Sep 27 2011 2:00pm

The Wheel of Time Re-read: The Gathering Storm, Part 2

Hello! This is a Wheel of Time Re-read! No, really, I swear!

Today’s entry covers Chapters 1 and 2 of The Gathering Storm, in which life IS pain, Highness! Anyone who tells you different is… er, probably not either Rand or Egwene, at the moment. Jeez.

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!

Before we start, a small pointer to something y’all may find relevant to your interests: an interview with Brandon Sanderson in Fantasy Magazine, written by some chick. Just FYI and all.

Now, onward!


Chapter 1: Tears from Steel

What Happens
Wheel, Ages, memories, legend, myth, wind. The wind blows around the White Tower to Tar Valon, where the beauty of the architecture contrasts with the filth in the streets, and workmen labor to dismantle the harbor to remove the half-cuendillar chain blocking it. It blows to where the rebel Aes Sedai army is camped, fifty thousand strong, where Aes Sedai pretend not to worry that their leader is captive in the Tower. It blows past Dragonmount to the plains, where evidence of spring has yet to show, and into Arad Doman, to a manor house in the east, where Rand al’Thor stands, Min beside him, watching as the wind blows his banners one way and the trees another, impossibly.

[…] he could feel the wrongness in the way those pines moved, even if he did have trouble distinguishing the individual needles. His eyesight hadn’t been the same since the attack on that day he’d lost his hand. It was as if... as if he looked through water at something distorted. It was getting better, slowly.

He feels Min’s worry for him, as well as Aviendha’s, who is moving toward him, traveling with Rhuarc. He thinks Elayne feels relieved, and wonders if it means the succession is going well. He tries not to think about what Semirhage had said about him at her capture, tries to convince himself that she was lying; Lews Therin whispers that she has done horrific things, including torturing an entire city, but she rarely lies. Rand tries to talk to Lews Therin, demanding to know what he did to try to seal the Dark One’s prison and what went wrong, but Lews Therin only sobs in reply. Rand is determined to believe that they are still two separate people no matter what Semirhage had said.

His secret was finally out. But Min had seen a viewing of Rand and another man melded together. Didn’t that mean that he and Lews Therin were two separate people, two individuals forced into one body?

It makes no difference that his voice is real, Semirhage had said. In fact, it makes his situation worse....

Rand distracts himself by thinking about his plans. The Aelfinn had told him “The north and the east must be as one. The west and the south must be as one. The two must be as one”, and he believes that means he must make peace with the Seanchan, but they have so far ignored his request for a meeting. Rand thinks that he will make them recognize his intentions when he stops the fighting in Arad Doman. He watches Bashere move among his troops below, and wonders whether Bashere will ever deliver on his promise of the support of his queen, and what the Borderlanders are doing in Andor. He thinks there is a good chance that Graendal is somewhere in Arad Doman, based on what he — or rather, Lews Therin — knows about her. His musings are interrupted by Cadsuane, who enters with Nynaeve and Alivia.

He relaxed his hand on his sword, though he did not release it. He fingered the cloth-tied hilt. The weapon was long, slightly curved, and the lacquered scabbard was painted with a long, sinuous dragon of red and gold. It looked as if it had been designed specifically for Rand—and yet it was centuries old, unearthed only recently. How odd, that they should find this now, he thought, and make a gift of it to me, completely unaware of what they were holding....

He had taken to wearing the sword immediately. It felt right beneath his fingers. He had told no one, not even Min, that he had recognized the weapon. And not, oddly, from Lews Therin’s memories—but Rand’s own.

He asks what Cadsuane has learned from Semirhage. Cadsuane is noncommittal, but Nynaeve snaps that the woman is “a stone”; after days of questioning, all they’ve gotten from her is how backward they are and how she is going to kill them all. Cadsuane and Nynaeve both advocate using more severe methods on their captive, but Rand adamantly refuses.

“I said no!” Rand said. “You will question her, but you will not hurt her!” Not a woman. I will keep to this one shred of light inside me. I’ve caused the deaths and sorrows of too many women already.

Cadsuane suggests that maybe they should just turn her over to the Tower, then, and Rand asks which one, suggesting that maybe Egwene will let Semirhage go in favor of gentling him instead. Nynaeve protests this, but Rand replies that he is just another pawn to Egwene now.

Yes, Lews Therin said. We need to stay away from all of them. They refused to help us, you know. Refused! Said my plan was too reckless. That left me with only the Hundred Companions, no women to form a circle. Traitors! This is their fault. But. . . but I’m the one who killed Ilyena. Why?

Rand demands to know what Lews Therin did, but the dead man only sobs, and Rand yells aloud for him to speak, and then realizes what he’s done, and thinks that he is losing control. Min is more worried than ever; Alivia, Nynaeve and Cadsuane don’t overtly react, but Rand finds he can’t even laugh it off. Rand thinks that he can’t keep this up much longer; he is being used up.

I need to finish my work here and get to Shayol Ghul.

Otherwise, there won’t be anything left of me for the Dark One to kill.

That wasn’t a thought to cause laughter; it was one to cause despair. But Rand did not weep, for tears could not come from steel.

For the moment, Lews Therin’s cries seemed enough for both of them.

I had a really weird moment of disconnect when I started re-reading this chapter, because for some reason my brain took a momentary smoke break or something and I thought I was going to be reading about Rand coming down from Dragonmount all Jesusified. And then we went to Arad Doman and Rand really, really wasn’t. Jesusified, I mean. And I was all, oh yeah, there’s a whole book to get through before we get to that, duh, Leigh.

The disconnect, though, wasn’t that I had a brain fart there, because God knows that happens all the damn time, but because when I realized we weren’t getting Jesus Rand my reaction was — disappointment.

Which made me blink a little, because I am on record (as y’all know) as being kind of upset at the emergence of Zen Master Rand in ToM. But going back now to this Rand, this poor guy who is wounded in body and soul, and who is angry, and desperate, and more than half-crazy, and so, so tired, and knowing how much more worse it’s going to get before it gets better… Well. I may have to reassess that initial stance.

I don’t know if it is Brandon’s influence on the characterization that is making me feel so much more sorry for Rand than I did in KOD, even though we’re picking up with him almost immediately after the events in the last book, or if it’s just that this is where we are with him story-arc wise and there you go. This is the book where Rand hits absolute rock bottom. And as I’ve said before, that nadir is necessary, plot-wise, character-wise, whatever-wise.

Doesn’t mean I’m not kind of dreading it, a little. What can I say? I’m mushy sometimes; I don’t like to see characters I like getting hurt.

Which means I’m kind of S.O.L., for this book. Grumble.

Rand’s new sword: I confess this was a detail I more or less completely missed on my first read-through of TGS, but then considering I read the thing at Ludicrous Speed in order to get my first non-spoiler review in, maybe that’s not too surprising. There was a lot of chatter about it in the comments to my spoiler review, though, and basically the consensus was that the sword was Justice, Artur Hawkwing’s sword, which Rand (and not Lews Therin) presumably saw waaaaay back in TGH, when the Heroes of the Horn came to Falme to kick Seanchan ass. So, nice catch there, commenters.

I think it’s pretty clear that the sword is indeed Justice, from this and other hints later on, but I must say I’m still a little puzzled as to why Hawkwing would have dragons painted on his sword when he kind of loathed channelers (hence that whole “trying to conquer Tar Valon” thing). But hey, just because the sword is Hawkwing’s doesn’t mean the scabbard is. Or maybe the dragons were added later. Or they magically appeared Because The Pattern Said So. Who knows. (Or there’s an explanation later and I just forgot, which is probably the most plausible option of the lot, really.)

(Oh, and who gave it to him, anyway? Random people? Did we ever find that out?)

The other thing worth noting in this chapter is Rand’s adamant refusal to allow Semirhage to be tortured. As usual, I am extremely ambivalent toward this whole thing of Rand’s. On the one hand, in general I am not a fan of torture, mostly because, well, torture is bad. (I was on the debate team!) So I like that Rand doesn’t want to use it.

However, that is kind of completely undermined by the fact that Rand is refusing to torture Semirhage not because torture is bad, but because Semirhage is a woman. Meaning, if she were a man, presumably Rand would have been all for it — or at least not against it. Which moves the whole issue out of the realm of moral or ethical considerations regarding human rights, and into the wonderful world of sexism and double standards. Which, as y’all might have noticed, is not exactly my favorite vacation spot.

On the third hand, I do recognize what’s going on here. I’ve talked about it before, how Rand’s refusal to hurt/kill women can be viewed not as chivalry gone mad per se, but as an at least semi-arbitrary line in the moral sand; Rand’s own personally chosen Moral Event Horizon, the one line he will not cross. (Note: abandon all free time, ye who click there.) Rand himself sums it up best in this chapter: I will keep to this one shred of light inside me.

So, okay. Yes. But. Dammit, it’s still sexist. And worse, it’s still stupid. As we — and Rand — will soon find out.



Chapter 2: The Nature of Pain

What Happens
Egwene straightens from a punishment, satisfied that she only had two tears in her eyes this time, though she still has not been able to master embracing the pain as the Aiel do. Silviana asks when she will give in and submit to proper order; Egwene asks whether there has been “proper order” in the rest of the Tower, and Silviana marks her up for another punishment. Egwene tells her she has been ordered to attend Elaida for dinner that night, and Silviana orders her to return after she eats for another punishment for refusing to address the Amyrlin Seat properly; Egwene realizes that Silviana had ensured Egwene would not have to skip a meal by doing so. Katerine and Barasine meet her outside with more forkroot, and she asks them if they are pleased with the pass the Tower has come to.

“Are you proud of this? The Tower spent centuries without an Amyrlin being raised from the Red. Now, when you finally have a chance, your chosen leader has done this to the Tower. Women who won’t meet the eyes of those they do not know familiarly, sisters who travel in clusters. The Ajahs behave as if they are at war with one another!”

Egwene points out that the Red, of all the Ajahs, should be Elaida’s fiercest critics, for her legacy will be theirs. Katerine is contemptuous, but Barasine looks worried, and Egwene notices that Silviana’s door had been cracked open enough to overhear. Egwene thinks that she is winning her war with Elaida, but that it is not bringing her as much satisfaction as she had expected.

Who could take joy in seeing the Aes Sedai unraveling like aged canvas? Who could feel glad that Tar Valon, the grandest of all great cities, was piled with refuse? As much as Egwene might despise Elaida, she could not exult at seeing an Amyrlin Seat lead with such incompetence.

Egwene heads for Elaida’s apartments, but she is forced to detour when the hallway suddenly ends in a stone wall with a tile mural depicting the Amyrlin Caraighan Maconar that used to be in the library, only now Caraighan’s face is a mask of blood, surrounded by hanged corpses.

The Dark One stirred, and the very Pattern itself was shaking.

Egwene hurries on, debating furiously with herself over how to behave before Elaida; she longs to berate and humiliate her, but knows confrontation will only end with Egwene in a cell. She determines that the best thing to do is be silent, and goes in. Inside her ridiculously opulent chambers, Elaida is dining with a haunted-looking Gray sister Egwene doesn’t know; Egwene is infuriated to see that Elaida’s stole is only striped with six colors, but stays quiet, and manages to bow her head to Elaida. Elaida laughs, taking the gesture for submission, and orders her to get on with serving. Egwene is shocked when Elaida calls the Gray sister “Meidani”, realizing that she is one of the ferrets sent by Sheriam et al to the Tower; Meidani is clearly terrified, and Elaida taunts her in a way which makes it clear that she knows Meidani is a spy. Egwene serves soup, resisting the urge to slap Elaida. Elaida asks Meidani what news she hears, and when Meidani tries to evade the question Elaida casually threatens to remove her shawl, and then says she was only teasing.

She joked! Joked about how she had stolen the shawl from a woman, humiliating her to such an extent that she fled the Tower. Light! What had happened to Elaida? Egwene had met this woman before, and Elaida had struck her as stern, but not tyrannical. Power changed people.

Meidani brings up the Seanchan, and Elaida dismisses them as a threat, making a pointed remark Egwene’s way about people believing anything they hear. Elaida thinks the real problem is the lack of obedience toward the Amyrlin Seat shown by Aes Sedai. She opines that there should be an addition to the Three Oaths, an oath of obedience. Egwene is enraged by this appalling idea, and to stop herself from screaming at Elaida, she dumps the soup on the floor. Elaida is furious and makes Meidani help Egwene clean it up, and Egwene uses the distraction to covertly order Meidani to summon Egwene for lessons so they can talk. Meidani tries to refuse, but Egwene asks if she wants to swear an oath to obey Elaida for eternity, and Meidani cringes.

Egwene laid a hand on her shoulder. “Elaida can be unseated, Meidani. The Tower will be reunited. I will see it happen, but we must keep courage. Send for me.”

Meidani looked up, studying Egwene. “How... how do you do it? They say you are punished three and four times a day, that you need Healing between so that they can beat you further. How can you take it?”

“I take it because I must,” Egwene said, lowering her hand. “Just as we all do what we must.”

Elaida orders Egwene to go to Silviana to ask to be strapped “as she’s never strapped a woman before.” Egwene leaves, and acknowledges to herself that she lost control of her emotions, and reminds herself that anger is counterproductive. She eats before going to Silviana, and reflects that the session with Elaida has changed something in her. She realizes that she doesn’t need to undermine Elaida, as Elaida is doing it herself, and would fall eventually even if Egwene did nothing. Egwene thinks that her duty is not to help Elaida fall, but to do what she can to hold the Tower together in the meantime, to be a source of strength to the sisters. She goes to Silviana’s study (and finds her reading a history of the rise of various Amyrlins, which Egwene thinks is interesting), and tells her everything about the evening, including Elaida’s talk of adding to the Oaths, which makes Silviana look thoughtful.

“Well,” the woman said, standing up and fetching her lash, “the Amyrlin has spoken.”

“Yes, I have,” Egwene said, standing up and positioning herself on the table, skirts and shift up for the beating.

The punishment begins, and Egwene suddenly finds the whole thing ridiculous. She remembers her pain and sorrow for the sisters of the Tower and their fear and distrust for one another, and finds the pain of her physical beating insignificant in comparison.

And so she began to laugh.

It wasn’t a forced laugh. It wasn’t a defiant laugh. It was the laughter of disbelief. Of incredulity. How could they think that beating her would solve anything? It was ludicrous!

Silviana stops, and asks if she is all right, and Egwene assures her that she hasn’t cracked under the strain, and explains her thoughts to Silviana. She realizes her laughter at the pain comes not from strength, but from understanding. Silviana tells her she cannot refuse to punish Egwene, and Egwene says she knows. She asks Silviana to remind her why Shemerin’s demotion from Aes Sedai worked, and Silviana replies that it was because Shemerin accepted it.

“I will not make the same mistake, Silviana. Elaida can say whatever she wants. But that doesn’t change who I am, or who any of us are. Even if she tries to change the Three Oaths, there will be those who resist, who hold to what is correct. And so, when you beat me, you beat the Amyrlin Seat. And that should be amusing enough to make us both laugh.”

The punishment continued, and Egwene embraced the pain, took it into herself, and judged it insignificant, impatient for the punishment to cease.

She had a lot of work to do.

I am very not big on pain, personally. Like many people, I fear it, probably because I have been lucky enough in my life to have very rarely been in real, physical pain, and therefore not only am I largely unfamiliar with it, I have no tolerance for it either. At least I think I don’t. Like I said, I’m really not anxious to find out one way or the other.

I am continually amazed, therefore, at the fortitude of people who are in frequent or constant pain, and yet manage to get on with their lives and not let it rule them. There’s someone I know who has had major and (thus far) uncorrectable spinal problems since she was eighteen years old, which basically means she’s been in moderate to severe pain more or less constantly for her entire adult life. And yet, she goes right on doing all the things she’s doing and having a career and a family and being a cheerful wonderful person anyway.

That might not be quite what Jordan meant by the Aiel tradition of “embracing the pain,” but my friend is what I think of anyway when I read that phrase. I guess it’s just a matter of deciding something else is more important than the fact that you’re hurting. I might have scoffed at Egwene’s revelation here otherwise, but having seen something similar to it in action in real life, I can only conclude that it works — if you’re a brave enough person to make it work.

So, you know, all kudos to those who face their pain and make it their bitch, fictional or otherwise. My hat is off to you.

The Caraighan mural: Speaking of things that scare me, THIS.

Everyone has their own thing, when it comes to what scares them. I mean, just about anyone will at least jump a little when someone does a Jack-in-the-box at them, but beyond obvious scares, there are certain things that just freak certain people out and not others. Like clowns, or things like that.

I remember I went to see The Ring with a friend of mine in the theater, and I spent half an hour afterward trying to explain to her why the part where the girl crawled out of the TV had scared the living crap out of me. She didn’t get it at all; she thought the whole movie had been positively boring. I was eventually reduced to repeating: “But the girl comes out of the TV! For the love of God, Montresor, the girl comes out of the TV!

But I think I get it better now, which is that my Thing (well, one of them) when it comes to fear triggers is probably best summed up as image distortion. This is not a technical term or anything, I just made it up, but it’s the best term I’ve come up with to define this creep factor I have, which is (weirdly specifically) linked to distorted or altered images. Like video, or photographs. Or murals, if I were generally around murals.

Which is my clumsy segue into explaining that the above was a sadly over-extended way of conveying how I probably would have freaked the bloody fuck out if I had run into the altered mural that Egwene describes here.

Because, hell to the no. It’s not even so much that it was altered to show blood and corpses and whatnot, it’s that it was altered at all. I find that more disturbing, even, than the fact that the whole damn wall was moved just as mysteriously — just like it was the fact that the girl in The Ring was a staticky video image of a ghost that scared me, more than the fact that she was, you know, a malevolent murderous ghost.

Yeah, I know. Makes no sense. I told you, it’s a thing.

And… right. So that was… a tangent.

Other than all that, this chapter mainly makes me rub my hands together in gleeful anticipation of all the Egwene-related Awesome that is shortly coming our way. I remember I was deeply impressed at her maturity in realizing her task was not to topple Elaida but to save the Tower, not just because it shows Egwene is learning to rise above her own personal grudges (however justified), but because it is a rather subtle distinction that a less perceptive character may not have been able to make. Fortunately, our Egwene may be many things, but “stupid” was never one of them.

So you go, Ooh Ooh Girl. I look forward to our future TGS interaction!

And I look forward to ending this post, because me typy long time now. Have a lovely week, y’all, and I’ll be back next Tuesday with more! Cheerio!

Sam Mickel
1. Samadai
Yay for Artur Hawkwings sword making it's appearance
Rob Munnelly
2. RobMRobM
Wow. Princess Bride and Cask of Amontillado FTW.

I don't enjoy many of the Rand chapters in TGS for obvious reasons, but am very fond of the Eg chapters, also for obvious reasons. Good stuff. Note that I did not pick up the mural change on my earlier reads and agree it is quite creepy.
3. Kadere
I always hated Rand suddently getting Justice off screen. It felt like an obvious Sanderson thing that takes me out of the story. In the past books Jordan never just lightly gave a main character an important weapon off screen not even telling it it was important. Mat doesn't just show up one day with the asha'andri, Rand doesn't just happen to leave the Two Rivers with a heron marked blade, or a random sword, and when he's given Lamen's sword it's a BIG deal! Because this is Lamen's missing sword taken by the Aiel after his execution, this means something to the story, the character, the history and doesn't just appear. Perrin doesn't make his Maul in ToM off screen, either. So for Sanderson to just secretly give Rand freaking Justice off screen with only vague hints of it's true nature is beyond dissappointing to me. But then again, for all I know it was in Jordan's notes that this must happen this way.
Ryan Reich
4. ryanreich
I laughed when you wrote that you expected to be reading about Rand coming Down From The Mountaintop, because the same thing happened to me. Twice, in fact! Last week, I was thinking "Hmm, isn't there that scene with the apples in this prologue? No, wait, that's chapter one."

Also, what you say about creepy image distortion is very true. Your example is perfect for me as well: it's scary because it seems to embody wrong. In fact, by the end of the post I was nodding so much I started to wonder whether I had somehow written it -- another creepy form of distortion.
Brian Kaul
5. bkaul
If images are your thing for horror, I'd have loved to see your reaction to the Doctor Who episodes The Time of Angels and Flesh and Stone last season!
6. AndrewB
Thanks for another enjoyable post, Leigh. I do not have much to add vis-a-vis these two chapters. It is my opinion that in AMoL, we will NOT learn who gave Rand the sword.

(Although it is obvious who it is: Bela -- she is really a Pegasus. So one night she flew across the continent and delivered Rand the sword).

Thanks for reading my musings,
7. Lsana
One thing I think that Sanderson did really well here was was explanation of the whole "Killing women is my Moral Event Horizon" bit. That had never been clear in the previous books; once it became clear, suddenly many things became more understandable.

In Eg's chapter, I note that despite her horror at having an oath of obedience to the Amyrlin added, she doesn't make any mental note of all the sisters who swore to her.
8. ScoundrelTheToy
I think Justice had to be given to Rand secretely because the books were split. If TGS, TOM and AMOL were all one book it would have been told to us and we would have just kept on reading. But since it isn't, it was done nonchalantly to make it seem not important when it is indeed important; as in, when Rand meets Tuon that sword will seal the deal. In my humble opinion/theory of course.
Stefan Mitev
9. Bergmaniac
I actually love reading about Dark Rand, he's really fascinating as a character. He's unpredictable and conflicted. Even though he's a jerk a lot of the time, it's more than understandable given what he went through and that there are still so many people even among the Light side guys who are still trying to use him and manipulate him.

The Egwene chapter is really good. My only problem with it is that I've always considered Egwene's extreme dedication to the Tower to the degree of its unity being the most important thing by far for her, somewhat implausible and forced given how little time she has passed since he first came to the Tower. But her willpower is certainly admirable, and it's nice that she considered the bigger picture and doesn't want to just win the Tower war at all costs even if it leaves the Tower incapable to do much in the Last Battle.
Margot Virzana
10. LuvURphleb
To the Dragon Reborn

Hello, we are the people of Random, coming from the town of slapdash in the country of unpremeditated. We choose the weirdest times to present useful objects to heros. Not the worse nor the best the weirdest. Please use this sword as you will and know that if you should die and start this temporal loop again we shall meet again at yet another unpredictable time place or day.

Please note that everything we give is important in history if not to the overall story arc.

Good day.

Attached: Justice, sword of Artur Hawkwing.
Stacy Berger
11. anIceFan
Reading this recap reminds me of my thoughts on reading the book. The Rand chapters are the price we have to pay for the Egwene chapters. She is so awesome in this book; it makes her handling of Rand in the next a little disappointing.
Kimani Rogers
12. KiManiak
Thanks as always Leigh. Good recap.

I think that at first, it often was hard for me to feel bad for Rand in the mid/late books because he would often annoy me. But then I had to remind myself that this guy was thrust in to this situation he didn’t want, has the fate of the entire world on his shoulders, was being hunted on multiple fronts by “good” and “bad” guys who wanted to use and/or kill him, and had someone else’s voice and memory fragments forced upon him, making him even crazier.

This guy has suffered through so much. All he wanted was to live on a farm and marry his girlfriend and raise some sheep. Even if he wasn’t struggling with a previous life’s consciousness trying to force itself upon him, it’s totally understandable that he would be going a bit crazy.

I’m really hoping that post-Tarmon Gaidon events will allow him some type of peace with at least one of the women he loves. Even if the one he ends up with is Elayne :-)

Oh, and I completely missed any special significance to Rand’s sword until I started to pay attention to some of the conjecture on this site. If it is Justice, I wonder what ultimate significance it will play in AMoL; or if Team Jordan just added it in as a kind of cool extra.

Hey Egwene! There should never be a doubt that the girl/woman is clever and tenacious. And perseverance? She’s got that in spades. Regardless of whether you “like” her or not, you definitely have to respect those traits. As for the whole “laughing at getting beat thing,” well….

As for Elaida, it is kinda noteworthy that she discounts the Seanchan here and ends up being the weak link who gives them Traveling in ToM. And there are many other things to say about Elaida, but I won’t do that here and now.

Sorry the mural thing creeped you out, Leigh. Everybody has their thing that irrationally scares the crap out of them. As long as AMoL has no Alien face-huggers jumping on our heroes and impregnating them with chest-bursters (because that is freakin creepy), I’ll be alright with how the book unfolds.
Birgit F
13. birgit
Maybe the sword is really Guaire Amalasan's and Hawkwing got it when he captured the false Dragon.

How would Elaida feel about these "exaggerated" rumors if the Seanchan slapped a cold a'dam around her idiot neck?
Will Eg get a chance to ask Suffa how she likes the a'dam?
Kurt Lorey
14. Shimrod
This last chapter was the one that made Egwene into the most mature and focused character in the series, I think.
15. Faculty Guy
Maybe the "confusion" about Rand's mountaintop experience and resulting Buddhaship coming at the beginning of TGS is universal. I also seem to associate the two. Maybe it's b/c Rand's change is a MAJOR turning point in the series as is (obviously) the change in authorship from Jordan to Sanderson. So many of us perhaps find it difficult to keep straight that Sanderson's writing did NOT begin with the new Rand, but that, in fact, Sanderson had to navigate the final approach to the crisis, then the crisis itself, as well as the aftermath. Apparently Sanderson inherited the saga at almost-but-not-quite what is perhaps the most important and trickiest to describe occurance in the entire series. Hats off to him of carrying it off, and no wonder if the Mat POV got a little distorted amid the navigation.
Rich Bennett
16. Neuralnet
I am still not 100% convinced the sword is Justice (ok maybe ~90%). I wish we had gotten just a little bit more explanation... c'mon Sanderson really couldnt have added a sentance or two more. And the lack of explanation is suspicious, makes me think the sword will suddenly be important soon. the 10% doubt really comes down to why would Hawkingwing's sword fit Rand so perfectly.

one thing Sanderson really gets right IMHO is Egwene's journey to the Amyrlin seat, how she wins over the tower etc. The last couple of books my liking for Egwene's character had gone way down but this story arc really brings her to life.
Dorothy Johnston
17. CloudMist
Considering your problem with the changing mural, Leigh, I'd guess that the old movie Jason And The Argonauts is not your favorite fantasy movie. :)
18. ryamano
Egwene's reaction to Elaida demanding an oath of obedience from the sisters is kind of hypocritical here. I mean, she did demand an oath of obedience out of several Aes Sedai, who she discovered doing illegal things. It wasn't an oath rod oath, but it was an oath from people who couldn't say lies. It's very weird. Anyway, I wonder if Egwene ever sets these personal Aes Sedai servants free or not. I can't remember. I hope she does, because I think that might be illegal. The correct, legal thing to have done was to have those Aes Sedai accused and judged, probably by the Ajahs or by the Hall.
19. ClintACK
@9 Bergmaniac- Re: Egwene's sudden devotion to the Tower...

I think this doesn't come from the Tower itself, it goes back to Sheriam et al. shanghaing Egwene into being Amyrlin, and trying to keep her as a puppet. That got her fired up to eleven about being the Amyrlin for REAL. Then add in a dose of Siuan, teaching her through a massive dose of guilt at her own mishandling of the job. Then add in the agony of watching Elaida do the job horribly.

Egwene is extremely, um, determined, let's say. And all of these people telling her she's not really the Amyrlin just keep pushing her to want to BE Amyrlin even more -- and leading and guiding and healing the Tower is what that means to her.

So, really, it's more about, "Don't tell me what I can't do!!" than "Oh, I love the Tower so much!!" Which is perfect for who Egwene is, and has been since they left Emond's Field -- from "don't tell me I can't leave Emond's Field" to "don't tell me I can't be an Aes Sedai" to... pretty much everything.
20. Megaduck
One of the reasons I love Egs and the tower arc is that it's one of the few times in this book that we see charecters have strength of will beyond simply bullying.
21. ClintACK
Re: Creeped out by image distortion...

It's interesting -- the "bubbles of evil" really seem to be running the gamut of creepy fears that people have. We've seen someone turn into a pile of bugs, people sinking inexorably into mud, the dead walking, people trapped in a die-every-night time loop, familiar places changing, images turned creepy, eerie fog banks with horrible things just out of sight, healthy crops suddenly failing, whole towns disappearing without explanation, people and objects instantly turned into hollow shells.... It's really quite an intriguing list.

Interesting to compare to the various paranoias we've seen in Tainted Ashaman.
Charles Gaston
22. parrothead
If that's your creep factor, Ms Butler, have I got a game for you...Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem for the GameCube. Sanity effects that screw first with the game and then with the player as your character is slowly driven mad from horror.

You referenced my fourth favorite movie of all time! Doesn't everybody love Princess Bride?

Rand's plotline: a good if depressing start to a good if depressing story - and let it be officially known that I Heart Min. Totally did not know about the Justice theory until right now, but that's what I get for being an internet hermit.
Egwene's plotline: an awesome start to an awesome plotline...that sorta fizzles towards the end, but that's for a later time.

AndrewB @ 6: so...does that mean Bela has a cutie mark?
23. Lurking Canadian
I've always considered Egwene's extreme dedication to the Tower to the
degree of its unity being the most important thing by far for her,
somewhat implausible

For many years now, I have privately believed that the cornerstone of the White Tower must be a LOVE ME ter'angreal like the Crystal Throne. That's the only way I can explain to myself why, "The Tower must be whole!" comes to completely consume Egwene or, for that matter, why being Aes Sedai dammit! is so important to Nynaeve by about book four.
24. litg
Leigh, my personal theory is that the TP is going to be somehow necessary to sealing the Bore, and that therefore Rand's dark little sojourn later in the book will ultimately be necessary.
Jane Smyth
25. Kaboom
When I first read about the sword and the way it was described
(dragons), I thought that it was Lews Therin's sword. Rand has seen it in Rhuidean when he saw the history of the Aiel. The text essentially says that he personaly remembers seeing it and not that LTT does not.

I admit that I havn't seen (or do not remember) the arguments for the sword being justice, but the description of the dragons still makes me believe that it might be this.
26. Chrysippus4321
I really liked this book because we see more hints of how Moridin is affecting Rand's mind. So far the hints were subtle, e.g. his discussion with Logain re the creator, but in this book Moridin's influence poisons everything Rand does until Rand breaks free at the end of the book. I was a little disappointed that Towers of midnight didn't show what affect Rand's Jesusification had on Moridin.
Sorcha O
27. sushisushi
I have to say, I'm also approaching Rand's parts of TGS with a bit of trepidation. Rand's chapters are so painful to read, from sheer sympathy for the bruised and battered state of both his body and his soul. I have some experience of a couple of really bad years of s**t on both fronts and while it makes somewhat uncomfortable reading at times, I'm guessing it's also kinda therapeutic as well. And while we don't all necessarily get the Wondrous Epiphany, it is a reminder that things do get better eventually.

Lsana@7 There is a difference between an oath of fealty and an oath of obedience, though, if one of degree. An oath of fealty would be a feudal standard and does leave wriggle room for *how* you are going to serve your superior exactly, whereas an oath of obedience would be much stricter. For example, Random Lord would expect his feudal subjects to support him, work towards his promotion and generally all round be on his side (or hers, in Egwene's case). An oath of fealty *doesn't* mean the other party has to do exactly everything the lord says, to the exact letter. And the Aes Sedai are past mistresses of wiggling around things and turning things to suit themselves, but Elaida's oath has the power to stop all of that dead in its tracks. Which is her psychotic tyrannical intention, of course.

LuvURphleb@10 Heheh :) The History Monks, maybe?
28. UrsulaMinor
I'll admit, there is a tiny part of me that wishes I could just snip all the Egwene chapters out of this book and re bind them into a new book so I could read them all back to back. But then the awesome would probably make my brain explode.

I remember a moment in one of my re-reads where I came to the end of a section of Egwene veiwpoint, turned the page and realized it was someone elses turn. I promply flipped back and re-read the chapter instead :p
Marcus W
29. toryx
Lsana @ 7:

One thing I think that Sanderson did really well here was was explanation of the whole "Killing women is my Moral Event Horizon" bit. That had never been clear in the previous books; once it became clear, suddenly many things became more understandable.

I have the opposite opinion. One of the things I dislike about Sanderson is that he's so bloody obvious about stuff. I already understood that the women thing was Rand's moral event horizon but not because it was told to me. I always thought RJ's strength was in showing us things like this in such a graceful, understated fashion. Sanderson tells it far more bluntly. That's just the way he writes.

Obviously, everyone has their different preferences toward storycraft. I definitely prefer the way RJ did it.
Thomas Keith
30. insectoid
::reads interview:: Neato! And isn't that a nice picture of you, Leigh! :) Great post. (Also, random Princess Bride reference FTW?)

Rand: Is nuts. And it's only downhill from here till Dragonmount.

Justice: I didn't catch on to this, my first read-through, because like many of you I was flying through the book, eager to join the commentage on the Epic TGS Spoiler Thread. I only figured it out when I read all your comments there.

Rand's M.E.H: Still kind of stupid. I mean... Rand, pal, this isn't a girl you'd be asking to dance with you on the village green. She just blew your hand off, hello?

Caraighan mural: Okay, that's creepy right there.

Elaida: ::GNASH:: Oh, how I loathe that witch.

Egwene: Is still Made of Awesome. Can't wait till we get to the battle with the Seanchan...

LuvURphleb @10: LOL!

31. pwl
"For many years now, I have privately believed that the cornerstone of
the White Tower must be a LOVE ME ter'angreal like the Crystal Throne.
That's the only way I can explain to myself why, "The Tower must be
whole!" comes to completely consume Egwene or, for that matter, why
being Aes Sedai dammit! is so important to Nynaeve by about book four."

This would fit how Nynaeve, after an extended stint away from the tower, came to realize that she didn't really care if they made her AS or not after the Tower became whole and she took the test, since there was REAL STUFF GOING ON that ACTUALLY MATTERED. Totally made her one of my favorite characters again.
32. deBebbler
bkaul @ 5 - Or Blink for that matter, but that episode is freaky-deaky no matter what your Thing may be.....

I also expected Apples First in this post. Maybe it's just because it is fall.
Robert Crawley
33. Alphaleonis
Didn't Aviendha give Rand this sword about 8 or 9 books ago? Or was that a different sword? I think she gave him Laman's sword.
34. Carl F Jansson
My mother once, when a bit "spirited", told me that a woman was defined by pain and "the greatest pain ever, to a female, was to give birth and and a female wasn't a women until she give birth to at least two"...

On a similar note, pain is a Very personal thing, I, as a man (with a 1/5 (or something (or so I heard (oh dear me, a parathesis within a para...)))) of the number of pain receptors, who have taken (in a fight (someone shoot me, too many paranthesis)) a knife in my arm without more than a grunt (knocked him out though! Got a bit angry. :P), complain endlessly about my teeth hurting when drinking cold liquid.

The pain applied to Egwene in this case is several factors below that of childbirth. But I have to say that it was about time she got something that kicked her up a level of consciousness or two... she's really been a character that annoyed me to no end... and that was to no end when looking at the next book. :/ Hopefully she gets a bit better... I won't hold my breath tho', some people...

I have to make the normal excuse for my lack of knowledge in the english language and so forth...

Dave West
35. Jhirrad
@25 Kaboom -

When I first read about the sword and the way it was described (dragons), I thought that it was Lews Therin's sword. Rand has seen it in Rhuidean when he saw the history of the Aiel. The text essentially says that he personaly remembers seeing it and not that LTT does not.

I disagree with your base interpretation of the text here. What it says is,

He had told no one, not even Min, that he had recognized the weapon. And not, oddly, from Lews Therin’s memories—but Rand’s own.

That seems very explicit in arguing that it did NOT come from LTT's memories. Also, you should note that Rand never sees LTT while traveling through the ter'angreal in Rhuidean. The only encounters he has regarding LTT are in his head, from the memories which have leaked across. As far as the sword being Justice...Eh, I'm not sold, but I'm also not discounting the possibility.

Something in general that I want to comment on here, which this discussion brings to my mind. One of the things about WoT that is SO great is the sheer force and power of all the various groups and factions to enthrall, excite, and capture the hearts and minds of the readers. Jordan was a master at this and I think Sanderson has done a great job following it up. It occurs to me in this as I read all the fawning over Egwene and the WT. In the early books, I liked her. She did a great job showing flexibility and open-mindedness when living among the Aiel. Then she became the Amyrlin and went all to hell. She became as manipulative as any Aes Sedai. One of the greatest developments in the story is when Moraine finally understands that maybe manipulating Rand isn't a good thing after all. Egwene (at this point in the books and, in my opinion, as we await AMoL) still hasn't gotten that. The entire WT always feels like it has some inherent RIGHT to "guide" everything. Which is just their way of saying manipulate the world and players into what they want done. Which is really all Egwene is doing in these chapters and all she'll do going forward. She has become the kind of person Moraine was warning Rand against when she fell through into the Tower of Ghenjei. Lsana @ 7 makes a great point regarding Egwene having had no compunctions making sisters swear fealty to her and yet is horrified by Elaida's plan. Yes, Elaida is horrible and need(ed)s to be deposed. But if all Egwene is going to do regarding events in the world outside of Tar Valon is the same thing, only with a strong, unified WT behind her...I don't think that's long term good for anyone.

All that said, I love how this is written so well to make people see the same person or group of people in such a different light.

Finally, @ Leigh re Rand. I had a similar feeling, thinking this was going to be "Coming Down the Mountain" Rand. The level of pain and suffering he has endured to drive him to the point he is at in this book, which will ultimately lead to the moment, is something mind-boggling. One thing that I think almost all of us forget, having been reading this for so long (since 1994 for me) is that we've only really gone through maybe 2 years of story time. These are really still just kids who have had to grow up INSANELY fast. And Rand goes through more physical torture and pain than any character in any series that I can ever recall. The only thing close in my memory is Richard in Wizard's First Rule. Even that isn't really close to what Rand has had. And all while he's really still just a kid in so many ways.
Jane Smyth
36. Kaboom
@35 Jhirrad

He had told no one, not even Min, that he had recognized the weapon. And not, oddly, from Lews Therin’s memories—but Rand’s own.

That seems very explicit in arguing that it did NOT come from LTT's memories. Also, you should note that Rand never sees LTT while traveling through the ter'angreal in Rhuidean. The only encounters he has regarding LTT are in his head, from the memories which have leaked across. As far as the sword being Justice...Eh, I'm not sold, but I'm also not discounting the possibility.

I was also arguing that the memory came from him, not LLT. But during his trip through the columns in Rhuidean he saw one of his Aiel ancestors during the end of the age of legends who was in the same room as some Aes Sedai. The sword of LLT, (the sword of the dragon) was on the table. His ancestor commented on seeing that sword something negative. I do not remember the exact phrasing. But the point is that Rand has seen LLT sword in those "visions".

edit for spacing and typos

Well at lease tried to edit spacing. It won't remove the extra spacing...
37. pwl

The sword of LLT, (the sword of the dragon) was on the table.

Are you sure you're not mis-rembering the section where he sees Callandor before it's sent off to the Eye?
38. pwl
That is, before it's sent off to the Stone. derp. There was some discussion about the Eye in the same viewpoint, though.
39. Lurker
I may be putting together different things I've read, but... The sword is supposed to be Justice. It's only in because that's the sword Brandon Sanderson was giving from Jordan's collection. I did a quick search on his site and on 1/26/09 there's some pictures of his sword up.
As for irrational fears, I study all buildings for zombie apocalypse worthiness.
40. Lsana

Fair enough that an Oath of Fealty isn't quite the same as an Oath of Obedience, but I still think that there is enough similarity there that Egwene ought to at least reflect a bit on her own actions here. Even if it is just for the purposes of deciding that what she's done isn't the same as what Elaida wants, I'd still like her to get off her high horse and think about it a little.


Perhaps Jordan is just too subtle for me, but I never got quite the way Rand viewed harming women, and I don't think I was alone. In particular, I never got the point that on some level, he'd always known that this was an arbitrary place to draw the line.


I agree with you about where Egwene is heading. By the time we reach ToM, I don't see her as a revolutionary leader, but as the same sort of self-righteous, manipulative know-it-all as the rest of the Aes Sedai. I have my "Rip Egwene a new one" post all lined up and am just waiting for the right moment to post it.

But that's in the future. Right now, Egwene IS awesome. She's been separated from Nynaeve, Moiraine, Amys, Suian, and all of the other advisors and teachers that she's depended on. She's been forced to stand on her own for the first time and do it while being held prisoner and beaten three times a day. She hasn't fallen to self-pity, but instead has discovered that there are things far more important than what happens to her and has found a way to devote herself to a cause larger than herself. There are some minor hypocracies, like the one I pointed out, but for the most part, these chapters show Egwene developing into a person I could admire.

Of course, that means I'm all the more furious with her when she (IMHO) completely blows it. But I'm not going to talk about that yet.
41. Freelancer
Haven't visited Dragonmount or the 13th for sometime, but I do believe that among the appearance/chat/tweet notes Terez has compiled, Brandon stipulates that the sword is indeed Justice. If so, the speculation in that regard becomes moot.

Pain. I has it. Suffice to say the Navy has left me with two herniated lumbar discs, and they are a continuous source of pure joy. That said to say this. It isn't a matter of bravery to ignore and move on through pain, it's a matter of acceptance. What cannot be change must be endured, and what must be endured can be endured. Especially if you are inherently stubborn.

Within the story, Egwene is dealing with pains she could choose to avoid. That makes it easier, really. She chooses to deal with the beatings because she refuses the alternative, that of surrendering to Elaida. But what of Rand? His pains come to him with few options on his part. The wound from Ishamael. The wound from Fain. The box. His hand. And so on, and so on. When Alanna bonds him, her first reaction is incredulity over the pain he suffers. Likewise when Minaviyne bond him, they each react to his pain in their own way, but it is noted because the pain is so prevalent. Elayne is shocked, Min is empathetic, Aviendha is proud. Every time Nynaeve Delves him, she remarks compassionately about his suffering. But Rand himself has nothing to say about the matter, because he has long since reconciled within himself that the pain is there, and unlikely to change, so there is no value in devoting a moment of his attention to it.

Egwene and oaths. I have to differ with those who call Egwene a hypocrite on this issue. She accepts oaths of fealty from Faolain and Theodrin, oaths freely offered because they realize they can trust Egwene more than the Aes Sedai who are using them as tools. As for the others, Egwene did indeed coerce the oaths from them, but not of obedience, again of fealty, which is a very great distinction from what Elaida was intending. Also, those who swore to Egwene had thought themselves her puppet-masters, and it was right to disabuse them of the notion. Egwene was suckered into a position where she was expected to be a sacrificial lamb with no authority, but upon whom could be dumped all the responsibility if things went sideways. For the devious treatment of her by all concerned, she had a right to take every advantage available under extreme circumstances to bring order and action to the situation. Elaida, OTOH, snatched power in opposition to the spirit of all Tower law and tradition, then began a one-woman crusade of pure narcissicism, at the expense of those around her. As things turned sour, she increased her grip on power, making things worse, adding to the chaos instead of alleviating it. The two ought not be compared.
Carl Jansson
42. Telchar
Mostly a play of woods really... oath of fealthy and of obedience that is... but... that is the game of the so called Aes Sedai isn't it? ;)

Don Barkauskas
43. bad_platypus
Freelancer @41:
Haven't visited Dragonmount or the 13th for sometime, but I do believe that among the appearance/chat/tweet notes Terez has compiled, Brandon stipulates that the sword is indeed Justice. If so, the speculation in that regard becomes moot.

You remember correctly...sort of. Brandon supposedly confirmed that it's Justice in an e-mail to a reader, but has RAFO'd in public since then. Here's the relevant page: https://docs.google.com/View?docID=dcjspjqg_65hcgdp7gw&revision=_latest. (Search for "Justice" to find the relevant quotes.)
Elijah Foster
44. TheWolfKing
@39. Lurker

As for irrational fears, I study all buildings for zombie apocalypse worthiness.

Me too! Zombies are pretty scary and I don't want to end up stuck in a building, with no way out, when a zombie apocalypse happens. And it will happen.
Anthony Pero
45. anthonypero
Just sayin' hi. There's not much of interest in these chapters. More Spanking. More Sexism. Thank you so much Leigh, for refraining from really digressing on either topic! Your actual digression was much more interesting, I must say! Your fear sounds like it almost qualifies as a phobia. Maybe we should all try to come up with clever names for Leigh's phobia of mutated imagery. Any ideas? How about Photomutaphobia? Or Imagomutaphobia?
Robert Crawley
46. Alphaleonis
Well. I found out what happens on this site when you make a stupid comment - like mine above. You're ignored. That's good.

Sorry, I was posting while at work. I screwed up what I was doing at work at the time also. But it too was fixable
47. macster
First off, that interview with Sanderson was very enlightening. I love seeing how he thinks of his craft and the planning and depth that goes into it. I find myself wishing I could take his class. Some of his laws are ones that I use myself (yes I'm an aspiring writer, my walls of text probably gave that away), and others are ones I'll definitely need to keep in mind in the future. Also: you look lovely in your pic, Leigh. :)

On Justice: I did catch the sword the first time around (i.e. notice its presence) but not that it was Justice--partly because it wasn't mentioned right away that it was connected to Falme, partly because it had been a while since I read either TGH or the Guide. I would have to disagree with AndrewB @6: I think we will learn where it came from, because of the comment Sanderson has made it about which was quoted on the WOTFAQ (it was found "in water, under a statue, not near Falme"). The cagey nature of the comment is very Jordan-esque, telling us to RAFO. If it was never going to be explained where it came from, why bother being so vague about that fact? I don't think Sanderson is the sort to make up things and never figure out explanations for them (i.e. he didn't tell where Justice was found because he doesn't know), nor that he would hint at things which will never be revealed. From what I've seen of interviews he is relatively straightforward in most answers, unless it is a huge plot point yet to be revealed in the last book. Whether this is his nature or because the series is so close to being done he can afford to come right out and say things Jordan couldn't (but might have if he'd lived), I think that hint about where the sword was found means we will learn more in AMoL. I could be wrong, though.

On that note, while Sanderson confirms it was Justice, I did like Birgit's theory @13. And as far as I know we never have it confirmed exactly how or when Hawkwing got the sword or had it made, just that it happened after he became High King and therefore after the capture of Guaire Amalasan. So it could be that both are true: the sword is Justice, not Amalasan's, but Hawkwing had the dragons put on it in honor of Amalasan's defeat. Whatever the explanation for the dragons though, I trust that will also be given in AMoL. (And no it can't be that Hawkwing served the Dragon, as he said in TGH, because that was Hero of the Horn Hawkwing who had memories of all his past lives. As Hawkwing's mortal life he would not have known or remembered Lews Therin--the only person we've seen with memories of his past life is Rand, and while people still cannot agree on exactly how it worked and how much of it was 'real', the LTT thing clearly came about in some manner due to the taint and Rand being a channeler, which obviously don't apply to Hawkwing.)

Oh boy, here we go...not just the Egwene lovers/haters, but the oaths of fealty debate. (You won't believe how many times I wanted to bash my head on my keyboard reading the comments during the recap of ACoS...) Rather than getting involved, let me just say Freelancer has pretty much expressed my views on the matter and leave it at that. I do agree with Lsana though that while I don't think Egwene's oaths are the same as Elaida's, she should have at least thought about them and pointed out to herself why they were different. For all we know though, there may be a reason she hasn't, and it will come out in AMoL (Halima Compulsion? Would that have ended with her death? She was balefired, but not so far back to undo anything she did to Egwene, I would think). Or she could have released them of their oaths off-screen, in which case her not thinking about it is a simple writing gaffe and not hypocrisy.

@19 ClintACK: I think you're right on the money as to why Egwene became so strongly attached to the Tower.

@26: Hopefully we'll learn how Rand's Jesusing affected Moridin in AMoL.

@36 Kaboom: Pwl is right, the sword on the table in Rand's ancestor m memories was Callandor, not a dragon-marked blade.

Other thoughts: Don't worry, Leigh, the mural freaked me out too, if not perhaps quite as viscerally as it did you. Yet another thing which would be quite something to see on screen. And after what happened with Lanfear, I knew right away that Rand's refusal to hurt Semirhage because she was a woman was going to backfire on him horribly. I just had no idea how bad it was going to be... As for Rand himself, unlike a lot of people I never hated or disliked him, not even at his most arrogant and idiotic. I was mad at him, disappointed in him, frustrated with him...but I always kept in the back of my mind what he was going through, that he was under so much pressure, going mad, manipulated and used by so many, in constant pain, and trying so hard to not break the world and leave something good and lasting--to make the world a better place than he found it, rather than a worse one. He made mistakes, he did some stupid things, he hurt others and himself, but I understood why he did it, and it only made what was happening to him even more painful. Even here, where we start seeing him in his downward spiral and he becomes his darkest and most frightening, I felt so sorry for him. Perhaps that is another reason why his moment on Dragonmount hit me like a ton of bricks...because even before he had his epiphany, I understood why he'd done and become what he had, and on some level I even agreed with him. It was an epiphany for me too.

One other thing: let me take a moment to sing the praises of a character I came to know and like a lot, who appears in the Egwene chapter: poor Meidani who never gets notice or love from what I've seen. For a bit character who doesn't do much, I thought she went through quite the ordeal with Elaida, only for her then to be torn between her, the rebels, and the Black Ajah hunters. What really did it for me is what we'll see coming up in Chapter 12, where Egwene visits her in her room. The eclectic decorations all gathered throughout her travels, the signs of a woman who actually lived in the world and had ties to it (a rarity in the White Tower), the knowledge displayed, the Altaran marriage knife given for settling a dispute, the Sharan rug a merchant gave her for Healing his daughter... It reminded me in some ways of the glimpse we saw into Pevara's life with her portraits of her long-dead family. I love moments like this, where we see characters as real people--especially Aes Sedai, who need the humanization greatly. We haven't gotten to see many Grays, let alone kickass ones (Merana tried, but she ended up disappointing in a number of ways), but seeing even by proxy how Meidani interacted with the world (and successfully by the looks of things) earned my respect for her, and by extension for the Grays. The way she was browbeaten by Elaida and the Black Ajah hunters made it easy to forget this woman has been an Aes Sedai for twenty years or so, since some time after the Aiel War. Granted, that is very young for an Aes Sedai, but still, she was raised, she had done good work, she wasn't precisely weak in the One Power (she can do the Traveling weave). So it was good to see her get her backbone back, to stop being treated like (and acting like) a child. Even though she is a Gray, I hope we see her again, and see her get to fight. Who knows, if she manages to make it through Tarmon Gai'don she could end up being part of the Dragon's Peace (assuming Merana doesn't redeem her negotiating skills then).

Oh and Leigh? Princess Bride and Cask of Amontillado? I heart you.
Charles Gaston
48. parrothead
Something I thought of on the drive home, about Elaida's new Oath. IIRC, it was first (literally) dreamed up in ACoS.

It's pretty obvious that the White Tower is the medieval (Roman) church, the Amyrlin is the Pope, and that the Aes Sedai are essentially a monastic order. Just as the AS have the Three Oaths, monks and nuns took three vows (poverty, chastity, obedience). Centuries later in the Counter-Reformation, the new Jesuit order was founded that included a fourth vow of personal obedience to the Pope. If I'm understanding it correctly (no guarantees), the general obedience oath was simply to heed the instructions of one's superiors. The Jesuit vow was much stronger and more specific. And since this is Jordan we're talking about here, I'm pretty sure this was deliberate.

^ Excellent point on Meidani right above me, and something I hadn't considered before. I guess that in the Egwene chapters I just got caught up in Egwene, since, unlike your other example of the Pevara chapters, we have a long-standing character who is clearly meant to be center stage. But you're exactly right, and this sort of thing is really cool; and we get some of that from the other sisters Egwene goes to as well. Can't recall the name of the Yellow she attends, but I do remember Egs thinking that Nynaeve would like her since this sister doesn't truck with the usual Yellow attitude towards herbs. Some people think Egwene is a bit flat; IF she is, I think that choosing her to be the person through whom we see these little snapshots is the perfect choice.
David W
49. DavidW
Yay, another reread. And yes, reading about Rand in his current state is hard. Also, 10 points go to Leigh for correct useage of the word "ambivalent". I wish that I could hand out those points more often.
50. trouty
First off, since nobody else has said so, props for the Spaceballs reference as well, I got a good chuckle out of it. :D

As far as Rand's alleged sexism, I always took it in two main parts.

First, his upbringing in the Two Rivers. Throughout the books RJ has made mention of how the men there, I don't wanna say "treat" their women, but how they believe that any pain they might endure in protection of women is pain that must be taken and accepted. I see it as more a form of chivalry rather than any perceived "weakness" of the fairer sex. And remember that Mat and Perrin also have these traits though perhaps to a lesser degree than Rand. I believe Rand feels it more because...

Second, the Lord of the Morning himself, Lews Therin Telamon. The dude is in Rand's head. Rand sees and feels his memories almost as if they are his own. LTT slayed the woman he loved and that above all else is LTT's greatest remorse. Not the breaking or the taint on saidin. One life, ended because of him. I feel that this has a tremendous influence on Rand's inability to see ANY woman come to harm through his actions, friend or foe. He couldn't defend himself against Lanfear even though she was hurting other women. He personally can not accept crossing that line, is unable to even consider it. And I believe it is because of Ilyena that this is so.

Then again, I am a guy so I might not be as sensitive to the "slight" of the sexist attitude, but there it is.
51. Jessemb
It is a universal human trait, when someone publicly explains that they are afraid of something, for people to say, "Oh, yeah? Well, I know something that will REALLY scare you!" And then provide detailed examples.

This isn't funny to the person dealing with the phobia. Successful trolls are all too successful.
52. Kainos
The problem with Elaida talking about oaths is that she links them to the THREE OATHS which means the oath rod. This is the difference between Egwene's accepting of oaths of fealty and Elaida's demanding sisters swear obedience on the oath rod.
I know this isn't part of what is being discussed and that this may and should be considered a "SPOILER" alert,

.....but why hasn't anyone commented on the fact (or maybe someone has) that Rand can now conciously control his Ta'veren'ess. He has done it several times in this book. For instance when he tries to force Tuon to see things his way . Or when he threatens Cadsuane with stopping her heart with his Ta'veren and she "believes" him. And "Runs"! It was incredulous! Now in ToM he is consciously forcing away the Dark Ones influence wherever he goes. He probably has done more that I haven't picked up on, but those are the most glaring episodes.

By the way I believe Tuon's resistance to him could only have occured because she herself is Ta'veren and not only that, she can see his Ta'veren. She saw the dark aura around him when he tried to force her. Or was it Nynaeve who saw it? Some people have discussed whether or not the dark aura he has is his newly gained connection to the dark side of the force, but I believe it to be his own personal darkness within effecting his Ta'veren links to the pattern; twisting it to negative means. This can be substantiated by his "change" at the end of TGS and his positive aura effecting the pattern.

I mean that is Huge, people! I don't think he is even aware or hasn't even thought through how powerful he's become besides knowing he's the Dragon Reborn. He's beyond Lews Therin now. I think he knows to a certain extent. I mean he knows he can control his effect on the pattern now. But everything is coming upon him so fast, that he doesn't have the time to daydream about what he can and can't do.It's non-stop for him. And at this point it either comes to him when Lews Therin provides the info or he just lucks upon it without realizing what he really has done.

Alright, commence shooting me down!
"He had told no one, not even Min, that he had recognized the weapon. And not, oddly, from Lews Therin’s memories—but Rand’s own."

Does he mistake his own memories for Moridin's?
55. Ellisande
Usually I just read and lurk (waves shyly) but I had an odd thought regarding Rand's new sword and I don't quite know what to make of it, if anything. It's not so much Justice that interests me, it's how Rand gets it. Now, if it really is a bunch of regular folk who bring it to Rand, then fine, no mystery. It's just the Pattern at work.

But not only was there a False Dragon back in Hawkwing's time, so was Ishy. And Ishy could very well have been keeping the sword and decided to give it to Rand for some nefarious purpose. I find its timing suspicious, I guess, given that Rand lost his hand, not long ago. And it wouldn't be the first time the Dark gave something "good" to Rand for their own purposes.

But I don't see what Ishydin would gain from giving Justice to Rand. Does it have a Finder on it? Trying to make him more megalomaniacal? Trying to make sure the Seanchan don't make peace with him by giving him Hawkwing's trappings? If it doesn't make sense it's probably not true. But it seemed odder to me than a sword which is being pushed offstage and will come back to help with Tuon. But maybe I'm too suspicous...
Jonathan Levy
56. JonathanLevy
29. toryx
Agree 100%.

41. Freelancer
"When Alanna bonds (Rand), her first reaction is incredulity over the pain he suffers"

Uh, wasn't her first reaction incredulity over how he has shielded her and Verin even though they were channeling at full strength?
IIRC the reaction you describe is Min's, after the triple bonding. Of course, this is a trivial detail which does not at all detract from your main point.

We don't really know that Rand can consciously control his Ta'verenness, despite his threat to Cadsuane. That was just a threat. What we do see is two things:

A) When he realizes his Ta'verenness is acting up, he pushes to take advantage of it. We've seen this way back in ACOS during the negotiations with the Sea Folk.

B) He is sometimes able to predict when his Ta'verenness might take effect. With Tuon, this is kind of a no-brainer. Obviously, this is a critical negotiation with the leader of the enemy. It's crucial to the last battle (remember the *finn answer to his question). There's a pretty good chance the pattern wants a certain outcome.

Anyway, what I'm trying to say is that there are two ways of looking at it. There's no proof Rand is consciously controlling his Ta'verenness in these scenes, any more than Mat was controlling his luck in the Tower of Ghenjei.
Alice Arneson
57. Wetlandernw
Gah. I knew it. I’m going to have to say it again: swearing fealty is not even remotely the same as swearing obedience on the Oath Rod. Fealty, as sworn by those in the rebel camp, has limits; their AS Oaths certainly require them to mean it and not break it, but it is interpreted by their own lights. Fealty requires that you not betray your liege and that you support her to the best of your ability. (Good grief, people, Beonin swore fealty to Egwene, but it sure didn’t stop her from running back to Elaida as soon as Egwene was captured, on the premise that she no longer considered Egwene to be the Amyrlin Seat and therefore no longer owed her anything. That’s a far cry from what Elaida is proposing!) Obedience to an individual, as sworn on the Rod, would physically remove any meaningful effect of interpretation or reluctance regarding a particular order: you would find your body moving to obey no matter how your mind shrieked in protest. They are orders of magnitude apart, and Egwene knows it perfectly well. Why some readers refuse to get it, I really don’t know.

Maybe people need to stop and think a little harder about what it would be like to have your body forced to obey something you knew was horrible, or likely to result in your, or some innocent person’s, death in a most gruesome and painful way. What would it be like to be physically unable to resist obeying the slightest command, no matter what you think about it? Seriously: if someone swore, on the Oath Rod, to obey Elaida, and then Elaida commanded her to torture her own Warder to death, she would have no choice but to do it, knowing full well the consequences but completely unable to stop herself from performing the actions that will kill her Warder and wreak all manner of havoc on herself as well. How is that in any way comparable to swearing fealty to a woman you placed in a difficult situation, who (as you both know) can only survive that situation with your cooperation and support?

If your liege tells you to do something stupid, you can argue; you can even refuse point blank, if you believe the order is not in the best interests of your liege. An Oath of Obedience (with the capitals implying the use of the Oath Rod) doesn't give you that option; the only out is if the one you've sworn to obey relents and in your hearing countermands the order. Look again at what happened to the poor ferret when the BAH made her swear to obey them, and then ordered her to say something she believed to be false. She couldn't obey without breaking her oath to speak no untrue word, and it nearly killed her. Pevara had to personally tell her not to say it before she could breathe again.

Compare Beonin's freedom to interpret her "oath of fealty" with Zerah's experience with an "Oath of Obedience" and then tell me again just how much they are alike.
Thomas Keith
58. insectoid
Wetlander is right; fealty and Obedience (with a capital O) are two different things entirely. In fact, an Oath of Obedience to one person, to do as they command against your will, sounds (to me) a lot like a more permanent form of Compulsion!

Just thought I'd add that tidbit to the discussion. ;)

Teresa Nielsen Hayden
59. tnh

If you're going to use the Blockquote function (that's the "quotation marks" icon on the comment toolbar that gives you indented quotations), please use it only after you've run "Preview Comment" and are satisfied with your corrections.

There's a glitch in the CMS that adds an extra set of vertical spaces above and below blockquoted material every time you preview your comment. Using Preview after Blockquote is what's generating those big blocks of wasted space around quotations.

Anthony Pero
60. anthonypero

Nice tip. I've been defeating it (occasionally) by having no RETURN before or after the block quote... but your way will obviously work better!
Nadine L.
61. travyl
@57: About your Quote of obedience and fealty:
"Maybe people need to stop and think a little harder about what it would be like to have your body forced to obey" ... "What would it be like to be physically unable to resist obeying the slightest command" ...
We were shown the result: remember Galina (although she might deserve her fate).

About the sword:
As somebody who had to read this thread to realize wh0m's sword Rand got I agree with ScoundrelTheToy (8) and macster (47) that it's going to play a larger role and so Sanderson chose to foreshadow it, but not making it a "huge ceremony" - he can still dwell on that when the sword will become important.

Leigh: Thanks for the post & the link to your interview with BS.
Didn't you tell us you moved to New York?

@ 59. I just used your tip about block quote - thanks
62. MasterAlThor
As I was strolling through the comments today (I only reached 35) I was moved to write the following.

Preach on brother!!!! Preach on!!!

Now I have said that I like Egwene as a character, but there are some definite flaws which others like to gloss over. I also have to give a shout out to Lsana (at 5) for pointing out hypocrisy when she saw it. And yes I consider that hypocrisy.

That's all for now. Back to the comments.

63. Hawkido
@ Rand and Justice (TM)

It explains in the dedication of this book how rand got Justice...

It says
"Rand enters a cave, where an old man turns and says "IT'S DANGEROUS TO GO ALONE. TAKE THIS." Taduh Da Dah"
64. Lipton
You know, questions of morality and sexism aside, Rand unwittingly made the correct call about Semirhage. She's so conversant with torture and so prepared for whatever someone might do to her that I don't think physical torture would have been all that effective. But what Semirhage, with all of her experience, never seemed to grasp was the effectiveness of psychological torture. She was in no way prepared for having her own bubble burst. In fact, she was strangely myopic on the subject. For all of their technological advancements, those Age of Legend-ers have areas of surprising naivete. In some ways they're like kids playing at being evil without really understanding what that really means.

Except Moridin. That SOB is a creepy creeper who knows exactly what he's doing. And possibly Demandred. Who knows what that one's been up to.

@ macster: Yes! Thank you! Meidani is super-unappreciated. It's sad how the Gray Ajah as a whole gets so little respect or appreciation.

@ Lurker: I applaud your caution regarding possible zombie attack. Zombies are a serious threat and constant diligence must be utilized to guard against the undead. You never know when they may strike.

Poor Rand. This book really highlighted for me the extent of his suffering. It's a rare fantasy novel that inflicts so much physical and mental disability on the central hero character. It's not fun to read, but good for them for letting Rand work his way through every horrible thing that the world threw at him. It makes everything that happens after that much more impressive.
Daniel Smith
65. Smittyphi
I say Elaida should be known as Suffa from now on, even if she is Elaida right now.
Dave West
66. Jhirrad
@53 - We really don't have any solid evidence that Rand can control the ta'veren effects, or, I think more correctly phrased, manipulate them. I think it's more likely that the Pattern (which we have seen to be something of a living entity) is trying to bend around something that is so clearly important to a focal point. It's what he desperately wants, and the Pattern is trying to oblige and help. But this is a world of immense free will, and so it won't always happen that way.

Also, I am 99.999999999% positive that simply being able to resist him does NOT equate to someone else being ta'veren. Tuon's resistance before what seems an immovable force is not the first time we've seen Rand resisted in this state. Egwene, back in LoC, does the same, when he tries to get her to tell him where the Aes Sedai opposing Elaida are at. I don't have the books handy, but the way the scene happened was almost exactly the same. Egwene is not ta'veren, simply someone with a very strong will. That's what it takes to resist Rand when that force is exuding from him.
Anthony Pero
67. anthonypero
Totally off-topic (well, still WoT related). After seeing this picture, I don't ever want to here about not being able to bind the last three books as one volume again. They certainly wouldn't have to invent a new binding, at least... I think this one would suffice: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/720898/big_book.jpg

Link description: A picture of an IT professional in a server room with a really, really big book.

EDIT: Next post has a clickable link, at least once it clears moderation. For now, you can copy and paste it into your browser if you're curious.
Roger Powell
69. forkroot
Except Moridin. That SOB is a creepy creeper who knows exactly what he's doing.
I tend to agree. Curiously, Rand's killing of Ishamael at the end of TDR backfired because it seems that when the DO resurrected his favorite, a lot of Ishy's madness disappeared, while leaving his knowledge and cunning.

By the way I believe Tuon's resistance to him could only have occured because she herself is Ta'veren
Robert Jordan stated that no major female character is ta'veren. I think it's safe to consider Tuon "major", so no she is not ta'veren (despite what Beslan thinks in ToM.)

This has come up before, often with one of the Supergirls (esp. Egwene) as it seems that events and circumstances seem to work in their favor more than chance would admit. I think the key thing to recognize is that while the SGs, Tuon, Moiraine, and Suian are not ta'veren per se, they are important individuals (re)birthed into the world at the end of the Age by the Wheel and are intrinsically involved with the Pattern.

What you don't see with any of the gals is the weird unrandom stuff like what happens when Rand is around, or the way that people are drawn inexorably to Rand, Mat, and Perrin.
Rich Bennett
70. Neuralnet
anthonypero@67 I think that book might be about the size of Jordan's notes for AMOL. I can't even imagine how he thought the end of this story was going to fit into one book... just not possible, but more for us so I am not complaining.
Anthony Pero
71. anthonypero
Well, we know for sure that none of the supergirls are ta'veren, nor is Moiraine, because Suian Sanche can see ta'veren. This doesn't exclude Tuon, of course, but it does show that somone whom is most definitely not ta'veren (Egwene) can resist the will of someone who most definitely is ta'veren (Rand). So that eliminates the validity of the argument regarding Tuon.
john mullen
73. johntheirishmongol
It was pretty painful reading about Rand all through this book. I found it a little hard to relate to him because I am not the kind of person who agonizes over my life, no matter how hard it has been or how up and down it has gone. I was glad when this part of the story was over.

Half this book was very had for a lot of reasons, Rand's inner turmoil, Egwene's outer abuse, but it ends up so strong and with such a great resolution you can't argue.

My own personal theory on Fain is that he will be the key to killing Moridin. I think the connection between Rand and Moridin will confuse him and he will kill the wrong one, mostly because he is a colossal screwup.
74. UseOfWeapons
I only realised during this reread that the Snakes and Foxes quote to Rand "The North and East must be one. The West and South must be one. The two must be one." didn't necessarily refer to him uniting _every faction_. The final clause could be completely dissociated from the military conflict, and refer to Rand and Lews Therin. I'm sure many people have cottoned to this possiblity previously, but it kinda hit me just now, so I thought I'd share :-D
Nadine L.
75. travyl
@74. UseOfWeapons:
- I like this theory, especially since I never made that connection.
edit to clarify: I never came to your conclusion, sadly I did always connect the two phrases, but find your notion intriguing.

@72. adaptr:
- You are exagerating a bit about the "several years...": SoT book 1-11 cover exactely 3 years, the longest time without pause is about a year (book6). But YES the tortures RR has to go trough are insane. And NO: "Masochist" would imply that RR wanted it done, which is not the case.

But back to WOT: I pity Rand as well and although it was painful to see him hurt, his reactions were masterfully credible, including the "jesusification".
Thomas Keith
76. insectoid
anthonypero @67/68: That's hilarious. Perhaps that's what the proposed Encyclopedia will look like. XD

UseOfWeapons @74: That's a very good point... it makes lots of sense when you think about it.

77. Metal Prophet
I am guessing you're not a fan of Soundgarden's "Black Hole Sun" video, Leigh.
Chin Bawambi
78. bawambi
Re: Moridin/Rand link - I am beginning to think that Rand will die but that Moridin will betray the Dark One and turn to the light side. I think that Fain will get offed by SH just after he kills Rand. There are a few scenes which hint towards turning for me - mainly a couple of throw away lines during the fireside chats which make Ishy seem like he is resigned to his fate (to me at least).
Valentin M
79. ValMar
bawambi @ 78

hmm... Interesting notion. Unless I'm mistaken, it's crucial for the Dark One to turn Rand to achieve a final victory. Turn to the Dark Side I mean... So what if the mirror situation is also true? Damn you bawambi for potentially spoiling a great twist! Not sure if I feel like puting - ;) - emoticon here...
80. Lipton
@ bawambi: I've been really curious for a really long time about how the Rand-Moridin connection is affecting Moridin. We know that it is given his anger at Semirhage after she took Rand's hand (as well as the physical tells that Graendel picked up), but we don't know if Moridin's psychology is being warped in the same way that Rand's was, especially now that Rand is all Buddha-fied.

Fain is the Gollum character, the anarchic force in the end game. I can't wait to see how it all plays out.
Rob Munnelly
81. RobMRobM
@78 - what do you think A Memory of Light refers to? Surely not Rand. Moridin FTW, baby.
Susan Brownhill
82. SusanB
Very interesting @78 & 81...I hadn't thought of that before. It makes sense though...haven't we been told numerous times that Moridin/Ishy would have been the dragon, if not for LTT. If that is really what happens, I think I will be a bit sad that I read it here first & didn't get a totally awesome (totally surprised) reveal in the book.
83. Freelancer

.....but why hasn't anyone commented on the fact (or maybe someone has) that Rand can now conciously control his Ta'veren'ess. He has done it several times in this book. For instance when he tries to force Tuon to see things his way .

This is not Rand controlling his ta'veren nature. These actions on the part of Rand occur after he destroys Semirhage and Elza, which introduced two majors new issues to our unfortunate hero. He kills a female (x2), which he had vowed never to do (yes, if he hadn't broken free his hands would have killed Min, so he's justified and forgiven, but he couldn't quite see it that way yet), and he tasted the True Power. Immediately after this, people begin to notice the aura of darkness surrounding him. As has been stated, the True Power is, in a manner of speaking, the essence of the dark one, and is therefore to be considered "pure, concentrated evil". It is Rand exercising the power of this influence to which he now has access when he threatens Cadsuane, when he pressures Tuon, when he terrorizes Hurin and nearly balefires Tam.

As for conscious, it is somewhat ambiguous whether Rand has any clue precisely what he is doing at these times, only that he is manifesting a behavior completely foreign to his nature. I think that the black matter in Spider-man 3 provides a good analog for this. While bound to it's influence, Peter Parker's behavior and demeanor are altered beyond his control, until he realizes how un-cool he has become. Likewise, Rand becomes devoid of compassion or sympathy, traits he could not so easily throw off without an outside influence.

It may well be that he was attempting to consciously "Ta'veren" Tuon at their meeting, but it didn't work, supporting the idea that he isn't consciously controlling it. Also, on that topic, Tuon isn't ta'veren. We've seen the sort of chaotic side-effects which occur when more than one ta'veren is in the same place, and there would have been ample evidence of such since Tuon and Mat have been together.
84. Freelancer
Oh, an afterthought of no significance. Leigh, the queen of references, included a third one aside those from The Princess Bride and The Cask of Amontillado, but it is altered, and therefore likely to avoid notice: Full Metal Jacket.
Elijah Foster
85. TheWolfKing
@59. tnh

Thanks, I think I have fell prey to that several times.

@68. anthonypero

Haha, that guys a nerd. Imagine if he dropped the side of the book that he's holding.

Re: Fain- I think the best ending for Fain is if he got teleported into a sun that was made of pure balefire which proceeded to supernova into a blackhole that tranported whatever remained into a vacuole that got seperated from the pattern.
86. alreadymadwithtgs
On the sword:
"He had told no one, not even Min, that he had recognized the weapon. And not, oddly, from Lews Therin’s memories—but Rand’s own."
The thing is, this implies that Lews Therin also should have recognized the sword, but that Rand himself knows the sword from his own memories apart from the set of memories attributed to Lews Therin. Frankly it was a letdown to hear it confirmed to be Justice. While I see the foreshadowing of it's use in wooing the Seanchans, his manner of getting it was entirely too.... coincidental.

On the oath:
Perhaps Egwene was especially outraged at Elaida's suggestion of the fourth oath because Elaida implies using the Oath Rod to have sisters swear it. This when she is already aware of the Oath Rod's side effect in addition to the general moral implications.

On the Jesus thing:
Yeah.. I was kinda expecting the apple orchard scene myself..
Alice Arneson
87. Wetlandernw
Jhirrad @35 – “One of the greatest developments in the story is when Moraine finally understands that maybe manipulating Rand isn't a good thing after all.”

That rather cracked me up, as what really happened was Moiraine figuring out that she was just going the wrong way about manipulating him. When Egwene asked why Moiraine had started doing everything Rand told her, she replied, "Because I remembered how to control saidar.” (Emphasis mine.) She hadn’t in the least given up on controlling/manipulating Rand, she just realized that she needed to use a different method. Egwene may not have developed that level of subtlety yet, but her goal is the same as Moiraine's always was - to make sure Rand doesn't do anything irretrievably stupid before the Last Battle.
@Jonathan Levy, @ forkroot, @Jhirrad

First I stand corrected about Tuon resisting Rand, as there are multiple instances of similar happenings. But I'm still not so sure that Tuon isn't Ta'veren herself. There not being evidence as to her being Ta'veren can be explained away with:

1. From the time she has been introduced to us, the humble reader, she has been in the presence of the second most powerful Ta'veren. For a lonnnng period of time. With the exception of when she was released, and afterwards, briefly with The most powerful Ta'vern, Rand. Hell, with Mat's "luck" you'd never even know that he was Ta'veren or you'd think his luck was Ta'veren. which brings me to:

2. Tuon thinks Ta'veren is a myth. A childs story, as she puts it. So she could have things happening around her all her life related to being Ta'veren and she'd wouldn't know it, chalking it up to simple good or ill fortune. And we'd never know, because we know next to nothing about her past before she was kidnapped by Mat.

3. We have no proof that she isn't Ta'veren. Except for the thing with Beslan swearing fealty to Tuon. He even expressed shock at doing it and asked if she was Ta'veren. Hint, Hint? or not?

Now given that the late Robert Jordan has stated that no major female characters are Ta'veren, it puts a damper on the notion. Unless Tuon was introduced after he said that. I'm not sure about that yet as I haven't yet looked at the chronology of the statement by RJ.

Now as to whether Rand can exert control over the Pattern or has some control with limits, with regards to his Ta'veren influence on the pattern, to me has yet to be disproved. Granted, he clearly can't do whatever he wants with whatever control he "may" have. But with regards to whats near him and given what he knows about being Ta'veren, I see no reason why he wouldn't try to use it. And I do truly believe he did try and use his being Ta'veren to compel Tuon into giving way to his wants. He wasn't at all surprised that she resisted I think, for he was doubtful that the negotiations would be successful. She is the Daughter of the Empress for goodness sakes, she's not used to negotiating with anyone, let alone taking orders. And yet she almost did. Lemme get the book and I'll quote her and him....

"He leaned further, looming. His form didn't change, but he suddenly seemed a hundred feet tall. He spoke in that same calm, piercing voice, but there was a threat to it now. An edge.

"You must call off your attacks", he said, nearly a whisper. "You must sign a treaty with me. These are not requests. They are my will."

Tuon found herself longing, suddenly, to obey him. To please him. A treaty. A treaty would be excellent, it would give her a chance to stabilize her hold on the lands here. She could recruit and train. So many possibilities opened to her, as if her mind were suddenly determined to see every advantage of the alliance and none of the flaws.

She reached for those flaws, scrambling to see the problems in uniting herself with this man. But they became liquid in her mind and slipped away. She couldn't snatch them up and form objections. The pavilion grew silent, the breeze falling still.

- and later- His expression was grim. Despite the afternoon light, his face was shadowed, far more than everything else beneath the pavilion. He held her eyes still and her breaths came quick and short. In the corners of her vision she thought she saw something around him. A dark haze, a halo of blackness, emanating from him. It warped the air like a great heat. Her throat constricted and words were forming. Yes. Yes. I will do as you ask. Yes. I must. I must.

"No," she said, the words barely a whisper. - TGS: chpt. 35; p. 547-548

That passage and beyond a little, was eerie to say the least. But what got me was that he tried something on her and he didn't channel either. Now maybe it wasn't the pattern he was trying compel to his will, but I KNOW he was trying to compel her. And he was succeeding, but being Ta'veren can only make chancely happenings come to be if there was ever a chance of it happening. And I guess in this instance it was not to be. Notice he did this only at the end and left after he was denied.

Read TGS chpt. 23; p. 361, from the top, and tell me what that "warp" was. It was visible to Cadsuane. She new he could do it. This is Cadsuane for lights sake. She nodded her head and left. And when she got in the hall she was terrified. Now I can't and nobody else can say with absolute surety that that's what he was doing; willing the pattern to do his bidding. But I know for written fact that SHE believed it. And because he then tried with Tuon with the "dark haze, a halo of blackness, emanating from him. It warped the air like a great heat." Again, the "warped", visibly seen. I think he can do it. If there's a chance it can happen and he's consciously thinking on it.... I think he can.

Sorry my comments are so long. I rarely do the comment thing. Gotta get my two cents in.
89. Wortmauer
alreadymad@86: On the sword:
"He had told no one, not even Min, that he had recognized the weapon. And not, oddly, from Lews Therin’s memories—but Rand’s own."
The thing is, this implies that Lews Therin also should have recognized the sword, but that Rand himself knows the sword from his own memories apart from the set of memories attributed to Lews Therin.
That's not how I read it. Consider the set of all ancient artifacts that Rand would recognise. In the vast majority of cases, it'd be because of Lews Therin's memories. What is "odd" about this case is that Rand himself had seen this thing before, in his latest 20 years of life. I don't see an implication that Lews Therin would also have recognised the sword, and, absent such implication, the default assumption is that he wouldn't — even if the sword dated back to the Second Age — any more than Lews Therin would randomly recognise a given cuendillar teacup on a shelf.
@ Freelancer

And simply stating that he now has access to the "True Power" doesn't mean he isn't really consciously controlling his Ta'veren influence. I submit to you that thats exactly why he can now control his influence on the pattern. He couldn't before, but now (and probably unexpectedly to Moridin; for Moridin isn't Ta'veren) he can. It could be that the "warping" and the "aura of blackness" is the True Power allowing him to control what he couldn't before. But he hasn't channeled it since he broke his male leash. And what now, as he overcomes at the end? He still has access. Will it still be an "aura of blackness"? Does he now have to be in a foul, evil mood, to bend some ones will with the pattern?
Captain Hammer
91. Randalator

I never connected the black halo around Rand with his ta'veren ability and I still don't. I think it is more likely to do with his state of mind and the whole fisher king image. He has become so dark a character that he is now literally "glowing" black.

Also his ta'veren random chance bending has become exclusively negative, there are no more pots of gold in old wells and people being run over by a carriage without so much as a scratch to balance the burnt houses and people killed by a falling feather.

The whole thing with Cadsuane being terrified is no indication that she thinks he is consciously controlling his ta'veren effect. The much simpler explanation is that seeing the black halo of doom she only now realised just how far gone Rand is. If ta'veren worked in his favour while he is in the present state of mind, it could very likely mean her death. But we don't need Rand controlling it consciously for that to happen or for Cadsuane being terrified of this prospect...
Teresa Nielsen Hayden
92. tnh
Oh, very nice. The blockquoted texts are much tidier now. Thank you all.

Jhirrad @35, adaptr @72, travyl @75, best not to wander into discussions of That Other Series. All three of you are making polite, legitimate comparisons, but if the thread goes on talking about it, that's bound to change, and then I'll have to do something about it, which is a bother, and it'll put a crimp in the conversation, and ... you know how it goes.

AnthonyPero @67-68, that's very impressive, but it's not standard book manufacturing technology. The sheets are grouped in units that are significantly larger than a signature, there's a shiny stripe across the spine that looks like it's doing something structural, and the bound volume is doing things no perfect-bound book can do. That's got to be a specialized binding. I'd love to know how they did it.
Rob Munnelly
93. RobMRobM
@92. "...and the bound volume is doing things no perfect-bound book can do." Perhaps the bound volume is ta'veren....
Sam Mickel
94. Samadai
Bawambi @ 78, ValMAr @79, RobMRobM @ 81, SusanB @ 82,

That was my idea I posted clear back on TGS spoiler thread. So, If it turns out to be true, I can take all the credit for figuring it out, if not, I can point at your posts and make fun of you with the rest of them. ;)
WOT Dragons
95. WOTNoDragons
According to Encyclopaedia-WOT, Justice is a Power-wrought weapon, but how do we know this for a certain fact? Was it stated in a glossary or at an RJ book-signing? Do we know for example if Justice is a Heron Mark blade: an AoL weapon? If not, then it’s possible that it was made in the 3rd Age and therefore LLT wouldn’t be able to recognise it.

As Leigh mentioned, Hawkwing hated anything to do with AS and the Power, so it seems unlikely that he’d knowingly want to use a power-wrought weapon.

It’s odd what we pick up on as being scary. I never spotted how creepy the mural changing was, but everything moving around - like the Ajahs’ quarters, was to me totally freaky; something so reliably permanent becoming completely unfixed. I know I’d be more than slightly freaked out if I went upstairs in my own house to use the bathroom and found that I’d walked in to the Kitchen! I think if this actually happened, I’d take a leaf out of Ned Flander’s book and drive to the nearest insane asylum and check my self in - double quick! (Damn it – can’t find a link for this classic Simpson’s scene.)

Elaida’s descent from that of insightful (if somewhat stern) royal advisor, to that of a despotic, megalomaniacal, tyrannical, paranoid Amrylin, IMO slightly lacks credibility without some additional explanation.

Morgase went from being a reasonably balanced ruler of a fairly benevolent autocracy to becoming an irrational, cruel and ruthless queen. But once we understood why; in that it was beyond her control once Rahvin got his claws into her - as readers we could then identify with Morgase’s changed behaviour. So perhaps Elaida’s significant change of personality might be attributable to a similar cause, like maybe Messana’s ‘compelling’ influence. Otherwise, without this type of explanation, Elaida’s massively changed behaviour is just a bit too extreme to be credible imho.

Hah, I just got the mischievous pun re Elaida’s damane name: Suffa! (I hope she does – a lot, in AMOL!) That’s a nice touch by BwS & I never noticed it before.

Lipton @ 64
Not sure that there’s any in-story evidence to conjecture that Semi would have been relatively impervious to torture - just because she’s such a badass expert at it. In fact, it would be an equally valid, or invalid corollary to suggest the opposite: that she’d fold like a cheap suit as soon as one of her little piggy’s ‘lost’ a nail. I think that anyone who takes up a profession as a torturer would by their very nature be a total coward.

@18 Ryamano
I’m not sure that an oath of obedience (not taken on the oath rod) by an AS would be any more binding - just because they’ve also taken a previous (on oath-rod) oath to not lie.

In terms of oaths in general, I don’t think that there’s any tangible difference between an oath of fealty and an oath of obedience. If you are honorable, & had taken either oath and were then ordered by your liege-lord or master to fight in a battle of dubious moral purpose and of highly uncertain outcome, you’d still be honorbound to fight; even though you could clearly see it would result in your pointless death. IMO, oath-breaking would be the only ‘out’ in such a situation - irrespective of whether or not your oath was of fealty or obedience.

However, I completely agree that there is huge difference if one were holding an oath-rod or a binder at the time of swearing either type of oath; the huge difference being that the binder removes any possibility of ‘choosing’ to be an oath-breaker.

Although an oath of fealty taken on a binder would (IMO) be every bit as compelling as an oath of obedience would be - if both were sworn in the same way.

Personally I don’t blame Egwene for asking subservient AS to take an oath of obedience or fealty. After all, a Noble would expect no less from their subjects, and Egwene is the Amyrlin at a time of great division and uncertainty.

Egwene being so soundly punished and then being healed seems a bit counterproductive to say the least and imo, it makes Elaida as the instigator of Egwene’s punishment to seem a bit effete. I think that one of the principle terrors of pain is when it doesn’t seem to end! Perhaps it’s just that when in pain, seconds seem like hours, but I think that when sudden terrible pain doesn’t abate, that is when it then becomes so potentially horrific. A tiny bit like stubbing your toe; it hurts like blazes for a few moments, but you know that it will subside relatively quickly, and this knowledge is a key component for helping to deal with a mildly painful situation.

Multiply that ‘stub your toe’ pain by about a gazillion and then perpetuate it for an unspecified length of time and IMO, I think that almost all people would ‘break’ in such circumstances.

@ Ellisande 55 -

Trying to make sure the Seanchan don't make peace with him by giving him Hawkwing's trappings?

Tuon didn’t seem to recognise Rand’s sword when they met in Chapter 35 at Falme, so I’m not sure that his sword will have any significant influence on the Seanchan attitude towards him.

UseOfWeapons @74 & Insectiod @76,

I’d always taken the “2 must be as 1” bit of this answer to mean that Rand & LLT must merge – I just never saw it as being tied to the first 2 bits of the Finn’s answer. But what I’ve never been clear on is what - ”the North & East must be one’” actually means. Is the North the Blight, or the Borderlands? & is the East the Aiel Waste or Shara? I think there would be an argument for either, but they are quite different and clearly they would have very different implications for Rand.
96. emmyloo03
Argghh I finally caught up with you in the reread! Also, YAY I finally caught up with you in the reread; it only took me 7 months!!

I was conflicted a bit about starting TGS (way back in March of this year (I read about a page before I realized I needed to do yet another reread)) mainly because I was afraid of how much Sanderson's writing would change the series -- not in content, but in style -- but as I continue reading, it is becoming easier to ignore the little things for the big picture. I'm excited to see how Egwene will save the Tower and how Rand will go all bat-shit crazy and how Perrin and Mat will have their MOAs and everything. Plus, Moiraine is coming SOON! ( I know, its not for another book, but SOON!! woo!) I feel a bit like all the Harry Potter fans must have felt at seeing HP7 part deux, like this is a part of thier childhoods or whatever, finally coming to fruition, so there is Yay, and also *le sigh. (HP encompassed my 20's but I have 2 younger sisters so there ;p )
Also, I love reading your commentary because I feel like you have the same Voice that I do when I'm writing so its like reading my own thoughts, written by someone just slightly more eloquent than I am. ;)
Anthony Pero
97. anthonypero

Zen Rand consciously controls it in ToM as well. He's not using the TP to do it.
Anthony Pero
98. anthonypero
tnh@92 and all RE: Book binding...

Just to be clear, I was joking. I'm happy with three volumes.
Captain Hammer
99. Randalator
WOTnoDragons @95

Elaida’s descent from that of insightful (if somewhat stern) royal advisor, to that of a despotic, megalomaniacal, tyrannical, paranoid Amrylin, IMO slightly lacks credibility without some additional explanation.

She has been tainted by Fain. ;)
Anthony Pero
100. anthonypero

Egwene is healed so she can be beaten more. And so she can still do her chores. It's psycological warfare, not physical. It's a spanking. How bad can it really hurt? They are only hitting her on her bottom. It hurts, but its' localized. If they didn't heal her, eventually she wouldn't be able to feel the next beating.

EDIT: Hey, whaddya know? I got 100 without trying!
Anthony Pero
101. anthonypero

Exactly. Prior to that, there were Aes Sedai sitters worried that she would turn into a compentent, strong amyrlin
Margot Virzana
102. LuvURphleb

I was going to ask for clarification on the SoT reference but i decided against it. But all the segues we go thru in this re read are fun
WOT Dragons
103. WOTNoDragons
AP @ 100
I'm not sure I totally follow your logic on this point. Yes it's only a spanking and yes I'd agree that it's partly psychological warfare, but it is physical as well. The reason Eg's is being spanked is to break her spirit - so that she accepts Elaida as Amyrlin, not just so she can 'feel' her next beating or do her chores. If it was only psychological warfare Egwene would be punished much more along the lines of Avi's punishments at the hands of the WO's: like moving a bucket of water one drop at a time. Or rw waterboarding! Eg's is being beaten to such a degree that her body sustains wounds that need healing! And also, I think that a spanking on top of prior punishments when still suffering would hurt a damned sight more than it would if previously healed. But I agree in that I've wrongly compared Eg's punishments with torture - which isn't entirely accurate as she is clearly not "put to the question." in the traditional WOT sense. although inflicting pain upon another person to affect a change in their thinking, their beliefs or their world view is probably considered torture by most rw definitions.

Randalator @ 99
That's a very fair point that (as usual) I'd overlooked. ;-) Are there any rules about how this taint works ? Egwene visited Fain in the cells in Fal Dara but doesn't seem to have suffered any ill effects, and Elaida's contact with Fain was fairly brief wasn't it and once he left the WT, wouldn't his taint then wear off?
Jonathan Levy
104. JonathanLevy
87. Wetlandernw

Astutely put!

88. ZEXXES Most of what I was going to say has already been ably said by 89. Wortmauer and 91. Randalator, so I will try to limit myself only to points which have not already been made by others.

Regarding Tuon - you concentrate on explaining away the absence of evidence. Let us accept your points for the sake of argument. Where does that leave us? There is still no evidence for Tuon's Ta'verenness, but now we have a good explanation for that. So what? There are dozens of characters in WoT for which there is no evidence of Ta'verenness, and many reasons why actual evidence might have been overlooked.

Consider Eamon Valda. Became Lord Commander when his predecessor - the wily Pedron Niall - was murdered by a nincompoop. Then proceeded to coerce the queen of Andor - trained in the white tower, mind you - into bed with him, and got her to sign a very favorable treaty for the Whitecloaks. Much more impressive than one Beslan swearing fealty, no? Almost beats Rahvin's score, but Valda can't even channel. Is he also Ta'veren?

As for Rand's supposed conscious-pattern-weaving - forgive me - your argument seems to assume that he has this power, and then states that it has not been disproved. Using this method, I could claim that Rand has purple earlobes because this has yet to be disproved.

The scene with Tuon does not require conscious control to explain the events. Rand at this point is domineering and dictatorial. It's no surprise he tried to dictate a truce with Tuon, irrespective of his Ta'verenness. He may well have hoped it would influence things, after seeing it do so during his negotiations with the sea folk. If his behavior can be so easily explained without having to postulate a new power for him, then by Occam's razor we ought to prefer the simpler solution.

As for Tuon's ability to resist, this has been ably addressed by others, in my humble opinion.

And as for Rand's reaction when she resisted, I do not attribute it to his being prepared for failure. I see it as another instance of the attitude which guided his behavior when he lost his hand, viz. no emotional reaction. I lost my hand, I can't heal it, I move on. Same thing here - I failed in my endeavor, I cannot correct it, I move on.
105. AlexF
We think the sword was Justice??? I thought somewhere in the book it said the sword was Turak's -- you know, the High Lord or whatever from the Great Hunt? Rand's killing of him -- a Blademaster -- made Rand a Blademaster. So, that's the "personal history" attached to it.
Anthony Pero
106. anthonypero
Turak's scabbard is not described as having dragons on it.

The two men standing obsequiously behind him had only half their dark hair shaved, the rest hanging in a dark braid down each man's right cheek. One of them cradled a sheathed sword in his arms...

...He stretched out a hand without looking - the man with the scabbarded sword laid the hilt in the hand - and drew the heavy, curved blade.

Compare that description to the description above. Certainly Rand of all people would have noticed dragons on the scabbard. And the blades are not described alike. Turak has a "heavy, curved blade" while the one Rand holds is "long, slightly curved." Also, there is no mention of herons on Rand's sword. Turak's has herons on it. Not a single time in the entire series is a heron-marked blade described without mentioning the heron mark.

Not to mention the fact that this sword was unearthed on a recent dig. Somehow I doubt Turak's sword got buried near a statue.
Anthony Pero
107. anthonypero

My point was that spanking is not much of a punishment if you can't feel it.
Nadine L.
108. travyl
@ ZEXXES and others - regarding Rands ta'veren control:
I side with the statement that Rand is certainly conscious that his ta'verenness can affect people and events and that he is willing to use it (as with the food stores in the next book) - but I don't think he could change any given whim, meaning control the effects.
But since ta'veren bend the pattern (or is it the other way around?) - it's kind of likely that he can expect an effect if his need is great.

@92. tnh: sorry, won't happen again.
109. Ryanus
Not to mention, isn't Rand's new sword specified to be a one handed affair? Something of a rarity in Randlands. And Turak's blade was definately a two handed piece, I'm guessing almost a two handed scimitar from the descriptions.
Hugh Arai
110. HArai
Wetlandernw@87: Agreed that Moiraine never stopped trying to control/manipulate Rand. I think the real distinction is that Moiraine eventually switched to the straight-forward manipulation of "I want you to do this and this is why" that Rand responded best to all along, instead of the standard "I will tell you what to think" most of the AS (including Egwene) operate with.

I'm not sure why most of the AS have so much trouble figuring it out, especially Egwene. You'd think after watching Moiraine and having grown up with Rand she'd get it right away. Certainly Verin clued in very quickly but Alanna very much did not.
111. Wortmauer
WOTnoDragons@103: Are there any rules about how this taint works ? Egwene visited Fain in the cells in Fal Dara but doesn't seem to have suffered any ill effects, and Elaida's contact with Fain was fairly brief wasn't it and once he left the WT, wouldn't his taint then wear off?
Two things to keep in mind here. One, Fain's power has certainly been growing over the course of the series, not just pre- and post-Mordeth. Two, he wasn't necessarily interested in specifically influencing Egwene. I doubt she fit into his plans (to his knowledge) at the time. He was specifically trying to influence leaders like Elaida, Niall, and Dain Bornhald.

Oh, and I didn't get the impression that Fain's contact with Elaida was particularly brief. He seems to have settled in as an unofficial advisor, not necessarily for long, but at least for more than one therapy session. In the FOH prologue, Elaida remembers that Fain arrived at the Tower "days earlier," and the audience that follows is clearly not their first.
JonathanLevy (and yes, they should've let you keep the space) @104: Using this method, I could claim that Rand has purple earlobes because this has yet to be disproved.
Hmmm, only if Lews Therin thumbs them rather more vigorously than we've been led to believe.
The scene with Tuon does not require conscious control to explain the events. Rand at this point is domineering and dictatorial. It's no surprise he tried to dictate a truce with Tuon, irrespective of his Ta'verenness.
Tuon's viewpoint actually sounds to me like light Compulsion. I wonder how much Rand (or Lews Therin) knows of that. It does seem unlikely — if he's willing and able to use a Compulsion weave, even an imperfect one, you'd think we would see him do so elsewhere in TGS as well. But that really is what the scene makes me think of.
Captain Hammer
112. Randalator
WOTnoDragons @103

We don't get to see it on-screen but going by Elaida's musings in TFoH it wasn't her first meeting with Fain and not supposed to be the last either. So she was exposed to Fain's taint over a longer period of time.

anthonypero @107

Healing or no, you're definitely feeling the pain as it happens. That's not exactly something you look forward to and it is most definitely physical. Also, "how much can it hurt?" Really? Getting strapped easily breaks your skin. And she gets punished several times a day. How's that for pain?

Last but not least: Yes, she is Healed every day...in the morning before her first trip to Silviana. She then has to go through the whole day with her injuries and the multiple punishments to follow.

That is physical torture. Nothing else. Even if she were to be Healed immediately after every lashing it would still be physical torture.

It boggles the mind that anyone could think otherwise...
113. AlexF
Guess I made that up.
Jay Dauro
114. J.Dauro
TGH - 45 "Standing tall on Turak's blade was a heron."

In TGS 37 it specifically says of Rand's new sword "There was no heron mark, ". I do not find a description of it being a one handed weapon, but Rand does pull and sheath it with his one hand.

Alice Arneson
115. Wetlandernw
WOTnoDragons @95 - The Encyclopaedia-WoT is usually pretty good about providing textual support for statements made, but occasionally there are assumptions made that don't have such support. In this case, as I understand the situation, an early reader (presumably one of those people who read and do a little sanity-check before publication) asked Brandon a question which he answered, and the reader assumed it was okay to share that answer with the world when it really wasn't. *sigh* If that actually is the scenario, then the identification is probably correct, but many of us would have preferred the "reveal" to have come by way of the book rather than a back-door method like this. One assumes that the encyclopaedia-wot people were sufficiently confident of the person who shared to base the Justice entry on that identification. (There are a few other places where I have disagreed with them, usually where they state something as fact which is really only one possible interpretation of an event.)

In this case, I find it mildly disappointing to have the information exposed outside the story, especially if it was going to be a cool reveal in-story. Like, for example: Mat is with Rand for a major battle (Shayol Ghul?), and sounds the Horn of Valere at some critical juncture. When the Heroes come riding down the mist, Mat suddenly realizes that Hawkwing's sword and Rand's sword are identical. Or Hawkwing notes that "I see you found my sword. Use it well!" Or Mat, reunited with Tuon, sounds the Horn for a battle against Team Dark, and Tuon (obviously amazed at seeing Hawkwing in person) suddenly recognizes his sword as being the same one Rand was carrying at their meeting. Or... something like that (there are a zillion possibilities), where we could all go, "Oh, how cool is that?!" and those who guessed right would feel extra-special, while those who didn't guess it would get an all-new thrill. Oh well. It is what it is, and I'm sure it will be sufficient to give a thrill just from the craftsmanship of the scene.
116. yasiru89
Trying to torture Semirhage would have been stupid. And Cadsuane probably would never have hit upon the method that eventually worked to break her either.
RJ was always subtle when it came to his Rand viewpoints, sometimes to the point that you felt Rand was a blank slate of a character with responsibilities piled atop him and those, along with an innate moral wisdom of sorts driving him entirely. Sanderson's rather more blunt handling of Rand (or maybe RJ decided to up the game in the notes in preparation for the Epiphany because Rand had to be driven to the breaking point and flung out beyond it) makes him more sympathetic to more people than I would have guessed.

The crucial difference between Rand and Egwene when it comes to pain under captivity is not about how much they suffered, or even what the stakes were, but their immediate worries and the psychological pain associated to them.
For Egwene there was relief to look forward to in the form of Healing for the physical pain (regardless when it came), and she always had the knowledge that those she cared for or was responsible for were all right and holding together (in this case the rebels). She could even look forward to meetings in Tel'aran'rhiod and being kept abreast of what was going on in the rebel camp. During Rand's first captivity there was no such comforts save for Lews Therin (and that's disturbing enough in and of itself) and no guarantee that Min would be safe (let alone that the divisive forces in Cairhien and Andor didn't rip those apart in his absence, whatever Elaida intended). His second captivity, as we'll come to see, was worse still, forcing him to relive something he had been spared the visceral impact of the first time.
People seem to be so squeamish about, and hence entirely taken up with the physical pain comparison that they overlook these more pressing effects.
This is why I think it's a little rich of Egwene to presume she knows what Rand was subjected to because she keeps getting strapped for defiance (the degree of which she is in control of) in a relatively safe position (Tower novice as Elaida saw it). That's not to undermine the pain she went through (though who punished her, Silviana and others, had no emotional stake or grudge against her, while, Erian in LoC at least (even excepting the pure malice of the Black sisters) surely did for the killing of her Warders against Rand, and it's naive to think this had no impact on the intensity of the punishment), nor her admirable determination to see the Tower whole under herself (that it was a thing of ambition and not desperate survival I can overlook).

On Justice, I believe it was unadorned, and mentioned to be so several times. No heron mark. The scabbard Rand would have had made. Whether more katana-like or sabre-like, it's likely that Randland heron-mark swords can be used single handed as well, because we've seen them used from horseback if I recall.
To make a correction about my line of thinking. I do not believe Tuon is Ta'veren. I'm simply noting that she, during a couple of brief and albiet minor moments, exhibited a mild kind of Ta'vereness as has a bunch of other characters within the series. Given what I stated above, it does give the impression that I believe her to be Ta'veren and that wasn't my intention. And, given what I stated, it would give leave to ask the same questions of other characters and that wasn't my intention either. But there has been a lot of instances where we would be like "whoa! who saw that coming?" and would be left with an inclination to pursue a theory. Which is what I was, unsuccessfully, trying to express.

As for Rand... @97. anthonypero Compulsion? That would be a trick wouldn't it? But I don't think so. Lews Therin seems to have influenced Rand to have a particular disgust about it. Although in Rand's current mental state it is a rather cold disgust; a more analytical and logical stance, with an air of disdain about the subject matter. So I would be inclined to say no to compulsion on Rands part, whether consciously or unconsciously.

@JonathanLevy,Wortmauer,travyl: As to controling the pattern with his being Ta'veren everyone has made compelling arguments against and I got a couple of maybe's and one he did it in ToM @97. anthonypero (I was trying to avoid using a future book, but I am aware of the moment and one other, I think). I just think that there is strong enough circumstantial evidence for the possibility that he can control his ta'veren influence of the pattern, that it was worth mentioning and defending the theory.

Or maybe a better way of putting it is that he is learning to control it. And even if he is, it would of course be limited to probability. He would have no way of knowing for certain that he will get the resolution he is after. But he can try. If Rand feels the need is great enough, he can try. And I like to think that he has been trying and he will succeed more often than not. And yet there is no way to prove it at this time. And I'm not wholly convinced of the theory either, by the way, which is why I brought it up! You can't bring up a theory on the comment posts and not be expected to defend it. Nor can you not expect to be shot down. Which why I encouraged it at the very end of my first post. @53.

I can't remember where but someone mentioned that Cadsuane's reaction to being threatened as being trivial. Even though she clearly believed that he was going to make good on his threat and she "clearly" believed that there was a possibility that he would succeed in killing her in the way he described. That was no trivial admonition that can be tossed away because you don't like my theory. I quote:

Being ta'veren didn't work that way. Light! It didn't, did it? He couldn't bend the very pattern to his will, could he? And yet, meeting his eyes, she did believe. Against all logic, she looked in those eyes and knew that if she didn't leave, she would die.

Now given some arguments against, we'd need Cadsuane to stay to find out if he could do it. Which is ludicrous. I'm sorry that is too direct to just ignore or just pass off as trivial circumstance. That passage by itself isn't enough to support the theory, but given what came before it during that chapter and given that other ethereal occurrances happened during times, such as the meeting with Tuon, compels me to at least consider the idea. But as I said before, I acknowledge your skepticism and believe them valid arguments against.
Lord I've gotta stop making them so long.
Alice Arneson
119. Wetlandernw
FWIW, the fact that a character suggests a possibility (whether seriously, or in an incredulous "it couldn't be, could it?" way) doesn't mean that it is necessarily possible, much less that it is actually happening. It just means that the possibility crossed her mind. But we've been told before that the Pattern spins out ta'veren for the purpose of maintaining its balance; while ta'veren exert a pull on the people around them, they also are pulled more tightly to the needs of the Pattern. Rand may or may not be attempting to use his ta'veren-ness actively, but in either case he is constrained by the Pattern and its weaving. I can easily envision him thinking that he can push it, and exerting all his will to do so; I can far less easily see him actually succeeding, particularly against the design of the Pattern. IMO, he might be able to increase his effect when he is actively working toward the same purposes as the Pattern (ToM), but when he's pulling against the Pattern (TGS) it wouldn't gain him anything; it would simply cancel out some of the Pattern's pull. The only caveat is that (as someone else pointed out) when he is more directly affected by the DO's essence, the random effects seem to be exclusively negative.
Melissa Spray
120. meowwl
There's another very CRITICAL differences between the oaths Egwene demanded and those Elaida is proposing...Egwene's oaths are nothing more than that, just oaths. What Elaida is proposing is to add a fourth oath to the three oaths....Oaths sworn on an oath rod, and therefore unbreakable. While Egwene's oath runs off of one of the already sworn oaths, it still has wiggle room. There are limits on fealty, and none on obedience. Fealty cannot require you to put yourself in danger for a whim, while an oath of obedience, particularly one sworn on an oath rod, can. An oath of fealty allows the flexibility of deciding that an order cannot or should not be obeyed if circumstances change.

Since they've already implied that taking the three oaths with an oath rod can shorten an Aes Sedai lifespan, then how much more would adding another, especially one so difficult to keep, oath to it shorten a life?
Jonathan Levy
121. JonathanLevy
95. WOTnoDragons

"In terms of oaths in general, I don’t think that there’s any tangible difference between an oath of fealty and an oath of obedience"

To the modern mind this may be true, but not to the medieval mind.
The classic medieval Song of Roland has an example of this dilemma. Roland is the greatest warrior of his day, in service to the King of France. After a successful campaign against the Moor in Spain, the French host withdraws across the alps, and Roland leads the rearguard. He is given a horn and told to sound it if he is attacked so as to summon help.

Well, the Moor duly attacks the rearguard, and Roland is in a dilemma whether to blow the horn or not. He has a duty to blow it because his Lord so commanded him, yet his honor will not bear the shame of calling for help like a craven.

So he fights for a while, kills many Moors, suffers losses to the men under his command, and reconsiders his options. He chooses to fight. This repeats itself several times, until he's the only one left. Just as he is being overcome, he blows the horn with all his might, and the effort causes him to burst an artery and he dies. French King comes, kills the rest of the Moors, lives happily ever after.

Ok, that took longer to summarize than I thought. What was my point? That the feudal relationship did not entail blind obedience, and that many other considerations came into play (personal honor, the Lord's duties to his vassals, etc).

The song of Roland was retold throughout the middle ages, and he was held in high regard as an exemplar of knightly behavior.

But what I’ve never been clear on is what - ”the North & East must be one’” actually means. Is the North the Blight, or the Borderlands? & is the East the Aiel Waste or Shara?

Uhhh... isn't this simple? North = borderlands + maybe Arad Doman. East = Cairhien + Andor + Tear + Illian.
South + West = All the rest.

100. anthonypero

I agree, but there's another dimension. It's not supposed to be just pain, it's also supposed to be humiliation.

109. Ryanus

Any sword Rand now uses is going to be a one-handed affair. :)

111. Wortmauer
Hmmm, only if Lews Therin thumbs them rather more vigorously than we've been led to believe.

So many gutters I could drag the conversation into! Perhaps I should resist the temptation. :)

Re: Compulsion

Yeah, if he was willing to compulse, he'd have laid a heavy knee-bending head-into-floor-bashing mouth-shutting weave on Cadsuane a long time ago.

115. Wetlandernw
There are a few other places where I have disagreed with them, usually where they state something as fact which is really only one possible interpretation of an event.

I've also had this experience reading encyclopedia-wot - my only quibble with an otherwise excellent site. I was so happy to see it being updated with the new books.

I agree with you about the mild disappointment as well. I would have the Heroes of the Horn riding down through the clouds, but Artur is swordless - and then he asks Rand to lend him his sword, since it was once his.

116. yasiru89
Another difference between Rand's suffering on Dragonmount and Egwene's in the Tower: Egwene's suffering is dictated by the will of another human being - which may be challenged, broken, endured, outlived, or overturned by others. Rand's suffering comes mainly from his madness, which is imposed on him by huge impersonal forces - the wheel spun him out as the reincarnation of Lews Therin - and leads to his doom oft-foretold by prophecy. Not much hope to sustain him there.
122. alreadymadwithswords
WOTnoDragons @95
There is a difference between hating things of the Power and deliberately ignoring and forswearing a competitive advantage. It's like Mat and the ashandarei. Besides he may not have had much of a choice. For all we know, Justice may have been a hereditary heirloom much like the sword of the Malkieri kings.

On the sword:
Swords preferred by blademasters seem to be for the most part patterned after the katana, and this is the form all Power wrought blades have taken to my knowledge. That is, before Neald rediscovered the way of making them. That said, they therefore tend to be long and curved, and with few exceptions suitable for both single handed and double handed grips, for flexibility. Turak's sword, for example, by the description heavy seems to have been designed solely for two handed wielding. This is conjecture, of course, for all we know, Turak might have trained his strength extensively and the sword was just weighted to take full advantage of such training. Turak may well have been able to still wield it one handed. In any case, some forms are designed specifically for one hand use, those meant to be used on horseback, for example. My two cents.
123. Ouroboros
On Rand not hurting women.

He drew a deep breath, fumbling for words. “I . . . do not like to see a woman die. I hate it, Sulin. It curdles me up inside. I could not kill a woman if my life hung on it.” The pages of Moiraine’s letter rustled in his hand. Dead because he could not kill Lanfear. Not always just his own life. “Sulin, I would rather go against Rahvin alone than see one of you die.” (TFOH:53)

It's in his very nature that he cannot hurt a woman. This is in part because of his Two Rivers upbringing: Perrin cannot deal with Faile's Amazonian tendencies and Mat can't fight the woman outside the hell in Maderin.

There are also Lews Therin's thoughts to consider. He is haunted by what he did to Ilyena and this only helps to reinforce Rand's belief. Rand's reaction to the question about Tellindal Tirraso is more interesting. Lews Therin was clearly very upset by what happened, but whether this was some kind of chivalry towards women or just that he felt responsible for something which could have been avoided is not clear. The one significant point is that Lews Therin is prepared to kill women under extreme circumstances.

Whether his attitude towards women comes from his upbringing or his previous self, the notion that Rand consciously chose to adopt a stance on not hurting women as a way of maintaining moral dignity is not consistent with his character. That said, statements like “I will not cross that line” or “I will keep to this one shred of light inside me” are still consistent with the core of his character, even if Jordan never made him say them.

He loathes himself because of the more unpleasant things he has been forced to do, but he knows that he would never be able to hurt a woman and so, he clings onto this as proof that he is not a monster. This is what he means when he says "I will not cross that line". He is not choosing a moral limitation; he is reassuring himself that he hasn’t fully become that monster.

This is why Semirhage's actions are so effective in destroying Rand's moral compass. Apart from the obvious effect of being forced to torture a loved one, she takes what he perceives to be his one last bastion of humanity away and leaves him believing that he has no redeemable qualities left. He now hates himself so much that, far from fighting the darkness inside him, he embraces it.
Anthony Pero
124. anthonypero
The obvious example of a power wrought blade not fitting that discription would be Mat's
Birgit F
125. birgit
Consider Eamon Valda. Became Lord Commander when his predecessor - the wily Pedron Niall - was murdered by a nincompoop.

The assassination was planned by Asunawa and Valda. They just used Omerna who would believe any nonsense he was told.
126. macster
To start with, two things. First, in case he doesn't see it on the other thread, an apology to Wortmauer: I truly did not mean anything by that generalization I made, nor did I direct it at you. I'm quite sorry you got the wrong idea, and I hope you can forgive me. Peace?

Secondly, if my last post made it unclear, I was not at all saying I think Rand should have agreed to torture Semirhage. I agree that it would still have been a bad thing to do (not because Semi didn't deserve it, but because Rand doing such a thing would have been yet one more way in which he was being no better than those he fought) and I also agree that it probably would not have worked on her as well as Cadsuane's psychological torture did. I was just saying that even taking all of this into account, because of what happened when Rand refused to hurt Lanfear, I knew this was going to blow up in Rand's face somehow.

@48 parrothead: I had never heard of that fourth papal oath, but now that I have I have to agree with you: a brilliant stroke, and RJ had to have been doing that deliberately! Also, the Yellow you mentioned was the Sitter, Suana--and I loved that scene with her as well.

@50 trouty: Very good point on Lews Therin, I bet that did indeed feed into Rand's not-killing-women issue. Though see Ouroboros's excellent comment on the subject.

@57 Wetlander: Thank you thank you thank you! You were one of those I was most happy to read comments from during the ACoS re-read for this very reason. Thank you for restating and explaining so succinctly the difference between the two. I hesitate to say why that difference is so hard to understand, except perhaps it has to do with the fact fealty is such an outdated and specifically medieval concept. I wouldn't even know the difference myself, if I wasn't such an avid fantasy reader and if I hadn't taken classes on medieval society in college.

@62 MasterAlThor: It isn't hypocrisy, because she isn't making them swear an oath that they cannot physically disobey. See Wetlander, Freelancer, and many others for further explanation on this. As I said above, I do agree with Lsana that it is strange (read: RJ goofed) that Egwene didn't think in her own mind about what a fourth Oath would do or how her oaths were different from Elaida's--if for no other reason than that it would have made this whole debate unneeded by explaining clearly and understandably what the differences were. But that doesn't change the fact the two are still different, and Egwene is not a hypocrite for believing they are. Believe me, I am well aware of Egwene's faults and will bring her to task for her mistakes and failures (and there were a number in ToM...), but this was not one of them.

@64 Lipton: I've always thought the Gray Ajah was pretty awesome, considering it was one of the few that interacts consistently with the outside world and has a task which is both needed and useful. As to why they aren't appreciated by most readers, I'm afraid it's probably because we haven't been given many good examples of Grays, let alone been shown them doing their job successfully and admirably. Not counting the Grays who turned out to be Black (Delana, Evanellein, Jarna Malari, Joiya Byir, Temaile, and Karale), the Grays we have met are...

Andaya, Kwamesa, Varilin, and Yukiri--all Sitters, and other than Andaya agreeing to raise Egwene to the Seat and Yukiri being a Black Ajah Hunter, none of them really leave a strong or good impression, IMO. Also, like Serancha, we know very little about most of them.

Annoura: May or may not be Black, but I've always found her a bit distasteful, perhaps because of her association with Berelain but mostly because of her attitude problem

Beonin: betrayed Egwene and joined Elaida. Not a mark in her favor.

Coiren: part of the delegation that put Rand in the box. Another negative association for readers.

Merilille: negotiated very poorly with Tylin, condescended to the Supergirls in Ebou Dar, cracked under the strain of teaching the Sea Folk, and eventually fled Caemlyn. Not exactly someone to admire.

So that leaves the only other Grays the reader might remember in a good light to be Tiana (who admirably handled the influx of novices in Salidar, and actually listened to Sharina's suggestions) and Merana. Merana was part of the delegation that flubbed up with Rand, but that was more due to Verin taking over, then Kiruna and Bera. She didn't do very well with the Sea Folk...but that was because Rand left instead of keeping his ta'veren effect around. When he later sent her to the rebels in Haddon Mirk, she did very well and got everything Rand asked for (even if in his madness he at first was upset over what she didn't get). So we're left with a person who made mistakes and wasn't the greatest negotiator ever, but when push came to shove has served Rand well.

Note: I am not saying any of this to suggest that Grays are the worst Ajah ever, or that people can and should dislike them and this is why. I am suggesting that perhaps inadvertently, Jordan gave us a lot of examples of Grays who for one reason or another failed at their charges, weren't of much use to the Light, or might have been unlikable to a lot of readers, which in turn might explain why the Grays rarely get much love. Of course the fact Blues do so much to fight for change in the world, Browns have all that cool knowledge, Yellows heal, and Greens (at least theoretically) are fighters may also outshine the Grays until they are forgotten or seem superfluous. But I think it has to do with the characters we've been shown. In which case, hooray for Meidani, and may we see more like her. :)

@81 RobM: I've thought that was the meaning of the last book's title all along, ever since I read the scene in ToM where Graendal thinks about Moridin, how he had been good once and that like Rand, he also knew what it meant to have guilt on his shoulders for atrocities he had committed, knew what Rand was feeling, that she "could see the memories, so distant, in Moridin's eyes". The scene where Rand speaks to Moridin in T'A'R also clinched this for me, in how Moridin was so tired, so frustrated, so clearly overwhelmed--as Rand said, destroyed by his logic and being "full of thoughts". To put it in TV Tropes terminology, Elan Morin crossed the Despair Event Horizon. His speech about there being no other way, the Dark One would inevitably win, and the only path was to follow him and rule for a time before the end...it reminds me very much of Saruman's reason for joining Sauron. That, and the mad laughter where he seems so happy contemplating everything finally ending...it plays into Rand's own despair on Dragonmount, but it also suggests Elan Morin not only concluded the Dark One would win, but that he should--that everything should be destroyed to end the cycle and bring peace. I couldn't believe it, but reading those scenes...I actually felt sorry for Ishamael.

So...the possibility he could come back to the Light...that Rand might be able to save him because of the link between them, that the moment where it was like they were two old friends enjoying the fire together might one day be real again (as Lews Therin and Elan Morin were once friends)...I think it is a very real possibility. More likely than Cyndane changing sides. Whether it will happen because somehow Rand can give Moridin hope, something to believe in again, because of his Jesusing filtering through the link, or both...it could well happen. And think what it would mean for the Dark One to lose his strongest lieutenant, his Nae'blis...what he might know that could bring down the Dark One...

@various on Fain vs. Niall, Elaida, Egwene: Just wanted to add that indeed, at the point Fain met Egwene, he was not very strong yet. This was before he had even learned to properly control and coerce Fades, like the one that took the Horn or the one he tortured in the Two Rivers. Between those two events, he met Niall and was apparently his advisor in Amador for some time before going with Bornhald. And note that while Niall turned against Rand (not that he ever would have joined with him), he didn't become insane, megalomaniacal, or out-of-control the way Elaida did. But by the time he met her, he'd both conquered that Fade and corrupted his Whitecloaks, and gotten stronger in general. So when he stayed with her at the Tower, it corrupted her worse. It may also be she was more susceptible because she was already power-hungry and had delusions of grandeur.

@95 WOTnoDragons: Did Tuon actually get a good look at the sword though? It was also in a scabbard Rand had made for it, which would have hidden how it looked. I checked the passage myself and it makes no mention of him even wearing it, let along her noticing it. Even if she had, it being in the scabbard would have kept her from identifying it. Such a reveal moment could still happen. (In fact I rather look forward to what happens when Tuon meets Jesus Rand instead of Darth Rand.)

@various on the Ta'veren argument: Just wanted to say (and I believe this has been mentioned before) it may be that people who have succeeded in resisting Rand, like Tuon and Egwene, may have done so because the Pattern decreed Rand would not get his way. I.e., that Rand needed to not know where Salidar was until the Bowl had been learned of, Egwene was summoned, and Mat would be ready to go there, since all of those things were necessary to change the Dark One's touch on the world, get Egwene in as Amyrlin, and get Mat to his meeting with Tuon. That Rand needed not to get Tuon's agreement until he was healed rather than at his darkest. So indeed this doesn't mean anyone who resists is necessarily ta'veren themselves.

For what it is worth, I thought Rand's dark aura was both, a combination of ta'veren effect and the True Power. I would say the latter is why it was visible, except the good warp in the air is also visible. So clearly the Dark One's power, which entered Rand when he was of the right mindset and heart to accept him, must have only darkened his soul so that he caused nothing but negative ta'veren effects, just as his later epiphany purified him and pushed back the madness of the taint so that he caused nothing but the positive effects. The warp being visible must then be something to do with how strong Rand's power and influence on the Pattern has become due to being the Dragon (the Fisher King effect). Does this mean I think he can control it or is even aware of it? Well, Rand hasn't reflected on that passage in the Karaethon Cycle so it is hard to say, but I would say no. He may be aware his power is growing, and try to make use of it in important situations where he wants his will to prevail, but he hasn't yet succeeded, I think, unless the Pattern wanted him to. He exists as a correcting mechanism for the Wheel, but that means he can only do what the Wheel deems necessary to fix things. Anything outside that Pattern won't be allowed. He has choices in how and why he does things, but not, in the end, what he does. The only way that could change, of course, is if the Wheel were broken...but if that happened, the Dark One would be free. If Rand had kept following his dark path and had become the Dark One's, then the combination of the True Power and his ta'veren nature might have been able to resist the Pattern and break the Wheel--but he didn't, perhaps because he was given a nudge by Perrin or the Creator, or because as he said, this time he was raised right. (The variation in his thread saved him--something the Pattern also planned by placing him in the Two Rivers.) That's how I see it, anyway.

Oh and Wortmauer--you're absolutely right on what was happening to Tuon feeling like Compulsion. A lot of the language used was exactly how Nynaeve felt when Moghedien used it on her in Tanchico. What that means is unclear...perhaps it suggests that what ta'veren do is not the relatively harmless "making people do what they could have done, theoretically, but normally never would", but actually compelling them in a way that doesn't use weaves of the Power. After all I don't think we've ever been in the minds of anyone under the influence of ta'veren before Tuon who had nearly succumbed to it; they all either resisted (so we didn't get to see how it made them feel), or we were in one of the boys' heads when it happened. Or maybe this Compulsion-like aspect of a ta'veren only happens when the person is under the influence of the True Power/their own inner darkness, since we didn't see in Egwene's POV anything similar to what happened to Tuon, and that was after he was Jesus Rand. Either way, it again doesn't seem to be related to whether Rand was consciously using his power--for whatever reason this light Compulsion was there, it wasn't Rand consciously directing it, but him making use of what he could feel was already there. Maybe?

@Ouroboros: As usual, very well said, an insightful and 100% accurate analysis! Indeed, Rand always did have this aspect of himself, he did not adopt it to stay sane and good--he merely clung to what was already there as his benchmark for staying free of the darkness and destructive nature of the Dragon. Your point about Tirraso is espeically telling--since if you are right (and I think you are) that Lews Therin was more horrified at someone dying he could have saved and not at her specifically being a woman, then this means that the thing which has bothered so many readers about Rand is not from his previous life, but his current one: i.e., the life where he was 'raised better'. For all that his refusal to hurt women cost him so much, it may also have been the key to saving him, keeping him from giving in to the darkness until so late in the game, and then the very thing which brought him to that brink of despair ("I hurt/killed the woman I love") is also what saved him ("We live so we can love again. If I live again, she may too"). Powerful stuff.
127. macster
Oh and one other thing which I had forgotten: speaking of oaths, Verin. We know she was Black, so how does everyone interpret, now, what she did when she took over the Salidar delegation in LoC and drove Rand to Cairhien? Was she doing this, do you think, because Alviarin (or Mesaana) ordered her to, so as to make Rand deal with the Tower delegation? Or did she do it because she knew, or guessed, what would happen (everyone would have to go rescue Rand) and she saw this as the only way to fulfill the prophecy about the "unstained tower bending knee to the forgotten sign"? I.e., she knew once he got free Rand would make the Tower Aes Sedai swear to him, and the Salidar ones too for breaking his rule?
128. Freelancer
Not to mention, some of the events which seem to be Rand's ta'veren nature at work, are actually his Dragon nature at work, such that "the land is one with the Dragon, and the Dragon is one with the land".

Tag-teaming once again!
129. yasiru89
On Rand's amped up ta'veren abilities in tGS, I don't think it really has much to do with the True Power at all. We see that the Epiphany is a set event (see Perrin's witnessing of the image of it in Tel'aran'rhiod), and to make this happen it seems the Pattern is giving Rand's will free rein of sorts. It runs counter to the Pattern's presumable self-preservation directive, but there's a lot of things to support the notion- Hopper relating to Perrin that a choice had to be made, the Borderlander prophecy, etc.
Even then, ta'veren only means you alter chance. Its strength is not to be underestimated, but Tuon seeing the dark halo around Rand set her mind in a way- gave her something to hold to and thereby stave a chance happening. There was an instance of this in LoC I think, when Egwene found herself bending to Rand's ta'veren nature, and in desperation to keep Salidar from him, she embraced the Source for some rock of comfort (giving Rand the wrong impression, which suggests he's not entirely aware of the effect when it happens).
I'm surprised that the idea of Compulsion even made an appearance in the discussion. Without appealing to the basic goodness of the protagonist (which has stayed whole despite all he's been driven to do), let's just be content that Tuon wouldn't have been able to withstand that.
Hugh Arai
130. HArai
JonathanLevy@121: Excellent points about the differences between Egwene and Rand's suffering. Probably the biggest difference to me is that in the final analysis Egwene has a choice and Rand does not. Egwene could give in and let Elaida be Amyrlin. It would be disastrous, but it's not a game-over scenario. So Egwene gets to draw strength from the fact she knows she's making a willing sacrifice to get a better outcome.

Rand doesn't get even that cold comfort until the final decision point on Dragonmount. If he gives in the world dies, and he can't even tell himself he knowingly put himself in that position. He's just the one who gets to suffer.
Jonathan Levy
131. JonathanLevy
125. birgit

Granted, there were more serious minds behind Omerna. This does detract somewhat from the example, but I think it still has some value because it must have been a pleasant surprise for Valda that Niall had no suspicions, and that the Omerna actually managed to execute the plan without bungling, giving himself away, deciding to betray Valda because he heard tree bark cures cancer, etc.

Also, Valda's part is vaguely familiar, but I can't actually bring to mind the text which reveals it to the reader. Could you please help me with a ref, if you have one handy? I remember Valda and Asunawa discussing Morgase's reaction to the execution of darkfriends, but I don't think they discussed their conspiracy against Niall in that conversation.
WOT Dragons
132. WOTNoDragons
@ many
Ok. I guess that Elaida was 'Fained' into her current mental state!

Wetlander @115
Really great imagined scenarios with Hawkwing and Rand! I also hope we get to read an awesome scene between them both in Amol. I guess then, that whilst Justice might well be a power-wrought weapon, that there is no firm evidence (yet) to back this up. It sounds from other comments posted that the sword does not have a Heron Mark blade, which I would interpret as being suggestive that it wasn’t power-wrought, but in any event, I completely agree that it would be more satisfying to read this sort of detail ‘in-story’ than have it revealed 3rd or 4th hand.

Alreadymadwithswords @122
Fair point well made.

@ JonathanLevy 121
Thanks. I appreciate your post – it’s an interesting story. I’m not familiar with Roland and his exploits, but I assume that he’d sworn an oath of fealty to the King of France rather than one of obedience. I therefore accept your point that there was an element of flexible interpretation in regards to what degree obedience was part of an obligation a sworn vassal had to his or her liege-lord under an oath of fealty. Although I’m not sure that a medieval knight like Rowland - having sworn a hypothetical oath of obedience, would have actually behaved any differently; such would be the knight’s desire to preserve their honor!

You can just imagine Rowland (having taken an oath of obedience) thinking; “King told me to blow the horn if we were attacked – but these piddling few Moors – meh, I’ll sort em out, this isn’t ‘an attack’ yet – just a pesky inconvenience” - and so on. Each time the moors came at him, he would try to justify why he didn’t need to blow the horn because he wasn’t a victim of a proper 'attack.'

I think that technically, Roland had broken his oath of fealty to his king by not blowing the horn - the direct consequence being the death of all his men, many of whom might have survived had he summoned help sooner - as he was instructed to do! Roland’s story might well have been sung down through the ages as a hero’s tale, but I’m not sure that the King of France would have been happy that his direct order had been disobeyed, and therefore he might well have considered Roland also to be an oath-bender if not breaker!

Irrespective of the type of oath taken, I think my argument boils down to an individual’s flexible or rigid interpretation of their oath - as they chose to see it - whether in medieval Europe or currently. There is perhaps an analogy with 20th century soldiers. Someone mentioned Full Metal Jacket earlier? I didn’t notice Leigh’s alleged quote from this movie, but there is a memorable scene where one of the platoon is mortally wounded and is clearly fighting for his life in plain view of the sniper that just shot him, and although the men of his squad were given a direct order not to break cover to attempt a rescue, two men did - with dire consequences. Their ‘oath’ or ‘commitment of obedience to follow orders,’ left no room for interpretation, yet this is exactly what happened. (I can well believe that this was a realistic scenario that probably occurred many times in recent wars such as the Vietnam War.) So I think overall, my observation that there is no tangible difference between oaths of fealty or of obedience, is more or less still valid, because ultimately, some human beings will take liberties to ‘interpret’ their oaths as it suits them, and such ‘interpretation’ was just as likely (or unlikely) in the middle ages as today.
Re Uhhh... isn't this simple? North = borderlands + maybe Arad Doman. East = Cairhien + Andor + Tear + Illian. South + West = All the rest.
I just don’t see that Tear and Illian are east – not when they are also about as south as you can get in Randland. I think your imposed simplicity to this question is borne out of a common-sense approach to making the riddle make sense, but you can’t deny that the Aiel waste is also in the east and that the Blight is absolutely in the North. So ultimately I think this Aelfinn answer remains somewhat ambiguous.

macster @ 126 & Ouroboros @123
Great posts! – Really interesting and insightful stuff.
andrew smith
133. sillyslovene
@121, 130, et al:
Not to mention that the only thing that keeps Egwene in the Tower is her own insistance that her followers cannot rescue her- another choice. She is nowhere near as stuck as Rand was. At any point she could have decided that she'd had enough and communicated to Suian via T'A'R and been rescued by gateway- this wouldn't have jeopardized her fight against Elaida either (it might have even weakened her further by making her fail again at something major- keeping a prisoner), she could have returned to the rebels and reinstated her controls, and Elaida would have fallen on her own (this is not meant to detract from what Egwene accomplished in the Tower, it may have made it harder for her to be made Amyrlin by the Tower later...)

Thus, in some senses, Egwene's "captivity" in the Tower is not even really that- she chose to be there, to achieve what she could to reunify the AS, trading pain, etc for the opportunity to help the healing process.

Rand had none of these options. He had no choice to trade the pain and terror for anything...
134. Mike123
Some thoughts: I agree with Freelancer in that it is Rand's Dragon nature at work in regards to the dark and light halo that surrounds him. They key is the quote "the land is one with the Dragon, and the Dragon is one with the land".

I am not certain if its the TP or the despair he felt under the circumstances when using the TP that caused it. I think it it meant to be left up to our interpretation at this point.

Evidence of this is the light halo that we see when he comes down off the mountain. His good nature is what caused the apples to blossom, just like it was his bad nature that caused the food to spoil.

Being ta'veren alters chance, being the dragon influences the nature of the world.

I also have a question about Egwene and TAR. Is it possible for a non channeler dreamer to enter TAR in the flesh? I don't recall this being mentioned in the books and was just wondering about the possibiliy. And, yes I know channelers can enter by weaving spirit while asleep.
Eric Hughes
135. CireNaes
Rand's the only one on team light who can go into the DO's cave. Being one with the land and all he doesn't have to worry about hitting his head on a stalagtite.

It's good to be the king.
Jay Dauro
136. J.Dauro
WOTnoDragons @132

Such a strange weapon those scholars had found beneath the submerged statute. ... There was no heron mark, but the fine steel blade glistened in the lamplight, showing the undulating lines of its folded metal. It has been Power-forged, he claimed. He seemed to know things about it that he did not share.
So although we cannot say for sure that it was Power-forged, Rand seems to think it is, and he has experience with Power wrought blades, having owned Tam's and Lamen's. If the sword has been submeged for any time, and has not corroded, that's one indication.
The main difference between Rand's pain and ANYONE elses pain in the Wheel of Time universe is this:

Rand woke up one day and his life changed permanently. He goes from a sheepherder's son to a boy on the run. Is then told he can do things that generaly get you gentled and you either want to commit suicide or go mad from the taint. You then are told you are the savior of the world and that in order to save it you have to face the source of all evil and the greatest power the world has ever known. You find out that there are prophecies that only you can fulfill and that many of them involve great pain and anguish to yourself and others whom you may love and people you have never met by the thousands, in some instances entire peoples. In fact entire peoples "have" died as a result of your actions. You have to walk around watching people either kill each other in your name or just randomly die simply because you are present. You have the the most dispicable beings ever known trying to either kill you or drive you insane. Every power in the world you live in wants to control you, use you or enslave you. You wander around wondering "is this the day that I fuck "everything" up beyond repair" because no one seems to know definitively what you should do to bring about the salvation of the world. And yet everyone has a plan. You are betrayed by your best friends on more than one occasion each. You have fought with, been abused by and generaly disrespected by everyone whom claims you should trust. Your never new your mother, because she died giving birth to you. Your father isn't your father and even he has lied to you about who you were all along when he knew who you might be. You are royalty though no one has told you so, because they have plans for you. You are to break the world "again" with your coming. You have the voices of real people who also happen to be long dead talking in your head. You have two wounds which should be fatal to you that leaves you in a state of so sharp and brutal a pain that when some one bonds you against your will, they can't wait to get away from you because they can't stand "your" pain.

I can go on if you'd like. But I think thats enough. Did I mention he lost his sword hand?

And after suffering all that he has to die. We all hope he doesn't. But all that matters is, he believes he will. He can't afford to think on hope. Hope is not for one such as him. For he is literally all lifes hope.

Except his.
Jay Dauro
138. J.Dauro
Shall we look at Egwene's captivity

TGS - 38
"The cell is narrow enough for me to touch opposite walls at once," Egwene said, "And isn't very long, either. When I lie down, I have to bend my knees to fit. I can't stand, since the ceiling is so low it makes me stoop, and I can't sit without pain, for they no longer Heal me between beatings. .. the cracks don't allow in much light."

TGS - 39
She crossed her legs, then leaned back and - one by one - stretched the muscles in her arms. Then she stood and stooped over, stretching her back and shoulders.

Now look at Rand's time.

... around a brass-bound chest set where it could catch whatever strength remained in the sun.

... in there with his head betwen his knees, in a puddle of sweat.

Each blow felt a whip, though, wielded by an arm stronger than any man's. Before she began, bruised welts crisscrossed him from shoulders to knees. He had been aware of them, not so dimly as he could have wished; even inside the Void he had wanted to weep. After the Void went, he wanted to howl.

The Aes Sedai doubled him again then, shoved him back down into the chest with his head between his knees,

There was no room to move anything, but his body tried.

LOC - 55
He (Gawyn) would have killed al'Thor if he could, but this sickened him.

trussed like a goose to sleep

So Egwene has some room to move, a cell around 4 foot cubed. She can stretch some, if not fully. She is strapped, not whipped. She has contact with others in Tel'aran'rhiod. Rand is fodled into a box barely large enough to fit him. He is pulled out to be beaten and feed, but is not allowed freedom to stretch, except where he is stretched by the power.

Both are limited in what water they are given. Rand's box is an oven, he sweats all through the day. Egwene's cell isin a dungeon, not quite the same.

Rand is whipped, with a force more than a man can exert. Egwene is beaten by sisters, not using the power. She did endure Elaida's power beating, but that did not break the skin. Rand's welts have broken the skin, and burn with sweat. Heck, Rand has endured the unhealable wound and hardly noticed it, these beatings make him want to howl.

Egwene may feel that she has been treated in a similar manner, although she does acknowledge that his box was smaller. But she really has no idea of what Rand endured. And how much he has pulled back from what he felt at that time, "Never again trust for any Aes Sedai."

It is amazing to me that Rand lets any Aes Sedai close to him again.
Jay Dauro
139. J.Dauro

Very good description. Although, I do not think Tam really ever thought that Rand could be the Dragon until after he had been told Rand was the Dragon.
140. macster
@129 yasiru: The reason Compulsion was brought up is because, as Wortmauer pointed out, the language used to describe Tuon almost giving in to Rand is very similar to how Nynaeve felt when Moghedien used Compulsion on her in Tanchico. Compare:

"Tuon found herself longing, suddenly, to obey him. To please him." (The Gathering Storm, Ch. 35, A Halo of Blackness, p. 759)

"For a heartbeat she felt love, devotion, worship for the magnificent woman who would deign to allow her to..." (The Shadow Rising, Ch. 54, Into the Palace, p. 906)

I am genuinely curious what you think is the reason Sanderson chose to write the scene the way he did, if we were not meant to draw parallels between Compulsion and the power of Rand's ta'veren effect.

@131 JonathanLevy

The relevant passage is in LoC, Ch. 31 Red Wax, pgs. 613-614.

Asunawa: "The times are troubled. The Fortress of the Light harbors a witch."
Valda suppressed a wry look before it formed. Cowards or not, Questioners could be dangerous even to a Lord Captain. The man might never be able to hang an Amyrlin, but he probably dreamed of being the first to hang a queen. Valda did not care whether Morgase died, provided it was not before all the use was wrung out of her...
Asunawa again: "The times are troubled, and Niall must not be allowed to destroy the Children of the Light."
Valda: "I am prepared to listen."
Asunawa: "Then we will talk, my son. Later, where there are fewer eyes to see and ears to hear."

Clearly they are colluding, and in regards to Niall, not Morgase. Then in the prologue of ACoS, after Omerna has killed Niall and Valda has killed Omerna, Asunawa offers Valda the position of Lord Captain Commander as long as he doesn't cut the dying Niall's throat. When Asunawa pushes him to give him Morgase, Valda says, "I mean to see al'Thor hung and the White Tower ground to dust, Asunawa, and I did not go along with your plan just to see you toss it all on the midden." And a bit later he thinks that Niall had lost his cunning and nerve with age, clearly justifying why he colluded to have him killed.

Oh and so you know, it wasn't Valda and Asunawa discussuing Morgase's reaction to the Darkfriends' hanging, but Asunawa and another Whitecloak, Saren.

@132 WOTnoDragons:

There may be no tangible difference between an oath of fealty and one of obedience (other than the fact fealty requires loyalty, not just mere obedience--meaning obedience is only one of many things an oath of fealty could require), but as you acknowledge yourself, there is a big difference when one is made on the Oath Rod and one is not. That is the key difference people keep missing. It may be true that the First Oath requires you to tell the truth, which would presumably include the statement you make when you swear an oath of fealty. But not only do we not have the exact words of the oath of fealty, the fact Beonin was able to justify her betrayal while Zerah could not reconcile the two conflicting oaths proves there is a difference. Even one who was under an oath of fealty and also sworn to tell the truth when she made it could weasel out of that oath by justifying to herself why it was no longer applicable, or that what she was doing wasn't a real act of betrayal or disobedience. But an oath of obedience on the Oath Rod, where you swear "I will obey you in all things/I will never disobey you" would allow absolutely no wiggle room or justifications. Free will would be utterly gone. That is why the two don't compare.

@137 ZEXXES: Very, very well said. Not that I needed any convincing on how much Rand has suffered or why it is far worse than what Egwene went through. (I don't deny she went through a lot of pain, I particularly cringed at what Elaida did to her during their confrontation, but the arguments everyone has made do show the two can't compare at all.) However, I do think that even though her experiences should not be compared to Rand's, the fact Egwene was able to draw upon these to engender sympathy in herself for Rand is very important, both to her character and the plot. Or rather, it would be if Egwene had continued to keep that in mind during her confrontation with Rand in ToM. Hopefully she'll remember and come around in time; even if her logic in comparing the two is faulty, it could still inspire her to help rather than hinder him.
Alice Arneson
141. Wetlandernw
I’ve read several comments assuming that Rand had the scabbard made for the sword. I’d like to know what basis y’all have for that assumption. The text does not overtly state that the scabbard was found with the sword, but it seems implied. Oh, and the dragons are on the scabbard, not the sword.

I’m not sure why someone felt it necessary to drag in a scene which doesn’t come for many chapters yet, other than an opportunity for Egwene-bashing, but I’d like to point out that she doesn’t equate her situation and Rand's as much as some of you like to make out. All she says, in her thoughts, is that “They had both suffered Elaida’s punishments. And it hadn’t broken either of them.” Even in the same paragraph, she thinks about how the nightly dreams help her to maintain her sanity, and she feels nothing but grief for Rand, who (as far as she knows) didn’t have that escape. She also notes that she remained in the cell because she chose not to give in to Elaida. (So she had the choice to be broken, and Rand didn’t? Some choice.) Please note, also, that at the point where she thinks of this as a shared experience, she is not being healed between beatings. Days after the incident at Elaida’s dinner, she’s still wearing the same dress, covered in dried blood, raw from the repeated strapping, unwashed, not given enough water to drink and only a bowl of gruel to eat. She may not be doubled over as tightly as Rand was, but frankly it isn’t all that much better either. Apparently she can stand up, so it’s got at least a 5.5-foot ceiling, but if it were really the 4x4-foot cell someone suggested, she’d be able to stretch out corner-to-corner in it. Probably more like 3x3, since she had to curl up in order to lie down at all.

If you’re going to accuse someone of irrelevant comparisons, at least make sure you get your facts straight first, or you’re just doing the same thing.

Back to the oaths… a typical medieval oath of fealty went something like this: "I promise on my faith that I will in the future be faithful to the lord, never cause him harm and will observe my homage to him completely against all persons in good faith and without deceit." That doesn’t require obedience to every word out of said lord’s mouth; it only promises 1) no betrayal; 2) no intentional harm; 3) defense of his person/property as required. Just thought you’d like to know. Theodrin (and presumably Faolain) chose to include obedience in her oath; we have no evidence that the others did so. There are several things Egwene explicitly says they must obey, but in general, they are free to do what they want as long as they don’t betray her, don’t harm her, and do what they can to support and defend her.

The funny thing is, with an Amyrlin like Siuan or Egwene (IMO), an Oath of obedience would have been more of a burden to her than to those who swore it, because she’d have been compulsively careful not to give orders that would harm them. With an Amyrlin like Elaida, you can’t help thinking she’d order some seriously stupid things just because she could, because she liked having the power to make people do things they didn’t really want to do.

ZEXXES @137 – Not sure what you mean by “You are betrayed by your best friends on more than one occasion each.” Granted that they all have times when they’re less than supportive, but I don’t recall a whole lot of betrayal going on – not by those who could be counted his friends, anyway. I'm not belittling what Rand has gone through, but I'd just as soon people didn't exaggerate it either. What is, is more than enough.
Stefan Mitev
142. Bergmaniac
"Theodrin (and presumably Faolain) chose to include obedience in her oath; we have no evidence that the others did so. "

No clear evidence, sure, but this description of Nisao's oath is a pretty strong hint that they did:
"Not the same wording as Faolain and Theodrin, but every scrap as strong. More. "

And sure, an Oath made on the oath Rod is a lot more binding, though as we know most people in Randland take their oaths really seriously. But on the other hand, Elaida just suggested the fourth oath and the chances of successfully implementing it were obviously very low and Egwene also didn't know what the exact wording of such an oath would be and how much wiglle room it would allow. Egwene had already blackmailed sisters into giving her an oath of fealty and (probably) obedience, and accepted such oaths freely given by other sisters. Her extreme indignation over Elaida's suggestion here strikes me as hypocritical. She thinks here that the Amyrlin should be a leader, not a despot but had no problems at all accepting or even blckmailing sisters into oaths of fealty which were so strong that even some monarchs in Randland refuse to accept them.

As for Rand - Egwene captivity comparison, I don't get the criticism of Egwene here. Sure her situation was much easier, but it was still pretty bad and IIRC she didn't know all the nasty details about Rand's captivity.
Cameron Tucker
143. Loialson
It could just be that I like Egwene more as a (fictional) person than Elaida, but I think her intentions on what to do with the fealty oaths is what makes the difference. Elaida wanted power, abusing it really to show who's top dog. Egwene wanted reunification, to cut through the crap politicking the AS were doing, and save the world(in TOM I'm pretty sure she mentions that she Dreamed that if Mesaana stays in the tower, the tower is doomed; and the world would be doomed if the White Tower wasn't there unified and strong at the last battle).

So Elaida: On a power trip, her priorities are not straight. If Eg's dream came true, the world would be doomed if she stayed in power.

Egwene: Got her priorities straight. She's not perfect, but she is pure in her intentions I think, and wants to save the world at large, as well as the Tower. And she's gotta get stuff done (in spite of all the AS squabbling).

What Egs has done is admirable, to me at least. This is just how I see her, and why I think what she did was BETTER than the oaths Elaida wanted to implement. RIGHT, probably not on either side, but Egwene didn't have all the time in the world, she's sitting on a ticking time bomb with a bunch of selfish, entitled, bratty, childish Aes Sedai.
Jonathan Levy
144. JonathanLevy
140. macster

Thanks for the quotes and the references. The evidence is suggestive and conclusive, without being explicit - Jordan's bread and butter, as it were.
145. Ouroboros
Egwene's blackmailing sisters into swearing fealty was unethical but Egwene knew that.

She did not like this part of it. All the maneuvering was like a game, but this . . . I do what I must, she thought, unsure whether that was an attempt to stiffen her backbone or an attempt to excuse what she was about to do.

Elaida is talking about having every... every... sister swearing total obedience. Reread the chapter when Galina is bound to a similar oath and compare that with what Nissao and the others were asked to do.

Egwene's having a handful of sisters doing what she needs in an attempt to stop an inhumane disaster is on a totally different level to that inhumane disaster having absolute power over every Aes Sedai alive.

She would have an army of a thousand automatons under her total control and she is smiling about it. Egwene's outrage is as much for Elaida's attitude as it is for the proposal itself and she is well aware of what kinds of punishments Elaida has been handing down and so in a good position to see how Elaida would misuse that power.
146. Ouroboros
BTW, if anyone has a spare Bowl of the Winds kicking around, can you send it to London by express gateway?
John Massey
147. subwoofer
Righto, it’s been a while so I’m going to ramble here. Like a couple of other folks I needed a break and truth be told it was bags of fun spending summer outside with my daughter as compared to on the net.


Anyways… about stuff here: First off, the difference between BS and RJ. I’ve had some time to ponder this and what really sticks out at me is the way that Rand relates to the Aiel, they seem almost alien now. At one point they were the people of the Dragon and all awesome and ninja-ee and stuff and now they are getting worked like a rented mule. It seems to me that this may have started in KoD with RJ and the Arad Doman fiasco, but the feel here is unmistakable, I do not like the relationship dynamic at all. And there is also the susqu… er, the guys with the red head bands. It feels like they have fallen by the wayside.

About the last two books in general, this first one feels like the bear went over the mountain. The second, we get to see what the bear sees. Cranky Rand vs. a Rand I’d actually introduce my kid to. And of course the Cadsuane thing, here Rand goes off the deep end and in ToM he atones for it.

Pain… Lemme just say that a lifetime of being very physical has added up to a lot of wear and tear and scar tissue from accidents, work injury, war, etc. My relatively young body feels very old sometimes. You just get used to it. It’s kinda like the frog in boiling water thing, when pain is a daily event, it mutes itself out, unless you stop moving- then it catches up with you and… ouch.

Spankings… well, I can’t say enough good things about it;)

The Grudge in specific- it annoyed the snot outta me. No matter what happened in the movie I can’t get it out of my head that everyone was freaked out about a little girl with greasy hair. I dunno, spank her- heh- send her to her room, suspend her TV privileges. The horror of that movie was how teens are allowed to rule the world… mind you I may be living this out in a few years.

All in all, this works for me and Brandon is getting better at his craft.

Alice Arneson
148. Wetlandernw
Bergmaniac @142 – Had a big long post written, but decided to abbreviate it. Everything has been argued, and no one is changing their minds. However, I do have to clarify something.

The strength of an oath is separate from the content of the oath. There is no stronger oath in Randland than “Under the Light and by my hope of salvation and rebirth” or words to that effect; what you then promise to do is specific to the situation, but it’s considered the most binding oath that exists. You can swear “by” anything you want, but the more important the thing you swear by, the more binding it is; you’re putting it up as collateral. “I swear by my horse” might mean a lot to a cavalry soldier, but not so much to a wealthy farmer, for example. When you swear by your hope of salvation and rebirth, you’re essentially saying that if you break your oath, you’ve given up the chance of either salvation or rebirth, which would be profoundly horrifying to a Randlander.

That said, we don’t know enough about the content of the various oaths of fealty to really know the detail of what was promised. Theodrin swore obedience; we know nothing of the others. The point remains (and is far more germane to Egwene’s “failure” to think of fealty as comparable to Elaida’s Oath of Obedience) that obedience sworn on the Oath Rod gives the one to whom it is sworn the power of Compulsion - super-strong Compulsion, with no chance of resistance – without even needing to bother weaving it every time. That’s horrible, and it rightly ranks up there with nearly every Aes Sedai’s revulsion and horror at the thought of using Compulsion. You take over another person’s free will, leaving them to bear the consequences of your choice, while bearing none yourself. Take a look at Egwene’s words to the BA Hunters, when they said that if Meidani refused to order penance for Egwene, they would just order her to do it:
“Will you?” Egwene said. “I thought that you told me that the fourth oath was meant to restore unity, to keep her from fleeing to Elaida with your secrets. Now you would use that oath like a cudgel, forcing her to become your tool?”

That brought silence to the room.

“This is why an oath of obedience is a terrible idea.” Egwene said. “No woman should have this much power over another. What you have done to these others is only one step shy of Compulsion. I’m still trying to decide if this abomination is in any way justified; the way you treat Meidani and the others will likely sway that decision.”
I think my personal horror of this is a combination of the kind of orders I think Elaida might give, and the mental picture of Therava and Galina last time we saw them. I don’t doubt in the least that Galina deserved anything she got for the things she had done, but the picture of how she was likely to spend her next hundred years gives me the shudders. (If she only knew… at least the additional Oaths will shorten her lifespan a good bit. What a weird thing to be grateful for.)

On the other subject… yeah, I don’t understand the criticism of Egwene comparing Rand’s captivity to her own. It’s not like she was claiming that “mine is every bit as bad as his, so what’s he whingeing on about?” Far from it. Also, as you say, it’s not likely she knows the details; Rand kept that pretty quiet, and the AS involved aren’t too likely to confirm anything. She knows he was locked in a box, but probably not its dimensions. She knows he was beaten, but probably not how long, how hard, or how often. As I read it, she is both grieving for and proud of her childhood friend, for withstanding such punishment and refusing to break. And like I said, in the very same paragraph she thinks about how her escape into the dreams helps her hold on to sanity, and (as I read it) implies that part of her grief for Rand is that he had no such escape to help him.
149. Freelancer
WoTnoDragons @132

Lan's Power-wrought sword had no herons. The speculation that all such weapons were of a particular style, or that most had Blademaster markings, is nothing more than that.

Mike123 @134

There's more to it than Rand affecting the land. The land also affects him, and insofar as the dark one influences nature, it can be imparted to Rand as a strong negative pressure, especially while he is so vulnerable to it during the time prior to Dragonmount.

macster @140

I find the "parallel" you believe is plain, between Nynaeve's experience under Moghedien's Compulsion, and Tuon's feelings before Rand, unequal. I believe that Tuon, as many many others as well, felt his raw ethereal Authority, as the Champion of Light. I believe that, at that Judgement Seat, many will know precisely how that feels. Tuon doesn't describe Rand as "magnificent", doesn't consider her own presence to have been lowered, as Nynaeve does. There is no sense of adoration, only, as I said, a desire to submit to Authority.

Sub! 'Sup? I was beginning to wonder.
Eric Hughes
150. CireNaes

Indeed. I thought he'd lost his hands in a violent diaper explosion.
151. Wortmauer
Mike123@134: I also have a question about Egwene and TAR. Is it possible for a non channeler dreamer to enter TAR in the flesh? I don't recall this being mentioned in the books
I dunno, ask Slayer.
152. Greenish-Yellow Ajah
Thinking about what @anthonyperdo said at 71 about Siuan's ta'veren-seeing Talent, I wonder whether Talents return after being healed from Stilling/Gentling/Burning Out.
Tess Laird
153. thewindrose
First off - love the wind in the first chapter:)

I have to disagree with some of you who say Rand doesn't have something that helps him as he suffers - I would argue that he has an alturistic nature. The DO and minions are busy trying to submerge it, but it comes out in Spades next book!

Egwene really shines in this book, I hope she gets back to this level in aMoL.

Ouro - You havin' a party? It is only proper to invite you bunker mates!

154. alreadymadwithPowerswords
Ouroboros @142
We'd appreciate a Bowl of Winds here in Manila as well. Don't forget the saidar channelers use it. Must be single with pleasing personalities.

Freelancer @149
Actually I believe we can infer that most Power wrought swords were of a particular style. Lan himself explains how such swords came to be in the Eye of the World. They were practically mass produced for soldiers fighting the War of Power. Those for officers would then have been marked with the Heron. That would imply that craftsmen would all forge them to pretty much the same specifications. Perhaps a few would have been customized to individual tastes, or some channelers would forge their own, but these would have been far and few in between.
155. Wortmauer
Greenish-Yellow Ajah@152: Thinking about what @anthonyperdo said at 71 about Siuan's ta'veren-seeing Talent, I wonder whether Talents return after being healed from Stilling/Gentling/Burning Out.
What I wonder is whether those Talents are Power-linked (and thus affected by stilling) at all. I don't see why they should be. The ta'veren phenomenon itself is not.

I know the Aes Sedai believe they are, but it would be just like Aes Sedai to notice these abilities among their number and never stop to wonder if maybe non-channelers could manifest them too. It happened for Dreaming, after all. How many muggles like Min are out there, with abilities the Aes Sedai would call Talents if they showed up in Aes Sedai?

That's not to say that all Talents are mundane. Some are clearly related to using the Power, like Egwene's strength in Earth or Androl's gateways. But seeing ta'veren glow white, or Foretelling, or Aviendha's ability to tell what a widget is for just by looking at it, well, I'd not be at all surprised if those abilities were just as common among non-channelers. We mostly don't hear about it — Min, Bair and Seana being outliers — but perhaps that's because our cast is so channeler-heavy.
156. macster
@144 JonathanLevy

You're quite welcome. And indeed, typical Jordan. :)

On the oaths again: Aside from Wetlander's explanation of what a typical oath of fealty is, and the differences between what Theodrin and Faolain vs. Nisao and the others swore, and the difference between the strength and content of an oath...I would just say Ouroboros says it best. Even if for the sake of argument Egwene's oaths are no different than Elaida's, the clear fact is that she stated herself, in that quote, that she knew they were wrong but did it anyway because it was needed. She knew it was unethical, but did it because it was the only way to get the rebels to follow her, bring down Elaida and reunify the Tower, and help save the world. Elaida either did not realize her oath was unethical, or didn't care because she saw it as only natural for one of her greatness and glory to be given all power so she could save the world.

This is why Egwene could be so infuriated with Elaida but not be a hypocrite--because of the reasons behind her oath, the intent, and her overall attitude toward the Aes Sedai, the Tower, and the world. That and because, while she didn't think about it at the moment she learned of Elaida's oath, she did in fact think about what she was doing at the time the oaths were sworn to her, feel awful about the unethical nature of it, but did what had to be done anyway to save the Tower.

@149 Freelancer: It was actually Wortmauer who first suggested that the way Tuon felt under Rand's influence was reminsicent of Compulsion; I was merely supporting him because I noticed the similarity myself and thought he was onto something. Perhaps you should look to him for further defense of the theory, since it was his.

However, I would note that your explanation rests almost entirely on the theory that Rand, as the Champion of the Light, is the Creator made flesh, which is a theory that is certainly not accepted by the fandom at large (note I am not saying I don't subscribe to the theory or think it is false, just that I am not sure if the evidence is open-and-shut on that being the case and that I have seen plenty of people here and at Theoryland take issue with it).

Also, if we're going to go into semantics, just because Tuon doesn't use the word magnificent in her thoughts doesn't mean she isn't feeling a sense of adoration. Her eagerness to sign the treaty felt to me like how Nynaeve and Elayne acted when Moghedien Compelled them, so eager to spill out information for her. Note that she wanted to "please" Rand. That doesn't sound to me like someone merely submitting to authority, but more like a child desperate to make their parents proud of them. The two are related (parents being authorities) but not identical, as it is possible to accede to someone's authority without becoming subservient about it.

Again, I am not saying I absolutely think Rand was Compelling Tuon...I am just struck by Sanderson's writing choice in how he worded Tuon's thoughts, particularly because this is the first time we've been in someone's head being affected by a ta'veren when instead of resisting it, they are on the verge of giving in. That there is even a superficial similarity to Compulsion is telling...after all, we are told that ta'veren are spun out in order to correct errors in the Pattern and that they have the ability to affect threads around them. We are shown repeatedly people suddenly saying or doing things and being startled by it as a sign of ta'veren influence, but we never see what it was like for them in their heads as it happened. How precisely is a ta'veren supposed to 'correct' the Pattern? How do they influence others into doing or saying what is needed? We don't really know, but to judge from Tuon (and the Aes Sedai frozen mute during Rand's confrontation with Egwene) there does seem to be a certain compulsion involved--not with a captial C, but some force or coercion at least.

@152 Greenish-Yellow Ajah:

That's a very good question. While Wortmauer has given a pretty good analysis of why such talents might not actually be a thing of the Power, I'll come at it from the other side and say we really have no evidence that just because someone is stilled or gentled, they suddenly lose any Talents they had. This is only speculation, but it seems to me that a Talent should be tied to a particular thread, or its soul. If whether you channel saidar or saidin is a thing of the soul, or mind, then shouldn't a Talent be too? Both are described in terms of affinity, and since Balthamel's ability to channel saidin wasn't tied to his physical body, why would someone's Talent be? Presumably a gentled or stilled person who was reborn would not still be gentled or stilled in their new body, because that was a thing of their old body.

I seem to recall reading somewhere that Jordan said talents like being a wolfbrother or Min's viewings have the potential to exist in every Age, but they won't always manifest--meaning the ability is still there, tied to that thread/soul, but not appearing in that particular body because there wasn't a need for it in that Age Lace. Stilling or gentling someone, then, would merely cut off their ability to access it (if the Talent is indeed tied to the Power, which Foretelling at least is but we know Min's visions aren't, and neither is being ta'veren or dreamwalking) until such time as it was restored. We don't have any evidence that the loss of a Talent due to severing a channeler is the same as, say, severing Mat's link to the Horn, where it could only be restored by balefire or by blowing the Horn again.

Unfortunately we also don't have any evidence of the Talents being restored either--we have never once been in Logain's head (a fact which both inflames my curiosity and disturbs me a little) so we don't know if he still sees Rand glowing when he's around him, and the only times Siuan has been near a ta'veren since being Healed (Mat in Salidar, Rand when he comes to the Tower in ToM) we didn't get into her head either. One would think in the latter case that Siuan would have remarked on the glow to Egwene afterward...but if it hadn't gotten any brighter or changed in any way, maybe not, since she was used to seeing it. So...who knows? It will be interesting to see if Sanderson addresses it in AMoL, or whether he or someone else at Team Jordan can confirm one way or the other about this.
157. macster
I take that back: we do have evidence severing doesn't remove a Talent. I had forgotten the scene where Rand arrived, before he spoke to Egwene, was from Siuan's POV. And we have this passage:

"Soon a procession approached, Warders walking in a square around a tall figure in a worn brown cloak, twenty-six Aes Sedai following behind. The figure inside glowed to her eyes. She had the Talent of seeing ta'veren, and al'Thor was one of the most powerful of those to ever live." --Towers of Midnight, Chapter 3: The Amyrlin's Anger, p. 80.

I don't think it can get any clearer than that--stilling didn't remove Siuan's Talent, so I don't see why gentling would have removed Logain's. Whether the Talent was always there, tied to the thread/soul but dormant until the severing was Healed, or if it was restored along with the ability to channel, we have no way of knowing, though.
158. alreadymadwithtalent
macster @157
Ah but by the time of the event you mentioned, Siuan's ability to use the Power had been restored, albeit partially. So it still would not conclusively show that she retained the Talent when she was stilled.
Valentin M
159. ValMar
Ouroboros @ 146

The Bowl is supposed to arrive tomorrow or Tuesday, and not a day too soon! This weather is bloody ridiculous, been walking for three days with just my shorts on...
Jonathan Levy
160. JonathanLevy
155. Wortmauer
...it would be just like Aes Sedai to notice these abilities among their number and never stop to wonder if maybe non-channelers could manifest them too.
I'll see that and raise it $5. If Aes Sedai did happen to notice these abilities in a non-channeler, their first reaction would be to assume that that person is in fact a channeler after all. I'm thinking of Elyas Machera's experience with the Red Ajah, and Moiraine's warning to Perrin when he told her about his wolf dreams. Also, I think Hurin was reluctant to have his talent revealed before Aes Sedai - Ingtar only explained how they were going to track the horn after the party had left Fal Dara.
Hugh Arai
161. HArai
Wetlandernw@ 148: I didn't actually intend to attack Egwene's comparison between her captivity and Rand's. I would say I agree with your reading. Although given that reading, I will say it frustrates me she still expects Rand to accept Aes Sedai authority the way she does.

Actually, what interests me about Egwene's ordeal in the Tower is how many WOT readers not characters react to it. Leigh wrote an eloquent commentary about facing pain, and has referred often to Egwene's Moments of Awesome. In comparison, not many people seem to find Rand surviving his various trials to be "Awesome". To be fair, Leigh did write this in her comments for Lord of Chaos:

I swear, Rand must have been the sanest human being on the planet before this all started, because between the taint and the Lews Therin and the torture and the pressure and the blah blah blahinfinitestressescakes, I can only figure that he must have had an absolute warehouse-ful of sanity stored up to draw upon, to not already be a full-blown, screaming-meemie-having, padded-room-needing psychotic. The box alone would have been enough for plenty of people. But I guess that’s why they pay him the crappy bucks!

But still, many people seem to focus on how far Rand slides instead of looking at how remarkable he is for only sliding as far as he did. I wonder why that is? Is it because people can picture being in Egwene's place easier than they can picture being in Rand's?
Tess Laird
162. thewindrose
HArai at 161 - That an interesting speculation.
For myself, it easier to be in Egwene's shoes. It's hard to imagine all the pain(mental and physical), all the pressure(save the WORLD and don't muck it up like last time), the backhanded support he recieves from team light players -it really does suck to be Rand.

Egwene is in a tough and high pressure situation, but it is several orders of magitude below Rand.

Also, I think most readers realize just how bad it is for Rand, but instead of always talking about how bad he has it(because he always has it bad) we tend to measure it on the sliding scale.

We absolutely know that the DO can't be overcome without Rand, but Egwene(who is one of the most important players on team light) has the 'freedom' of choices. Which of course makes it eaisier to gang up on her when she makes a bad one(you know it's true).

Anthony Pero
163. anthonypero
@All RE: seeing Ta'veren:

The point of the initial statement was to rule out Egwene, Moiraine, etc, as ta'veren. I assumed the question regarding stilling was of the same vein, i.e., since Suian was stilled, did she still have her ability, or could Egwene have become ta'veren. Obviously, the answer is no. We've been in Suian's head too many times around Egwene for Suian not to have thought it to herself.
Anthony Pero
164. anthonypero

People don't comment on Rand's awesomeness for surviving these things because Rand's set the bar a tad higher for Moments of Awesome.
Jonathan Levy
165. JonathanLevy
164. anthonypero

Agreed. Here's another reason:

Egwene deliberately chose her ordeal. She knew what she was getting into. She could have ended it at any time. It was a form of self-sacrifice for the good of the White Tower.

Rand's box ordeal happened to him because he got cocky and let himself be tricked. As Lews Therin said: Pride fills me. I am sick with the pride that destroyed me!
Anthony Pero
166. anthonypero
Meh... It wasn't arrogance that got him caught... it was naivety. Which the TAS effectively rid him of. Moiraine told him to trust NO AES SEDAI, but he took what they said was their intention at face value. All of the arrogance you are seeing is from Egwene's PoVs... she is misunderstanding what she is seeing. Rand is trying to manipulate them into thinking he is a greedy, arrogant, easy to manipulate person. But he has no idea that they are not bargaining at face value... because he is naive. Not because he is arrogant.
William Fettes
167. Wolfmage
I don't think the hypocrisy charge levelled against Egwene's outrage here depends on any kind of total equivalence between an Oath of Obedience on the Oath Rod, and oaths of fealty augmented by the First Oath. (Though for the record I think some people are really soft-peddling the full implications of an oath of fealty.) For me at least, it is more a matter of Egwene never even adverting to contradistinctive justification whilst railing against Elaida and the Hunters with such instinctive umbrage and incandescent rage. Even a somewhat phoned in pro-forma mental exercise would at least show some basic recognition of the like-issues around agency and executive authority, and an appropriate sense of caution and restraint towards her own power.

Nobody is attacking the fact that Egwene, facing incredible exigent circumstances, and being imbued with noble purpose and resolve, holds a forward-looking orientation and some generous mental certainties about the righteousness of her cause. However, the problem is that such certainties appear never to be checked by a serious contemplation of power, in a way removed from personal virtue.

In contrast, Egwene's critique of Elaida employs both principles and personal assessment. Yet she seems determinatively oblivious to the fact that the principles she uses to skewer Elaida have continuing vectors which intersect with her own lesser actions, and whilst she certainly comes off very well in the (entirely valid) personality comparison, emphasising Elaida's personal flaws so much elides the fundamental need for executive power to be constrained by law and custom. I mean, I don't expect her to have a fully-formed and sophisticated grasp of the Rule of Law proper, but she bypasses this kind of thoughtful universalised thinking completely. Indeed, in concert with the ugliness of the blackmail and the deliberate predation on Sheriam's group, we know she suffers little pause about the gross breach of convention that is involved in her enlargement of Amyrlin authority, which is a little paradoxical given her latent veneration of Tower orthodoxy. She does not even think about if, when and under what circumstance her hold on these sisters should end; it is entirely about their utility as pawns for the greater cause, which is rather too close to treating them as a means rather than an end under Kantian analysis.

It is a hallmark of truly great leaders, like General Washington, that however imperfectly, they do come to grips with their own power and surrender to a larger settlement of law and the body politic that constrains them and future leaders by precedent. Where extraordinary accumulation of power is necessary, they remain acutely conscious of need to limit such power. For all Egwene's Moments of Awesome, she hasn't yet come close to showing that grasp of the bigger picture of power and the underlying modes of thinking and temperance that transforms personal greatness into real lasting triumph.
Cameron Tucker
168. Loialson
@166 anthonypero

Yup. All the arrogance comes later with his Asha'man display (when is that? CoS?) to impress Cads (she appropriately disabused him of that notion working), and his Seanchan campaign in PoD.
Anthony Pero
169. anthonypero

So you're saying that if Egwene wasn't meant to be written as a hypocritical character, then she should have at least reflected on how similar the two are?

This is why I will never lead this blog in word count, I just can't
bloviate well enough. *shrugs head in defeat*
Anthony Pero
170. anthonypero

And that was after the "Crossing the Streams" incident, I believe, to which we can place at least some of the blame on Moridin's influence on Rand's psyche.
Hugh Arai
171. HArai
Rand's box ordeal happened to him because he got cocky and let himself be tricked. As Lews Therin said: Pride fills me. I am sick with the pride that destroyed me!

I don't think I agree. Rand's box ordeal happened because Elaida dispatched a group of Aes Sedai to enslave the Dragon Reborn. The only real difference between what they tried to do with Rand and what the Seanchan do with the various AS they capture is that the a'dam are more elegant than "Power-whipping" and abuse of loved ones. I'll agree Rand underestimated the threat they posed to him, but they intended to capture and try to break him all along. Being humble would not have helped.
Leigh Butler
172. leighdb
CloudMist @ 17:

Considering your problem with the changing mural, Leigh, I'd guess that the old movie Jason And The Argonauts is not your favorite fantasy movie. :)

Haven't seen it. Aaaand now I'm not gonna.

insectoid @ 30:

::reads interview:: Neato! And isn't that a nice picture of you, Leigh!


travyl @ 61:

Leigh: Thanks for the post & the link to your interview with BS. Didn't you tell us you moved to New York?

I did. Then I moved again.

Metal Prophet @ 77:

I am guessing you're not a fan of Soundgarden's "Black Hole Sun" video, Leigh.

Really, really, really not. Ugh.
173. Ouroboros
There are things Egwene has done which I take issue with, but let’s please not put words in the girl’s mouth.

Egwene shook her head. "It just occurred to me. This is what it must have been like for Rand. No, worse. The stories say he was locked in a box smaller than my cell. At least I can spend part of the evenings chatting with you . He had nobody. He was without the belief that his beatings meant something." Light send that she didn't have to endure as long as he had. Her imprisonment had only been a few days so far. (TGS:38)

She sat back down, cross-legged, and took deep breaths, repeating to herself that she wanted to be locked in this room. She could escape if she wished, but she remained. By remaining she undermined Elaida. By remaining she proved that some would not bow and quietly accept the fall of the White Tower. This imprisonment meant something.

The words, repeated in her head, helped stave off the panic at considering yet another day within this cell. What would she have done without the nightly dreams to keep her sane? Again, she thought of poor Rand, locked away. She and he shared something now. A kinship beyond a common childhood in the Two Rivers. They had both suffered Elaida's punishments. And it hadn't broken either of them. (TGS:38)

Observing that they both endured the suffering brought upon them by Elaida is hardly cause for castigation; it’s simply a statement of fact. And as Wetlander said, pride for the achievement. And why not, they should be proud.

She knows that his captivity was worse than hers and she is grateful that she has not been subjected to the same treatment: “Light send that she didn't have to endure as long as he had. “ How can this possibly be construed as anything other than sympathy?

. Moreover, Egwene is completely conscious of the fact that her choosing this course makes it easier to endure and that Rand had no such choice: “He was without the belief that his beatings meant something”. So, she is well aware that Rand was forced to endure is suffering without the same sense of purpose and is again, sympathetic.
William Fettes
174. Wolfmage
Yeah, I agree it's a bit rough to fault her too much for generalising without the full information of Rand's captivity. So castigation is probably wrong. But the reason this section evokes a response from so many fans is pretty obviously due to the discordance between how she views her own situation vis-a-vis Rand's, with the implicit equivilency only tempered by the minor concessions that his box was small compared to her cell and he was alone.

The problem is that those concessions aren't even half the story, and overall they are not even remotely comparable situations. As others have said above, Egwene is relatively comfortable in terms of her day-to-day mobility, her food and her ongoing lessons. She is physically punished and must live in a near-constant state of pain, yes, but she is ultimately in control of both her captivity and the pain and suffering she endures, which is relatively minor compared to Rand's abuse. Most of the time she is beaten for not behaving as a Novice should in a deliberate act of defiance as part of her insurrection campaign. Rand's suffering was never like this -- a cost accepted as part of a higher purpose with the option to opt-out.

So the fact that she is so far off the mark IMO makes the implied equivilency a bit ostentacious, regardless of her subjective knowledge, especially when you combine it with her other blind spots re: Rand and the Tower.
Alice Arneson
175. Wetlandernw
Wolfmage, did you actually read the section Ouroboros quoted? "Minor concessions??" She overtly, clearly pointed out that his situation had been far worse than hers, for multiple reasons (intensity, duration, purpose and consolation), and expresses gratitude that so far she hasn't had to endure nearly what he did - and fervently hopes that she won't have to. Your refusal to admit that she was not wrong, because of your own personal prejudice, makes you look rather silly, which is not the norm for you. Stop it - you're giving me the willies.

You have completely forgotten that, at the time she makes these statements, her "freedoms" are non-existent. She gets no lessons, no freedom, no mobility. She spends 24 hours a day in a tiny cell which does not allow her to lie down except by curling up, and she is taken out only to be beaten and then shoved back in. As I said before, if you'd bothered to read it, she gets gruel and insufficient water. She is raw from beating, she's not being Healed, her dress is still covered in (her own) dried blood from Elaida's freak-out. The "comparison" passage Ouroboros quoted is from about 20 chapters later in the book, not this section where she's being treated like a novice.

Rather than making any valid point about Egwene's "blind spots re: Rand and the Tower" you have simply displayed your own blind spot re: Egwene and anything.
Alice Arneson
176. Wetlandernw
Wolfmage @167 - "Though for the record I think some people are really soft-peddling the full implications of an oath of fealty." I don't know if you meant to include me, but if you did, I vehemently deny the accusation. I do not soft-pedal. In this case, I firmly, forcefully and even stridently assert that the level of obedience required by an oath of fealty is not comparable to the level of obedience required by a Rod-bound Oath of Obedience. If you tried to do a graphical comparison, you'd have to use a logarithmic scale just to put them on the same chart. Despite your propensity for polysyllabic ratiocination, you apparently fail to appreciate the intensity of personal infringement the Oath grants to the individual in power.

Dude, there's a reason Compulsion is so severely prohibited. It's not right to have that kind of power over another person. Fealty doesn't even come close.
Alice Arneson
177. Wetlandernw
Bah. I hate being away from my computer all day.

HArai @161 - It wasn't your comment I was thinking of. :) And FWIW, my argument was only to point out that people were accusing Egwene of something she didn't actually do, and then being outraged over her doing it. The situations were different, and she acknowledged that, thinking only that they had both survived and not broken.

I think you have a very valid point, that few of us can come close to relating to what Rand has been through, while Egwene is a little nearer our "reach" of imagination. How much that affects our valuation of their respective MOAs is hard to quantify, since it also depends in part on how the individual reader feels about the characters. (There are some here who would deny Egwene any MOAs without a lot of grudging caveats, while everything Rand does is justified to the nth degree. And of course there are those who would do the opposite. And the entire spectrum in between.)

Until we reach ToM, though, most of Rand's MOAs seem to be tainted, whether by his temper, his questionable sanity, his interactions with other characters, or things we see that he doesn't. It makes them hard to really enjoy. Egwene's MOAs don't suffer from that kind of grim coloration, unless you happen to have a strong dislike of the character. For those who don't hate her on principle, her MOAs are somehow refreshingly clean and bright and hopeful - clear victories for Team Light, which have been precious few lately. Sure, she makes mistakes and has some errant attitudes of her own, but they don't have such a cringe-making "touch of the Dark One" effect; they're just ordinary human error. Rand is the direct personal target of the DO, who is working overtime to twist everything that happens in, through or around him. I think it's harder to read his scenes, and harder to truly celebrate his victories (most of them), because we're always dreading what horrible thing will come next.
Thomas Keith
178. insectoid
Leigh @172: Thanks for popping in!

Wetlander @many: Let me guess... epic load of dishes? :P

Alice Arneson
179. Wetlandernw
bug - you know me too well! :) Good to have you back, dude. Missed you.
180. Ouroboros
Dishes... Wetlander... WET... Ohhhhh! Now I understand the handle.

Sorry, couldn't help it. ;)
181. Ouroboros
We clearly have a lot of people talking at cross-purposes and it's resulting in misunderstandings so, let's try to untangle this a little. The accusations against Egwene seem to be:

1. She believed her imprisonment in the Tower to be equivalent to Rand's suffering at the end of LOC.

False. She only compared her treatment to Rand's after she was locked in the cell. Anything which happened in KOD or the earlier chapters of TGS was not included.

2. She believed her imprisonment in the cell to be equivalent to Rand's imprisonment in the box.

False. "This is what it must have been like for Rand. No, worse. The stories say he was locked in a box smaller than my cell. At least I can spend part of the evenings chatting with you."

3. She believed her beatings to be equivalent to Rand's.

False. "He was without the belief that his beatings meant something."

4. People are using phrases like "a bit ostentatious" and "a bit rich" as though Egwene was in some way flaunting or boasting about how she endured an equivalent degree of suffering to Rand.

False on both counts. She never sought approbation for her treatment nor did she believe it to be equivalent to Rand's.

5. She believed that her treatment from Elaida gave her the right to pass judgement on him.

False. She frequently condemned Rand's actions, often unfairly or incorrectly so, and this can easily affect the judgement of a lot of readers who are naturally sympathetic to Rand, he is the principle protagonist, after all. But she never believed that her own suffering at Elaida's hands gave her the right to do so.

I'm going to leave it for now because the new post goes up today and I have a sneaking suspicion that this subject is going to come up again, oh, in about fourteen days. Something to do with the words "Rand must take responsibility..."
182. alreadymadwithegwene
No, it wasn't her suffering that gave her a right to condemn Rand's actions. Being female gave her that.
Valentin M
183. ValMar
alreadymad... @ 182

Yep, I was about to write something along those lines.
Just to add: being 16-18 (?) year-old female from TR. We are all aware of the Male/Female dynamics in WOT, but older more worldly women tend to be more nuanced in their opinions on men and apreciate many of their traits. IMO there is a degree of respect beneath the surface of all the gender posturing in WOT.

Egwene grew up in TR aping older women's attitudes without getting to the stage of understanding them properly before leaving. Being around Nyn didn't help. Her 1st stint in the WT didn't help either. The Aiel WO would've been good for her to learn about Female/Male power relationships and different qualities but IMO Eg failed to see beneath the surface.
The TR boys also haven't grown up in that respect, IMO.

Moiraine, Tuon, Setalle, etc., are good examples of the opposite. Nyn is starting to get there too. Though I guess it's a bit unfair to include Mo in the argument since she's awesome all around!

This turned a bit long for a tail-end comment, hope someone reads it ;)
Anthony Pero
184. anthonypero
Oh how I long for the next chapter... not that this conversation will go away, since Egwene's moments of awesome are legion in this book... Let me don the persona of a professional athlete for a moment and say "haters gonna hate"
Valentin M
185. ValMar
Just to avoid any misunderstanding, I am not an "Egwene hater". As far as the current discussion is concerned I'm not too bothered by the thing she's been accused about. Others have made prety good arguments, backed by text examples.
Unfortunately, for her position too introspective a character could damage her ability to do the job she must. Fortunately, she is not having this problem, it seems ;)

edit: to clarify
Anthony Pero
186. anthonypero
And just to be clear, I would have appreciated a bit of exposition that showed Egwene did see the similarities in what she did and what Elaida was planning on doing (if she was really planning it, and not just trying to get under Meidani's skin), and at least come up with a realistic justification in her mind. Lord knows we've provided enough examples of how it mihgt be justified to oneself. The lack of even the barest hint of reflection on this does bother me.
187. alreadymadwithgenders
Valmar @183
Agreed. Save for the strange veto powers (spanking, knifing, AS compulsion, etc.), the general consensus for the most part is to let the men do their stuff. Stuff which for the most part, women aren't able to do anyway. This even goes for Warders. IMO, Warders were created so that Aes Sedai not only had bodyguards but could also maintain their position at the top of an army's chain of command without actually doing the generaling stuff. This is why Warders are also trained to lead armies and Aes Sedai in general are expected to defer to them in matters of security, combat and warfare. Greens are a bit of a complication. Being also trained to lead armies and plan battles, they tend to be a bit more restrictive on their Warders as well.
WOT Dragons
188. WOTNoDragons
anthonypero@ 166.
Agreed. The degree of Rand’s naivety at the moment of his capture by the TAS was indeed staggering! When I first read this brilliant scene, I was yelling at the pages – “Look at their faces you idiot!”

Although I do think that there is also a thread of arrogance in Rand that is perhaps an integral part of his mule-headedness; in that he somewhat arrogantly feels he could cope with 3 AS without difficulty & I suspect that at a more subconscious level, he also wanted to prove to himself that he would not let his own AS advisor succeed in manipulating him in terms of who he should and shouldn’t trust. So almost to prove to himself that he doesn't have tomeekly follow Moiraine's advice to the absolute nth degree (kinda like teanage rebellion) so he lets them have an audience, but that vain of prideful arrogance was at work as well; filling him with an overconfidence that 3 AS were ‘no match’ for the Dragon Reborn!

This same attitude of both naivety and prideful arrogance was imo on full display when Rand decided to show off and visit the rebel Toram Riatin (without sufficient Aiel protection) and nearly got ‘fog-monstered’ to death - as well as picking up his 2nd unhealing wound from Fain’s dagger. Sheesh, doesn’t he ever learn?!

Last point re oaths. I feel I might have overcomplicated my previous point. I agree with any others who have said that an oath of obedience on the Oath Rod is for all practical purposes, little different to compulsion.

I was comparing oaths not taken on any oath rod, suggesting that irrespective of how clear the actual words of an oath were/are, (fealty, obedience, whatever,) that human nature will – for the very best of reasons or intentions, sometimes seek to apply an interpretation that then allows or permits the individual to behave in a preferred way. Like my previous rw example of a soldier disobeying an order to try to save a fallen comrade, or Suan, wriggling around her oath to attempt a rescue of Egwene when the Seanchan attacked the WT; under the questionable excuse that Egwene was in danger of being executed.

Who was it who said rules are for the obedience of fools and the guidance of wiser men (or women?) My point was that whilst the actual words of an oath might be explicit, people’s interpretation of their oath at any given critical moment will sometimes be the most influential factor affecting their actions.

Oh and by the by, I wouldn’t want anyone to read from this, or my previous post, that I was being critical of any soldier who tries to save the life of a fallen comrade. Anyone who’s crazy brave enough to risk their own life to save another deserves respect in my book– irrespective of whether or not they disobeyed an order in the attempt.

Wolfmage @ 167

Personally I quite like the fact that Egwene didn’t first call for a meeting of the Hall to determine if the Amyrlin’s power needed to be increased, or to ask the Sitters to expound the interpretation of Tower Law & debate if the Amyrlin was legally entitled to blackmail other AS’s into taking oaths of obedience - before she decided to act in the way she did!

I’m not sure that Egwene has bothered to read “Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals” and for that, I for one I’m rather grateful. ;-)

IMO, her flawed thinking and the touch of hypocrisy that you allude to in this matter is what makes her character so interesting. Yes a tiny bit like Elaida, but for all the right reasons. The apparent absence of consideration for any “appropriate sense of caution and restraint towards her own power” would be a highly laudable trait for a real world political leader, but imo this sort of due dilligence toward decision making/taking, would make for a rather dull heroic character in any fantasy story.

IIRC, there are about 1000 AS in Randland, and Egwene has taken oaths from only a very small percentage - not the whole bunch! I don’t recall reading that she plans to increase this number and I’d bet my bottom dollar that in AMOL, now that the WT is unified, we will see Egwene release all sworn sisters and will accept the Hall’s penance for her abuse of executive authority! This I foretell! ;-) Egwene FTW!

already mad--@ 182 – lol.
189. macster
@158 alreadymad: You're right, we still don't know if Siuan had access to her talent while stilled. (Does anyone recall if we saw her think about Logain and him glowing, while they were on their way to Salidar?) But that wasn't Greenish-Yellow Ajah's question, they were asking if Talents return after being stilled/gentled/burned out. We don't know about the latter, namely because it seems it can't be Healed (not unless Nynaeve works on Setalle for a good long time, and there doesn't seem time for it), and we don't know what happened while she was stilled. But it is conclusive that whether or not Talents are gone during stilling, they are returned after it is Healed.

@anthonypero on Rand's CMOA's just being more common (and more awesome) than others: yes. And I did, in fact, applaud him for surviving the box, even as I knew (like Wetlander) that it did indeed spell doom for his future relations with Aes Sedai.

@167 Wolfmage: Actually no, a lot of people do seem to make it be about whether oaths of fealty are as binding and equally offensive as oaths of obedience whether or not on the Oath Rod, not whether Egwene should have compared herself and Elaida in her mind. And some people are attacking Egwene, despite her forward-thinking policies, just because of this one seeming hypocrisy in her thinking. So it is important to make the distinctions between Egwene and Elaida's oaths for that reason, so as to make sure we do not condemn Egwene for something that isn't the same as Elaida's actions, or might actually have been justified. I'll leave it to Wetlander to continue to make clear the difference between the oaths, since she does it better than I ever could.

So I'll say this, since I already agreed with it farther up--yes, I do think it is odd, and would solve a lot of people's problems with Egwene on this issue if she had thought to herself why what Elaida and the Hunters did was different than what she did. But I don't think it makes her hypocritical, or if she is that that makes her actions wrong. First off, we don't know if Jordan intended for her to be so or not. If he didn't, then clearly he and Sanderson screwed up in not having her compare her own actions to Elaida's, since so many people seem to be condemning her for not doing so. In which case the fault doesn't lie in Egwene's character but in the writing. If he did intend her to be viewed as a hypocrite, that still is not enough reason to attack her.

Why? First, she has a much better reason for her actions than Elaida does--not only is she trying to preserve and unify the Tower rather than merely satsify some sense of self-aggrandizement, but at the time she exacted those oaths she did so precisely because these Aes Sedai were refusing to accept her authority, working at cross-purposes, following their own agendas, instead of helping unify the Hall, tear Elaida down, and restore the Tower...as their oaths to the Amyrlin were supposed to have been requiring of them anyway! Why do people keep missing this? All she was asking Nisao and the others to do was what they should have been doing all along, obeying and serving the Amyrlin. They wouldn't have ended up in the position they did, or had Egwene feeling she had no choice but to exact these oaths, if they'd been doing what they were supposed to be instead of being typical Aes Sedai. Even without adding the Compulsion aspect of an Oath of Obeidence on the Oath Rod into it, I don't see why these even compare. Elaida's oath would not be asking sisters to do what they should have been doing--it would be making them obey her whether her orders were right and decent or not. It would be about the glory of Elaida, not the Tower or fighting the Dark One. And when you do add in the Oath, so that free will is gone...

Second reason: because as Ouroboros quoted above, Egwene did in fact think about whether the oaths she was asking for were ethical. She may not have specifically recalled them at the time she learned what Elaida and the Hunters were doing, but that was because she had previously reflected, when her oaths were administered, that she did not like what she had to do, that she felt it was inappropriate and even wrong, but she still did it because it was necessary. Considering those thoughts are nothing like what we get from Elaida in any of her POVs post-Fain, I think that shows she isn't hypocritical. If two people perform similar actions, and one of them reflects, independently of learning of the other's actions, that her own actions were questionable and then reconciles it to herself out of necessity, how does she become hypocritical just because she doesn't explicitly compare their actions in her head later when she does learn of it?

Regardless of there being a comparison made in her head, the fact she already acknowledged prior to this that what she was doing was on some level wrong, then accepting this in the name of bringing down Elaida and bringing the Aes Sedai together, isn't hypocrisy. She isn't saying "I can do this but Elaida can't", she's saying "I know what I did was wrong, but I believe it justified because of the need to unify the Aes Sedai. Elaida doesn't have that justification because she is doing it for her own power, the Hunters don't have that justification because they were forcing the ferrets to obey them solely because they were rebels, not because of the need to find the Black. The Hunters didn't realize what they were doing was wrong until I explained it to them; Elaida has yet to see it as wrong and never will."

I agree it is odd she didn't think about it, but as ValMar said, Egwene is not known for being very contemplative of herself and her own actions--that is certainly a failing, but it's not a sign of hypocrisy. And even if she is a hypocrite, she clearly can still tell that what Elaida is doing is far worse than what she did, and the Hunters too. You clearly don't deny that what Elaida is doing is worse--and even the Hunters were doing wrong since their requiring a fourth Oath was what almost led Zerah to choke to death; an oath of obedience on the rod could so easily come into conflict with other oaths, something like that happening would only be a matter of time. So that being the case, why does it matter if Egwene doesn't think specifically about her oath being different from Elaida and the Hunters', when she can clearly see, as you put it, the dangers of power in what they are doing with their oaths?

Whether or not she compares hers to theirs, the example in Elaida and the Hunters of what can happen when that sort of thing is allowed to get out of control should instill in Egwene the sort of caution and wisdom you want of her. Whether or not she is a hypocrite, at least she knows right from wrong, which is more than can be said of Elaida. And if Egwene didn't think all her actions through, clearly neither did the Hunters.

I do also have to agree, BTW, that while intelligent discourse is always preferred, throwing around your large vocabulary only makes you appear elitist and condescending. Overwhelming people with words is not a way to win a debate, or at least not an appropriate way to do so. I am guessing from some of your comments that you are a student of philosophy (and this is one of the reasons I don't like philosophy--so much of it comes across as people who are a little too full of themselves spouting off reams of words until the other person gives up in exhaustion and concedes, or people who are deliberately using high-flown speech to keep their 'lessers' from being able to understand and participate). That's fine, but I don't exactly think philosophical speech is appropriate for a simple online blog, despite how philosophical Wheel of Time itself can often be.

I imagine you will say that asking you not to speak that way is 'dumbing your words down' or 'pandering to the lowest common denominator' or at least encouraging people not to think and speak well. But I would say that it is possible to be well-spoken and erudite without being ridiculously highflown, and that it is more important to be able to communicate with a broad swath of people. Conciseness and brevity are as important as intellect and profundity of thought, and it's pretty hard not to be suspicious of elitism in someone who throws around five-dollar (or if you prefer, sesquipedalian) words simply because they can.

Wetlander is also right about Egwene's thoughts of her confinement vs. Rand's--she was never saying they were equivalent, just that she understood how he felt. The fact that her knowledge of what he went through is incomplete and therefore subjective is not, in fact, something you can dismiss from the point being made--clearly she would indeed consider their situations very different if she knew all he went through, but she doesn't, so she didn't, and she can't be held accountable for that. And regardless of whether she was erroneous in her comparison or not, if it makes her proud of him for surviving what Elaida did, and feel sorry for him, how can this be bad??

@WOTnoDragons: Very good points, all. But I would still point out that while you are correct that, absent any direct oath on the rod, both an oath of fealty and one of obedience could be gotten around or justified through clever thinking (see Siuan, Beonin), if the Oath Rod is involved, then there can be no wriggling, justifying, or interpreting: you'd just be forced to obey, no matter what, as shown with poor Zerah. I mean, she couldn't even make herself stop believing what she'd been told about the Red and Logain was the truth in order to save herself, so I don't see how clever thinking could get around an Oath of Obedience.
Brian Kaul
190. bkaul
deBebbler@32: Yes, Blink is a classic, and perhaps my favorite episode; I just thought of the added "image of an angel" twist from the later episodes when she made that comment.
Nadine L.
191. travyl
@Wortmauer 155, macster 157.

Here is what RJ said on his blog about the Talent seeing ta'veren:
Someone who sees ta'veren sees them as glowing. The more strongly ta'veren, the brighter the glow. This is a Talent, and is something that only someone who can channel can do. While she was stilled, Siuan could not see ta'veren, nor could she have if she had been burned out.
from http://www.dragonmount.com/forums/blog/4/entry-329-yet-another-it-seems/

This talent is linked to the power to channel. Stilling obviously severes the capacity to "see the glow" but not the talent.
I just had to post it, after having found the reference, although maybe nobody ever will read it, coming 3 weeks after the last post.
Anthony Pero
192. anthonypero
I read it, that's pretty much how I expected it to work. The oirignal topic regarded Egwene or Tuon being ta'veren. Logain is around Egwene tons after he is restored, and he doesn't ever mention a glow around Egwene. This is obviously not conclusive. But if RJ intended Egwene to be ta'veren, he surely would have dropped some forshadowing in with Suian and Logain's ability.
Alice Arneson
193. Wetlandernw
Plus, RJ said that no major female characters are ta'veren; the only question left is whether or not you consider Tuon a "major character" - or rather, whether RJ considered her so. I personally don't think he intended to include any other ta'veren to any significant extent, or (as anthony points out) he would have dropped in some sort of foreshadowing with one of the several characters who we know could see them. (Siuan, Logain, Nicola and one of the Ogier, IIRC) I don't honestly think he planned to throw in (or reveal) another ta'veren at this stage of the game. JMO.

anthony - I'd completely forgotten what the original discussion was! LOL. (And for some weird reason, I keep trying to spell your name with a g before the y today. It's come out "anthongy" three times! Oi.)
Anthony Pero
194. anthonypero
G is my middle initial. on other sites (and my email) it is anthonygpero. So that's a little wierd, lol
Richard Hunt
196. WOTman
The thing with Egwene is splitting hairs, she is bad for not realizing it, a penance is due. I like her but...
I think what one of the reasons I like this series is because I can relate to all the characters in some way or another. No one is a "saint" and everyone makes mistakes and life is an adventure/ growing experience for anyone - the older you get the wiser - in general anyway.

I probably shouldn't go there but, as far as Leigh's comments about sexism - you (Leigh and I do love you) need to remember that you are reading this as an independent free woman living in a free society in the 21st centuryand in a relatively safe environment. RJ has written this from a mans man (chivalrous/night in shining armour) perspective. You need to try to get into his persective to get the most enjoyment out of it. I feel sorry for you lamenting constantly about this sexist stuff, just let it go and go with the flow. I think if you had come from a different environment, your perspectives might not match those you have now. Just sayin.... That is how I get into the story and he makes it so easy by his descriptive way. end of comment there.

One other note - Macster is a very prolific writer/ author I think he could fill a jordan book by himself, just an observation :)

I am looking forward because the action will get very intense from here on out and I will get very upset with certain characters from here on out, but that's life (or fiction?)
197. macster
@191 travyl: Good eye. I rather thought that would be the case, I was just covering my bases in case the opposite was true since we had no evidence one way or the other. But, as stated, the original question was whether Talents like seeing ta'veren would return after being Healed of stilling and gentling, and the answer is clearly yes.

@192 anthonypero: Agreed. Plus aside from Logain, Nicola was around Egwene constantly in Salidar as well as in the Tower after her capture, so surely she would have said something too. Yes, this could perhaps explain her turnaround in becoming Egwene's biggest fan, but she is also the sort to trumpet her abilities as well as the ones of those whom she thinks can bring her what she seeks. If she thought that getting more people to respect Egwene would enable Egwene to help her learn faster (or more likely, coerce Egwene into doing it), she would be telling everyone how she saw Egwene was ta'veren. Since Siuan did in fact recover the ability after being Healed, and has been around Egwene constantly, that puts the nail in the coffin.

@196 WOTman: I am not so sure it is splitting hairs since, as I stated several times above, Egwene did in fact know she was doing wrong, or at least something questionable, but she did it anyway--because she felt it was justified and necessary in order to save the Tower. Or as Leigh put it in today's post, because she cares about those she leads. I do agree, though, that if she had thought of the oath of fealty in relation to Elaida and the Hunters it would have undercut the arguments of a lot of Egwene-haters; that we really should find out whether she released them from their oaths once the Tower reunited (and if not, that there be consequences of this or at least that the matter should be addressed); and that Egwene being imperfect doesn't lessen her accomplishments, heroism, or admirability, which so many seem to be forgetting.

Also--thanks, I think. :P Not to toot my own Horn, but my writing actually has been compared to Jordan's, both in the positive and negative traits we have in common. Apparently he's inspired me in more ways than I realized.
Teresa Nielsen Hayden
200. tnh
Shobbs, I unpublished your comment for being pointless snark posted by an unregistered user in an inactive thread. Macster, I unpublished your comment because its context disappeared.
202. Dorianin
'Image Distortion'....I like that. that may be the most succinct description of the most terrifying thing most people will experience...i believe you didn't go far enough...when something that is COMPLETLY FAMILIAR is suddenly changed, randomly and inexplicably. as far as pain goes...ask anyone with bad teeth or chronic ear infections just how much its possible to endure.
William McDaniel
203. willmcd
Egwene's actions in the chapter are somewhat commendable (which may be the first time I've had that opinon in the series). She puts aside her own vegeance against Elaida, and looks beyond her desire to advance her own knowledge and power to dedicate herself to the betterment of a larger community, and ultimately fight the Shadow.

However, she loses points with me (which likely will not concern her overmuch) for continuing to think that what Rand really needs is "guidance" from the White Tower. The White Tower as an institution may be fit to guide a dog back to its own vomit, but I wouldn't trust it with much more. Her social-mindedness is commendable, but the expedient which she thinks to employ to actualize it may deprive it of much of its effectiveness.

I like the idea (proposed by someone who commented on Linda's chapter review at 13th Depository) that the changing of the mural of
Caraighan Maconar, despite being a result of the DO's touching the world, represents a shift toward historical accuracy. That is to say, that perhaps the White Tower's involvement in ending the rebellion in Mosadorin was far more bloody than the official histories record.

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