May 3 2011 2:03pm

The Wheel of Time Re-read: Knife of Dreams, Part 3

Knife of Dreams by Robert JordanHey-hey-hey, it’s a Wheel of Time Re-read! Fancy that.

Today’s entry covers Part 3 (!!) of the Prologue of Knife of Dreams, in which there is a lot of face-slapping, kidnapping, and… um, another three-syllable word that ends in “apping."

(“Skirt-flapping”? “Bear-trapping”?)

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

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

And now, the post!


Prologue: Embers Falling on Dry Grass [Part 3]

What Happens
Galina rides through the forest, pleasantly ruminating on her revenge against all who have wronged her, until thoughts of how thoroughly Therava owns her, and what her life will be like if she does not escape with the oath rod in Therava’s tent, ruins her good mood. She is turning back to the Shaido encampment when she is stopped by an Aielman; she assumes he is Shaido, and threatens him with Sevanna and Therava’s retribution, but his response is to yank her from her saddle and blindfold and hogtie her, ignoring her struggles. A man whose accent is from Murandy talks to the Aielman, Gaul, asking about her strange attire for a gai’shain (“Shaido,” Gaul spits), and commenting that they’ll need more than one to find out where “she” is.

“I think maybe this one can tell Perrin Aybara what he needs to know, Fager Neald.”

If she had stiffened before, now she froze. Ice seemed to form in her stomach, and in her heart. Perrin Aybara had sent these men? If he attacked the Shaido trying to rescue his wife, he would be killed, destroying her leverage with Faile. The woman would not care what was revealed, with her man dead, and the others had no secrets they feared having known. In horror, Galina saw her hopes of obtaining the rod melting away. She had to stop him. But how?

Gaul tells Neald that Galina is Aes Sedai, and she is puzzled that neither man seems worried about that. She is further confused by their talk of “gateways” as they tie her across her saddle. She tries to think of what she should say to Aybara, but then thinks of what Therava’s punishment will be for being days late getting back, regardless of the cause, and begins flailing and weeping. The men ignore her, and to her confusion they arrive at Aybara’s camp only an hour later and free her. Neald comments her cold demeanor would convince him she was Aes Sedai even without the face, and he and Gaul take her by the arms to lead her to Aybara. She is unnerved that manhandling an Aes Sedai seems to concern neither them nor any of the soldiers they are passing. As they approach the tent she overhears someone talking about arranging a meeting, and hopes it is not with Sevanna. She goes in haughtily, and recognizes Berelain, who comments to Aybara (who has his back turned) that Galina seems cautious.

She was Aes Sedai. That was all that mattered. That was all she would allow to matter. She opened her mouth to take command of the situation…

Aybara suddenly looked over his shoulder at her, as though he had sensed her presence in some way, and his golden eyes froze her tongue. She had dismissed tales that the man had a wolf's eyes, but he did. A wolf's hard eyes in a stone-hard face.

Gaul and Neald tell Aybara of her capture, and that she struggled but didn’t try to channel; Galina abruptly realizes that Neald and the other black-coated man in the tent can channel, and tries not to throw up. Aybara is puzzled by the contradictions she presents, and comments that she is terrified, though she doesn’t see how he could know that. She tells him coldly that she is on Tower business, and that he is endangering his wife and Queen Alliandre by interfering with her. She tells him that if he wishes to protect Faile, he should retreat before he is discovered by the Shaido. Aybara only seems interested in the fact that she’s seen Faile, and begins digging for maps. Berelain comes up and introduces herself (Galina: “you may call me Alyse”), and tells her there are other Aes Sedai in the camp, asking if she would like to speak them after. Casually, Galina refuses, and urges Berelain to help he convince Aybara before they are discovered, but Berelain laughs and tells her they are a four-day ride from Shaido territory.

“Perrin is stubborn, Alyse Sedai. I doubt you'll change his mind. That isn't easy to do once he has it set.” For some reason, the young woman smiled a smile mysterious enough to credit a sister.

“Berelain, could you have your talk later?” Aybara said impatiently, and it was not a suggestion. He tapped the sheet of paper with a thick finger. “Alyse, would you look at this?” That was not a suggestion, either. Who did the man think he was, ordering an Aes Sedai?

She is surprised at the detailed intelligence of Malden the map reflects, and points out again how outnumbered they are. She warns him again not to interfere, but Aybara only demands to know where Faile and the others are quartered. Galina lies that they are moved often, knowing that now she was committed to killing Faile and the others before they could expose her. Aybara seems determined, and Galina is reduced to asking him to at least wait a week. Aybara is not happy about that, pointing out the increasing amount of public drunkenness they’ve observed among the Shaido.

Drunkenness was rife among the Shaido. Every raid brought back all the wine that could be found. Dozens and dozens of small stills produced vile brews from grains, and every time the Wise Ones destroyed a still, two sprang up in its place. Letting him know that would only encourage him, though.

Galina assures him the Wise Ones only drink water. Aybara asks if the Shaido go in the town itself often, and Galina accidentally tells him the truth (no), and then tries to backtrack, to discourage him from going there via gateway.

Aybara only nodded. “When you see Faile, tell her that on the day she sees fog on the ridges and hears wolves howl by daylight, she and the others must go to Lady Cairen's fortress at the north end of the city and hide there. Tell her I love her. Tell her I'm coming for her.”

Wolves? Was the man demented? How could he ensure that wolves would…?

Suddenly, with those wolf's eyes on her, she was not sure she wanted to know.

Galina lies that she will pass the message on, and Aybara loses some of his tension. Galina demands to be taken back immediately, and also for Aybara to hit her in the face. Shocked, Aybara refuses, and Berelain volunteers to do it instead. Neald takes her back, and she is so frantic to get back to Therava on time that she barely thinks about him using saidin. She races the sun, and loses.

Therava did not accept excuses. She was particularly upset over the bruises. She herself never marred Galina's face. What followed easily equaled her nightmares. And it lasted much longer. At times, when she was screaming her loudest, she almost forgot her desperate need to get the rod. But she clung to that.

Obtain the rod, kill Faile and her friends, and she would be free.

Egwene regains consciousness to find she is in a coach with five Aes Sedai, traveling through Tar Valon; Egwene is appalled to smell rotting garbage from the streets. She tries to pretend she isn’t awake, but Katerine Alruddin slaps her in the face, which promptly starts all the sisters in the coach bickering at each other. Egwene feels sadness for the rebels, wondering if they will fall apart without her, and anger that her Great Serpent ring has been taken away, but cannot figure out why she doesn’t feel afraid. She asks aloud who betrayed her; Katerine goes to slap her again, but another sister (Felaana) stops her, and to Egwene’s shock all five have soon embraced saidar. The standoff is tense but brief, and Katerine goes back to Egwene, weaving a shield in case the forkroot wears off. She opines that Egwene might very well be stilled and beheaded tomorrow, and the other Red (Barasine) thinks it might even be tonight, but Berisha Terakuni (Gray) thinks the Hall is unlikely to be that easy to persuade. Katerine sneers that the Hall will do what Elaida tells them. Berisha changes the subject, asking Egwene what she did to the harbor chain.

“It can't be undone,” Egwene replied. “You must know that it's cuendillar, now. Even the Power won't break it, only strengthen it. I suppose you could sell it if you tear down enough of the harbor wall to remove it. If anyone can afford a piece of cuendillar that big. Or would want such a thing.”

This time, no one tried to stop Katerine from slapping her, and very hard, too. “Hold your tongue!” the Red snapped.

Egwene keeps silent, wondering why Elaida would set a task for five women who so clearly hate each other, and hoping that she lives long enough to tell Siuan what happened in the dream, so Siuan could at least track down the traitor. They arrive at the Tower.

It was very strange. She was a prisoner and unlikely to live much longer, yet she felt she had come home. The Tower seemed to renew her vigor.

Nicola Treehill meets them at the entrance, and seems just as shocked to see Egwene as Egwene is to see her. Nicola reports that Elaida has instructed that Egwene is to go to the Mistress of Novices, Silviana, and Katerine is satisfied that the birching part will start immediately, then. Egwene stares Katerine down, and thinks of how painful birching is supposed to be.

The Aiel had a way of dealing with pain. They embraced it, gave themselves over to it without fighting or even trying to hold back screams. Perhaps that would help. The Wise Ones said that way the pain could be cast off without keeping its hold on you.

Felaana and Pritalle leave with strange hastiness. Nicola suddenly apologizes to Egwene, calling her “Mother,” and Katerine switches her with Air, yelling at her to get back to Elaida. Berisha objects to this, and Egwene is astonished when Katerine and Barasine actually seem to be threatening her. Berisha nervously begs off going with them to Silviana. Egwene is struck by how silent the Tower is, until they run into another Red, Melare, who comments on Egwene’s composure. Katerine mutters that it must be the forkroot, and asks how things went at Northharbor. Melare says they caught a wilder claiming to be Leane Sharif of the Green Ajah, but not before she’d turned half the chain into cuendillar. Melare remarks that oddly, they couldn’t detect the wilder channeling at all, and only caught her because one of the Warders spotted the boat; Egwene chastises herself for not taking similar precautions. Egwene explains that Leane is not lying and why, until Katerine gags her with Air for talking nonsense. Melare seems more doubtful, though, and Egwene hopes that helps ease Leane’s treatment. Melare leaves, and they continue to Silviana’s study, where Silviana orders Katerine and Barasine to leave, to Katerine’s indignation.

Silviana studied her, arms folded beneath her breasts, until the door closed behind the other two Reds. “You aren't hysterical, at least,” she said then. “That makes matters easier, but why aren't you hysterical?”

“Would it do any good?” Egwene replied, returning the handkerchief to her pouch. “I can't see how.”

Silviana tells her that Elaida has decided she was a dupe, and so instead of charging her with impersonating the Amyrlin Seat, she is to be demoted back to novice. Egwene replies calmly that she is Aes Sedai by virtue of having been raised Amyrlin Seat, and Silviana replies she has just earned her first visit to Silviana. Egwene wants to know why she thinks a spanking will make her deny who she is, and Silviana warns her that she is not nearly as lenient as Sheriam was. Egwene asks how they plan to make this work, and Silviana tells her that she will be regularly dosed with forkroot, enough to let her channel a trickle, but no more. She takes Egwene back out to Katerine and Barasine, and makes Barasine give her Egwene’s ring for safekeeping. Reluctantly, Egwene stops her before she leaves and tells her about her Dream of the Seanchan attacking the Tower. Katerine and Barasine are openly derisive, but Silviana observes thoughtfully that Egwene means what she says, and agrees to pass the message on, for what that’s worth. As they walk, Egwene notes a serving woman not even notice her, and thinks she must find a way to make it impossible to dismiss her like that. Katerine and Barasine take her to her novice cell, and Egwene ignores them as she readies for bed and puts herself immediately to sleep, going to the in-between place where people’s dreams are. She sees that Siuan is not yet asleep, and settles down to wait.

[…] she had been sure she would die soon, sure the sisters inside the Tower were a solid army behind Elaida. Now… Elaida thought her safely imprisoned. No matter this talk of making her a novice again; even if Elaida really believed it, Egwene al'Vere did not. She did not consider herself a prisoner, either. She was carrying the battle into the heart of the Tower itself. If she had had lips there, she would have smiled.

Please insert standard grumble here about ridiculously lengthy Prologues. Jeezus pleezus.

Seriously, the Egwene section is great, but in my opinion it in no way belongs in this Prologue at all. Or any Prologue. Actually, neither does the Galina section, since both that and the Egwene scene are part of plotlines that form a large section of the main book—the bulk of the book, actually, if I’m remembering correctly, which of course I may not be.

But still. What happened to Prologues being for side-project plotlines, or at least for stuff we’re not coming back to right away? Why not just give these two scenes proper chapters? It’s not like they’d take up that much more space or something. I don’t get it, man.

Well, whatever. Stuff is still happening, so I guess I can’t complain too much.

Galina is pretty freakin’ far from being my favorite character in general, but I like this scene because it is yet another example of one of my favorite literary tricks, that of the outsider POV—seeing the protagonist(s) (or whoever we most frequently are inside the heads of) from another character’s perspective. Judging from how often he employs it, I’d wager this is one of Jordan’s favorite tropes too. I do not have a problem with this, personally.

And it’s always nice, as well, to be reminded of the existence of BAMF!Perrin. Particularly at this point, where he’s been emo-ing his way across the land for, what, three books now? Four? Sheesh. Mind you, the events of ToM have gone a long way toward healing my Perrin-related trauma, but I’m still nursing some residual bitterness—especially since I still have yet to reach the end of This Damn Plotline in the Re-read.

It’s the gift that keeps on giving, y’all. Just like herpes!

Also, Galina’s life sucks, try to contain your shock. I’d feel worse for her if she hadn’t just spent this scene trying to make This Damn Plotline even LONGER. How dare she, really. Chop-chop, people, I mean c’mon.

And, yeah. The only other thing I feel like commenting on for this bit was the mention of the increasing amount of Shaido alcoholism, which surprised me on first reading but makes perfect sense in retrospect. Depression on an individual basis is bad enough; having it go culture-wide…well. Sevanna’s a damn fool. On so many levels, it’s kind of astounding.

Oh, except Berelain being all, “Oh, you need a facepunch? Here, let me!” to Galina, which totally made me snort out loud. Hah. Berelain’s on my shit list at this point in the story, but that’s just classic, sorry.

(Also, what is with every Aes Sedai using some variation on the WOT version of “Alice” every time they use a fake name? Is it some kind of play on “alias”? Because, if so, I might have to roll my eyes. Or, possibly, stop reading so much into things that probably aren't there. One of the two.)

Egwene: speaking of BAMFs, thus begins Egwene’s period of greatest Awesome. Yay!

A period which, arguably, has yet to come to a close, though of course she had much less to do in ToM after mostly dominating the plot of TGS. Regardless, she is basically the bomb-diggety from here on out, and I am very much looking forward to reading her storyline in KOD.

It’s funny, considering how much I complained about Zen Jedi Master Rand in ToM, how little problem I had with Egwene essentially pulling the same move here, character-development-wise. If not quite so melodramatically traumatically, of course. It’s possible I’m imagining it, but it seems to me that the difference between the Egwene of COT and the Egwene of KOD is rather…noticeable. And for significantly less cause than Rand's transformation had.

I’m not complaining about this, exactly, because Zen Jedi Master Egwene is unquestionably a joy to behold, but it is kind of…well, I noticed it, is all. It’s a tad sudden, is what I’m saying. I dunno, I shall have to think on this as we get to more Egwene awesomeness.

But that time is not now! Enjoy, my peoples, and I will see you with an actual chapter or two next week!

1. Kadere
You do realize Egwene has exactly one chapter in this book besides her little PoV in the Prologue right? Not that that one chapter isn't totally awesome, but she's BARELY in this thing. And I don't think her change was all that noticable. She was already being a BAMF to the Salidar Aes Sedai long before this. I think reading New Spring between CoT and KoD hurt your perception of Egwene awesomeness.
2. Wortmauer
It has always bugged me that using the Power against cuendillar makes it "stronger". If something is unbreakable, what does "stronger" mean?
3. Jeff Dougan
While RJ was alive to write, the chronological rule was that anything that happened before the end of the previous book went into the prologue. The beginning of a chapter always began after the end of the previous chapter, or at least after the beginning of the last string of chapters.
Marcus W
4. toryx
The scenes with Galina is actually where I came to the conclusion that the 3 oaths do more harm than good. People are so willing to accept an Aes Sedai's word for true that they're pretty much defenseless against one who is no longer bound by the oaths. Not good.

I got a great deal of satisfaction out of her confusion at how everyone was treating her, even as she made me furious with all her lies. At least that didn't hurt Perrin any, really.

Leigh's point about Galina trying to make the plotline even longer is so true. I think that's what angered me more than anything.

The scenes with Egwene...all I can say is finally. I sort of liked her a little in the beginning, got to really disliking her in The Shadow Rising and now she's finally gotten cool again. These scenes with her are my favorite parts of the whole book. I could easily enjoy skipping the rest of the book just to read her chapters. In fact, I think I have. My gratitude to RJ for making her awesome at last was pretty substantial the first time I read this book.

And really, why are these scenes in the prologue?

Edit to add: Ha! Two commenters while I was commenting made points that completely nullified/ answered some of my comment/ questions. Thanks, Kadere @ 1 and Jeff @ 3.
Ted Herman
5. WinespringBrother
Egwene had been awesome for a long time, at least since she tamed the Hall upon being raised as Amyrlin in Salidar, and has been a Jedi Master since she got dressed down by the Wise Ones in Rhuidean.

@7 Smitty
Didn't know what BAMF is.. was guessing something like "Being of Awesomeness Made Flesh" lol but after doing a google search, I guessed from context that it means Bad ***********
6. Megaduck
"She was Aes Sedai. That was all that
mattered. That was all she would allow to matter. She opened her mouth
to take command of the situation…"

Oh, Galina. You poor fool.

Really, this is the part where you should start begging for help. Any sort of help and then done your best to help Perrin succede.

But no. I'm not sure if Galina goes all stupidy arrogent because she's a Black Aes Sedai, or just because she is an Aes Sedai.

Anyway, she continues the tradition of these charecters from totally being unable to ask for assistance. I ask the forum, does anyone remember any time where any charecter admited they might be over their head and needed back up? Heck, I'll accept someone admitting that they need someone else.
Daniel Smith
7. Smittyphi
Mmmm, Little Lina. ::pat pat::
Go, freaking, away!!

Yay Egwene. What is BAMF?

Yay for the reread.
Kev Hamm
8. cavynmaicl
As winter has dragged on here in Montana, much like This Damn Plotline I'm beginning to wonder if someone makes a 20-foot-long scarf emblazoned with the words "This Damn Plotline" and bookended with the Wheel-and-Snake symbol. Because I'd totally buy that.
9. Sarah M
Jeff @ 3 - Wasn't Crossroads of Twilight basically just catching each plotline up to Rand cleansing Saidin at the end of Winter's Heart? That seems to go against your chronology theory. The whole book would have been a prologue!
Mo -
10. Astus
@7 - BAMF = Badass motherf*****

Welp, at least there was more progression in the ginormous prologue than in all CoT. Badumtish.
Galina annoys me. Even more so because I start to feel sympathy for her. Gah. Begone, you scheming BA hobag!
Evan Langlinais
11. Skwid
I believe the standard answer as to why the later prologues are so enormous was always "So we can sell more eBooks!"
j p
12. sps49
Por Leigh, having to reread this. I likely never will.

BAMF is the onomatopoeic word used in comics when Nightcrawler teleports. He is a Bad Ass m-----f-----.
13. Blood_Drunk
Thanks Leigh, I dont really mind the long prologues, I figure it will be in the book one way or another. Maybe I dont notice because I so often find myself speaking in run-on sentences. That is essentially what this prologue is. KoD is one of my favorite books, I have read it many times. Egwene is awesome in her political savvy and manipulative genius. I definitely dont think her awesomeness is done yet. I am really curious to see what happens when she runs into the Empress. I feel that she has made huge strides in conquering her fear of the a'dam. However, I think she will be collared once more, (willingly) and will break the hold that the a'dam has over her completely by being the first to take it off herself and showing all the gathered damane that it is possible. Wow, total tangent, anyway yay Egwene.
Kimani Rogers
14. KiManiak
Thanks as always, Leigh.

Yes the prologue is pretty long, but this is one half of Egwene’s story arc that we get in this book. She has a lot more going on in TGS. It would’ve been weird to spend part of a chapter on Egwene near the beginning of the book, and then just another chapter about her near the middle-to-end part. The Perrin/Galina section probably could have been part of an actual chapter, though, as we get a lot of that story arc.

Not much to say about the Perrin/Galina thing, other than that this plotline does indeed wrap up in this book (but we’ve still got chapters –and apparently, months- before we get to that point). I don’t really care about the insight into Galina’s mindset. However, I do enjoy the fact that one bully/sadist (Galina) is subject to the mercies of another (Therava).

Nice assessment of the cultural-wide-depression aspect of the Shaido. Yeah, a good leader Sevanna is not. (Shocking, I know since all of her previous schemes have been brilliant!)

As for Egwene, yes we begin to see what made her incredibly impressive (if only until the end of TGS). Most folks who are captured and facing the likelihood of losing access to their powers and then death would be crapping bricks. Egwene was cool and calm, assessing the status of the White Tower and the AS within it in a matter of moments. That’s my girl, right there!

(As for the transition from annoying Egwene in CoT to impressive Egwene in KoD and TGS –and then back to annoying Egwene in ToM- I assume that the story called for her to elevate herself into an uber-version of herself for the next 2 books, before ToM, where she descends once again back into the same irritating, hypocritical, arrogant and disappointing character she has shown us in the other books. Still really smart, capable and hard working, though)

But, yeah, her storyline doesn’t get much “on-screen” time in KoD. We do get to see a lot of her in TGS. Before she royally annoys in ToM. Ah, the agony and the ecstasy!

Katerine is also a sadist and a bully (I think Therava would enjoy breaking her, too) and each time she irritates me with her punkesque behavior in KoD and TGS I think of her end in ToM.
15. Jeff Dougan
Sarah@9 -- It's possible there was some deviation in later books, but I'm trying to quote my memory of a Stephen Cooper post to the old usenet group. Looking at his timeline, about the first 13-14 chapters of CoT do fit that mold, but it thereafter postdates. It does hold that Chapter 1 of KoD falls after the last chapter of CoT. The version I've found has an attempt at updating through the end of TGS.
Jeff Weston
16. JWezy
BAMF(f) is, of course, a town and national park in Alberta, Canada...
17. alreadymadwithGalina
Galina. Aaaargghhh.
Lannis .
18. Lannis
Yay! Egwene is finally back in the Tower! I feel like we have some forward momentum now... getting into the good stuff. If only Perrin's PLOD would be done... soon, soon... (I'll just keep telling myself that, because well, we all know Masema doesn't finally kick it until tGS...)

And Galina... gets hers. Yep.

Re: Berelain and the facepunch. I wish we had more POV from Berelain (and I know we've discussed her to death over the course of the reread), but I think she has some complex motivations. And clearly more than a little hostility hidden within her... haha!
19. sushisushi
Galina's reaction to Perrin always cracks me up here, because she's about to go into Full Aes Sedai In Charge Mode and is totally shocked out of it by the colour of his eyes. Also, this is all caused by that pesky Aiel habit of calling everyone by their full names, so Galina can make the Perrin/Faile connection.

And this is indeed the continuation of the Egwene Rocks developments, although the almost total lack of her from this book drove me nuts (I developed much sympathy for Mat fans after that one...)

And on an unconnected Millions Of Aes Sedai note, Felaana was one of the AS in Canluum that Moiraine successfully hoodwinked into thinking she was a wilder and Pritalle was one of the Accepted in NS, as well as a mate of Atuan's (dun!) We don't know that any of them are Black, apart from la Katerine herself and Zanica, who helped catch Leane. And that's Melare and Desala of the Red, who were both last seen stuck inside the Black Tower with Pevara&Co.
Birgit F
20. birgit
AS are supposed to study the customs of different nations. Why didn't Galina remember that the Firsts of Mayene study martial arts?
People who have had some experience with AS should be able to tell that "you may call me Alys" means "I am an AS who is using a false name". Are there any AS who are really called that?
Maiane Bakroeva
21. Isilel
I remember hating the Galina segment so much! I already knew that PLOD would end in this book, but this segment presaged that it would be stretched for all it is worth within the volume - as it was :(.
Seriously, why did we have to suffer from Faile's character-building experience, abortive escape attempts, etc?
It could have been OK if it resulted in destabilizing Shaido from within and thus helped Perrin to beat them from without, but it turned out to be completely useless.

And with only one book left, there is barely enough space for the main cast to have the MoAs to justify their pominence and lengthy character-building side-excursions + satisfying resolution of BT conundrum + Seanchan conundrum + Moiraine's "saving the world" (which should better be worth it!).
So, I very much suspect it that Faile and Morgase will be left by the wayside, after the excruciatingly boring and ultimately pointless multi-volume trek. Aaaargh!

I remember not liking Egwene's capture at all, too, since it seemed to me that the WT reunification plot-line was being unnecessarily extended too, but this one actually had a very satisfying pay-off, so all is forgiven.
Egwene feeling that the WT was home after spending what? 3 months? 4? all in all there was very contrived, but otherwise this part is very enjoyable.

I have actually always liked Egwene's WT re-unification story-line - mostly because she was doing something that was clearly necessary, as opposed to purely character-building side-line stuff that the rest of Rand's main cohort was occupied with, until it slowed down to molass speed somewhere in TPoD, I think.
So I enjoyed her bits here and in TGS of course. ToM was a step back in part, but at least she finally got rid of Mesaana, so OK.
Kat Blom
22. pro_star

We go to BAMF(f) and see a unicorn! I always think unicorns are extinct...


(ps Torie, it's not spam, it's just a link to the Banff unicorn sighting!)

Okay, that was totally unrelated. Sorry guys, Leigh, great job as always, and I love Egwene's development from here on in!
Stefan Mitev
23. Bergmaniac
Galina should've died at Dumai's Wells. Her whole plotline from then on is completely pointless and boring.

Perrin was really stupid for not getting Seonid and Masuri to meet Galina and tell him more who she is. He didn't even ask Galina to say her name straight out, and he of all people should've known "You my call me Alys" by an Aes Sedai is a typical Aes Sedai evasion after witnessing Moiraine do the same time and time again. But of course, for plot necessity he had to behave like an idiot, what else is new...

To be fair, I am one of those who don't like Egwene's plotline in KoD. It really suffers from Elaida being so ridiculously over the top stupid that it kills all believibility for me. "Honey in the tea" never impressed me as apparently it did most readers, but admittedly I am biased against both Egwene and RJ's obsession with spankings. ;)
24. WebCudgel
Personally, I love Galina's little visit because she finally gave them the solution to how they were going to deal with the Shaido Wise Ones. And it was a totally slip she thought completely unimportant. Awesome.
25. MasterAlThor

Thanks Team 6 and everyone else involved for getting that thorn in our collective sides. GO USA.


Good job. I have questions about Berelain but not now. It deals with her in TOM. So I have to wait until you get to that chapter. Also glad that the rampant tornadoes haven't got you. Spring is great in the lowlands.

26. AndrewB
Leigh, in your commentary you said: "It’s the gift that keeps on giving, y’all. Just like herpes!"

I hope you are not speaking from personal experience.

I do not recall if this is the chapter where Egwene was thinking oif how could have betrayed her. Wherever this scene is, she opines that only the Hall knew of the particulars of the plan. Nevertheless, the appearance of Nicola in the Tower had me believing that Nicola betrayed Egwene.

However, the last time I read this book (in anticipation of ToM), I came to the conclusion that it was Moria who betrayed Egwene. She did it in furtherance of some BA plan to keep the schism at a standstill. Had the plan succeeded, the balance of power may have shifted irreversably to the rebels. They would been in a position to completely starve the city. At the time, the TAS, did not have access to Traveling.

It was the Black's purpose to keep the stalemate going. Betraying Egwene's plan (resulting in the death and/or capture of the two sisters sent to carry out the plan) would have kept things at a stalemate. Moria did not know that Egwene would go at the last minute and take the place of the second channeler.

Kairen was supposed to be the second channeler. However she was killed by Halima (to prevent her from figuring out that Halima never knew Cabriana ). It would then have fallen on Bode's shoulders. However, Egwene ddi not feel it was appropriate for Bode to do this task.

Despite the fact that Nicola is very good at ferreting out secrets, I cannot imagine how she could have found out this information.

Thanks for reading my musings,
Stefan Mitev
27. Bergmaniac
The Salidar Aes Sedai spymasters must'be really bad, BTW. Egwene was shocked to discover rotting garbage in Tar Valon and the open hostility between the sisters of different Ajah. The rebels should've gotten a few servants in the Tower on their payroll or use other methods to gather info. One of them could've disguised herself, masked her ability to channel and went to the Tower as an ordinary merchant visiting with a request for theAes Sedai or something like that, to see first hand what the situation was.
Max Espensen
28. Andvari
It's funny I always think of Winter's Heart Prologue as being the long one and this one not being too bad but this is a sizeable 91 pages to WH's mere 76. Of course CoT trupms them all with 96. I think it's jsut because I enjoy KD so much it doesn't feel like it. Of course this whole "Prologue" conceit is a bit silly really especially when it often a direct continuation of the main storyline. In general, any sort of prologue in a multi-volume series is abit dubious, though especially in WoT where the books are more unified and less individual than in some series.

Anyhow. The Galina thread is all a bit weird because I can't help but feel sorry for her even though she is concentrated evil. I did always find myself kind of hoping she gets one over on Thereava just because she's pretty nasty as well. It won't be in the books but you hope someone somewhere actually talks to each other someone joins the dots and go off and capture her for justice, meanwhile meteing out a hefty dose of jsut desserts to Thereva.

While very few can deny Egewene is basically awesomeness incarnate from hereon in, her complete inflapability and extreme knowledge, wisdom and articulation do seem a little bit of a stretch for her character for her to not make single mistake and completely win over so many women so much more experienced than she. But it does make a good yarn so we can gloss over it a bit.

Everything except the Perrin chapters is awesome in KoD and even they are better because you know it's GOING TO BE OVER. My favourite book since LoC for sure. Yay.
Rob Munnelly
29. RobMRobM
Wow, this is relatively quiet. Should we open back up the can of worms over whether Therava is a sadistic lesbian...or just sadistic? Or maybe not.

I liked this portion of the Galina plotline for the reason stated by Leigh - it is one of those outsider POV descriptions that make clear how cool our heroes are. (It is why the upcoming Tuon portion of If the World Were Fog is one of my very favorites in the entire series.) I also like the point made by Web Cudgel - the golden ticket is slipped in under the radar without Galina realizing it. Priceless.

Re the Egwene portion, I've been a fan of hers since her elevation in LoC so the limited bit we get of her is all win, as far as I am concerned. Nicely written, nicely thought through and nicely completed in the Gathering Storm. Bomb diggity indeed.

john mullen
30. johntheirishmongol
At least Perrin wasn't all angsty, so that was good.

Galina I never felt sorry for...

I did see the change here for Egwene, thought at first it was resignation at being caught. It really wasn't the smoothest transition of character.
Alice Arneson
31. Wetlandernw
FWIW, even though there is only one more Egwene POV in the book, we see her or her effects through other characters' eyes in several chapters. As Leigh commented about the Perrin-through-Galina's-eyes thing, that may actually be one of the reasons it's all so good. We don't have to see a lot of internal frustration or reflection - we just get to see the effect she has on others, which is REALLY GOOD STUFF in this book.

That said, of course, there's a lot more Mat and Perrin in this book than there is Egwene or Rand.
Girish Duvvuri
32. Girish112
@2 Stronger cuendillar means it hurts more when you punch it.

I don't get why Egwene would think that the Tower was "a solid army behind Elaida". Its filled with Aes Sedai with an uncontrollable urge to scheme.
Maiane Bakroeva
33. Isilel
Bergmaniac @27. , @23:

It is all the more bizarre because they actually had a decent idea about what was going on in TV from their T'AR excursions, didn't they? I am pretty sure that refuse has been mentioned previously.

And re: Galina - a thousand times yes! Also, the Shaido should have been shattered and mopped up by other clans after Dumai's Wells.

I can't help but think that Perrin's storyline would have been massively improved if he had to fence with one of the dreamwalking FS who was controlling Masema instead, just as Mat's would have been improved if he and his entourage had to contend with angry Semirhage...

RobM @29:

Coolness for the sake of coolness feels like authorial fanboyism to me, frankly, unless it is actually woven into an interesting plot. And couldn't Perrin's WOs give him the same information? Duh.

Andvari @28:

Although a lot of boring stuff (which for me personally includes 3 creeping side-show storylines and not just one) is finally over in this book, it also practically fills this book to the brim. Which is why, unlike many, I never saw it as a "return to form". It gave hope for the return to form in the next volume, though, true enough.... :(. Alas.
Gerd K
34. Kah-thurak
I also think that the whole Shaido Storyline is superfluous. One of the many things that could have been left out to make the story 3-4 books shorter (and much better).
Captain Hammer
35. Randalator
Wortmauer @2

I'd say that cuendillar is unbreakable BECAUSE any force directed against it strengthens it.

On a side note, I always thought that this kinda nitpicky distinction was a clue on how to actually destroy cuendillar. If one could 'draw' power (or Power) from it instead, it might disintegrate...
Stefan Mitev
36. Bergmaniac
Speaking of outsiders PoVs, I think one of the problems with some of the most disliked plotlines in books 8-11 is that they were shown almost exclusively from one PoV. True, the PLOD had Faile's PoVs too, but she was away from Perrin (and her actions ended up largely irrelelvent) and apart from that brief glimpse here, we didn't see Perrin from an outside perspective during that time. I think adding two or three Berelain PoVs in this plotline would've been better instead of all those repetitive "Only Faile mattered" Perrin's. Much less emo and whining for sure. Of course, it would've been even better if the PLOD didn't exist at all IMO.

The Andoran Succession has this problem too. Apart from being way, way too long, it's almost all Elayne PoVs. A few chapters from Aviendha's, Birgitte's or even Dyelin's PoV would've worked better IMO.

At least Mat's plotline got a few Tuon PoVs in KoD, and this helped make it much better than in CoT. The fact that they finally left the Luca show, which was on pace to reach the Altaran border in Book 25, helped with that too. ;)
a a-p
37. lostinshadow
While not a big fan of the drawn out nature of the Shaido story line, I think that in light of Avi's visions it might have been used to show how the Aiel could lose so much ji and degenarate as they appear to have done. Maybe RJ was planning some outrigger novels on the future of the Aiel as well?

@35 - I like that idea. nice nit to pick :)
38. Wortmauer
I'd say that cuendillar is unbreakable BECAUSE any force directed against it strengthens it.That is still equivalent to saying it is unbreakable because any force directed against it has no effect. If it starts out as unbreakable, how can it get any stronger than that?

On a side note, I always thought that this kinda nitpicky distinction was a clue on how to actually destroy cuendillar. If one could 'draw' power (or Power) from it instead, it might disintegrate...
Interesting thought. These days we know the True Power can shatter the stuff, and I guess we've known ever since, what, TFOH?, that the seals are weakening, presumably again due to the True Power, aka the Dark One. Maybe, though, there is a less evil way to unmake cuendillar. There'd pretty much have to be, as it no longer seems to exist in the modern world. There's too much of it around to just, you know, metaphorically cast it into the cracks of Mount Doom.

Anyway, if you get Perrin, Egwene and Rand together, they could test the theory that the One Power makes cuendillar stronger. Perrin forges some delicate items in iron, Egwene turns them all to cuendillar, then directs varying amounts of the One Power at them. Finally, Rand breaks them all with the True Power and reports on how hard each one was to break.

But shy of that rather absurd experiment, I just don't see how any character in Randland could know or even believe that a substance commonly thought to be "unbreakable" can be made "stronger". I mean, it's as if a Stone Age culture came across a titanium motorcycle engine. They scratch it with a sharp stick - nothing. Hit it with a club - nothing. Drop a rock on it - nothing. Start a fire and try to burn it - nothing but a bit of soot you can wipe off. It is "unbreakable". Should they conclude that sticks, clubs, rocks and fire "only make it stronger"?
39. s'rEDIT
@Isilel 33 and Bergmaniac 27

RE rotting garbage: The thing is, they had only seen the transitory trash blowing across streets in T'AR. These glimpses would not have nearly the same effect as suddenly being immersed in the strong odor of garbage and refuse and midden that had not been disposed of properly.
Corey Sees
40. CorwinOfAmber
I always thought the garbage was another instance of willful
ignorance, albeit, a more innocent case than most of the others in
the books. Though I agree, what the heck were their eyes and ears
doing? Did they really have none in the city?

I like the idea that more variety in the viewpoints would have
spiced things up. Do we ever get a Dyelin or a Berelain viewpoint? I
feel like their heads would be interesting to be in, and could make
those plot lines more bearable.

I'm a fan of these plot line acronyms that accurately describe my
feelings about the plots: BAH, PLOD... (there has to be a fancy word
for this type of thing) I wonder if there's a good one for Elayne's
plot. Andoran Succession Story? :P
41. Lsana
So begins my brief period of liking Egwene. Prior to this book, I had always seen her as a null entity who just adopted the personality of whomever was guiding her at the moment: Nynaeve, Moiraine, the Wise Ones, Suian, etc. But here, she reaches a point where there is no one to guide her and she must stand on her own. She does a pretty good job of it, and at least for a while I started to like her.

Then we reached a certain point in TGS and it all fell apart, but we'll get there later.


I tend to agree with you re:feeling sorry for Galina. The bitch needs to die. But I don't think she deserves the Fate Worse Than Death that she got from Galina.
42. Leon McNichol
The thing about reports from eyes and ears and many other sources of intel are that what one person finds important might not be to another person. Pointed out above Galina thinks nothing of the water drinking. To Perin & Co. this is of huge importance. Not so much to her. It was also a slow buildup for the eyes and ears.
43. Wortmauer
I think the main reason RJ did not give us viewpoints from people like Dyelin or Berelain was to preserve the uncertainty of what is going through their heads. Is Dyelin really as loyal as everyone assumes? Does she really want another Trakand on the throne after Morgase's boy toy did his level best to alienate the entire peerage? Is she acting on her own, or under someone's thumb? What does Berelain really feel for Perrin? Is that stupid rivalry with Faile merely ta'veren-aided childishness, or is she playing a deeper game? Keeping the reader in the dark on some of these issues while showing a POV would have felt like a cheat.

I agree, however, that sacrificing some of the mystery for the freshness of some outside POVs would have been a great tradeoff, in terms of making those plotlines interesting.
Heidi Byrd
44. sweetlilflower
Hmmm... in response to many here who feel that some of these plotlines could have been shortened or made better, I would have to say that you are making your argument at the inappropriate time. We don't know the payoff of these plots. We have no idea what is or is not relevant to the ending of the story. With Jordan's masterful writing skills, I find it very hard to believe that any part of the story is superfluous or over-extended to much degree. So, I argue, again (it seems like I make this argument everytime our post touches on these plotlines and people start to complain) that we have not read the last book. It could end up that the end of the story, which was written over 20 years ago, hinges on these storylines. Just keep that in mind when you start to complain about the length of these plotlines.
45. s'rEDIT
@Lsana41: I apologize in advance, I'm not picking on you, but something in your post triggered my memory of a nit I've been wanting to pick with Harriet and TOR's editors for a LONG TIME.

Here's what reminded me:

the personality of whomever was guiding her at the moment

For some reason, many of the times Jordan uses a similar construction, the incorrect whomever is used, when it should be whoever for the subject of the clause "whoever was guiding" (even though the clause itself is the object of the preposition of). It's the whole clause that is the object, not just the word who(m)ever.

Even if Jordan didn't know any better, surely Harriet does?

It may not bother anyone else (I've never seen it called out), but after seeing it time after time throughout the series, I just had to have my rant.

Thank you for your tolerance.

*rant over*
46. Thedragonreshepped
I couldn't agree with Leigh more that Egwene's attitude went from "I'm struggling to keep myself from hating that I have to deal with people who don't believe in me" to "Believe in me or else" very quickly. She becomes a new person in the prolouge and continues as that person throughout the series so far.
John Massey
47. subwoofer
@s'edit, if that's all that's buggin' ya, you got a good life:)

@Leigh- perhaps we should revisit the 3chapter a week idea?

Hint hint

About the text, stuff to say here. Galina- woman reminds me of KFC, takes me about six months to forget why I hate her, but one dose and "oh yeah, she's a douche". For all those Berelain haters- see? She's not just a pretty face. Her and Galad could give each other spankings into the wee hours...

Egwene- what Berg said. How hard would it be to get a city full of disgruntled people to narc on the Tower? Somebody's dropped the ball here, being under seige sucks. The other thing- I get the Silviana thing, Mistress of Novices carrying out her duties, spanking femal bums on a daily basis... but these other AS? I would pay good money for somebody- Brandon- to put in a paragraph or two where Egwene is like- "who's your daddy?" after she is truely given the striped shawl and put on the Seat. All these Reds that were slap happy- yeah, their time is coming.

What is BAMF? Somebody kidding? Pulp Fiction- hello? Does no one watch the classics anymore? Bruce Willis and Ving Rhames with gag balls? Travolta and Samuel L. in the diner? C'mon now folks- get thee to the video store... unless you have Netflix... they leave out the Ass, but people get the drift:D

48. AndrewB
Isilel @ 21 said: "Egwene feeling that the WT was home after spending what? 3 months? 4? all in all there was very contrived, but otherwise this part is very enjoyable."

I do not think it is that contived. Often, college freshmen instantly relate to the college that they go to as their home; even if they have only been there a few weeks. From personal experience, I could not wait to get back to school after having been home for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Apparently for Egwene, she quickly identified with being an innitive of the Tower. When we first met Egwene, she was the only one of the Two Rivers folk who wanted to leave. Rand, Mat & Perrin left because they had to -- if they stayed, then Two Rivers remained at risk. At first, even Ishy was not positive which of the three boys was the Dragon Reborn. Nyneave left Two Rivers to protect the three boys and Egwene from "the evil Aes Sedai" Moiraine who hoodwinked them into leaving with her.

IIRC, in one of the early books, one of the boys notes that Egwene has left Two Rivers behind more than all the others. Almosty right away, she removes her hair from her braid. Contrast that to Nyneave who spends the fist 5 or 6 books lamenting that the rest of the world is not Two Rivers -- from good, stout clothes to the price of goods.

Whereas Elayne knew she would eventually return to Camelyn to rule Andor someday and Nyneave only wanted to learn to channel as a way to get her revenge against Moiraine for taking Rand, Mat, Perrin & Egwene from Two Rivers, Egwene devoted herself totally to the concept of becoming a complete initiate of the White Tower.

What we have is a young women who was not satisifed with the life she would have lead had she remained in the Two Rivers.

Some may try to use the fact that Egwene tried to fit in whever she was as a counter to my argument -- somebody who, as Lsana said above, "who just adopted the personality of whomever was guiding her at the moment: Nynaeve, Moiraine, the Wise Ones, Suian, etc."

However, I think this character trait actually strengthens my argument. Before Egwene made Nynaeve see her as an equal, Egwene was constantly chafing under Nynaeve's tutelage. When studying with the Wise Ones, Egwene was driven to succeed; she would do whatever it took to master the World of Dreams; and for which, she needed the Wise Ones' assistance and knowledge. But to get that knowledge, Egwene had to accept the Aiel ways. However, she never denied to herself that she was an initiate of the Tower.

Hopefully, the above argument can enable some people to consider a new way to view Egwene. I admit that she is one of my two favorite characters and has been since very early in the series.

Thanks for reading my musings,
49. alreadymadwithberelain
Lannis @18
Interesting that you would all notice Berelain's punch and equate it with hostility. I certainly never made the connection. Now that you point it out though, Berelain still has the unresolved spat with her adviser Annoura.
50. Markam
"...thus begins Egwene’s period of greatest Awesome."

I Totally agree. Maybe it doesn't conclude here, but its like watching the fuse burn on an expensive firework - you just KNOW what's coming is gonna be GREAT. Egwene has had many of these 'denouement' moments. It makes me wonder if she is Ta'veren herself, or at least a soul tied to the wheel (Birgitte, et.al.).
51. Paulie
I think Egwene does a great job while in the Tower. Her acceptance of pain and her demeanor are great. I'm not going to criticize the rate at which she gains this perspective and maturity. I think a lot has to do with her time with Siuan and her time with the Wise Ones. I also think Egwene is amazing in her confession to the Wise Ones about lying to them and accepting the retribution they take on her. Can anyone say they didn't like the scene in "A Beacon of Light" when Egwene is raining holy Hell on the Seanchan?
Alice Arneson
52. Wetlandernw
Markam @50 - We know (from RJ) that Egwene is not ta'veren; as far as I know, no one has ever asked if she might be a reborn Hero of the Horn. (All souls are tied to the Wheel, so I'm assuming you meant a Hero, given your reference to Birgitte.) To clarify a little, RJ specifically stated that none of the major female characters are ta'veren - not that women can't be, but simply that none of the major female characters he portrayed happen to be. He also said something like "I said 'major' to leave you something to argue about."
Sandy Brewer
53. ShaggyBella
I upgraded to Firefox 4.0 and boy, does this site look weird. I have black and white background stripes four lines deep, the length of the page. A little hard to read the gray print. Anyone else have this problem?

WOT...Yay a new book! More Mat (& Tuon)
James Hogan
54. Sonofthunder
Shaggy@ 53, I wouldn't know...I use Chrome at Home and IE(sadness) at work. Random question - has Firefox 4.0 gotten rid of the previous issues(such as memory hogging, etc?)...I switched to Chrome after getting sick of Firefox constantly slowing down and freezing up on me..

And per the chapter(er...part 3 of prologue, I mean!), Galina's a punk. That's all there is to it.

And as to Egwene, she's awesome here. For some reason I always thought she had lots of time in this book, but apparently not? Maybe that one chapter(Honey in the Tea?) just really impressed me. I need to read KoD again, my memory's slipping. Anyways, I really enjoy Egwene here. She also has her moments of awesome in TGS(wow, what a mental picture I got reading her battle with the Seanchan from atop the Tower!!), but I almost enjoyed her more in this book. Weird? Probably.
Bill Reamy
55. BillinHI
Shaggy @ 53, Sonofthunder @ 54: I have Firefox 4 on a Windows 7 machine and don't have any display issues. I'm still using Firefox 3 on my main (XP) machine and don't have any slow-down or freezing-up issues there. I also have Chrome on both machines but I don't use it much (the Win 7 machine is hooked up to my HDTV and is mainly used for watching movies, very little web surfing going on there).

I don't know as I care all that much for the imitation Chrome interface on Firefox 4. IMO the Chrome interface (where the web page is all) is driven mostly be people using iPads and netbooks with their really small screens. It took me some searching to figure out how to display my Yahoo mail notifier in Firefox 4 and I haven't yet looked for how to display the bookmarks toolbar.

Yeah, Chrome generally loads faster but if I would clean up my XP machine, Firefox would load a lot quicker also. Maybe next week ;-)
Sandy Brewer
56. ShaggyBella
This site is still weird with the FF 4.0, so I guess I can use Chrome for Tor.com I kinda forget about that browser. I have Opera, too but never use it.
John Massey
57. subwoofer
I'm using the Fox v4.something. Works fine. Check your add-ons. Wife uses IE or Chrome, but I won't give in to the Dark Side. Besides, Fox let's me rock the SpongeBob skins, so I am blogging and surfin' in style:)

When in doubt, blame the Tor techs for bunging up something again with their downgraded upgrades :O Especially when the Fox works perfect everywhere else but Tor...

Y'know, it's too bad Egwene didn't bitch-slap some of these Aes Sedai in their dreams... kinda work them like Adam Sandler worked the 'Hoff in Click... then be all, "what? I'm given forkroot 24/7, I am a helpless, powerless person... musta been a nightmare or something, your conscience must be feeling guilty for treating me so poorly."

Just a thought.

Also, in consideration to what the Seanchan have brewing, seeing as the Aes Sedai know about the effects of forkroot, and that it is aimed specifically at them, they should be going about confiscating all traces of the stuff.

58. AndrewB
Talk about a slow period. Not one post within a 24 hour period. A year ago at this time, I would never had guessed that something like that would occur. Apparently, Tuesday cannot come soon enough.

Thanks for reading my musings,
John Massey
59. subwoofer
A year ago we started exploring the theories that are now all fodder for horses.

A year ago we were doing a couple of posts a week and a few more chapters a week.

A year ago we had much more material to feed on and use as a sounding board to share our opinions.

A year ago we did not have our fearless leader promoting GRRM and having er... divided attention- due to the powers that be at Tor. I get it. What Leigh was doing was a success. Folks are drawn to the Tor banner and WoT. Now they are trying to duplicate the same success with another series... hoping that the momentum initially created in the WoT reread would perpetuate itself while attracting a new fan base.

Kinda feel like that thing that Dory forgot after she saw another shiny new bauble.

Alice Arneson
60. Wetlandernw
Sadly enough, it seems to be pretty slow on both the WoT reread and the GoT read; I don't think this is the effect tor.com was expecting. Maybe the GoT spoiler forum is hopping, but the other two are pretty sluggish. Is this a "lack of momentum" thing, or is it just that we've already talked about all the isssues and don't have much to say? Personally, I think it's the momentum, but that's just my opinion.
Marcus W
61. toryx
As far as it goes, I feel like we've discussed pretty much every theory, crackpot idea and general subject of relevance to WoT a couple of hundred times already. That's certainly affected my posting on the WoT re-read for the last several months (since September at least). I still like the occasional comment regarding a specific chapter but all the non-chapter specific discussions have already been had several times.

As far as the GoTs thread, I'd have posted on that but it's been a busy weekend for me what with spring, Mother's Day and general traveling. I can't be the only one that's got a lot going on this weekend.
62. Shadow_Jak
Yeah to what Sub said @59

But also, it appears this weekly grind is finally wearing down our fearless and faithful leader.

Leigh, it's painfully obvious that your heart just ain't in it any more. At least not for this book.

Thanks for sticking with us for all these books. I've really enjoyed your past efforts. It was a monumental task that you undertook. I hope you can get back in stride again soon and finish it with the same excellence, wit, and spirit we have all enjoyed so much.

63. Shadow_Jak
KoD is perhaps my very favorite of the series. I remember well my enjoyment of this Prologue an my anticipation of the release of the novel... To the point that I bought not one, but two copies the day it was released.
I still keep one hardcover copy of KoD at work and one at home.
(Hate lugging these bricks around!)

I enjoyed each segment of the Prologue, but these last two were my favorites. It was a real treat to see Perrin from another POV and Eggy's section provided some much relief from the hanger at the end of CoT.
Hugh Arai
64. HArai
Wetlandernw@60: I think the discussion on the GoT read is understandably sluggish - something like half of the major players in the series haven't even been mentioned yet let alone introduced in a PoV. Until Leigh encounters them, they can't be discussed and neither can the plot threads they provide. I'm enjoying her impressions and insights, but right now nearly everything one can say in response is a spoiler to her.

As for this re-read: I think it's in a lull right now simply because there isn't much in the prologue that invites differences in opinion. Unless you're planning one of the "see the other side" posts you excel at, we're not going to see "Valda was robbed", "Galina isn't so bad", or "Egwene's performance as a captive in the Tower sucks". Galad as a Whitecloak was mostly covered when he first joined, the Aes Sedai politics don't carry much weight if you've read ToM, and people's opinions on Perrin's hunt for Faile aren't going to change much at this point either. I think the discussion will pick up when there's something to discuss :)
Stefan Mitev
65. Bergmaniac
I expect more posts next week. Elaida's actions in Chapter 2 are so incredibly stupid even by her standards there should'be plenty of people bashing her at lenght. Plus a lot of things happen in this one and the previous chapter.
John Massey
66. subwoofer
Well, I've been fairly vocal at the impending doom that dividing one's attention will lead to. Yep, I gots a big mouth, but I believe someone famouse once said- "you can't fight a war on two fronts". A happy compromise would be the three chapter per post idea, or conversely, as Tor does seem to control things, maybe split/stagger Leigh's post so half comes out twice a week... and maybe cover 4 chapters a week that way... heh. I can dream can't I.

I hear what folks are saying about GoT tho'. It's like the sun never shines in that world. Maybe when they get away from the Wall. I dunno.

Gotta admit, KoD is one of my favorite books in the series. The last one truly penned by RJ and the last taste we have of his viewpoint of Lan. I love the Golden Crane chapter. Still makes me all misty. sniff. Ahem anyways, I know Brandon is doing a journeyman's job right now, but IMHO, I do wonder how Lan would have sounded and his role played out at RJ's hands. Would he be moping about on his trip or would he be gathering a grand army to drive the Shadow so far back, the Seven Towers are his once more? In my heart I can't help but wish that someone finds a hidden draft of AMoL and presto, some fine editing and we get RJ's closure and legacy. That's what this book is to me- RJ's last words.

67. AndrewB
Subwoofer @66 said: 'you can't fight a war on two fronts.'

Not always true -- United States in WWII is a prime example.

Thanks for reading my musings,
John Massey
68. subwoofer
@Andrew- Napoleon said that, I was quoting him. Subwoofer(me) did say-"but I believe someone famouse once said..."

And this...

And heh, that...

And let's not forget in the same war the German's were fighting a war on two fronts and did an epic fail to the Russians and to the American/British/Canadian forces.

What you mighta said, Andrew, is not always true... folks do get by with a little help from their friends;)

Sigh, it's a slow news day when I'm scratching my head to remember WWII history on a WoT post:(

69. AndrewB
Subwoofer @ 68

The moral of our back and forth conversation: there are no such things as absolutes and positives

(yes, I know -- except when it comes to vodka)

For purposes of full disclosure -- that idea first came to me as a result of reading one of David Eddings' series (the Malleorean, I believe) when Beldin tries to use Belgarath's philosphy that there is no such thing as a positive against Belgarath.

However, I would be willing to bet a pretty penny that someone famous has espoused the theory that there is no such thing as a positive. (True, I could try a Google search on that phrase myself -- but I am too lazy.)

Thanks for reading my musings,
Sorcha O
70. sushisushi
On the slowdown of discussion front, for my part, I'm submitting my phd thesis this week and have no brain left whatsoever, so I wouldn't have been contributing much anyway for the last while, regardless. I'm looking forward to getting into KoD, though, because I remember being so pleased that the story seemed to be moving again, after the endless PLOD through CoT.

The thing is that I haven't gone through all of these discussions a million times before, so I'm getting to discuss theories and ideas that I've had percolating around in the back of my head for years with other people who have some interesting thoughts on the series, themes and ideas. It's the most consistent quality discussion I've found since I lurked in rawsfrj, lo, these many years ago, and if it's a bit slower than normal at the moment, so am I, unfortunately.
Bill Reamy
71. BillinHI
Don't know how many LotR fans there are here but Warner Bros just announced that all three LotR movies (extended editions!) will be shown in theaters this summer. I was surprised to find that one theater in Hawaii will be showing them and have already bought my tickets. I'm on one of WB's e-mailing lists, so I don't know when the tickets go on sale to the general public. Definitely looking forward to seeing them on the big screen again, possibly for the last time. Showings in Hawaii are in June, so a general announcement should be coming out soon, I would think.
Alice Arneson
72. Wetlandernw
HArai @64 - Yes, in all fairness it's hard to imagine any more real discussion happening on the GoT read, given the attempt to keep it spoiler free. (I meant to note that, but I must have edited it out. Brain? What brain? I don't need no stinking brain!)

I sincerely hope you're right about this reread, and that it will pick up as the main plotlines get going again. There must be something to talk about as we actually read them, right? But yes, the prologue doesn't provide a huge scope for discussion of much more than our reactions to a few - mostly minor - characters. We shall see. In any case, I have absolutely no intention of playing DA for either Valda or Galina! :) IMO, each is completely deserving of being severely beaten about the head and shoulders, so they're getting no more than what they deserve. The only bummer is the problems they manage to cause for other people before they die.

Subwoofer @66 - Oh, you gave me an opportunity for one of my favorite quotes! Not that it's actually relevant in any way, but it's one of my favorites so I'm going to quote it anyway:

Only an idiot would fight a war on two fronts. Only the heir to the throne of the kingdom of idiots would fight a war on twelve fronts.
-Ambasador Londo Mollari
sushisushi @70 - Hope the thesis goes well! Looking forward to a fresh perspective on some of the upcoming events in KoD.

John Massey
73. subwoofer
@Bill- y'know, back in the day to commemorate LotR coming out on disc, WB rereleased the films on the big screen in a one day back to back to back sitting with all the extended editions. Had to buy tickets well in advance for it. I think it was like seeing the Godfather movies in a row. My bladder was crying for mercy at the end of this and I had the mother of all pops, popcorn, and anything else that was bad for me that day. Then sat in a confined space with several hundred others of similar poor dietary habits. Awesome movie, but there was a methane factory brewing and lemme tell ya, to say the least, folks were slick under the pits by the end of that epic saga.

Vodka doesn't sound like a bad idea at this point. I'll tell my wife it is water.

Hugh Arai
74. HArai
@subwoofer: I'm sure everyone, including Brandon himself, wishes RJ had written the whole series. That said, I'm not sure why people seem convinced that this plot line or that would have been totally different. Unless you're convinced RJ would have thrown out his notes and what he told the rest of Team Jordan in each case, the differences would be in style not substance.

wetlandernw@72: We have Beonin swapping sides, Perrin dealing with Tylee and a Forsaken meeting coming up soon. I'm betting someone will have something to say :)
James Hogan
75. Sonofthunder
Mm, as far as re-read slowness goes...my reason is simply that work has been *quite* busy lately, so my energy for re-read commenting(usually at work lunchtime, like now!) has been a bit lower. I do miss commenting more, and especially as KoD is one of my favorites, I shall try to make more of an effort!!

Of course...we could also go back to the days of 5-6 chapters a post/3 posts a week. I wouldn't complain if that happened. Not one bit.

And I am a bit upset that the LotR extended editions are coming to theatres...when I am NOT in the US. I may be back in the US end of June, but think it will be too late by then. I am not pleased. We need to get those in the UK!!

Also, Wetlander, I love that quote. Where's it from?
76. AndrewB
Wetlandernw @72:

Loved the Babylon 5 reference.

Thanks for reading my musings,
Bill Reamy
77. BillinHI
Subwoofer @ 73: Yeah, back-to-back-to-back doesn't sound like a lot of fun ;-( I didn't look at any other locations, but the Hawaii schedule has them showing on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th Tuesdays in June.
78. s'rEDIT
Well, since it's so slow . . . may I ask a couple of WOT related questions?

I've checked but I have been unable to find answers to these two. Maybe some of you with background/study/info (wasn't someone a European history major?) will be able to discuss . . .

1) SILK: All the Aes Sedai seem to wear silk. Their dresses are always "red slashed silk" or "gray silk with green embroidery" or some such. And isn't (at least) one of the Randland cultures always described as wearing silk too? How could such a rarity have become so common?

2) FIREDROPS: Is there a real world equivalent for this gemstone? Both rubies and garnets are mentioned by name, but what did RJ intend firedrops to be? Or is this one of the things that is simply a part of the fantasy world?
James Hogan
79. Sonofthunder
Not sure about firedrops, but for silk, I can at least hazard a guess that silk *is* a rarity and highly desired...and that's why every Aes Sedai and woman of note(and every Tear lord) tries to wear silk as often as she can. Most of the women in the series that we know have quite a bit of money/power/prestige, so it makes sense they'd be able to afford silk(which comes from Shara, until recently via Cairhien, correct?). Of course, some *coughcoughNynaevecough* think wool is better, but that's just ridiculous. And Lan soon chases those fool notions of anti-silk bias out of her head! Along with dropping her neckline by half a foot...!!

And doesn't Min wear silk trousers? Hm, I must look this up now...
John Massey
80. subwoofer
I am convinced that RJ would have done whatever RJ wanted to do. The notes were handy and stuff, but let's face it, writer's prerogative- RJ could do whatever RJ wants if he had time and was well. Coulda been a 20 booker.

Min? Silk? Well... IIRC her trousers are form fitting so if they were sheer silk on top of that... well, BEP sang a song about stuff like that and Will Ferrell immortalized it in Blades of Glory. Rand's attraction to Min suddenly becomes clear to me;)

John Massey
81. subwoofer
As for smacking Galina round, if she gave a little bit of notice, I am sure a line woulda formed....

Alice Arneson
82. Wetlandernw
Sonofthunder @ 75 - The quote was from the TV show Babylon 5, Episode 55 (Season 3, episode 11) "Ceremonies of Light and Dark." Probably my all-time favorite scifi TV show; it might have been equalled by Firefly, if that hadn't been cancelled. OTOH, if they'd been allowed to make B5 as it was originally planned, without the constant pressure of cancellation hanging over their heads and requiring adjustments to the plot lines "just in case," it would have been really hard to equal. Even as it was, the first four seasons were amazing. Fifth, not so much IMO - but that's mostly because they pulled the best bits from the projected 5th season into the 4th due to funding (or lack thereof) concerns.

WoT-related... I've wondered about the firedrops too; I originally assumed they were rubies until - oops! rubies are mentioned too... I'm thinking we'd have to ask Harriet or Maria on that.

About the silk, I don't think it's exactly rare, but it is imported (mostly from Shara, as noted above) and therefore more expensive. FWIW, though, cotton appears to be unkown outside the Waste; your choices for fabric are generally either wool, linen or silk. (Or fur, but that's not exactly fabric and is generally a category of its own.) Linen is quite common, and they use a lot of it, but it has its own issue and it's not always the best choice for dresses. (If nothing else, it wrinkles something fierce.) Wool is good and sturdy; it wears well and is readily available, but even light-weight wool tends to be a bit warm, particularly in some climates. Silk is, all things considered, a pretty practical choice for clothing if you can afford it. Heavier weaves wear well and look more elegant than wool; lighter weaves are cooler for warm climates and still wear fairly well. Silk is also much more comfortable to wear than either linen or wool. If you can afford it, you'll choose silk for everything but cold-weather wear, if those three fabrics really are your only options. Aes Sedai, of course, can afford it.

Now someone can step in and tell me what other fabrics are used in WoT...
Kimani Rogers
83. KiManiak
I “hear” everybody regarding the lack of comments for this post. We’ve gone almost an entire week, there are barely 80+ posts, and the last 30 or so dealt more with the browser folks use (for what it’s worth, I use Chrome at home and work and it loads faster and smoother than IE8 does), or why there are so few posts, more than they did with this particular section of the book. Although, I do kinda want to know what firedrops are, too.

I think there really is only so much that can be said about the prologue (or this third of the prologue) and we’ve pretty much said most of it. I’d be all for suggestions of longer reread posts, more chapters per reread posts, or more reread posts per week, but I don’t think that’s gonna happen. Leigh has got quite a bit on her plate and it’s only fair that she actually get to have a life in addition to being part of multiple rereads and whatever full time job she’s probably also doing. As for her heart not being in it anymore, I won’t speculate on that; only Leigh knows if she’s still into this like she was initially, or if it’s become merely work, of it it’s somewhere in between…

So, yeah, nothing much to add to the comments about this section of the prologue. As far as the sideways stuff…

sub@66 – re: you can’t fight a war on 2 fronts – I much prefer “Never get involved in a land war in Asia,” myself. As for a war on two fronts? You didn't originate that? Inconceivable!

Wet@72 – I smiled when I saw the B5 reference. I have season 4, disc 5 (Eps 19 & 20 are some of my favorites) in the DVD player right now. I put B5 and Battlestar Galactica on the top of my all time Sci Fi lists. I get something different from each one.

BillinHI & sub @ 71 – 73 – I love LotR and will usually watch whichever one happens to be on TV every other weekend if nothing else is on, but I don’t know if I could sit through the extended versions of all 3 back to back to back. Even with the vodka and the popcorn. Much respect to those who can…

sub@81 – re: Galina receiving a physical expression of our feelings towards her, I kinda prefer this one (if only Rick were still with us)

New post in a few more hours...
Hilde Sørensen
84. edlihs
s'rEDI@78 and others wondering about firedrop
If you google it and choose results in pictures there are a number of jewels in a tearlike form. I couldn't find it elsewere but I asume the name comes from its shape, rather then being a specific jewelstone, since there are different types of stones there. They appear to be by shape in tear/water drops, or in a shape of drops of meltet metal.

Both jewelstones and glass in different colours...
John Massey
85. subwoofer
Fabric- hows about leather?

@KiManiak- Princess Bride FTW:)

Good idea, maybe next time I'll sit through the marathon with vodka...

86. s'rEDIT
Re: LOTR -- I'm afraid I have lost my interest in much of the TTT and ROTK films over the years, FOTR however still fascinates me, just from the beauty of the concepts for the different races (costumes, mostly, since that was my "thing").

Re: firedrops -- I knew that the description likely referred to a drop shaped jewel, perhaps something whose color was opaque rather than clear. But does it have a RW equivalent?

Wet, how would I go about submitting a question to Harriet and TeamJordan?
Hilde Sørensen
87. edlihs
Yes they Do exist in the real world. Often as pendents for neclese and earings. As for clear vs. opaque it apears to be a matter of choise.

It may simply be more comon to call them teardrop jewel or just drop jewel. Perhapes it is an older description...
88. Fredweena
I've always thought of firedrops as opals, are opals mentioned?
Hilde Sørensen
89. edlihs
Useing Ideal Seek: Opals mentioned but not As firedrop. Only seperatly.
Alice Arneson
90. Wetlandernw
edlihs @84 - I think there has to be more to it than the shape, because firedrops, as referenced in the book, always seem to be the same color. Additionally, you'll notice that they are frequently referenced in company with other specific gems: sapphires, emeralds, rubies, opals, garnets, pearls, etc. To me that implies a specific stone, rather than a just particular cut of crystal or glass. Occasionally, the wording implies something distinctly other than a teardrop shape, at least to me. So no, I don't think that in WoT it's simply a reference to shape.

subwoofer @85 - How could I forget leather? Duh. But still not terribly comfy for dresses...

s'rEDIT @86 - Well... it's not easy, really. The easiest way is to catch Brandon at a signing and ask him; he will often refer questions to Maria. I have occasionally asked Maria a question on facebook, but to get an actual answer (unless she knows it off the top of her head) she has to be where the database is, and I don't think she facebooks at work. Someone else may have a better idea, or more of an "in" with Team Jordan... I have no idea how you'd go about asking Harriet other than to see her at JordanCon or a tour signing; she doesn't make herself widely available to the fans, as far as I know.
William McDaniel
91. willmcd
The thing that jumped out at me in this chapter is the intensity of Galina's addiction to channeling. She is carried three days' journey away from Therava (whom she loathes, and who, let's not forget, routinely tortures her), and there's not a single thought of viewing this as a rescue, giving Perrin the information he wants and getting the heck out of there (banking on the idea that the Oath Rod in the Tower will be able to set her free). No, re-submitting herself to being a tortured slave is preferable, so long as it means a slightly increased chance that she will be able to channel at will again.

Re: Egwene, I'll have to see what I think of her actions going through. Much of what makes her so dislikeable is that she feels that she's so much more smart and capable than everyone else arounder (not that RJ gives us lots of reasons to think she isn't right, but hey, Terrell Owens chafed on a lot of people even when he was the best receiveer in the game). Held prisoner in the White Tower, she is surrounded by people whom we don't mind seeing this type of behavior directed toward. Perhaps my attitude will change as I continue my read-through.

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