Nov 8 2011 2:00pm

The Wheel of Time Re-read: The Gathering Storm, Part 8

The Wheel of Time Reread on Tor.comAll rise for the Honorable Wheel of Time Re-read!

Today’s entry covers Chapters 12 and 13 of The Gathering Storm, in which I spend a truly unacceptable amount of time searching for an apropos quote from The West Wing for the cut text, even though half of the people reading this are probably not even going to see it. Because I care.

Or am insane, one of the two.

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 12: Unexpected Encounters

What Happens
Egwene walks through the Tower and muses on the news Siuan had given her a month ago in Tel’aran’rhiod. She wonders how Rand could have allowed sisters to be bonded that way, and thinks there is “little left” of the boy she’d grown up with; she also shivers to think that one of the Forsaken had been touching her all that time in camp. She hurts, but her physical pain is increasingly unimportant to her.

Sometimes she laughed when beaten, sometimes not. The strap was unimportant. The greater pain—what had been done to Tar Valon—was far more demanding.

Meidani has finally summoned Egwene for training that day, but so has Bennae Nalsad, which Egwene finds puzzling, as no sister who has already “taught” Egwene has asked for her again; she wonders if the seed of discord with Elaida she planted with Bennae that first time has taken root. At first the “lesson” with Bennae progresses as usual, but then Bennae says she wants to test Egwene’s “sharpness of mind” with a hypothetical situation: say Egwene had come upon information she was not supposed to know, and her Ajah was upset over it and assigning her the worst duties as a result. What would she do?

Egwene almost choked on her tea. The Brown wasn’t very subtle. She had begun asking about the Thirteenth Depository, had she? And that had landed her in trouble? Few were supposed to know about the secret histories that Egwene had mentioned so casually during her previous visit here.

Egwene calmly considers the problem, and answers that the Ajah leaders are most likely upset because this knowledge must have been leaked from within their ranks. She suggests that this hypothetical sister could firstly explain where the knowledge came from so as to allay their fears, and secondly offer them a solution to the sister knowing what she shouldn’t by proving herself worthy to become a caretaker of this secret. Bennae asks if it will work, and Egwene replies that even if it doesn’t, it is better than simply lying down and taking unjust treatment.

“Yes,” Bennae said, nodding. “Yes, I do suppose that you are correct.”

“I am always willing to help, Bennae,” Egwene said in a softer voice, turning back to her tea. “In, of course, hypothetical situations.”

For a moment, Egwene worried that she’d gone too far in calling the Brown by her name. However, Bennae met her eyes, then actually went so far as to bow her head just slightly in thanks.

After Bennae, Egwene is further bemused to be summoned to attend a White sister named Nagora, who has Egwene doing “logic puzzles” over how to handle a Warder frustrated with getting too old to fight. Then she is summoned by Suana, who is a Sitter for the Yellow, which is even more surprising, as she has never been summoned by a Sitter before. Suana tells her she would like to see Egwene in the Yellow; confused, Egwene points out that she has no particular gift for Healing, and adds that in any case, the Amyrlin has no Ajah. Suana merely tells her to consider it, and Egwene is amazed that a Sitter is granting her even that much legitimacy. Testing her limits, she asks Suana what the Sitters think of the tensions between the Ajahs. Suana answers that she doesn’t see what can be done, and Egwene replies that someone must make the first move. She suggests that perhaps if the Sitters of different Ajahs began sharing meals, it would serve as an example to the sisters.

“Perhaps...” Suana said.

“They aren’t your enemies, Suana,” Egwene said, letting her voice grow more firm.

The woman frowned at Egwene, as if realizing suddenly who she was taking advice from. “Well, then, I think it’s best that you ran along. I’m certain there is a great deal for you to do today.”

Egwene leaves, and only then realizes not one of the three sisters she’d seen that day had assigned her a punishment. She goes to her appointment with Meidani, and chastises her for taking so long to send for her. Meidani replies that she is not yet certain how she regards Egwene, and opines that the rebel Hall will have chosen a new Amyrlin by now. Egwene tells her they have not, and Meidani counters that even so, Egwene was chosen to be a figurehead, and has no real authority. Egwene merely stares her down, and then orders her to explain why she has not fled the Tower now that Elaida knows her true allegiances. Meidani refuses to explain, and Egwene concludes that she has betrayed them, then. Meidani denies this passionately, but still says she cannot explain why she hasn’t left. She does explain that she and Elaida used to be pillow-friends, and the dinners are to try to rekindle the relationship. Egwene points out that even if pillow-talk could have gotten information out of Elaida before, it certainly wouldn’t now; Meidani agrees, but says it was decided to continue so as not to alert Elaida that Meidani knows she knows. Egwene find the whole thing hinky, and demands to know what Meidani isn’t telling her.

“I can’t—”

“Yes,” Egwene said. “You can’t tell me what is wrong. I suspect that the Three Oaths are involved, though Light knows how. We can work around the problem. You can’t tell me why you’ve remained in the Tower. But can you show me?”

Meidani isn’t sure, but agrees to try. After some internal debate, Egwene makes Meidani swear to keep this to herself, and shows her how to Travel. Meidani makes a gateway to some lower deserted hallway of the Tower, and then is surprised at herself at how quickly she leaps to obey Egwene’s orders to hurry. Meidani leads Egwene to an abandoned storage room, in which Egwene finds a meeting in progress between four Sitters, each of a different Ajah: Seaine (White), Doesine (Yellow), Yukiri (Gray), and Saerin (Brown). They are appalled to see her, and Saerin asks what possessed Meidani to bring her, adding that her oath should have prevented it.

“Oath?” Egwene asked. “And which oath would this be?”

“Quiet, girl,” Yukiri snapped, slapping Egwene across the back with a switch of Air. It was such a faint punishment that Egwene almost laughed.

Egwene considers the possibility that they are Black, but decides to push forward regardless. The Sitters continue to berate Meidani, and Egwene puts two and two together and concludes aloud that they have given Meidani a fourth Oath, of obedience. Egwene ignores their orders to be silent, and exclaims that they have betrayed all that Aes Sedai are, doing such a thing. Saerin protests that it was necessary given Meidani’s allegiances, and Egwene counters that what they have done is at least as bad as rebelling against the Tower. Seaine tells her that they have each proved to Meidani that they are not Black Ajah, and thus there is “no harm” in her giving the oath to them. Egwene divines from this that they are using the Oath Rod to search for Black sisters, and concedes the plan is a decent one. She avers that the fourth oath is unnecessary and inappropriate, but sets it aside to ask if they have determined whether Elaida is Black, and whether they have found any other Black sisters. Yukiri wants to know why they are even talking to Egwene, and threatens to give her penance “until you run out of tears to weep.” Egwene points out that it will look very odd if Yukiri punishes her, and Seaine says they’ll have Meidani do it. Egwene replies that Meidani won’t, and Meidani agrees.

[Yukiri:] “That’s meaningless. We’ll just order her to send you to penance.”

“Will you?” Egwene said. “I thought that you told me that the fourth oath was meant to restore unity, to keep her from fleeing to Elaida with your secrets. Now you would use that oath like a cudgel, forcing her to become your tool?”

That brought silence to the room.

“This is why an oath of obedience is a terrible idea,” Egwene said. “No woman should have this much power over another. What you have done to these others is only one step shy of Compulsion. I’m still trying to decide if this abomination is in any way justified; the way you treat Meidani and the others will likely sway that decision.”

Saerin assumes charge at this point, and tells Egwene that they must have her obedience, and that she must give up her “charade” of being the Amyrlin. Egwene invites her to state her case why Egwene cannot be the Amyrlin, and calmly shoots down each argument raised. Her coup de grace is when she asks if they have discovered any Darkfriends among the Sitters, and whether any of those Black Sitters stood to depose Siuan and raise Elaida. Doesine finally admits that this is the case.

“Siuan was deposed by the bare minimum number of Sitters required,” Egwene said. “One of them was Black, making her vote invalid. You stilled and deposed your Amyrlin, murdering her Warder, and you did it unlawfully.”

“By the Light,” Seaine whispered. “She’s right.”

[…] “You call us false, Yukiri? Which Amyrlin would you rather follow? The one who has been making novices and Accepted out of Aes Sedai, banishing an entire Ajah, and causing divisions in the Tower more dangerous than any army that ever assaulted it? A woman who was raised partially through the help of the Black Ajah? Or would you rather serve the Amyrlin who is trying to undo all of that?”

Egwene continues that they are all serving the interests of the Shadow so long as they remain divided, and that she would not be surprised to find out the Black Ajah helped engineer the coup in the first place. She tells them that as admirable as their work here is, she thinks the far more important task is to heal the divisions in the Tower. She stands, and charges Meidani to continue her work with Saerin et al; she regrets that Meidani must continue “performing” for Elaida, but commends her for her courage in doing so. She orders the others to get the Oath Rod and release Meidani from her fourth oath as soon as possible.

“We’ll consider it,” Saerin said.

Egwene raised an eyebrow. “As you wish. But know that once the White Tower is whole again, the Hall will learn of this action you have taken. I would like to be able to inform them that you were being careful, rather than seeking unwarranted power.”

She tells them to send for her if they need her, but to be careful in doing it, and takes her leave; none of the Sitters stop her. Meidani follows, and comments that she can’t believe Egwene got away with that. Egwene replies that they know better than to stop her, and comments that they are the only ones in this Tower besides Silviana with brains. Surprised, Meidani points out that Silviana beats Egwene daily.

“Several times a day,” Egwene said absently. “She’s very dutiful, not to mention thoughtful. If we had more like her, the Tower wouldn’t have gotten to this state in the first place.”

Meidani regarded Egwene, an odd expression on her face. “You really are the Amyrlin,” she finally said. It was an odd comment. Hadn’t she just sworn that she accepted Egwene’s authority?

“Come on,” Egwene said, hastening her pace. “I need to get back before those Reds grow suspicious.”

So, I loved the hell out of reading this chapter, but recapping it was a bitch and a half. ‘Tis ever so with the talky ones. Talk, talk, talk, jeez.

But as usual, I have trouble scrimping on stuff I really like, so I kept far too much in. And even then, there were bits in here I left out that I really enjoyed, like the descriptions of the various sisters’ private rooms. Especially Meidani’s; a room decorated with a theme of “gifts received on travels around the world” is totally kickass.

But mostly what is kickass here is Egwene, more or less literally. There’s just something so satisfying about seeing the character you’re rooting for finally start to win. Not that Egwene hasn’t won things before this, but I mean in this specific situation — her captivity in the Tower. We’ve dealt with the set-up and the build-up of it, and now we the readers sense we’ve come off the far turn and are entering the homestretch, if I may be allowed to switch metaphors mid-stream there.

What I mean to say is, the payoff of this arc is clearly approaching, and that’s an awful nice thing to look forward to, and enjoy as it’s happening.

Not to mention, I do love me a good verbal whupping, and Egwene delivers a doozy on the Black Ajah Hunters. I was strongly tempted to quote that whole scene, which is practically Sorkinesque in its gleeful smackdown of logical kickassery.

…And now that I’ve just wasted two hours watching West Wing clips on YouTube, on with the commentary!

Psychological warfare ain’t always pretty, but it is unquestionably fascinating, at least to me. What’s interesting about this particular campaign of Egwene’s is that its success is due almost as much to her opponent as it is due to her own efforts.

I think one of the great universal needs or wishes that practically all people have is the wish for great leadership, which (I believe) is more than just competence alone. We want to believe that the person in charge is not only good at the job, but is strong enough to withstand the pressure of doing it — pressure that many of us are sure we ourselves would buckle under. And most of all, we want to believe that our competent, strong leader also genuinely has his or her followers’ well-being at heart; we want leaders who make us feel happy and safe (or, at least, happier and safer) because we believe they care.

Elaida fails or is failing at all three of these requirements, but she most egregiously fails at the last one. Hell, she doesn’t even bother to pretend she gives a shit about the little people at this point, if she ever did. You can argue how much of this is genuinely her and how much is Fain’s brain-scum influencing her, but at the end of the day the why of her crap leadership skills is pretty irrelevant; the results are the same.

People who feel that their leader has abandoned or failed them inevitably seek to fill that void. It’s pretty much a law of human society; nature may abhor a vacuum, but we hate them more. Which is another reason why I think it’s so viscerally satisfying to see the sisters in the first half of this chapter seek guidance worthy of the name from Egwene, and receive it, after having been denied that comfort for so long.

Elaida, therefore, is doing a great deal of Egwene’s work for her on that front. Which is not to disparage Egwene’s contribution in the slightest — more to just appreciate the perfect storm-like coming together of events to make this whole thing happen. Because being in the right place at the right time makes no difference at all if you don’t have the capability to take advantage of it.

Egwene truly, obviously cares about the Tower and the people in it, and that more than anything else is why it’s inevitable that she will win. And that, my friends, is awesome.


Chapter 13: An Offer and a Departure

What Happens
In a barn near Dorlan, Gawyn faces off against two Warders, Sleete and Marlesh. Gawyn thinks of the epic tale that was Sleete’s escape from Dumai Wells and return to his Aes Sedai Hattori, and admires the humility of men like him, who just did what they had to and never sought recognition for it, while “monsters like al’Thor” got all the glory. Gawyn defeats both the Warders, who are just as shocked as the first two times he beat them, especially Sleete, who was said to have bested Lan Mandragoran twice out of seven bouts. Marlesh comments that he feels like “a babe holding a stick” when he faces Gawyn, and says Gawyn needs to get a heronmark blade. Gawyn says he is not a blademaster, but Marlesh counters that he killed Hammar, who was one, and therefore Gawyn is one too. Marlesh’s Aes Sedai (Vasha) comes and collects him, commenting that there is a meeting going on where she thinks decisions are being made; Marlesh hopes the decisions involve moving on, and leaves with Vasha. Sleete stops Gawyn from leaving as well, and tells him his Aes Sedai told him that she would only ever take on another Warder if Sleete judged the candidate worthy.

Sleete turned, meeting Gawyn’s eyes. ”It’s been over ten years, but I’ve found someone worthy. She will bond you this hour, if you wish it.“

Gawyn blinked in surprise at Sleete. […] ”I’m honored, Sleete,“ Gawyn said. ”But I came to the White Tower to study because of Andoran traditions, not because I was going to be a Warder. My place is beside my sister.“ And if anyone is going to bond me, it will be Egwene.

Sleete argues that Hattori would be willing to reassign herself to Andor so that Gawyn could fulfill both obligations. Gawyn tells him he will think on it. Then he hesitates, and asks Sleete what he thinks of the schism in the Tower. Sleete replies that Aes Sedai and Warders fighting each other should never have happened, but he is confident that the wiser elements in the Tower will eventually sort it out. He comments that Hattori got herself on the mission to al’Thor because she didn’t like the feel of things in Tar Valon, but she didn’t know what it was really about. He says that the other sisters don’t listen to her because she is not “influential” enough. Gawyn is intrigued by this, as he still doesn’t understand how the Aes Sedai rank themselves, but then Sleete changes the subject:

“Hammar was a good man.”

“He was,” Gawyn said, feeling a twist in his stomach.

“But he would have killed you,” Sleete said. “Killed you cleanly and quickly. He was the one on the offensive, not you. He understood why you did what you did. Nobody made any good decisions that day. There weren’t any good decisions to be made.”

“I...” Gawyn just nodded. “Thank you.”

Gawyn knows there is no way he would agree to become anyone’s Warder except Egwene, who he would do anything for; he’d even agreed not to kill al’Thor for her, even though he is convinced al’Thor is a monster who needs to be put down for everyone’s good. Gawyn heads to the mayor’s house, where the meeting Vasha had mentioned is taking place, and finds Vasha outside glaring angrily at it; evidently she had been denied entry. Gawyn tries to gain entrance himself, but Covarla calls him an impudent child and threatens to replace him as the Younglings’ commander if he doesn’t get lost. Frustrated, Gawyn reflects on his decision during the coup to support Elaida instead of Siuan because he’d disliked Siuan’s treatment of Elayne and Egwene.

But would Elaida have treated the girls any better? Would any of them have? Gawyn had made his decision in a moment of passion; it hadn’t been the coolheaded act of loyalty that his men assumed.

Where was his loyalty, then?

When the meeting breaks up, Gawyn overhears Covarla saying something about how she can’t believe the rebels set up their own Amyrlin, and then sees to his shock that Katerine Alruddin is with her, even though no one had reported seeing her come in or enter the building. Katerine sees him and makes a point of mentioning that at least the wilder Accepted they set up as a puppet Amyrlin has been captured  and “made to howl half the day,” and that she wouldn’t want to be “that al’Vere girl” right now. In shock, Gawyn goes after Katerine and demands confirmation that she was talking about Egwene, which she gives, before dismissing him and beginning to talk to the others about Traveling. Gawyn notes this, but is distracted by his growing, horrified conviction that Egwene was being tortured, and would soon be stilled and executed, just like they were going to do to Siuan.

Egwene was in trouble. He blinked deliberately, standing in the square, cattle calling distantly, water bubbling in the canal beside him.

Egwene would be executed.

Where is your loyalty, Gawyn Trakand?

Gawyn goes back to his tent and packs lightly, and tells Rajar that he is going to inspect one of the outposts alone. Rajar is uncertain, but accepts this. Gawyn goes to saddle his horse and finds Sleete there, who comments that Gawyn has the look of “a man who has made up his mind.” Gawyn realizes he knows, and agonizes over the possibility of having to kill another man he respects, but Sleete just asks when he should tell Gawyn’s men that he isn’t returning. Gawyn asks why Sleete isn’t going to stop him, and Sleete chuckles that he doesn’t have a death wish. Gawyn points out that even losing the fight would attract enough attention to stop him, and asks why Sleete is letting him go.

“Perhaps I just like to see men care,” Sleete said. “Perhaps I hope you’ll find a way to help end this. Perhaps I am feeling lazy and sore with a bruised spirit from so many defeats. May you find what you seek, young Trakand.”

He leaves, and Gawyn takes off for the one place he could think of to go for help in rescuing Egwene.

One of the nicest things about reading a series this long and developed and rich in its worldbuilding is how traditions or institutions that are particular to that universe have time to be so thoroughly ingrained in the readers’ consciousness that their import or significance no longer needs to be explicated by the author.

(One of my favorite examples — and I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned this before but whatever, it’s my favorite — is how Richard Adams spent the entirety of Watership Down teaching the reader the rabbits’ language, just so he could have one of the characters deliver the best line of the book in untranslated Lapine — which is why it was the best line of the book. Beautiful.)

For example, no explanation or qualification was needed for me to understand exactly how much of an honor it was that Sleete invited Gawyn to bond with his Aes Sedai, because by now we totally get how cool that is, which is very. I remember my eyebrows shot up a little when I first read Sleete’s offer, in a “well, hey” kind of way.

Also, I left it out of the summary but the actual dueling part of Gawyn’s duel with Sleete and Marlesh was also pretty cool. Even if I tend to get rather cross-eyed trying to work out what the moves the sword forms “describe” actually look like.

(Mostly irrelevantly, one of the sillier pastimes the denizens of the rec.arts newsgroup used to indulge in was coming up with lists of “alternate” sword form names. As you can imagine, this generally degenerated into the inevitable phallic jokes very quickly, but one of my absolute favorites was this:

Boar Rushes Down The Mountain
Boar Rushes Back Up The Mountain, Having Left The Gas On

I don’t know why, but that made me giggle for days. Heh.)

I was, incidentally, pretty amused that Sleete’s story of how he got back to Dorlan really was practically a textbook cliché of a heroic knightly tale, deliberately. Right down to being nursed back to health by a simple yet lovely village girl! Heh.

In other news, this is probably the first time since before the Tower coup in TSR that a Gawyn-centric scene has not completely annoyed me in one way or another. Which is probably damning with faint praise, but I think we should all be grateful for small steps here.

This is said with full knowledge of the irony that Gawyn is still doing here exactly what even he knows is that stupid thing he does — namely, going off half-cocked based on unreliable or incomplete information. Thus letting Katerine Alruddin become the latest in a depressingly long line of characters who have played Gawyn like a violin, and sent him flying off to be an obstacle for other people to trip over. That it happens to have sent him barreling off in a good direction for once is mere coincidence, it seems. Or semantics, or something. But whatever, I’ll take it.

It’s almost to the point where I’ve given up being irritated at him, and just have to sigh at his apparent total inability to allow reason to trump emotion, ever. I used to try to aver that he had a brain and was just refusing to use it, but the evidence against is starting to pile up on me. I may just have to chuck in the towel, pat him on the head, and tell him to go play with his pointy stick while the grownups get things done.

On Sheesh: Sheesh.

Gawyn even kind of agrees with me in this chapter, when he wishes wistfully (in another bit I left out of the summary) that everything in his life was as simple as a sword fight. I guess there’s something to be said for knowing your strengths and weaknesses, but unfortunately Gawyn’s birth status alone prevents him from removing himself from situations where he has to think, let alone who he chose to fall in love with, so, well, he (and everyone around him) are kind of screwed on that score. Sigh, again.

Well, at least it ends well. Sort of. Eventually. After Gawyn screws it up a few more times. Er. Yay?

Well, let’s go with yay for now, eh? Way! And with that, I say good day. I SAID GOOD DAY! (I really have to stop dicking around on YouTube.)

Sam Mickel
1. Samadai
Excellent chapter with Egwene. LOve that The BA hunters get to figure out that Egwene can be awesome
2. danthony2000
First time comment.

It often strikes me in chapters like ch. 12 how the main characters can in some situations show wisdom and/or skill (magic, fighting) far beyond their years, but then turn around a few pages later and be completely wood-headed in other regards. This is especially true when considering many of the main characters confidence in themselves (Egwene, Elaine) and lack of confidence in the skill of others (e.g. their view of Mat). Aviendha is another in this book that shows she is very politically smart in conversations with Wise Ones, and then simply can't understand other "simple" facts about wet landers or her punishment.
3. alreadymadwithTGS
Egwene wonders why Tower sisters were bonded that way?Duh... they got off light, what did she think, they'd get off scot free? Yup, Leigh, it was coincidence that Gawyn went in the right direction this time. Totally agree.
Fake Name
4. ThePendragon
Been waiting for this. This one thing where I personally felt Sanderson messed up. I get that he's trying to show us how badass Gawyn is, and I can accept that he is, but he doesn't seem to have a proper idea of what's realistic. It confused a lot of people here that he could beat someone who had beaten Lan before as well as another good warder, both at once. It even led to speculation than he was better than Lan.

He clears it up on twitter by stating that Gawyn is actually a few levels below Lan, but it doesn't help that he then makes it worse with the bloodknives in the next book. What Gawyn does there is nigh impossible. It would have been a stretch for LAN. Defeating multiple super speed invisible special forces assassin's? He just doesn't seem to have a grasp of what's reasonable. I generally just scale down these scenes in my head so they make sense, but it still irks me.

What made the bloodknives thing worse from me was that Gawyn had aide. So Sanderson had a reasonable method of making the fight realistic. Yet he chose to hill the others off immediately and have Gawyn take them all out unassisted. I get that he likes these superhuman badass battles, since you see them a lot in his other work, but he really needed to tone it down a bit for WoT.
5. alreadymadwithbettersword
danthony2000 @2
That simply means no one can have it all, and drives home the point that everyone is looking at things from fairly narrow points of view.

ThePendragon @4
Who cares who the better swordsman is? Are they gonna go after each other because one is better?
At this point they're all pretty badass anyway. You're just missing out on the story by focusing on things like those.
Rich Bennett
6. Neuralnet
IMHO these are some of the chapters Sanderson really did right. Previous to this book I was getting a bit tired of the Egwene/Gawyn arcs... but these chapters brought them back to life for me. Definitely a MOA moment for Egwene... and FINALLY we are going to see some sort of resolution for Gawyn
Captain Hammer
7. Randalator
She wonders how Rand could have allowed sisters to be bonded that way

Why, pretty much the same way that you allowed Asha'man to be bonded that way, you silly girl, you...
8. alreadymadwithbonded
Randalator @7
No. She wasn't around when Asha'man were bonded. The ones that were bonded at this time were those bonded to Cadsuane's party and Cadsuane pretty much trumps any authority, Amyrlin or not. Besides it's not as if they were bonded against their will, just blackmailed into ... right.

Anyway. It's not as if she knows of any Asha'man bonded against his will right this moment.
Captain Hammer
9. Randalator
alreadymad @8

Well, it's not like Rand knew about the Asha'man bonding Aes Sedai until after the fact. So there...
10. dlinderholm
“This is why an oath of obedience is a terrible idea,” Egwene said.
Continuing along the lines of things that brought me out of the story (that whole paranoia thing from a week or two ago), not sure why, but this line really bothered me. It just doesn't seem to fit. Terrible, I mean. I'd think Eg would come up with something stronger, or more eloquent, or something - this is just one of those things that jumped out and made me think, "Oh yeah, this is Sanderson, not Jordan." It is a testament to Sanderson that such moments are relatively rare, I just wonder if this one struck anyone else that way.
11. wcarter4
@The Pendragon
The chapter says he had beaten both men, not that they fought at the same time.
Also, there are several types of sparring that rely on purely one skill (Ryne beat Lan every almost every time at the sword game called sevens only to be killed by the man in a real fight) In the same book New Spring Lan beat six swordsman.
New Spring was purely Robert Jordan's work and it's more than fair to say that he didn't always describe fights realistically either.
Roger Powell
12. forkroot
And thus Egwene's arc of "Supreme Awesomeness" picks up speed. She owns this book and provides a very nice counterpoint to Dark Rand (ending notwithstanding.) Too bad she regresses a touch in ToM - but then we all have our good days and less than good.

And now a tip of the cap to BWS: One of RJ's strengths as a writer was that he could introduce a minor character in such a way that you got a strong feel for the character's emotions and viewpoint. If he chose to, he could present a very appealing character who would have his or her own mini-MOA.

I think Brandon did the same here with Sleete - it's not like he got dozens of pages, yet with Gawyn's musing on the backstory and the face-to-face (and sword to sword) interaction, we get a real sense of Sleete's character (and minor awesomeness.)

I hope we get to see Sleete in battle action at some point in AMoL.
Marcus W
13. toryx
I think this series is taking this whole "Opposites Attracts" thing too far.

First you have Egwene being wholly awesome and smart and steady. Then you have Gawyn still being a brainless punk who can't figure out up from down.

Based on the opposites attract rule, it's clear that these two are made for each other. Frankly, however, the whole thing makes *me* sick.

It doesn't help, of course, that I believe the whole "opposites attract" rule to be a bunch of horsepucky.

Anyway, much as I like Egwene's chapter (and I do) I hate Gawyn's chapter, not because I hate Gawyn (though I do) but because it's always seemed to me to be Sanderson's effort to say to the readers, "Look, I know Gawyn's a pain in the ass whose decisions don't make any sense, so I'm going to try to explain some of those decisions in a way that kinda sorta makes sense so we can at least move on with our lives and try to make the whole square peg round hole Gawyn/ Egwene thing work.

For me, personally, this fails miserably. But that's okay, that's how it goes sometimes.
15. Greyhawk
I think the Gawyn chapter is a good example of the difference between Sanderson and Jordan. Gawyn's introspection was so on point that you knew Gawyn as a character was finally comming around. It was as if Sanderson was acknowledging all of the frustration readers had in the prior books with Gawyn and was trying to carve a path out of the mess Gawyn had been written into (although it would definitely take a while--his character under Brandon's stewardship is much more palatable than under Jordan's). If there is one major difference for me between Brandon and Jordan it is that, IMHO, Brandon's take on the characters is much more mature and "real" and less hyperexaggerated mannerisms. One example as I recall is that Nynaeve interaction with Rand takes a significant turn for the better in this book.

ThePendragon@4 -- I agree with you. When I read this, I was sort of like really? But the Bloodknives fight completely frustrated me as Gawyn truly achieved the impossible. If the guy with him had been allowed to contribute more before being killed it would have made a big difference in how I perceived that scene.
Captain Hammer
16. Randalator
Btw, Leigh

you forgot to turn your end-of-the-introduction-clever-quote-link-thingy into an actual link-thingy...
17. Greyhawk
I see torx@13 essentially made the same point I did about Brandon's characterization--at least with respect to Gawyn--although in a much pithier way.
18. AndrewB

Thanks for another wonderful post. I really appreciated these chapters when I read them the first time. I do not loose my enthusiasim for them with each subsequent re-read.

In Chapter 12, Egwene muses that up to that point, she had never been summoned to a Sitter. Yet, IIFC, she was healed by Doesine in KoD after one of her beatings. I was surprised that she did not reference this in her thoughts either upon learning that she was to meet with the Yellow Sitter or seeing Doesine in the basement.

Something that Leigh did not mention in her commentary or summary of this chapter: I loved the BA hunters' reactions when Egwene casually mentioned that she can Travel.

BTW, Leigh, I would love to know what West Wing scene you were refering to regarding that quote. West Wing is one of my all-time favorite TV shows.

Thanks for reading my musings,
Kimani Rogers
19. KiManiak
Thanks again, Leigh. Any shot outs to the West Wing are always welcome.

Back to Egwene in the Tower. You know, it needs to be said that for Egwene to essentially shrug off the fact that she’s been beaten several times a day, every day for over a month is freaking impressive. Her focus and single-mindedness definitely work in her favor in this situation.

And let it also be said (by me, admittedly one of Egwene’s biggest detractors outside of TGS) that we see her earn the respect of a number of AS here and throughout the book. That is laudable. The way she interacts with Bennae, Nagora and Suana was well done.

I like how Egwene worked through the Meidani situation and met the BA Hunters. Once again, we see that Egwene is incredibly smart and has incredible deductive reasoning (when it doesn’t have to do with our Super Boys, anyway) when she wishes to apply herself to a situation. Her handling the BAH foursome and coming out on top was well done. Sorkinesque dialogue indeed.

Interesting comments about leadership, by the way. I agree; I prefer someone in charge that I can respect because they are competent but can also handle all of the rigors of the job and not give in (or sell others out) when they need to step up; they have our backs and so we’re happy to have theirs. And these traits are, IMHO, unfortunately becoming rarer amongst our leaders.

And… look, there is Gawyn. He beat 2 good swordsmen; hooray for him. I did really like Sleete here, though. Anyway, a full chapter on Gawyn. Great use of ink.

Pendragon@4 – I’m okay with reading these type of sword fights. I thought it was fun, and shows that Gawyn is really good. I don’t think you have to automatically infer that Gawyn must be better than Lan just because he beat Sleete and someone else 2-on-1. Supposedly, you fight differently when you’re fighting 1 on 1 versus when you have a partner; maybe Sleete really shines when he’s 1-on-1.

Randalator@9 – A good point. But this is Egwene we’re talking about here, so hypocrisy is to be expected.

dlinderholm@10 and Greyhawk@15 – Wouldn’t it be funny if we find out that RJ actually wrote those respective scenes? :-)

Greyhawk@15 – I am inclined to agree with you about Nynaeve in this book. BWS did identify that she is one of his favorites, and she turns a major corner in this book, and I don't think that's a coincidence. Still, its possible that RJ wrote that, too. :-)
20. Lipton
I've never really liked Egwene. Wait, let me explain, I've always appreciated her as a character and she fills her role in the plot with aplomb, she's just not a person I could ever find myself genuinely liking. I'd respect her as a leader but I'd hate to have to spend any time around her. She's good people who kicks a lot of righteous ass and I'm sure she's crying into her tea as I type this because some random person on the internet doesn't want to be besties with her.

Which is all to say, even though I'm not in love with her I still totally appreciate when she delivers a righteous smackdown. That was some primo awesome right there.

One thing I love about this world is its richness and depth. There are so many stories that are just hinted at or summarized that I would love to read. Meidani certainly knows how to suck it up and deal with the crap that gets shoveled her way and I'd bet reams of epic poetry could be dedicated to the adventures of Hattori and Sleete.
Leigh Butler
21. leighdb
AndrewB @18:

The quote is from the Season 2 opener, "In the Shadow of Two Gunmen, Part 1":

Leo: Because I'm tired of it! Year, after year, after year of having to choose between the lesser of who cares? Of trying to get myself excited over a candidate who can speak in complete sentences. Of setting the bar so low, I can hardly look at it. They say a good man can't get elected president. I don't believe that, do you?

Bartlet: And you think I'm that man?

Leo: Yes.

Bartlet: Doesn't it matter that I'm not as sure?

Leo: Nah. 'Act as if ye have faith and faith shall be given to you.' Put another way: 'Fake it until you make it.'
Alice Arneson
22. Wetlandernw
KiManiak @19 - "Wouldn't it be funny if we find out that RJ actually wrote those respective scenes?" - That's what annoys me most about people criticizing Brandon's writing of a particular scene. In the entire book, there are a bare few scenes that we know are "original RJ" from other sources - like the prologue scene that some heard played back in his own voice. Other than that, we don't ever know how much of a scene was written by whom. Even those scenes where we find words that various readers claim prove the scene was written by Brandon, we don't know how much was his origination. We don't even know for sure that the wording was not RJ's, dropped in while sketching the scene but expected to change later. Certainly there are differences in style between the two writers, but when people pick things like this and claim that one author or the other screwed it up, I have to either laugh or roll my eyes. (The other alternative is to throw things, and laptops are too expensive to replace over that kind of foolishness.)
23. Ryanus
I don't know that I really have an issue with Gawyn once we start getting in his head more. Nor do I have an issue with his accomplishments.

Looking at this chapter, combined with forknowledge of his conversation with Elayne next book, I see man who was trusting impulse and could not slow down to think. Once things were shoved in his face he went over them, backed off and accepted reality even if he didn't like it.

The problem is when has he had anyone to do this? He was senior with the Younglings, no one was going to question him and anyone who might was younger and less experienced than he was, so not likely to be any better a source of advice. Everyone with knowledge or seniority to him basically prodded him towards death, kept him in the dark, or ignored him. So he never got a chance to really get pushed to look. Not the best behavior from him, but something I've seen in good people in real life.

Soon we start having Gareth putting him in his place. Then Siuan a little bit, then Egwene and Elayne and we see that while he takes a while to change he does move towards it. It's hard to admit you were wrong and step into a new role.

As for his skills. Why exactly couldn't he be as good as Lan? He's had training, he's had situations that while not the same as Lan's do put him through similar trials. Wasn't Hammar a BladeMaster? So there's one qualifier check on his sword. The fight with the blood knives I won't discuss now since that's a book away, but I will say I don't find what he did all that unrealistic for the character.
Fake Name
24. ThePendragon
@5alreadymadwithbettersword, @11wcarter4
I think you both missed my point. My issue isn't so much a pissing contest as it is an issue with the consistency of the story and the ability to maintain a willing suspension of disbelief. He crosses the line and breaks my suspension of disbelief by creating highly unrealistic and in the case of the Bloodknives, absurd scenarios.

Also carter4, he fights them both at once in this very scene and defeats them both, without even breaking a sweat.

@15Greyhawk Agreed. The other guy should have have contributed more before dying to make it at least somewhat feasible. Still would have been a stretch.

@19KiManiak I have no issue with him being badass. I have an issue with him being inhumanly badass. He isn't even a warder yet, so he's not afforded any of the extra abilities and yet he pulls of things that even warders couldn't. I never had a doubt Lan was not better, but the kinds of things Sanderson has Gawyn doing make it seem like he is. It raises another issue, since if Lan is two-to-three levels higher than Gawyn, he should apparently be able to single handedly take down two Gholams(Hyperbole).

@23 Ryanus. Several reasons.

1. Lan is from a battle oriented culture.
2. Lan is older and more experienced.
3. Lan is a warder and thus has superhuman abilties afforded as such.
4. He has experienced far more extreme battle circumstances and tested himself against much more difficult opponents including all kinds of shadowspawn, warders, aiel, and multiple blademasters.
5. Because Sanderson already said so. He lists Rand(pre-hand loss), Galad and Lan as better. This of course is not a comprehensive list, since for instance, Riatin was pretty much even with Rand and maybe better. Valda was almost even with Galad as well, and arguably better, Etc.

Add to that, bloodknives, were the best of the best seanchan soldiers. So you could say each should at least approach blademaster status, or equivalent for their weapons. PLUS, they have super speed, super strength and invisibility. He single handedly kills not ONE, not TWO, but THREE at once.
Hugh Arai
25. HArai
toryx@13: It's not so much opposites attract as Pattern-required. He's (somehow) madly in love with Egwene, who won't have anything to do with him unless he agrees to be ordered about like a puppet. That's apparently Gawyn's great viewing predicted choice: Give up independent thought (however poor his own decisions maybe) or obey the Egwene.
26. Ryanus
Where exactly do we see him doing anything we couldn't expect from a Warder?

Bloodknives are thought of as legendary, and are legitimately fast, strong and hard to see. We know this from the words of Seanchan who are convinced they're invincible killing machines.

But... They've never fought a Warder before, these specific ones have never used their powers before now and so may still be figuring out their own limits. And honestly, how many people will deliberately go to blind fighting against a super fast opponent?

Fighting Bloodknives is not the same as fighting Gholam. One is still limited by the mobility of the human body and takes wounds, slows with loss of blood and exhaustion... They are still mortal.

He beat one in the light, then plunged to darkness, kill one in the moment of surprise and took the other one by basically "Sheathing the Sword" but lucked out to live long enough for Egwene to save him. And this all happened against opponents who were initially just messing with him on the premise of "we're invincible, just let him get tired."

One other point, from someone who is a swordsman. Fighting one is different from fighting two or more. I've had moments where everything flows right and I've fought and beat 5. And I've lost to each of those five in one on one fights. Tactics and situations change with the numbers.
Stefan Mitev
27. Bergmaniac
Hey, a West Wing reference - awesome stuff.

Rereading the Gawyn chapter last week, it struck me that it's strange that a run of the mill Aes Sedai would even try to convince Gawyn to become her Warder. After all, it should be common knowledge he's to be Andor's First Prince of the Sword and has sworn an oath to protect Elayne, and oaths are taken very seriously in Randland. So the natural thing for him would be to become Elayne's Warder or no Warder at all. Egwene is a special case being BFF with Elayne and she and Gawyn are in love so she could expect Gawyn get his sister's blessing for the bond, but Hattori should've known it was extremely unlikely. I guess she and Sleete were just taking a long shot here and I am overanalysing it...

I liked that Gawyn finally heard what's going on with Egwene and left the Elaida faction, it was long overdue. I don't think Gawyn is any different now, BTW, than before (except too much badass, but I don't really care about that). He got important info and reacted in his typical impulsive and emotional way.

Anyway on to Egwene. It's a good chapter, but Elaida's extreme cluelessness cheapens the whole thing for me. We see it demonstrated again how easy it was for Egwene to leave if she wanted to - meet with one of the Salidar ferrets, teach her Travelling, and it's done, and that's just one of the options she had available. If Elaida had 2 brain cells to rub together at this point, she should've realised that and either executed Egwene and put her under much stricter supervision. But no, she left her with plenty of opportunity to spread dissent and with the option to get away at any time if the beating start to get too much for her.
Richard Hunt
28. WOTman
I enjoyed the Egwene kicks butt chapter, although I have to admit, it was a bit too easy, but with every one on edge I guess it could work.

I find it hard to believe her super human abilities to shrug off multiple beatings , working chores, meeting with AS and seemingly getting enough sleep only after meeting with leane every night, plus meeting in Telanrhiod to boot. She deserves to be head of the freakin world!

I like the Gawyn chapter because ; to me, it shows that he is only human, he tries his best to be a leader and tries to hide his confusion and wonder if he's doing the right thing, or maybe even got on the wrong side. And don't forget, he's young and in love! I know that that in itself will make you do majorly doofuss things. So anyway, I cut him slack and I know he's a good egg.
29. alreadymadwithsuspension
I guess my suspension of disbelief has a higher tolerance. I didn't even notice that Gawyn had already gone and outdone Lan. All I noticed was that it moved the plot along. My suspension of disbelief didn't really care much who was good, better, best. Particularly since that chapter and scene was supposed to be a turning point for Gawyn. You should give the guy a chance to outdo himself (and maybe even Lan) if the chapter's about him and saving his girl. Although I would agree the other guy could have helped some more.
Fake Name
30. ThePendragon

Three bloodknives, that's something a warder couldn't do, and again, he's not a warder at this time.

Also these aren't just assumed to be good because fo the rings, these are battle proven warrior who ARE the best fighters amongst their most elite forces. They are battle proven, before being chosen as bloodknives. Also, they had had time to adjust as they'd been using the abilities for days, and I believe even longer than that.

Also, you're wrong about them having normal human limitations. They are stronger and faster. They are superhuman once they have the rings on. Not to mention invisible to some degree.

Also, 'And this all happened against opponents who were initially just messing with him on the premise of "we're invincible, just let him get tired."' is a terrible and cliched excuse. These are highly trained assassins sent out to carry out the most important mission they will ever get. Having fun with your target doesn't make sense. And there's not reason for them to wear him out, when he's ludicrously outmatched.

@29. Again, it's not about Lan, it's about the story. It's about consistency. Sanderson has made it clear that Lan is head and shoulders above Gawyn. So it really makes things wonky when you have Gawyn beating someone who has beaten Lan, though only rarely, and someone else who is highly skilled at once. Then, have him do something we couldn't see any single human non-channeler doing. He has set the bar too high.
31. Ryanus
Sorry for the double post, but wanted to discuss straight to Pendragon's points.

1. Gawyn was trained by Gareth, Hammar and a pack of Warders. This is admittedly less of a "survive or die" upbringing than Lan's, but it's hardly a pushover situation.

2. Lan's age and experience is relevant to a point. I've got 15 years training with various weapons. I am a good modern example of older and experienced (Not comparing myself to Lan, I'm not a master). That experience and patience lets me mop the floor with newer fighters who are learning or are only journeymen at the blade. But generally I've found a younger person who takes a serious approach to it will beat me. Me versus myself ten years ago. The younger me would win. I have more experience, but youth with experience still means you're faster and stronger.

3. The Warder Bond's benefits are relevant. But as I recall that has to do with endurance and stamina more than speed or strength.

4. Gawyn has not faced Shadowspawn, true, but he has faced Aiel, he has faced blademasters, warders.

5. Valid point, and my fault for my phrasing, but I wasn't really specifically sayin Gawyn was better or had to be so much as meaning to question why it's an assumption that Gawyn can't possibly be approaching their level.

For Bloodknives, beyond what I said. You're right in that they're basically Seanchan Special Forces. But that's a completely different skill set than a trained duelist. I've known a few special forces (one seal and two Force Recons) that happen to be in the same circles regarding swordplay as me. One of them admittedly has mopped the floor with me every time we spar. The other two? They'll beat me in a melee scenario, or in a situation where I don't know they're there. But one on one when I know they're coming. I've won a majority of the time. Again, nothing about me relevant in that, but the situation does show that certain trainings are effective at their goal but don't always work for other situations. For this reason I don't really consider them BladeMasters anymore than I consider the Gholam to be one.

Gawyn against three bloodknives the first time would have killed him. Gawyn against two with a third coming later after he had already face one once, learned a rough idea of their abilities and thought specifically on how to fight them is another.

Then in that fight he fights two and then three who are toying with him and idly waiting for him to make a mistake because they think it's easier. Then he takes one, partially through luck, and they start trying to kill him for real, and mess him up. He then clicks the last puzzle pieces to go for the darkness. Kills one in the surprise moment and then takes the other with him in a double kill. The only thing that we're being asked to believe about Gawyn's swordskills is that he beat one.
Hugh Arai
32. HArai
@various: As someone pointed out above, by the time the Bloodknives were taking Gawyn seriously, they were fighting in the dark. The many would lose the majority of their ability to coordinate and take advantage of their numbers, whereas Gawyn knows anything that's not him is fair game. Also, speed and strength boosts are less impressive when you can't see the target. Lan in contrast beat 6 when they could see to work together. Twohanded Rand beat what? 4 of 5? in practice. You might argue the fighters in general are too badass, but this isn't pushing Gawyn over top of Lan or Rand.
33. Ryanus
I don't know why you assume a warder couldn't. I know one or two did die, but there are levels of skill in the warders, they're not all blademasters.
They are soliders before being blood knives, no arguement, I covered that in the above post. As for six days to learn their abilities. Six days isn't enough to master something like dramatically enhanced physical abilities. I'm sure they got something of a handle on it, but I doubt they were fully in comfort with their abilities.
I'm not wrong on the limitations. I wasn't talking about speed and strenght, I was talking about them still having a skeleton and a solid frame that moves in very specific ways to someone who knows fighting. We also don't know exactly how much faster and stronger they are.

If I had said they were "playing with their food" you'd have a point. But "test at him and let himself wear down and fail on his own" is a very intelligent approach when you know you have time. They know he survived one of them before. They know he's a master blade. Given that it makes perfect sense to let him make the mistake instead of risking his luck taking them if they pushed too fast to start.
Fake Name
34. ThePendragon

I think point 3 in your list negated point two. The warder advantage would negate any of the effects of aging. He also isn't that old. Also, it's a big assumption that everyone ages as negatively. His aging may very well have no effect on his physical prowess.

The skillset is different today, but in this scenario we're talking about bladed skills. Bloodknives implies they are skilled with bladed weapons, but I agree we can't know for certain what their exact skillset is. It also doesn't address that their superhuman abilities. As for the playing with him thing, I've always hated that excuse personally. It doesn't make sense, and I don't think it fits with the scenario of trained assassin's trying to quickly achieve their highest goal. It's a movie cliche, but just doesn't make sense.

I know Sanderson says Gawyn is just a lot luckier than he realizes, but even Mat would be hard pressed to luck his way out of this one. In the end, you can rationalize anything away, if you really put your mind to it. For me however, it's just not something I can in this scenario. It's just too much.

EDIT: That's just it, they DON'T have time. As far as they knew, they're in a room with a channeler. This is the most important mission they will ever get, it's the reason they are here. They are in the middle of hostile territory, surrounded by hundreds of channelers and some fo the best fighters in the world. Time was a luxury they did not have.

EDIT2: I realize I may coming off as a bit smug with some comments, so I want to clarify. I rationalize things away all the time, in real life and especially in my entertainment. There's nothing wrong with that. Different people have different threshholds though, and this one shatters mine. I just can't see it working without some serious mental gymnastics. There's only so many excuses I can make for a scene before I have to admit, it just doesn't work.
35. Ryanus
Warder enhanced stamina and health would help offset the age. But someone at say 80% of their prime with a a boost from the Bond vs someone at 100% prime. The various is going to be how much that warder Bond gives you.

Also, I've known many people who maintain health and impressive physical ability through their older years. Still not at the level they used to be. The question becomes how much you can keep ahold of.

I wasn't really reffereing to different weapons training, but the approach, killing from stealth, attacking in group, infiltration, etc. Those skills are the same as a front line head on fighter.

Mat... I'm not sure Mat couldn't toss knives blind and kill them. I'm exagerating some, but still..

As for the waiting game. They thought they had time. Someone had already triggered the alarms and traps that were supposed to wake her up and she still slept. They had been fighting for a few moments while they waited for their third member to arrive. She stayed asleep. All nearby help was dead and silenced. They had time.

And it's not a movie cliche to wait. If I go against someone I think is technically a better fighter than me. Or just someone close to my level who's been trouble before. I go on full guard and wait for them to make a mistake and then I strike. It's a solid tactic that works really well unless you're up against someone a LOT better than you.
Roger Powell
36. forkroot
Chiming in on Gawyn vs the Bloodknives:

Don't overlook plain old dumb luck. BWS himself stated that Gawyn was lucky (albeit when discussing comparative skill.)

Another thought: I'm not sure the text says so explicitly, but I always assumed the Bloodknives were small - much like the raken riders, so that they could be transported on the raken. They are also specifically trained for assassination, not melee fighting. Given Gawyn's demonstrated skill, and probable size/reach advantage, he might well be a big favorite 1:1 vs a single Bloodknife and less of an underdog against 3 than you might think.

Lastly, sometimes the favorites don't win. Some days the underdog gets crazy lucky. NC State over Houston (1983 NCAA basketball final) was a much bigger upset than Gawyn over three Bloodknives!

Hmmm, do you suppose the pattern could have been involved in that NC State game?
37. alreadymadwithbloodknives
Bloodknives implies they are skilled with bladed short weapons. So, in the dark, with a distinct disadvantage on reach, unable to coordinate their attack, with equal chances of hitting the enemy or each other. And Gawyn the blademaster level kills both. Gets grievously wounded doing so.

Does that about sum it up? Because if individually these are at the skill level of blademasters, then I'd really wonder. But otherwise....
Charles Gaston
38. parrothead
Absolutely love Egwene right here. This, carrying over from her one chapter in KoD, is where she shot up to one of my favorite characters. I also really liked the depictions of the AS' rooms. Many of Jordan's (and by extension Sanderson's) detractors criticize him for focusing on things that, to them, don't matter, like clothing and furniture. I would say that, quite the contrary, they DO matter a lot. They give insight into a character while making a very vivid, lifelike world. Or they can be used for different purposes, such as here, where we are shown how people can shape their environments by carving out their own little spaces to reflect their own natures.

Gawyn's doing okay here, I think. I'm trying to remember some of the stories about Gawyn/Gawain to see if that's where this particular characterization is coming from, but not coming up with anything.
Valentin M
39. ValMar
WOTman @ 28

"She deserves to be head of the freakin world!"

Most likely, Egwene already thinks she is! As would any other Amyrlin, to be fair.

Otherwise, I really enjoyed Eg's meeting with the BAHs.
40. Halibulu
My favorite sword form name came like this:

I came home late from work, opened my front door into my pitchblack apartment unable to see a thing, until my roommate lit up dual light sabers as he jumped from the kitchen counter right at me screaming "MONKEY JUMPS OVER THE STREAM!!!!"

Lol, needless to say, my 6'2 220lb "fearless" a$$ screeched like a little girl, and we ended up dying laughing.
Cameron Tucker
41. Loialson


Hey, even if you don't believe Gawyn could get that lucky in his fighting, it makes for a great tension builder during the story. Paraphrasing RJ "Remember my dear, it's just make-believe". Gawyn served his purpose, helping to make a great smash bang action scene along w/Egwene and Perrin's TAR fight. I loved it to itty bits, even if it's unrealistic. It's fantasy, who cares :).

::dives for bunker (MOVE, SUFFA!!)::
Fake Name
42. ThePendragon
There is an endless amount of what if and supposition that is being applied here, including state of mind. It's not enough to focus on what might be for me. What I DO know is; One highly skilled swordsman, faced off against three highly skilled assassins with superhuman strength and speed and defeated them. It just doesn't add up in my head. I can't make it.

@loailson. It's not a matter of realism for me, it's a matter of internal consistency. The one power isn't realistc in the least, but if Aes Sedai suddenly started flying and shapeshifting I doubt most people would be very sanguine about it. It's how I feel about this.
43. Ryanus
ThePendragon, no worries on concern for coming off with attitude, if anything was worried I was the one coming off smug. But I figure a discussion is a discussion. And it looks like this one ends with "This is how I see it." Which is cool.

As an aside I'm kind of amused flight hasn't come up yet. Not lifting yourself with the power straight, since that would break the internal consistancy.

But what I think should have come up with is that anyone with great Air Strength should be able to fly allah Storm from X-Men. Ride jets of air.
Stacy Berger
44. anIceFan
"I used to try to aver that he had a brain and was just refusing to use it, but the evidence against is starting to pile up on me."
What would he do with a brain if he had one? - with appologies to Dorothy Gayle.
William Fettes
45. Wolfmage
Just echoing a few others here, but I do like how Brandon uses the catalyst of Egwene's capture to start giving us a proper glipse into his head here as part of his journey back to the flock. This is the start of the bookend to his being on the wrong side of the split, and there's some nice symmetry in the fact that it’s the same flawed obsessive love that ends the phase that brought him astray in the first place.

I think Gawyn's character suffered greatly in the way the schism plot unfolded, with RJ keeping him somewhat oblique, obsessive and forward looking for a long time. It may have been a necessary plot device at the time, but for me at least, the death of Hammar and siding with Elaida definitely damaged his character. Moreoever, arguably the damage was amplified well beyond what was strictly intended by the cartoonish levels of megalomania and incompetence that became associated with Elaida's regime, his apparent willingness to stay on despite this and the way he is treated, and his fact-free obsession with Rand. The latter especially made his character flaws seem rather bigger than they had to be IMO. So, I must commend BS for taking the time to setup up the repair job properly as it was festering for a long time.

Without knowing how RJ might have sought to resolve this issue, it's probably a little unfair to criticise how it was left for so many books. But this is one of those times where I think Brandon's more self-conscious grasp of the reader experience helps enmormously -- by expressly exploring Gawyn's conflicted thoughts about his actions -- even if the ultimate explanation remains morally unsatisfying.

Regarding Gawyn's sword prowess, it's not a big thing but I too didn't especially like the mention of Lan here precisely because of the implied transitivity: from the ease with which Gawyn bested Sleete, to Sleete's win over Lan, rare or otherwise. I mean, I know at least on an intellectual level that dueling doesn't necessarily follow transitive rules, and I know, equally, that Gawyn's youth and training probably is sufficient to explain such skill. However, it just doesn't sit right with me emotionally because I like Lan so much. His upbringing as the last Malkieri trained from birth by living legends, like Bukama, to be a human weapon is so goddamn heroic and unique, even above and beyond the warrior society of Aiel, that I dislike any diminishment of that capability - especially by a Southern princeling, even one trained by Gareth Bryne and Warders. I've had a similar though lesser annoyance along these lines before when Galad comes out of that melee manicured and umblemished in contrasted with the veteran Shienarans.
Elijah Foster
46. TheWolfKing
I want to see Cadsuane meet Amrylin Egwene. Epic showdown.
Mark Locy
47. Tathas
Hi Leigh, enjoyable re-read, as always.

On Egwene: Couldn't have said it better myself. The ramp up to her victory and that victory itself is so freaking awesome, I get all tingly just thinking about it.

On the Oath Rod: Egwene says that using the Oath Rod to compel obedience is one step shy of Compulsion in magnitude of wrong/evil/unethical. I'm not sure I agree. I think using the Oath Rod to compel obedience is worse.

Compulsion, as I recall, causes an almost hypnotic or narcotic state in the person being Compelled. The way it is described, to me, seems like it makes the person almost "less" cognizant that what they are doing or how they are feeling is not how they would normally feel. Compulsion is known to damage mental capacity, up to the point of destroying the victim's personality and autonomy entirely, i.e. Grendel's use is often described thus. So, it follows that, yes, the Compelled victim has lost their free will, but they've also lost more--part or all of what makes them who they are, their personality, their agency, their life, now and in the future. Compulsion is not reversible. As horrible as that is, and as a crime it's magnitute is great. But, it's not unlike killing the person, in that the spark of their life, their soul, is gone, only their body remains. It's like a more efficient way of making a corpse ambulatory.

The Oath Rod serves the same purpose as Compulsion, removing agency, but it does so without damaging the victim's soul, mind, whatever. Not only can you NOT resist a command given to you through an Oath, but you are FULLY AWARE that you cannot resist. There's no escape into idiocy or marionettitude. Perhaps someone can be Oathed into a mindless automaton, but that is not an immediate and expected result. Someone would have to try to engineer a series of Oaths to do that to their victim, whereas that brain damage is just an expected result of Compulsion. And it truncates your life.

So, to me, I liken it to this: Compulsion is like torture, but, as you are tortured further, your ability to comprehend what's happening to you diminishes until you are, to all intents and purposes, dead. The Oath Rod is like torture, but no matter how hard you try, you can never escape it. You will always be aware that you have no free will. Just the thought of it causes flashes of, for lack of a better word, claustrophobia in me. Endless torture or torture and eventual death, which would you choose?

On Gawyn: This is the chapter where Gawyn really becomes to me a more important character. Before, his appearances served as spice for Egwene's love life, or annoying asides where Gawyn tries and fails to have a reasonable thought. I'd think, "This guy again? Why can't we just get to the good stuff!" But, here is where I said to myself, "Oh, wait, something is happening with him and it's not annoying the crap outta me." And that's how I stand on that.
Hugh Arai
48. HArai
TheWolfKing@46: I predict a total "Do what I say silly child" vs "I am the White Tower" brain lock until Alise and Sharina lock them in a closet and take over. :P
Fake Name
49. ThePendragon
@ryan Yeah, I'm sure pretty sure there are plenty of ways you could fly with the OP. Hell, I'm sure an imagintive use of gateways could achieve some form of flight. Also, I always wondered about the letter of it. You can't lift yourself, but what about lifting and object, that you happen to be on? Flying carpets FTW?
William Fettes
50. Wolfmage
Yeah me too. The only thing that gives me small pause is that the series has sometimes sacrificed formidable characters to build up other characters. Egwene, in particular, has been a beneficary of this literary zero-sum shortcut. But hopefully given the fact that Egwene is already ascendent in the position of Amyrlin, and Cadsuane has been given prior notice of Egwene's awesomeness (was that Amys?), the meeting will be more in the vein of Sorilea v Cadsuane MKII -- two big guns recognising the mettle and intelligence of the other. Indeed, it might be made more interesting by the fact that Egwene has institutional authority over Cadsuane.
Roger Powell
51. forkroot
Indeed, it might be made more interesting by the fact that Egwene has institutional authority over Cadsuane.

Actually I agree with you, but I couldn't resist.
52. Mndrew
"Next up, designated thinker for number 7, Gawyn Trackand: ________!"
Rob Munnelly
53. RobMRobM
fork @36 - Ditto Nova over G'town in 84 (with Nova shooting nearly 80 from the field, thereby being able to defeat the Foresaken Patrick Ewing and his minions). Definite Pattern influence in early 80s. Rob
54. chosen
Sword Forms that dont quite make it.

Parting good stout Two Rivers wool

Grabbing a goose and gropeing the Gander

Chicken crosses the street

Princess in a bath

The tavern maids crooked teeth

Thumping the cantelope

Thrust Parry Ripose

Driving Aunt Mildred to the florist

Easing the Bagger down his pants

Slicing the dangling participle
55. Shadow_Jak
Gawyn vs the bloodknives...
Hey, you guys are all forgetting once very important fact...
two of those three BloodKnves were only girls!
*making for the bunker at my very best speed*
56. Shadow_Jak
@ 54
Hey lame Sword forms!

Crippled goat in the tall grass
Stag parting the Pillow Friends
Reed pierces the prophylactic
One fly over the cuckoo nest
King Fisher takes the bait

Straps striking the quivering buttocks

*back to the bunker*
57. Shadow_Jak
Egwene definitely hitting her stride in ths one.
Got to admire her.
One quibble...
She got all huffy over the oath of obedience required of
Meidani, insisting that it be removed.
But did not even think about the Oath of Fealty that she had demanded of many of her followers.
As of the end of TOM - Can't recall her releasing any of them.
No point in bringing that up in front of the Sitters eh? Nah

Gawyn vs the Blood Knives.
Seems very unlikely that they are super trained ninja types.
Nope: They are your basic kamikazi troops.
Why waste your best people as suicide bombers?
Of course you do choose healthy, fit (but small) individuals. Give them some pretty good training, a suicide vest ring.
Tell them they are the very best and send them along to die for God Empress and Country.
The deadly part is the ring, not so much the ring bearer.
58. macster
I am so with Leigh on the awesomeness of visiting the sisters' rooms in this chapter--and I am glad to know she enjoyed it too, since I mentioned back on the recap for Chapter 2 that I was looking forward to this chapter. And not only do we get Meidani's amazing room, and Suana showing that not all Yellows poo-poo Nynaeve's usage of herbs (and she's a Sitter, no less!), but even Bennae's room was fascinating. Granted, Browns are always depicted as scatterbrained, vague, and odd, but I still loved the details of the books and papers piled everywhere, the human skeleton (so Aes Sedai study anatomy--I wonder if any Yellows do the same, or if they get their information from the Browns), the model of the sun, and the depressions in the chair arms due to late-night reading.

I forgot about this Gawyn chapter, or at least that it contained him being offered as a Warder for Hattori, and the bit between him and Sleete about Hammar--which was very much needed, as well as a touching and emotional moment. I guess it's because such things were overshadowed for me by Gawyn finally thinking things through, and how he was finally rushing off again, but this time to go where he was needed and on the right side of the conflict.

And...I don't have much else to say, except that I agree with Wetlander @22. In fact it is starting to make me wonder why I was so looking forward to the re-read of TGS and ToM. I guess it was because I wanted to see more of Leigh's reactions and thoughts. Because otherwise it seems if it isn't "Sanderson screwed up, this isn't how Jordan would have done it", and dithering over word choices, it's dissolving into typical debates about which characters are bad or good, or whether a particular scene or story arc was believable or not.

Granted, that's been happening all along in the re-reads, but...I don't know, it's starting to feel really old to me to see yet another attempt to tear apart Gawyn's mental process or lack thereof--I have not been a fan of him since the coup, but in the most recent books he's redeemed himself in my eyes and I see what went before as just him making mistakes based on misinformation, impetuousness, and poor reasoning. In other words, a sign he isn't perfect but is instead a flawed, realistic character, like everyone else in the series. Seeing his sword abilities discussed and dissected is at least more unique and creative to me, but after a while it's all starting to seem like semantics and, as has been said, "this is how I see it". Which means in the end there doesn't seem much point to discussing it, when people are always going to see things differently from each other and that is that.

In point of fact I was actually dreading today's re-read because I was sure Egwene's awesomeness with the BAH was going to be overshadowed by somebody mentioning her taking issue with their oath of obedience for the ferrets and once more turning this into a huge debate about her hypocrisy and how her oath of fealty makes her such a horrible person who is no better than Elaida. So far at least, while it's been mentioned it has thankfully been kept to a few snarky comments which have either been quickly shot down or rebutted with parallel commentary about Rand. But give it time. :/

EDIT thanks to Shadow Jak: Yup, here we go...sigh.

To sum up: I don't particularly feel like having my enjoyment of these scenes ruined by yet another iteration of "Gawyn is too badass, his defeat of the Bloodknives was not realistic and it was just Sanderson trying to force his valorizing of the character down our throats", or "who's the better fighter/blademaster in WOT, why my favorite is being unfairly nerfed, and how a genre already known for creating over-the-top, unrealistic situations and characters for the Rule of Cool has just gone too far this time".

So I will just say: each Egwene chapter in TGS is more awesome than the one before, making me reassess what had been my favorite, but for now Chapter 12 holds that title. Gawyn is badass, and is finally doing the right thing = Big YES. And I agree with Neuralnet @6, forkroot @12 and 36 forkroot, Ryanus @23, and Alreadymad @29. I also think Ryanus, being an actual swordfighter, has knowledge which trumps anyone else, so I will trust his assessment of Gawyn, both in this chapter and with the Bloodknives. So There. :P
59. macster
@38 parrothead: I knew you'd be chiming in about Meidani's room again! *high fives* You're absolutely right on what the rooms and clothing say about the characters. I can understand why seeing constant walls of text describing such things can be annoying to some people, but aside from giving realistic flavor to the world, I have never been bothered by it. This may be because I love long-winded and detailed writing, but I also think it's because I have always thought Jordan was making a point with these descriptions, the very one you make--that such things are revealing of character. I don't think anyone can argue that how one chooses to decorate a room, or what your tastes in clothing are, doesn't show things about how you think or view the world. Jordan underscored this in T'a'R where what you think and feel immediately causes a change in your wardrobe or surroundings if you aren't well-trained and careful. The descriptions of scenery and clothing in the real world do the same thing, only more subtly. And of course describing such things also gives us a touchstone for interpreting a culture when we're introduced to it for the first time.

As for Gawain, I am pretty sure he was hotheaded and impulsive in Athurian canon and thus caused a lot of trouble and even deaths because of it. Terez, in her theory about Gawyn killing Rand over on Theoryland, links to Sir Gawain and the Green Knight where his impetuousness in cutting off the Knight's head is what leads into his being forced into the deal where his own head will be cut off. And she also mentions in some versions of the stories, actions of Gawain led to or contributed to Arthur's death. Thanks to Wikipedia, I found that to be:

"When Guinevere is sentenced to burn at the stake and Arthur deploys his best knights to guard the execution, Gawain nobly refuses to take part in the deed even though his brothers will be there. But when Lancelot returns to rescue Guinevere, a battle between Lancelot's and Arthur's knights ensues and Gawain's brothers, except for Mordred, are killed. This turns his friendship with Lancelot into hatred, and his desire for vengeance causes him to draw Arthur into a war with Lancelot in France. In the king's absence, Mordred usurps the throne, and the Britons must return to save Britain."

Terez also states: "Gawyn has a few notable similarities with Gawain. His connection to the color green, the boar, and his proclivity for protecting young women, for example. Another thing they have in common is a desire for revenge."

@43 That is pretty odd, now that you mention it. The only time we have seen flight in the series was when Egwene made herself fly over Tanchico in T'a'R. Perhaps that scene offers a reason why no one does it in the real world though (aside from the inability to lift oneself): Egwene stopped both out of embarrassment and because she realized it made her an incredibly obvious target. Flying around everywhere would both spoil any sense of surprise and secrecy, and make yourself very tempting to any villains lurking out there. One good shot with an arrow, or a blast of Fire, and... Not to mention flying would be made very troublesome by inclement weather.

Granted, those with strength in Air tend to be good at weather manipulation, but we've also seen that there are less of those in the Tower than, say, among the Sea Folk, and that weather manipulation itself is very difficult. And there are shields of Air that could be made against rain and snow. But in the end it all comes down to, why would they bother? Other than to get somewhere faster, or to look impressive, Aes Sedai really had no reason to fly, and now that they can Travel the first reason isn't viable anymore.

As for the second, it seems that Aes Sedai have realized, remarkably, that if you're going to try and impress people to get them to respect and obey you, subtlety is the best approach. We're talking about the people who took an Oath to do no harm to Joe Randlander--revealing you can do something as amazing as flying around would be counterproductive to making people trust and defer to you. Or maybe only young and impressionable novices would want to fly, and they get those impulses culled out of them by the above arguments (and a lot of punishment with the Mistress of Novices) before they ever get powerful enough to do it.

Note I am not trying to rain on your parade, I think it would be cool if they could do it (assuming it was a power established early on and not being pulled out of nowhere now). Just trying to explain why it might be that the Aes Sedai can't or won't do it. In regards to Pendragon @49, I seem to recall there also being a limitation on how much weight can be lifted with Air--we rarely ever see someone bound in flows of Air and they are always held just a foot or two off the ground. There's also pride to consider...flying around would probably be considered highly undignified by most Aes Sedai.

@45 Wolfmage: Very good point about Gawyn's originally being led astray in the coup thanks to his love of Egwene/Elayne, and that now coming full circle. I also agree with your assessment of how Sanderson handled the situation perfectly.

One point about him and Elaida though: most of the truly megalomaniacal things she did happened after he was sent to Cairhien and the debacle at Dumai's Wells, and after that he has stayed holed up in Dorlan with the Younglings, so he has no way of knowing what she's been doing in/to the Tower. Perhaps it is being too charitable, but based on what he thought here ("would Elaida have treated the girls any better?"), I think if he'd known what all Elaida was really doing he would have turned on her sooner, or at least tried to. But he didn't have that critical knowledge, because the Aes Sedai were deliberately keeping it from him since being in the dark made him a more pliable tool. (And Elaida, Galina, and Katerine just wanted him eliminated as a loose end--which suggests that the latter letting Gawyn know about Egwene's capture was not just smug bragging and starting demoralizing rumors but an attempt to make him run off to try and rescue her and get himself killed. And it almost worked!)

That said, you're right that even though he didn't know what Elaida was doing, he is still associated with her in most readers' minds which does not help how they view him.

@47 Tathas: Couldn't agree more on the horror of an Oath Rod obedience.

@54 and 56 sword forms: LOL!!
Okie dokie spenokies!

Sword fighting and fighting in general.

I watched my sensei, master whatever you want to call him (he didn't prescribe to titles, he liked to be called by his name ) take down all of his senior class of 9, which included myself, by himself in less than 20 seconds. We were all black belts, I was a 3rd degree at the time though I was quite young. Yes we did do belts as we needed it for tournament fighting. I've watched another Master of mine disarm 4 students all with broadswords, with himself lacking any weapon but his own body. I have personaly taken down 5 somewhat intoxicated Marines in a semi-Bar room brawl (semi because it didn't last very long) and the conflict ended with me buying them and them buying me, rounds of shots and pitchers of beer. I have seen demonstrations of rather arrogant prodigies take on 5, 6 and even 7 young masters during unofficial bouts between tournaments. And I have seen Great Masters show why they are considered so when they themselves meet head on (that was an epic display of techniques used as they were truly intended).

Having used weapons and unarmed combat for both display and for the real deal, I can tell you that what Gawyn did is not surprising to me or overly grandiose or seemingly impossible. His actions against Sleete and against the Blood Knives especially are very impressive given the skill set as described by the author.

Gawyn seems not to be great so much for his swordsmanship, but his ability to equilize his weaknesses given any situation. His attitude toward optimism in the face of adversity, which he truly was against the Blood Knives, was a prime example of this. That scene reminded me of another character from a book called Armour. In it the soldier was not the best of his peers, far from it. As the best was clearly beyond him. And yet the Best died while our subject perservered under circumstances that easily were more terrible in comparison. And he did it over and over and over and over again. And once his commanders realized how long and how many tours he did and in particular which fields of battle he was in, they endeavored to get him out, finally. He became the symbol of not superior skill, but enduring courage. The courage to never give up. To say " I aint dead until I'm dead, so lets do this!" and then find a way.

This is Gawyn's main strength to a tee. His duel with Hammar was particularly interesting to note how he bested him. He beat him with guile as well as skill. This is his great strength; he out thinks you to victory, regardless of the fact that you may be quicker or stronger. His prowess with the sword, however prodigeous, is secondary.

And it is exactly how the Great Masters and all of my teachers beat us. It was a revelation when I realized this. So much focus goes into improving your speed, skill and technique that after awhile its all you think of. And then you get to the point where you say "I'm ready, I can beat him now". And you are. But you still lose. Badly. And it goes on like that until you have that Golden Epiphany. And then you can see....everything. And you finally get more than just a touch and defeat your Master for the first time, undisputably. And then he kicks you out. He has nothing more to teach you. This is Gawyn.

It is why I think in a real fight, Lan and Gawyn is a 50/50 thing. Maybe maybe more on the side of Gawyn. You must realize what Gawyn did defeating Sleete and Marlesh. He defeated Sleete 3 times in a row. Sleete defeated Lan twice out of seven. Gawyn did what Lan could not do and Sleete had the help of another Warder. Lan could not defeat Sleete in three. Sleete was defeated in three with help, badly. I don't think non-martial artists can truly understand and realize how great a feat that was and understand how bad-assed you have to be to do that. Thats like Bruce Lee defeating Chuck Norris 5-2 in a first to 5. And then you skunking Chuck Norris and Jet Li at the same time 3-0. And them just conceding the rest, because they know they can't beat you. That's Nuts! Absolutely Nuts! Hear that sound? Thats the sound of my ass hit'n the floor after slippin on Bananas. Yes... its like that! Banana's!

My point is, maybe in the past we tended to be uninspired by Gawyn's prowess because of his and Galad's defeat at Mat's hands with a quarterstaff. But they were mere students then. And we may even have been led to believe that Galad is greater than Gawyn because he was better... way back when. But it happens all the time where one advances quickly and the other slowly. And yet the one Quick plateaus early. And the one Slow takes a long time to season. And yet, at the end of it, the one Slow turns out to be the greater.

Mike Tyson was defeated by Tyrell Biggs during a Golden glove match. And later Biggs secured an Olympic Gold while Tyson was disqualified controversialy. All of that amatuer. Later, professionaly, Tyson meets Biggs again and toys with Biggs until he tires of him with a knock out in the 7th round. He could have knocked him out in the 3rd but relented, wanting to punish him for earlier comments before the fight. This is an example of seasoning to ones true potential.

So I'm in disagreement with all of you who believe Gawyn's exploits are overly grandiose or over the top with impossibility.

He simply is what he is. A rather gullibly stupid walking can of Whoop Ass with a Bad Mofo wallet in his pouch.

61. Greyhawk
but when people pick things like this and claim that one author or the other screwed it up, I have to either laugh or roll my eyes.
I think you forgot to mention that in addition you apparently also have to comment that you dissapprove of people making such observations. Yes, most of us here will never know for certain which passages were written by Jordan or Brandon, but we know for sure that Brandon took over the project begining with this book and that he wrote a heck of a lot (in my opinion most of the printed text). Commenting on apparent or perceived differences between the writers is entirely appropriate and expected. Perhaps you like your elephants to go unmentioned, but for me there is nothng wrong with talking about the five ton pachyderm in the living room. Brandon and Jordan are two different writers with different strengths and weaknesses. I think readers of WOT are very lucky to have someone of Brandon's skill and dedication take on this task. However, I refuse accept the position that observations, including critical observations, that include opinions on what one writer did or did not do well are impossible, irrelevant or improper.

For what its worth, I have a problem with Gawyn and the bloodknives regardless of who conceived, outlined or wrote the scene. It took me out of the story and had me rolling my eyes. And I also observed that I like Brandon's characteriztions better (or more accurately what I believe is Brandon's handling of the character interactions).
62. macster
@Greyhawk: Fair enough, but I think what has Wetlander annoyed (and yes, me too) is not that people are criticizing Sanderson when we believe he should be a sacred cow who never does wrong, but that that is all we see, and rarely ever the praise. And that the criticism almost always takes the form of "this isn't how Jordan would have done it" or "Jordan was so much better". That is annoying.

Which is why I am glad you stated the things you think Sanderson did well, and praised him for them. Even though I loved the Bloodknives scene and thought it quite realistic based on the knowledge Gawyn had. And for what it is worth I also do like Sanderson's Gawyn better than Jordan's, and while I thought Jordan made Nynaeve awesome from WH onward, I love Sanderson's version of her even more.
Gosh! @macster I wish you had my back with that in Part 5 or was it 3 or 4 or... ah well, it doesn't matter. I too believe as you do about the way criticism is displayed and the lack of praise for Sandersons style of writing. And the constant, BWS does this or RJ woulda' done it this way, kind of things. Just say it sucks already so we can agree to disagree and move onto something less polarizing. Well maybe thats too bold. I guess I'm doing it again.

Thats all from me on it. I said enough in Part 5 or whatever it was. I think it was 3...oh well.
john mullen
64. johntheirishmongol
This was a really good chapter in a really good book for Egwene. She sometimes frustrated me with this whole bore from within scenario, which was taking forever and with her acceptance of punishments she knew she didn't deserve, but for once, she took the lead and followed through on what she wanted.

Now, as for the Gawyn argument that seems to be going on, theres a lot of reasons that Sleeth has a good reputation for fighting with Lan. Lan could have been trying out some new moves that didn't work out, or he could have felt it was in the best interest of those he spars with to let them win occasionally, for confidence sake. The fight the next book is worth arguing about in the next book, but this one I don't have any real issue about. I do think that Gawyn still is an idiot, that Egwene treats him badly, but that it isn't totally undeserved. Dealing with smart women from a position of weakness isn't good relationship material.
Jonathan Levy
65. JonathanLevy
10. dlinderholm
(Also, 63. ZEXXES and 62. macster and 61. Greyhawk)
“This is why an oath of obedience is a terrible idea,” Egwene said. Continuing along the lines of things that brought me out of the story (that whole paranoia thing from a week or two ago), not sure why, but this line really bothered me. It just doesn't seem to fit. Terrible, I mean. I'd think Eg would come up with something stronger, or more eloquent, or something - this is just one of those things that jumped out and made me think, "Oh yeah, this is Sanderson, not Jordan."
Actually, 'terrible' didn't bother me at all.

Mind you, I've only read this scene two or three times, but I thought Sanderson did the verbal sparring between Egwene and the BA hunters rather well. If you compare it to the scene in KoD where she gives a verbal smackdown to an uppity novice who tripped her deliberately, the two match fairly well.

There are many scenes where BWS doesn't get the flavor right, but I think he did a good job here, and we should give him credit for it.

Of course, others may disagree, and if they present convincing quotes I will have to revise my opinion.

15. Greyhawk
"I think the Gawyn chapter is a good example of the difference between Sanderson and Jordan"
I also think this, but for completely different reasons. To get you to see from a character's perspective, Jordan puts you inside his head. Sanderson puts you in a coffee shop with the character's therapist.

25. HArai
Ha! Sad but true :)
27. Bergmaniac
"It's a good chapter, but Elaida's extreme cluelessness cheapens the whole thing for me. "
Elaida's behavior seems perfectly reasonable to me. It's a question of gestalt - look at it from her perspective: She is the Amyrlin, and Egwene is a novice. A novice can't possibly be a threat to the Amyrlin - there are a hundred other novices and none of them is a threat.

So she used to be Accepted? So what, Shemerin used to be Aes Sedai. She was named Amyrlin by the rebels? So what, they deliberately chose a novice so they could surrender without being executed.

The cat playing with a caught mouse is incapable of seeing it as a threat. Thus it is with Elaida and Egwene. Her behavior is nothing if not typical of humanity.

40. Halibulu
Ha! Not on youtube, by any chance...? ;)

47. Tathas

Yeah, you could put an Oath of absolute obedience on a continuum between Compulsion and a Mindtrap. But an Oath can be reversed entirely - unlike a mindtrap (as far as we know) and heavier forms of Compulsion. Also, lighter Compulsion causes its own anguish - see Morgase, when she discovers how much of the last few years of her life were caused by Rahvin's toying with her. She no longer knows how much of her mind is her own and how much is just following instructions.

54. chosen
56. Shadow_Jak
Nice ones! May I add "Poking the apple pie"?

55. Shadow_Jak
two of those three BloodKnves were only girls!
BloodKnves? I see your fingers were shaking when you typed that :)

61. Greyhawk

Agree with your first paragraph. I'm glad I'm not the only one here who prefers to compare the authors' techniques and styles to another discussion along the lines of "Gawyn has AC -2 and 45 hit-points, and is fighting 3 8th-level Bloodknives with Rings of Protection +2, so to win he would have to roll at least 4 20s in his first 5 attacks, which means I can't take this scene seriously".

But to each his own.
66. Freelancer
RE: Sanderson doesn't do it right.

I had really believed we were well passed that idiocy. Yes, I said that. It absolutely cannot be known as yet how complete was Jordan's input in the scene with Gawyn sparring Sleete and Marlesh. How embarassing to the complainers if it turns out to be a nearly verbatim Jordan chapter. If you think that unlikely, remember the Prologue to TGS, and how many "astute" readers thought Brandon had ham-handed it, when it was all Jordan. So can we stop presuming we know where one begins and the other ends? It's perfectly fine to state that this or that phrase or plot-point was jarring to you, but don't automatically blame Brandon, since it's a coin toss whether or not that is even correct.

As to relative competence as a swordsman, it is a logical fallacy to suggest that Gawyn should not be able to best Sleete since Sleete had been able to go 2-5 vs Lan. I understand the reasoning involved, but it doesn't have any teeth. There are three people at my work who regularly beat me at ping pong during occasional lunch matches, and there is one other who practically destroys those three, but whom I handle with little effort. How can that be? He happens to be weak at three of the shots I'm best at, and his strongest shots are cake for my defense, while the other three can't get around him. Specific matchups are always full of secondary variables that make all the difference. Shades of gray, lots of them.
Mark Locy
67. Tathas
65. JonathanLevy
Yeah, you could put an Oath of absolute obedience on a continuum between Compulsion and a Mindtrap. But an Oath can be reversed entirely - unlike a mindtrap (as far as we know) and heavier forms of Compulsion. Also, lighter Compulsion causes its own anguish - see Morgase, when she discovers how much of the last few years of her life were caused by Rahvin's toying with her. She no longer knows how much of her mind is her own and how much is just following instructions.
Oh right, I'd totally forgotten about Morgase. Still, which is more horrifying, knowing without a doubt that you're doing terrible things and are completely unable to resist, or having a sneaking suspicion that some of your actions aren't your own.

There is the benefit that an Oath can be removed, yes. And that it can only be used on someone who can channel. Does that mitigate the horror? I dunno. A little since there's hope? With light Compulsion there's always the hope that your tormenter will go away.

Have they ever described what a Mindtrap does? If so, will you remind me, I haven't the foggiest any longer.
68. Looking Glass
I dunno, I still hold out some hope for Gawyn. Eventually. The first step is realizing you have a problem, after all. He’s had his head wedged up his posterior for a long time, but he does seem to be starting to realize something about it stinks. And after being that wrong for that long, it’s not surprising that he’s out of the habit of thinking carefully.

Plus I’ve always read his pigheadedness partly as a rationalization. He killed a bunch of his closest friends on the basis of a snap judgment. (Though that decision was quite defensible from his perspective, even if turned out to be exactly wrong, and it did require an immediate choice.) I think a lot of his beliefs afterwards come of trying to convince himself that was right, even as the evidence to the contrary piles up.

Admittedly, the idea that he’s just dumb is equally supportable. I think my view may be colored by the knowledge that several other members of his family seem prone to making rather boneheaded decisions, but do have brains when they care to use them.

Hm. I just realized that I feel like, of Morgase’s kids, Galad seems to be the reasonable one. Admittedly, Galad benefits from contrast with a rather different backdrop, but the fact that he appears to have his head on relatively straight despite his surroundings may well be more of an accomplishment.

Flight: It’s certainly possible, even on a very large scale- they did have that levitating university back in the Age of Legends (neat trick, that). But as others have said, it seems mostly pointless except for the spectacle. Especially since many of the power fights we’ve seen have hinged on concealment.

Plus when spectacle is really needed, the Pattern apparently provides people fighting in the sky free of charge.
69. jelsel
pfffffffff, all this drama about techniques and who would be better then who and what if.... Phah! You guys are totally missing the point here;
Doesn't really matter if BS/RJ said that Lan/Rand others are better swordfighters cuz 'tis all a set up for the last book and Gawyn will be the only swordfighting dude out there

here's why;

Rand (2hands) might have been better but even then all ready got lazy, he's more into the "you call that a knive? Look at my mega-ball of BF" :P
Galad will be swooning over some girl from Mayene and we'll probably find them waking up after TG has passed in some outback tavern room
Lan has an overprotective wife so the moment the big charge against the vast horde of trollocs starts, there will be a quick flash of opening Travel portal, bringing him right back to the end of the world.

All swords will be handled by Gawyn, and possibly Sleete having his back.

There's two cents of predictions for ya, moving on...

Great re-read again Leigh, thnx! Love the pace of this book and go Eggy!
Valentin M
70. ValMar
Methinks some folks here have been a bit touchy on others offering some criticism to Brandon. My impression is that besides criticising or nitpicking here or there, people are complementary. And very deservedly so- besides being very good writer, he's a machine! I wish GRRM had a quarter of Brandon's pace...
Counterarguments is the best answer to opinions one disagrees with, IMO. If it doesn't work, then there's ignoring, etc.
Just to be clear, if I'm going to whinge about RJ, Tolkien, the Government, my football team manager, the Pope, my mum's cooking (she doesn't read this website :)), etc, I will not stop for Brandon Sanderson.

Re: Gawyn's fighting ability.
In general- it does feel that he improved more than expected, but I thought the same for Galad. And then he met Valda.
I think we the readers think a bit too narrowly. There are many- thousands, of excellent swordsmen (and women with the Seanchan) in Randland. Warders, experienced and well-trained to the point of fanaticism Borderlanders, noblemen, career soldiers, etc. They are spread all over the continent in different theaters. There is no table, qualifiying system. A way to objectively rank them.
Differences among the top few hundred will be relatively minimal. E.g. if the top 500 a gathered together and fight each other, the top, say Lan will have 90.3%, 2nd will have 89.6%, 3rd 89.4%, etc. Of course the numbers are arbitrary, merely to illustrate the point. The 20th in this fictional table will have some stronger element to his abilities than Lan, as may the 50th.
As was said by someone already, comparing the abilities of 3 or more people is often like comparing rock-paper-scissors. We don't have enough info. When Lan lost to Sleete he might have had the flu!
I think the aim of mentioning Sleete's success vs Lan in the past was to underline Gawyn's improved abilities, not to make a comparison between Lan and the woolhead. Perhaps another way of showing off Gawyn's competence would've been better.

About the Bloodknives. Overall- it is a staple of Fantasy and other fiction for the Good guy to overcome overwhelming odds, somehow. Including WOT. Gawyn's main unique feature remains stupidity, not the beating of steep odds.
I haven't read this chapters recently so I hesitate to comment on the specifics. But my imprssion was that the Bloodknives were mainly assassins. They were excellent fighters, no doubt. But not the absolutely best the Seanchan had available. Their abilities were geared more to their specific tasks- e.g. stealth, movement, murder. Their rings were negated by the darkness, the clutter in the room (iirc), and of cource that 2 of them were women so they count as a half each- runs to the bunker :0
Roger Powell
71. forkroot
The clutter in the room huh? Seems like some of our younger readers could take that the wrong way:
Mom! I can't clean my room up -- it's my best defense against a Bloodknife attack!
Probably wouldn't fly though ....
72. Seamus1602
This Egwene chapter showcases not only her awesomeness, but also 2 of my largest gripes about her.

First, her assessment of Rand and the bonding of sisters. I cannot ignore that these sisters went on a mission to kill and the Asha'man had every right to kill every last one. Instead, they bonded them. I would like to ask Egs whether she would prefer them dead instead of the bonded. Those are the choices caused by the actions of the AS and Elaida.

Second, I've never seen ANY difference in the 4th Oath Compulsion of the BA Hunters and the 1st Oath-derived Compulsion used by Egwene on her inner circle back in camp. No matter how you look at it, Egwene used Compulsion as much as the BA Hunters, even to the point of naming Beonin BA because she didn't follow orders. To now have her angrily stating 'This is why an Oath of Obedience is such a terrible idea' sounds incredibly hollow. She clearly believes that an Oath of Obedience is useful and necessary when that obedience is directed at her.

Otherwise, Egwene was awesome this chapter. I just wish I didn't have to wade through her hypocrisy to get to her awesomeness.
73. Ryanus
It's been established that a sworn oath of fealty is not a Oath Rod bound force obedience.

Under the first I have sworn to uphold and support you. Which I can then fullfill in my own manner based on my own initiative, opinions and thoughts. For example: if I think disobeying your orders will save your life then I am free to do this.

The Fourth Oath on the other hand leaves me absolutely no choice what so ever. I do not have to support you, I have to do literally whatever you say. You have the power to command me to commit suicide, or murder other people, to betray anything that isn't blocked by the first three oaths.

As an aside on the bonding Aes Sedai thing. I'll preface by saying that I have no particular issue with what they did, it was a better choice than murder and it's a choice they have the ability to unmake eventually (and should). But as a way to take the third option. Why not capture and shield the Aes Sedai, open a gateway on the banks of the river by Tar Valon, toss em through and close the gateway. Perhaps toss them through with a message that says "Leave us alone, we have no intention of battling the White Tower, but if you force us to defend ourselves we will."
74. Freelancer
ValMar @70

I quite agree with you. It is perfectly reasonable and acceptable to criticize an author, most especially in a discussion forum such as this. My objection is to blindly bashing Brandon (hmm, sounds like the name of an R&B group) for "messing up" the story through some plot element or other, when it cannot be known that it was his doing. To quote The Pendragon @4:
Been waiting for this. This one thing where I personally felt Sanderson messed up.
Until there is certainty over the extent of Robert Jordan's input to a segment of the saga, criticizing the scene itself as out of place, out of scope, off-putting, etc. is personal taste, but singling out Brandon for your displeasure at that is presumptuous. This might have been a scene which was fully fleshed out by Jordan, requiring no more input from Brandon than contextualizing the prose. Or not, and my only point has been that it isn't knowable yet, therefore criticize away that you don't like the scene, but don't pillory Brandon for it. Such presumption has already been shown to be frequently incorrect, in dramatic fashion.

Also, I always feel that when folks point the finger at Brandon for mis-managing some aspect of the story, they forget that the chief editor, Harriet McDougal, remains the same throughout, and has a strong hand in what gets published. Criticisms such as these are then inclusive of her judgement and competence as well.
75. graftonio
@4 In LoC Rand spars against 5 men and Jordan wrote that book so your point is invalid.

And as mentioned Lan fought 6 at once, Souran Maravaile fought 4 at once beating all but dying in the process.

Gawyn is just a wuss is all I can say, only two? Go big or Go home.
Valentin M
76. ValMar
Freelancer @ 74

You do have a point here. I don't like it because this kind of arguments cannot really be resolved conclusively- we simply don't know.
Also it's really insidious. Once you start second-guess some tricky scenes you can't enjoy the books properly. Mind you, there are one or two scenes where I think Brandon went a bit further than RJ + differences in prose made it even more glaring. But I'll not them air to everyone, eventhough they are rather obvious examples.
77. alreadymadwithwriters
I was just happy to see the story written so I didn't care much who was doing the writing. After all, it was still Harriet doing the editing, hence continuity was still preserved...
78. Lilja
"Boar Rushes Down The Mountain
Boar Rushes Back Up The Mountain, Having Left The Gas On"

Omg so darn funny i almost fell out of my chair laughing :D
William Fettes
79. Wolfmage
Seamus1602 @ 72

Though I still maintain that Egwene’s Oath of Fealty is problematic, I’ve been convinced there are morally significant differences between an Oath of Fealty, (even one augmented by magical truth-telling), and extreme forms of agency-robbing magic like compulsion and an Oath of Obedience taken on the Oath Rod. My understanding is that these truly compel obedience with involuntary automatism, whilst the Oath of Fealty enables a bit of discretion with good faith. That doesn’t mean it isn’t powerful form of subjugation, which in practice commands habitual obedience, but it definitely isn’t on the same level as evil puppetry.

Ryanus @ 73

”Under the first I have sworn to uphold and support you. Which I can then fullfill in my own manner based on my own initiative, opinions and thoughts. For example: if I think disobeying your orders will save your life then I am free to do this.”

Yes, but let’s not get carried away with how free and unencumbered you are under an Oath of Fealty. For a start, there has only been conjecture, including some persuasive usage of historical analogies, about the scope for dissent within an Oath of Fealty. However, the evidence from the book isn’t clear on this. Obviously we have Beonin, but that isn’t dispositive because it was a unique situation which depended on the exceptional transformation in Egwene’s status, which allowed Beonin to reject her status as a legitimate recipient of the Oath. So that doesn’t actually bear much on the practical realities of obedience where status/identity remains intact, beyond illustrating that the fidelity is subject to some interpretation which I concede.

Going from the way vassals in the book respond to their liege-lords with obedience (see Alliandre), and the seriousness with which Randlanders in general treat Oaths (see what the Aes Sedai tolerate to keep faith with the Windfinder bargain), and especially ones sworn on the Light, I think the burden of an Oath of Fealty is still pretty great. None of this is trivial stuff; it is weighty and powerful in practice. Also, remember it’s unprecedented for an Amyrlin to have this much power over rank and rile Aes Sedai in the first place. And without any kind of time limit on these Oaths, and the deliberate predation by Egwene to enlarge the circle of Aes Sedai under her control beyond the few that fell in her lap, and it’s still very dubious IMO. The only mitigation is that the Black Ajah infestation was exactly the kind of exigent circumstances where it does makes sense to have a more absolute form of loyalty to address systemic risk. But that just brings us full circle to the issue of their apparent permanence after the purge has completed. Every day the oaths persist beyond the purge is arguably an abuse of power, at least under Aes Sedai conventions. Perhaps all Aes Sedai will eventual swear Fealty to the Amyrlin as a matter of course, but for the moment this is an ad hoc ursupration of power and I don't think it would be agreed upon by rank and file sisters free from coercion, and I certainly doubt the Hall would ever ratify it.
John Massey
80. subwoofer
Hi Leigh, good times yet again I see:)

Egwene- um.... meh. Some of her skewed opinions aside, she at least showed some Aes Sedai that she is not a figure head. As to the rest, I with the person that commented on "strapping the quivering buttocks" :P

Gawyn. We're back on this are we? yay. Some folks are embroiled in the G vs. L debate, why? It should be the G vs. R debate. Or conversly, Gawyn decided to side with Elaida and do laps around Tar Valon being a dolt. Lan wanted to make a bee line to the Blight and avenge a whole lotta crap and probably die. Who was more stupid with their hairy chested plans? And go-

Myself, Gawyne killed Hammar- unforgivable. That crap about Rand killing mumsie. Gah. Wolfmage summed it up pretty well, Gawyn has to make serious strides to erase his title of "village idiot".

Sword forms- awww, close enough:)

81. Wortmauer
Looking Glass@68: Plus when spectacle is really needed, the Pattern apparently provides people fighting in the sky free of charge.
Best line of this whole thread. Just thought I should point it out, since nobody else seems to have noticed. You're also correct: flying with the Power is not really that useful when you can Travel. If you feel the need to impress people without a Mask of Mirrors, do what Elayne did in the circus and Rand did to board the Sea Folk Embassy ship: build a bridge of Air and walk on it.
Possibly excepting a few of the rejected sword form names.
Come to think of it, one might want to be able to "fly," aka levitate arbitrarily high off the ground, if one were an Aes Sedai construction worker or window washer. Scaffolding is too annoying to deal with, right? But really what you do is you pay the Ogier and/or the proletariat to do that kind of work for you, and let them deal with scaffolding.

Wolfmage@79: significant differences between an Oath of Fealty, (even one augmented by magical truth-telling)
Which brings up a point I'm not sure we've fully explored (unlike most aspects of this issue!): to what extent, if any, does the First Oath constrain your future actions? If you speak in the present or past tense, the First Oath prevents you from saying things you do not believe to be true. But future tense is another thing entirely. I don't believe the First Oath can constrain anything other than speech. It says you can't speak a word that is not true, but it doesn't say you can't later betray the words you have already spoken. At most, I would say that an Aes Sedai is constrained to only make promises that she means at the time she swears them; but that she is then free to change her mind, guided by her moral compass if she has one, but not prevented by the First Oath.

Put another way, if a non-Black Aes Sedai says "I had a hamburger yesterday," we can know that she ate something she believed to be a hamburger, on a day she thinks was yesterday. But if she says "Don't worry, I'm leaving the last slice of pie for you," the First Oath prevents her from saying it unless she really intends for you to have the pie ... but it does not prevent her from sneaking back in a moment of weakness and finishing it herself.

Maybe all this is obvious to some of you, but I think I believed for a long time that, because of the First Oath, an Aes Sedai could not intentionally break a promise. I wonder if Rand believed that of the Aes Sedai who swore fealty to him. He seemed to think he could trust them to some extent, but was it because he thought the First Oath was in play, or simply because they took oaths strong enough to morally hold a typical Randlander?
82. ryamano
@81 Wortmauer

Put another way, if a non-Black Aes Sedai says "I had a hamburger yesterday," we can know that she ate something she believed to be a hamburger, on a day she thinks was yesterday. But if she says "Don't worry, I'm leaving the last slice of pie for you," the First Oath prevents her from saying it unless she really intends for you to have the pie ... but it does not prevent her from sneaking back in a moment of weakness and finishing it herself.

Yes, that's what happened with Beonin, the Aes Sedai who swore fealty to Egwene but was always a creature of Elaida and taught Elaida how to travel. She swore obedience to Egwene while she was Amyrlin, but later broke that vow. The first oath didn't stop that.
83. thelostbannerman
Ok, so every one is talking about Rand Lan and Gawyn:Here is the question though outside using the power, would Mat Cauthon be able to best them all with his quarterstaff, he beat Gawyn and Galad at the same time plus he has the battle knowledge and first hand experience now.
Roger Powell
84. forkroot
We settled that issue some time ago with cage matches. In the non-magical division Mat did indeed defeat Lan in the finals. He had to work at it though.

It's unclear how much of Mat's prowess is due to his innate ability with a quarterstaff, his upgrade of the staff to that wicked ashandarei, his natural speed, his skill gained from the memories, and his luck. Whatever the ratios, the result is one bad-ass fighter as Couladin and others have found out the painful way.
William Fettes
85. Wolfmage
Wortmauer @ 81

Well said. I think that’s correct.

The First Oath can only constrain an Aes Sedai who has sworn an oath of fealty in so far as verbal communications are part of any dissent, hedging or outright oath-breaking. So, there's nothing stopping the hypothetical future Aes Sedai from just deciding to break the original oath except honour, of course. I mean, perhaps if they consciously intended to break the oath at the time it is sworn it might make sufficient difference to the integrity of the oath that it could not be sworn in good faith. But even that is unclear. Given typical Aes Sedai prevarication, I can easily imagine cases that would get through. Mental gymnastics are possible here, and Aes Sedai can think and act lie.
Another interestng thought about the Gawyn business is that there doesn't seem to be a defined Achilles like character unless RJ was setting the stage for Gawyn to be Achilles. I say this because with the exception of Gawyn's training days he has yet to be defeated under any circumstance. But given the histories about Achilles I would say Gawyn isn't good enough to be considered for comparison against Achilles. Achilles reknown was for his complete decimation of any opponent or opponents no matter the number. His historical record of thousands killed can only be compared with Samson and he for all intents and purposes is mythical. It is Achilles whom all of the greats are measured up to. I don't think Rand, Lan or Gawyn are in Achilles league. They are in the grey area below him somewhere. Great themselves, but the greatest? Nah...

As for the number fought at a time. Well...if your skilled and talented, while fighting more then two isn't anything to cough at, it isn't particularly hard to do if things fall the right way. On the otherhand it could be disasterous too. But it really comes down to the skill level of the opponents. If they don't know how to fight together, that could end up being a bigger disadvantage than fighting alone against 5, if the one is skilled. But Rands 5 or 6 or Lans 7 wasnt against Sleete or Hamman or Valda or that Seanchan Blademaster whoever he was as well as many others. Sleete is a blademaster and had help. What, does anyone think that Lan or Rand could go up against 2 or 3 Blademasters and win? Uh... no.

Blademasters are so honored because they are very rare. Finding two working together against another Blademaster is an almost unimaginable happening. And knowing blademasters they probably wouldn't have any part of such a confrontation. Unless it was in a battle. But certainly not a duel. Now if one Blademaster defeats another handely and then calls upon another to help and then they still get whipped...well that would be something. But those Blood Knives, I suspect, are like fighting 5 Marlesh's. Not really blademaster level, but uncommonly good and they know how to fight as a group. They're dead. So poo on the idea that that win isn't compareable to any feat that Rand or Lan pulled off.
Alice Arneson
87. Wetlandernw
Greyhawk @61 – As Freelancer has already so eloquently said, the problem is not with folks expressing dislike of a particular scene, or even a particular word, even though those also make me roll my eyes sometimes. The problem is with the arrogant presumption that anyone here knows enough about what was left in RJ’s notes and files to declare that Brandon is solely responsible for any particular irritant and then take him to task for it. Neither RJ nor BWS is a perfect writer. Harriet is not a perfect editor. Alan and Maria are not perfect assistants. (Well… not so sure about that last.) Still – if anyone is qualified to determine what should be published, it’s Team Jordan. They are all fiercely loyal to RJ’s memory and desires regarding the completion of this series. They are the only people who actually know what he intended. Therefore, I find all this “armchair editing” to be patently ridiculous.

If George R.R. Martin had been chosen to finish this series, there would be people jumping up and down every time a character died, claiming that RJ wouldn’t have killed this one or that one, despite the fact that RJ already said in his blog that not everyone would survive.

If Raymond Feist had been chosen to finish this series, there would be people complaining that the Ogier Book of Translation was too much like the Rift, despite the fact that RJ had introduced the whole concept in already-published books.

If David Edddings had been chosen to finish this series, people would probably say that the upcoming confrontation between Rand and Moridin (assuming there is one) reads too much like that of Garion and Torak, despite the fact that RJ had written that scene long before.

(Okay, my friends, here’s your game/challenge for the day. Fill in the blanks: If _________ had been chosen to finish this series, people would complain that ______________, despite the fact that RJ _________)

The point is, when you have some familiarity with an author’s style, in a situation like this it’s far too easy to assume that everything that remotely resembles his style was his direct contribution. We know that some scenes already completely written were reworked slightly so that the narrative would flow more smoothly; Harriet insisted that Brandon not slavishly include such scenes untouched, since RJ rarely left them untouched either. We also know that in some cases, RJ’s notes made it clear that a character had to get from point A to point B (whether physically, emotionally or psychologically) but the details were omitted; Brandon had to come up with a reasonable way to accomplish that. Further, we know that he worked closely with Team Jordan to make sure that those ways really were reasonable, and consistent not only with the characters but also with the background notes on them.

Given all that, I think it is arrogant, presumptuous and rather stupid to pretend that we, without access to the notes, files, recordings, etc., can pick out specifics and claim that this part was RJ, that part was BWS. It reminds me of the twerp on the first spoiler thread who declared “I know Tuon, and Tuon wouldn’t do that. It was all wrong.” As if he knew, better than those who actually had RJ’s notes, what should have been written for that scene. As if he knew for sure that RJ had not written it that way. And so, I get irritated when people start tearing down one author or the other for minor issues they perceive as faults. And, like Freelancer again, I can't forget that Harriet approved every single scene, chapter, plot device and narrative choice; if anyone cares about getting it right, she does, and I can't help feeling that it's terribly disrespectful to RJ's widow to claim that she did it wrong.

If it makes you feel any better, I’ve been known to vigorously defend characters I truly disliked, just because other readers were blowing their faults out of proportion to what they had actually done. So, yeah, I jump up and down and throw an MSR when I think people are treating someone (real or fictional) unfairly, based on their gut reaction instead of what’s been written. If it gets too stupid, I’ll even do an FBLR – but it’s not a pretty sight. Let’s not go there.
88. beerofthedark
Just noticed the juxtaposition of Egwene's being asked 'hypothetical' questions by various sisters and sitters and Avi's answering questions from Wise Ones.

Egwene is demonstrating to the sisters what she already knows about herself (i am amyrlin! Respect mah authoritah!) and the WOs are demonstrating to Avi what everyone but her knows (that she is WO in all but name).

No particular theory to be drawn from this, just thought it was a cool mirroring.
Anthony Pero
89. anthonypero

He also isn't that old. Also, it's a big assumption that everyone ages
as negatively. His aging may very well have no effect on his physical

No one (who is in great shape to begin with) over the age of 30 gets stronger and faster, with the exception of professional atheletes on steroids or HGH, lol. Since Lan is a Warder, we'll call it no one gets stronger or faster past 40-45. Lan is at least that age. He may be slowing down, but he is in no way faster than when he was 20. He has grey in his hair. He's slowing down. Gawyn has not even reached the peak of his potential physically, however. Galad, on the other hand, is in his absolute prime from a physical standpoint, and has gained a bunch of experience. No point there, just saying. And I would like to point out, in response to this chapter's comments that Gawyn actually does have a brain... it's how he beats the Bloodknives, after all. Gawyn's problem is he can't translate his savvy and cunning in battle (both as a general and as an actual fighter) to any other arena. He seems to lack the capacity to take truth from one arena and apply it to another. This isn't all that uncommon in a young person. Maybe he'll grow out of it. Maybe he'll watch Egwene (who is excellent at translating experience from one arena to another) and figure it out. Maybe he'll just kick it saving Egwene in AMoL and put you all out of your misery :)
Jonathan Levy
90. JonathanLevy
87. Wetlandernw
The problem is with the arrogant presumption that anyone here knows enough about what was left in RJ’s notes and files to declare that Brandon is solely responsible for any particular irritant and then take him to task for it.
This is a strawman argument. No-one is presuming to have knowledge of RJ's notes and to identify BWS's work based on these nots. People are presuming to identify BWS's work based on stylistic differences, without access to these notes. They may succeed admirably or fail laughably, but this is a legitimate endeavor.

This is also quite different from deciding that certain plot events were determined by BWS or RJ. All the examples you provide (If ___ had been chosen, people would say ___) in the post are quite true, but they are beside the point, as they are examples of supposedly borrowed plot events and not of stylistic differences.
Given all that, I think it is arrogant, presumptuous and rather stupid to pretend that we, without access to the notes, files, recordings, etc., can pick out specifics and claim that this part was RJ, that part was BWS.
The 'Donation of Constantine' was determined to be a forgery because its style and vocabulary was judged to be sufficiently different from 4th-century latin.

In the Old Testament, four different authors have been identified in the Pentateuch, based partly on style and vocabulary - despite having one editor who undoubtedly also cared about getting it right.

Genesis:24 is considered to be a later interpolation, as its style contains many elements common in Talmudic Hebrew. This theory is supported by many inconsistencies with Josephus Flavius' version of the tale.

The book of the prophet Isaiah is considered to be an amalgamation of two - or possibly three - different books (Chapters 1-35 Isaiah son of Amotz, chapters 36-39 copied from 2 Kings, Chapters 40-66 Isaiah II).

In the book of Judges, chapters 17-21 were almost certainly written by a different author than the first part.

The pseudo-Sallustian 'Invective against Cicero' has been distinguished from geniune Sallustian works by its different style.

The continuations of Julius Caesar's 'The Civil War' have been analyzed stylistically, in an attempt to identify the author; in particular, to determine whether Aulus Hirtius may have also written 'The Alexandrian War'.

These are just a few examples of modern (and not-so-modern) scholarly debates which attempt to identify authors based on stylistic considerations, in all cases without the author's notes being available. Were all these scholars also arrogant, presumptuous, and stupid?

Perhaps we are not as clever as they were, and will only make fools of ourselves. Certainly a good dose of humility will do us no harm. But to dismiss the discussion as illegitimate and ill-advised? I must disagree.
Marcus W
91. toryx
JonathanLevy @ 90:

Very well said, sir. I applaud you.
93. Ryanus
forkroot @ 92. But what if L.E. Modesitt Jr. finished it?

wolfmage @ 79. I don't really feel it's good on Egwene to have no reflect or comparison of what she did vs the fourth oath, but it is a different scale. As for examples in book of twisting oaths about while keeping them. Look at the Two Rivers Men or the Maidens. The Two Rivers swore fealty to Perrin, specially his personal guard. And they constantly ignore his orders on the banner and there are numerous times where they are in place with plans to completely disreguard any order Perrin gives in order to ensure he gets away from something (their plan for Perrin's Trial next book as an example).

The Maidens are in a similar boat, they have absolute fealty to Rand, and ignore it, childishly taunt him, screw with him, ignore him, etc, etc, etc as their honor directs them. I don't think one can argue they ever broke their unspoken oath or considered betraying him.
Brian Vrolyk
94. vyskol
JonathanLevy @90
The logic behind the assumption is extraneous to the assumption and action itself.

"(Declaring) that Brandon is solely responsible for any particular irritant and then (taking) him to task for it."


"out of place, out of scope, off-putting, etc. is personal taste, but singling out Brandon for your displeasure at that is presumptuous." (sic)

And I would add that it is also petty, mean-spirited and in poor taste.
Jonathan Levy
95. JonathanLevy
91. toryx
Thank you for your kind words.

92. forkroot
If Tad Williams had been chosen to finish the series, then Mat's escape from the *finn would have been deemed a poor copy of Seoman's departure from Jao e-Tinukai'i.

Also, a few years after finishing the series he would taken a copy of the series, thrown it into a blender, then pasted the pages back together in a random order, and then published it as a new series. This is my theory on how the Shadowmarch series was born from Memory, Sorrow and Thorn.

94. vyskol

I'm sorry, I've read your comment four times but I still can't figure out what you were trying to say.
Roger Powell
96. forkroot
We are in total agreement re: "Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn" vs "Shadowslog". What possessed me to read all four books of the latter, I still do not know.

If L.E.Modesitt Jr. had been chosen to finish the series, there would be a lot less discussion among the girls about how much cleavage to display but a lot more discussion about what everyone ordered to drink at every tavern.
Will it be the redberry, the greenberry, or maybe (horrors!) a brown ale?
97. Ryanus
Really? I was leaning more towards a lot more food and somehow finding a wayof showing the Shadow wasn't actually evil and were just the opposing force with different view points.

(disclaimer, I love Modesitt's work and he is probably my favorate author.)
WOT Dragons
98. WOTNoDragons
Personally I don’t see what’s wrong in suggesting that a particular plot device was a poor choice or that a piece of character narrative is inconsistent; as these sorts of posts would imo normally inform what is usually the ‘meat & potatoes’ of lively & positive discussion on Leigh’s weekly blog here. Inevitably comparisons will be made – it’s human nature to do so, but what I do find a bit odd is when individual words are singled out and then poo-poo’ed as being a poor choice on Brandon’s part. My reasoning is not so much that “without the notes we can’t tell if BwS or RJ made the choice,” but rather that from the outset, it was clearly stated that BwS would not be trying to slavishly ape RJ’s style. It’s therefore totally logical to expect to find differences is word choice - and so when such words are encountered, why grind one’s teeth and feel frustrated? It’s simply part of the BwS deal.

I guess that wondering whether or not RJ did, or would, or might have chosen those same words is understandable - like Leigh highlighting her dislike of ‘paranoid,’ but imo there really doesn’t seem to be much mileage in it. So words like; terribly, wilted, surely, or clearly - have been previously highlighted as a source of annoyance for some fans – but why nit-pick on this when you know full-well that BwS isn’t mirroring RJ’s style. If there weren’t these differences, then BwS would, by definition, be writing as a ‘clone’ of RJ.

The first time I read “pillow-friends” - I was jolted right out the story; my first thought was, - ‘well, we’ve sure left ‘The Shire’ behind! (By that I was thinking that the sort of Tolkienesque style that RJ used at the start of the tEoTW was clearly not going to be a consistency throughout WOT and “pillow friends” was just one of many examples.) The point being, that RJ himself over a 15 year period did not remain consistent in terms of his own writing style. His books: his rules! Ultimately the work was RJ’s (and is now BwS’s / Team Jordan’s) and I for one am happy to accept that all the word choices and phrases are therefore all quite deliberate and intentional – even if they seem somewhat different at times. It just seems illogical to gripe about tiny details of difference when you know that they are an inevitability - given Team Jordan’s statement that BwS would not be ‘ghost writing’ the last 3 books. Complaining about this just seems to me to be a bit like going on a winter vacation to Alaska and then moaning that it’s cold when you get there.
I can concede that there are differences in writing style and that they are sometimes obvious. I can concede that a choice of words could be extraneous and could possibly interrupt ones tranquility enough to upset there immersion into the books. I can concede that the how of a happening during the writing, can be different enough that it also would interupt immersion. But these and other discrepencies are to be expected and we ALL knew going into it, that if we chose to read the continuation of the series, with anothers hand doing the writing, that these discrepencies would be there.

In fact, we were told before the publishing of these works, that discrepencies would be present as the intent of BWJ and Harriet would be to not slavishly copy RJ's writing style, yet still try to stay true to his style as much as possible with the expressed intenion of staying true to the characters themselves. But not necessarily staying true to how the prose flows from happening to happening, as it would be impossible to reproduce satisfactorily. Though some effort is done in this regard as well.

This is why I get aggravated more about the criticisms than I do about the discrepencies. Do I notice them? Sure. Did I know going in that they would be there? Sure I did. So I let them pass. I refused to allow them to disrupt my enjoyment of the continuation of the series. Because, among other reasons, I had no way of knowing for sure who wrote what. There aren't any truly bad mistakes made. And there aren't any truly blatant deviations either. My decision to let them pass was mainly due to predilected supposition prior to the sale of TGS in the posts and comments in Leighs blogs. Some were practically foaming at the mouth in anticipation of whether BWS would ruin it for them or not.

If I have any criticism of the books, they would normaly stay confined to the characters actions as the character, not the writing of. In otherwords criticising the actions of the characters within the storyline, such as my belief that Cadsuane is abusive and is culpible with regards to Rands fall. Or whether Egwene, how ever badassed she is, is flawed with her arrogance and refusal to acknowledge the wrong doing of the Aes Sedai prior to her raising to the shawl- post split.

And yet I can concede to how one might have a want to criticise BWS's efforts here within the series. I just feel that these criticms themselves are open to criticism, because I believe them to be in poor taste, as the discrepencies they point out, were known to be there before they even purchased the books. Criticize the book as a whole and it doesn't hold water, because the BWS written books are excellent in my opinion. Broken down into pieces and they still hold true. Boring in to the minutae and of course the discrepencies are there. But they were there when RJ wrote them. So I've never really understood the need to tear down BWS the way some do.

Anyway. I ignore their posts most times, as some ignore mine about other things. Its all a part of the nature of this kind of thing. I only respond to this particular subject this time, because of the amount of attention its being paid this time around with regards to the number of posts that have been posted about the subject, for or against.

So count me on the side of restraint.

Though I do realize my longwindedness could use some restraint.

Sam Mickel
100. Samadai
I come back from lunch and here is a nice shiny new 100 to nab. How nice.

I used to defend all of the characters povs from attacks, because I like them all, but Have learned I will enjoy this reread more if I just ignore everyone elses criticisms. I don't think any person is going to feel the exact same way about anything. All it has done has caused people hard feelings, and or ruined the reread for those just trying to enjoy it and maybe learn something.
Sam Mickel
101. Samadai
In the vein of different authors finishing the series.

If Terry Brooks finished the series, they would be national bestsellers that no one would admit to having read or liked

If RA Salvatore had finished the series, he would kill of All of Rands companions and stuck him with a moralless ally to help him try to fix everything bad that happened after Tarmon Gaidin, maybe.
Chris R
102. up2stuff
Something also to keep in mind about the bloodknives... Their highest part of their training would be to rely on the advantage their ter'angreal gave them. They activate it, then die. They have to train without it, as if they were going to use it. "Remember, once this is activated you will be almost invisible" or whatever. However it is imparted to them, they KNOW they will have this one immutable advantage over EVERY opponent. They fight and train like this.

"This Trakand is good but, he still cant see all three of us, mwah,ha,ha! OH SHIT, HE TURNED OFF THE LIGHTS! I CANT SEE HIM! Hey Bill Susie, can you see him? Bill Susie?" Chunck.

Same way Ituralde was able to beat the Seanchan army. They were over reliant on their Raken. He beat them by evening the odds. Thats what Gawyn did to the BK's. Other stupidity notwithstanding, it is clear he has been trained by a Great Captain and thinks like one in Military situations.

Edit: Never picked up before that they were girls Women.
103. Freelancer
JonathanLevy @90, and others following the same thoughts...

Once again, the issue is not respective of style, grammar, or any other aspect of the prose, but the story segment itself. The comment @4 presumes that the scene of Gawyn repeatedly defeating Sleete and Marlesh was Brandon's contrivance, and then criticizes it as wrong for the story. The criticism itself of the scene is his own judgement, and while I suspect it wouldn't have been precisely the same had he known that Jordan wrote the chapter entire, it may well have remained a criticism. My ONLY debate with his comments, and others like it, is presupposing that Brandon, and Brandon alone, made the choice to write this scene he so dislikes. The issue has nothing whatsoever to do with colloquial choices, modern vs arcane grammar, or any other stylistic variations upon which your laundry list of debunked authorship is based.

I'll shorten the thought:

"I don't like this scene. Brandon screwed up the story."

First sentence, fine, your opinion. Second sentence, you have no idea if this is the case, or if Jordan is responsible for the context of these events in the story, or any point along an infinite range of blending of the two. And none of that takes into account the constitent anchor point of a common editor with complete authority to drive the story as she believes her late husband would have it.
Alice Arneson
104. Wetlandernw
On a completely unrelated subject - any burning questions for Brandon? I'm planning to be at his signing tomorrow night and will ask what I can. I'll report back here on Saturday.
Chris R
105. up2stuff
Wet, just one. Is Rand gonna win Tarmon Gaidon? :)
Nadine L.
106. travyl
@Freelancer 103.
I was going to write exactly your post, sir (I would have tried to write something like it anyway).

@up2stuff 105.
Without any prophetic abilities, my guess is you will get a "RAFO" but one can always try.

By the way I like Gawyn (somewhat), like that he is wool-headed and enjoy that he annoys me with his decisions and lines of thinking (about Rand for exaple) because even if he doesn't makes sense: it's just so human. So I'm completely allright with him being "superhuman" for once.
Sam Mickel
107. Samadai
I would like to meet you there, but I just cant make it from Eugene to Seattle in an hour, and they won't let me leave work early. :(
Have a great time

edit for.
I probably could make it there in 3 hours for the end of it, but only if I didnt get caught.
Cameron Tucker
108. Loialson

If you have time, could you ask him what actually happened to the Jenn Aiel? What was their fate after we saw them last in the WayBack ter'angreal?

I'm curious on how they disappeared after partially building Rhuidean. Were they consumed in the making of Rhidean like the Aes Sedai that made the Eye of the World were? Or did they just stop procreating thus dying off, or something else?

It's odd how they just vanished in an Anasazi myth-type fashion, while all the Aiel we've met (that I recall) spake of them with a vague present tense, like they still existed in some form.
109. SignOTheTimes
88. beerofthedark

I hadn't noticed that--thanks!

104. Wetlandernw

I went to a signing in San Diego last night and the reading was pretty great--I'll probably reserve a copy of Legion so I can be sure to find out what happens :-)
Roger Powell
110. forkroot
I have two if you don't mind:

1) If cuendillar is brought into T'AR, can it be destroyed in a nightmare (the same way Perrin destroyed the dreamspike)?

2) Min has said that Perrin would need to be there for Rand twice to save him from something very bad. Assuming Dumai's Wells was the first time, was Perrin's presence in T'AR around Dragonmount during Rand's time there the second time?
Alice Arneson
111. Wetlandernw
up2stuff @ 105 - I will ask, in your name. :>

Samadai @107 - I wish you could - it would be a blast! But given Friday night traffic on that stretch sometimes, you might be lucky to get up enough speed to be worth catching. I'll say hello for you, anyway. Sam, or Samadai?

Loialson @108 - I will ask that; it may get a MAFO, unless it's a RAFO because they show up again. :) It's a fascinating question that I've never seen asked, much less answered.

SignOTheTimes @109 - Did you know your nick is really hard to type? My fingers keep trying to put in spaces. I love Brandon's readings. What did he read last night?

And... was Freelancer there? He didn't say yet, but I can't imagine him missing one unless life was really cruel.

Did y'all see he's doing another Great Hunt, related to the content of AMoL? I can't really hope to get another clue, but what fun it should be, even though this is a much smaller tour.
Rob Munnelly
112. RobMRobM
Wet - feel free to ask (again) if we're going to get an answer in AMOL as to how Morgase became familiar in her youth with Three Rivers speech patterns, as discussed in the Rand scene in EOTW.
Eric Hughes
113. CireNaes

"despite having one editor who undoubtedly also cared about getting it right."

You had me at hello Mr. JEDP Barthes von Rad. Although Isaiah won't be agreed upon until the Second Coming and is by far a better emotional example due to the sheer amount of argument generated by this topic.

One merely needs to look at Deutero BWS's scandalous separation of the source material into three different volumes...by jove, the implications are staggering. It is has become quite apparent to me that there is a third authorial source. No single author could possibly be that prolific (except Shakespere; she operates at a whole natha' level)!

The support for my theory can be found in the blatant deviation of Gawynian material that we witness throughout the progression of the text. Clearly he isn't THAT good of a duelist. I mean, come on! Sleete AND Marlesh! Not to mention the keen departure from his modus operandi of blind decision making found towards the end of ToM. Plainly what we have here is a prophetic school of BWS's disciples literarily flailing about in an effort to cope with their Neo-Jordanian lot in life.

If I had to guess, Theoryland is the most likely culprit. This is conclusively supported by the disappearance of Terez. Her position on Gawyn's involvement with Rand's first death put the last nail in that coffin.

:::brushes hands together three times definitively, retires to the bunker, and raises a glass to Sigmund Mowinckel:::
Alice Arneson
116. Wetlandernw
forkroot @110, RobM @112 - Got 'em down! Just so I don't forget my list of questions tomorrow night... ;)

CireNaes @113 - ROFL!!

travyl @106 - I'm with you on Gawyn - as much as I can see the wrong decisions he's made, everything he's done is so very, very human. It's one of the things I love about these books - the characters, despite the occasional Pattern-induced level-up in skills, are believably human in their behavior and decision-making. Annoying, sometimes, but completely believable. And I do like Gawyn, even if I occasionally want to smack him. :)

up2stuff @102 - Thanks for making the point about Bloodknives training. It's a little hard to train fully for skills that are granted only by the use of something that will kill you within "a matter of days" after activating it.

Also, as noted earlier (forkroot @36) the Bloodknives are small:
Like the four others in the row, he wore black leather. Three knives hung from his belt, and he had no cloak or helm. He was a small man - all members of the Fists of Heaven were small and compact, and over half in this group were women. ...
Note the size and the weapons: a small man, carrying only knives. Apparently at least one of them picked up a sword at some point, since it was a sword that killed Gawyn's companion Celark, but it's quite probable that most of their training is with knives. They aren't supposed to be going for duels - they're assassins cloaked in darkness, going in for the quiet, stealthy kills.
James Hogan
117. Sonofthunder
CireNaes@113 - classic! *tips hat*

And Wetlander, reading your comments on Gawyn...I agree. As much as Gawyn annoys me sometimes, I do like him. I just read the chapter in TSR last night where Siuan got deposed and Gawyn and his Younglings defended the Tower. So tragic...yet I really can't fault Gawyn for any of it. The only thing that really annoys me about Gawyn is his irrationality towards Rand, but even then, we all have our blind spots! Oh I love this series..everyone's so human!
Why does everyone think Gawyn's attitude about Rand is irrational. He thinks Rand killed his mother. It's kinda hard to be rational about somebody who has killed your mother. Whats frustrating to me is that he still doesn't know that his mother is alive. But even so his bad mojo towards Rand has been going on for so long, Gawyn still will be rather gruff about him, even when he finds out his mother lives. Shoot if I thought someone murdered my mother, they'd already be dead by now. So I guess he can't be too stupid.

Don't do it! I know I left myself open.

Jonathan Levy
119. JonathanLevy
96. forkroot
Shadowslog - lol. I finished the first volume on a particularly long trans-atlantic flight, and then tried to enumerate the number of plot elements that also existed in MSaT. Lost track at about 8.

The Otherland series was another difficult read - 4 huge books that could have been finished in 2. Haven't bought any Tad Williams since.

98. WOTnoDragons

Yes, we knew Sanderson was not going to ape RJ's style. It's still an interesting exercise to analyze and discuss differences. The comparison between the two styles also leads to a better understanding of both.

Also, to a certain degree, some of BWS's choices have drawn criticism because they are out of place in historical fiction per se, not just in RJ's world. Sometimes RJ is being quoted as an example of how to set the scene properly with vocabulary, not as a template which BWS was expected to slavishly follow. Most historical fiction/fantasy writers make some effort to choose words carefully, and I think any Creative Writing 101 class teaches this skill. Of course, I am not an English major, so I may be mistaken.

103. Freelancer

I had not realized the discussion had been sparked by comment #4. This makes me think that we've been talking on different wavelengths.

I certainly agree that plot developments are in a different category as stylistic differences, since every author attempts to surprise his readers. I would certainly not attempt to pin an unexpected plot development on one author or another.

Consider the hysteria which would be generated if AMoL were to reveal that Taim is in fact Demandred! How we would rouse ourselves into a fury arguing over whether RJ deceived us shamelessly, or whether BWS took it upon himself to make the change.

104. Wetlandernw

Ask him if he is an amalgamation of several different authors over a 200-year period, edited together after the fall of the northern kingdom. :)

113. CireNaes

I'm sorry, you're completely wrong. The deutero-Gawynian school is clearly the work of a sycophantic priestly school writing several hundred years after the fact, sucking up to its monarchial patron by excessively praising the king's putative ancestor and mythical founder of his line. You can recognize all the signs - excessive focus on a historically minor character, shameless apologia for constant bloodshed (Hammar/Abner ben-Ner died? Well, *my* hands are clean!), and glossing over treacherous behavior (I'm sorry, was I supposed to keep faith with Elaida/Achish? But I changed my mind!).
Valentin M
120. ValMar
Loialson & Wetlandr @ 108, 111

I was under the impression that the Jenn simply died out in the Waste. Only some of the original Aiel survived the watse. But since a guru like Wetlander doesn't know probably I'm wrong.

Brandon is again coming to London the following Saturday. I too am thinking about a question to ask. I like the one about Morgase and TR speech.
I am a bit embarassed that again I won't be bringing a book of his own to sign. I intend to start TWOK after I read the AMOL or the 2nd book in the series comes out, but that could just be me BS for all he knows.
I'll just have to let my charm and wit do their thing...
Teresa Nielsen Hayden
121. tnh
To repeat an earlier suggestion, if you want to get into a full-scale critical thrash about the authors, editors, storylines, et cetera, start a thread in the Tor.com forums.

As I demonstrated just the other day in the Malazan thread, you can even create direct links between this thread and your forum thread.
John Massey
122. subwoofer
@whomever was wondering about Gawyn's achilles' heel- isn't it obvious? The guy's a raving doof. Can't wait for him to stick his head down the business end of one of Mat's dragons to see what goes "boom".

@Wetlander- well, in honor of this day, and RJ's military background- what kind of research(if any) did Brandon do for the large scale battle coming up in the last book? Military tactics? Famous battles? Famous generals?

@all-lest we forget- I posted this a few years back, but it is worth repeating:)

Teresa Nielsen Hayden
123. tnh
11-11-11. We do not forget them.

Just a few months ago, I was tooling around the Somme and Meuse and Ardennes with my husband and Abigail Sutherland. Everywhere, there are little graveyards; and in every one of the region's innumerable villages and hamlets, there's a monument saying Infants de France, listing their dead from the Great War.

I've been in small villages in Britain and Canada that had monuments like that too, in the local style. Sometimes what they're marking is the death of nearly every able-bodied young man in that village during one brief period one day at the Somme, or Ypres, or Passchendaele.

Since this is a thread about epic fantasy, let us remember the Lancashire Fusiliers. The high points of their participation in the Great War are easily summarized: they greatly distinguished themselves at Gallipoli, and then they greatly distinguished themselves at the Somme. Somehow they managed to avoid killing off one of their junior officers, John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, without whose influence this thread would not exist.
Alice Arneson
124. Wetlandernw
ValMar @120 - I've always assumed that somehow they just died off, but when I went searching I couldn't find anything more than a similar assumption in the BBoBA. Seems like it might be worth asking the question if I get a chance.

Woof & tnh - Thank you! May we never forget those who risk and give their lives in defense of freedom - and never forget that even while we freely complain about the faults of our various institutions, that very freedom has always come at a price. May we always be grateful to those who have paid that price on our behalf; may we never take it lightly, nor give it up for apparent ease and comfort of the moment.
125. azuarc
This is the first time I have ever heard the word 'aver,' despite you using it in BOTH chapter summaries. You would think I would know my four-letter words...

Don't have much to say other than that, except I'm especially grateful for the re-read these days since I realize there's no way I'm going to complete my own, which is still mired back in book 5 and not advancing at all while I write my own for NaNoWriMo.
Eric Hughes
126. CireNaes

Just google a few of the names or terms. It's an attempt at Biblical source/form criticism/structuralism humor. The nice thing about the book of Isaiah is it can be used to support everyone's argument in the the thread. This is why I took that particular example of JL's and ran with it.

The most common arguments for being able to claim multiple authorship is the mention of King Cyrus by name in chapter 41, stylistic differences (although this one has come under fire more and more from all positions as an author's style varies according to purpose, audience, mood, age and what to do with the proposed unknown author's deliberate "attempts" at imitation), the geographic/historical settings/Sitz im Leben/problem of idolatry's link to prophecy being real or contrived (think of RJ's upbringing and primary state of habitation as opposed to BWS's and arguments about the Pattern bringing about events through prophecy), the proposal of Isianic messages being collected, preserved, and later put into written form using language more meaningful for the present reader by the heirs of Isaiah's ministry (hello Team Jordan), and finally the theological scope of the work as a whole (Brandon is doing or a better/worse job with a character's progression that I have an affinity for or that MOA didn't do it for me and jolted me out of the story).

And check out Terez27's posts on the main tGS and ToM spoiler threads. They are worth the read in most cases. Her departure from the re-read was meant to parallel Judah's exile, the obscurity surrounding the event, and the not yet return.


I agree textual criticism is important and I've garnered from your posts that you have an academic horse in that race. Although I use it for a completely different purpose than it's originators intended ;) Shout Box me where you've studied. It would be interesting to know.

That's enough for now. I need to get a Bluetooth keyboard for my phone. Besides, we are drawing the attention of the Eye of Sauron (tnh) by wearing the ring of textual criticism in the wrong forum.
Roger Powell
127. forkroot
With Brandon's signing impending, a question occurred to me:

This summer, I caught up with the 21st century (somewhat) and purchased a Nook™. It was driven by my need to continue to slim down the summer packing list (airline bag fees being what they are), but I could swear I heard a sigh of relief from the groaning, overloaded shelves in my book closet.

Today I purchased Alloy of Law for my Nook. I won't be at the signing in Seattle (too bad!), but if I could be there, what would I have him sign?

Seems to me that the next thing e-Books (and e-Book readers) need is a screen on the e-Book reader where the author can pen a personal dedication/signature, much like a physical book. This would be digitized and stored with my personal copy of the e-Book.
Alice Arneson
128. Wetlandernw
forkroot - Now that would be COOL!! FWIW, I actually saw Brandon sign someone's Kindle, but it's not really a practical solution for most users. I love the idea of a screen-sign on an e-reader. I could do it with my iPad... :) I've had that dilemma with the Mistborn trilogy - I've got one on Nook, but do I want to get them all that way, or have copies to sign?
Elijah Foster
129. TheWolfKing
@48. HArai

Haha, yeah and they call Rand stubborn...
130. Saterade
I don't understand why everyone seems to think lan and sleete have fought anytime recently. Lan's kind of been on this 20 year quest thing to find a "child of prophecy" maybe you've heard about it? Then he was tooling around with said prophe-kid for 5 years or so. The last time Lan even SAW Sleete he probably WAS a little worse than Gawyn is now. That being said, i'm totally a better swordsman than sleete was when he was 10, so I'm probably stronger than both Lan and Gawyn put together. Bring it, Lawyn! (galan? Gogeta?)

@ person in the doube digits whose name I forgot already, concerning sleete's aes sedai trying to bond the prince of Andor: She is a normal middle-of-the-road Aes Sedai. OF COURSE she thinks she is important enough to control a prince.
Nadine L.
131. travyl
@CireNaes 113. & 126.
Great post (thanks for explaining some of your reasonings).

Why does everyone think Gawyn's attitude about Rand is irrational
Gawyn's attitude towards Rand is not really irrational (even less than some other decisions he made) but it is infuriating and unfounded. It war rumored that Rand killed Morgase, but Gawyn never tried to confront Rand about the amount of his involment, althought they were together in Cairhien, Egwene spoke in Rands favor and they had this lovely trip traveling towards Dumai Wells. It took his sister (in ToM) to show him that a huge part of his hatred came from other reasons than the supposed killing.
(Edit: It is even more unforgivable since Gawyn had met Rand, saw him as a nice guy and not just a dangerous dragon. Given that meeting a coldharted killing of Morgase doesn't make sense - a question WHY??? wouldn't have been too much to ask)
Whats frustrating to me is that he still doesn't know that his mother is alive ...
Are you speaking about the point in the story we are now (TGS)? Because at the end of ToM he does find out his mother is alive.
Chris R
132. up2stuff
Travyl, are you sure Gawyn knows? I thought it was Galad that was the only one.
Valentin M
133. ValMar
Since it is 11/11 thanks very much for 1943-45, otherwise all of Europe would've fallen under Stalin (shudders). But in 1917, you really really shouldn't have ;) It was going perfectly fine. Could've done without that "freedom"...
All those who answered the call of their country and paid the ultimate price in the bloodshed of the this and last century, may they rest in peace. And may the ones serving right now be safe (this for my countrymen of birth and residence and thier allies, in particular).

In other news, the discussion on literary style differences has gone waaay up market. Reminds me back in the day when I knew little English and needed a dictionary next to me when reading. Now I need Wikipedia on one of my Tabs :)
Roger Powell
134. forkroot
ToM Chapter 56 - it's seen from Egwene's POV - Gawyn running and falling to his knees .. Morgase seen from a distance.

I hope there's time in AMoL for a reconciliation scene for Rand and Gawyn. Something like Gawyn apologizing for what he thought about Rand, and Rand forgiving him and charging him with the defense of the Amyrlin (Hey - if Galad can tell Perrin to go fight the Last Battle, why can't Rand order Gawyn to go do what he was going to do anyway?)

We're not 100% sure of Lan's itinerary. For sure he had to go to the Tower at some point after New Spring to get the Warder cloak - OTOH we know that Moiraine has avoided the Tower as much as possible so that she didn't get tied down to it.

Of course it's quite possible that she asked Lan to go to the Tower from time to time to carry messages - he wouldn't have been in danger of being ordered to stay.

It's also possible that Lan and Sleete sparred somewhere other than the Tower. We've certainly seen Warders practicing wherever a few Aes Sedai are gathered for a time.

We don't have enough information to draw a conclusion, other than Gawyn's internal monologue that seems to express respect for Sleete having occasionally beat Lan. That alone does indicate that what Sleete did was notable.
Alice Arneson
135. Wetlandernw
Gawyn was on his knees there, before someone. An older woman with red-gold hair, standing beside a smiling Elayne, who still sat her horse.
ToM, Chapter 56 (p. 816 in my book)
Chris R
136. up2stuff
fork and wet, thanks for the reference. I havent done a page by page reread since my first readthrough. I am TRYING to make my way throught the whole series before AMOL and just started LOC. (fingers crossed). Anyway, I missed that somehow. Sorry for doubting you Travyl.
Alice Arneson
137. Wetlandernw
Oh yeah, and on Lan vs. Sleete - the text says "He was said to have bested even Lan Mandragoran twice out of seven bouts, back when Mandragoran had been known to spar with other Warders." The wording implies that Lan was a Warder at the time; it also implies that it was a long time ago. It neither says nor implies whether 2 of 7 was an average, or the complete statistics; across what time frame the said sparring took place; with how many others either Lan or Sleete was sparring during that same span; or how hard Lan was trying to beat everyone. There are a whole lot of other factors that might make either or both look better or worse, but we're not given that detail. For that matter, even what we're given is merely hearsay: "He was said to have..." I have no doubt that Sleete is very, very good; all Warders are. It's just not a lot to form a basis for any kind of serious ranking.

And forkroot beat me to it on the previous comment. I salute you, sir! :)
138. Saterade
I agree with wetlandernw, there is no clear path to draw the conclusion that gawain is better than lan from this chapter, that's all I was trying (snarkily, admittedly) to say. Regardless of how good gawain and sleete are, Lan is much better now than he was whenever he lost 2 of 7 from the guy, circumstances whatever they may have been.
Nadine L.
139. travyl
@forkroot & wetlander
Thanks for providing the reference.

@up2stuff 136.
Doubt is good - apology acccepted, though not needed.
It's my fault if I don't reference it myself. This scene just kind of stuck in my head, almost as if I've been there and seen it for myself.
140. Wortmauer
CireNaes@113, JonathanLevy@119: LOL! I am not nearly well enough versed in the relevant schools to get your specific allusions, but enjoyed your recasting of the concept so much.
ZEXXES@118: Why does everyone think Gawyn's attitude about Rand is irrational.
Because he's so sure Rand killed his mother. Fine, a lot of people on the streets think it. But he has two very good reasons to doubt: one, it's only a rumor. Gawyn wasn't born in a barn; he should know how rumors distort, exaggerate and outright invent facts. Two, his lady love, who knows Rand a lot better than he does, is convinced it isn't true. Not that he should take her word for it, but that should be enough to sow some doubt at least.

Of course, it's also pretty baffling (or plot-convenient) that Egwene insisted Rand hadn't done the deed, yet did not bother to supply her boyfriend with Rand's alibi, which she knows very well. (Not that it's completely airtight, but she could have at least told Gawyn how Rand heard Morgase was dead and went all RAHHHHVIN and mounted a full-scale military assault on the Royal Palace in response. And then Gawyn will say "That's kind of an overreaction to just hearing a rumor, don't you think?" Egwene can be all "..." and he'll sit there for a moment, then say "Oh. Right, then.")
JL@119: The Otherland series was another difficult read - 4 huge books that could have been finished in 2. Haven't bought any Tad Williams since.
My thoughts exactly! Several hundred pages before the premise is properly introduced and the real quest begins, then the quest flounders aimlessly for 3 books, then there's half a book of resolution. I enjoyed the ride, but only when I could stop thinking "Hmmm, will I miss anything if I skip ahead 2000 pages?" WOT books 8-10 have nothing on Otherland.

I gather from the rest of you that, having read MSaT, I don't need to bother with Shadowcrawl. Good to know. Also, I know this is a really controversial opinion, but Whelan's Green Angel covers are pretty awesome.
Alice Arneson
141. Wetlandernw
travyl - You have a "visual imagination," don't you? A particular scene can form an image in your head that stays with you forever? If so, me too.
142. macster
@63 ZEXXES: I could have sworn that I did support you back when the Brandon bashing started in the re-read, but perhaps I didn't single you out by name, or my support got lost amid all the bashing (or other topics, or my long-winded posts... ;) ). Anyway, consider me firmly in your camp. (And how sad that it comes down to this, camps. But then the WOT fandom has always been that way, like most fandoms. Just usually polite about it.)

@65 JonathanLevy: Good analysis of Elaida vs. Egwene. And while I am afraid I still don't like the Sanderson vs. Jordan debate (at least not when it comes to authorial choices, plot developments, and things Harriet and the rest of Team Jordan approved of rather than specific vocabulary, style choices, and so on), I do agree with you that the obsessive D&D fanboy approach to arguing ad nauseum which character is more badass than another and complaining if your favorite character seems to have been unfairly nerfed is just as annoying, at least IMO. LOL at that comparison, you hit the nail on the head there!

@Freelancer 66, 74, 103: Hear, hear! I especially like your point that criticizing Sanderson's authorial choices and the development of plot and character is intrinsically criticizing Harriet and the rest of Team Jordan as well. Yes, they are human and can make mistakes too, but to assume people who care as deeply as they do about the series would allow such choices to stand if they were so detrimental to the consistency and development of Jordan's world and story is indeed quite petty and unfair.

@72 Seamus: I would suggest you reassess your position, specifically in regard to what Ryanus, Wortmauer, and Wolfmage have said. While what Egwene did is a bit skeevy and should still be addressed at some point, there is indeed quite a difference between that and an outright Oath of Obedience on the rod, so stating "no matter how look at it, Egwene used Compulsion..." is not just false if you do a proper examination of the text, it's ridiculous since clearly many others are quite able to "look at it" a different way, without being hypocrites. And when I say a proper examination of the text, I mean that your very usage of Beonin as an example of Egwene's moral bankruptcy doesn't hold water, because as was pointed out already, regardless of the circumstances (Egwene no longer being Amyrlin in her eyes) the fact she was able to betray her oath at all proves there was no Compulsion involved--if there had been, she couldn't have done so no matter how much clever thinking she used, unless you want to argue that Beonin has enough willpower to resist Compulsion. Which...I don't think the text supports.

@73 Ryanus: Exactly, couldn't have said it better (or more succinctly) myself.

@79 Wolfmage: I don't think anyone has ever said what Egwene did was unequivocally good and moral, but I'm glad you can see that there is a difference between her actions and those of Elaida and the Hunters. Your example of Beonin, as I pointed out to Seamus, may not be apropos because even if she could betray her oath due to Egwene's position having changed, the fact she could still betray it at all proves there is no Compulsion involved--no matter how you wiggle around mentally and consider your words and thoughts carefully, the only way to resist Compulsion or countermand it is to have a very strong will (like Nynaeve or Morgase), or to be released from it. The sole exception to this was Elayne not telling Moghedien about the ter'angreal because of the specific way she phrased her question. But this implies that one under Compulsion must still always obey commands to the letter, so that even if you could withhold information (or obedience) based on the wording of the question/command, if the person stated in no uncertain terms that you must give all information you know, or obey them no matter what, there would be no way around it.

With the First Oath we have seen sisters be physically restrained from speaking untrue words, and it is logical a similar physical restraint would occur if they tried to violate the Second or Third Oaths. While it is true we haven't been in the heads of Faolain, Theodrin, or Nisao and the other sisters who swore to see whether they ever tried to resist obeying Egwene, or if they were physically restrained when they tried, but there is the fact that Faolain was found out by Lelaine and forced to serve her, even disappearing for a time because of it. We can assume that at least some of the things Lelaine asked her to do would have gone against Egwene or her wishes (helping Lelaine gather power in her absence, for starters), but Lelaine makes no mention to Siuan of there being limitations in what she could tell Faolain to do--she states that she has figured out Faolain was a spy sent by Egwene, but surely if Lelaine had found out Faolain literally couldn't obey any command which went against Egwene or could even be construed to do so, she would have mentioned this.

Lelaine is incredibly savvy, if such an event had occurred she could have figured out what this meant--if in no other way then by demanding of Faolain whether she had sworn an oath of fealty or obedience to Egwene, because that very oath would prevent Faolain from admitting its existence since that itself would be betraying Egwene. The fact this has not happened, in turn, suggests that while Faolain swore to serve Egwene and be loyal to her, she had freedom in how to interpret this. That she could interpret obeying Lelaine as actually being true to Egwene, since in doing so she was both a) able to keep spying on her as Egwene had asked her to do and b) preventing the revelation of the oath by refusing to obey Lelaine/being unable to go against Egwene.

Anyway, you also acknowledge that the circumstances (the Tower division, Elaida's tyranny, the Black Ajah) allow for such an exception in Egwene's actions. In any event, I do agree though that this issue needs to be addressed, and Egwene needs to release them from their oaths. The only reason I can see her giving which could allow for their continued obedience is that the Last Battle is about to start and she needs all sisters following her, united. But even that is a bit specious, and the only way it can be justified is if she says she won't use the oath to make sisters needlessly endanger their lives (though presumably the sisters would acknowledge there's really no way to fight the Shadow safely), and if she promises to release them once Tarmon Gai'don is past. Otherwise...yeah, not acceptable.
143. macster
@81 Wortmauer: LOL! Though it isn't necessarily the Pattern which made Rand's fight with Ishamael appear in the sky; since the wording of the "five ride forth" prophecy was that the Dragon Reborn would "proclaim himself, bannered cross the sky in fire", it could well have been something instinctive Rand did with channeling. But even then, being in the sky seems to be the sole province of the Dragon, and we all know as Champion of the Light he is much more of a showoff (intentionally or not) than random Aes Sedai. ;)

You also make a good point about the First Oath, but let me also mention that even statements made in the past can be false, if they were based on false information or a mistaken impression. As you said, the hamburger-eating sister was making her statement based on the assumption that what she ate was a hamburger and the day she did it was yesterday. But if she was kept in a vacuole or stasis box, then brought out, she could think it was still yesterday, and say so, when it was actually tomorrow or a day twenty years from now. And if the thing she ate was a fake hamburger (either in the sense of some other meat being passed off as hamburger/a Veggieburger/Frankenmeat, or something actually disguised with an illusion), she could call it one when it actually wasn't. Or to put this in textual terms, the sister Zerah who could not be told to recant her story about Logain and the Red Ajah, and nearly choked to death, because she believed that lie was the truth.

So in conclusion, it seems that even if an oath of fealty to Egwene would seemingly be something that the First Oath would prevent betraying, the ability to think cleverly and indirectly could get around both, thus allowing for a betrayal of Egwene or at least the ability to still go your own way and make your own choices. And that the only way you'd get the same response you did from Zerah is if the sister in question believed what she was being asked to do was an absolutely disloyal act toward Egwene, or one of loyalty to another sister that could bring Egwene down. But the fact sisters could change their minds later even if they meant the oath at the time they swore it, or decide that what they were doing was actually helping Egwene (or at least not hurting her) still proves it isn't outright Compulsion. While Zerah being commanded to admit as a lie something she believed was true, conflicting as that did with her oath to speak only the truth, was indeed Compulsion, since it was forcing her to both speak and not speak to the point she was in danger of choking to death. So what Egwene did was not on the complete up-and-up, but still not nearly comparable.

Also: just thought I'd mention, the reason Rand believed in at least some of the sisters who swore to him was not just because of the First Oath or believing in their strong morals, but because Min had told him some of them meant their oaths and would serve him truly.

@87 Wetlander: LOL at the other author comparisons! Also, again thank you for your eloquent explanation of your position.

@88 beerofthedark: Very good catch, I didn't notice that either.

@98 WOTnoDragons: Agreed 100%.

On the Sanderson vs. Jordan debate: I am with ZEXXES and sitting this out now. Tnh made a very good suggestion, so I will just say that while I see your points, JonathanLevy, and it is true that we should be able to criticize Sanderson (and Jordan too), I am still siding with Freelancer, Wetlander, and WOTnoDragons.

@101 Samadai: I proudly admit to reading and liking Terry Brooks, So There. :P

@102 up2stuff: Very good point, and LOL!

On the Jenn Aiel: I too thought they had died out due to declining birth rates, but if all of that comes from the Guide and not the actual books, then this belief is indeed one we might want to question since the Guide was written to have historical errors (without Jordan's constant input or oversight) and thus isn't always seen as canon. Now that I think about it, it is odd that the Aiel speak of the Jenn in the present tense. A very good question to ask--and if Wet gets a RAFO, that in itself will tell us that the Jenn, whether living or dead, will indeed play a role in AMoL!

@110 forkroot: VERY good questions. The second one will probably be a RAFO, but maybe not.

@113 CireNaes: LOL!

@119 JonathanLevy: "Consider the hysteria which would be generated if AMoL were to reveal that Taim is in fact Demandred! How we would rouse ourselves into a fury arguing over whether RJ deceived us shamelessly, or whether BWS took it upon himself to make the change."

*facepalms* Oh man... The sad thing is, I am pretty sure (and Wet has Foretold this before ;) ) that no matter what is written about Taim or Demandred in AMoL, someone is going to call shenanigans, throw a fit, or throw the book against the wall. I am already pretty sure some people did that when they read of Asmodean's killer, or Gawyn not killing Rand. :P

@134 forkroot: I hope there's a scene for Gawyn and Rand too. And I love your take on how it would go.

@140 Wortmauer: Not that it's completely airtight, but she could have at least told Gawyn how Rand heard Morgase was dead and went all RAHHHHVIN and mounted a full-scale military assault on the Royal Palace in response. And then Gawyn will say "That's kind of an overreaction to just hearing a rumor, don't you think?" Egwene can be all "..." and he'll sit there for a moment, then say "Oh. Right, then."

ROTFL!! That was brilliant!

You also have a very good point: Egwene was with Rand the whole time in the Waste and in Cairhien, and she knew that even once he learned Traveling he never went to Caemlyn. He was busy in Cairhien fighting the Shaido, and then the very day he learned of Morgase, he was busy fighting Lanfear. Though to be fair there were only rumors Morgase was dead, so it's possible she still could have been alive when he went after Rahvin and died in the assault, which due to her injuries she wasn't there to see...
144. Wortmauer
macster@143: ROTFL!! That was brilliant!
Thanks. (:
Though to be fair there were only rumors Morgase was dead, so it's possible she still could have been alive when he went after Rahvin and died in the assault, which due to her injuries she wasn't there to see...
It's still a pretty good alibi. Egwene knew Rand reacted strongly to the news that Morgase was dead, and took a huge posse to Andor to open up a can on Rahvin. What difference if Morgase actually died during the fighting? Rand clearly was doing the opposite of going in to kill her. It'd be a pretty bizarre way to assassinate a sitting Queen, right? Wait for news that she's already dead, yell "KHAAAAAN, err, I mean, RAAAAAHVIN!", cram as many Aiel as you can fit on your Skimming platform, invade the palace, then see if you can kill her for real without any of your friends noticing. Of course, you have to bring lots of Maidens of the Spear, 'cause they never gossip about you behind your back. Also, bring Jasin Natael, Gleeman to the Dragon Reborn, 'cause if there's anyone even more likely than the Maidens to keep their mouth shut about your deeds, it's your personal bard.

Speaking of whom, it's too bad we already knew Morgase was nowhere near the Royal Palace. Imagine if she'd instead been, like, hiding from Gaebril in a storeroom. Natael might have bumped into her. "You? No!"
Alice Arneson
145. Wetlandernw
Just got back from the Sanderson signing, and I have ANSWERS!! And RAFOS!! I'll type it up and post it in a bit, but I had a great time.

Birgit F
146. birgit
Achilles reknown was for his complete decimation of any opponent or opponents no matter the number. His historical record of thousands killed can only be compared with Samson and he for all intents and purposes is mythical.

Achilles is mythical, too.

Then he was tooling around with said prophe-kid for 5 years or so.

It's only been about 2 years since the first book.

Lelaine is incredibly savvy, if such an event had occurred she could have figured out what this meant--if in no other way then by demanding of Faolain whether she had sworn an oath of fealty or obedience to Egwene, because that very oath would prevent Faolain from admitting its existence since that itself would be betraying Egwene.

Faolain hasn't sworn any Oaths on the Oath Rod. That is only available after the reunification of the AS.

Though it isn't necessarily the Pattern which made Rand's fight with Ishamael appear in the sky; since the wording of the "five ride forth" prophecy was that the Dragon Reborn would "proclaim himself, bannered cross the sky in fire", it could well have been something instinctive Rand did with channeling.

That might have been caused by the Horn.
Alice Arneson
147. Wetlandernw
Wall o' Text: Here are my gleanings from tonight's signing. (Except I just looked at the clock, and now it's "yesterday's signing." Oh well.) Some of this isn't WoT, but I figured this was still the best place to put it. I'll copy the relevant bits to the Alloy of Law spoiler thread, as well.

NOTE: There are spoilers for Alloy of Law in the Mistborn section, so skip it if you don't want them. They're pretty mild, but still, they're there.

Questions for Brandon, November 2011


1. Why do the Twinborn in Alloy of Law have only one feruchemical power, when all previous feruchemists, in spite of breeding programs, could use all the metals? (from travyl) Or were Ferrings always part of the system and we just didn’t meet them in Mistborn? (my addition)

A: The Ferrings are a new development since Mistborn, as the Feruchemists have been interbreeding with the Allomancers. Basically, the Allomancy genes interfere with the Feruchemistry genes, breaking it down and creating the limitations we see in Alloy of Law. (His response to this was really fun - he found it a very perceptive question, and enjoyed talking about it. I wish I'd had my recorder handy so I could give you the full transcript instead of the boiled-down version.)

2. Is this a prequel to the “modern” trilogy? How far into the future is that? (in-world)

A: There will be several “Wax and Wayne” books dealing with the next development; they’re not so much “prequel” as they are a side venture into life between the first and second trilogies, but they will be used to provide some foreshadowing for the second trilogy. Incidentally, he also described the beginning of the second trilogy as “a Misting SWAT team trying to figure out how to take out a criminal Mistborn.” He also said that the third trilogy will be much nearer “hard scifi” as their understanding of Allomancy and Feruchemistry enables them to develop FTL propulsion.

3. Was the scruffy-looking “beggar in black” guy at the wedding dinner Hoid?

A: Yes.

4. In whose voice is the “Ars Arcanum” written? Hoid's?

A: I’ve avoided answering that question. It’s either Hoid or a member of the 17th Shard. That’s as much answer as I’m giving anyone right now.

Wheel of Time:

5. Is there a distinction between the “bubbles of evil” and the “Pattern unraveling” events?

A: There is a distinction, in that they are different manifestations of the same root cause: the bubbles come from the DO’s prison and slide along the threads of the Pattern until they pop, while the Pattern unraveling is a result of balefire as well as the DO’s direct influence. The ‘torn lace’ icon is used for both.

6. Did you ever find out what were the means & end of Cadsuane’s blackmailing the Asha’man?

A: It’s all in the notes, but I’d have to look it up before I could answer.

7. Who do you consider a “main character”? (How do you define “main”? Is Nynaeve, per tordotcom discussion?)

A: I consider the five original Two Rivers people, plus Elayne, to be “main characters.” Min and Avi are major, but not quite at the same level.

8. Is Rand gonna win Tarmon Gai’don? (from up2stuff)

A: He deserves his very own RAFO card for that one. (up2stuff: I have it, and will mail it to you if you want. Put your address in my shoutbox and mark it Private.)

9. What happened to the Jenn Aiel? What was their fate after we saw them last in the WayBack ter'angreal? I'm curious on how they disappeared after partially building Rhuidean. Were they consumed in the making of Rhidean like the Aes Sedai that made the Eye of the World were? Or did they just stop procreating thus dying off, or something else? (from Loialson)

A: Aah. RAFO! (The exclamation point, and a smile, was clear in his voice and in his eyes. He liked that question and was pleased to have it asked. We will apparently find out soon! Loialson - I'm sorry, I should have gotten you a RAFO card too. I only actually asked the first question - since it got the RAFO, I figured there was no point in asking the rest.)

10. If cuendillar is brought into Tel’Aran’Rhiod, can it be destroyed in a nightmare (the same way Perrin destroyed the dreamspike)? (from forkroot)

A: If you were strong enough in TAR, you could probably force it to break, but it would remanifest itself pretty quickly. (He compared it to how Perrin was able to force Hopper back together for a moment, but no more - it snapped back to "reality" pretty fast.) RJ was pretty strong on this point – it’s really, really hard to destroy the stuff. Even an opening gateway wouldn’t do it – either the edge would push the cuendillar object out of the way, or the object would block the gateway from opening or closing. (You could actually block a gateway open by sticking a piece of cuendillar in it.) RJ was firm: there are only two ways for cuendillar to be destroyed: the Pattern unraveling, and… one other thing. (From the way he said “one other thing” I think we’ll be learning about it in AMoL. He enjoyed that question too.)

11. Min has said that Perrin would need to be there for Rand twice to save him from something very bad. Assuming Dumai's Wells was the first time (which BWS confirmed), was Perrin's presence in T'AR at Dragonmount during Rand's time there the second time? Or, in another phrasing, has the second time happened yet? (from forkroot)

A: No, that was not it. We have not yet seen the second time, but we will. (In other words, it’s coming in AMoL.)

12. Will we find out in AMoL just how Morgase became familiar in her youth with Two Rivers speech patterns? (RobMRobM)

A: No, we won’t. It would have been part of a book that will most likely not be written, so we will probably get to find out in the Encyclopedia.

13. Are there mature Worms in AMoL? Would a mature Worm be a Dragon?

A: RAFO! (With a smile and a look that indicated we’ll see something significant along that line, anyway.) As to the second part, they wouldn’t really know what a dragon looked like, so they wouldn’t call it that, anyway.

14. Ask him if he is an amalgamation of several different authors over a 200-year period, edited together after the fall of the northern kingdom. :) (Jonathan Levy)

A: How did they figure it out???

(Everyone in earshot cracked up on that one!)

Other miscellaneous notes from the Q&A:

AMoL is already near 300,000 words (he's marked it 90% on his web page), plus there’s about 20,000 for RJ’s ending, and BWS needs about another 20,000 to get the two joined up. It will likely end up at around 340,000 words – roughly the size of ToM. He needs 2-3 good solid weeks of writing to finish it up, which will have to wait until this signing tour is over. He expects to finish the first draft by early December. Final release date will depend on how much time Harriet needs for editing as well as the marketing people’s choice for good timing – like not going directly up against another major competitor for the #1 spot on the NYT Bestseller List. Sometime between July and November next year.

He read an excerpt from a new novella, Legion. It was quite bizarre, and very funny. The premise is hilarious, and Lionsgate has already bought the television production rights for it. They want to do a pilot next year, if I heard correctly.

The contract has been signed for the Mistborn game, but he can’t announce the company yet; they want to do a big announcement with cool artwork and stuff, and they aren’t ready yet. BWS will be writing all the dialog and the ending to make sure it’s a satisfying wrap-up, but he won’t interfere in the game content. He’ll have some voting rights over characterizations/actors. The announcement should come in January; it will be set as a prequel to the first Mistborn trilogy.

Upcoming book plans: AMoL is first, of course; he expects to follow that with Book 2 of the Stormlight Archive in March or April 2013. Book 2 will have Shallon as the focus character (like Kaladin was in book 1), followed in subsequent books by Szeth, Navani and Dalinar. Once the first 5 Stormlight books are out, he plans to do the second Mistborn trilogy, then books 6-10 of Stormlight. Interspersed with the first 5 Stormlight books, he’ll do several more Wax and Wayne books; similar to Alloy of Law, they’ll be shorter, lighter, more witty & adventurous than the epics.

Warbreaker 2 will be another “in between” book; he plans to use the same process as the first Warbreaker, posting sections on his website and getting feedback, using a very open and interactive process of development.

Brandon didn’t say it in so many words, but I got the distinct impression from what he did and didn’t say, that the other prequels and outriggers will not be written. He did mention that RJ left some 3 million words worth of notes, equivalent to 10 TGS’s stacked together. Much of it will be distilled down to furnish the Encyclopedia which Harriet will publish. He also mentioned that the Encyclopedia was always intended to be Harriet’s project, not RJ’s; they had been planning it for some time already prior to his illness.

For anyone who didn’t know yet, he’s doing another Great Hunt on this tour; the text to be revealed is a piece of RJ’s notes, to give us an idea of the kind of information collected in those 3,000,000 words. (No, he didn’t slip a clue into my book this year. It was too much to hope for… and with my list of questions, I completely forgot to ask about the Hunt!)

I overheard someone bringing up the "bloody ashes" issue with Brandon. His response was essentially that the phrase has always been there, and using it without the accompanying "blood and" is merely one example of the way a person's language choices sometimes change over time.

Last thing – BWS gave the name of the second shard on Sel to someone at the signing tonight, but I can’t tell you what it is; it’s his to reveal in his own way. When I know he’s posted it for all the world, I’ll add it here.
Ummmm. Sorry. But Achilles was a real human being who was included in some myths and legends. He wasn't a demigod he did kill a lot of people. He did so legendarily and later mythicaly where his exploits became imbellished and his humanity was upgraded to godlike proportions, thus most peoples mistaken idea that Achilles himself was a myth. When in fact he was a real, walking, talking, made from flesh and bone, human being like you and I. Albiet.... a long dead one.

And... Um... Lan? He's not real. For real for real. I mean honestly and truthfully, he's not real. Its juuuuuust a story.

James Hogan
149. Sonofthunder
Wetlander - thanks for the signing report!! Great info and great write-up. I am now even more psyched for AMoL. Even though I'm a bit sad to hear that March release date probably isn't going to happen. I guess I was being too optimistic.

Also - I definitely need to get Alloy of Law. I'm sitting at Starbucks right now for my Saturday morning relaxing time...but next step - go to Waterstones and find Alloy of Law!! How'd you like it??

Also - I can't wait to see the 2nd Mistborn trilogy. I love Brandon's sci-fi. Firstborn was one of my favorite short stories I've read in quite some time so can't wait for more! Sadly, it'll probably be a few years...

Also - I'm still bitter that he comes to Houston when I'm not living there anymore...and comes to the UK when I'm home in Florida for Thanksgiving. Apparently, I'm just never going to get to meet Brandon.
John Massey
150. subwoofer
Edit- ummmm yes, Achilles was real, although his name has vastly changed with the retelling of the stories of his heroics. IIRC he hales from the ancient Greek land named after a dale in the river, he was a fiery red head named Archilles originally;)

Valentin M
151. ValMar
Wetlander, thanks for the epic report! What you did there qualifies as an interview + you noted lots of additional info from answers to others. Hardly any questions left to ask... Which leads me to:

sub @ 150?

Maybe I was still sleeping this morning, but wasn't your post different? I mentally noted that you had a question for Brandon regarding whether he did any research for the battles, etc., he writes in WOT.
If so, I'll be happy to ask next Saturday when I hopefully see him in UK. I'll be interested to know too.
Jonathan Levy
152. JonathanLevy
140. Wortmauer
144. Wortmauer

You made me laugh both times :)

And you're spot on comparing tPoD - WH - CoT vs. Otherland. Otherland wins hands down. A whole book of people travelling through alternate realities taken from Through the Looking Glass? I'll take a Sevanna and two side-orders of Therava, please.

And yes, both the Green Angel covers are very good - the covers of the two volumes of the book mirror each other quite nicely.

147. Wetlandernw

I can't believe you asked my question! Oh, to have been a fly on the wall. I am filled with admiration for your nerve and chutzpah :)
As to the second part, they wouldn’t really know what a dragon looked like, so they wouldn’t call it that, anyway.
Um, wouldn't the Aiel be able to figure it out? Or the clan chiefs and wise ones at least? The clan chiefs have a dragon wrapped around their forearm, and the Aiel secret name is 'people of the dragon', and the clan chiefs at least know there is a connection between the two (I seem to recall a scene at the end of TDR where a clan chief shows Moiraine the Dragon and explains about the Aiel).

If the Aiel saw a flying dragon in the air... and looked at their forearms... and at Rand's banner... well, maybe the Shaido would decide it was a Couladisaurus Rex, but you'd think the rest would call it a Dragon.


Um - perhaps you're thinking of Herakles (Hercules)? Even so, if pressed to choose, I'd put him in the 'mythical' category.
John Massey
153. subwoofer
@Valmar, yeah, I did post something else, but thought better of it as I didn't want to um... draw attention to an unintentional, well something unintentional, I assume. Something about me taking the "high road" here, er now. I am not well reknowned for that, but this blog has the mercy of the "edit" feature, I could use this in real life so that some things best left unsaid remain that way.

But thank you for noticing and if you can, asking Brandon those questions:-D

today's post was brought to you by the letter "n".

Valentin M
154. ValMar
I'll ask, it's a good question plus after Wetlander's interrogation there's hardly anything else left to ask...
By the way, since English isn't my 1st language and I'd like to improve it further- what's unitentional? A time for more "mercy"?
Rob Munnelly
155. RobMRobM
Thanks, Wet, for asking my question but damnitall, I wanted an answer now!! *grump*

Z - Achilles real? Really? *blinks*

Valmar - "unitentional" describes a tent or tent-like structure that only fits one person.

Valentin M
156. ValMar
RobM, thanks, you learn something new everyday ;)
Chris R
157. up2stuff
It occurs to me that there is a subtle distinction to be made regarding the Compulsion debate.

Now Eg did require a rather severe condition for what should have been an alliance with Beonin, Theodrin, etc, but she was admittedly up the unsanitary tributary without a means of motion. She was trying to avoid being railroaded as a puppet and also trying to wrest control of a directionless committee to get them going on restoring a key element in facing the DO. She needed to be sure of loyalty from allies, and with the attitude of those involved, they needed to be compelled.

But, I say "compelled," not "Compelled. "Compulsion" was a tool used by the Forsaken for Shadow purposes, but also petty inscheming and personal gain, i.e. Greandal's "Pets". Reversing it could also result in death. Egwene "compelled" her subordinates to do the right thing with the goal of restoring the tower.

The other thing is that "Compulsion" was almost certainly done to a captive. "Mwah,ha,ha. And now Hapless victim, (wiggles fingers), Abracadabra. You will do awful things without knowing it!"

Egwene gave them a choice, essentially. "Take this oath or I will know I cant trust you to...".
John Massey
158. subwoofer
@Valmar, best example of unintentional, beyond dang spell check making the word wrong, would be friendly fire. Being unintentionally shot at by your own guys, when they were actually shooting at the enemy. Or when the pilot "unintentionally" lets you out 6 km off target from the LZ. Or Sub unintentionally making up a word. Seemed right at the time but with unexpected repercussions.

Edit for the word "check".

Chris R
159. up2stuff
Wet, thanks for asking my question! Was just going for a chuckle, but consider your shoutbox, shouted!
Valentin M
160. ValMar
sub @ 158

Maybe you confused "let out" with "shoved out" and got lucky being just 6 km off ;) As for unitentional, I wasn't being spelling nazi (or totally devoid of logical thought and confused), just attempting wit.

Anyway, so there is a whole block of 20 000 words by RJ for the ending and further 20 000 by Brandon to fit it in the rest of the text. Looking forward to discussing what's written by who next year :D Runs back to the bunker
Nadine L.
161. travyl
Thank you very much for asking my and all the other questions and for sharing them with us. THAAANNNKKKSSS
(As I said before, there is no chance for me to meet the man, I went to the one single "only-english" bookstore in my city: they had ToM (listed as Top7) but not any other Sanderson or Jordan book :( - so no market for a signing here obviously.)

This tread is really funny so far,
Jonathan you made me laugh out loud (I'm still laughing actually) with your suggestion of a Couladisaurus Rex (152.)
Edit: Valmar - at the signing you attend, you could give Brandon that (Jonathan Lewy's) answer (about the dragons), it might earn him a "Great Hunt card"
Roger Powell
162. forkroot
Wetlandernw - You rock! Awesome job, although curiously enough this is the first time I actually skipped reading part of one of your posts. (On purpose of course - thanks for the warning about Alloy of Law spoilers.)

Wow! What can I say? First off, I'm disappointed that the prequel where Tam finds Rand apparently will not be written. I don't care about the "outriggers", but I had held hopes that Brandon would do at least that one prequel. I guess that if it's a 100% no-go, perhaps a novella length version could be done in the forthcoming Encyclopedia?
RJ was firm: there are only two ways for cuendillar to be destroyed: the Pattern unraveling, and… one other thing. (From the way he said “one other thing” I think we’ll be learning about it in AMoL. He enjoyed that question too.)
Hmmm... interesting. My first thought was to object: "hey! We saw the TP destroy cuendillar in TGS!" Upon further reflection though, I believe what he said is perfectly consistent. We know the TP to be the essence of the DO - the sworn enemy of the Pattern. We've had TP traveling described as "tearing the Pattern" -- this leads me to believe that all TP use is in some way injurious to the Pattern, as is regular balefire. TP "balefire" is probably grossly injurious and would certainly fit the description of "unraveling".

Oh yes - FWIW, we learned by negative inference that dreamspikes are not made of cuendillar.

Apparently, I'm just never going to get to meet Brandon.
And that would be a shame. I'm no slavish fanboy, but I have a tremendous amount of respect for Brandon and how he treats people. When you attend one of his events and it's your turn to interact with him (signing or whatever) his focus is on you. (I wonder if his superb listening skills help him as writer - could well be!) He is also unfailingly polite, witty, and just fun to listen to.
WOT Dragons
163. WOTNoDragons
Wetlander @147
Thank you big time for this mega post. Reading it is almost as good as being there! I can’t believe Brandon is so forthcoming with information – even if many answers are RAFO, it’s still really interesting and awesome. Re point 13 about worms & dragons, --- ::squee::

I have to say though, that I agree with JonathanLevy @152: the symbolism for what dragons look like is right there on Rand’s banner, which iirc has been raised in several locations. And wasn’t there an inn in Tear where the landlord had repainted the sign with Rand’s dragon emblem, but had added wings to it? So I think JL is right, in that there are clues for Randlanders in terms of what dragons might look like or resemble.

So in hope and anticipation of said beasts making an appearance in aMoL, I’ve changed my handle to WOTDragons! Thanks again.

Tess Laird
164. thewindrose
Awesome job Wetlandernw! Thanks for passing all this info on to us.
( I have to admit that while I am obviously! looking forward to aMoL, I am really looking forward to more Stormlight(I kind of wish Dalinar and Navani were next - but I find Jasnah intriguing, and she is linked to Shallan so yay.)
Is it just me, or is Brandon a machine when it comes to writing(quantity-wise)? And he is so gracious when he is on tour.

I will comment on the chapters later - I have 2 starving children eyeing me up...

Alice Arneson
165. Wetlandernw
ValMar @151 – Oh, yay! I completely flubbed and forgot to put subwoofer’s questions on my list. SO SO SO glad someone else can ask for us! It’s a good question, too, and I think he’ll enjoy it. Make sure you identify yourself with the tordotcom reread and tell him you’re a friend of Wetlander. :)

Speaking of which – public apology to subwoofer for forgetting his questions. I’m sorry; I screwed up. I saw them, thought “Oh, that’s a good question” and then forgot to add it to my list.

Jonathan Levy @152 – The timing was right. :) And he’s familiar enough with the general concepts (I prefaced it by noting the recent discussion about word choice, which he’s probably heard ad nauseam) that he caught the joke. I was totally floored by his response, though. I wish you could have heard it!

About the dragons… The Aiel probably would recognize them, if they actually look like the pictures. But that’s the big question: do the depictions of dragons on the banners and the clan chiefs’ arms actually look like real dragons? And if they don’t, how do we know which one is the “real dragon” anyway?

WoTDragons – did you have to create a new account to change your handle? Or are they allowing that now?

All – Glad you enjoyed it! Like forkroot said, if you ever get a chance to attend one of his events, try really hard to make it. They’re a load of fun; he really enjoys talking with people, answering questions and generally giving us what we want. He always anticipates a certain number of questions and answers them right up front for everyone to hear. On that note, one thing I forgot to include @147 is that he’s trying hard (and with some success) to talk Harriet into touring with him to some of the places she’s never been for the AMoL tour. She’s planning to be in Salt Lake City for the launch event, for the first time. (Brandon asked if there was a chance I’d make it to SLC for that. Oh, I can only wish!) Anyway, there’s a possibility she’ll do some of the West Coast cities this time around. Now I may have to go invest in some hardcovers, since half my paperbacks are losing their covers.

Back to the signing; I didn’t really feel like standing in line a long time (there were about 150 people there – they had to move to a larger venue!), so I just stayed in my seat for a while, then wandered around chatting with people for a while. (The fans are half the fun of a signing – you meet all sorts of people you never would otherwise, and you may never see them again until the next signing, but everyone is an automatic friend just by being there.) Finally got in line and continued the chatting (and convinced the guy behind me to go read the Kingkiller Chronicles), but I was way towards the end of the line.

The guys in line with me were cracking up about my full page of questions in 8-point font (it was actually 10), and when Brandon saw it he grinned. (If I can figure out how to get it off my camera, Andrew took a picture of Brandon and I perusing the list.) I asked a few questions while he was signing my books (in Alloy of Law he wrote “Let’s get to the list!” and in ToM he wrote “Great questions!” Much of that can be credited to travyl for the Ferrings question – he loved that!). He said he’d love to answer them all, if I could hang out for a bit and toss in questions between and afterwards. We finished them while he was doing the stock signing – about 11:00 p.m. The guy had been talking non-stop for 4 hours, and signing for 3, and he was still having fun. One fan brought in a big bowl of Brandon’s favorite cookies; he encouraged people to try one on the way through the line (he did keep a few out for himself!). When I left, they were moving toward closing the doors, but there were still fans hanging out chatting.

All in all it was a very fun evening, and I was so pumped I came home and wrote it up straight away. I hope the stuff I posted on the Alloy of Law spoiler thread makes sense, though; I was trying to edit out the ToM content and I kept falling asleep! *sigh* I’m just not used to seeing 2:00 a.m. anymore.

Edit - to get rid of those stupid J's and replace them with the emoticon of choice.
166. Wortmauer
WOTDragons@163: So in hope and anticipation of said beasts making an appearance in aMoL, I’ve changed my handle to WOTDragons!
Right! See, if we're gonna get a volume with a title A , why couldn't it have been called, I dunno, A Dance with Dragons?

Wetlandernw@147: Thank you thank you thank you! As others have said, that's almost an "author interview" level of info. Too bad about the Cadsuane blackmail question, sounds like if he'd had the answer fresh in his mind, he would've given it.
BWS: As to the second part, wouldn’t really know what a dragon looked like, so they wouldn’t call it that, anyway.
At which point, I begin to wonder where the creature on the Dragon banner, and the creatures on the forearms of Aiel clan chiefs, came from. I don't think it's explicitly stated, but from the descriptions we get, I've always assumed the two images are similar to each other and to our Dragon chapter icon.

The clan chief tattoo was presumably designed by the Aes Sedai who built the Rhuidean glass column ter'angreal, and I'm guessing they tried to duplicate the Dragon banner logo, which therefore must have still been in living memory at the time Rhuidean was constructed. The banner logo, in turn, was probably drawn by some Age of Legends graphic designer hired by Team Light or the Therin estate, to fashion a herald for their army.

But, given the AoL Old Tongue and culture apparently didn't associate the word dragon with our modern fantasy literature dragon creature, how did the AoL graphic designer happen to come up with that logo for Lews Therin's banner?

(This is up there with my other questions about preservation of knowledge, like "How did the true name of the Dark One return to common knowledge during the War of Power (or whenever)?" or, "How would anyone but the Creator and the Dark One know that time is circular at all, much less that there are seven spokes?" These latter two questions probably have something to do with the Dark One transmitting knowledge to Ishamael, but that makes less sense for the Dragon logo question.)

Also, is it just me, or do other people occasionally, when thinking about Lews Therin's forces, get an incongruous mental picture of the Dragon Army from Battle School in Ender's Game?
Alice Arneson
167. Wetlandernw
thewindrose @ 164 - Someone asked him how he plans to prevent burnout with the writing schedule he gave. His answer, as always, was "I'll write something else." I think that's part of why we'll get the Wax & Wayne stories, and things like Legion. They're the light stuff that's floating around in his head that he can just pop out and write on a long transatlantic flight, or on a break between two massive tomes. That's a lot of where the Alcatraz books came from, too. How lucky are we, to have an author who takes a break from his epics by writing fun interludes?!

For those who read the Alcatraz books, they're in the process of being repackaged as an Evil Librarians series. No real changes to the content, just a new presentation, new covers, etc. There may be one more coming, but he doesn't anticpate a lot more.

RobM - Brandon didn't specifically say the prequels would never be written, 100% sure certain, but he definitely implied it. I wasn't recording, so this is from memory, but I think his exact (ish) words were, "That would have been part of a book that won't be written." I didn't follow it up by asking if that means the prequels won't be written; I should have. (ValMar, do you want to add that to your list?) I think at least one thing can be implied, though: since rumor had it that one of the prequels was essentially Tam's backstory, it's most likely that Morgase met Tam during that time. Whether there was a romance, or whether Tam was already married to Kari, whether Morgase introduced him to Kari or vice versa, or what form the contact took, it's very nearly certain that she heard it from Tam.
Nadine L.
168. travyl
Wetlandernw (165) - did you really introduce yourself als Wetlander on the signing? Just curious.
Cameron Tucker
169. Loialson
Thank you so much! That makes me very happy to have that question being answered!

I'm planning on going to the SLC signing for now when AMOL comes out, as I live in Utah. Wish I could have gone to the signing in Provo...*sigh*, it's was a mile from where I live :(, I don't do well late nights either, so I feel for you, and am grateful for you staying up late to type the answers.

Thanks again, that was awesome of you!
Alice Arneson
170. Wetlandernw
ValMar - are you taking notes? :)

travyl - Yes, I did - but mostly because he'd already heard of me that way. A while back, Freelancer did me the great favor of telling Brandon about the Cadsuane fanfic I wrote here; Brandon read it and enjoyed it, so when I went to his signing last year I introduced myself with both my name and my tor nick. (That's a whole 'nother story.) This year, he recognized me but couldn't remember my name, so I did the same thing.

All: travyl just reminded me of yet another thing regarding Stormlight Archive that was in my head but I forgot to include in the write-up. (If you don't like spoilers of any sort, you might not want to peek, because it tells you that someone survives. I'll try to white the names, but it doesn't always work.) Someone asked him about the origins of the Stormlight Archive story as he envisioned it back in his teens when he first started writing it. His answer was that the "soul" of the epic has always been Dalinar's story. Kaladin came along fairly early; Shalon was a much later addition, replacing a character that just wasn't working right.
John Massey
172. subwoofer
Other questions to ask Brandon- unless these were answered elsewheres-

How many Forsaken are left?(hoping that Brandon may slip and give us an unexpected/ unintentional head count).

@Valmar- no offense taken:) Actually, what I was in reference to was that in the "forum" section of Tordot the spell check function works and "unintentional" comes up with a red squiggle underneath. Nothing to do with you:)

And about being off the LZ- no luck in that at all. The difference was that it was a night jump and instead of an open field it was a forest. Fractured hip, punctured armpit and a pierced orbital socket(also unintentional) later I was really not impressed with said pilot.

Another question would be about Egwene. Somewheres in TSR- and I have been doing laps through that book the last couple hours trying to find the exact passage- anyways, Egwene or somebody Egwene-like has a dream and one part has Gawyn kneeling to her the other part has Gawyn strangling her or doing violence. Has there been any resolution to this dream or not?

Edit- ahhhh- I GET IT NOW! Yes, with the lack of spell check in this box type structure, my typing sometimes gets ahead of me. Aside from the obvious stuff like hte or waht, I tend to miss letters and words sometimes. Some folks use notepad or Word, but that smacks of work and I do enough of that in my professional life:)

Alice Arneson
173. Wetlandernw
TSR Chapter 47 - Min's viewing

encyclopaedia-wot.org is my friend. :)

subwoofer: I did just a little more searching, and here's what I found:
Terez: I’m thinking mostly of the fork in the road that Gawyn comes to in Egwene’s dream, and down one road they marry, and down the other they don’t…
Brandon: Okay, yes. That has been fulfilled. That fork in the road was the same decision that Min saw. Those were parallel . And that prophecy did get fulfilled…and the meaning of that is…there is no hidden meaning, no ‘Surprise, that wasn’t really it!’ You saw it: if Gawyn had not returned when he did, Egwene would have died.
In context and reading all the footnotes, Terez didn't think Brandon was answering the question she asked, but it looks to me like he was answering yours. If Gawyn had stubbornly stayed in Caemlyn, he wouldn't have been there to save her from the Bloodknives. It's "killing her" only in terms of not being there to defend her, but the end result would be the same.

The concept of the Amyrlin's Warder strangling her out of frustration is quite an image though... ;)
John Massey
174. subwoofer
Ahhh, thank you Wetlander, much appreciated:)

Yes- that-
"Gawyn kneeling at Egwene's feet with his head bowed, and Gawyn breaking Egwene's neck, first one then the other, as if either could be the future."

Has this come to pass as of the last book or is Gawyn- Egwene's Warder, going to strangle the Amyrlin?

Alice Arneson
175. Wetlandernw
oops. That was dumb. Shoulda posted my edit as a separate note. subwoofer - go back to 173.

Oy. I'd better go do something else for a while! :)
John Massey
176. subwoofer
mmmm- I see- but this "parallel prophecy" thing practically tumbles out of an Eddings' book. Somehow that does not sit right with me and Min's viewings are fairly literal so what gives? ie. her viewings of Aes Sedai and Warders dying earlier came true- I suppose the emphasis should be on the word "either". Gah. Prophecies, Dreams, Viewings. It is almost like everyone started speaking 'Finn or something.

Valentin M
177. ValMar
travyl @ 161

Which answer do you mean exactly? Different authors thing maybe?

Wetlander @ 165

So droping a celebrity friend name will get me a VIP treatment? I'll make sure I take advantage of the opportunity. But seriously, I was going to mention you and that I too am from the Tor re-read. I did last time and Brandon asked me what my handle was.

sub @ 172

Just making sure I didn't come across as a dick. One has to work at this... So only 6 km off, in the darkness in a forest, with a mere fractured hip, punctured armpit, poked eye (?) and you still whinge about it. You are hard man to please ;) Though it sounds like you were lucky they gave you a parachute and not an empty rucksack.

So the questions. So far I have (will frase them better):

- research on military, etc (sub)
- Cads blackmail AM. Maybe he would've refreshed his mind then (Wet)
- wassup with the Prequels. May get a bit more info. (RobM & Wet)
- Min's viewing at TSR47- Gawyn/Eg killing or kneeling happened or not yet. (sub)- so I'll assume this was answered then?
- How many FS are left. Let's see if Brandon is on his toes. (sub)

I wonder if I should go on the line late and instead stand near him and listen to his answers. If there are fewer people left on the line I may feel less pressure to hurry. Also, last time he answered plenty of questions before the signing begun, but I got late for most of it.
John Massey
178. subwoofer
Yeah I play the world's smallest violin too:) Worst part of all that is that I was sent to a German hospital and almost lost my eye because they used the wrong dye to check for particles- it was supposed to be orange, not blue. meh. The hole in my armpit was tricky tho. Made using crutches a chore, and going to the bathroom... ouch.

that'll learn me to go falling outta perfectly good airplanes:)

Nadine L.
179. travyl
ValMar 177.
I was referring to Wetlandernw's question Nr. 13 (post 147) about if worms transform into mature dragons, which got a RAFO.
A: RAFO! (With a smile and a look that indicated we’ll see something significant along that line, anyway.) As to the second part, they wouldn’t really know what a dragon looked like, so they wouldn’t call it that, anyway.
On second reading the part about the recognition of dragons is most certainly wetlander's comment not BWS, so you can't confront him about the doubt JLewy (152.) raised.
John Massey
180. subwoofer
This worm thing- I dunno- I am expecting something outta Dune. That would be sweet:)

Alice Arneson
181. Wetlandernw
ValMar @177 - Well, if you've been there before, you know that you've no need for name-dropping to be comfortable talking with Brandon. Just say hi for me. :) Probably no special VIP treatment, though - as near as I can tell, he gives everyone VIP treatment!

FWIW, if I were you I'd get direct confirmation on the Gawyn kneeling vs. breaking her neck fulfillment, but I'd make it one of my lower-priority questions, since we think we know the answer already.

travyl @179 - The part about "not knowing what a dragon really looks like" was actually Brandon's comment, paraphrased because I (stupidly) wasn't recording. It didn't occur to me to ask whether the Dragon banner and the clan chief dragons were "real dragons" at the time. Sadly, on things like that I don't think on my feet very well. So it's still a question worth asking. Based on nothing more than gut reaction to his look & comment, I'm guessing that we will see mature Worms in AMoL, but that they won't be what anyone would recognize as "dragons" per se. Probably something straight out of a nightmare, though.

If I had another chance to ask questions, I'd probably phrase that one something like "Are mature Worms anything we'll recognize? Are they anything the Randlanders (or Aiel, or Seanchan) will recognize? Would they resemble the Dragon banner or the clan chief markings?"
182. AndrewB
When I realized that AMoL would probably have lots of military battles (being that the story would involve the Last Battle), I wondered how BWS would be in writing these sections. My initial thoughts came about becasue IIRC, BWS has no military experience (unlike RJ).

However, the more I thought about this, the less concerned I became: primarily for two reasons. First, I think that RJ probably left detailed passages regarding how the various battle scenes should play out. Both on a micro level (individual battle scenes that so and so character would be involved) and a macro level (tracking the overall course of the Last Battle). The latter could be explained to the reader via scenes between characters reporting on events that have occurred (e.g. messengers arriving via gateways; reports from pigeons; or rumors). Given what Wetlandernw reported about the amount of notes that RJ left, it is possible that RJ actually wrote many of the military scenes.

The second reason I am not very concerned is because of AWoK (Book 1 of the Stormlight Archives). This is the only other BWS written novel that I have read. I was impressed with how his battle scenes read in that novel. I did not feel his lack of war-time experience prevented him from writing a story that had major elements focused on war. {Note: I have never served in the military. Thus, I do not know if somebody who has served would have a different opinion on this subject than I do.} Nevertheless, I am curious as well as to what, if any, research BWS has done regarding military tactis and other similar knowledge. (As subwoofer @122 asked above.)

Thanks for reading my musings.

(Sorry for the duplication. I forgot to purt my name and email address on the first positing)
183. AndrewB
re @182 above: Disregard the sentence after my name. I thought I did something that would have prodcued an unamed initial post.

Valentin M
184. ValMar
sub @ 178
Bloody hell...

travyl @ 179
I see. I could ask as Wetlander's examples @ 181's end.

Wetlander @ 181
Yes, I was very impressed with the way Brandon interacted with the fans. But I'm sure he likes to know if people are from particular nook and cranny of the fandom.
Jay Dauro
185. J.Dauro

Brandon has Tweeted that he is consulting a lot with Alan Romanczuk of Team Jordan for the battle scenes. Apparently Alan does have knowledge, although I don't know whether he acquired it first hand or not. (A quick Google did not reveal answers.)


I have to second your opinion on Brandon. He does treat every fan as a VIP. And he is very good at remembering them, maybe not always the name, but that he has met them before, and usually what was talked about. I guess being a "people sponge" is very handy for a writer. ;^)
Jonathan Levy
186. JonathanLevy
163. WOTDragons
I think your name change will have the effect that everyone's going to start calling you WOT*Dragons. :)

165. Wetlandernw
Regarding handle changes - I used to have a space in between my names, but now I don't. I didn't make this change voluntarily, but I did do it without creating a new handle. So I think it's possible.

And thanks again to you (and ValMar, in advance) for sharing your contact with Sanderson with all of us here.
Jonathan Levy
187. JonathanLevy
Regarding WoTGH, the currently found codes are:
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 29

If anyone by any chance made a copy of the text before some of these codes were revealed, I would be grateful to receive a copy - please let me know and I will provide contact details.
John Massey
188. subwoofer
gmoommfnf# the fox is acting up this morning. Hulk smash.

@Valmar- my language was a bit more colorful, it may have even included "butter", "onions", "fish guts", and other things not so harsh or pithy;)

This Min viewing- to those WoT Gurus out there- has there been another case in Min's many viewings where what she saw was an "option"? What I mean is, most of the time when Min sees something, the varying factor is not whether or not it will come to pass, but rather when will said events happen, and how. Warders and others dying, Siuan being stilled and the Tower fracturing, Logain coming into his "glory", Perrin and his falcon etc. Is this viewing of Gawyn a solo occurance or has it happened before in WoT history?

In regards to changing handles, just edit your profile and if the new handle is not taken, it will change, easy peasy.

Roger Powell
189. forkroot
163. WOTDragons
I think your name change will have the effect that everyone's going to start calling you WOT*Dragons. :)
Only if they think in "shell". Real geeks (like me) will call him either WOT.*Dragons if we're lazy or WOT(no)?Dragons if we are on our game.

{:: Nerd Alert horn goes off!! Runs for the bunker ::}
Tess Laird
190. thewindrose
Hi subwoofer-
From Terez's interview database:
Q: Are Min's visions absolute Foretellings or probabilities? RJ: Her visions are absolute Foretellings. The problem is, she doesn't always know what it means. The only changes from that are two visions9 she's had which indicated the possibility of the future forking, an "either/or." And that's the only time she's ever had anything like that.*
*RJ is probably referring to Min's viewing of Gawyn (4.47) and her viewing of Bryne and Siuan, that they would both die if they did not stay close to each other. (5.28) In Lord of Chaos (which was released in October '94), she had another of Perrin, that he had to be there twice for Rand, or something 'very bad' would happen. (6.46) The fireflies viewing might be considered an 'either/or' viewing as well, but RJ didn't appear to consider that one.
Alice Arneson
192. Wetlandernw
ValMar - This isn't a question exactly; it's in regard to this tour's Great Hunt. Tell Brandon that if the theoryland decoders are correct in their efforts, I thank him for choosing that file... I think. :)
Jay Dauro
193. J.Dauro

Oh yes, I think you will really enjoy the decoded treasure. Who knew she had been head of her Ajah? (At least that's what I think it says.)

I am really looking forward to this bit.
Alice Arneson
194. Wetlandernw
J.Dauro - After one glimpse, I'm studiously avoiding the decoding area. I want the whole thing at once, and accurately rather than someone's guesses at words that match the spacing. I have to wonder where they got the starting point, because there really isn't that much revealed yet, but I don't know if I want the answer to that, either. I think I hope they're right about the subject matter........ Well, okay, I do hope so, because even if it blows all my guesses out of the water, it will be fascinating to see what RJ's file says. And that's totally aside from the fascinating glimpse into the kind of things contained in that kind of file, which would be cool even if it was someone that never made it into the book.

What I really wonder (especially if they are correct) is who chose the file to be revealed?
195. Wortmauer
Wetlandernw@194: I have to wonder where they got the starting point, because there really isn't that much revealed yet
Terez figured out the first sentence, presumably based on the "705" — that's a big clue, as we know a certain Aes Sedai in 1000 NE is approaching 300 years old. And the first two words have the right number of letters for her name.
but I don't know if I want the answer to that, either.
Oops, too late. (:
Jay Dauro
197. J.Dauro
Wetlander, Wortmauer.

That's how I got it also. And I believe it's pretty solid. So now we wait. I too would like to know who chose the file. But I am really looking forward to it. Could we call this our first preview of the Encyclopedia?
Valentin M
198. ValMar
Wetlander @ 192

No problem, I'll pass this message on. I tend to avoid the Hunt itself since I am under the impression that it will reveal spoilers.
Theresa Gray
199. Terez27
From Tim Kington:
Was the Domination Band made of cuendillar?
The original one is made of cuendillar. The one that was destroyed was a copy, but one would assume that the copies are made of cuendillar, too. The True Power works by destroying the Pattern. Everything that is done with it involves damage to the Pattern. For example, when we see Ishamael Travel, he does so by poking a hole in the Pattern. Cuendillar can be destroyed using the True Power. There is another way to destroy cuendillar, too.
So now we know the other way. Wetlander, I put your interview in the new database - since we're so close to going live with it, it makes little sense to duplicate it in the old one.
Valentin M
200. ValMar
Ha. Well done me! Samadai pipped me by a minute for the 100. Fortunatelly today as I happened to come across, purely by chance, here, 199 and waiting ;)
A round of beer and spirits to the lads and wine for the ladies, all on me! And whoever's got the Bowl of Winds, bring it.
Tricia Irish
201. Tektonica
Wetlander: Thank you so much for your EXCELLENT questioning and reporting! For those of you on FB, there's a nice picture too!

I have no idea what these "games" are? Great Hunt? Clues? File? Are these clues for AMOL? Inquiring minds want to know!

Sub: I'm so glad you survived that horrific army misadventure. Yikes.

Have fun at the signing, ValMar! We're looking forward to your inside info! Thanks in advance.
202. Wortmauer
Tektonica: I have no idea what these "games" are? Great Hunt?
It's a game Brandon Sanderson is playing with WOT fans. He did one like it last year. Here's his explanation, and here is the thread on Theoryland where clues are being sought, guessed, divined, and so on.

tl;dr: We are given, or guess, and then type in, 30 or so correct words and phrases into his website, along with perhaps 10000 incorrect guesses. In return, an article is decoded for us bit by bit. Last year it was chapter 8 of TOM, "The Seven-Striped Lass," a few months before the book's release. This year it's looking to be a section from RJ's notes.

This coincides with Sanderson's tour to promote his own Mistborn: The Alloy of Law, just released. His tour stops are the primary way of transmitting clues.
James Hogan
203. Sonofthunder
Tek - apparently the Great Hunt for this Brandon tour is offering the prize of one of RJ's background note files...and I *think* the subject of it may be none other than our very own SWMNBN. Which is awesome. I am being very lazy and not participating in any of the clue-cracking, though...I'm terrible at those sorts of things, sorry Theresa!
Roger Powell
204. forkroot
Good to see you back on the reread. Thanks for giving us that snippet which nails down that the TP can indeed destroy cuendillar. (There had been lingering doubt since it wasn't 100% established that the copied Domination Band that Rand destroyed was indeed cuendillar.)
So now we know the other way.
I guess I'm slow here, but what is the other way?
Alice Arneson
205. Wetlandernw
ValMar - I'm reasonably sure they won't reveal any spoilers, but you might want to wait until some of us impatient ones confirm it. :)

Terez - New database? Wowza! You're amazing! I can't tell you how often I hit that thing. I don't have it memorized (yet) but I always know that if I can't find it there, it's probably not anywhere. When I have a chance to listen to my recording, I'll send you any bits I missed in my first summary. Thanks again for all that work.
Alice Arneson
206. Wetlandernw
forkroot - The pattern unraveling. Unless you read those as the same thing... which might be the case.

Okay, Valmar, answers only breed more questions. Are the True Power and the Pattern unraveling the two ways cuendillar can be broken? Or does the TP destroy cuendillar by unraveling the Pattern? In other words, are they the same thing, and there is another means we haven't seen yet?

Uh... did that make sense?
Nadine L.
207. travyl
@194. Wetlander
I cant really answer your question about "who chose the file to be revealed", but Harriet must have her hand in it:
excerpt from Brandons webpage http://www.brandonsanderson.com/blog/1032/New-Wheel-of-Time-Great-Hunt
This is something that was written by Robert Jordan himself, and is taken directly from his notes.
Harriet agreed to let us show you this chunk.
I'm so going to read the text on theoryland, it would be even more fun if it proved to be wrong (for my twisted mind anyway)

Edit for format editing and an afterthought:
What does Terez' timely reappearance do to CireNaes theory @113. ;)
Theresa Gray
208. Terez27
@travyl - I did notice my name had been mentioned rather often for someone who hasn't been here in a while.

@Wetlander - There's an amazing amount of stuff in the new database that isn't in the old one. Those new categories - RJ on Writing, Parallels and Influences, etc. - were really weak up against the sheer volume of stuff on those subjects. The new database will be searchable, and each entry (single Q&A or string) will be tagged, and the tag links will work like the category links (but they are of course more numerous and specific). We're just about done with data entry - we still have several interviews that need transcribing - but hopefully we'll go live soon. If I find time to work on those transcripts...and then overhaul everything for footnotes etc. which hopefully won't take too long.
Alice Arneson
209. Wetlandernw
Terez - Here I thought you were a woman, and it turns out you're really an incredibly sophisticated (and possibly hyperactive) android. It's the only conceivable explanation. :)
Eric Hughes
210. CireNaes

Why it proves she's part of the remnant and has returned, of course. And that she was lurking. Good to see you around tor again Terez. Thanks for your efforts.
Hugh Arai
211. HArai
Wetlandernw@209: Sure she's not an incredibly sophisticated (and possibly hyperactive) construct in your head?
Theresa Gray
212. Terez27
Wetlander, are you sure he didn't slip a code into your book again? lol. We skipped from 8 to 12.
Alice Arneson
213. Wetlandernw
HArai @211 - LOL!! I could only wish - it would be nice to think I was accomplishing several times as much as I really am. Or... maybe that's why I'm so tired? All that time I think I'm sleeping, I'm really hundreds of miles away creating an awesome database... But I think someone might have noticed by now.

Terez @212 - Sadly, no codes this time. Annoyingly, I completely forgot to ask him about it! If I'd thought of it, I'd have brazenly asked for one, but my brain apparently ran out of space that day. :( I kicked myself all over the house when I remembered later that night. I should have asked for a drawing, though - he was doing a bunch of those. I think he was getting tired and a little bit punchy by then. It was past 11 PST when I left, and I wasn't the last one out the door. Plus that was his third event of the day, having been at Google and Amazon earlier.
Theresa Gray
214. Terez27
Mr. Levy has officially joined the team at the Cadsuane project. I think we are a little desperate for another letter at this point.

@Wetlander, it doesn't appear to be anything we don't already know. In fact, that's how we're filling stuff in. In a lot of cases, it's the exact words from the book. So it's less of 'finding out new stuff about Cadsuane' and more of 'show everyone how much we know about Cadsuane'.
Tricia Irish
215. Tektonica

Thank you for the explanations and links. Doh. I am not Gaming, or all that Cyber savvy....obviously. It sounds like fun. Wish I weren't stuck down here in a corner of the country where there are no signings, and very little "literature", as a matter of fact. I assume from this thread that "codes" or "hints" are found at signings, and in random books he's signed?

OK...that Cadsuane page is amazing! How are you figuring this stuff out? You all must have a very different brain from mine. (Visual artist)
Amazing that RJ had all those background notes on one character, and I assume many others. It reads like actual history. Phenomenal. Thanks all.

Terez: It's great to see you around here again!
Theresa Gray
216. Terez27
We just got a p, so we've been having a lot of fun this morning.
Leigh Butler
217. leighdb
Hey guys,

Apologies, but owing to unexpected circumstances there will be no Re-read post today.

However, there's going to be another Roundtable post for you to play with tomorrow, and I promise the Re-read will be back with an extra large and crispy post next week.
Anthony Pero
218. anthonypero
Well, since there's no re-read this week, maybe we should cast the WoT movie with Muppets in honor of Muppet week here on Tor.com. ;)
Chris Lough
219. TorChris
220. ftbleighjkjk
I know the natural impulse is to cast Kermit as Rand, but I honestly think Fozzie's the better choice. I'd like to see Kermit as Matt.
Casting the girls will be hard, though. I'm embarassed that I can only think of one female muppet.
James Whitehead
221. KatoCrossesTheCourtyard
So does that mean Gonzo is Perrin? If so then Faile/Zaine can be Camilla the chicken. :-)

Miss Piggy has to be Nynaeve; that way the younger female pig, Annie Sue. Prairie Dawn's always been kinda plucky, so she could be Min.

That's all I can think of at the moment.


PS - Sam the Eagle can be Pedron Niall & Rowlf the Dog can be Elyas.
Roger Powell
223. forkroot
Blonde? ... check
Buxom? ... check

Miss Piggy == Elayne
Anthony Pero
224. anthonypero
Animal can play Gollem, oops, I mean Padan Fain.
Anthony Pero
226. anthonypero
Also, officially, any monsters that appear on Sesame Street or Fraggle rock are also muppets. Here's an exhaustive list of qualifying muppets:


227. trench
Lews Therrin - Beaker
Rand - Gobo Fraggle
Matrim - Gonzo
Perrin - Rolf
Egwene - Red Fraggle
Nynaeve - Miss Piggy
Moiraine - Mokey Fraggle
Lan - Kermit
Thom - Statler
Paddan Fain - Animal
Min - Janice
Elayne - Skeeter
Gawyn - Scooter
Galad - Zoot
Gareth Bryne - Dr. Teeth
Morgse - Marjory the Trash Heap
Jain Farstrider (Noal) - Waldorf
Herid Fel - Bunson Honeydew
Chris Long
229. radynski
Gah! The roundtable promised it wouldn't interrupt the re-read and exactly one week in it does just that. Screw the roundtable, I want my re-read! It's way better than any of the roundtable discussion anyway.
Anthony Pero
230. anthonypero
I'm confused... How are you connecting the dots in such a way that the Roundtable is interfering with the re-read?
Dorothy Johnston
231. CloudMist
Cookie Monster -- The Dark One or Shadar Haran
232. Seamus1602
@142 macster, and others...

I've read the explanations, but still see no demonstrable difference between an Oath of Fealty and using the 1st Oath to Compel fealty.

Macster brings up Beonin as a point against 1st Oath promise=Compulsion, but I disagree. Beonin took a situation that was not covered by her Oath and made her own decision. The same as Meidani took a situation not covered by her Oath and made her own decision (leading Egs to the BA Hunters). The fact remains, in both situations, a direct order by the 'Compeller' would result in forced action by the 'Compelled'. Wolfmage thinks this isn't the same as the 'evil puppetry' of true Compulsion, but I contend that is only because Egs is not an evil person. If Elaida had the Oaths that Egs group gave Egs, then Elaida would truly have the power of 'evil puppetry'.

Just becuase Egs is largely benevelont does not mean that she isn't also using Compulsion... and then launching into diatribes about how evil it is when someone required an 'Oath of Fealty'. Just stick to blowing up raken and I'm in your corner the whole way.
Chris R
233. up2stuff
Asmodean - Animal?


His Ballad of the Dragon Reborn would go something like this:





WO-MAN! (Min)

WO-MAN! (Elayne)

WO-MAN! (Avi)


Elijah Foster
234. TheWolfKing
Ok, so I was messing around on wiki and found this thing in Arthurian legend about the Fisher King and now I see where RJ got his Fisher King in the Moridin scene. I feel really stupid beause you probably all knew this and when that chapter came up I knew I felt like I was missing something.
Anthony Pero
235. anthonypero
That's alright, I completely missed Moiraine and Thoms 20th century references in tEotW for like, 10 years.
Roger Powell
236. forkroot
No need to feel stupid! RJ pulled on rich set of legends, stories, and myths on purpose. I'd wager that few or none of us have caught all the references. I certainly have caught a lot more of them by following this re-read.
Roger Powell
237. forkroot
So we have another week before the next post huh? What to do? How about we insult the cover art some more?

Better yet - here's my idea of how to fix it, or at least capture Rand's heartfelt feelings about the DO more poignantly: How about modifying that upraised fist and extending a certain digit? (You know which one!)

OK - so the cover goes from G to PG - but it would certainly make the cover stand out more from the usual fantasy schlock covers.


{:: admit it - you're gonna look at the cover art, imagine the change in your head and giggle ::}
Fake Name
238. ThePendragon
@234 TheWolfKing. Jordan uses a tons of Arthurian Legend stuff in his books, which I love as a fan of Arthurian Legend. My favorite is how Rand pulled Callandor (Caliburn is Excalibur in latin) from the Stone to demonstrate he was the rightful King of Bri- I mean Dragon Reborn.
239. Wortmauer
HArai@211: Sure she's not an incredibly sophisticated (and possibly hyperactive) construct in your head?
No! Terez is a real independent person, not just a construct! I'm sure of it!
Seamus1602@232: I've read the explanations, but still see no demonstrable difference between an Oath of Fealty and using the 1st Oath to Compel fealty.
There's been some argument in the past on whether "fealty" and "obedience" are in a similar class, but I'd say the more interesting question is the contrast between a promise made by someone who has sworn the First Oath on the Oath Rod, and a promise made while holding a binder ("Oath Rod") directly.

A promise made while holding a binder is certainly binding; that's the whole point, after all. But as I've said before, I do not believe the First Oath has the power to make you keep other promises that you didn't specifically swear using a binder. It only has the power to prevent you from speaking a promise you don't mean at the time. "I will speak no word that is not true." Notice what is constrained: speaking words. Not performing actions after you've spoken words. An Oath to force you to keep your promises would, I think, have to actually say that. (As an aside, how literally do we interpret "speak no word"? Can you write a word that is not true?)

If the First Oath really did have the effect of "I will keep all promises I make in the future," then why would an Aes Sedai feel the need to hold the Oath Rod while swearing the Second and Third Oaths?

Thus, Beonin, the other Salidar Aes Sedai sworn to Egwene, and the various Aes Sedai sworn to Rand, are not forced to keep their oaths of fealty; they are constrained only to the extent that anyone walking in the Light would feel obliged to keep such an oath. Whereas Elaida's proposed Fourth Oath is to be sworn on the Oath Rod directly, as is the Fourth Oath used by the Black Ajah Hunters. Whether that Oath is of fealty or of strict obedience is, to my mind, a much less important consideration.
Well, some of Rand's Aes Sedai might have a bit of Compulsion to help them along, but I got the impression that Verin's actions were about making sisters swear the oath, not really about making them keep it. And that's leaving aside the effectiveness of her brand of Compulsion, which is apparently a lot looser than what was known way back in the day.
Elijah Foster
240. TheWolfKing
@147. Wetlandernw
RJ was firm: there are only two ways for cuendillar to be destroyed: the Pattern unraveling, and… one other thing. (From the way he said “one other thing” I think we’ll be learning about it in AMoL. He enjoyed that question too.)
Does the TP count as the pattern unraveling. Because I know the Dark Ones touch can break cuendillar, i.e. the seals (his touch also unraveles the pattern i.e. those weird occurences like that zombie town where people never die) I know the TP can destroy cuendillar i.e. the male a'dam (it was described as a form of cuendillar which is why Nynaveve and Rand never destroyed it, until you know...). The reason I ask is that the TP could count as the second way to break it. But the TP might just count as the Dark ones touch.
Elijah Foster
241. TheWolfKing
@239. Wortmauer

Somewhere along the line, maybe NS of TFoH, Moiraine said Aes Sedai cannot write a word thats not true as much as they can speak one. Most likely TFoH because of when Rand gets the letter from Elaida and
Alviarin. I think moiraine says they coant write an untrue word but they are still Aes Sedai so watch out for tricks in their wording. And I agree, the oath rod is more binding than than an oath said by a person under the first oath. And Beonin did break her fealty to Egwene when she went back to the tower and did all that great stuff and she explained how she was able to also.
Alice Arneson
242. Wetlandernw
TheWolfKing - I'm thinking the wording was just a little too ambiguous for us to claim we know definitively what the "two ways" are. ValMar is going to try to get him to clarify at one of the UK signings. It's possible that, since the TP is the essence of the DO, and the TP has the effect of unraveling the Pattern when used, that all three wordings are really the same thing: Using TP, Unraveling the Pattern, and the DO's Touch. If there are other things which cause the Pattern to unravel, then I would think it might be considered a separate issue from the TP, but... I don't really know.
Alice Arneson
244. Wetlandernw
FWIW, I managed to put a picture from last Friday's signing on my profile. It's not a great pic, but fun.
Thomas Keith
245. insectoid
Allright, your guys'/gals' silliness has pulled me out of hiding. My mother thinks I'm losing it, I'm laughing so much. (Well, also the fact that there was no new post today... which gives me another chance to comment on this one, sort of.) So, fair warning that this will be an epic Wall of Text.

Great job on the post, Leigh, as always! I also checked out the Roundtable, which I didn't notice until someone mentioned it above. (I'll go on record as saying Jason dreaming of you and the others as his minions is hilarious. And so are sharks with lasers!)

I didn't post before because a) I was (and still am) distracted doing other things, among them reading The Alloy of Law; and b) I couldn't think of more than one thing to say: "Egwene is awesomesauce, and Gawyn is a doofus." So I figured I'd wait till I had some more material, so to speak.
Boar Rushes Down The Mountain
Boar Rushes Back Up The Mountain, Having Left The Gas On
This made me LOL when I read it.

::skims through comments:: Good grief, but you folks have been verbose! ;)

On the writing: *sigh* I think, IMHO, that trying to distinguish Sanderson's writing from Jordan's, or supposing how different a scene would be if one or the other wrote it, is a) a foolish waste of time, that could be better spent discussing the story itself; and b) disrespectful to both authors, and not worth fighting over. That is my opinion, and I'm sticking to it.

Halibulu @40: That's pretty funny allright. XD

chosen @54, Shadow_Jak @56: LOL!!

Free @66,74: Well said.

ValMar @70, Fork @71: Clutter in the room is always helpful—just ask Gareth Bryne.

CireNaes @113: ::blinks several times:: What?? XD

On signings: I probably won't be attending any until AMoL comes out. When it does, and if there's a signing in San Diego, I will be there, by hook or crook, in my Asha'man suit, armed with a brick instead of a sword. ;)

Wetlander @147: Thanks for the report! See, even Brandon thinks Nyn is a main character. ...Ooh, another thing that can break cuendillar. Interesting. (Thanks for the quote, Terez.)
14. Ask him if he is an amalgamation of several different authors over a 200-year period, edited together after the fall of the northern kingdom. :) (Jonathan Levy)

A: How did they figure it out???

Fork @189: Aren't regular expressions wonderful?

J.Dauro @193: As much as I admire TL's decoding efforts, I'm gonna wait for the whole thing to be completed before reading it.

Wetlander @209: ...How did you figure it out??? XD

anthonypero @218, et al: I literally was laughing for about a minute and a half this morning when I read these.

up2stuff @243: ROFL!! Bork, bork, bork...

Scientist, Father
246. Silvertip
@237 forkroot:
{:: admit it - you're gonna look at the cover art, imagine the change in your head and giggle ::}
Roger that!
Theresa Gray
247. Terez27
Just so everyone knows, we got to a couple of bits in the Cadsuane doc that we didn't already know. This is getting fun. Hopefully Luckers will be on soon. Cadsuane lovers should unite!
248. MasterAlThor
Hello all. So I have a question. Maybe someone can ask Brandon if they see him. Or point me in the right direction. If Lews Therin sealed the Forsaken with the Dark One, then how did Ishy show up in the prologue? I know that he was partially caught but that would just mean he got out earlier right? I cannot imagine that he would be able to be hanging around so soon.

249. jeff S.
No New Post? I guess I'll have to try to add to the silly sword forms list.

"The nun raps the knuckles with the ruler"

Hmmm, maybe not so silly. I know it hurt like hell when it happened to me...
250. wcarter4
At 248 MasterAlThor Ishameal was never "fully bound" according to both RJ and the Big White Book of Lies TM. Somehow he would be partiall sealed then thrown out every 40 years or so.
It's speculated that he was the advisor that turned Artur Hawkwing against the Aes Sedi, set the events in motion that sent Luthair Hawkwing across the ocean with a possibly altered version of the Prophesies of the Dragon, had something to do with the fall of Manetheren and probably Airdol, and finaly did...something...to Jain Farstrider about 40 years prior to the events in Eye of the World (where he was just starting to come free again--but wasn't quite out yet).
Alice Arneson
251. Wetlandernw
MasterAlThor @248, wcarter4 @250 - The way I read it, Ishamael was loose occasionally for periods of about 40 years, but there are quite a few years in between those 40-year periods. In fact, it's notable that the times we're reasonably certain he was free are roughly 1000 years apart:
1) immediately after the sealing
2) around the Trolloc Wars (esp. the beginning)
3) during Hawkwing's reign (possibly before, affecting Guaire Amalasan? More likely, during and after as his advisor Jalwin Moerad)
4) just after the Aiel War
It's possible, of course, that he was free in between those times, as well; it's also possible that there were times when he was able to affect happenings in the world but without being completely free. Frankly, there's a lot we don't know about Ishamael's imprisonment! I suspect some of it will be revealed in AMoL.
Valentin M
252. ValMar
Wetlander @ 242

I didn't get that memo! This ain't on my list. What is the question? Cuendillar, Pattern unravelling?
253. wcarter4
@Wetlander I think you're right, I was getting the cycle reversed in my head. (In my defense I was quite tired when I wrote my last post)
Still I do think it's not a matter of now he's in now he's out. I think it's more of a process. First he can appear fainly in TAR, then fully, then finally in the waking world. How long it takes is unclear, but I picture the seal like the face of a clock where the focal point is at the center, and Ishy riding along the outer edge with the numbers. So for him, 12 o' clock is all the way sealed, and 6 is fully free.
John Massey
254. subwoofer
@Valmar- To be or not to be... hehe- silly question;)

@MAT- well, Brandon lives in Utah, so if you start hoofing now, you may get there before Christmas. Say "h'lo" for me, bring a bundt cake:)

Ishy is a slippery fella, and he seems to be slip sliding between the cracks. I'm not complaining, at some point the Forsaken have to live up to their billing.

No new post? *shock* *amazement* *utter awe*


Par for the course.

Muppets? Really?

Gonna go hang' in the bunker- lawn chair, mojito... good times!

Edit for awesome spelling:)

John Massey
255. subwoofer
Just a random thought really, but what if the Dark One was female? Like Mother Nature? Once every Age PMS puts the breaks on and the DO spirals downwards into a dark man-hating mood. Perhaps LTT is like the poor male praying mantis that takes one for the team. Strolls up the slopes of the fiery toilet to give the DO a box of chocolates and she rags him out for being late, not bringing flowers, don't expect any action on the first date, does this dress make me look fat? how old do you think I am? what kind of horse do you drive? I don't do coach...

gives many possible other meanings for blood on the rocks...

must be the mojitos talkin':D

Anthony Pero
256. anthonypero
I don't think Ishmael was ever fully sealed, and I'm not sure it has anything to do with 1000 year periods.. because he was able to be in the prolouge of tEotW. That couldn't have been more than ten years after the sealing of the bore. So how do you explain him being out then? So, he's partially sealed, and it sure is strange that crap goes down every thousand years or so... but it's not conclusive, because he was free for years after the bore was sealed, and that seems to fly in the face of this. I think it's more likely that has is fully free every thosand years or so for a period of time, but is always capable of some sort of contact with the world at large... or else how does he orchestrate this stuff in so short a time?
Terry McNamee
257. macster
@144 Wortmauer: Good point, but what I was getting at was that since Egwene didn't actually get to see the assault on Caemlyn, she couldn't give Gawyn an eyewitness account to say Rand didn't kill Morgase then, only her belief in his character and, probably, the same explanation you gave. Which Gawyn wouldn't listen to, because he was stubborn (and foolish) enough to insist on proof of a negative.

Also, just to have fun with that can of worms again: so this would be Asmo apparently having no chance and dying as his cry still hung in the air...against Queen "Can-Barely-Move-a-Flag" Morgase? Unless you're trying to say she was extremely skilled and quick with a knife... :P

@146 birgit: Damn...I had been thinking of Faolain as having sworn the First Oath, but not the oath of fealty, on the rod. Well, she's no use, but Beonin as an Aes Sedai already sworn on the rod (and who choked when she tried to claim she'd betrayed nothing) does, I think, prove that anyone who had sworn to speak only truth, and also sworn an oath of fealty, could still break said oath as long as they didn't have to speak a lie to do so, which means it isn't Compulsion.

As for the Horn, true, I was just having fun teasing Wortmauer and Looking Glass re: Rand or Aes Sedai making a spetacle of themselves in the sky. Besides, if Rand could do that thanks to the Horn, so could any Aes Sedai who blew it, or had their Warder do so. :P

@Wetlander: Such awesome answers! And a great signing report too. So we were right, the bubbles and Pattern unraveling are different things, but stem from the same cause. Since the icon is used for both, then I guess the only question is figuring out which events in the books are which--but I think we've covered that already (bubbles are the outright malicious, evil, horrible things, while Pattern unraveling are things like corridors changing and so on). Though I think Hinderstap and the ghosts walking are borderline cases. (The latter is called a sign the Last Battle is coming, but I'm guessing it's due to his touch unraveling the Pattern and not him acting as Lord of the Grave--since they aren't resurrected, nor are they acting evil or causing harm as the bubbles do.)

Wow...so the Jenn aren't dead! Or at least we will find out what happened to them in AMoL...but damn, I am now leaning toward the camp that Nakomi was one of them...

Very interesting about there being another way for cuendillar to be destroyed, implied to appear in the last book... But yeah I totally buy that the Dark One's touch/True Power would unravel the Pattern and thus explains the destruction of the Domination Band.

Great to hear there is one more time Perrin needs to be there, since like you I thought the moment on Dragonmount (as awesome as it was) really didn't count. Here's hoping he is there in time...

Too bad about the prequel novellas, though you're right that his answer does imply Morgase learned Two Rivers speech from Tam.

What an idea, dragons actually appearing...whether they do or not, mature Worms sounds...quite horrific indeed. As if we didn't have enough to disturb us, what with Fain and the Red Veils...

Also: between July and November?? *hopes he doesn't keel over in suspense*

@157 up2stuff: Agree 100%.

@172 Subwoofer and 173 Wetlander: What has been resolved, of course, is that Gawyn chose to save her rather than allowing her to die, and this is what has led to his kneeling, becoming her Warder, and marrying her. What is not resolved is whether he will now die in battle or have a long life and die in bed. Despite the fact I like Gawyn again, I suspect it will be the former, and probably have something to do with those Bloodknife rings...which would be quite the event for Egwene! Guess there can be loss and dark character endings in WOT after all...

@232 Seamus: Aside from Wortmauer's post @239, which I think addresses and disproves your assertion quite well, let me add this refutation. First, your own point that Beonin (and Meidani) were able to think their way around the oaths and do things which went against them proves their oath of fealty did not invoke the First Oath in a Compulsion-like manner: it doesn't matter that these were situations not covered by the oaths, it still involved them breaking their word to Egwene/the Black Ajah Hunters, yet neither of them were made to choke or otherwise restrained from their actions. If it had been Compulsion, that would have happened, no ifs ands or buts. They would have no choice but to do exactly what Egwene/the Hunters told them, and never be able to think their way around the oath--it wouldn't matter that Egwene was no longer Amyrlin or that Meidani was showing rather than telling, they still would not have been allowed to do the betrayals if the oaths had the force of Compulsion.

Even if you were right, what Elaida was threatening to do would have been different and worse because she would have them explicitly swear to obey her no matter what, so that they couldn't even make their own decisions in situations not covered by the oath--because there would be no such situations, not when Elaida's oath would be "you will obey me unquestioningly in everything no matter what". That would be Compulsion, not what Egwene did.

Secondly: "The fact remains, in both situations, a direct order by the 'Compeller' would result in forced action by the 'Compelled'." Wrong. Because we never once see Egwene or the Hunters give a direct order, followed by the sister either being forced to obey, or trying to resist and being unable. Until such a scene were shown, you have absolutely no proof that the oath not to lie would Compel a sister to obey their oath of fealty or obedience no matter what. Without such a scene, all we have is sisters finding ways to obey or be loyal while still making their own decisions, having their own minds, and using clever thought processes to get around their oaths--which by definition is not Compulsion.

ROTFL at all the Muppet choices...so many perfect ones!! I especially like Trench casting Beaker as Lews Therin, splitting Waldorf and Statler between Thom and Noal, and casting Bunson Honeydew as Herid Fel.
Terry McNamee
259. macster
@255 Subwoofer: Which only brings up again the loony theory of the Pattern being a Cosmic Dress. One the Dark One doesn't like (hey, it's just gone from a size 12 to a size 14, after all!), or Ms. Dark One just wants to run around like Godiva.

@258: Definitely Cenn Buie.
Alice Arneson
260. Wetlandernw
ValMar @252 - The original question was whether cuendillar could be destroyed by taking it into TAR and smashing it with a nightmare, but it led into a discussion of how it really could be destroyed.

wcarter4 @253 - I agree; that sounds very much like what we know of his antics over the last 3000 years. I suppose it's possible, though there's no textual evidence for it, that Ishy wasn't caught in the seals at all, but that he found a way to "hibernate" in it so as to avoid the worst depradations of aging, while still coming out to add a twist or two every so often. I'd have to do a search of the intereview database to see if it's barred by anything there.

Oops. Gotta run. More later.
Alice Arneson
261. Wetlandernw
Another thing I didn't write down but remembered from the signing: Brandon commented that he'd moved the status bar to 90% complete, as part of his comments about the word count. I forgot to add, though, that he also said that it's "done enough" that if a satellite fell out of the sky and landed on him, we'd still get AMoL in a readable form. Just so we know. :)

And... I just came up with a theory. I suspect that the Jenn Aiel went to a Portal Stone world, and Aviendha went there while she was sleeping. And, of course, Nakomi is of the Jenn in that world. So much of the description of that event sounds like Rand's first trip there, except that Aviendha didn't go anywhere in the other world and "woke up" in the same place. Setting up her camp next to a huge stone, settling back against the stone to close her eyes and relax for a minute.. it just sounds similar. The stone isn't described much, but if it were, it would be a little too obvious. The only thing not entirely consistent is that I don't recall Rand thinking of the Portal Stones as being "huge" but I can't go look right now.

Anyone want to do some research and prove me wrong?
John Massey
262. subwoofer
@259- ummm yes... that is why the DO is so honked off, doesn't want to admit shopping in the plus sizes. Must have a real axe to grind with skinny Aes Sedai, ie. the new Amyrlin.

I suppose being sealed away with the DO is really tough, the Forsaken doing "time out" are the ones that have to draw straws to see who gets to put the girdle on the DO...

On another tack, can anybody explain to me the quotiness of the West Wing, or why our leader is the second person in blogland this week to admit loving the show?

Don Barkauskas
263. bad_platypus
Wotmauer @239: In addition to the event TheWolfKing refers to @241 (which is actually a little more ambiguous than is stated there, but still reasonably indicative. For reference, TFoH, Ch. 51:
"...I assume an Aes Sedai can't write a lie more easily than she can speak one?" He did not wait for her nod.
So, aside from nit-picking, pretty clear.)

But there's even better evidence that Aes Sedai can't write a lie: in ACoS, Ch. 32, Seaine says to Pevara:
"If any sister wrote that she did one thing when we can prove she did another, then we have found a Darkfriend."
Since it's the entire basis for their search for the BA, at the very least they believe it's true.
Eric Hughes
264. CireNaes

Well done. That really fits the bill. Makes perfect sense.
andrew smith
265. sillyslovene
@261- Wet-
According to Encyclopedia WoT for portal stones, in TGH Rand and Loial
"wake in a hollow beside a stone cylinder three spans high." I don't know if that is a direct quote, and I don't remember the WoT conversions for measurements, but that seems to make the Portal Stones seem pretty big at least (assuming a span is roughly a yard or so?). Don't know if that proves anything one way or another as per your theory, but I like it...
Cameron Tucker
266. Loialson
Well, I never thought of that being an option with the Nakomi event. Very interesting idea. And perhaps they knew they had to have someone there to guide Avi...by prophecy or dreaming or somesuch perhaps, in order to save the rest of the Aiel. That's a great theory! Kindof seems touching that, if indeed the Jenn left to a portal world or somesuch ala Jenn Book of Translation, they'd go to effort to help their people left in Randland.
267. AndrewB
Two posts above to discuss. I apologize in advance for the wall-of-text to follow.

Macster @257. Meidani did not violate the 4th Oath that she swore on the Oath Rod (to obey the 4 Black Ajah hunter Sitters -- recall that Pervera (sp?) was on route to the Black Tower when Meidani was given her new oath). Meidani was told by the BA Hunters not to tell anyone about the existence of the BA Hunters. Remember that Meidani was unsure if she could show Egwene why she could not leave the White Tower. Had she not been able to show Egwene, something would have restrained Meidani. Similar to times we have seen a Sister who swore not to tell a lie start to lie. Further, the BA Hunters initial reaction to learning how Meidani was able to "show" Egwene instead of tell Egwene was to make plans to readminister the 4th Oath to the ferrets.

Wetlandernw @261 re Jenn Aiel / Portal Stone theory. On the one hand, I am intrigued by this theory. It explains the manner in which Nakomi appeared as if alomst out of nowhere. On the other hand, however, I am troubled by this theory. If true, I think it would be somewhat disappointing. It almost seems not to have been thought out very well (I mean the scene itself; not your reasoning). This is one of those scenes that I believe should have been nixed from the story. Sometimes less is more. The reader did not need to "hear" Avi's thoughts in that scene and did not need to witness the conversation with Nakomi. To the extent that any information in the Nakomi chapter is important to on-screen scenes in AMoL, then such thoughts could have been conveyed to the reader after Avi came through the glass columns the 1st time but before she re-enters them.

IMO, Nakomi's presence raises too many unessecary questions not pertinent to Avi's storyline -- i.e. her regaining her honor. Based on what we know of Avi, I do not think that merely being a Wise One would have been enough in her eyes to bring an equal "ingredient" (for lack of a better word) to her relationship with Rand. After seeing her vision of the future Aiel, she has more purpose than being a Wise One to her own sept. She has the duty to somehow change the present to avert the future which Avi saw. Such a purpose will, in Avi's eyes, give her an equal footing to Rand. As the Car'a'can (sp?), one of Rand's purpose is to prepare the remanent of the remanent. Avi, as a Wise One, has chosen her purpose: to position the Aiel to avoid their collective fate as Avi saw it in her second trip through the glass columns.

The existence of Nakomi into the story raises unecessary questions: who is she; where did she come from; if she is Jenn Aiel, where are the other Jenn Aiel; how is it that no other Aiel has apparently seen them before; if Aiel woke up in another world via a Portal Stone, how is it that the Jenn Aiel got to this world in the first place; if Nakomi is not Aiel, then who is she (a Forsaken?); if she is Aiel, what is her purpose in telling Avi what she told Avi; if Avi is dreaming the entire conversation, why was it necessary to introduce a new character? I am sure that others can come up with more sophisticated questions. The point is, IMO, all of these questions are unnecessary to the central point of where Avi's character had to go -- to find a purpose which, in her eyes, would allow her to come to Rand as an equal. The Way-Forward scene serves that purpose. I do not see where Nakomi's chapter accomplishes this task.

Thanks for reading my musings,
268. Wortmauer
AndrewB: You seem pretty sure of a lot of things regarding Aviendha's storyline and the literary purposes of her trip to Rhuidean. How did you come by all this knowledge? Have you read an early draft of AMoL? I ask because your explanation of why Nakomi is unnecessary to the story depends on the premise that Aviendha's trip to Rhuidean has only one literary purpose: her own character arc. How do you know? My own view is that Aviendha's storyline, like all storylines in this kind of literature, can serve many purposes simultaneously: characterisation and growth of the viewpoint character, characterisation and growth of other characters, worldbuilding and exposition, foreshadowing, literary parallels, introducing and reinforcing themes, fulfillment of earlier foreshadowing and hints.

It is difficult to guess, without access to AMoL, what purposes are served by Aviendha's scene with Nakomi. That it arguably does not advance one specific goal (Aviendha's quest to restore her honor) does not mean it does not advance other goals.
Jay Dauro
269. J.Dauro

I have to agree with Wortmauer, until we know where the story goes, we don't know what the steps to get there truly are. Yes, Nakomi may have been unnecessary to Avi's regaining her honor, however she could be totally necessary to getting Avi to realize that the Aiel have to change. She also could even be the force that makes the columns change, and become the Wayforward machine. We just do not know.

The Seeker's Fourth Oath (TPOD-26)

"I vow to obey the two of you absolutely," Zerah said in a tight voice, ...

And the Seekers do not plan to re-administer the Fourth Oath to the other Ferrets. (TGS - 12)

"We need to gather them and make certain that their orders are worded better. We wouldn't want one of them to go to the Amyrlin before we know where her loyalties lie."

So they will keep the oath of obedience, and just make sure that the Ferret is ordered not to tell, show, or in any way reveal the seekers.
Alice Arneson
270. Wetlandernw
Sillyslovene @265 – Thank you! “Three spans high” sure seems to fit the “huge stone” description. (I went and did some scrounging: I think a span is “fingertip to fingertip” with arms spread wide – like wingspan – or about 6 feet. So “three spans” would be 18 to 20 feet; I think that would qualify as huge.) Now I’m very nearly convinced I’m right about this. If there were a description of the markings or the colored steps, it would be much too obvious, but it’s pretty easy to assume that (like the one at Rhuidean) the harsh conditions in the Waste would have made it somewhat difficult to see them - certainly enough that Aviendha wouldn't necessarily notice them.

AndrewB @267 – The major problem I have with your argument is that you assume Nakomi’s only purpose is to serve Aviendha’s “now I’m a Wise One” arc. If you’re correct, then the Nakomi scene was extraneous. If I’m right, and Nakomi is of the Jenn Aiel, RJ has been preparing for their reappearance since Book 3 or 4 – and I’m betting that they will show up in AMoL with a significant role to play. In that case, that scene in ToM might have been much more about Nakomi than Aviendha, and served primarily as a step to bringing the Jenn back on the scene.

Also – what Wortmauer and J.Dauro said.
271. Wortmauer
Wetlandernw@261: I suspect that the Jenn Aiel went to a Portal Stone world, and Aviendha went there while she was sleeping. And, of course, Nakomi is of the Jenn in that world.
Some of your theory adds up, but ... how did Aviendha get transported? Did she accidentally channel into the Portal Stone while sleeping? Unlikely. Unlike Rand in TGH, she has been fully trained in the One Power, and isn't gonna do that sort of thing by accident. And if she did, that's some serious ta'veren chance twisting, to get her into one specific world that happens to contain the Clan That Is Not.

So perhaps the Jenn Aiel summon her to their world, give her some face-to-face with Nakomi, then send her back home. Is that even possible, to use a Portal Stone to transport someone from a different world into yours? Not to mention, they have to do it in such a way as to escape the notice of one who possesses the instincts of a fully trained Maiden of the Spear (though dulled, or so she believes, by a few months of silks and bathtubs), and also happens to be well above "the 99%" (as they're calling it these days) of Saidar channelers by strength. I dunno, but it sounds pretty iffy.

Which leaves us with Nakomi taking a Portal trip to visit Aviendha. At which point, what does it matter whether Aviendha happened to fall asleep near a Portal Stone?
Birgit F
272. birgit
span: A measure of distance equal to two paces. A thousand spans make a mile.
TEotW glossary

Maybe the Jenn Aiel will sing the Song.
John Massey
273. subwoofer
Mmmm... the Song. Well, here's a question in regards to that- when we see the Song of Growing actually taking place it involves everyone. The human farmers, the Ogier and the Nym all take part in a chorus of voices that combine to make the Song. In TEotW Someshta is killed by one of the Forsaken and he was said to be the last of the Nyms. Is it possible to sing the Song without a Nym?

Wetlander's theory also brings up other interesting possibilities. For instance, during the Breaking the Ogier were wandering all over the land looking for the Stedding- could they have used a Portal Stone to go to an alternate world? Maybe some of the Nyms are in another world too?

The other thing that piques my interest is the Blight, in these other worlds is the Blight as bad? Is there even a Blight? Is there another reality where the land is not touched by the DO? Maybe the Seven Towers still stand somewhere's else.

Jonathan Levy
274. JonathanLevy
271. Wortmauer
261. Wetlandernw

Didn't Egwene have a dream of Lanfear (though not identified as such in the dream) standing over a sleeping Rand, who suddenly vanished? I took this to mean that Lanfear channeled Rand into another world via the Portal Stone.

Of course, he thought he did it by accident in his sleep, because Mat had just told him a scare-story about a man who could channel who woke up one morning and the entire village had been flattened, except for his bed.

I don't know what the basis is for the idea that the Jenn Aiel were going to reappear. The wayback machine made their disappearance perfectly clear: Their numbers slowly dwindled because each time they were attacked some were killed and some took up the spear. Eventually they died off or were absorbed into the non-Jenn Aiel.

Some Aes Sedai who joined them in their wandering foretold their disappearance, and prepared Rhuidean as their legacy. There's no mystery about it.

Why would they come back? There's no foreshadowing of this (unlike the Tinkers' song, and even that's iffy). The Wheel turns, and many things are lost. Are the Nym also going to come back? So the Aiel still call them "The clan that is not"? That's a slender thread indeed. The Aiel aren't looking for them. No Aiel ever expresses an expectation for them to return. Not even a wish for them to return. If their return was planned, there were a hundred opportunities to foreshadow it, like the Tinkers' song.

I think they're just gone. Like the Nym, like Coremanda, Shiota, the Collam Daan.

I know the Nakomi event is as fishy as a three-foot salmon, but I really think we should be looking for a simpler explanation. It seems to me more likely someone visited Aviendha's dream from outside, or from T'A'R, or even that Aviendha is becoming ta'veren (and the pattern drew to her someone whose ideas would guide her) than a long-extinct Jenn came back from another world to give her vague clues.
Jonathan Levy
275. JonathanLevy
Argh, double post.
Valentin M
276. ValMar
I think Nakomi is another dastardly invention by Brandon Sanderson, destined to spoil and confuse things!

In case anyone is foolish enought to think otherwise, yes I this is NOT meant to be taken at face value ;)
Alice Arneson
277. Wetlandernw
Jonathan Levy @274 - The basis for the renewed speculation on the Jenn is Brandon's reaction when I asked him "What happened to the Jenn Aiel?" I think it caught him by surprise, because not too many people are bothering to ask about the Jenn, but he gave me a big grin, raised eyebrows, and a "RAFO!"" Of course, I could have read his expression all wrong. Maybe he's been practicing all kinds of meaningful looks for the fun of deceiving us, but if genuine, there's more to come about the Jenn. From where I stood, it looked very much like he was saying that we'll learn more about them in AMoL.

It's entirely possible that what we'll learn is merely how and why they died out, as some part of the effort to save some of the remaining Aiel. However, it occured to me later that some of the things Aviendha noticed about Nakomi would be readily explained by a surviving but isolated group of Aiel - and what group more likely than the Jenn, especially if there are still revelations to come about them? It further occured to me that there were some things mentioned in that scene that sounded oddly familiar if you look back at Rand's first Portal Stone trip. Hence... new theory.

It certainly could be totally out to lunch, but if there are serious arguments against it, they should have more basis than "I think they're just gone." If you're looking for continuity, finding the Song has been a theme since the first book. Who is more likely than the Jenn to be able to remember it?

If I have time, I'll sit down with my books tonight and draw out whatever evidence I can find, and present it all in one post. Then you can get out your books and shoot it down with other evidence.
John Massey
278. subwoofer
This is a very interesting discussion indeed! JL uses Occam's razor to best list alternative possibilities to what Wetlander has put forth. Myself, while I do like what Wetlander is proposing, it does open up a whole host of other problems with the use of portal stones and alternative worlds. Namely, what I was suggesting earlier in that if the Jenn can use these and live, and maybe Ogier can use these and live, then what else could be floating around out there to come down like an avalanche on the day of the Last Battle? Maybe Demandred has a kingdom in another world where he is marshalling his forces?

That sparkling idividual that Avi met may be many things, myself, I am inlined to believe that it is some kind of premonition out of the Dream world. When Perrin meets Birgitte in T'AR only he can see her and Hopper doesn't. This may be a case like that where an experienced entity inhabits the Dream and felt the need to open the lines of communication.

Or it could be a big red fish.

Or it could be Forsaken work.

I tried spelling Jenn backwards and came up with Nnej and I didn't find any WoT references so onto plan "f";)

279. AndrewB
Wortmauer @268:

My opinions re Nakomi are just that: opinions and speculations. No different than anybody else's theory's about what will occur in AMoL or afterwards. Regardless of what anybody's opinions or speculations are (whether I agree with them or not), I always know that they are nothing more than speculation. My theories are no different.

Even if you do not subscribe to that belief (that every theory as to what will or will not occur in future novels is just speculation), my use of the phrase "in my opinion" should have alerted you that my speculations are not gospel. Many others have opined on this forum regarding what they think will happen. A would dare say that a significant number of these individuals are equally "certain" that their theories/speculations will occur.

Wetlandernw @270 stated: "If I’m right , and Nakomi is of the Jenn Aiel, RJ has been preparing for their reappearance since Book 3 or 4 ..."

Maybe I missed said "preparations" (which would not be the first time I missed a foreshadowing in WoT), but I do not remember any such "preparations" concerning the reapperance of the Jenn Aiel. Can you elaborate and/or provide some examples? I agree with JonathanLevy @274 that the Jenn Aiel will not appear.

Wetlandernw, if you are correct (re the reappearance of the Jenn Aiel in AMoL), do you think that RJ has prepared the reader enough for their reappearance? I do not; especially if, as you say, the Jenn Aiel have a major part to play in AMoL.

In my opinion, the reappearance of the Jenn Aiel would be similar to the the appearance of a new Forsaken level character (not a reincarnated version of one of the 13 Forsaken) who is a major leader in the fight against team light. We were told that other AoL channelers turned to the Shadow (e.g. Mogy's comment to Moriden that only 29 others have had the privilege of using the True Power). However, we were provided with no textual clues (at least no clues that I couldd discern) that with the exception of the Forsaken, other AoL channelers are alive at the present. I would be disappointed if such a character were intorduced without any textual clues in the last book of a 14-book series

As I asked above, I am curious as to whether you think that the reappearance of the Jenn Aiel to play a major role in the last book is "out of left field" (or anybody else's opinion, for that matter). During the course of this re-read you have provided some insightful opinions concerning WoT as a literary vehicle (in addition to content-related opinions). If Nakima does signal the reappearance of the Jenn Aiel, I do not think that we as readers were provided any clues for such an event. As such, I think that it was forced upon as from a literary standpoint.

(This does not mean to imply that after reading the Jenn Aiel scenes in AMoL, I will not think that they are great.)

Thanks for reading my musings,
Alice Arneson
280. Wetlandernw
AndrewB @279 - I didn't say "major," I said "significant." My expectation is that they will dramatically affect the fate of the Aiel and the Tuatha'an, and perhaps the restoration of the land afterwards by means of the Song; not so much the Last Battle itself. They aren't fighters, after all. So IMO, it's not anything like the reappearance of an unknown Forsaken type as a major leader in the fight against team light.

It's a theory. I think it fits some otherwise ambiguous detail rather well, and provides for some interesting possibilities regarding the Song and the remnant. For all I know, the remnant might be those who escape to a Portal Stone world while the rest are destroyed a la Aviendha's way-forward vision. As for preparing the reader, it depends on the reader, doesn't it? Obviously, Loialson was sufficiently dissatisfied with the "they are just gone" explanation to propose the question. Equally obviously, you are dissatisfied with their reappearance because you prefer "they are just gone." For me, the idea that the Jenn, who more or less blow the minds of the modern Aiel, will in some way be instrumental in saving them, is a beautiful irony. Especially the effect on the Mera'din, when their salvation depends on the ones they refuse to admit as ancestors. And don't discount the propensity of certain authors to hide clues in such plain sight that you don't realize it was a clue until after the reveal.

Like I said, I can attempt to flesh out the theory better when I have all my books and a real computer; the limitations of the iPad are significant in this regard. However, I'm not really interested in proving it beyond a shadow of a doubt; there's a reason I've never gone beyond "noob" status on theoryland.

For now, and until someone brings forward actual counterarguments, I like my new theory. I shall hug it, and feed it, and call it George. And in a year we'll know how close I came to the truth - or not.
281. madcow21
Shouldn't Lews Therin remember The Song? It was topping the charts in the AoL right? I figured once Rand got easier access to LT's memories, he'd just swing by the Tinkers and Ogier and hum a few bars.
Alice Arneson
282. Wetlandernw
madcow21 @281 - It all depends on whether Lew Therin ever knew the Song. Actually, it all depends on what The Song really is - or if it really exists. We've often assumed (including me, above!) that The Song is the one we saw used in the Way-Back Ter'angreal to make the crops healthy - but all we really know about it is that the Tuatha'an have a tradition of looking for it. We saw, probably, where it started: when some of the Aiel decided to abandon the task given them by the Aes Sedai, and instead look for a place of safety, where they could sing again. In that scene, there isn't even a specific song indicated - just "songs." Now you've got me thinking that the Tuatha'an are going to be dreadfully disappointed when they learn that there is no one Song to seek...
Nadine L.
283. travyl
@ 280. Wetlander
I'm not sure what I shall think about "George" - But I seriously hope you are wrong about the "remnant of a remnant" part of your theory.

I've come to like a lot of the Aiel characters, and therefore truly, deeply hope that some of them will survive. It would be such a cruel joke of RJ if the remnant came to be the Tinkers or the Jenn. - Generations of Aiel Leaders went through "their own personal hell", to learn they have to bow to the Dragon reborn, to save at least a remnant. -
No until the last book is out, I will firmly be against any theory that hints to cheat "my Aiel" of their chance at survival.

Observe that I don't have solid counter arguments, just honest wishful hopes (that's not really english, is it?).
For what it's worth, the part about the big stone possibly being a portal
stone is cool, though the implications one can derive are ... well vast and already explained by previous posters.
Nadine L.
284. travyl
@281 madcow21
Quote form the Prologue of TEOTW:
"Ah, a guest. Have you the Voice, stranger? It will soon be time for the Singing, and here all are welcome to take part. ..."
- Lews Therin certainly knew "the song". And Rand should remember from the Rhuidean trip into memories of people living in the AoL. But as Wetlander said: we don't know for sure what they are searching for.
John Massey
285. subwoofer
@Wetlander- that "song" was the song to protect crops from bugs and whatnot- a magic pesticide if you will. There are other songs that are hinted at for instance the one the Aiel sang to LTT as he killed everyone. IMHO the "Song" is not so much particular words but moreso the magic that comes from them. I used the Song that Rand saw as an example of the magic that was lost with the loss of the Song. Loial is a Treesinger, something that is very rare among his people and I am sure that there are different ways to produce sung wood and other things but at the end of the day it is the magic in the song that is rare and was lost by the tinkers. I think when the Tuatha'an find the magic again they will find the Song. ADF Spellsinger anybody?

Chris R
286. up2stuff
the only thing I dont like about your theory of Avi accidentally channeling herself there in sleep is that it seems like she would have maybe needed several of the elements to channel herself there. As per Nynaeve's use of one of the Dream ter'angreal in book 5, I thought the only power that could be channeled while sleeping was spirit. Am I wrong? But then, how did Rand channel himself there? I dont know. Probably just misread it. But what do you think?

Maybe the Jenn are living in T'A'R. They could be there in the flesh, and if Nakomi was a Dream Walker, she could easily have snatched Avi there, or come to the real world without being a channeler that Avi would likely see. Heck, it could even account for the way the food appeared out of nowhere. In TAR it could just appear, Or Nakomi could have left it in TAR just beside where she was sitting in the real world and reached in and "grabbed" it. Its a good idea, but I just have a few doubts.
Chris R
287. up2stuff





Eric Hughes
288. CireNaes

Thanks for the quote travyl. I think Sub is headed in the right direction. The Voice (most likely a talent, which we know is possible for non-channelers to possess) is required to sing the crop high yield/acceleration of growth song. Judging by Loial's humming and such it would only be given words for the sake of coordinating the singers or for the fun of it. I'm thinking the best fantasy correlation would be Terry Brook's Wishsong.
Alice Arneson
289. Wetlandernw
up2stuff @286 - Ah, but I don't necessarily think she did channel herself there. Certainly not on purpose. As someone else pointed out, we don't exactly know that Rand channeled himself there either; it may have been Lanfear's doing. If the Jenn are all I think they might be, they could know how to set a "trigger" on the area around a portal stone to tell them when an appropriate person camps nearby. No clue. IF I'm right, and Nakomi is of the Jenn and brought Aviendha to another world for a time, it's obvious that they have been keeping tabs on "our" version of the world all along. Nakomi knew too much about current affairs for their society to have been completely isolated for the last 2500 years.

ValMar - if you're game (and don't have too many questions already!) you could mention this theory to Brandon and see how he responds. I expect you'll only get a RAFO, but the non-verbal response could be interesting too.
Roger Powell
290. forkroot
There are other songs that are hinted at for instance the one the Aiel sang to LTT as he killed everyone.
I believe that song was:
Nah-nah, nah, nah
Nah-nah, nah, nah
Elijah Foster
291. TheWolfKing
I seem to recall Rand thinking that there were two portal stones in the waste. I think this was in TSR when he goes there, but maybe it was two similar symbols or something like that, anyone wanna help.
292. yasiru89
As much as I dislike Egwene, she's nothing short of brilliant this first chapter. I think though that Leigh attributes Fain's influence on Elaida undue effect. I remember reading on a Theoryland Google doc of collected quotes where RJ mentions the Aes Sedai have sometimes overestimated how the evil of Shadar Logoth can spread (more in the 'Aes Sedai don't know as much as they think or pretend' theme) and similarly I suspect Fain's influence only ever got to Elaida in small things (like being oversuspicious and vain) and even then it was only exacerbation of problems already well underway in her. Not to mention that Fain abandoned his designs in the Tower once he got the dagger after that encounter with Alviarin. Even he probably realised that barring extraordinary circumstances, the women there would do very well destroying themselves.
Power would likely have corrupted Elaida with or without Fain helping the cause.

I felt some sympathy for Gawyn in the latter chapter, but his inability to commit to one thing and stay on course is ever irksome.
293. yasiru89
For TheWolfKing @291-

Interesting. Rhuarc tells Rand that two symbols on the stone are used to refer to Rhuidean, but Mat and Rand use their ta'verenness to pick which will get them there (it was the one with the arrow pointing left if I recall). I've always wondered what the one pointing right was, if Rhuarc is right and it does connect some way to Rhuidean.
Elijah Foster
294. TheWolfKing
I went back in the re-read and looked and it was actually two symbols on the portal stone that Rhuarc says were in Aiel writings. However, I don't think that negates the possibility of another being there. Maybe it even proves it because if one of those symbols was for the Rhuidean portal stone, then maybe the other is for another portal stone found there because why would one of them be in their writings and also happen to be a symbol for a portal stone. Coincidence, I think not.
Chris R
295. up2stuff
someone above mentioned Egwenes vision of Lanfear disappearing with Rand, and I did kind of mean to allow for that as a possible option, but it seems that unless someone else channeled to put Nakomi in front of Avi, she woudl have seen the halo or sensed her ability. I know, I know ability can be masked. It just seems that a Dream walker might be a more likely option. Why else would the Wise Ones think entering TAR was bad hudu?

Its been pointed out however, its time for Portal Stones to become significant again, too. I like your theory, just think a little bit different method is likely.
Elijah Foster
296. TheWolfKing
@293 yasiru89

Sorry I didn't see the your post until it refreshed when I posted mine, but yeah thats what I found too.
Elijah Foster
297. TheWolfKing
I was also just thinking about wards and I thought Moiraine said that you couldn't put two in the same place (TEotW, whatever chapter Moiraine made them invisible in the blight), but I see Rand do it all the time.
Hugh Arai
298. HArai
TheWolfKing@297: Don't forget Moiraine only knows (some of) the rules for saidar, not saidin.
Chris R
299. up2stuff
@ myself, 295

OTOH I guess channeling would be needed to ENTER TAR, too. So, its just as likely either way.
Chris R
300. up2stuff
Hey all, just had to grab the 3 hunny.
Birgit F
301. birgit
The word "Rhuidean" could be written with two symbols in some old language. To use the Portal Stone, the first part of the word might be enough.

If wards can't be in the same place one just has to make several nested ones that don't overlap.

The message of the dead Tinkers "Tell the Dragon Reborn..." could have been about the Song / the Jenn.
Abhijit Srivastava
302. abhi_sedai
Forkroot @290.
LMAO. Thanks I really needed that on a break from trying to analyse the performance of the freaking Optimal Binary Search Tree.
Studying algorithms takes a toll on ones sanity at times.

Coming back to few thoughts that have come to my mind, while following the discussion on the Song.

1. Has anyone really thought that with the resurgence of Lost Talents, the Talent of singing the Songs should also remanifest itself. Probably amongst the Tuathan themselves, they do share common lineage to the Jenn Aiel as we saw in the WayBack Terangreal.

2. Could Nakomi belong to Tuathan? I know it sounds outlandish and the chances are less, but with three strong ta'veren in the world, chance has been stood on it's head too many times.

yasiru @292
Gawyn seems to be afflicted with ADHD. Look at the symptoms, Making impulsive decisions based solely on intuition.
Not good at board games like Stones.
His difficulties in making decisions.

Being ADD afflicted myself, I can relate to some of his problems.
Might be better for him that Ritalin gets invented soon.
Valentin M
303. ValMar
Wetlander @ 289

I'll try to drop this in, too. Maybe surpise him Colombo style.
Maybe if one has a few questions to ask it's better to go towards the end of the signing?
Nadine L.
304. travyl
If you don't want to read a loony theory, just skip this post.

I did some further thinking about the Aiel "remnant of a remnant" foretelling and tried to fit it into my childish hopes that the characters I learned to love will survive. - This is a fantasy series after all so I will hold on to my hopes for a happy ending as long as I can (probably next fall?).
"He shall spill out the blood of those who call themselves Aiel as water on sand, and he shall break them as dried twigs, yet the remnant of a remnant shall he save, and they shall live."
Jordans prophecies are mostly ambiguous and not to be taken word for word.
Yes, some are killed the "spilling blood" part can't be discussed away but the "they" in "they shall live" doen't necessarly have to refer to "remnant", it could refer to "those who call themselves Aiel".
Couldn't it be that breaking them, means destroying their customs, that only a remnant of those customs will survive, and the Aiel (a lot of them, not just a few) may life with a new life goal?
This after all would fit with Aviendhas way-forward trip, where the Aiel didn't got killed in the war against Shayol Gul, but by their fight against the Seanchan?
The theory does need some further thinking, but as I said, it is triggered by hope for a good ending, not realism on what is looming.
Alice Arneson
305. Wetlandernw
travyl - FWIW, the idea of the remnant surviving in an alternate world isn't really a theory, it's just one of the many things I came up with in thinking about other effects of the Jenn being there. It's possible, I guess, but I don't actually think it's likely. If I had to put forth a theory, it would go something like this:

Spilling blood like water: The Aiel will (of course) throw themselves into the battle against the Shadowspawn, and many of them will be injured or killed. (This will also be true of other armies like the Borderlandeers and the Band, but this is an Aiel prophecy.)

Break them like dried twigs: Could be a couple of things, but the customs and traditional societies & clans are the most likely - that, and the hearts of those who couldn't accept the truth about their past.

The remnant of a remnant: The standard reading is that this just means a very small number of the whole people, but I'm not entirely content with this. If nothing else, it's mostly the warriors and Wise Ones who crossed the Dragonwall, so there are still large numbers of Aiel in the Waste - craftsmen, children, non-warrior women, etc. My current suspicion is that the "remnant" is either the Tuatha'an or the Jenn, and that a relatively small percentage of them (the remnant of a remnant) will be saved directly by Rand, knowing that they will not fight to defend themselves. It would be a nice twist to the prophecy - all perfectly true but in a way that's not quite what was expected.

And they shall live: I'm wondering if the three branches will be rejoined and will return to the Way of the Leaf.

Okay, all of that is probably just wishful thinking, but I like it. Yeah, I want all my favorite people to survive. So sue me.
David Goodhart
306. Davyd
Wow. I cannot believe I caught up on the Re-Read. It's actually my first read through. Thanks for keeping me entertained for so long. I don't know if I would have made it this far without finding this blog and becoming so interested in the posts and comments. Look foreward to continuing on, and hope I can add something to the conversation.
Jonathan Levy
307. JonathanLevy
277. Wetlandernw
Who is more likely than the Jenn to be able to remember (the Song)?
The Jenn seem to me no more likely to remember the song than any other Aiel. The memory of the song was already lost when the Tinkers split off the Aiel, before they took up the spear and the distinction between Aiel and Jenn Aiel came into existence.

(also 281. madcow21 and 282. Wetlandernw):
As to who will remember the Song, if anyone, the candidates I can come up with are these:

1) Rand, who (as LTT) actually heard it more than once, and may have had it sung frequently in his own home (teotw prologue, when he asks Ishamael: "Do you have the Voice?")
(Och, 284. travyl got there before me :))

2) Tinkers going through the Wayback machine. If they have a direct male line back to the Aiel in the AOL, they will hear the song. Of course, this is true of any Aiel as well, but the Aiel don't care about the song, so they don't pay attention to it (Fortune favors the mind prepared).

3) Perrin - I vaguely remember a vision of Min's in one of the early books, but I have no idea how it might come about.

Apart from the question of the Song, I now understand where the speculation about the Jenn comes from. I missed the significance of Sanderson's reply the first time you mentioned it - sorry for having caused you to repeat yourself. Still, it seems a bit far-fetched to me - one can imagine many RAFOs about the Jenn which fall short of their resurrection.

Also, didn't one of the Aes Sedai in the wayback machine say explicitly that one day they will be gone? Granted, this was soon enough after the breaking that they may not have taken the First Oath, but it's still a datum not to be easily dismissed.

Perhaps if some Aiel forswore weapons without remaining gai'shain and without going Tinker, they could be considered Jenn... :)

In short, I agree we will all have to wait until next year to know for sure, and I may very well be proven mistaken. But the reason my gut reaction was negative is because virtually any mystery of WoT - including many which have been resolved otherwise - could be explained by 'Oh it was done by a bunch of knowledgeable channelers from another Portal-Stone world'.

Asmodean's death? Check.
Taim's "so-called Aiel"? Check. (From a world where Taimandred is true.)
Who sent the trollocs through the Ways in KoD? Check.
Extra wards on Callandor which Narishma had to get around? Check.
Death of the two Black Ajahs in the Stone in TSR? Check.

So it could be true, but it would be a bit unsatisfying - at least to me.

285. subwoofer
That song was sung by the Aiel at Tzora to some other mad male channeler, not LTT. Jaric Mondoran, google tells me.

306. Davyd
Welcome aboard!
Alice Arneson
308. Wetlandernw
Jonathan Levy - I don't know that I've ever had a theory that was right, so... there you have it. It just seemed to make sense of some things. The idea of the Jenn (or rather, some of them) going to a Portal Stone world makes more sense than your other scenarios, though, since we know there's a Portal Stone on the slope above Rhuidean, and the Aes Sedai of that time knew how to use them. The other things you listed have no logical connection to Portal Stones. And don't forget, in ToM someone did bring Trollocs to attack Perrin by way of a Portal Stone, so as a plot device it's not dead.

FWIW, the exact wording - from one of the Jenn Aiel, not the Aes Sedai - was "A day will come when the Jenn are no more, and only you will remain to remember the Aiel." That's probably the best argument against my theory, because saying they will be "gone" could easily mean "gone to another world" whereas "are no more" is a lot less ambiguous. Still, it could be twisted that way if you wanted to.

Reading the passage in TSR makes me think that saving the remaining Jenn from a Portal Stone world would be a perfect "remnant of a remnant" but that doesn't prove anything. It's just a cool theory.

Davyd - Congratulations! and welcome!
John Massey
309. subwoofer
@JL- the Aiel? I was thinking the Beach Boys. I figured there are only so many times a man can hear "help me Rhonda" before going off the deep end;)

Davyd- you are a far far better man than I. If I had to go through all the posts, and some posts are an entire thread unto themselves, why I'd... well, I don't know what I'd do but I woulda probably pulled the pin a while ago. Welcome to us:D We except small bribes and cheap donations of wine, whiskey and song.

@302abhi- yes, I feel that is the path that this is all leading down. We have Perrin, a guy that talks to wolves, something very rare, the old blood coming back. Egwene is a Dreamer, a rare Talent, she does the heartstone teapots and Elayne makes angreal. Mat, spouts the old tongue and remembers stuff from back in the day. Ny can channel like a house on fire and can heal as well as anyone from the Age of Legends. There are many things coming full circle, why can't the finding of the Song be one of these Talents coming back?

Valentin M
310. ValMar
OK, here's a quick recap of the signing in London. As usual many people came, Brandon was very nice and talkative and the thing lasted much longer than planned. There was a guy infront of me and the woman who was with him and I thought was his girlfriend or just a friend- she was his mum!

Anyway, the questions:

- Q Has Brandon (and Team Jordan I think) done any research on the battles/armies etc.? (sub)
A Yes, a lot. Brandon didn't want to give me specific examples to avoid spoilers for those who can guess. They contacted one very well known author who helped them with this research. Anyone can guess? I'll give one easy clue: Boromir.

- Q Anything new on Cadsuane's blackmail of the AM?
A No

- Q Anything final on the Prequels/Sequels? (RobM, Wet)
A This was answered to a guy right before me (with the unlikely mum:)). Not really. Brandon doesn't want there to be any of these, but if written he wants to be the one who writes them. Instead, he is suggesting they do a movie on Tam.

- Q Has Min's viewing of Gawyn either kneeling to or killing Egwene (from TSR 47) come to pass? (sub)
A Yes

- Q How many FS are left? (sub)
A He thought a bit and said that there are no surpises there. He grinned in recognition of being a trick question.

- Q The discussion about Rand and LTT in his head has been framed as either a) LTT is a construct created by Rand; b) LTT is real, separate person taken residence in Rand's head. Is the answer really limited to one of those two alternatives? (wet)
A RAFO, since there will be plenty of Rand's POVs in AMOL.

- Q Is Nakomi Jenn Aiel? Aviendha transported through a Portal Stone? (wet)
A More careful thinking from Brandon. Then he said that Wetlander is a wise woman and is sniffing under the right tree. Interesting.

Apologies if I have forgotten to ask someone's question.
Alice Arneson
311. Wetlandernw
ValMar - Thanks for the report! And thanks for asking all our questions! Some very, very interesting answers there... RAND POVs!!! Yay! Any discussion of this year's Great Hunt?

Just came up with another possibility... Maybe Nakomi is a Jenn living in TAR (similar to the Heroes/wolves?) and was able to pull Aviendha in there. That would fit almost as well... Or some of the Jenn entered TAR in the flesh, permanently?

FWIW, if we come up with more questions based on more discussion, TinaA is going to be at the signing in Edinburgh on Friday, so we might be able to get her to ask more questions for us. I'm not sure I want to delve any further into the Nakomi/Jenn thing... I'd really, honestly rather RAFO than figure out too much ahead of time. Not that Brandon would give it away on purpose, but...
Valentin M
312. ValMar
Didn't hear much discussion about the Great Hunt content itself. Only about the finding of the thing in the store. But about the choosing of the segment- Brandon told me that they picked it because it was one sizeable chunk of text. Almost apologetically he said that there wasn't particular sentiment in the choosing- the choice was forced on them. I haven't closely followed the Great Hunt so I hope what I say here makes sense.
John Massey
313. subwoofer

ahem... thanks Valmar- you musta been totally stoked to be in the room, talking to THE GUY! Good times:)

I see Brandon doing the ol' rope-a-dope. Sneakery goin' on when he won't give us a Forsaken head count. For the future, if anyone else asks this question maybe try distracting him with a shiny object, toy, naked body part, etc. a numerical head count might slip out.

Edit- maybe tell him he doesn't have to use words... just hold up the appropriate number of fingers:D

So any speculation as to which Forsaken is alive that wasn't alive?

Boromir? JRR's family? Peter Jackson? Or are we talking Game of Thrones GRRM territory here? Gah!!!! It doesn't matter, big fight, a fray even, with lots of scuffling, and tussling :) weeee!

@Wetlander, be careful when sniffing around trees, I have it on good authority that they are excellent spots for er... marking one's scent;)

Valentin M
314. ValMar
sub, ok two more clues- Eddard Stark, the Green Jackets along with Boromir
John Massey
315. subwoofer
Any links on the Mighty Bean?

Bernard Cornwell???

andrew smith
316. sillyslovene
Since this thread has already listed well away from the chapters at hand...here's another wall of text on something more
@wetlandernw and Jenn Aiel-

So, this intrigued me and I went back to read the section of TSR also. Some really interesting points to me-
-again, Portal Stones described as really big: "A weathered stone gray column, at least three spans long and a pace thick." And large enough that it would take hours to turn over without using the pattern (in Rand's opinion)
-next, Moraine seems to think that they are particularly rare- she is surprised that Rand finds there are 4 in Tear alone (according to his research); and yet, they play a major role and always seem to be popping up in the narrative...I'm thinking that RJ wanted them in our minds, because something interesting will happen with them at the end. They seem to have fallen out after the rediscovery of travelling, etc, but then they are being used more and more towards the end- ToM and Perrin's fight with trollocs being the last big bit. And it seems that they are popping up in greater numbers than even the AS are aware of. Coming full circle?

Next: Portal Stones and the Aiel-
Rhuarc confirms that there is an important one on the slopes near Rhuidean that acts as a meeting place for when a new clan chief/wise one is chosen. It is a ritual place of waiting and has been for centuries...interesting.
Rand has his uncertainty about the symbol to use and Rhuarc says:
"These two are used for Rhuidean in old writings. Long ago, even the name was not written." He traced two triangles, each surrounding what appeared to be forked lightnings, one pointing left, one right.
Rand traced the unreadable script surrounding the triangles. Which one? Only one would take him where he wanted to go. The second might land him on the other side of the world, or the bottom of the ocean.
This seems like obfuscation on RJ's part- Rhuarc says both are used to mean Rhuidean, and Rand thinks only one can take him there. Now, yes, the one he chooses takes him to the right place, where the Portal Stone is that the Aiel meet. But what is the other one? Another Portal Stone near Rhuidean?
-both are used to designate the place in ancient writings- writings that must have their history in the Jenn Aiel. Which means a few things: 1- the Jenn Aiel (and/or the Aes Sedai with them) knew of and made use of the Portal Stones and their markings; since the Portal Stones predate the Breaking, the symbols must have been older, and so at least they understood them enough to know which markings represented the one(s) by the city, and used them to set up the mysticism of Rhuidean and the traditions for the other Aiel clans to follow. (Although they might not have used them for travel...)
2- the Aiel have ancient writings of (sacred?) quality. Have these been mentioned any where else? I don't think so...but they seem important...is this just the full sets of the prophecies of He Who Comes With Dawn? What else is included?

Coupled with the response that Valmar got from Brandon (@310) vis-a-vis Nakomi, it would seem that the groundwork has been laid for a strong connection between the Jenn Aiel and the Portal Stones.

Coupled with the description of the PS at Rhuidean as "A thick gray stone column angled out of the ground not three paces from her, scoured by windblown sand until there was no telling whether it had ever been twin to the Portal Stone in Tear," it would seem that there is a very good chance that Aviendha camped right next to another one, and that Nakomi arrived via Portal Stone. And I think with all of that, I am sold on the possibility that she is Jenn Aiel or is connected to them. That doesn't mean I believe she came from an alternate world, or what. It could be just as likely that there is an enclave of those who aren't Jenn Aiel, meaning they've given up the Covenant, but are still around somewhere that can use the PS to get around and check on the other Aiel and are meant to accomplish something very specific- similar to the Borderlander foretelling pact. Possible?

Which leaves a other questions:
The symbols for Rhuidean- is that reminiscent of anything else in WoT-dom? I can't think of anything...but there could be hints
Are there any other interesting/questionable elements inserted during a discussion or event related to Portal Stones that could have been overlooked?
Valentin M
317. ValMar
sub @ 315

Yes! Bernard Cornwall is the man.
Alice Arneson
318. Wetlandernw
On that subject, here's a quote from an interview Brandon gave yesterday:
But as for the research I did... I actually got my gun nut friend. Gun nuts are very particular. He’s a big Wheel of Time fan, and a very big gun nut. I got him to read the book and give me all the “this is how a gun nut says you’re doing it wrong” notes. That’s how I usually do something that specific. I like to write the book, and then go find an expert. For instance, in The Way of Kings, Kaladin’s surgery and first aid things. I wrote the book, I did do some reading on it, but then I sent it to an author that my editor knows. He’s a medical doctor, and I had him read those things and tell me what I was doing wrong. I prefer to do it that way and then fix it, because I can do enough, but there’s a certain understanding curve. I can pick up 75% of what I need to sound authentic with a little bit of research, and that last 25% requires a Ph.D. (laughs) And so rather than getting a Ph.D., I just give it to someone who has a PhD, and they can crosscheck it for me.
Jonathan Levy
319. JonathanLevy
310. ValMar

Well, that certainly leaves 'George' open, doesn't it? Thanks for your report! :)
Chris R
320. up2stuff
Wet,. see my post at 286. Some of the disappearing/appearing stuff is why I was thinking TAR.
321. deebee
When I read the Nakomi episode I always felt a nagging sense that I was missing something I should understand and recognise. And when Wet suggested the scene takes place in a Portal world, I realised the similarity was with Rand`s Portal world experience with Lanfear-a sort of unreal, altered-consciousness. So yes, it rings completely true for me. Now I need to go back and compare the two experiences to find exactly what was ringing those bells for me.
Alice Arneson
322. Wetlandernw
deebee - That's exactly how I felt when it occured to me. The TAR possibility has been proposed many times, but never felt convincing. In spite of my earlier comment, I still think the Portal Stone is a stronger contender than TAR. It never would have occured to me if it hadn't been for Loialson's question about the Jenn, and Brandon's surprising answer.
Terry McNamee
323. macster
@261, 305 Wetlander: Even before ValMar got that answer from Brandon, I thought your theory was intriguing, fascinating, and highly possible. Now with that info, and the quotes people have pulled together about the Stones, Rhuidean, and the symbols for it, I have to say I am utterly convinced. Whether or not the Jenn are alive and involved may not be confirmed (though I think they are), it seems pretty clear to me that a Portal Stone or T'a'R is connected to Nakomi and her visit with Aviendha. I think I need to do some re-reading of past Portal Stone scenes...

Which also brings me to another point. Some people had thought Nakomi was Lanfear/Cyndane because of the connection to Hiawatha. But note what JonathanLevy brought up @ 274, that it was Lanfear who took Rand into the Portal Stone world. What if the name Nakomi, and its seeming connection to Lanfear through Hiawatha, was meant not to make us think Nakomi was Lanfear herself, but to remind us what Lanfear was capable of (using Portal Stones and the World of Dreams), thus suggesting Nakomi could do similar things?

@262 Sub: LOL!!

@267 AndrewB: Good point re: Meidani. However, the fact they had to reword the oath to keep her from doing things they hadn't explicitly forbidden still makes my point. If the oath of obedience were one of Compulsion, it wouldn't matter if they had specifically forbidden every possible action--simply swearing to obey them would mean, if the First Oath held you Compulsion-like to that oath, that you would never be able to do anything which could be construed as betrayal regardless of whether you'd sworn not to do that specific action. If they had reworded the oath of obedience instead of removing it from Meidani (and, we can assume, the other ferrets), then the new more specific wording would have indeed acted as Compulsion to prevent any possible betrayal. But they didn't.

In any event, I was never really that interested in defending the Black Ajah Hunters since I think what they were doing to the ferrets was wrong (see Zerah). Even allowing for your point, that still doesn't make what Egwene did the same, since again she never expressly forbade every action that could constitute betrayal, and we never see anyone who swore fealty to her be forced to obey. Beonin's justification that Egwene was no longer Amyrlin seems more to me like a case of "I meant the oath at the time I swore it, but now that circumstances have changed I consider that oath nullified, so I didn't lie nor am I betraying her now". And in fact in the scene where Beonin is cut off by the First Oath, it isn't because she was claiming she hadn't betrayed Egwene, but that she hadn't betrayed anything--which was a lie, because she had given the Traveling weave to Elaida and told her about the ferrets. As far as I know, Egwene never explicitly told anyone not to tell Elaida about Traveling, and the ferrets were sent by Sheriam and the other Salidar Six, not Egwene, so betraying them wasn't betraying her. Semantics, I know, but that is how the Aes Sedai work.

My point is, she was able to indulge in semantics at all because the oath of fealty was not one of Compulsion. None of those who swore could do so if their swearing of loyalty had been a lie, but once they had sworn they could do anything which they could justify as either being in Egwene's best interest or not an actual betrayal, without being brought up short by the First Oath. And even if they were held by the First Oath, that only affects written and spoken words, not actions, so the oath of fealty still wouldn't be Compelling actions the way an outright Oath of Obedience on the rod would. And until we get a scene where Egwene orders one of the sworn sisters to do something and she is forced to do so, or tries to fight the command, we have no proof that oath had the force of Compulsion.

@269 J.Dauro: Ah ha, so the ferrets were outright told to obey absolutely...yet we are still able to see Meidani do something which hadn't been expressly forbidden but still constituted disobedience. I don't see how a Compulsion-force oath would allow for that. And I find it interesting that while we never see precisely what the sisters swear to Egwene (IIRC the scene has them start the catechism "I swear by the Light and my hope of salvation and rebirth..." but then it trails off before we see the exact wording of the oath), we do see the exact words of Zerah's oath. And her swearing to obey ("recant your story") conflicting with the First Oath (because she believed the story about the Reds and Logain to be true) nearly killed her. So I think it is plain that the Black Ajah Hunters (and by extension Elaida) were indeed using a form of Compulsion with that oath, albeit unintentionally, one which Meidani got around by doing something they hadn't actually ordered her not to do, but that Egwene was not. Just as Rand wasn't, since the Aes Sedai sworn to him could also find ways around or ways to reinterpret their oaths.

@273 Sub: I know most people have suggested it was used for creating Waygates (or perhaps vacuoles), but what if the Talisman of Growing Aviendha identified in KoD is for creating Nym? Yes, it said it had something to do with "holes" but there's nothing saying it couldn't create a hole, within which a Nym would be grown. The whole "using a song to activate it" makes me think of Nym as much as the Ogier and the Ways. And we know the Nym were constructed, but no idea how...

@283 travyl: I think you are misunderstanding Wet's theory. She isn't saying the Jenn are the remnant that will be saved, meaning all the rest of the Aiel will die--in fact she wants them to live too. She's saying that either the rest of the Aiel are separate, and it's Rand, Aviendha, the Tinkers, or something else that will save part of the Jenn (who are the remnant of the original Aiel), or that the Jenn will save the rest of the Aiel so that a remnant survives. Either way, you wouldn't have to worry about losing "your Aiel". :)

@292 yasiru: Good points about Elaida, I think you're quite right.

@301 birgit: Talk about a long-unsolved mystery being explained, if you're right!

@307 JonathanLevy, Wetlander @308: Completely aside from whether the First Oath existed yet, an Aes Sedai can state something as true when it isn't if she believes it to be true, and/or has been given false information. And since it was a Jenn who spoke it, unless they were a channeler and had the Foretelling, there's no reason to give that statement the weight of prophecy. The Jenn in question could simply have (logically) believed there would one day be no more Jenn based on them dying out, since they didn't yet know the Jenn would go to T'a'R or a Portal Stone world, if that is what happened. Also, we have no way of knowing when that "day" will be--despite seeming to have died out, the day the Jenn are no more might not have come yet. The Last Battle, dying to save the Aiel? Something to do with the Seanchan? And "no more" is ambiguous. Perhaps it means they won't truly be Jenn anymore; that doesn't mean they're dead.

@310 ValMar: Glad to know he has indeed done his studying for the upcoming battles! And now we know Gawyn has made his choice about kneeling or killing, and also had made it in time to save Egwene; only AMoL will tell us if he dies in battle or has a long life and dies in bed... Hah, knew Brandon wouldn't tell us about the Forsaken who are left. Also: Bernard Cornwell? I've not read his work but have heard a lot of good things about it. That bodes well indeed for AMoL...

@313 Subwoofer: It's a pet loony theory of mine, but I still think Be'lal isn't dead.
Birgit F
324. birgit
My point is, she was able to indulge in semantics at all because the oath of fealty was not one of Compulsion.

When El doesn't tell Moggy about her ter'angreal because of the phrasing of the question, that is using semantics under Compulsion.

I know most people have suggested it was used for creating Waygates (or perhaps vacuoles), but what if the Talisman of Growing Aviendha identified in KoD is for creating Nym?

The Talisman of Growing is the ter'angreal for making Waygates and growing the Ways. Many think that the ter'angreal Avi identifies is a Talisman of Growing, but it is not made clear in the text what exactly it is.

And since it was a Jenn who spoke it, unless they were a channeler and had the Foretelling, there's no reason to give that statement the weight of prophecy.

I thought it was from an Aiel Dreamer. That is not as reliable as Min's visions, but it is still a form of prophecy.
Jonathan Levy
325. JonathanLevy
323. macster

I assumed (perhaps an unwarranted assumption) that the decision to build Rhuidean and the wayback machine was made after a foretelling or a similar prophecy. It's not explicitly stated in the text, but there is much circumstantial evidence:

1) Aiel wise ones have dreamt that the septs whose chiefs who do not agree to the pact will be lost within 3 generations.

2) There is a foretelling of the Car'a'carn heard in the wayback machine. Not explicitly stated as a foretelling, but the wise ones look for Rand based on this prophecy. This suggests that one of the Aes Sedai living with the Jenn has the Foretelling.

3) If you think about the magnitude of the Rhuidean project for the remaining Jenn, it really makes no sense for them to do it without a Foretelling to guide them.

They didn't just wake up one morning and say "Hey let's create a giant wayback machine, maybe somehow we will convince the Aiel clan chiefs to be chosen by passing through it (of course, killing the ones who can't handle the truth), and maybe they will actually keep doing it even though two thirds of them die, and maybe something good will eventually come of it."

20 years later when they're done some Aiel Wise ones happily have a prophetic Dream which forces the Aiel to accept those conditions without which the whole project would have been futile.

4) If the Jenn were planning to go away, why couldn't they just say to the Aiel (in the wayback machine) "Hey, we're going away, you have to use the wayback machine bla bla bla". Why use phrases like
“Our days dwindle” and “A day will come when the Jenn are no more".

There's no profit in subterfuge here.

5) If the Jenn had a plan to go away for 2,000 years and then come back to have a chat with Aviendha, wouldn't that also have to be based on some Foretelling? And if we agree that there was a Foretelling, wouldn't it be more likely, a priori, to be one that matches what we are actually told in TSR?

Simple alternatives abound (though of course this does not disprove the theory). For example, maybe Bair had a Dream which foretold the destruction of the Aiel, and none of the current Wise Ones can help her. So she brings Aviendha (and possible other apprentices on other occasions) into T'A'R to sound her out.

There's been much more foreshadowing of bringing someone into T'A'R against their will (e.g. the Wise one's conversation with the Aes Sedai on this matter, hinting that they might know how to do it, even though it was evil) than of the return of the Jenn.
Chris R
326. up2stuff
Re: Compulsion vs compelling...

Okay, so here is another thing about this WHOLE compulsion debate. The Forsaken levels of Compulsion were aimed at eliminating FREE WILL. They wanted THEIR will done with no memory and no opportunity or even DESIRE for resistance or refusal from the victim. Greandal even COMPELLED adoration from her victims, as did Rhavin with Morgase. They changed their way of thinking and who they were to get what they wanted. That is what makes what they did so, Evil.

Now Egwene and the BA Hunters, wanted concealment and support. Granted they did put these subjects in a position where refusing to help was not really possible. But, they were able to do it in some cases using their own methods and even be mad that they were being treated this way. In Meidani's case, she was even able to rebel, a little, when a stronger, better alternative presented itself. Knowing she would get in trouble and displease her superiors, she did it anyway for EVERYONE'S good. Greandal's victims would not risk her displeasure from disobedience. They would not even consider it.

Look at what happened when Moggy compelled Ny and Elayne for information waaaay back in Tanchico. Birgit, yes is was semantics, but it wasn't "can I get away with this if I think about it this way?" No, Elayne did it because, her beautiful, wonderful, perfect mistress had not asked THAT question and might become displeased, DISPLEASED, not angry, DISPLEASED with her. If left to her own devices and will, she would have passed that info along as well.

That is the difference I am referring to with COMPULSION and compelling assistance. Egwene and the BA hunters were making the best out of a bad situation. She needed to trust and depend on someone. The Hunters needed to be sure that Elaida would not be told deliberately or inadvertantly, (who would have put her above physical torture, anyone?).

They were making the best solution of the worst possible situation. Also, not that Ignorance makes any excuse for a bad decision, but they really weren't very good at Espionage (meaning the hunters). Elaida was their attempt at getting power through a Proxy and they sucked at that too.

I agree that this oath shoud be released if not already done, but in a way, they were the commanding officer that has to order one sailor into the suicide mission in the engine room in order to save the entire crew, etc. They had two awful options, and when you cant pick the best option, you have to pick the one that is the least awful.
Nadine L.
327. travyl
@macster 283.
I don't think I misunderstood Wetlander but I might have phrased it inadequately. @280 wetlander expanded "George" with some new thoughts (Quote:) ... For all I know, the remnant might be those who escape to a Portal Stone world ...
I might be wrong but I "remeber" that in this or an earlier thread it was discussed if the Tinkers or the Jenn could be the remnant, so after wetlanders post I felt the need to express that I truly would feel cheated if this comes to be true (as explained @283).
I know the quoted line of wetlander has nothing to do with her wishing any Aiel to die (Sorry if I implied any such thing). I'm still intrigued by the original version of George (261), more so given Brandons reactions and the points made in the thread about similarities etc.
Roger Powell
328. forkroot
Just to elaborate on Graendal's use of Compulsion vs. Rahvin. Graedal pretty much burned the mind out of her "pets" - they would ever be able to recover their original identities (Rand/LTT knew this and gave it as justification when balefiring Natrim's Barrow.)

Fortunately (for Morgase) Rahvin could do no such thing since he wished for the world to see Morgase as still in possession of her faculties. Thus his touch on her was much more subtle and the damage he did to her was not irreversible (though she still suffers some repercussions through the end of ToM.)
Terry McNamee
329. macster
@324 birgit:

up2stuff already covered this, but: she was able to use semantics because of the specific question asked. Unless we see someone sworn to Egwene given a very specific command, and unable to wiggle her way out of it, it still isn't the same as Compulsion. Even under Compulsion, Elayne was only able to not reveal where the ter'angreal were because Moghedien didn't specifically ask about ones she might have on her--if she had asked that, she'd have been forced to tell. And her not volunteering the information wasn't Elayne trying to be sneaky and hold things back--she wanted to please Moghedien very much. So not revealing it was simply because she wanted to please her mistress by answering the actual question asked. Beonin and Meidani, on the other hand, were in fact deliberately trying to get around their oaths--Beonin because she was more loyal to Elaida and the Tower than to Egwene, Meidani because it was the right thing to do for the greater good. Elayne didn't even want to get around the Compulsion, it just happened that she felt pleasing Moghedien would be best done by answering the question instead of volunteering other information--she didn't think that she needed to hide the ter'angreal from her, she didn't have a will of her own in that situation. Clearly Beonin and Meidani did have wills of their own. This proves their oaths weren't Compulsion.

Is the Talisman of Growing the official name for the ter'angreal that grows the Ways? I thought that was just a fan name...well in any event, my point was that we don't know for sure the ter'angreal Aviendha identified was a Talisman of Growing, so it could still be used to create Nym.

Wetlander quoted the statement as coming from one of the Jenn, but she didn't say if it was a Dreamer or not. We'll have to ask her, unless someone else can find that passage too.

@325 JonathanLevy: You're right, there did seem to be some sort of Foretelling. However, we don't know if it was the same or connected to that Jenn's statement. All we know is that the Prophecies of the Dragon mention the People of the Dragon in relation to the Stone, so the ancient Aes Sedai would have known that meant the Aiel had a role to play in the future, and the prophecy about Rand taking back and breaking them. For what it is worth, the Guide says that "there may also have been a Foretelling that the Aiel would eventually produce a man who would stand against the Dark One", that the Aes Sedai who stayed with the Jenn "were certain it was the Jenn...who needed their aid and protection", and that after Rhuidean was built and the Jenn were dying out, the Aes Sedai "realized that they had made a mistake...if a child was to be born of the Aiel to fight the Dark One, he would not be born of the Jenn...in order to save the prophecy...they had to find a way to share the truth with the warriors in a way that would not destroy them as well." None of this says the Foretelling, if there was one, was about the Jenn, just that Rand would be born of the Aiel. So the dying out of the Jenn, while it made the Aes Sedai have to create the pillars to reconnect with the rest of the Aiel, wasn't prophesied or even part of the Foretelling--because the Aes Sedai realized they were wrong, that Rand would be descended from a different group of Aiel.

As to why nothing about the Jenn going away was mentioned in Rand's ancestor memories, simple: because at the time that statement about the Jenn dying out was made, the Jenn hadn't yet decided to go away (so they couldn't give info they didn't have yet) and the Aes Sedai still believed the Jenn was where Rand would come from. Only after they realized he'd come from the other Aiel did they create the pillars--and the pillars were set at that point to show only the past. They couldn't alter past memories to make references to the Jenn still surviving, and why would they if it wasn't relevant to He Who Comes with the Dawn?

It is also possible that there wasn't subterfuge involved, but prophecy. Perhaps calamity was foretold if the Jenn were known to still exist before it was time to reveal themselves, and a later prophecy about the Aiel's future made the Jenn have to act when originally they hadn't intended to. If they'd stayed in Randland they'd have died out or been killed by violence/lost to the warriors. In TAR, they could stay alive indefinitely; in a Portal Stone world, without people killing them off and no warriors to join, they could have continued reproducing until the present day. Or more likely, once the prophecy of He Who Comes with the Dawn was linked to the warrior Aiel, there was no need to care what happened to the Jenn, so they simply weren't included. The Jenn could have decided they'd rather not hang around, dying out and watching their people become what they had, so they asked the Aes Sedai to send them off to another world or to TAR. Perhaps they trusted that one day, the Aiel would come back to the Covenant and would need their help and knowledge to do so. Or that if their help was needed, dreamwalkers could find them in TAR.

In the end we really don't know, and it is possible that someone else, a present-day Wise One, pulled her into T'a'R--though with how evil they consider that to be, they'd have to be pretty desperate to contemplate it. Yes, the Aiel future would surely justify such desperation, but we have no evidence anyone else has ever seen it, either through the rings or the pillars, nor any indication from the other Wise Ones that they are afraid for the Aiel's future beyond trying to save the remnant of a remnant. And the fact Aviendha seems to have been leaning against a Portal Stone, or that she was pulled into T'a'R, coupled with Sanderson's RAFO on the Jenn, is telling.

@327 travyl: Ah I see. But note what Wet said: "For all I know...might be..." She was just randomly theorizing there, I didn't get the impression that she was stating the Jenn being the remnant had to be the case for her theory about them surviving to be true. It was just one possibility for why the Jenn would still be around, and be brought back into the story. Personally I love the point Loialson made @ 266, that if the Jenn did survive and will help save the Aiel, that it is a heartwarming way of them showing they still care for both their "lost" people and Randland itself. And it doesn't undermine the Aiel's badassery at all, require them to die, or make the Jenn the remnant. It just would mean they have a role to play in saving that remnant.

One thing I think is clear though: whether the Jenn still live or not, and even though I don't think either they or the Tinkers are the remnant, the Tinkers will have some role to play in AMoL or they wouldn't keep popping up in TGS and ToM.
Alice Arneson
330. Wetlandernw
FWIW, the column-viewing doesn't specify whether a Dream or Foretelling was involved, nor whether the woman who spoke the words I quoted was a Dreamer. However, their certainty regarding what had to happen indicates that some form of sure prophecy was involved. They had absolute confidence that the Aiel needed to do certain, specific things, and that if they did not, everything would be lost. Either one of the Aes Sedai or Jenn had the Foretelling, or there was a strong enough Dreamer among them to know. Or... someone(s) went through the doorframe ter'angreal and got some significant info from the 'Finn... Or possibly a combination of any/all of those. Whatever their source of information, they were certain sure about some things.
Nadine L.
331. travyl
I suddenly have a problem with the Tinkers song:
Following this thread "we" (me included) decided that the Tinker's song will probably be the growing song form AoL. I now doubt that.
In EOTW Chapter 42 Loial says:
I met some Tuatha'an a few years back, and they wanted to learn the songs we sing to trees. I taught the Tuatha'an what they could learn, but the trees never listen to humans. none was the song they seek.
Of course Loials Song doesn't have to be the one from the AoL, but if it is, the Tinkers have lost "the Voice" to again quote Lew's Therin.
It would be satisfying if the Tinkers found the song but I now think it is just tradition... not a quest that is likely to be successfull. (Wetlandernw @282 said that already)
John Massey
332. subwoofer
@macster- I want a head count because my looney theory says that none of the Forsaken are "dead". They are floating around and have to be sealed back up in the Bore with the DO.


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