Jul 19 2011 2:15pm

The Wheel of Time Re-read: Knife of Dreams, Part 14

Top o’ the Tuesday to ye, WOTers! Welcome back to the Wheel of Time Re-read!

Today’s entry covers Chapters 22 and 23 of Knife of Dreams, in which deals are made, moles are unearthed, and totally unnecessary Kool-Aid is drunk. Sheesh.

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 22: To Make an Anchor Weep

What Happens
Harine and Shalon enter the harbor of Illian for a meeting of the Twelve Clan Wavemistresses, being held aboard one of the captured Seanchan ships from the Escape from Ebou Dar. Harine is disturbed by an unnatural wind that blows suddenly from the north, but refuses to show it. She and Shalon are the last to arrive, and inside the cabin Harine is either ignored or shown contempt by the other Wavemistresses, except for her old friend Mareil, who tells her consolingly that surely Harine did what she felt she had to.

Against her will, Harine’s eyes went to the ringbolt set in one of the beams of the overhead. It could have been removed by now. She was sure it remained for the purpose of provoking her. That strange young woman Min had been right. Her Bargain with the Coramoor had been judged deficient, giving away too much and demanding too little in return. In this same cabin, with the rest of the First Twelve and the new Mistress of the Ships watching, she had been stripped and hung by her ankles from that ringbolt, stretched tight to another set in the deck, then strapped until she howled her lungs out. The welts and bruises had faded, but the memory lingered however hard she tried to suppress it.

She consoles herself with the rest of Min’s foretelling, that she would become Mistress of the Ships eventually. Zaida enters with her Windfinder and a very discomfited-looking Aes Sedai named Amylia, and Harine thinks that Zaida’s much better-accepted bargain with Elayne of Andor and arrival by gateway had been definite factors in her being chosen to be the new Mistress of the Ships. Zaida announces that “the man” from the Coramoor has not arrived yet, and orders Amylia to serve wine. From Amylia’s obsequious behavior, Harine concludes she committed some very large error recently.

Of the Brown Ajah, Amylia had wanted to study the Atha’an Miere, but she was given little time for study. Her purpose was to work, and Zaida saw that she did. She was there to teach the Windfinders all that the Aes Sedai knew. She still dithered over that, but shorebound instructors, rare as they were, ranked barely a whisker above the deckhands – in the beginning, the woman apparently had believed her dignity fully equal to Zaida’s if not more! – and the deckmaster’s flail laid with some frequent regularity across her rump supposedly was changing her mind, if slowly. Amylia had actually tried to desert three times!

Zaida berates Harine publically for deserting her post with the Dragon Reborn and for the bargain she made, and Harine thinks there is no way she would tell how she had almost wept with relief to get away from Cadsuane. The Coramoor’s ambassador arrives soon after, and introduces himself as Logain, to everyone’s shock; even the Sea Folk know that name. Breathlessly, Amylia asks for permission to speak, and tells them Logain is a false Dragon, and channels tainted saidin. Logain answers calmly that he is Asha’man, but saidin is cleansed now. He asks Amylia whether she holds allegiance to Elaida or Egwene, and Zaida cuts in to say that Amylia serves her for the next year. (Amylia looks horrified.) Zaida wants to know where the Coramoor is, so she can send an ambassador to him, and Logain answers that he can’t tell her, to her outrage.

“He wants his whereabouts kept secret for now, Shipmistress. The Forsaken have made efforts to kill him. I am willing to take Harine din Togara with me, however. From what I heard, I think he found her acceptable.”

Harine jerked so hard she spilled wine over the back of her hand, then took another long swallow. But, no, Zaida would divorce Amel and marry a ballast stone before she sent Harine din Togara as her ambassador. Still, even the thought of it was enough to make her tongue stick to the roof of her mouth. Even becoming Mistress of the Ships might be insufficient recompense for being forced to endure Cadsuane any longer.

Zaida tells Amylia to pour wine for Logain, but Amylia is shaking so badly she spills it.

Strangely, Logain walked over to her and put his hands on hers to steady her. Was he one of those who could not leave others to do their own work?

“You’ve nothing to fear from me, Amylia Sedai,” he told her. “It’s been a long time since I ate anyone for breakfast.” She stared up at him with her mouth hanging open as though uncertain whether he was making a joke.

Zaida asks what service the Coramoor requests, and Logain tells her it is no request, but an order: the Atha’an Miere are to provide him with ships to carry food and supplies from Tear and Illian to Bandar Eban – sufficient to feed over a million people. Astonished, Zaida protests that this would require more rakers than they currently possess, and Logain shrugs and tells her to find other ships, then. Zaida is incensed at his rudeness, but then they are interrupted by Turane, who whispers something to Zaida that drains the blood from her face. She announces that there is “news to make an anchor weep”, and brings in the messenger, a Sailmistress named Cemeille din Selaan Long Eyes. Haggard and grieving, Cemeille tells them she went as fast as she could, stopping at every island, but she was too late. She says that three weeks earlier, the Amayar on Tremalking had asked to send messengers to all the other islands, and soon after all the Amayar in the port cities left, and did not return.

“The governor sent people to the Amayar villages, and they found…“ She squeezed her eyes shut. ”The Amayar were all dead or dying. Men, women“ – her voice broke – “children.”

Funeral keening rose in the cabin, and Harine was surprised to realize that shrill sound was coming from her mouth, too. Sad enough to make an anchor weep? This should make the heavens sob.

One of the Wavemistresses demands to know how, and Cemeille replies that it was poison, given to their children and then themselves.

“The Great Hand on Tremalking melted. The hill where it stood reportedly is now a deep hollow. It seems the Amayar had prophecies that spoke of the Hand, and when it was destroyed, they believed this signaled the end of time, what they called the end of Illusion. They believed it was time for them to leave this… this illusion“ – she laughed the word bitterly – “we call the world.”

“Have none been saved?” Zaida asked. “None at all?” Tears glistened on her cheeks, too, but Harine could not fault her on that. Her own cheeks were wet.

“None, Shipmistress.”

Zaida stands and declares that ships must be sent to every island to try and find any survivors anyway, but Logain interrupts to remind her that every ship they have must be committed to Bandar Eban. Zaida demands to know if he is heartless; the Atha’an Miere must mourn.

As [Logain] spoke, it seemed to Harine that the space turned chill and the light dimmed. She was not the only woman to hug herself against that cold. “Mourn if you must.” he said, “but mourn on the march for Tarmon Gai’don.”

I’m… not entirely convinced this chapter needed to exist.

I feel a little bit like a heel for saying that, because of course an entire people poisoning themselves is a horrific tragedy which should not be ignored, but I’m just saying that I don’t know that we needed an entire two-thirds of a chapter of Harine’s self-esteem issues to lead up into telling us about it. (Though I admit her horror at the idea of being reunited with Cadsuane was pretty amusing.)

Nor am I convinced we really needed this scene to tell us about the deal with Logain/Rand to bring food to Bandar Eban. This is an important plot point, yes, but again, I really feel like it was one we could have learned about secondhand.

But then again, maybe I’m being unfair, because I do note that whenever Jordan did let things happen in the background without taking time to bring it “up front”, so to speak, more often than not the fandom yelled at him for doing so. So possibly I’m just letting my general distaste for the Sea Folk, and my wish to not have to deal with them, ever, influence my critique here.

But still… there’s just so much to get through, at this point. I just don’t know that we needed to take a whole chapter here, even to mourn the death of a people.

Especially, frankly, a people whom we have no connection to at all as readers. We’ve only ever “met” an Amayar once, for like two point five seconds, during the Cleansing in WH, and, well. I just maybe don’t have much room to care about them with all the other peoples we do know going on in WOT.

Maybe that is terrible and callous to say. And maybe this is terrible too, but honestly my main response to Cemeille’s news was not sorrow, but a kind of blank astonishment that an entire nation of people could be that… deluded. Or, to not soft-pedal it, could be that stupid.

I’m sorry, but the psychological derangement that leads to suicide cults – to people who are not actually in death camps or facing starvation or some comparable no-hope scenario, thinking that it’s the best option to kill their own children – is so alien to me that I can’t even wrap my brain around it. Seriously, how… how could you do that?

And no, I don’t consider even impeding apocalypse to be a sufficient “no-hope” scenario. Especially not this particular one, where there is a definite possibility of an out-clause, however faint. Not to be all cliché, but where there’s life, there’s hope. At least go down fighting, goddammit.

Anyway. By the way, the FAQ has stuff to say about the real-world references this is referring to (scroll down to “Time of Illusions” if you’re interested). I’ll just note in passing that while my acquaintance with both Gnosticism and Hinduism is best described as “scant,” I’m pretty sure that neither practice ever advocated killing everyone. I’m just saying.

In other news, I seriously spent about ten minutes racking my brain for who the hell Amylia was before I gave up and checked online, only to find out that I didn’t know her for the very good reason that she’s never been mentioned before, not specifically, anyway. So, good to know I’m not losing my mind or anything. At least, not for this reason.

Also, Logain’s sense of humor is kind of awesomely horrible. Or horribly awesome, I’m not sure which.

And… yeah.


Chapter 23: Call to a Sitting

What Happens
Romanda sits in her tent, reading a trashy novel in lieu of thinking about how all the Keeping wards on the Rebels’ food supplies were failing, and ignores the novice straightening the tent.

Bodewhin Cauthon was quite pretty, but she was an intelligent girl even so, though she had something of her brother around the eyes and rather more of him in her head than she was willing to admit. Undoubtedly she was already hard on the path to the Green, or perhaps the Blue. The girl wanted to live adventure, not just read about it, as if an Aes Sedai’s life would not bring her more adventure than she wished without searching for it.

Nisao enters and asks to speak with Romanda privately, and Romanda sends Bodewhin out, irritated by Bodewhin’s comment on not wanting to upset Sharina Melloy. Romanda notes that some way must be found to get rid of Sharina and all the other novices who were far too old, regardless of their potential. Nisao tells her Lelaine has stopped Nisao from investigating the murders of Anaiya and Kairen, claiming that they are Blue Ajah business, and Nisao wants Romanda to speak to Lelaine about it. Romanda thinks Lelaine’s claim is “utter nonsense,” but asks why Nisao is looking into the murders in the first place. Nisao tells her because the Mother asked her to. Romanda is surprised, even though she herself had come to have a grudging respect for Egwene, and asks if that was enough for Nisao.

“It is my major reason. In the beginning, I thought she would end up as your pet. Or Lelaine’s. Later, when it was clear she had evaded both of you, I thought Siuan must be holding the leash, but I soon learned I was wrong. Siuan has been a teacher, I’m sure, and an advisor, and perhaps even a friend, but I’ve seen Egwene call her up short. No one has a leash on Egwene al’Vere. She is intelligent, observant, quick to learn and deft. She may become one of the great Amyrlins.’’ The bird-like sister gave a sudden, brief laugh. ”Do you realize she will be the longest sitting Amyrlin in history? No one will ever live long enough to top her unless she chooses to step down early.“

Romanda is disconcerted by Nisao’s words, and tells her she will speak to Lelaine. She asks what Nisao has learned so far, and Nisao tells her the only link she could find between Anaiya and Kairen was that they had been close friends, along with another Blue named Cabriana Mecandes, but mere friendship seems a weak motive for murder. Romanda thinks the name Cabriana Mecandes rings a bell, but can’t place it. She orders Nisao to report to her in Egwene’s absence from now on, and Nisao has no choice but to agree. Theodrin enters to tell Romanda that Lelaine has called for a meeting of the Hall. Romanda readies herself and heads out, coming across Sharina and Tiana, the Mistress of Novices, talking together. Romanda notes with disgust that Sharina looks more like she is in charge of Tiana instead of the other way around.

Were there fewer lines in her face than there had been? Well, there was no saying what might happen when a woman began with the Power at her age. Sixty-seven and a novice!

After Sharina leaves, Tiana tells Romanda that Sharina and several of the older novices have displayed great ability with Nynaeve’s new Healing weave, which so flusters Romanda that she trips. She reassures herself that she does not need to rethink her position on the older novices, and rudely criticizes Tiana for allowing novices to learn such dangerous weaves. Tiana stomps off in a huff. Romanda arrives at the Hall, noting that Sheriam is embarrassing herself by hanging around even though the Keeper cannot enter the Hall unless the Amyrlin is there. She passes Malind and Faiselle, who are discussing how Myrelle was strongarmed into bonding Llyw, Kairen’s former Warder, to try to save him, and how upset Myrelle had been about it. She approaches Lelaine and asks what this is about, but Lelaine refuses to say, only commenting that it will be “dramatic.” Romanda is uneasy at how smug she seems. Lelaine calls the meeting into session and asks that it be Sealed to the Hall. She tells them that a Green sister has come to her with a proposal that “meets some of our needs,” and has Moria bring her in. The Green is trailed by three Warders, and it takes a moment for them all to realize that at least one of them is also an Asha’man. Malind jumps up and runs out. Janya presumes that the Green is not here to join them, and she answers with distaste that she is not.

“My name is Merise Haindehl, and me, I will stand with no sister who wishes to contend against other sisters while the world hangs in the balance. Our enemy, it is the Shadow, not women who wear the shawl as we do.” Mutters rose in the pavilion, some angry, some, Romanda thought, shamed.

Janya asks why she is here then, and Merise answers that she has a proposal from the Dragon Reborn via Cadsuane, or rather her Warder Jahar has one. She gives Jahar permission to speak, and Jahar demands to know where Egwene is, as he was ordered to give the proposal to her. Romanda answers that Egwene is unavailable at the moment, but they will bring the proposal to her. Then Jahar snarls and tells Merise that a man just tried to listen in, or maybe the Forsaken that tried to kill Eben; several of the Sitters embrce saidar when they realize Jahar is holding saidin, and Delana suddenly excuses herself. She leaves as Malind returns with a Malkieri Green named Nacelle, who tests out a new weave which proves able to detect a man’s channeling, though not what he is channeling. The other sisters are amazed; Jahar sneers, but obeys when Merise orders him to participate in the test. Lelaine then kicks Nacelle out, and Romanda asks for the Dragon Reborn’s proposal.

“This.” he said, facing her proudly. “Any sister who is faithful to Egwene al’Vere may bond an Asha’man, to a total of forty-seven. You cannot ask for the Dragon Reborn, nor any man who wears the dragon, but any Soldier or Dedicated you ask cannot refuse.” Romanda felt as if all the breath had been squeezed from her lungs.

“You will agree this meets our needs?” Lelaine said calmly.

Faiselle jumps up to call for a formal session, and Saroiya raises the question of covenants “to be sure we are in control,” but Lelaine overrides the first and points out that the Warder bond should be more than sufficient. Faiselle and Saroiya then both raise the question of the taint, but Jahar tells them saidin is clean, and Merise backs him up. Romanada is further amazed, but puts it off to call the proposal to a vote; everyone except Faiselle and Saroiya vote in favor. Only after the vote is passed does Janya think to ask why forty-seven specifically. Jahar tells her that fifty-one sisters have already been bonded to Asha’man, and four Asha’man are bonded to sisters, so forty-seven makes the difference.

“There were five of us, but one died defending his Aes Sedai. Remember his name. Eben Hopwil. Remember him!”

There was a stunned silence from the benches. Romanda felt a lump of ice in her middle. Fifty-one sisters? Bonded by Asha’man? It was an abomination!

“Manners, Jahar!“ Merise snapped. “Do not make me tell you again!”

Shockingly, he rounded on her. “They need to know, Merise. They need to know!” Turning back, he ran his gaze along the benches. His eyes seemed hot. He had been dreading nothing. He had been angry, and still was. “Eben was linked with his Daigian and Beldeine, with Daigian controlling the link, so when they found themselves facing one of the Forsaken, all he could do was shout, ’She’s channeling saidin,’ and attack her with his sword. And despite what she did to him, ruined as he was, he managed to hang on to life, hang on to saidin, long enough for Daigian to drive her off. So you remember his name! Eben Hopwil. He fought for his Aes Sedai long after he should have been dead!”

When he fell silent, no one spoke until Escaralde finally said, very quietly. “We will remember him, Jahar.”

She asks how the fifty-one sisters came to be bonded, and he shrugs and tells her they were sent by Elaida to destroy the Black Tower, but the Dragon Reborn has ordered that no Aes Sedai are to be harmed unless she attacks first, so Taim decided to capture and bond them before they could. Moria asks why he keeps insisting a woman channeled saidin, and Jahar tells her it is the only explanation for what happened to Eben.

Suddenly that small chime sounded again in the back of Romanda’s head, and she knew where she had heard the name Cabriana Mecandes. “We must order the arrest of Delana and Halima immediately,” she said.

After Romanda explains, they search the camp, but it is too late: both Delana and Halima are gone.

I totally forgot that this scene was from Romanda’s point of view. It was a bit disconcerting.

I’m sort of tempted to call bullshit on this particular Hall vote. I’m glad it happened, because even though I think that having equal amounts of involuntary bondage on both sides is kind of supposing that two wrongs make a right, I think that in the larger picture this will ultimately be by far the most effective way to smooth the inevitable détente or alliance or, dare I hope, even eventual merging of the Black and White Towers, so I’m more or less willing to hold my nose about it. At least this week.

However, all that said, I rather raise my eyebrow that the Hall would just be all “Okay, sure!” to such a thing and only THEN think to ask what the catch was. It was all very narratively dramatic and all, but seriously, that is a major glaring oversight there, ladies. Enough so that it was a tad, well, eyebrow raise-y. You know?

But hey, at least Halima is gone! What a relief, eh?

…Except for how she hardly did anything while she was there, of course, so, yeah. Yes, killing two Aes Sedai is very bad, and all, but as far as what we’ve been led to expect of Forsaken-level badness, it’s downright tame. Eh, whatever.

I’m a tad miffed that the implication here is that the only reason Anaiya and Kairen were killed is because they were friends with Cabriana. Not that that isn’t a perfectly good motive on Halima’s part, but I was rather fond of the idea that Anaiya was killed because she believed in Egwene’s Dreaming ability. But it seems not. Oh, well.

Anyway, back to the bonding thing, this would be a lot cooler if I didn’t know what was coming up re: the sisters going to the Black Tower, i.e. a virtual Darkfriend snakepit. Actually, scratch that, because I’m not sure I do remember correctly what happens with the Rebel sisters who go there, now that I think about it. I seem to recall something about Taim just stonewalling them for forever, but I’m not sure. Either way, not a fun environment from what I remember. Blagh.

I’m glad that Jahar seems to be growing a backbone and talking back to Merise, because that relationship has always vaguely freaked me out. So I’m pleased that there is at least some indication of growing parity, there. But then, the power dynamics here on the whole are unsettling and freaky, by design, so there’s… that? Right. Well, at least we finally learned Merise’s last name!

And I’m pleased that the Sitters at least acknowledged Eben’s sacrifice, too. Poor kid.

Bodewhin: I was completely tickled by Romanda’s assessment of her, and that she was a lot like her brother. This may or may not be because of the rather large soft spot I have for her brother, of course. It’s a total throwaway bit overall, but it’s probably my favorite part of this chapter. Cauthons FTW!  

I think I’ve mentioned before that I have an unofficial list of Reunions I Hope To See before the series is over, and having Mat meet up with Bodewhin again, even if only briefly, is definitely one of them. It’s also one of the ones I kind of doubt I’ll get to see, for lack of time. Grump.

Also, I wonder how young (looking) Sharina might actually get. Would it really be like a full regression to the age she would have looked if she’d started channeling in her teens or twenties? Because that would be kind of awesome, if so. Imagine getting into your sixties and then getting to look like you’re twenty-one again, eh? No wish-fulfillment there!

And last, and very definitely least, I am such a nerd, because I totally giggled that there is an Aes Sedai in this chapter named after a warp engine propulsion system. I have lost my mind, you guys.

Not that this is news, or anything! So have a week, kiddie kadanzies, and I’ll see you later!

Richard Chapling
1. Chappers
Escape from Ebou Dar

Now a major motion picture?
lake sidey
2. lakesidey
"Imagine getting into your sixties and then getting to look like you’re twenty-one again, eh? No wish-fulfillment there!"

You're in your sixties, Leigh? I'd never have guessed! *ducks*

And no, Hinduism has nothing like that...killing everyone, forsooth!

3. Kadere
The Amayar aren't killing themselves because they're giving up. It's not a mass suicide in the sense that they don't think they can escape the coming Last Battle. They killed themselves because the melting of the sa'angrael statue, i.e. the coming of Rand, was a sign in their religion that it was time to leave this life. It had nothing to do with giving up on hope, it had to do with embracing death, or embracing the gift of their Creator, cause the Time of Illusions, i.e. life, was over and now the Creator would give them spiritual reality. Again, nothing what-so-ever to do with giving up on Rand possibly winning.
4. yocxl
I'm glad I'm not the only one with a general distaste for the Sea Folk... :P

Also, from RJ's blog about Sharina:

"I saw somewhere that I supposedly said that Sharina Melloy will not grow younger. If I did, then I misspoke. Sharina will not grow young, but she will grow younger in appearance, as will any other older women who begin to channel. For Sharina, by way of example, she will “regress” into apparent middle age, but no younger."
Kat Blom
5. pro_star
Let's all drink this special kool-aid. The raptors are coming.
Kristoff Bergenholm
6. Magentawolf
Personally, I took the Amayar to be another sort of item that Rand can put on his List. Also - Even when you're doing the right things, the world is getting screwed over.
7. s'rEDIT
I remember being horrified about the mass suicide, and doubly horrified that the Sea Folk were ordered not to expend their ships to look for any who might still be alive.

This kind of story always reminds me about one of Bradbury's Martian Chronicles IIRC, about the fathers killing all the children to "protect" them from THE END (I am so broadly paraphrasing, it may not even be recognizable).

Leigh, I had the same reaction: "Where there's life, there's hope." The Time of Illusion being at an end is not an acceptable excuse, not when you have to take action to forceably remove yourself from the "illusion." Also, suicide is one thing . . . at least you are willfully making your own choice (I don't agree with, personally, but). However, killing your children . . . forceably removing the illusion for those who are not choosing to remove it for themselves . . . is just plain murder.
Ted Herman
8. WinespringBrother
Aes Sedai talking to each other? and making nice with Asha'man?

The end of an Age must be nigh!
Stefan Mitev
9. Bergmaniac
I honestly think Chapter 22 is the worst chapter in the whole series. I couldn't care less about the internal political conflicts among the top Sea Folk - they are all the same to me, unlikeable, annoying and boring.

Amayar mas suicide? Sorry, I didn't care at all. Those people have been mentioned about 5 times in total until then and has had less than a page of "screentime" - so why should I care about them? Jordan didn't give me any reason to. I really don't get why Jordan expected this to be a big "gasp" moment and got quite annoyed when people kept asking him what the gasp moment is.

Still don't get why Rand thought that instead of releasing the captured Aes Sedai the best course would be to bond the same amount of Asha'man. Involuntary bonding is a really terrible thing in my book, horrific invasion of privacy and there there's the Compulsion possibility.

Anyway, good to see an Aes Sedai apart from the Supergirls, Moiraine, Verin and Cadsuane showing a working brain for once when Romanda figured what was going onm with Halima. Such cases are sadly few and far between. This chapter brought the plot forward and we saw communication between Rand the SAS after ages, so overall this chapter is pretty good.
Roger Powell
10. forkroot
IMO, This starts the stretch where KOD really takes off and soars above CoT. I am so grateful that RJ was able to release this book so that his last direct effort shines brightly.

The Seafolk/Logain chapter ... I like it because it shows several sides of Logain, heretofor a rather underdeveloped character (for someone who is due a large MoA in ToM per Min.) I'd like the dude more though if he would believe that Rand cleansed the source. (For heavens sake, just ask Jahar!)

Regarding the mass suicide - I recall when Jonestown happened IRL. I had never heard of it prior to the incident (few had) yet I still felt punched in the gut by the awfulness. Granted this is a fiction, and I don't feel it so much directly - but I have no trouble seeing how the Sea Folk could be so devstated.

On to Romanda - another great RJ character who you would like to strangle in one paragraph and then admire a page later. She's totally blockheaded about the older novices -- but then puts the pieces together on Halima. (Romanda is mostly redeemed in my view when she casts the deciding vote for Nynaeve after AS testing.)

Regarding Jahar: The story hints at the fact that the Warder bond does not work the same way when the bondee is a channeler, especially a strong one. Obviously Alanna cannot compel Rand to do anything, so that's the most dramatic case.

In Jahar's case, as we continue to see him get stronger, we see Merise having more and more trouble "bossing him around". IMO, it serves her right -- she should have respected him as an individual, not as hired help. For reference, see how Moiraine treated Lan.

Last but not least: What the heck is going on with Nacelle? The gal comes up with a weave thought to be impossible even the AoL (at least Moghedien thought so) and shows Team Light this weave. That's great except Nacelle is Black Ajah! .... Huh?
11. Lsana
I'll admit that I reacted with a big "meh" to the mass suicides. In fact, I forgot entirely that it happened until I read online that it was supposed to be a horrifying, shocking moment. Maybe that makes me callous, but in my defense:

1. As Leigh pointed out, they are people we have no connection to whatsoever. We see nothing of these people except the one paragraph during the cleansing (where they are already preparing for the suicides). You want me to care that all their kids are dead, you have to show the kids alive.

2. These are an entirely fictional people. It would be different if you told me that a remote tribe in New Zealand had killed themselves. I can't care that the folk of Amayar, however, are dead, because they were never alive. As per point 1, even in Jordan's fictional world.
Mike Giroux
12. RMGiroux
The sea folk chapter annoys me every time, just because it's such a logistical IDIOCY.

Why the hell move food by ships?

Just take a few windfinders, and keep a gateway open between the granaries and the destination. Problem solved - ships are now free to go harass Seanchan supply lines or search for survivors among the islanders...
Birgit F
13. birgit
Taim lets the Salidar AS wait outside the Black Tower until the Tower AS are finished picking their Ashaman Warders. Why doesn't he let them in and make twice as many turned AS? Doesn't he have enough Myrddraal?
14. ryamano
@13 birgit

I think it's because there could be some kind of conflict between the two groups of Aes Sedai. To control such a confrontation, if it turned violent, the Asha'man might be forced to attack the Aes Sedai or bond them. Neither result is actually politically desirable, since the Aes Sedai are there just to make that "wrong" "right" again (to bond the 47 AM to make things balanced).

Politics plays a part at least until things get very near Tarmon Gaidon. Then I don't think Mazrim Taim will care what Rand or the White Tower think of his actions. But until then, he tries to appear to follow Rand's orders and to be on Rand's side.
Kimani Rogers
15. KiManiak
Thanks again, Leigh. I had a nice chuckle on the “Merise’s last name” comment, btw. (I also completely didn’t think of Nacelle as a “nacelle” until you said something, too, so kudos)

Yeah, I admit I’m not so much into the Sea Folk, so the first chapter didn’t hit me that hard. As for the Amayar, I always found it an interesting parallel between their attitude (the WoTverse is an “illusion”) and the Aiel (it’s a “dream”) and allow for the possibility that it will play a large role in RJ’s endgame. Who knows…

I admit that I was thoroughly interested in the dynamic between Jahar and Merise. I still would like to believe that he will play some kinda role in the last battle other than as Ashaman cannon fodder. I really liked him in this chapter.

Maybe I’ll revisit Halima’s apparent ineffectiveness and how she therefore must have done something to Egwene at a later time, but it’s not like we haven’t had that discussion before several times already.

Oh, and Leigh, sign me up for the “Mat and Bode” reunion, too. I think that RJ/BWS could write that one for all kinds of comic effect.

yoxcl@4 – Trust me, you are nowhere near the only one with a dislike for the Sea Folk…

Berg@9 – Worst in the whole series? Surely some chapter in WH or CoT must have this beaten out…

fork@10 – Wait, I totally missed this; Nacelle was mentioned as Black Ajah? Why would she have given that weave-detecting nugget up to the Lightside Sisters? That makes no sense. Why don't the Forsaken know this weave, then?
16. Lurking Canadian
@12: Exactly. If you open a gateway from the bottom of my granary to the top of yours, the grain will move itself. Dumb, dumb, dumb, Rand.

I agree the bit with the Amayar was strange. Why should we care about this people we've never heard of? Why would Jordan expect us to care? Maybe they were real to him, but they certainly were never real to me.

This is also the chapter when I realized Romanda wasn't all bad. Doesn't she think something like, "Well, when Egwene comes back, she'll see that the Hall is not her puppet!", thus showing that she has stopped thinking of Egwene as the girl who needs guiding, and started thinking of her as the Amyrlin who needs to work the usual channels? She even starts to change her mind about Sharina after she finds out Sharina's a great healer. So yeah, Romanda's OK in my book after this chapter. Lelaine sucks forever, but Romanda's OK.
Captain Hammer
17. Randalator
Not being horrified by the death of the Amayar is not the same as being callous. It's perfectly normal and healthy human behaviour. We simply can't have the same compassion for all human beings or we wouldn't be able to function at all. Every day ~150.000 people die, imagine grieving for everybody the same way...

That's why our mind has a protective mechanism that prevents us from grieving when we're not personally affected. One result of this is the famous "The death of one is a tragedy, the death of millions is just a statistic". We need a face to attach to the death, a friendship, relationship or details about the life of the deceased and the circumstances of their death. Witnessing a death does the same thing, it creates a personal connection.

And sadly, that is where RJ completely and utterly failed. He didn't give us any reason to care, he just relied on sheer proportion. But that's exactely where said protective mechanism kicks in. We've never really seen the Amayar save for a short glimpse in the epilogue of Winter's Heart. Even worse, we didn't get more than two or three passing references to their existence. I bet that a lot of readers didn't even remember they existed when they learned of their death.

How else could we react but with a shrug and an "Oh dear, I guess that's really sad and stuff."? But imagine if it had been the Tinkers...actually, better don't...

Aw man, now I've made myself sad...
Roger Powell
18. forkroot

I admit that I was thoroughly interested in the dynamic between Jahar and Merise. I still would like to believe that he will play some kinda role in the last battle other than as Ashaman cannon fodder. I really liked him in this chapter.
Jahar is tied up in prophecy. Per the Karaethon Cycle:

"Into the heart he thrusts his sword,into the heart, to hold their hearts.
Who draws it out shall follow after,
What hand can grasp that fearful blade?"

This is thought to refer to Rand burying Callandor in the floor at the Stone of Tear. Jahar is the one who draws it out later, following directions given to him by Rand on how to disable the protective weaves. Interestingly, he claims that Rand didn't tell him all the weaves and that he nearly got killed. This has yet to be fully explained.
fork@10 – Wait, I totally missed this; Nacelle was mentioned as Black Ajah? Why would she have given that weave-detecting nugget up to the Lightside Sisters? That makes no sense. Why don't the Forsaken know this weave, then?
Strange huh? Nacelle was outed by Verin's "little Black Book". The text doesn't say if she was executed during the purge of the rebel camp or if she was one of the approximately 20 that got away. Still... I can't fathom why she would give such a valuable weave to the Light side.
Stefan Mitev
19. Bergmaniac
Come to think of it,Perrin's chapter in CoT right before he went to So Habor is the worst in the series - it's amazing how absolutely nothing happens in it and the descriptions are mostly a rehash of what we've read already many times.

But this one is more annoying. Sea Folk leaders are just untolerable. And there's the "gasp" moment which completely fails for me, and what made it worse later was Jordan's mini-tantrum that his readers weren't deeply moved by it.
20. SNuBoi
I could not stand this Romanda until this chapter and afterwards i kind of liked her. Though it might be because I found the idea of her reading a smutty romance novel highly funny. I wonder if all of the Randland Romance Novels have a Fabioesque guy on the cover.
Captain Hammer
21. Randalator
forkroot @18

Interestingly, he claims that Rand didn't tell him all the weaves and
that he nearly got killed. This has yet to be fully explained.

My guess is that a Forsaken had left a little present for whoever wanted to draw Callandor.
Roger Powell
22. forkroot

And sadly, that is where RJ completely and utterly failed. He didn't give us any reason to care, he just relied on sheer proportion. But that's exactely where said protective mechanism kicks in. We've never really seen the Amayar save for a short glimpse in the epilogue of Winter's Heart. Even worse, we didn't get more than two or three passing references to their existence. I bet that a lot of readers didn't even remember they existed when they learned of their death.

I agree. RJ needed to have brought us into their lives first for us to truly feel something.

Compare this to the glimpse of the doomed Borderlanders in Heeth tower at the end of the ToM prologue. It wasn't that many pages, but by the end of the prologue I cared enough to have a lump in my throat as I read about those heroic men.
Roger Powell
23. forkroot

My guess is that a Forsaken had left a little present for whoever wanted to draw Callandor.

Agreed that the text hints of extra weaves beyond what Rand had left. Hard to imagine that a relatively untrained channeler (relative to any AoL character) would survive a trap set by a Forsaken.
I suppose it's possible that we'll find something in AMoL to explain this - otherwise our best hope will be Maria's book.
Jay Dauro
24. J.Dauro
We may take the fact that RJ expected more reaction from the readers to the death of the Amayar as something of a hint. It may be that he has spent more "time" with them while plotting the story, and this is an indicator that they will be important in the finale (not physically of course, but possibly a connection with the Tinkers and Aiel.) I will hold judgement until then.

Yes, I find most of the Seafolk leaders to be obnoxious. And I enjoyed the slight takedowns that Logain provided. But if you like everyone that you read in a story, isn't there much less satisfaction in the end. I mean, I am hoping for a major takedown of the Seafolk in AMOL. (I really want to see Mat meet with them, and tell them who he is, and ask for something.)

Nacelle is in the camp, and it appears that others may have worked with her on the weaves. So she may not be able to hide the work. And with the Heart system, it may be difficult to communicate with her superiors in the BA. I really doubt she is aware that there is a Forsaken in the camp.
Anthony Pero
25. anthonypero
RE: Jahar getting Callandor

Rand's need for the Sword is reason enough for Jahar to be able to survive the trap, if there was one. Dumb luck, the Pattern, etc... RJ worldbuilt himself a complete out for any unbelievable situations that arise. The Pattern dictates it is so.
Captain Hammer
26. Randalator
J.Dauro @24

We may take the fact that RJ expected more reaction from the readers to the death of the Amayar as something of a hint. It may be that he has spent more "time" with them while plotting the story, and this is an indicator that they will be important in the finale (not physically of course, but possibly a connection with the Tinkers and Aiel.) I will hold judgement until then.

Even then the reaction would only be "Man, that really sucks for Rand et al" instead of "meh". That's hardly an improvement when RJ aimed for "Oh my god, how indescribably horrible".
john mullen
27. johntheirishmongol
I thought these were basically mood chapters, setting background, and some information that will be useful later. Other than that, and the realization of what Halima is, there was not a lot worth going into.
Jay Dauro
28. J.Dauro
Just in case you missed it - Irene announced the cover artist for the AMoL ebook. Michael Whelan.
Roger Powell
29. forkroot

Rand's need for the Sword is reason enough for Jahar to be able to survive the trap, if there was one. Dumb luck, the Pattern, etc... RJ worldbuilt himself a complete out for any unbelievable situations that arise. The Pattern dictates it is so.
It could be worse ... try David Eddings and the self-aware prophecies of the "Belgariad" and the "Malloreon". It was bad enough for five books, but then he rebottled the old wine for another 5, almost repeating the story (even the characters admit it!)

His characters were fun enough though, that it was worth reading through once - even if the writing didn't get much above pulp level.
30. jerec84
I'd completely forgotten that Sea Folk chapter existed. None of that rang any bells for me... it's actually possible I just read it and let my mind wander.
John Massey
31. subwoofer
Well, for all the griping, we do see that Cadsuane is good for something, bullying and terrorizing the Sea Folk, yay Caddy;)

Not really sure that we needed to get the details of whatshernuts getting worked over. I would have cheerfully skipped over the reason for the ringbolt.

Logain did make this chapter bearable though and I am glad Rand chose him and not some other random Asha'man. I still wonder at Logain's future glory and this is a momentum builder for his character as well.

2nd chapter... well, we get a different POV, that's gotta be good for something right? Er.... I dunno what tho'. Hammy gets away- boy, that writing was on the wall, not a single Aes Sedai in the camp saw that coming. For me the bonding was very important as I think it will lead to future cooperation between male and female channelers. Romanda does comment that with the bonding the circles can be extended to the maximum number of Aes Sedai, but to me it means that men and women channelers are working together for the first time in 3000 years. Momentous indeed.

Hugh Arai
32. HArai
I'm trying to figure out how agreeing a AS would teach the Sea Folk turned into 'we agree an AS will be your pinata'. Specifically, are the AS not resisting this abuse because they feel bound or because they're simply overwhelmed by multiple Windfinders? If the latter, why don't 5 or 6 AS just grab a single WF, and point out "the bullying crap can go both ways so knock it off" ? Instead they just abandon whoever gets picked to teach. Disappointing, even for AS.
William Fettes
33. Wolfmage
Kadere @ 3

Yes, perhaps the suicide isn’t best characterised by a hopelessly defeatist psychology. We just don’t know enough about the Amayar to wax lyrical about their understanding of self and society in relation to big picture of the Last Battle to make that kind of call.

However, just in terms of my sympathies, it’s enough for me at least that it was a deliberate act of suicide which was based on the Amayar’s peculiar eschatological theology about their role in the pattern. Bad enough to act on that yourself, but doing it to innocent children is just basically evil. That’s the tradegy to me; not the suicide of all the adults, and certainly not the loss of the peace-loving culture mourned by the Sea Folk. I don't have any particular feeling towards a bunch of deluded hippies on an island in the middle of nowhere who've make no discernable contribution to the history of Randland and don't seem to have any future stake in the continuance of time and reality as we know it. Innocent children though? Yes. I do care about them, although it would have been more impactful if RJ had given us a glipse of them beforehand.
John Massey
34. subwoofer
@HArai- yeah! The same thing occured to me. Actually I am still really baffled by the whole bargain that Elayne made in the first place. How the hell could it have been upheld if er... guerilla tactics/bargaining skills were used. Elayne shoulda come back with half the Kin in tow and opened a can of whoop-ass on the Windfinders that used coercion to get the upper hand. For that matter Elayne shoulda taken Mat's advice and brought him along to renegotiate terms. Times like this that makes me glad that Cadsuane knows how to deal with these women- don't give an inch and slap them around on general principles.

Hugh Arai
35. HArai
Wolfmage@33: Tragic certainly. I'm not sure about evil. Can you say an act is evil divorced of intent? After all, if their belief was correct it would have been the best possible thing to do. Don't have a dog in this race, just curious as to people's opinions.
36. Kadere

In PoD it clearly talks about the Amayar and their belief in the Water Way, and their prophecies regarding the sa'angrael statue.

"The Amayar ignored the world beyond their scattered islands, for the Water Way taught that this world was only an illusion, a mirrored reflection of belief, yet some watched the wind carry dust and deep summer heat where cold winter rains should be falling, and they remembered tales heard from the Atha'an Miere. Tales of the world beyond, and what prophecy said was to come. Some looked to a hill where a massive stone hand rose from the earth, holding a clear crystal sphere larger than any houses. The Amayar had their own prophecies, and some of those spoke of the hand and the sphere. And the end of illusions."

"They are a peaceful folk, who follow philosophy known as the water way,which while not actually pacifistic, does focus on acceptance of what is, rather than what might be wished for."

"There is a strong belief amongst them that this reality is not truly real, but a waypost on the path towards another existence." (TWoRJTWoT Ch. 19)

We know plenty enough about the Amayar to KNOW that their death was NOT a sign of defeat, or a sign that they didn't believe Rand could win the Last Battle. It was, to them, the reason for Rand's existance and a fulfillment of their wishes and prophecies. Following the Water Way they excepted that they would die, and wished for it to move to the next plain they believed the Creator had made for them. It's not a defeatest philosophy by any stretch of the definition.
37. AndrewB
Leigh, thank you for your efforts.

The WoT re-read (in addition to the George RR Martin re-read, your full-time job , and recreational activities) cannot be easy. Your summaries are thorough and your commentaries are always thought-provoking (even if I do not always agree with your opinions).

Leigh said re Chapter 22, "To Make An Anchor Weep:" "I’m… not entirely convinced this chapter needed to exist." Leigh, IMO, I am convinced -- Chapter 22 was unnecessary.

As others above have stated, RJ expected us to have a "gasp" moment after we read this chapter. For me, it was more of a "yawn." If RJ wanted the reader to "gasp," he should have killed of a nationality that the reader had an interaction with. Think of how much more dramatic, loud, emotional, etc. if it would have been for the reader if we learn from Mat viewpoint in CoT that the Seanchan had slaughtered all of the Sea Folk in Ebu Dar. For me, this would have been a true gasp moment; despite the fact, that I do not like the Sea Folk as a society. For that matter, I am hard-pressed to find one Sea Folk character in the entire series that do not cringe when his/her character appears on-scene. The only two I can come up with was the Windfinder who taught Elayne the weather weaves in TSR and Talaan. (The awe value of my example would be increased if under my hypothetical plot revision, Elayne's journey to Caemlyn came before Mat's chapter in which he ruminates over the death of all those Sea Folk.

The slaughter of the Shaido during Dumai Wells had more of a "gasp" moment than the death of the Amayar.

Thanks for reading my musings,

For me
Roger Powell
38. forkroot

don't have any particular feeling towards a bunch of deluded hippies on an island in the middle of nowhere who've make no discernable contribution to the history of Randland and don't seem to have any future stake in the continuance of time and reality as we know it.

Au contraire! Fine porcelain is clearly a contribution to history (although the number one porcelain contribution to RL history is probably the invention of a certain Mr. Thomas Crapper...)
Hugh Arai
39. HArai
subwoofer@34: Re: Cadsuane, meh. She's got a strong bullying tendency herself, as Tam points out. The AS are basically conditioned to it with their "stronger in the OP = better in every way" schtick, but I would have hoped they'd at least protect their own from outside pressure.
Teresa Nielsen Hayden
40. tnh
I object to the mass suicide because it's redundant. They're all going to die eventually anyway, so why hurry it? If there's no additional good to be had from killing themselves, they shouldn't be doing it.
William Fettes
41. Wolfmage
HArai @ 35

Well, absent some kind of genuine authorial verification, I’m deeply sceptical about any default assumption that would elevate the status of the Amayar’s cultural beliefs and prophesy such that this horrific act was endowed with some kind of nobility, determinism or necessity. We don’t know enough to make that claim, and I’m very leery of just assuming it because of some fuzzy cultural relativism and a vague sense that any prophesy can be valid in an epic fantasy universe.

More likely, the Amayar have taken a kernel of truth about the parallel worlds and circular cosmology of the WoT universe, and they’ve concocted their own twisted version of dispensationalist fatalism which posited their communal death as the logical conclusion to such an end time.

And, yes, absolutely and unapologetically I would say it’s evil to indoctrinate and kill your children. Personally, I do think killing yourself for no good reason is stupid. But what counts as a good reason is obviously going to differ amongst different people. I’m not actually against adults taking their own lives in a considered fashion. Naturally it’s a problematic issue for society to ever endorse or institutionalise any form of suicide, but personal morality will always, rightly, overrule any presumption of society-wide rules. Particularly in regard to coping with chronic illness and pain, I believe suicide can be a highly rational choice. But there’s a huge difference between an adult making a considered and informed choice, reactive to a major illness which leaves them in debilitating pain, and a child who just does what they're told -- who just copies the adults -- without truly understanding the consequences and without being offered the option to opt-out.
Anthony Pero
42. anthonypero
tnh @ 40: Of course, you're making the assumption that there is no inherent good in killing themselves. Which seems obvious to us. But it obviously doesn't seem obvious to them.

Perhaps they believe in some sort of afterlife that is a paradise, perhaps the mass suicide is some sort of "self-inflicted Rapture", in which they, as a people, because they are "the chosen people" get to skip the "tribulation" of these end times and go right to their reward. That would seem to be benifit enough, if it were actually true.

We don't really get enough information to have any idea why the Ayamar did what they did. Which is why most people just don't care.
Captain Hammer
44. Randalator
Harai @32

I'm trying to figure out how agreeing a AS would teach the Sea Folk turned into 'we agree an AS will be your pinata'.

It's explained in this very chapter. Shorebound teachers are very low ranking in the Sea Folk society (another proof that they are a bunch of flaming morons). The AS are given the same rights as any other teacher and since they have knowledge which they are not exactely forthcoming to provide, and the Sea Folk are dying to get, they are subsequently pinata-ed 24/7.

The AS in turn have agreed to be teachers and must therefore accept to be treated like teachers by the Sea Folk, unless they find a way to reason themselves out of their Oath-enforced obligation...
William Fettes
45. Wolfmage
Agreed, but I think the line of reasoning goes why can't the Aes Sedai, within the parameters of the bargain, insist on being afforded the status of teachers in mainland society, if not the Tower? I mean, why accept the ridiculously narrow norms of pedagogical authority found in Sea Folk culture as opposed to norms they accept. Even if they can't get Confucian-level deference to teachers, you'd think they could at least squeeze out some more marginal authority and dignity by sheer non-compliance. The Sea Folk obviously have counter-veiling leverage as well, but they ought to have some wiggle room through their desire to learn so much if they keep the request reasonable.

I'm not sure if there's a good answer to that issue except that the Aes Sedai are just on the back foot from the bargain itself already, and they let themselves get bullied into cementing the arrangement via tough talking.

Bargaining is an amazing thing. I enjoy the show Pawn Stars on the History Channel; you can really see how leverage jumps around between the parties due to small things like strategic starting offers, body language, blocking language and item knowledge. (It amazes me how many times Rick closes a deal that was seconds ago regarded by the other party as unreasonable simply by offering cash in $100 bills.) The Aes Sedai, including Nynaeve and Elayne were really way too weak with the Sea Folk and they made a complete hash of it as Mat guessed.
Captain Hammer
46. Randalator
Wolfmage @45

why can't the Aes Sedai, within the parameters of the bargain, insist on being afforded the status of teachers in mainland society, if not the

Because they are not in mainland society but Sea Folk society. Simple as that. You can't just enter another society and expect to be treated according to YOUR society's rules.
Hugh Arai
47. HArai
Randalator@44: As Wolfmage points out, why should the AS care how Sea Folk normally treat shorebound teachers? Teaching the Sea Folk only if they act in a reasonably courteous manner is still teaching the Sea Folk. So long as the AS actually intends to teach polite Sea Folk there should be no issues with "Oath-enforcement".
Sorcha O
48. sushisushi
I have to add myself to the 'Amayar, oh, that's sad, now what is Logain doing here again?' camp. Not through any lack of affect, but because we just haven't seen enough of them to get really emotionally involved, unlike the upcoming scheduled massacre of the Malkieri, f'rexample.

Bergmaniac@9 I get the impression that Rand may have drunk the whole Aes Sedai 'not releasing a Warder for any reason' Koolaid, rather than getting everyone involved to bloody well unbond anyone who didn't consent (blackmailed or otherwise). I realize that some of the bonded Asha'men seem to be happy enough with their Warder status (and Karldin at least seems to have had a choice), but the bonded Aes Sedai explicitly *didn't* have any sort of choice, no matter what they might feel later. Mind you, if he made a blanket order that everyone was to unbound pronto, can you see Alanna going 'okay, then, off you go'? She's already told him explicitly that she considers the Warder bond pretty much permanent. Also, Taim has a vested interest in supporting more bonding (or at least being seen to) - it just adds to the Lord of Chaos effect amongst Lightside channelers.

Glad to see Romanda proving that she has a brain in there, after all, not just an Aes Sedai Auto-Pilot Schemer.

On Nacelle, maybe it has nothing to do with her standing Black Ajah orders and is genuinely something she came up with on her own. At this point in the story, even the Black Ajah don't have access to male channelers to try it out on, so she may have only had that chance to test it out on an Asha'man. In fairness, I don't see the discovery of that weave doing anything much other than adding to the chaos, either. What fascinates me is that she is a *Malkieri* Black Ajah Aes Sedai. We never find out how old she is and whether she had anything to do with the cavalry not reaching her homeland in time...
William Fettes
49. Wolfmage
Well, I think performance of contracts is a little more fluid than that in real life. If the Aes Sedai were savvy enough to exploit the Sea Folk's desire for instruction they could probably push them a little within the parameters of the bargain IMHO. I mean, caveat emptor -- you bought the teachers you got not the teachers you want.
Sorcha O
50. sushisushi
Various on the Aes Sedai teaching the Sea Folk: If you take the exceptionally low status of teachers among the Sea Folk and add a regular dose of the deckmaster's sister, which is mentioned here (a punishment which Aes Sedai are conditioned to accept, remember), it's not going to be easy to keep demanding status. Particularly if you are completely isolated from anyone who acknowledges that status, as Amylia is here - I get the impression she's Merilille's replacement and the other 19 teachers haven't arrived yet. Man, are they in for a surprise...

On the Sea Folk moving the grain to Bandar Eban, did anyone not think that Rand might have an ulterior motive in moving the Sea Folk and all of the fastest, best ships up the north-west coast, instead of having them hanging around the southern ports? Apart from the obvious 'obeying the Coramoor' angle, that means that there is a backup force of channellers nicely placed in relation to the Blight, in case the Borderlands fall (assuming they don't cast off at the first wind of a Trolloc, mind you), not to mention any more possible Seanchan arrivals. Knowing this series, some red masted ships will hove into view just as the first Trollocs come over the hill...
51. Wortmauer
What? 50 posts and not a word about the spankings?
Gerd K
52. Kah-thurak
AndrewB @37
I think it would not have been possible for Jordan to kill of a people the reader (thereby he himself as the author) had any emotional detachment to. It is one of the weaknesses in his writing, that he was rarly, if at all, able to use the emotional impact of the death of a loved character for his story as for example Martin or Erikson do.

Why the whole people of the Amayar were included in the books at all is anybodys guess and their pointless suicide has no purpose in the story either. But then, a lot of scenes, chapters and even books could have been removed from the WoT without anybody really missing them.
53. BFG
Can't quite remember what happened to the rebel sistes at the black tower, but last POV from inside the black tower suggests that they haven't officially made it inside yet, and Egwene at some point mentions that they haven't been heard from in a while.

I find the thing with Sharina interesting, because stilling made bot Siuan and Leanne look younger as well.

@7 - I don't remember being horrified at the orders. There are a limited number of ships, so do you use them on the people who chose to die or the people who didn't? A harsh choice, but they're the options. Alternatively the sea folk have travelling. It would be impossible to send the amount of food required by gateway, but a small group of sea folk could use gates to do a search and rescue without the need of ships.

@9 - does Rand even know it's possible to release someone from a bond? Also probably against the grain here, but they were sent on a search and kill mission. With Rands order of not to harm them I'm not sure what other options they had?

The more I reread this series the more annoying I find the AS, even including the 'supergirls' (possible exception of Nynaeve - post marrying Lan). They are so insistent that everyone shows them respect but rarely offer any to anyone else. So new theory, all AS need to marry Lan, Moiraine & Nynaeve are the only two that are bearable. Also they claim long lives give wisdom, but most of them never leave the tower. Nynaeve is right they've lost perspective.

@22 - with the doomed borderlanders they're also gearing up to fight. It's easier to feel empathy with people fighting for life than those who just give up. But every mention of Borderlanders gearing up to fight makes me teary. Nynaeves scene last week, later when she's so relieved to find that he's still alive, at the gap when he accepts his duty... Expertly crafted arc.

@32 - Maybe the problem is that it's a new situation for the AS. Most of them will never have had to work with
lake sidey
54. lakesidey
Re: the pinataing of AS: Note also that most AS don't want to be teachers, so they will send relatively weak AS to the Sea Folk (which is how Merrilille ended up there in the first place). Consequently, they will be weaker than most if not all of the windfinders (who must of necessity possess a certain minimum strength) and so will be doubly bound (by the laws of their own culture regarding strength and the laws of the sea folk regarding shorebound teachers). Poor things. If only some of the stronger AS would be willing to teach. Though given the number of strong windfinders roaming around, even that might not have helped.

On a tangent - where did Merrilille and Talaan vanish, I wonder? I rather liked Talaan, hope she hasn't gone and done something stupid like a 13x13...

Captain Hammer
55. Randalator
BFG @53

I find the thing with Sharina interesting, because stilling made bot Siuan and Leanne look younger as well.

No, it didn't. Sharina will become younger-looking because she hadn't channeled before and therefore hadn't slowed. Siuan and Leane, on the other hand, have channeled and slowed accordingly. All the stilling did was remove the ageless look from their otherwise already youthful appearance.

Siuan is 42 years old and estimates that she has "lost" at least 15 years (TSR, ch. 47) which would make her look no older than 27, more likely 24 or 25. That's exactely the age she would have "slowed into" anyway. So she didn't grow younger, technically she doesn't even LOOK younger. The stilling just removed the "20-ish, 40-ish"-confusion of the ageless look and set her appearance at the lower end of the spectrum where it should be and always was underneath the oath rod facelift...
56. litg
Leigh, there have actually been a lot of studies on the psychology of cults, and there's considerable agreement that there isn't any particular type of person that is more susceptible than any other. If anything, members of cults tend to be more intelligent than average, not less. It seems that anyone, given the proper situation and stimuli, can become susceptible to that type of group delusion. The key tends to be that the person must be in a very vulernable place emotionally at the time they are recruited, and I think that sort of a state is something we all go through at one time or another.
Jeff Weston
57. JWezy
SNuBoi@20: I wonder if all of the Randland Romance Novels have a Fabioesque guy on the cover.

Yes, those covers are all the work of a character that hasn't been introduced yet, "Darrilille Sweete".
Roger Powell
58. forkroot


If only some of the stronger AS would be willing to teach. Though given the number of strong windfinders roaming around, even that might not have helped.

No it wouldn't, as we saw Nynaeve get abused to the point where she leapt at the chance to accompany Rand, pretty much abandoning Elayne, Sareitha, and Careane. Now granted, she is loyal to Rand and he did ask - but the text made it clear that she was very grateful to get away from further abuse from the SF.
Birgit F
59. birgit
does Rand even know it's possible to release someone from a bond?

Yes, Lan told him:

"Release me, an I'll deny it ever happened." He had not even known that was possible until Lan told him about himself and Myrelle. "Release me, and I'll set you free of your oath."
WH ch. 25

No it wouldn't, as we saw Nynaeve get abused to the point where she leapt at the chance to accompany Rand

Nyneave never learned to instinctively obey AS hierarchy. It would be more difficult for a traditional AS to defy a stronger Windfinder.
60. slm3
I have to say how happy I am to have found this reread. I'm a little behind, cause I'm just now starting TGS. I usually find that I have reread some before starting a new book especially if it's been awhile. It's kept me from taking a month out of life to reread the whole series. Cause really why not the read the whole thing if you have the chance. I'm also greatful for learning about all the things I didn't catch onto any other time I have read the books. You'd think with the internet and all I'd have clued into this long ago, but my daughter and Eragon led me to assume there should most definately be WOT stuff on here as well. Keep up the interesting dissucions Leigh and posters alike I love reading it all.
Stefan Mitev
61. Bergmaniac
The strength based Aes Sedai hierarchy system is only for Aes Sedai, it wouldn't matter for them if a Windfinder is stronger than them or not since the Windfinders are outside the hierarchy system. many of the Kin are stronger than Sareitha or Merillile yet the two Aes Sedai had no problem bossing them and being haughty to them. sheriam's group didn't treat Amys and Melaine with much respect during their meetings in TAR back in LoC, even though those two Wise Ones are stronger than most in Sheriam's group. Aviendha didn't get deference from Vandene and Adeleis either despite being way stronger.
Matthew Knecht
62. mknecht01
@various re: Aes Sedai treatment by the Sea Folk,

On a more meta level, I think this is just one more step in Jordan's systematic destruction of the "might makes right" closed Aes Sedai culture. And it plays into his ongoing deconstruction of that philosophy across the whole series, not just with regard to the Aes Sedai.

Exposure to different cultures in ways which force the formerly entitled Aes Sedai into subservient roles demonstrates to the characters - internally to the story - that theirs is not the only valid way of doing things. Or even the best way of doing things. Learning sometimes takes place - and adult learning almost always involves the necessity of tearing down existing inaccurate, or less accurate, schemata before you can replace them with more accurate maps to the territory. This is often unpleasant for the learner.

External to the story, I see these scenes as demonstrating how power relationships, and gender relationships, and power/gender relationships, are often complicated by cultural factors and are not always as cut-and-dried as they are first perceived. While there is much that is odd about Aiel culture, for instance, their channelers and non-channeling Wise Women live freely and openly with the rest of the Aiel people, and power relationships there are much more dependent on willpower and strength of character, with outright strength of power barely taken into account in terms of the hierarchy. The "strongest is best" Aes Sedai, on the other hand, by design live closeted almost entirely from their society, surrounded by mystery, increasingly removed from the people they are supposed to be guiding and protecting. Their whole strategy for success is "FUD" and manipulation - and it's not working so well in a time of stress for the society.

The irony in this chapter is that this lesson is here being delivered to the Aes Sedai by the Sea Folk, who are only marginally less rigidly hierarchical, oppressive, and status-obsessed than the White Tower. And the double irony is watching the Sea Folk get taken down a peg or two immediately by Logain, and then Logain offering comfort to the abused Aes Sedai. On a smaller scale this offers the Sea folk the bluntest form of the lesson that the Aes Sedai spend the entire series learning: It pays to be decent to people... if only because they may have friends that are bigger and stronger than you.
63. Lsana

On the matter of the Rebel mission to the Black Tower: Taim tells Pevara in ToM that the rebels are camped outside and threatens to start negotiating with them if he can't come to an agreement with Pevara's group. I think that's the latest info we have about them.

I'm so with you on the Aes Sedai insisting on respect while refusing to give any in return. I'll say not only "including" but especially Egwene and Elayne. It isn't that they are worse than any other AS (they are in fact probably better than most), but that I expect better of them. It's one thing for a random authority figure to insist that she knows so much better than anyone else that she shouldn't listen to reason; it's another thing for our alleged heroine to do the same thing. Even Nynaeve has her moments when she pulls this ("I want you to stand up for yourself...unless it means going against me"), though she has gotten much better over the past few books.
64. llister12
Am I the only one who thinks that Taim's touch of Amylia Sedai is very suspicious? After he touches her hand to help steady her, she looks up at him "with her mouth hanging open as though uncertain whether he was making a joke." This is from Harine's perspective, so she would have no idea if Taim just did something with Saidin... it seems like he bonded her to me. Isnt the male way of bonding to be touching the other person? Most usually a kiss as it is between spouses, but any touch would do really?
Daniel Smith
65. Smittyphi
@Bergmaniac #61

The Kin are too deferential to the Aes Sedai for the strength heirarchy to matter. The Sea Folk are a much different matter as they can match and exceed the Aes Sedai in the snootieness factor so you have headstrong Sea Folk who match if not exceed the Aes Sedai teachers. Custom following Aes Sedai do not have a prayer in winning the teacher status battle.

As far as the Wise One-Aes Sedai matchup, The Salidar Six were sitters or very strong Aes Sedai by Aes Sedai reckoning. Aviendha was not Aes Sedai and did not do what Elayne did to them in Ebou Dar.
Roger Powell
66. forkroot

Substitute "Logain" for "Taim" - you surely insulted poor Logain ... and no I didn't think it was suspicious
Daniel Smith
67. Smittyphi
@ Llister12 #64

It was Logain, not Taim and I'm pretty sure she is still getting over the fact that a false dragon, gentled, is here, not gentled and doing The Dragon Reborn's bidding.
Stefan Mitev
68. Bergmaniac
My point is that as far as Aes Sedai are concerned, they don't take strenght in the One Power into account when dealing with others who are not Aes Sedai and that's been made clear throughout the books. A few other examples of that - none of the Aes Sedai in the Cadsuane group defers to the extremely strong Alivia in any way. Even Nynaeve didn't get deference since she was not considered real Aes Sedai.

Their problems with the Sea Folk are for different reasons - feeling obligated due to the Bargain and the Windfinders being even more headstrong and haughty than the average Aes Sedai. Nynaeve and Elayne, with their extreme strength in the Power and way less experience with the Tower hierarchy model, didn't fare any better than Sareitha and Careane as teachers of the Sea Folk, after all.
69. Umbardacil
While I completely agree that the Aes Sedai need to be taken down a peg (and they are being taken down a peg), the Windfinders also need to be taught a lesson. For all their snootiness, I don't think the Aes Sedai would hold someone against their will and torture them mentally and physically to satisfy their egos.

Seriously, what kind of a viable culture treats its teachers in this manner? Are there any real-life cultures where teachers are stripped naked and flogged if they displease their students?
Bill Reamy
70. BillinHI
forkroot @ 10: While Romanda did vote for Nynaeve in the testing, she was not the deciding vote. That was Saerin.

On the Sea Folk: I am also among those who are hoping for a massive comeuppance for them in AMOL. No group deserves (or needs!) it more, but the Aes Sedai should be right behind them in getting their worldview massively altered. Nynaeve was right on the mark with her comments after her testing.
Roger Powell
71. forkroot
::waves:: I stand properly corrected. I guess I figured Saerin was going to be on Nynaeve's side all along and Romanda was the question mark, but you are right that Saerin, as the leader, cast the final (and deciding vote.)

BTW, Saerin is on my short list of most favorite minor character. It's sad that an AS with that amount of common sense is unusual.
Jose Mendoza
72. xolotl
Sorry, couldn't read through all the posts so if I say anything thats already been coverd, I'm sorry.

Sea Folk...what ever...same as a few other people, I could care less. As some one else wrote though, shy isn't Rand having AM and AS just make portals? Everyone but Rand has figured this out?

Logain, man I love him. No one is going to over whelm him, not Rand, not AS not SF, no one. And joking about not eating people, awesome. He knows who he is and what people think of him and he uses it.

The Amayar have two strikes against them. One, we don't know them so we don't care, as people have stated. Also, I think caring is a cutural thing as to some groups suicide is a horrible act and not the death but the giving up itself, akin to murder.

Lastly, I do like that Jahar stands up but not the act itself, but why. It shows that the AM are a group, that they are soldiers. They know that they are in a war and that they could die if not the guy next to them. It shows a little of what the AM are thinking.
Charles Gaston
73. parrothead
Romanda here emerges as sort of a median: bossy, obnoxious, but with the capacity to be reasonable on occasion. So that puts her in the middle of the three characters from everyone's least favorite city-state, Far Madding (essentially what a constitution would look like if it were jointly written by Francisco Franco and Valerie Solanas). On the ultra-crappy end of the spectrum we have Cadsuane, then meh Romanda, and walking awesomeness Verin.

I do remember being stunned by the deaths of the Amayar...momentarily, and then going on. I immediately thought of Jonestown, or perhaps the siege of Masada.
74. s'rEDIT
While we'd all like to see the the Sea Folk taken down a peg or few, if we see a reflection of real life, it'll be just the opposite: they'll have some essential part to play that bypasses the whole question.
Captain Hammer
75. Randalator
they'll have some essential part to play that bypasses the whole question.

Ooooh, Redemption Equals Death...I like it.
76. Plane Facts Ma'am
Damn, and I thought everyone knew that the nacelle was the engine pod or undercarriage pod on a large aircraft. It's also the most forgettable part of an aircraft, unless it falls off ...

From which we conclude that it's natural for the engine units of the starship Enterprise, under Capt'n Kirk - there's Klingons on the starboard bow, starboard bow, starboard bow, there's Klingons on the starboard bow, scrape 'em off, Jim! - to be referred to as Nacelles ...

mutters to hisself: Now where is that reverse gearstick? Where?!? Damn it, Spock, is this another one of your Vulcan jokes!?!
77. BFG
@69 - the aes sedai have already done this to Rand, although that was a relatively small number of them. But even more are complicit in the abduction protection of several nobles. The Illian guy (Mattin Stepeanos?) was strongly discouraged to talk to anyone that wasn't red (a group that traditionally hates men) - not the friendliest of stays. Although as you pointed out the Wf want the AS to teach them, while the AS don't want to learn from the men.

@61 - You're right about Taim, but I think Eqwene is concerned about the mission, she thinks/mentions it in regard to how the rebel hall have sent away most of her true supporters or something.
@59 - don't remember that at all :(

@55 - You're right about Leanne & Siuan, but that leaves us with Leigh's original statement about how being old when you start channeling makes you look younger. Still logically doesn't make a lot of sense. I can see that channeling would slow you down from now, but also having a reverse effect..? Also seemed to happen very quickly (within a year - not sure of time scale, Egs army were halted for three months(?) then time in the siege - ot did Shareen join before the halt - curse my fickle memory)

As a side, can anyone remember from the books how old the male channelers look compared to their age? Would be interesting if the same thing happened to them. Although I suppose it's not really comparing like with like, any of them who have been channeling a while has also been exposed to the taint.
Don Barkauskas
78. bad_platypus
BFG @77: yocxl @4 provides the RJ quote that shows that older channelers do, in fact, start looking younger when they start channeling. It's not necessarily logical, but it's RJ's world, so...
79. Freelancer
I'm just fine with the entire first chapter of this segment. I never developed much of a Sea-Folk hatred, no more than a mild displeasure. There are many plot ties happening here. A Min viewing, Logain's widespread fame, and the shock that he can channel again, his authoritarian arrogance toward the Sea-Folk, the horror of the loss of an entire culture (and wouldn't there have been the reverse complaints if Jordan had launched into a fuller treatment of the Amayar this late in the game, instead of sending them off Stage Left?), Harine's downfall and Zaida's rise, the application upon demand of their side of the bargain with Rand...

Lots of stuff. A busy little chapter, it was. From a story critique point of view, my only issue is one that I have with many fantasy stories. Nobody goes about trying to make prophecies happen. Siuan, Moiraine, Elaida, heck, even Rand after a time, start doing things to try and force prophecy occurence, and it's silly, but it happens in far too many fiction works to take Jordan to task for it. It's a general failure to understand how real prophecies are presented and interpreted, or, more egregiously, the supposition that there is no such thing as a real prophecy.

Nothing else useful to add here, really. So apologies all around for taking space with this, but...

And last, and very definitely least, I am such a nerd, because I totally giggled that there is an Aes Sedai in this chapter named after a warp engine propulsion system.

Actually, a nacelle is any of several forms of pods or housings, most commonly associated with a wide variety of thrust-generating propulsion systems. The propulsion system itself is not identified by the term, only the superstructure into which it is fitted. In the case of the Enterprise, the outrigger pods are referred to as the "warp nacelles". In an F-14 Fighter, the afterburning engines are encased in titanium-framed engine nacelles.
80. BFG
bad_platipus @78 - I'm not arguing that they're not getting younger, I find it interesting (and illogical) that they are.
John Mann
81. jcmnyu
This is a repost with some minor edits from Crossroads of Twilight Part 13 of the re-read, but very appropriate for this chapter as it addresses what I think will happen to Sharina as far as her appearance.


I've been kicking around Egwene's idea for Aes Sedai retiring into the Kin and I'm pretty sure the aging thing is logical, so I tried out some arbitrary numbers to see if I could figure out what might happen in certain scenerios. See if this makes sense to you:

If we allow for the following round numbers as averages:
Normal person has a life expectancy of 80 years
Normal Aes Sedai has a life expectancy of 300 years
Normal non Aes Sedai channeler has a life expectancy of 600

The Aes Sedai has about the following life:
First 20 years ages normally
Next 10 years (after slowing starts) aged at 1/10 rate. So at 30 they appear 21. Next 270 years after the oath rod, they age at a 1/5 rate. So the first 20 years count as 20, the next 10 count as 1, and the final 270 count as 54 for an effective life of 75. Close to our goal of 80.

A Normal Non Aes Sedai Channeler ages:
First 20 years normal
Next 580 years at 1/10 rate
So the effective life is 20 + 58 for 78.

So how does that fit into our known scenerios?

First 20 years normal
Next 10 years at 1/10 rate = 21
Next 10 years at 1/5 rate = 23
Stilled at about age 40, she reverts to looking like she is in her mid 20's.
Lives for a year stilled. = 24
Restored to channeling, oaths removed for a year. = 24.25
Oathes retaken. Lives for another 250 years. Total life 290 instead of 300 because of the year stilled.

First 67 years normal.
Starts Channeling.
Next 10 years is 1/10 rate. Effective age 68. (Novice and Accepted training)
Oath rod changes rate to 1/5. 12*5=60. She will live to about 137.
Sharina will probably end up looking 30-35 because she should have 130 years left as a channeler when she starts channeling. So she is roughly 1/3 of the way through her life. Once she takes the oaths, she will age twice as fast.

If a Kin was raised to Aes Sedai at age 400:
First 20 years normal.
Next 380 years at 1/10 rate. Effective age 58.
Raised which changes rate to 1/5. 22 effective years left. Lives for 110 years as Aes Sedai. Total life 510 years.

Egwene's plan, Aes Sedai joins kin at 270:
First 20 years is normal.
Next 10 is at 1/10 rate. Effectively 21.
Next 240 years is at 1/5. Effectively 69.
Next 110 years is at 1/10. Total life is 380.

Conclusions. Kin who join Aes Sedai won't fall over and die when taking the oaths. They will start aging faster. Old people who start chenneling won't regress to their 20's. The will look younger and age much slower. Aes Sedai who are stilled lose the ageless look and pick up normal aging at their effective age.
82. Wortmauer
jcmnyu@81: I like your numbers game, let's take it further. What does a single Oath do? Let's assume each Oath affects your aging speed by a constant factor. (And let's use the number 75 for normal life expectancy, so we can compare with the 300-year Aes Sedai lifespan.) The cube root of 2 is about 1.26 - call it 5/4. Therefore, your aging factor with a single Oath is 1/8, compared to 1/10 with no Oaths and 1/5 with three. If you took just a single Oath at the age of 30 (apparent age 21), the remaining 54 years allotted to you would stretch to 432, for a total life expectancy of 462.

Likewise, two Oaths would accelerate your aging 1.56, so your Slowing factor is now 1/6.4 or so. If you took two Oaths upon being raised at 30 (apparent age 21), your mortal coil would still have 346 years on it, for a total of 376.

Or what if you took a fourth Oath, e.g., of fealty to the Amyrlin? Your Slowing factor is now 1/4.1. If the fourth Oath is established at the time of your raising, you can blame Elaida for shortening your life expectancy from 300 to 251, which is certainly neither ripe nor old.

How many Oaths would it take to negate the Slowing effect entirely, and start to age like a normal person? Well, what's log 10 / log 1.25? Turns out, if you don't want to Slow at all, just take 10.31885 Oaths as soon as you begin to channel. I bet you get a heck of a facelift. At that point, who knows, you might even get saa.

Yes, it's a joke. Obviously we don't really have that many significant digits, since we rounded off the Oath Aging Factor to 5/4. If we hadn't rounded, it would be a mere 9.96308 Oaths.

Yes, I know you don't get saa from the One Power. Maybe instead you can get caataracts, or glaucomaa.
Eric Hughes
83. CireNaes
@81 & 82

Don't forget to factor in strength in the power.
84. Dhaved
Question: Exactly what pieces did Romanda put together here? It all seems a little fuzzy and convenient that she suddenly realized that Halima was a male channeler and Delana was Black Ajah. Maybe I'm missing something...
Debbie Solomon
85. dsolo
Romanda remembered what the connection was with Cabriana. Halima had come to Delana saying that she had been sent by Cabriana. Obviously, anyone who was BFF with her would realize that Halima was lying, if they ever talked to her. Also, I think the SAS suspected it was a male channeler, or maybe that was just the Supergirls.

re: the Amayar, I felt some regret for them, but not shock as RJ apparently intended. Most of the references to them were about their porcelein. So, unfortunately, my first thought was, I guess that's going to increase the value of the Tremalking porcelein. I liked the Sea Folk on our first introduction to them, but now they just seem surly, and I certainly don't appreciate their attitude towards teachers. That bargain needs to be reassessed.
Valentin M
86. ValMar
The AS teachers should form a Union and strike :)
87. vor0nwe
JWezy@57: LOL!

llister12@64: The thought did cross my mind, when I read Logain touching Amylia to reassure her; but that was mostly because Harine thought it strange. Amylia’s reaction is not described, and I think we would be given some extra clue if bonding had taken place. As for Harine finding it strange, Sea Folk women are strange, if they don’t recognize a comforting touch... Logain’s jape about not eating anyone lately cracked me up!

BFG @77, bad_platypus@78: I think it makes perfect sense to become younger-looking if you channel often. If you channel the One Power, why couldn’t the OP ‘leak’ a bit into you, and be put to good use by your body? By restoring, say, your skin and bones to their ‘optimal’ state, like at 25 year of age?
James Whitehead
88. KatoCrossesTheCourtyard

"AS teachers of the world unite! You have nothing to lose but your Windfinder beatings!"

A little more wordy of a slogan but heartfelt I'm sure. ;-)

89. s'rEDIT
@Randalator 75: Where did you intend to take me with your link? I find nothing there indicating "Redemption Equals Death"/?
Hugh Arai
90. HArai
Freelancer@79: Care to elaborate on what you mean by failure to understand how real prophecies are presented and interpreted?
Jay Dauro
91. J.Dauro
Randalator @75 and Harai @90

The link address now is


I imagine it should be

92. Saetana
I have to agree with Leigh on Chapter 22, for me it was fairly meaningless. As Leigh and numerous commenters have pointed out, we know next to nothing about the Amayar so why on earth should we care what happens to them? They don't even live in the main part of Randland! The only thing that relieved it a bit for me was Logain, I like Logain for some reason and hope to see a reconciliation between him and Rand before Rand goes to Shayol Gul to battle the Dark One. As for the Seafolk, I dislike their culture even more than I do the Seanchan as it seems to me to be centred around impossible standards of behaviour, bullying and the idiocy of demoting an experienced "officer" when a Wavemistress or similar dies and I can't recall any individual that I've really liked. However, Elayne and Nynaeve made a real dog's dinner of the bargain, given the Seafolk needed the weather normalising as much as everyone else I cannot see why they did not make a simple agreement for mutual assistance in return for them taking the Bowl of the Winds once it was done. I wouldn't send those two to negotiate a price for my lounge decorating, never mind anything this important! As those of us who have read the whole series know (presumably almost everyone reading this), Egwene manages to sort out the problem they dumped in her lap with the Bargain in ToM, one of the few things I actually admire her for doing in the later books of the series (her arrogance is really annoying me now, I've just finished my reread you see).

On to the next chapter, this resolves two issues in the main - that of the Aes Sedai loyal to Egwene being allowed to bond Asha'men (plus the information that saidin is now clean) and the revelation that there is a male Foresaken who can channel saidin (something us readers knew some time ago) in the camp, such a shame Halima and Delana manage to escape, then again we all know what happens to both of them in TGS so its not as annoying on the reread as it was first time around. It also makes Romanda look better, which doesn't hurt as I find most of the AS in the series irritating, the 3 SGs included once they actually become AS - Nynaeve is the best of the 3, only because she has dramatically changed since meeting Cadsuane and no longer thinks she knows it all.

I find the bonding (both ways) to be encouraging as it bodes well for closer ties between male and female channellers in the future now the male half of the source is clean. However, I do think something will need to be done to modify the bond the Asha'man use to remove the element of compulsion which is far heavier than the mild compulsion the Warder bond provides to the AS (this seems very rarely used in any event), in any event we already know the Warder bond compulsion doesn't work on Asha'man.

I thought KoD was one of the best books of the series, maybe that was because we had to wait a while for it after CoT (my least favourite book of the series).
Anthony Pero
93. anthonypero
Rand offering the bonding to the Aes Sedai is an example of taking broken eggs and making an omlette. He doesn't really have the time or the ability to force the Asha'man to release the Aes Sedai. And, Rand is not a one trick pony. He's not just focused on winning Tarmon Gaidon, but on leaving the world in a better place than after the Breaking. Hence his school, Arts endowment, etc... He sees this as a great way to accomplish two things:

1) Convince the Aes Ssedai that the Taint has been cleansed. Even though other sisters support the statement, most sisters simply have no clue how to comprehend the thought. THe more object lessons they have of men channeling amongst them, the faster this thought process will change.

2) Future integration of the White Tower and the Black tower into either a) a single cohesive unit, or b) two distinct societies that cooperate in partnership with one another.

Because, quite frankly, the only other choice between the two is all out war.

Of course, none of this matters if you are in the camp that Avhienda's visions showed a likely future, and that the Seanchan will eventually cull sparkers/channeling from the general population. Within 400 years, no less.
Hugh Arai
94. HArai
modify the bond the Asha'man use to remove the element of compulsion which is far heavier than the mild compulsion the Warder bond provides to the AS (this seems very rarely used in any event), in any event we already know the Warder bond compulsion doesn't work on Asha'man.

The Warder bond is sufficiently strong that Myrelle could keep a suicidal Lan from heading to the Blight from days away by horseback. The whole reason Alanna bonded Rand was to try to compel him, so she was expecting an effective result. Warder compulsion doesn't appear to be weak so much as the AS use it subtly to so they can tell themselves it's not Compulsion.

Incidentally, we know Alanna can't compel Rand with her bond, but which of the other AS failed to compel which Asha'man?

As for Elayne and Nynaeve and their bargain, it's only to be expected of two girls who had been getting away with "I'm in charge because I say I am and I can channel so nyah!". They ran into other channelers who could tell they didn't know what they were doing and paid for it.
Roger Powell
95. forkroot

Nynaeve is the best of the 3, only because she has dramatically changed since meeting Cadsuane and no longer thinks she knows it all.

Interesting point you make ... I hadn't really thought about it before, but I believe you are right. Clearly Cadsuane had quite an effect on Nynaeve (Cads has has quite an effect on most people - except Tam who has quite an effect on her!)

Cadsuane was the strongest female channeler in the world for most of her life. When you figure the WT deference to strength in the power, is it any wonder that she grew up expecting to be obeyed all the time? Unfortunately, with no one to occasionally take her down a peg, she became imperious instead of thoughtful (at times.)

It's not a stretch that Nynaeve, having been bullied a bit by Cadsuane, reflected on her own behavior in the past and took a lesson. Hopefully she was thinking "I don't want to become like her!".
96. Saetana
@HArai(94) As I understood it, Lan being forced to go to Myrelle was more to do with something Moraine had done than merely the bond alone, she said he would find himself compelled to go to Myrelle the moment she died, she didn't say Myrelle would compel him so presumably when she went through the doorway something was triggered that compelled Lan to start moving towards Myrelle. I also recall Myrelle speaking of feeling Lan getting closer, that doesn't suggest to me that she was using the bond to directly coerce him. Maybe it was the result of whatever bit of saidar was used to ensure Myrelle got the bond when Moiraine "died", its not actually mentioned in the book how this was done and there are no other instances of this happening in WoT. Passing a bond from one living AS to another (Myrelle to Nynaeve) is one thing, but arranging for it to pass automatically when Moiraine "dies" must have involved using saidar somehow to create the link and maybe add a stronger element of compulsion? The only reference of the bond actually being used, or rather attempted use, was, as you say, when Alanna tried it on Rand, as it didn't work we have no idea how strong the compulsion is when the bond is used on a non-channeler.

No other AS that I can recall, or Warder for that matter, mentions anything about compelling or being compelled with the bond, maybe that is mostly a matter of custom as who would want a Warder who needed to be compelled anyway?
97. AndrewB
Saetana and Forkroot,

Maybe it is because Nynaeve is the character who I dislike the most, but, IMO, Nynaeve still acts as if she knows everything. In TGS, she is still trying to get Rand to do what Nynaeve thinks is right. That is no different than what Cadsuane tries to do. The only difference is that Nynaeve's purpose is to have Rand do what Nynaeve believes will benefit Rand the most; whereas Cadsuane purpose is to have Rand do what Cadsuane believes will benefit society in general the most, irrespective of what it means to Rand post-Last Battle.

I agree that since meeting up with Cadsuane, Nynaeve has learned to swallow her pride (see how she holds her tounge in TGS when talking to the Wise Ones and Cadsuane). However, swallowing ones ego is not the same as believing that you know everything. Nynaeve did the same thing that Cadsuane did. Admit that she could not handle Rand alone and sought help. Cadsuane sought help from the Wise Ones; Nynaeve sought help from Cadsuane. TGS and ToM are rampant with Nynaeve bemoninng to herself that Rand will not listen to Nynaeve; that only Nynaeve knows what is best for Rand.

Thanks for reading my musings,
Captain Hammer
98. Randalator
s'rEdit @89, J.Dauro @91


What's up with this zarking editor? It keeps messing with my links all the time, adding that stupid tor blog thing. Even retroactively now, I checked the link after I had posted it and it was fine. I hate that stupid thing! I'll have it hung, drawn, and quartered! And whipped! And boiled...until...until...until it has had enough! And then I will do it again! And when I've finished I will take all the little bits, and I will JUMP on them! And I will carry on jumping on them until I get blisters, or I can think of anything even more unpleasant to do...!


TOR, bring back the old editor, please. This one is a load of dingo's kidneys...
WOT Dragons
99. WOTNoDragons
When I first read this chapter a few years ago regarding the Amayar's mass suicide, like many others have posted already, I was very laissez-faire about the whole deal. But then on reading Leigh's recap with the Kool-aid reference, it did conjure up a feeling of sadness; I mean, come on - - you've got to feel a bit sorry for the drink! One minute you’re renowned as a refreshing beverage; "Oh-yeah" and the next minute - no thanks to Mr Jones, you’re synonymous as a toxic delivery system of choice for mass-suicidey cultists! Poor Kool-aid :-)

Seriously though, why didn't RJ give us readers a little bit more screen time to have made some connection to these people? It's not as if there wasn't an opportunity. Back in COT - didn't Alvarin take a sojourn for a month over on Tremalking? Maybe she was just desperate for a really fresh cup of tea or a new parasol -:) but perhaps, her mysterious and possibly sinister visit was somehow connected to the Amayar's demise? I think the timing might be about right, but in any event, a few pages of story from Alvarin's POV (even if only a cynical DF POV) on Tremalking would have been a mechanism by which we'd have had an opportunity to 'meet' some Amayar up close , and then maybe we'd feel some sense of loss re their tragic end. Oh well - never mind. (Did we ever find out what Alv was up to?)

@ Freelancer 79. I'm not sure I get what you’re driving at - perhaps an example of 'forcing prophecy' would be helpful. I've always thought that fantasy writers have a difficult & delicate balance when using prophecy as a plot device, in that it can easily undermine the basic principle of free-will / self-determinism and thus render the chance of misfortune to character a practical impossibility. All very well if the prophecy is sufficiently vague, ie "3 must become 1," but if you take Min’s viewings as an example, when she sees a vision about someone; if she doesn't know what it means then its just a vision, but if OTOH she 'knows' what it means and says so, then doesn't it become a sort of prophecy? Like the woman who comes to Moiraine at the beginning of TGH; Min says she’s going to die and you know it's unavoidable for her. Ok, so an irrelevant character dies as a way of showing us how accurate Min's viewings are, but when Min says for example that Logain will have a crowning MOA or “glory yet to come” (or words to that effect) then this ‘prophecy’ by Min - which we know must be correct (because RJ’s story tell us so) means that until Logain has delivered on this: actually done something momentous to achieve his 'glory', then effectively he is (up to his glory achieving point) therefore impossible to kill as a character. So if you mean that characters try to 'use' prophecy for their own advantage - ie Logain trying to take advantage of his short-term immortality, (or Elaine’s behaviour, re the “babes born safely” viewing) then I'm not sure I can see what's wrong with this character attitude, but sorry if I'm totally barking up the wrong tree.

Lastly, as this chapter brings in Asha’man bonding AS - does anyone know how Asha’man learned the weave to bond anyone? IIRC, wasn't there a forsaken POV in which the forsaken character in question (I’ve forgotten who) muses roughly along the lines of; - "these so called Aes Sedai with their novel bonding technique - who'd have thought such a rustic bunch would have come up with something so original," implying that the bond weave wasn't known in the AOL. So if I'm correct on this point, who therefore could have "taught" any male channels how to weave the bond in Rand's era?
Valentin M
100. ValMar
I think that RJ has "lived" or "experienced" the Amayar much more than the readers, just hasn't used them in the books. He probably has pages worth of notes on them. I am sure that he has very different perspective on the story in the WOT series than any of us.

Also, 100 is mine!
Birgit F
101. birgit
Lastly, as this chapter brings in Asha’man bonding AS - does anyone know how Asha’man learned the weave to bond anyone?

"It's something a fellow named Canler worked out. The M'Hael doesn't like us trying to figure out things on our own, but once it was done ..." His slight grimace said perhaps Taim had not been all that easy about it even then. "We think maybe it's something like the bond between Warders and Aes Sedai. Maybe one in three of us is married; anyway, that's how many wives stayed instead of running off when they learned what their husbands were. This way, when you're apart from her, you know she's all right, and she knows you are. A man likes to know his wife's safe."

ACoS ch. 27
Hilde Sørensen
102. edlihs
When I first read about the Amayar they seemed very foreign or distant. The idea that someone could bring them selves to do something so horrible was an inconseiveble consept to me. So much that I could not properly register it.

I wonder how I will see it again the next time I read it. The last days the newspapers and newsreports have given a glimpse of how fatalistic peoples minds can be. On friday a man placed a bomb in the ministry buildings and later went to a yough summer camp of the political party of the Prime Minister and shot many. At least 93 total is killed in both places (7 in bomb, rest in shooting).It gives a frightning glimps of what sort of mind one most have. Even if his view and actions was very diffirent...
103. Wortmauer
Randalator@98: TOR, bring back the old editor, please. This one is a load of dingo's kidneys...
Works perfectly here. Probably the difference is that I've disabled Javascript for tor.com. (Or, rather, I haven't enabled JS for tor.com; I only "whitelist" websites where there's a particular reason to do so, such as recaptcha.net so the captcha stuff works. Yay for the Firefox noscript plugin, which makes this pretty easy to manage.) Thus I don't get an "editor", I get a text box, into which I type whatever markup I think I need. Nothing ever gets screwed up unless I did it wrong, and that's what is for.
Roger Powell
104. forkroot
Bingo! I have the older text box now. Once again, I get instant spelling correction (handy) and can control my formatting. Hooray!

Ace tip! Thanks!
105. Freelancer
WoTnoDragons @99

Min's viewings or Egwene's dreams are not "prophecy" as I referred to it, but there does remain a similarity.

I was speaking along the lines of Moiraine or Siuan intending to "position" Rand according to their reading of prophetic writings. The easiest example being that they intended a certain amount of preparation prior to bringing him to Tear to take Callandor, thinking that they could engineer the fulfillment in a neat, antisceptic way.

My comments regarding more general authorial misapplication of the concept of prophecy falls along the lines that if the hero doesn't complete the fulfillments of certain prophecies, then mankind is doomed. Well, a "prophecy unfulfilled" was never a prophecy, by definition. Saying that prophecies merely set the conditions whereby events "might" come to pass, as is said more than once in WOT, is to not understand in the least what a prophecy is. Some authors mishandle this concept very badly. Jordan, I think, less so, and with enough ambiguity that it isn't definable whether it's his own understanding of the larger concept, or only the characters'.

As for a character's attitude, if they are told by a mystical source whom they trust that they are effectively invulnerable, I can completely understand them taking advantage of that benefit. Of course, they should always be wise enough to consider the unintended consequences of their actions, but hey, isn't that true all the time for anyone, and they still mess it up far too often.
Hugh Arai
106. HArai
Well, a "prophecy unfulfilled" was never a prophecy, by definition. Saying that prophecies merely set the conditions whereby events "might" come to pass, as is said more than once in WOT, is to not understand in the least what a prophecy is.

This is the core of the discussion I think. What objectively correct, inarguable, unambigous definition of prophecy are you using that makes you correct and these others wrong?
Alice Arneson
107. Wetlandernw
A true prophecy doesn't have to be manipulated into happening. Prophecy fulfilled is evidence, not prerequisite. It's a fine distinction, but a great difference.
Hugh Arai
108. HArai
That's obviously the definition of a prophecy you and Freelancer are using, and I agree it's a fine distinction and a great difference. That's why I'm wondering where this definition of a "true prophecy" is coming from. There's no objective set of rules I'm aware of. I go to the dictionary and I see:

: a prediction of something to come

Why isn't an author free to set up his or her own set of rules how that works?
Alice Arneson
109. Wetlandernw
"Prophecy" as a general term is, as you say, a prediction of something to come. A true prophecy is one that actually happens; a false prophecy, obviously, one that doesn't.

As always, an author is free to redefine terms as he wishes, but it'll confuse his readers if he makes things too wierd. In this case, I'm confident RJ was using the same definition I am. One example: In LoC, Chapter 2, Taim claims that all he had to do was fulfill one prophecy, and he would have been acknowledged the Dragon Reborn. Rand responds, "Like managing to be born on the slopes of Dragonmount? That was the first prophecy to be met." Taim maintains that "Victors write history. Had I taken the Stone of Tear, history would have shown ..." and goes on to list a bunch of stuff, some of which was prophecy and some pure hot air. Taim clearly believed that by forcing one "fulfillment" (preferably a very obvious one) he could have really been the DR; Rand clearly believes that prophecy is being fulfilled by the things that are happening without intentional intervention (such as his birthplace), and that these things simply provide evidence to the rest of the world that he is indeed the DR. Of course, he has the questionable advantage of LTT living in his head to give him all the evidence he needs... but the rest of the world needs proof too.

(Wasn't there some place where he asked Moiraine what would happen if he just didn't go, so that a prophecy would remain unfulfilled? And she said that the Pattern would get him where he needed to be to fulfill the prophecy anyway? Or something like that? Maybe not, but I thought so.)
Hugh Arai
110. HArai
(Wasn't there some place where he asked Moiraine what would happen if he just didn't go, so that a prophecy would remain unfulfilled? And she said that the Pattern would get him where he needed to be to fulfill the prophecy anyway? Or something like that? Maybe not, but I thought so.)

I don't recall that. If that were actually true, then the Forsaken (who presumably know the most about Foretelling), have been acting in a very silly fashion. Both sides have a prophecy they believe means Rand will face the Dark One at Shayol Ghul. Yet the Forsaken are continually trying to do things that would stop that from happening. Like trying to balefire Rand for instance. And if Moiraine believes that then her own behavior is very odd.

I'm also thinking of the Foretelling the Borderlander monarchs followed. That one presents as an if-else. "If he can not answer, then you will be lost." Where does that fall for you? True or false?
Alice Arneson
111. Wetlandernw
The problem with if-else scenarios is that it only presents a small part of the possible outcomes. The prophecy doesn't say they'll win if he can answer, just that they are lost if he can't. Since he could answer, they know only that there is still hope. It would be demonstrably false if he were unable to answer, but everything worked out right in the end. Other than that, it works out to "true" most ways.
William Fettes
112. Wolfmage
I think most of the Foresakens' varying approaches to confronting Rand can be explained simply in terms of the DO's current standing orders. Those orders have changed a fair bit over the course of the series, including kill or capture directives.

Why would they change? Well, I think it's due to the fact that the external struggle between the Creator and the Dark One seems to have definite victory conditions. The DO wants an ultimate victory most of all where he slays time, breaks free completely and remakes the world in his own image. But we know that can't be achieved even with an absolute military annihilation of team light, based on what we saw on the portal stone world Rand, Loial and Hurin visited. So, it stands to reason that this kind of ultimate victory requires the Dragon's agency in some important way - either through him voluntarily becoming a Darkfriend, an early capture with a 13-13 conversion, or, as a last resort, the kind of Dark Rand self-destruction we almost saw in TGS. Now that Rand is Jesus Rand, I tend to think that this victory is looking less and less likely, but it's possible the DO has one more shot at it before the end. Anyway, my point is short of ultimate victory, the DO would be perfectly happy taking a lessor victory which sees the end of Randland as we know it with himself partially free to wreak havoc.
Hugh Arai
113. HArai
Wetlandernw@111: Hmm. If any possible outcome that fulfills the prophecy is "true", what is the objection to trying to "help" one of those outcomes occur? Alternately, if any prophecy that isn't fulfilled is simply discovered to be "false" what separates them from wild-ass guesses?
Hugh Arai
114. HArai
Wolfmage@112: So you're thinking the DO is simply satisfied with any turn of the Wheel where Team Light's checklist isn't fully ticked off?
Alice Arneson
115. Wetlandernw
Alternately, if any prophecy that isn't fulfilled is simply discovered to be "false" what separates them from wild-ass guesses? Aha! There you have it. Nothing.

This stinks. I really hadn't finished that comment @111, but I had to shut down for a few minutes. Sadly, I find that I don't have time to play with it now because I need to make dinner. Wrestling with the concept of how prophecy works in WoT and trying to make intelligible words out of what I'm trying to say is really fun - and I can't do it right now! This may, of course, result in one of those "while I was washing dishes" wots... but later this evening. FWIW, though, Moiraine sure was busy for a while, trying to figure out and make prophecies happen - and so was Rand, who (of course) turned out to have the correct interpretation. This starts to get really slippery - what if he had done what Moiraine wanted? Would it have fulfilled the prophecy? (I say no, but others may have a different opinion. Taim certainly would!)
William Fettes
116. Wolfmage
114. HArai

Yeah, I think he’s playing a very deep game which involves him stacking the board to allow for several bites at the cherry of ultimate victory at different times, whilst simultaneously fighting for a more conventional victory. So in that sense, he probably has a ranking of the different victory conditions in mind which affects how he prioritises the resources of the dark side. Whether we call it 'happy' or not I don't know, but presumably to an immortal god-like entity like the Dark One, the time he loses with a stalemate or partial loss is not so terrible. It's only the absolute worst case, must-avoid scenario he's truly worried about: an ultimate light-side victory where he is sealed away fully.
Hugh Arai
117. HArai
Wetlandernw@15: Don't you think there must be more to Foretelling other than a talent for making guesses that sometimes work out to be correct in some fashion? I can't see people making such a big deal about it if it's just hit or miss. Thom does the same thing and no one runs around writing down everything he says :)
Alice Arneson
118. Wetlandernw
Yes, I think there's more to Foretelling than lucky guesses; if nothing else, there are some who don't even know what they Foretold. A real Foretelling is always true, just not always in the way that seems obvious. We've had plenty of evidence that they can be misinterpreted... :)

I sometimes wish we had more information about how the other prophecies (e.g. the Karaethon) came about. Are they Foretellings from long ago, accurately written down? Are they like the Prophecies in the Belgariad, given by (in this case) the Pattern to madmen? And what about the Dark Prophecies? Are they also given by the Pattern? Or are the Light Prophecies given by the Creator and the Dark Prophecies by the Dark One? Do they really prophesy different things, or are they just different interpretations of events based on differing desires and expectations?
Martijn Coppoolse
119. vor0nwe
Thom wouldn’t want what he says written down, he’d want it sung (preferably in High Chant) -- by him.
120. Mike123
Prophecy as stated is a prediction to events to come. We know that Rand will fulfill all of the prophecies, not because he must in order for the light to win and the dark to fail, but because they are prophecies. Even the dark prophecies will be fulfilled.
The key is that they won't necessarily be fulfilled the way we predict they will. That is what has everyone in a tizzy in my opinion. Many of us in the story and in real life are trying to predict what they mean and how they will be fuilfilled. It is our nature to try to navigate the unknown waters. All Rand has to do is nothing and just exist, and the pattern will force events around him so the prophecies will be fulfilled. Trying or not trying has no impact on them being fulfilled.
Now I think the Aiel Wise Ones have the right of the situation. They accept the prophecies quicker than anyone and their goal is not to try and force the prophecies from happening or not happening, but to try and perserve as many as they can. I think it is a futile attempt, but it gives them something to do.
121. KatieG
Okay, loony theory that no POVs support coming up! Since we have already seen a group of channelers (the damaine) with the knowledge to make one kind of ter'angreal,we must consider the possibility that one of the medallions of rank the Seafolk hang on their faces is a ter'angreal for bending the Pattern in certain limited ways (which they use for Bargains). As for the times they don't get the best of everyone: When they are up against a Ta'veren the shoe is on the other foot. And we know from Tuon's meeting with Rand that a more normal person can sometimes stand against such things, so Egwene's meeting with them in ToM is the same kind of exception.
Of course, I don't actually believe this, but its fun to think about!
William McDaniel
122. willmcd
Reading this post-AMoL, it occurs to me to ask: Do the Sea Folk ever really come up in the series again, or is this it for them?

Harine makes a cameo early in TGS when Rand goes to Arad Doman, but I don't recall Zaida ever showing up again, or anything coming of the Merilille/Talaan disappearance. Encyclopaedia Wheel of Time lists nothing through ToM, and I don't remember anything in AMoL, though I might be mistaken on that count.

But if my memory is correct, and this is the last major appearance for the Sea Folk in the series, it's possible that the narrative purpose of this chapter (which for me, like many other readers, is elusive) is to serve as a capstone for the Sea Folk plotline. Rand meeting with them and making a bargain (through Merana, ultimately) for their services was a plot device for a while, so here is the service that they actually perform for him (carrying food to Arad Doman), so it didn't all come to nothing. (Though I also don't see why this couldn't have been done through Gateways, especially when the rapid food spoilage going on.)

Viewed through this same lens, perhaps the Amayar mass suicide becomes a rather ineffective attempt at an emotional culmination of the Sea Folk's involvement in the story. They are a culture that RJ never seemed to know what to do with once Traveling showed up and eliminated the need for ocean passage, but I suppose one could speculate at length on whether he might have done something else with them had he lived to finish the series.

Really good commentary by mknecht01 @62 on the AS/Sea Folk dynamics, and what RJ might have been trying to tell us.
Deana Whitney
123. Braid_Tug
@122: Only briefly. More related to them getting food to Ebou Dar, that then spoils, that Post-Zen Ran makes good again.

Then AMOL they are used to help control the weather, but it's more a side reference. Not really dwelled upon.
Eg also gets them to sit down for the three way conference of trading girls for training. But again, the Sea Folk are never really a focus of anything.
124. hesuchia
I noticed a lot of people didn't care much about the Amayar, but I must be a sap because it made me cry. Partly it's probably because of my listening to audiobooks, where Kate Reading puts good emotion into the conversations, so it felt more tragic than just words on a page. Even if the Water Way is less pacifistic than the Way of the Leaf, it felt like a bunch of Tinkers or Da'shain Aiel suddenly died at once. Relatively innocent people like that dying makes me sad, since their innocence makes them child-like to me. And to have their children die too it made it twice as bad. :(

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