Tue
Oct 11 2011 1:00pm

The Wheel of Time Re-read: The Gathering Storm, Part 4

The Wheel of Time reread on Tor.comBy Grapthar’s hammer, it’s a Wheel of Time Re-read!

Today’s entry covers Chapters 5 and 6 of The Gathering Storm, in which we contemplate fortitude in the face of (a) insanity, (b) Nazis, and (c) theoretical aliens. Or robots. Or zombies. You know, just like always!

Previous re-read entries are here. The Wheel of Time Master Index is here, which has links to news, reviews, interviews, and all manner of information about the Wheel of Time in general, including the newest release, Towers of Midnight.

This re-read post contains spoilers for all currently published Wheel of Time novels, up to and including Book 13, Towers of Midnight. If you haven’t read, read at your own risk.

And now, the post!

 

Chapter 5: A Tale of Blood

What Happens
Rand walks through the Saldaean camp on the manor green, trailed by his entourage, which includes Elza and Corele. He remembers how Elza had participated in his torture, but tells himself that is past and she has sworn to him. Corele has not, but he is inclined to trust her because of her efforts to save his life.

It was only because of her, Samitsu and Damer Flinn that Rand had survived. One of two wounds in Rand’s side that would not heal—a gift from Padan Fain’s cursed dagger—still lingered as a reminder of that day. The constant pain of that festering evil overlaid the equal pain of an older wound beneath, the one Rand had taken while fighting Ishamael so long ago.

Soon, one of those wounds—or perhaps both—would spill Rand’s blood onto the rocks of Shayol Ghul. He wasn’t certain if they would be what killed him or not; with the number and variety of the different factors competing to take Rand’s life, even Mat wouldn’t have known which one was the best bet.

Thinking of Mat makes Rand see him in the colors, tossing dice in front of a group of soldiers near a large road; Rand wonders where the dark-skinned woman he’d seen with Mat had gone. He makes his way to the Traveling ground, where a group of Sea Folk are emerging from a gateway. A soldier gives him a letter from Darlin while he is waiting, who is questioning his orders about the army he is gathering, and Rand wonders why no one will do as they are told. He sends the soldier back with a message for Darlin to continue recruiting, and that he will send an Asha’man when he is ready for Darlin to move. Harine approaches from the Sea Folk group, and Rand demands to know why the grain ships he asked to be sent to Arad Doman have not arrived, while the Domani starve. Harine replies that the ships must go through Seanchan-controlled waters to reach Arad Doman, and none have succeeded yet. Rand barely avoids mortally insulting her, but restrains himself at the last moment. His ta’veren nature induces Harine to be brutally honest about the punishment she had suffered for her part in their agreement, and he tries to be civil to her in return. He makes a deal with her, to exchange answers to a question each, and asks how Sea Folk treat men who can channel. Harine tells him they either drown themselves or are abandoned to starve on a deserted isle. Rand tells her saidin is cleansed now, and this practice must stop; Harine is clearly skeptical, and Rand is angered that no one will believe him.

Men who could channel were always distrusted. Yet they were the only ones who could confirm what Rand said! He’d imagined joy and wonder at the victory, but he should have known better. Though male Aes Sedai had once been as respected as their female counterparts, that had been long ago. The days of Jorlen Corbesan had been lost in time. All people could remember now was the Breaking and the Madness.

Rand freezes as he realizes that his memories of Jorlen Corbesan are Lews Therin’s, not his own.

Oh, Light, Rand thought with despair. I’m losing myself. Losing myself in him.

The most terrifying part was that Rand could no longer make himself wish to banish Lews Therin. Lews Therin had known a way to seal the Bore, if imperfectly, but Rand had no idea how to approach the task. The safety of the world might depend on the memories of a dead madman.

Rand realizes by the stares of everyone else that he has been muttering to himself again, and asks stiffly what Harine’s question is of him; she says she will ask it later. Damer Flinn comes through the gateway, smiling at Corele, who advises him not to mind Rand’s surliness and ignores Rand’s glare. Rand asks Elza what she thinks about Harine’s reaction to the news about the taint; Elza gives a carefully noncommittal answer, but Corele interjects that she is convinced he is telling the truth, after having channeled saidin through Damer. Elza points out, though, that that will not do much to convince anyone who hasn’t. Rand grits his teeth, and wonders if all he will leave behind is wars and devastation as bad as the Breaking.

He hadn’t been able to help that last time, for his madness and grief at Ilyena’s death had consumed him. Could he prevent something similar this time? Did he have a choice?

He was ta’veren. The Pattern bent and shaped around him. And yet, he had quickly learned one thing from being a king: the more authority you gained, the less control you had over your life. Duty was truly heavier than a mountain; it forced his hand as often as the prophecies did. Or were they both one and the same? Duty and prophecy? His nature as a ta’veren and his place in history? Could he change his life? Could he leave the world better for his passing, rather than leaving the nations scarred, torn and bleeding?

He comments to Flinn that he envies the soldiers and people of the camp their freedom. Confused, Flinn counters that Rand is the most powerful man alive, but Rand replies that all his power is meaningless against fate; he is much less free than anyone else. He remembers Moiraine’s words that they all do as they must, and thinks to her that he is trying. A scout approaches to report that Aiel are approaching, and Rand tells him to inform Bashere that Rhuarc and Bael will be here soon.

“It is time to secure Arad Doman.”

Or maybe it was time to destroy it. Sometimes, it was difficult to tell the difference.

Merise is questioning Semirhage about Graendal’s plans. Cadsuane observes that Merise is trying a little too hard, but is the best person besides herself to do the questioning. However, it is having no effect on the Forsaken, who shows no distress at being hung upside down. Instead of answering, Semirhage tells Merise about her experiments at replacing a person’s blood with another substance; one of her subjects lasted almost an hour afterwards, she says, in complete agony. She promises to show Merise the weave someday, and Merise pales; Cadsuane blocks Semirhage’s hearing and vision and tells Merise she is losing control. Merise complains that nothing works on the woman, but Cadsuane is sure that there is a way to break her. Merise points out that Semirhage has lived for three thousand years, but Cadsuane counters that she was imprisoned in the Bore for most of that. She is irritated at the weakness of the other Aes Sedai, but reminds herself that perhaps it is just her age that is making her intolerant.

Over two centuries ago, she’d sworn to herself that she’d live to attend the Last Battle, no matter how long that took. […] One might have thought that the years would also have taught her patience, but it had done the opposite. The older she grew, the less inclined she was to wait, for she knew she didn’t have many years left.

Anyone who claimed that old age had brought them patience was either lying or senile.

Merise laments that they are not allowed to use the a’dam on the prisoner, but Cadsuane knows that amounts to torture, and so is forbidden. She wonders whether the woman expects to be rescued, and wishes she had forkroot. Merise resumes the interrogation, but Semirhage is silent, and Cadsuane thinks about al’Thor instead. She thinks her efforts with him were not a failure yet, but they were close. She returns to the problem of Semirhage, and realizes abruptly that it didn’t matter that al’Thor had forbidden torturing her, for this woman could not be broken with pain.

With a chill, looking into those eyes, Cadsuane thought she saw something of herself in the creature. Age, craftiness and unwillingness to budge.

That, then, left a question for her. If given the task, how would Cadsuane go about breaking herself?

Corele interrupts with the news that al’Thor is meeting with his Aiel chiefs soon, and Cadsuane orders the interrogation halted for the moment; it’s time to deal with the boy.

Commentary
A much shorter recap of this chapter would be something like, “Rand reflects on how much his life sucks, and Semirhage is creepy.”

Which is fair enough, because Rand’s life really, really sucks, and Semirhage is really, really creepy. So at least we’re being true to events, or something.

Nice touch here, that Rand doesn’t even notice he’s treating some of Lews Therin’s memories as his own even as he’s in the midst of freaking out about that very thing. Nice, and (initially) rather chilling, too. It’s different now that I know how this thing is going to shake out, but when I first read this I was not so sanguine.

I think I’ve said this before, but I really don’t think there are too many things that could be worse than to not only be losing my mind, but being aware of it while it’s happening. Imagine it, never being able to trust that your own thoughts aren’t all — just — wrong. Imagine knowing that your ability to tell the difference between reality and fantasy is unstoppably eroding, and that at some point you might not even be able to remember anymore that there was a division in the first place. To have an enemy so intangible and inescapable that you probably won’t even know when it’s won… Agh. Gives me the shivers, it does.

Rand’s thoughts on the correlation between duty and prophecy (or fate, which amounts to the same thing, I suppose), and the total lack of freedom bestowed thereof, were interesting, but I don’t know that I have anything to add to it that Rand didn’t think about himself. Unless “that sucks, dude” counts as a worthwhile addition to the discourse, which it… doesn’t.

Although, it does have the virtue of being true: that really does suck, dude.

Hey, at least it’s concise!

ANYway, also, reenter Cadsuane, which fills me with feelings, none of which I’m having much luck identifying just yet. Except that none of them are outright loathing, which I feel is a very positive step forward in our relationship, so there’s that. I think I’ll hold off commenting on her until a bit later.

Aaaand Harine’s back. More Sea Folk. Yay.

*world’s smallest pom-pom*

Though if I recall correctly (and that’s a big “if”), Harine doesn’t really get much of a chance to be annoying once the shit hits the fan, which will be shortly. So I guess that’s something?

Hey, I’ll take my bright spots where I can find them; they’re going to be at a distinct premium Real Soon Now. Thanks to CERTAIN VERY CREEPY FORSAKEN, whose hobby list is apparently right up there with Josef Mengele’s. Ugh. In fact, now that I think about it, I would not be at all surprised to learn that Mengele was a major inspiration for her character.

(Just in case you don’t know (though I can’t see how anyone could not know, but anyway), Mengele was a Nazi SS doctor who performed gruesome, agonizing, and utterly pointless “medical” experiments on prisoners at Auschwitz, and is unquestionably one of the vilest human beings to have ever walked the earth. Correspondingly, I suggest you avoid reading the Wikipedia entry on him if you’re easily upset. I just did and I’m feeling the distinct need for a stiff drink right about now.)

Randomly: I forgot until reading this chapter that thanks to Ta’veren Telepathy in Technicolor™, Rand has actually seen Tuon before he meets her. (Semi’s Illusion disguise doesn’t count, because she was veiled, so Rand couldn’t see her face then.) So now I’m racking my brains to try and remember whether Rand makes this connection when he does actually meet her later in this book, but all I can recall from that scene is that Rand was in full I KEEL YOU ALL psycho bitchface mode by that point, and botched the meeting but good. Which was, admittedly, a pretty effective distraction for everyone involved, including the reader.

Still, you’d think he would have made the connection. Guess I’ll see when I get there.

 

Chapter 6: When Iron Melts

What Happens
Ituralde observes the carnage of the aftermath of his battle against the Seanchan outside Darluna, and wonders what if anything the history books will say about it. He had lost fifty thousand men, but he’d defeated an army three times that size, with damane to boot. He goes to where the Seanchan general, Turan, is dying of his wounds. Turan comments that they call Ituralde a “Great Captain” in Tarabon, and says Ituralde deserves the title. Ituralde explains how he pulled it off, and Turan tells him that the High Lady Suroth will be obligated to break him after this, and Ituralde acknowledges this, as well as the fact that he does not have the numbers to defeat the Seanchan’s full might. Turan asks why, then.

“Why does a crow fly?” Ituralde asked.

[…] Sometimes, surrender wasn’t worth the cost. No man welcomed death, but there were far worse ends for a soldier. Abandoning one’s homeland to invaders... well, Ituralde couldn’t do that. Not even if the fight was impossible to win.

He did what needed to be done, when it needed to be done. And right now, Arad Doman needed to fight. They would lose, but their children would always know that their fathers had resisted. That resistance would be important in a hundred years, when a rebellion came. If one came.

Turan tells him it has been an honor, and Ituralde beheads Turan with his own sword, at his request, before heading back.

Leane reports to Egwene that she has tried “encouraging” some serving men and guards, but in her present state she is not feeling very alluring. She marvels at Egwene’s poise and air of control despite the pain she is in, and thinks it is impossible to think of her as anything but the Amyrlin. She tells Egwene that she owes her sanity to Egwene’s frequent visits. Egwene promises Leane she will see her freed, and goes to leave, but then they both notice the bars of her cell have gone soft.

Suddenly, the stones beneath Leane’s feet shifted, and she felt herself sinking. She cried out. Globs of melted wax starting to rain down from the ceiling, splattering across her face. They weren’t warm, but they were somehow liquid. They had the color of stone!

Egwene grabs her, and screams for help from the Yellows guarding the cell. The Aes Sedai yank Leane free with Air, and then they all see that the cell has stopped melting, and Leane is coated instead with a layer of crumbling stone.

“These sorts of events are more frequent,” Egwene said calmly, glancing at the two Yellows. “The Dark One is getting stronger. The Last Battle approaches. What is your Amyrlin doing about it?”

The older Yellow (Musarin) looks deeply disturbed, but sends Egwene away with no other comment.

Egwene heads for the novices’ quarters, unsettled by the event in the cells, and angered that the Tower sisters are still wasting time squabbling while such things are happening. Then she realizes she is in the Browns’ section, which should be in the opposite direction, and sees that the view from the window is the same as it should be from the novice wing. She points this out to a sister, and soon the whole Tower is roused.

It appeared that two sections of the Tower had been swapped, and the slumbering Brown sisters had been moved from their sections on the upper levels down into the wing. The novices’ rooms—intact—had been placed where the section of Brown sisters had been. Nobody remembered any motion or vibration when the swap happened, and the transfer appeared seamless.

The Browns at length decide that they will have to accept the change, even though it will leave them divided, which Egwene finds symbolically apt. Egwene thinks to herself that it is getting worse and worse.

Commentary
So Ituralde kind of completely kicks ass, doesn’t he?

Why yes, yes he does. So sayeth moi, and I don’t think I’m alone in thinking so. I think my reaction to his thoughts about why he was fighting a hopeless fight can be summed up by another crude-yet-concise phrase, which is fuckin’ A.

If I may risk giving my international readers hives for a moment, this is pretty much precisely what I would hope my countrymen would say when faced with similar circumstances. Or, national patriotism aside, it is what I hope we would all say, really, when that alien invasion/robot takeover/zombie apocalypse the science fiction genre’s been warning us about for decades now comes to pass. Something something indomitable will, blah blah human dignity, etc. You know what I mean!

Of course, “Never give up, never surrender” is a really easy thing to say, and a really damn hard thing to follow through on. So all due props to Messieur Rodel for walking the walk as well as talking the talk.

As for Egwene and Leane’s adventures: yeah, so, I know it makes no sense but I am still not as creeped out by all the melting and switching as I was about that mural in the last Egwene chapter. Irrational phobias, I has them, evidently!

Of course, I might have quite a different reaction if the melting and switching was actually happening to me, instead of me just reading about it, so that’s probably something to consider. I highly doubt I would have had as calm a reaction to it as Egwene, for damn sure.

Also, is this the first time we’ve gotten a Leane POV? I can’t remember. If so, she needs another, longer one. I’ve always liked Leane a lot. I’ve long had a soft spot for those “born right-hand (wo)man”, second-in-command, Number Two characters, and she’s an excellent example of that.


…And I’d warn you off the timesuck link there, but seeing as I’m about out of useful things to say about this chapter, you might as well go have fun, eh? Have a week, kids, and see you next Tuesday!

140 comments
Sam Mickel
1. Samadai
Great chapters. things are starting to move along nicely.
Daniel Smith
2. Smittyphi
Itrualde is such an awesome character. I hope he makes it through to the others side.

Semirhage. Still creepy. She did more than all of the other Forsaken combined. She made Cuedillar Rand.
ryamano
3. ryamano
Leigh,

Rand does remember Tuon's face. When Tuon mentions she knows Mat he makes the connection. Since we see this scene from her POV, though, she thinks he's mad and we don't see more of his thought proccess.

And regarding Ituralde: yes, he's badass. But one country's hero/freedom fighter can be another country's terrorist/rebel/criminal. It's all just a matter of POV. Vlad Dracula is seen as a hero in Romania (he fought the Turks! and the Germans! and the Hungarians! and traitorous Romanian nobles!), but as a monster in most other countries (he impaled people alive, even when they were his dinner guests!). Moving to more polemical politics, Yasser Arafat was seen as a hero by the Palestinians, and as a terrorist by the Israelis. And so on. Ituralde does use lots of unorthodox methods of warfare that would make people see him as not honourable (deception, betrayal, etc). But those methods work. And I love his bits on the books.
ryamano
4. Megaduck
"I highly doubt I would have had as calm a reaction to it as Egwene, for damn sure."

Maybe, maybe not. There comes a point when knucking under just isn't an option anymore and you just keep putting one foot in front of another.
LT Tortora
6. Lucubratrix
Anyone who claimed that old age had brought them patience was either lying or senile.

Cadsuane is kind of awesome in this part. Of course, she's now the antagonist to Semirhage rather than Rand, so by comparison anything she does will look pretty good, but this is still an awesome line.
Rich Bennett
7. Neuralnet
Anyone know what the chapter icon for chapter 6 is supposed to represent? The Pattern breaking? this is the first time I remember seeing it.

p.s. thanks for the reread Leigh :-)
ryamano
8. thelostbannerman
Leigh, awesome on the re-read, this reminds me of Ed Norton Jr when he realizes that he is also Brad Pitt in Fight Club. And no Rand does not remember Tuon or Fortuona at the meeting even when she asks about Matt.
Hugh Arai
9. HArai
ryamano@3: Deception, certainly. Betrayal? Remind me please?
ryamano
10. smcyc
In retrospect I have always kind of wondered if the swamp between Brown and Novice living area's was really a bubble of 'evil'. First Jordon/Sanderson describes the transfer as 'seamless', not the usual description for BOE when people are directly involved. Second, as bad as the up-coming Seanchan raid will be for the WT, seems to me it might have gone a lot worse if the Egwene and the novices had been stuck in the bottom floor wing of the tower.
Marcus W
11. toryx
I still can't get behind the Ituralde love. I get that he's awesome and implacable and brilliant. But the kind of argument that he makes...

Sometimes, surrender wasn’t worth the cost. No man welcomed death, but there were far worse ends for a soldier. Abandoning one’s homeland to invaders... well, Ituralde couldn’t do that. Not even if the fight was impossible to win.

Well you know, there are still people all over the world who have been fighting the same battles for millenia because of that very perspective. Sorry, but it just doesn't make sense to me. Impressed, I am not. That sort of perspective just leads to endless bloodshed where no one gets to live in the land they seem to think is theirs.

More people ought to study Tic-Tac-Toe.
Tricia Irish
12. Tektonica
As you say, Leigh, Rand is right on the edge these days. Snappy, intolerant, scowling, crabby, impatient. However, I don't remember, the last time I read this, that he had these insights:

He was ta’veren. The Pattern bent and shaped around him. And yet, he had quickly learned one thing from being a king: the more authority you gained, the less control you had over your life. Duty was truly heavier than a mountain; it forced his hand as often as the prophecies did. Or were they both one and the same? Duty and prophecy? His nature as a ta’veren and his place in history? Could he change his life? Could he leave the world better for his passing, rather than leaving the nations scarred, torn and bleeding?

Along with his observations about needing Lews Therin and his fear of being consumed by him, Rand does seem to want to be a good person, and leave the world a better place. He is very insightful about his loss of freedom, and being pulled along by Ta'veren forces. Which is so sad. While I was frightened of him here, I was also concerned for him. But as you say, things get a lot worse before they get better.
Marcus W
13. toryx
Anyone who claimed that old age had brought them patience was either lying or senile.

This is probably the key difference between Cadsuane and Verin and the reason I love Verin and don't give a fig for Cadsuane.

In my mind, anyone who makes that kind of statement about patience is a deeply flawed person, particularly one who calls herself a bloody Aes Sedai. All things come to those with patience. Patience and surrender (the key to channeling saidar) go hand in hand. It's a wonder she's ever accomplished anything and no wonder that she's put her foot so wrong with Rand.

Gah! The old lady is batty.
j p
14. sps49
The icon appears to be the Pattern (or Age Lace) breaking up.

Equating Ituralde with terrorists is trying too hard.

I didn't catch Cadsuane's reflection on her "survive 'til the Last Battle" on first read. I don't know how she planned to accomplish that, nor how she knew it was coming (when was the Prophecy about the Last Battle coming in the lifetime of sisters now living? must look it up). I also like her thought on Semirhage's similarity to her- ha ha!

And Ituralde is certainly right in that it is really hard to win if you surrender. If decades go by; maybe.
Birgit
15. birgit
And no Rand does not remember Tuon or Fortuona at the meeting even when she asks about Matt.
He does remember:
"Mat?" he said. "You know Mat? How...""
He kidnapped me," Tuon said. "And dragged me most of the way across Altara."
The Dragon Reborn gaped, then shut his mouth. "I remember now," he said softly. "I saw you. With him. I did not connect you to that face.
TGS ch. 35
Kimani Rogers
16. KiManiak
Thanks, Leigh! Yeah, the short version summary of these chapters would be along the lines of Rand thinking his life is sucky and Cads perception of Semirhage showing us a creepy, scary Forsaken.

Being aware of some change to your mind (your personality, who you are) is pretty frightening and depressing, but it is indeed even worse if you know its happening and there’s not a thing you can do to change it. I often flash in these situations to a Flowers-for-Algernon type scenario where being aware of what you have lost/are losing/will lose is even worse then the actual loss.

The example of the lines between fantasy and reality blurring is also a good example, and also kinda freaky. It’s obviously not to the same magnitude, but it parallels times when I’ve dreamed something that I thought was so real, that my mind had treated it like a memory of an actual discussion or event until some aspect of reality (conversation, news report, etc) would remind me of what actually happened. Talk about freaky.

Ituralde. The man is impressive. I know that the Great Captains’ qualities and validity have been discussed (and some have even been challenged) multiple times on the reread, but I don’t think I’ve ready anyone critique Ituralde or challenge his right to the title.

It is kind of cool to have just how impressive he is spelled out to the reader (defeated an army 3x his size, which also had damane; earned the respect of a Seanchan general and the realization that the Seanchan would be forced to focus a lot of energy on trying to kill him dead; the fact that he fights a “lost cause” because he wants to inspire a potential rebellion from future generations of his people; etc).

Hi Egwene; hi Leane; hi unimpressive Yellow Sisters guarding Leane. And that’s all I really have to say about that portion of the chapter, for now.

neuralnet@7 – re: chapter icon – I always saw it as cracks in glass or metal or the like. I think this is usually assigned to Rand (cracks showing in his “hardness”) but it could probably apply to cracks in the Pattern.

ryan@3 and lostbannerman@8 – Rand does eventually put it together that Tuon was the one he saw in his vision of her and Mat and (kind of) tells her so when they meet: “I remember now…I saw you. With him. I did not connect you to that face.” (A Halo of Blackness, TGS)

Edit: And I see that birgit got there first, while I was typing this. Well done.
ryamano
17. AndrewB
Not much to say that has not already been said (especially about on on-camera example of Ituralde's military genius).

When I first read the Egwene/Leane scene, I had trouble determining whose viewpoint the scene was. I took me a couple of times re-reading the scene to realize that it was a Leane viewpoint chapter. Did anybody else have that problem? Or am I just a little slow on the up-take?

Thanks for reading my musings.
AndrewB
aaron thompson
18. trench
@ 7 I think that symbol is pattern unraveling. It always heads up a chapter that has a bubble of evil in it.
Alice Arneson
19. Wetlandernw
Chapter icon: torn lace. Not sure how it can be seen as anything else... one of those things that "once you see it, you can't miss it."

One of the things I like about RJ's characters is that no one is perfect. They all have real-people-type flaws. (It's my one quibble with Verin. We know she made a mistake 70 years ago, but it was apparently the only one... I love her, but she's almost too perfect. *sigh*) That's one of the reasons I liked the Cadsuane portrayal in this chapter. While she might not be a person any given reader would necessarily like, her comments about patience are completely in keeping with her character. If she had said the opposite, it would be totally OOC. She has learned that what must be endured, can be endured - but it's just not her personality to meekly accept someone else's definition of "must" without seeing what she could do change it. Sometimes I wish I was more like her, at least in that regard.

At least she's honest with herself, which is more than can be said for some.
ryamano
20. deBebbler
I liked how you managed to reference Galaxy Quest twice in this post.

Good job, my girl.
ryamano
21. ryamano
HArai@9

Here's the betrayal part:

Ituralde has several Taraboner men, who are the Dragonsworn he met in the prologue of KoD, go to the Seanchan side and swear oaths to them. Later, in the epilogue of KoD, he attacks several Seanchan outposts with a mix of Taraboner-Domani forces. The Seanchan in the attack he witnesses are dismissive of the size of his army and just stand there, hoping the sul'dam and damane do all the work, destroying him. But then the Taraboner auxiliary forces of the Seanchan turn against them, killing the damane and sul'dam with arrows and revealing they were in fact the Dragonsworn of the prologue. The Seanchan are taken by surprise by this, and are flanked (supposed allies on the back, enemies on the front), being destroyed. Ituralde thinks this has happened that way in several other outposts at that same time (this was his plan and that's why the Taraboner dragonsworn consent in the prologue was so important), and prepares for the incoming army the Seanchan will surely send against him.
Sam Mickel
22. Samadai
AndrewB @17

I read it as Egewenes pov too, at first, then when I got to the end of it I had a doubletake and saw that it was Leanes pov.
If I remember correctly, there were a couple of pov's in Towers of Midnight that were the same way for me
ryamano
23. s'rEDIT
I can only assume that the Galaxy Quest references were not obscure enough to engender comment by others. But here I am . . . I finally recognized one of Leigh's allusions. So I had to at least express my appreciation!
ryamano
24. s'rEDIT
Oops! Sorry, deBebbler, you sneaked in while I was typing!
Margot Virzana
25. LuvURphleb
Mengele also experimented on surgically putting adult skulls on children. Thats not on wiki. But since like me you seemed to really enjoy it, leigh, i wanted to tell you that. Im pretty sure that mengele and semirage were the people type who after reading a dictionary decided: "i want to single handly create words like defranestration. I should make that my life goal. Better get started with torturing people."
Or they were simply denied chocolate and unlike a certain someone also deprived of chocolate they didnt want to share. They wanted it all or never found it again.
Hugh Arai
26. HArai
toryx@11: Rolling over in the face of invasion? Only tends to result in less bloodshed because there's no more bloodshed when the invaded side is gone. Tic-tac-toe isn't terribly instructive - it assumes both sides are and always will be equal in strength and that all squares have the same value to both sides. So pretty much as unlike real conflict as you can get.

ryamano@21: Thanks. I would consider that a valid ruse de guerre rather than a betrayal but then, I admit to being biased in Ituralde's favor.
Roger Powell
27. forkroot
Leigh - I believe you are correct that this was Leane's first POV in the series. I used to fret about this a little because I've always liked Leane and yet with no POV's was worrying that RJ was setting her up to be a Darkfriend.

Although this one POV didn't clear her, Verin's project did - much to my delight. Now I can "heart" Leane with no reservations. I share your affection for trusty, competent, loyal sidekicks who don't need to hog the spotlight (Did I mention I heart Dyelin too?)
Stefan Mitev
28. Bergmaniac
Very good chapters overall. Poor Rand, really sucks to be him at this moment. IIRC this is the last time we see Harine, and I can't say I'd miss her at all.

A minor problem for me is that the numbers of those involved in the Ituralde battle are completely ridiculous. Arad Doman is in ruins, the food is spoiling and before that was the unnatural summer, yet somehow Ituralde manages to feed his 100 000 strong army, and the Seanchan have an even bigger one. And the casualties in the battle are even more hard to believe, especially given the One Power wasn't used.
Captain Hammer
29. Randalator
I really don’t think there are too many things that could be worse than to not only be losing my mind, but being aware of it while it’s happening. Imagine it, never being able to trust that your own thoughts aren’t all — just — wrong. Imagine knowing that your ability to tell the difference between reality and fantasy is unstoppably eroding, and that at some point you might not even be able to remember anymore that there was a division in the first place.

Welcome to the happy fun world of dementia. Yes, it's just as sucky as it sounds and then some...


smcyc @10

In retrospect I have always kind of wondered if the swamp between Brown and Novice living area's was really a bubble of 'evil'. First Jordon/Sanderson describes the transfer as 'seamless', not the usual description for BOE when people are directly involved.

I think the public opinion has settled on these events being an effect of the Pattern temporarily destabilising and restabilising due to the stress put on it by the approaching Last Battle. That's how I always read it anyway...
ryamano
30. MyAmyrlin>YourAmyrlin
Yes, but what's your Amyrlin doing about it?
Thomas Keith
31. insectoid
Hot dog, a new post! Thanks Leigh!

Let's see... Rand going bananas...
Semirhage: Creepier and creepier. (Which is kind of like 'curiouser and curiouser', except, well, not.)

...Ituralde again, kicking ass...
Melting episode: I think I had the opposite reaction from Leigh, here, where this creeped me out more than the mural thing. (As an aside, I don't recall any other Leane POVs, but agree that there ought to be more.)

::resists clicking link::

Neuralnet @7: "The Pattern breaking" was my impression, as well.

Eh? Galaxy Quest? It's been waaayyyy too long since I've watched that, don't remember much of it.

Bzzz™.
Cameron Tucker
32. Loialson
Randalator @29
"I think the public opinion has settled on these events being an effect of the Pattern temporarily destabilising and restabilising due to the stress put on it by the approaching Last Battle. That's how I always read it anyway..."



And if the pattern puts the novice quarters in a spot that would do it the most good (so Egwene can some Seanchan butt and save the day), who am I to complain? :D
Hugh Arai
33. HArai
forkroot@27: Agreed about Leane. The one thing against Dyelin is that I can't see how she could believe following Elayne and suffering through the whole succession conflict was better for Andor than taking the throne herself when she had almost unanimous support and an excellent claim.
Alice Arneson
34. Wetlandernw
HArai @33 - Long term view. While the succession was hard on Andor for a short term, she felt Elayne would be a better queen for the long run. And she really didn't want the job.

Of course, she didn't know all we know about the approach of the Last Battle. Given that, it might have been better for her to be queen of an unblemished Andor and then throw its resources wherever Elayne directed, but she didn't know. And she really didn't want the job.
ryamano
35. Loghain'sBrother
Hi Leigh,
Funny that you mention not being freaked by the melting stone as you were by the mural. I'm totally the opposite here.
A picture that changed its image is creepy, but inconsequential.
Stone melting around you,without actually becoming hot or anything...remaining that regular stone you would expect it to be... Gets you to really freak out as you lose your grasp of what is real and what you can rely on to always be there...

@toryx, at the risk of sounding like a right-wing militant: I guess you never had to face a situation where you had to struggle for something that you valued, or completely lose any shred of dignity you ever had giving it up. Or I'll assume you're a extreme liberal: You believe that nations are a silly, outdated concept. I also consider myself rather liberal: I support all rights that I belive humans should have, regardless of color, gender, status or sexual preference. However, I do think that no matter what, even if you don't believe in ideas worth fighting for, some other side does believe in them. And they'll be ready to kill you in a heartbeat if it helps them with their cause. If you think your genes are worthy of evolution, you better protect them.

P.S. I'm not American, and this was a somewhat drunken runt, but I'm not taking it back.
Hugh Arai
36. HArai
Wetlandernw@34: I can see she might feel Elayne would be a better queen for the long run now. But Dyelin made the decision before Elayne proved herself. So yes, she really didn't want the job but you know... maybe take one for the team nation? Hmm. Well if Dyelin gets a pass for her reluctance, Perrin definitely gets one for his. :)
Valentin M
37. ValMar
Bergmaniac @ 28

I'm so glad somebody else, besides me, thought this too! The numbers in this chapter really pulled me out of the story.
For example, Andor could have in total (not put together in one place as one army- major distinction) about 200 000 including levy militia. This is the largest and wealthiest nation, and isn't nowhere near in the trouble Arad Doman is.

HArai @ 33
IIRC, Dyelin doesn't have an heir. This could soon force another succession crisis on Andor when she dies.

Re: Fight or surrender
As someone who, unlike most readers here, is from a small nation located in the middle of one of the most contested regions in history I can say that it's very difficult to advocate surrender. It also depends on who the invader is.
I won't begrudge Ituralde's desire for resistance- it's who he is and what his role in his country is.
But there are a couple of thing to consider:
- how are people faring, in Tarabon and in A Doman? Which is the failed state with people starving? Only us the readers know about the FS.
- The Price. He is the Noble,Patriotic, Aristocratic General who would lead his countrymen in a futile war which will bring an honour to his name which will last for the Ages. What about the nameless death and their families and all others' facing more starvation and retribution after the inevitable defeat?
Remember- Ituralde wasn't expecting his fight to achieve anything tangible (e.g. relief coming, political change in favour of his country, shift in a complicated game of alliances...). He thought he will be crushed eventually. If I'm remembering this wrongly, someone feel free to correct me, please.

But again, a surender is easy to advocate for someone elses country...
John Massey
38. subwoofer
hmmmm... Rodel... could be summed up by another Fan character- " certainty of death, small chance of success- what are we waiting for?" It would be cool if all the GC's had a chance to shine in the light like him.

Rand.... geeze the guy needs a happy pill or something. Maybe you get a paper cut and bleed thatway-gah- you'd think it was the end of the world or something... I am thinking that one of Rand's girls, probably Min, bites it in the end here and the big struggle is if Rand goes loopy again and makes another mountain out of a er... well, where ever he happens to be at the time. Sucks that Min can't have viewings of herself if she looks in a mirror.

Semi- she want's pain? Make her read the Perrin/Faile saga cover to cover- that'll make her talk. Personally I am in the "scorched earth" camp firmly here. Still her, kill her, be done with it already. The only good Forsaken is a dead Forsaken.

Edit- Galaxy Quest FTW- maybe they could construct a rudimentary lathe?

Woof™.
JAMES MCCLELLAN
39. ZEXXES
11. toryx
Well you know, there are still people all over the world who have been fighting the same battles for millenia because of that very perspective. Sorry, but it just doesn't make sense to me. Impressed, I am not. That sort of perspective just leads to endless bloodshed where no one gets to live in the land they seem to think is theirs.
You may feel that way because its not your land thats being invaded or occupied. It's easy to judge on this situation when one hasn't in fact been faced with the death of family members and friends; seen hundreds of lives lost personaly by the hands of an invader; watched helplessly as all that you've built, all that you love and all that you know, perish for the sake of domination. To surrender to that is unnacceptable. The enemy either is defeated and leaves or you die trying for that outcome. If you win, great. If you lose, take as much from them before you go down as you can. Make them pay for all that they gain. Let them question the worth of there endeavor. Let them feel sorrow, at least for a time. Make them wish they never came against you.

Sometimes endless bloodshed is the only way. Attrition is what it is called. Their is no dishonor with defense of family, home and country. Even when the means may be excessive. If your fight is for defense, any means should be persued, giving no quarter. Let all fear to do the same again.

If one is defeated, but the people yet live, it must be decided whether the fight should continue even though defeat has been aknowledged. My estimation would be HOW you were defeated. Was it heinously or honestly fought. There are NO rules in war, but that does not mean a war should be fought despicably so. That is a choice. And so is the choice to surrender or fight on.
Alice Arneson
40. Wetlandernw
HArai - IIRC, Dyelin said at least once that part of her analysis of Elayne was based on watching her grow up under Morgase's tutelage, and seeing even then that she would grow into a fine queen. Combining that with the lack of an heir (particularly one being trained for the throne), she refused to take the throne until Elayne was either proven dead or was missing for too long to wait any more. She rather cleverly forestalled things by accepting the post of Regent until Elayne returned, which meant she could insist on waiting as long as she wanted before deciding that Elayne wasn't going to show.

I like Dyelin. She might just rival Verin as "too perfect to be quite real."
ryamano
41. alreadymadwithrodel
On the size of the armies:
Sometime around this book or the ones before and after this, I got the feeling that the author(s) were starting to expand the available military strength of the nations in the Westlands. As for Ituralde's armies, it is possible he was counting the Taraboners in the 50,000 he lost. Regardless though, that was one badass feat, particularly since we see that he completely outmaneuvered a "modern" Seanchan army complete with exotics, air support and damane. Nobody else can match this. Sure Rand fought the Seanchan army to a standstill but he had Ashaman. All Rodel had was pure awesome. And it illustrates the kinds of feats expected of a Great Captain when he really gets going.
Roger Powell
42. forkroot
Wetlandernw@40
Well, Dyelin and Birgitte are always snipping at each other - there's enough petty stuff to rub a little real world imperfection onto her.

With that said, I actually sympathize with your point. RJ did such a fine job of showing the humanity of the central characters (esp. showing the growth arcs of the younger ones) that when he doesn't do this we get the more one-dimensional "too to be real", or "too competent to be real", or "too wise to be real", etc. characters that are the norm for lesser works of fantasy.

There's other characters like that: Rhuarc, Alise, Saerin, and so forth who are sort of relentlessly competent and from whom we don't see enough self-reflection to make them more believable.
ryamano
43. Ryanus
@Toryx. Not that enough aren't already addressing you.

The issue here is that you're looking at the situation and calling a stance bad because of what backs it.

It's much akin to calling a tool good or bad. A tool is a tool, what you use it for is another story.

Would you, in theory, stand up to defend a helpless person being killed? Even if you knew you had less than 1% chance at actually saving them? Let's make that more personal. Would you make the effort for your spouse or child?

For Ituralde, his country is his life, his family, his child.

Have some people been fanatics and zealots and done evil with the stance of never give up and never surrender? Sure, even in the book we have various Seanchan and we have Masema. But that doesn't make the ideal wrong, it makes individual people who happen to have that stance wrong.
Roger Powell
44. forkroot
amw@41
I'm inclined to think that Ituralde might even be a step above the other GCs. Not that we have enough information to really know, but damn he's good.

The only leader with similar demonstrated competence on screen is, of course, Mat and he's "cheating" with all those memories.
ryamano
45. alreadymadwithmatmemories
forkroot @44
I'm not convinced Mat's cheating all that much. You could memorize all the chess plays in the world, but if you have no feel for the game, it won't make a difference.
Tess Laird
46. thewindrose
Never give up... and never surrender.

Fits for Ituradle as well:)

Dyelin is almost to0 perfect - a competent darkfriend(ftw!).

Rand is showing a definite philosophical view here - bleed through from Moridin.

tempest™
Roger Powell
47. forkroot
amw@45
I'm not disputing Mat's raw intelligence - but he sure took a shortcut to battlefield wisdom by having all that "experience". What's particularly interesting is that he also has the benefit of learning from extreme failure (as in getting personally killed) - not a lesson normally available for reuse to a fighter.

Some of the best business leaders are ones who presided over early business failures and learned from them. Generals who screw up so badly that they get themselves killed, that's different.

While I love Mat as a character (who doesn't?) I am totally in awe of Ituralde as he's garnered all that battlefield wisdom in the course of one life - and managed to stay alive to employ it.
Elijah Foster
48. TheWolfKing
@alreadmadwith...

Are you one person or multiple. I think you are one, but im not sure.

Re; Mat, agreed, he is a natural born Leader.

@everyone

Mark me as a I love Ituralde guy. He just on BA Mofo.

Re: Cads: Get on with the Semi spankin'. Woot! Woot! But seriously, whats the harm in stilling her Rand. It only makes things more simple for you.
ryamano
49. Stevey88
@ZEXXES

hey just like to point out that ive never fought for my country or been in a war or any situation where i needed to defend my family, spouse, etc. While I can understand why there are situations that need to be defended and surrender is not an option and I am not faulting the character at all.
However I like to point out that violences spawns more violence and the no surrender viewpoint is getting to close to no peace with you guys viewpoint. yes yes i know WW1 and WW2 are examples that im glad my country never surrendered to but you have to look at the objectives of the invading force. ww1 was essential royal families feud; britian royal family: look at me i got an awesome empire and kick-ass navy/army, german royal family (related by blood): i want an awesome empire and kick-ass navy/army lets build some more warships and train more troops and then invade every MF in sight = war. WW2 madman wants to rule world and create super white race.

then you look at the Seanchan, yes they have forced slavery for a certain percentage of the population, but what else do they require an oath of loyalty thats it! with that Tarabon and other Seanchan-controlled regions have a sense of stability, local order, food and sound political system. also i point on the damane which i think in the future the Seanchan wont have anymore: 1. the revelation of Suldam being able to channel (or learn to channel) 2. Mat's influence i know his not the most pro-AS but he believes holding them against their will is wrong.

anyway feel free to discuss my views but be kind its my very first comment on tor.com :)
JAMES MCCLELLAN
50. ZEXXES
49. Stevey88

Um so your Ok with slavery? Yeahhhh... I don't think so. I think Imma have to go with no surrender and kill'em all or go away.

OMG!
ryamano
52. macster
Oddly, Harine never bothered me as much of some of the other Sea Folk, like Zaida, Renaile, or Caire. Not that she isn't annoying in her own way, she just never seemed quite as bad to me. Maybe because she's the one who got hit by Rand's ta'veren effect and thus ended up conceding so much to him in her Bargain, so she somehow seems more reasonable because of it. Her confidence in believing in Min's vision is off-putting, but because she didn't gyp Rand the way the other Sea Folk did Nynaeve and Elayne, she comes across to me as less rage-inducing. 'Tis a puzzlement. It's also curious we never learn what her question to Rand was...throw-away bit, or something which may become important later, I wonder?

Rand's desire to leave something behind, to make the world better than he found it or at least offset the destruction he brings, has always been one of the things that makes me love him and identify with him. The School of Cairhien always makes me grin and clap a little when we read about it, just because of the many cool inventions being created there that will surely bring about progress and prosperity; some may argue whether progress is ever good, or whether some of the inventions there could lead to conflict and suffering, but a lot of them, it seems, will be geared toward making people's lives easier and raising the standard of living. And some of them are just...really neat. Unlike some people, this also makes me applaud Elayne's Academy of the Rose--I never saw it as her stealing Rand's idea or trying to do it better, but recognizing the validity of what he was doing and honoring it. I actually found it rather touching.

His thoughts about having no real control over his life and destiny, of course, are at the heart of the series and this book in particular, and drive so much of Rand's dueling despair and determination to do some good before he dies. And Tam will address that, in one of the best moments in the book. I am reminded of Gandalf: "All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us."

Also: Rand's thought to the 'dead' Moiraine that he is trying is so heartbreaking, even knowing what we know about her. We see it again in Chapter 47, that he missed her and wished she were there, and in Chapter 50 when he thinks that everything had gone wrong starting from her 'death'. It makes me so very very excited to see what will happen when he finally meets her alive again in AMoL.

People may complain that Semirhage was a wasted villain who never did anything (I would contest that, both due to her planting the seed in his allies about him hearing Lews Therin's voice, and what she does with the Domination Band), but it certainly can't be denied how terrifying she is. At the same time, I couldn't resist smirking at Cadsuane realizing they were alike, and that to break her she would have to figure out how to break herself. Considering what that method finally entails (the dreaded spanking), I very much look forward to Leigh's commentary on that chapter. Though I expect because Semirhage is evil she'll be okay with it.

Ituralde: is awesome. 'Nuff said. And I do agree he seems to be the only one of the Five Great Captains we ever receive proof of why he has the title. With Niall and Agelmar we just get told about their past exploits, while with Bryne and even Bashere we never really see them in action. I can believe it of them all, especially Bryne and Bashere based on force of personality alone. (Also Bryne's planning with the Salidar army is quite skillful, and Bashere is just cool.) But Ituralde proves it by his actions for certain. Which interestingly reflects well on the other Captains--by seeing how amazing one is, it reveals the others' awesome talents by implication just because they are included in the group. Perhaps that seems like telling rather than showing, or that implication is no substitute for real action, but it's enough for me.

Besides, it is fairly obvious we'll get to see Bashere and Bryne, as well as Ituralde and Mat, in the Last Battle, where they can prove themselves. I hope we'll get to see Agelmar again too; we barely got to know him in TEotW, but I always rather liked him. (Of course he'll probably end up dying, but hopefully he'll do something awesome first.)

Side note though: I can see both sides on Ituralde/the Seanchan--their slavery needs to be stopped (and certain aspects of their culture and society are rather nasty too), but since I am pretty sure those things or at least the slavery will be done away with, and that the Seanchan will be needed for the Last Battle, simply fighting on and sacrificing yourself to try and stop/destroy the Seanchan is in the end both counterproductive and a bit senseless. Both in terms of the Pattern and in terms of logic it would be better to make peace, get them pointed toward the Blight, and then work on changing their abhorrent practices instead of just eliminating them. But, I understand why Ituralde and many others refuse to capitulate and won't let them conquer unimpeded, and I admire him/them for being so true to their beliefs--not their determination to fight and cause bloodshed and violence per se, but that they refuse to just give up and let themselves be conquered.

It isn't necessarily about nationalism or misplaced stubbornness and pride, but about believing your lives and your way of life are worth defending and preserving. If you're so apathetic about yourself, your family, your country, that you'll just roll over and give it up without a fight, that's really not any more admirable than touting the virtues of one's nation and family. It is possible to stand up for what you believe in without insisting it is the best or only way or forcing others to convert to it, and that I think is what Ituralde is doing here.

I've also always liked Leane. I remember being very relieved when she was proven not a Darkfriend by the Oath Rod, though somehow despite not receiving direct proof her POV here convinced me, if none of her previous actions did, that she was good. For one thing, presumably if she had been Black, Alviarin would have made sure she wasn't stilled. Also presumably if she had been Black, stilling her would have removed her oaths to the Dark One--it certainly seemed to for Amico, since she told the truth and betrayed Liandrin and the others. Granted, the Dark Oaths allow betraying fellow BA, but since they were going to Tanchico for the Domination Band which could have been used to turn Rand to the Dark One, surely he would have seen betraying that plan as betraying him, which is why he had Slayer kill her. Of course she had also failed him...gah, philosophical knots are no fun!

Bottom line is, once stilled she did help the Supergirls, which I don't think she'd have done if she were still loyal to the Dark One, so a stilled Leane could also have gone back to the Light to help them--in revenge for the stilling if nothing else. She certainly didn't have a way to reswear the Dark Oaths after being Healed... But in the end, her swearing on the Rod near the end of the book proved her allegiance, so yay!

@Neuralnet: Yes, I immediately thought of tel'maral'ailen, the Web of Destiny, when I saw that icon. It is indeed used for whenever the bubbles of evil tear the Pattern; good examples would be in ToM, both for that patch of Blightland which the Aiel with Perrin find, and for the neighborhood turned to ash which Nynaeve and Naeff investigate in Tear. I think it's one of the more unique and fascinating of the new icons introduced in the recent books.

@smcyc and Randalator: I never even thought about that, how the switching of the quarters was so seamless compared to other changes in reality. I would note that we're told the hallways of the Royal Palace in Caemlyn and also in the Stone of Tear have changed, and while we're not told one way or the other, if the shifting weren't seamless I think it'd have been remarked upon. Didn't someone wake up in a room which suddenly had no door and had to Travel to get out? That must have been a seamless change, and none of those things were beneficial in the end the way the novice/Brown quarters switch was...

That said, it certainly seems interesting that something good could come of such a change. Would that be because even stressed as it is by the Dark One's touch, the Wheel is still trying to weave the Pattern to balance things out? Or could the Creator actually have had something to do with that happening? Though I guess to a point it is moot, since the Creator created the Wheel and the Pattern so even if only the latter is responsible, it's still him by proxy.

@14 sps49: It's in Chapter 8, Shreds of Serenity, from New Spring: Ellid claims she heard Adelorna tell Shemaen that Gitara had a Foretelling about Tarmon Gai'don happening in the lives of sisters now breathing. The hearsay nature of this doesn't prove it was a real Foretelling and not just rumor, but if it was, Cadsuane was definitely around to have heard it and thus know she could conceivably be alive long enough to see it.

@46 thewindrose: I see you're one of those who has decided Dyelin's part in Mellar's 'rescue' of Elayne proves she's a Darkfriend. While it is true that at that point Dyelin wasn't included in Elayne's confidences to the extent a Darkfriend might want, which would explain why the Shadow tried to get another in the Palace, Careane was there too and even with Elayne knowing one of them was Black due to Adeleas/Ispan, she was included in Elayne's conferences as much as the other Aes Sedai. And I rather thought Elayne's talk with Dyelin when she first got to Caemlyn at the end of PoD, being so candid and honest, would have made Dyelin think she did trust her already.

It seems to me that how supportive, good-hearted, trustworthy, and loyal Dyelin is are signs she is not a Darkfriend--not only is it simpler to assume someone is of the Light since that is the default alignment (innocent until proven guilty, after all), the fact she seems too good to be true, which makes many suspect her, seems more like a red herring to me. A lot of people thought Chesa was a Darkfriend too, but she wasn't. Verin was, but only as a mole--she was otherwise as good and wise as she seemed to be. Saerin was proven by the Oath Rod, I've never seen anyone suggest Rhuarc might be a Darkfriend...sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

If Dyelin is Dark, though, count me in the crushed and pissed camp, because I really like her. I'd feel the same way about Bashere, Sorilea, or even Alliandre (though I admit to being suspicious of her, after her POV in ToM).
ryamano
53. Tesla_Sunburn
Sometimes you just have to fight because you couldn't live with yourself if you did nothing. However our great Captain had more reasons to fight. Whether he knew or not. Every Senchan Soldier he killed and every moment he held them up was another man the Senchans other enemies didn't need to kill another moment for the enemy to plan.

He may not have known it would play out this way but he held out long enough for Rand to come hold the line. Who can say what would have happened if the Senchan had been able to take those countries without incident but I doubt it would have favored our heroes.
ryamano
54. Faculty Guy
The problem with numbers in the sizes of the armies reminds me of similar problems in the Hebrew Bible - when Joshua or David led armies of hundreds of thousands of soldiers drawn from a land where the food supply, generated by subsistence-level farming, could hardly have supported many more than that in the entire population. In that case, most scholars think that the word often translated as "thousand" probably refers to "muster unit" and refers to a cadre of soldiers sent from a village, or extended family; possibly a dozen troops.

In the WOT case, I think the numbers are sometimes just "tossed out" without much thought. Even when Rand goes on an adventure and takes along a few hundred Maidens as escort, my mind boggles at how MANY this really is, and how much time/energy/effort would have to be spent just logistically on moving around so many people! This is doubly the case when, instead of Maidens, it is cavalry!

But, as has been pointed out, the real problem in Arad Doman is with feeding tens of thousands of troops in a country which is war-torn and even normal Medieval-level farming is impossible. Just where does the food come from? It would be more realistic, I believe, to cut all the numbers by about a factor of ten.
Dorothy Johnston
55. CloudMist
Uh, where does it say that Dyelin doesn't have an heir? Somewhere, I think in CoT, it's mentioned that Dyelin has had 7 children. Among all those children and possible grandchildren, there should be two or three females.
Valentin M
56. ValMar
CloudMist @ 55

I looked in the Encyclopedia and WOT Wiki and there isn't mentioned anything about any heirs of hers. Not conclusive as such. Maybe someone else knows around here? Or we simply aren't given the information on Dyelin's present family?
Tess Laird
57. thewindrose
CloudMist ValMar - There is not much known about Dyelin's family, and she has had 1 POV in the series so far(unless I am missing one from the tGS or ToM?). The POV is Kairen Stang meeting with her in LoC chp 43 - trying to convince her that only the Salidar AS can ensure the return of Elayne.
She became High Seat of her house at 15 after her father was killed.

tempest™
Rich Bennett
58. Neuralnet
One of the things I am really curious about is the relationship between Rand's two wounds and how that will be resolved/come into play at the last battle. Somewhere I could swear I read that Robert Jordan said the Shadar Logoth/Mashadar taint is the opposite of the taint on saidin and that they are attracted to each other... thats why the cleansing had to occur at Shadar Logoth. I am wondering if the two taints inside of Rand will somehow be used to seal the bore or fight the dark one. We have already seen rand use the True power I wonder if we will see a situation where a female character can channel using mashadar (or if that is even possible)

"...two wounds in Rand’s side that would not heal—a gift from Padan Fain’s cursed dagger—still lingered as a reminder of that day. The constant pain of that festering evil overlaid the equal pain of an older wound beneath, the one Rand had taken while fighting Ishamael so long ago.."
john mullen
59. johntheirishmongol
While I agree that Itualde is pretty awesome, and agree that there are things that are worth fighting for, I much prefer to make the other guy die for his cause. I also felt that adding another major character this late in the series (or increasing his footprint) was a mistake.

I do think its much creepier to have the ground shift out from underneath you that to have a picture change.

Love the Galaxy Quest reference. If you haven't seen it, and you know ST:TOS at all, you really need to watch it. Also, good timing, since Tim Allen's new series began yesterday.

Semi is pretty creepy. It does crack me up that the final solution to break her involves another spanking. I don't know how you consider that anything but another form of torture.
Rob Munnelly
60. RobMRobM
Count me as another one unaware of any Dyelin children/heirs. Can anyone supply the quote supporting that she has seven kids? I'm absolutely opposed to any theory she is a Darkfriend - don't buy it, will be shocked and upset if proven wrong in AMOL.

Re the chapters generally, I find all of Rand's chapters in this book emotionally painful - and so I spend little time on them. Nothing to say, move it along, move it along. Ituralde's bit in the next chapter was very nice - he's a well written character in limited screen time.

The Leane/Egwene bit was strange and not all that enjoyable. I'm not a big fan of these weird bubble of evil manifestations - switching towers, changing patterns in wall hangings and, yes, Mat's adventure later in the book. It's just too darned precise to be believable - I can accept a random bubble that kills people and, to a lesser extent, the turning of a prison floor into marshmellow but to actually seamlessly switch the novice and Brown sister apartments or have a town that rises from the dead each morning.... *scratches head*.
Valentin M
61. ValMar
Looks like it's simply isn't known whether Dyelin has heirs or not. A bit strange omission from the books given how important this could've been in Dyelin's decision to refuse the Crown and the others' to offer it to her. Without heirs Dyelin is a good short-term ruler to steady things and in a few years the others can have another go at the cake. Oh yes, it should read without Female heirs.
One question- what if a House has as its head a man, but he has a younger sister. In a Succession could the sister claim the throne? I guess, once a House has set its Head, only it (i.e. she) can claim, without possibility of a switch.

Re: stuff moving around with the coming of TG.
I too find the switching of architecture rather too clean, like RobMx2. The coming zombie scene is way too precise and elaborate. One reason why it doesn't affect me too much is because I simply cannot relate to it. I cannot really imagine how would I feel in such a strange and extraordinary circumstances, specifically with the changes of architecture.
Nadine L.
62. travyl
Regarding Dyelin (@ Wetlandernw 34, 40., forkroot 42. and others):
I do as well hope that Dyelin proves true (meaning not being a Darkfriend) but no matter if she has an heir or not - (I believe she is of the same age as Morgase, and it's clearly stated that Morgase is young enough to still bear Children) - for me, her actions of supporting Elayne weren't comprehensible. The only explanation I always came up with, was that she was moved by Rand and didn't want to go against him (Am I remembering correctly that she might surmise Rand's blood-connections to the andoran loyalty?).
- forkroot's point that there are other characters like Saerin or Alise is good, but these other characters are less conflicted: Dyelin is freely offered a position of great power and she firmly stays behind Elayne, when it's still unclear how this could work out in a good way.

@ ValMar 61. I have no reference to prove me, but I always thought that the head of Houses could be male of female while Queen of Andor is always to be a women. No idea how the heads are Chosen. - But Nean (or is it Elenia?) is no Head of the house, instead her Husband is, and she is contesting for the throne, so I think with the support of your Head's house you could go for the throne, being the younger sister

@ ZEXXES: your point about fighting on no matter what, sound a lot like an argument any subdued party is taking in present history (including terrorists) - the only effect I see is that a war can't be won anymore.
Sorcha O
63. sushisushi
Re: Dyelin. I wasn't aware that she had any children, and don't recall any niece or nephew type heirs even being mentioned, either. Which is actually kind of odd, if you think about it, as Taravin is supposed to be one of the strongest Houses in Andor. To me, that would assume more than one surviving member, in order to keep that position in the 25-odd years that Dyelin has been in charge (assuming she's 40ish). But we've had no mention of any other Taravins, other than Dyelin herself and not much mention of her history, other than being a supporter of Morgase and inheriting at 15. Which is kind of odd, because maybe I've been reading too much Game of Thrones, but I would have thought that the teenage or twenty-ish Head of one of the strongest Houses in the country would have had suitors forming a line all the way to the Cairhien border (and probably past it). Maybe there was and she did, but we just haven't heard about it. Maybe there is a Mr. Dyelin back on her estate, keeping the wheels turning, or she's a widow, but it *is* kind of odd that we hadn't heard anything even in passing, given the level of detail usual in this series (I have a pet theory that Mat and his elaborate back-stories later on was actually RJ doing a type of Mary Sue, or at least a comment on his own writing :)
Birgit
64. birgit
The switched parts of the Tower must have been the same size with at least the outside walls in the same places. Or did some Brown get out of bed and step into the air? That way there would have been holes in the Tower before the Seanchan attack. If floor tiles can be half in one place and half in another, what happens if a person stands in the wrong place? Can rooms only change places with other rooms, or could part of a house end up in the forest or in the air/underground?
Hugh Arai
65. HArai
ValMar@61: I suspect it's simply author's choice. Jordan wanted Elayne as Queen, so Dyelin supports her fully no matter how unsatisfying I find it. If it's a given that Dyelin's commitment to Elayne being the Queen is unbreakable, it just doesn't matter if Dyelin has an heir or not so Jordan left it out.

As for your other question, I don't have anything specific from the books to back it up, but since the claim to the throne is based on blood ties to the outgoing queen and Ishara, I suspect being able to claim doesn't depend on being Head of a House or not. Now, if that woman wanted to win the throne, she had better be able to count on her brother's full backing.

@various - Logistics does not seem to be a strong point for many authors of epic fantasy. They just seem to be compelled to use huge numbers for armies even when they had to know better like Jordan did. I found it interesting that Sanderson deals with this in Way of Kings by explicitly giving his armies the ability to conjure vast amounts of supplies, but Jordan never provided the room to do something similar in the WoT.

travyl@62:
@ ZEXXES: your point about fighting on no matter what, sound a lot like an argument any subdued party is taking in present history (including terrorists) - the only effect I see is that a war can't be won anymore.
Not sure what you mean by "anymore". It has never, ever, been as simple as two sides fight, one side wins, and then it's over forever after with no continuing effects.
Daniel Goss
66. Beren
@RobMRobM 60

I had never really thought that most of these things were 'bubbles of evil.' As far as I can tell, we have two seperate forces causing similar but distinct random events. Bubbles of Evil seem to be about random death, decay and destruction. Rooms melting, clerks beetle-ing, mirrors matching, that kind of thing is easily attributable to the Dark One's influence floating across the Pattern and popping up in different ways. On the other hand, we have the problems with rooms moving, whole towns moving, towns disappearing, residents of towns going insane and eating your bloody face. This would seem to indicate a less malicious, but still chaotic issue of the Pattern Of All Creation breaking down as Tarmon Gaidon approaches.

Note that I said less malicious, not less dangerous. Remember Nynaeve being in a room when the walls disappeared, and certainly the poor peddler who sank into the ghost city might not appreciate the distinction. The distinction is there, however. Pattern-breakdown events appear to be random fluctuations in geography, time, or other such things that, while possibly dangerous to those caught in one, are not actively malicious. If you get caught in a bubble of evil, however . . . well, you're probably gonna die if you can't think on your feet.

-Beren
(edited for "where did all my spaces go?")
Stefan Mitev
67. Bergmaniac
I've always found Dyelin's behaviour logical, maybe because if I had the option to choose a position in a feudal type society, I'd also pick to be a powerful high noble instead of a king. Being a king, if you don't want to be a figure head, is a really tough and time consuming job with huge responsibilities and I'd still have plenty of money and power as a high noble.

Then there's also the fact even though Rand didn't want to get involved directly, he still made it public that he'd prefer Elayne on the Lion Throne. Given that he had a huge army sitting right next to Caemlyn, a bunch of channelling men under his control, not to mention the ability to turn Caemlyn on his own if he wanted to, it's a good idea not to try his patience and restraint unnecessary. Then there's the Aes Sedai, who would prefer one of their own on the Lion Throne.

And even if Dyelin had made a claim for the Lion Throne, the Succession war would have probably still happened. IIRC she had 3 other High Seat definitely supporting her, another 2 were leaning towards her, but were not certain. Arymilla's group of 6 were clearly against her, and who knows whether the 4 young High Seats would've gone supported her if she had asked their Houses for that instead of acting on Elayne's behalf.

CloudMist @55 - you're probably thinking of Monaelle, one Aiel Wise Ones who were in Caemlyn, it's mentioned a few tims in Elayne's chapters that Monaelle has 7 children.
Marcus W
68. toryx
HArai @ 26:

I never advocated rolling over in the face of invasion. And I'm not comparing Ituralde's scenario to Tic-tac-toe because that's obviously ridiculous. Rather, I was attempting to reference the purpose of the game: to teach children that some games aren't worth playing. Maybe I should have used Snakes and Foxes instead, but I liked the Wargames allusion.

As you might have noticed, my post quoted Ituralde's thought that he couldn't stop fighting even if it was impossible to win. My thought is that if Ituralde was such a brilliant leader of men, he'd know something as elementary as the lesson that a child's game can teach. Alas, what is obvious to me is heresy to others.
To Other Reponders to my post @ 11:

I must confess, I am highly amused at all the assumptions people have made about me based on a few sentences in a re-read post. The drunken rant in particular made me laugh. Ha! Good times.
Hugh Arai
69. HArai
Bergmaniac@67: I get the reluctant to be Queen part, but if Dyelin is as concerned for the good of Andor as she is made out to be, like I said before - take one for the team. Rand's opinions may have had an effect, but then Dyelin was the one that told him to his face that all Andor would oppose him if he interfered. I'm also unconvinced that having an AS on the throne is best for Andor but maybe Dyelin might think otherwise. I'm not sure Elayne has thought that through yet for that matter.

As far as the succession - pretty sure the 3 and 2 part was support for Elayne, all 5 were for Dyelin. IIRC those 5 were the heavy hitters too.
Comparing that to Arymilla's group, the two strongest of whom where only there because Dyelin had already arrested them once, and I don't think there would have been much to the "war".
You're right the 4 young High Seats might not have been as strong for Dyelin as for Elayne, but then Ellorien (who is much more influential) would have supported Dyelin but refuses to support Elayne.

Anyway, the main point is that like a lot of Andor's powerful nobles I would have picked Dyelin over Elayne if Dyelin herself accepted that as an option. That's not actually intended to knock Elayne. I just think Elayne is too caught up with Rand, the White Tower and the coming events to make as good a Queen of Andor. Much like Darlin makes a much better King of Tear than Rand does a King of Illian.
Hugh Arai
70. HArai
toryx@68: Well look at the half of Ituralde's thoughts you didn't quote (emphasis mine):

He did what needed to be done, when it needed to be done. And right now, Arad Doman needed to fight. They would lose, but their children would always know that their fathers had resisted. That resistance would be important in a hundred years, when a rebellion came. If one came.

Your "elementary lesson" only makes sense in this situation if it doesn't matter why you fought and how you lost. Ituralde doesn't agree with you and neither do I. You can dismiss it if you like.
Valentin M
71. ValMar
HArai @ 65

About logistics, I think RJ is not bad. Up to TGS the only massive armies were the Aiel- who are Super Human, and ones assembled by Rand, who addressed logistics carefully + had "Magic", i.e. Gateways. The Seanchan are extremely efficient and organised and haven't really put huge forces at the same place.
In fact, RJ was practically always concerned with the supplies of the armies he wrote about. Wagons, boats sailing on the river along the marching army, foraging, etc.
And then we got to this... Eh well, I just pretend a missprint was made.
John Massey
72. subwoofer
Large armies in Randland- well, it's kinda like the big, huge 6'6" Aiel running all day and night, nice in concept, nice to write about, but in real life? meh. RJ's been watching too many Arnold movies from back in the day. Don't get me wrong, I am very happy that forces are amassing to fight the ever growing horde looming in the Blight. Maybe the last book will be one big long fight scene- yay!

For the numbers to actually work? Two words- food, latrines. After a hard winter and drought, there isn't enough food or farmers anywheres to support the troops. And the row of poopers for 100 ooo+ ? Gah! They'd either be digging holes all day long or burning the er... evidence, with a large pile of ... smoke to mark where the washrooms are. Follow the smell.

Woof™.
Elijah Foster
73. TheWolfKing
@72. subwoofer

I was under the assumption that Randlanders never went number 1 and 2. There is no evidence to back it up. O_o I just made a dirty joke ROFL.

Or, if they had them, they could use gateways to get rid of it. Into the Seanchan land it goes.
JAMES MCCLELLAN
74. ZEXXES
@68. toryx

Oh, no, no! See, your advocating passivity in the face of any kind of aggression, as if it is the more evolved or progressive way of thinking. But you are choosing to ignore what comes along with surrendering to an aggressor such as the Seanchan: Slavery, The execution of all male channelers, you must submit to their cast system of society where you are what you are unless someone of authority i.e. above your status says different, whether favorable or unfavorably; which could include you being enslaved.

Now I for one would refuse to except surrender under those terms. For no one has the right to except for another, submission to slavery. If my leader did so without my express permission I would kill that leader the very first chance I got or died trying. We're not even talking about the fact that some people, countries, empires, have no desire to make peace with you. The Germans would've killed every non-causasian on the planet. So what, you'd be ok with that as long as you were caucasian? If the South had it's way, there'd likely still be slaves in this country. Are you ok with that as long as your a White person? Hey, some Muslims extremists want to kill every heathenous non-believer on the planet and enslave every female on the planet because some holy book says so. You wouldn't fight against that either?

Tic Tac Toe? Yeah.... I got the War Games bit. Thats a MAD scenario your talking about ( just in case you don't know that's Mutually Assured Destruction). That Is a "easy as tic tac toe" scenario. Conventional war is never that easy. Surrender in general is always the last option, even if there is just three. If there are only two options then it depends on what conditions living means or whether you prefer death to that option. The Japanese were given a good deal, and they took it. But only after being faced with eminent, unpreventable, extermination, otherwise known as Genocide. But would they have surrendered, if they were told they'd be slaves as a condition? I think not.

So you go and surrender and be a slave and I'll fight to the end and be free doing it. And if I win, I'll come free you. How about that. I'll even bring some ointment for those welts on your back.
John Massey
75. subwoofer
Sooo how does that work exactly? We have channelers with the special skill to weave gateways, maybe the Kin, and when you go to the loo, they weave a gateway, you balance on the edge, or if the gateway cuts, perhaps a wooden seat, then your bum is hovering over no man's land and you do your thing, hoping whatever is on the other side dosen't bite...

And where does toilet paper enter into this equation? There would be a lot of bare trees, bushes, shrubs to accomodate 100 000 bums.

Perhaps some channeling experts could figure this out. Seems like an undiscovered er... talent.

Woof™.
Stefan Mitev
76. Bergmaniac
@Harai - it shouldn't be overlooked that Dyelin didn't expect that Elayne would have to go through a Succession war when she came back to Caemlyn. That's made pretty clear in WH's prologue. She underestimated how much Morgase has alienated the other strong supporters of House Trakand and expected the High Seats who ended up being neutral during the siege to come to support Elayne and thus give her a decisive advantage. So from her point view she was avoiding a Succession war by siding with Elayne.

Aiel's logistics are pretty absurd throughout, especially on their march towards Cairhien in TFOH. It was almost 700 000 Aiel in total who came to Cairhien, Shaido included, and the realm was already ravaged by the long civil war, yet they were somehow managing to feed themselves.
Roger Powell
77. forkroot
OK - This is totally subwoofer's fault.

(EDIT: To get the correct original songwriter!)

I herewith present with abject apologies to Jimmy Dean:

Every morning at the camp, all the soldiers got up
Ate their beans and their sausage from a grubby tin cup
When their guts started twisting from that fibrous feed
Then everybody shouted out "you know what we need?
A Big John"

Big John
Big John
Big Bad John
Big John

So they dug a huge pit and they built a big shack
There was twenty-eight holes in two-story stack
Had to bring your own paper or some animal pelts
Or a letter from home if you had nothing else
to Big John.

Big John
Big John
Big bad John
Big John

Well an Army only runs on it's stomach, it's said
But there's output from input that calls for a head
like Big John
As the days went by and that pit filled in
you would do what you could to remain upwind
of Big John

Big John
Big John
Big Bad John
Big John

Then along came the day that some dumb ass
had his burning tobacco light the sewer gas
As the men scrambled out and tried to fight the fire
they soon realized it was the funeral pyre
of Big John

The flames rose up, there was nothing to do
and the smoke from the fire was a hideous blue.
So the firelight shone on the faces of men
who knew in their hearts they'd never crap again
in Big John

Big John
Big John
Big Bad John
Big John

Now they never re-opened that festering hole
they just sealed it with dirt with a shallow knoll
And they posted a sign about the former pit:
"At the bottom of this hole lies a BIG pile of sh*t!"

Big John
Big John
Big Bad John
Big John.
Roger Powell
78. forkroot
I apologize to everyone for whom I have now ruined that song forever.
ryamano
79. Caveatar
I think you mean Jimmy Dean. (The sausage guy and writer of the song you .....rewrote. :D
Elijah Foster
80. TheWolfKing
@forkroot

Hahaha, thats funny.
:::wipes tears away:::

@subwoofer

Yeah something like that.
ryamano
81. Stevey88
@ ZEXXES
Thanks for you comments. Of course i condemn slavery of any kind however maybe im looking at this in a 21st century outlook. nowadays there is no reason for violence to solve this issues. in fact is I/myself personally would not be comfortable fighting and killing other people (maybe comfortable is the wrong word sorry but cant find the right word at the moment)

what i want to highlight is that violence isnt the only way to resist oppressors, in WOT the tinkers (True Aiel) and the way of the leaf show great strength in the face of destruction and invasion. During the Breaking thousands sang and died to help a cities inhabitants escape an insane channeller and the are other instances during the War of the Shadow (i think and i forgot the book and chapters). In real-life there are multiple figures that gain freedom and independence without using violence examples are Nelson Mandela and Gandhi to name two.
Roger Powell
82. forkroot
Caveatar
Yep - Sorry about that. Jimmy Dean was indeed the original artist, Johnny Cash did a cover of the song.

I'll edit the post to fix the lead-in apology :-)
JAMES MCCLELLAN
83. ZEXXES
Yes there are times such as those. Nelson Mandela and Gandhi were great men. But Gandhi did incourage his people to defend themselves as soldiers, though he himself would not do violence to another. And Mandela himself helped to organize the group "Spear of the Nation" to fight Apartied and was eventually jailed for his groups violence against the South African government. Mandela also aknowledged the need for violence if passivity is not a livable option and negotiation is not productive.

But do you think that non-violence would work in Somalia. Those are peaceful people dying by the thousands. In one month 30,000 of them died. That tribe of the Somaili people are almost Extinct. You do get that word don't you. And all because we civilized 21st century peoples don't want to dirty our iPhone 4S carrying hands to save them. No, its not enough sometimes. Sometimes you either have to fight or except death or whatever they choose to do with you.

Do you know the story of The Battle of Thermopylae and its importance in history? 300 the movie stretches it a bit (a lot actually) but shows the example of Ituralde and his thinking. Those seven days of Leonidas and the Spartan 300 with there very few allied forces (the bulk of the Greek army were defending the ports, while the navy matched and eventually defeated Xerxes' navy which could not have happened had Leonidas not held at Thermopylae), are an example of the courage to defend even in the face of death. 7,000 vs. 300,000.... Seven Days, 3 battles. For country, home and family. If Greece had fallen, had surrendered, where would this world be?
JAMES MCCLELLAN
84. ZEXXES
I would go so far as to say that if Leonidas had failed to hold, we wouldn't be having this converation about Ituralde. As me thinks Ituralde is loosely based on Leonidas.
Thomas Keith
85. insectoid
Sub @72/75, WK @73, Fork @77: ::laughing too hard to answer coherently::

Thanks for the hilarious derail, guys. XD

Bzzz™.
ryamano
86. Staizer
On another topic that I have had boiling in my brain for some time...

About perrin and faile,

I used to hate how faile treated perrin but I think I understand the relationship a lot better.

Let me explain with a brief recap: Faile was a royal heir to her fathers estates, she was third, or fourth in line to inherit. She was trained in all matter of court niceties and dealing with people. Perrin on the other hand was an average Joe. Absolutely nothing was special about him until one day he discovered he could talk to wolves, could see and smell and hear very well, and would probably go insane from losing his humanity.

Both of them left home at about the same time, timing doesn't really matter. They are about the same age. Perrin traveled north where faile traveled south. He thought the north was weird and left almost immediately. Faile thought the south was weird but she was hunting for the horn and stayed south. She was probably being courted by men in the south and could handle herself quite well with them even if they were odd.

But then came along perrin, he could smell her feelings, he guessed secrets about her no other man had been able to detect so of course she had to follow him, he practically reeked of adventure.

Perrin is still getting used to his abilities at this point. Let me add something VERY important here. Empathy, or smelling emotions is NOT mind reading. But perrin has been able to guess correctly time and again so he thinks about it as if It IS mind reading.

Now for a hypothetical scenario: Perrin just did something he considered evil. At the same time someone told faile she was a slit and a whore, slapped her in the face and left. Perrin comes walking up to the tent and smells failes fury. He automatically assumes it is because of him. He walks in and apologizes. Faile, having discovered perrins ability to detect emotions knows he knows she is angry, but now she wonders why he is apologizing. She decides to investigate after talking with perrin. She tells perrin it was nothing and to not worry about it. Perrin keeps pushing asking for her to accept his apology and not be angry anymore. Now she is getting frustrated because she wasn't angry at him but he expects her to be and his apologizing for something she has no clue about is making her angry....

You see why the relationship is the way it is? Perrins largest flaw is the fact that he believes he can read minds through emotions, when all he can read are emotions.

Leigh actually had helped me formulate this with one of her comments on here, and my own roleplay/ RL experiences.

My 2 cents... deuces!
ryamano
87. MrStevey88
@ZEXXES

I'm not knocking Leonidas in fact considering some of Spartans flaws (i.e. slavery) in fact hes one of my heroes as well he defended (accidently) Athens and democracy so you are quite right saying that we would not be having this conversation.
yes I know about some much death in Somalia and other countries and the fact we (developed countries) are doing jack all to help them. which begs the question why is this happening? are we all really that selfish? in word yes we could do alot more to help but why we dont is that we convince ourselves (me included) that we have our own lives and make excuses just ignore it. which is one of (i like to emphasise the words 'one of') reasons that there is much corruption and terrorism in the world. what if we did/do help alot less fortunate than ourselves? my guess is the world would be a more peaceful place though im not senile yet to think that all wars and violence will vanish but it would be better no?
anyway no offense but im ready to wrap this up before we invite some less unfornuate-less openminded people into this debate. which will lead to something like:

A: Violence is wrong
B: Coward/Wuss
A: Idiot Thug (swear words)
B: (swear words)
etc.

:D anyway nice chatting with you
JAMES MCCLELLAN
88. ZEXXES
@86. Staizer

I like the sound of that. But I would say its less Perrin thinks he can read minds because of his abilities, as more being so used to assuming he knows the meaning of the emotions he's reading, that he jumps to conclusions.

He just needs to be more patient with his honesty. He is easily the most honest in all Randland. And I like to think that it is this quality that has kept Faile by his side all this time. Mainly because she doesn't understand it. It infuriates her, so she feels that somebody has to protect his own honesty from himself. So why not her? They're perfect for each other!
Heidi Byrd
89. sweetlilflower
On the war subject, you must remember than the Seanchan view a percentage of the population as less than human. There is no negotiation possible if one side will not even recognize the basic humanity of the other side. The conflicts in Somalia are an excellent example of this behavior, as are most civilizations that condoned slavery. If noone opposes the Seanchan, then they will never question their beliefs and way of life. We see this with regular Seanchan folk who come into contact with Randlanders willing to fight alongside channelers. Also, Alivia is a good example. She sees that her channeling does not make her less than human because there are other channelers that hold respected positions and nonchannelers are fighting along side them.
Ituralde is providing a valuable service, even if it costs his life and the lives of his soldiers. He understands this position, and he should be commended for it. Yes, war is messy and sometimes futile. However, it is also sometimes necessary.
Alice Arneson
90. Wetlandernw
@59 – spanking as torture - We’ll talk about it in detail when we get there, but it wasn’t the pain that broke Semirhage, it was the humiliation of being treated like a naughty child instead of being feared like the legend she considered herself.

@several – I haven’t yet done a thorough search, but so far have found no proof of either heirs or no-heirs for House Taravin. I’ll check around a bit more thoroughly. Anyway, Dyelin didn’t want the throne and thought Elayne was going to become a great queen. She’d have taken it anyway, though, if Elayne had given any indication that she thought she could take it because of Rand’s support.

TheWolfKing @73 – Hey, I like that idea. “Flush” the latrines via Gateway to Seanchan. Or the Blight, that would be good. Feed the worms. Maybe not. Seanchan, then.

forkroot, you are the best!! I don’t hear that song much any more, but now it will always remind me of you and WoT. :)
Thomas Keith
91. insectoid
Wetlander @90:
Or the Blight, that would be good. Feed the worms. Maybe not.
Why not feed the Worms? All they have to eat up there are Trollocs, Fades, and red-veiled "Aiel". (Actually, I'm not sure about that last one...)

(edited to remove extra spaces that appeared outta nowhere...)

Bzzz™.
Grainne McGuire
92. helen79
@77, @78 forkroot.

Brilliant.

That song has previously been dragged toilet direction in a TV ad - "Big Bad Dom" for Domestos, a household bleach commonly used for cleaning toilets. Big bad John is much better.
ryamano
93. Chewbacca
@74. ZEXXES

And there's plenty of Americans only too willing to drop bombs on Muslims of any persuasion - because they think Muslims are subhuman because they're not American, or even (in most cases) European.

I get the feeling at times that RJ was taking a mighty hefty swing at a lot of American attitudes with the Seanchan - atttitudes that nobody notices, but that give you a hell of a fright when you look at their analogs in other cultures. Ie, read some of the MidWest newspapers on Sitting Bull, Der Sturmer, and a lot of what passes for analysis of the Muslim and Arab worlds in the West, and from the vicious attacks on Sitting Bull for merely having the temerity to defend his people and his land, to Der Sturmer on Jews having the temerity to exist, let alone to disagree - sometimes violently - with the then-usual European attitudes towards religious and ethnic minorities, to the modern-day West on Arabs and Muslims having the temerity to disagree that the West knows what's best for everyone, there's not a hell of a lot of difference.

I mean, didn't you know that Adolf Hitler started the first acknowledged War on Terror? Substitute "Communists" for "Terrorists" and remember that nobody in the European or American elite considered there was any difference - and there's no difference between Operation Barbarossa and Bush's Operation Enduring Slavery and Operation Iraqi Slavery. Nothing except the rhetoric - the propaganda's much the same ...

Chewbacca the Blessed, spouse of our Sweet Lord Jerry Cornelius.
Dorothy Johnston
94. CloudMist
#67

You're right, that's the exact passage in WH I finally found after flipping thru 3 books. Elayne's thinking about Dyelin's advice that pregnant woman need fresh air and exercise, then a few lines later Aviendha's talking about Monaelle's 7 children. Result: one false fused memory. As far as Andoran succession rules go, I'd imagine that any close female relative -- as long as she's of sufficient age -- of the Head of the House could make a strong claim for the throne. A third cousin of the Head's mother's great aunt wouldn't have a chance.
ryamano
96. macster
@Subwoofer and forkroot: ROTFL!!! *wipes away tears of mirth* Thank you...thank you so much.

@ZEXXES: May I just say I admire you greatly? Thanks for proving my point, that people can believe something is worth fighting for/against and provide an example of bravery and defiance in the face of adversity and oppression to future generations, without becoming rabid patriots.

...and speaking of patriots, here come the America bashers again. Also, Godwin's Law. Though to be fair, the points raised are disturbing yes. But as was pointed out (by Leigh herself, may I remind everyone), just because Seanchan has some things in common with some people in America/the West does not mean the two cultures are identical or that everyone here thinks that way. The Seanchan may be viewed as a cautionary tale for our times and what we may become if we don't guard against extremist thinking of any harmful kind, but that should hardly be taken as an outright blanket condemnation of America/the West or an indictment of its way of thinking. Its something to be wary of, but it's not a one-to-one correspondence either.

@94 CloudMist: "A third cousin of the Head's mother's great aunt wouldn't have a chance."

Surely you mean her great aunt's sister's niece's cousin's former roommate?
Hugh Arai
97. HArai
Bergmaniac@76: You've convinced me, I think. An over-estimate of Elayne's support combined with not wanting the job would likely keep Dyelin from declaring for the throne. Good. Now I can just like her without reservations :)

forkroot@77: Well played sir.

macster@96: For Andor and Dark Helmet!
ryamano
98. midwest
It is interesting to see the different viewpoints regarding the fighting at all costs, the good and bad of the Seanchen. One thing I think that we need to remember is that the story takes place in a different time. Life and death were common things back than. If the villages crops failed people died. Children died of diseases frequently. People had a harsher view of things at times. They has to work long hours just to get by. The avg. joe did not have a lot of free time to spend on philosophical debates.

One thing that many people want to do is just avoid conflict. Look at the number of refugees whenever there is a conflict these days. Yes the Seanchen had horrible slavery, but for the farmer who was just trying to sell his crops and raise a family any peace may be good if he is left alone. My example (maybe not the best)would be all the people have crappy jobs or work for companies or bosses that they do not like. They stay there because they need the money. I think we have all seen injustice occuring that we could have intervened in but failed to because "we didn't want to get involved".

I have kids, and this changes how I would have responded 10 years ago. My 1st priority is keeping them safe, than myself, and finally others. If there was a civil war, I don't know if I would fight if it meant that they would not have a provider and protector.

My 2 cents to stir the pot.
ryamano
99. Greenish-Yellow Ajah
As a mental health therapist working mainly with schizophrenia and severe mood disorders, I see people every day who go through times when they get what's happening to them and times when they're too symptomatic to realize it. I feel worse for them a lot of times than for the ones who are always floridly psychotic, especially since every relapse lowers the baseline that they return to after the relapse.
Valentin M
100. ValMar
Ha, finally, it's been a slow day with the comments ;)

macster @ 96

Chill out, there's been just one "America basher", that I can see.
Elijah Foster
101. TheWolfKing
@90. Wetlandernw

The Blight would be good. Hmmm, what other places are a good place to flush the latrines. Here are a few-
Elaida's Office
The Seanchan Royal Palace
The Throne Room in the Tarisin palace (For all those Seanchan HighBlood)
Sevanna's tent
Taim's office
The Pit of Doom
Some annoying Sea Folk's bedrooms
Weiramons bedroom
And Graendal's fortess before it was balefired

Maybe you guys can think of some.
Elijah Foster
102. TheWolfKing
Imagine what the Seanchan would do if it did get flushed there.

"Lord Turan, there is a mass accumulation of, well, poop across the continent. Why is this happening?"
Lord Turan looks at the messenger. The man was just a poor farmer that got conscipted into the military when he was nineteen. How could he put this to the man without scaring him out of his wits. Lord Turan could not think of one. Instead, he simply stated "It must be that the Dark One is breaking free."
Tess Laird
103. thewindrose
I see ValMar picked up 100 hunny, off to bed now ol' chap? ;)

It has been slow for comments today, I checked in this morning and it was at 93.

So the spanking issue that someone brought up the other day - Semi getting spanked by Cadsuane. I don't see Leigh having a problem with this one. This isn't an instant of might makes right. This is one person(not even using their actual 'power' the OP) spanking an evil sadistic person who also has that one power(although there is a shield in place.) Or I may be off base - I guess we will find out soon?

tempest™
Sam Mickel
104. Samadai
The Eye of the World, it is just a big open pit now. :D
Alice Arneson
106. Wetlandernw
I like Taim's palace. Perfect location for... more. :) Elaida's new tower would have been good, too.
Hugh Arai
107. HArai
samadai@104:
"Neither the how, nor more of the why than that that need would be the greatest and most desperate the world had faced to that time. Perhaps ever would face."
The need to flush all that dung so they have room for the Last Battle...
Thomas Keith
108. insectoid
Sam @104/HArai @107: And they would call it The John of the World, and anyone could "go" there as many times as needed (as opposed to finding it only once). XD

Bzzz™.
TW L
109. Shadow_Jak
@3
You do Ituralde a grave injustice comparing his methods to Vlad the Impaler and Yasser Arafat. He used unconventional means, true, but he did not torture nor dishonor those he defeated.
He did not target innocents.

Deception and betrayal?
Deception, yes. But who did he betray?

@11
"More people ought to study Tic-Tac-Toe."
Main thing to learn from tic-tac-toe, is that he who makes the first move, never loses.

@21
That's deception, and agreed, it's not exactly playing by the accepted rules of war.
But it's not betrayal. Again, who did he betray?

@101
The obvious place is, of course, The Crystal Throne
DragonMount might also be apt.

But best of all would be to send it straight to Finn-Land...
Who says you can't win at Snakes and Foxes!
Ah the savor!
Elijah Foster
110. TheWolfKing
@109. Shadow_Jak

Crystal Throne- ROFL!
DragonMount- LMAO!
Finn-Land-ROFLMAO!!!
ryamano
111. Wortmauer
Shadow_Jak@109: Ah the savor!
Shadow_Jak WINS. (That was a Mortal Kombat announcer voice, if you couldn't tell.)

Other contenders that didn't quite measure up...
- Illian's Perfumed Quarter
- The Malden aqueduct
- The Dark One's Fiery Toilet
- Various endless empty spaces, such as the Skimming place, the Ways, Ba'alzamon's maze of bridges in TEOTW (basically the Ways in Tel'aran'rhiod, right?), the hole in the Pattern's breeches that would result from trying to use saidar to weave a saidin-style gateway

So, um, why do they call that one place the Pit of Doom, anyway?
Elijah Foster
112. TheWolfKing
@111. Wortmauer
Correction: Shadow_Jak WINS STINKALITY
Thomas Keith
113. insectoid
Shadow_Jak @109: Crystal Throne... ROFL!! That's perfect!

You guys are too funny... This thread'll probably hit 300 by next Tuesday!

Bzzz™.
ryamano
114. macster
@98 midwest: Very good point. Without bringing politics into it, let's just say that we only need to look around at current events in America to be reminded that it is when adversity affects people's lives directly, and that they can't take the suffering any longer, that they finally start actually doing something about the situation instead of avoiding conflict.

@100 I'm perfectly chilled, thanks. :) Was just rolling my eyes a bit in anticipation, since I'd rather not see a repeat of what happened on the blog where Leigh brought up the comparisons between America and Seanchan and how some people seemed to think the two were identical. Perhaps I was a bit premature; I hope so.

@103 thewindrose: You're quite right; that's why I said I doubted Leigh would mind, since Semi is, after all, evil and quite deserving of such humiliation. In fact this is a rare case where the original purpose of spanking is exactly what was intended and needed: only by treating her as a child and therefore humiliating her could Cadsuane break her.

@109 Shadow_Jak *falls over laughing at the last line* Brilliant. Priceless. Made of Win. And considering his parting shot as he left the Tower of Ghenjei, I do believe Matrim would agree with you: "You can all go rot in a flaming pit of fire and ashes, you unwashed lumps on a pig's backside."

@111 Wortmauer: "...the hole in the Pattern's breeches that would result from trying to use saidar to weave a saidin-style gateway"

This reminds me of a Wild Mass Guessing from TV Tropes--the Pattern is a Dress:

"Ever wonder why these doorstoppers are filled with overly elaborate descriptions of clothing and dresses worn by the characters? They fit in with the constant motif of weaving. It's actually RJ cluing the audience in on what Wheel of Time is actually making: a Cosmic Dress. The Dark One is being forced to wear different dresses made by the Creator. But the Dark One hates these dresses and is trying to implement his own design or just wants to go nude."

Oh, I cannot wait to see Leigh's reaction when she sees what has happened to this thread... I would say Subwoofer and forkroot, and now Shadow_Jak and so many others, have followed in Leigh's grand tradition of "keepin' it classy". (Remember her entry where she ended up, somehow, thinking about tampons in Randland and researching them to find out when they were first invented? Which, bringing this full circle, reminds me of that one Saturday Night Live fake advertisement: "Big Bad John/Feminine Napkins.")
Valentin M
115. ValMar
windrose @ 103

Fortunately I didn't have to wait until bedtime, 22.30 is a bit early- I don't go to bed with the chickens. But as time was passing I was getting worried. The discussion about sewage dumping could've come earlier ;) I suspect this will be the only time in my life I wrote the last sentance...

macster @ 114

I personally didn't think there was any prospect for a reasonable person to take a shot at the US this time. Except that most posters here are from the US, there's no logic to involve a huge, very powerful, and isolated country in a discussion about the merits of doomed heroic resistance to an invasion of one's country. In a 15-17 century setting.
Comparing the US to the Seanchan is rather far fetched too, IMO. The Roman Empire, maybe, with few other influences thrown in like Ghulam slave soldiers, Imperial China...
Ellie Virgo
116. Egglie
Just checking in to say woop woop! - Brandon drew my name today to be in the book (a wise one I think) and you all can share my excitement!

I have been with the re-read since about half way through eye of the world, don't comment much but always enjoy the comments and commentary.
Kimani Rogers
117. KiManiak
@73,75,77,101,102,104,107,108,111, (any others I may have missed) and especially Shadow_Jak@109 (“Ah, the savor”) – Thank you so much for the laughs. :-) What a great way to wind down the work week then by catching up on the posts and seeing the elevation of the various discussion topics to such a “classy” level! :-) I had to duck my head under my desk and cover my mouth, I was cracking up so loud!

I love this group.

Btw, I can’t recall if I’ve ever heard the “Big John” song before (or maybe I just wasn’t paying attention). Had to google the lyrics. So thanks for providing another diversion, folks.
Jolene Moore
118. Jolenedanielle
Hi, I've been following this blog for ages but never posted before.
any how; I'm pretty sure in one of Elayne's POV regarding Dyelin she thinks the only reason Dyelin supports her is because of Rand. Elayne is complaining about how dare Rand say he'd give the throne to her bla bla bla and then the only good thing was that Dyelin supports her because of that. I think Dyelin is wise not to want to upset the most important and powerful person in the world by claiming the throne while there is a chance that Elayne is still around.
(Sorry I don't know what book this was in)
Thanks for listening
Jo
Sandy Brewer
119. ShaggyBella
My solution for Big John's output would be the crater that is all that is left of Shadar Logoth.

@73. TheWolfKing

At the Hell in Maderin, Tuon told Mat she was going to the "necessary" which I think is about the only reference to a character using the bathroom in 13 books, although chamberpots were mentioned more than once.
John Massey
120. subwoofer
mmmmm.... Hang on here, I think whomever suggested the DO's fiery tiolet was onto something. Think about it, instant incineration of er... fecal product, the smell and the heat would be... interesting, and you are crapping on the DO, literally. IMHO if the prison breaks and the DO even gets a hand free to touch the world, the first thing he reaches for is the toilet paper.

@Jolenedanielle- welcome, I am happy you posted:) As far as Dyelin goes, if Gawyn had the good sense to return home when things went sideways, Dyelin should have shared some of her wisdom with him, "Don't piss off the man that can turn you into a pile of ash... or worse". Rand may have kept him alive as a favor to Elayne, but Gawyn was really pushing boundaries.

Woof™.
Alice Arneson
121. Wetlandernw
FWIW, Dyelin says in so many words that if Elayne even hinted that she had come to accept the throne from Rand, she'd have withdrawn her support.
"... You've come to accept the throne from the Dragon Reborn, then?"

"I claim the throne by my own right, Dyelin, with my own hand. The Lion Throne is no bauble to be accepted from a man." Dyelin nodded, as at self-evident truth. Which it was, to any Andoran. "How do you stand, Dyelin? With Trakand, or against? I have heard your name often on my way here."

"Since you claim the throne by your own right, with."
Whatever Dyelin's thoughts about Rand, they did not include his right to bestow the Lion Throne.
Alice Arneson
122. Wetlandernw
forkroot - I was telling my husband about Big Bad John over dinner last night and nearly made a spectacle of myself, laughing until I cried. (Right there in the middle of Daniel's Broiler. Oy. I think our waiter had some serious reservations about my sanity...) So I made sure I showed it to him when we got home (my husband, not the waiter) and he laughed nearly as much as I had. :) Thanks - again - for the entertainment! If you ever make it up Seattle way... :)
Nadine L.
123. travyl
Wetlandernw (121), thanks for the reference. I agree that Dyelin would have withdrawn her support if Elayne had intended to rely on Rand's support but because Elayne claims for herself and thereby proves herself worthy, I still think to "not upset the Dragon" can be part of her motivation. When several people contest for the throne, whom all would be worthy to gain it, she still can choose the one which the Dragon would approve of (against herself and for Elayne)
So IMO first decision is who is worthy for the position, then secondly choose among these people the "wisest" choice.

@122: why didn't you take the waiter with you? I remeber a post a few weeks back (TGS part 2, post 179), where you admitted about work he could help you with ;)

(I hope these ramblings do make sense, I often find they don't on second reading and am not sure if this is caused by my lack of skill or intelligence, certainly not because I don't try.)
(EDIT: Typo correction)
Kimani Rogers
124. KiManiak
As far as whether or not mention of using the bathroom is concerned in WoT, I think I recall that the term "making water" was used in some of the earlier novels and then again around Elayne's pregnancy (although, full disclosure, I couldn't easily find it and I may be getting my fantasy series mixed up again).
(EDIT: And Elayne's midwife does "test" her urine in ToM. Gross...)

That, along with mentions of emptying chamber pots (and ShaggyBella@119's quote about Tuon and the necessary) are the only references to answering nature's call that I recall for this series.

Oh, and I'm all for crapping on the Dark One while he's imprisoned...
John Massey
125. subwoofer
Just to be clear, nobody's( read me) saying anything about condoning Rand's "giving her the lion throne bit". IIRC Rand did take a back seat and let Elayne do her thing, I even remember Elayne getting all uppity in regards to Rand "giving her the throne". Nope, the Lion Throne always held a queen and no man has that right. As for Dyelin having a healthy respect for the Dragon well, anybody with the sense to pour piss from a boot would have a good grasp on not honking off a man that can channel- and remember how rare that is and that folks also assume he's on the brink of sanity too, so kudoo's to Dyelin- pass that along to the First Prince of whosoeverandwhatnot. Something about where angels fear to tread...

Woof™.
ryamano
126. Wortmauer
subwoofer@120: IMHO if the prison breaks and the DO even gets a hand free to touch the world, the first thing he reaches for is the toilet paper.
Indeed, that is why the True Power has those initials. And let us not forget, according to Graendal, "only 29 others" besides Moridin have been granted access to the TP. And who can blame the Dark One? He clearly does not want to run out.

KiManiak@127: That, along with mentions of emptying chamber pots (and ShaggyBella@119's quote about Tuon and the necessary) are the only references to answering nature's call that I recall for this series.
Actually, Basel Gill once had to go, but thought it might be TMI:
"Forgive me, my Queen. I didn't mean to ...." He cleared his throat violently, and his boots scraped on the floor, shifting. Had he a cap, he would have been turning it in his hands, or wadding it nervously. "I was in the Long Corridor, on my way to ... to ...." To the jakes, was what he could not bring himself to say to her. "Anyway, I glanced out one of the windows, and I saw a ... a big bird, I think ... land on top of the South Barracks."
— ACoS, Ch. 26, "The Irrevocable Words"
(The "big bird" was a to'raken, bringing Seanchan troops to take over Amador.)

Idealseek yields two more mentions of a jakes, though not while someone's using it.
ryamano
127. Wortmauer
Did I say Graendal? It was Moghedien, newly mindtrapped. Also, she didn't know Moriding was Ishamael, so her "29 others" was really 29 in total, that she knows of. We know the Dark One will eventually pass the roll under the stall to Rand, and, who knows, maybe Mazrim Taim has gotten to use it once or twice.
Kimani Rogers
128. KiManiak
Wort@127 Hmm... I think you may be on to something here. Could it be that this really comes down to the Creator and his OP (mistakenly called the One Power, when really its just one-ply) versus the Dark One and his TP (two ply)?

The Dark One is just upset about the quality of toilet paper, and wants the Pattern to accept and use his two-ply? And the Dark One sees it as the ultimate victory when the Creator's champion not only uses, but fully embraces his two-ply as the only proper toilet paper in the universe?

Maybe we're on the wrong side of this argument?

:-)
JAMES MCCLELLAN
129. ZEXXES
Actually, I'm thinking the Creator's will was all along to have the two sides of the One Power's purpose to be the enveloping balance to the Dark One's True Power. It lends credence to the why of Lews Therin's seal of the Bore failing. I suspect had the Female Aes Sedai had gone it alone themselves sealing the Bore, you'd have similar effects. Or maybe a corruption that differed in nature (example: disease instead of insanity?) but with similarly devastating consequenes. IMO, in order for the Bore to be sealed permanently, it will require, as most people here expects, the cooperation of Male and Female channelers.

What I wonder is whether Rand should be involved in this sealing as long as he has his physical corruptions; his wounds, or his Power corruptions; his access to the True Power, as well as his mental corruptions; his lack of awareness that Moridin has connections to him. There are channelers close enough in power to do the job on the male side; Logain and Taim come to mind.

I also wonder whether Rands role, with his connection to the True Power and strength with the One Power, will be to hold the Dark Lord at bay while the Bore is completely open. Will he become inspired and mix weaves using True Power and One Power? Could, if he does lead the circle, use all three? (unlikely, yes I know, but I think I'm calling it out loud first) Using the True Power as well as Both sides of the One Power to seal the bore? I for one will be very interested to see how this goes down.
Cameron Tucker
130. Loialson
I even wonder how the sealing will work out. If a sealing that returns it back to the way it was before The Bore will even happen. Perhaps a way will work out that the Dark One gets removed to another place entirely, where he cannot be inadvertantly breached into again...Most likely not. Rand does want a way to end this once and for all though, wonder if it will really happen, or will it end up going in cycles still of opening the bore, and sealing it again...curious and curiouser.
ryamano
131. Faculty Guy
@Loialson et al: My own prediction is that "The End" will simply be the revolution of the Wheel. I don't think an "end of the DO for All Time" is in the spirit of the cyclical theory of Ages that RJ envisioned from the start. (Gee, lots of Capital Letters here!)
ryamano
132. s'rEDIT
@midwest, #98:

OTOH, if you had a daughter who could channel, who you knew would be grabbed by the Seanchan and subjected to a life of slavery and degradation if the Seanchan won this war . . . wouldn't you have to consider fighting anyway?
JAMES MCCLELLAN
133. ZEXXES
@132. s'rEDIT, @midwest, #98:

I'll take you one step futher. Lets say your a blacksmith. Specifically a reknowned swordsmith. A Seanchan General had come 3 months earlier and commissioned a sword. A sword with specific requirements such as blade length, weight, hilt style, thickness and rapping, as well as guard style and size. A truly magnificent sword, this blade is. So good in fact, that it's too good for this General, given what price they negotiated and despite the fact that he is of the Blood. So you make him another with all of his specifications, just not quite as magnificent. And in some ways this sword is better for it.

This Second sword is not a plain sword by any means; it simply has an aura of purpose and efficient deadliness. Put simply, it is a sword meant for a warrior and even more, a General; whereas the First sword seemed more befitting a King or an Emporer. And in fact, given that a Prince from a far off region had requested something similar, it was just a matter of a change to the pommel size and a litlle more gilding on its surface and the guard's for the sale. It hung just out of view on a rack among other likened blades.

When the General walked in with his two squires behind and guards positioning themselves outside, his daughter was just wiping the fine, iron and carbon particles off of the skin of her pale yet pinkishly, flushed face. Shae'lyn has for the last year been his primary polisher for his more delicate blades. She is a pride in his heart and the envy of his rivals, as Master polishers are more rare than Master Swordsmiths. The General paid her no mind, despite the fact that she is absolutely stunning; barely if not at all hidden by the fact that she is currently almost completely covered with soot. The General's squire on the otherhand lears with a lustful gaze that spells out quite plainly, that no woman has ever survived a night with him, not without returning home as a beaten ragdoll.

Tarkan's right eye somehow remains on the young brute as a he greets the General, lowering himself and his eyes. He customarily fawns over the General with tea and crumplets and ask him to wait while he retrieves the sword. He returns from his workshop into the store front to hold up, with no little reverance, his latest work, which he managed to finish just the night before to completion. It is sheathed now and he is glad he hired the young lad from his best friend's brood. He is the youngest and in his opinion the best of the family of scabbarder's. This particular scabbard is easily worth the price of the sword if not more. But the General had specific requests and these, at least, could not be any less fanciful.

He held the sword up before him, in both hands, lowering himself down onto one knee, head down. The General without a word takes up the sword in its scabbard and in a motion, so smooth and quick, that had he not been stunned at the speed of its unsheathing, he would have been beheaded; for he was about to step forward to help the General inspect the details of his prize. The note it rang at its unsheathing he had heard before when the sword was struck its final making blow. But this time it was a song so much more sweeter, as if rejoicing at being in its owners hand. The sound of the Second swords chime lingered in the store front. And when its bright ringing lamed away, it left the room wanting. The General was clearly moved by the song of the Second sword and overwhelmed, he finally smiled at the lack of grandiose gilding. The sword was magnificent in its own right, despite its lack of the atypical noble decoration. For when its blade was forged and that final hammer fall rang, Tarkan knew that he would be hard pressed to duplicate the quality.

The Brute, on the otherhand, had been slowly making his way towards his daughter. During the unsheathing he had somehow managed, even with Tarkan's right eye upon him the whole time, to slide up against his daughter and was about to put his grubby paws on her when something caught the Squire's eye. The First sword was being caught by the noon Sun's rays and shone like the sword of the Creator himself. His arm dropped slowly and he exclaimed about its beauty, completely and thankfully ignoring his daughter, who was just sliding her dagger back into her coat. The disrespectful fool knocked over a whole rack of spears shuffling behind the counter to get his gnarled mits on the First sword.

He also, unbelievably, shows a modicum of grace unsheathing it. And absolutely purrs at its deep minor keyed tone. He professes a need for the First sword. Tarkan humbly tells him it is already sold (even though it wasn't yet, payment would arrive at retrieval). The young brute gets standoffish when asked to return the sword. Finally the Squire asks the General to help with the negotiation who is tiring of the display and gazes at Tarkan and nods to sell it to him. Tarkan again humbly, but perfusely, begs off the notion and reponds that its owner is a Prince. The General, gives a short dissatisfied huff and lowers his gaze upon Tarkan.

The General then speaks for the very first time since entering the smithy, "Tarkan my friend, you have a choice here. Either release the sword for sale or you and your families rights will be stripped, your property forfeit and you and yours will become His slaves" nodding at the Squire. He continued with, "And I won't then have control of what my Squires do to your daughter". Without further argument, Tarkan names the price of the sword, couragously not lowering the price not one tin penny.

The General turns to the squire and asks if he has the coin now to pay the Smith. The Squire says that he would have to return to his quarters to retrieve the extra coin. The General promply turns his back on the squire and with a speed that once again, if he had not been so stunned, with smooth efficiency the swords motion would have taken his head off, on its way to cleanly slice off the bottom of the young squires earlobe. At which time the Second sword drew its firstblood on the cartilage now lying on the worn oak and now blood stained floor at Tarkan's feet. Tarkan staired at that blood of the Blood for a moment and thought it somewhat ironic. Turning impatiently the General strides toward the door and just as he reaches the threshold he turns and says "I will name her Patient Spirit to remind me of why I haven't killed the idiot yet". Tarkan thinks this a universal sentiment to be used with the Seanchan and hides a grim smile. The General motions outdoors and a guard appears and flips a huge bag of coin in through the door, that thuds against his now burgandy speckled floor. "Jorum... the sword!" the General bellows. Jorum clutching his ear with a sweaty and bloody kerchief, tosses Tarkan the First sword, lears at Shae'lyn one last time and departs. The second squire, whom Tarkan had forgotten until now, peeks back in and tells of returning to commision work from him. Tarkan nods as does the older squire and off they went.

"So very close... too close! That was too close, Shae!" exclaims Tarkan.
"I did not support them for this. Not this...this... half slavery. I'm no servant to ANYONE!!!" he bellows. "Nor am I some common peasant to be stripped of everything at any BLOODY whim!"

"Shae?" he asks. "Yes father?" she replies. "Tomorrow we head to Andor... maybe even Tear. There's work for us and no man can be forced to slavery there. As soon as we make sale to the Prince, we pack and leave!" Tarkan answers, with more than a little exuberance.


That is what you'd get with the Seanchan. Some people just have greater endurance than me I guess.
ryamano
134. macster
@115 ValMar: And yet Chewbaca did make that very comparison. On the other hand, since they made one post and vanished, I call troll. And you're quite right that everyone else seems more than reasonable enough not to make such a comparison. :)

@KiManiak and Wortmauer: LOL!!! It all makes sense! ;)

@129 ZEXXES "Will he become inspired and mix weaves using True Power and One Power? Could, if he does lead the circle, use all three? (unlikely, yes I know, but I think I'm calling it out loud first) Using the True Power as well as Both sides of the One Power to seal the bore?"

May I draw your attention to a very telling prophecy from ToM: "He shall hold a blade of light in his hands, and the three shall be one."

Also, great job on giving a slice of life as to what it might be like under the Seanchan. (You're also quite the writer!)
Valentin M
135. ValMar
macster, that's the one I meant in my centenary post. Never understood why people like the wookiees so much...
D R
136. Ouroboros
Troll troll troll troll,
Troll troll troll troll,
Trollity trollll, trollity trollll!
Trollity trollll, trollity trollll.

Well, it's better than spam.

I've left it a bit late for insightful input - it's been a stupid couple of weeks - But here's a few nibbles for thought.

Just to clarify, the size of Ituralde's army is first stated in the epilogue of KOD, so these are definitely RJ's numbers; just in case anyone tries to blame the surprisingly large army on BWS.

For those looking for sanitation sightings: Valda is grumbling about the state of the latrines in COT. So, there's another sanitation sighting for you. Actually, two. Valda counts as one on his own.

A special wave to forkroot @ 77. Fire in the whole :)

macster @ 96 & HArai @ 97: Careful, you'll get your Schwarzs twisted that way.

The Crystal Throne appears to be the winner for a good waste line, but if cross-overs are allowed, I'd personally prefer the Iron Throne when Joffrey is sitting on it; though I don't suppose he'd notice.
JAMES MCCLELLAN
138. ZEXXES
@134. macster

"He shall hold a blade of light in his hands, and the three shall be one."

Good call on the prophecy. I had forgotten about that as I was trying to stay within bounds of GS's borders. The three could be a reference to Callandor in his hands channeling all three using a circle or a three way link to access Saidar. It will definitely be interesting to see what happens.

And thankyou for the compliments. I have my moments, but honestly, I don't know where that came from!

Z
ryamano
139. yasiru89
The only difference I can see between Menger and Semirhage is that Menger actually evaded capture till death, while Semirhage... well, you know. RJ is never too gruesomely specific, but maybe Semirhage didn't have such a special interest in children either.

On Rand 'giving' the Lion throne to Elayne, I don't think he really thought of the political nuances there. He just wanted for Elayne to have the kingdom whole and unbroken and that before it slipped from him. Hence his juggling act with the two sets of nobles. Elayne's anger is unjustified in that light, and also in light of simple reality. It may be necessary to soothe Andoran egos, but often might is the only thing that makes right. The Seanchan are a prime example.


For ZEXXES @133-

The way Seanchan hold to oaths and the keeping of one's word, I don't think the general's ultimatum is likely if the blacksmith had already sold the sword (or at least claimed to) in your scenario. However, I agree it wouldn't be an ideal reign to be under, but mostly only if you have a lot of contact with the Empire's armies and public offices. For most common people, I think they would appreciate the security and prosperity the Empire offers. Rand's observations on how the people are happy with Seanchan governance is likely due to this. And when the backbone of an empire is its people, it's no easy thing to break. Besides that there's a sense of inevitability when it comes to the Seanchan. Using leashed Aes Sedai and otherwordly seeming monsters in battle is the sort of thing that would make their power sound absolute.
Richard Hunt
140. WOTman
One of the things that bugged me most about this series is there are very few times where we see Rand actually making plans or at least we get to see where he is going on a point, he usually just does it and we wonder what that is all about. But we are getting a better perspective on what he sees he needs to do even though (for now) he is going about it terrribly wron, and I blame those pesky AS for all his goofs and especially Cadsuane who I wish he would accidently balefire her as an aside.

I spot an unusual icon in the next chpater not sure if this is new or not, and I do like this chapter because of old fashion fighting and dying - YAY.
William McDaniel
141. willmcd
Ah, so some new names joined up here and started endeavoring to build the type of "trolling and flame war" environment that this re-read has mostly avoided in the past.

And the old "Is Dyelin a Darkfriend?" discussion manifested with a substantial number of posts, despite Dyelin (and Elayne) being in the role of Lady-Not-Appearing-in-this-Book. (We might take this as an indication that these weren't the two most interesting chapters in the series.) I'll still stick to my pet explanation that Dyelin exists primarily for narrative purposes; she gives Elayne someone to talk to about the succession (because giving information through dialogue is more interesting than through narration), and as a source of endless information on the inclination of the various Houses that Elayne would have no access to otherwise.

(I recognize that this is awfully easy for me to say post-AMoL, but I would have said it then, too. Really!)

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