Jul 12 2011 2:22pm

The Wheel of Time Re-read: Knife of Dreams, Part 13

Fancy that, it’s a Wheel of Time Re-read!

Today’s entry covers Chapters 20 and 21 of Knife of Dreams, in which we have half a *headdesk*, a rather slapdash coronation, and a Moment of Awesome.

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 20: The Golden Crane

What Happens
Rand walks through the mountains of dead Trollocs with Logain, Min, Cadsuane, Alivia, and fifty Maidens. He makes no attempt to shield himself from the rain, afraid to seize saidin again despite Lews Therin’s agreement (Lews Therin mocks him for this). Logain is disgruntled about using “his” Asha’man’s and Aes Sedai’s energy in burning up the Trollocs, and Lew Therin weeps that Rand should have killed them all.

The Source is clean now, fool, Rand thought.

Yes, Lews Therin replied. But are they? Am I?

A servant brings Rand a letter from Verin, which he puts in his pocket until they get to the barn where the dead Saldaeans are laid out. To everyone’s dismay, the barn is filled with flies, but Alivia quickly disperses them with a weave Cadsuane is displeased to discover she had learned covertly by watching the Aes Sedai; Alivia doesn’t care about Cadsuane, but asks Rand anxiously if he doesn’t mind. Rand tells her she should learn as much as she can, which angers Min.

“Your viewings are never wrong,” he broke in. “What you see always happens. You’ve tried to change things, and it never worked. You told me so yourself, Min. What makes you think this time can be different?”

“Because it has to be different.” she told him fiercely. She leaned toward him as though ready to launch herself at him. “Because I want it to be different. Because it will be different. Anyway, I don’t know about everything I’ve seen. People move on. I was wrong about Moiraine. I saw all sorts of things in her future, and she’s dead. Maybe some of the other things I saw never came true either.”

It must not be different this time, Lews Therin panted. You promised!

Rand pulls out Verin’s letter, which tells him that she’s decided that her oath to him can best be fulfilled elsewhere, so she’s left. She tells him she thinks he can trust Cadsuane, but to be wary of other sisters, even those who have sworn fealty; she reminds him that such an oath means nothing to a Black sister, and even those who are not may obey it in ways he might not like. Rand finds this last rather ironic, considering, and gives the letter to Cadsuane, who is visibly surprised that he did so. She reads it, and opines that Verin is “a woman of many masks,” but her advice is sound. They are joined by Haman and Loial; Loial tells Rand he’s already gotten married, but solemnly promises that he will be there with him at the Last Battle. Rand thanks him sincerely, but says he needs him before that, to find the rest of the Waygates. Haman tells him there is no way, as Loial must return to the stedding and rest from being Outside so long. Rand says he must find another Ogier to do it then, and to everyone’s surprise, Haman volunteers; Cadsuane comments that apparently Rand “infects” even Ogier. Elza Penfell enters to announce that Bashere has returned.

She was a handsome woman in a dark green riding dress; her brown eyes seemed to grow feverish when they found Rand. She, at least, was one he did not have to worry about. Elza was fanatical in her devotion.

Bashere enters, and Rand gives him time to mourn over the fallen Saldaeans. At length Bashere tells him that the Daughter of the Nine Moons will meet Rand in three days at a manor house in northern Altara, and that she will bring six sul’dam/damane pairs; Rand may bring a matching number of channelers, plus one other. Min takes his arm, and he tells her no; she merely answers that they will discuss it.

Nynaeve is in her rooms with Lan, recovering from a headache. She tries to insist she is well enough to go back out and help again, but Lan refuses to let her go. They watch the Asha’man and their bonded Aes Sedai work from the window, and Nynaeve is puzzled at how well they seem to get on with each other, and appalled at her suspicion that Gabrelle and Logain are not the only ones sharing a bed. Nynaeve asks what Lan is thinking, and Lan says that an attack from the Blight could come at any time, and yet Rand sits here, “weaving his Seanchan schemes.” Nynaeve guesses sadly that he has to go back. Lan tells her his place is with her, but Nynaeve disagrees, and offers to take him to the Borderlands, implying “Shienar” within that request without actually agreeing to take him there specifically. Lan agrees.

She wanted to cry, to scream at him that he was a fool, that his place was with her, not dying alone in a futile private war with the Shadow. Only, she could not say any of that. Bond or no bond, she knew he was torn inside, torn between his love of her and his duty, torn and bleeding as surely as if he had been stabbed with a sword. She could not add to his wounds. She could try to make sure he survived, though.

Lan packs, and they head to the stables. Nynaeve asks him for an oath: that he will ride to Fal Moran before entering the Blight, and that if anyone wants to ride with him, he will let them. Lan is suspicious, but swears it. They kiss, and Lan mischievously suggests she spend the night with him in Shienar, as he will miss “having his back clawed”, but Nynaeve blushes and refuses. They ride out, and Nynaeve weaves a gateway; once they are through, Lan angrily recognizes the place as World’s End, in Saldaea, as far from Shienar as you can get and still be in the Borderlands. Nynaeve reminds him of his oath, weaves another gateway, and leaves him there before he can stop her.

In an inn called The Queen’s Lance in Saldaea, Weilin Aldragoran negotiates a sale, pleased that the reputation his hadori gives him allows him to drive a hard bargain. He is approached by a woman who says she’s heard he has a wide correspondence by pigeon. Aldragoran sees the Great Serpent ring on her finger, and is startled that she wears the ki’sain on her forehead, but agrees without hesitation, unwilling to risk angering an Aes Sedai. She pulls out another ring on a cord around her neck, and asks if he recognizes it.

His breath caught, and he stretched out a hand, brushed a finger across the heavy gold signet ring on the cord. Across the crane in flight. How had she come by this? Under the Light, how? “I recognize it,” he told her, his voice suddenly hoarse.

“My name is Nynaeve ti al’Meara Mandragoran. The message I want sent is this. My husband rides from World’s End toward Tarwin’s Gap, toward Tarmon Gai’don. Will he ride alone?”

He trembled. He did not know whether he was laughing or crying. Perhaps both. She was his wife? “I will send your message, my Lady, but it has nothing to do with me. I am a merchant. Malkier is dead. Dead, I tell you.”

The heat in her eyes seemed to intensify, and she gripped her long, thick braid with one hand. “Lan told me once that Malkier lives so long as one man wears the hadori in pledge that he will fight the Shadow, so long as one woman wears the ki’sain in pledge that she will send her sons to fight the Shadow. I wear the ki’sain, Master Aldragoran. My husband wears the hadori. So do you. Will Lan Mandragoran ride to the Last Battle alone?”

He was laughing, shaking with it. And yet, he could feel tears  rolling down his cheeks. It was madness! Complete madness! But he could not help himself. “He will not, my Lady. I cannot stand surety for anyone else, but I swear to you under the Light and by my hope of rebirth and salvation, he will not ride alone.”

He offers her wine, but she tells him she has several more towns to visit before returning to Tear that day. Aldragoran marvels as she leaves, and turns to the rest of the common room, who had all been listening in, and demands of the other two Malkieri there:

“Well, Managan, Gorenellin,” he demanded, “do you still remember who you are? Do you remember your blood? Who rides with me for Tarwin’s Gap?”

For a moment, he thought neither man would speak, but then Gorenellin was on his feet, tears glistening in his eyes. “The Golden Crane flies for Tarmon Gai’don,” he said softly.

“The Golden Crane flies for Tarmon Gai’don!” Managan shouted, leaping up so fast he overturned his chair.

Laughing, Aldragoran joined them, all three shouting at the top of their lungs. “The Golden Crane flies for Tarmon Gai’don!”

Aw, yay!

I really missed Nynaeve-brand Moments of Awesome, so this was extra-special cool as far as I am concerned. This is probably the first truly awesome thing she’s had an opportunity to do since, erm, ACOS, probably.

Well, the Cleansing in WH should probably count, but I don’t really think of that as being a Nynaeve Moment of Awesome; that was more kind of a group MoA thing. Or, you know, something that doesn’t sound vaguely dirty. You know what I mean!

And I think the most awesome part, really, was not the scene in the inn, but rather that Nynaeve gained the maturity to recognize she had to let Lan do his thing in the first place. There’s a cliché here about letting what you love go and it’ll come back to you, but hey, things become clichés for a reason. I do think that’s one of the hardest things for people to recognize or accept about being in a relationship, that the other party is still a whole complete person unto themselves even when they are also half of a couple, and that has to be allowed for.

Of course, for most of us “letting go” usually involves rather less dramatic things than “letting my spouse go off to attack Hell all by himself.” All things considered there are definitely relationship problems out there I am perfectly happy to be without, you know?

I remember it distinctly worried me, on initial reading, that we’re seeing here for the first time a conflict between Rand and Lews Therin that isn’t just Rand needing/wanting something and Lews Therin being too crazy to give it to him, but an actual, direct disagreement between them over something — and something pretty darn fundamental, too. It transpires that I was right to worry, given what happens in TGS. Yay?

Sneaky Verin sneakily continues in her sneak-filled pursuit of Ultimate Sneakiness. Her reminder to Rand that the oath of fealty means nothing to a Black sister made me snort out loud. Hah.

I assume, though, that Verin didn’t know that Elza was also (and more) Black, because I have to believe she would not have left her unmolested there, the worm in the proverbial apple. At least, I sincerely hope so.

So, bye, Verin! See you EXTREMELY AWESOMELY in TGS!

Also: GRRRR, Elza. I really want to smash her, you guys. AND I CAN’T. My life is so filled with frustrations! *woe*

I’m trying to figure out if I would still consider Min’s determination to come to the meeting with Tuon to be stupid if I didn’t already know how the meeting is going to turn out, i.e. badly. But, I think that probably yes, I would still think it was stupid — although I might have been persuaded, in Rand’s shoes, that the advantage her viewing abilities would give him outweighed the danger. Maybe.

Eh, I dunno. Probably the least stupid option would be for Rand not to be love with anyone who might get killed in the first place. Or, in other words, no one, seeing as we have this big apocalypse thingy coming up, and the death toll on those tend to, shall we say, exceed the average.

Which just goes to show, sometimes there are worse options than the stupid one. But still, I must fling a general ARGH toward our narrative future: ARGH, future!

“Even when I know there’s a Waygate actually in a city, I can’t find it by myself, and then there are all those cities that don’t exist anymore. I need you to find the rest for me, Loial, or Trollocs will be able to flood into every country at once, and no one will know they’re coming until they’re in the heart of Andor or Cairhien.”

Speaking of the future: Elder Haman FAILS, apparently. Okay, that’s probably harsh, or something, but man. I’m not clear on how much time passes between this scene and Olver’s scene at the end of ToM, but I’d really have thought finding the Waygates in the major cities, like, oh, say, Caemlyn, would be a top priority. But I’d be wrong, apparently! Sheesh.


Chapter 21: Within the Stone

What Happens
Rand, Alivia, Cadsuane, Min, Nynaeve, and a small guard of Maidens ride into Tear more or less incognito, but Rand knows that the twisting of chance that occurs around him will give him away sooner or later. He is astonished to see a great wagon loaded with machinery that whistles and steams move through the streets by itself. He thinks that Master Poel got his steamwagon to work after all, but wonders aloud how it got here. Two street urchins (Com and Doni) tell him that four (or six) of the steamwagons pulled a hundred (or fifty) wagons all the way from Cairhien to Tear, and covered over a hundred miles a day doing it. Rand pronounces it remarkable.

Remarkable was hardly the word. A hundred wagons or only fifty – only! – incredible was more like it. Would merchants start using those things instead of horses? It hardly seemed likely. Merchants were conservative folk, not known for leaping at new ways of doing things. For some reason, Lews Therin began laughing again.

Min looks after the urchins with a sad face, and Rand does not ask what she saw. He sees more ta’veren twisting of chance as they ride toward the Stone, and Rand resolves to get out of the city quickly. He senses Alanna in the Stone, and again feels that her bond is an intrusion, unlike the others’. They go an inn called the Dragon (the women snicker at the poor illustration on the sign), where they overhear a Seanchan accent, but the man leaves before they can catch him. They procure a room with a view of the Stone; the close confines of the room almost spur a panic attack from Rand (and Lews Therin), but Rand ruthlessly suppresses it and seizes saidin, fighting the nausea and wary of Lews Therin, though the voice does not try to take it from him.

The face of the man from Shadar Logoth floated in his head for a moment. He looked furious. And near to sicking up. Without any doubt he was aware of Rand in that moment, and Rand of him. Move a hair in any direction, and they would touch. No more than a hair.

He weaves a gateway to the Heart of the Stone; once through, he holds on to the Power, still wary of Lews Therin, though the voice snarls that Rand has to trust him. Rand greets the two Defenders guarding the room, and they tell him he might want to take a guide to find Darlin, because sometimes the corridors… change.

So. The Pattern truly was loosening. That meant the Dark One was touching the world more than he had since the War of the Shadow. If it loosened too much before Tarmon Gai’don, the Age Lace might unravel. An end to time and reality and creation. Somehow he had to bring about the Last Battle before that happened. Only he did not dare. Not yet.

Rand declines the offer, which the Defenders accept without question. As they head through the Stone, Cadsuane comments that it is not a good thing to have too many people ready to hop when he says “toad”; Rand finds this rich, coming from her, and tells her harshly he’s fighting a war that everyone loses if he does, and if he could make everyone obey, he would.

Cadsuane nodded. ”As I thought,“ she murmured, half to herself. And what was that supposed to mean?

Rand lets his bond with Alanna guide him to a room that contains her, Darlin, Caraline, and Astoril, as he had expected, and also Weiramon and Anaiyella, which he had not. Rand demands to know what they are doing here. Weiramon intones that they had come to help Darlin “crush” the rebels; Alanna reports disgustedly that all they did was get a lot of men killed and undo all the progress she and the other Aes Sedai had made in negotiations up to that point. Angrily, Rand tells them he left them in Cairhien for a reason, and they will return there as soon as possible.

”My Lord Dragon, I will serve you where you command, but I can serve best on my native soil. I know these rebels, know where they can be trusted and where-“

”As soon as possible!“ Rand snapped, slamming his fist down on the chair arm hard enough to make the wood creak loudly.

”One,“ Cadsuane said, quite clearly and quite incomprehensibly.

They discuss the hunger situation in the city, and Rand orders Darlin (to his puzzlement) to find two urchin boys named Doni and Com and provide for them when he can.

Min made a sound in her throat, and the bond carried sadness so bleak it almost overwhelmed the burst of love that came with it. So. It must have been death she saw. But she had been wrong about Moiraine. Maybe this viewing could be changed by a ta’veren.

No, Lews Therin growled. Her viewing must not change. We have to die! Rand ignored him.

Bera Harkin enters, and reports that all the other High Lords and Ladies Rand had left in Cairhien were now on their way to Tear as well. Rand leaps up in a fury, and thunders that they’re to return immediately or be hanged. Cadsuane says, “Two.” Bera goes on to tell him that the rebels have reached an agreement: Darlin remains Steward in Tear for Rand, but only if the rebels have their titles and lands restored and can swear fealty to Darlin as King of Tear. The rebels will also feed the city for a year as a fine. Darlin is astounded, and Rand even more angry; he hurls his goblet to the floor and growls that they can stay commoners and swear to Rand. Cadsuane says “Three,” and switches Rand with Air on his bottom.

“Don’t make me have to keep reminding you about manners, boy.” Cadsuane went on. “Alanna told me the terms you offered before she left – Darlin as Steward, your laws kept, everything else on the table – and it seems they’ve been met. You can do as you wish, of course, but another piece of advice. When the terms you offer are accepted, hold to them.”

Else no one will trust you, Lews Therin said, sounding entirely sane. For the moment.

Rand glared at Cadsuane, fists clenched hard, on the brink of weaving something that would singe her. He could feel a welt on his bottom, and would feel it more in the saddle. It seemed to pulse, and his anger pulsed with it. She peered back calmly over her wine. Was there a hint of challenge in her gaze, of daring him to channel? The woman spent every moment in his presence challenging him! The trouble was, her advice was good. He had given Alanna those terms. He had expected them to bargain harder, gain more, but they had gotten what he actually asked for. More. He had not thought of fines.

“It seems your fortunes have risen, King Darlin,” he said.

Darlin wants to know why they’d want him as king, and Bera replies that it’s preferable to swearing to the Dragon Reborn; Caraline adds that it also makes “Steward of Tear” a lesser title in their eyes. Darlin asks her if she would marry a king.

“I’ll accept the crown, if you will. Though I’ll have to have a crown made.”

Min cleared her throat. “I can tell you how it should look, if you like.”

Caraline laughs and says she will consider it if the crown makes him look pretty. Rand cuts in to tell Darlin that he will accept the crown, and then will arrest any Seanchan in the city before gathering every able-bodied soldier in Tear; Rand will have Asha’man take them to Arad Doman. Weiramon eagerly asks to go along, and Rand allows it reluctantly. Darlin wants to know what he’ll be doing in Arad Doman, which is “a madhouse” from what he hears.

“Tarmon Gai’don is coming soon,” Rand said. The Light send not too soon. “You are going to Arad Doman to get ready for Tarmon Gai’don.”

*sigh* *half-hearted headdesk*

Seriously, Cadsuane, in three hundred-plus years of living you MUST have encountered a way to make people listen to your otherwise perfectly sound advice that doesn’t involve publically humiliating them. In front of people from whom it is vitally important to have respect, too!

Again, that’s what always gets me about her. Make him listen, fine, get him to control his temper, great, but don’t fucking undermine his authority with others to do it. How is that a good thing, ever? It isn’t!

I’m only half-heartedly outdone, though, because I now know just how spectacularly this tactic is going to blow up in Cads’s face Real Soon Now, and while I certainly can’t be overly thrilled at how all that is going to go down (at least not until the eventual Jesusing resolution), I can feel a tiny bit vindicated that it did. Because I Told Her So. Nyah!

Min offering to design Darlin’s crown cracked me up. That is all.

Weiramon: Okay, so my memory of ToM is not as clear as it could be, but I do remember (I think) that we found out in it that Weiramon was, actually, a Darkfriend. Which is a tad egg-on-face for me, since I’ve been espousing since the man was introduced that he was not a Darkfriend, and that sometimes an incompetent pompous moron is just an incompetent pompous moron, when in fact he was actually a cigar. Um, or something.

So, mea culpa on me. And in hindsight, that makes this whole sabotage-disguised-as-incompetent-rescue-attempt he pulled here… rather diabolically clever, actually. Huh.

Well, shit. I is all discombobumalated now!

I talked a couple of posts back about the Caemlyn Palace warping, where I assumed that that was due to the Dark One’s influence. Someone in the comments pointed out that this was probably less the Dark One directly than it is his influence on the Pattern, and how the Pattern is getting seriously stressed out and potentially in need of a patch job as a result. Though whoever it was (sorry, it’s 5:00 in the morning right now and I am just not up to sifting through hundreds of comments at present) probably didn’t phrase it quite that weirdly.

And it looks like Rand agrees on that score, judging from the bit I quoted up above. So, uh, there’s that. Just thought I should point it out. Good call, commenter!

By the way, we almost in passing here get a confirmation that the dizziness symptoms from crossing the streams are affecting Moridin as well as Rand. Personally, I was very relieved, in a weird way. At least Rand isn’t the only one for whom this sucks, for once.

A very dark fellow with tightly curled hair, at a square table beside the door, seemed not to notice the Maidens at all. Rand took him for one of the Sea Folk at first, though he wore a peculiar coat without collar or lapels, once white but now stained and wrinkled. “I tell you. I have many, many of the… the worms that make… yes, make… silk on a ship.” he said haltingly in an odd, musical accent. “But I must have the… the… andberry… yes, andberry leaves to feed them. We will be rich.”

His companion waved a plump, dismissive hand even while staring at the Maidens. “Worms?” he said absently. “Everybody knows silk grows on trees.”

This is probably one of the only times I wished I could be a merchant in WOT, so I could get on this like white on rice and make a million bazillion dollars. (Get in on the ground floor on the steamwagon thing, too, while I was at it.) Talk about an untapped market….

Of course, I don’t wish this too hard, seeing as buying silk is probably going to become a rather low priority for Randlandians in the very near future. Along with any other commodity you can’t either eat or kill things with. Nothing like the end of the world to get folks to cut down on the consumerism, I always say!

And on that cheery note, we out! Have a week, and I’ll see you in the next one, yeah? Later!

1. lordnaryb
"exceed the average" *snerk*
2. Lsana
I've grown to like Nynaeve much more on this re-read, but the first time I read these books, this was the first time I saw her awesomeness. I remember thinking, "Go Nynaeve! You rock!...My God, did I really just say that?"

Reading the Cads/Rand dispute was a little like watching the Iran/Iraq war. I wanted to strangle both of them. Rand for being such an unreasonable bastard, Cads for treating him like a child and undercutting his authority in a situation where he desperately needed it.
3. vsthorvs
Sory Leigh, but Verin definitely knew about Elza, as revealed in either GS or ToM, I can't remember which. But she must have figured it was okay, since Elza was under Compulsion. Otherwise she couldn't betray her due to her Black Oaths.
4. Tarcanus
I'm surprised that people actually thought that Weiramon was legit. Ever since The Dragon Reborn, I was positive he was a DF.

In The Great Hunt, a DF is introduced who wears ornate, silver-filigreed boots. Then in The Dragon Reborn, we're introduced to Weiramon who also, coincidentally wears ornate, silver-filigreed boots. The descriptions of the footwear were far too close to not be an authorial nudge that this guy is No Good.
Kimani Rogers
5. KiManiak
Once again, Leigh, my thanks for the summary and opinions. Especially since we’re discussing one of my favorite chapters in KoD, and all of WoT, for that matter.

It’s almost too bad that this stuff with Rand, Min, Alivia, Verin, Cadsuane and the Ogier happened in this chapter, as the main focus has to be “The Golden Crane Flies for Tarmon Gaidon!”

This was the moment. This was when I felt that this book was going to be one of my favorites of the series. I also think this is when Nynaeve started to annoy me less (even though there was some major manipulation, deception and “handling of your spouse” going on, but maybe I’ll address that later), and her believe-she-knows-what’s-best-for-everyone approach didn’t automatically trigger my irritation, and I actually started to like her more and more. But, this scene displayed RJ’s ability to really grab me emotionally, and produce laughter and tears at the same time as the Malkieri laughed and cried.

You see the spirit of these 3 Malkieri, and you... believe. You begin to believe that the Malkieri (this devastated people we were introduced to way back in TEotW) will play a sizable role in TG. You begin to believe that Lan will lead his people against the Shadow, and they will have their revenge (And after reading ToM, you see that image even more strongly. Screw being outnumbered by at least 10 to 1. They’ll find a way). You also believe that RJ is beginning to wrap all of this up, and that we are heading towards an end :-)

Great chapter; great final 5 pages of a chapter.

Worth reading over and over again.

And yeah, there was other stuff in this post to talk about. But “The Golden Crane flies for Tarmon Gaidon!” One of the best phrases (and scenes) of the series.
Birgit F
6. birgit
Rand knows where the Waygate in Caemlyn is. It is the first one he used.

Why do they have to ride through Tear before Travelling to the Stone?

Verin cannot directly betray Elza because of her Oath, but she warns Rand that BA don't have to follow the oaths they swore to him because she knows of her.
Stefan Mitev
7. Bergmaniac
Elder Haman is not to blame for the invasion through the Caemlyn's Waygate. Rand told him he's had it sealed aleady and he needed an Ogier to find the other Waygates - The Caemlyn one was not one of those the Elder had to take care of.

Anyway - I am one of those who don't care much for Nynaeve's apparent MOA here. Letting your loved one go when he wants is fine and all, but not when that means 99% certain death which won't help much if at all in the grand scheme of things.

Cadsuane's behaviour in Ch. 21 is simply shameful, embarassing in public Rand and eroding his authority. I find it really implausible that he put up with it for so long without sending her away, Min's viewing or not.
8. ClintACK
Nynaeve's moment of awesome is one of my very favorite scenes in the whole series -- and it still gets me choked up when I read it. I tell you now, if Lan and Nynaeve don't end up rebuilding the seven towers and leading their people back to the thousand lakes...
Alice Arneson
9. Wetlandernw
Good grief. I tear up just reading the recap!

No time for further comments today; catch you all downstream!
Chris Long
10. radynski
That Nynaeve scene is my favorite scene of the series, and in fact favorite scene of any book ever. I love that scene so much.
James Whitehead
11. KatoCrossesTheCourtyard
This has to be one of my favourite moments with Nynaeve in the entire series.

@5KiManiak, I thought the same thing regarding the Malkieri. Their reaction & Lan's determination to fight in the Blight leads me to believe that Team Dark had a real reason to try to wipe out Malkier. And why they continue to try to kill Lan. Foreshadows their importance at TG that we are only beginning to see.

While I do agree that Cads' way of teaching Rand manners doesn't seem well thought out I don't anyone was going to be able to 'guide' Rand much at all; he's barely listening to anyone at the moment outside LTT and when the only advice you're taking is from 'voices in my head,' that's not a good thing. As a side note, I did find the sheer irony of an AS teaching others manners is highly amusing. ;-)

Jason Kuhlmann
12. BrowncoatJayson
Maybe its just that we are seeing this from Rand's perspective. I didn't get overly upset about Cad's "discipline" here, since I assumed Rand was the only one who noticed the switching and everyone else just saw his Aes Sedai advisor who (presumably) is there to keep his ego/power/megalomania in check. Her advise to him is sound, if you just read her words and ignore her actions with the One Power.

But yeah, it goes from this to can-open-worms-everywhere real quick now.
13. ftbleighjkjk
"The Golden Crane flies..." was another moment in this book which served to elevate it above the nothing that was CoT. Reading this stuff for the first time I recall getting really excited about this series again. It really does begin to set up the endgame. Well-recapped, Leigh!
Debbi Chambers
14. dchambers59
@9 Wetlandernw - I had the same reaction. I'm sitting at work with tears in my eyes picturing Nynaeve's MOA. I think they could tell that I wasn't actually working.
Ted Herman
15. WinespringBrother
My own peeve with the whole "finding and guarding the Waygates" is what good is that going to do? A presumed handful of Ogier watching each Waygate won't be able to stop invading Shadowspawn, nor warn anyone in a timely manner of said invaders. Hopefully, Karldin was also warding the Waygates he visited with some sweet Shadowspawn killing weaves like the ones Rand used at Shadar Logoth.

As for "The Golden Crane", not much to say besides that being a great chapter that puts Lan back in the spotlight (and deservedly so)!
Debbie Solomon
16. dsolo
I have to disagree with Bergomaniac@7 re: Nynaeve. She doesn't want to let Lan go, but she knows that he is restless and unhappy, and she is the only thing holding him. Lan has been going into the blight to fight the Shadow since he was about 16. He put it aside to follow Moraine, and fight the Shadow her way, but now he is just floundering, feeling purposeless. Nynaeve is doing everything she can to protect him, without giving him a chance to refuse. I loved this scene, and I had to laugh when everyone just happened to be traveling on the same road as Lan. Lan has always felt that he was not going to survive, but Nynaeve has other ideas.

re: Cadsuane - it's kind of foolhardy to keep aggravating a guy that can make deathgates.
Debbie Solomon
17. dsolo
A question for Leigh. Now that you've met Jaime Lannister, who do you favor in a cage match - Jaime or Lan?
Birgit F
18. birgit
re: Cadsuane - it's kind of foolhardy to keep aggravating a guy that can make deathgates.

Cadsuane is protected by her paralis-net. The other channelers in the room can see what she is doing (and Alanna and Min know through the bond), but the nobles don't know what is going on.
Jamie Watkins
19. Treesinger
I am pretty sure that Cadsuane was daring Rand to channel at her so her "Parasol Net" could break up his weave. She wants to humiliate him to prove that he needs her.
Skip Ives
20. Skip
The scene in the inn is one of my favorites in the series. The first time I read it I was laughing and crying along with Aldragoran. It still gets me, just reading the part you quoted.

Jordan was always a good writer with plot and pace, but I really think once he decides to pick up the pace, his writing really shines. His characters moments of awesome are so good because he writes those moments so well.
Kimani Rogers
21. KiManiak
Ok, other things to talk about for this chapter now:

I admit that the internal dialogue between Rand and LTT in The Golden Crane didn’t worry me that much. LTT was introduced to us as a crazy, depressed and suicidal being, and he continues to show similar types of behavior throughout the series, to this point. I remember wondering whether they would be working together from this point on, or still working mostly against each other. We get an answer in a few more chapters when they go to meet with “Tuon”

Yes, Verin continues to play her game, and play it well. She was so fun to read, before the big revelation in TGS. Heck, she’s still fun to read and reread even after the revelation. I think in TGS that we find out that Verin knew most of the BA, including Elza, but I could be wrong. I see that vst@3 made a similar point.

I think that maybe I’ll let others tackle Min and her belief that she was the right choice to attend a meeting that would, by her presence, be attended by more enemy channelers and potentially constitute a greater threat to the man she so desperately wants to protect.

I would have loved to have been given a POV from Min as to why she thought she should attend. To protect Rand? Or to not be left alone by him? What did she think she would do? Did she overestimate her diplomatic abilities in possible negotiations with the Seanchan? Did she really believe that any potential viewings she might have would be worth forcing her presence at this meeting? Having said all that, I do get that one of the hardest things must watching someone you love go into a dangerous situation, while you must stay behind.

Ok, so maybe I did tackle the topic just a little bit :-)

You know, in hindsight, Weiramon is more clearly a DF. He couldn’t have been that clueless and still be capable of maintaining his position as one of the more influential High Lords, could he? The incompetence and stupidity had to have been an act. Again, this all became clear to me in hindsight :-) Like Leigh, I was fooled initially…

Cadsuane hitting Rand. I wonder, are we going to revisit the spanking discussion again (for the 5 billionth time)? People in the WoTverse use corporal punishment; it’s what they do, and we should just accept that is one of the approaches of that universe (and ours, for that matter). We don’t like it when it happens to our favored characters, but it happens. To both sexes.

I will say that Cadsuane continues to show that she is a bully. She knows that she can strike at others through the Power, but she has a ter’angreal that protects her from the same. Yes, she may be trying certain tactics to help shape Rand into the man she thinks he needs to be, and away from the man she thinks he’s becoming. But she’s still being a bully. And the public humiliation aspect of this “spank” was a low blow…

As for the warping of the Camelyn and Tear palaces (if we want to call The Stone a palace), I thought I read somewhere (maybe in one of Terez’s transcripted interviews) that the warping of reality was connected to the increased use of balefire and its damage to the Pattern (this also relates to the ghosts, the sinking merchant that Valan Luca’s circus saw, etc). Since I can’t recall the specifics, I guess we can consider that as just a theory, but for some reason I recall it as being more of an explanation by an authoritative source. Oh well, if anyone can locate it and either prove that it’s a loony theory or has been supplied by Team Jordan, that would be nice.

Lsana@2 – I agree with you on Nynaeve. The reread (and Leigh & BWS’s championing of her) have had me appreciate some of her actions more than I initially did on my first read. This is clearly a MOA for Nynaeve.

Berg@7 – I thought that Rand had already had that Waygate sealed, too. To my understanding, all it takes is a channeler to cut through the Waygate, to regain access. I seem to remember that happening in an early novel; was it Moiraine in TEotW? Also, I obviously strongly agree with you on Cads; don’t really agree with you on Nynaeve.

Kato@11 – Yeah, I always find it ironic whenever an AS talks about how others need to learn manners, humility, respect, etc…

Browncoat J@12 – Cads wouldn’t be the only one to see the discipline. Alana, Nynaeve, Alivia, and Bera were there. They saw the weave and the action. Bera was shocked and Nynaeve laughed. It was an undermining act in front of some of Rand’s followers. Poor course of action taken by an advisor, IMHO.

Treesinger@19 – Re: Cads – that’s a possibility that I’ve considered as well. Maybe she was pushing Rand to show her that the Power alone would not be enough to deal with all enemy channelers. (I also wouldn’t be surprised about the “humiliation” part, either). Hopefully, Nynaeve has also told Rand about her ter’angreal as well. Of course, Zen-Rand probably no longer requires this lesson.
Marcus W
22. toryx
Like Bergmaniac @ 7, I wasn't especially impressed by the calling of the Golden Crane. It was a nifty scene, but I'd never put it in my favorites.

This is so for two major reasons: 1. It's true that it doesn't seem very likely at all that Lan will survive without some major Rand help later on, in which case this scene isn't really all that significant. 2. Lan is still acting like a jackass, wanting to spill his blood in a battle with no chance for victory.

If he was going up there to actually ready the Borderlanders for war, it would have been one thing. But while Nynaeve has certainly changed as demonstrated in her recognition that she has to let Lan go, Lan is no different than he has ever been. He still feels he has to do it alone and that he has to die in the process. Where's the evolution in that? Well, quite simply, there isn't one.

Noneo Yourbusiness
23. Longtimefan
this is just a quick note to agree with Wetlandernw and dchamber59 that "The Golden Crane" is an exceptional chapter and it makes me a little teary just reading the recap.

Granted it took several books of well laid information about Lan and Malkier and the Borderlands but it all comes together in an truly moving few paragraphs that just cut right to the heart of the Lan/Nynaeve relationship and each of their personal strengths and motivations.

Just really awesome.
24. Taryntula
Min's viewing about Cadsuane...it was something about keeping her close, right?

Maybe keeping Cadsuane close was the only way for Rand to completely break and have his epiphany. Maybe that WAS Cadsuane's purpose...to push him over the edge and onto his DESTINY.
John Massey
25. subwoofer
Bloody good- that's 'bout it. To answer Toryx- where does Lan evolve?- On his journey towards the gap. Lan never wanted to be king, just avenge his lost kingdom- a la Aragorn- but as we will see, Lan is on the verge of taking up his crown. IMHO.

This chapter is gold, bar none. Like Steinbeck novels, we have had a long journey of some PLODS that are challenging to get through, but the back six pages of this chapter is pure gold. This really solidified the character and legend of Lan and his people. The power of these few pages did what a bunch of chapters in New Spring could not. Made me a believer.

As for me, Ny in the first couple of books was trying, but her loyalty to Rand speaks volumes. Ny would not become an Aes Sedai if it interfered with her being at Rand's side when TG hits, she is looking out for her pack- that is what Ny started out to do when she followed Moiraine from the Two Rivers, and Ny is still there. I heart her. She is going to have many more moments and will go down in Tower histories as one of the greatest channelers of this age.

Cadsuane- well as pointed out, only other channelers could see the switch of Air, other than that it may have looked like Rand was holding in a big bit of er... gas. While I'm not the biggest Cads fan, and probably not the best person to defend her actions, Rand was being a Douche to Darlin. And yay for Darlin on his engagement to Caraline. Always thought that was a nice side-plot. And Leigh kinda skipped over the way that Caraline, whom bears an incredible resemblance to Moiraine, her cousin, brought Rand up short.

Wieramon. If this guy was here in this day and age, he'd be wearing polyester and selling used cars. Or he'd be lawyering for the mob... well, I dunno if he's that smart. Either way, he's slimey.

Sorcha O
26. sushisushi
Elza: You have *no* idea, Rand, you really don't…

Mwuahaha on the manicure kit, that only makes sense when you read the review :)

Sneaky Verin is sneaky. She does know that Elza is Black, though, as Egwene finds her name in the Little Book of the Black Ajah in a later chapter, along with one Nalaene Forrell, presumably still in Cairhien with the rest of Rand's sworn Aes Sedai. (edit: the chapter is 'A Visit from Verin Sedai' in TGS)

Also, Nynaeve indeed rocks here, despite it being a result of her newly acquired Aes Sedai twisting of words. It's particularly resonant if you have read the palaver about the Golden Crane in New Spring, too.
27. xolotl
Finally (or unfortunatly) I've caught up to this reread in real time! I've really enjoyed it Leigh (although its painful how much I disagree on some things) and can't wait for it to keep going (maybe you can switch to a chapter a day? No...ok).

As far as these chapters go, I do love Nynaeve in this chapter, great way to get your man what he wants but get him taken care of in the process. I don't see how this is a death sentence though, he was running around in the blight for years before he hooked up with Moraine. Yes, things are starting to come to a head, so to speak, but it's not like it was a cake walk before. Lan knows what he is doing over there.

I didn't read the chapter along with the reread so I might be missing something, but one thing that alwasys bugged me was Lan getting mad at Rand. He knows that Rand has to get everyone on board. Not to mention that leaving an enemy at your back is just bad tactics. It never seemed like something he would say to me. He would understand that this is a war, not just one battle in the blight. Everything has to be ready to fight it. Also, he knows that the Boarderlanders know whats up and don't need to put in line like every one else. Just sayin...

Also, with Cadusuane, she never really bugged me because she is just the ultimate AS, that is what they all strive to be, to be mad at her you have to be mad at the institution that led her and made her. AS look at her as the greatest of them, she is what they all strive to be. Its the Tower that is the issue, not her.
Valentin M
28. ValMar
Where's RobMRobM gone? Anything special about July 12?

Anyway. Golden Crane. Toryx @ 22 mostly covered my feelings. Though I did tear up as I read the exchange in the inn... I hope Lan survives the battle at the 'Gap, but we shall see.

xolotl @ 27
I agree that it was strange of Lan critisising Rand. Maybe he was just frustrated.
29. Gentleman Farmer
Re: Lan and Nynaeve

While I agree with toryx and others above that Lan doesn't show character progression in this chapter, I think it creates the potential for growth as a character, and so I really enjoyed and was stirred by the chapter in the ways expressed by many of the other commenters.

The travel to the blight and fight to the death is a dream Lan has had since boyhood, and he keeps getting diverted from it by various folks (Bukama, Moiraine), from NS onwards. It's also a promise he made to himself, and he can't feel fulfilled until he honours it.

The growth here, and the "awesome" nature of Nynaeve's actions is that unlike Moiraine, Nynaeve can recognize Lan's honour and his need to fulfill his promise to himself, while finding a way to channel it into a useful and meaningful contribution (and planning on working with Rand to make sure it's not a fatal action either). Moiraine did the best she could see to do by diverting Lan to a larger purpose. Nynaeve recognized what Lan needed as a purpose to overcome the broken warder bond, and also found a way to work jointly with him towards Lan's goal instead of trying to shift Lan's goal to be her own.

I see the chapter mostly as evidence that Nynaeve has had the character progression, has demonstrated that she'll be able to make a better partner for Lan than Moiraine ever could, and has sown the seeds for Lan to survive the breaking of the warder bond, to restore his own sense of honour by fulfilling his promise to himself and to recognize that Nynaeve cares not only for him, but for the things that he cares for. If Lan has, to this point, loved Nynaeve for being herself and as Aes Sedai, this gives him the opportunity to recognize her value as a Queen in supporting both him and his country.
Max Espensen
30. Andvari
Ah The Golden Crane, one of the best chapters ever written in an book ever. Even the recap makes me all strange inside. Every time....

@22 etc. it's a MoA for Nynaeve obviously, letting a loved one go and do something they need to do is an incredibly hard thing to do, and shows real selflessness, but this scene is so affecting not for Nynaeve or Lan, but really the other Malkieri; it's their reactions that make me tear up. The fact it may be futile and certain death only makes it more poignant.
John Massey
31. subwoofer
Frustrated? Well, lemme see- to put it mildly, the Tower totally shit the bed when it came to saving Lan's parents and kingdom. A little baby with a sword, a ring and some body guards. That's all Lan has left of his kingdom and the only memory of his folks. I think that would stir up certain feelings in me if I was him- certain pissed off feelings. Lan knows, he feels that things are about to hit the fan, and it is his right to be there when things go down, he may not win, he may not live, but at least he was there.

“Lan told me once that Malkier lives so long as one man wears the hadori in pledge that he will fight the Shadow, so long as one woman wears the ki’sain in pledge that she will send her sons to fight the Shadow."

I can't think of a better time to be at the Gap to uphold oaths taken at birth. No one lives forever, but we can choose how to die well.

The borderlanders may know what they are about, but 4 monarchs, their Aes Sedai advisors, and 200 000 troops are in the middle of no man's land, not doing anybody any good right about now. Let's get them to slap Rand around and be done with it.

The Seanchan are about to have their own issues. IMHO the Return is going to be halted by a succession story seeing as the Empress is dead and Tuon just got promoted. Not to mention that Arad Doman may be in civil war, it is also prime for Trolloc attack. Let the bug troops see first hand that things do go bump in the night, maybe then they'll change their thinking about the reality of the Last Battle. Dunno what they call it in Seanchan, but things will get real when a few thousand troops get decimated by a Trolloc horde.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go cry some more, it was just so beautiful.


32. xolotl
@30 To me the biggest thing with Nyneave in the chapeter is how she goes bout getting them to join up. She didn't brow beat them or trick them into doing it (or AS them into doing it), she tells them "Hey, you're Malkieri, this is how we act, this is how we do things." She was distant, she was part of it, she included her self and they followed her as their Queen, and happily. They respect her right off the bat and say "Yeah, we're not some soft Southerners, we're Malkieri!"
Jay Dauro
33. J.Dauro
Golden Crane has always been a troublesome chapter for me. Although I want to love Nyneave and what she does here, I am troubled by how she does it.

She lies to her husband.

OK, I know Aes Sedai do not call it lying. Not a word she said was untrue. But she deliberately deceives him. And I believe Lan sees it as equivalent to a lie.

From TSR 16
Lan did not appear to see anyone but Nynaeve. “You let me believe you were returning to Tar Valon,” he rasped at her.
“You may have believed it,” she said calmly, “but I never said it.”
“Never said it? Never said it! You spoke of leaving today, and always linked your leaving with - those Darkfriends being sent to Tar Valon. Always! What did you mean me to think?”
“But I never said - ”
“Light, woman!” he roared. “Do not bandy words with me!”

Yes, it's for his own good. Yes, she doesn't want to lose him, and he is going to throw his life away. It's not like Nyneave hasn't been told this from the start. And yes, Lan expects to ride to his death. He does not want companions so they will not die, but his honor demands that he attack.

If Lan had done this to Nyneave, deceived her to protect her, she would still blow sky high.

So I have to hand it to RJ. Here is a characterization that I love, and I hate. It's not often one bit of writing can do that.

(And no, I have no idea what I would do in her shoes.)
Cameron Tucker
34. Loialson
Re: waygate in Caemlyn.

I just finished my re-read(well, relisten as it was the audiobook) of TSR, where Loial explains how a gate is sealed.

You remove both leaves and it "dies". Ie it will not open any more.

IIRC there is a major Problem: He mentions 2 ways to get the waygate "working" again. You have an elder bring the talisman thingy to regrow the leafy part to work with leaves again...or have an Aes Sedai cut through the dead stuff to open.

So even if Loial and Elder Haman did get all the waygates locked, all the shadow needs is a darkside channeler to get the waygate cut open again. Which there are plenty of if Taim's cronies keep getting cranked out over at the DF factory Black Tower.

Since it was audio I don't have the text to back it up with me, and I dont know what spot in the audio to look for it. Any of you long time gurus remember this?
35. AndrewB
I make no bones about it. I do not like Nynaeve. In fact, she is the character that I dislike the most in the entire series. I do not think she acted heroically in the Golden Crane Chapter (I will make some specific criticism below).

Only one time in the series do I give her a mental bow -- in TGS when she found Graendal's servant. The period of time when she stopped watching the ghosts to the time she prevented Graendal's servant to Rand was when she was very effective. More importantly, I thought she acted without her usual hypocritical thinking that Nynaeve knows best; she is the only one looking out for the Two Rivers boys; and the hell with everyone else.

That said, let me delve deeper into the reason why I do not think she acted heroically in the Golden Crane.

I will start with the the fact that Nynaeve loves Lan; and Lan returns that love. Their marriage has been written as a marriage of love -- not necessity, politics, loneliness or any other reason that two people may marry. I get that. Heck, nothing is wrong with that.

Despite this mutual love, what does Nynaeve do? She tricks (if not outright lies) to her husband. Nynaeve said that she understood Lan's need to be at the Blight during the Last Battle. Without Nynaeve's approval, Lan would not have left Nynaeve's side.

Yet, she deposited Lan at the World's End. I know, I know. She dropped him off at the World's End so that Lan's journey would take months. During this time, Malkerians (and possiblly other Borderlanders) would join Lan's side -- initially due to Nynaeve's efforts after she left Lan in the Borderland equivalent to the middle of nowhere.

My criticism with Nynaeve is not with her efforts. They were impressive. My criticism is with her unilateralism. Once again, Nynaeve is taking action to benefit somebody else (Lan, in this case). However, Nynaeve is doing what she believes is best for Lan -- without consulting with Lan.

For those of you who are in a relationship with a significant other (it need not be a spouse), would you ever do something so bold with first discussing the matter with him/her?

I am not above telling some white lies to my wife (for example, I spent all Saturday doing errands, which might be true -- but I neglected to tell her that during some of that time, I stopped in the local bar to watch the football game). However, I would not tell her that I would not make a life altering decision without discussing the issue with my wife. This is especially the case if the decision impacted her in some way.

For example, if I wanted to quit my job, resume practicing law and start my own firm. (For what it is worth, I would never quit my current job and start my own law firm.) While the decision ultimately would be mine, I owe my wife the courtesy of discussing the issue with her first. (If for no other reason than we have our medical insurance through my employer.) Maybe she has some valid thoughts. (More than just "Are you nuts ! I know that you were dropped on your head as a baby , but I did not think it caused any long-term damage.")

I would have given Nynaeve her props (as hard as that would have been for me) if she discussed her plans with Lan beforehand. I am sure that Nynaeve could have persuaded Lan to see her point of view. The series has shown that she can be persuasive (ie. successfully badger) when she wants.

(A question for all the married men -- When a woman marries, does she receive this special gift of badgering? I am positive that my wife did not have this talent before we were married. Just wondering .)

This post is becoming long winded so I will try to wrap it up. I guess what I am trying to say is that I if Nynaeve loves Lan as much as she claims, how could she take the actions she did in the Golden Crane without discussing them first with Lan. In her own way, Nynaeve is trying to alter the core principles of Lan. Does that not merit a discussion before hand?

I welcome any comments. I may even respond -- if I am able to leave the safety of my man cave.

Thanks for reading my musings,
36. AndrewB
It seems J. Dauro @33 beat me to the punch re Nynaeve lying to her husband.

Thanks for reading my musings,
Joseph Blaidd
37. SteelBlaidd
@AdrewB &Dauro. The bigest problem with trying to reason with Lan on this issue is that he has demonstrated over his ENTIRE life that he is compleatly irrational on this subject. This chapter we see him complaining about Rand not paying attention to the border and the Rulers runing around doing who knows what, but does he go to his friend and say "I should go to the North and rally the troops." NO! he plans to sneak off and then comit suicide by trolloc out of a sense of survivors guilt because he didn't die with his parents and his contry when he was a baby.

This is not something he can be talked out of. We see this in the increasing ly rediculus meaures he takes as he fails to sneek past eveyone on his way to the gap in ToM. Nyn did the best she could to make his effort something other than a pointles sacrafice, because he sure as hell wasn't going to.

RE. Rand and Cadsuane. Personaly, I think he was doing a pretty good job undermining his athority all on his own. Carrying on in a full bore diva fit is not the best way to convince people that you are likly to be the winning side. None of the chanalers would have their opinion of him changed either way by seeing Cad's reminder. Everyone else would just see him rien in his temper and be reassured that he's not about to start indescrimenently blasting people.
38. ClintACK
I second what Andvari @30 said -- the emotion in the MoA is all about the Malkieri. They are all mini-Lans, and this is the moment when their long years of quiet despair are shattered, and Malkier is, in some sense at least, reborn. The fact that Lan hasn't quite caught up to where his people are just sets up what happens later...

Also what xolotl @32 said -- what makes Nynaeve so awesome is that she, even more than Egwene, is the picture of what an Aes Sedai *should* be. This comes out more explicitly at her testing -- the debate over whether or not to raise her to the shawl was really more a reflection of the sorry state of the White Tower than any ill reflection on Nynaeve.

Re: Lying... I agree with SteelBlaide @37 -- reasoning with Lan on this point was out of the question.

Unlike her deceit on leaving Tear, here she isn't deceiving him to avoid an awkward conversation, she's deceiving him to save his life, Malkier, and the world. She did it to his face -- walking through with him to World's End and acknowledging her deceit. And she did it from love -- not just the love of Lan, but as she shows in her recruitment drive, a love of the Malkieri people as she's come to know them through Lan. And through that love of the idealized version of the Malkieri that she's gotten from Lan, she manages to call the Malkieri back to themselves, back to the people they'd thought were gone forever. It's the single most regal act any of the dozen or so queens in the Wheel of Time has ever performed.
39. Shard
I was under the impression that the Waygate in Caemlyn was being tampered with by the DF's. Thus the need to go back to that Gate, I'm sure it had been locked up but the BA probably went back to open it. Verin knew this and that's why she wrote it in her death letter.
Leigh Butler
40. leighdb
dsolo @ 17:

A question for Leigh. Now that you've met Jaime Lannister, who do you favor in a cage match - Jaime or Lan?

Well, maybe this will change later, but considering what I've seen Jaime do so far is (a) get his ass kicked in a jousting tournament and (b) throw a kid off a window ledge, I'm gonna have to go with Lan at the moment.

(No spoilers on why I'm wrong, people. No spoilers, period. I'm not kidding.)
41. Tesla_sunburn
To me the problem, the biggest problem, with Cadsuanes actions toward rand is that that are incredibly ineffective. Cadsuane makes claims of being adaptive but she spends months barking up what is so obviously the wrong tree.

I disagree strongly with those who say that Rand is unreasonable and wouldn't listen to anyone. I put forward that even at this point, under all the anger and frustration, Rand holds his strongest trait. The ability to except good advice, even if sometimes he avoids admiting it to other people. My evidence-

1. When Rand is in Tear the first time he grows close to Elayne. She offers him advice for Governing and nation and to her surpise he takes her advice. Accepting any he can and learning quickly.

2. When seiging Couladin's army Rand plans to man the front lines and search out Couladin himself. For reasons I don't understand no one raises any arguement against it until the day of the battle. Lan is annoyed with him but doesn't tell him so directly and then Avienda, Egwene, and trope of maidens confront him. Despite that they also chose the worst way of changing his mind, forcing him to publically embarass himself he still after consideration concludes that they are right. While this is speculation I feel confident that if anyone he trusted had come to talk to him in a firm but respectful way Rand would have backed down.

3.Min talking to Rand just before Semirage collared him. This is the most important moment of the three because it shows Rands ability to admit he was wrong even to his turn. Min seeing that everyone else had run out of idea's attepted to simply talk to him. To reason with him as his equel. It works! Sadly it was to late to fix the damage to his fractured a beaten soul. Semirage erases Min's progress by placing the last nail in rands coffin. Again speculation here but had Min spoken to him earlier he very well might have held on and came to his Mind meld naturally.

In short. If Cad's had come at Rand's problems from on of equality, still taking none of his crap, but telling him face to face what he needed to do I feel strongly that Rand would have listened.
42. alreadymadwithsmacking
KiManiak @21
No, Zen-Rand already knows what paralis-nets are for. And I suspect if Rand had really let loose, Lews Therin's experience with the darned things would still leave him on top.

AndrewB @35
Not really sure. I think it's about how much your female mate thinks she can get away with. Or how much you let her get away with. Or whatever. Not married anyway.
Bethany Pratt
43. LiC
'Twas Elayne's job to secure the waygate in Caemlyn. I think her DF Queen's guard killed the guards and let the trollocs through.

Nynaeve's bit there is my absolute favorite part of KoD - well, ... yes, it is. I was a Storm Leader during Brandon's tour that year, and I recited most of the lines in an impassioned voice for the crowd while they waited upwards of 2 hours to get their books signed. LOVE IT.

john mullen
44. johntheirishmongol
While I have often been annoyed by Nynaeve, in this case I have to give her props for the perfect thing to say and do. Cadsuance continues to annoy, even when she is right. Rand is obviously reaching crisis. Verin is the coolest, sneakiest, best AS around. Good stuff pretty much all around
45. elliesaurus
I don't know if this has been proposed already, but can we call Verin's journal the Little Black Book? It has such a nice ring to it...
Kimani Rogers
46. KiManiak
Sub@25 – Defending Cads? Wow. Ok, but I think that she still is very much acting the bully in this situation. Was Rand acting out? Sure. But she hit him and almost challenged him to try to do the same to her, all the while knowing she could hide behind her ter’angreal. Because she didn’t like what he was saying (and how he was saying it), not because he was threatening Darlin. Reverse that, have Rand hit one of the women because he didn’t like what she was saying, and then let me know if you’re still Ok with it. Plus, her tactics don’t really work, IMHO.
(Oh, and Rand was being a total douchebag. When LTT and Cads are both considered the voice of reason -re: holding to one's terms- then you have probably gone off the deep end)

xlotol@27 – re: Cads - Um, a lot of us do take issue with the AS and the Tower as a whole and the attitude they espouse. Saying Cads is the epitome of an AS as they currently are is not really a compliment, IMO. Even after Egs actions in TGS…

AndrewB@35 – I hear your complaints. I mentioned that Nynaeve’s MOA is colored by manipulation, deception, and "spouse-handling," and I'm not advocating for those points to be ignored. Nynaeve has shown from the start that she believes she knows what’s best and that others should follow accordingly, no matter what they think (but don't dare try to treat her that way!) After her being this way for 10+ books, maybe it’s easier for some of us to somewhat overlook that aspect in light of the joy and reaffirmation of identity that Nyn elicits in the 3 other Malkieri.

Nyn’s MOA isn’t so much with how she treated Lan, as it is with instigating the reassembly of the Malkieri, ostensibly under Lan, to face the Shadow at TG (Tarwin’s Gap, maybe not Tarmon Gaidon). The emotions that many of us feel when reading that section may have to do more with the way RJ writes Aldragoran’s reaction to what Nynaeve says, and how he changes from a savvy merchant that exploits his Malkieri heritage, to someone who fully reconnects with that heritage, and will gladly ride with his king to finally answer the Shadow’s destruction of their kingdom and people. Plus, Lan will ultimately ride to avenge his people with all kinds of backup, thus providing him with a fighting chance in his quest to meet the Shadow at TG.

But at the end of the day, you’re right. This was one spouse deceiving and manipulating the other because they thought they knew what was best, and took major action that would directly impact their spouse without discussing it with that spouse at all. Do the ends justify the means in this case? That’s each individual reader’s call…

(Btw, I don’t think your post was too longwinded at all, but I may not be the best judge of that particular thing)

SteelBlaid@37 – Re: Rand & Cads – Rand was doing a good job of being an ass, but having a subordinate smack/spank/slap/paddle/whatever the king/emperor/leader/whatever is not a good thing, when said leader is generally considered to be your sides best/only hope. Is it better to try to support/guide/assist your champion in front of the men, or attempt to emasculate him and treat him like a child? Don’t you think that one course of action has a higher potential to erode the confidence of the troops more than the other?

ClintACK@38 – Nynaeve deceived Lan to his face? Does that make it alright? Something tells me the deceivee may not agree :-)

dsolo@17 (and leighdb@40) – not to be Grouchy McGroucherton or anything, but I would suggest maybe bringing up this type of topic or discussion on the ASoIaF thread, due to the no-spoiler policy there vs the mucho-spoiler-discussion policy here. I almost made a spoiler-infused semi-wisecrack comment to dsolo earlier before I remembered that Leigh is reading that series for the first time.

alreadymad@42 – Zen-Rand does know what a paralis-net is, but he comments that there are some new additions that he’s not aware of in ToM, if I’m not mistaken. Speculation by some is that the Power-canceling ter’angreal may be a post-Breaking addition, so I was suggesting that LTT (and even Zen-Rand) may not be familiar with that piece. However, it’s likely that LTT would have grasped the likely solution (grab something with Air and hit the person with that) fairly quickly, since he was pretty battle-savvy.
47. Gustaf81
Lan riding towards his destiny and (thanks to Nynaeve) heading the rest of the Malkieri people is a great new thread in the pattern.

My hope for the outcome of the battle at Tarwins Gap is that it will be desperate until Rand (or Egwene or both) sends the White Tower army and channellers (led by Nynaeve) to support them. That would be the perfect resolution to both the White Towers inability to take military action against the shadow and for the Malkieri feeling of having been betrayed by the WT. It would also open up for a Moment of Awsome when the Malkieri "King" and "Queen" meets on the battlefield after having saved the day. Any remaining feelings in Lan of having been betrayed by Nynaeve could be resolved then.
Birgit F
48. birgit
I think that maybe I’ll let others tackle Min and her belief that she was the right choice to attend a meeting that would, by her presence, be attended by more enemy channelers and potentially constitute a greater threat to the man she so desperately wants to protect.

There are no more Seanchan channelers because of Min. Tuon is not supposed to be able to channel by Seanchan propaganda. To make numbers even, Rand may bring one non-channeler. Since damane can't tell whether a man can channel it must be a woman. There aren't that many non-channeling women in Rand's retinue. Who else should he have brought? A Maiden? Bair? A random noblewoman?

Where's RobMRobM gone? Anything special about July 12?

Probably reading A Dance with Dragons, which came out on July 12.
Stefan Mitev
49. Bergmaniac
Min was right to want to come to the meeting with the Seanchan. After all, the odds of the Seanchan violating the rules of honour and attacking during it were really small (it's common knowledge they are obsessed with honour and keeping their word), and she had 6 of the most powerful channellers in the world to protect her. Not only her visions could've been useful, but she's also a smart woman and a good judge of character, and one of the few who Rand trusts, so she would've helped him make a good decion if the meeting had went through as expected. Plus she knew the Seanchan better than anyone in Rand's group except Alivia form her personal experience in Falme.
Jay Dauro
50. J.Dauro
Tesla_sunburn @41

#2 may not be the best example. He does go to the Tower, but after it falls, he tries to find Couladin, to the point of total exhaustion.
Valentin M
51. ValMar
birgit @ 48

I know that Dance... is out on the 12th and RobM is a huge fan. I was asking my question in jest. The only other possibility is that I'm keeping detailed records on RobMx2's posts and was wandering why wasn't he posting on that day ;) This would be creepy.
52. Mighty Chin
Even reading The Golden Crane recap made me cry. I think it's the best chapter in the entire series.
Kimani Rogers
53. KiManiak
birgit@48 - Valid point. Min’s presence doesn’t offset the balance. There were 6 sul’dam/damane pairs and Rand brought 5 other channelers (Logain, Narishma, Sandomere, Nynaeve and Cads) for an even balance of 6 vs 6. My bad :-)

As to whom else Rand could have brought? Why, anyone else other than the woman (okay, one of the 3) he’s in love with. This isn’t a normal state function; they’re half expecting a trap. Why bring Min there? Again, what diplomatic training did she have? Again, did the possibility of a viewing offset the fact that she doesn’t add much else? You suggested Bair (which actually wasn’t a bad suggestion as a Wise Woman and representative of the Aiel), but I would’ve taken anyone who has had experience dealing with diplomatic matters and has demonstrated keeping their cool when exposed to conflict.

Why not a female channeller who masks her ability (I think Nyn and Elayne learned that trick from Moghedien, and Cads and Nynaeve already go into the meeting masking the fact that they’ve embraced the Source).

Or, how about no one? Just because he could bring someone else, didn’t mean he had to.

Berg@49 – Hmm. Valid points there about Min’s qualifications. She did have some experience with the Seanchan while captured in TGH, although she was basically a servant/messenger, and its questionable how much insight into the mechanics of Seanchan strategy or rule she was exposed to. She is intelligent, devouring books on philosophy and (later in ToM) coming across some deductions about Callandor and the Dragon that literally put an AS to shame. She’s not the worst possible, completely out of left field, what-the-hell-were-you-thinking kind of choice.

Was she “right” to want to come? That’s definitely open to opinion. Yours is clearly that she was, based upon your comments. I admit that mine is colored by the fact that she sometimes has an irrational desire to be around Rand, no matter what (and overestimates her physical abilities, defensive capabilities, and the fact that Rand would most likely sacrifice himself to protect her, and not allow things to go the other way around).

She states that it’s to help him (and believes that she can defend him and herself), but often times it seems more like the act of a woman in love vs. a woman who rationally assesses the situation and clearly decides she is the best choice given the situation. I admit that my opinion is also affected by the method of manipulation that Rand reflects Min used (as well as the fact that she used manipulation) to secure her position in the delegation.

Actually, its interesting that in this one chapter we can compare and contrast Nynaeve and Min’s methods to get their husbands (or in Min’s case, pseudo-husband) to do what they want (although Min’s desire is introduced in this chapter and the manipulation itself happens sometime between this chapter and A Plain Wooden Box).

It’s unfortunate that both use a form of manipulation to get what they want, although I guess the cynical joke is that in marriage that is one of the methods the wife tends to get her way. Maybe RJ was somewhat-tongue-in-cheek making a comment on how wives of powerful men “guide” those men to do what they want; who knows?

Edit: Not that I am in favor of these methods. Actually, I think its kind of a sad comment on both parties of each pseudo/marriage. It’s unfortunate that that is the tactic that each woman feels she needs to use in order to save/protect their husband (maybe even protect them from themselves), and its sad that Lan and Rand have given them reason to believe that any other method would not be successful, including trying to talk it out. But, it would doubtfully be that easy to address such monumental and potentially world changing issues.

Once again, does the end justify the means? Again, I think it’s each individual reader’s call…
54. xolotl
I think people who have a problem with what Nyneave is doing are missing something, Lan wants to go die! I am married and if my wife decided that she wanted to go die, even if I knew it might happen before hand, I would do what ever it takes to keep her from doing it. She will be mad at me, but in the grand scheme of things, her mad is bettter than her dead.

This isn't a knock on their marriage, it doesn't mean that she is a bad wife or he a bad husband, it means that she loves him and is going to do what ever she can, short of locking him up, to keep him from dieing.

If she takes him straight to the Gap (don't think Lan wears khakis...maybe I'm wrong...bad joke...sorry) he dies within a week? Remember that when he was there before he had Bakuma and other Boarderlanders riding with him.

I think that her not going ape $#!+ is a huge plus for her, even knowing that this was always his plan.

Sooner or later Lan was going to wake up and say "Hey, babe, time for me to go to the Blight and finish this thing up." Clearly she knew this and had been planning on how to help him have a chance to make it.

I always liked Nyneave best out of the "Supergirls". She cured stilling and the maddness, made new weaves for healing, all things that were not even thought possible in the AoL while Egw and El have...been captured over and over...I might be a little biased...
55. Paulie
Ok, I really enjoyed the Golden Crane chapter and Ny's convo with the Malkieri. Got chills and tears on the reread like others have said.

I haven't read as much of the debate and forums as others, I'm sure...but has there been much speculation about who will die in the final book? I will be sorely disappointed if all the main characters make it out alive. I don't wish death on any of them and will be sad to see a favorite bite the bullet. But, come on, some people have to die...right?
Cameron Tucker
56. Loialson
Nynaeve is my favorite. The other two have their MoA(and Avi too-Min's in a classs all her own not being able to channel), but Ny seems to be the one who has matured the most, fixed the most problems, and served others enough to help them through their issues. Especially in TGS and TOM she is just always helping out, trying to change things among the common people in whatever small ways she can.

It's those type of people who change the world at a fundamental level. Much more than all the AS politicking and such.

Point being, she sincerely CARES about others, has chosen to deal with her owncharacter problems and grow from them, and shines as a light-especially for the Aes Sedai.

I always get a bit teary in ToM when Rand thanks her for "caring for his people".

All her stuff is always enjoyable to read for me.
Cameron Tucker
57. Loialson
Here is my short list of whom I'm okay dying:
Juilin and Thera
assorted wolves
Tuon(wait, she's confirmed to live? Blast)
Egwene-love ya girl, but need to either get your head out of your high and mighty AS butt or hightail it to the next reincarnation.
Gawyn-get rid of the rings around your neck and we'll talk
Berelain-Nuff said
All Forsaken-Especially Mierin/Cyn/Lanfear. Nasty tempting our Dragon hero! Get outa heah.
Alivia-she's a "meh" character for me.
and...I can't think of any more right now

Poll: who wants who to die?
58. Paulie
Bravo Loialson @ 56. I completely agree with you. Nynaeve embodies what it "means" to be AS and the others could take a few tips from her. The care she shows for everyone is touching. Remember the poor young boy she heals at some point, the common people were afraid to take him to a healer or AS? (wish I had a better memory for chapters and books).
The point is, Nynaeve cares and is too stubborn to accept that things "can't" be done.
Cameron Tucker
59. Loialson
I think the boy was in TGS, between her seeing the ghosts on the wall and her discover of Graendal's compulsioned chandler, or thereabouts.
60. xolotl

I know just what you mean. That regular people are scared of AS is wrong in every way.

I think with Rand being an AS in his mind now, I really hope that he tells Egwene that the AS has failed in there mission to be "Servents to All" as the name means. They hide in the tower and worry about nations, but what about the people?

The scene with the kid was great to me, even better than helping the AM witht he taint because it didn't help the war effort or make a big deal, it was just what she should do and she did it.


No spoilers needed to say that I agree! But put that on pay-per-view, call Don King to promote, and fun is had by all.
John Massey
61. subwoofer
Well, I see some folks are of a different mind as to Nynaeve being er... Nynaeve. I can dance around things but at the core of it Ny did decieve her husband. She did that so he could live and have a chance to truly avenge his kingdom, not throw his life away by courting death alone. Ask yourselves this question- do the ends justify the means? IMHO the answer is yes. Nynaeve gave Lan a chance at life. I'd take lying to my wife so she can live vs. dropping her in the middle of hell's half acre to die a meaningless death any day.

I'm a fairly opinionated person, and that leads to a certain belief system and a particular way of doing things. While I am entrenched in my ways, my partner, my better half sometimes has a different perspective and outlook on things. I'm fairly stubborn, so if she just comes out and says stuff, or suggests stuff, that is contrary to the way I see things, there is a fairly good chance that I'll just dig my heels in and be stubborn about things and a whole lotta effort goes in to changing my mind. Sometimes by just getting me to do things- albeit against my better judgement- by the act of doing, I see that my beliefs and opinion may have been er... just a bit off.

Enter Lan.

Lan's had this personal mission/dance with death since we started reading about him. Great story there, but a lot of hairy chested drivel too. I can understand Lan's reluctance at becoming the man he was raised to be- the King of Malkieri, but geeze, sometimes things are not just all about you. Perhaps the displaced people of Malkier need a king, perhaps they need somebody to follow, a symbol. Agelmar said so himself, raise the banner of the Golden Crane and thousands would flock to it. Lan doesn't want to lead people to their death, but that is their choice to make as well, they need that symbol of hope to. That is what Lan is, and that is what Nynaeve is giving her husband the time to discover. Shaddup Aragorn and take up the reforged blade already.

Min- gah- I was going to wait, but I suppose I may as well rant about it now.

IMHO the only women not Birgitte/ Aiel Maidens/ Aes Sedai that should be fighting on the front lines are other female channelers and maybe Elayne's guard... but I guess that may mean Elayne would be around so scratch that plan.... anyways, women trained like Elayne's guard- and big too. The rest- stay out of harm's way.

I don't get this dagger thing either. You throw your couple of daggers then what? Toss a boot and hope the spiked heel takes an eye out? Maybe if a person had a bandoleer with a whole whack of knives or something I can see it work. Never understood the point of bringing a knife to a sword fight. Never understood the point of bringing a woman I loved and putting her squarely in the line of fire. Folks have to learn their limits and be humble about it, it's not a bad thing to admit that hey, maybe this is beyond the scope of what a person can do.

I get that Rand has trust issues-whom else could he have brought? Bashere, any gray Aes Sedai, Wise Ones, people not Min. I'm sorry, but there has to be a trope about this stuff- the man wanting his loved one outta danger and the woman being all afronted and saying "she can take care of herself" and "she's going" then things going progressively downhill from there. I think I saw this in Romancing the Stone... or was it Star Wars? Then we get called "stuck-up, half witted, scruffy looking nerf herders". Not gonna get sucked into the Trope site as I want to go to bed sometime tonight and I'm recovering from Heartbreak Ridge but if anybody has the time to find it...

Roger Powell
62. forkroot

I'm a fairly opinionated person,

No! Really?
Anyway - awesome post re Nyn/Lan - Agree 100%

Re bringing Min:
Don't forget that he values her viewings tremendously and I'm sure he expected to get a lot of information if she could view Tuon.

He knew there was a tiny bit of risk, but he was thinking in terms of meeting with DoTNM and figured he had enough firepower to handle any Seanchan treachery. Obviously an encounter with a Forsaken was not on his radar screen.

FWIW - He "learned his lesson" and wouldn't let her go with him when he tried again in TGS -- too bad, as it would have been interesting to see what Min would have viewed.
63. AndrewB
Paulie @58 said: "Nynaeve embodies what it "means" to be AS and the others could take a few tips from her."

As a member of the anti-Nynaeve group, I have a different take on Paulie's quote. If you mean that Nynaeve is an arrogant and hypocritical woman who thinks because (i) she channels; (ii) was trained by the White Tower; and (iii) is able to call herself an Aes Sedai, she is superior to everybody else, then I agree -- Nynaeve "embodies what it 'means' to be AS, I concur.

Otherwise -- well, let me just say that you and I have different opinions of Nynaeve and leave it at that. As the saying goes, "different strokes for different folks."

Thanks for reading my musings,
j p
64. sps49
Lan being manipulated, again? At least this scene won't make the ebook cover :P
Oh, I'm mostly kidding. It is mostly cool.

Verin couldn't betray Elza, but she could've killed her, right?

And the Waygate in Caemlyn is known, so Haman probably didn't look for it.

Goddam Cadsuane, the Roger Clemens of Randland, and her lousy people skills.

And an onstage Sharan?

KiManiak @21- Rand Sedai remembers the paralis-net.
Jonathan Levy
65. JonathanLevy
28. ValMar
Maybe RobM's dancing with dragons.
I got it on Kindle... only 15% of the way through, though.

35. AndrewB Re: badgering.
They are born with it, but never use it fully before the ceremony. :)

@several regarding Nynaeve's MoA.
I agree the ending of that scene was pretty good. But I felt the build-up was too long, too detailed, too convoluted. We get several pages of descriptions of the appearance and plans and negotiating tactics of three or four throwaway characters which will never appear again, and obviously only serve as a background to the climax of the scene which still hasn't arrived - maybe in the next page - ah, Nynaeve's finally arrived, let's get on with it already.

I'm not saying the ending wasn't good! I'm also not saying that no build-up was necessary. There was just too much of it. Rather like the series as a whole, come to think of it.

Re: Nynaeve's handling of Lan
Isn't this plot also an attempted manipulation of Rand? "Hey Rand, your buddy and swordfighting mentor is riding to his death along with lots of other people, but you could go save him if you wanted to. Just a reminder, no pressure!"

57. Loialson
Uhh... Padan Fain??? :)
Wesley Parish
66. Aladdin_Sane
Re: Lan and Nynaeve, I am one of the sorry sort who teared up at the rebirth of Malkier in the fiery eyes and impassioned words of the Uncrowned King's Queen.

but I always thought that Lan had disobeyed the cardinal rule of making agreements:
First Read The Fine Print!

Apart from that, I enjoyed that small part of the chapter, which was a small part of the book, which was an equally small part of the series, which was a small part of .... it was a Very High Point, a Crowning Moment of Awesomeness for the foolish young Wisdom of Emond's Field. It shows she's grown enough to support Rand without being an infuriating In Loco Matris ... a la Cadsuane Sedai.
Stefan Mitev
67. Bergmaniac
Bringing a channelling woman instead of Min to the meeting with the Seanchan was never really an option IMO - first, it would've been cheating, and Rand is too honourable for that, and second, there was the risk that the Seanchan would detect it somehow, with a ter'angreal for example, and the whole negotiations would've been over before they started. Small risk for sure, but why take it - if the group of extremely strong channellers (Logain, Nynaeve, Rand, Narishma, Sandomere and Cadsuane) with their bunch of angreals and ter'angreals wasn't enough, another channneller wouldn't have made much of a difference. If channelling women were not an option, I don't see who else except Min Rand could've brought - the only one who he trusts to a degree is Berelain, but she was away with Perrin. Bair maybe, but she was not exactly diplomatic and all the Aiel despise the Seanchan too much.

More importantly, it doesn't really matter if it was another woman there in Min's place - Rand still would've shielded her with his body from a fireball to protect her. That's the way he is - he has this instinctive need to protect women at all cost. So why no take Min instead, at least he can trust her much more than any other and she knows more about the Seanchan than Bair or whoever else he could've picked.

The main fault for the loss of hand was Rand's (except Semirhage, of course), for not staying behind, protected by the other channellers, even though he wasn't holding saidin and Nynaeve warned him someone from the Seanchan was channelling.
John Massey
68. subwoofer
@Forkroot- I know, right? Hard to believe;)

@Ki- will extrapolate later, but Rand does not have subordinates. Yes, he's the Dragon Reborn, but he is also a person, just like everyone else. One of the biggest bugbeers in the whole story is how Aes Sedai think they are above everything and folks treat them a certain way. It's not a good thing when Rand becomes like that too. Having a righteous flaming temper tantrum in public is not good form. That should be humiliation and disgrace enough for anyone.

It sucks when the boss is wrong and acts like a spoiled brat and no one (the aforementioned subordinates) has the guts to tell him he's a douche for fear of losing their job.

69. BFG
subwoofer @68 - agree that the biggest annoyance for me in this series is the arrogance of the aes sedai, and some of my favourite scenes are when Matt & Perrin overcome this, Rands is less satisfying. But have to agree with Paulie and others above, Nynaeve is starting to move closer to what an aes sedai should be, and most of the instances where she shows it are when she uses little (relatively speaking) power - uses words to convince Malkier to rise, healing the boy, care for mothers & children on boat ride back to rebels...
70. Wortmauer
Jonathan Levy@65: I agree the ending of that scene was pretty good. But I felt the build-up was too long, too detailed, too convoluted. We get several pages of descriptions of the appearance and plans and negotiating tactics of three or four throwaway characters which will never appear again, and obviously only serve as a background to the climax of the scene
Eh. The buildup with the Malkieri merchant was about 2 pages worth, in my hardcover, then Nynaeve walks in, and the rest of the scene is just over 2 pages more. If that is "excessive" for one of the high points of a 761-page book ... well, let's just say, for me it was not. As Andvari@30 and several others have pointed out, the scene was not really about Nynaeve at all. It was about the Malkieri remembering their blood, getting excited to see a day they probably didn't consciously think would ever come, but which was foreshadowed as far back as TEOTW. As KiManiak@46 puts it, this
may have to do more with the way RJ writes Aldragoran’s reaction to what Nynaeve says, and how he changes from a savvy merchant that exploits his Malkieri heritage, to someone who fully reconnects with that heritage, and will gladly ride with his king to finally answer the Shadow’s destruction of their kingdom and people.
So, yeah. To me, the two pages of setup weren't wasted at all. We needed to get to know the merchant a little, so his transformation would be meaningful.

Also, count me in the camp that doesn't think Nynaeve's deception of Lan was any sort of awesome. It may have been necessary, given Lan's single-mindedness regarding his destiny and his reluctance to lead, but it was still pretty underhanded. The publicity campaign was pretty awesome, but mostly because Nynaeve was able to bring out latent awesomeness in the Malkieri. So it's mostly their awesomeness here, not hers. (And of course it isn't just Malkieri; Agelmar predicted that plenty of other Borderlanders will respond to Lan's banner, too, and we'll see this in TOM.)
Kimani Rogers
71. KiManiak
Sub@58 - I was gonna tease you again for defending Cads actions :-) but technically you’re not doing that, so much as talking about Rand (who was indeed being a punk/douche/brat/dick/whatever).

You don’t like “subordinate?” How about “crotchety old advisor?” :-)

He (okay, the Aiel did it, but he's the car'a'carn) conquered Tear and liberated Cairhien and is the acting ruler/emperor of both. How about labeling the people/lords/ladies of Tear, Cairhien and Illian and other misc Randlandians under the Dragon as "subjects?" (except for Cads and the AS, of course)

Lord knows there was many a monarch who was a dick, but to my understanding it was considered poor form to chastise/undermine them in front of their men. Also, I think those monarchs would’ve executed the person who did…
ana liese
72. analiese
xolotl @ 54:

I think people who have a problem with what Nyneave is doing are missing something, Lan wants to go die! I am married and if my wife decided that she wanted to go die, even if I knew it might happen before hand, I would do what ever it takes to keep her from doing it. She will be mad at me, but in the grand scheme of things, her mad is bettter than her dead.

I agree. Lan isn't doing anything remotely similar to changing jobs; he's going to the Blight on a pointless suicide mission. He says Rand should be "marshaling all the force he can gather and taking it to the Blight," but isn't willing to do the same himself. Seeing as he's refused to raise the Golden Crane all his life, there's no way even Nynaeve would have been able to convince him to do it.

What makes the scene a MoA for Nynaeve, in my opinion, is how unselfishly she acts; she puts Lan's interests above her own happiness and lets him go, all while making sure he's got a chance to make it back alive. I think it's easily one of the most loving gestures in the whole series.

Secondly, if Nynaeve hadn't rallied the Malkieri, if the Last Battle had
gone by without the Malkieri people at the frontline, they would never
have recovered from the shame of having failed to keep their commitment to fight the Shadow. Then Malkier would truly have been dead. Lan, if anyone, should have realized this.

The scene also mirrors the one from TSR where Nynaeve is going off somewhere dangerous (Tanchico) and Lan gets Juilin to accompany her, without her consent or knowledge. Nynaeve did the same—only with a few more people. :)

Jonathan Levy @ 65:

Isn't this plot also an attempted manipulation of Rand? "Hey Rand, your buddy and swordfighting mentor is riding to his death along with lots of other people, but you could go save him if you wanted to. Just a reminder, no pressure!"

Not really. Nynaeve doesn't tell Rand where Lan has gone (which she really should have); Rand guessed it himself in TGS. And there are other reasons to send forces to Tarwin's Gap besides saving Lan and the Malkieri—otherwise, Shienar will be the next country to fall.
73. Paulie
AndrewB @ 63:
I love a reasoned debate of opposing points of view. I can appreciate your points on Nynaeve. She can be arrogant and bull headed. I just think she is growing. Especially in the last 3 books. She is becoming what I would like to see AS become. She has shown wisdom, compassion, resolve, and guile. In addition she shows arrogance and strong will...but hey, nobody said they weren't still human.
Roger Powell
74. forkroot
I agree. Nynaeve has grown a tremendous amount during the course of the series. In fact, that's part of the genius of Jordan's writing is that he gives us very human characters (with their flaws) and then lets us see their personal growth.

Consider Mat ... he's pretty much universally loved now, but how many people felt that way after TGH?

BTW, I'm getting a "newbie" perspective now from my friend who is reading the series for the first time (she's in TGH at the moment.) When I told her that my two favorite characters were Mat and Nynaeve, she said "Huh??". Certainly in the first two books, both had a LOT of growing up to do.

I've posted before that each one of Jordan's main characters has had to go through their own growth arc. (I've argued that Tuon has a lot of arc left, but even she is changed from when we saw her first.)

The Nynaeve we see as of TOM is not faultless, but she's arguably more in touch with what a true AS should be than even Egwene, and certainly more than Cads. She's also compassionate, skillful, brave, and incredibly loyal to Rand. Remember too that she's agreed to accompany him to Shayol Ghul.

"Like" is a very personal thing - maybe some folks will never warm up to Nyn, but I would hope that most respect her now.

ana liese
75. analiese
forkroot @ 74: It's funny how how one's opinion of characters can change completely over time. I loved Nynaeve from the start, but disliked Mat until TDR after which he slowly became one of my favorite characters. I found Egwene and Gawyn likeable in the earliest books, but now I can't stand either of them. I think Egwene is becoming more and more like the other Aes Sedai--arrogant, manipulative, and too concerned with the Tower's interests above the world's.

As for Tuon, I would have liked her to have experienced more growth before the final book than she did; it seems increasingly unlikely now that she'll be able to change her entire worldview in the time that remains. Maybe RJ intended to save some character development for the outriggers.
Cameron Tucker
76. Loialson
@65 JL
Good one! Definitely needs to be on there.

Oh, and Cadsuane can go on that list. She's lived a good long life.
let's see...

Min, Avi and El are cleared from Nicola's viewing. If one had to go it should be El though, I think. I like the other two better. (and if Rand needs Avi to get 4 babies cookin before TG they better hurry)

I'd put Faile on, but that might make Perring go crazy again, and I feel terrible for him losing all his family too, so she stays in my book.

Moiraine's died once-ish, I hope her and Thom stay among the living.

Bryne and Siuan: can go; like 'em, don't love 'em

Birgitte- she can just be spun out again soon to be with Gaidal, and I'd be ok with that :D

If Loial dies I'll kiss a goat (he's got to publish The Dragon Reborn still as of ToM, so he's safe I think). ;)
John Massey
77. subwoofer
@Ki- yes "crotchety old advisor" sounds much better, big difference in definitions too. I'd just like to tie in that what made Rand so happy about Min was that she was a constant reminder of who he was. Rand loved it when Min called him "Sheepherder" and such like. The big danger was Rand forgetting who he was as LTT's personality, the strain of events, and the monthly visit, all come to the fore. Caddy's got some job security in that it is perceived that Rand needs her more than she needs him- we spent a few chapters learning that back in the day. Her methods are er... eccentric... well, maybe ham-fisted would be a better term, but Rand was behaving like the nobles he despises. Somebody needed to smack some sense into him.

Min... y'know, it's funny that the women that are trained to fight and die in battle Rand struggled to keep on the sidelines- the Maidens, and the one woman that basically knows a parlor trick with knives, is glued to Rand's hip. I get the kink connection, but time to separate business from pleasure. Does Min's viewing ever tell her that because of her actions, Rand loses a hand?

Edit- naw, low and underhanded was my wife asking me to do the laundry- I, seeing one basket, said "oki doki" not fully realizing that there was bed sheets, towels, and a whole whack of other things that constituted 12 loads. What Ny did to Lan was giving him time to see things clearly so he could become a king to his people... IMHO. A good road trip solves many problems.

78. anthonypero
Posting without reading any comments, something I don't normally do, so sorry if this has been covered:

Re: the caemlyn waygate

All they did was remove the leaves from the waygate. Moraine had already lockedmthe caemlyn gate back in tEotW. This would have stopped trollops and myrrdral from using the gate alone, but we have to assume that each strike force is being led by channellers now. They can simPly cut through the gates the way Moiraine did at Fal Moran.
79. anthonypero
While I'm sure removing the leaves would stop trollops as well, I meant to say Trollocs. Darn you iPhone autocorrect.
80. Saetana
I'm in a minority here but I wasn't that impressed with Nynaeve's actions with regards to Lan in this chapter, if there was evidence she had tried to reason with him and convince him of the correct course of action then I might have a different opinion but as it is Lan is behaving like a child, what does he think he can do on his own? He won't take responsibility as King of the Malkieri but is quite prepared to leave his Aes Sedai wife to (most likely) go to his death instead of being the warder and husband he ought to be (he doesn't know what Nynaeve is planning or what will come of it so that has no affect on his actions), this didn't ring true to me with what we know of Lan's character, the same for his inane remarks about Rand not marshelling forces, Rand IS marshelling forces but knows they will need as many as possible in a co-ordinated attack to have a chance of winning, given Lan was trained as a Battle Lord this doesn't make much sense to me.

As for Nynaeve, I don't much like her but do admit that (following contact with Cadsuane in particular) she is growing up and leaving some of her childish and irritating behaviour behind. At this stage in the series, the only two of the SBs and SGs that I really still like a lot are Rand and Mat, Perrin lost me over Faile's capture (no matter how well it turned out in the end), Elayne was always a bit irritating and Egwene is getting more irritating by the book (particularly with regards to her attitude to Rand and his actions, she now has AS arrogance in spades!).

Whilst Rand was out of order shouting in Tear, Cadsuane was more so, you don't humiliate a "king" in public like that, at her age you would think she could use better methods of persuasion than constantly putting his back up with her "grandma knows best" attitude, although I don't think as an Aes Sedai she is as arrogant as some, its just she sees Rand as an unruly child and it does neither of them any favours. Yeah, she gets hers in TGS, she was heading for a fall with her behaviour and it was nice to see her get one.

As for Min, no she certainly should not have accompanied Rand, she was no use (or likely to be) and caused him to lose a hand, stupid woman! Definitely blinded by love rather than any genuine thought that she may be of use unfortunately as I do like Min, she is my favourite of Rand's 3 women. I was absolutely gutted when Rand lost his hand due to his protectiveness, he wasn't even holding saidin!

I recall Weiramon in close conversation with Gedwyn back in TPoD when Rand took them to battle the Seanchan, him being a darkfriend occurred to me then but I can't honestly recall the events of ToM very well, I've only read it twice so far and that was some months ago, I'm currently on CoT with my own annual re-read, I expect to have caught up with this re-read and probably passed it by the time the next instalment is published
81. WOTnoDragons
First ever post *squee*
One other perspective re Nyn & Lan is how he feels about his wife's deception in dropping him off at Worlds End - IMHO I think he might have been quietly pleased - (after he'd calmed down) I can imagine him thinking - "she does care! etc." Although would probably never admit it to his old Malkieri drinking buddies - him being all macho stoneface as Min might say. Also, re Min accompanying Rand - its not as if she's a dead weight in terms of self-defence and IIRC - if true to her character, she'd make his life pretty darn unbareable if left behind. Last point - re Nyn: totally awesome as a character IMO. Nyn's had so many MOA scenes; I just loved the Logain healing, the whitecloak rescue in TEoTW, the taint madness healing scene (I forget who was healed) all the face-offs with Moggy - and best of all, she just steps up to do the big taint removal gig linked with Rand - & even though she might well end up totally eviscerated, she's up for it. As per previous comments, Nyn is humanly annoying at times (which is why RJ's characters are so believable IMO) but how can anyone be in the anti-Nyn camp?
Question: (as a newbie poster - sorry if this is old ground) didn't anyone in Rand's entourage (re the DOTNM's aka Semi's hand-blast incident) immediately think "balefire the bitch" - just so Rand could have his hand back?
Sorcha O
82. sushisushi
Saetana@80 Something struck me when I was reading your comment - Lan is proerly bonded to Nynaeve as a Warder now, so he should have a pretty good idea what will happen to her after he dies (just in time for the Last Battle, Lan! nice timing!) But, though that same Warder bond he should be able to tell that once she dropped him off at World's End, she's been hopping all over the Borderlands east of him, rather than Travelling back south to Tear. I would have thought that would have given him an heads-up that she was up to something more than just giving him a long ride to Tarwin's Gap...
Heidi Byrd
83. sweetlilflower
At this point, Nyneave does not have his Warder bond. She does not get it from Myrelle until ToM.
84. s'rEDIT
@anthonypero 78 & 79:

Sure . . . turn off the iPhone autocorrect. Than we can all snicker at the typos you're responsible for instead of the arcane or sometimes hilarious ones that autocorrect substitutes.

Now that I have my autocorrect off, I have found that unless I proofread my messages before I hit "Send," I still send nonsense sometimes.
Roger Powell
85. forkroot
Welcome aboard! You are strongly encouraged to "go black" (used to be "go grey") i.e. register. Among other things, it allows for editing (just in case you didn't catch your iphone's autocorrection!)

Question: (as a newbie poster - sorry if this is old ground) didn't anyone in Rand's entourage (re the DOTNM's aka Semi's hand-blast incident) immediately think "balefire the bitch" - just so Rand could have his hand back?

Actually I don't remember it being discussed. Just note that with Rand temporarily out of commission, leadership pretty much fell to Cadsuane and she is adamantly opposed to the use of balefire - period.
Of those present, the only one that I'm sure knew the BF weave would be Nynaeve. She would have had to think of it pretty quickly and then let loose before Cads could stop her.
Sorcha O
86. sushisushi
sweetlilflower@83 Aha, right, after her test, gotcha. He's still technically 'on loan' on that front here, so!
Jonathan Levy
87. JonathanLevy
70. Wortmauer

It's been a while since I read that scene, so I'll have to go back and see if my memory of it is justified. I've read it more than once, though, and that may be coloring my recollection - perhaps the second or third time through it I was more impatient to get to the end.

77. subwoofer
At least you didn't get conned into going to a 6-hour Yemenite engagement ceremony of friends of her family. I'd have traded it for 12 loads of laundry in a second. Though to be fair, it was only 6 hours long because we arrived 1 hour ahead of time.

85. forkroot

You should warn him - once you go grey, you never go back? ;)

Also, WOTnoDragons is a pretty clever name. Welcome!
Captain Hammer
88. Randalator
I talked a couple of posts back about the Caemlyn Palace warping, where I assumed that that was due to the Dark One’s influence. Someone in the comments pointed out that this was probably less the Dark One directly than it is his influence on the Pattern, and how the Pattern is getting seriously stressed out and potentially in need of a patch job as a result. Though whoever it was (sorry, it’s 5:00 in the morning right now and I am just not up to sifting through hundreds of comments at present) probably didn’t phrase it quite that weirdly.

And it looks like Rand agrees on that score, judging from the bit I quoted up above. So, uh, there’s that. Just thought I should point it out. Good call, commenter!

Yay, I caught something! And it wasn't a cold. Hooray!

And don't worry Leigh, I do me some mighty weird phrasing whenever a keyboard is within arm's reach. So you just go ahead all weird-y phrase-y, there's probably no harm you could do to "ye not quite so olde butcherede englishe" that I haven't done already.

KiManiak @71

You don’t like “subordinate?” How about “crotchety old advisor?” :-)

Please do not use words with "crotch" in them to describe Cadsuane. That might lead to severe mental scarring...
WOT Dragons
89. WOTNoDragons
Fookroot@81 & Jonathan Levy@87
Thanks for your welcome - I've taken your advice & registered now although I'm still finding my way around on Tor, but hopefully I won't make too many typo's, faux pas, ill-timed or poorly considered comments in future.

I also should have remembered my manners re my previous post - but belatedly, I would like to say that I only came across Leigh's re-read a few months ago and was totally blown away: absolutely awesome! Thanks Leigh.
John Massey
90. subwoofer
Whoot! Fresh blood- welcome to the Bunker yo! You may want to avoid the crotchety old timer in the corner, not sure if he bites, but he is a rabid fan;)

@JL- Shenannigans- my wife has a degree in laundry apparently. We have whites, lights, darks, delicates, hang dry, steam dry, delicate dry, and then there is the baby stuff. The guy way of doing laundry is fill the machine till it's full and press "start"... oh, and maybe add soap at some point... one of the three types of soap I am supposed to use. Gads... And lemme tell you about this Hindu wedding I went to, 3 days of my life I will never get back. Somewhere's near the end ( I think) us and about 500 other people were trapped in this really hot ( read fire hot) hall, heated by a "ceremonial" fire in the middle of it where the bride was being passed around in a circle to er... uncles, fathers, brothers, random guys, I dunno, but anyways at least there was a buffet and I'm pretty sure at that point they were committed to one another. Heck, if I had to ride a horse as part of the ceremony for marriage... gah, anyways... it was an interesting wedding.

@Randalator- crotch, crotch, crotch, crotch. er... and Cadsuane. How about ornery and ill tempered?

One thing I will say about Rand in this current fit that he is having... In a little bit we will come across Elaida having dinner with one of her er... ex-pillow friends. Anyways, the Keeper comes along and talks about the harbor chains and Elaida makes some serious decrees and there is some clutching of wine goblets and so on... There are some similarities between temper tantrum Rand and bat shit crazy Elaida. At least Rand has Cadsuane to smack some sense into him.

And for those that insist- it is not "public" humiliation as the flows of air are only visible to other channelers. All those other folks just see Rand with twitchy eyes.

Hugh Arai
91. HArai
And for those that insist- it is not "public" humiliation as the flows of air are only visible to other channelers. All those other folks just see Rand with twitchy eyes.

Don't kid yourself. Cadsuane counts to three, Bera gasps, Nynaeve starts laughing and Rand suddenly starts glaring at Cadsuane while she talks about minding his manners. Darlin, Caraline and the others would have to be idiots not to figure out what just happened.
John Massey
92. subwoofer
Granted, but Cadsuane was counting at random and Rand had no idea what was going on, why would anyone else? Those folks you just mentioned may chalk it up to Aes Sedai mystery. We know what went on because we read it, Darlin and Caraline had no such priviledge. They don't have to be idiots, just not privy to an "inside joke", as it were... not implying that it was a joke, just that those without the knowledge were not "in" on what happened.

William McDaniel
94. willmcd
For me, the awesomeness in "The Golden Crane" was contained solely in the scene between Nynaeve and the Malkieri merchants in the inn, as they remember their blood and cast off their comforts to go and fight evil in a seemingly doomed cause. Her deception of Lan might have been necessary to save his life given his stubbornness, but it's a last resort type of thing that isn't at all a commendable way for a married couple to relate to each other.

I don't have a huge problem with Cadsuane's actions toward Rand in this chapter (because he was being a complete punk), though I agree she shouldn't dress him down in front of his followers. What irked me more in these chapter (and I am not generally a Cads-hater) was the contempt that she showed for Alivia in telling Rand that she is "not in the business of instructing wilders".

It really galls me that she sees anyone not trained by the White Tower is a "wilder", even if they were born outside of the Westlands and learned channeling through the means dictated by their culture. Yet another example of mind-boggling Aes Sedai arrogance. I suppose she thinks that channelers who are born outside of the White Tower's sphere of influence (whether in Shara, Seanchan, the Land of Madmen, or whatever), should either (1) just choose to not channel, or (2) somehow find their way to the WT to get the only real channeling instruction. News flash, Caddy; both of those are impossible!

It also strikes me as incredibly hypocritical that she herself finds WT politics so intolerable that she steers clear of any involvement in them (to the point that everyone there thinks she is dead), yet still is so dogmatically devoted to it as an institution.
95. hesuchia
I have no idea why the Golden Crane scene makes me so emotional. I've read it before and usually that makes reading it again less emotionally stimulating, but I cried anyway.

Anyway, I don't like Cadsuane still. Sometimes she's bearable, but I really hate her "spanking" threats and her *intensely* hypocritical disrespect for him. "I expect civility from you but no one should expect it from me because I'm an entitled bitch". I don't use that word often (openly) but I can't think of a better way to describe her. She really needs to pull her head out of...the sand... and learn the lesson Moiraine did about dealing with Rand. Show him some damn respect and treat him like a human without trying to control him and he responds like a human.

Much as I know you feel strongly about the a'dam, I really wonder what would happen if somebody clapped one on her to teach her a lesson in humility. (that thought is *extremely* cathartic for me at least).
96. Frna
Hia all, have been going through one of my many rereads and been rereading Leigh's reread for a lil while.

First off, I agree that Nyn was pretty damn awesome here, scene in the inn always gets me.

Re: Cadsuane and her dismissive attitude towards wilders, lets not forget that she was taught by a wilder shortly after achieving the shawl. There might be more to her not wanting to teach Alivia than meets the eye and the wilder line could be a handy excuse (while being entirely true).

On the same vague note, do we ever learn more about Norla and her "lessons"? She's only mentioned a few times but it was more than enough to make me want more!

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