she even had reached the Tower before the BA got to her.

And most definitely the WT would have been destroyed by that revelation...
Daniel Goss
24. Beren
re: White Tower

I can understand, though, the feeling that you'd rather be . . . I can't think of the word I'm looking for. Incapable of being understood . . . (Inscrutiable? Unscrutable? Vocab failure.) Anyway, I think it's totally understandable to prefer that people ask "Why did they do that?" rather than be seen to have publicly failed.

-Beren
Karen Fox
25. thepupxpert
Just coming back from hiatus to one of my favorite scenes in the whole series, the bonding of Lan & Moiraine (and yes, I am including this book in the WOT series). I really loved the book, it was great to get some foreground, and glad we got to relive it again! After I read it the first time I went back to reread the series again, and everything flowed so much nicer, especially TEOTW.
Tricia Irish
26. Tektonica
Randalator@23:

Good point! I don't suppose Edeyn would've kept her mouth shut?
Maiane Bakroeva
27. Isilel
I am not sure how Lan could have expected the WT to come in time, if even Saldeans and Kandori, who were much closer, came too late.

The absence of the AS living/staying in Malkier at the time totally boggles the mind, of course, as well as the fact that seemingly those sisters who arrived to see "the people fleeing or dead" didn't help those fleeing, Heal the wounded, etc. In fact, even from what we have seen of AS in the series, this makes no sense. Or did they just conceal that they were part of the WT expedition?
And where on earth were the Namelle sisters, who should have been living in Arafel? Not there for the Fall of Malkier, not there for Tarwin's Gap - no wonder that people were suspecting one of them of BA-ness until the resolution in KoD.

Yea, Moiraine learns the hard way not to pussy-foot around when fighting another channeler/DFs. If she tried to kill Merean as soon as it was clear that she was a BA, instead of trying to capture her, all those people may have lived.
Of course, she really should have learned to use by physical means too, within her limitations. Nobody would expect it from her and here it saved her life...

Also, it is once and for all clear that M&S should have known that the BA can lie... which makes Siuan's lack of trying to nail some likely BAs à la Seiane and Co. all the more inexplicable.
As well as her desire to have Rand brought to TV and/or to come see him in person. Surely she should have known that her stint in TGH would endanger him?
Also, what exactly was Siuan's contribution to the quest for the DR once she returned to Tar Valon to run the spy network?

Also, here is confirmation that Moiraine is not and never was as ruthless and cold-blooded as she sometimes seemed. In fact, this:

In war, you say a prayer for your dead and ride on, because there is always another fight over the next horizon.

was what she was trying to teach Rand... and it didn't even come from her, but from Lan.

And yes, the seeming lack of investigation of all those deaths of highly-placed people after L&N publicly tore through the palace is a big plot-hole, IMHO.
Skip Ives
28. Skip
So pro_star @2 Would you say that Moiraine was only mostly dead after she went through the doorway?
tailspinner
29. hamstercheeks
@Jobert Rordan: I love you. You made me lol.

Re: Possible explanation for the deaths = Darkfriend! = Ryne! Lan could have told the truth, that he fought a DF, and let everyone jump to the conclusion that Ryne was also responsible for the others.

Can't wait for KoD!
Amir Noam
30. Amir
Relevant quotes from the Isam summaries:

Moiraine: Merean was Black Ajah. I must destroy evidence of her
existence to protect the White Tower. So the Black Ajah can go about
their business, and the other Aes Sedai can pretend they don't exist.
Lan: You are smart. I will be your Warder.

----------

Moiraine: I will learn from Merean. A highly defensive Aes Sedai
poking around in a castle where the Dragon Reborn may be. I'll have to
remember that for the future. Hello, Liandrin. What are you doing
here?
Liandrin: What are YOU doing here? I have to go. Go Light.
Kimani Rogers
31. KiManiak
Thanks Leigh,

A fairly good ending to New Spring. Funny; I remember liking this novel better than I actually experienced during this reread.

The White Tower keeping their actions (or lack thereof) in regards to Malkieri’s fall a secret is very much in tune with how the AS are portrayed in this serious. For them, it’s all about outward appearance; more often than not they are more about “style” than “substance.” It’s all about how they appear to the common man; very rarely is it about what’s best for the common man.

I also like the “you surrender after you’re dead” line. There is no other character to better deliver that line in this series than Lan.

I’m also looking forward to Moiraine’s return to Rand and inevitable meeting with Cadsuane… for a number of reasons. Will sparks fly? Or will it be a tame and underwhelming event?

Will Zen Rand lean/rely on Moiraine like he used to, to the detriment of Cadsuane (and to her irritation, I’m sure); or will Rand be able to have multiple AS advise him without any conflict (which hasn’t seemed to really happen yet so far; Cadsuane seems to need to be top dog when she’s involved)?
Kimani Rogers
32. KiManiak
Sam@6 – re: sending more Sisters - I agree with you. The Tower should have rallied the surviving Malkieri and the neighboring borderlanders to push back the Shadow. It almost seems as if they just gave up because they couldn’t make a miracle save of Malkieri.

sub@8 – re: Traveling - Yeah, if Traveling had been discovered then things could’ve been different. I’m sure the AS would have found another way to screw things up.

toryx@14 – re: more AS in the Borderlands – I completely agree. I know this group has discussed this many times in the past, but it defies logic that at least the Green Ajah are not more active (and prevalent) in the Borderlands. Even for training purposes, if nothing else.

sub@17 – good call on the Moiraine and Lan scene, and why Lan probably consented to be her Warder. I really think it has to do with respect. Respect is earned, not given; and by Moiraine being honest with Lan about Malkieri, Gitara’s Foretelling and Moiraine’s quest, I think Moiraine had earned Lan’s respect (kinda like what Tek@19 said, I see). Unfortunately, as far as Aes Sedai go, Moiraine is the exception and not the rule.

sub@21 – Dude, you better barricade that bunker door. :-)

Beren@24 – Yeah, I can understand the rationale. (I think the word you may have been looking for was inscrutable, maybe?) I’m just saying, this is symptomatic of why the average person does not like or respect Aes Sedai in Randland. Fear them? Probably. But it seems that only individuals that have been directly and positively impacted by Aes Sedai view them in a positive way, currently.
Lynn McDonald
33. meal6225
Soapbox moment; please heed the warnings when they post for tornados.
Do not go outside to look and take a cool Facebook picture--take cover.
I lived through April 3, 1974 when a class5 tornado wiped my town of Xenia Ohio off the map. As good as weather forecasting is they can't really classify till after the storm passes. Be safe. End soapbox.
Chris Chaplain
34. chaplainchris1
GREAT re-read post Leigh! I have to admit, the once-weekly post does seem to lessen my enthusiasm level, but reading the post quickly revved it back up. Drop dead hilarious and insightful, what a combo! I think my favorite is you *beaming* when commenting on Lan's respect for Moiraine's "badassedness". It is to laugh.

You so funny. ("Hello? Is this thing on?")

Is there a reason to end with the cover art check-in, instead of starting with it? Random wondering.

You wrote:

I wasn’t lamenting that Siuan and Moiraine aren’t in True Love; I was lamenting the fact that going by the way same-sex relationships are portrayed in WOT, True Love between them (or any other same-sex couple) could never even have been a possibility. The difference is subtle, but important.


Ok, that makes sense. (Although there were some *other* folks in the comments who *were* lamenting the fact that Siuan and Moiraine weren't in True Love.) But I still think it's going too far. I only conclude from NS that, whatever they did together, neither Siuan nor Moiraine are lesbians. This says nothing about the existence of lesbians generally in WOT. IMHO, it's fair to say that Jordan doesn't show it (the existence), but not fair to say that he shows or even implies that it doesn't exist.


@14 Toryx, re: the dearth of Aes Sedai in the Borderlands...um, yeah. We've always known that it seemed...strange. (What *are* those Greens standing ready for, if not the Battle of Tarwin's Gap or the Fall of Malkier?? But then, they all just rode off from Shienar without bothering to pursue the Horn of Valere, either.) It's even moreso now, given that the Tower tried and failed to intervene on Malkier's behalf...failed because of the distance from Tar Valon. You'd think *that* would have sparked a new policy, at least. Send some Greens and Yellows to (wo)man the Blightborder!!!

Aw, well. Nice of Leigh to point out the theme of "honesty is the best policy" here - I'd not thought about Lan and Moiraine's scene in those terms, though it seems obvious now. Interesting too, that for all of the early books portrayal of Moiraine as uber-Aes Sedai, manipulator par excellance, here Moiraine is honest with Lan as no other sister would have been. Compare this to Mat's thoughts about Moiraine after her rescue in TOM - that she's been basically the most honest and decent of all those trying to influence the Emond's Fielders.

I do wonder if Moiraine would've been so honest with Lan if she'd not already intended to bond him later. It was a risk, nevertheless, so good for her.

I also like the glimpses of Moiraine's grief and compassion. Most of the time in the early books we view her from someone else's POV, where she does often seem cold and ruthless. We still loved her, but it's good to have confirmation that she's human underneath it all.

And yet, for all her compassion and her, er, honesty, she *is* as ruthless as she has to be. It's interesting to compare her cover-up of the truth about the deaths of Brys, Diryk, and Iselle with the Tower's cover-up of the truth about Malkier's fall. In both cases the Tower (or Moiraine as reprsentative thereof) tried but failed to save targets of the Shadow. In both cases this is covered up. I suppose Moiraine is covering things up so that no talk of Black Ajah or even generic Darkfriends is linked with her? That would surely draw more Black sisters after her.

Also, an over-matched Moiraine not even attempting to kill Merean with the Power b/c she intends to question her? And a "defeated" Moiraine popping out her belt-knife and ending it decisively when that was the only option? Moiraine rocks.

"Questified." Heh.

@30 - gigglesnort. Dang it, now I need new non-nose-flavored Fresca...
Hugh Arai
35. HArai
Beren@24: Re: White Tower being incapable of being understood. The word you're looking for is "Idiots". Hope that helps. :)

But seriously, it's obvious no one thinks less of Shienar, Kandor or Lan's parents because they couldn't save Malkier and everyone respects the fact they tried. The WT not helping the survivors to preserve a false aura of infallibility is the betrayal Lan feels it is.
diane heath
36. jadelollipop
just read the confrontation between Lan and Moraine. (100 sisters sent but even Aes Sedai can't fly and arrived too late) Hope this is not the fate in AMOL. Think that thanks to Travelling 100 sisters or more will get there in time
ETA "In My mother's name" is the same thing Galad said to Nynaeve when he swore he would not reveal they were with Luca and needed a boat
Captain Hammer
37. Randalator
chaplainchris1 @34

Is there a reason to end with the cover art check-in, instead of starting with it? Random wondering.

I guess it's easier to judge its flaws and merits after you've refreshed your memory regarding the contents of the book.
Thomas Keith
38. insectoid
Yay, new post! Glad to see ya Leigh.

Can't think of much to say (head is muddled with numbers and code and junk, and have a baseball game on radio in my ear, can't think straight!) except: Lan and Moiraine Kick Ass, Film at 11. ;)

“The world, if need be. We win this battle, or the world dies.”


Awesome quote. And thus our story begins...


I also think it’s tangentially interesting that Moiraine’s last thought on Cadusane (which I left out of the summary, I think) is to decide that she was probably Black. I wonder if that will come into play in AMOL at all? It would be kind of horribly hilarious if Cadsuane decided her promise to spank Moiraine still held—assuming she doesn’t get to actually do it, of course. Because that would not be funny at all, in my opinion. Well, we’ll see!


Moiraine would probably knock Cads around with her angreal, and then try interrogating her (still thinking that she's Black).

On to comments...

Bzzz™.
Kimani Rogers
39. KiManiak
chapchris@34 – Nice compare/contrast between Moiraine’s cover up of the truth of these events with the Tower’s cover up of the truth of the Malkieri events. I still don’t think the Tower’s cover up is justified. However, I admit that I initially thought that Moiraine covered it up just because that’s what AS tend to do; adds to the whole “mysterious” and “I know something that the average person doesn’t know” vibe. It’s worthwhile to point out that she didn’t want any Black sisters drawing any reasonable connections between those events and her.

Harai@35 – Yeah, no one thinks less of the valor and courage of the neighboring Borderland countries just because they didn’t arrive until after the Shadow had basically destroyed Malkier. The intent and the effort were respected. The Tower choosing to give the appearance that they didn’t even try to provide assistance, just to ensure that no one views the effort as a failure on the Tower’s part? That’s just lame. Again, the Aes Sedai underwhelm the reader with their lack of common sense and their efforts to remain mysterious and infallible. It definitely can be viewed as a betrayal of a Borderland country by its inhabitants. Why do the Borderlanders revere the Aes Sedai so much, again?

As for the cover, color me unimpressed. I agree with those that compared it to the cover of TEotW, I always got the same vibe. I think there are at least a few other scenes that would’ve made a better cover like: the aforementioned attaining of the shawls for Mo & Siuan; dousing of Lan by Moiraine; Mo and her entourage vs the bandits; Gitara’s foretelling with Mo & Siuan in the foreground/background; Mo facing Merean while Lan faces Ryne; etc.
Hugh Arai
40. HArai
Ki-Maniak@39: I can only assume that in Borderlands history there have been individual Aes Sedai well worth the respect, because contrary to Egwene's opinion, the more I hear about the White Tower as an institution, the less impressed I get.
john massey
41. subwoofer
*Pokes head outta bunker- checks to see if groundhog saw shadow*

@Ki meh, I've been hurt by professionals.... my wife is one of those people whom insists on not wearing a watch because she "does not want to be ruled by the clock", and yet always asks me, a watch wearer, "what time is it?" Drives me nuts. Bought her a few watches, she actually liked one of them until I showed her how the big hand worked, then the little hand worked, then she worked me with the back of her hand... ouch.

I dunno, I also think this scene was the death of er... "carefree" Lan as we knew him. The hair burning scene was the last time he probably took a lover or anything that remotely resembled fun. Probably linked the death of Bukama to it and has been paying the price ever since. It took Nynaeve's long braid of hair to bring the big lug around. And note that the story came full circle cause Nynaeve's braid got singed and stuff in the last book. Wonder if that was deliberate?

Oh look, Suffa's made mojitos...

*ducks back into bunker*

Woof™.
Andrew Foss
42. alfoss1540
It was a great "This is the beginning of a beautiful friendship" moment. I DID NOT want it to end. where's the next PreSequel ?
Alice Arneson
43. Wetlandernw
Larelle: Is definitely dead in a ditch, then. Sorry, Larelle!

Why? Because Moiraine thinks so? I haven't yet seen any reason to assume that she's necessarily right about this. It's only Merean who says she went south; so no one believes her, but maybe Larelle went north, or east, or west, and Merean is covering that up. There just isn't anything to really go on except that she's not in Chachin, when she'd implied that she had important business there.

(Note that I don't necessarily think she is one or the other - I just find it amusing that people don't acknowledge the possibility that Larelle is BA off on another mission instead of being dead in a ditch at Merean's hand. For that matter, I still think it's possible that she was BA, and she & Merean split up so Larelle could take out Cadsuane. If so, obviously it didn't work... and she really is dead in a ditch.)
j p
44. sps49
The cover has the same issues as always. The green-clad rider is the same length from crown to hip as the horse's back from the ground; has the artist ever stood beside a real horse? To my eye, ALL of the horses are too small for their riders. And the horses' legs are too small to be a normal horse, anyway.

I forget that Moiraine did not want Ryne to follow Merean. Did she want him kept back because she found him cute, or did she already suspect?

E-book cover- Moiraine moving for Merean with her knife. She didn't surrender when shielded, either.

Otherwise, maybe the Foretelling scene or the short story opening scene (arrival at Canluum). Just, please Irene, not the bonding.

Aaaand this just occurs to me- didn't Moiraine say she would kill the T3 boys to keep the Shadow from them? Was that a lie (Oath 1), or was she really intending to kill them if necessary (Oath 2)?
Birgit
45. birgit
Maybe Larelle is in the city, just not in the palace.

The reason Siuan and Moiraine don't go hunting BA might be that they know they are the last light-side AS who are looking for the DR and if they attract the attention of the BA by hunting them only BA will be left who know that the Dragon has been reborn.

I forget that Moiraine did not want Ryne to follow Merean. Did she want him kept back because she found him cute, or did she already suspect?

She thought that he wouldn't be able to keep from telling Merean what he was up to because he seems so impressed with AS.
Stefan Mitev
46. Bergmaniac
I have to say that I found the ending of NS pretty disappointing. It felt rushed to me. And it really bugs me that the Prince Consort and one of his sons were killed and yet Moiraine and Lan just walked away without getting incolved in a major investigation.

The WT's behavior during the fall of Malkier is just appaling. OK, they couldn't come in time (though why the hell there aren't plenty of them on the Blight border to help the fight instead of sitting bored in Tar Valon), but there were still plenty of refugees and injured, who could've used Heling, and Shienar could've used the support of the Aes Sedai to halt the invasion from proceeding urther south. And their justification that it's better to appear that they didn't try to do anything than to admit they've failed is exactly why almost nobody respects them anymore - they care much more for appearances than getting the job done or even trying to do it.
Jonathan Levy
47. JonathanLevy
Re: "Edeyn had untied the knot in his daori that had kept him in his rooms for two days"

Remember how Lan keeps Nynaeve all day in their room without a stitch on? I guess we know where he got that idea.

sub@8 – re: Travelling
If the White Tower knew Travelling, then the Black Ajah would also know travelling, and would use it to their advantage. True, they can't move shadowspawn through gateways, but they could use it in other ways. "Hello Seanchan/Shaido/Whatever want to invade Arafel? Here's a gateway. Sorry, no support for Malkier!" So much would be different.

32. KiManiak
Perhaps the arrival of the Aes Sedai to Malkier was delayed by a bit of Weiramon-like incompetence by cleverly placed Black Ajah?

34. chaplainchris1
And yet, for all her (Moiraine's) compassion and her, er, honesty, she *is* as ruthless as she has to be.
But she gets shielded by Merean because she tries to save Iselle. That's the emotional reaction of a moral person trying to save an innocent life, not the cold hard calculation of a ruthless woman fighting the Black Ajah. I don't think she's so ruthless at the start of this battle, but the tragic outcome changes and hardens her.

35. HArai
The White Tower's decision to cover up their failure smacks of internal politicking to me. It's not so much that all the Aes Sedai together thought about what to do and decided not to admit their failure to the rest of the world; it's more that faction A didn't want to admit a failure before the rest of the Tower because it would weaken them in their rivalry against faction B.
Jonathan Levy
48. JonathanLevy
More thoughts on the cover-up of Malkier's destruction:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ab03nnO1tUE

Relevant section starts at 1:48
tailspinner
49. Gustaf81
I think, with all the troops Egwene has put together on the plains, this time the Tower will be in time to save Malkier and Lan. That will be a moment of awesome.
Rob Munnelly
50. RobMRobM
Leigh - nice re-read. Sorry for the plagues down South. Not much else to say but looking forward to KoD - by far my favorite of the later books. Hope you all like a little honey in your tea. And watch out for that lion on the high plains. And that golden crane thingie.

Rob
Captain Hammer
51. Randalator
subwoofer @41

The hair burning scene was the last time he probably took a lover or anything that remotely resembled fun.


To her surprise, Moiraine felt a flash of jealousy. She had never felt that before, certainly not for any of the women who had thrown their hearts at his feet, or those who had shared his bed.

(TGH, ch. 22)

He's had his share of fun since...
tailspinner
52. Shagrat and Meshack
I think Larelle's probably BA, but since Merean doesn't know - BA hearts again - Merean probably has therapeutically amputated her head with the Power, and left her in a ditch.

I mean, I'm just re-reading tLoC at the moment, and Katerina Alruddin had no idea that Galina Casban was also BA until they both went to Cairhien to buy a pig in a poke.
Captain Hammer
53. Randalator
Shagrat and Meshack @52

Still, we do know that darkfriends have a set of secret signs with which they can identify themselves and clear up seniority. One would think that BA had a similar set of signs so that if necessary they could identify fellow BA instead of just offing them.

On the other hand it seems very fitting that the BA should be just as ridiculously incompetent as the WT itself...
Grainne McGuire
54. helen79
BA purge of lucky men and boys.

Something occurred to me but no doubt I'm missing something.

If men are going to channel the spark happens when they're 17/18+ or thereabouts? So how come lucky boys like Diryk aged 8 were considered potential channellers? Even in extreme situations could he have channelled that young?

EDIT: I suppose it's just a case of "better safe than sorry" from the BA's perspective so let's kill anyone who's lucky rather than just those old enough to have channelled to cause their luck.
Jonathan Levy
55. JonathanLevy
53. Randalator

On the other hand, in the House on Full Moon St., it was one of the BA who identified Careane as belonging to them. Careane did not identify herself with a secret handshake - though in fairness, I don't recall whether she was bound with the power at the time. I think not though, since Vandene was free to give her a gift from Adeleas.
Captain Hammer
56. Randalator
Jonathan Levy @55

They were probably either members of the same heart or had worked together before à la Katerine and Galina.
Jonathan Levy
57. JonathanLevy
Well, the suvudu cage match final is over. I had submitted a story for the consolation match (Perrin Aybara vs. Jon Snow) but sadly it didn't make the cut. I hope no-one will mind if I repost it here (with a few small changes) - perhaps someone will enjoy it.

------------------------------------------------

In the dark, cold heart of the Godswood, Jon prayed for a swift death.

The pale morning light gave no warmth to his flesh as he knelt before the Heart Tree and prayed as he had seen his father pray so often - as he himself had also prayed, prayed to the nameless gods of the forest, but the gods never answered. They had not answered his father either.

When death comes, let it be quick, he said in his heart. And without shame. He had pledged his honor to the Night Watch, but he still feared shame more than death. He had seen this Perrin fight before, with the strength of an ox, the speed of a snake, a cruel hammer forged by the gods, and the murderous luck of a ta'veren. What chance did a half-trained youth have? He had seen one man slip on his first step and break his back on an unseen rock, to die gazing helplessly at the hammer as it descended on his face. Let me die with honor.

“Jon!”

The voice had come from nowhere, and everywhere, teasing his ear with familiarity. He spun around, looking for the speaker -

“Jon! Listen to me!”

"Bran? Is that you - " Of course not. Bran was a thousand miles north, and dead, even if unburied. This was foolishness. He was alone. Alone in the Godswood.

Alone with the Gods.

Who never answered -

“Jon, listen to me. Jojen dreamed a green dream. You can defeat Perrin if you listen to me!”

Slowly he turned his head back to the heart tree. The face stared back at him with glowing red eyes. Its wooden lips seemed to move as the words poured forth.

Heart thudding in his chest, Jon listened. He could not understand how this could save him, but there was still time to prepare. There might be time. If it failed, he would still die with honor. And if it worked...

His legs were moving before he realized a decision had been made. The Godswood echoed to the sound of his running feet.


-------------------------------


To understand a thing, you must understand its parts.

Perrin had studied his opponent and knew his parts, but caution was a part of him, and his nose smelled a trap. The sword was power-forged, that much he knew, and the boy - surely no more than a boy - held it as though it were a part of him, yet Perrin knew him to be only half-trained. He reminded him of nothing so much as Rand during their days in Fal Dara, before Lan had made him a blademaster. This one will move quickly - I must not overextend myself. And yet the scent of fear coming from the boy overpowered everything else.

The wolf is missing he realized. He will try to surprise me. And yet something still troubled him. I will be careful with this one. He hefted his hammer and took a first step towards him. When a thing needs to be done, best do it quickly.

-------------------------------

Jon watched as the heavy-set blacksmith plodded towards him. Time. I need more time. The hammer was such that two men might struggle to lift it, yet the man swung it freely with one hand. Jon's hand strayed to the cord around his neck. Now? Too early will ruin everything. The man had yellow eyes. I must stall. He will be upon me soon.

He was ready for the swing of the hammer, yet it came so quickly he barely had time to evade it. Another swing came so close he felt its breath upon his cheek. Jon dodged around him, waiting for an opening. I must fight normally, or he will suspect. He stepped back as the hammer passed in front of him, darting in to strike -

The fist caught him in the ear, throwing him to his hands and knees. He looked up just as another caught him in the chin. How could so big a man move so fast? The world tilted crazily around him as he tried to get up. Where was his sword? His scrabbling fingers found a boot. Perrin was standing over him. He was going to die like a rat.

-------------------------------

Perrin tossed the discarded sword into the bushes. It will come now, he thought as he stood over the feebly twitching boy. Now! He fell to one knee and rolled as the direwolf leaped for his neck, and stood up to face the beast. Higher than his waist it stood, white as snow, its red eyes lit with surprise. It had not expected him to anticipate his -

Young Bull

For a moment Perrin stood gaping. How do you know -

Hopper gave me your scent.

Hopper? How could you know Hopper?

When a wolf dies in your world, he is reborn in this one.

Jon was forgotten. The fight was forgotten. Everything was forgotten. Hopper! Where is he? When did you meet him?

Images reeled through Perrin's mind, grasping for words to express themselves. North-of-the-wall meant an endless forest, frozen in snow since the first turning of the wheel, but also in the shadow of a cliff of ice which reached the heavens. 1 ASOS:53 meant dozens of moons ago, but also the third step of a path of seven steps, yet the step was split in two, and the fourth step had a missing half. The first ones were close together and solid, but then the path seemed to stretch out until forever, and the last steps were only a shadow of a dream. He could not understand the half of it. But death stood on the third step.

What did you do? Rage coursed through him. What did you do!?

Young I was, and bored. The direwolf's toothy grin seemed to laugh at him. He was too weak to stand against me, and too slow to flee. His pack had many shes... though they would not let me mount them until I had killed his cubs.

--------------------------------

His stomach emptied itself, and Jon knew he was alive. Blinking mud from his eyes, he looked around. Ghost and Perrin were standing in front of each other, gazes locked, neither moving. I must do it now. His hand scrambled for the cord around his neck, and he blew with all his might on the whistle. Had it worked? His ears heard nothing, but that was the point. The taste of mud - and blood - filled his mouth. It's fouled. He cleaned the whistle on his sleeve and tried again. Had it worked? Again. Again!

In the distance he heard the barking of dogs. Two dogs. One from his right and one from his left. He almost laughed with relief. He would live. Men could not hear the whistle, but dogs could, and when they started barking, Sam and Pyp would open the cages, and then -

The wild howl of a wolf's rage brought his attention back. With a snarl of fury Perrin launched himself at Ghost's throat, and they fell to the ground in a flurry of fur and blood. Helplessly Jon watched as Ghost struggled on his back, but before he knew it the fight was over. Perrin raised his face from Ghost's neck as the wolf's lifeblood spurted forth. The man's chin was covered in blood, and his eyes were death. Too late. He could feel Ghost die. I was too late!

Twin screeches of rage and the flutter of strong wings announced the birds as they arrived. The falcon and the hawk met directly over Perrin's head, and attacked each other with a vengeance. It's too late. Feathers flew, and drops of blood, as talon and beak struck with a fury he could not have imagined. Yet half the blows seemed to strike Perrin, no matter how much he tried to protect his face. It's too late. To and fro the blacksmith ran, yet the frenzy followed him as if the birds were attached to his neck by a short leash. A falcon from the northwest and a hawk from the southeast. The Gods had spoken to him from the heart tree, yet he had not truly believed it until now. The blacksmith was on his knees, his ruined face pressed against the ground and his arms wrapped around his head, but even so birds continued their murderous struggle.

Jon crawled over to Ghost. The ground was wet with the direwolf's blood. His eyes were glazed. It's too late.

-------------------------------

The hawk had been driven off by the time Jon walked over to Perrin, but the assault continued unabated. The falcon was now perched on his wide neck, its talons firmly set against the flesh of his throat, yet not drawing blood - as if it meant to sit there until the mountains were worn away. Its beak pecked mercilessly at the blacksmith’s head in a steady beat. His bloody hands with torn and missing fingers offered no protection. Most of the hair was gone, and between the fingers, bone gleamed wetly. The beak struck the skull with a pecking rhythm to drive a man to madness. Perrin seemed halfway there, mumbling broken phrases -

"I'm sorry Faile… Yes Faile…I'll do the dishes Faile… I know I was wrong, Faile… I won't leave the toilet seat up Faile… Please forgive me Faile… I love you Faile…"

When the pitiful wretch that used to be a man raised his gaze to him Jon flinched. He knew what Perrin wanted even before the words were spoken.

"…please…. Jon… Kill me! End it! Save me from her!!".

Jon pulled his dagger from its sheath.

It would be a mercy.
tailspinner
59. Azuarc
Grainster, I think somebody wrote in another section that they reasoned it had more to do with looking for ta'veren than for channelers. For example, the older blacksmith that got killed in the village along the route. (Mind you, Perrin is a blacksmith.) If so, Siuan's assertion is astute, but wrong.

As for these lucksters, I have to wonder what happened to this theme. Did the BA kill them all, and nobody really noticed, or did they abandon that plan, or what? And what about Lan -- his luck rescued him from those plots on at least two occasions during New Spring. But I don't think we've seen anywhere in the main series that Lan is especially lucky, except arguably for the fact that he's still alive and well. But shouldn't the other lucky ones been rescued by the luck that named them a target? And if not, is that where the phrase "Dark One's own luck" comes from?


Personally, I thought the Big Ending Scene was rather awesome. I'm not sure exactly why Merean had the prince and his boy wrapped up rather than just killing them, but clearly this, too, was a big learning experience for Moiraine. The fact that she would end up using her knife was certainly foreshadowed, even if Leigh hasn't mentioned the times she brandished it earlier.


So we're finally on to Knife of Dreams? Only took two years, which is kinda funny since the first 3 books were done in 2 months. Lessee...April now, three books to go before AMOL. Guess we can afford to average like 4 months apiece. And if we're down to two chapters per week, we're gonna need more time than that, unfortunately.
tailspinner
60. pwl
Grainster, I think somebody wrote in another section that they reasoned it had more to do with looking for ta'veren than for channelers.

Even for ta'veren, the sign was luckiness. If they were looking for ta'veren, they would have simply sent around a BA that has the talent for seeing ta'veren. It doesn't appear to be that uncommon. There seems to be insufficient evidence or even implication that Siuan's guess is wrong. More specifically to what Grainster said and your posited link to ta'veren, they do not actually "become ta'veren" until a certain point, and they are not so for their entire lives. So that theory has the same problem as the problem with channelers, and as I mentioned the additional problem of there being a Talent to detect it so as to not require indiscriminate murder that might draw eyes.


As for these lucksters, I have to wonder what happened to this theme. Did the BA kill them all, and nobody really noticed, or did they abandon that plan, or what?


Ishamael killed Jarna Malari and put an end to the program.

But shouldn't the other lucky ones been rescued by the luck that named them a target?
They were lucky of the sort that one time they happened to flip a coin and hit heads ten times in a row. That doesn't make them more likely to be lucky in the future, since they could not channel and thus augment their luck. Lan alive was important to the Pattern. The others were not.
Alice Arneson
61. Wetlandernw
I forget that Moiraine did not want Ryne to follow Merean. Did she want him kept back because she found him cute, or did she already suspect?

As birgit says, she didn't trust him not to tell Merean because she's AS. Additionally, she saw him talking to an AS back in Canluum; she doesn't know which, but it almost had to be Merean, Larelle or Cadsuane because they were the only ones wearing shawls. On a 1-in-3 chance that he's already acquainted with (and possibly working for) Merean, she can't risk letting him know anything. Further, she suspects two of those three of being BA, which could well make him a DF. Not worth it.

Azuarc @59 - As for these lucksters, I have to wonder what happened to this theme.

It went by the wayside along with Jarna Malari when Ishamael found out what she was doing/having done. (ACoS Prologue) When Ishamael found out that Jarna (then head of the BA) had set the BA to hunt and kill the Dragon Reborn, he was furious and killed her for it, then made Alviarin head of the BA. Presumably he also told her to make sure the BA stopped the killing.

Jonathan Levy @57 - the match is open, not over. If you rewrote it so Perrin won and made a good case, they might post it; it's pretty well written, and they're still looking for a good pro-Perrin view. To quote them:

Unfortunately, at the time this needed to go up, we hadn’t received a strong enough Perrin story that we thought would do the character justice. If between now and Sunday you put one in the comments section that blows us away, we’ll gladly add it to the official write-ups.

Of course, if you're absolutely convinced that Perrin will lose, don't bother; they won't post if they don't think it does him justice. BTW, Perrin is currently ahead.
john massey
62. subwoofer
@52Randalator- um... well, it's good to see that Lan hasn't taken vows and become a monk or something, glad to see the man isn't made of stone:D

Woof™.
William Fettes
63. Wolfmage
These chapters are badass, and really make New Spring worth reading.

As infruiating as it is, the Malkier cover up is a highly predictable consequence of the typical Aes Sedai mentality. They have a highly inflated sense of the White Tower's importance in the world, which IMO isn't warranted for all their talk about being king makers and stopping dozens of wars before they've begun. Accordingly, they consider anything that might be perceived as a limitation on the White Tower's power, or their mystique of all-knowing authority, some kind of moral calamity. Unfortunately, Egwene seems pretty set along the same road in the latest books with all her schtick about preserving the authority of the Amyrlin because the White Tower is the center of the universe.

Samadai @ 6

Reclaiming Malkier and saving it from the Blight was entirely possible, however, it would still involve some minor cracks appearing in the mystique of power surrounding Aes Sedai. On balance, of course, it would improve Aes Sedai standing - but they are far too arrogant to see that.

Beyond that, I find it best not to dwell on these questions too heavily. It ends up simply opening the can of worms of why the Aes Sedai aren't in heavy rotation throughout the borderlands actually doing something useful. The failure of the Green Ajah to be heavily invested in the hotspots bordering the Blight is a particularly vexing failure in the books.
Ivan S.
64. Mediokrates
This is the first time I've been up to date when Leigh has discussed the book covers. Wow... has Darrell Sweet ever read even one of the WOT books he's done the cover for.
For some reason he portrays Moiraine as a redhead, when I'm pretty sure she has dark hair. Plus, he's got her wearing pants... wearing a diadem, and carrying a staff. I don't recall those in the book.
Then he's got the Malkieri clothes all wrong. Doesn't the book say that Lan & Bukama have knee length coats?
Where's Ryne's braids & bells? His yellow coat?
I'm reminded of Leighs comments re the LOC cover. It seems to me that Sweet draws whatever he feels like.

As for the story, not much more to say. One question... Lan says he saw Iselle with Brys & Diryk... Can anyone find that? Reading that chapter I can only find Lan coming across Iselle with Merean.
Alice Arneson
65. Wetlandernw
Wolfmage @63 The failure of the Green Ajah to be heavily invested in the hotspots bordering the Blight is a particularly vexing failure in the books.

On the contrary, it's a very vexing feature of the books. If the Green Ajah were, as you say, heavily invested in the Blightborder, this would be a very different story. The same can be said for what we, the readers, think each of the various Ajahs ought to be doing. Any one of us could give a color-by-color list of the failings and should-have-beens for each.

Much of the conflict (and, hopefully, resolution) in the series is due to the varying perceptions of the WT as an institution and AS in general. To its initiates, it is in a real sense the center of, if not the universe, at least the fight against the Shadow. It is also, as a corollary, the arbiter of international conflict resolution, since the nations must not be allowed so much active hostility that they are unable to cooperate when TG comes around. To the rest of the world's perception, the White Tower is anything from a longed-for dream to the cause of all the world's troubles, and AS are anything from demi-gods to demons. To the readers... well, we each know how we view them.

A significant development over the course of the series is the change in perception of Aes Sedai by various characters, cultures, and readers. The Aiel, for example, see Aes Sedai as demi-gods at the beginning, and move fairly swiftly to a serious disenchantment, finally balancing out at mild contempt toward the group but respect toward individuals who earn it. (The reader, too, seems to follow this change in perception, although we get there faster.) On the other hand, there's Nynaeve, who initially doesn't trust AS at all and only goes to the WT to try to get back at Moiraine somehow. She ends up with probably the clearest vision so far: that the WT has a real purpose and a real responsibility, and that she very much wants to be part of it, but that as an institution, it's not all it should be. (As I read her scenes in ToM, I'd actually say that she wants very much to be part of the WT-in-ideal, but that if the WT-in-fact decides she's not qualified, she'll walk away from the fact and go do the ideal. I think this has always been there in Nynaeve (if well disguised sometimes), and it's one of the reasons I like her so much.)

As much as we like to rail against the things the Aes Sedai ought to be doing, it seems to me very deliberate on Jordan's part. They were doing what they thought they should do, but their vision was badly limited by human weakness, tradition, and Shadow interference. As much as the need for men and women to work together is a theme of the series, so is the wilful blindness of humanity and the need to rise above it to accomplish what must be done. They're skillfully intertwined, in fact; in order to do the first, many different people (both individually and corporately) must do the second.

Mediokrates @64 - There's no law that says an artist has to read the books for which he does artwork; as near as I can tell, it's actually quite rare for that to be the case. He works from what he's given, which can be a great deal or very little, depending on the author, the editor, the publishing house and his own company. Sometimes the communication is great, sometimes... not so much. Details of costuming and color often get overlooked in the process.
john massey
66. subwoofer
Yes, everybody seems to point to where the f the Aes Sedai were? Berg and a few others brought up an interesting point- one that I discussed on theoryland a few months ago. Basically I was wondering why the White Tower didn't post some Greens in each of the countries of the Borderlands on a rotating basis with either Yellows or others to serve as backup for Healing or whatever. Other folks argued that Aes Sedai meant "servants of all", not warriors, and that there are other ways to serve. I agreed. Blues do stuff, Greys do stuff, Reds do whatever it is they do, and Whites er... do the same. The conversation also spiralled downwards into a commentary about the erosion of the influence of the Tower and how AS are losing credability in the world and that folks do not look up to Aes Sedai like they once did. I agreed, said, yeah, great but it's their own fault, and that still doesn't explain why the ladies don't have their butts parked where it is most needed. The Borderlanders still look up to them, why not help the folks that do honor them at the very least. The Blight is spreading, things are hitting the fan and the Aes Sedai are playing at politics in their Tower. Cadsuane was around somewheres chasing after False Dragons when she wasn't tending to roses, but what about all the other 2000 Aes Sedai? Methinks some accountability is called for.

Woof™.
Kimani Rogers
67. KiManiak
JL@57 – Nice! You’re not being really subtle, and slightly implying that Faile is anything other than the sweet, kind, patient, wise young woman that we’ve all had the pleasure to read since book 3 (that’s right folks; 11 books of Faile’s rational, level-headed actions), are you?

I agree with Wet; I hope you still try to submit. I also think Perrin should win, but I admit I’m more of a Perrin fan than a Jon Snow fan.

Wolf@63 – I think part of what makes the Tower’s actions re: Malkier so frustratingly believable is that those actions do very much fit into what we’ve seen/come to expect from the Aes Sedai. The Aes Sedais’ air of superiority and need to maintain the Tower’s “mysteriousness” and “infallibility” has been foisted on the reader from TEotW. And no, it does not appear that the current Amyrlin has any desire to really change those practices.

Mediokrates@64 – Hey, I never really paid attention to the hair color aspect before. It is kind of reddish brown. Actually if you place TEotW beside NS, you can see that on both covers Moiraine’s hair is reddish brown (at least, for my two books). And Moiraine’s hair-jewel-thingie does look more like a diadem in NS than it does in TEotW. Hmm. Although, to be fair, I think I’ve read that the artist only gets a small section/quick synopsis of text to read, in which he can base his cover art (I see Wet@65 said it better).

Wet@65 – It is always a treat to read you championing those who the majority of readers (or posters, at least) dislike or vilify. I do agree that the depiction of AS and the Tower was intentional by RJ. I maintain that he wrote certain characters (and even institutions) specifically to not be seen/read as “likable” to the average reader. For a good number of those characters/institutions, he does include some positive qualities and the chance for a type of “redemption.”
Alice Arneson
68. Wetlandernw
KiManiak @67 - Exactly! One of the reasons I enjoy this forum is that it forces me to think past my knee-jerk reactions, to consider either the character motivations or the author purposes - or both, of course. In virtually every case, I've found in-world rationale for even the most annoying behavior. It's not always "rational rationale" - i.e., from our perspective it looks stupid, but if you can climb inside the character's head, it's totally understandable. That doesn't excuse the behavior (setting aside the fact that "the author made me do it"), necessarily, but there are always reasons. The hard part is setting aside our own personal and cultural mindsets long enough to comprehend them.

In this case, it's nearly unforgivable that the Aes Sedai have become so far removed from the things they ought to have done, but from inside, it's still perfectly understandable that they have done so. Just like it's unforgivable from Lan's perspective that they didn't send aid to Malkier, but understandable from the Aes Sedai tradition that they would rather be thought to have withheld aid than be seen to fail in the attempt.

Aes Sedai are like cats - they don't ever want to admit that anything they did was less than purposeful.
Grace personified
I leap into the window
I meant to do that

Hugh Arai
69. HArai
Wetlandernw@68: Only one thing to say to that. Go Team Dog! :P
William Fettes
70. Wolfmage
Wetlandernw@65

We appear to have a miscommunication. I wasn’t actually saying there was vexing literary failure by Robert Jordan. I meant, within the books, the failure of the Green Ajah to be involved was deeply vexing. So probably my poor phrasing there.

That said, I do think we might reasonably ask whether the severe disconnect between the rhetoric and self-perception of Aes Sedai was entirely necessary at every point along the way. However, this point is of very limited import because you very quickly run into the problem that if you pull enough minor threads you still start to undermine the very structural preconditions of the world-building which make the plots and characters we know and love so much possible. That was my intention about not going down that path.
Kimani Rogers
71. KiManiak
Wet@68 - Yeah, I appreciate the effort, and I think the distinction needs to be made between "agreeing" with the actions of the Aes Sedai vs "understanding" why they made those actions. This also applies to the actions of some of our main characters, as well (although, I will never utter that in relation to Elayne, but that's a conversation for another time)...

Having said that, I still have problems with the actions and choices of the Aes Sedai. I just think that RJ wrote them this way on purpose. The White Tower is just another character/institution that is seeking redemption -or at least substantial growth/evolution- by the end of this tale...
Jonathan Levy
72. JonathanLevy
61. Wetlandernw
Thanks Wetlandernw, but I would not soil my lofty ideals for the dross of earthly glory.

Practically speaking, the entire story builds up towards the final scene, and changing the identity of the victor would ruin the point. Much better to nurse my resentment by rehearsing the follies of the philistine judges. :)

67. KiManiak
Actually, I thought I was being subtle! I'll have to try harder next time. ;)
Kimani Rogers
73. KiManiak
Got in one of my typing-while-TV-watching moods; Wall-o-Text warning...

Re: Aes Sedai and their role in Jordan’s world – I know we’re basically rehashing old arguments, both held here and apparently on Theoryland (as Sub mentions above), regarding whether/not the AS should have been more strategically placed throughout Randland (more Greens & Yellows throughout the borderlands, etc). But, the dispersal of the AS also speaks to the mindset of the Tower in regards to how it indoctrinates and to an extent, brainwashes, all of its initiates.

Think about it; a decent number of AS (the borderlands make up 4/13 of the nations here so let's say approximately 30%) would likely come from the borderlands. Growing up, they had to be aware of the daily struggle against the Shadow. Some of them probably lost relatives or immediate family members to a Trolloc raid. It is likely to assume that some of them grew up imagining that they would become Aes Sedai and fight the Shadow in their homelands.

Hey, Karina is a princess of Arafel; she definitely would be aware of the raids from the Blight and the various other struggles of Arafel and her neighboring borderland countries. One could assume that she, and likely the other young borderland girls, grew up as firsthand witnesses to the realities of Trollocs, Fades and other Shadowspawn.

So, shouldn’t one expect that (at the very least) the vast majority of that 30% of Aes Sedai (let's say that 30% = approx 250-300 Sisters, for arguments sake) seek to return to the Borderlands to directly aid against the Shadow once they become Aes Sedai, in whatever capacity their Ajah allows (Greens to fight, Yellows to heal, Blues to right whatever wrongs, etc.)? Since that doesn’t appear to be the case, what happened?

Maybe the training at the Tower doesn’t just educate and develop its initiates, it essentially brainwashes them to replace their own values with the Tower’s values.

Otherwise, there would have to be a fair number of Aes Sedai more actively involved in the borderlands, or at least based in/near the major cities/strongholds like Chachin, Shol Arbela, Fal Dara, etc. But, we see little to no evidence of a permanent presence of any Aes Sedai near or attached to those major strongholds. So, its logical to assume that they’re not there.

Why wouldn’t a significant number of them be there? It seems as though it would have to be linked to some experience(s) while they were training in the Tower.

We’ve seen that AS are taught that there is a certain way they should act and carry themselves. It’s logical to then assume that they are effectively brainwashed to believe that Aes Sedai aren’t meant to be frontline or support troops in the day to day battles with the skirmishes, but should only be actively involved in wars or Tarmon Gaidon, or some garbage like that. Their training does go over various weaves that are destructive, but do they get training on using those weaves in strategic ways? They get taught on the historical aspects of battles and wars, but are they taught effective battle tactics; how to best utilize Channeling-augmented forces in battle? Are they taught on the do’s and don’ts of Healing while in midst of a battle (maybe something like Healing in teams; 1 Sister to Heal while another keeps an eye out for protection/defense)?

It seems as though AS are trained in areas that are most useful in the more “peaceful” or less Shadow-exposed countries; but does anyone recall any training that seemed to be specifically for dealing with the realities of life in the Borderlands with the constant threat of the Shadow ever present?

(Seriously, I can’t remember; is there any good example of any Novice/Accepted being trained in anything that exclusively would be more beneficial to life in the borderlands than in the other countries in Randland?)

Sure, it’s kind of a leap to go from “not specifically training initiates to be useful in the borderlands” to “brainwashing initiates to thinking that their time is better spent away from the day-to-day realities of battling the Shadow in the borderlands.”

But, it kinda fits. The actions of Sheriam and Silviana (in their role of Mistresses of Novices) as well as that of other Aes Sedai in “teaching” mode reek of indoctrination, if not hinting at a bit of brainwashing. Initiates that don’t conform are punished to the extreme of being beaten in certain situations. I would argue that there’s a little “programming” going on. Kind of like a “A proper Aes Sedai is meant to do ‘X’ and not ‘Y’” type of approach, reinforced by various penances, beatings, etc.

And, this post is getting way too long. Anyway, I think it can be argued that the reason there is no visible presence of AS in the borderlands is due to the indoctrination, if not outright brainwashing, of initiates by the Tower.

And, then the next question would be “Why would the Tower advocate this type of indoctrination/ brainwashing?” But that’s gonna have to be for another post…
Alice Arneson
74. Wetlandernw
KiManiak - FWIW, there are several AS who serve as long-term advisors to Borderland rulers, so there's not a complete absence of AS there. It's just not a presence that's focused on actively fighting the Shadow as represented by the Blight.

On the other hand, when I was looking up BA statistics, I found a distressing number from the Borderlands themselves: of the 20 BA (main series) for whom I found nationalities given, 7 were from the Borderlands. One was even Malkieri.

That said, I'd love to discuss your post (you raise some very good points and questions) but it's far too close to midnight and I have to get up in 6 hours, so I'd better not! Maybe tomorrow.
Sorcha O
75. sushisushi
KiManiak@73 Isn't that the entire point of the Accepted test - that you will put your desire to be Aes Sedai above anything else in the world? Also, in some ways, the test for the shawl, also, depending on how mean the AS controlling the ter'angrael are feeling (pace Nyneave's test). I can imagine that, for example, your average Kandori novice's Accepted test is probably going to heavily feature Trollocs and Fades attacking their homes and families. And they have to walk away to pass. That's not going to encourage them along a route which encourages deep and meaningful engagement with the troubles of their homeland, particularly if the 'future' part of the test warns them off what they could become if they remain too involved.

So, yep, pretty much indoctrination to follow the White Tower and its goals above all else.
Stefan Mitev
76. Bergmaniac
"Maybe the training at the Tower doesn’t just educate and develop its initiates, it essentially brainwashes them to replace their own values with the Tower’s values. "
They are certainly doing it, in fact that's probably the main goal of the training. The Accepted Test, as already mentioned, is a clear proof. They are supposed to care only about the Tower and to fully embrace the Tower's views on everything. They are supposed to forget about their countries and have loyalty only for the Tower. Though apparently this isn't always successful, as seen for example when the SAS embassy came to Caemlyn and Min explained to Rand about how the Aes Sedai in it felt about him. the Andorans were pretty angry he had taken over their capital and probably killed Morgase, but the sister from Illian was much more eager to support Rand because he was planning to drive Sammael out of her home country. But in most cases, the Aes Sedai didn't seem to care much about their countries, and there's almost no difference in the behaviour of those of them from let's say Tarabon to those of Shienar.

I certainly never understood why the weaker Aes sedai don't go to Borderlands and become heroes instead of siting in the Tower being ordered around by the stronger sisters. They don't even have to fight on the frontline - just by Healing and throwing fireballs from afar they can be extremely useful without too much risk. This also applies even more to the borderlands born among them - they've been taught since birth it's their duty to oppose the Shadow, and at least while younger, you'd expect them to want to help their familes and friends back home in the fight against the Trollocs.

And for the Tower as an institution it would be a fantastic PR move to send a lot of sisters there.

How the hell the Greens justify their non-presence in the Borderlands is beyond me. It's obviously the best way to prepare for the Tarmon Gaidon's battles, and to help the cause of Light at the same time.
tailspinner
77. Lsana
I really hate to be the one defending the Tower here, but...

Do we know that the reason that Aes Sedai don't have squads of Green Sisters stationed in the Borderlands is because the WT does want to? Aes Sedai have earned quite a bit of mistrust, most of it deserved. I seem to recall somewhere Elayne or Moraine or someone saying that Andor was the only country where the Queen openly admitted to having an AS advisor. If most countries don't even want the appearance of AS advising the monarch, do you think they will want AS armies sitting on their doorsteps?

It seems possible that the Greens would be happy to send all their Sisters to a forward deployment, but even in the Borderlands, they get a "Thanks, but we'll be okay" response. Of course if they would be honest about the problems of the distance, perhaps they could change a few minds about that.
tailspinner
78. pwl
If most countries don't even want the appearance of AS advising the monarch, do you think they will want AS armies sitting on their doorsteps?
The Lord of Fal Dara begged the Amyrlin Seat to extend her stay in tGH. Shienarans at least appear to worship the ground the AS walk on. Malkier, according to Lan's dialogue, basically would do anything the Tower requested. While perhaps things are different in Kandor, Arafel, or Saldaea, there is no current in-universe justification for AS to have avoided Malkier or Shienar, aside from considering defending the Border less important than fetching tea for those Servants born more equal than others.
Stefan Mitev
79. Bergmaniac
I don' think the Aes Sedai advisors are kept secret in the Borderlands - Moiraine knew Ethenielle's advisor had went south with the Queen even before she went to the Chachin palace for example. And we see that Merean received much more attention and respect in the palace than Lady Moiraine Damodred (before she was revealed to be an Aes Sedai), even though Moiraine is basically a cairhein princess and a strong claimant for the Sun Throne. This is a clear hint how well respected Aes Sedai are in Kandor.

Besides, with the hordes of monsters constantly tryng to overrun and eat your subjects, I really don't see the Borderland monarchs refusing any help. Especially not the help of magic users, each of which is worth hundreds ordinary fighters, not to mention the bonus of each of those magicians having a few Warders to boot.
Kimani Rogers
80. KiManiak
Sushi2 & Bergmaniac – I don’t necessarily think we are disagreeing. The Accepted Test is meant to ensure that the Tower is the most important thing in an initiate’s life, just like the test for the shawl (usually) requires the initiate to follow the directions of a representative of the ruling body of the White Tower to the exclusion of anything else. These are both very obvious methods to measure that the Tower and the mission of the Aes Sedai needs to be the most important thing in any Sister’s life.

My point is that it can be argued that the experience at the Tower may be so powerful that it doesn’t just adjust an initiate’s value system (for simplicity sake, let’s say from a pre-initiate value system of The Light/Creator first, family a close second, country third, etc; to a post-initiate value system of Tower/The Light/Creator first, family a close second, country third, etc), it replaces it (Tower/The Light/Creator first, a huge gap, everything else bringing up the rear in whatever order they choose).

Initiates graduate from their training not as a wiser, more mature, more educated and more focused version of themselves. They graduate from training as representatives of what the Tower (or the general consensus of the AS determined by years of custom) thinks these women should be.

Think of it like joining a cult. The initiates seem to lose a lot of who they are and what they value, and that is replaced by who the institution says they should be and what they should value.

So some of the character traits are still there. Joline is still childish, Elaida is still close-minded, Siuan still talks about fishguts and silverpike, Pevara is still deeply affected by the death of her family by Darkfriends. But how individuals choose to pursue their life goals, not to mention what those life goals may be, could most likely have been changed by the Tower.

So Pevara chooses to join the Red Ajah and hunt down men affected by the Taint in response to her family’s loss, instead of going to the borderlands to actively fight the Shadow, or joining the Blue with her "cause" being to actively hunt down gatherings of Darkfriends, for example. Or Greens (and other Ajahs, of course) choose to gather some of the finest swordsmen as Warders, but choose not to patrol the borderlands (as far as we’ve seen “onscreen”), and instead deprive those lands of some of the better warriors in Randland that could more effectively be used fighting Trollocs and Myrdraal.

The point is, I think the Tower doesn’t just make its initiates view the Tower as the most important thing in their lives, it also kinda “brainwashes” its initiates to think that the old things those initiates value aren’t important at all, unless they actively add to the prestige of the Tower. The process of becoming an Aes Sedai (going from a Novice to Accepted to Aes Sedai) seems designed to actively replace the initiate’s value system. And maybe that is why we don’t see a strong presence of Aes Sedai in the Borderlands (barring advisors to the various monarchs) where it could be argued would be the most logical place outside the Tower to find a major gathering of Sisters.

Now, did RJ actually write it this way or are we as fans reading way too much into this? I say, go with whatever answer makes you happy…
Tess Laird
81. thewindrose
What has happened to the Aes Sedai since the Breaking. It would seem that before the Trolloc wars, Aes Sedai were respected and held positions like Queen Eldrene.
From tBBoBA(which I know is not cannon):Chapter 10 Rise and Fall of the Ten Nations-
In 209 AB, the Compact of the Ten Nations was formed. This compact, called the the Second Compact, was largely the work of Queen Mabriam of Aramaelle, reported to be Aes Sedai (as were a number of queens, apparently, between the Breaking and the end of the Trolloc Wars), so it is likely that the White Tower played a large role. {...}The Compact was successful in that each nation rallied to support the war effort and the other nations{...}The White Tower supplied Aes Sedai to assist the armies of the Compact against the Dreadlords, but even those Aes Sedai were under the command of the Aes Sedai.


During the Trolloc Wars is when Ishmael created the Black Ajah, and the first(second oath) Oath came into being.
Speculation: The order and very rough timing of the adoption of the Oaths is:(as seen on Thirteenth Depository)

1. Second Oath (against making Power-wrought weapons) 3-6 or so centuries AB
2. Third Oath (against using the Power as a weapon) 6-10 centuries AB
3. First Oath (against speaking an untrue word) after the Trolloc Wars


I get the feeling that once the Aes Sedai started using the Oath Rod, the more they stuck their heads in the ground: or more concisely they became insular. It also reminds me of the British Royal Family. King John and the Magne Carta - it's a slippery downward slope when you have to start giving up power - until you are just a figure head.
tempest™
Ivan S.
82. Mediokrates
@67 KiManiak

Re: Cover...
It's almost like he reused Moiraine from TEoTW and put her on NS. Almost everything is the same... her hairstyle hasn't changed in 20 years, same staff, same diadem, dress, cloak, and pants are very similar. The major differences are that the artwork for TEoTW is much better, and Moiraine kinda looks like Deanna Troi on NS. You'd think that after 11 books in a series he is most known for illustrating, he would've read a couple. I think some of his WOT covers are great, others are not nearly so. Kinda hit or miss.

Re: Aes Sedai.

Great point KiManiak! I really like the cult comparison.
The WT demands that you give it your entire loyalty, forsaking all other bonds. They become one giant cult family.

I'm not so sure I agree with the concept of Redemption being applied to the AS and the WT. Maybe more of a Rebirth (Renaissance).

At one time AS were perceived as almost all powerful. We have so many examples of peoples across various cultures who have no idea of AS limitations (3 oaths aside, and even those they don't really understand). I think it is clear that the WT has tried to cultivate and maintain this perception. The whole idea of infallibility. The walls of Tar Valon have never been breached... The WT has never succumbed to civil war... The WT never fails in its endeavors (Malkier)... No one escapes the WT (the Kin)... An AS is never frustrated or scared or anxious (the test for the shawl... like AS are more than human).
I think it is also quite clear that the WT has fallen prey to its own propaganda. They believe every word of it.
Clearly the trope of the legendary & majestic kingdom falling into decay is at work here.
Whether this is done believably probably won't be agreed upon in this forum. A thousand year decay is a pretty long downward spiral after all.
I think RJ was probably aiming at a rebirth or reformation of the WT. A New Order. In which all those things we as readers have identified as faults or mistakes are corrected.
I also think we are seeing glimpses of this New Order. Ashaman & Aes Sedai bonded together (white balancing black, the colors of the ancient symbol), all female channelers linked in some fashion to the WT, new laws governing Sittings of the Hall. Even Nynaeve perception of the WT, I believe could be linked to it. As Egwene binds all female channelers to the WT, she accepts that there will be multiple loyalties amongst her new AS. The WT is not their only loyalty, but perhaps eventually first amongst equal loyalties.
Birgit
83. birgit
I had to change my comment-counting program because of the new website. I hope it works properly.

WoT reread posting statistics up to the end of NS

- different spellings of usernames are counted separately
- punctuation is counted as words

top 50 posters by number of comments
username;comments;words;average words per comment
1: subwoofer;1824;301145;165.0
2: Wetlandernw;1560;399544;256.0
3: Freelancer;1194;278429;233.0
4: RobMRobM;1167;130187;111.0
5: alreadymad... (all);1020;124254;121.0
6: Tektonica;987;147767;149.0
7: thewindrose;879;120008;136.0
8: jamesedjones;788;64165;81.0
9: toryx;699;134087;191.0
10: insectoid;682;74953;109.0
11: forkroot;600;88430;147.0
12: R.Fife;598;81941;137.0
13: Man-0-Manetheran;585;57263;97.0
14: blindillusion;577;92221;159.0
15: Randalator;566;103904;183.0
16: Isilel;511;174811;342.0
17: MasterAlThor;502;65663;130.0
18: Samadai;489;35577;72.0
19: HArai;457;60351;132.0
20: Lannis;419;61341;146.0
21: birgit;414;70010;169.0
22: misfortuona;410;43791;106.0
23: J.Dauro;373;48379;129.0
24: Jonathan Levy;359;116130;323.0
25: Fiddler;353;47954;135.0
26: sps49;347;30030;86.0
27: ValMar;330;35633;107.0
28: Lsana;326;66587;204.0
29: gagecreedlives;325;37559;115.0
30: Shimrod;309;36160;117.0
31: UncrownedKing;298;25669;86.0
32: tonka;298;39454;132.0
33: SteelBlaidd;265;66168;249.0
34: sinfulcashew;257;24984;97.0
35: Terez27;255;72793;285.0
36: Wolfmage;255;102264;401.0
37: Sonofthunder;225;30012;133.0
38: blocksmith;210;28520;135.0
39: Longtimefan;201;64148;319.0
40: odigity;191;29216;152.0
41: leighdb;190;18026;94.0
42: alreadymadwhensaidinwascleansed;182;31546;173.0
43: GatheringStorm;182;15656;86.0
44: JennB;181;20850;115.0
45: hoping;178;15076;84.0
46: Alisonwonderland;177;38662;218.0
47: sweetlilflower;161;21621;134.0
48: Amalisa;159;47722;300.0
49: bchurch;158;16542;104.0
50: Aegnor;158;18451;116.0

top 50 posters by number of words
username;words;comments;average words per comment
1: Wetlandernw;399544;1560;256.0
2: subwoofer;301145;1824;165.0
3: Freelancer;278429;1194;233.0
4: Isilel;174811;511;342.0
5: Tektonica;147767;987;149.0
6: toryx;134087;699;191.0
7: RobMRobM;130187;1167;111.0
8: alreadymad... (all);124254;1020;121.0
9: thewindrose;120008;879;136.0
10: Jonathan Levy;116130;359;323.0
11: Randalator;103904;566;183.0
12: Wolfmage;102264;255;401.0
13: blindillusion;92221;577;159.0
14: forkroot;88430;600;147.0
15: R.Fife;81941;598;137.0
16: insectoid;74953;682;109.0
17: Terez27;72793;255;285.0
18: KiManiak;70415;134;525.0
19: birgit;70010;414;169.0
20: Lsana;66587;326;204.0
21: SteelBlaidd;66168;265;249.0
22: MasterAlThor;65663;502;130.0
23: jamesedjones;64165;788;81.0
24: Longtimefan;64148;201;319.0
25: Ouroboros;62874;145;433.0
26: Lannis;61341;419;146.0
27: HArai;60351;457;132.0
28: chaplainchris1;58333;152;383.0
29: Man-0-Manetheran;57263;585;97.0
30: J.Dauro;48379;373;129.0
31: Fiddler;47954;353;135.0
32: Amalisa;47722;159;300.0
33: misfortuona;43791;410;106.0
34: tonka;39454;298;132.0
35: Alisonwonderland;38662;177;218.0
36: gagecreedlives;37559;325;115.0
37: Shimrod;36160;309;117.0
38: ValMar;35633;330;107.0
39: Samadai;35577;489;72.0
40: alreadymadwhensaidinwascleansed;31546;182;173.0
41: drewlovs;30050;127;236.0
42: sps49;30030;347;86.0
43: Sonofthunder;30012;225;133.0
44: lakesidey;29596;98;302.0
45: odigity;29216;191;152.0
46: blocksmith;28520;210;135.0
47: lostinshadow;27037;156;173.0
48: Bergmaniac;26766;124;215.0
49: AndrewB;25747;136;189.0
50: UncrownedKing;25669;298;86.0

There were 3448 different usernames; 2044 appeared only once (including many alreadymad...).
Birgit
84. birgit
WoT reread posting statistics NS only

top 50 posters by number of comments
username;comments;words;average words per comment
1: lakesidey;97;29527;304.0
2: subwoofer;95;26308;276.0
3: Wetlandernw;90;32350;359.0
4: Mediokrates;64;24147;377.0
5: Bergmaniac;58;12417;214.0
6: chaplainchris1;58;27648;476.0
7: ValMar;51;5429;106.0
8: HArai;49;6544;133.0
9: Jonathan Levy;49;24442;498.0
10: KiManiak;46;24986;543.0
11: Terez27;44;8596;195.0
12: RobMRobM;44;3106;70.0
13: birgit;40;7701;192.0
14: insectoid;39;5926;151.0
15: JimF;38;9220;242.0
16: sushisushi;36;6745;187.0
17: Randalator;32;4388;137.0
18: Tektonica;31;5019;161.0
19: EvilMonkey;30;6917;230.0
20: thewindrose;29;4935;170.0
21: MasterAlThor;29;3592;123.0
22: Samadai;28;3393;121.0
23: Sonofthunder;26;5100;196.0
24: archaeo;23;9436;410.0
25: benpmoldovan;23;2746;119.0
26: pwl;22;3340;151.0
27: sweetlilflower;22;2629;119.0
28: Isilel;21;12472;593.0
29: sps49;21;1711;81.0
30: up2stuff;21;4612;219.0
31: Lsana;18;3381;187.0
32: Shadow_Jak;17;2018;118.0
33: J.Dauro;16;1857;116.0
34: Alisonwonderland;15;2503;166.0
35: AndrewB;15;3113;207.0
36: toryx;15;3633;242.0
37: Wolfmage;14;6425;458.0
38: KatoCrossesTheCourtyard;14;2110;150.0
39: alfoss1540;13;1263;97.0
40: Smittyphi;12;595;49.0
41: CorDarei;12;968;80.0
42: Fiddler;11;1674;152.0
43: alreadymad... (all);11;1089;99.0
44: Freelancer;11;1972;179.0
45: Glyph;10;1775;177.0
46: Chappers;10;1385;138.0
47: tamyrlink;10;990;99.0
48: sleepinghour;10;1799;179.0
49: forkroot;9;1480;164.0
50: jamesedjones;9;679;75.0

top 50 posters by number of words
username;words;comments;average words per comment
1: Wetlandernw;32350;90;359.0
2: lakesidey;29527;97;304.0
3: chaplainchris1;27648;58;476.0
4: subwoofer;26308;95;276.0
5: KiManiak;24986;46;543.0
6: Jonathan Levy;24442;49;498.0
7: Mediokrates;24147;64;377.0
8: Isilel;12472;21;593.0
9: Bergmaniac;12417;58;214.0
10: archaeo;9436;23;410.0
11: JimF;9220;38;242.0
12: Terez27;8596;44;195.0
13: birgit;7701;40;192.0
14: EvilMonkey;6917;30;230.0
15: sushisushi;6745;36;187.0
16: HArai;6544;49;133.0
17: Wolfmage;6425;14;458.0
18: insectoid;5926;39;151.0
19: ValMar;5429;51;106.0
20: Sonofthunder;5100;26;196.0
21: Tektonica;5019;31;161.0
22: thewindrose;4935;29;170.0
23: up2stuff;4612;21;219.0
24: Randalator;4388;32;137.0
25: toryx;3633;15;242.0
26: MasterAlThor;3592;29;123.0
27: Samadai;3393;28;121.0
28: Lsana;3381;18;187.0
29: pwl;3340;22;151.0
30: tshania_sedai;3254;5;650.0
31: AndrewB;3113;15;207.0
32: RobMRobM;3106;44;70.0
33: benpmoldovan;2746;23;119.0
34: sweetlilflower;2629;22;119.0
35: Alisonwonderland;2503;15;166.0
36: KatoCrossesTheCourtyard;2110;14;150.0
37: Shadow_Jak;2018;17;118.0
38: Freelancer;1972;11;179.0
39: Jobert Rordan;1868;6;311.0
40: J.Dauro;1857;16;116.0
41: sleepinghour;1799;10;179.0
42: Glyph;1775;10;177.0
43: sps49;1711;21;81.0
44: Fiddler;1674;11;152.0
45: XLCR;1632;6;272.0
46: Mike123;1583;7;226.0
47: forkroot;1480;9;164.0
48: SteelBlaidd;1463;4;365.0
49: sarcastro;1446;2;723.0
50: brad21088;1420;4;355.0

There were 296 different usernames; 144 appeared only once.
tailspinner
85. sweetlilflower
Yeah! I made the top 50!

I am bummed that tax season is extended for this year and I will have to miss JordanCon. It sucks that I live right here in Atlanta and have failed to attend even one year. **stupid Washington D.C. and their stupid holidays** Ah, well, I'm looking forward to jumping into KoD in a few days. NS was a well-deserved break from CoT, but we need to get back to our main squeezes.
john massey
86. subwoofer
Well, couple of things.

@sweetlil- you live in Atlanta? ... And you say you can't go??? C'mon- call in sick or skip a night of sleep. Either way, get to the Con. Look at it this way... there are folks in Japan that have everything taken away from them, taxes are not the end of the world... paying them is a pain, but the world still spins. Doing taxes... gah... no bright side there.

About them Oaths, they suck. I am halfway convinced one of the Forsaken came up with that plan. I mean really, can't make power wrought weapons? Can't defend yourself unless you are in what you think is "mortal danger" or something? Who came up with that stroke of genius. Thing is, on paper all these things are great, but I am fairly confident that Team Dark is not taking these same oaths. Power wrought weapons? Churning them out by the cartload. Power as a weapon? Bzzapppp- dead Aes Sedai. Oath for telling the truth? Really? Were Aes Sedai such bad liars back in the day? Lies just rolled off their tongues? What about everybody else that lie like champions? If they need an oath to tell the truth, I think something is wrong with the selection process to begin with... must be recruiting outta the ranks of the local politicians.

Personally, I am glad that the Asha'man have no such fetters. Perrin got his hammer out of the deal and there are some weapons being made that will actually counter the ones Team Dark has been amassing. I think the whole thing needs to be reassessed.... then scrapped, then march their collective hinies to the borderland countries where they can make a difference.

Just a thought.

Woof™.
Alice Arneson
87. Wetlandernw
subwoofer - FWIW, I'm betting that the original Oath against making weapons was in the context of things like the balefire ter'angreal, or the stun/kill rod Asne used in The House on Full Moon Street - and even more, the kind of ter'angreal that don't require channeling to use them. I can easily see a vow not to ever make weaponry ter'angreal, especially in light of some of the stuff that went on during the War of Power. (IIRC, that was the first one put in place, back in the days when the devastation from the War of Power and the Breaking were still pretty fresh.) If you were the only group of people in the known universe who could make nukes, but once made they were really easy for almost anyone to use... wouldn't the risk of them falling into the wrong hands make you think about guaranteeing that none would ever be made again?

(Incidentally, I'm guessing some of this is also what's behind the law that all angreal belong to the Tower. Maybe no one cares that much about handy little cellphone-type ter'angreal, but how do you distinguish between those and the WMD type? Safe solution, you collect everything and bring it back to the Tower to make sure nothing gets abused.)

The funny part of it is that in the current setting, everyone has almost forgotten about weapons that actually use the One Power, and they seem to think only in terms of things made with the Power - swords and hammers and things, oh my. Or maybe that's only most of the world - one could hope that the more savvy AS would be aware of (at least) the existence of weapon-greal.
William Fettes
88. Wolfmage
Wetlandernw @ 87

Yes, good point. There are some non-trivial dangers to simply allowing powerful ter’angreal to be proliferated. So, at least where the more powerful artefacts are concerned, there is a case for some kind of regulation.

But unnaturally strong and sharp swords, axes, or other basic tools? Not so much. Notwithstanding the soaring moral tenor to their bold declaration to make no weapon for one man to kill another – it’s pretty clearly some woolly thinking.

Whether a person kills with a sword that needs to be continually re-sharpened, or one that is perpetually sharp, is of no great moral import, admitting only the delay of a whetstone, repair or replacement. The most basic economic rule of substitution ensures that anyone who might do harm with a power-wrought blade would do equivalent harm with a normal blade. Indeed, as entirely localised melee weapons, power-wrought weapons are not anything categorically different to their normal class (as a real ter'angreal, Perrin's hammer is in a different class). A Blademaster without a power-wrought blade will still prevail 9 times out of 10 against a non-Blademaster with one in a fight.

The only real danger I can see is if the Aes Sedai started forming exclusivity pacts with specific rulers to supply weapons for their armies so disproportionately that it alters the balance of power and enable tyranny. However, that can hardly count against the proposition given that Aes Sedai are already deeply embroiled in Randland politics, actively managing the balance of power in other ways. Moreover, a simple open market for such blades would ensure a wide distribution so that no one nation was elevated above others (plus it would supply a steady stream of gold to the White Tower).

The most compelling reason in favour of making such weapons is obviously the moral imperative to counter the Shadow's own tainted blades. It seems pretty much a dereliction of duty to allow the Shadow to simply amass a huge collection of supernatural blades without any counter amongst the forces of Light.
Alice Arneson
89. Wetlandernw
My point was only that the original reason for the oath was probably a very valid and needful one - the non-proliferation of weapon ter'angreal. The current understanding, which keeps them from making Power-wrought swords, is virtually meaningless; as you say, a huge supply of p/w swords would hardly make a significant difference in anything. It's just another example of the intent being obscured in history so that the Oath, essentially worthless in context (who cares about power-wrought swords, really?), is effective only in limiting Team Light by reducing the lifespan of those who (should) have the capacity to serve it best. It's rather sad, really. Especially since they've mostly lost the ability to make ter'angreal of any sort, the oath does no good and some harm.
James Hogan
90. Sonofthunder
Just checking in...thanks for posting the stats, birgit!! I was a little shocked I ended up 20th for the NS wordcount stats - I thought I'd barely posted here at all for NS!! Apparently since I haven't read NS as much as most of the regular series, I didn't feel as if I had as much to say...I still enjoyed the reread, Leigh, so thanks, as always!!! I'm greatly looking forward to KoD...one of my favs of the series(and certainly one of my favs of the back half!). I'll always remember reading it for the first time on a road trip to Miami..

And to all, good discussions on the Oaths, etc. I don't feel as if I have much to add(and my head's a little early-morning fuzzy at the moment!), so thanks for the enlightening thoughts that I get to enjoy from the rest of you!
Thomas Keith
91. insectoid
Still lurking about...

Birgit @83/84: Great job! Uh, I hate being the only nitpicker when it comes to your statistics, but... The NS-only numbers look good, but the overall Re-read numbers look kind of low. Not just mine, either; just as an example, subwoofer's # of RR comments should be a little under 1900, and Wetlander's closer to 1600. FWIW :)

On a related note: are we sure Dishes isn't an Olympic event? ::runs::

Bzzz™.
Sorcha O
92. sushisushi
KiManiak@80 Yes, I suspect that we are violently in agreement here! Good point on the experience replacing value systems, rather than re-ordering - I think the fact that both the tests involve holding to that new value system under traumatic circumstances would reinforce their 'brainwashing'. Also, the fact that they are basically not allowed talk about the test experiences afterwards would emphasise the importance of the test experience, as there is no chance to lessen its impact by discussing it with peers.

Hmmn, one thing about always bugged me about the much-discussed lack of sisters in the Borderlands - you know those roughly 300 Aes Sedai who aren't in the Tower? Wouldn't a decent proportion of those be in the northern countries? I mean, even if they aren't sitting in border forts, there should be quite a few hanging around Maradon and Chachin, Shol Abela and Fal Moran, who could help out with Trolloc raids, etc. If we take the situation pre-Seanchan and leave out Amadacia and Tear as being anti-AS, there are 12 decent sized Randland nations for these 250-300 AS to be rattling around in, maybe 15 to 20 of them in each country. Granted, some of them are probably retired and lying low, but that should give at least 60 AS in the Borderlands at any one time, willing to do a bit of Trolloc crisping on the side, even if they have their Own Business Going On.

birgit@84 Eek, I managed to hit 15 and 16 on your NS lists, despite thinking I wasn't actually posting much. Not on the main radar yet, though. Knife of Dreams, here we come!
Tricia Irish
93. Tektonica
Thanks Birgit. I'm happy to see that I've been keeping my mouth more firmly shut these days.

Good discussion on the oaths...I agree that they've probably lost their original intent and like Sub, should be scrapped.

Sweetlilflower: Get yourself over to Jcon...even for a DAY! Come on!!
Marcus W
94. toryx
I'm amazed that I'm still in the top ten overall on both lists. I thought I'd fall a lot further after being quiet for a few months.

Wetlandernw @ 89:

I agree with pretty much everything you're saying, except this:

(who cares about power-wrought swords, really?)


Anybody who doesn't have another source of power is definitely going to care, particularly when you're going up against trolloc hordes with their shadow-wrought blades. It's not just about the swords remaining sharp; they're also lighter and far less likely to break. If nations are putting together armies to defend against the trolloc hordes, they're going to want as many of those power-wrought blades as humanly possible. The fact that they don't make them any more is going to make a difference when Tarmon Gaidon begins. A lot more people are going to die as a result.
tailspinner
95. alreadymadaboutnsend
Surprised I managed to get into the top 50 at all.. Creator knows I haven't been that active as far as the New Spring re-reads are concerned. Nothing against NS personally.

As far as this section is concerned I did find it really sad that the Tower would rather say they didn't care than admit they tried and failed. Also as far as Lan is concerned, can anybody say Survivor's guilt?

BTW, as far as Rand's "the wind moved" brouhaha while sparring with Lan way back when, I always figured it was Rand channeling subconsciously.

Re: Oath against making weapons of Power
That's the point actually. You are all arguing that it makes little difference if they excluded random swords because it won't make much difference to the local balance of power anyway. But conversely, making Power-wrought swords for their local faction would therefore make little difference anyway. The only real difference is in the wording of the Oath. More conditions mean more loopholes. And you know what AS love to do to loopholes?
So in this case, better to keep it short, simple and unambiguous. No Weapons of the Power.
Benjamin Moldovan
96. benpmoldovan
amw: re loopholes: hmm, good point.

Hey, I made the NS lists! I'll probably never make the other lists, since I went gray/black too late.

By the way, we'll see if this post sticks. Tor seems to have treated my last couple of posts as spam for some reason, as far as I can tell. (They gave every appearance of being posted, but when I looked later, they weren't there anymore.)

Ben
john massey
97. subwoofer
I am surprised that folks are surprised;)

@AMW... well- I was arguing that the Oaths should be scrapped altogether and maybe rethunk... see previous posts for my suggestions therein. My point was, Team Dark is sure as hell not taking any kind of Oaths, so the weapons one was a real setback for the good guys cause the baddies have no such limits.

I'd also be willing to bet that that stupid oath was a key reason why Aes Sedai forgot how to make angreal, it just fell outta use.

As for proliferation, well the same problem lies in dwindling numbers. Aes Sedai dwindled in numbers after the breaking, same as with angreal. All sorts of stuff was lost, or, as we see in ToM, the Forsaken are squatting on it. I'd be cheerfully happy if more stuff was made, as there is only a finite amount of people that can use it.

The calling stuff back to the Tower is a crock too. As we see, the Tower is not the safest of places for stuff if Novices can wander in and help themselves. And with the BA lurking about, who knows how many angreal they have scampered off with... I am sure it is not just Sheriam and the Dream Rings either.

My philosophy is "let 'er rip".

And back to the lying thing... if Aes Sedai need to take an oath about lying, were they all out and out flagrant liers in the past. Maybe the Oath should have just included a Pinocchio clause where if an Aes Sedai tells a lie, their nose grows longer.... just an idea.

Woof™.
Alice Arneson
98. Wetlandernw
sushisushi @92 - At this point in the story, there should actually be between 800 and 900 AS out and about:

...only four hundred and twenty-three were in residence at the moment, with perhaps twice as many scattered across the nations. (Moiraine's reflections, NS, Chapter 3)


So... absolutely, there should be LOTS of them in the Borderlands! With the even distribution you laid out, there could be 60-75 per country. Yikes! Where are they all?

Tektonica @93 - Hey, what does Sub need to be scrapped for? He's been behaving pretty well, really... ;p

toryx @94 - Well, I was probably overstating the case a bit, but when you think of the impact of a power-wrought sword vs. a ter'angreal that can kill or stun at a hundred paces...

However, given that they aren't making the blades any more because they (IMO) got confused about the purpose of the Oath, and also given that they don't have very many weapon ter'angreal and aren't making new ones... The combination doesn't stand them in good stead. I wonder why no one thought of the loophole "I'm not making this ter'angreal for one man to kill another; I'm making it for an Aes Sedai to kill Shadowspawn." If they had the skill of the previous age, they could probably even do something like make a ter'angreal that only worked for women, but didn't require channeling - then they could make weapons for women to kill Shadowspawn. It would take some nifty footwork to make sure women couldn't kill humans with it, though, so maybe it's not such a great idea.

@several re: surprise at making it into the statistics... Most of us were somewhat quieter than normal on NS, so it didn't get you as far down the list as you thought.
john massey
99. subwoofer
Wait- wha? I need to be scrapped? waddidido? I'm just settin' here with some tea and cookies... nothing bad lately... my last attempt to take over the world didn't quite work out... wanted to get a large ransom by cornering the production of toasters... who knew that toasters would last sooooo flippin' long? I think my next attempt will be to change the plugs on all appliances in the world then be the only one to make the matching plug ins.... hmmmmm

Woof™.
john massey
100. subwoofer
Banzai!!!!!

Nothing to add here, just doing a happy 1 hunny dance... er cause I am a sap as a new da....

Woof™.
Hugh Arai
101. HArai
sushisushi@92,wetlandernw@98: Whatever they're doing it's not helping the Borderlander armies fight Trollocs or Agelmar wouldn't have made such a point of asking Moiraine to help fight at Tarwin's Gap in EotW
Richard Fife
102. R.Fife
Wow... I'm still in the top 15? I sure was a wordy son of a gun back in the day, wasn't I?

Anyway, sorry I haven't been around as much (if any of you have even really noted my absence). I'm actually way behind on the re-read itself in general. Been crazy busy with kids/dayjob/writing that I barely have time for recreational reading, let alone meta-recreational reading.

Anywho, since I'm all lazy and stuff... who's all going to J*Con this weekend? I will be there, totally standing in Leigh's shadow. If you're around, find me and say hullo (it won't be hard, I'm in the opening ceremony, and I'll be emcee'ing the costume contest and moderating the Team Jordan panel) Oh, and I'm DM'ing a round of the table-top WoT RPG. It is going to be epic!

Hopefully see some of you there, and know that I do miss you guys, even Freelancer!
Tricia Irish
103. Tektonica
Sub@99:
No worries. Wetlander was just pointing out that I misplaced one of those silly modifiers. All is hunky-dory.

R.Fife@102:
We'll find you! Looking forward to it...the agenda looks great. Let's see, Mis, Lannis, JDauro, Scissorunner, Blind, and a few others will be there too. Wish you all were!

Pictures will follow!
john massey
104. subwoofer
@Fife- wordy? naw, you just did 70 or so posts worth of Rickrolling...

@Tek- yeah, I'da been there but there were other things in the world that um... needed to be taken care of first... maybe next year:)

Woof™.
Alice Arneson
105. Wetlandernw
R.Fife - Hey! Yes, we have missed you. Or at least, I have. I enjoy your other blogs when they pop up, though. As noted above, there are a bunch of rereaders going to JCon - sadly, I'm not one of them. Hope you ALL can meet up there at some point!

(Hey, JCon peeps - who did I send that beaver to? I'm sure there are plenty of taxis to be had in Atlanta, but beavers...? Gotta have one in case he tries any rickrolls! ;p)
Roger Powell
106. forkroot
amw@95

BTW, as far as Rand's "the wind moved" brouhaha while sparring with Lan way back when, I always figured it was Rand channeling subconsciously.

I don't have the reference handy, but I think RJ confirmed that that whole incident was a small introduction to "bubbles of evil".

R.Fife
We do miss you! (except for the rickrolling). Sorry I couldn't be at the convention, but I hope those regulars who do make it look you up. They should just look for the yellow shawl.
Thomas Keith
107. insectoid
::pouts:: I wanna go!! I've only posted 700 comments (as of now) on the Re-read... makes me feel almost important! And I have a costume. (Though I admit it could use something unique, like a sticker of my avatar, or, you know, an actual sword. Alas for small budgets!)

Maybe Tor should have had a contest for tickets+airfare+lodging for a select few... Oh well, maybe next year. :D

R.Fife @102: Long time no see... don't leave home without your shawl! ;)

Bzzz™.
Kimani Rogers
109. KiManiak
Mediokrates @ 82 – re: AS redemption vs. rebirth – How about this: From a reader’s perspective (which I think I was coming from in my post@67) it could be argued that the AS need redemption. We’ve seen the state of the Tower; what the AS look like amongst themselves behind closed doors (bickering, spoiled little brats at times); their not quite living up to the whole “Servants of All” title. So the reader could look at it as the AS needing a type of redemption, at least in some of our eyes.

From an in-book-character’s perspective (say Egwene, or Nynaeve, or maybe even Cadsuane), the Aes Sedai need to experience a rebirth or renaissance. They may not feel that the Tower needs to be redeemed (although Egwene’s attitude toward the Tower and her opinion of the state of the AS in KoD and TGS may indeed reflect that she feels the TAS need deliverance from Elaida and the Black Ajah’s efforts to turn the Tower into a collection of 6 separate groups).

I think we both have a point, if one considers the perspective of who is judging the need for redemption/rebirth.

birgit@83&84 – thanks for compiling and reporting, yet again. Seems like I’m still a little bit on the wordy side. I’ve decided to be all kinds of amused that 2.5 books worth of posts has put me in the top 20 of total words :-)

Wet@87 – I think that’s some pretty good rationalizing regarding what the 2nd Oath may have initially intended, vs. what it has become (and how) in current day Randland. I still think they need to revisit kicking at least that Oath to the curb ASAP (and throw in the other two for good measure).

Sushi2@92 – re: the post-test privacy policies – That’s a good point. Making it forbidden to talk about the tests could elevate the lessons learned or experiences…uh…experienced to an artificially higher level of importance. Oh, and good breakdown on the average numbers of AS per country.

Tek@93 – I swear the first time I read your 2nd sentence I thought it said “Sub should be Scrappy.” Same when I saw Wet@98’s comment. Guess I got Scooby Doo on the brain…

Wet@98 – re: the Power-wrought weapon “To kill Shadowspawn loophole” – Actually, I could totally see an AS with a creative mind coming up with rationale. Now, what’s the likelihood that same AS would know how to “invest” (yes, Malazan is also on the brain) the blade with saidar? Or, I guess the more boring answer would be, custom as well as the 3 Oaths wouldn’t allow it.

sub@100 – That is one cute kid! Is that really your Gaby? And you guys can get her to smile and laugh at will?! You guys must dominate at parties…

sunitasam.sam@108 – I don’t know if you’ll survive the wrath of Torie (or is it Irene? Or TorChris? I’ve lost track). Maybe we’ll get another cool cat pic…
Sorcha O
110. sushisushi
Wetlandernw@98 I know, there should be way more of them around. Mind you, if that inn in Canluum is anything to go by, there did seem to be quite a few Aes Sedai in the Borderlands at the time of New Spring. Particularly if you extrapolate out from 9 Aes Sedai in a provincial town, which seems to be more like what you would expect given 800ish AS out and about.

For the main series, it's a bit different, given that there are less AS, particularly once the Tower split and maybe 60% of their numbers get involved in a stand-off involving two armed camps. I can understand there not being AS around for the defense of Maradon, as I get the impression that every non-bedridden or non-Black AS is being called back to the tower by Egwene (and the Blacks are legging it in the opposite direction, possibly to the Black Tower or a Forsaken stronghold). But, still, before the Tower split, there should be buckets of Aes Sedai hanging around the Borderlands, even if they are judging disputes, rifling the libraries, or scaring the youknowwhat out of any terribly lucky men they come across. But yet, as HArai points out, Agelmar is desperate to get Moiraine to help in TEotW, because there clearly isn't anyone else stepping up to the plate.
Tess Laird
111. thewindrose
Wow - a Yellow Shawl sighting - yep you were quite the poster (child;)) in the beginning. I think when birget did the first posting stats, you were freaked out at being number 1 - and (this is what I think happened) you decided that you should become a blogger since you were spending so much time commenting . I hope we get some J-Con reports from you(make sure your voice recorder works this time)!

I commented on an earlier thead about the all the Aes Sedai that were out of the Tower at the same time as Moiraine. (In chapter 15 of New Spring Into Canluum - Lan is suprised at the number of Aes Sedai that are out of the Tower.) I think that most did not like the Amyrlin, they definitly didn't want to get birched in front of everyone for what Sierin Vayu thought a transgression. So instead of hanging around, they found somewhere else to be.

108 - yes a nice cat picture would be good - is Torie still our moderator?

tempest™
Heidi Byrd
112. sweetlilflower
@Sub: alas, I actually work for H&R Block and I am scheduled to work from 9am to 9pm on Sat and Sun. It always seems to work out that I have some other non-alterable plan for the weekend of JordanCon, but I always make it for Dragon*Con.
@Wet: Very Interesting... In the context of ter'angreal it totally makes sense for the AS to have an Oath against making them... you must have been doing some dishes lately (;,;)
James Hogan
113. Sonofthunder
sweet@ 112...working on Saturday and Sunday? Why ever would you have to work this weekend?? I wonder...;)

(Side-note: much appreciate the work you do at H&R...just got my return filed through them last night, from all the way over here in Aberdeen, Scotland! Random factoid: apparently people in the UK do not have to file tax returns. Was telling my co-worker about having to spend a few hours last night doing mine and he said bemusedly, "We don't have to worry about filing our taxes at all." I was not amused.)

And...er....on a WoT note, I just wanted to say I can't wait for our Knife of Dreams re-read. Go Light!
Heidi Byrd
114. sweetlilflower
@SonofThunder: You can always tell this person that the government will get their money, one way or another. Just because he doesn't file a tax return doesn't mean he is not paying a gazillion differnet types of taxes some other way. I know a lot of poeple find it tedious or frustrating but the subject of taxation is quite fascinating to me, all of the differnet catagories and rules, and the loopholes :-) ...

Yeah, I am also eager to get started on KoD *grins and rubs hands together*
Richard Fife
115. R.Fife
@111 Windrose: Torie has moved on to other things and really cut back her monkey-wrastlin' on Tor.com. I know TorChris kinda was brought in to take over some of Pablo's duties when he went off to the wild e-pub making frontier, but I can't recall off hand if he does monderation as well. (maybe we'll find out soon.)
tailspinner
116. endertek
In the cover art, anyone notice how the wind seems to be blowing Moiraine's hair - let's say Eastward - and Lan's hair Westward? Slightly improbable?
William McDaniel
119. willmcd
I'd forgotten that the Kandori chapters of NS are generally much better than the White Tower chapters, and really enjoyed reading them. I especially liked the way that RJ alternates between Moiraine's and Lan's PoVs after their first meeting to show how badly they misunderstand each other's motivations, and how choosing to be honest rather than hold secrets brings them together in the end. Here are the classical WoT themes that were somewhat absent in the first portion.

I guess the thing that bothers me most about NS now is its feeling of incompleteness. It was nice to get a bit of background information on Aes Sedai, and see Lan and Moiraine's first adventure together, but as to the larger story being established, we are left hanging. A quest was begun (the search for the Dragon Reborn), and there are two more portions of the story (Tam's side, and the conclusion to Moiraine's side), that will forever be missing, since we know now that RJ left almost nothing behind on them. We will never get to see the details on how the story was resolved, and we as readers are poorer for that.

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