Tue
Jun 14 2011 1:09pm

The Wheel of Time Re-read: Knife of Dreams, Part 9

Knife of Dreams by Robert JordanIt’s the Wheel of Time Re-read, yo! Hollah!

Today’s entry covers Chapters 11 and 12 of Knife of Dreams, in which we weird language, deconstruct density, and invade California, at least theoretically.

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!

Chapter 11: A Hell in Maderin

What Happens
The circus sets out the following day in a hurry to put distance between them and the ghost village, and Mat worries about Tuon’s broody silence until they reach the town of Maderin. Selucia comes to summon Mat to see Tuon while the circus folk set up, and Mat deliberately takes his time responding. In her wagon, Tuon demands to see an inn or tavern, as she has never been to one. Mat agrees easily, but then Tuon specifies that it must be a “low place,” what they call a hell. Mat is appalled, as he knows very well how dangerous hells can be.

“It’s out of the question, Precious. I walk into a hell with a woman like you, and I’ll be in six knife fights inside the hour, if I survive that long.”

Tuon gave a pleased smile. Just a flicker, but definitely pleased. “Do you really think so?”

“I know so for a fact.” Which produced another brief smile of delight. Delight! The bloody woman wanted to see him in a knife fight!

He and Tuon fight over the idea until Thom enters, whereupon Mat asks him sarcastically if he knows a hell in Maderin he can take Tuon to, but to his surprise Thom suggests a place called The White Ring. Mat quickly figures out that this place isn’t a hell at all, and agrees. Thom questions the guards at the gate as they enter the town, and determines from their answers that they don’t resent the Seanchan presence, and are unlikely to fight them.

Thom exhaled heavily. “It’s very strange. I’ve found the same everywhere from Ebou Dar to here. These outlanders come, take charge, impose their laws, snatch up women who can channel, and if the nobles resent them, very few among the common people seem to. Unless they’ve had a wife or relation collared, anyway. Very strange, and it bodes ill for getting them out again. But then, Altara is Altara. I’ll wager they’re finding a colder reception in Amadicia and Tarabon.” He shook his head. “We had best hope they are, else…” He did not say what else, but it was easy to imagine.

Mat glanced at Tuon. How did she feel hearing Thom talk about her people so? She said nothing, only walked at his side peering curiously at everything from the shelter of her cowl.

They reach the inn, and Selucia and Tuon have a short fight in sign language which Tuon wins before they go in. It definitely is not a hell, though there’s a girl singing a bawdy song. Doubtfully, Tuon goes off to inspect the singer, and Mat tells Thom that she’ll never buy that this is a hell; Thom counters that Tuon is more sheltered in some ways than Mat thinks, and is proved right when Tuon returns and pronounces herself satisfied. Tuon orders ale, which she has never had, and asks the innkeeper if there’s any chance of a fight soon. Mat admonishes her that she shouldn’t ask questions like that.

Tuon nodded thoughtfully. “Your customs are often very peculiar, Toy. You will have to teach me about them. I have learned some, but I must know the customs of the people I will rule in the name of the Empress, may she live forever.”

“I’ll be glad to teach you what I can,” Mat said, unpinning his cloak and letting it fall carelessly over the low back of his chair. “It will be good for you to know our ways even if you end up ruling a sight less than you expect to.”

Mat makes fun of another of her superstitions, and in retaliation Tuon comments that maybe instead of a cupbearer she’ll make him a running groom, with robes decked in pink ribbons. Mat realizes from this that Tylin must have confided in her, and flushes. She questions him on customs, and determines from his answers that he has traveled widely, but is not nobly born; Mat agrees emphatically, and Tuon studies him before demanding he prove his earlier statement about being a gambler. Mat consents, and leads her over to one of the dice games. He notes in passing that one of the players goes stiff when he asks to join, and leaves shortly thereafter. Enjoying himself, Mat plays with his usual luck, explaining the game to Tuon as he goes, until half the patrons are gathered around to watch as his winnings grow. He notes that his fellow players are starting to get suspicious, though, and buys a round for the house before declaring his next toss will be his last. It comes up the Dark One’s Eyes, and Mat loses back almost everything he’d won up till then, to the delight of his opponents.

“So your luck is not endless, Toy,” Tuon said as he escorted her back to their table. “Or is it that you are lucky only in small things?”

“Nobody has endless luck, Precious. Myself, I think that last toss was one of the luckiest I’ve ever made.” He explained about the Taraboner woman’s suspicions, and why he had bought wine for the whole common room.

At the table, he held her chair for her, but she remained standing, looking at him. “You may do very well in Seandar,” she said finally.

She and Selucia head off to use the facilities, and Thom tells him then about a murder in Jurador he’d heard about right around when they’d left: a man with his throat ripped out, but not enough blood, which Mat realizes must be the gholam, and that it is still following him. Thom also tells him there is a Seanchan army gathered on the Murandy border, who are looking for not Tuon, but a Tuon imposter, and intend to kill her the moment they find her. Mat agrees with Thom that they can’t take the chance that these Seanchan will realize their mistake in time to keep from getting the real Tuon killed, and he starts making plans to leave the circus and find a route north or east instead. He hustles Tuon and Selucia out when they return, and explains the situation once they are outside. Tuon speculates coolly on which of her siblings might be behind this, and Selucia makes a comment that makes Tuon turn on her in a fury; Selucia prostrates herself, and they have a sign language exchange which ends in hugging and tears. They are interrupted when a group of armed men attack them; Mat shouts for Tuon to run and counterattacks with knives, killing two of the men instantly and closing with the others. He takes down all but the last of them, who proves to be a woman. He defends himself, but refuses to attack, and knows he’s about to die.

Abruptly Tuon was there, left hand seizing the young woman’s wrist—not the wrist of her knife hand, worse lucktwisting so the arm went stiff and the girl was forced to double over. And then it mattered not at all which hand held her knife, because Tuon’s right hand swept across, bladed like an axe, and struck her throat so hard that he heard the cartilage cracking. Choking, she clutched her ruined throat and sagged to her knees, then fell over still sucking hoarsely for breath.

“I told you to run,” Mat said, not sure which of the two he was addressing.

“You very nearly let her kill you, Toy,” Tuon said severely. “Why?”

“I promised myself I’d never kill another woman,” he said wearily. His blood was beginning to cool, and Light, he hurt! “Looks like I’ve ruined this coat,” he muttered, fingering one of the blood-soaked slashes. The motion brought a wince. When had he been gashed on the left arm?

Her gaze seemed to bore into his skull, and she nodded as if she had come to some conclusion.

Thom makes an odd comment to Selucia about being old and forgetful of things he sees sometimes; Selucia nods to him, and Mat has no idea what that’s about. Tuon coolly stabs the choking female brigand, and comments that she won: Mat said her name first. Mat is astounded anew at her toughness. He realizes one of the dead brigands is the man who left the dice game earlier at the inn; he doesn’t understand why a respectable merchant would attack them like this, but decides not to stick around to find out. He tells the others that they are leaving the town, and the show, immediately.

Commentary
I really don’t understand why I find it completely impossible to compress these summaries more. It’s incredibly annoying.

Well, no, I do know why, and it’s because Jordan’s prose is almost absurdly dense, and has only gotten more so as the series has gone on. Even once you cut out all the (for my purposes) extraneous descriptive passages, you still have to deal with all the rest of it, and I say again: DENSE. Robert Jordan prose :: Brazilian rainforest, for reals.

Jordan, you see, is rarely content to let a sentence say one thing when it can say four, especially when it comes to interactions between characters. So it’s all, as you have no doubt noticed, twisty turny nuances and layers and shades of meaning and significant eyebrow twitches and telling silences and whatnot. And that’s all very fun and meaty and rich to read, but I’m here to tell you it is a bitch to summarize in a way that still makes the whole thing make sense. My own tendency toward verbosity probably doesn’t help either.

Yes, my life is a vale of tears, I know. Woe, woe, etc.

Anyway. I am not really meaning this as a criticism, by the way, at least not as a reader, because for my money I’d honestly prefer complex and subtle to simplistic and snappy, even when it’s frustrating. Because I can believe in character interactions that are complicated and frustrating. Which, erm, probably says something about me, and I am distinctly uninterested in examining what it is.

It’s kind of adorable that Mat completely misses the reason Tuon looks pleased about his comment about getting into a knife fight at the beginning of the chapter. It’s not because she wants to see him get into a fight (well, okay, it’s not totally because she wants to see him in a fight, because she so does), it’s because he said it would be because he walked in with a woman like her. Apparently Mat doesn’t even realize the compliment he paid her there, which is, as I said, adorable, even with the caveman-like behavior it assumes on the part of men in general. Well, men in “low places,” anyway. Which I would label as rather sexist (not to mention classist) on Mat’s part except for how, well, it’s pretty much true. Even in supposedly-more-enlightened Randland, apparently.

I think I speak for a fair number of women when I say it’s rather confusing when we find men’s more caveman-like tendencies to be endearing instead of the much more common opposite. As usual, though, it always ends up being a question of degree. Protectiveness is nice; possessiveness, not so much. Of course, that applies to any relationship, romantic or otherwise, opposite gender or otherwise. And, I kind of lost track of the point I was making, there.

Moving on!

Re: Thom’s comments on the common people’s acceptance of the Seanchan presence: I think I’ve commented on this before (really, at this point there isn’t much I haven’t commented on regarding WOT), but I find this aspect of the Seanchan occupation to be alternately believable and unbelievable. It’s believable because I think it’s undeniably true that when it comes standing on principle versus taking the path of least resistance, people have a regrettable tendency to choose the latter. And maybe it’s not even regrettable so much as it is a survival mechanism, even.

But then again, I can’t help translating the situation into my own terms, thinking of what it would be like if, say, some other country invaded and occupied California, with superior or at least comparable military puissance to America’s own (pretending a lack of capacity for WMDs on both sides), and started enslaving a certain percentage of the population. Maybe I’m being over-optimistic or jingoistic or whatever, but I sincerely can’t believe that California, or any state for that matter, would take that lying down.

But then again (again), I guess it’s very easy to imagine that you would totally behave so much more bravely than anyone else in a given situation, when you’ve never actually been in that situation. We would all like to believe that we would always choose the tough-but-right way to respond to adversity, but the fact is you’ll never know until you’re there. And if you’re lucky, you’ll never have to find out in the first place.

Like being in a knife fight, for instance. Luckily for us (and for him), this ain’t Mat’s first rodeo. I do enjoy getting to see him be badass, especially after such a long stretch of him not getting to do much else except be everyone’s butt monkey, more or less. Of course, I can’t decide whether to be irritated at Mat’s typical Two Rivers-induced suicidal chivalric tendencies, or pleased because it gave Tuon a chance to kick ass herself. Decisions, decisions!

The dice game was also very cool, not only because it gave Mat a chance to enjoy himself (however short-lived), but because it also gave Tuon a chance to see him in his element, in a context other than being, well, a butt monkey. The knife fight was awesome for that, too.

In case you can’t guess, I’m back to rooting for Tuon again, after the Aes Sedai debacle. Because either she is confusing, or I am fickle. Or both. (Or, she is an interesting character and still a person in spite of her horrible cultural beliefs, and I am forced to acknowledge that, whichever.)

Also, this is totally random and unimportant, but I am amused because I have a pretty fair suspicion that this chapter just may be the first time a character in WOT has ever mentioned having to go to the bathroom. Someone will no doubt come up with a quote to prove me wrong about that, but even if I am wrong, this is certainly the first time I can recall noticing it, which amounts to the same thing as far as I am concerned.

I have no real point here, it just always tickles me when the boring mundanities of life find a plot-related excuse to creep into a work of fiction that has previously made a (perfectly legitimate) point of ignoring them. Someone once said that fiction is life with the boring parts cut out, and taking a crap is definitely one of those parts.

Except when it isn’t, of course. I am probably not alone in hoping “taking a crap” in WOT stays safely boring, though.

 

Chapter 12: A Manufactory

What Happens
Perrin rides into the town of Almizar, in Amador, with Tylee, Mishima, Balwer, Neald, Tylee’s sul’dam and damane, a dozen of Tylee’s soldiers, and twelve of Faile’s people to match them. Perrin feels for wolves, but is unsurprised that he finds none in such a populated area. He notes the five Tinker caravans parked around the town, and frowns, thinking of The Aram Problem. Noting his frown, Mishima inquires if he thinks the Tinkers are trouble, and Neald replies with a laugh that they steal occasionally, but have not the courage for more than that.

“Twice they offered me shelter when I needed it, me and my friends, and asked nothing in return,” Perrin said quietly. “Yet what I remember best about them was when Trollocs surrounded Emond’s Field. The Tuatha’an stood on the green with children strapped to their backs, the few of their own that survived and ours. They would not fight—it isn’t their waybut if the Trollocs overran us, they were ready to try to carry the children to safety. Carrying our children would have hampered them, made escape even less likely than it already was, but they asked for the task.” Neald gave an embarrassed cough and looked away.

[…] “I think your life might make a story,” the general said, her expression inviting him to tell as much of it as he would.

“I’d rather my life were ordinary,” he told her. Stories were no place for a man who wanted peace.

Mishima comments that he’d like to see some of these Trollocs, and Perrin tells him he really wouldn’t. Balwer and Medore slip off to gather information as they enter the town, and Perrin doesn’t really care that their cover story for that to Tylee was flimsy. They reach the farm commandeered for the raken staging area, and Tylee comments to herself that there should be many more raken here than there are. The soldiers dicing remind Perrin of Mat, and the colors show him Mat heading into a forest with a party of others on horseback, but Perrin doesn’t care where Mat is going.

Fifty-one days [Faile] had been a prisoner. He hoped she had been a prisoner that long. It would mean she was still alive to be rescued. If she was dead… His hand tightened on the head of the hammer hanging at his belt, tightened until his knuckles hurt.

The Banner-General and Mishima were watching him, he realized. Mishima warily, with a hand hovering near his sword hilt, Tylee thoughtfully. A delicate alliance, and little trust on either side. “For a moment, I thought you might be ready to kill the fliers,” she said quietly. “You have my word. We will free your wife. Or avenge her.”

Perrin, Tylee and Mishima enter the farmhouse, where clerks are doing paperwork. As they wait for the man in charge, one of the clerks begins coughing loudly. A Captain Faloun enters and bows to Tylee, but before she can speak to him, the coughing clerk stands up and vomits a black stream of live beetles.

The young man stared at the beetles in horror, shaking his head to deny them. Wild-eyed, he looked around the room still shaking his head and opened his mouth as if to speak. Instead, he bent over and spewed another black stream, longer, that broke into beetles darting across the floor. The skin of his face began writhing, as though more beetles were crawling on the outside of his skull. A woman screamed, a long shriek of dread, and suddenly clerks were shouting and leaping up, knocking over stools and even tables in their haste, frantically dodging the flitting black shapes. Again and again the man vomited, sinking to his knees, then falling over, twitching disjointedly as he spewed out more and more beetles in a steady stream. He seemed somehow to be getting… flatter. Deflating. His jerking ceased, but black beetles continued to pour from his gaping mouth and spread across the floor.

Everyone is freaking out, but Perrin crushes some of the beetles underfoot and tells them all he has no time for common borer beetles. Faloun is dumbfounded, but takes them into his office after ordering the clerks to clean up the mess. Tylee tells him she needs replacement raken and fliers, to Faloun’s dismay.

“Banner-General, if you lost raken, you know everything has been stripped to the bone because of…” His one eye flickered to Perrin, and he cleared his throat before going on.

He talks Tylee down to four raken; his reaction to the letter from Suroth is much the same as Tylee’s had been: discomfort, but no questions. Tylee shows Faloun on a map where to send the raken, and Perrin stipulates that their supplies must be in carts, not wagons. They go back into the outer room, where the clerks are trying to clean the beetles without touching them; they stare at Perrin when he just crunches across and out. Outside, Faile’s people are freaked out as well, but Perrin tells them that the beetle thing has nothing to do with rescuing Lady Faile, and therefore nothing to do with them. Ashamed, they all shake it off and begin boasting among themselves. Tylee is watching him, and Perrin asks what sent all the raken away, but Tylee only answers that now Suroth’s letter faces a real test.

“Why should it fail? It worked here.”

“Faloun’s a soldier, my Lord. Now we must talk with an Imperial functionary.” She imbued that last word with a wealth of scorn.

They head across town to a former stable, and Tylee cautions Perrin to follow her lead and try not to speak, but if he does, to speak only to her. Inside, the functionary keeps them waiting for twenty minutes before deigning to acknowledge them. Very respectfully, Tylee asks how much forkroot the manufactory has on hand, and the functionary eventually tells them, with some pride, that she has almost five thousand pounds currently. Tylee has Perrin show her the letter, and then tells her they require all of the forkroot as well as the carts and drivers to transport it. The functionary declares this impossible. Tylee seems about to begin haggling for a lesser amount, so Perrin cuts in and remarks to Tylee that Suroth promised “death and worse” if her plans were hindered. Tylee answers that she is sure the functionary will not be punished, not sounding sure at all, and the functionary bows deeply to Perrin and capitulates. Outside, Tylee congratulates him on a risk well-taken, and Perrin supposes that no one wants to chance death.

“You didn’t know,” the dark woman breathed. "That woman knew she stood in the shadow of death as soon as she read Suroth’s words, but she was ready to risk it to do her duty to the Empire. A Lesser Hand of the Third Rank has standing enough that she might well escape death on the plea of duty done. But you used Suroth’s name. That’s all right most of the time, except when addressing the High Lady herself, of course, but with a Lesser Hand, using her name without her title meant you were either an ignorant local or an intimate of Suroth herself. The Light favored you, and she decided you were an intimate.”

Perrin barked a mirthless laugh. Seanchan. And maybe ta’veren, too.

Tylee asks a question about Faile which makes Perrin twist to look at her, which is the only reason the arrow hits his arm and not his heart. Tylee shouts at Mishima that she saw archers on the roof opposite, and Mishima charges off. Faile’s people cut the arrow and pull it out for him, and Tylee tells him her eyes are lowered that he was injured. Perrin’s not sure what that means, but tells her it’s not so. Neald goes to Heal him, but Perrin tells him to wait until they’re away from prying eyes; Tylee is astonished that Perrin would be willing for the Asha’man to use the One Power on him, but Perrin tells her it’s certainly preferable to a hole in his arm.

Mishima joined them, leading his horse and looking grave. “Two men fell from that roof with bows and quivers,” he said quietly, “but it wasn’t that fall that killed them. They hit the pavement hard, yet there was hardly any blood. I think they took poison when they saw they’d failed to kill you.”

“That doesn’t make any sense.” Perrin muttered.

“If men will kill themselves rather than report failure,” Tylee said gravely, “it means you have a powerful enemy.”

Perrin decides not to mention that sometimes the Forsaken have tried to kill him. He tells them that any enemies he knows about don’t know where he is, and suggests they find an inn.

Commentary
These two chapters are, unintentionally on my part, something of a matched pair, because both of them show how the campaign to take out the two lesser legs of the Superboys’ “tripod” (i.e. Mat and Perrin, duh) has begun.

So, uh, there’s that. Which I have pointed out to you, now. You’re welcome.

Anyway. I rag on Perrin a lot, deservedly I think, but damn if my heart didn’t swell with pride for him when he put Neald in his place re: the Tinkers. That’s right, baby, credit where credit is damn well due. And a nice reminder that courage and strength aren’t always about the willingness to deal out violence. Which is, incidentally, a fairly fundamental aspect of Perrin’s central conflict as a character. So, nicely done there, Jordan.

It’s kind of hilarious how Perrin’s emo re: Faile is totally (in general) pissing us the readers off, but at the same time makes him appear to be ridiculously badass to all the other characters. His whole dismissal of the beetle thing was cold, y’all, and I mean that in a good but slightly incredulous way, because seriously? I don’t know that I could channel enough emo in the WORLD to shake off seeing a guy beetle himself to death, and be all “whatever” about it.

On the other hand, I just made “beetle” into a verb, so all is not lost! Or, um, something.

What was I talking about? Oh yes. Beetled to death = DO NOT WANT. I mean, the death itself was horrific enough, but I think the total randomness of it was even worse than the actual way the guy died, and that’s saying something. There are no nice ways to die, but at least most of them are ways you can see coming. If I had to sit around and wonder if every random cough might presage some bizarrely gruesome death, you might as well fix up the padded room for company, because no.

In other non-news, apocalypsi suck. Who’s shocked?

Nice little subtle hint here of the upcoming attack on the White Tower, which I’m pretty sure I totally missed before TGS came out but of course is screamingly obvious in retrospect. As most things are once you have all the facts. Funny how that works.

Five thousand pounds of forkroot? That’s some serious herbage, y’all. It’s kind of hysterical that I keep picturing this manufactory as looking a great deal like an illicit pot farm. If I were about ten times geekier I would spend some time contemplating how a drug could only affect people with the channeling gene, but I’m not, so I won’t.

Except (okay, I am that geeky, deal), is there really any kind of herbal drug, ever, that affects people so completely differently based on what is essentially a genetic deviation? A pretty major one, admittedly, but still. I’m seriously asking, because maybe I’m having a massive brain fart but I can’t think of one.

I mean, different people have different degrees of responses to, say, marijuana, but unless I seriously missed something, everyone is affected in some way by smoking it. Forkroot, however, apparently has no effect whatsoever on people who don’t have the channeling gene, and yet completely knocks out people who do have it, which seems to me kind of like the equivalent of supposing pot can’t get anyone high except people who are colorblind, or have red hair, or something.

I’m probably overthinking this, but it’s always slightly laughable to me how very specific (and effective) plot-induced drugs can be in fiction, and WOT is guilty of this particular cliché rather a lot. Another example is Min’s “heartleaf tea,” which is the miraculous presence of a completely natural and (apparently) 100% effective contraceptive, which I rather sigh wistfully over the complete lack of existence of, because man would that have made history different.


And… yeah. That’s what I got for this one, kids. Share and Enjoy. Ciao for now!

162 comments
Paulie
1. Paulie
Yay, first time being first...
Paulie
2. morialord
1st post. love the commentary.
Paulie
3. Paulie
Celebrating being first should not be spam...especially for the first time. Just sayin'. :)
Stefan Mitev
4. Bergmaniac
They finally left the circus, at long last!!! I remember how relieved I was when I read this chapter for the first time, because at the pace it was moving, it would've taken mat and company 10 books to reach Murandy.

Leigh, you missed the best part of Mat's chapter -when Tuon called Mat out for his "I don't hurt women, even those who are trying to kill me" idiocy.

Perrin - still boring, but at least his plot moves.

The Shadow continues to be incompetent. Sending random DFs to kill ta'veren badasses seems a pretty stupid strategy to me.

This is one of the rare times I like Tuon, BTW. The poor woman had never even been into a tavern.
Rob Munnelly
5. RobMRobM
Leigh - I can't believe you didn't address the Thom-Seluccia mystery - one of my favorites in the whole saga. Rob
Daniel Smith
6. Smittyphi
Where is Torie? This ought to be interesting. Anyway, I loved the bit about Thom being old and forgetting things. I chuckled at that part.

Mat: "A female darkfriend tried to kill me. I won't kill another female again." Uh....what? That made me want to headdesk
Ryan Reich
7. ryanreich
The forkroot effect could be like the ability to smell asparagine in urine, or to taste cilantro (enjoyably), but, well, somewhat more consequential.
Paulie
8. Bernie Frick
One thing to factor in with the Seanchan and people just idely acepting thier rule, is that national idenity is really the only thing they would be fighting for. For some people this is really important, for others not so much. The Seanchan are not killing the land holders out of hand. So really whats changing, chanelers aside. I am fairly convinced that National idenity is mostly located in the cities of Randland. Supported by a few nobles that travel back and forth. The bulk of farmers don't care who takes thier money if the services to be provided by the taxing body are there. From all evidence the Seanchan provide more bang for the buck in this regard as well. It is an odd ocupation.
Daniel Goss
9. Beren
And on a totally random note: I think the first mention of . . . lets say 'bodily functions' was when the Seanchan attacked the whitecloaks' fortress and Morgase was given the news by someone who didn't want to admit that they had been on the way to "the jakes."
-Beren
TW Grace
10. TWGrace
Nice little subtle hint here of the upcoming attack on the White Tower, which I’m pretty sure I totally missed before TGS came out but of course is screamingly obvious in retrospect. As most things are once you have all the facts. Funny how that works.


What hint? The raken? Didnt Suroth move them to Tarabon to counter the rebellion/uprising and Rodel Ituralde?
Teresa Nielsen Hayden
11. tnh
Paulie, Morialord, have you got that out of your systems now?
Ted Herman
12. WinespringBrother
I thought there was a shortage of available raken because of Ituralde's raids on Tarabon. The raid on the White Tower wasn't ordered until well after Tuon returned to Ebou Dar, and the ill-fated meeting with Rand at Falme which was well over a month after the trip to the manufactory (though they did have the raken and to'raken ready to go by the time of the raid).
Paulie
14. Jonellin Stonebreaker
Phenylketonurics can't drink diet soda.

Peanut butter can kill someone with peanut allergies.

Sunlight can kill someone with porphyria.

There are, sadly, too many RL conditions where something totally innocuous to the general population can have severe or deadly consequences to the person with that particular genetic quirk.
Kimani Rogers
15. KiManiak
Thanks for the post, Leigh.

Um, I also must have totally missed the unintended compliment that Mat paid Tuon when he said he would get into 6 knife fights walking in with a “woman like her.” I honestly thought it was because Tuon wanted to get a full experience of these legendary “hells” she had heard about. I thought her comments regarding not getting in one real fight (she discounts being jumped in the alley by thugs) reinforced that perspective. Anyway, I still enjoy these Mat-and-Tuon-courting-and-getting-to-know-each-other chapters.

Re: the perceived sexist (and classist) behavior, I’ll avoid that topic for now. I will just say that, as a non-neanderthal-behavior-exhibiting-guy, I also find it confusing when it appears that a “fair number” of women are attracted to caveman-like behavior.

As for California being invaded and a certain type of the population being enslaved, well, I think you also need to take into account who are being captured or “enslaved.” Remember that a number of the public respected and feared the AS. Many folks exposed to AS held the belief that you never wanted to get on their bad side. In your invasion scenario, take a portion of the population that the common wo/man might not be thrilled with: multimillionaire CEOs.

If you were an average Joe (or Jane) who saw his pension cut, soaring health care and utility costs, etc, and then this conquering power came in and captured all of these CEOs who you feel make too much money and even benefit off of the failure of their companies and the unemployment of a number of their work force? If that was the only major negative change to life as you know it, and in addition crime went down? I could see a number of folks being fine with that. I don’t think courage has anything to do with it.

Oh, and I loved seeing Mat whup all kinds of ass. And I know that its stupid (and based in a sexist outlook on life), but I still find it kind of endearing that he does not want to kill another woman. Now, there’s nothing against trying to incapacitate her; and I think this is where he errs.

And then we’re back to Perrin. Kind of a let down, but I also do like how he shows the Tuathan all types of respect, and kind of puts Neald in his place. If only he wasn’t so obsessed about finding the other half of his totally dysfunctional, codependent relationship. But, Perrin stepping on beetles that someone had just puked out? That was also all kinds of badass.

Hah! Now, whenever I reread this section of KoD, I’ll have a mental image of a huge potfarm! Thanks, Leigh. :-) As for why forkroot only works on channelers, I anticipate that we might get into another discussion about how channeling has both a physical component and a metaphysical component. And then we might also explore how some people might feel the effects of some neurochemicals, but not others, due to their brain chemistry, or something like that. Not that I have much of substance to add; I’m just proposing possibilities.

@1 – tnh, can we get a kitten pic (seriously, when did Torie leave?), or will you be removing the vowels, or what kind of other fun do you have for our poster at #1, I wonder? Oh wait, I see you @11. Nevermind.

TWgrace@10 & WSB@12 – yeah, I thought the raken were also linked to Rodel Ituralde’s efforts in Tarabon.

BenPatient@13 – re: lactose intolerance - Actually, that's a very good one, except for the fact that it deals with the digestive tract moreso than neurochemistry.
M R
16. winterking
With the Seanchan: if a foreign superpower invaded and occupied California, and their government was fairer, better, and safer for the majority of the population, you'd probably see a lot of support. And if the only people who were enslaved were a hereditary group of aloof, powerful, disconnected individuals, I don't think you'd see too much resistance. The Aes Sedai have gone to great lengths to keep the world thinking that they are a breed apart, mysterious, alien, other, and terrifying--and when the Seanchan arrive, this backfires.

Re: heartleaf tea--the ancient Mediterranean world may have had an herb like this. Silphium was apparently a highly reliable contraceptive, which led to it becoming a cash crop, and then an extinct crop. Some depictions of it on ancient north african currency suggest that it may have had either leaves or seed pods shaped like the classic Valentine's day heart, and may be the origin of the link between that shape and the idea of love. The Straight Dope looks at herbal contraceptives here: http://goo.gl/gc43p
Damon Garner
17. IrishOmalley
Invade California?! Good luck. An occupying army would have a real swell time in Oakland, Fresno, Los Angeles and the eastern side of San Diego. Nobody is armed there. Plus we could give them Bakersfield as a sacrifice! .... :P (From Oceanside, CA btw.) Right next to Camp Pendleton. Rawr!
Tyler Will
18. Willard17
An example of completely different responses to a chemical compound based of genetic differences you don't have to look any further than phenylketonuria (PKU).

In classical PKU you essentially lose the function of a single enzyme involved in the conversion of the amino acid phenylalanine to other products. Without its action, the amino acid accumulates and some other metabolic effects occur. However, the main point is that people with PKU that eat the amino acid, can suffer from brain development, mental retardation, and seizures.
Teresa Nielsen Hayden
19. tnh
Leigh: "...is there really any kind of herbal drug, ever, that affects people so completely differently based on what is essentially a genetic deviation? A pretty major one, admittedly, but still. I’m seriously asking, because maybe I’m having a massive brain fart but I can’t think of one."
Since "drug" is a matter of how a plant is used, rather than something inherent in its nature, I'll consider the entire vegetable kingdom. The answer is yes, there are plants that affect people completely differently on account of their genes.

1. Nut allergies. They're life-threatening for some people; others have trouble believing they exist.

2. Peat smoke. Someone I knew practically went into respiratory arrest while visiting Ireland, which was how she discovered that she was seriously allergic to peat smoke. She said she was just glad she hadn't been born in Ireland or Scotland during the Dark Ages.

3. Poison ivy. I'm immune; most people aren't.

Ben Patient: Lactose intolerance isn't herbal. Too bad; divergent reactions to animal products can be as dramatic as the worst plant allergies.
Paulie
20. Aloisio
On the occupation part, it is important to note that manly the Seanchan have occupied territories without much National identity, I believe that if they had occupied Andor or say one of the border nations it would be very different. It is like occuping a country torn by civil war, probably the citizens would welcome someone bringing peace...
Mark Lawrence
21. incurablyGeek
I was under the impression that the raken were tied up in parts southwest/west as well.
Paulie
22. Delafina
Cilantro.

Tastes fresh and citrusy to some people, and ashy/soapy to others, and that divergence is apparently genetic.
Marcus W
23. toryx
I like how badass both Mat and Perrin are in these chapters, though I fail to see why Mat can't find a way to incapacitate his female attacker without killing her.

The beetle thing is some seriously creepy shit. It seems like the only defense during the end of days is checking out your horoscope or something. Of course, I guess there's no hope if you just happened to be born under a bad sign.

As far as the effect of the Seanchan invasion goes: The lives of the common folk have been so unstable and uncertain for so long I think the effectiveness of the invasion is solely due to the Seanchan finally providing some stability. I think GRRM mentions at some point that all the common folk really want is to be able to live their lives in peace. That's true of any sort of world, really. Here in the U.S. people are probably someone more likely to fight because all things considered, people's lives are fairly stable (well, less so the last ten years but still).

On the other hand, I'm not really sure there's all that much fight left in people, considering how passive the masses have been lately. That's a discussion ripe with dangerous off-topic-ness, however, so I'm leaving it at that.

P.S. I love me some cilantro.
P.P.S. There are people who are immune to poison ivy? Holy cow, I'd never heard of that before. Fascinating!
Paulie
24. drragoon83
One other mention of bodily functions before this is when Moraigne is traveling with Lan and company in New Spring. They stop at an inn and when she leaves the table the dark friend suggest she is going to the privy to explain her leaving to go find one of the possible boys on her list.

ps please excuse my misspelling her name I can never remember except that it is wrong
Paulie
25. drragoon83
One other mention of bodily functions before this is when Moraigne is traveling with Lan and company in New Spring. They stop at an inn and when she leaves the table the dark friend suggest she is going to the privy to explain her leaving to go find one of the possible boys on her list.

ps please excuse my misspelling her name I can never remember except that it is wrong
Paulie
26. Nalwin
Ok the forkroot thing.

Channeling is a major thing right, there are many variables to it, people have different strengths, different aptitudes to the different flows, talents, etc etc etc. Its very complicated.

As such its more than likely that if it were real there would be many genes responsible for controlling all of this in channelers.

Perhaps some of these genes that are required for channeling also have other purposes and replace "normal" versions of other genes in non channelers.
For example, perhaps a channeler needs a hardcore version of a seratonin reuptake inhibitor enzyme and only channelers have that enzyme.
Perhaps forkroot contains a small molecule that binds to a secondary site on this enzyme.
Perhaps the channelers has a spike in seratonin as a result. Perhaps that causes the chanellers body to over produce melatonin which sends them to sleep, and since it has knocked out one of their key chanelling enzymes, they cannot channel either.

Perhaps...


Or maybe it's y'know, magic or somthing.
Paulie
27. J.chambers
First- errr.. twentyseventh!
Joanne
28. Joanne
re. Seanchan invasion
If you look at earth in for example, the nazi invasion of Europe,
there was actually only a small portion of the population of the occupied nations, like for example the Netherlands or France, who actively resisted (apart from military forces, which were coordinated from the outside). Most people tried to get on with their lives, even though the nazis were clearly doing horrible things to the Jews and other specific population groups.

@ Aloisio
good point, and also important here. If these people do not feel like they are part of Altara they do not particularly care about who rules.

An additional point is that unlike California, none of the countries in Randland is a democracy. Common people have to accept the rule of the local lord or lady. If that lord or lady is suddenly a Seanchan, who organises things better than their old lord, why should they object.
Especially since most commoners dislike/fear Aes Sedai and channeling in general
Birgit
29. birgit
Al Mizar is a star (Beta Andromedae).

Mishima comments that he’d like to see some of these Trollocs, and Perrin tells him he really wouldn’t.

He will be killed by a Trolloc.

The beetles always remind me of the book "Die schwarze Spinne" we had to read at school.
General Yulan, I want four in every five - no, nine in every ten raken in Altara and Amadicia moved to Tarabon. If Turan can't find them all with that, he can see if his own head will appease me."

may I suggest leaving the raken in Amadicia and those assigned to Banner-General Khirgan. Raken are the best way we have to locate Aiel, and in two days we still haven't found those Whitecloaks. That will still give General Turan-"

"The Aiel are less of a problem every day," she told him firmly, "and a few deserters are nothing."

"So long as you don't want the to'raken, too, I raise no objections. That plan must go forward.

KoD prologue
The raken are sent away to hunt Ituralde, while the to'raken are needed to attack the White Tower.

Tuon later thinks that she was disappointed that there were no fights in the "hell" and that a street brawl doesn't count.
Kat Blom
30. pro_star
there's another...I don't know what it is...but I remember having to taste it in some science class back in the day (when I had to walk, uphill both ways in snow up to my neck!) but would taste horribly disgustingly eew-bitter to some (yes, it was that friggin disgusting! ick!) and others, no reaction whatsoever. Maybe someone else knows what I'm talking about...

I think that was a point proven for genetics, but again, this was back in the day, when dinosaurs ruled the earth, and alzheimer's is starting to get to me.
Paulie
31. Paulie
Ok, now that I've got a #1 on my resume...I won't have to do that again. :)

Regarding the chapeters, I really like how nonchalantly badass Mat and Perrin can be. They do it without really trying to do it. It's also nice to see Perring get some recognition from the Seanchan. "His life would make a good story..." ya think? Might be a bit of Jordan tooting his own horn though. :)
Warren Soulard
32. Hrothgordo
People rarely rebel against anything that doesn’t hurt or threaten them directly.

Let’s look at California. During WWII the state was not occupied by a foreign country but the government did decide that it would be a totally okay idea to round up people of Japanese descent and put them in Not-So-Happy-Fun-Camp.

And generally speaking all of the other people went merrily about there business.
R B
33. MasterAlThor
Leigh, I am going to go with both. Tuon is complicated and you are fickle.

Tylee is an awesome character. Too bad we don't get to see much of her, but I really started to like her character in this chapter.

I also think that she is going to be the one to save Egwene.

Anyone have a problem with that? If so, let me know where you want to meet and I will show up and cordially fight you. (just kidding)

Dragon
David Lovely
34. DaveQat
A couple of points...

Forkroot, or for that matter heartleaf tea, might not be natural at all - we know during the AoL guys like Aginor knew about genetic experimentation, even if some areas of research were forbidden. Forkroot and/or heartleaf could have been bred/engineered during the AoL to have these exact effects, and the plants are just now extant in the wild.

Also, the Romans had access to a plant(some call it silphium) that was supposed to make an excellent contraceptive, to the point that they harvested it into extinction.
Paulie
35. Mike G.
I believe that at some point someone (Nynaeve?) muses that forkroot makes non-channelers drowsy, but has no other effect on them.

If I'm not totally misremembering, that would mean it DOES have an effect on non-channelers, just not a significant one. Which sort of makes sense, since the significant effect is hardly something a non-channeler would notice :)
Daniel Smith
36. Smittyphi
19. tnh
My daughter is deathly allergic to peanuts. Touching causes rashes that only steriods can remove. Ingestion is fatal. It's amazing how often you have to educate some people and they still don't learn.

Toryx, I'm immune to poison ivy as well. My mom was until she was 40.
Leigh Butler
38. leighdb
tnh @ 19:

Poison ivy is an excellent example, and one I totally should have thought of, as I too am not allergic to it. I once fell headfirst into a giant patch of poison ivy at summer camp. Everyone thought I would have to go to the hospital, but I never even developed a rash.

So, okay, question answered. Thanks to everyone who came up with examples, and also the info about the extinct contraceptive herbs, which I hadn't known about. Very interesting info.
Paulie
39. awightknight
I am a pharmacist and the whole thing about genetics making drugs effect people different is acctually the basis for a whole new movement in how we look at drugs. I will try to break it down for the layman.

Genes determine how proteins are synthsised. Any genetic change will have an effect on the structure and function of one of the proteins created by the body. There are several ways that this can effect how drugs work. The three major ones are.
1. If an enzyme is altered that is responsible for breaking down a drug the drug will have a much greater effect in these people.
2. Some enzymes can cause a compound to become active so if this enzyme is missing these people will not have the effect of the drug because it is never created.
3. Most drugs act at receptor sites through out the body. These are usually found outside the cell and cause some type of cellular response. If the receptor is differnent from a mutation then differnet compounds might work or not work depending on the mutation.

I always pictured it as relating to #3 that channelers have a receptor for a different neuro transmitter that let them channle but that receptor also had a site where a compound from forkroot would bind more strongly then with non-channelers and cause sedation at high doses and prevention of channeling at lower ones.
Grainne McGuire
40. helen79
Throwing another real-life forkroot in the mix:

I think coeliac disease matches up well to channelling gene vs forkroot as in
* Confirmed genetic basis
* Not all those with the gene will become gluten intolerant

As an example my mother has had the condition for as long as she can remember . Eating gluten has always done nasty things to her. On the other hand I happily consumed lots and lot of nice bread, pasta, pizza and the odd beer until the disease manifested itself in my early 30s.
Rob Munnelly
41. RobMRobM
OK, still no love for Thom-Selucia byplay. To the point - Leigh failed to point out that the Thom-Selucia combo took out about the same number of battlers as Mat-Tuon, likely due to battle skills of Tuon's maid (and hidden bodyguard). Chuckles galore as Thom plays dumb to avoid giving away her secret - and lots of retroactive laughs as one thinks about how often Selucia could have killed Mat (who has no idea Selucia is anything special), only to be called off by Tuon and her subtle hand gestures. All sorts of win, as far as I'm concerned.

Again, Mat and Perrin are really fun in these chapters - bad*sses without really realizing it.

Rob
John Massey
42. subwoofer
@folks- Torie left quite a while ago, she sent me a nice email saying so. She is doing some theatre and lighting thing. Check out her blog. edit-
torieatkinson.com

@folks commenting on "first". Right, give'r, but at least make it interesing and relevant. Put up a picture or an amusing link or maybe even comment on the chapters. Give us something to work with here.

@Leigh-
And a nice reminder that courage and strength aren’t always about the willingness to deal out violence.

Thank you, and well said. That is my doggie philosophy too. Doggies are all fierce about protecting what they love, and they have teeth and stuff, but scratch their ears and rub their tummers and they are all soft and easy going to their family.

That and fighting usually lands me in jail.

Forkroot. After reading this I am thinking that the DO is either going to appear to us as Bob Marley or Jerry Garcia with a big blunt symbol on their t-shirt. The Big Bad Guy is all about the herb that takes the power from the people, man. This is all just a working theory mind you.

Thom and Selucia- I'm with Rob on this one, that was classic and Thom saw something that would wipe away all Mat's wrong notions of Selucia being this soft skinned serving lady. She's more like a warrior monk or something- like whatshernuts from BabalonAD or the other whatshernuts from the Golden Child.

Mat- gotta love his luck. Made me laugh when Thom gets that Tuon wouldn't know a real Hell from a hole in the ground. The game thing at the end made me flip out tho'. Mat is all concerned about Tuon's well being, Tuon is playing the Precious vs. Toy game. Oy.

Perrin. Yep, beetles are icky, but y'all got bigger fish to fry, so get out the pan and get to 'er. It is also nice to see him blundering through things and letting ignorance substitute for skill in diplomacy.

I wouldn't make too much effort to convince the Seanchan about the wonders o' Healing. Since they now know how to Travel- that is now your only ace in the hole. Let the Seanchan die while team Light get's brought back from the brink. Especially since Ny and Grady are coming up with new ways to fix the broken.

Woof™.
John Massey
43. subwoofer
Oh yeah, and Leigh, you should get a dog.

Woof™.
Paulie
44. Paulie
@42 Woof - Damane can't link either...so, team Light has "circles" over the Seanchan. Also, I'll take the advise to heart and start looking for great pictures to include in any future "first" posts. :)
Teresa Nielsen Hayden
45. tnh
KiManiak @15:
@1 – tnh, can we get a kitten pic (seriously, when did Torie leave?), or will you be removing the vowels, or what kind of other fun do you have for our poster at #1, I wonder? Oh wait, I see you @11. Nevermind.

I don't have any fresh kittens in stock right now. Will you take baby otters being taught to swim?

Torie's been gone long enough that I'll have to look up when it happened.

Disemvowelling remains an option, but problem posts here mostly divide up into serious malfeasants, who get removed, and people who've absentmindedly posted spoilers, which get whited-out.

I'll tolerate an occasional "first!" if it's someone getting it out of their system. Paulie says he's scratched the itch, so that's okay. Morialord hasn't responded, which is less good. No matter how I respond, I'm grateful to the readers who flagged those posts, because 90% of running any forum is done by the members of that forum. Moderators just troubleshoot and help steer.
Teresa Nielsen Hayden
46. tnh
Smittyphi @36, I am puzzled, shall we say, by people who have to keep being reminded about potentially fatal allergies. They must have never seen anaphylactic shock.

Meanwhile, I had no idea that you can lose your immunity to poison ivy. That would be unfortunate. Is it random, or does something cause it?
Paulie
47. Paulie
I culod awylas jsut mix up the ltertes lkie tihs to mkae tinghs ienetsrnig.
Erik
48. gadget
About the common folk not minding the Seanchan and all--I have to agree, at least partially, with Leigh: the common folk would appreciate order and stability, but I think there would be a lot more cultural identity clash rather than a national identity problem. The whole Mat/Tuon courtship is basically one huge story arc to illustrate how different the two cultures are. This, more than anything would lead to a little bit more conflicts with the rank & file one would think.

Also, it's not just women who can channel that are at risk, the whole "I think I'll make you a cup bearer" institutional slavery thing would not go over well at all. I kind of think that RJ copped out a little on this: back in the Great Hunt, he went out of his way to show us how mean and horrible and (more importantly, alien) the Seanchan are, now he is back-peddling to provide some sympathetic Seanchan characters (Tylee, Tuon), and show us how they provide stability and order. It is nice to not make them one-dimensional bad guys and add some nuance and depth to their culture, but I still have trouble believing that it would go down so smoothly as RJ has lead us to believe.

Finally, the Seanchan's strict caste structure and hierarchical nature are ripe for corruption, yet while the High blood seem to plot and scheme even more ruthlessly than the nobles of Randland, everyone seems to drink the "glory of the empire and the empress, may she live for ever!" cool-aid to the dregs, which is the only thing that seems to keep the whole show running. Let that facade crack (like in Seanchan itself) and there goes your stability and order.
L M
49. srEDIT
@tnh 19 and leighdb 38: Don't fool yourselves. It is thought that it just takes more exposure (i.e., longer time period or more instances of) for some people than others, so please don't take any unnecessary chances.

My family has an unfortunate anecdote in this regard: Despite repeated exposure during hiking and hunting, my grandfather was not allergic to poison ivy. In his late 40s, when some friends scoffed at him for this claim, he ripped up some vines and vigorously rubbed his arms with them to demonstrate his immunity. He almost died, literally.
Paulie
50. mehndeke
I don't think you can really compare it to an invasion of California. Most American's have, in some way shape or form, a connection to CA, like family or friends. We feel close to the state. The same could be said of most of the 50 states. So if CA got invaded and taken over and parts enslaved, we'd feel a lot more hawkish about taking it back. Now, if some country invaded, say, Peru or Columbia, we'd be mad, but (ignoring defense treaties for the moment) we wouldn't be gungho to liberate. Most American's don't have a tie to those countries. In many ways, the same can be said of those in Randland. The comman man doesn't get out much, there's little traveling going on, unless you're a merchant, a channeler, or someone who has access to channelers.
Jay Dauro
51. J.Dauro
Paulie @44
That is one of my biggies. In KOD 32 we will see 8 Windfinders in a circle take down 6 BA (who are channeling like mad) without breaking a sweat.

And since we are told that the Seanchen cannot form Circles (Egwene says it, so it is possible that it is not true. But we never see a Circle there), the AS should be able to defend the Tower reasonably well. We have also yet to see the Seanchen form a ward, so it should be possible for the AS to ward the basements, and at least watch the rest of the area. As soon as the alarm is given, form Circles, shield and bind, just as the Windfinders did.

Granted you still have to watch for the damanae weapons. But with preparation it should be possible.
Paulie
52. aetherical
re Forkroot --

I heard on NPR a couple of years ago about how they were testing various drugs against various genetic and/or ethnic groups -- some seem to work better than others.

The first I'd heard of such was back on M*A*S*H (does that give an idea of how old I am?) where Klinger had a reaction to Primaquine due to his Middle Eastern heritage. This really had been an issue -- originally they thought it "just" affected people of african heritage, but discovered (the hard way) that people with mediterranean heritage could be affected as well, with *nasty* side effects. (Season 8, The Red/White Blues)
Alice Arneson
53. Wetlandernw
Because I can believe in character interactions that are complicated and frustrating. Me too. I think it's because real people interactions are complicated most of the time, and often frustrating as well. If the character interactions were all simple and straightforward, they'd be pretty uninteresting people to read about, and we'd all have stopped reading about 10 books ago.

Which I would label as rather sexist (not to mention classist) on Mat’s part except for how, well, it’s pretty much true. Exactly. Human nature is human nature, and to pretend otherwise when writing, even in a fantasy, makes it less believable. Oh, and while protectiveness often does apparently take the plunge into possessiveness, it's not a necessary correlation. I would go so far as to say that it's not a matter of degree, but of origin. When (for this example) a man sees a woman as an inferior being who belongs to him, he is often both protective and possessive. (Sadly, too often he's just possessive and NOT protective, which really stinks for her.) However, when a man respects a woman, equal in value but differing in strength, he is protective without being possessive. The first might readily fall into the category of caveman-like behavior; the second, not at all. And it's the second, I think, that we mostly find endearing. Speaking for myself, anyway.

Because either she is confusing, or I am fickle. Or both. (Or, she is an interesting character and still a person in spite of her horrible cultural beliefs, and I am forced to acknowledge that, whichever.) I vote for "all of the above."

This might be a good place for the rant that's been building in me for... oh, a couple of months years now. I've been noticing that I frequently find myself amused (and sometimes annoyed) at readers' underestimation of the truly amazing human capacity for blindness, stupidity and sheer cussedness. Various people are frequently upset because a character doesn't figure something out, change her mind based on certain info, or synthesize all the information he has to reach the logical conclusion.

RJ tried to write these people as "real" as he could, aside from the added fantasy elements. Therefore, I don't know why we should be surprised when a character is unable to remember the details of a conversation from two years ago, or doesn't recognize the significance of a comment made by someone else, or is unable to cast aside all their cultural background when faced with unexpected input. The fact is, none of us are very good at those things either. We have an advantage, in reading, in that we know we'll be told anything that's really significant; for that matter, we know that anything we're told has a good chance of being significant, and we have a fairly limited list of things to notice. When I'm living my life, though, I often don't know which things will be significant, which I should take note of, which I should write down so I get the exact wording when it matters a couple months or years downstream. I'm so used to my background assumptions about the world that sometimes I don't even realize that the other person doesn't mean the same thing I mean by a particular word or phrase, and am sometimes brought up short when I suddenly recognize that we're poles apart in our world view.

Even when you know you're going into a different culture, there are many basic assumptions built into your thinking that will clash unexpectedly with the other culture and take you off guard - if you actually notice them. Hence, I think it's pretty silly to complain about a supposedly bright character who doesn't "put it all together" and come around to our way of thinking in a matter of days or weeks. If they did, they would be uninteresting characters and the story would suffer greatly - in storytelling, in plot arc and in believability. So if I laugh when someone gripes about a character "acting stupid" it's because I think they have forgotten to look in the mirror lately. These people act just like us.

Well... except for Perrin. Me, I'd be like the ones screaming and climbing up on the chairs and desks, not calmly stepping on beetles and saying I don't have time for stupid beetles. Then again, who knows what I'd do if one of my family - especially the only person I had left in the whole world to call family - was being held hostage, and all the evidence indicated I was the only one who would do anything about rescuing that person. I guess you don't know what you'd do until you're there, however much you think about it in calmer times.

Totally agree: Perrin was all kinds of awesome for his statements about the Tinkers. I know a lot of people who take Neald's attitude toward conscientious objectors, and in most cases they're dead wrong. ...courage and strength aren’t always about the willingness to deal out violence. I know men who were strong enough to stand up in the face of a "popular" war and refuse to support the armed forces - and spent years risking (or giving) their lives in less obvious ways. Many of the early smokejumpers, pioneers of the modern "hotshots" wildfire fighters, were COs, and were chosen for that task because they had a high work ethic, great physical strength and deep courage.

Great commentary today, Leigh! Thanks!

KiManiak @15 - Loved the analogy! CEOs = AS = who cares?

gadget @48 - Yes, but the common folk don't actually have a lot of contact with the Seanchan. The "overlord" types don't mess with the little guys once the takeover is established, and it's been clearly stated that the farmer-types are heading out to unclaimed land. They aren't coming in to take over existing farms, they're spreading out to create new farms from currently unused land farther from the cities. So the culture clash would be pretty minimal in the lives of the common folk.

FWIW, the Seanchan have never been shown as just generally grabbing the random pretty face to make da'covale; you have to seriously screw up to get that "honor." Even back in TGH, RJ showed us how easy it was for the common folk to accept Seanchan rule; several times it was pointed out that all they were required to do was take the oaths to "obey, await & serve" and then they went on with their normal lives. It was only those who were in positions of power or government who had a problem with the Seanchan, even then. RJ hasn't changed on that at all.
Paulie
54. Wortmauer
Paulie: By my count, 2/5 of your posts have had any content in them unrelated to First Posts. All five have had content that does relate to First Posts. For someone who has gotten that syndrome out of his/her system, it wouldn't hurt to work on that ratio. Maybe even have at least one post that only talks about things related to the Wheel of Time and the WoT Reread, and says nothing at all about First Posts. I know, crazy idea, right?

Invasion of California: I'm with those who aren't shocked that the peasants don't really care about the Game of Houses / Thrones. Jordan has set it up pretty well from the Seanchan reception in Tarabon. Ituralde was able to recruit some terrorists / freedom fighters, but most of the people are just happy to have a stable government and be more or less left alone. In this particular sort of regime change, those with something to lose are vastly outnumbered by those with more to gain. I'm reminded of an anecdote in which a modern-day reader wished she could live back in Jane Austen's 19th-century England, where you had servants. She was then reminded that, in all probability, she wouldn't have servants, she would be a servant. It's easy to forget what a tiny minority of people are adversely affected by the Seanchan invasion, because Jordan, like Austen, focuses the story on that tiny privileged class.

(Also, mehndeke@50, it's spelled Colombia, but that only reinforces your point. North Americans aren't going to be too passionate about the fate of a country many can't even spell. The other thing that reinforces your point is where you (apparently) refer to North Americans as "Americans", right after mentioning two South American nations.)

gadget@48: everyone seems to drink the "glory of the empire and the empress, may she live for ever!" cool-aid to the dregs, which is the only thing that seems to keep the whole show running. Let that facade crack (like in Seanchan itself) and there goes your stability and order.
An excellent point. Though it's unclear to me whether the chaos in Seanchan is among the whole population, or "just" the military and nobility, or limited to the claimants to the Crystal Throne and their armsmen, as in Andor in Elayne's PLOD. Besides which, Semirhage may have stirred up the society even more than just slaughtering the line of succession. I wouldn't exactly put it past her.
KiManiak@15: I will just say that, as a non-neanderthal-behavior-exhibiting-guy, I also find it confusing when it appears that a “fair number” of women are attracted to caveman-like behavior.
See, I don't find it confusing. It just is what it is. I do confess to a certain fascination with watching feminists react to this behavioral tendency. Do you chastise the women, for preferring the "wrong" traits? Chastise society, for conditioning women to prefer the "wrong" traits? Belittle the women who prefer the "wrong" traits, saying or implying that it's only a small minority, and/or only stupid women, who are like that? Or do you recognise the hubris in telling (other) women what they should and shouldn't be attracted to, and thus accept the behavior as legitimate? Probably I shouldn't find it fun to watch feminists wrestle with these questions ... but I guess I do.
RobMRobM@5,@41: Chuckles galore as Thom plays dumb to avoid giving away her secret - and lots of retroactive laughs as one thinks about how often Selucia could have killed Mat
Agreed! Much fun seeing Thom notice Selucia's skills and let her know he won't tell. Are he and Rand (in TGS) the only two people to ever figure out Selucia's function? As for her killing Mat, though ... he's maybe a little too protected by his Ta'veren luck. Melindhra totally should have done for him. Various other Aiel, including Couladin, should have been able to as well. Rahvin did get him, but then a few minutes later we get Rand's strongest use of balefire to date, and it must have been pretty darn strong to reach back more than a few seconds in time. Gawyn or Galad should have been able to get a good whack in, in the Warder practice yard in TDR when Mat was almost too weak to stand. Seriously, nothing can touch this guy, no matter the discrepancy of skill or the advantage of surprise.
Subwoofer@42: I wouldn't make too much effort to convince the Seanchan about the wonders o' Healing. Since they now know how to Travel- that is now your only ace in the hole. Let the Seanchan die while team Light get's brought back from the brink. Especially since Ny and Grady are coming up with new ways to fix the broken.
Ny and Flinn. It isn't quite their only ace in the hole, though. I keep waiting for someone to figure out that if you make an iron breastplate, helm or barding, hammered down to something no thicker than tinfoil, then convert it to cuendillar, you've got something much lighter and more effective than chainmail. Do the same in a tube shape, and you have no need for a bellfounder, nor horses and carts for rolling your "dragons" around; just carry them on your back. (You do want horses and carts for the ammo.) 25-foot lances, halberds or catchpoles that weigh two pounds and never need sharpening. Culvert-shaped siege turtles that you can shelter under while burrowing under a city wall. Grapples with long, paper-clip-thin chains that can't be cut. (You have to hold each link apart from its neighbors while converting it.) In short, the military uses for Egwene's cuendillar weave could go so far beyond those harbor chains that it's not even funny. I can't imagine RJ, a weapons aficionado, didn't consider what a game changer cuendillar would be, a substance that is infinitely strong and stiff even when it's the thinnest you can hammer iron in a Renaissance-era forge. Of course, some of this stuff would have to be made by those, like Bode Cauthon, who are strong in Earth but haven't taken the Second Oath.
Paulie
55. ER_RN
Actually, the loss of immunity you're describing, in medical speak, is a Type IV (Delayed Cell-Mediated) Allergic Reaction. Basically, you expose your body to something, be it poison ivy or nuts, and at first, everything's fine. But over time, your body (well, your immune system to be more specific) gets just a little pissier and pissier each time you expose yourself, until one day, it says "I've had enough dammit!" and boom! you have an allergic reaction (which is really just your immune system freaking out and being all melodramatic the way ladies in the 20s were expected to spaz over a small mouse/bug/dustball in the corner). The best example would be old-school doctors and nurses who, after years of wearing latex allergies, suddenly develop a reaction to them. The reaction could start mild and build to lethal, or it could be the immune system doing nothing, nothing, nothing...and them bam! anaphylaxis.
BTW this is more common than you think. It's VERY common with penicillin antibiotics (penicillin, amoxicillin, etc). So just because you've taken a drug for years with no ill effects doesn't mean the next time you do, you won't react. Comforting, isn't it? :)
On a side note, there is a lot of research into the decreased effects that blood pressure medications have on African Americans, which sucks because they're a very high-risk group to begin with. So even IRL there are cases where certain genetic groups have intolerances/immunities to medications.
Paulie
56. RobH
The tactics of Seanchan occupation of Randland has always reminded of The "Holy" Roman Empire's early conquering tactics re: use force, at first, to lobe off heads of state, (usually just a few people) insert loyal nobilities of your own, add a dash of law, and leave everything else alone.
William Fettes
57. Wolfmage
KiManiak @ 15

Nice analogy! Obviously comparing a magical class of super-beings to anything in real life is going to be somewhat problematic and imprecise. However, I think you might have nailed down the best candidate in modern America. I mean, illegal immigrants in Arizona generate more than enough hatred and suspicion to qualify, sadly, but whatever benefits they accrue by being in America, they certainly don’t have anything like the material position and status of Aes Sedai pre-invasion. Same goes for basically all other marginal groups that are familiar targets of populist agitprop.

The financial wunderkinds that brought us the GFC are another matter. Without getting all de Tocqueville on everyone, it’s probably fair to say that Americans, more than most, have an embedded cultural appreciation of the need for entrepreneurship, free markets and a distinct lack of tall poppy syndrome. Indeed, it is my observation that the idea of winning and being a winner has some special cultural affinity in the the States, which does not exist in other countries where underdog status is more privileged culturally. However, even that famous libertarian spirit has not been enough to ward off a lot of anger in the aftermath of the GFC. Lots of this anger has been cleverly co-opted and manipulated into other political agendas, of course. But there’s real anger there, and it rightly includes the class at the top.

Having said that, I do think we have to distinguish between justified anger according to measured judgement, and the baser passions of the populace. I certainly don't seek to minimise the human appetite for blood that is basically a constant in human life; bloodletting lurks beneath the surface of the most civilised society (check out the comments section of a shitty tabloid paper reporting a lenient sentence some time, if you doubt this), and we have more than enough terrible moments in history to serve as a powerful reminder, such as the French Reign of Terror, and various Communist purges. Never under-estimate the human capacity for stupidity and terror!

But bear in mind here that Seanchan are genuine and rational in their justification for their system of the damane and sul’dam. It’s not like their nobility secretly sniggers at the gullibility of the commoners and their ability to inflame their passions so they accept this institution; they too genuinely believe it for what they regard as sensible, dispassionate and rational reasons. Whereas I would hope that many, if certainly not all, mainstream people who do have significant anger at the CEO / finance class are still going to second-guess their dander when it comes to enslavement time.
Alice Arneson
58. Wetlandernw
Wortmauer @54 - LOL on a certain fascination with watching feminists react to this behavioral tendency. Yup. I find it fun to watch, too - as long as I'm not the woman someone is trying to belittle/chastise/insult by saying that my behavior is contrary to their feminist ideas. Then I tend to get a little more... aggressive about it. ;)

Good stuff about the potential for cuendillar uses. The only thing that saves Randland from the massive use of cuendillar weapons and armor is the fact that not many can make it, far fewer can make it in anything like an expeditious fashion, and those who know the weave are committed to the "make no weapon for one man to kill another" oath. So you could do the armor, the siege turtles (maybe), and purely defensive stuff, but the AS would probably balk at cuendillar dragons, lances, halberds, or catchpoles. Grapples would be iffy, depending on the view of the individual. The only way Bode or the other novices/Accepted would be able to do the work would be to leave the WT, because you know the AS would never allow it. I'm pretty sure the Oath would prevent them from giving the weave to anyone they knew would use it for those purposes, too. Most of them, anyway; Egwene just might be pragmatic enough to decide to do it anyway and accept whatever consequences came. The fiddliness of some of the work would be a killer, too - to hold individual links of chain separate while you ever-so-slowly change one at at time to cuendillar... Ouch. For most of them, changing one link the size of a paper-clip would probably take at least 20 minutes - and that's a long time to hold small, linked things carefully separate.And I would really like to know what RJ had in his notes about all this!
John Massey
59. subwoofer
Well, as RobM was disappointed that nobody jumped on his Selucia and Thom angle, I'm equally disappointed that nobody jumped on my dog angle. I gave it a go, but there are all sorts of customs and border rules bringing an animal across the Canada/US border. Anybody live in the NO area? I'm thinking Leigh would be suited for an easy to care for dog conveniently sized in the 60+ pound area. Lots to love. No pure breeds, save a pet from the pound.

Weapons, yup- that would be a go but for a certain oath. Something simple, like for instance, cuendillar arrow heads. Penetrates any armor, why not? Or maybe smaller lofting tubes... musket like even. Yes there are 1001 uses, beyond tea sets, but I feel that RJ did what he did for a reason as far as the no Power wrought stuff oath. OTOH they could have made cuendillar chastity belts for back in the day- a maiden's purity would be intact beyond the shadow of a doubt.

... And yes, if Melindhra woulda smacked Mat's bum harder this would all be moot. It's lucky that Mat is... er... lucky.

Woof™.
j p
60. sps49
Forkroot- maybe it's like poison oak/ ivy etc., which affects some humans (I still have discolored skin from it) but not others- and is eaten by deer. But BenPatient @13 makes a good point, too.

Not sure if it is relaed to allergic reactions, but things I have been allergic to have changed over the years. Penicillin got me at age 8, and I'm not going to test that one.

Torie (with Eugene) is also still re-watching Star Trek (the animated one, currently) at theviewscreen. com.
Paulie
61. Alfvaen
Now I'm picturing Tuon saying. "I'm not a channeler, Toy...I'm just forkroot intolerant."
William Fettes
62. Wolfmage
Wortmauer @54


See, I don't find it confusing. It just is what it is. I do confess to a certain fascination with watching feminists react to this behavioral tendency. Do you chastise the women, for preferring the "wrong" traits? Chastise society, for conditioning women to prefer the "wrong" traits? Belittle the women who prefer the "wrong" traits, saying or implying that it's only a small minority, and/or only stupid women, who are like that? Or do you recognise the hubris in telling (other) women what they should and shouldn't be attracted to, and thus accept the behavior as legitimate? Probably I shouldn't find it fun to watch feminists wrestle with these questions ... but I guess I do.

Hmm. For a phenomenon that's not even a nominally strong strand of thought within feminism, I think there's more than a whiff of condescension in your characterisation. For instance, I highly doubt self-identifying feminists spend nearly half as much time preoccupied with pondering and policing this issue amongst women as compared to your typical thoughtful nice-guy in high school pondering the social success of more rugged, physical types despite whatever real and imagined crudities they exhibit.

There's an undeniable kernel of truth to the maxim treat 'em mean keep 'em keen, and I personally know many "nice-guys" who vehemently despise that social function despite that thought making them guilty of exactly the kind of hubris and false consciousness you think feminists must be guilty of here.

The truth is that whatever the heady mix of biologically determined and socialised attributes that go into making us attractive to each other, it’s possible to speak in general or in isolation about myriad possibilities from those permutations - including the innocuous, the risky and the stupid. Yes, if you make a highly reductionist false-consciousness-style argument, then you're likely guilty of some kind of hubris. But, by the same token, accepting every social dynamic as some kind of inscrutable black box of inviolable sacred choice is just another kind of hubris. There is room for informed comment between the two extremes without being mocked.
Paulie
63. Mndrew
Random thought from Perrin getting respect from Seanchan: If they knew more of the truth, he would be 'der-morat wolf.
Paulie
64. Wortmauer
Wetlandernw@58:The only thing that saves Randland from the massive use of cuendillar weapons and armor is the fact that not many can make it, far fewer can make it in anything like an expeditious fashion, and those who know the weave are committed to the "make no weapon for one man to kill another" oath.
True enough. Also, nobody but Aludra has figured out lofting tubes, but those other things I listed seem a bit more obvious to think of. As Rodel Ituralde would say, "I could use them well. Very well." Gareth Bryne would no doubt agree.
The fiddliness of some of the work would be a killer, too - to hold individual links of chain separate while you ever-so-slowly change one at at time to cuendillar... Ouch. For most of them, changing one link the size of a paper-clip would probably take at least 20 minutes - and that's a long time to hold small, linked things carefully separate.
This is why you couldn't make cuendillar chainmail - why I suggested plate armor instead. Holes big enough to hold the links apart while Saidaring them (thanks, Mat) would be too big to stop arrows. But a normal linear chain? Hold those links apart with little bits of paper or leather or something. For many uses, the individual links don't have to be all that short, either - an unbreakable chain made of foot-long pieces of 14-gauge wire with a half-inch loop at each end would still be useful for a lot of ways "for one man to kill another".

Agreed that most of Egwene's "manufactory" workers aren't very fast. But if you assume the speed of conversion is proportional to the amount of material (we don't know this, but it seems reasonable), the thinner you hammer it, the faster your Accepted can convert it. I don't think it'd take 20 minutes to "whiten" a paper clip. Even if it takes 2 hours to do a teacup, how many paper clips does it take to weigh as much as a Randland teacup? And then there's the outliers. Egwene is stupid awesome fast, sure, but even Leane apparently did a really thick chain like half the width of the harbor in ... what, a minute or two? How many tons of chain was that? And Leane is pretty weak by Aes Sedai standards, having been Healed by Nynaeve rather than Damer Flinn. Presumably she has an affinity for Earth or whatever, but still.
And I would really like to know what RJ had in his notes about all this!
You and me both. I've been wondering about this ever since the end of CoT when it became clear that this alchemical transmutation has tactical uses. The related question in my head is the "plastic pollution" problem: given this stuff is not biodegradable, there has to be some way to unmake it short of the True Power (how the Seals and the Sad Bracelets broke). I suppose it hasn't been plot-convenient for Egwene to investigate this question yet, but now that she's in possession of two very long and ugly pieces of stiff white chain that nobody's really gonna want in their landfill or their river, maybe she will give some thought to it. I mean, what else do you do with those things? Maybe some nouveau riche white trash would want to put one of them in front of his house instead of a picket fence? Next to the lawn flamingos? Never rusts or rots, never needs to be re-whitewashed.
subwoofer@59: Something simple, like for instance, cuendillar arrow heads. Penetrates any armor, why not?
I don't think they would, actually. They'd be unbreakable, but that's not at all the same as ability to penetrate armor. It just means that no matter how far they thunk into whatever they thunk into, the tip won't be deformed. For penetrating armor, you want more force behind the arrow, e.g., better crossbows, which is of course one of those things Mat is into.
OTOH they could have made cuendillar chastity belts for back in the day- a maiden's purity would be intact beyond the shadow of a doubt.
You had to go there. (: Yeah, it would just be kinda hard to remove legitimately when the time comes. I don't think you could forge a lock and key without the moving parts all fusing together. Though ... hey, maybe you could. Forge all the pieces, test-fit them, make sure the lock works; disassemble the whole thing, get someone to convert the pieces to heartstone, then reassemble. A quick Saidar spot-weld on the casing, that doesn't reach far enough in to fuse the bits together....
stephanie keenan
65. adriel_moonstar
We would all like to believe that we would always choose the tough-but-right way to respond to adversity, but the fact is you’ll never know until you’re there. And if you’re lucky, you’ll never have to find out in the first place.

A few years ago I had an interesting discussion with a friend about Joseph Ratzinger's involvement in the Hitler Youth. I felt (and still feel) that this should have disqualified him from even being considered for elevation to the Papacy. Seeing how the Pope is supposed to be the supreme moral arbiter for millions of people, I think he should be held to a higher standard. Her argument was that studies have shown that it is human nature to go along, even if one suspects or even knows that others are being hurt or killed.

Everyone wants to believe that he or she would be Schindler or Wallenberg, but historical precedent says that most of us would be Ratzinger.

So as much as it frustrates the reader to watch the nazis Seanchen take over with so little resistance, it is actually very realistic.
Daniel Smith
66. Smittyphi
tnh @46 - It had nothing to do with prolonged exposure. My mom was just out walking and she got it.
Paulie
67. Andrew Seanchan
This reread is awesome sauce. I am amazed by the Leigh's dedication in taking on a project this size. I was saving ToM to read for one big final reread just before aMoL came out but when a friend put me on to Tor in March I couldn't help starting my reread early. Whilst I haven't always agreed with Leigh, her commentary is always interesting and the number of things she and the commenters have pointed out that I would have missed has enriched my reread considerably. I agree with the idea that your least favourite book is the one you first have to wait for. When you only get one book each two years, the pace is mind numbling slow as each character gets only gets about 4 chapters per book. Waiting that long for only a couple of chapters about the character you care about is frustrating. The series flows better as continuous read. It's like watching a tv show week by week or as a whole season. Some random things I want to mention about the series:I get so annoyed when any of the characters complain about lack or respect for themselves but never show any to the other characters. On the upside, it makes the info sharing and realistation chapters so much sweeter. I can't wait for the discussion about Tuon PoV chapter. Also Mat and Tuon have the best romance of the series thanks to the long period of on screen time they have to get to know each other. Also, the Oaths the Aes Sedai swear are useless. They spend they're entire time trying to wriggle around them, either convincing themselves they're in danger or lying by omission. The result is no one trusts them (unless they spell it out) which is the opposite of what the rods are supposed to do. It would be much better if they weren't bound by the oath rod but followed the spirit of the oath and treated other people as equals and told them the truth. (plus they would live for twice as long.)
Paulie
68. arcee
on forkroot - non-channelers could be rendered comatose back in TFOH. Not sure how much of the different effects then & now is potency of the tea.
john mullen
69. johntheirishmongol
It's great that Tuon gets more and more opportunities to see Mat being more than just a toy. She knows she is going to marry him, but that did not mean she had any respect for him. Lovely work to take it all step by step and not just jump into the whole romance.

@62 Aww, c'mon. Mocking is a time honored tradition between friends.
Birgit
70. birgit
I wouldn't make too much effort to convince the Seanchan about the wonders o' Healing. Since they now know how to Travel- that is now your only ace in the hole.

Tuon already knows about Healing from Mylen. She tells Mat he is foolish when he refuses Healing.

For most of them, changing one link the size of a paper-clip would probably take at least 20 minutes - and that's a long time to hold small, linked things carefully separate.

They could use Air to hold the chain. They have to be channeling all the time anyway.

Thom knows that princesses have no experience with some aspects of the life of commoners like visiting inns because he was Morgase's lover.
Jonathan Levy
71. JonathanLevy
"is there really any kind of herbal drug, ever, that affects people so completely differently based on what is essentially a genetic deviation"
Well... how about Fenugreek? In some people it's excreted via the sweat glands, resulting in a very recognizable scent. In others, not at all.
"But then again, I can’t help translating the situation into my own terms, thinking of what it would be like if, say, some other country invaded and occupied California, with superior or at least comparable military puissance to America’s own (pretending a lack of capacity for WMDs on both sides), and started enslaving a certain percentage of the population..."
Think: France, 1940.
I see 28. Joanne already made this point.

34. DaveQat and others
"Also, the Romans had access to a plant(some call it silphium) that was supposed to make an excellent contraceptive, to the point that they harvested it into extinction. "
Sorry, this makes no sense to me. It sounds as likely as "wheat was harvested into extinction" or "cannabis was harvested into extinction".

Thousands of useful crops have been harvested by humans for millenia. The more valuable a crop is to humans, the less likely it is to go extinct. The plants which go extinct are the ones for which humans have no use.
Wesley Parish
72. Aladdin_Sane
Oh, if it comes to princesses visiting taverns, inns and common rooms, we have the wonderful example of Elayne in Tarabon, in TSR. She puts on quite a performance! Little wonder Thom's just a little concerned about our wonderful new Seanchan royal heiress who wants to see the roughest side of common life.

As regards common acceptance of foreign rulers taking over, I think a relatively recent example of one extremely successful case was the British rule of Heligoland in the late 1800s. As the British Governor paid very little attention to the Heligolanders, and didn't demand anything extraordinary of them, like changing their daily routines, their common language, just altering the flag and the official language, they hardly noticed the change, and only after the British had been there for a few years, did they start changing their routines somewhat - advertising in English as well as German, for example.

Perhaps if the reference to California went back a century or so, and you posed the question of how the Mexicans and the Amerindians felt about the Anglos arriving there and setting up the Republic of California without so much as a "by your leave" - and then having the US Federales annexing it into the bargain ... maybe you could look at the colonial history of Uganda, and how the British Empire left the Bugandan royals in place and ruled through them, or any of the various minor princedoms of India during the British Raj, and how indirect rule for the most part, was the game played ... it's generally only when the foreigners start stepping on toes, that people notice them for any other reason than curiosity value.

Just my 0.02c- don't spend foolishly, we're still in recession!!!
Dorothy Johnston
73. CloudMist
Bye, Mat. See you on the high plains.

#15, I tried to upload a cute cat pic but couldn't.
John Massey
74. subwoofer
@Wort- go there? I live there:) What can I say? I was thinking of a cuendillar jock strap and it evolved from there. At least the boys would be safe. As far as arrowheads go, yes you need velocity, but have you ever tried to cut through something with a "sharp" knife and found it tough, then had a really sharp knife and it was like butter? Same thing applies here... really sharp arrows with a good old TR bow. Trollocs, they be fodder.

And why not something else simple... like a cuendillar shield? The Children use shields. Seems to be back in the day when D&D was a cartoon, there was a cavalier with a shield like that. Give many shields to an army in a hedgehog formation... possibilities...

And yes, seems to me the picture linky icon is gone. Wah.

Woof™.
Paulie
75. ryamano
@42 subwoofer: Seanchan have no problem with Healing. At least Tuon doesn't. She considers Mat a fool to not let the "damane" (free Aes Sedai at the time) heal him.
Paulie
76. ryamano
Regarding cuendillar military uses:

The Tower is going to have some kind of foreign exchange student program after all settles, according to the pact Egwene made with the Wise Ones and the Windfinders in TOM. These two aren't bound by the Three Oaths, so maybe we could see cuendillar weapons (or even ships, if people understand how to make the parts separately or are very patient) later.
R B
77. MasterAlThor
@61 Alfvaen,

Thanks, I fell outta my chair laughing.

Dragon

PS. What's good Woof? Heard your neighbors might be getting a new Cup.
Paulie
78. Blend
Re: the drugs affecting people with different genes...

Ritalin is a good example (or other drugs in the same tree of drugs, uppers). People who have ADD or ADHD take ritalin in order to be able to focus, in order to calm their brains enough to focus on one thing instead of wanting to see everything. Someone who doesn't have ADD or ADHD and takes ritalin will experience it in a more Speed-like way - it acts as an upper, makes you try to focus on everything, keeps you awake, etc. Not sure if this has been 'clinically proven' but I've certainly seen it enough to know.
Marcus W
79. toryx
I have to say, I find all this discussion on allergies and poison ivy, immunities and eventual loss of immunities utterly fascinating. Thanks for sharing your knowledge and experiences, people!

I've been fortunate to never have an allergic reaction to anything that I know of, whereas everyone else in my family suffer on a regular basis from one thing or another. But I've always been afraid that one day I'd get seasonal allergies due to so many people I've known who have developed them later in life.

Anyway...fascinating.

subwoofer @ 59: I've never told you this but all your talk of dogs and their various wonders persuaded me last year and I got one last August. I haven't quite forgiven you for that. Baaaad decision on my part. Lucky for the dog, I'm not the kind of guy to back out of a commitment but if I could do it all over again, dogfree I would remain.

One good thing that came out of it, however, was that I remain even more grateful that I'm childfree and that's one thing that will never change.

Wolfmage @ 62: Thanks for pointing all that out. I agree.

Blend @ 79: Caffeine works the same way on people with ADD or ADHD. If you want someone with ADHD to slow down and focus, you give him coffee. The more caffeine the better. It's weird but it works.
Alice Arneson
80. Wetlandernw
Wolfmage @62 - Whether it's a "strong strand of thought" or not, when you've seen it happen you can't say it doesn't exist. And I've seen it happen. A lot. Condescending to point it out, or laugh about it? I disagree; if you insist that finding anything funny about human foibles is condescending, the best humor goes out of life. The fact is, the same attitudes are present in many areas; people have a tendency to think that anyone who doesn't agree with their base assumption is wrong. This one is particularly amusing in the dichotomy it raises, but there are others, just as funny depending on your point of view. I don't think Wortmauer implied that all feminists have this problem - just that it's really funny to watch those who do. I've always said that humanity is the best proof that God has a sense of humor.
Teresa Nielsen Hayden
81. tnh
KiManiak @15:
I will just say that, as a non-neanderthal-behavior-exhibiting-guy, I also find it confusing when it appears that a “fair number” of women are attracted to caveman-like behavior.
The relevant question is which characteristics are the desirable ones. "Brutish" and "dumb" don't make the list.

Imagine your standard cartoon caveman, the cheerful kind who wears a one-shoulder fur mini-dress, hunts mammoths with a spear, and carries women home on his shoulder. What does he have going for him?

1. Authenticity, self-confidence, and natural enthusiasm. It's an attractive combination.

2. He lets the woman know that he finds her irresistibly attractive.

3. He makes his intentions clear.

4. He puts real work into the relationship. What he's doing may cause consternation, but at least he's doing something.

I hereby predict that 90-95% of the men who read that will think I'm joking, and of those, half to three-quarters will suspect that it's also some kind of sneaky implicit criticism aimed at them. Good luck and best wishes to the ones who read it in clear.
Alice Arneson
82. Wetlandernw
tnh @81 - Love it!!

And let's not forget that he's not spending a lot of time whining to her about his hard life, though to some extent that's covered in #1. A natural enthusiasm about life in general is incredibly attractive, especially in our culture when we're so used to everyone around us (usually including ourselves) complaining about the smallest thing.
Teresa Nielsen Hayden
83. tnh
Blend @78: Ritalin/Methylphenidate is a cortical stimulant, and it's fully documented that it behaves just as you describe. I have narcolepsy, so I know Ritalin from the other side of things. To complete the circle, some narcoleptics experience codeine as a stimulant.

Further fun: Cylert/Pemoline -- a great drug that has unaccountably been taken off the market after decades of successful use, so write your congresscritter -- helps ADD and ADHD cases calm down and focus, wakes up narcoleptics and helps them integrate their mental processes, and when given to the elderly makes them likelier to get dressed, cook real meals, and interact with others. Additional weirdness: no one knows why. Its action, which is still not understood, is unlike any other drug.

Robert Jordan/Jim Rigney had health problems, and knew plenty of people who had really complicated ones, like his close friend John M. Ford. I have not the slightest doubt that he knew how variable drug reactions can be, and how big a role genetics can play in that.
Paulie
84. Wortmauer
Tuon@ch11:You used my name before I used yours, so I won.
You know what, Tuon? That line of yours produces in me almost exactly the same reaction as Faile's manipulation of Loial to get through the Ways, forcing Perrin to follow her like a puppy dog, in TSR. That wasn't a compliment, by the way. At least Berelain knows when it's time to put the stupid game aside.

Yeah, I'm still not a fan of Tuon. (Speaking of whom, where'd Misfortuona go?)
Wetlandernw@80: Wolfmage @62 - Whether it's a "strong strand of thought" or not, when you've seen it happen you can't say it doesn't exist. And I've seen it happen. A lot. Condescending to point it out, or laugh about it? I disagree; if you insist that finding anything funny about human foibles is condescending, the best humor goes out of life.
Thanks, Wetlander. You're right, I did not mean to imply that all feminists have a hangup about what to do with all those women who seem perfectly content not to be "liberated" (or has that term even been used in the past 30 years?) or "empowered". Probably most are happy to live and let live.
Wolfmage@62: For instance, I highly doubt self-identifying feminists spend nearly half as much time preoccupied with pondering and policing this issue amongst women as compared to your typical thoughtful nice-guy in high school pondering the social success of more rugged, physical types despite whatever real and imagined crudities they exhibit.
Probably true! I guess the difference is that I don't find much humor in the foibles of the "nice guy", partly because they're more pathetic than funny - it's hard for me in general to laugh at the pathetic, though I can make exceptions - and partly because I think I used to be one.
Aladdin_Sane@72: Oh, if it comes to princesses visiting taverns, inns and common rooms, we have the wonderful example of Elayne in Tarabon, in TSR. She puts on quite a performance! Little wonder Thom's just a little concerned about our wonderful new Seanchan royal heiress who wants to see the roughest side of common life.
Ha! An excellent point.

tnh@81: That was a fun read. Though I think you overestimate how much of your (male) audience will "think you're joking", probably by underestimating the clarity and potency of your own writing. I mean that, it didn't sound like either a joke or a veiled insult at all.
Paulie
85. hamstercheeks
Maybe heartleaf tea suppresses libido?
Paulie
86. Hawkido
@14
Phenylketonurics can't drink diet soda

I can personnally attest to this... Diet sodas will crash my blood sugar so fast you would think i had been drugged. If you have "Real" low blood sugar probs then you know what I mean.

Even sugar-free gun will nail me.

Given a bump on the head will greatly impare the ability to channel, I don't think the fork-root's primary effect is to stop channeling, but rather puts a person in a state the makes channeling difficult. Not like the headache from a sling to the head, as Egs feels no real discomfort from her persistent forkroot diet. But rather mimics the "preggers" effect, has a man been forkrooted, I can't think of a time yet?... It also states that forkroot does have an effect on non channelers, it is only about 100th as effective, rarely doing more than making someone alittle drowsy.
also a tidbit... if someone wears an adam collar then holds one of the "fake" foxhead medallions can they take the collar off no problem? as they would loose the ability to even feel the source (not like being shielded if I remember correctly), and so the collar may not recognize them as a channeler... perhaps even the SAD collar/bracelets...
Rand destroyed the copy SAD bracelets didn't he.. not the originals... as the originals were "something akin to cuillendar" acording to MogSpiderNyneaveSmashSOULCAGE!!! So I don't think rand could Dark Power his way through the original. But perhaps the "Fake" Foxhead medallion could allow him to take it off.
"Bwahaha bow to the crystal throne"
"hmm, whats that around your neck there tuon?"
"Oh just sumfink my hubby gave me, you wanna touch it?"
"Sure," *Click*
"oh snap... could you put that collar back on for a second there?"
Paulie
87. Iansagefire
I always likend the locals acceptance of the Seanchan occupation of Tarabon and Altara, and Amadecia to the Iraq war. The citizens have been dealing with a corrupt and ineffectual government for so long, that an invading Army and new government actually improves the lives for most of the population. There will undoubtly be an insurgency that continues to fight; however, as long as a majority of the population can eat and live in relative safety, there will be little fighting compared to the initial invasion and occupation.

Tarabon and California are unfair comparisons, the first being a soverign nation that is in chaos, the second only being a part of a stable and powerful nation. The rest of Randland, while being outraged and having a reason in fighting Seanchan to protect their own nations, only have an indirect interest in Tarabon falling.

Before I get blasted on here; I'm not comparing the US and Seanchan, the types of cultures and governments are night and day, as well as the type of war being fought -- I'm just comparing two simular reactions to an occupying army. I am a Soldier, that has been deployed to Iraq, and have seen the reaction to Americans by 95+% of the Iraqi people, which I think would be the typical Taraboner view of the Seanchan.

Lastly... Yay for run-on sentances!!
Paulie
88. hari coplin
Just to chime in with the detail, actually Nisao did suggest Anaiya and her Warder were out to visit the privies when they were killed in CoT :)
Stefan Mitev
89. Bergmaniac
Thousands of Taraboners joined Ituralde's army to fight against the Seanchan IIRC, so there is still a significant resistance. Altara is more subdued, but then it was never a really unified country and most Altaran lacked patriotic feelings.
John Massey
90. subwoofer
@toryx- I've said it before and I'll say it again, "it's not the dog, its the owner";).... unless you got one of those yuppie status symbol golden retrievers, those dogs are mental, and destroy everything, especially as pups. My wife and I have been dog owners all our lives, and we get out what we give. We put in the time early on in training and we commit to walking our dogs twice a day for a minimum of 45 per walk. Dogs need structure and exercise... and someone to pick up their poopies. The rest is duck soup.

@Hawkido, hmmmmm.... I'm not sure whether to take you seriously or not, but I dunno, does having a trusty medallion nullify the effects of an a'dam? If we have already wailed on this horse, I was not part of that discussion so if anybody wants to link me to the thread...

@tnh- you had me until I re-read the bit about taking the woman home on his shoulder. No self respecting cave man would do that, drag by the hair baby, that's the cave man M.O.

*watches Geico cave man storm outta the room*

Woof™.
Roger Powell
91. forkroot
Leighdb

Five thousand pounds of forkroot? That’s some serious herbage, y’all.

Urrp... The hotel had a great caribbean buffet tonight and I'm feeling every one of those pounds.... where did I put the akla-seltzer?

tnh@81 and others
Hey ... we're liking this. No disrespect to Torie, but she didn't hang out and comment other than keeping order. We know sometimes you'll be busy doing your job, but please keep dropping in like you have. I thought post @81 was terrific

@various
Are we doing a cilantro poll? Put me down for thumbs up. Not to brag but (OK... to brag), I make a pretty mean Chicken Picado and the fresh cilantro is part of the finish.

RobMRobM@5 and so forth
Maybe Leigh didn't bother with the Thom-Selucia thing because Selucia's true function was telegraphed during the incident with the three AS - and we discussed that in comments to the last post.

In this thread, Wortmauer echoed the point I made in the comments to the last post, namely that Mat's luck (or ta'veren nature) would probably bail him out if Selucia tried to take him down.

Certainly under normal circumstances, with Selucia having the advantage of surprise and serious skill - Mat would be a goner. But then under normal circumstances, if a trained marksman shoots an arrow right at Perrin's heart, Perrin would die. Ta'veren play by a different set of rules.

Wetlander@53
Love them "rants"! You and I are of same mind regarding Jordan's ability to craft believable, human, characters. Also glad to see you got your login back from the imposter ::grins::

Wort@84
Yeah ... I was wondering the same thing about Misfortuona. (Mis ... if you are reading this .. speak up!)
Alice Arneson
92. Wetlandernw
forkroot @91 - ::grins back:: Yeah, that imposter. Stealing logins late at night... But hey, you're certainly the hot topic of the week! :)

Misfortuona has been very quiet lately, both here and on fb. Life, I think. Sometimes there's just not a lot left over for witty badinage. But I mis her too. At least she made J-Con and had a great time there!
William Fettes
93. Wolfmage
Wortmauer @ 84


“Probably true! I guess the difference is that I don't find much humor in the foibles of the "nice guy", partly because they're more pathetic than funny - it's hard for me in general to laugh at the pathetic, though I can make exceptions - and partly because I think I used to be one.”

Okay, we’re making some progress in ditching any impliedly exclusive association between such a foible and feminism. But I still think it’s possible to have an intelligible discussion about what qualities or behaviours some people find to be counter-intuitively endearing, without it being seen as a 'familiar' trope of feminists being habitually confused about attraction.

I mean, Leigh only mentioned in passing that Mat misunderstood some of Tuon’s pleasure at his remark, and that it was an example of how sometimes even something negative, like a propensity for rough, tribal skirt-chasing behaviour, can be embraced and accepted (despite it being sexist against men) and still create the context for evoking positive attraction. Leigh expressed no substantive confusion about the fact that traditional models of male protectiveness are endearing. So that’s not the issue. She just made an allusion to the fact that there can be a fine line in the threshold between when a particular behaviour is endearing and when it is not – which may sometimes be a source of confusion. Seems like a pretty reasonable remark to me. In any event, it’s not something that I think betrays general cluelessness, flailing about -- ham-fistedly applying an ideological test heedless of the evolutionary headwind -- that would warrant a laugh at her expense.

WetlanderW @ 80

Wolfmage @62 - Whether it's a "strong strand of thought" or not, when you've seen it happen you can't say it doesn't exist. And I've seen it happen. A lot. ”Condescending to point it out, or laugh about it?”

Yes, I didn't say it didn't exist. I said it was disproportionate and condescending to basically claim that you enjoy watching ‘feminists’ confusedly squirm over these type of issues, as if there was: 1) an identifiable pattern of such cluelessness which donotes a foible; and 2) Leigh's remark was a suitable exemplar of this to serve as a jumping-off point for dissecting said foible. I don't think either is the case.

I'm not a humourless person by nature, and I'm far from an apologist for the entire zeitgeist of feminism as it were, but this seems much more like people applying a particular caricature about feminism from their head, or perhaps reacting to a grievance against the judgement of former acquaintances, than a comment that is precisely germane to what Leigh actually wrote.
Bonnie Andrews
94. misfortuona
Wortmauer@84, Forkroot@91, & Wetlandernw
WAVING FURIOUSLY
I'm still out here, just way behind the eightball most of the time, behind on posts, and Mis-ing most of the comments. Wet is correct, life has been interfering with my online life. If a little bird hadn't sent me a note I wouldn't have realized that y'all have been wondering about me. Warm glow at having been Mis-sed. I have been mis-sing you too.

I should have been here. Mat and Tuon are my favorite WoT couple (in case anyone hadn't figured that out) I loved this whole weird courting extravaganza. Though in truth there is little to say beyond what all of you have already said.

Mis-sing and hoping and lurking and reading
Tricia Irish
95. Tektonica
Mis? Mis? Is that you? Wherefore art thou, Mis? We miss you! Come back!!! And check in on FB too!
Paulie
96. AndrewB
Wetlandernw @53 re comments on RJ writing his characters as "real" as possible: Well said. I agree whole heartedly.

Count me as one of those who loved Thom's statement to Selucia after the knife fight.

Not much else to say that has not been said already.

Subwoofer @90: said "Dogs need ... someone to pick up their poopies."

That is exactly why I do not want a dog. The difference between a dog and a baby is that a baby will eventually grow up and become toilet-trained. An owner of a dog will always have to pick up their dog's dropings.

Thanks for reading my musings.
AndrewB
Alice Arneson
97. Wetlandernw
Wolfmage @93 - All I can say is, you and I read Wortmauer's initial statement very differently. In context, I took it to be a slight rabbit trail, rather than an apparent assumption that a) Leigh was necessarily in this situation or b) most feminists have this problem. In other words, I didn't see the comment "aimed" at Leigh at all, where you obviously did. There you have it.

toryx @79 & subwoofer @90 - This is for you two:

A rock makes an excellent puppy.
They're practically almost the same,
Except that a puppy's rambunctious;
A rock is a little more tame.

It's true that a rock's not as hyper.
It may not chase after a ball.
And, often as not, when you call it,
It won't even hear you at all.

And maybe it doesn't roll over,
And isn't excited to play,
But rocks always sit when you tell them,
And rocks really know how to stay.

It may sleep a little bit longer,
It probably eats a bit less,
But rocks never pee on the carpet.
You won't have to pick up their mess.

So go ask your folks for a puppy,
and possibly that's what you'll get.
But still, if you can't have a puppy,
A rock is a pretty good pet.

It doesn't annoy you with barking;
It quietly sits on a shelf.
A rock makes an excellent puppy -
That's what I keep telling myself.
--Kenn Nesbitt


misfortuona @94 ::waves madly back::
Yes, yes, we miss you! Come home, come home! :) Here's hoping the mis-fortunes that keep you from us settle out soon.
Kimani Rogers
98. KiManiak
Ok folks, this one is long even for me...

I’ve gotta say Leigh, you do an excellent job of giving us something to talk about. Not too many folks would be able to generate a discussion regarding the invasion of California, genetics/biology and various allergies/allergic reactions in a blog post of a fantasy novel (not to mention the various history and government lessons). Well done! Oh and since we’re sharing (and for what it’s worth): I've got mild-to-moderate peanut allergies; not immune to poison ivy; and I like cilantro just fine.

RobM@41 – I always enjoy reading this particular exchange between Thom and Selucia. RJ drops in reminders that Thom is a quite capable character, himself. Yes, Mat was a badass this chapter, but Thom reminded us that he’s not only observant and intuitive (identifying Selucia’s role and capabilities), but clever enough to let Selucia know that as far as he’s concerned, he didn’t see what he saw.

sub@42 – re: Torie – yeah, TnH did let us know that Torie wasn’t here anymore in last week’s post (or the post before?) . It's not like I even knew her that well or anything, (although she did fix it so the system wouldn’t mark me as spam whenever I added an attachment or hyperlink); I just appreciated the cat pics, it made things a little more enjoyable here :-) Glad to hear she’s doing well.

tnh@43 – I welcome any and all funny, animal-related pics or links; thanks! Gotta love moms mothering their offspring in any species. Also, let me say that I like you just fine as a moderator. I appreciate when someone in your position joins in on the conversation and drops in her opinion, here and there.

I usually appreciate what you choose to add, even when I may not agree with it (I vaguely recall a Dr Who post that had something to do with the series’ writer/producer and his questionably sexist premise of a mini-episode a few months back that had a spirited discussion that was fun to read, even though I’m not a big Dr Who fan), and I hope you keep them coming! We’re mostly a fun bunch here. No need to look up how long Torie’s been gone on my account; I just missed the fun little thing Torie would do when someone did the whole “first” thing. I’m cool with however you choose to deal with it…

Wet@53 – Rant away; they are usually pretty good reads and add to the discussion. I think that the vast majority of posters on this reread appreciate RJ’s writing and characters. But, it’s not unusual to pick at certain aspects (characters, character actions, story arcs, etc) of a story that you really like. Isn’t a large part of this whole reread blog about one person’s opinion of, love of, and gripes/quibbles/issues with WoT?

Our fearless leader expresses her dislike with the way RJ writes certain characters, societies, the portrayal (or lack thereof) of same-sex relationships, the application of spanking, etc. I think there’s nothing wrong with a little griping thrown in here and there. I think its okay to identify and discuss the flaws that certain characters exhibit, just like in RL you talk about some of the flaws of family, friends, coworkers, bosses, etc. Lord knows I can do that with Elayne (must…resist…the urge…to…rant) and Egwene. And like you said, we all can look in the mirror and find similar traits as the ones that Jordan gave his characters; they act just like us, and we have acted just like them.

I do think that sometimes we can go a little too far in our griping. If you’re gonna complain about how stupid all of our Superkids are, and how incompetent the vast majority of the AS and the Foresaken almost always are, and how dumb and inept the vast majority of the Foresaken’s plans and actions are, etc, then I think it progresses from a minor gripe/quibble to just a whole bunch of complaining about the story, and it leads me to wonder if you even like these books anymore and why you keep reading them and participating in these posts. Wow; talk about your run-on sentences…

Oh, and thanks for the comment on the AS = CEOs. I was trying to think of a RL comparison and that one just hit me.

Wortmauer@54 – re: caveman-like behavior – Nope; I’m still going with confused. I agree that it is what it is; I understand intellectually why certain aspects of that behavior can be attractive and appealing. I just don’t get why the other aspects that often go hand-in-hand with the attractive/appealing ones are rationalized away until they become a very real and big problem for a fair number of the “fair number” further on down the road. And, I’m gonna side step the rest of your answer.... I am feeling you on your cuendillar applications, though.

Wolf@57 – Thanks re: the analogy, and I definitely agree with you regarding the bloodthirstiness of the general public in civilized societies. I think that many folks believe that their anger is justified and that the judgment that they would seek is measured, and warranted. Which is probably why it’s a good idea to at least aspire to seek impartial parties to assess guilt, and then have impartial and informed judges to assign punishment. And we as a society often still don’t get it right…

Wortmauer@64 – re: cuendillar – I agree that one of the Great Captains could come up with multiple applications for effective uses of cuendillar in the Last Battle. Instead of griping :-) about Egwene’s apparent mistake in not telling Bryne about their rediscovery of the cuendillar making process, I’m going to hope that we find out in AMoL that Egwene did have that conversation with Bryne and he is currently working with Sisters to effectively use cuendillar; and that this all happened off-screen.

birgit@70 – re: using Air when making cuendillar – That’s a pretty good idea. It may not make sense on some of the items that have less than an inch space in-between, but for some of the bigger potential applications this would work out well.

JL@71 – re: silphium being useful, yet extinct – take it for what it’s worth, but Wikipedia is against you.

Cloudmist@73 – I appreciate the thought.

TnH@81 – Now that was good! I especially liked your last paragraph; I have to say I may have jumped around from one of your sub-groups to the other, before finally settling in to where I am now. I had started to craft a mock, somewhat serious-in-tone response :-) but this post is getting kinda long and I would want to refute your list of attributes point by point, and that would just take too long. Maybe later, if I find the time.




(Darn that picture came out really big! I really wish I could change the size)

So, instead I’ll just say that I agree with Sub@90 that the woman wouldn’t be over his shoulder; that’s where the caveman holds his club. He is most likely dragging her by her hair; remember he finds her irresistible and needs to make sure she can’t resist either. Now, does he kick his previous woman out of the cave when he drags in the new one, or does he take the new one to a different cave, or does he try to keep them both in the same cave? Does he grunt to her that he expects her to keep the cave clean, keep herself pretty, and have the barbecued woolly mammoth ready when he comes home from his hunting and gathering, or does he just expect her to already know? How does he best make his intentions clear that he’s tired of her nagging, when he stops paying her attention as he has found the next, irresistibly attractive young cave woman in the caves on the other side of the mountain? Does he find a new cave when he’s done with her and decides to move on to the wild-eyed, wild-haired, sexy young thing he just clubbed over the head, or does he find the new cave, or does he put them together, or...? These are important questions to ponder :-)

Also, where are the teen angels?

haricoplin@88 and others re: the privy visits – Nice. I have a nice little chuckle each time someone mentions a new one.

sub@90 – I don’t recall a discussion about Mat’s medallion and the potential affect it might have on the a’dam, either. But, we’ve had so many different discussions that it’s likely that I’m blocking that one out.
Jonathan Levy
99. JonathanLevy
98. KiManiak

re: Silphium - it seems to be based mainly on a few paragraphs of Pliny.
The disappearance of the plant is often mentioned, but there's nothing there about it being a contraceptive.

However, another property of the plant is mentioned:
If it so happen that one of the flock, while grazing, meets with a growing shoot4 of it, the fact is easily ascertained by the following signs; the sheep, after eating of it, immediately falls asleep, while the goat is seized with a fit of sneezing

Not exactly prime proof of Pliny's good judgement. :)
William Fettes
101. Wolfmage
KiManiak @ 98

Epic post as usual. Well done.


“Our fearless leader expresses her dislike with the way RJ writes certain characters, societies, the portrayal (or lack thereof) of same-sex relationships, the application of spanking, etc. I think there’s nothing wrong with a little griping thrown in here and there. I think its okay to identify and discuss the flaws that certain characters exhibit, just like in RL you talk about some of the flaws of family, friends, coworkers, bosses, etc. Lord knows I can do that with Elayne (must…resist…the urge…to…rant) and Egwene. And like you said, we all can look in the mirror and find similar traits as the ones that Jordan gave his characters; they act just like us, and we have acted just like them. I do think that sometimes we can go a little too far in our griping. If you’re gonna complain about how stupid all of our Superkids are, and how incompetent the vast majority of the AS and the Foresaken almost always are, and how dumb and inept the vast majority of the Foresaken’s plans and actions are, etc, then I think it progresses from a minor gripe/quibble to just a whole bunch of complaining about the story, and it leads me to wonder if you even like these books anymore and why you keep reading them and participating in these posts. Wow; talk about your run-on sentences…”


Yeah, I can wholeheartedly agree with that sentiment. The calibre of the work is sufficiently robust that I rather think it can weather a little bit of healthy adversarial debate without falling over in a heap. No doubt us hardcore fans sometimes take things too far, however, a little obsessing is part of the fun. I personally love the back and forth hardball that goes along with hardcore character analyses. I wouldn't have nearly as much fun if the posting culture was all kiddy gloves.


“I definitely agree with you regarding the bloodthirstiness of the general public in civilized societies. I think that many folks believe that their anger is justified and that the judgment that they would seek is measured, and warranted. Which is probably why it’s a good idea to at least aspire to seek impartial parties to assess guilt, and then have impartial and informed judges to assign punishment. And we as a society often still don’t get it right…”


Yes, most folks do think they’re measured and fully informed. And some of those folks really are measured too. But unfortunately even the most temperate and judicious amongst us get it wrong in the absence of correct information. With the media offering an incredibly sensationalist account of crime, the public is influenced by many false perceptions, such as the belief that violent crime is always rising, in absolute terms and in proportion to all crime. Likewise they have grossly distorted views of the rates of recidivism and the lengths of sentences. A Melbourne University journal article I read recently showed that public perceptions of lenient sentencing became radically re-aligned with the actual sentences being given by magistrates and judges once the subject was exposed to the full facts of the case - which were unreported in the media, or at least, buried in an article and divorced from the headline. Given a minimum level of education, I think people generally converge in the absence of inflammed passions and shared facts.
Birgit
102. birgit
We put in the time early on in training and we commit to walking our
dogs twice a day for a minimum of 45 per walk. Dogs need structure and exercise... and someone to pick up their poopies.

Damane are also trained and taken for regular walks, but they can clean up after themselves (if they haven't tried hitting anybody with the washbasin recently). Maybe you shouldn't mention collaring canines when Perrin is around.
John Massey
103. subwoofer
@birgit- No worries, from what I hear, Perrin isn't round, he's mostly blocky... especially around the head. And shame for comparing damane to dogs... r u sure the damane clean up after themselves? Doesn't Tuon groom hers? From what I've read, they can't move a lick and are kept in kennels. Are there damane groomers about?

And what's the big deal everyone has with picking up poopies? Try mucking up after horses. Dog poops= little bag, horse poops= wheelbarrow. For the longest time I thought about how useless cowboy boots were cause they were hard, had no grip and you slip all around the place in the winter time. Then I got out onto a ranch and realized than when you're in the er "stuff" all day long, the soft ground makes up for the hard soles, and the lack of grip makes it easier to ... clean. Brilliant design after all. And I heart doggies.

@Ki- you went off on several tangents there, but most of your cave man questions could be answered if you remember the club type tool he carries " use the club".

does he kick his previous woman out of the cave when he drags in the new one, or does he take the new one to a different cave, or does he try to keep them both in the same cave?

Use the club.

Does he grunt to her that he expects her to keep the cave clean, keep
herself pretty, and have the barbecued woolly mammoth ready when he comes home from his hunting and gathering, or does he just expect her to already know?

Use the club.

How does he best make his intentions clear that he’s tired of her
nagging, when he stops paying her attention as he has found the next,
irresistibly attractive young cave woman in the caves on the other side
of the mountain?

Use the club.

Does he find a new cave when he’s done with her and decides to move on to the wild-eyed, wild-haired, sexy young thing he just clubbed over the head, or does he find the new cave, or does he put them together,
or...?

You fill in the blank...

Cave man life simple.



As for what you say in regards to expressing an informed opinion... well, I'm first-hand experiencing the danger of misinformation, and one sided public assumption in regards to forming opinion. Some folks are all about the path of least resistance and "sound bites" in forming the judgements that affect others. Some folks don't have or want to take the time to form an "informed opinion" but rather rely on the opinion of others they trust to form an opinion which they parrot. Sad really, that in modern society so many folks get things so wrong and can't see the forest for the trees.

Edit- okay... in the preview comment box the image worked, after posting the *&^%%* thing seems to have slipped sideways. poop. And it doesn't appear in the edit comment box so I can't remove it... @tnh- wha????

Woof™.
Paulie
104. Marlène
@ Ravashi : Merci for the link to the fanfic (such a long time I haven't read one) I'll read it with pleasure

A few years ago I had an interesting discussion with a friend about Joseph Ratzinger's involvement in the Hitler Youth. I felt (and still feel) that this should have disqualified him from even being considered for elevation to the Papacy. Seeing how the Pope is supposed to be the supreme moral arbiter for millions of people, I think he should be held to a higher standard. Her argument was that studies have shown that it is human nature to go along, even if one suspects or even knows that others are being hurt or killed. Everyone wants to believe that he or she would be Schindler or Wallenberg, but historical precedent says that most of us would be Ratzinger. So as much as it frustrates the reader to watch the nazis Seanchen take over with so little resistance, it is actually very realistic

I like what you said , adriel moonsar , before re-reading Robert Jordan I finished the last Ken Follett about the First World War and the Russian Revolution , being French myself I already spoken a lot with my gradma about the time the nazis , her father had to give shelter to 5 of them and she lived part of her childhood in an occupied France . And even if my grand-grandfather was a great man (he was a Dragon during the First World and a man with strong convictions) he never tried heroic actions against the nazis who lived in small village . And that did not make him a small man . He thought of his family , he used to say 'mieux vaut la paix que la guerre' (better peace than war) it's so easy to think that during this time we would have been heroes , surely we would have been common people who just tried to live with nazis in our houses ... Seachans found no really good armies to fight against them , they have good weapons and people in Ebou Dar etc who always agree to sell their country for money and power .

I like the 'duel' Rand vs Tuon , the thing is that Tuon doesn't understand that you can't claim lands that yours ancestors 'lost' centuries ago , once you lost your lands , they are lost for good ... People move on , time pass and no one cares who owed it in the first place . At least , being out of her native lands , she can confronts her cultures to others , on the other hand the damanes make her army a very good one , she's a pragmatic girl , why stop to use a weapon so useful ? I admit , I like a lot Tuon , already said it , I try to understand her goals , motivations etc even if deep down I'd love to her lose and go away , because how she uses the women who can channel , even if it is a weapon for her and if morally she thinks it's acceptable , for me it's simply dreadful ...

I love this chapter with Matrim taking Tuon to a 'hell' . How he does not want to look at a pretty girl because he is with 'his wife-to-be' and how she tease him for not looking at her ;) And he had the opportunity to prove her he can thinks right , and Mat fighting , so good ! I so love when he is on his 'badass mode' , it's so sweet he even doesn't understand he is so seducing when he is a badass ;) Rand is worse than him about killing a woman , but Tuon nodded , perhaps realizing that her husband would never tried to hurt or kill her . It was so sweet of him when learning for Tylin (I think) he thought that all he wanted was to see a smile upon the face of women , to make them laugh , happy , and a kiss for bonus if he could . Tuon could be happy with him , but she has a people to lead , find ways to survive from her own family , she has little place for love .
Jonathan Levy
105. JonathanLevy
104. Marlène

Have you read Irene Nemirovsky's "Suite Francaise"? If not, I think you might find it very interesting.
Charles Gaston
106. parrothead
Let's see:

First, otter swimming video is the most uber kawaii thing I've seen in months. Otters = cute, otter babies = super cute, mama otter teaching important life lessons to baby = cute overdosed. Throw in a penguin or two and my life is complete.

Jordan actually mentioned privies (sp? what is the plural of that anyway?) all the way back in EotW; it's the only time the Whitecloaks unbind Perrin and Egwene's hands. I only know that because I just finished rereading it. A lot of writers, both for text and screen, ignore such things unless it's plot related, i.e., needing someone to be somewhere at a certain time. The fact that Jordan puts it in even when not exactly necessary (hah! stealth pun) really makes his world believable. Now I'm glad he doesn't dwell on it, and there are other ways to flesh out the narrative, but it really helps humanize the story.

Tuon is exasperating in this chapter, but in a more endearing, naive sort of way than elsewhere. Even though she freaks out over a hat on the table, when she constantly dismisses as superstition things Mat has seen with his own eyes. I think I know why I never hated the Elayne taking the throne plotline like so many others do: there's no major character I hate, whereas right now the Boys have one each. Elayne gets stuck with the Windfinders and the Kin and the noble brats, but they don't do a whole lot and are more characters as plot devices rather than characters in themselves. Mat gets Tuon, Rand has Cadsuane, and Perrin...gets her. Although she did manage to do something useful (for once) a few chapters ago when she bitchslapped Galina.
L M
107. srEDIT
@ Tektonica 95: I have to say it . . . "wherefore" means "why?" not "where."

@ all RE: criticism of RJ details: As a former high school English teacher, I can attest to a pattern . . . the good papers were usually returned covered with red pen corrections and comments, whereas the hopeless ones had nothing but a grade marked at the top. Students did not understand that it is easy to point out corrections in writing that is basically done well, whereas it is impossible to even start with writing that is full of errors in logic (and such poor grammar that meaning is unclear).

From this experience, I can extrapolate that it is the very high quality of RJ's stories that even allows us room to criticize.
Paulie
108. Segin
@toryx P.P.S. There are people who are immune to poison ivy? Holy cow, I'd never heard of that before. Fascinating!

My Mom can pull the stuff up barehanded (and poison oak too i think) and it not affect her at all. I rarely get anything from it myself (but not immune to the extent that my Mom is). My wife goes within a yard of it and I think she breaks out.
Paulie
109. yasiru89
On the acceptance of Seanchan occupation, I think too much of the context is completely ignored by Leigh here. For one, the days provide portents of the Last Battle more and more regularly at this point. A toss-up between imminent doom and a painful salvation will have people seeking security where it can be had in tough times. Especially if you're allowed to live your life much the same way you did before.
For another, imagine if your enemy could use their numbers and freedom of first offence to capture and turn the most powerful weapon you know of (such that much of its capabilities is the stuff of legend) against you, and sabotaging it as you fled was no option. This of course refers to channellers and the crushing blow is clear in the coming.

Also, there's some foreshadowing there of Mishima's death I think, with Perrin's 'No, you really wouldn't' (or something like that, I forget the exact quote).
Roger Powell
110. forkroot
sub@103

And what's the big deal everyone has with picking up poopies? Try mucking up after horses. Dog poops= little bag, horse poops= wheelbarrow.

Reminds me of years ago when I saw the circus. I was fortunate(?) to get a seat near the center ring, with a close up view of the rear of an elephant. This elephant decided it was time to take a dump ... and let me tell you, when an elephant takes a big dump it is a sight to see. I had a direct view up the anus and was able to watch the intestinal muscles form each ball in series. It was fascinating. (My date was grossed out though.... served her right for dating an engineer.)

By the time the beast was done, they had to haul away almost three large trash cans of dung. Now that was work!
L M
111. srEDIT
Lovely imagery forkroot. ;) I hope I can find something to erase it soon!
Karen Jacobs
113. KJacobs
forkroot @ 110 - Best laugh I've had all day! :)
Brian Vrolyk
114. vyskol
Regarding acceptance of rule.

You can see it happening right here in North America. Our rights and freedoms are regularily trounced upon, from incarcerating over 3% of the American population, to destroying the very land and water we need to survive. The rights and wants of the people are becoming less and less relevant against the desires of the banks and multi-national corporations. Yet so long as "most" of us can eat our dinner and watch our t.v., we continue to elect corrupt and ineffectual leaders.

It's not a stretch my any means to think your average farmer or merchant would be unwilling to take a stand against a ruler that allows him to go about his business and his life, with the only people "harmed" being those you don't really trust or understand anyway (channelers).
John Massey
115. subwoofer
@Forkroot... er, thank you for that... eventually I will work up to being able to eat food again...

Woof™.
Paulie
116. H Songer
I don't think Mat is making an invalid assumption about what would happen if he took Tuon to a hell. Mat spends most of his spare time when he's in a city hanging out in taverns gambling. When he's had to lie low or hunt around for information he's spent a significant amount of time in the lowest of bars, dicing for coppers with the local miscreants. I would imagine that he's seen more bar fights in more cities and towns starting over even moderately pretty girls than just about anyone other than Jain Farstrider or Thom, so knowing what is likely to happen when he takes a beautiful and exotic woman like Tuon to the worst sort of tavern is just an informed assessment.
Alice Arneson
117. Wetlandernw
KiManiak @98 – I wasn’t really referring to Leigh’s reactions to spanking, etc. I personally have gotten to the point that when I read a chapter and realize there’s a spanking in it, or a possible reference to a same-sex relationship, I just reconcile myself to the knowledge that nothing else in the chapter will be discussed in the commentary. Then if I’m energetic, I’ll work out some comments of my own on the other events; if not, I just shrug and read the post when I get around to it rather than making the time asap.

Don't get me wrong - I have no problem with the occasional "screaming at the book" effect when someone does something stupid, or the frustration when someone fails to share information, or... that kind of thing. If there were none of that to be had, I don’t think it would be a very well-told story. What I disagree with is a reader's insistence that Jordan was lazily and less-than-believably dumbing a character down solely for plot convenience. My personal opinion is that, stupid failures and all, the characters behave in completely believable human fashion.

For a somewhat general example, take the number of times characters don’t share vital information because “it’s someone else’s secret.” In general, not telling other people’s secrets is a good thing, right? But when we know how much that information would help someone else, it’s really frustrating and makes you want to slap sense into them. The thing is, most of the time they don’t know enough to know just how important that one bit of truth is to the other person. For that matter, most of the time, the other person wouldn’t know either, at the time. We get annoyed because someone didn’t ask the critical question, the one that would gain them all manner of insight if they would only ask. But we, the readers, know far more about what is important and what isn’t, than the characters do. So I have no problem with a reader (including me) being frustrated about the lack sharing or questioning (I think we’re supposed to be frustrated), but to say that the character is just being “conveniently stupid” is, IMO, completely inappropriate. It may be convenient and even necessary for the plot, but it’s still very humanly believable that they would fail to do what our outside pov tells us they “ought” to do.

For a more specific example, when Tuon doesn't buy the Randland attitude toward channelers in spite of the "evidence" around her, IMO it's frustrating but not artificially stupid. Tuon is not written as a character who will readily reexamine her cultural assumptions, particularly not due to the actions of a bunch of people that her cultural assumptions tell her have failed in their (historical) duty. Her mission, really, is to bring all these people back to the "truth" in time for the Last Battle, so why on earth would their beliefs change her mind?

As a matter of fact, none of us are really all that open to reexamining our basic world view. The vast majority of the readers here are immersed in our “open-minded” cultural slant, where we’re not allowed to believe in any absolute truth, and we’re constantly expected to set aside any preconceived (particularly historical or religious) notions of “right and wrong” in favor of some vague notion of tolerance and non-interference. Therefore, we expect our characters to be similarly open to changing their minds at the drop of a hat, or at least after a few weeks. What’s funny about it (when I’m able to be entertained rather than irritated) is that we are simply displaying our equal inability to set aside our culturally ingrained assumptions about how people “should” reexamine their beliefs. We fail to recognize that the human mind holds a lot of basic “truths” (i.e., what we accept as truths) almost unconsciously, and that the ability to change the deepest levels of those is rare indeed. Therefore, we get frustrated when Tuon (or anyone else – AS, for example) doesn’t conform to our expectations and hold her beliefs as lightly as we think we do. (I.e., we think we are willing to change our minds if good evidence is presented, but our definition of "good evidence" is every bit as strange as Tuon's, most of the time.) Then, too often, what is a natural human tendency to accept the most basic tenets of our respective cultures as “inarguable truth” is interpreted by the reader as “conveniently stupid” – because we can’t do it either.

Well, that was probably too many words to make sense… But I hope someone manages to enjoy it, and hopefully even understand it! Of course, the tendency to get upset at RJ’s treatment of spankings, sexuality, romance, etc. is a whole ‘nother set of examples, which I’m… just not going to do right now. End Of Rant. :p

parrothead @ 106 – Singular privy, plural privies.

Incidentally, the constant back-and-forth between Mat and Tuon and their assessments of “superstition” is a classic example of the basic assumptions I was talking about. We come from Mat’s culture, more or less, so we “know” that Trollocs are real and that setting your hat on the table isn’t going to give you bad luck. RJ deliberately wrote it so that we’d see most of Tuon’s omens as superstitions and probably nonsense, but it wasn’t so long ago that Mat thought Trollocs were only stories, too. And you have to admit, if we were hearing Tuon talk about the 'Finn like they were real but Our Heroes hadn’t gone through the ter’angreal, we’d probably think it was all superstious nonsense too.

srEDIT @107 – Quite true; if the writing, story or storytelling were really bad, there wouldn’t even be a fan group bothering to read, much less spend so much time commenting on, the series. So there’s that, I guess.

@110 to 113 – ROFL!!! Now my 7-year-old wants me to explain “what’s so funny, Mom?” Umm… no.

*Edit to add @115 to the last remark. :)
Paulie
118. Wortmauer
Wetlandernw@117: That Steve Taylor line always did make me smile! But I have to say, on the whole, I prefer Chesterton's verbiage: "Merely having an open mind is nothing; the object of opening the mind, as of opening the mouth, is to shut it again on something solid."

If I can presume to distill the rest of your post: Any presumption of multiculturalism is just another form of cultural imperialism; and, like any cultural imperialism, it can often be a blind spot.

There. Two semicolons in a single post. It's almost as though I were trying to imitate RJ's style — though his signature sentence form also includes two em dashes; it's not just the semicolon — but of course that would be silly.
Charles Gaston
119. parrothead
Wetlandernw @ 117: But that's just the thing: Tuon insists that she is right even when the world disagrees. At some point, this book or the last, she and Selucia tried predicting the weather based on looking at a trail of ants. Now it did happen to rain, but just a drizzle when they were expecting a downpour. So what does she do? Claims that Selucia misinterpreted the omen. The phrenologists' defense. Okay, so critical thinking isn't far up on their list of priorities; after all they are a premodern society without the benefit of the Scientific Revolution (although Rand is doing some interesting stuff over in Cairhien). But she cavalierly dismisses the possibility that there might actually be creatures called Trollocs that they don't have on her side of the ocean, even though people freak out when they see grolm? That's pushing past cultural imprinting into genuine stupidity.
Alice Arneson
120. Wetlandernw
Wortmauer @118 - What can I say... recollections of a misspent youth? :) But that song always pops into my head when the term "open-minded" comes up, particularly when it's being used to defend lazy or pop-culture-based thinking. In general, though, I have to say I like Chesterton's phrasing of almost anything better than almost anyone else's. (I even spent a couple weeks reading a biography of St. Thomas Aquinas, chosen solely because it was written by GKC!)

Oh, and may I say, excellent style. :) LOL

parrothead @119 - Obviously, I disagree with you. First, "the world" does not disagree with Tuon; it's only these backward Randlanders who disagree. The entire Seanchan Empire agrees with her, so "the world?" No. Second, can you, personally, honestly claim never ever ever to have used a weak argument (even if you knew it was weak, but couldn't come up with a better one on the spot) to defend something you honestly believed to be true? Or made an argument you thought was pretty good, only to find that the other guy thought it was totally laughable? With something like the omens they reference, an exact interpretation would rarely be expected, and no one would ever expect it to be explained in detail; trying to explain it to this "uneducated lout" (i.e., completely disconnected from her normal way of thinking) would be bizarre for her.

As for the Trollocs, in the past ten books we've seen the majority of Randlanders express scepticism about their actual existence, right up until the point where they meet a few. Why on earth should Tuon be any different? If the Tairen's, who are only a continent away from the Blight, don't believe they exist, why would someone whose entire culture has been separated from them by thousands of years and an entire ocean be ready to accept it? She's only now beginning to see Mat as anything more than a boy toy who wears pink ribbons when told, so it's pretty reasonable for her to expect that he might claim things that aren't true (such as seeing/fighting Trollocs) for purposes of impressing her. (Not quite sure what "people freak out when they see grolm" has to do with it, though.) In any case, I think "genuine stupidity" is an indefensible accusation.

Let me give a little anecdote. Once upon a time, many long years ago, I was visiting my sister in Brazil. Because she had lived there for nearly 25 years, she looked and sounded Brazilian, and the locals (e.g. the people at the bakery) rarely knew she was from the USA. One day we stopped by the gas station to consult with the mechanic about a small problem she was having with her car. Of course, since they were speaking Portugese at a normal, conversational rate, I couldn't understand a word - but then, I didn't expect to, so I just waited and kept my mouth shut. However, when she turned to explain to me what was going on and I responded - both in English, of course - the mechanic burst out laughing so hard he couldn't stand up straight. His explanation, which my sister later translated for me, was that it was hilariously funny to listen to people making noises that made no more sense than birds twittering, and yet they were able to understand each other. The reality of "other languages" was completely incomprehensible to him. And lest you think I'm talking about an isolated corner of the jungle, this was in Campinas, a metropolitan area of nearly 3 million people, 90 minutes from Sao Paulo, the largest city in the western hemisphere. Our expectations are formed by what we regularly experience; when something completely foreign to us intrudes, odd things happen. I'm not sure he was really convinced that we did understand each other, after all that. It simply didn't make any sense in the context of his experience, so all he could do with it was laugh about these crazy people who twittered like birds instead of speaking real words.
William Fettes
121. Wolfmage
I fully agree with that general defence of Tuon's belief system. Well said, though I could have perhaps done without the other stuff.

I don’t think you can say that anyone who lacks an absolutist framework for belief, grounded in a comprehensive religious ontology, holds their beliefs lightly. Are scientific beliefs held lightly? Science isn’t absolute; it’s based on a probabilistic epistemology grounded in inductive and analogical reasoning and the attrition between hypothesis and falsification. Are mathematic truths held lightly? They’re non-absolute; they’re based on the relational analytic truths of self-contained formal, axiomatic worlds.

Non-absolute should not be confused with being lesser or useless such that the truth value of any particular non-absolute proposition is held lightly.

Also, value pluralism != moral relativism. It's important to know the difference. Pluralism just means there can be mutually incompatible definitions of a good life. Like, say, a highly introspective, deliberative spartan life compared to a more casual, social engaged, gregarious life. You can't do both - but both can be worthwhile expressions of human flourishing. Pluralism is a core part of the Western system of political liberalism. Moral relativism is something entirely different. It is about the contingent meta-ethical status of moral language. Moral relativism is not something that is either a sufficient or necessary part of liberalism. I am a liberal yet I am completely antithetical to moral relativism. Nothing gets me ranting quicker than a breathy falsetto claim that we shouldn't judge morally dubious abusive practices of other cultures.
John Massey
122. subwoofer
Hmmmmm.... characters holding stuff back from each other... lack of communication- nothing new there. The earliest example of this is how the boys relate and deal with women. Each one thinking that the other is more worldly and understands the female mind. Crazy talk, as they all get stood on their heads collectively by Nynaeve, Egwene, any Aes Sedai they encounter, Min, and anyone in skirts.... unless it is a kilt.

Trollocs- real or not. Well, in this last book the Children think they are crack troops, battle hardened and are the last bastion between Light and the DO. Boy did they get worked like a rented mule when they see the size of the Trollocs and beging to grasp the endless numbers etc. Calvary tactics count for little when it is 100 to 1 odds. In the end, men are just men, and reality sinks in to Galad and many of the Children of Light as they come to grips with how the world really works. Tuon is in for a rough time of it, but she seems to think quick on her feet and adapt fairly well. And Seanchan have these big honking cat creatures and huge flying lizards and stuff, so a couple of goat faces shouldn't seem outta the norm. Myrrdraal, well, that'll be a growth experience for her too.

Woof™.
Tricia Irish
123. Tektonica
srEdit@107:

I guess I should've put quotes around the "wherefore", as it was a purposely misused phrase. I do try to attempt comedy, but obviously, that didn't work.

Forkroot: Pass the brain bleach please. Ug.
Alice Arneson
124. Wetlandernw
Wolfmage @121 - I didn't say we hold our beliefs lightly; I said we think we do in that we think we are open to changing them when presented with good evidence. In reality we hold our basic beliefs (whatever they are) very firmly indeed. My example was that (based on my own experience, ymmv) people who maintain overt positions on social issues based on religious conviction or historical background are, in our culture, criticized for refusing to be sufficiently “open-minded” to other positions. At the same time, those who do the criticizing are often basing their insistence on their own basic convictions, which are (in part) that no one can claim any absolute truth. This, too, is a religious conviction, although rarely recognized as such. I will not say that anyone with a religious conviction is necessarily right – but they aren’t necessarily wrong either.

Personally, I wouldn’t use the term “scientific beliefs” in any but the loosest possible way. Science is a matter of hypothesis and testing, and while one’s basic convictions certainly affect one’s approach and interpretation of the results, science in itself is not a world view. The same is true of mathematics or any other field of study. You may, through experimentation, conclude that your original hypothesis was incorrect and therefore change your understanding of that particular question, but it doesn’t change your basic assumption that the world around you can be studied and, to some extent, understood. Whether you assume that because you believe it was created by a God of order, or because you have confidence in the human mind to figure out any puzzle presented to it, or something else, your basic assumptions are not altered by the experiment.
William Fettes
125. Wolfmage
Wetlandernw @ 124

Ah, that makes much more sense.


“My example was that (based on my own experience, ymmv) people who maintain overt positions on social issues based on religious conviction or historical background are, in our culture, criticized for refusing to be sufficiently “open-minded” to other positions.”

Fair enough. I can’t really comment on your personal experience at that level of generality. I’ll take your word that this happens, though I will note that an overt social position based on religious conviction could mean anything ranging from what I would consider arbitrary prejudice to laudable philanthropic spirit. That said, it probably suits this forum for us not to get bogged down in potentially combustible and politicised specifics.


At the same time, those who do the criticizing are often basing their insistence on their own basic convictions, which are (in part) that no one can claim any absolute truth. This, too, is a religious conviction, although rarely recognized as such. I will not say that anyone with a religious conviction is necessarily right – but they aren’t necessarily wrong either.

Yes, I have no doubt that these critics have their own unexamined commitments and prejudices. I not sure what you mean by the claim that denying absolute truth is a religious conviction though? Perhaps you mean it is part and parcel of the Western religious tradition, going back to the scholastics, to assert and deny such positions in epistemology? I’m not comfortable saying religion thereby owns that enterprise, however. I’m hoping you don’t just mean that atheism is a kind of activist, comprehensive worldview that is epistemologically equivalent to theism? For hard atheism, that is a valid argument. But the more common forms of soft atheism sometimes called agnostic atheism or teapot atheism are not comprehensive like that and so are not suitably compared with a comprehensive epistemic worldview.


Personally, I wouldn’t use the term “scientific beliefs” in any but the loosest possible way. Science is a matter of hypothesis and testing, and while one’s basic convictions certainly affect one’s approach and interpretation of the results, science in itself is not a world view. The same is true of mathematics or any other field of study. You may, through experimentation, conclude that your original hypothesis was incorrect and therefore change your understanding of that particular question, but it doesn’t change your basic assumption that the world around you can be studied and, to some extent, understood. Whether you assume that because you believe it was created by a God of order, or because you have confidence in the human mind to figure out any puzzle presented to it, or something else, your basic assumptions are not altered by the experiment.

Well put. I would only say that science and the scientific method are viewed by many people as much more than merely functionally important experimental models. The evolution of social science itself shows that science has been deeply influential beyond the strict confines of the lab based on principles of epistemic modesty and empiricism. Given this broad-based proliferation of scientific modes of thinking, presumably one can make an argument from science to a naturalistic worldview. Whether it's a good argument or not I'll sidebar for the moment, but many of the so-called new atheists seem to accept that approach.
Heidi Byrd
126. sweetlilflower
It all comes back to the black swan, doesn't it? Here in America, people absolutely believed with definite conviction that all swans are white. And, then, BAM! someone comes up with a picture of a black swan. Also, for many, many years, everyone in the scientific community thought the universe revolved around Earth. Even though there was plenty of evidence to the contrary if they would only look at the sky and properly translate what they had seen. Or, for a more recent example, we could look at the disparities between classical physics and quantum physics. In order to deal with the vast amount of chaos throw at us on a day-to-day basis, people instinctively form basic assumptions about the way the world works and rely on their own basic belief system to internalize new information. When new information seems to directly contradict what we belive, a small percentage will actively rethink their original position. However, in my experience, most people either completely disregard the new information or find a way to rationalize their previous beliefs in the face of contradiction.

Tuon absolutely believes that she is right, but, more importantly, her entire sense of self is wrapped up in her beliefs. Now, she is in a strange land, full of "oath-breakers", kidnapped, and surrounded by confusion. Who among us would be willing to indepthly analyze the situation that could possibly unhinge our entire belief system while in these conditions? Unfortunately, once she is back in Ebou Dar and in relative safety, she no longer has the constant reminders that her system is flawed. I hope she takes some time to analyze her new data, but I fear her sense of self-preservation will keep her from doing so.
Anthony Pero
127. anthonypero
Fascinating discussions, all around. This community pretty much amazes me with the (generally) civil discussions it engages in, the restraint it (frequently) shows towards one another, in spite of wildly, wildly divergent worldviews. I think more than anything, it shows that lovers of Fantasy, whatever their worldview, are more open towards one another than the population at large. I'd like to give special props to @Wetlandrnw and @Wolfmage for the way they composed themselves during their particular discussions.

RE: Caveman romance, as I am dubbing it.
It's too long to quote here, but Orson Scott Card has an interesting take on this in his book Xenocide. A rather cynical, bitter diatribe from Valentine Wiggin. I wouldn't swallow it whole (it's not meant to be swallowed whole), but it's still fascinating to read and think about.

RE: Tuon and Mat
I find their courtship completely believable. Self-fulfilling prophecies are powerful, powerful things. And both of them have bought into it hook, line and sinker.

RE: Perrin and the PLOD
I adored this scene for a number of the reasons mentioned above, but mostly because it was the first true forward momentum in the PLOD, it signaled the end to me, and I was pleased, lol. And Perrin is awesome in this chapter. I loved that Mishima freaked out at Perrin's outward display of his inward turmoil over Faile, but Tylee immediately knew what it was about. If nothing else, Perrin's obvious devotion to his wife convinced Tylee more than anything else that he could be trusted. Ta'veren move in mysterious ways, I guess, lol.

On a side note, not related to these chapters, I HATED Perrin and Faile, I HATED most of Perrin's plotline from Crown of Swords onward, but I LOVED Faile's POVs in the camp. Don't know why. I guess I like seeing her better when she's not being insufferable to Perrin.
Maiane Bakroeva
128. Isilel
Meh, I can't respect Mat's refusal to kill a murdering DF, like, at all. If you let a murderer, who is sure to kill again, as a DF is with TG looming, just because she is female, your are complicit in all her future crimes. It is moral cowardice and amazing selfishness, rather than anything remotely admirable.

Otherwise, a pointless, but somewhat amusing chapter, with Tuon being a bit less aggravating than usual.

Likewise, I don't think Perrin's obliviousness and cluelessness being mistaken for him being a bad-ass is particularly enjoyable.
Nor do I find random gruesome deaths of no-name characters to be sufficiently threatening to be afraid for the world or for any of our characters in TG.

I like Tylee - and she is yet another of those sympathetic Seanchan characters who, unlike Tuon, do eventually notice the discrepancies between Seanchan worldview and realities of Randland and start to wonder ;).

Here is a fun question though - where did Seanchan find so much forkroot in so short a time? They haven't been around long enough to plant and harvest a lot of it, surely, particularly not with the weather playing crazy and harvests failing. And it can't be such a common plant, or even AS would have known about it's effects.

Re: people accepting Seanchan so easily in Altara - IIRC Seanchan behaved rather brutally at Toman's Head and even in Tarabon and managed to step on a lot of toes there.
If nothing else, I would have thought that traditions of abject abasement before authority and slavery (when applied as punishment to Randlanders for breaking one of the arcane Seanchan rules) would have brought conflict sooner rather than later.
Kind of convenient that Altarans, who in the past managed to repel Illianers, Whitecloaks and such, when those tried to conquer them, would accept Seanchan so easily... And unlike Taraboners they weren't in a bad shape, even...

And BTW, Amadicians did fight against them. And lost. Brutally. Seanchan weren't welcome with open arms there. And at the first opportunity simple soldiers abandoned their allegiance to Seanchan to follow Galad. So, it isn't just nobility and channelers, who are opposed to them.
Alice Arneson
129. Wetlandernw
Here is a fun question though - where did Seanchan find so much forkroot in so short a time?

Didn't we just have that discussion? (Look down in the 200s)
John Massey
130. subwoofer
Re: Seanchan tough love- I'm not a big fan of hegemony. If the Seanchan were coming in with the best of intentions, they wouldn't have bailed on Randland in the first place. Sailing over the ocean and not even keeping tabs on what was going on... lame. Coming back and finding no traces of Hawkwing's empire, then trying to force it on people- lame. Sure, crush all whom oppose you, but don't expect a present for Christmas.

The WhiteCloaks, once again are a good example. They had their throats stepped on nicely by the Seanchan, and at the first sign of an out- took it. Sea Folk, not everyone loves them, but they do have a firm grasp on the realities of Seanchan rule. Can't fault 'em for being willing to die trying to fight the power.

I think Rand's got it licked now. Unite the folks by their love for you and not their fear. Hawkwing had the love of the common folk, that's where all the votes are, maybe that is something worth looking at.

Woof™.
Maggie M
131. Eswana
Re: bathroom usage.
I believe in WH or CoD there is an instance in one of Elayne's POVs where she mentinos that her pregnancy is annoying becuase she has to "make water" more often.

Sorry I don't have my book with me to fully corraborate... but yeah, these WOT characters don't pee much, or worry about it, apparently.
Jay Dauro
132. J.Dauro
And later in KOD we see Melfane examine Elayne's urine closely to check for medical problems. ;^)
Anthony Pero
133. anthonypero
And don't forget that time that the seafolk man with the gills distilled his own urine to drink... Oh wait, that was Waterworld. A movie almost as pointless entertaining as this discussion :)
Kimani Rogers
134. KiManiak
JL@99 – I admit that I’m not too well versed on Pliny the Elder (and am not in the mood to do much research). Honestly, it doesn’t embarass me to admit that I think the 1st time I heard of him was via the Judith Tarr Alamut series novels. However, if silphium does indeed cause a sheep to pass out, and a goat to sneeze, then Lord knows what it does to a human :-)

Wolf@101 – Thanks, I almost always appreciate your posts as well. I agree that the material is pretty strong enough to withstand a decent amount of scrutiny and/or challenge. Part of why I am so involved in this blog (and with this group) is that we have so many respectful, yet noteworthy discussions. I especially enjoy those comments and commenters that take the English language and just elevate the usage to above-average levels. Yes, the hardcore fans can sometimes be a little nitpicky when it comes to the material and the specific details of the books, but I agree that there is nothing wrong with a little obsession when it comes to a series that (I assume) they are so emotionally invested in. And yes, we challenge each other to come strong and come correct, or to not come at all.

Sub@103 – re: caveman - I appreciate you simplifying things. I don’t think I was going off on tangents, as much as listing scenarios, but I don’t think that distinction is worthy of debate. Especially when I agree that your average caveman would use his club to settle most situations. I was confused about your first-handed misinformation experience comments; would you care to expand (Expound? Whichever)? Just out of curiosity, what was the pic you tried to attach?

forkroot@110 – re: Elephants – that was the funniest/grossest comment of this post, bar none! I’m somewhat weirdly fascinated. 3 large trashcans worth? Really? What the hell were they feeding it, I wonder?

Wet@117 – I didn’t think you were referring to Leigh per se; I was just using Leigh to support my explanation regarding the type of comments that are submitted to this post. I agree that by this point most long-term followers of this blog know what topics/details will most likely elicit a certain type of response from our fearless leader. I always approach it as being curious as to how she’ll respond to and/or discuss it this time. Actually, after Mat’s tanning of Joline’s hide, I think this is the last spanking incident as of ToM (barring Egwene’s and other women’s punishment in the White Tower). Will there be a potential new thing that will irk Leigh or lead to a diatribe? We’ll see…

Oh, and I appreciate you clarifying/expanding on your comments to specify that you have an issue with folks accusing RJ/BWS of “dumbing things down for plot convenience.” I think I personally may have loosely attributed that approach to Egwene in ToM (I can’t remember if I eluded to that or not, and I don’t feel like sifting through the 15+ comments I made on the spoiler review post, but I admit it’s possible) kind of half-heartedly (I'm sure I didn't really mean it, at the time :-) ), but I could see how some readers would perceive that as a rationalization for actions that they perceive to be inconsistent with the previous mentality/approach of their favorite (or not-so-much) characters.

I respect your opinion that the characters have behaved in a normal, “human” fashion; but I can also understand others’ views that to them, the characters were unnaturally obtuse or imperceptive. Again, my issue is when commenters liberally label our Superkids as “stupid,” “clueless,” “out of touch,” etc. If someone were to label them as untrue to the character that RJ has constructed, maybe (if you can list enough supportive information, examples, etc.). But “stupid” or “dumb?” Come on. We’re all more articulate then that (unless we're just being lazy, which I'll allow I may have been a time or two, re: a certain former daughter heir).

Btw, I agree with you on Tuon. I may have said that she’s not someone I particularly like (or really dislike, for that matter; she is who she was written to be), but I can totally believe her character’s views and her choice to not even consider changing her world views. Would I like her to change her mind on channelers based upon the information that’s been presented to her (and do I find it frustrating that she hasn’t)? Sure. But it’s not difficult for me to understand why she hasn’t.

Wet and Wolf@120-125 – I so enjoy reading your comments and responses. As has been said by others (including each of you, I believe) part of what makes this blog and comments so good are these types of differing opinions, presented in a respectful and articulate manner. We only have 2.5 books left (not counting AMoL) in the reread and I hope we get into similar types of discussions/debates again and again. It makes this reread worthwhile.

sweetlilflower@126 – excellent presentation and analysis of Tuon’s perspective. I obviously agree.

AP@127 – it’s been awhile since I’ve read Xenocide (I’m more partial to Ender’s Game, Speaker of the Dead and Children of the Mind when I reread that series), so I’ll have to refresh my memory about what Valentine had to say about caveman. Would you care to give us a summary in the meantime?

Isilel@128 – I would challenge you on the “moral cowardice” rationalization of Mat’s decision to not kill a woman. First off, Mat didn’t know that they (or she, specifically) were Darkfriends at the time, he most likely thought they were thugs or thieves (A Hell in Maderin, Knife of Dreams, p302-304). He offered the attacker the chance to escape, and she unexpectedly pressed her attack, which he sought to defend against. He had no knowledge that she was a murderer or a DF; and holding him accountable for that one DF while not acknowledging the fact that he handily defeated 6 or 7 others and was graciously trying to let the lady go, seems unreasonably harsh.

And to accuse him of being complicit in any future crime she would have been involved in (if not for the fact that Tuon killed her) is unnecessarily harsh, IMHO. Just out of curiosity, what exactly did Mat do in this situation (other than stay true to the mentality/perspective based upon the region in which he was raised), that you would label him so without textual cause or support?

As for Perrin, you suggest that he was “oblivious” or “clueless” in regards to the beetles that he (in my opinion) rather aware/ knowingly stepped on, according to the text: “Perrin crushed the beetles under his boot. They made the hair on the back of his neck want to stand, but nothing mattered except Faile. Nothing!” (A Manufactory, Knife of Dreams). If you weren’t moved by his single-minded focus on retrieving Faile, then that’s cool. But I would challenge the perception that Perrin wasn’t kind of being a badass (especially to the perspective of folks who weren’t privy to his POV) as he didn’t allow the manifestation of beetles, via some poor soul’s mouth or digestive tract, to affect him. Talk about focused and locked in to his objective, no matter what. That is pretty badass, IMHO.

I do agree with you on your perception of Tylee; I like her too and she is able to question some of her fundamental beliefs. But I would maintain that that isn't that exceptional. Also, comparing a common soldier to the future Empress of Seanchan in regards to how they are willing to evaluate their views and beliefs may not be a fair or balanced comparison. The Seanchan soldier is presented as one who constantly is reassessing circumstances (as I recall when someone was comparing them to the Great Captains; I can’t remember who and when, so take that last point with a grain of salt if you’d like).

J.Dauro@132 – re: the midwife – To my recollection, she didn’t just “examine” Elayne’s urine. She did a little firsthand testing, as well :-)
Stefan Mitev
135. Bergmaniac
The thugs attacked Mat straight away with their swords, going for the kill, there were no "Hand us your money and we'll let you live" threats or anything like that. Seven of them died in the fight before Mat had to face the woman among them, yet none tried to run run away. Obviously it wasn't a simple robbery attempt. And given who Mat is, a Darkfriends attack is far more likely than random criminals trying to rob or kill him. It's not like he hadn't been attacked by them before plenty of times.
Valentin M
136. ValMar
Isilel @ 128

Just a little nitpick on the Altarans' ability to repel invaders. What we know is that Illian managed to repel the WC from Altara by the skin of their teeth- with significant contribution of the Altarans of course.
IIRC, the facts we have are
a)- in a major battle the Illian king nearly got captured and his army barely escaped destruction
b)- Altarans led an effective guerilla campaign vs the WC (as per Beslan)

The Altarans have been shown to be divided, and of indifferent quality (as per the Seanchan military). With the key help of Illian they managed to survive vs the WC, just.
Against the Seanchan juggernaut they have less chance than a box of chocolate icecream has against me.

I have further observations as to why the Altaran local nobles will be less inclined to fight vs the Seanchan than vs the WC (or their own monarch in Ebou Dar). The same reasons why nobles from today's Slovakia or Hungary/Transylvania prefered to be "ruled" by the Ottomans from Istanbul- 1000s of miles away rather than their "Christian brothers"- the Austrian Habsburgs right next to them.
Or why most people would prefer their immediate supperior at work to be in Head Office in a different state rather than one floor above them.

In conclusion- the Altaran reaction seems very appropriate given the Seanchan approach and superiority. And Mat's involvement in preventing the pointless action of few reckless nobles

This got a bit longer than intended, thanks for reading.
Paulie
137. David DeLaney
@65 adriel_moonstar: For a related explanation of acceptance of rule from another piece of fiction, take a look at the last third of chapter 63 in _Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality_. Harry remembers, there (and it's exposition for the reader), the Milgram experiment:

"Stanley Milgram had done it to investigate the causes of World War II, to try to understand why the citizens of Germany had obeyed Hitler.

So he had designed an experiment to investigate obedience, to see if Germans were, for some reason, more liable to obey harmful orders from authority figures.

First he'd run a pilot version of his experiment on American subjects, as a control.

And afterward he hadn't bothered trying it in Germany."



@74 subwoofer: There's also a rather famous Marvel comics character with a shield almost exactly like that. I hear he had a movie made recently...

@several - if people are liking tnh's style, you can experience more of her on her own blog (and her husband Patrick's), Making Light, http://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight . Just sayin'!

It's also possible to grow out of allergies sometimes; I was diagnosed when very young as being allergic to wool. Nowadays, and for the last few decades? Nothing...
Kimani Rogers
138. KiManiak
Berg@135 - re: Mat's assailants - That’s a rational opinion, but I would argue that it is aided with knowledge that Mat currently did not have (but we, the reader did) about the “hit” Moridin put out on Mat and Perrin recently. Nor was he likely to be thinking about Darkfriends (who hadn't tried to attack him in at least weeks) as the likely culprits, more than other possibilities:

1. They were exiting a dive that, although not a hell, wasn’t the safest place in the world (and right after Tuon had stated loudly that she hadn’t seen a fight, yet). Selucia was obviously Tuon’s maid/servant. And Mat was dressed like he was a lord (the guards at the gate thought Thom was his servant) and had won a decent amount of money, before he lost most of it back on purpose (noting to himself that at least one of the patrons might have been suspicious of him cheating at that point). So, why not think they’re being attacked by thieves who were trying to kill them and then rob them?

2. Thom had just informed Mat about the bounty on Tuon’s head (and the gholam, but I sincerely doubt Mat thought the folks in the alley were from the gholam), and Mat had just told Tuon. Also, if you check the text again you will see that Mat was in full-on protector mode: “(Mat) was going to do whatever was necessary to make sure (Tuon) was not put in danger of being broken,” (A Hell in Maderin, KoD). Actually, they were just talking about that threat when they were jumped in the alley. So, why not think they’re after the bounty for killing Tuon?

3. They knew that Maderin (and the local lord, Nathin) was under Seanchan control (or “under the Seanchan thumb,” as Thom put it. After hearing the news about the bounty on Tuon’s head, it would be just as logical (if not more so) to think the attack is oriented on her. Why not think, at that moment, that maybe this was all part of a plot to get at Tuon?

So, it’s reasonable to assume that at the time of the attack, Mat would have any of those possibilities more prevalent in his mind then that he was being attacked by Darkfriends.

Finally, after the fight, when he has time to think about things, Mat thinks about turning the brigands into the local guard, before he recognizes one of the merchants from the “hell.” It’s at that point when he thinks this attack might be something more, and decides to leave the travelling circus as soon as possible.

I think it’s fair to argue that Mat wouldn’t have just assumed the attack was conducted by Darkfriends.
John Massey
139. subwoofer
@Ki- agreed- there is a world of difference between a soldier on the front lines and the politicians that make the decisions insulated in their safe homes. Now Tuon's safety is questionable to the extent that she needs Death Watch guards, but even so, she is surrounded by a bunch of "yes men" and folks that fawn on her, and entrench the dogmas of her time. Tylee does not have those luxuries, she is fed a sack of er... truths and has to assess how they jibe with reality. "There's no such thing as Trollocs" doesn't really wash when a creature twice your size and 4-5 times your weight comes bearing down on you.

I'd attach the picture again, but I understand the definition of insanity.

What I'm talking about in terms of informed opinions has a lot of history behind it so I'm not going to bore you, suffice to say, many folks thoughts and beliefs are formed before they look at both sides of an issue... or they are formed without even bothering to look at both sides... hence Tuon. Setalle may change it, but in this case I am not sure that absence will make the heart grow fonder.

Marvel- Cap is coming out, but I do prefer the image of the Cavalier from D&D that had a magic powered shield that repelled dragon's fire amongst other nasty things. Although I do recall an instance during Secret Wars where Cap was at ground zero when the Torch went Nova and if it wasn't for the shield all would be crispy.

Edit- nopers, the image thingy is bust. BBCode don't work here, nor is there an image option. Your Capt. Caveman musta really been blessed... or cavemen go where thinking men fear to follow;)

Woof™.
Roger Powell
140. forkroot
KiManiak@134
Based on what was coming out, I suspect they fed the elephant a lot of alfalfa or some other grass-like feed. And yes, I am not exaggerating ... three full trash cans.

I'm somewhat non-plussed over how much of a reaction that particular post caused. It's all a natural process folks.

I received more comments than I did for either of my famous (well... famous in my mind) "10 things that will not happen" posts before TGS and ToM. (Have no fear folks ... the "10 things" post that will appear shortly before AMoL is released will top them all. I've already been working on it.)

Meanwhile ... I must go away now and deal with the fact that what I think is my best work ranks somewhat below elephant poop ...

::sighs::
Paulie
141. AndrewB
KiManiak @ 138 (in response to Bergmainiac's comments @ 135):

A fourth possibility: The attack was due to Mat's ta'veren-ness. At some point (and I do not remember where or when), Mat has thought to himself that his ta'veren-ness seems to make situtations worse for himself. In his opinion, a group of theives would attack him, Tuon , Selucia & Thom in opinion daylight rather than wait until nightfall to attack somebody else.

Mat knows that he is lucky and (may believe that some of his is because Mat is a ta'veren). Nevertheless, he believes his tav'eren nature will attract more trouble than an average person. Of the three Two Rivers' ta'veren's, Mat is the cynical one.

I think Rand has grown into a realpolitik philosophy. Perrin may be the most idealistic of the three. For the longest time, Perrin had hopes of returning something akin to his former life -- life as an average goodman. After the Last Battle, Perrin had hoped that the world would forget him. Post ToM, he ackonwledges to himself that he may be more than a simple blacksmith. However, I think Perrin still hopes he does not receive glory post Last Battle.

On the hand, Rand knows that were he to survive the Last Battle (which he does not beleive will happen), he cannot "sail off into the sunset." He will be an man of the affairs of the world -- whether he likes it or not.

Mat also does not want to return to the life of a simple farmer. Even where he not married to Tuon, Mat has come to enjoy the life of luxury. I beleive the reason that Mat does not want to be a noble is that he does not want to have the responsibility that goes with being a noble -- caring/governing his subjects. (I do not necessarily mean a king or queen -- even a minor lord has subjects who rely upon him/her.)

Now that my tangent is complete let me circle around to my initial point: Mat might have thought the attack at the end of Chapter 11 was a result of his ta'veren nature. KiManiak was correct above. It was not until after the fight when Mat realized that he recognized one of the attackers was the merchant who left the tavern when Mat sat down to gamble. It was then that I beleive Mat deduced that the merchant was a darkfriend and that darkfriends had caught his sent.

Thanks for reading my musings,
AndrewB

ta'ver
Paulie
142. AndrewB
Forkroot @140: You forgot something very important -- why do you think that some of the best commercials or scenes in movies involve real life animals.

Thanks for reading my musings,
AndrewB
Stefan Mitev
143. Bergmaniac
I actually considered the possibility of Mat thinking the attackers were trying to get Tuon because of what Thom told him just before. But even in this case, letting the female attacker go was really stupid and irresnponsible. They would've had every Seanchan soldier nearby chasing after them in a matter of hours. Don't forget she tried to kill Mat after all, and he has no problems at all killing men in self-defense. But women - no way, even if that means putting his whole group at huge risk. It annoys me big time. What makes it even worse is that Mat knows very well his presence would be necessary in the Last Battle, yet keeps unnecessary risking his life with "chivalrous" acts like this one. He's not risking just himself, he's risking the whole world.
Alice Arneson
144. Wetlandernw
Frankly, I doubt Mat was thinking all that hard about who they were or who sent them until it was all over. From the description, I think he was... rather busy, shall we say? - from the time he first saw the 7 or 8 men coming around the corner. All this armchair evaluation of "what options are there for the source of the attack" is well and good for us, but Mat was fighting 7 men with swords, using only knives, wits and skill. By the time he was left with only one, I'm guessing the analysis had barely started, much less caught up with the moment of facing a girl armed with an 18-inch "dagger" - one he could easily kill if he tried, and hate himself forever for killing another woman. Deciding whether she was a DF or a common thief, or whether he would be complicit in her future activities if he let her go, would be happening afterwards - as indeed it did.
John Massey
145. subwoofer
@Fork- lookit the bright side... it was 3 bins o'poop. So I guess you could say "we give a s#!t";)

@Wet- agreed, Mat did not have time to overthink the situation, his instant reaction may have been what saved them... except for the momentary lapse in judgement calling Precious by her name. One thing I will say, I hope the "enemy" has not figured out the boys' collective weakness. The Seanchan already have female troops... and damane and the sul'dam, they could have a field day with tactics using that weakness against the boys. If the DO had any sense at all, he'd appear in a short skirt and some upper architecture and smack Rand & Co. around while they blubber. Just a thought I'm throwing out there.

Woof™.
Bill Reamy
146. BillinHI
subwoofer @ 145: I wonder what zen-Rand would do in a case like Mat's now. He's been through some major changes: from angry/steel-Rand where he would be at least reluctant to kill a woman to Dark Rand where it didn't seem to bother him to kill women and now to zen-Rand where everything seems copasetic. Obviously he hasn't been in any real situations that would possibly require him to kill a woman, but what now I wonder (and yes, inquiring minds want to know!).
Sandy Brewer
147. ShaggyBella
LOL The Dark One in Drag.
Thanks for that image Subwoofer.

(Rosanne Barr in She Devil?)

SB
Kimani Rogers
148. KiManiak
Sub@139 – A Dungeons & Dragons cartoon reference and a Secret Wars reference in the same post? Gotta love that! As for the pic, I think I pasted the image in the middle of my comments on Word, and then cut and paste my entire comment, with picture. I’ll see if this works again:


EDIT: Nope. I just got lucky that one time, I guess. Gotta do it like this and this and this.


fork@140 – Don’t take it personal. It’s kind of hard to top elephant poop. Especially 3 trash cans worth :-)

AndrewB@141 – Thanks for the 4th option. I wouldn’t be surprised if Mat blamed this one on his ta’veren nature, either. Oh, and I enjoyed the tangent, too. I do think that, of the three, Mat would be the one least likely to go back to the life he had 2 years ago. I think pre- (and possibly even post-) ToM Perrin would in a heartbeat (and not just because of what happened with his family). Rand, I’m not so sure, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he would choose to return to a simple life (it would be hard to juggle that harem, though). I think Mat, however, would still want to be out seeing the world and doing things. Just not as a noble. All of this is a moot point, as Rand, Mat and Perrin won’t ever have those options… I think. Who knows how RJ & BWS decide to end it?

Bergmaniac@143 – I get your frustration. They are all important, and they all risk themselves, sometimes needlessly. But, maybe look at it this way:

These are all kids who have had the weight of the world placed on their shoulders. They are coping the best way they can, when weaker men and women might have just given up (but their 2R stubbornness won’t allow that) or have been crushed by the pressure. It’s not unlikely that they are trying to hold onto a small part of who they believed they once were; to not lose too much of their character and/or moral upbringing that they identify with their home.

To me, I can get while Mat (and Rand for a good while with the Maidens, and even Perrin found just the idea of striking Galina repugnant) is holding on to the morals he was raised with when it comes to hurting, or killing women. Yes, it’s a weakness that may someday be exploited. Yes, it’s probably rooted in some sexist, “women are weak, precious little flowers that must be protected” type mindset. Yes, our enlightened, 20th century selves see it as archaic, silly and kinda dumb; a potentially fatal weakness.

For our Superboys, however, maybe they’re reluctant to give up what little they have left that keeps them connected with home, unless they have to. Rand comes to terms with the flaws of that mindset. Perrin… I don’t know (has he been attacked by a woman -other than a Maiden, in the heat of battle- and still decided to kill her? I can't recall). Maybe Mat will grow out of it (and I think being married to Tuon may actually play a role in him deciding to change that mindset). If not, his ta’veren nature has surrounded him with the Band, and when he fulfills his role as husband to the Empress (I think "Prince of the Ravens" is probably just the title for the husband of the Daughter of the Nine Moons, but I guess we may find out for certain in AMoL) and is surrounded by all kinds of badass women, capable of defending him (actually, I think it would be funny if Tuon makes his personal bodyguard a woman or 3, specifically due to Mat’s weakness), maybe he'll decide that it's okay to kill women if they're trying to kill you or your loved ones.

Wet@144 – I’m inclined to agree with you, that there is a strong chance that Mat wasn’t thinking of much at that moment in time, other than things specifically germane to the fight at hand. My point from the start has been that I don’t believe he identified them as Darkfriends; and then expanded on other possible groups he could’ve identified the assailants as, that were more likely than that of Darkfriend. The readers knew the assailants were Darkfriends; in my opinion Mat most likely did not. Like you said, Mat was kind of busy at the moment…
John Massey
149. subwoofer
@Ki- gave it a go... nope, that plan blows goats. Seems like Tor just wants us to post link type things. Honestly tho' a picture says a 1000 words, please, please save me from having to type a 1000 words! I'm not as wordy as Wetlander KiManiak other folks on this blog.

@ShaggyBela, I was more picturing Patrick from the SpongeBob movie. I haven't seen the movie you are referencing... and for self preservation, I have no immediate plans in the near future, or the next 100 years, to do so;)

Edit @Ki- it was in this issue. Yowza! That was a while ago.

Woof™.
Paulie
150. s'rEDIT
(Oops1 Looks as if it's time to login again.)

RE: Mat after TG

If RJ had planned to have him and Tuon in sequels, showing them returning to Seanchan to settle the succession, then isn't it likely we'll see them sailing off into the sunset . . . so to speak?
Alice Arneson
151. Wetlandernw
KiManiak @148 - It’s not unlikely that they are trying to hold onto a small part of who they believed they once were; to not lose too much of their character and/or moral upbringing that they identify with their home.] Yeah, that. I think there are multiple factors; some things that are so basic to your world view that they're nearly impossible to change, some things that you see as part of who you are, some things that have always defined your ideals, and probably a lot more. In a world that is changing around you, most people need an anchor - or at least some ballast - to avoid foundering completely. And for these kids, the world is radically changing - not only their experience (from sheltered TR to wide-world craziness), but also in the growth of the DO's influence and the resulting bizarreness that no one has seen before.

Yes, it’s probably rooted in some sexist, “women are weak, precious little flowers that must be protected” type mindset. Yes, our enlightened, 20th century selves see it as archaic, silly and kinda dumb; a potentially fatal weakness. Now this, not so much. The simple fact is that in general, men are stronger than women, and in a civilized society it is generally accepted that the stronger (men, adults) are responsible to protect the weaker (women, children, invalids, disabled) rather than beating on or taking advantage of those who can't fight back. In a battle of wits, there's no gender imbalance; in a battle of physical strength, there is. 20th (or 21st) century or no, this remains true, whether you like it or not. And yes, of course women can get training in martial arts and weaponry - but if the men take the same training, the men still have the physical advantage, no matter how you slice it and dice it and try to make it not true. True that our generation sees it as silly, etc., and true that it could be an exploitable weakness, but not true that it should therefore be easily set aside. Some things are worth the risk. Not that you’re necessarily saying it’s not, but I had to point out the flaws of the (popular) reasoning. :p

s’rEDIT @150 – No guarantee that we’ll see them sailing off into the sunset at the end of AMoL, but relatively certain they’ll survive – unless RJ was just yanking someone’s chain with the comment about the 10-years-later outrigger. But… if the outrigger was to take place 10 years later in Seanchan, I’m thinking they’ll end up AMoL pretty much still tied to Randland for a while. Just guessing.
L M
152. srEDIT
Wet @151: Good point. Guess they're stuck.
Hugh Arai
153. HArai
@various: I think some posters here are being a little unrealistic about how easily three farmboys from the back end of nowhere are going to internalize the idea that if they die it is literally the end of the world. Intellectually, they might get it pretty quickly. Deep in their core, instinctive reactions? Not so much. I think it basically took Rand all the way to the epiphany on Dragonmount to really accept what it means to be the Dragon Reborn. To come to terms with being the one who has to try to get it right over and over again.

Also people should consider that if they were careful and avoided all risks and killed anything and anyone who might be a risk to them, it's pretty clear they would not fulfill the prophecies. To anyone who disputes that, I invoke the Elaida effect: Elaida wanted to hide Rand safely away and trot him out for the Last Battle. Ergo: Hiding Rand safely away is the worst possible thing Team Light could have done. :P
Alice Arneson
154. Wetlandernw
HArai @153 - Impeccable logic. :)

Incidentally, I agree with both points.
Kimani Rogers
155. KiManiak
Sub@149 – Yeah, that was awhile ago. Thanks for the reminder; I haven’t read those issues in a long time.

Wet@151 – Whoops! I actually do know what century it is… most of the time :-) I’ve personally never been that appalled with the boys’ chivalry, although I do think they may have carried it too far on occasion. I would love it if Mat’s vow to never kill a woman wasn’t broken… as long as no women try to kill him, as well. But, I don’t know if that’s in the cards for AMoL (and I guess that may not be the most interesting of conclusions, what with a whole slew of evil female characters still out there. Plus, the female Trollocs…)

I think that you and HArai@153 were able to word part of what I was trying to say better than I did. Our boys (and girls, too) have gone through a lot and have had to come a long way in a short amount of time. The adjustment shouldn’t be portrayed as that easy, and realistically, we should observe that they have a ways to go. They should still act as the “three farm boys from the back end” would, on occasion. That should include their morals, perspectives, hang-ups, etc. Anyway, good points Wet@151 and HArai@153.

Anyway, new post coming up tomorrow. Oh, um, yeah, Elayne chapters; I can hardly wait…
John Massey
156. subwoofer
Yeah, well I haven't collected comics in about 20 years now but I was surfing the site the other day and saw something that floored me. Marvel and DC are pushing E-Comics. Paperless comics that you can buy for a subscription of $50/year. I talked with a friend of mine that is still plugged in and he says that soon it will come to a point where the cost of printing/making a comic will outpace what people/kids are willing to pay for said issues. What bothered me was as this happens, digital editions are not collectable, so what then? Wah! Digital= death of print, there goes my retirement idea.

@H'Ari- the Wheel weaves as the Wheel wills... or some such drek... point is, these dudes are the Heros, RJ is gonna have a happily ever after here.... until the next spinning of the Wheel.... Edit- but to be completely honest, it never even occured to me about the boys realizing their death= World SOL. Very true. Hope the other two take it as well as Rand.

Woof™.
Paulie
157. Wortmauer
Remember when the reread hadn't been diluted down to two chapters a week, and there was still enough interest in it to *twitch* when a new installment was expected? I have to say, I kinda miss those days.

*twitch*
Alice Arneson
158. Wetlandernw
Me too. It takes a lot less of my time this way, but I miss it.

Sadly, I'm not allowed to twitch today; I have an 8-year-old's birthday party to put on! Okay, so that's not sad. :) Will have to wait and catch the reread tonight when the kids go to bed, though.
L M
159. srEDIT
Shamelessly OT @Wet: How'd that party go?
Alice Arneson
160. Wetlandernw
Like herding cats! Fortunately, I had an energetic 18-year-old helping me, so it went really well. (I shudder to think what it would have been like without her! I'd still be in recovery.) The kids all had a great time, and my daughter was absolutely delighted by the whole thing. Success!!

Thanks for asking! :)
Heather Olver
162. Arila
Leigh, great catch on why Tuon was smiling about Mat being in knife fights. I thought she was just a bit sadistic, wanting to see him fight, but I should have been looking beyond the viewpoint we were reading from. It's also interesting how Mat's internal description of her has changed, from "Wow, it's not a boy??" to "she has quite nice curves, even though she's skinny" and I think eventually evolves even further.

I had a big paragraph in here about common people just wanting stability and not fighting against an occupying force, but many examples have already been provided. Better than the one I had thought of, too.

When Thom is telling Selucia that he "didn't see anything" my first thought was that Tuon channelled. I guess it could just be that Selucia is both maid and surprise body guard, but I think it would be so much better if Tuon had sparked. I mean, what was she doing all this time, just standing in the middle and watching?

The beetles made me want to lose my breakfast. I skimmed past the some, but not before the deflated water skin! Ick. Great comment Leigh about Perrin's singlemindedness being annoying to those riding in his head but making him look badass/scary/unstoppable to others.

KiManiak @15Regarding being attracted to cave-man behavior -- I think it's a thing about liking the idea of something more than the actual thing. I like the IDEA of rollercoasters, but in reality, they make me puke. Tuon likes the idea that strange men would be so attracted to her someone would need to fight them off, and she also likes the idea that Mat would be willing to do that. Thinking it all the way through to someone getting hurt, including Mat doesn't really enter in to it. Besides, who says we aren't allowed to pick and choose the attributes we like? I likea guy who makes decisions, but doesn't boss me around - etc. There's a continuum for everything.

Wetlander @ 53Great rant about character blindness - The audience knowing more than the characters on screen is a long-established tradition in all forms of literature. The Greeks called it "Dramatic Irony". I call it "Look Behind You!!!!"

Fork @ I can't remember & others - Re: Elephants. So glad I'm not the only one who would find it more interesting than disgusting (also disgusting, just relatively more interesting) Sorry that it's gotten more comments than stuff you've worked harder on...and I'm adding to them. :( Actually, as I was reading about how you were so close and such, I was starting to think that the end of the story was going to be "then we had to duck and run!!" heh
Paulie
163. hesuchia
I don't know if anyone else mentioned this, but regarding the whole "Forkroot, however, apparently has no effect whatsoever on people who don’t have the channeling gene" thing: I think there was an instance somewhere. Maybe where the White Tower was studying the effects? Or the Seanchan? I don't remember, but they said something like "non-channelers need to drink a butt-ton more before they see any effects, but channelers only need to drink a bit".

Looking it up on the wiki, I guess it was in the prologue of this same book. I have a terrible memory. Or at least terrible specific-instance-and-location memory. Also the quote was paraphrasing. I don't recall Jordan ever using the term "butt-ton" though I could be mistaken.

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