Tue
Aug 16 2011 2:11pm

The Wheel of Time Re-read: Knife of Dreams, Part 18

The Wheel of Time Re-read by Leigh ButlerOh happy day, Wheel of Timers! It is a Re-read, just for you!

Today’s entry covers Chapter 28 through 30 of Knife of Dreams, in which we have a rescue, and it’s ABOUT DAMN TIME.

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 28: In Malden

What Happens
A gai’shain named Dairaine, a known tattletale, enters Faile, Maighdin, and Alliandre’s tent as they are dressing, and Maighdin immediately divines that she knows something is up. They jump Dairaine and hogtie and gag her; Alliandre and Maighdin discuss whether they should kill her, but Faile vetoes the idea because there’s no good place to hide the body. She ducks outside, and finds twenty of her followers have come to see her off (which is what tipped off Dairaine). Faile shoos them away gently, and explains the problem to Bain and Chiad, who tell her they can hide Dairaine, but it means Faile will have to go to the town without them. They bundle up Dairaine and scare her silent, and Faile says her goodbyes.

“You have all my gratitude,” she said, “you and Chiad both, now and forever. I have great toh.” She kissed Bain lightly on the cheek, which made the woman blush as red as her hair, of course. Aiel were almost prudishly restrained in public. In some ways.

Bain glanced at Chiad, and a faint smile appeared on her lips. “When you see Gaul, tell him Chiad is gai’shain to a man with strong hands, a man whose heart is fire. He will understand. I need to help her carry our burden to a safe place. May you always find water and shade, Faile Bashere.” She touched Faile’s cheek lightly with her fingertips. “One day, we will meet again.”

Faile, Alliandre and Maighdin meet up with Lacile and Arrela, and they head into Malden, which is still empty this early. The women hold knives at the ready in case they are set upon by Shaido rapists, and hasten to the abandoned inn where Faile had hidden the rod. Alliandre asks what it is, and Faile supposes it must be an angreal or ter’angreal; Maighdin touches it and agrees.

She claimed never to have been to the White Tower, but Faile was not so sure as she once had been. Maighdin could channel, but so weakly and with so much difficulty that the Wise Ones saw no danger in letting her walk free. Well, as free as any gai’shain was. Her denials might well be a matter of shame.

They hurry on to the burnt-out portion of Malden in the southern end, and find the red cloth marking a structure almost completely destroyed by fire. Galina appears and assures them it is sound, and insists that they give her the rod only inside, to be safe from prying eyes. Doubtfully, Faile et al follow her in and down to the basement, where Galina demands the rod. Faile gives it to her, and Galina smiles triumphantly. Faile asks how they are to get out, and Galina abruptly says she heard something, and tells them to wait while she checks it out. She goes up the stairs.

Suddenly, wood groaned overhead, and with a thunderous crash charred beams and boards collapsed, sending out blinding billows of black dust and grit that sent Faile into paroxysms of coughing. The smell of charring suddenly was as thick in the air as it had been the day Maiden burned. Something falling from above hit her shoulder hard, and she crouched, trying to protect her head. Someone cried out. She heard other falling objects hit the basement’s stone floor, boards or pieces of boards. Nothing made a loud enough noise to be a roof beam or a heavy joist.

When the dust settles, they see that the staircase is completely blocked by wreckage, and it quickly becomes obvious that Galina is gone. Alliandre begins to freak out, but Faile and Maighdin are both calmly resolute, and Alliandre takes courage. They try cautiously to move the debris blocking the stairs without bringing it all down on top of them. It works for a while, but then Alliandre moves the wrong board, and they run as the entire pile falls in, leaving them even more trapped than before, though now there are gaps that show them bits of the street outside. Faile sees the scarf Galina had used to mark the building, and asks Maighdin if she can make it do something the wind wouldn’t; even if it only gets them captured again, that’s still better than dying in a basement.

“I might spend all day trying to embrace the Source and never succeed,” the sun-haired woman said in dull tones. She stood slumped, staring at nothing. Her face suggested that she saw an abyss beneath her feet. “And if I do embrace it, I can almost never weave anything.”

Faile loosened her grip on Maighdin and smoothed her hair instead. “I know it’s difficult,” she said soothingly. “Well, in truth, I don’t know. I’ve never done it. But you have. And you can do it again. Our lives depend on you, Maighdin. I know the strength that’s in you. I’ve seen it time and again. There is no surrender in you. I know you can do it, and so do you.”

Slowly, Maighdin’s back straightened, and despair slid off her face. She might still see the abyss, but if she fell, she would fall without flinching. “I’ll try,” she said.

The others all whisper encouragement to her as she tries again and again to embrace the Source; finally, the scarf goes rigid and swings a few times like a pendulum. The others all praise her, and she continues to fight to repeat the action again and again.

Galina hurries out of Malden, keeping her head down, delighting in her near-freedom. She wishes she could have killed Therava before going, but she had been terrified that if Therava woke before she could do it she would lose all will to resist. Suddenly, she hears wolves howling, and sees fog curling over the ridge west of the town, and realizes Perrin has come. She thinks gleefully that he will not find her, or his fool wife either, and hurries to where she’s stashed a horse and supplies.

Commentary
Aaaaaand we’re coming off the far turn into the homestretch! It’s Plotline of Doom, ahead by a neck! Whoo!

I think my main initial reaction to this chapter, appropriately enough, was “wow, does this mean this is actually going to happen?” The stretched-outedness of this plot arc has already been discussed ad nauseam here, so I’m not going to go into it more than that, but, yeah.

New icon! I like it. Even though it’s not exactly what I pictured a blacksmith’s puzzle to actually look like; I always thought they were more Tetris-y. That’ll learn me!

Maighdin/Morgase: I remember I was actually really surprised that she could even channel enough to flap a scarf around. I’m not sure why, except that in all the time we’ve been in her head she never really seemed to give any thought to her channeling ability, or lack thereof, and in retrospect that strikes me oddly. Possibly I’m just projecting here, though, because I know that if I had a thing where I could almost do magic but not quite, it would bug the shit out of me. I’d be poking at that like a sore tooth, all the time.

Of course, Morgase has had years and years to get over it, not to mention plenty of other things to occupy her mind, like running a country and then becoming the world’s punching bag and alla that, so, okay. I’m just saying, though, that I’d at least be constantly trying to get to where I could float over the TV remote without having to get up. You know, important stuff like that!

And… yes. Go on, then!

 

Chapter 29: The Last Knot

What Happens
Perrin stands near the edge of the fog bank Neald had created on the ridge and studies the Shaido encampment below, and especially the gates to the town beyond it, behind which he hopes Faile and her companions will be going soon to hide themselves like Alyse promised. He goes to find Dannil and Balwer, who tells him Masema has arrived, even though he’s supposed to be on the eastern ridge with his rabble (twenty thousand all told). Perrin is irritated, but first goes to where Lini, Breane, Lamgwin, and Basel Gill are waiting with the carts with the tents and supplies, and the Shaido gai’shain.

“It’s time for you to start north, Master Gill,” Perrin said. “When you reach the mountains, follow them until you strike the Jehannah Road. With luck, we’ll catch you up before you reach the mountains, but if not, send Alliandre’s servants off to Jehannah, then you head east through the pass, then north again. We’ll be as close behind you as we can.” If his plan did not go too far awry. Light, he was a blacksmith, not a soldier. But even Tylee had finally agreed it was a good plan.

All of them try to argue about leaving, especially Lini (who still thinks Perrin cheated on Faile), but Perrin threatens to have her tied up if she argues further, and she caves. As the carts head out, Sulin approaches him to report that the Shaido sentries to the north are dead, at the cost of two of their Maidens. She is soon joined by Annoura, Masuri, Berelain, Masema, Aram, and the six Wise Ones, one of whom goes with Sulin to Heal one of the other Maidens. Masema, smelling insane as usual, remarks that it is a pity Perrin won’t let the Seanchan leash all of “these blasphemous women.” His mention of Rand leads to Perrin glimpsing him in the colors, and Perrin realizes that Rand’s left hand is missing. He ignores the glares from the Wise Ones, and Perrin wonders why he agreed to meet with Masuri and Annoura when he clearly includes them in his statement. Perrin demands to know what Masema is doing here instead of being with his men, and Masema says he intends to stay close to Perrin.

So a small part of his plan had unraveled already. A hope really, rather than part of the plan. If all else went well, the Shaido who managed to flee would carve a way through Masema’s people without more than slowing a step, but instead of taking a Shaido spear through his ribs, Masema would be… keeping an eye on him. Without any doubt, the man’s bodyguard was not far off in the fog, two hundred or so ruffians better armed and better mounted than the rest of his army. Perrin did not look at Berelain, but the scent of her worry had strengthened. Masema had reason to want both of them dead. He would warn Gallenne that his primary task today would be protecting Berelain from Masema’s men. And he would have to watch his own back.

Perrin sees a gateway open, and Neald approaches with a Seanchan lieutenant (Gueye), who reports that the Shaido approaching the town from the west and east (each group between twenty-five to forty thousand strong) are moving faster than expected, and will arrive that day, possibly by noon. Perrin knows there will be at least three to four thousand spears with each group, but tells Gueye that they will be done one way or the other by noon; the plan remains the same.

Out in the fog, wolves howled, an eerie cry that rose all around Maiden. It was truly begun, now.

Just as Maighdin’s efforts with the scarf are about to end for exhaustion, Aravine appears at the gap above the basement. She tells an overjoyed Faile that Theril followed them despite her orders, and went for help after he saw Galina collapse the staircase. Alliandre asks why Galina would do that; Faile wonders if she was perhaps Black Ajah, but decides it hardly matters now. Then Rolan appears, to Faile’s dismay, and orders her to stand at the other end of the basement so they can clear the rubble. Alliandre is bitter that they are recaptured again, but Faile says it is probably only Mera’din up there, so she has some hope.

Surely Rolan would let her go once he learned about Dairaine. Of course, he would. And if he remained stubborn… In that case, she would do whatever was necessary to convince him. Perrin would never have to find out.

By mid-morning, both Gallenne and Arganda are antsy, waiting for Grady, and sniping at each other until Perrin shuts them up. Then a weary Grady appears, with Tam al’Thor in tow. Perrin greets Tam, and tells Grady to stay with Mishima and try to intimidate him enough to keep from deviating from the plan. Grady leaves, and Tam comments that he wishes they’d had some other way to get there than via Asha’man; a man named Mazrim Taim had come to the Two Rivers a while back and took over forty men and boys with him to this Black Tower.

“Taim said Rand sent him. He said Rand is the Dragon Reborn.” There was a touch of questioning in that, perhaps a hope for denial, perhaps a demand to know why Perrin had kept silent.

Those hues whirled in Perrin’s head, but he batted them away and answered by not answering. What was, was. “Nothing to be done about it now, Tam.” According to Grady and Neald, the Black Tower did not just let men go once they signed on.

Sadness entered Tam’s scent, though he let nothing show on his face. He knew the fate of men who could channel. Grady and Neald claimed the male half of the Source was clean, now, but Perrin could not see how that could be. What was, was. You did the job you were given, followed the road you had to follow, and that was that.

Perrin introduces Tam to Gallenne and Arganda as his First Captain; they are not happy about being under Tam’s command, but voice no objections. A scout signals that around four hundred Shaido spears are moving from the encampment toward Perrin’s position, and he gives the command to move.

His fingers found the leather cord he had knotted for every day of her captivity. Pulling it out, he let it fall to the ground without glancing at it. This morning had seen the last knot.

He and Aram stroll out of the fog so that the Shaido can see them; half a dozen Shaido break off to head for them while the rest halt. Then Perrin’s forces move clear of the fog behind him, including Masema and his rabble, though Masema is staring at Berelain in the midst of her lancers. More Shaido from the camp soon begin running to join the first group, and Tam appears with his reinforcements (some three thousand) from the Two Rivers; Perrin notes the presence of a surprising number of outlanders among the faces he knows. The Shaido begin beating their bucklers, and Tam gives the command to ready the longbows.

“Soon now we will know,” Edarra said. About the tea, she meant. If they had not waited long enough, they were all dead.

The Shaido send contingents north and south, in an attempt to flank Perrin’s forces on the ridge, and fireballs and lightning begin falling from the sky, to be blocked by Perrin’s channelers. Edarra tells him fifteen or so Wise Ones must have escaped the tea, but that’s all. Annoura says she feels in danger enough to attack, but Edarra tells her to wait, and she does, reluctantly. The Shaido advance, singing, and Tam gives the order to fire. Rank after rank of Shaido go down under the longbows, but they do not falter. Then the Seanchan attack the flanking Shaido parties, and the damane’s rain of fire and lightning is devastating. The Wise Ones and Aes Sedai join in; the Shaido Wise Ones attempt to block the attacks, but their numbers are too few. Eventually the Shaido begin to fall back; Perrin’s forces advance, following. Perrin finds himself unable to keep to their slow pace, and he and Aram end up far ahead of the rest. A small party of Shaido break off to meet them. They engage the Shaido; one tries to stab Perrin with his spear, but Perrin breaks his arm with his hammer and slits his throat with his knife.

Blood gouted, and he was running again while the man was falling. He had to reach Faile. Fire in his blood, fire in his heart. Fire in his head. No one and nothing would keep him from Faile.

Commentary
Okay, I have to say this even though I don’t want to admit it: I was incredibly underwhelmed by Tam’s reintroduction to the narrative here.

This is Rand’s dad here, y’all. We’ve been waiting to see him again for over twelve years (in reader time), and then he not only just kind of walks up and is like, “’Sup,” but he’s in the wrong storyline. I don’t care about him reuniting with Perrin, jeez!

The only thing I was even less whelmed by, in fact, was the way we find out that Tam found out his son is the Dragon Reborn. Which is to say, in a two-line non-conversation with a totally distracted Perrin, who doesn’t even bother to spare a second to feel like a dick for keeping this RATHER IMPORTANT INTEL from Rand’s father for months and months. And then Tam’s like, I feel sad. Oh well, on with the smiting!

Seriously, WTF, over?

Now, I get the feeling this was a conscious narrative choice, in the sense that we would naturally expect a big dramatic Scene of Revelation on this, so ha ha, we’re gonna be all unexpected and go the other way, but you know, there are certain things which I just feel really, really deserve a Big Dramatic Scene. And call me crazy, but I’d think finding out your only son is going to either save the world or blow it up is KIND OF ONE OF THOSE THINGS.

Sheesh.

Perrin’s thoughts on Tam’s reaction don’t even make any sense, if you ask me. He thinks Tam’s upset about Rand being a male channeler. Which normally, yes, that would be sufficient for a father to be upset over, but may I again direct everyone’s attention to the whole SAVE AND/OR BLOW UP WORLD thing, which I would think should rather trump a mere channeling thing? Hello? Is this thing on?

Not to mention, I would think Tam would be at least a little pissed at Perrin for so blatantly lying to him all this time. And it is blatant lying; omission schmomission, y’all. Not with that kind of nine-hundred-pound gorilla in the room. But, there’s nothing, apparently. I mean, yes, Tam’s a pretty laid-back guy, but this is ridiculous.

Enh. It just didn’t work for me. And it was surprising, because moments of revelation are something Jordan generally excels at; that talent is, in fact, one of the main reasons I fell in love with the series the way I did in the first place. So perhaps I can be forgiven for feeling a tad… cheated, here.

Oh, well. At least the battle parts were pretty cool.

Other notes:

I don’t really get this thing with sending Gill and Lini and etc. off with the carts and stuff into hostile territory (by default, since pretty much everywhere is hostile-ish territory at this point), with no protection whatsoever, at least from what I could determine from the passage. How is this a good plan, exactly? Maybe there was a guard contingent with them and it just wasn’t mentioned, or I missed it, or something?

Masuri/Annoura: I think I’ve asked this before, but do we ever find out what the deal was with them sneaking off to hang out with Masema? Because I really can’t recall it if we have. I suppose it doesn’t matter, since Masema is about to be very abruptly dead soon, but it bugs that this was (to my knowledge) never really cleared up. Yes, yes, not all plotlines will be tied up, blah blah yadda, but seriously, I would have been happy with like one sentence explaining it. Not that I won’t be able to keep on keeping on without it, or anything, but it’s just one of those little niggly things. I hate little niggly things!

Speaking of Masema, or rather Perrin, it is slightly hilarious that Masema’s all plotting to kill Perrin here when Perrin is… kind of doing the exact same thing, if a trifle more indirectly. He’s all, wow, I totally put you right in the path of that buffalo stampede, didn’t I? Whoopsie! Heh.

 

Chapter 30: Outside the Gates

What Happens
Rolan lies down in the small opening they’ve cleared in the rubble and makes Faile crawl out over him first, though she tries to insist that Maighdin go first. He pinches her bottom as she does so, and Faile laughs at his persistence, though she also manages to kick him in the head. Two other Mera’din, Kinhuin and Jhoradin, are waiting outside the inn, as well as Aravine and over a hundred of her followers. Then she sees the lightning and fire outside the walls, and knows it is a battle with the Power, but cannot figure out why there isn’t more of it if it is Perrin attacking, knowing how many Shaido Wise Ones there are. Maighdin, Arrela, Lacile, and Alliandre all climb out after Faile, and Rolan pinches every last one of them on the way. Lacile smiles at Jhoradin when he touches her cheek.

Already preparing her way back into his blankets if Rolan proved obstinate. At least, Faile thought that was what she was doing.

Maighdin drinks some water Aravine offers, and then collapses; Faile supposes she must be exhausted from channeling. Rolan extricates himself from the rubble and tells Faile he will hide her for the night and then get her to the forest, and Faile is weak with relief that she will not have to hide anything from Perrin. He takes her arm.

Fumbling in her sleeve, no easy matter with Rolan’s big hand on her arm, she closed her fingers around the ridged hilt of her dagger. Whatever was happening outside the walls, she might have need of that blade before nightfall.

Perrin runs through the Shaido camp, ignoring his wounds and the sounds of battle all around, heading for the fortress where Faile was supposed to meet him. Two Shaido dart out in front of him, and Perrin attacks, killing them both. Then he barely throws himself aside in time to avoid Aram’s blade. Aram’s eyes are glazed, and Perrin thinks he smells like death. Fighting him, Perrin asks if he’s gone mad.

“The Prophet explained it to me.” Aram sounded in a daze, yet his sword moved with liquid ease, blows barely diverted with hammer or belt knife as Perrin backed away. All he could do was hope he did not trip over a tent rope or come up against a tent. “Your eyes. You’re really Shadowspawn. It was you who brought the Trollocs to the Two Rivers. He explained it all. Those eyes. I should have known the first time I saw you. You and Elyas with those Shadowspawn eyes. I have to rescue the Lady Faile from you.”

Perrin prepares to close with him before Aram can tire him out, but then Aram goes down with two Shaido arrows in him. Perrin looks for the shooters, but they are gone.

Elyas had been right. He should never have let Aram pick up that sword. He should have sent him away with the carts, or made him go back to the Tinkers. So many things he should have done. Too late, now.

Perrin reaches the gates of Malden to find a large party of people just inside. One of them is Faile, whose arm is in the grip of a huge Aielman. Perrin rushes forward with a roar, and the Aielman prepares to attack.

“Perrin!” Faile screamed.

The big Shaido seemed to hesitate for a heartbeat, and Perrin took advantage of it. His hammer hit the side of the man’s head so hard that his feet left the ground as he fell.

There are two more Aiel behind him, but one falls with Faile’s knife in his back, and the other with Lacile and Arrela’s in his. Lacile is weeping, and Perrin assumes it is the shock of actually killing someone, but he only has eyes for Faile.

Letting knife and hammer fall, he stepped over the dead men and gathered her in his arms. The smell of her filled his nose. It filled his head. She smelled strongly of charred wood, of all things, but he could still smell her.

“I’ve dreamed of this moment so long,” he breathed.

“I have, too,” she said against his chest, hugging him hard. Her scent was full of joy, but she was trembling.

“Did they hurt you?” he asked gently.

“No. They . . . No, Perrin, they didn’t hurt me.” There were other smells mixed in with her joy, though, laced through it inextricably. The dull, aching scent of sadness and the greasy aroma of guilt. Shame, like thousands of hair-fine needles pricking. Well, the man was dead, and a woman had the right to keep her secrets if she wanted.

“All that matters is that you’re alive, and we’re together again,” he told her. “That’s all that matters in the world.”

Faile agrees, and begins examining his wounds. Perrin tells her the Shaido at Malden are done, more or less, but another six or seven thousand Shaido spears will be arriving soon. Faile gives orders to get all her people out, and Perrin asks her to send someone to the fortress to tell Ban and Seonid they can come out. He is furious to learn that “Alyse” never told Faile his message, but Faile tells him she thinks “Alyse,” aka Galina, may have been Black Ajah. Ban and Seonid and the rest of the party sent into Malden arrive soon afterward. Selande et al are overjoyed to see Faile, and Tallanvor rushes to tend to a still-unconscious Maighdin. Gaul insists on going to look for Chiad despite the danger of being mistaken for a Shaido, and Elyas decides to go with him. Seonid Heals Perrin, and then overhears Faile and Alliandre talking about Galina, and recognizes the description, but is indignant that Faile thinks she is Black. Faile explains what happened, and Perrin growls that he’ll break Galina’s neck, but eventually agrees with Seonid that Galina’s punishment is the prerogative of the Tower. Perrin notes that the sound of battle is dying down just as Tylee approaches on horseback, with a naked blond woman slung over her saddle.

“A remarkable weapon, those bows of yours,” she drawled, eyeing the Two Rivers men. “I wish we had the like. Kirklin told me where to find you, my Lord. They’ve begun surrendering. Masema’s men held to the point of suicide most of them are dead or dying, I think — and the damane turned that ridge into a deathtrap only a madman would walk into. Best of all, the sul’dam have already fitted a’dam to over two hundred women. That ‘cold tea’ of yours was enough that most of them could not stand without help. I’ll have to send for to’raken to fly them all out.”

Seonid is furious at this, but Tylee ignores her. She says aside from Masema’s men, the losses on their side are amazingly light, she thinks less than a hundred all told. She reports that Masema is back with his men, and Perrin grimaces to think there will be no way to prove Masema set Aram on him. He asks who Tylee’s prisoner is.

“Sevanna.” Faile said in a cold voice. The smell of her hatred was nearly as strong as it had been while speaking of Galina.

Tylee is very proud of her capture. Faile claims the contents of Sevanna’s tent, and tells Perrin they will need those jewels; they have over a hundred thousand people to feed and get back to their homes. Perrin introduces Tylee to Faile and Alliandre with full titles, and adds pointedly that Ghealdan is under his protection.

“Our agreement doesn’t speak to that, my Lord,” Tylee said carefully. “I don’t decide where the Ever Victorious Army goes.”

“Just so you know, Banner-General. And tell those above you they can’t have Ghealdan.” Alliandre smiled at him so widely, so gratefully, he almost wanted to laugh. Light, Faile was smiling, too. A proud smile. He rubbed the side of his nose.

[…] Tylee chuckled. “[…] My Lord, I hope I never have to face you in the field,” she said, pulling the steel-backed gauntlet from her right hand. “I would be honored if you’d call me Tylee.” She bent over Sevanna to offer her hand.

For a moment, Perrin could only stare. It was a strange world. He had gone to her thinking he was making a deal with the Dark One, and the Light knew, some of what the Seanchan did was beyond repugnant, but the woman was stalwart and true to her word.

“I’m Perrin, Tylee.” he said, clasping her hand. A very strange world.

Galina is about to change into her riding dress when Therava appears and orders her to freeze, and then to stop screaming. Therava makes her give back the rod, and put her jewels back on, but nothing else. Therava is followed by several hundred Shaido, many of whom are carrying unconscious women. Another Wise One, Belinde, asks Therava what they are to do now. Therava replies that they will return to the Three-Fold Land with any other Shaido they can find, and rebuild themselves from the disaster Sevanna led them to. Modarra protests that that will take generations, and Therava tells her, just so. They will never leave the Three-Fold Land again. She tells Galina she will never touch the rod or try to escape again, and orders her loaded up like a mule before they head out.

Galina staggered through the forest at Therava’s heels. She did not think of the rod, or escape. Something had broken in her. She was Galina Casban, Highest of the Red Ajah, who sat on the Supreme Council of the Black Ajah, and she was going to be Therava’s plaything for the rest of her life. She was Therava’s little Lina. For the rest of her life. She knew that to her bones. Tears rolled silently down her face.

Commentary
JESUS GOD IT’S OVER HOLY MACKEREL

*Snoopy dance* *Snoopy dance* *Snoopy dance*

Oh, you guys, you have no IDEA how happy I am that after today I will (very, very hopefully) never have to type the names “Sevanna,” “Therava,” or “Shaido” ever again, except in passing. That is a lovely, wonderful feeling, y’all.

I’m pleased with the resolution of Galina’s story. I wasn’t sure how I felt about it at first, but on reflection I think it’s an entirely appropriate, if faintly horrifying, a fate for her character. Good riddance to bad rubbish, as the saying goes.

Not everything in here was as satisfying, though. I get the feeling I’m being a little inconsistent in my relief that this whole storyline is finally resolved, and yet also complaining that the manner in which some of it happened was too abrupt, but nevertheless the way the Aram thing went down was… startling, and not really in a good way.

I mean, why kill him in such a random fashion? If there’s an ironic statement being made there, I’m not getting the point of it. And if the purpose was to prevent Perrin from having to kill Aram himself, well, that just seems like a cop out. Perrin’s made tons of morally questionable decisions already, so why let him dodge this one?

I just don’t get it, man. For something that was apparently important enough to get its own prophecy, that was awfully… whatever-like.

But, well, I’m not going to get overly upset about it. Frankly, Aram’s been a drag, both literally and figuratively, on Perrin’s storyline from Day One, and I’m glad he’s gone, so in the spirit of not looking a gift horse in the mouth, I’ll just move on, shall I?

I will say that, in contrast, I was genuinely shocked by the way Rolan and the other Mera’din died. Definitely an Oh Shit moment, there. Which was rather surprising to me, considering how many issues I had with Rolan in general, and how morally dubious I found his pursuit of Faile in particular.

Still, even with all that, I would never have wished such a death on him. And the way Faile is forced to juggle her joyful reunion with her husband with her shock and grief over the death of a man who was, after all, trying to help her (however skeevily)… well, I thought that was very powerful, the way it played out. Not to mention, her and Lacile’s and Arrela’s terrible split-second choice they made in killing the other two Mera’din. That was… wow. Very well done, that whole scene.

Tylee: My thoughts on her run remarkably in parallel to Perrin’s: she’s a really cool person from a wretchedly awful culture, and that’s a headache-making conundrum to be presented with. I loved the bit where Perrin warned her off Ghealdan, and her positively respectful response. I hope we see her again in AMoL.

As for Sevanna, I can’t on principle be overly thrilled that she’s going into lifelong slavery, but in an unprincipled way I think it couldn’t happen to a more appropriate person. As with Galina, there’s an awful lot of poetic justice going on up in here today.

Randomly, somewhere in the middle of this I realized that Perrin had dragged those wolves he talked to a few chapters ago all the way to Malden to… howl at people. That’s it. That’s all they did!

If I were those wolves I would go and piss on Perrin’s foot for wasting my time, I swear. I mean, seriously.

And yes, I know Perrin’s busy having a crisis of conscience re: wolves ever since so many of them died at Dumai’s Wells, and he doesn’t want to do that anymore, and this is a big thing in ToM, etc., but considering we’ve been spending this whole Plotline of Doom being shown how Perrin will do ANYTHING to get Faile back, it’s strange that this is the one place he apparently drew the line. Even stranger because he never even thinks about it one way or the other, not even when the wolves are actually howling in this sequence. If we’re meant to attach significance to this exception it sure wasn’t made very obvious, is all I’m saying.

I dunno, it’s just odd, and a trifle disappointing, too. I’ve said before that part of the reason Perrin’s story arc has sucked ever since LOC is the total dearth of wolvage in it, and this bit is the rule that… uh, wasn’t the exception. Or something. You know what I mean!

Nevertheless, ergo, all that said, yadda yadda, I am very very very very very pleased that Faile and Perrin are now, at long goddamn last, Together Again, and now we can move on to the next crisis, or least safely return to our other crises currently in progress.

Plotline of Doom: over the finish line! Whoo! Yeah! Whoo!

*more Snoopy dance*


And my brain, she is over the finish line as well! Have a splendiferously fantabular week, people, and I’ll see you next time! 

111 comments
Heidi Byrd
1. sweetlilflower
Woot! Woot! PLOD* is finished!

*Although, I have always believed it to be an important piece of the story that will have relevance later on.
Daniel Goss
2. Beren
I would not be surprised to learn that the collective sigh of relief from the WoT fandom reaching this point was enough to influence weather patterns.

I mean egad.

Anyway, that's all I have to say about this whole section, except to agree that the Tam thing was a bit anticlimactic. However, we do get something considerably better in TGS, and then even better in ToM between Rand and Tam, so I'll forgive this one.

-Beren
Daniel Smith
3. Smittyphi
Anyone notice how the Plotline of Doom AKA, POD, started in the Path of Daggers, AKA POD? Mere coincidence, I think not.

Anyway, I'm so glad this is over with. This must have been sheer torture doing 3 chapters at once yet it made it SO worth it to finish it. Next time we hear from Faile, Mesama bites the dust, woot woot!

Great re-read as always Leigh. Go treat yourself to something nice for getting through that.
Stefan Mitev
4. Bergmaniac
I still remember how relieved I was that the PLOD was finally over and the bloody Shaido out of the picture. If only this has happened like 3 volumes ago...

Perrin's charge into battle on his own was really stupid and irresponsible, BTW. He was the general, not to mention a guy crucial for the fate of the world, he couldn't just rush into the battle like that on his won. But of course, this is WoT and only the women get captured, so he got away with it. And the way Perrin kills Aiel with ease is quite implausible, given that he's barely had any kind of training with a weapon and the Aiel are the best fighters in Randland.

The battle as a whole here was really underwhelming for me, BTW, no tension at all, the Shaido got slaughtere way too easily. I know that they had the advantage in channellers, but still...

At least Morgase finally did something important to the plot and showed her qualities, though I would've prefer if she had contributed using her politics skills or cunning, not channelling ability.

And yeah, Tam's reaction to the news is uite underwhelming. I never understood why Perrin didn't tell him earlier. And shouldn't the news of Rand have reached Two Rivers before Taim came there anyway? After all he took over Caemlyn something like 3-4 months before that, and Tear a few months before. Two Rivers is a backwater, but it's not that isolated, especially with all the refugess coming in.
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
5. HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
I always thought Perrin killing Rolan would have been totally heartbreaking to him. His whole reason for being a heartless machine for nine million years is gone now that he has Faile back, and then he finds out that he's killed the person who saved his wife's life time after time? I like Faile more for not telling him. That puts her at notch one.
Brennan
6. brentodd
For me, the whole conclusion to the PLOD just screams out RJ realizing he didn't have the luxury of dragging this out any further. Mostly due to his illness, but also due to how weary the fandom had become with it. There are things here that DESERVE more time, and were most likely intended to have more time, but - he just couldn't do it... wasn't in the budget, so to speak.

It's sad - but thank the light it's finally done!
Rob Munnelly
7. RobMRobM
Leigh - respectfully but profoundly disagree with you about the Tam re-introduction. I loved it. He's a man of duty, just like Rand. He had some weeks to think about Rand being the DR, so it is no longer a shock, and Tam's response to Perrin's (appropriate) comment is heartbreaking. He then gets over confirmation of his own personal sadness and kicks serious butt in organizing the battle for Perrin. Beautifully told, beautifully done. Tam then continues to be cool in the next books. I'm telling you, I'll be seriously ticked if BS/RJ don't give Tam either a happy ending or at least a heroic end in AMOL.

Rob
Skip Ives
8. Skip
Okay, now I've got "Linus and Lucy" stuck in my head, though it's not a bad one to get stuck.

I wasn't surprised about Arum, but I couldn't figure out how the Rolan thing was going to play out until I read it.

I think a lot of what made the plot-line seem to drag was the long wait between books, and the time spent with emo-Perrin when the readers wanted more Matt, or at least something more upbeat. Let's face it - melty-hand Rand isn't an amuse-bouche, nor is the amazing bathing Elayne. But then there isn't a lot to laugh at when the world is ending, is there?
Marcus W
9. toryx
On the deaths of Aram and the Mera'din:

I was initially disappointed with how they all died myself, but now I think it all makes sense. Not everyone can go out in a dramatic fashion. Sometimes people just die, quickly, unexpectedly, without any degree of fanfare. It seems to me that Jordan was trying to point that out.
Jeff Weston
10. JWezy
Regarding the underwhelming reveal of "my son is the Dragon Reborn", I note the following:

1) Tam has had months to come to grips with this, since Taim came recruiting. He is a realist, not a denyer, so he probably considered it and decided he was probably being told the truth.

2) Tam probably knows the part of the prophecy that he would be most intimately familar with bringing about, "born on the slopes of Dragonmount". Again, he has had time to chew on this, and add it to the pile of evidence.

3) Tam is smart (and, more to the point, wise), and would have been able to reason out what Perrin's motives were. Perrin's evasiveness at the time would also have been a bit of a clue, at least in retrospect.

In fact, I thought that the initial meeting between Perrin and Tam (in TSR) gave the impression that Tam heard more than Perrin said.

So, when the reveal comes, Tam is expecting acknowledgement, not denial. Furthermore, by the secret Randland tough-guy code, the less said the better about things when it is clear that you both know the whole story. There is not a lot in the way of sharing of feelings and such, it is mostly "give a grim nod of acknowledgement and move on".

That all said, I agree that it still takes a bit of interpretation to read all that into the grim nod and bit of scent we are given.
Noneo Yourbusiness
11. Longtimefan
@ 4 Bergmaniac,

I can agree in principle that the Aiel should be much better fighters and that Perrin rushing headlong into the battle could have and maybe even should have had not worked out as well for him.

However there are two in book variables that have a hand in allowing for his headlong rush to pan out better than the in book descriptions of Aiel battle prowess would lead one to think.

One (and in the minor) the Aiel are disillusioned and not at the top of their game in Malden. There is rampant drunkeness and general purposelessness as they are lead by Sevanna to settle into the Wetlands and have too many gai'shain to find any work to keep them sharp and occupied. Maybe not all of the Aiel are under the malaise but the PLOD does show that the settling of Malden has weakened the Aiel who remain there.

Two (and greater as far as in book points) Perrin is Ta'veren and the Pattern weaves as the Pattern wills so it apparently wills that Perrin makes it to the Last Battle and that means he can be all chargey reckless mc rage pants in any other minor skirmish before the Last Battle and he will probably survive.

Not that he thinks that way but it is kind of an in book plot thread and the pattern has no interest in shortening that thread before the Last Battle.

May tie it in knots for a while but not cutting him out any time soon.

Plus there is the whole battle of Dumai's Wells where Perrin kicks much Aiel ass as well and they are not drunk or disheartened at that point. Maybe Perrin is a much better warrior than people give him credit for. :)

Hooray for the PLOD coming to a close!
Birgit
12. birgit
There is no surrender in you. I know you can do it

Faile obviously doesn't know much about channeling.

New icon! I like it. Even though it’s not exactly what I pictured a blacksmith’s puzzle to actually look like

I thought that is the belt Sevanna's gai'shain wear.
Peter Czyzewski
13. sebastianelgar
Blacksmith's puzzles can be more complex, or even simpler though the one in the icon is one of the simpler ones. I actually own the one shown, though the icon has a problem where some of the bars are shown in a posisition they cannot reach and which make it unsolvable.
Drew Holton
14. Dholton
It occured to me to wonder, after reading of Therava taking the remaining Shaido back to the Three Fold Land, if (admittedly less likely after Aviendha's vision in ToM) these Shaido would be "the remnant of a remnant" of surviving Aiel. Which would really suck.
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
15. d__b
I always thought Perrin was such a great warrior not because of skills, but because of his connection to the wolves... When he fights he seems to get into a rage, where the instincts of the wolve take over. Those instincts combined with his pure strength is what makes him a great warrior...
Benjamin Moldovan
16. benpmoldovan
You know, it occured to me that, thankfully, the Shaido are not necessarily the "remnant of a remnant". While most of the Last Battle will surely concentrate on the Borderlands, that doesn't mean the Shaido won't have to face them in the Waste. If anything, they may wind up being wiped out forever, since they lost most of their channelers, and they may not survive the Last Battle.

Now that I think about it, Avi's visions in ToM make it seem likely that it is the rest of the Aiel clans that survive, rather than the Shaido.

Ben
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
17. Tyrion Sedai
Not only was this whole storyline terrible, the rescue doesn't even provide a decent ending to it. Subpar action and tension relative to most other battle scenes, but worst of all the whole plan is completely preposterous and implausible in the first place.

I know, fantasy novel, suspension of disbelief, blah blah, but it still has to make a minimum amount of sense. First, a huge stone tunnel directly into the town inside the Shaido camp, and in 50 days not a single one of them thinks "gee maybe we should guard or patrol that"? Yeah, they're getting drunk and sloppy, but they're not complete morons, and they're still patrolling and scouting in general, aren't they?

Ok, whatever, that's not the key part of the plan. The forkroot. How exactly did they manage to get almost all 400 Wise Ones to incapacitate themselves at precisely the same instant? Wouldn't most be drinking from partially full barrels/pails spread among the tents, only refreshed from the cistern as necessary? No one in the camp of 100,000 is going to get new water and wonder why all of a sudden it tastes minty? Or if it's too thin to taste, no Wise One is going to drink before anyone else and spread the alarm when she suddenly can't channel? Or if it's too thin to taste yet somehow still strong enough to knock channelers out, no one's going to notice any of them collapsing after a sip of water before all 400 have drunk from the same fresh batch?

Oh well, at least it's over.
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
18. Hammerlock
@17 - The Shaido have patrols that go past the aqueduct opening, and per Galina have good intel on everything within a few days' ride. Assuming a group small enough can evade detection to find the aqueduct and then shimmy through it, that small group wouldn't be enough to do much in a town filled with Shaido spears. They aren't used to siege warfare in that respect, nor do they expect armies moved by gateway to bypass all their patrols.

As for sending off Gill and Lini and the camp hangers-on, they likely have the older and injured fighters with them, maybe a small detachment of "decent" troops...but every able person who could fight would be needed to face Malden, so this number is probably pretty low. Most of the large bandit groups in the area have lumped in with (or were to start with) Masema's dragonsworn, so aside from some small groups they're likely a lot safer than you may think. Plus any small bandit groups would likely have moved away from Perrin's patrolled camp to seek easier game, so there's probably a decent buffer of safety for them in the short term.
Putting as much distance between you and Malden as you can is the wisest choice the noncombatants can make. Either Perrin wins and you get recalled before you get far, or Perrin loses and you'll have a horde of Shaido on your heels. Living on the run with a chance of making it is better odds than sticking with the army and almost certainly getting slaughtered if things go sideways.
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
19. johntocaelpiano
New icon! I like it. Even though it’s not exactly what I pictured a blacksmith’s puzzle to actually look like; I always thought they were more Tetris-y. That’ll learn me!

Seriously? You've never been to a Cracker Barrel and seen those things piled up in their buckets? Aggravating sumbitches.

And I guess since I started reading this series last year, I didn't have quite the same level of frustration with this plotline. I always wanted more Perrin in my books just because he's my favorite character... I mean yeah, after a while it got old listening to him moan about not being able to handle it, but all these chapters were more exhilarating to me simply because it was Perrin being Perrin (aka Mr. Axewulf McBadass). So sure, yeah, if you're not the biggest Perrin fan then I suppose the resolution of this plotline would have been less than cathartic. But oh well...

And as far as Tam and Perrin's conversation: I think the best I can compare it to was with a friend I had who was from Texas. He and his dad raised cattle. I took a ride in the car with them and for about two hours I think about eight words were said between them. Perrin and Tam are those kind of men. Solid, silent, talking only when they need to. So yeah, it might not be very dramatic, but it didn't need to be. It was exactly the way a conversation between Tam and Perrin should have gone.
Tricia Irish
20. Tektonica
Whew.

Bye PLOD.
Bye Galina, Therava, Sevanna.

**Happy Dance**
Margot Virzana
21. LuvURphleb
Already preparing her way back into his blankets if Rolan proved obstinate. At least, Faile thought that was what she was doing.

Is this faile or lacile?

Anyway,
Didnt like the tam re intro either. Plus i never caught that tam DIDNT know rand was DR.
I always assumed that he did and probably missed it because i like many others, hated this plodding plotline. Sevanna is ... Im sure RJ liked making another character that makes the fandom grit their teeth. But why did she have to last so many books? Cant we just have a bad
Being that we like/ hate stick around?
I. E : alviarin
Though she has lost her umph.

Glad galina is gone . she is like fain to me. I could care less. Bleck.

Maybe The wolves only wanted to howl. Maybe they wouldnt fight so perrin asked for a serenade as he attacked.

Love tylee. Nothing else. Well maybe love is too strong since i dont know her character as well as others. Like tylee. She cool. For a seanchan.
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
22. Gentleman Farmer
Regarding Perrin's "morally questionable decisions" in this chapter.

I saw this book in particular as demonstrating that each of our three boys had to grow up, put some ideals aside, and decide what they want to achieve and at what cost. Alternatively, and in the light of TGS and TOM, I began to think that perhaps Rand's darkness was spilling over metaphysically since the boys are bound together (an idea reinforced by the colours each sees).

I had looked at a large part of Rand's increasing ruthlessness as being part of a larger picture that included (in these last 5 chapters or so), Matt leaving wounded Seanchan soldiers to die or tie up resources, and Perrin's increasingly hard approach to everything.

As I've mentioned before, I find Perrin chilling in extracting information about Malden from the Aiel being tortured. When Perrin ignores the man being eaten by beetles from the inside I think he's harder than Rand ever seemed to be. But the combination of being hard and making tactically good decisions (even when not directly aimed at achieving the goal of getting to Faile) seems to reach a climax when he decides to put a bunch of basically misguided and incompetent followers of the Prophet in the path where he intends to drive the Shaido retreat, for the small hope of killing off Masema. He's really not that different at that stage than Eamon Valda, slaughtering all the people wandering the roads believing the Dragon has broken all bonds.

It's particularly chilling that Perrin follows up his intial decision to slaughter these folks with an indifference to the fact that they're still going to be slaughtered and Masema isn't even there.

I don't think Rand ever reached that level of callousness or hard decision making.

Which leads to the question, whether part of the spill-over of colours was a similar spill through the tri-pod of the madness and darkness to be siphoned off and diluted by Perrin and Mat.

At this stage, perhaps it doesn't matter, or has been resolved, but it will be interesting to know whether Mat and Perrin will continue to be as hard in AMOL as they were in this book, and whether anything more will come from their metaphysical linkages to Rand, whether that will be a key plot point or not.

I don't think there's much from TGS or TOM to inform this one way or the other, (that is, do Perrin and Mat revert to their original selves without this darkness burden after Rand's mountaintop revelation but I'll follow along with the re-read to see) except that Perrin doesn't seem nearly so decisive and hard in approaching the trial with the Whitecloaks as he does in dealing with the Prophet's followers, and Mat's development between TGS and TOM seems more a matter of authorial voice development than character shift to show he's back to his regular self now.
Paul Boulos
23. PaulieX
@ 4 Bergmaniac -
But of course, this is WoT and only the women get captured, so he got away with it.
I think you are forgetting a fairly significant male that was captured and then beaten daily. He eventually got out and got a little revenge though.
Anthony Pero
24. anthonypero
@21 - loveURphleb:

Are you asking in earnest? The text is clear that it was Lacile. If you are mocking Faile... she never was in Rolan's blankets... so I'm confused by your statement.

@Shaido being the "remnant"

If Avi's vision is true then they can't be the ONLY ones... because we believe the Wayback/Wayforward machine works through your ancestors/descendants. Which means the people Avi becomes in the vision would be her descendants, not Shaido who escaped Perrin's purge. Now that's not to say that a MAJORITY of those who become the remnant are not Shaido, or that the Shaido aren't in control of all those who return to the waste. That would actually explain the degredation of Aiel values in Avi's vision.
Stefan Mitev
25. Bergmaniac
@23 PaulieX - I didn't forget. It's just that the number of times an important male character got captured is about 15 times less than their female counterparts, and that's one of my pet peeves with the series. So I exaggerated a bit to make a point.
Anthony Pero
26. anthonypero
Mat got kidnapped as well... although his jailer was a bit more friendly, lol.
Anthony Pero
27. anthonypero
Rand actually got captured AGAIN in Far Madding.
Natasha Sewell
29. saintsfan4life
The thing I never understood is why Galina didn't try to use the rod immediately. Am I missing something?
Roger Powell
30. forkroot
toryx@9
I was initially disappointed with how they all died myself, but now I think it all makes sense. Not everyone can go out in a dramatic fashion. Sometimes people just die, quickly, unexpectedly, without any degree of fanfare. It seems to me that Jordan was trying to point that out.


Agreed, and BWS did the same with Nicola in ToM. Looking forward to AMoL ... there's an awful lot of characters left to bump off if Tarmon Gaidon is going to be a genuine Apocalypse. There's only so many pages to do it, so that means that there will have to be others who will die with little fanfare.
Anthony Pero
31. anthonypero
saintsfan4life@29:

You have to channel to use the oath rod. She was ordered never to channel without permission. She needed to find someone else to channel Spirit into the Oath Rod for her. Ironically, Morgase probably could have managed it.
j p
32. sps49
johntocaelpiano- Anyone who hasn't been to Cracker Barrel, should.

The PLOD is dead, long live the plot. I understand Perrin needed to be parked somewhere while Rand and Mat actually Did Stuff, but couldn't he have gotten something else to do?

Stupid Galina; should've beat feet ASAP.
Natasha Sewell
33. saintsfan4life
Thanks anthonypero@31! I still don't understand why she just didn't get the hell out of dodge! She wasted time changing clothes, gathering her things, etc. Was she that arrogant that she thought no one would happen to find her? Ridiculous!
Margot Virzana
34. LuvURphleb
@24
No i was confused by the text. It sounded like lacile but than i dont remember her being with roland. And i wasnt sure if faile had been with roland. Its been yrs since ive re read this part of KOD. usually i just re read egwene's chapter of awesome.
Alice Arneson
35. Wetlandernw
#34 - Lacile was preparing her way back into Jhoradin's blankets, in case Rolan (as leader) was not willing to help the women escape right away. Jhoradin was the Brotherless who had been protecting Lacile from predatory Shaido; she had already "rewarded" him by sleeping with him. Arrela had a similar arrangement with a Maiden.
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
36. Wortmauer
LuvURphleb@21, @34: No i was confused by the text. It sounded like lacile but than i dont remember her being with roland.
First, you must be thinking of a different (re)read, there's no Roland in this one. But anyway, when pronouns leave you wondering who the antecedents are, I know this is a bit radical, but you could just read the text:
Lacile appeared — rubbing her bottom! — and Jhoradin handed her another waterskin, drawing a finger down her dirty cheek. She smiled up at him before beginning to drink. Already preparing her way back into his blankets if Rolan proved obstinate. At least, Faile thought that was what she was doing.
Clearly RJ is talking about Lacile and Jhoradin, not Faile and Rolan. I don't know that he could have made it very much clearer.
And by "he" I mean "RJ".

Side note: guess what happens one sentence before my quote? The author notes that Arrela is not into dudes. So it seems I was wrong a couple weeks ago when I speculated that there were no named characters in Randland who were gay, not "just in a phase", and not evil. (Of course, she's a woman — still no named male queers.) Yay?
Hugh Arai
37. HArai
Yay for Annoura, weakest example of the third Oath ever.

birgit@12: Faile obviously doesn't know much about channeling.

Maybe Morgase never learned any real control as a channeler because she's even worse at surrendering than Nynaeve?
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
38. AndrewB
In Chapter 30, Tylee says "Best of all, the sul’dam have already fitted a’dam to over two hundred women. That ‘cold tea’ of yours was enough that most of them could not stand without help. I’ll have to send forto’raken to fly them all out.” (Thanks to Leigh for doing my work and quoting these sentences above.)

This raises a question that I have. How do the Seanchan keep making a'dam? Does it require a channeler to make new a'dams? Or does the Pattern work in such a way that there are always at least several damane who know the weaves to create the a'dam? From a literary point of view, this is the one aspect of the Seanchan society that has bothered me. One the one hand, you create a society where channeling is tightly controlled. Yet there is an ample supply of a device that controls said channeling. I understand that in fiction, there some things that have to be taken at face value for purposes of the story. (For example, that the Return comes about during the lifetime of the Dragon Reborn.) Nevertheless, I would have liked an explanation of how there are plenty of adams.

Do not get me started on the Bloodknives. I think this was a waste of a concept that was introduced much too late in the series. When Bloodknives come up in the re-read, I will then explain why I feel they are a wasted concept.

Thanks for reading my musings,
AndrewB

(Before everyone shoots off posts asking how I can condone the slavery inherent within the Seanchan society, take a deep breath. I am not refereing to the characteristics of the Seanchan society. Rather, I am refering to RJ's creation of them a a literary people. He wanted a society whose answer to how channelers are treated are to consider them more animal than human. This is in contrast to other parts of the world where channelers are honored members of society (e.g. Tar Valon, Aiel Waste and the Sea Folk) or tepidly tolerated (e.g. Tear).)
Stefan Mitev
39. Bergmaniac
Some of the damane have the talent to make a'dam, it was mentioned in TGH when Egwene got captured by the Seanchan and was told:
"Perhaps you will be one of those who has the ability to make a’dam. If so, you will be pampered, you may rest assured".
Hugh Arai
40. HArai
AndrewB@38: The Seanchan test damane to see if they can learn to make a'dam. So long as one damane is able the a'dam supply can be maintained. Look how Elayne churns out ter'angreal for entering T'A'R, and she figured it out without any training. Considering how important a'dam are to their society, I don't see why it would be a surprise they have ample numbers of them.
Alice Arneson
41. Wetlandernw
AndrewB - The Seanchan know how to make a'dam; although we're not given much detail, it's fair to extrapolate from the text that they are made by damane who have the talent for making ter'angreal. This may not be the same as Elayne's Talent for copying; it may be a specific set of weaves that can be taught to those damane who have adequate strength in particular elements. It could be that it's the task given to damane who are really lame at fighting and can't make Sky Lights. It could be... a number of different things. We only know that they do make them. We've also been told that the Seanchan only know how to make one ter'angreal. (Which, of course, begs the question of where the Bloodknives rings come from... which I hope we'll find out in AMoL, but we can leave that for discussion in TGS.)
Alice Arneson
42. Wetlandernw
Gee, nothing like a flood of simultaneous answers!
Anthony Pero
43. anthonypero
Lacile wasn't touching Rolan. She was touching another of the Mera'din. Faile was sayng that if Rolan decided not to let them go, then Lacile was hedging her bets with the other guy.
Tess Laird
44. thewindrose
Gentleman Farmer at 22
Which leads to the question, whether part of the spill-over of colours was a similar spill through the tri-pod of the madness and darkness to be siphoned off and diluted by Perrin and Mat.

That is a very interesting idea. I don't know if we will see to much in aMoL, but I will keep it in mind for the rest of KoD, tGS and ToM.

Yay , Tam is back! I like this:
"Longbows, raise! On my signal!" Tam shouted. "Longbows, raise! On my signal!"
Perrin shook his head. It was too soon. Thousands of bowstrings snapped behind him. Arrows arced over his head. The sky seemed black with them. Seconds later another flight followed, then a third. Fireballs burned swathes through them, but it was still thousands of arrows that fell in a deadly hail onto the Shaido. Of course. He had forgotten to factor in the bowmen's elevation. That gave them a little more distance. Trust Tam to see it right away.

Good thing Perrin got Tam! Even more so when he decided to hare off on his own into the battle.

tempest™
j p
45. sps49
It just occurred to me- I wonder if it already has to others, long ago- but I wonder how the captured Aiel will fare as damane.

Most of the coercion (not all) is negative reinforcement via perceived pain. Will any of the Shaido Wise Ones simply laugh? Will any notice the collar opening points and just endure the suffering to open it and attempt an escape?

I dislike most of the Shaido presented onscreen, especially the Wise Ones, but there is a possibility of some cool redemption coming up. Offscreen, at least.
Alice Arneson
46. Wetlandernw
sps49 @45 - Funny you should say that... I don't know that it's been discussed much on this forum, but MasterAlThor and I were chatting about it a couple months ago via shoutbox. Now I'd be interested in hearing what others think.

It seems that if anyone could resist the power of the a'dam, it would be an Aiel Wise One. Granted that they're "only Shaido dogs" and don't seem to have a lot of honor, they have still been living in the Waste for generations and know a whole lot about tough. It's also apparent that not all of them really buy Sevanna's schtick, so probably some are more honorable than others. I'm not sure honor has much to do with it, though - I think there ought to be at least some among them who are sufficiently strong-willed to put up with a lot more pain than any sul'dam is used to dishing out.

Discuss? Does it depend on the individual damane, the sul'dam, the nature of the a'dam?
Kimani Rogers
47. KiManiak
Thanks once again, Leigh. You have shepherded us through to the end of the PLOD. And, rumor has it that another loooong plot line may be resolved in the next few chapters (cough, succession, cough). Oh, and 3 chapters this week. Much appreciated.

Faile: You know, I don’t recall her bugging me all that much for these chapters. She showed good leadership skills, a rather level head, and she was contemplating doing whatever was necessary (including persuading Rolan if necessary) to see her people freed. Having to kill their protector Mera’din was not an easy choice to make (we’ll see how it affects them inTGS), but she and her ladies do what was necessary.

Aram: I wasn’t really moved by the whole “Aram confronts Perrin” thing. I recall thinking that Aram was never pretty bright, but he had gradually become even dumber. Save Faile from Perrin? Perrin and Elyas must be Shadowspawn because of their eyes?

Never mind the fact that Aram probably knew Elyas for most of his life, and that Perrin was the one who allowed him a sword and supported him when he wanted to use it. He’s going to take the word of someone who all other members of the party he originated with thought was crazyderanged. I’m a fan of stupidity and disloyalty/betrayal being repaid by some kind of gruesome death in my fantasy novels. I also have no problem by him being killed by some unnamed characters somewhat offscreen.

Tylee: Another of the Seanchan that I like as a character, even when they are doing certain things that ultimately may work against Rand and our heroes; they did collar over 200 Wise Ones, after all. Although, I’d like to think that somehow incorporating 200+ Aiel capable of “embracing pain” into their damane will lead to some kind of uprising in AMoL. The Wise Ones may be able to counter the inherent defense mechanisms of the a'dam. Probably a pipe dream, but who knows?

Morgase: I had no problem with her not really focusing on her inability to channel well until this point. It was brought up way back when the Seanchan invaded Amadicia in LoC or ACoS. I would assume that between training in the Tower and having an AS for an advisor, she probably learned to just not even try to embrace Saidar for concern that an AS may give her a “talking to.”
Kimani Rogers
48. KiManiak
Berg@4 – re: Perrin charging into battle – It wasn’t his brightest move, true. But, Perrin has been pretty obsessed with reaching Faile (for 3 books now), even to the point where he said something like the whole Pattern could burn for all he cares. Clearly not in his right mind. We’ll really see stupid and irresponsible (without the benefit of being obsessed) in the next couple of chapters, with Elayne. IMO.

brentodd@6 - Wait. You wanted this storyline to take longer? Really?!? :-)

Sebastian@13 – The chapter icon is very similar to an actual blacksmith’s puzzle? Well. Go RJ, with the research!

Tyrion Sedai@17 – Love the name. If only ASoIaF and WoT were to do some weird Amalgam-universe type merge like Marvel and DC did 15 years or so ago.… Anyway, I think the whole “suspension of disbelief” answer really does have to kick in overtime when you’re reading most SFF (especially with the resolution of major battles or plot points). Or it can even kick in for good fiction, for that matter. I think that good writing tends to allow us to accept the more fantastical stories with more ease. Sometimes, at least…

Gentleman Farmer@22 – interesting theory about Rand’s darkness spilling over to the other Superboys. I think your example for Mat (leaving the wounded Seanchan soldiers) is kind of a reach, though. His mission is to get his people out of Altara and to see that Tuon is safe. His plan seemed to require striking quickly, causing much damage, and then fading away before the enemy can ascertain numbers, abilities, etc. I don’t think Mat has grown unusually “dark” and I think he is acting like the person he naturally is, with the benefit of additional experiences.

Wortmauer@36 – Please, let’s not open up the “lack of gay character” discussion door again. Or the LTT is real/construct one. Or the Egwene one. Or… :-)

AndrewB@38 – I would have liked to see the Bloodknives a little earlier in the story, as well. These were some of thethe Seanchan elite, it would have been nice to have seen them (or seen some mention of them) onscreen before book 12. Also, like Wet@41, I would like to know more about where the Bloodknives’ ring ter’angreals came from…

Sps49@45 & Wet@46– And I see you made a similar point about the Aiel as damane while I was typing this monster. I’d be interested to read others’ opinions on this as well. I also hope BSW touches upon this in AMoL.
William Fettes
49. Wolfmage
sps49@45

"Most of the coercion (not all) is negative reinforcement via perceived pain. Will any of the Shaido Wise Ones simply laugh?"

I don't think it's physiologically possible to ignore the full range of the adam. True, as hardy Aiel, the Shaido Wise Ones could probably withstand lower-order effects of the adam, such as switching, for any length of time. But remember that the sul'dam can literally make them feel like they are being boiled, flayed and dismembered for 24 hours a day. It would be gimmicky in the extreme if the conceit of Aiel stoicism was carried so far as to enable them to simply shrug off such torture for more than a minutes at a time. There's also an important distinction to be made between resisting something that is physically external to your body, where you have an external locus of resistence, and something that is acting directly on your pain receptors.

I doubt any Aiel could withstand a determined Semirhage for long for the same reasons.

Will any notice the collar opening points and just endure the suffering to open it and attempt an escape?

I think that runs against the characterisation in the books that the adam's self-removal mechanism involves involuntary crippling and debilitating pains, sickness and spasms. It isn't necessary a matter of pain, it is a reflex response by the body.
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
50. ClintACK
I don't see the Shaido WO's freeing themselves from the adam... but I do think they're going to make remarkably poor damane.

We've heard sul'dam discuss "training" -- and how you can completely break someone with a heavy hand on the adam, but that makes for an extremely poor damane. I think few of the Aiel will be "tamed" with a light touch. They're going to be little more than walking angreals by the time they're broken -- and this will help lead to the contempt the Seanchan have for the Aiel, and all the nastiness that Aviendha foresaw.

Unless...

It would be more plausible -- and extremely interesting -- if the "first sister" weaves in some way interfered with the adam... And surely many of the WO's will have been bonded in that way. Even if it just allows the "first sister" to track down the captured WO to free her --- and I'd guess we'll see the same with the warders of the captured Aes Sedai. Not all of the captured sisters were reds.
William Fettes
51. Wolfmage
ClintACK @ 50

Well said. That’s how I see it as well. They will be too resilient for behavioural modifications via lessor forms of negative reinforcement, and that fact will simply prompt the sul’dam escalate their the intensity and duration of their attentions to the point that they will break them.

That's an interesting point about the first-sister weaves.
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
52. macster
@22 GentlemanFarmer: You bring up yourself that Perrin is nowhere near as hard anymore when it comes to the trial, but I would also point out how broken up he gets over Hopper, and the fact that he won't even leave Whitecloaks to the Shadowspawn army. If your theory is correct this suggests Perrin is indeed overcoming the darkness spilling into him. Perhaps being there during Rand's moment on Dragonmount helped.

@5 HeWhoComesWithTheNoon: The thing is, Faile does tell Perrin, or at least some of her time with Rolan, during their shanna'har in ToM. However, she only tells him about the capture, and her attempting to persuade him to help them escape, not what went on between them, how much she came to care for Rolan, or that he was in many respects a good man who did save her life and help her on numerous occasions. And from her thoughts during the scene where she and the other women honor their former captors, it's clear Faile agrees with your assessment of what it would have done to Perrin t0 know the full truth, which is why she didn't tell him. So your respect for her can stay untarnished.

@12 birgit: Correct me if I'm wrong, but since when has Faile ever shown knowledge of channeling, or been told about it? She has traveled with Aes Sedai and Aiel Wise Ones, but none of them are likely to have taught her about surrendering to saidar nor does anyone in her family channel as far as we know. So I think her comment to Morgase, while attempting to bolster Maighdin's confidence in herself and remind her (and us) of her inner strength so she can prove herself and leave behind her days of being everyone's favorite punching bag, was also Jordan's usual sense of irony. She did need to be stronger; that just happened to also be the absolute last way she should approach channeling. (Well, drawing on the Source, anyway; once she'd gained access to it the kind of strength she'd be using would serve her in good stead in the Aes Sedai test for the shawl, for example, if she had the strength in the Power of course.)

@30 forkroot: Actually Nicola's death came as no surprise to me at all. The girl was way too gung-ho about everything, constantly demanding more attention, more training, and doing anything and everything to get better and stronger than everybody as fast as possible. It was just a matter of time before her cockiness and sheer recklessness would be her downfall. The only thing I regretted about her death, other than that it deprived the Lightside of her Foretellings, was that ironically, she was actually getting more likable and a bit cooler via her wholehearted support of Egwene. Otherwise it seemed perfectly in character. And sad.

@various, but including Leigh: Even if this scene with Tam and Perrin meeting seems anticlimactic (and I have to agree with those who think Tam had already figured it out, gotten used to it, and was the stoic kind who wouldn't show much response anyway), his meeting with Rand in TGS more than makes up for it, in my opinion anyway. That has all the drama and revelation you could shake a Two Rivers quarterstaff at.

Aram...I do somewhat wish more explication had been given on his conversion, how Masema overcame Aram's many years of knowing Elyas and his gratitude and loyalty to Perrin in the Two Rivers. But I think the point Jordan was making goes back to the Knight Templar thinking which people like Masema, the Whitecloaks, and Elaida represent: once that sort of personality gets an idea or a viewpoint or a goal stuck in their heads, they'll never let it go, even if logic and experience should tell them otherwise. And Aram has shown all along he wasn't particularly stable, and that he's an all-or-nothing guy with how quickly he leaves behind the Way of the Leaf.

He attached himself to Perrin as the only hope he had for vengeance and the only support after his family cut all ties; when Perrin, in his opinion, let him down by not being proactive enough (all the emo-ness and refusal of the leader's path), Masema worked on these seeds of doubt to sway him, and thus Aram attached himself to the Prophet with the same desperation. (It doesn't help that Perrin's torture of the Shaido partook of Masema's methods, so that Aram could have perceived that as tacit approval, thus leading him to think that defecting to Masema's campa and following his ways was something Perrin would approve of.)

His death then, while sudden, is just an illustration of the logical end for fanatics, the same as we see with Masema in TGS. (The odd thing was, despite how horrible he became, I actually felt a little sorry for Masema in his final moments, as I did for Aram. Couldn't forgive either of them, but I did pity them.)

One thing I did notice though, which no one has commented on yet. In Chapter 29, and Leigh quoted it: "Grady and Neald claimed the male half of the Source was clean, now, but Perrin could not see how that could be." So...did Perrin merely not believe this until later, or did Sanderson goof? Because in ToM, Chapter 10 After the Taint, Grady tells Perrin again about saidin being cleansed...and he doesn't act as if he'd heard this news before. And this isn't a case of the timelines not matching up, because that takes place well after the attack on Malden. Oops.
William Fettes
53. Wolfmage
macster@52

Excellent point about extremist personalities often wildly oscillating from one extreme to the other.

You see this reasonably often in real life with former Marxists and Trotskyists embracing extreme versions of other political philosophies such as anarcho-capitalism and neo-conservatism. Binary and means-end thinking begets more of the same.
Roger Powell
54. forkroot
Musing one more time about the P.L.O.D. - It's clear to me that one of the most significant advancements of the overall storyline is the experience of cooperation between Perrin and Tylee.

As of the end of TOM, we still have the Seanchan violently estranged from most of Team Light. Presumably Mat will have some influence on Tuon Fortuona (may she live forever), but I still think that Tylee and her experience may well be an essential part of the necessary reconciliation.
Brennan
55. brentodd
KiManiak @48 Longer? Heck no! I just think that if RJ wasn't dying, it WOULD have been longer. As it was - he knew it was time to stop beating around the bush. Compare this book with the previous installment...

What I'd like to have seen is Faile get kidnapped, Perrin do the chasing, catching, planning and rescuing all in one damn book. It's not a big enough tale to be dribbled out for over a decade. Same goes for Mat's plotline. And Elayne's.

(Edit - KoD came out in 2005, and RJ disclosed his illness in 2006. Given the 1 year prognosis, it's likely he disclosed it fairly quickly after finding out himself, so I'm probably wrong about him knowing he was dying. The theory still sounds good though...)
Hugh Arai
56. HArai
sps49@45,wetlandernw@46: I have to agree with Wolfmage. The worst horror of the a'dam is that it removes any need for the torturer to worry about maintaining the health of the victim. You can't "escape" into unconsciousness or death so you can be made to suffer anything they can come up with, for as long as they like. In the real world, people eventually break or die. If you remove the possibility they'll die, all that leaves is "break". The strongest Wise Ones will simply be the most shattered ones in the end.
Heidi Byrd
57. sweetlilflower
Since the damane cannot use something once they have thought of using it as a weapon against the sul'dam, they should just be able to constantly think of using the source as a weapon, right? Remeber the whole Egwene-pitcher scenario in Falme?
Hugh Arai
58. HArai
sweetlilflower@57: They can go back to using things once they have convinced themselves they will never use them against the sul'dam.
So any damane that can't use the source as a weapon for that reason will be tortured until the idea of using it against the sul'dam is gone. Some AS probably suffered a whole lot until the sul'dam accepted the Third Oath as binding on AS captives.
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
59. s'rEDIT
OT Re: TOM

I wouldn't do it except others have already brought up the topic of bloodknives. Please tell me why people assume that Gawyn will be able to use them?

It was my impression that they were activated by a drop of blood from the one carrying it . . . while wearing it, right? So wouldn't Gawyn's own blood now have to activate the ter'angreal rings for him?
Hugh Arai
60. HArai
s'rEDIT@59: I believe you're correct. However, I think most people theorizing Gawyn will use them are simply hoping he will, since most people seem to think Gawyn making a suicidal sacrifice would be a good thing.
Alice Arneson
61. Wetlandernw
Please tell me there are more than three of us who've actually seen or worked a blacksmith's puzzle. Show of hands, folks: have you tried one? Or at least seen one, before?
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
62. Wortmauer
HArai@56: The worst horror of the a'dam is that it removes any need for the torturer to worry about maintaining the health of the victim. You can't "escape" into unconsciousness or death so you can be made to suffer anything they can come up with, for as long as they like.
Errr ... ask Cabriana's Warder whether you can accidentally kill someone via Power torture to the brain.

I don't think we can rule out a similar accident involving an a'dam.
Roger Powell
63. forkroot
Wetlandernw@61
::raises hand:: - It's been a while since I did one though. I think Rubiks cube was pretty much a replacement for all of those old puzzles - a true category killer!
Valentin M
64. ValMar
Or even heard of one, as in my case...
Kimani Rogers
65. KiManiak
Wet@ 61 They weren't really something that I would have been exposed to growing up, in school, or in my various jobs.

However, if a just concluded online search for blacksmith puzzle images counts as having "seen one," then consider my hand raised :-)
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
66. Wortmauer
Wetlandernw@61: Please tell me there are more than three of us who've actually seen or worked a blacksmith's puzzle. Show of hands, folks: have you tried one?
Sure. I never knew they were called that, but when RJ mentioned a "blacksmith's puzzle," lo these many years ago, it seemed obvious to me that he meant those metal wire contraptions where there's some piece entangled with other pieces and you have to get it apart. And I figure a "tavern puzzle" is the same thing. (Idealseek shows that he uses both terms, from LOC onward.)
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
67. s'rEDIT
Wet@61: I had seen and held some (notice, I didn't say "solved"), but never knew them by name.

forkroot@63: Forget Rubik's! I need the complete visual, mechanical, tactile experience, where I can see how it all links and interacts all at once.
Hugh Arai
68. HArai
Wortmauer@62: Good point, although Semirhage herself thinks it only happened because she wasn't paying attention and "let the stimulation grow too fast,too far". The a'dam seem to have some built-in controls or sul'dam are remarkably free with the abuse they give their very valuable damane. If the sul'dam has to control exactly how much pain stimulation goes with "up to her neck in boiling water" and so on, that's really risky.

Wetlandernw@61: I used to get them as stocking stuffers at Christmas, that sort of thing.
Sam Mickel
69. Samadai
Wetlander. IPlayed with some, and solved some.
Alice Arneson
70. Wetlandernw
::heaves great sigh of relief:: Thank you all. I feel better now. :)

Also, I'm enjoying the discussion of the a'dam question. Keep going!
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
71. alreadymadwithPLODEND
Longtimefan @11
Don't forget Gaul's opinion on the three ta'veren's fighting abilities. Dholton @14Anything is possible. Keep your fingers crossed.

Tyrion Sedai @17That's why Therava and a few others manage to get away.

Wetlander @61
I've seen them. Never tried them though.
Roger Powell
72. forkroot
OK - here's an idea for the a'dam discussion. Not for the Shaido WOs but for future Aes Sedai in jeopardy.

First take a "fake" a'dam (same locking mechanism, but not active) and teach all the AS how to open it. They need to have that skill so it's pretty automatic.

Then they swear on the oath road something like: "By the Light and my hope of Salvation I will believe that taking off an a'dam will not cause me distress".

We've seen how oaths taken on the rod can stop AS in their tracks and make them physically unable to lie. Maybe the same power would short-circuit any effect of the a'dam to hold them?
Jay Dauro
73. J.Dauro
Wetlander, of course I have played with them, some I could solve, some I eventually gave up.

I have not figured what Gawayn thinks he will do with the rings. It might be fun to see him meet Fortuona while wearing them on his cord.
Noneo Yourbusiness
74. Longtimefan
@ 61 Wetlandernw,

I am raising my hand! I have seen many blacksmith puzzles. they were a craft gift in small old tymey stores in shopping malls in the late 70s and early 80s.

I have not seen one as complicated as the the icon but they are some wrought iron fun. :)
j p
75. sps49
Maybe Aiel would succumb eventually, maybe they would be too much trouble.

Knowledge of the a'dam should be shared with everyone potentially affected (yes, I know, characters actually comminucating with each other in WoT) in an abbreviated SERE type of class. Give everyone a description, tel them how to remove the collar, and emphasize that "sooner is better" for removal. Heck, Egwene probably could've endured pain, retching, whatever- if she knew what the consequences would be, and that any pain felt was all in her head, so to speak- and Liandrin and her Seanchan pals at Falme would've been hurtin'.

Include 13>13 knowledge, as well. Day 2 of Channeler SERE: Avoid 13 channelers accompanied by Fades. If your comrade goes off with someone and returns with dead eyes and a different personality, run, don't walk away. Leave your stuff in your room, do not collect $200, just GO.

The evening meal on Day 2 will be served with forkroot tea.
Wesley Parish
76. Aladdin_Sane
Blacksmith's puzzles? FWLIW, I have played with one or three - but that was ages ago, when Methuselah was in nappies.

And yes, I too, was glad when they said unto me, The Plotline of Doom is finished!I did think it was poetic justice that the Wise Ones who hadn't had the guts to tell Sevanna where to get off, should be dealt a similar fate to the one they had allowed for too many of their clan's victims - gaishain without hope of it ever ending, to be broken in spirit like a misshapen pot on the potter's wheel ...

When I read it for the first time, I had been hoping that Rolan would somehow get himself free, and maybe settle down somewhere with some nice non-gaishain woman, and perhaps give Team Light a hand every now and then. I liked him. It was fitting that Faile mourned him later.
Joseph Blaidd
77. SteelBlaidd
Count me as one of the ones who felt that the understatedness of Tam's reaction and Aram's death were right.

On a seperate issue. Author and long time familly friend Elaine Alphin is in a coma resulting from a stroke. Your thoughts and prays on her behalf would be greatly apreciated.
T C
78. Freelancer
Out here on the Left Coast, you could always find some good iron puzzles at the local cutlery shop.

I've faced some doozies, but a puzzle, once in my hands, isn't put down until it is defeated.
Jane Smyth
79. Kaboom
As a kid, my parents gave me once for Christmas a box full of blacksmith puzzles. As I love puzzles very much I could not abandon until I was able to solve them all.

For the plotline of doom, the Faile and Perrin part never bothered me much, but I was really getting annoyed at Sevanna.
If I don't see her character again I certainly won't be disappointed.
Sam Mickel
80. Samadai
Now that Tylee was raised to the Blood, wonder if she will get to keep Sevanna as her Da'acovele? OR of course if she would even want to........
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
81. yasiru89
On the Tam issue, I thought it was done as well as it could have been short of a Tam viewpoint at the point he first hears that Rand is the Dragon Reborn (which has its own problems in the actual doing). By the time he meets Perrin, it's had time enough to sink in, along with other considerations like why Perrin would not have told him anything (which might have also played into his own reasoning when he explains to Rand in tGS why he thought it would be a bad move to visit Rand). The issue was brought up briefly, but what was not said was more important than the verbal exchange that seems to be irking folk. Tam's sadness on hearing the news confirmed (though at that point he must have believed it truly) is a grim reminder of what fate awaits a male channeller, and also that Tam still cares for Rand as his son rather than be concerned about the Dragon Reborn. (He also doesn't strike me as the sort of man to let prophecy guide the way he looks at everything.) Ultimately there's no use talking about it unless something can be done, which it can't as far as people know at this juncture (enter Nynaeve with her madness healing later), which is often the male attitude portrayed in the series (eg- when he's told about his birth parents in tSR, Egwene presses him and Rand remarks something to this effect contrasting how the women saw it and how the men understood).

Of Aram, I actually think Perrin would have gotten more closure on the issue and less of the feeling that he had failed Aram had he been forced to kill Aram himself. The way Aram died pertains to Perrin in that he set the boy on a certain path by diverting him from something Perrin saw as an ideal never to be realised, but with no control over where he would go, and himself not there enough to make sure Aram doesn't stray (i.e- to Masema's twisted thinking). The culmination was Aram's death also being outside Perrin's control even though the betrayal was staring him in the face.

Perrin abandoned the axe in a gesture of self-restraint, so the first seeds of doubt that perhaps he's wrong in being ready to do anything to get Faile back had already begun to sprout at this point, despite his soldiering on to the climax. Also noteworthy is that he draws a connection between the wolf in him with the battle rage that comes upon him, which in turn is strongly tied in his mind to the idea of the axe.

As for Seonid's faith in the institution, I didn't know whether to be annoyed or whether to laugh. Considering the reticence of Aes Sedai (and not even extreme ones like Elaida) to even acknowledge the possibility that the Black Ajah might be real, laughable is what it is. Galina was served a different kind of justice though, and she is deserving of it fully.
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
82. Saetana
I was so glad to reach the point in the story when the PLOD was finally over, I had less and less respect for Perrin as that storyline dragged on, although I gained some for Faile whilst in captivity as at least she showed true leadership rather than just bossy, bullying and sulking as she often was with Perrin. Another major point in favour of KoD in comparison to CoT, things actually moved at a reasonable pace in this novel. As for Aram, I never liked him and he was no great loss to the story or to Perrin.

I do think the rescue plan was more than a little fantastical with the reliance on most of the wise ones drinking the adulterated water, logic makes this unlikely but, with t'averen? Who knows ;o)
TW L
83. Shadow_Jak
Perrin's fighting ability.
I'm pretty sure Perrin was the first of our three heroes to best a Fade in combat. (w/o the one power, that is)
He and Gaul also made short work of a dozen or so Whitecloaks in the same book, TGH.

And as for the so called "PLOD"
I say "Fooey on you, one and all."
Personally, I very much enjoyed this plot line.
So there!
Alice Arneson
84. Wetlandernw
Dear tordotcom,

Can I please have a "like" button for the comments? I keep trying to hit it... :)
Roger Powell
85. forkroot
Regarding Aram's demise: I guess what surprised me about it was that Aram was the only major Tinker character (albeit a non-Tinker at this point). I had somehow figured that as the nominal representative of the Tinkers he would be around for the grand conclusion, whatever that is.

Obviously I was wrong! It's hard to draw much of a lesson from Aram's story arc though. Then again, with dozens of characters of similar story "weight", there won't be time for intricate resolutions of a lot of their story arcs either.

Boom! You're dead. Next ....

(::waiting for Wetlandernw to "like" this comment::)
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
86. yasiru89
For Saetana @82-

Not so fantastical I think if you consider that many of the Wise Ones had begun to try and set an example by refraining from consuming any wine, etc. I think this was mentioned in a Faile viewpoint, though I'm not completely certain except that it was said (probably during remarks that the Shaido had begun drinking during the day and had generally fallen to very un-Aiel-like behaviour.
Sam Mickel
88. Samadai
Shadow_Jak.

I also liked the plot very much. and so I agree with you, Fooey on them all. :D
Scientist, Father
89. Silvertip
@61 Wetlander:

(raises hand) Oh yes, we had all kinds of them around when I was a munchkin. I always thought the ones made from just two framing nails were particularly elegant ... much harder than they looked. But the massively complex ones were fun too.

S
Captain Hammer
90. Randalator
Wetlander @61

Please tell me there are more than three of us who've actually seen or worked a blacksmith's puzzle. Show of hands, folks: have you tried one? Or at least seen one, before?

We used to have a whole bunch of them at home. I wonder what happened to them...
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
91. Rand al'Todd
(Raises hand for Wet) - Another old fogey who played with various metal "blacksmith" puzzles as a youth. Both the simple bent nail types and the more complicated horseshoe-and-chain variety (like you see at Crackerbarrel, as mentioned above).

Re the Shaido vs the a'dam - There are enough references in the story to - seemingly - establish an intent by RJ that no one can escape the a'dam without assistance. However, he was the one who said that much of what the characters think is fact may be false.

Just think - for the stability of the Empire, I'm sure that historically any escaped damane would be hunted down and killed immediately, and all stories or rumors of the escape would be erradicated. I could even see a purge of the loyal hunters (a la Hollywood CIA cover-up) just to insure that the rumor stayed dead. (Same thing that would happen to the 'discovery' that sul'dam can learn to channel, if those in power can kill the rumors soon enough. Don't count on very many of those returned sul'dam actually living long enough to be trained as damane.)

So it really would be interesting if the Shaido wise ones could manage to free themselves. Also, could any dreamwalkers among them communicate in their sleep and, essentially, call for help/rescue? The Shaido wise ones don't know about Travelling, but if an Aei Sedai who at least knows it is possible is held in the same training kennel, some shared info just might result in strategic SAR missions.
Birgit
92. birgit
Damane can't move far without anybody wearing their bracelet, but if the sul'dam are foolish enough to leave several non-Seanchan damane alone together, they could wear each other's bracelets (or just open each other's collars) and escape. Seanchan damane won't do that because they are culturally conditioned to accept that they must be collared, but non-Seanchan damane should think of trying that some time.
John Massey
93. subwoofer
Wow... thus it ends.

@61Wetlander- ( you make this too easy) er... you're dating yourself here, not many of us were around back in the days of horse and buggy and blacksmiths. I thought they went away when the internal combustion engine came around;)

Galina- heh- you know, this is almost like one of those "Evil villain monologues" where the telling of plans for world domination let's the good guy escape or foil the bad guy's plot... not that I know anything about such things... Seems to me Galina needs to learn about the "get while the gettin's good" motif here. Grab stuff and run, by the time Galina finished her thought process I'd be in China. Ah well, sucks to be her now.

Perrin- I dunno if it was a big deal if whatshisnuts got hammered- reminds me of a scene from My Cousin Vinny where Pesci(thanks JD) does a walk by stomping just to shut a guy up. Done. Over. Move on. Next.

Tam- let's face it, the guy is understated to say the least, RJ was keeping in character here. Tam's a blademaster after all, I don't see anybody chiming from the rafters about that. Some folks need to draw attention to themselves, other folks just get stuff done. Tam falls into the later category.

@Leigh- yeah! A whack of chapters in one go. That's what I'm talkin' about! :D

Woof™.
Robert Crawley
94. Alphaleonis
Wetlander at 61

Yup, solved some, didn't solve some. The movie "No Time For Sergeants" has a scene where one is used by the military to determine mental competency in new recruits. Very funny scene where Andy Griffith is the new recruit, and solves it in a very different way. (He cheated.) This is a very old black & white movie, but I'd be willing to bet that it was one of RJ's favorite movies in his youth as it was one of mine. (RJ & I are only months apart in age, and both from the south. In the movie, Andy Griffith plays a southern hick who is drafted.)
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
95. Wortmauer
Rand al'Todd@91: So it really would be interesting if the Shaido wise ones could manage to free themselves. Also, could any dreamwalkers among them communicate in their sleep and, essentially, call for help/rescue?
Sure ... if there were any dreamwalkers among the Shaido. There aren't. The only four Aiel dreamwalkers were Seana, Melaine, Bair, and Amys. Seana was killed by a Draghkar back in TSR, so now there are just three. Hearing about what dreamwalkers do in Aiel culture, you might expect there to be more of them, but no. It's a rare talent, among channelers and non-channelers alike. Although, I have to say, for something that apparently has nothing to do with the Power, it's pretty peculiar that 3 of the 5 people known to have the talent are channelers. It should be more like 3 in 100, right? (Well, more, as channelers live so long, but still a lot fewer than 3 in 5.)
birgit@92: Damane can't move far without anybody wearing their bracelet, but if the sul'dam are foolish enough to leave several non-Seanchan damane alone together, they could wear each other's bracelets (or just open each other's collars) and escape.
A very interesting idea. I wonder if it would work, to wear both a bracelet and a collar. We can be reasonably sure it doesn't work to wear your own bracelet; surely that is something Egwene would have tried in TGH. We know the a'dam works by creating a sort of link with the Power, and I'm pretty sure it's not possible to be in more than one circle at a time, so what would happen indeed if two damane put on each other's bracelets? If each a'dam creates a circle, would the second one just ... not happen?

(And in fact the Seanchan do put damane together. Remember, one aspect of training a difficult damane is to put her in the same kennel as an experience damane, for a sort of mentoring. If the n00b were to jump up and put on the other's bracelet, could she then force the other to reciprocate? And then what? The experienced damane would resist, but maybe the n00b could physically drag her out to make a break for it? It would, at the least, be the stuff of which slapstick movies are made.)

As for the movement restriction, I've wondered about that for quite awhile. Moghedien had freedom of movement within the rebel camp when nobody was wearing her bracelet. The Supergirls couldn't bring themselves to wear it all the time; if Moghedien had been practically immobilized for half a day while Elayne was carrying the bracelet in her belt pouch, surely someone would have noticed!

So, maybe the actual mechanism is, the bracelet itself can't be moved while it's empty, or the damane will be in pain. (Thus the leash sets a locus for an unattended damane.) But that can't be, either. Again, in Salidar, Elayne and Nynaeve moved around all day while carrying the bracelet in their belt pouches, and that apparently didn't cause Moghedien to double up retching either.

So the movement restriction of an a'dam seems to be that the damane herself cannot, by her own volition, move the bracelet. If someone else moves it, like in a belt pouch, no big deal. And yet ... what about Joline and Setalle in the basement? Recall, Joline put on the collar and Setalle the bracelet, as a test, as Setalle wondered if she still had whatever part of being a channeler is used by the a'dam:
Side by side, the two women took a small step, brushing by Mat, and he began to breathe. Joline frowned uncertainly. Then they took a second step.

With a cry, the Aes Sedai fell to the floor, writhing in agony.

— WH, Ch. 29, "Another Plan"
If it were about the damane moving the bracelet of her own will, that would have worked, even if nobody had been wearing it. You'd just need someone other than Joline to carry the bracelet and cause it to move.

I think the author slipped. Leaving Moghedien's a'dam out of it, what we see is that while a bracelet is not worn by a channeler, it cannot be moved — by anyone — without causing pain. So, how did the damane cross the Aryth Ocean during the Return? Are we to believe they were "complete" with a sul'dam every minute of their time onboard a moving ship? If the ship is moving at any speed, and you only get one "small step" for the bracelet, it would be exceedingly painful even to be without a sul'dam for the one or two seconds it would take to move the bracelet to another's wrist. Unless, during the changeover, the damane and both sul'dam were walking sternward at the same speed the ship is moving. And if the sul'dam don't want to sleep with a bracelet on, they'd have to take shifts through each night.
And I don't think we should leave Moghedien's a'dam out of it anyway. Elayne was in a hurry when she made it, and had never made one before, and needed to be sure it would work reliably. She doesn't have the skill to make that kind of modification to a ter'angreal; she's still limited to copying other people's designs. She could not have tinkered with the freedom-of-movement algorithm without serious risk of compromising its other "safety" features, like preventing you from removing your own collar, or from hurting or killing yourself. So, I believe Moghedien's a'dam was as functionally similar to other a'dam as Elayne could manage. If the movement restriction was lost, it was by (almost-ta'veren-level) accident.
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
96. Wortmauer
Although, I have to say, for something that apparently has nothing to do with the Power, it's pretty peculiar that 3 of the 5 people known to have the talent are channelers. It should be more like 3 in 100, right? (Well, more, as channelers live so long, but still a lot fewer than 3 in 5.)
Uh. I totally forgot about Noam, Elyas, and Perrin. (I don't think we can count the Forsaken, or Slayer.) OK, 3 of the 8 dreamwalkers are channelers. That's still kind of a far cry from 3 in 100, though.
TW L
97. Shadow_Jak
Rasing my hand for Wetlander.
I am guilty of a certain fondness for metal puzzles.

Wise ones verses a'dam. That would really be a neat twist. Nice surprise for the Suldam too, if all 200 or so un-collar at once!
Kind of a Flash (boom) Mob.

Egwene seems the one most likely to break out on an a'dam. She already did so, in fact, (er, in dream?) in TAR.
She has the Aiel pain gobbling thing down pat now.
Plus, she has had considerable experience on BOTH ends of an a'dam, for a perspective that no other character has.

Someone at the White Tower should have figured out a counter-meassure by now anyway. I mean that should be a really high priority project, yes?
Maybe a weave that could be placed on yourself (like the disguise weave) to block the effects?
Alice Arneson
98. Wetlandernw
Wortmauer - In all fairness, none of the men are dreamwalkers in the same sense as the five women you mentioned earlier. They can walk TAR at will, but they cannot (as far as we know) enter the dreams of other people or communicate via dreams as the Wise Ones can. So there is a difference.

Still, as you say, a high proportion are channelers, either way.
Julian Augustus
99. Alisonwonderland
Subwoofer @93:

reminds me of a scene from My Cousin Vinny where DeVito does a walk by stomping just to shut a guy up


DeVito? As in Danny DeVito? Must be another movie.
John Massey
100. subwoofer
nopers- "My Cousin Vinny" it was- note @4.14 into the clip...

Edit- @JD-RIGHT!!!!! D'oh! *Face palm* Sorry, all little people look the same to me;)

@JLevy, I've been beating that drum for quite a while, in regards to log in problems etc. check "remember me". Saves a lot of grief and aggravation. There are still problems with messaging, the forum format drives me up the wall, and some of my posts go up in smoke before I can hit "post". Nothing to be done about the Java errors. TPTB must wizard it out. The whole process was really bumming me out with TOR but one of the editorial assistants redeemed my faith with TOR, thus I'm back.*waves*

Woof™.
Jay Dauro
101. J.Dauro
Sub

I could be wrong, but that looks a whole lot like Joe Pesci, who starred in My Cousin Vinny.
Jonathan Levy
102. JonathanLevy
52. macster
Correct me if I'm wrong, but since when has Faile ever shown knowledge of channeling, or been told about it?


In TDR Faile tells Moiraine that she knows something about Aes Sedai, and knows there are some things they cannot - will not - do. Of course, she doesn't go into details about the extent of her knowledge.

95. Wortmauer

Re: Moving Damanes and Moghedien.

IIRC, in the scene when the supergirls discuss not wearing the bracelet because it's too difficult, they say that Moghedien is doing laundry, and moaning every minute of it. I took this to mean she was doing a task which did not require moving more than one step in any direction, and was still suffering from the small amount of movement it entailed.

I take this to be an authorial nod towards resolving the problems you've correctly identified. Still it creates as many difficulties as it solves. For example, if Moggy has taken 3 steps in one direction, collapsed while grabbing her collar, surely someone would have tried to remove it, and possibly succeeded? She could have explained how to do it, and someone would surely have obliged to save poor Marigan.

Tor.com - powers that be:

I had a lot of trouble logging into my account on this page for the following reason: The login drop-down (which asks me how I want to login) was obscured by one of the advertisements (for an Alexander Gordon Smith book). There was also a Javascript error on the page (could not transfer focus). I had to login from the main page of tor.com. I am using IE 8.0.7601
Charles Gaston
103. parrothead
I am also glad this plot thread is over. Not because I think it took too long (although I'm not saying it didn't, either), nor because I thought there was nothing of value in it (plenty of character development for Perrin and Faile), but because I was honestly anxious for Faile. Think about it. She's not covered by any prophecies or ta'veren-ness; unlike the boys or Elayne, Faile doesn't have any guarantees to make it to Tarmon Gai'don aside from Min's Viewing of a broken crown which doesn't prove much. Bashere could simply adopt Perrin as his heir with or without Faile. The same thing happened in the next book with Min...until later when I remembered Nicola's Fortelling of "She Who Sees Beyond", but oh well.

Forget the Wise Ones, I look forward to the massive slave revolt the Seanchan will be facing in about a year. Thousands of formerly subserviant Shaido simultaneously erupting all across Altara and Amadacia? Have fun with that, Tuon!

I felt bad for Aram, but not too much. Really wished that Masema would get an arrow from one of those "Aiel savages" he hates so much, but TGS more than makes up for it, oh yes it does...

Every time someone starts harping about how Jordan's stories don't go anywhere, I want to bash them over the head with this book, which concludes three major plotlines. Especially galling since the ones making such complaints are often diehard fans of The Bad Series, which stalled more completely, in four volumes instead of about ten, and yet took longer in reader time.
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
104. macster
@81 yasiru89: Agree with your analysis of Tam, Perrin, and Aram 100%. Your note about Tam and how he regards prophecy is especially apt, since it is echoed during his talk with Rand in TGS. One of the things Rand complains about to him is how his whole life is dictated by prophecy, and Tam's response is essentially "what you do may be chosen for you, but you can still choose why you do it". Aside from this being something Rand so desperately needed to hear, it's one of the bits of wisdom that makes me personally heart Tam so very much.

@85 forkroot (And your user name is so wonderfully apt in the context of Malden!): Raen and Ila got mentioned in ToM, when Egwene visited the Tinker camp and wondered whatever happened to them (and Aram, ouch). We also learn, via both her and Rand at the end of TGS, that the Tinkers are settling in Seanchan-controlled lands because they are safe. So we may just see Raen and Ila again before the end (perhaps in the context of whatever peace can be made between Tuon and Rand), and the Tinkers overall might still have a role to play.

@102 Jonathan Levy: Which just proves my point, I think. We don't know that Faile knows any more of channeling than the vague rumors and whispers most Randlanders know of Aes Sedai doings. I somehow doubt, considering how tight-lipped Aes Sedai are about themselves and how they try to keep all channeling women tied to the White Tower and under their control, that they'd go around telling anyone, even royalty like Faile, something as fundamental as how one can touch the Source. Moiraine teaches Egwene because she intends her to become a novice, and because as a sparker she must learn some modicum of control or die. Nynaeve and Elayne aren't taught about this until their classes in the Tower. The whole surrender thing does not seem to be common knowledge.

I am enjoying the discussion about Shaido Wise Ones as damane, how the a'dam works, and possible negative repercussions for the Seanchan, but I do regret that my question has been overlooked, about Perrin's knowledge of the taint being cleansed here, and if that is a Sanderson goof since he has Perrin find out again in ToM.
Valentin M
105. ValMar
I think in her talk with Moiraine Faile was referring to the 3 Oaths- what AS would or wouldn't do. I think. About the mechanics of channeling she isn't enough informed to know about surrendering, I'm sure it's obvious! :)
TW L
106. Shadow_Jak
About Rolan's death....
Bet any Aiel who knows the full story thinks that the way it turned out was a pretty good joke on Rolan.
Hell, he'd likely get a good chuckle out of it himself!
Aiel humor you know.

And Mat could use it to prove a good point about women.
And Thom would compose a song about it.

Also, even if Perrin knew the full story, I still don't think he would have many regrets about the outcome.
Faile thinks it would tear him up, and so do many of the readers, but I think not.
From ToM ch 16, "Shanna'har", Perrin thinking while Faile recounts (an edited version of) her adventures in Malden...


Faile left some things out. He didn't mind. Faile would be like a penned and caged animal without her secrets. He got a good hint of what she was hiding though. It was something to do wth that Brotherless who had captured her... Perhaps she'd felt a fondness for him and didn't wish Perrin to regret killing him. That wasn't necessary. Those Brotherless had been with the Shaido, and they had attacked and killed men under Perrin's protection. No act of kindness would redeem that. They deserved their deaths


Jonathan Levy
107. JonathanLevy
104. macster

Well, Faile isn't an average Randlander - the niece of a queen will have to learn a little about Aes Sedai as part of her education. That said, I agree that the mechanics of surrendering to Saidar will not be known to non-channelers, any more than a non-pilot would know just how hard you need to push the stick of a 747 to the right in order to get it to turn.

106. Shadow_Jak

Interesting point, about Rolan's death and Aiel humor.

Speaking of Aiel humor, remember when we were introduced to it back in TSR, when the wise ones laughed their heads off about how a boy nearly wound up taking his wife Gai'shain? I think that story was introduced precisely to make us laugh at poor Gaul's fate - taking Gai'shain a woman he loves and her first-sister whom he doesn't - and having them tease him by repeatedly offering him full-body massages!

Ha!
Marcus W
108. toryx
Wetlander @61 Please tell me there are more than three of us who've actually seen or worked a blacksmith's puzzle. Show of hands, folks: have you tried one? Or at least seen one, before?

I have seen, worked and solved several blacksmith's puzzles in my time. I always appreciated them popping up in WoT books.
Christopher Rensing
109. ChristopherRensing
Wortmauer @ 95

Keep in mind, Damane cant unfasten their collar or move the bracelet. Moggy could move because she was "cordless". No chain connecting her to the bracelet. If she had touched it, or tried to move the bracelet, Ill bet she would have felt it.
Chris R
110. up2stuff
Okay, here is my take on the whole Damane bracelet thing. Remember these are actually pretty long chains. They have to be long enough not to hinder Damane and Suldam riding horses, and long enough that Damane can move about their entire "room" without disturbing the bracelet. As CR said at 109, Mogedhein was given even more freedom of movement because she did not have the length restriction of the standard a'dam.

I think that the theory of moving the bracelet holds unless I am missing any other example. The rule as I understand it is is that only a Suldam, or someone who qualifies - a channeler - can move the bracelet. The Suldam hangs it from the hook in the room and the Damane can move about her room as long as neither she or any non-channeler moves it.

Satelle obviously did not qualify, so that is why Joline fell to the floor. I always saw Mogedhein's moaning as akin to what broke Semi, i.e. being common and no longer able to see herself as a Demi-god, rather than physical discomfort.

I see what you are talking about regarding the ships, but keep in mind, the bracelet on a Damane being "shipped overseas," so to speak, isn't moving within the confines of the room on ship she is on, just the whole room is moved. For that reason, I believe that a Damane placed on a wagon would be okay since the bracelet isnt moved from whatever peg it is attatched to, just the wagon starts moving. By Elayne or Nynaeve placing it in their pouch, then moving the pouch, the rules are (loosely) observed.

Now, the only thing that MIGHT constitute a hole in this theory that I can see is, HOW MUCH of the room has to move to still qualify the Damane's bracelet staying in place. Could one simply kick out the board that the bracelet is hooked on and take that? Could they simply pull the hook out and hold the bracelet on the hook? No one ever tried that IIRC. Mat is probably the only one clever enough to try that.
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
111. DougL
As much as I loathe the Seanchan, on subsequent rereads I have not been as mad about the capture of the Shaido Wise Ones as I was previously. I think that's because I have forced myself to sit through the Perrin saga, when I used to just skip it. I have no sympathy for them. They pillaged, looted, raided and and enslaved large numbers of Randlanders, they are basically evil. I really don't give a shit what happens to evil people. At any time, any number of them could have gone back to their clans and taken them to the Waste, or avoided this whole mess in the first place. That's over 300 or so women who KNEW the truth yet decided they didn't like it.

While I want the Seanchan dead, I also want the Shaido dead, so whatever.
William McDaniel
112. willmcd
I agree with Leigh that it's perplexing to read about Annoura's and Masuri's meetings with Masema as we go through these chapters again. RJ never gave us the answer to the question of why they were doing it, and yet he seemed intent on reminding us that said question existed on multiple occasions.

Good analysis by macster @52 on Aram's character, I thought. He spent his life looking for a philosophy/mentor (starting with the belief system of his upbringing) to adhere to, and never really learned much discernment of had many thoughts of his own. Ultimately he chose a bad one and it did him in.

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