Jul 5 2011 2:03pm

The Wheel of Time Re-read: Knife of Dreams, Part 12

Knife of Dreams by Robert JordanHey, WOTers! Would you, could you kiss a pig? Would you, with some mice and fig?

No? Well, can’t say I blame you. How about a Wheel of Time Re-read instead? Ah, there we go.

Today’s entry covers Chapters 18 and 19 of Knife of Dreams, in which I ponder the wisdom (or lack thereof) of bringing a knife to a magic fight, defile classic children’s literature, and experiment with getting my EPIC FURY returned to sender. As you do.

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 18: News for the Dragon

What Happens
In Lord Algarin’s manor in Tear, Loial is complaining to Rand about the brevity of his accounts of his exploits, and that he even managed to make the Cleansing sound boring. Min understates that Rand isn’t very talkative, and suggests Loial talk to Verin or Cadsuane instead. Loial counters that it is Rand who is central to his book, and hopes that Mat and Perrin will be more forthcoming – if they’re okay. In the colors, Rand sees Mat arguing with a dark-skinned woman in a forest, and Perrin looking grim in a tavern; he tells Loial they are well, ignoring Cadsuane’s look at his statement.

Abruptly another image was floating his head, a man’s face, and his breath caught. For the first time, it came without any dizziness. For the first time, he could see it clearly in the moments before it vanished. A blue-eyed man with a square chin, perhaps a few years older than himself. Or rather, he saw it clearly for the first time in a long while. It was the face of the stranger who had saved his life in Shadar Logoth when he fought Sammael. Worse…

He was aware of me, Lews Therin said. He sounded sane for a change. Sometimes he did, but the madness always returned eventually. How can a face appearing in my mind be aware of me?

If you don’t know, how do you expect me to? Rand thought. But I was aware of him, as well. It had been a strange sensation, as if he were… touching… the other man somehow. Only not physically. A residue hung on. It seemed he only had to move a hair’s breadth, in any direction, to touch him again. I think he saw my face, too.

[…] When our streams of balefire touched in Shadar Logoth, it must have created some sort of link between us. I can’t think of any other explanation. That was the only time we ever met. He was using their so-called True Power. It had to be that. I felt nothing, saw nothing except his stream of balefire.

He wonders who the man is, knowing he is not one of the Forsaken, and worries that if the man can see him, perhaps he can find him as well. His lengthy silence has worried the others, and Nynaeve Delves him with the Power, but again finds nothing aside from his unhealing wounds. Logain enters with minimal courtesy, and Rand notes that he is now sporting a lord’s sigil (three golden crowns in a field of blue), which he insists is his right even though his titles were stripped when he was captured. Cadsuane mocks him slightly about this, but Rand doesn’t care about it. Logain reports to Rand that Elayne still holds Caemlyn, and the Borderlanders are holding position, and are rumored to have thirteen Aes Sedai with them. Dobraine and Rhuarc are in Bandar Eban, which has mostly descended into chaos, with pillaging and rapine rampant; they’re working on subduing it. Logain asks if Bashere is back yet, but Rand ignores the question to ask if his orders have been carried out. Logain replies that “more than half” of the Black Tower is in Arad Doman and Illian, including all the men with bonded Aes Sedai. He adds that Taim was extremely displeased by the order.

“One thing pleased him, though: that I didn’t take any of his cronies. That was plain on his face.” He smiled, a dark smile, not amused. “There are forty-one of those now, by the way. He’s given over a dozen men the Dragon pin in the past few days, and he has above fifty more in his ‘special’ classes, most of them men recruited just lately. He’s planning something, and I doubt you’ll like it.”

I told you to kill him when you had the chance. Lews Therin cackled in mad mirth. I told you. And now it’s too late. Too late.

Rand asks why Taim would have expanded the Black Tower so well if he were a Darkfriend, but Logain thinks the Black Tower grew in spite of Taim, not because of him.

“But he’s made a Tower of his own hidden inside the Black Tower, and the men in it are loyal to him, not you.”

Rand wonders just how loyal Logain is, at that, remembering Min’s viewing of him. He answers that he’ll deal with Taim when he can, but the Seanchan come first; possibly, the Last Battle comes first. This angers Logain, and their exchange grows more heated, until Cadsuane announces she is amending the “rules” to say that Rand has to be courteous to the Asha’man as well as the Aes Sedai, and vice versa. Rand is about to tell her what she can do with her “rules,” when Verin distracts them all by nattering about the signs of Tarmon Gai’don, which they’ve already discussed. Rand calms down, and asks Cadusane what she thinks of his plan to offer a truce to the Seanchan; she replies that it will not be popular. Rand tells her the truce will die with him anyway, which infuriates Min, who informs him that she and Elayne and Aviendha will not let him die. Rand tells Cadsuane that one of his questions to the Aelfinn was “How can I win the Last Battle?” and that their answer had been “The north and the east must be as one. The west and the south must be as one. The two must be as one.”

That was not the whole of it. He had asked how to win and survive. The last part of his answer had been “To live, you must die.” Not something he was going to bring up in front of Min anytime soon. In front of anyone except Alivia, for that matter. Now he just had to figure out how to live by dying.

He goes on that he’d thought the Aelfinn’s answer meant he had to conquer everyone, but now he thinks it means a truce with the Seanchan, who pretty much already hold “the west and the south.” Cadsuane concedes that his interpretation may be correct, but asks why he is building up his forces so hugely in Illian and Arad Doman, then?

“Because Tarmon Gai’don is coming, Cadsuane, and I can’t fight the Shadow and the Seanchan at the same time. I’ll have a truce, or I’ll crush them whatever the cost. The Prophecies say I have to bind the nine moons to me. I only understood what that meant a few days ago. As soon as Bashere returns, I’ll know when and where I’m to meet the Daughter of the Nine Moons. The only question now is how do I bind her, and she’ll have to answer that.”

[…] “Stone cracks from a hard enough blow,” [Cadsuane] said, her face an Aes Sedai mask of calm. “Steel shatters. The oak fights the wind and breaks. The willow bends where it must and survives.”

“A willow won’t win Tarmon Gai’don,” he told her.

A servant enters to report that three Ogier have arrived, one of whom is Loial’s mother, and are waiting for him. Loial leaps up in a panic, and asks Rand what he is to do. Rand reminds him that he said he wanted to marry Erith, but Loial bemoans that now he will never finish his book. Cadsuane tells him he’d better do what his mother says, and Loial sadly prepares to leave. Cadsuane, Verin, and Nynaeve go to leave as well; Nynaeve pauses to tell Rand that the wind tells her a storm is coming, and not the rain kind. He asks her if it is the Last Battle, and when.

“It may be, and I don’t know. Just remember. A storm is coming. A terrible storm.” Overhead, thunder rolled.

In light of events in ToM, I am extremely intrigued by this chapter. In particular, naturally, by Rand’s discussion with Lews Therin about their connection with Shadar Logoth Dude — who we know, of course, is really Moridin, aka Ishamael, aka (increasingly, I feel) The Key To This Whole Thing.

This Whole Thing being, also naturally, how to win the Last Battle, or more specifically how to stuff the Dark One back in his cubbyhole and seal it up like new. I don’t think I’m too off base to speculate, at this point, that this inadvertent connection between Rand and Moridin (and, by extension, between the One Power and the True Power) that was created when they crossed the balefire streams in ACOS is somehow pivotal to making that happen.

I am not, however, going to venture to speculate on the specifics of how exactly it will happen. I know, you’re like, buh? But really, I won’t.

I won’t, not because I’m afraid of looking stupid (because really, by this point I have lost ALL self-consciousness on that score, if I ever had any to begin with), but because I possess an inveterate love of my ability to not see plot twists coming before they happen. Spoilers are the necrotic fasciitis (don’t click this if you’re squeamish) of entertainment, in my book, and I have less than zero interest in spoiling myself for how this whole thing is going to go down, even by independent logical deduction on my own part.

I am aware that this is slightly nutty, but, you know, whatever. And of course everyone else is more than welcome to speculate their brains out on What It All Means; I just ain’t gonna. I’ll think around the edges of it and go “hmm, yes, maybe that’s something!”, but for the rest, I am content to wait until the narrative plays it out for me, and then make my judgment. So There. Nyah!


Logain’s news about Taim: *headdesk* *headdesk* *headdesk*

Well, the *headdesk*ing is more about Rand’s reaction to it, of course, because WHAT HAVE I BEEN SAYING, DUDE? Even before we learned about the 13x13 assembly line thingy in ToM, I might add! Why do these completely fictional characters not listen to me, I ask you? The noive!

…You know, if it turns out that Androl and Pevara and Logain and whoever else end up taking out Taim and fixing this whole problem without any help from Rand, thus validating his entire hands-off policy toward the Black Tower all along, I’m making a mental note right now to be ROYALLY PISSED about it. You Have Been Warned.


Seanchan truce thingy: I’m strongly tempted to sulk about this, I really am. Even while seeing the rationale here, I’m really (unreasonably) wishing we could just go with Rand’s backup plan of Crush Them. And not even because I already know how Rand’s meeting with “Tuon” is going to go, because that has nothing to do with it on an overall ethical level.

It’s because I do not like them, y’all. I do not like them, not at all.

I would not like them here or there; I would not like them anywhere. I would not like them west or south; I’d like to kick them in the mouth! I do not like them, Sam I Am! But I don’t think they give a damn!




Chapter 19: Vows

What Happens
Loial wishes he had the nerve to ask Nynaeve or Verin to come with him, but doesn’t. He reflects that sooner or later Cadsuane is going to make Rand explode, and that Rand is very different from the man he’d first met in Caemlyn. He sees a servant startle at a ghost, and wishes he could see them. Very reluctantly, he heads to the Ogier sitting room and enters to find his mother, Elder Haman, and Erith there, and is distracted by how lovely Erith is. His mother immediately lights into him, and Haman tells him about the wild goose chase they’ve been on to find him. Erith mentions the tales of his bravery they’d heard from the Two Rivers folk, and seems enthralled; his mother is much less impressed, and demands that they get on with the ceremony.

“Her mother and I reached agreement. You yourself witnessed us signing the betrothal and Loial’s dowry.”

Elder Haman’s ears tilted back a little further, and his shoulders hunched as if he was gripping his hands together very hard behind his back. His eyes never left Erith. “I know you want to marry Loial, but are you sure you are ready? Taking a husband is a grave responsibility.”

Loial wished someone would ask him that question, but that was not the way. His mother and Erith’s had reached their agreement, and only Erith could stop it now. If she wanted to. Did he want her to? He could not stop thinking of his book. He could not stop thinking of Erith.

Erith confirms that she does want to marry him, and without further ado Haman performs the marriage; Loial and Erith are nearly indecent (by Ogier standards) in their affection after. Covril then insists they get going as soon as possible, since the Book of Translation must be opened as soon as possible. Loial is aghast at this news, and protests that they can’t do that.

“We must leave this world eventually, so we can come to it when the Wheel turns.” his mother said, striding to the nearest fireplace to spread her skirts again. “That is written. Now is exactly the right time, and the sooner the better.”

Haman doesn’t agree, but admits that Covril’s opinion has so far prevailed over his at the Great Stump. Loial wishes aloud that he could address the Stump; Covril tries to pooh-pooh the notion, but Erith reminds her angrily that as his wife, Erith takes precedence over Covril re: Loial, now, and asks Loial what he would say if he did. Loial is almost too nervous to speak, but gathers himself, and says that the Ogier have never stood aside in the war against the Shadow, but always fought alongside the humans.

“Perhaps in a year, or five, or ten, we will open the Book of Translation, but if we do it now, we cannot run away with any real hope of safety. Tarmon Gai’don is coming, and on that hangs the fate not only of this world, but of any world we might flee to. When fire threatens the trees, we do not run away and hope that the flames will not follow us. We fight. Now the Shadow is coming like wildfire, and we dare not run from it."

Then he realizes the shapes moving among the trees he sees through the window are Trollocs, tens of thousands of them. All four Ogier arm themselves, and Haman and Loial charge out, bellowing a warning to the house.

In the sitting room, Rand and Cadsuane sense the Shadowspawn moments before they hear the Ogier shouting. Cadsuane and Alivia embrace saidar and Logain seizes saidin, and asks Rand angrily what he’s waiting for. Rand braces himself against the dizziness and seizes the Source, but Lews Therin takes it away from him, and Rand cannot get it back. The Aes Sedai and Asha’man are hurling lightning and fireballs and exploding the earth beneath the Trollocs from various points in the manor, but barely making a dent in the horde. Lews Therin shatters the window casement, and begins channeling deadly weaves that Rand doesn’t know, though he recognizes them after the fact: Blossoms of Fire and Deathgates. Lews Therin asks frantically where his hands are, and Rand slowly raises his hands so that Lews Therin can channel Arrows of Fire. The other Asha’man soon begin imitating his weaves.

Trollocs fell by the hundreds, the thousands, riven by lightning bolts and balls of fire. Blossoms of Fire and Deathgates and Arrows of Fire, the earth itself exploding beneath their feet, yet on they raced, roaring and waving their weapons, Myrddraal riding close behind, black-bladed swords in hand. As they reached the outbuildings, some of the Trollocs surrounded them, pounding on the doors with their fists, prying at the boards or the walls with their swords and spears, tossing flaming torches onto the thatched roofs.

Rand pleads with Lews Therin to do something about the fires, to save the men inside, but Lews Therin ignores him and continues mowing down Trollocs, so Rand yells at Logain to do it. A Myrddraal almost gets in the window; the Maidens and Min all get it with spears or knife, and then Lews Therin thoroughly kills it with Arrows of Fire. Eventually Rand realizes that the Shadowspawn are all dead, and tells Lews Therin he can let go now, but he will not. Logain is meanwhile asking angrily why Rand never taught those weaves to them before now, but Rand is concentrating on convincing Lews Therin not to kill them both with the Power.

I want to die, Lews Therin said. I want to join llyena.

If you really wanted to die, why did you kill Trollocs? Rand thought. Why kill that Myrddraal?

[…] I seem to remember dying, Lews Therin murmured. I remember how I did it. He drew deeper still, and small pains grew in Rand’s temples.

[…] That pain was a warning. He was close to the amount of saidin he could hold without dying or being burnt out. You can’t die yet, he told Lews Therin. We have to reach Tarmon Gai’don or the world dies.

Logain suddenly asks why he’s holding so much saidin, alerting everyone that something is wrong, and Cadsuane demands that Min tell her what she’s feeling through the bond, or else. Still fighting with Lews Therin, Rand tells Cadsuane to ask him, not Min, and that he has a rule for her: don’t ever threaten Min again. Cadsuane is dryly amused. Lews Therin suddenly agrees that they can die at Tarmon Gai’don, and releases the Power. Logain tells everyone else that Rand released, and Cadsuane tells him she knows, to his surprise. Rand heads for the door.

Yes, he thought. We can die at Tarmon Gai’don.

Whoof. Well, that was action-packed. Nice.

Seriously, are non-channelers even going to have anything to do at the Last Battle? Because, swords and axes and such are looking mighty passé at this point, you know?

Okay, yeah, I know. They totally are going to be in there, for the very good reason that unlike here, at the Last Battle the Lightside channelers will be mostly busy fighting the other channelers, and concentrating much less on blowing up rank and file Shadowspawn. But even so, man.

I also have to wonder, how many Trollocs are actually in existence right now that there are a spare twenty or thirty thousand or however many to scoop up for an illicit (so to speak) assassination attempt on Rand? Ye gods. I think I remember Jordan saying once that we didn’t want to know the specifics of how Trollocs breed, and while I of course recognize that for the playful authorial dodge it is, I still think I pretty much agree. Yeurgh.

I think I said this already, but I don’t remember at all if we’ve ever been told who set this up. I think most people have just assumed it was Demandred, with his big fat hate-on for Rand/Lews Therin, but I’m not at all sure about that. *shrug* Not that it really matters, I suppose, since it failed spectacularly. Whatever.

And of course, there’s the other big thing in this chapter, which is Loial’s Total Abrogation of Freedom and Independence As A Sapient Being.

Oh, I’m sorry, I meant his marriage. So easy to mix those two up, silly me!

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, y’all: Ogier culture is fired. Arranged marriage, in any setting, is especially fired. Arranged marriage with an opt-out clause for only one half of the pair — based on gender, no less! — is epically double-plus-infinity fired.

Seriously, are you kidding me? Erith can say no, but Loial can’t? FUCK. THAT.

No. Just — no. That is a whole bowl of bullshit, right there. I really hope my contempt for this entire proceeding is coming through, here, because I would certainly not want there to be any confusion. There needs to be a male Ogier suffrage movement, like, stat, because no.

Oh, yes, it happens to work out in this particular instance that Loial does actually like Erith, and is secretly all happy to be married to her even though this apparently means she now has total veto power over his entire life, WTF. So, you know, goody goody gumdrops if this is mostly okay for him, but I really hope I don’t have to point out that this is guaranteed to not always or even usually be the case for anyone else.

Honestly, I think the part that truly got me riled about this whole thing, even aside from the sheer principle of it all, is that Loial’s ability to finish his book is now at the mercy of Erith’s whim. As a writer, that pisses me so far the hell off that my moral outrage just might currently be in a different zip code from the rest of me.

That is HIS BOOK, WOMAN, BACK OFF. No one should be able to tell Loial whether he can write or not, dammit! Granted, I’m pretty sure that of course Erith is going to be right on board with Loial writing his book, but even the fact that she has the totally legal ability to stop him from doing so, whether she exercises it or not, makes me want to smash things on his behalf. That is NOT COOL.

(Seriously, I think the last time I got this angry at an otherwise perfectly non-evil character was when Amy burned Jo’s book in Little Women. I saw RED, you guys. “Incandescent rage” is not even in it. I couldn’t have been more horrified than if she’d… hell, I can’t even think of anything I would have regarded as a bigger betrayal from a sibling, short of, like, murder or something. I am not even kidding.)

So, uh, yeah. In conclusion, Ogier marriage customs = EPIC FAIL. But, you know, really great gender-flipped point there, Jordan. A few more of those and I’ll have an ulcer!

Which I hear can be cured by a liberal application of green eggs and ham! No, really, the guy in the funny hat said so. Shirley he couldn’t be putting me on! So I’m off to breakfast, and you’re off to comment! Huzzah! Laters!

Dorothy Johnston
1. CloudMist
I think the scene where Elder Haman tosses Loial an axe and they charge out together shouting warnings is one of my favorite scene in the entire series, topped only by the scene that ends the following chapter. :)
2. trench
Oh god that link is horrible! ugh, just ugh!
3. Megaduck
[i](The squeamish are encouraged not to click on that link, by the way.)

Tell me that sooner GOSH DARNIT!

Really, put the warning before the link at least and not one paragraph down. I did not need to see that.
4. srEDIT
*ducks* Whew! Leigh! It's hard to even read about the intensity of your feelings about arranged marriage.

Does my memory totally fail me? I thought Loial had sort of engineered or at least encouraged the relationship with Erith? Just because they have to make it work within their culture doesn't mean that they didn't choose each other, does it?
Daniel Smith
5. Smittyphi
"Spoilers are the necrotic fasciitis of entertainment, in my book, and I have less than zero interest in spoiling myself for how this whole thing is going to go down, even by independent logical deduction on my own part.

(The squeamish are encouraged not to click on that link, by the way.)"
Epic Fail.

Should be

Spoilers are the (The squeamish are encouraged not to click on this link, by the way.) necrotic fasciitis of entertainment, in my book, and I have less than zero interest in spoiling myself for how this whole thing is going to go down, even by independent logical deduction on my own part.

/Rant over

Great Re-read. Blossoms of Fire and Deathgates and Arrows of Fire oh my! Awesome battle.

I hate how Rand is just leaving the BT to Taim. I am SO looking forward to Logain pummeling Taim. Something I saw. Rand could only hold slightly more than Logain. Logain HAS to be forsaken strength, like Demandred Forsaken strength.
Jason Gruber
6. jmgruber
I don't have anything significant to say. I just wanted to note how very much I heart "And of course, there’s the other big thing in this chapter, which is Loial’s Total Abrogation of Freedom and Independence As A Sapient Being." and the following paragraphs. I haven't enjoyed rage that much in a while.
7. Kadere

Loial had nothing to do with the choice of Erith being picked for him. He only wished he'd marry her, but was completely unaware she had been chosen until Rand told him she had been in LoC. Men are not allowed to impart any ideas on the matter, it is left completely up to their mothers.
8. The Survivor
Why can't Ogier see ghosts? I don't remember ever noticing that before.
Roger Powell
9. forkroot
Oh my! Where to begin? Two potent chapters (nicely summarized once again). I concur with Leigh that post-TOM, these chapters become even more critical.

OK, for starters ... we've debated "Who sent the Trollocs" a couple of times in these rereads so I too will take a pass. (By the way, this is not the first time in the rereads that we've hashed out an event in detail before the reread got there ... to the point where when it actually happens there's not much left to say.)

Oh wait ... there is something to say. Earlier I had wondered who had betrayed Rand's location to Team Dark? I don't think Elza did because she was under compulsion; I actually now think it was Verin (obviously reluctantly, she probably had no choice). You'll note that Verin leaves shortly after the battle - It may be because one of the Forsaken was "pulling her chain." She may have realized she had run out of time and had to "finish her research project" (actually .. you might call it "publishing her research"). Anyway, it's clear that Verin was on a tight timeline starting right after the battle.

Re: The crossed balefire - I had totally forgotten that Rand speculates about that ... somehow I had gotten in my head that all the theories about the Rand-Moridin link came from speculation (here, Dragonmount, etc.) It's good to be reminded that Jordan did highlight the importance in the canon itself :-)

I agree that the Rand-Moridin link is "very important" plotwise - however it's conceivable that that plot point was exhausted already if you go with the theory that it was that link that allowed Rand to draw the TP to escape from the Domination bands. Perhaps there are no other ramifications? Discuss! (I know, that's supposed to be Leigh's line.)

Another point that jumped out at me - Logain mentioning how many asha'man (more than half) had been taken from the BT for the campaign in the northwest. I'd forgotten that ... makes me feel better about Rand still having a sizable complement of male channelers even after the BT is dealt with.

And then there's this:
Loial thinks that sooner or later Cadsuane is going to make Rand explode. Ya think? Good call, big fella!
Birgit F
10. birgit
Why can't Ogier see ghosts?

Loial thinks maybe he can see Ogier ghosts, but they are likely to appear at stedding.

Taim didn't want to let Logain take away so many Asha'man because he wanted to turn more of them. Why didn't he want to send some of his men who could tell him what Rand is up to?
James Whitehead
11. KatoCrossesTheCourtyard
Rand's decision to reach an accomodation with the Seanchan is strengthened by Aviendha's 2nd visit through the rings. We see the Aiel a shadow of their former selves.

I am with Leigh in that I wish Rand could wipe the Seanchan from the face of the world, so to speak - or at least push them back across the sea. Unfortunately, they are going to be needed. Let's just hope Rand doesn't make an agreement that will be regretted after the Last Battle, assuming they win, a la Churchill & Roosevelt with Stalin.


PS - I do agree that Loial was very perceptive in noting that Cadsuane was pushing Rand to the point of explosion. However, some points must be taken off for the simple fact that Cadsuane could make water explode with little effort. ;-)
Jeff Weston
12. JWezy
I always wondered about these two chapters - in the first, we have the sudden, unexpected, unexplained clarification of who "the other" is. Then in the next chapter, we have a massive trolloc attack. My assumption at the time was that Moridin was checking to make sure Rand was still there before unleashing the attack (and therefore he was behind it).

Then, sometime later, in the forsaken tea room, we see Moridin pretty clearly denying that he had anything to do with it. Given our later understanding of the nature of the connection between Rand and Moridin, it seems clear that Moridin would have had nothing to do with this, since it would be a matter of great discomfort (if not death) for him.

So, regardless of who actually sponsored the attack, why was the Moridin reveal inserted into the text at this point? If it isn't to draw the reader to the conclusion that the reveal and the attack have a common thread, what is the deal?
Kat Blom
13. pro_star
You know...I kind of approved though of how Erith stood Loial's mother down. That was awesome.
Daniel Goss
14. Beren
@13 pro_star
I agree, but the more I think about it the more I go towards Leigh's view of the matter. I mean, yes, 'you go, girl' and all that. But. There is also the feeling that she is saying "You sold this piece of meat to me fair and square, and I can do with it as I wish, you no longer have legal claim to it so butt out." Which I am less enthused about.
(edit -- punctuation is hard)
15. Rick 1313
He's not putting you on, so stop calling him Shirley.

Great post as always.
Birgit F
16. birgit
However, some points must be taken off for the simple fact that Cadsuane could make water explode with little effort. ;-)

If she can split water into its elements that shouldn't be difficult (the result is called Knallgas in German).
James Whitehead
17. KatoCrossesTheCourtyard
@16birgit, I think that counts as taking the concept of splitting hairs to a whole new level. ;-)

18. Lurking Canadian
The part I liked best about all this was the bit about the Book of Translation and the Ogier "leaving". I thought that was so cool. The reason you and I don't have to step around the Ogier? They aren't here. The reason the One Power doesn't work in the stedding? The stedding are little pockets of some other universe that has no One Power.
John Mann
19. jcmnyu
@18 Lurking Canadian

I remember being so peeved at RJ for bringing up the Book of Translation in Loial's head, but him very carefully not thinking about it in a way that would explain to the reader what it is. I thought it was a rare example of Jordan shoehorning in a new concept but holding on to it's meaning in an unbelievable way. There is no way Loial would have been that careful about his own thoughts. I thought it was poorly written.
Daniel Goss
20. Beren
@19 jcmnyu
I don't know if he's being careful so much as being assumptive. Loial knows what the book is, so there's no reason for him to think "If we open the book of translation, which is a mystical doohickey that will pull all of the Ogier back into their original parallel universe, then ..."

Think of it this way. If you think about getting into a car, you don't think about getting into a four-wheeled vehicle with an internal combustion engine, you just think "car." In fact, if someone were to be reading/transcribing your thoughts at the time I highly doubt that they would get anything more than that. I would even venture to say that if Loial were to have thought about the book of translation along with thoughts of how exactly it worked and what exactly it did, we would have decried it as unbelievably expository.

Or maybe that's just me.

21. QuickReed
Here's a point I've been puzzling out, when Logain was Healed his power came back full tilt (maybe stronger?) but when Siuan was Healed she lost power, not skill but force of the Power. I am wondering, is that a hurt that needs to be Healed by an opposite side of the Power? The Male source was cured totally, but the female not so much. I bet if they got an Asha'man over there they could Heal Siuan back to full power
Charles Gaston
22. parrothead
GNAHG! Okay, Ms. Butler? The warning goes before the schmuckbait link. And on that topic, can I just get an Amen on how good it was for them to cleanse saidin a few books back? Taint causes not only madness, but also a rotting disease. As awesome as Min is and as accepting of the whole destiny thing as she's been, I don't think she'd want to cuddle with that. Ew.

Ogier marriage bad, Trolloc slaughter good. So very very good. And a rather big unexpected action scene; we haven't had one of those in a while, especially the unexpected part. I can only hope Logain teaches these weaves to his faction. Deathgates in particular just sound really cool.

I suppose Loial could have refused, but a) we don't know what repurcussions this might have and b) it would have been totally out of character for him to do so. Much as I love the big guy, he's got about as much spine as a plate of linguini (Trolloc killinng notwithstanding). Ms. Butler's right. He lucked out by getting a wife who won't immediately try to run his life. Oh, and shut up, Cadsuane.

I'm trying to imagine an Ogier man standing up to his wife; is it strange that the first thing that pops into my head is the "Think" scene from Blues Brothers?

Oh, and great "mice and fig" line!
Stefan Mitev
23. Bergmaniac
This Trolloc attack was really dumb even by the low Shadow standards. What were they trying to achieve - even if Rand and his group of superstrong channellers couldn't handle the Trollocs at first, they could just Travel away, come back later rested and with 100 000 Aiel fighters and 100 Wise Ones if necessary. Total waste of Trollocs and a complete lack of any tension in the scene.
Valentin M
24. ValMar
"schmuckbait"- brilliant! I hope I get to use this word soon.

It was interesting to contrast the AS with their OP use and Rand's new "improvements". From the start AS seemed feeble in their use of OP as a weapon. Except Moiraine, but she is too awesome to be lumped in with the other AS...
25. Paulie
@ 21 QuickReed: regarding opposite sides of the Power being used to heal. I would think Siuan would have to be stilled again. And then, she might only be able to be healed back to the strength she's at now. No guarantee she would get back her lost power. She could even lose more in the process.

If you were blinded and then given back partial sight. Would you risk going blind again or having even worse sight to get back to 20/20?
26. Tesla_Sunburn
21. QuickReed
Jordan confirms that you need the opposite gender to truely heal severing.

It wasn't quoted in the re-reread but I love Logains revolsion about the raping in arad domain. I really want him to turn out to be a true, but grumpy, hero.
Leigh Butler
27. leighdb
To all who were grossed out by the Wikipedia link: Sorry! I've moved the warning to be closer to the link. My bad.
28. srEDIT
@ Leighdb 27: Thanks, Leigh . . . you're awesome!
Alice Arneson
29. Wetlandernw
Green Eggs and Ham FTW!

I have less than zero interest in spoiling myself for how this whole thing is going to go down, even by independent logical deduction on my own part.YOU GO!!! I wholeheartedly agree with this one. I’ll speculate a little, but most of the time I’d really rather not figure it out. I think I’ve said as much with regard to some of the theories I've read; I really hope things don’t work out “that way” (whatever it is) because I’d far rather read it as a well-told story than someone’s “logically-presented” theory. And having read it as a theory, it would still feel "spoiled" if it turned out to be true. Which is, of course, why I'm such a superficial member of theoryland!

…You know, if it turns out that Androl and Pevara and Logain and whoever else end up taking out Taim and fixing this whole problem without any help from Rand, thus validating his entire hands-off policy toward the Black Tower all along, I’m making a mental note right now to be ROYALLY PISSED about it. You Have Been Warned. If this happens, I’m thinking more along the lines of Androl, Pevara and Logain “fixing the problem” of Taim at a huge cost, and one that Rand will totally regret. For example, a friend from the Two Rivers being turned, or the loss of significant Light-side channelers either by death or by turning. Of course, I’d far rather see Rand go in and fix it just BEFORE that happens instead of TOO LATE…

Seanchan truce: Well, Rand has a lot to learn about making good use of an advisor, including the fact that if you won't tell them what you're doing they can't advise you very well. Goop. However, his comment that “a truce with the Dragon Reborn will last only as long as the Dragon Reborn” is an interesting foreshadowing of Aviendha's future-column vision, where the "Peace of the Dragon" lasted only as long as the Dragon lived.

Ogier marriage – well, in spite of Loial’s thought that “only Erith could stop it now” the ceremony still involved Elder Haman asking Loial “Will you accept Erith… as wife…?” So presumably he could have said no; it would just be very anti-cultural to do so. Still, the thought that his wife could just decide not to allow him to leave the stedding is a bit grating. OTOH, his mother already had that power; he just snuck off when she wasn’t looking. And in a way, it was rather fun to see Erith stand up to her and tell her she didn’t get to make the decisions any more, but as another has said, it still felt awfully … meaty. Loosely related, I wonder if we’ll ever find out what the backstory of Covril and Cadsuane is. I’m guessing not.

s’rEDIT @4 – Your memory does not fail (of course!) – Loial has been thinking about marrying Erith since about the day he met her. He just didn’t want to do it yet, because he assumes marriage will mean that she’ll make him stay in the stedding. It apparently hasn’t occurred to him that she might decide that they will go help the humans together.

Also – HAH! Some of you haven’t been paying attention. Always read more before you go click on one of Leigh’s links!!! The warnings are always after, and they aren’t always merely time-consuming entertainment like tvtropes. Y’all have my sympathy pity; it doesn’t sound good.

Kadere @7 – OTOH, the woman in question does have something to say about it, and Loial certainly gave Erith encouragement to think that it was a relationship with definite possibilities.

Kato @11 – IIRC, in Aviendha’s vision a large part of the problem with “the Peace of the Dragon” and the Aiel was that Rand didn’t know what to do with the Aiel and didn’t set anything up for them. That doesn’t change the fact that the Peace didn’t last long as a truce after Rand’s death (?), since what seems to have happened is that the Seanchan simply walked in and took over most of Randland, leaving the existing rulers in place but subject to the Empire. What was left of the Aiel, since they didn’t have a recognizable place in either structure, pretty much fell apart and fought the Seanchan for the sake of the fight. It may be that one critical factor is for Rand to do something very specific with/for the Aiel in the process of ramming this truce down everyone’s throat.

Beren @20 – I agree.
30. MasterAlThor

Good job. As far as the gender inequality thing, just let it go sister. Let it go. It is not the real world. It most certainly isn't advocating anything. So grab a decent alcoholic beverage and sit back and enjoy.

But know that I do agree with everything you said. And I am sipping a nice strawberry mojito right now.


PS if anyone else wants one, they are over in the fridge. Just don't make a mess in the bunker.

Oh and I hope that everyone had a Happy 4th.
Valentin M
31. ValMar
Re: Loial's mother stopping him going out of the stedding- isn't this as a legal guardian type of thing? He was too young.
32. Paulie
@31 ValMar - Loial was too young by Ogier standards. But then they get married off and their wives kind of control their lives.

But to all the married men out there. How often do you really do stuff your wife doesn't want you too? I think our own society matches the Ogier one...even though it's not spelled out quite as explicitly as Loial does in his thoughts.
Roger Powell
33. forkroot
I'm so not going there!!

Besides, I asked my wife and she said I couldn't go there :0
Valentin M
34. ValMar
Paulie, I know that. I'm not defending the situation. Just nit-picking...
Not married but I'm sure there are advantages to having a wife- a good navigator when driving?
Claire de Trafford
35. Booksnhorses
I wonder if the Ogier Gardners in Seanchan land have the same interesting marriage customs? Unfortunately I don't think that there'll be time in AMoL to deal with the meet up of the two separated groups which is a real shame. I hope I'm wrong.
Roger Powell
36. forkroot
ClairedeT@35Robert Jordan was asked whether Randland Ogier would interact with the Ogier Gardeners and said "They will meet" - so assuming that was in the notes or guidelines he left BWS, we will see this meeting in AMoL.
Charles Gaston
37. parrothead
ValMar @ 24:

Try this:
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/SchmuckBait but as Ms Butler herself has warned you before, don't tread lightly on that site as it WILL CONSUME EVERY WAKING MINUTE
Jay Dauro
38. J.Dauro
QuickReed @21

From RJ's blog 4 Oct 2005

- For Alys Kinch, the Healing of stilling must be done by the other gender to be fully effective. A woman Healing a woman or a man Healing a man results in less than full restoration. It all ties into that theme I keep harping on. Men and women have to work together to be their most effective. And while the weave used by Flinn for Healing is not exactly that used by Nynaeve, either would use the same weave on a man or a woman.

Paulie @25

We do not know that she would have to be stilled again, but your point is well made. If I were her, I would have to consider hard before allowing myself to be stilled again. However, I would at least try having Damer Flinn heal me.

birgit @10

From TOM, in Loial's preface from his book he says, "Our dead appeared, standing in rings outside the borders of the stedding, looking in."
39. AndrewB
IIRC, Chpater 19 (the chapter in which the Trollocs attack) is where it is noted that Shadowspawn cannot go through a gateway. If they do, they die. This is a fairly inportant nugget that we are given in Book 11 of the series. I am surprised that RJ waited this long to devulge this information.

The appearance of Verin (however briefly) gives me the opening to ask the following question. Does anybody have a theory as to what became of Verin's angreal? One would have thought that she would have given it to Egwene. It is not like she can use the angreal in the afterlife. Providing Egwene with her info on the Black Ajah, demontrates that Verin believes in Egwene. (At least it is evidence that Verin believes Egwene will make good use of the information.)

Despite what I wrote in the preceding paragraph, I am glad Verin did not give Egwene her angreal. It makes the scene in TGS where she gets Vora's Sa'angreal all the more awesome.

Another question. Who was Vora and how come the fluted-white wand was referred to as her's? (I am willing to make a guess that Vora was a female.)

Thanks for reading my musings,
40. ican'tremembermyusername
I've seen a convincing theory that it was Padan Fain who sent the trollocs to attack Rand, maybe by Terez?
41. MasterAlThor

I am married and would like to tell you that I have had enough of doing what my wife wants all the time. I have had all I can stand and I can't stands no mo!

I am leading a revolt. Who is with me?

Just make sure you get your wives permission first. I had to.

William Fettes
42. Wolfmage
To me the most interesting thing about the Trollock attack is we finally get to see what elite channellers are capable of in terms of real warfare against traditional armies of non-channellers. With Arrows of Fire, Blossoms of Fire and Death Gates they don’t stand a chance. On one hand it’s obviously uber cool, but it’s also interesting how much it diminishes the previous model of combat we’ve seen involving flinging individual fireballs around and lightning strikes. That approach looks totally inadequate and infantile now – which actually gives some substances to the dismissive attitude taken by the Foresaken to the current Aes Sedai.

I hesitate to raise the constructivist vs real debate here, but I must say it's this chapter that is one of the more important ones in cementing my opinion that LTT's voice is not just a coping mechanism. The voice being able to affect new weaves, if not simultaneous bodily control, and having an independent corpus of knowledge are all strong indications that the voice has some kind of genuine agency. Having it be a coping mechanism, subconsciously invented by Rand, which just happens to partition some plot critical knowledge from Rand (but not all), shaped by Rand from pure memories into a fair facsimile of LTT’s personality is just a totally gimmicky explanation for me given how sophisticated LTT’s agency is shown to be here.

Another key consideration is LTT's cognition and values. The most illuminating example of this we haven't seen yet, however. But it's one which I think is implausible if we're meant to accept that the voice has been constructed by a upstart farmboy. The example is LTT's appreciation of the joke when Rand comments that merchants are a risk-averse uncreative class. LTT laughs because he understands economics and politics. But that understanding is beyond Rand’s ken. It would make sense for the voice to randomly quote stuff from the memories that is beyond Rand's ken. But that's not what happens. The voice picks up on the absurdity of Rand's comment in real time and finds it ironically funny - thus processing the information independently of Rand. Such an uncanny real-time response only makes sense if the voice is representing the sophicated intellect and values of LTT.
Scientist, Father
43. Silvertip
@34 ValMar:

Married 20+ years myself ... in my experience, the wife isn't necessarily any better or worse at navigating, but boy it comes in handy to have somebody willing to stop and ask directions.

The Three Wise Women would have

· Asked directions,

· Arrived on time,

· Helped deliver the baby,

· Cleaned the stable,

· Made a casserole,

· Brought practical gifts,

And there would be peace on Earth.

44. MasterAlThor

Good eye and welcome to the fold brother.

First I would like to say that I didn't pick that up until you pointed it out. I am referring to the diffence in channelling. That is a very logical conclusion and I will be kicking myself the length of the Mol Hara for not seeing it.

Secpmd. tjat was a great synopsis on why LTT is not a construct. And once again I missed what you plainly saw. This makes me angry and validates why I come here all at the same time. I know that I miss stuff and someone will point it out.

john mullen
45. johntheirishmongol
Only now does Rand come to the realization that it is not a good idea to Cross the Streams!

I have to say, since I have been married for some 30 years, that I approve of marriage. My wife is fine with me saying that.

Actually, there are a lot worse ways to choose a partner than having it arranged for you. Love is a relatively new reason for marraige. Mostly, it was for duty, property, politics, alliances, tradition. Most worked out fine. The whole idea of a soul mate is pretty new and somewhat silly. People adapt.
Noneo Yourbusiness
46. Longtimefan
While the idea of one partner having unquestioned control over the other is unpleasant in theory and emotionally stunted in practice the one mitigating factor in the marriage of Erith and Loial is that she appears to love him as he is and is not attempting to control him in a way that would go against the reader's concept of who Loial needs to be. This goes a long way in making the arranged marriage palatable in the story.

The same situation with someone who did not find the other person attractive and was not allowed to be who the reader thought that person should be would not be as well received.

Then again I have never thought a relationship was a game of control or manipulation. I have always just worked with someone as they were and if it lasted for a while great and if it did not then it did not.

But I am weird that way.

I think that it is interesting in the chapter that Lews Therin finally takes control of channeling afte several othe struggles between Rand and Lews things are as terrible as Rand fears it may become as he has to talk Lews down from destroying himself/himself.

It is interesting in the retrospect of Rand post Dragonmount epiphany. When he does not know himself he is struggling against self destruction but when he does know himself he accepts his destined destruction but does not try to destroy himself.
Douglas Miller
47. douglas
@21 QuickReed

Aside from the Robert Jordan quote someone referenced already, there are the three Aes Sedai that Rand Stilled when he broke out at Dumai's Wells. An Asha'man Healed them, and all three of them are back to their full original strength. So yes, if Siuan's original Healing had been done by a man she would be back to full strength. Whether it's possible to acheive that result now with a second Healing after Nynaeve's effort is unknown.

@39 AndrewB

Another question. Who was Vora and how come the fluted-white wand was referred to as her's? (I am willing to make a guess that Vora was a female.)

I don't think it's been explicitly stated anywhere, but I'm pretty sure Vora was the Aes Sedai that found that particular sa'angreal and added it to the Tower's collection.
Alice Arneson
48. Wetlandernw
Paulie @32 - Actually, the boys had that conversation in TGH chapter 35. Mat scoffs at the Ogier notion of letting the women rule their husbands, and one of the other boys (I think Perrin, but I'm not sure) says "I think we do it the same way in the Two Rivers. Do you remember your father ever doing anything your mother really didn't want him to do?"

AndrewB @39 - We're never told, either in the series or in the BBoBA, who Vora was.

Wolfmage @42 - Like you, I hesitate to comment on it - but I really appreciate your points and your wording on the "coping mechanism vs. individual agency" question. I agree with you wholeheartedly. (And how often does that happen, I ask you? :p) I never really worked through why I couldn't buy the construct theory; I just knew it was very unsatisfying based on everything I knew. You put your finger on some of the specifics, bringing it into a much sharper focus. Thank you.
Tomas Gerst
49. IamnotSpam
I dont know how this sounds to others but if I was expecting to be married for 2 or 3 hundred years it may be benenficial to my long term sanity to just go ahead and accept that the woman will eventually get her way and be done with it. Would save on a lot of strife. Then I could just get back to work and not worry about it all. I could also say hey you chose me to end any argument. Yeah maybe this isn't a bad way to do things at all. Just thinking out loud.
Roger Powell
50. forkroot
Fain can control Trolloc Zombies - he can't indirectly direct hundreds of Fades to control thousands of Trollocs. I really don't think there's a credible argument for Fain being the responsible agent.

One thing that RJ didn't cover was the strength requirements for the Blossoms, Arrows, and Deathgates. Just as with gateways, it may be that these weaves are only available to stronger channelers and "run of the mill" channelers have to make do with fireballs etc.

We also did not see if it was possible to create the equivalent weaves using saidar, although the precendent seems to be that for every male trick of the power, there is an equivalent (but different) way for females to do it (given sufficient strength, as noted above.)

Regarding "LTT" seizing the power, I like the points you made. In retrospect, I feel that RJ (then BWS) did a fabulous job of presenting a possible mental coping mechanism for someone who must begin life as a babe but must eventually come into the full memories of a previous life. The battle for "id", so to speak.

I see this particular sequence as taking us further along into the eventual integration of the personalities, however I think that the persona with access to AOL memories has controlled and produced weaves before.

Time and again we have seen Rand suddenly "know" how to do things (balefiring Darkfriends in TDR, holding Avi's gateway open, etc.) A notable example is when he battles Ishy at the end of TDR. The only credible (IMO) way to accept Rand's access to all the offensive and defensive weaves is that with his life in mortal danger, he accesses the AOL weave memories (i.e. LTT's memories) unthinkingly.

I know that whether or not someone would consider this a case of "LTT controlling the weaves" is debatable. I don't think it really matters ... when a snake startles me on the trail and I jump away, it's not really a matter of deep rational reasoning - it's pure reaction. The deep processes in my brain that direct the muscles to fire don't wait around for the conscious reasoning part to come to the conclusion that I better jump away.
51. Trooth
I've always been very confused by (and saddened) at the entertainment medium's (tv/movies/books etc) ongoing habit of presenting marriage as something vile to males. The entertainment mediums are historically littered with ''jokes'' by males saying they would rather have their #%$#$% cut off than get married.. Saying thy will have to be ''dragged'' to the altar. Referring to marriage as being ''tied down'' or having a ''ball and chain.''

There has also been this portrayal that men often see it as emasculating and the loss of independence.

Marriage = Scary stuff.

Except, this always confused me. Am I the only one who ever saw marriage as something beautiful? (When done right). Or who ever wondered why such portrayals were so persistent in pop culture. If for ''jokes'', well, its not funny and became stale and old a long time ago . At least in my own opinion.
Cameron Tucker
52. Loialson
Here Here! I agree. But then, I also agree with Nyneave on marriage being where sex is best used. And I'm a 23 year old male.

I understand others wanting to take different routes-everyone should be able to choose what they want to do with their love life, but the overused cliche that men are SUPPOSED to believe in is a load of crock, to me. I think I can get married and be happy right off.

On another note, I don't think arranged marriage is wrong per say....how do I put this? If both the man and woman consent to the arrangement first, and the ones doing the arranging is trusted by both parties, I think it can work-as long as they both work their hardest to foster love in their relationship. Is that an ideal relationship? No. Is it possible to make it work much of the time, yes.

I recently read an article of many parents in India who still arrange the marriages of their children, and it seems to not be completely without merit in some respects (at least I would think some in-law problems would decrease ;D)

All kidding aside, I agree that Loial may need a sufferage movement for the males though, no choice? No bueno-life is all about choices!
John Massey
53. subwoofer
Well, I don't know about anybody else, but I am just tickled that Leigh barked back at me... or at least she whoofed at me:)

Loial- dude, for you and all my friends I have a one way ticket to Cozumel where you could hang out until the heat blows over or until you come to your senses. It's too late for the rest of us, but save yourself man! But Iamnotspam has a valid point, throw it back at her-"hey, I had no say in this, so live with it". Works for me. heh:) Guess it is like the old adage: “Why get married and make one man miserable when I can stay single and make thousands miserable?” Inversely tho'.

As to the marriage itself, you gotta like Elder Haman in this whole bit- Loial got railroaded, but Elder Haman had his back, bros before um... yeah. Incidentally- @Trooth, marriage isn't so bad- especially if you can get the preacher to keep and slip in "obey" in the vows;)

These two chapters rock tho', and coming up is "The Golden Crane" which is just full of win so I'm doing a happy dance all over.

Ogier marching- and about time! One thing that really burned my butt about LotR is that we barely see the other elves and dwarfs and hobbits helping out, especially in the movie versions. There are other races under the boot of the evil baddie, get together and all pitch in! Dang it! These Ogier seem like Ents, so somebody cut down the Great Stump or something- that'll get their attention.

To whomever suggested it, wife and good copilot are mutually exclusive things.

I do like the comment @11Kato about equating the Seanchan with the alliance the Allies had with Stalin. There could be many parallels there, and I am very interested to see a true full on reaction- similar to the White Cloak experience- when Seanchan get to truly experience the non-existent Trollocs.

I thought we beat the LTT as a construct arguement dead several threads ago, so I'm calling a pass on that.

Roger Powell
54. forkroot
IIRC - LOTR does allude to a variety of pretty good battles that happened off-screen including the Elves from Lothlorien fighting with forces from Dol Guldur and the Dwarves and Men fighting a pitched battle with Orcs up at the Lonely Mountain.

Re the movie - one of the changes from the text is that they actually introduced a squadron of Elves (from Lothlorien) coming to aid in the defense of Helm's Deep.

OK - back to WOT now ....
John Massey
55. subwoofer
Yea, that is true, but I'd have liked to see more on screen, especially in RotK. All races coming together to fight the baddies. In DragonLance or another series, can't remember as it was a long time ago, there was a bit in there about Ogres being enslaved and them rising up and fighting free against the Trolls and such. I always liked the parallels and I would very much like to see the whole world, Randlandwise- not just men, shed blood to save the world. Maybe Loial should talk about his meeting with the Green Man in tEotW to let his people know the far reaching touch of the shadow.

Edit- and I have been looking all over, but I can't find a certain Bill Cosby clip. I bring this up cause folks were bagging on Leigh for not putting the warning in the appropriate place when she introduced her gore clip (I'm not bothered by the images, my daughter is into solids now and changing diapers is er... graphic and fragrant). It reminded me of a bit the 'Cos did about San Francisco where people put a "dip" sign two feet before you hit the dip and it annoyed Bill because it didn't really help anything... something to the effect of "if you really want to help someone, put the sign after the dip- 'you have just hit a dip', 'okay, thank you very much'".

56. Trooth
@ SW - I'm well aware of how wonderful marriage can be - you are 110% right. I guess Ive just always seen it as sad that the medi and the mediUM of pop culture has felt the need to demean the institution on order to 'protect' the masculinity of males. Is weird.

One of my favorite parts of the entire series is Loial and Elder Haman, these two gentle souls finally riled, running down the hall, weilding weapons, shouting: Up Axes and Clear the Field! Up Axes and Clear the Field! Twas chilling.
William Fettes
57. Wolfmage
forkroot @ 50

Yes, it’s true we don’t know the prerequisite level of skill and strength you need to execute these new weaves. I mean, I only assume that Death Gates, as a variant of the gateway weave, are similarly difficult. So probably the cut off point is the Travelling cut-off with people like Elaida, Romanda, old Siuan and Moiraine. But the other two are a bit of an unknown quantity. My gut says that Blossoms of Fire is the more complex and demanding weave. But that still leaves it as an open question what the minimum would be.

In regard to the Arrows of Fire, I tend to think the simplicity of the weave as described would count in favour of it being of modest difficulty only. But again, you’ve still got a fair bit of wiggle room in what counts as modest.

Re: Saidar vs. Saidin

My starting point is that almost every effect that can be made with one half of the source has a corresponding effect that can be made with the other half. Some effects will be produced in an identical fashion, whilst many will be made differently. So, I have to believe that all these new combat weaves will be usable by women either via the exact same weaving technique or a female variant of that technique with the same function.
58. Wortmauer
Marriage customs: It does appear that Loial could have refused to say "I do." It would have been a rejection of his culture, nay, his race, but he was asked. It sounded like a formality, but I bet it was for real; if he'd refused, he'd be henpecked ruthlessly, perhaps, by Erith and his mother, and maybe by Elder Haman too, but he wouldn't be married.
Trooth@51: I've always been very confused by (and saddened) at the entertainment medium's (tv/movies/books etc) ongoing habit of presenting marriage as something vile to males.
I suspect this is a holdover from 100 years ago. (Wilde: "Bigamy is having one wife too many. Monogamy is the same." Of course, being gay, he might have had a biased outlook, but I believe Mencken and Bierce were about equally cynical on the subject.) Given the disparity of the prospects of a single man and of a single woman in, say, 1910, particularly in the upper class where the men of letters were holding forth, the economic motivation to marry was 180° opposite for men and women. Economically, women had everything to gain, men had everything to lose. Back another 100 years to Jane Austen's England: at least in the world she portrays, all upper-class women could be presumed to be gold-diggers, by cultural necessity. Today, the economics of a marriage contract aren't nearly so one-sided. Women don't always marry a "provider", nor men a "dependent". Unmarried men and women can be economically independent and secure.

You're right about the entertainment media holding on to this idea, though. And yes, as jokes go, this one has gone a little stale over the past 100 years.
Wolfmage@57: My starting point is that almost every effect that can be made with one half of the source has a corresponding effect that can be made with the other half.
This brings up a question I've had for a long time. (Alas, I love going off-topic for a given reread-chapter-pair.) Speaking of how to do things with the two halves of the Power: what about the third one, the True Power? How do those with access to the True Power learn it? You obviously don't weave it exactly like either saidin or saidar. Or ... maybe it is exactly like saidin? (The Dark One always does take the masculine pronoun.) But that seems unsatisfyingly unbalanced. Also, while some True Power weaves have similar effects to One Power weaves, e.g., balefire, others clearly act quite different: Travelling by shimmering instead of stepping through a window in the air (Ishamael in the EOTW prologue), shielding that feels like the True Source is entirely absent (Shaidar Haran in the LOC prologue). I postulate that the weaves of the True Power are entirely unlike those of either saidin or saidar. (We've never heard that there are five powers in the TP, though I suppose from what little we've seen, we can hardly say there aren't.) So, how do you learn it? And given how few people have ever had the "privilege", it's not like you can necessarily find someone to teach you. Does the Great Lord Himself guide you through it? *Shudder*
Trooth@56: One of my favorite parts of the entire series is Loial and Elder Haman, these two gentle souls finally riled, running down the hall, weilding weapons, shouting: Up Axes and Clear the Field!
Yeah, sounds a lot like Tolkien's "Baruk Khazâd! " Oh, and check out the description of the axes:
White-haired Elder Haman, his flaring coat dark with damp in several large patches, was examining one of the axes from the wall, shaking his head over it. Its haft was as long as he was tall. Made during the Trolloc Wars or even before, there were a pair of those, the long axe heads inlaid with gold and silver, and a pair of ornate pointed pruning knives with long shafts, as well. If course, pruning knives, sharp on one side and sawtoothed on the other, always had long handles, but the inlays and long red tassels indicated that these had been made for weapons, too. Not the most felicitous choices for hanging in a room meant for reading or conversation or the quiet contemplation of stillness.
So, "putting a long handle on one's axe" means a 10-foot handle? Holy halberd, Batman!
Cameron Tucker
59. Loialson
So I was thinking of Ogier and sufferage, then started reading The Marvelous Land of Oz( the part with Jinjur's army of girls in dresses with knitting needles in their hair). Then it merged...hundreds of Loials in early 1900s dresses, bonnets and such on their heads, with maley Ogiers' rights signs marching...heh.
Hugh Arai
60. HArai
Subwoofer@55: "What's the sign say?" "Sign says Dip." BANG

Regarding marriage being portrayed as something men fear in the media at present: It seems logical to me. After all, the married man is virtually always portrayed as the clueless moron in the relationship, especially if he's a father. I'd be scared too if marriage was equivalent to a lobotomy.
61. Wortmauer
HArai@60: After all, the married man is virtually always portrayed as the clueless moron in the relationship, especially if he's a father. I'd be scared too if marriage was equivalent to a lobotomy.
Homer Simpson and Al Bundy aside ... well, I always liked Jeremy and Natalie's relationship in the prematurely dropped drama/sitcom Sports Night. She was always flying off the handle on their relationship issues and he was pretty rational and levelheaded, and more than once she had to eat crow when she realized she'd made unkind and untrue assumptions about him. He wasn't perfect, but he did the male in the relationship proud in a way Al Bundy never could.

It does seem to be true about fathers, though ... I assume. Not being married or a parent myself, I have to take other people's word for some of it, but that guy's experience sounds pretty genuine. (That link is reasonably short and well worth a read, IMO. And I'd quite like to hear Subwoofer's take on it.)

Anyway, I'm not convinced society, or the media, treat all married men with anything like the same degree of contempt the media has for fathers. Though, come to think of it, Casey, the father in Sports Night, comes off pretty well, too. Maybe it's just that show.
Rob Kerr
62. useofweapons
Just wondered (spoiler for TOM): Given that we know (and have had confirmed) that Healing of stilling by the other sex will bring the stilled/gentled channeler back to full strength: is there any mileage in asking whether Moiraine's channeling reduction could be Healed in a similar fashion?
Jonathan Levy
63. JonathanLevy
8. The Survivor
I'm pretty sure Ogier can see Ogier ghosts - they sort of line up outside the stedding and look inside. Can't remember where I'm getting that from.
Ooooh, I see 38. J.Dauro has the exact quote.

13. pro_star
Haha yes! That was great. Loial overhears bits of their argument, and and both of them are arguing about "... my Loial..."

29. Wetlandernw
In all fairness, in Aviendha's vision the Dragon's Peace lasted about 20 years, no? Sure, there were minor violations, but all-out war took some time to come back. That's not such a bad record, historically speaking.

32. Paulie
I think our own society matches the Ogier one

This is the subtext of the society Jordan created in WOT. It's a consistent message. Rand even thinks to himself at some point that he thinks the Two Rivers does it pretty much in the same way.
And of course 48. Wetlandernw has the quote.

34. ValMar

41. MasterAlThor
I just checked and my wife said I can last at least a few more years, so sorry - can't join your revolt just yet.

45. johntheirishmongol
I would add offspring-begetting to that list, no? Pretty useful to have a couple of sons to help with the ploughing. Also, help deter the neighbor from stealing your chickens.

51. Trooth
The two aspects are not mutually exclusive. Yes, marriage is beautiful, and yes, you wind up doing what your wife wants a lot of the time. Of course, she sometimes does what you want, but that's only natural so it doesn't count.

Bunker time!!

62. useofweapons
Yeah, that would be funny if after all of the drama made about Moiraine's reduction in strength Rand would heal her back to full strength within 5 seconds of meeting her again, without even asking her first - just like she used to do to him. :)
John Massey
64. subwoofer
Well folks, a bunch o' things have occurred to me since yesterday... Verin and Taim- does she know he's a baddie? When Logain and Rand were discussing the Black Tower and Taim's inner circle, Verin cuts in with a comment about Taim having to wait for the Last Battle and the signs of such being immanent. Edit... and what Forkroot @9 said:)

Is Moridin ta'veren? There is nothing that says that the Pattern has to be spun around the good guys only. And Rand talks about the answers the 'finn gave his question "How can I win the Last Battle?" "The north and the east must be as one. The west and the south must be as one. The two must be as one."- Does the 'two' refer to Rand and LTT, the fractured mind being whole or is it Rand and Moridin being as one?

Oh yeah, Loial's wedding was very sweet. I think he's going to be well taken care of. As far as marriage in our society, well, the Hollywood example is somewhat skewed as the perception is that most Hollywood couples/relationships don't have longevity. Meh, it is only a small portion of society, folks don't need the spotlight to have struggles, and they don't need the spotlight to highlight their love either.

Edit- had to put in some good one liners-

"I am ready to tend a husband... Especially one with such beautiful long eyebrows."

"You are my hero, Husband... but if you get yourself killed, I will be very angry with you." She sounded as if she meant it.


65. Saetana
Regarding the trolloc attack, I recall thinking that it was Graendal who ordered it for some reason, trouble is I'm only on book 7 of my own annual reread so I can't recall the reasoning I used to work that out unfortunately.

As for arranged marriages, they tend to have a higher success rate than marriages for "love" (or what people sometimes think is love) and its largely a cultural thing as those who practise it are far more likely to work at their marriage, divorce, whilst not unheard of, is a lot less common. Remember, the Ogier in Randland are in general a happy and peaceful people, I also recall Loial saying in an earlier book that it is considered "rude" and "bad manners" not to do what your wife wishes, he didn't say it doesn't happen. As someone said in an earlier comment, its not so many years ago that most marriages in pretty much every culture were arranged in some way, it in no way indicates any lesser chance of the marriage being successful, or, and this is just a personal opinion, the couple actually ending up loving each other. The being "in love" that most of us marry for in the first instance is romantic love and that tends to wear off after a couple of years and be replaced by a stronger kind of loving (love not "in love"), friendship and a far better knowledge of each other (I'm speaking as someone who celebrated her 22nd anniversary last month), I see no reason why arranged marriages cannot end up the same way, even if its unlikely they begin by being "in love" with each other. I really can't see the rabid over-reaction to this issue at all.

As for LTT, I can buy that it is Rand's way of coping with all the information that is there, mostly subconsciously, in the back of his head from his previous life as LTT, after all there is more than one mental illness that has people hearing voices of "other selves" or even other people and Rand was certainly heading for a mental breakdown before the events in book 13, Semirhage was probably correct in that respect, nobody could fix the problem for him (she said not even Graendal had ever managed to help anyone with that particular problem), and so he had to do it himself. Rand took a long time to even accept that he was LTT reborn and I think his denial of who he is and was contributed towards the gradual crumbling of his mind and the creation of the LTT persona, he and LTT are one and the same, at least so far as soul is concerned, and he never did want to accept that fact deep down.

I like Cadsuane personally, remember she is well over 300 years old so her lack of patience with a "boy" in his early twenties being foolish is sort of understandable ;o)
66. JimF
I've been away from these re-reads for a long time. Stopping in tonight, and reading, digging the story, and laughing, and saying, You Go, Girl! - kick ass! This may be the best, most heart-felt and animated installment ever - and Mat was only a cameo appearance! Kudos, Leigh. I'll pick up at Chapter 1 of this book (one of my favorites!) and catch up and contribute if I have anything useful to say.
67. mike shupp
Some random thoughts:

1. The Seanchan truce thingy. I don't much care for the Seanchan either but arguably their society has been shaped by -- damaged by -- the Forsaken as much as the other peoples of Randland, the damage extending to the various characteristics that damn them in our eyes. They've earned a right to be in at the kill. Rand would be right in establishing a truce that brought them into the war.

2. Lolial's marraige rites and plights. Leigh, I'm fairly certain you missed what Robert Jordan probably saw as a joke, or perhaps a piece of satire. It wasn't all that uncommon, within the memory of living man (or at least my memory) for males to be wed in this country while promising to "love. honor, and cherish" their wives, while women were bound to "love, honor, and obey." No only that, but as late as the 1960's in most states husbands were legally allowed to settle disputes with their wives by spanking them like children. (I can't say I ever personally met a couple that had carried an argument to that state, but I do recall discussions of the possibility amongst my elders.) I.e., Jordan took the condition of marriage as it existed among the distant Naciremas, flipped it 180 degrees, and applied to the Ogiers. His little joke, I suspect, to make those giant imposing creatures, so fierce in battle, the world's most hen-pecked husbands!
68. Queen MyrdemInggala
Arranged and deranged marriages seem to be a theme of this thread; thanks Leigh!

Personally, I thought that it was a sly dig by RJ at one of the more under-acknowledged aspects of the battle of the sexes, as represented by Our Beloved Prince of Ravens, Matrim Cauthon, only chasing the women who wanted to be chased. I forget just where I read it, but a while ago I read in one of the popular science magazines, that the choice of sexual partner in most species appears to rest with the female, and this is true even of humans. Hence the joke, "he chases her until she catches him".

This in the Ogier's case would differ only from the human in that the female does most of the chasing as well. (I suspect that a lot of interest that Our Beloved Ogier Hero Loial found in that stedding they visited just out of Cairhien, was the preliminary part of the chase, but only the one who actually showed she could get his attention, would've been allowed off the stedding to discuss him with his mother. I doubt it was quite as fraught as Our Beloved Loial makes out.)

So if there is a gender flip, might it be that from Erith's point of view, she has been led on a much longer than normal chase, and she's proved the seriousness of her interest, and so she gets the guy in the end.

Queen ConegUndunory MyrdemInggala
Maiane Bakroeva
69. Isilel
So, after plunging into and becoming briefly obsessed with and then bitterly disappointed by Battlestar Galactica (which wass also heavily into the whole cyclicity thing), I am back!
And now I am really anixious about the WoT ending again and whether it will manage to keep the whole story worthwhile.
There are a lot of disquieting parallels between BSG and WoT, alas.

I'd really hate to have to pretend that the series ended with volume 6, if, say, the Seanchan future that Aviendha saw in the Pillars turns out to be true. _Or_ if the OP vanishes and it turns out that our Age is next.

I desperately hope that RJ never intended to try to make WoT "relevant" by somehow tying it to our present to greater degree than is already the case in the series.
Just leave the ending open-ended enough that I can pretend that it is a spiral (and thus things can be gradually changed) and not a perfect circle, please, and I will be content!

End rant.

Anyway. These chapters are both very enjoyable and intriguing (Rand! Loial! Book of Translation! Ishydin link! Trouble at BT! LTT seizing control!, etc) and irritating for me.

Because Trolloc attack at the manor and the 2 dozen or so channelers within being able to kill 100K of them really makes any and all gathering of mundane armies irrelevant and, by extension, the many storylines devoted to it ditto. So, PLOD, succession and Mat's Circus Blues became even more difficult to stomach for me personally.
Yes, there will be Dark channelers in future battles, but as of now Light channelers outnumber them 10:1 or so. Unless BT splits 50:50 _and_ huge numbers of female Dark channelers come from somewhere else (Shara?), I just don't see how mundane armies can become important without it feeling very contrived and shoe-horned.

Asha'man learning the new weaves so quickly doesn't help, since it makes clear yet again that Dark channelers won't get any edge out of being more experienced.
Also, it underlines anew that female channelers suck compared to the male ones, sigh.

Forkroot @9:

Very interesting idea about Verin. I was so hoping that we'd get answers re: what prompted her subsequent actions in ToM (via a last PoV), but unfortunately I don't see how we'd be able to get them now. Well, hopefully the authors are more ingenious than me.

AndrewB @39:

Does anybody have a theory as to what became of Verin's angreal? One would have thought that she would have given it to Egwene.

Yea, I have also wondered. And in fact I had the same problem with Moiraine's initial angreal - she knew that she would most likely die and in unlikely best case be out of picture for a time, so why didn't she leave her angreal to 2 women she thought would be watching over Rand in her absence? T'is a mystery.

Bergmaniac @23:

This Trolloc attack was really dumb even by the low Shadow standards.(snip)
Total waste of Trollocs and a complete lack of any tension in the scene.

Word! I am even more afraid now that stupidity of the Enemy could harm the ending.

A couple of other things: LTT in Rand uses gestures to channel, as did all of FS at one time or another. So, ragging on AS doing the same in... I think PoD? Was kinda baseless.

And if Ogier males are so down-trodden, how comes that Elder Haman wields so much influence? Why is _he_ the one officiating the wedding? As so many reversals in WoT, this one isn't implemented in plausible, consequent manner, IMHO.
70. Wortmauer
mike shupp@67: His little joke, I suspect, to make those giant imposing creatures, so fierce in battle, the world's most hen-pecked husbands!
Queen MyrdemInggala@68: This in the Ogier's case would differ only from the human in that the female does most of the chasing as well.
That lovely compound adjective, "hen-pecked". But really, I think the Ogier customs aren't really very different from the Two Rivers. Rand figured it out way back when we first met Erith and Loial revealed his impending doom:
Mat gave a guffaw loud enough to draw every head, but at Loial's frantic gesture he spoke softly. "Among us, men do the choosing, and no wife can stop a man doing what he wants."

Rand frowned, remembering how Egwene had begun following him around when they were both little. It was then that Mistress al'Vere had begun taking a special interest in him, more than in any of the other boys. Later, some girls would dance with him on feastdays and some would not, and those who would were always Egwene's friends, while those who would not were girls Egwene did not like. He also seemed to remember Mistress al'Vere taking Tam aside — And she was muttering about Tam not having a wife for her to talk to! — and after that, Tam and everyone else had acted as if he and Egwene were promised, even though they had not knelt before the Women's Circle to say the words. He had never thought about it this way before; things between Egwene and him had always just seemed to be the way they were, and that was that.

"I think we do it the same way," he muttered, and when Mat laughed, he added, "Do you remember your father ever doing anything your mother really didn't want him to?" Mat opened his mouth with a grin, then frowned thoughtfully and closed it again.

— TGH Ch. 35, Stedding Tsofu

Then there's Faile. She's a lot like Erith, really. (Though I hope Erith wouldn't resort to the kind of low-down dirty tricks Faile used in TSR, with the Ogier's Oath and the Ways!) You can't say she didn't chase Perrin! Before they got all emo and codependent, the falcon was definitely the one hunting the wolf. She even proposed to him — actually she more or less made him an offer he couldn't refuse. And Faile, like Erith, uses terms like "managing a husband". The Saldaean wives' philosophy about husbands seems very like the Ogier wives' in some ways.

Then there's the Aiel:
"A woman can change her mind." Melaine's voice was firm enough, but belied by the deep flush in her cheeks. "I cannot stay away from Bael, and I cannot kill him. If Dorindha will accept me as her sister-wife, I will make my bridal wreath to lay at Bael's feet."

"What if he steps on it instead of picking it up?" Bair wanted to know. Amys fell back, laughing and slapping her thighs.

Egwene did not think there was much danger of that, not the way Aiel customs ran. If Dorindha decided she wanted Melaine for sister-wife, Bael would not have much say in the matter.

— TFOH, Ch. 5, Among the Wise Ones
(Now, whether the Aiel women are just as pushy when there isn't a sister-wife involved, we don't really know.)

We don't get a lot of other glimpses from the inside of a courtship; though Rand's four-way, and Mat's thing with Tuon, are a little too weird to take as useful examples. The closest "traditional" man-chasing-woman courtship I can think of is Darlin and Caraline, and we don't really see the details of that one.
Isilel@69: And if Ogier males are so down-trodden, how comes that Elder Haman wields so much influence? Why is _he_ the one officiating the wedding? As so many reversals in WoT, this one isn't implemented in plausible, consequent manner, IMHO.
Once again I think it's like Faile. She is very controlling, but (as with her mother, and as Queen Ethenielle speculates about her cousin Tenobia), when she wants her man to man up, he darn well better man up. I don't see an essential conflict of philosophy there. Is it really so hard to buy a society where women have almost absolute power in some matters, but men wield a lot of influence in other matters? It's the Mayor and Village Council vs. the Wisdom and Women's Circle all over again. Or the Clan and Sept Chiefs vs. the Wise Ones and Roofmistresses. Maybe you don't really buy those either, but to me they hardly seem far-fetched. In any case, whether the worldbuilding is plausible, it's pretty consistent.
Roger Powell
71. forkroot

Very interesting idea about Verin. I was so hoping that we'd get answers re: what prompted her subsequent actions in ToM (via a last PoV), but unfortunately I don't see how we'd be able to get them now. Well, hopefully the authors are more ingenious than me.
We have one other hope, and that is Maria's encyclopedia (or whatever) that will come out after the series. I suspect that AMoL will leave a lot of blanks to be filled in ... and that book might fill them in.

And in fact I had the same problem with Moiraine's initial angreal - she knew that she would most likely die and in unlikely best case be out of picture for a time, so why didn't she leave her angreal to 2 women she thought would be watching over Rand in her absence? T'is a mystery.

Which angreal are you referring to? If it's the ivory bracelet then it had a specific role to play in Moiraine's foreseen encounter with LanFear (and Moiraine used a wish with the Finns to retain it.)
If it's the angreal she had before (the ivory figurine) ... I had originally thought that she had to surrender it to Siuan when they met up at the first part of TGH. (There had been quite a hue and cry in the Tower that Moiraine had been out so long with a "borrowed" angreal.)

A quick check of http://www.encyclopaedia-wot.org/ (love that site!) disabused me of that as apparently she uses it again for healing in TDR. After that ... no mention. OK, agreed ... tis a mystery.
John Massey
72. subwoofer
Yay! Welcome back Is:) BSG was tough going for me, never really could get into it. I'm too old skool, couldn't wrap my head around the new fangled cylons and some wizenheimer gave Starbuck boobs.

But I whole heartedly agree with you- a handful of channelers made swiss cheese outta a whole lotto Trollocs. And later on Rand single handedly scrafes infinitely more of the buggers in ToM. Afterwards he said he was "tired" but geeze, one against how many, and wins?

Back to my original argument about stationing sisters among the Borderland countries. More sisters. So the Blight does not spread, so borderlanders don't have to die, so maybe $#it isn't as bad as it is now. Back to my other idea that the Tower had its collective head in the sand.

It's kinda like the police- where's the crime happening? Up north? Then we'll camp out here away from the scene of the crime. No! Wrong! Get your collective hiney's yonder where you can do the most good.

Mind you, as someone did comment earlier, LTT knew a whole lotta stuff that made lightening and balls o' flame look kiddie by comparison. Let's get some Ents Ogier together and a whack of the "Battle Ajah" go through "The Pointy End Sticks in to People 101" followed by "How to Kill the Bad Guy 102" and get some stuff dun!

Roger Powell
73. forkroot
Sub (and Isilel)
There's only one LTT - other channelers can do quite a bit of damage, but LTT is a force unto himself as shown in the TOM sequence.

Right after that sequence though, Rand/LTT notes that he won't be able to keep doing this and that the main part of the battle will be reserved for others (presumably because Rand needs to go to SG.)

Fully granting the point that other accomplished channelers (e.g. Logain) will certainly be deadly ... consider that there's not that many uber-channelers and TG figures to be a BIG battle, spread all over Randland. Furthermore, the channelers may be pretty busy dealing with Team Dark's presumed (and heretofor mysterious) Dreadlords.

All-in-all ... I thinked there will be a need for every last fighter before this thing is settled.
John Massey
74. subwoofer
Nope, just channelers with enough skill to put a chest high laser line across Tarwin's Gap... and have it move towards the enemy.

Dreadlords? I dunno. Think it is just a fancy name. BA are probably them, thrown in with Taim's cronies. They be outnumbered, bring on the hurt.

Edit- @Forkroot, and note that Rand could only draw in a little more power than Logain, so it is not like he has that much more juice.

The only way I see this going sideways for Team Light, is if it is like a LotR thing and Sauron the Dark One directly takes the field.

Roger Powell
75. forkroot
Sub - Oh man - the dreaded "overconfidence"!!

We haven't seen what Team Dark has cooked up yet. OK, I admit so far it's been less than impressive. I'd almost agree with your confidence, but I have a feeling that Demandred and Moridin have a variety of unpleasant surprises for Team Light.

Logain may be strong, but he doesn't have 400 years of channeling wisdom - and he may have his hands full with the BT.

I have a suspicion that the first part of AMoL will be the fecal matter contacting the rotary impellor (for Team Light). Stuff like Caemlyn overrun, a whole new set of channeling adversaries, etc. Then we will see how our heroes wriggle off the hook.
John Massey
76. subwoofer
@Fork- you know how this will work- the sisters of the Tower finally unite and finally pull their heads out of the sand and give old Dark One just deserts- y'know, the ol' Care Bear Stare:D

Naw, don't forget there are still a passel of Windfinders, Wise Ones, the Kin, and if the Seanchan join in the treaty, damane. Toss in the odd asha'man and the DO had better be pulling dreadlords outta his nethers. And judging by the amount of bumbling, Moridin, SH, and Demandred do more than a passible version of the Three Stooges than anything I'm going to get my knickers in a knot over. There's going to be a buildup, but events are leaning towards the gooders here:)

Sorcha O
77. sushisushi
subwoofer@96 You're assuming that all of the Wise Ones and Windfinders are going to be fighting for the Light and not doing a legger over to the Other Side, once the chips are down. Not to mention the occasional Darkfriend sul'dam, taking a damane with them. Lots of scope for sabotage and mayhem there, let alone the known Black Ajah and Taim's Dreadlord Factory...
78. mike shupp
Wortmauer@70. A very nice post!
John Massey
79. subwoofer
@sushi- meh- yup there may be some, but look at the percentages, the numbers are not there. And the glaring thing for Team Dark- is that they do not work very well together. Too much inter-office politics and back stabbing to be efficient.

Alice Arneson
80. Wetlandernw
That's all well and good, but if Team Light doesn't start working together, they won't be in any better shape. For that matter, if they don't get some of their hotshot channelers to Tarwin's Gap, some seriously BAD STUFF will happen. Oh, and Caemlyn? If Elayne wants a city left, they can't exactly go in flinging Blossoms of Fire and Deathgates everywhere, but there's a fair few Trollocs on the way, and Team Light might want to consider doing something about it sooner rather than later...
Jonathan Levy
81. JonathanLevy
69. Isilel
Because Trolloc attack at the manor and the 2 dozen or so channelers within being able to kill 100K of them really makes any and all gathering of mundane armies irrelevant and, by extension, the many storylines devoted to it ditto

Well, FWIW Lews Therin took some 20K soldiers along with his hundred companions to seal the bore. Evidently he didn't consider them irrelevant.

But there's another possibility here. The argument against the relevancy of armies rests on the assumption that their purpose is purely military. But they may have another purpose - a more cosmological one. If the Dark One triumphs by corrupting human souls, perhaps the bore will be sealed by the presence - or willng sacrifice - of many determined souls. Remember the Aiel at Tzora? The Last Battle may wind up looking more like that than a conventional kill-the-trollocs melee.
And if Ogier males are so down-trodden, how comes that Elder Haman wields so much influence? Why is _he_ the one officiating the wedding? As so many reversals in WoT, this one isn't implemented in plausible, consequent manner, IMHO.

Cultures don't always appear 100% consistent to outsiders - or even insiders. Consider the Aiel: the husband mock-kidnaps his wife, carries her home - and then asks her permission to enter. Ok, maybe I should have avoided a fictional example, but I think the point is still valid.
Valentin M
82. ValMar
The way subwoofer tells it, it will be so easy for the Light that instead of writing 1 000 page brick all the way to 2012 Brandon should just write up a pamphlet called "A Memory of Light" ready for my birthday in September. Caemlyn and Tarwin's Gap wouild take a page each to sort out...
My theory is that Subwoofer is still riding a wave of euphoria and optimism after the Royal Visit :)
Maiane Bakroeva
83. Isilel
Subwoofer @72:

I'm too old skool, couldn't wrap my head around the new fangled cylons and some wizenheimer gave Starbuck boobs.

Never saw the original and a brief look at the wiki makes it seem very cheesy. The Cylon leader in the original was a lizard?! And there was an overabundance of nefarious "Counts", for some reason? And Starbuck was a generic playboy? Eh, I guess I can't understand the nostalgia in this case.
And I rather liked Star Trek TOS when I first saw it in the nineties, so it isn't like I can't overlook a certain amount of "old skool".

Anyway, IMHO, the new series started very strong, but then went to the dogs exactly for the same reasons that make me afraid for WoT - i.e. that the plans and motivations of the baddies weren't given the necessary amount of thought, plausibility and depth, while the show spent lots of time with extraneous character drama that proved to be wholly irrelevant for the heavily deus ex machinaed ending.

Oh, and they wanted to tie the story to the Real World (tm) at all costs by shoehorning it into "our" past. I really hope that WoT has already got it out of it's system and that whatever the 4th age ends up to be, it will be the future - hence open-ended and hopeful, rather than "our" depressing and pointless past.


Wortmauer @72:

Not sure why you bring up TR and Saldea.
In TR there was a "separate, but equal" arrangement, with Wisdom and Women's Circle balancing the Mayor and Village Council. OTOH, during the books, I'd argue that Mayor and Council became pre-eminent since RJ believed that besides Perrin, they should have been the ones to make decisions in the time of war.

And the courting stuff just goes to illustrate that women are all behind-the scenes manipulators in RJ's view. But in the end, it was up to Rand (and other men) to propose, so it isn't like Egwene could have forced him into it if he hated the idea. Nobody "caught" Wil al'Seen after all, no matter how many tried. So, yea, it was humorous for Rand to come up with the notion, but it was just untrue.

Among the Aiel, women propose, but men can decline or accept, so ditto. And Clan Chiefs are executive power, while the WOs are only advisory (no matter covert arm-twisting - a determined Chief can largely ignore them, as Sevanna's antics proved) , so I really see nothing to compare to either Ogier or RL history in reverse.

And I am not seeing the point with Saldean wives either - ultimately, between Perrin and Davram Bashere, they are the leaders of masses and however pushy and insane their wives are, they eventually follow in important matters.

Anyway, just saying that if the Ogier thing is supposed to be a reversal, it is not really much of one, since Elder Haman doesn't seem to be hampered by his maleness at all, in terms of influence, prestige, ability to hold office, etc.

Forkroot @71, 73, 75:

Yep, I meant Moiraine's figurine angreal. Makes zero sense for her not to pass it to Egs and/or Avi. Ditto at least some of her notes.

Ditto Verin's angreal, unless we learn that she did something clever with it. Still, it could have provided a much-needed safety net for Egwene, in case Elaida made a last-ditch attempt to murder her, so...

There's only one LTT - other channelers can do quite a bit of damage, but LTT is a force unto himself as shown in the TOM sequence.

Can't be the case, really, since several of the male FS went head to head with him in the War of Power and only lost by a small margin. IMHO, LTT never came even close to what we saw in ToM.

Logain may be strong, but he doesn't have 400 years of channeling wisdom

Awfully inconsistent to have the "channeling wisdom" help FS very little, but making LTT all kinds of awesome. And judging by this episode, sharing this wisdom around should be a very quick process, too. Not that Rand ever tries, of course, which makes Logain's accusations kind of valid.

Jonathan Levy @ 81:

Well, FWIW Lews Therin took some 20K soldiers along with his hundred companions to seal the bore. Evidently he didn't consider them irrelevant.

Sure, but they had high-tec equipment and therefore were incomparably more effective than soldiers in the series could ever be. Also, 113 channelers, some of whom had to concentrate on placing the Seals, really shouldn't have been sufficient to hold onto the enemy's centre of power for the required time.

Of course, one has to wonder how it is that they could Travel to SG at all - one would have thought that the Shadow would have guarded against such an attack, particularly since the debate about the viability of Sealing was public.

Metaphysical significance? Eh, would feel like a major cop-out to me and last desperate bid to obfuscate the pointlessness of several lengthy storylines and boat-loads of characters involved in them.

IMHO, ongoing inflation of power of the channelers in general and Rand in particular, was/is a mistake. YMMV.
John Massey
85. subwoofer
@ValMar- yes, that must be it... my daughter was on the throne earlier, we're potty training her, I must admit, I was overcome with feelings of pride and honor... er yeah;) The pamplet may be cheaper though, not a good business decision. I believe door to door religion and Lannis' solicitors have a lock on that market.

I'm just saying that in terms of numbers, what? 20% of the Tower were baddies, and Egwene made serious inroads at trimming the fat- that still leaves 80% for Team Light. The Black Tower- Taim + 40 some odd cronies- let's double that number for argument sake, if the Black is still matching the White Tower, then that leaves infinitely more good guys than bad. Same for all the other branches of channelers. They squabble and are not on the same page, but I feel like the Windfinders and such are going to be like er... the Corsair's ships in RotK bringing a hidden army to turn the tide. True story, it could happen. The cup is half full, not empty. The problem is the same as in RL, beurocrats argue about stuff when policy could save lives, meanwhile, soldiers on the front line die by indecision.

As for Caemlyn- well, it was never Tar Valon- cities can be rebuilt, and the Ogier need something to do sooner or later.

@Is- what's wrong with stuff going to the dogs? I'm all over that myself;) And OG Battlestar- fun times there. IMHO it is like New Hope vs. Phantom Menace. Other than that, I'm with you on the numbers game. Still think the DO takes the field, all bets are off. With LotR, things hit the fan in the last book. Here, the weather was already fixed, Rand has already figured out the sun problem, now they just need to keep food form going sideways. Starvation and despair are the big killers these days. And apparently lack of bathing. There is still a Storm building in the North tho'. Gathering Storm- word! :D

Tess Laird
86. thewindrose
Ha! My comment was marked as spam, means I've been away for too long.
So, seems a lot of you are worried we have a cake walk instead of a nail biting ending being served up. I just wanted to put a couple of comments from RJ and an interesting observation from one of the competent sisters here.
From Terez's WoT database(I would link to it ,but I think that is what balefired my first post: The next question was about the tying up of all threads, to which he said it was not going to happen. He then told how he didn't like it when in most books all the sub plots are tied up and that you could put the world in a bell jar and put it on a shelf. He wants his readers to imagine his world still living after the series is finished. He said that he was going to set a hook at the end of the last book and walk away.

The next thought is from RJ's Blog, I posted more than a year ago, and others have mentioned it as well: The Forsaken are a group of power hungry people who don't like one another and vie with one another for power as much as they vie with the forces of the Light. Much like the internal politicking in Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. But look at the situation in the world as it actually stands, from the White Tower divided to crop failures caused by a too-long winter and a too-long summer and people fleeing their farms because the Dragon Reborn has broken all bonds, meaning still less food, and that spoiling at a fearsome rate, from chaos in Arad Doman to a large part of the Borderland armies out of position, from the arrival of the Seanchan focusing too many eyes on them instead of the Shadow to the strongest single nation, Andor, riven by civil war in all but name and Tear split by open warfare, from.... Well, take your pick. There are lots more to chose from. Take a step back and look at what the forces of the Shadow have wrought. The world and the forces of the Light are in bad shape. At this point, boys and girls, the Shadow is winning. There are glimmers of hope, but only glimmers, and they MUST pay off for the Light to win. All the Shadow needs for victory is for matters to keep on as they have been going thus far and one or two of those glimmers to fade or be extinguished. The forces of the Light are on the ropes, and they don't even know everything the Dark One has up his sleeve.

Think of it this way. The bell is about to ring for the fifteenth round, and the Light is so far behind on points the only way to win is a knockout. Our boy is game, but he's wobbly on his legs and bleeding from cuts over his eyes. Now he has three minutes to pull out his best stuff and deliver the punch of his life. The Dark One has taken a few shots, but nothing that has really damaged him. He's still dancing on his toes and talking trash. His head shots can fracture a skull, and his body punches can break ribs. And now he's ready to unveil his surprises. You didn't think all it would take is for Rand to show up at the Last Battle, did you? According to the Prophecies, the Light has no chance without him, but his presence doesn't ensure victory, just that the Light has a chance. Gotta stiffen your legs and blink the blood out of your eyes. Gotta suck it up and find that punch. Three minutes to go, and you gotta find that knockout. That's your only chance.

My final comment comes from Verin, who is not only talking to Egwene in her final moments, but to us as well. She says that most people have the wrong idea about the how TG is going to go down.

So what am I trying to say?! I feel confident that we are going to get a great ending. Things are going to happen that will have us on the edge of our seats, and we will have some huge surprises.

Can I get a 'so say we all' here:)

::shiver::My husband is stoking my cour'souvra, gotta go!

Alice Arneson
87. Wetlandernw
Isilel @83 – “And Starbuck was a generic playboy? Eh, I guess I can't understand the nostalgia in this case.” Of course you can’t if you went and looked up the original after seeing the new version. For those who grew up with Starbuck, Apollo, Athena, Boxey and the rest… You can’t just change a character completely – gender, personality and all – and then expect those who enjoyed the original to be all excited about it. (And don't forget that many of those who loved the original were kids at the time.) The makers of the new BSG could have used exactly the same actors & story they did, but without reusing the names (i.e. changing the characters themselves), and it would have been fine.

As for cheesy… Of course it was cheesy, by today’s standards! For one thing, it was over 30 years ago, so the Issues of the Day were somewhat different and the special effects were… 30 years ago. It was also intended to be enjoyed by a fairly wide audience (including a lot of kids), as opposed to today’s dark-angsty-emo-kill-or-maim-everyone-the-audience-likes approach to entertainment. Frankly, a lot of things that came out in the late 70s was pretty lame in terms of “intelligent plotting” – but then today’s standards aren’t any higher, really. Just darker, so everyone gets to feel all grown up watching it. BSG was never the epitome of intellectual entertainment, but the changes they made to Starbuck were… weird. They could have made him more mature, less of the “generic playboy” – as in, grow up a little, dude! – and made a much more interesting person of the character, but making him a woman? That was stupid. IMO. All they did was take the name and stick it on a completely different person altogether.

Back on topic… I agree that the 4th age isn’t (or had better not be!) our age. It doesn’t make any sense to me. It’s not like one age has no memory of the previous age; there are plenty of stories from the 2nd age which, while not well-documented any more, are accepted as factual in the 3rd age. Logically, if every age begins and ends in a fairly cataclysmic fashion, there would usually be some record of the previous age, but stories of the ages before that would remain only as folk tales or myths, and very few of those. Those stories would be a bit like our fables and fairy tales - which no one actually believes as history, but are told as a combination of entertainment and moral stories. The exception would be an age in which humanity essentially “bombed itself back to the stone age” – or something else all but destroyed the world - where the survival of humanity was not a given, in which virtually nothing survived even as memories, and only a very few myths remained of the previous age. In order to completely wipe out the memories, it would have to be something far more drastic even than the Breaking, I think. Therefore, I’m guessing our age would be either 7th or 1st; certainly not 4th!

Re: “Anyway, just saying that if the Ogier thing is supposed to be a reversal, it is not really much of one, since Elder Haman doesn't seem to be hampered by his maleness at all, in terms of influence, prestige, ability to hold office, etc.” – What, you were hoping for a nice example of a completely unbalanced society, one where women hold ALL the power, and being male is just another word for slave? Go to Far Madding, if you like, but I don’t see why there’s a problem with men having authority in some areas, while the women have it in others. FWIW, I don’t think it was supposed to be perceived as a total “reversal” per se; otherwise, the original mention of it wouldn’t have been immediately followed by the discussion quoted @ 70, in which the boys begin to realize that any good marriage requires balance and harmony, and their testosterone-laden assumptions might not be quite accurate.

thewindrose @ 86 – You tell ‘em, girl!
Valentin M
88. ValMar
I think it's inconcievable that the 4th Age is going to be the Our Age, any way I think about it. No way! Just how would it? Wetlander sums it up pretty nicely just above.
Stargate for example ties up reasonably well myths, ancient history, and archeology with syfy. There is nothing in Randland that would tie in with our past however you stretch it.
John Massey
89. subwoofer
@Wind- yes, but that is essentially what I said, though not as wordy. IMHO the borderland army being in the middle of Andor is not a biggie and a quick fix too. Oh look, Andor is being attacked by baddies- 200 000 troops on our doorstep to help? Give 'er. And we'll have a trade off by giving them a few Kin to transport them to the Gap in the nick of time as it were. That's what the light side has- fast and efficient troop movement now. The Wells were just a taste of fast transport and a bunch of channelers can whoop ass. And Rand does have an army massing on some field somewheres albeit theoretically "to stop him", and a whack of Aiel milling about just itching to die a glorious death. This is the Iliad in the making folks. Homer would be proud... not the Simpson doof I mean.... well, maybe him too.

Mikey Bennett
90. EvilMonkey
Is everybody forgetting Ishydin's room at the end of TOM? You know, the one with shelves upon shelves of Power items? The last battle is going to be a doosy because the Darksiders will make up for their lack of numbers with the powered equivalent of tanks and F-15's. Since it would make absolutely no sense for Bad Guy #1 to stockpile a collection of power items and then not distribute them to the outnumbered troops. Basically every dark side channeller will be augmented to something approaching Forsaken strength if not more, while lightsiders will have to make do with fewer power items and circles (though a third of their fighting force will be unable to form circles because of the a'dam, plus they have little or no experience with angreal). Look at what Rand was able to do in Dragon mode. Now imagine every dreadlord having that same sort of wattage. It's looking like a really good thing that the bad guys don't play well with others b/c otherwise the light stands no chance. That and the fact that every bad guy with the power that gets taken off the board weakens their side more than the same loss would affect the good guys.
91. KatieG
As I recall, there were some things in TEOW thatmade me think our time was the beginning of the Age of Legends, or maybe the Age before it.
Valentin M
92. ValMar
sub @ 89

IIRC the Borderlanders are in Far Madding- they met Rand there. I know that in Canada (and US too) you have different perspective on distances but "on their doorstep" is stretching it somewhat. Not much help to Caemlyn. I guess it'll be up to the Red Hands to provide additional help.
John Massey
93. subwoofer
@Val- well there you go.... Elayne does have a fair chunck of forces on her doorstep- loyal to her, almost like it was meant to be:)

@Evil Monkey- *Raises hand* yup, I totally forgot. Maybe there is a "do not open 'till Christmas or be turned into a lump of coal" note on them? Or a whole lotta "what does this do?" bzappp- I see, it turns people into a pile of ash....

Always look on the bright side of things :)

Charles Gaston
94. parrothead
I never bought the whole "this is our future/past world" theory. The things people point to as evidence like Lenn the Eagle and his daughter Sala, Mosk and Merk, the Mercedes symbol in Tanchico, I just attributed to a combination of the very Campbellian nature of the work as a whole and Jordan winking at the more attentive members of the audience (something I do a lot of in this never-to-be-finished novella I'm working on).

I would say that comparing old Battlestar to new is like comparing 60s Batman to Dark Knight, except that would be an insult to walking self parody Adam West. Ugh. You talk about bad.

I have a very elegant solution to marital problems: I reject it altogether as a degrading cultural imposition that is already on the wane. Although I suppose it does help that I am about as popular with the opposite sex as dryer lint.
95. Giacomo
Rand-Moridin link = horcrux. Resolution probably similar
Roger Powell
96. forkroot
It's more than the Mosk/Merk thing though ... RJ tries to present the WoT as a set of recurring events on such a long cycle that "legend fades to myth". Thus you have Perrin with the hammer becoming the legend of Thor (in an age or two). You have Mat, hanged for knowledge and missing an eye, becoming the legend of Odin.

You also have Galad and Gawyn becoming Galad and Gawain, and so forth.

The issue of when our "Age" occurs has been discussed a number of times over the course of the re-read. I (and others) have pointed out that we probably are not the First Age assuming that Verin's statement about the Portal Stones being from an Age before the Age of Legends is correct.

Of course that's not conclusive ... maybe we'll develop the Portal stones later in this Age?
Alice Arneson
97. Wetlandernw
parrothead @94 - It's all well and good to say "you don't buy it" - and I'm sure RJ never thought anyone would actually believe it - but he very intentionally and specifically wrote WoT to be our world in another age. He deliberately and thoughtfully used our historical events to make "myths and legends" for WoT, and he (equally deliberately and thoughtfully) wrote the events of WoT in such a way that they could conceivably become our myths and legends. Of course I don't believe that our real world goes through seven ages in an unending cycle; this is a fantasy series, written by real people and invented in their imaginations. That doesn't change the fact that it is set up to be a fantasy version of our past/future.

ETA - forkroot @96 - Great minds think alike - and apparently at the same time! :)
Valentin M
98. ValMar
Well, I simply think that the next age is not Our age, not that there's no space for our world in WOT's cosmology. The point about legends and myths like the ones about Thor or Odin coming to us is good. Better than little gray folks with massive heads.
99. srEDIT
@parrothead 94 (and everyone): forgive my ignorance, please parse "Lenn the Eagle and his daughter Sala" for me?
John Massey
100. subwoofer
@Parrothead- I dunno I think it would be more like comparing Tim Burton's Batman to ... Clooney's Batman. BSG MKII wasn't all that and and a bag of chips. IMHO the Cylons were more er... Cylonier back in the day.

I am not sure about this "Age" thing either- couple of things- If the LB marks the end of said Age, isn't each age a reboot? And does the outcome of the LB affect the numbering of the next age. To me since the Wheel keeps on spinning and the timeline is circular, then the End of an Age should be one full turning of the Wheel.

Edit- Ahem- WHOOT WHOOT!! One hunny dance in effect :D

Don Barkauskas
101. bad_platypus
srEDIT @99: The usual explanation for this I've seen is a mash-up of John Glenn, the Eagle (as in "the Eagle has landed"), and Sally Ride.
Don Barkauskas
102. bad_platypus
Re: arranged marriage

I also think it's important to distinguish between two different types of arranged marriages. The first is the kind that almost exclusively occurs in George R.R. Martin's A Song of Fire and Ice and historically among the nobility in the real world, where the arrangements are purely for political and/or financial gain. Those definitely make my skin crawl.

The other type is one where the parents come together to try to make the best match they can for the happiness of their children. This is how I see the Ogier customs, and I don't have as much a problem with that. There are still issues, but overall it seems a much better system.
Alice Arneson
103. Wetlandernw
bad_platypus @101 is correct, as far as I know. And before anyone jumps up and down about John Glenn not being on the moon missions, much less having any relationship at all (beyond both being astronauts) with Sally Ride, that's part of the point. The names get mixed up, the facts go completely sideways, and things that didn't really have much to do with each other directly become part of the same story, which becomes legend, which becomes myth... So in the myth, John Glenn (first American to orbit the earth) becomes Lenn, and flies to the moon in the belly of an eagle made of fire (the landing vehicle via which Armstrong and Aldrin became the first humans to walk on the moon). A much later astronaut, best known in her time as the first American female astronaut but who did spend more than 300 hours in space (all to, in or from orbit around the earth), becomes his daughter Salya who walked among the stars. Each of the three (Lenn, Eagle and Salya) had no direct connection with the others, and are tied together only by their loose proximity in the American space program. Thus are myths born. (At least in WoT.)
Jay Dauro
104. J.Dauro
Some of the comments from RJ show that he specifically intended that our world was to be viewed on the Wheel.

Second AOL Chat October 1994

Q: I was wondering if you could comment on some of the clues that Randland (as we call it) seems to be written as a future earth.

RJ: Time is a wheel. If you look in one direction, you are looking at the past. If you just turn around and look in the other direction, you are looking at the future. The books are set in our future and in our past, depending on which way you look.

AOL Chat #1 - 27 June 1996

Scotty1489: Is our earth a future or past turn of the Wheel?
RJ: Both. The characters in the books are the source of many of our myths and legends and we are the source of many of theirs. You can look two ways along a wheel.

srEDIT @99
See the Encyclopedia WOT website, entry for TEOTW Chapter 4. They have some interpretations of many of the "stories" that Thom mentions.

For a description of the Wheel see the 1st Chapter of the BBoBA. Although it is not considered canon, many things can be found here. It describes the Wheel as having seven ages, like spokes. There is no set time for each age, and no one knows the the length of time for a full turn. RJ often said as much in his interviews.
Julian Augustus
105. Alisonwonderland
Isilel @69

Because Trolloc attack at the manor and the 2 dozen or so channelers within being able to kill 100K of them really makes any and all gathering of mundane armies irrelevant and, by extension, the many storylines devoted to it ditto. So, PLOD, succession and Mat's CircusBlues became even more difficult to stomach for me personally.

I'm shocked, shocked that you find this revelation surprising (smile), As early as tEotW, Rand, by himself (!), faced something like 200k trollocs at Tarwin's Gap and smashed them, We've always known that mundane armies would be irrelevant at TG if there is nothing to negate the overwhelming superiority of channelers on the light side. Fortunately (for the story, that is), RJ says the dark side has several tricks up its sleeve, and a couple of doozys were unveiled in the last book.
106. Aduiavas
Wow, I finally caught up to you Leigh, and while that might make me enjoy the comments more, it also makes me have to wait a whole WEEK for the next post :p
I just want to say that I really enjoy this reread, and it have made me see so many more details than I would ever do on my own :)
Thank you.
Kimani Rogers
107. KiManiak
Incredibly late to the party this time. Just my quick 2 cents before we move to one of the most emotional chapter endings in all of WoT, IMHO.

First, thanks, as always, Leigh.

Two good chapters, especially after our previous Elayne focus. I know we’ve had several discussions in the past about Rand ignoring the Black Tower, so no need for me to revisit that. I am looking forward to Logain gaining all kinds of glory in (hopefully) liberating the Black Tower, and (this is a longshot) finding a way to reverse some of those who’ve been 13x13ed (Tarna, you were cool). And if he and others do it without Rand’s assistance, then I eagerly anticipate Leigh’s RANT.

I know the Seanchan are disliked by the vast majority of WoT fandom, but I think it would be a complete waste to crush all of them; they are very good warriors and would be very useful at Tarmon Gaidon.

I loved the introduction of certain battle-weaves. I always thought that fireballs, lightning, mini-earthquakes and the like were okay, but that true masters of the Power should be able to do much more. But, when I first read this chapter and got to the introduction of Blossoms of Fire and Deathgates? That was freaking impressive. I can’t wait til we get to discussing the chapter in ToM where Rand destroys 1000s of Trollocs by himself.

I’ll admit, the whole thing with Loial’s marriage didn’t elicit any kind of strong emotional response from me, but if it pisses off others, then so be it. I do hope he’s able to play a role in TG, though. Or, at least be able to finish his book.

Anyway, enough for now.

“The Golden Crane flies for Tarmon Gaidon!”

Can’t wait!
108. srEDIT
@ all: Thanks for explaining about Lenn and Sal . . . I knew that!
109. GoinSlow
Lenn could also be LEM short for Lunar Excursion Module, the technical name for the lunar lander ( ie. The Eagle). Sala could be the Soviet Salyut program. Which was a forerunner of the ISS and Mir Space Stations.
Sorcha O
110. sushisushi
I had never heard the Sally Ride explanation for Salya - I had always thought it was referring to Salyut, rather than Sally Ride, whom I had never heard of until I read this thread (have rectified that now, though!)
Theresa Gray
111. Terez27
forkroot @50


Fain can control Trolloc Zombies - he can't indirectly direct hundreds of Fades to control thousands of Trollocs. I really don't think there's a credible argument for Fain being the responsible agent.

The theory was written before TOM, without any knowledge of zombie Trollocs. Obviously it branches out, and some parts of it were contradicted by TOM (such as the idea that Fain also sent the group to Ebou Dar), and now we know for sure that the Shadow can send Shadowspawn through the Ways without losing too many of them. But we also still know that 1) the Shadow didn't send the ones against Rand, and 2) Fain can also control Machin Shin. He has the power of illusion, and it's probably not necessary for him to order each Fade individually. He's been keeping his pet Fade since TSR, and he already managed to steal Trollocs from Isam using that Fade, and that before he regained the dagger, and before he really came into his powers.

I was reluctant to argue before TOM that Fain was able to make an illusion of Sammael because of a connection to Mashadar (which had corrupted Sammael's soul) because such a connection could not be firmly established. Now we know. Assuming that Fain was able to make the illusion of Torval and Gedwyn because he had killed them with his dagger, it's probably safe to assume that Fain did the same with Sammael. Furthermore, it couldn't be established before TOM that Fain was in the Blight or anywhere near it, but now we know for sure.

Fain's ability to control and manipulate Shadowspawn, particularly Myrddraal, has been one of the ongoing themes of his character (which many thing will culminate with Shaidar Haran), and with the clues available, Fain is really the only candidate that makes sense. He has the motive (to take a swipe at his two greatest enemies in one blow - Rand and the Shadow), while all of the Shadow players have minimal motive, since they are in the best position to understand that such an attack would be futile (they all knew Rand had the Choedan Kal, Callandor, and a host of channelers for an entourage) and not worth the risk of offending the Nae'blis. Fain doesn't care too much about pissing off the Nae'blis. He's batshit crazy, for one, and for another, RJ has said multiple times in the interviews and in the books that Fain would love to take a swipe at the Forsaken and would leap at any given opportunity.
112. qbe_64
I always thought that 'rape and pillage' literally meant sexual rape. But after looking up rapine, that is apparently not the case. And I, learned something today.
113. MarauderChi
Actually on re-reading this - it does look like Rand is dealing with the Black Tower after all we just dont have a POV. And he is doing it in a very intelligent way. Remember while he thinks Taim is probably either trying to build his own empire or is a darkfriend, and dislikes him. Taim has done a great job of building the Black Tower and this chapter clearly shows how effective they can be in the Last Battle. So what does he do when Logain (Who he has no reason to trust any more than Taim at this point), brings him disturbing stories. He sends Logain to pick half of the Asha'man and spit them up between Illian and Arad Doman. Taking them away from Taims direct control and with someone who hates Taim picking who is to go. It is really quite cleaver - if he tried to go to the Black Tower himself; what could he do? Make accusations and start a fight with a guy that has at least 40 other Asha'man ready to join in on the other side? That could easily go against Rand. Plus he still wants Taim training more Asha'man which he is doing a great job of. So he splits his odds of being betrayed in half or less. Divide and Conquer! And he has completely legitimate strategic reasons. Why this is never stated as the reason the timing strongly hints at this.

As for Battlestar Galatica - interesting parrallel with ages coming and going. But stop the hate - it is universally considered the best Sci Fi series ever with only Firerfly and TNG coming close. Excellent story and quality - considering all the the crap Sci Fi and fantasy out there lets not hate the few flaws of the very few good shows.
Alice Arneson
114. Wetlandernw
@113 - NOT universally. I personally couldn't stand BG, but I have heard far more people (and people for whose opinions I have much more respect) say that Babylon 5 was the best TV Sci Fi series ever - and possibly the best television series ever. Firefly had the potential, but it was cut too short.
Heather Olver
115. Arila
@111 Wow, Fain and the illusions (going back to Far Madding!) That's cool. I try not to think about Fain. eww.

Anyway, looking back on the discussions about how outnumbered the darksider's channeler section appears to be is quite amusing after the release of the prologue of AMoL. Heh...

Also, I had forgotten that Loial got married here. Probably because it was practically a Vegas-level drive-thru affair, quickly interrupted.

Also, so many tidbits in this chapter so densely packed. The balefire connection with moridin is actually in the books and not fan speculation (!!) and the Ogier have this book of translation thing which will take them away?! Wow. Sounds sort of like LotR Elves when they sail off at the end of the books. I've got the rest of this book and 2 more to get through in the next 17 days.

I have January 8th off (for other reasons) so I'm thinking, quick nap. Midnight bookstore, and marathon read all that day. :D
116. Ducky.Moe
Ok I NEVER comment (and I know I am about two years too late) buuuut the Leigh/Dr. Suess part had me laughing till I cried! Too funny!

Thank you Leigh.
117. hesuchia
Vows was the most awesome chapter in the book. The most awesome in the last few books, and surely in the top 10 of all of them IMO. You ranted about the marriage customs but that really took away from the commentary on the actual awesome content.

Aside from the gender inequality in marriage (I agree that it's frustrating, but it's much less infuriating than some of the other crap to me, like the double standard of Aes Sedai - Asha'man bonding acceptability), I thought Loial and Erith's interactions were adorable. Especially the fact that it's Loial's first POV in the series! And no more from him til AMoL. It's great to see life in his head, his thoughts are a lot more human than he seems to think.

I also loved that his mother brought Erith there in order to settle him down via marriage, but Erith was so taken with him and his bravery that she pretty much encouraged it. She sees how awesome Loial is, even if he doesn't, and I think overall that his mother's plan sort of backfires in that regard.

Also how hotheaded his mother is and impatient (putting a long handle on her axe, amirite?), and in contrast to her Book of Translation opinions (which she states as fact), she ends up respecting Loial's point of view (!), and is somewhat eager to hear more. Then of course Loial badasses again when he sees trollocs, and Erith calls him her hero. +20 points for Loial.

Rand's POV was pretty cool too. All his fear that Lews Therin would steal saidin from him finally came true. And his fear that LTT would try to kill him almost came true also. Still, all those new awesome weaves (deathgates!) were pretty...well...cool. Also I always find funny that LTT thinks of Rand as a mad voice in *his* head. "Why can't I move my hands?" Haha, especially since Rand started taking talking to the voice in his head as a matter of course, and LTT laments that he can't believe he's arguing with a voice in his head.

So yep. Loved this section. I wish you'd commented on more than just the negative parts of the marriage customs and speculation :(.

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