Tue
Nov 22 2011 2:00pm
The Wheel of Time Re-read: The Gathering Storm, Part 9

The Wheel of Time reread on Tor.comOh happy day, it’s a Wheel of Time Re-read!

Today’s entry covers Chapters 14 through 16 of The Gathering Storm, in which a box is opened (gah), some connections are made (finally), and something besides dinner gets Served (YAY).

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 14: A Box Opens

What Happens

Sorilea inspects a temporarily blind and deaf Semirhage thoughtfully, and Cadsuane reflects that she had not expected to find an equal among the Aiel, especially when Sorilea could barely channel, but that she still did not trust the woman completely. Cadsuane explains that the weaves currently on the Forsaken keep her sleep-deprived, though she doubts exhaustion will break her. Bair suggests that they could talk to the Car’a’carn about turning her over to them for “delicate” questioning, but Cadsuane reminds them of how al’Thor is about hurting women, and Bair sighs.

“Yes,” she said. “You are right, I suspect. Rand al’Thor is twice as stubborn as any clan chief I’ve known. And twice as arrogant too. To presume that women cannot bear pain as well as men!”

Cadsuane doesn’t think pain will break Semirhage anyway. Sorilea asks to speak with Semirhage, and Cadsuane obliges. As soon as she sees the Wise Ones, Semirhage asks them how it feels to know they broke their oaths so thoroughly; Cadsuane is fascinated to hear some of al’Thor’s stories about the Aiel verified, but Sorilea only comments to Bair that she hadn’t expected her to be so human, so easy to understand.

Semirhage’s eyes narrowed for just a moment at that comment. Odd. That was a stronger reaction than virtually any of the punishments had produced.

Semirhage regains her composure quickly, though, and asks how much pain it would take before an Aiel would kill a blacksmith and eat him. Sorilea stiffens, and replaces her gags before opining that they should slit her throat and be done with it; keeping her alive is too dangerous. Cadsuane agrees about the danger, but counters that even if al’Thor would allow it, the Forsaken’s potential knowledge is too valuable. Sorilea then asks to see “the item”; reluctantly, Cadsuane takes her and Bair to her room. On the way, she puzzles over Semirhage’s momentary lapse of control at Sorilea’s comment and what caused it, and also reflects that al’Thor seems “almost eager” for the Last Battle, or like he wants to get it over with.

The problem was, al’Thor wasn’t ready for the Last Battle. Cadsuane could feel it in the way he spoke, the way he acted. The way he regarded the world with that dark, nearly dazed expression. If the man he was now faced the Dark One to decide the fate of the world, Cadsuane feared for all people.

In her room, Cadsuane disarms the formidable traps she has on the box on her dresser, and opens it to reveal a foot-tall figurine of a man holding a sphere, and a black metallic collar with matching bracelets — the male a’dam. Sorilea states that the a’dam is evil, and Cadsuane tells her according to Nynaeve there is only one, and it was supposed to have been thrown into the ocean, but she didn’t see it done. The Aiel are very disturbed at the notion that the Seanchan might have more.

“And the people who have these are the same people with whom al’Thor wishes to make peace?” Sorilea shook her head. “Creation of these abominations alone should warrant a blood feud. I heard that there were others like it. What of those?”

“Stored elsewhere,” Cadsuane said, shutting the lid. “Along with the female a’dam we took. Some acquaintances of mine—Aes Sedai who have retired from the world—are testing them trying to discover their weakness.” They also had Callandor.

Cadsuane tells them she is determined to test this one on a man, as that is the best way to learn if it has any weaknesses, but al’Thor will not allow it. She thinks of how the first thing she had done upon acquiring the female version of it was to put it on and practice trying to escape from it, though only with women she could trust to remove it after, of course. Al’Thor, though, only mutters about “that bloody box” whenever the subject is broached. Sorilea comments that they must do something about him, as he has grown worse since she last saw him. Cadusane agrees, and they sit down to discuss the matter.

Commentary
PUT THAT BOX AWAY THROW IT IN A VOLCANO KILL IT WITH FIRE DAMMIT

Argh. As usual, no one ever listens to me.

Well, one thing you can’t deny about Cadsuane, the woman’s got nerves of steel. Voluntarily putting yourself in an a’dam, even with people you trust to get you out of it? That takes some big ovaries, y’all.

She also is spot-on here in encapsulating the problem with Rand. In retrospect it’s obvious, but I think her thought here about Rand being in no way ready for the Last Battle kind of crystallized it for me.

The rub is, of course, that I agree with Cads about the problem but have a rather large problem with her approach to a solution. As does Rand, it turns out. Well, we’ll get to that fiasco soon enough.

And, other than to say “damn straight” re: Bair’s complaint about Rand not having enough respect for women to treat them like grownups, I don’t have a lot else to say about this chapter, as it is mostly all setup for what comes next.

Although, there is this exchange, after Cads shows Sorilea and Bair the male a’dam:

Sorilea shook her head. “Creation of these abominations alone should warrant a blood feud. I heard that there were others like it. What of those?”

“Stored elsewhere,” Cadsuane said, shutting the lid. “Along with the female a’dam we took.”

I… cannot figure out what they are referring to here. They seem to be saying that they have more male a’dam, but that makes no sense, considering it comes on the heels of a discussion where Cadsuane said Nynaeve said there was only one of the things, and she didn’t know if there were any more. Why would she be unsure if her mysterious pals had more of them? And if there are more, where the hell did she get them? (And who are these friends of hers, anyway?)

I don’t know, I think I missed something here. Maybe it gets explained later and I forgot, or is this a gaffe?

 

Chapter 15: A Place to Begin

What Happens
Rand wakes on the floor of a hallway that he vaguely recognizes, and realizes he must be asleep, but he thinks that this place seems different from the World of Dreams. He chooses a door at random, and walks into a room with open arches on the far side, showing roiling clouds that seem to be composed of screaming faces. There is a fireplace on the left that he remembers from when he first came here a long time ago, but now the stones of the hearth are warped and blackened. A young blue-eyed man who Rand has seen in visions and met in Shadar Logoth sits in a chair before the hearth, and Rand takes the other chair.

Once, Rand had known this man only as Ba’alzamon—a name for the Dark One—and had foolishly thought that in killing him, he had defeated the Shadow for good.

”I watched you die,“ Rand said. ”I stabbed you through the chest with Callandor. Isha—“

”That is not my name,“ the man interrupted, still watching the flames. ”I am known as Moridin, now.“

Rand insists that this just a dream; Moridin chuckles and comments that many dreams are more real than the waking world. Rand repeats that he is dead, and Moridin replies that he saw Rand die, too, when he created an entire mountain to mark his grave. Moridin says he once offered to bring his lost love back from the dead, and asks if Rand thinks the Great Lord cannot do the same for one who serves him; death is no barrier to his master except for those who have known balefire. Rand notes the odd specks that float in Moridin’s eyes.

“The Great Lord can grant you sanity, you know,” Moridin said.

“Your last gift of sanity brought me no comfort,” Rand said, surprising himself with the words. That had been Lews Therin’s memory, not his own. Yet Lews Therin was gone from his mind. Oddly, Rand felt more stable—somehow—here in this place where all else appeared fluid. The pieces of himself fit together better. Not perfectly, of course, but better than they had in recent memory.

Moridin asks why he has come here, which surprises Rand, as he had assumed Moridin had brought him. Moridin comments that he is tired, and “is that you, or is it me?,” and that he could kill Semirhage for what she did. Rand is puzzled, and Moridin tells him to go, it is not time for them to fight, and the Great Lord’s victory is assured. Rand replies that he will defeat him, and Moridin laughs.

“Perhaps you will,” he said. “But do you think that matters? Consider it. The Wheel turns, time and time again. Over and over the Ages turn, and men fight the Great Lord. But someday, he will win, and when he does, the Wheel will stop.

Herid Fel was dead now, murdered, torn apart by Shadowspawn. He’d discovered something in these books, something he’d intended to tell Rand. Something about the Last Battle and the seals on the Dark One’s prison. Fel had been killed just before he could pass on the information. Perhaps it was coincidence; perhaps the books had nothing to do with his death. But perhaps they did. Min was determined to find the answers. For Rand, and for Herid himself.

Min feels inadequate to the task of being a scholar, but thinks no one else is there to do the job but her, and if she can solve this puzzle, she could achieve something not just for Rand but for the world. She is content till then to be dismissed as Rand’s mistress. Rand wakes and goes to the window, and says that “he” was gone during the dream, but now he’s back. Min asks if he means Lews Therin, and urges him to talk to her about it; she insists he must trust her enough to hear it. Finally, Rand acquiesces, and confesses that he hears Lews Therin, and that sometimes the voice even seizes saidin away from him. Rand says that Semirhage claims it is insanity, but Rand insists that Lews Therin knows things about history and the One Power that no one else could know.

“You had a viewing of me that showed two people merging into one. That means that Lews Therin and I are distinct! Two people, Min. He’s real.”

She walked over and sat next to him. “Rand, he’s you. Or you’re him. Spun out into the Pattern again. Those memories and things you can do, they’re remnants from who you were before.”

“No,” Rand said. “Min, he’s insane and I’m not. Besides, he failed. I won’t. I won’t do it, Min. I won’t hurt those I love, as he did. And when I defeat the Dark One, I won’t leave him able to return a short time later and terrorize us again.”

Rand says he is afraid to use the One Power with Lews Therin there, and Min says that at least it won’t grow any worse now that saidin has been cleansed. Then Rand tells her Ishamael is alive, though he goes by “Moridin” now, and now he knows that all the Forsaken he killed may be back except the ones he killed with balefire. Min tries to point out what Cadsuane said about balefire, but Rand snarls that he doesn’t care, and he will decide how he fights. Rand says he intends to destroy the Dark One, and for that, he needs Lews Therin’s voice. Min tells him that she thinks he needs to destroy the seals on the Dark One’s prison.

“I’m sure of it,” she said. “I’ve been reading Herid’s books all this time, and I believe that’s what he meant by ‘clearing away the rubble.’ In order to rebuild the Dark One’s prison, you will first need to open it. Clear away the patch made on the Bore.”

To her surprise, Rand agrees that that sounds right, but points out that there is no way to know what will happen if he does it. Min tells him she has faith in him, and sees viewings around him, including “three women before a pyre.” Rand says that he could break the seals with his hands, but he doesn’t know what to do after that. Min promises she will keep looking for the answer.

Aviendha thinks that she will go “mad as a wetlander” if these punishments keep up. She finishes her current one, and is about to return to her tent when Amys appears and observes that sometimes we are so concerned with what we have done that we do not think of what we haven’t done. Aviendha does not know how to respond, but then she notices arrivals at the Travelling grounds, and she and Amys go to meet Flinn, Bashere and a small guard of Saldaeans and Aiel. Amys stops one of the Maidens, Corana, to ask for news. Corana tells them the Seanchan have agreed to another meeting with the Car’a’carn, but opines that he is simpering and pandering to them when he should be declaring blood feud. Amys asks Aviendha for her opinion, and Aviendha replies that as painful as it is to sue for peace with the Seanchan, they have a larger enemy to consider: Sightblinder is more important than any feud between human nations. Corana adds that the Seanchan had Aiel women leashed in their camp, and Aviendha hisses in anger, but still maintains her position.

Amys nodded, looking back at Corana. “Do not think that we will ignore this insult, Corana. Vengeance will come. Once this war is done, the Seanchan will feel the storm of our arrows and the tips of our spears. But not until after. Go tell the two clan chiefs what you have told me.”

Corana leaves, and Amys comments that this will give rise to unrest among the clans, who will demand that Rand abandon his attempt at truce with the Seanchan. Aviendha asks if they will stay when he refuses, and Amys replies that of course they will. Then she comments that perhaps it is time to stop “coddling” Aviendha, and she will think up better punishments for her tomorrow. Aviendha is astounded, and heads for her tent with a sigh.

Commentary
Verrrrry interestink, that chat with Moridin, wasn’t it.

While it certainly didn’t clear up everything, it definitely put to rest any lingering doubts that Rand and Moridin have some kind of metaphysical mirroring-type bond thing going on. We still don’t know yet if it truly extends to the point that if one of them dies, so will the other, but I would not be at all surprised to find out that is the case. Which, as you may imagine, presents some problems.

I kind of laughed at Moridin when he told Rand he was stupid for thinking he could kill the Dark One, mostly because I agree: that is stupid. Not to get all red-tinged Tim Curry on your ass, but what is Light without the Dark? Maybe I’m wrong, but I have an issue with supposing you can actually kill an anthropomorphic representation of Ultimate Evil. Bottle him up, sure; kill him, no.

(It occurs to me that this is a kind of hilariously geeky quibble to make, but anyone who’s shocked at my geekiness at this point needs to have corks put on their forks, poor things.)

 Of course, I also think Moridin’s emo hopeless gloom n’ doom woe we have no chance of winning anyway oh well evil now chain of logic to be pretty stupid, too, so I guess they’re even on that score.

The Min section of this chapter, I don’t have a lot to say about, as it really didn’t tell us anything that we as readers didn’t already know; it (and Rand’s realization re: Moridin that some of the Forsaken could be back from the dead) was more about lining up what the characters, and in particular Rand, knew. Which is fine, needed to be done, though I’m a tad appalled that Rand is only figuring out now that the Forsaken have a habit of not staying dead; I just don’t have a lot to say about the seals deal that I haven’t already said before.

The only thing really worth mentioning is Min’s viewing of “three women before a pyre,” which obviously is another version of Nicola’s vision of “three on the boat,” which is a reference to King Arthur’s funereal trip to Avalon with the three queens. Pyre’s just a different kind of burial. Of course, let’s hope when Rand “dies” they don’t actually burn his body, as that could present some logistical difficulties three days later, ahem.

As for Aviendha’s section, again, it’s obvious in retrospect but I totally didn’t notice the first time around how clearly the Aiel were being set against the Seanchan as a lead-up to Aviendha’s trip to Rhuidean in ToM. Nicely done.

Also, Avi, figure it out already, I’m done with this. Sheesh.

 

Chapter 16: In the White Tower

What Happens
Egwene is cracking nuts for Ferane (Sitter, White) and two other White sisters (Miyasi and Tesan) in Ferane’s chambers. After ignoring her for an hour, Ferane asks Egwene what she would have done about the Dragon Reborn in the Amyrlin’s place. Egwene answers that first she would have sent sisters to his home village, not to intimidate them, but to learn about what kind of man he was, what his temperament was. Tesan points out that Egwene already does know him. Egwene hesitates, and answers that she knows him to be rational yet bullheaded, but most importantly a good man at heart, and so she would send him sisters to offer him guidance, or spies if he rejected them. Ferane observes that it sounds as if Egwene would leave him free to sow chaos “as he sees fit.”

“Rand al’Thor is like a river,” Egwene said. “Calm and placid when not agitated, but a furious and deadly current when squeezed too tightly. What Elaida did to him was the equivalent of trying to force the Manetherendrelle through a canyon only two feet wide. Waiting to discover a man’s temperament is not foolish, nor is it a sign of weakness. Acting without information is lunacy, and the White Tower deserved the tempest it riled up.”

Ferane asks how she would have handled it then, and Egwene seriously considers the problem, knowing that Rand had changed from the boy she’d known. She answers that Rand sees himself as an emperor now, and will react poorly to being pushed or pressured, and so she would send a delegation to honor him: three Aes Sedai, a Gray, a Green and a Blue. She observes that Elaida’s delegation failed because it was sent by a Red, and wonders at the logic of raising a Red to Amyrlin during the days of the Dragon Reborn. She asks, since when does the White Tower kidnap and torture heads of state instead of subtly guiding them to do their wishes? She goes on, though, that Rand is not their most urgent problem; the division in the Tower must be attended to first. Ferane says that Egwene’s own defiance exacerbates that problem, but Egwene rejects that reasoning, averring that it is Elaida’s leadership (or lack thereof) which has brought them to this pass, and reminds them that the White (i.e. Alviarin) played no small part in letting it happen. She urges them to begin reconciling with the other Ajahs by accepting Suana’s (Sitter, Yellow) invitation to dine together. The Whites are startled but thoughtful, and Ferane indicates she will consider Egwene’s proposal, calling her by name instead of “child.”

Egwene stood up, and then—very carefully—nodded her head to Ferane. Though Tesan and Miyasi gave no strong reactions, both pairs of eyes widened slightly. By now, it was well known in the Tower that Egwene never curtsied. And, shockingly, Ferane bowed her head, just a degree, returning the gesture.

“Should you decide to choose the White, Egwene al’Vere,” the woman said, “know that you will find a welcome here. Your logic this day was remarkable for one so young.”

Egwene thanks her, but reminds them that the Amyrlin represents all Ajahs, and leaves. She is very pleased until she runs into Katerine, who gives her her forkroot dose, and then gleefully informs her that Elaida has decided that from now on Egwene shall have no lessons, and will do nothing but manual labor until she agrees to curtsy to her betters. Egwene is greatly dismayed, for this means her access to sisters will be entirely cut off, but gathers herself and acquiesces without argument, to Katerine’s disgruntlement. Egwene briefly considers giving in on the curtsying just to get access back, but then realizes it will prove to Elaida that she could be broken, and that this new punishment must not change her behavior any more than the beatings had. She goes to the kitchens, and after three hours of back-breaking labor she is startled when Laras fetches her and leads her to a back pantry and shows her a bolthole that leads to the garbage runs. Laras tells her she can get Egwene out of Tar Valon that very night; Egwene asks why, and Laras replies that she won’t be party to breaking a girl’s spirit. Egwene considers the offer, but refuses. Laras asks why.

“Because,” Egwene said, glancing back at the fireplace. “Someone has to fight her.”

“You can’t fight like this,” Laras said.

“Each day is a battle,” Egwene said. “Each day I refuse to bend means something. Even if Elaida and her Reds are the only ones who know it, that’s something. A small something, but more than I could do from the outside.”

They return to the kitchens to find Katerine there, who informs Egwene that the Amyrlin has demanded Egwene’s attendance at dinner, and suggests Egwene take the chance to prove her humility. Egwene goes and cleans herself as best she can while considering what tack to take this time with Elaida, and decides that she will be silent again, as she had before. In the dining chamber, Egwene is surprised to discover that there are five Sitters at the dinner with Elaida: Yukiri (Gray), Doesine (Yellow), Rubinde (Green), Shevan (Brown), and Ferane (White); Egwene supposes there are no Red Sitters because they are all out of the Tower at the moment. She realizes that all her work could be undone if these women see her being subservient to Elaida. Egwene wonders for a moment if this dinner is an attempt to heal the rifts between the Ajahs, and that she had misjudged Elaida, but then Elaida immediately begins insulting Shevan and then the other Sitters in turn, and Egwene divines that the purpose of the dinner was merely for Elaida to be able to lord it over the other sisters. She fights down her anger with difficulty. Eventually Shevan brings up the Seanchan, and mentions that Egwene has extensive information on them; Elaida laughs and declares Egwene’s “information” to be lies fed to her by al’Thor, who is working with the invaders. She demands that Egwene admit this.

The penance she would take for not speaking would be better than suffering Elaida’s rage at contradicting her. Silence was the path to victory.

And yet, as Egwene glanced down the long mahogany table, set with bright white Sea Folk porcelain and flickering red candles, she saw five pairs of eyes studying her. She could see their questions. Egwene had spoken boldly to them when alone, but would she hold to her assertions now, faced by the most powerful woman in the world? A woman who held Egwene’s life in her hands?

Was Egwene the Amyrlin? Or was she just a girl who liked to pretend?

Egwene replies that the Seanchan are not working for Rand, and are a severe danger to the White Tower; she is a Dreamer, she says, and has Dreamed that the Seanchan will attack the White Tower. Elaida laughs and threatens penance for her exaggerations, and Egwene answers that even if she doesn’t believe her Dream, Elaida must acknowledge that the Seanchan are a threat to women who channel. Elaida declares her foolish, and demands she kneel and beg forgiveness immediately or be locked in a cell. She embraces the Source, and Egwene asks if she has so little authority that she must force Egwene to kneel with the Power, and if she intends to do the same to everyone else in the Tower as well. She asks if the others know about Elaida’s idea about making everyone swear a fourth Oath to obey the Amyrlin; Elaida says it was only idle talk.

“There is often truth in speculation,” Egwene said. “You locked the Dragon Reborn himself in a box; you just threatened to do the same to me, in front of all of these witnesses. People call him a tyrant, but you are the one destroying our laws and ruling by fear.”

Elaida snaps that she does not need to defend herself against a mere novice. Egwene asks what she intended to do with Rand al’Thor once she captured him, and Elaida answers that she would have kept him secure in the Tower until it was time for the Last Battle, to prevent him causing chaos. In answer, Egwene quotes the Karaethon Cycle (“As the plow breaks the earth shall he break the lives of men, and all that was shall be consumed in the fire of his eyes. The trumpets of war shall sound at his footsteps, the ravens feed at his voice, and he shall wear a crown of swords”) and asks how he was supposed to fulfill any of that if he’d been locked in the Tower. Elaida tries to change the subject to the rebels, and Egwene accuses her of fomenting discord by refusing to treat with them, and by alienating the Ajahs in the Tower.

“Coward,” Egwene said.

Elaida’s eyes flared wide. “How dare you!”

“I dare the truth, Elaida,” Egwene said quietly. “You are a coward and a tyrant. I’d name you Darkfriend as well, but I suspect that the Dark One would perhaps be embarrassed to associate with you.”

Elaida screeched, weaving in a flash of Power, slamming Egwene back against the wall, toppling the pitcher of wine from her hands.

Elaida screams that Egwene is the Darkfriend, and begins beating her with switches of Air that draw blood. Horrified, the Sitters yell at Elaida that this is against Tower law, but Elaida shrieks back that she is the law. Then she and the other sisters see to their shock that Egwene is still standing calmly under the onslaught.

“I wish I weren’t needed here, Elaida,” Egwene said softly. “I wish that the Tower had a grand Amyrlin in you. I wish I could step down and accept your rule. I wish you deserved it. I would willingly accept execution, if it would mean leaving a competent Amyrlin. The White Tower is more important than I am. Can you say the same?”

Elaida bellows that she will beat Egwene every day until she is satisfied, and only then execute her. She orders that Egwene be thrown into the deepest cell in the Tower, and have it broadcast in the city that she is a Darkfriend. Meanwhile Egwene is growing light-headed from blood loss, but she fears for the Tower, not her own life.

It had come to a head, as she’d feared that it would. She had cast her lot.

[…] As she leaned back against the wall, thoughts fading, she was overcome with sorrow.

Her battle from within the Tower was at an end, one way or another.

Commentary
When I first read TGS I had an amazing amount of ambivalence toward the climactic scene of this chapter, which I rather thought would resolve itself once I did a slower, more considered readthrough. That… has not turned out to be the case.

On the one hand, Egwene’s confrontation with Elaida was completely, totally awesome. It was just pages of Egwene being fearless and badass and eloquent and the kind of leader everyone would want a leader to be. Not to mention it was ages overdue for someone to tell that moron Elaida just how big of a moron she is. So the visceral satisfaction there cannot be overestimated.

On the other, as much as I enjoyed it, I had a huge amount of trouble believing that Elaida would have ever let that conversation go on as long as it did before shutting it down. It bugged me on first reading, and it bugs me now.

And, I am aware there are all kinds of ways to rationalize and/or explain why she didn’t: the at least temporarily inhibiting presence of the Sitters, the shock of Egwene’s blatant defiance, Elaida’s own megalomania convincing her that she couldn’t possibly lose an argument to a mere novice, etc.

And I’m not necessarily being dismissive of these rationales either; they all work, they are all legit. I don’t, in fact, feel that I am being particularly reasonable in having a problem with this. But in spite of all that, well… I still have a problem with it.

I dunno, I guess I just really expected Elaida to snap the second Egwene failed to call her “Mother” and go to town on her immediately. I think this might be because I had concluded before the dinner even started that all Elaida even wanted was a bare excuse to whale on Egwene and throw her in the dungeon and/or kill her, so what was she waiting for?

I suppose, though, that it might be argued that Elaida was deluded enough that she really thought Egwene was going to buckle under, and was continuing to try for that until Egwene goaded her into completely losing her shit. It might also be argued that while she’s always been a twat, she never was actually evil (as in Evil Evil™), and certainly doesn’t consider herself so in her own mind, and so she could have been clinging to some bare vestige of moral integrity by holding off as long as she did.

I don’t know if I buy it, particularly the latter, but you could definitely argue it.

But, that issue aside, yay Egwene rockalicious you go girl. The turning point of your Plot Arc of Awesome, we have reached it. Kickass.


And that’s the story for now, morning glories! Have a fantabulous Thanksgiving if that be your national inclination, and a fantabulous random Thursday in November iff’n it ain’t, and see you next week!

135 comments
WOT Dragons
1. WOTNoDragons
"---the Dark One would perhaps be embarrassed to associate with you.”

Ha - Eg's is a gazzillion shades of awesome! Absolutely brilliant put-down. Love it.
Homeschool
2. Homeschool
"And if thereare more, where the hell did she get them?"

When they captured Semirhage, they mention that she had started duplicating the male a'dam, and that she had several with her.
Nadine L.
3. travyl
about the male a'dam: KOD, Chapter 27
"They're a'dam for men," she [Nynaeve] said angrily. [...]
Rand dropped the things back into the box. There were six of the larger circlets, and five of the silvery leashes. Semirhage had been prepared no matter who he brought ...
They don't seem to be exact duplications of the original male a'dam, but copies "like it" with the same / similar (?) function.

Thanks for the post Leigh, have a nice Thanksgiving (Turkey right?)
Ted Herman
4. WinespringBrother
"She asks, since when does the White Tower kidnap and torture heads of state instead of subtly guiding them to do their wishes?"

Guess it is a good thing Cadsuane refused to be raised Amyrlin Seat!! (since per the Great Hunt decoded document, that is basically what Cads did, though on her own and outside of official channels apparently)
Tricia Irish
5. Tektonica
I know we've discussed the possibility of Sorelia being a DF before, so I reread that conversation between Sorelia and Cads with great interest, to try to discover any possible "darkness" in Sorelia....and I just can't see it. I don't understand her reaction to Semi, about her being more "human" than expected....than expected from what exactly? An ancient AoLer? Total Evilness?

Also, there was speculation that Sorelia was the one that passed on the knowledge of the weaves that Cads used to secure the box holding the A'dam. I suppose she could've seen the weaves that Cads undid to open the box of A'dam and Chodan Kal. Is it mentioned if Cads "redid" those weaves? We assume she did, but did she?

I believe when they captured Semirhage masquerading as Tuon, she had several male A'dam's with her, so she must have been duplicating them.

As to who the "retired" Aes Sedai studying the A'dam and Callandor might have been....this strikes me as odd. There may be many "retired" AS hanging around, and certainly Cads would make it her business to know them, being a very thorough AS herself. But I find it odd that this small snippet is just tossed in here, without other mention or clarification later. And who knows where Callendor is? Is Cads the only one?

Edit to add: Yay, Min! I love her role here...not just Rand's "comfort", but a studying, thinking, concerned helpmate. Still my fave lady.

Have a fun, relaxing and thankful Thanksgiving, Leigh....and Everyone!
Samuel Walker
6. lambada
I'd forgotten that Min independently came up with the idea of breaking the seals.
Naturally they both had the note to go on, but still.... I may have to reevaluate my ideas on that plan.
Roger Powell
7. forkroot
WinespringBrother@4
Kidnap, definitely. Torture ... well, let's just say "mild encouragement" (like hanging them upside down.)

Leighdb
Sorry, I don't have a problem believing that Elaida would go on like she did with Egwene. Elaida consistently underestimated Egwene (believing her to be a figurehead, set up by Sheriam et al.) Like so many megalomaniacs, she also tends to ignore evidence that doesn't fit her worldview (such as the pattern of sisters calling for Egwene, reports of how Egwene carried herself, etc.)

So in Elaida's mind, she should easily be able to win a war of words with a mere figurehead and would do so rather than shut her down (and by implication give Egwene's arguments some validity.)
Roger Powell
8. forkroot
WOT(no)?Dragons@1
"---the Dark One would perhaps be embarrassed to associate with you.”

Ha - Eg's is a gazzillion shades of awesome! Absolutely brilliant put-down. Love it.

It was funny, but not very accurate. I mean, c'mon! If you think Elaida is a bungler? ... Why, she'd fit right in with the Forsaken!
Rob Munnelly
9. RobMRobM
I thought this was the chapter to kick off the Sorilea is a darkfriend discussion. I hope she isn't but there is a vocal minority in that camp. I'm betting we'll hear later.

The Rand chapter is interesting. Reinforces the Mori tied to Rand theory and squarely tees up the idea that it would be great to stop the Wheel from spinning out the same battle over and over again. I'm firmly in the "AMOL refers to Moridin" camp and his reconciliation with the light will save the day forever. If so, this chapter is a good early tease in that direction.

Re Egwene's chapter, she is awesome (that is all) but my problem with the chapter is that Elaida has been written to lose all shades of grey. She has her Snidley Whiplash moustache on and has to act like an idiot to make Egwene look good in comparison. I'm not going down the Brandon's writing is a problem mode, but this is an example where RJ would have handled the scene with more subtlety and created a more satisfying chapter. Of course, RJ also would have had excesses that BS would have improved upon by being more focused and to the point. To me, this is the biggest observed change from RJ in writing style - subtle grey versus black and white, with the converse that RJ has a far more elliptical style that drifts towards excess and needs to be corrected.


Rob
Erik
10. gadget
As others have said, the male a'dams came from Semirhage's capture (As a side note, if find it a bit of a stretch that the Seanchan would be able to replicate the cuediar male a'dams and bloodknife rings, slaves don't make good innovators).

I must agree about Egwene's storyline. While it is unquestionalby viceral and carthatic, she does come off as a bit of a Marry-Sue.
Anthony Pero
11. anthonypero
Once again, I will ask Rob, how do you know that RJ didn't write that scene? We don't know specifically what he wrote and what Brandon wrote. The whole thing is further complicated by the fact that large swaths of the book were written by RJ and never revised. Brandon has stated on his blog that he wasn't touching the parts that RJ had written. They may get edited some by Harriet's line edits, but considering how long it took RJ to write these books, I think it's safe to say that RJ revised his work considerably from first draft until it actually was handed to Harriet for editing. None of that has happened, presumably, to the sections that RJ wrote.

So even saying "RJ would have handled this better" doesn't mean that he didn't write this particular section, because, presumably, based on what we've heard from Brandon, the RJ material is basically a first draft.
Anthony Pero
12. anthonypero
Yes, I realize that I wrote the word presumably a lot in that last paragraph. That's kind of my point. Everything we say about who wrote what is presumption, based on, ultimately, zero evidence, because none of us have read RJs first drafts. We don't know what his writing sounded like before he polished and spit-shined it.
Anthony Pero
13. anthonypero
For some reason I always get images of Carrie with blood rolling down her face, and her hair flying in the wind, and the doors closing when I read this Egwene chapter, lol. Except Elida is doing all the Carrie stuff, and Egwene is just bleeding.
Kurt Lorey
14. Shimrod
Maybe Rand and Moridin will join to break the Wheel? Maybe breaking the Wheel is what Moiraine will suggest upon her return? Maybe that is what is meant by giving up half the light in the world to save the other half? Balance.

Just rambling.

Everyone here have a wonderful weekend!
Rob Munnelly
15. RobMRobM
AP - agreed, of course, but we've gotten far more of the black/white positioning in TGS and TOM than in earlier books. Again, I like Brandon's writing and value it but I'm suspecting he wrote this piece and more subtlety would have been a virtue here, IMO, presumably.

Rob
Rob Munnelly
16. RobMRobM
@14 - I like it. Moraine is at the heart of things but her particular role is not yet clear. Really looking forward to the answer.
Melissa Shumake
17. cherie_2137
thanks for the epic "legend" reference!

love the re-read, as always. =)
Homeschool
18. LoghainsBrother
About Rand et al. finally coming to learn things reads know from long ago:

One of the themes of WoT that always caught most of my attention and interest was how information spreads and changes across time and distance (which is not counted by miles but rather by mouths).
It was frustrating, but also unavoidable to realize that the characters are doomed to know much less than the readers.

Once I started reading TGS it hit me very fast that this is changing.
On one hand, I assume the approaching ending of the series requires that the heroes finanlly learn some stuff.
But on the other hand, I have a strong suspicion that these reveals are the work of an ascended fanboy who was also frustrated with the characters being so "blind".

I hope I'm wrong, but it was one of the things that gave me a very strong feeling that someone else is steering the series now.
j p
19. sps49
Elaida's dinner didn't ring with me for the reason many similar scenes in other written (and movie) works- the bad character allows the smack-talker plenty of time to make their point. RL "discussions" quickly degenerate to both parties talking at once, with neither hearing the other, and if the antagonist has power over the protagonist they wouldn't let them mount a soapbox..

For instance:

Elaida’s eyes flared wide. “How dare you!”

“I dare the-" "SHUT THE FUCK UP!!", accompanied by the lashings of Air.

Aviendha- again, I was with her wondering what she had done wrong. Oh well.
Homeschool
20. Paulie
Regarding Sorilea being a DF...has Zen Rand been around her to see her "darkness" since his epiphany? That would settle that question, if he had been near her.
Marcus W
21. toryx
"---the Dark One would perhaps be embarrassed to associate with you.”

Actually, that particular line ruins the scene for me a little. All the way up to this point, Egwene remains calm and assured, speaking with reason and a foundation of fact rather than rancor. Then she goes and throws this line in. It's the kind of line one would expect to rise out of emotion, either anger or vindictiveness. It totally breaks the weight of the previous passages for me.

*sigh*

Oh well.
Homeschool
22. wcarter4
I believe that the dinner scene well have been early RJ. According to Harriet he would assign letters to the top of each page of his writing drafts and wouldn't even let her see them until draft "J" or so. (For those of you who can't count that's 10 drafts worth of rewrites before the "first draft" that ever goes to the editor). For all we know that was draft "d"
That being said I had no real problem with the scene. There are plenty of earlier ones in earlier book were a POV character was allowed to do that (see Elayne's tirade against the Aes Sedi in Ebu Dar for not treating her as a full sister).

As for Soriela being a Dark Friend. That's complete bunk, and here's why:
1. At the end of the day she has been a good leader for the Aiel for years. There's a reason all of the other Wise Ones respect her and often let her lead the way.
2. She wanted Rand to be happy and to care. All of the Dark Friends in his enterage were quite happy making him colder and trying to get him to dispare (They had explicit orders to in some cases) She was actively working at a cross purpose to that. SHE WANTS TO SAVE THE AIEL AND RAND.
3. Her "darkness" in hating the Seanchan is perfectly understandable. Their culture is monstorous. Sure there are good people among the Seanchan and the Last Battle is more important, but it's her Pride (with a capital P) that makes her want to destroy them, not a desire to inhibit the forces of the Light. Every character in this book has flaws, just because she has one does not make her evil.
4. She had many opportunities to kill Rand, Egwene, Aviendha, Mat, and Moraine directly or indirectly. Barring that she could certainly harmed them in other ways or posioned the opinions of the wise ones and clan chiefs against them. As I stated in point 1 she's smart. There's no way someone even semi competent would have let ALL of those opportunities slip away, let alone someone on her level.
James Jones
23. jamesedjones
Why did some readers have a problem with the argument between Egghead and Elaida?

Probably because it was way too much like the arguments we had in our heads when we were children. Yes, Elaida's stupid. But even stupid people do not feed you lines that successfully in real life. Villans in fiction need to be better written so the hero(?) actually accomplishes something.
Rafael
24. Ryamano
@14 shimrod

giving up half the light of the world to save the world was a prophecy about Mat. According to TOM, it was actually a self-fullfilling prophecy. If the Aelfin hadn't told him he'd do that he wouldn't come up with this idea about what to give the Eelfin when he came to meet them, in order to give Moiraine up. Self-fullfilling prophecy or destiny, it's something like that and that apparently has already happened.

@22 wearter4

I might be wrong, but we have never seen a Sorilea POV. We don't know her motivations until we see such a POV. People that are apparently "good" and "competent" can be Darkfriends. Ingtar was one, until he redeemed himself. And he appeared to be a competent soldier and didn't seem to undermine any of the borderland's efforts to defeat the shadow until it was revealed that he had a hand in allowing the shadowspawn in the stealing of the horn and releasing Fain plan. The same could've happened with Sorilea, apparently doing only good stuff until it's revealed that she was the one who got the sad bracelet and gave it to Shaidar Haran. That plan would've meant much more than sowing dissent amongst the Light side, since it almost meant the Shadow's victory (either with Rand's death or Rand becoming too dark).
Homeschool
25. AndrewB
Tektonica @5 said: "I don't understand her reaction to Semi, about her being more "human" than expected....than expected from what exactly? An ancient AoLer? Total Evilness?"

I always understood this comment to be that modern day Randlanders (including the Aiel) were taught that the Forsaken were more than human; a sort of demigod. But seeing Semirhage in the flesh, Soriela realizes that she is quite human (i.e. like anybody else). Soriela's observation is a point that Verin will expound upon in her conversation with Egwene later in TGS. The Forsaken are like children trying to vye for their parent's attention.

Thanks for reading my musings,
AndrewB
Captain Hammer
26. Randalator
Of course, let’s hope when Rand “dies” they don’t actually burn his body, as that could present some logistical difficulties three days later, ahem.

Well, if they do, let's hope they like their Messiahs extra extra crispy...
Homeschool
27. Blood_Drunk
@5 So the comment about Semi looking human goes to the idea that she sees herself as a legend a mythical monster used to scare children to do their chores. Just as many myths and stories get blown out of proportion over time, so has her story. The difference is that she has begun to believe in her own myth. Even during the age of legends there were stories of her unequaled aptitude with torture. The aiel were expecting a monster and they found something ‘human,’ something relatable, something that could be bound and gagged and not so immortal.

Also you bring up ‘these people’ that Cad sends the other objects to. AS live so long it is reasonable to allow that Cad would know some that chose to retire. Just like Moiraine found Adeleas and Vandeen working on their history book in TGH
(I apologize for any misspellings but I didn’t feel like doing a reference check)
Stefan Mitev
28. Bergmaniac
RobMRobM @9 - "Re Egwene's chapter, she is awesome (that is all) but my problem with the chapter is that Elaida has been written to lose all shades of grey. She has her Snidley Whiplash moustache on and has to act like an idiot to make Egwene look good in comparison. I'm not going down the Brandon's writing is a problem mode, but this is an example where RJ would have handled the scene with more subtlety and created a more satisfying chapter. "

Since when there was any kind of subtlety in regards to Elaida? Jordan went out of his way time and time again to show how extremely stupid and deluded that woman was and to make Egwene look good comparison ever since TFOH. I can easily list plenty of things she did in the first 11 books which were much dumber than anything here. Hell, in KoD alone there were quite a few of those.
Homeschool
29. dgreene196
AndrewB @ 25

I agree with you on Sorilea's thoughts re: Semirhage. The Forsaken are little short of monsters in the minds of those in the 3rd Age that believe they ever existed at all. To see one as just a woman (or man), takes a lot of that fear away.

I think Egwene is largely right about the Dark One being uninterested in any association with Elaida. She's powerful (as far as the 3rd Age is concerned) and intelligent, but she's a fool. And while she's conceited, in her own twisted way, she has tried to look out for the White Tower. She envisioned a far more active, more powerful Tower, with herself enshrined at its tope. The Forsaken wouldn't even bother with such things. They'd happily destroy the Tower to gain the smallest additional influence.
Homeschool
30. Alea_iacta_est
I still don't get it. I don't get why Rand fighting the Last Battle in his current state would be a bad thing.
I mean, I understand his mental health is very bad at the moment, but why does that matter for the Last Battle? Sure, the world is still a chaos, there are lots and lots of problems for the lightside, but Rand himself, while insane, is not incapable of fighting.

Could someone explain, please?
Homeschool
31. Ryanus
I don't even know that Sorillea was expecting a demigod. I think she was expecting something like an evil Rand. She knows he's just a man at the core, but he's impressive, powerful, forceful, dominating and near unstoppable in his presence. To a lesser extent she's interacted with Perrin and Mat and they're the same.

Heck she even has such thoughts about Egwene (Not sure if she's met Nynaeve or Elayne offhand)

She expects the Main leaders of the opposing force to be the same. Walks in and see. An arrogant twit clinging to a shell of perfection. She sees the end result of what she desperately wants Rand to not be.

I'm also with Toryx. That whole Darkfriend spout by Egwene completely derailed the fight in my mind. Honestly if Elaida hadn't been Fain tainted I think she could have turned the entire fight right there. Just point out that such a baseless, pointless and useless accusation is unbecoming of someone who claims to be a calm and skilled leader and speaker.
Homeschool
32. Ryanus
Sorry for the double post.

@30. His current state and it's resolution in this book were what the Dark One was working on. His ultimate goal. Rand doesn't know what he's fighting for, doesn't know why these people are worth his effort, doesn't have anything resembling an ability to stay calm in a fight despite his coldness.

This whole state of mind is to work him to become something less than human, to make him not care about anything except winning. That type of narrow-minded focus could easily be used to guide him to ruin.

That's not even counting the get him to almost level the continent thing.
Roger Powell
33. forkroot
wcarter4@22
I agree with you that there's absolutely nothing in her behavior to suggest that Sorilea is a Darkfriend. The problem lies in figuring out how Cadsuane's weaves were defeated (the weaves that protected the box with the Domination Band and the Access Key.)

We know that only Bair and Sorilea are present when Cadsuane removes the traps. Bair can't channel, so that leaves Sorilea as the only person who knows how to untrap the box.

The text goes on a bit about the complexity and originality of the weaves; we also know that Cadsuane knows how to invert the weaves (it's mentioned in the chapter where she ends up breaking Semi.) Included in the weaves is an alarm that goes off if anyone touches them with another weave. It's quite a stretch to assume that anyone could defeat the weaves without knowing how in advance.

Semirhage didn't beat the weaves, Elza presents her with the Domination Band as soon as Shaidar Haran frees her. So it seems pretty clear that either Elza opened the box or SH itself did.

If Elza, a run-of-the-mill 3rd age channeler, opened the box then she almost certainly had to know the tricks to defeating the weaves and that in turn implies that Sorilea must have shown her how.

If Shaidar Haran did open the box, this implies a whole new set of powers that it previously did not display. In the past, SH appeared to use the TP for a few things like burning up a spear or making a globe of darkness. I would say that as a minimum, it would have to have the ability to detect and destroy One Power weaves with the TP.

So there you have it: Either SH has a lot more capability than we've seen before, or Sorilea must be a DF.

One more thing: by "coincidence" Cadsuane gets invited out to be with the Aiel (presumably by Sorilea) the night that Semi escapes.

And another thing: When Cadsuane and entourage enter the room after Rand's close call with Semi, BWS specifically notes Sorilea's unreadable reaction when seeing the remains (bracelets) of the Domination Band. It's curious that he would single her out.
Charles Gaston
34. parrothead
More Egwene awesomeness, and against the 0% Approval Rating Queen herself! And of course, a rare enough POV from my favorite character Min. I'm with Sorilea; the Seanchan are teh EVULZ kill it with fire.

My own reread (now about a third into TSR) is going to grind to a halt, what with the release of Zelda: Skyward Sword. Which is not a bad dilemma, really; my favorite series in their respective media. BTW, in case Mr. Sanderson should see this, loved the opinion piece in Game Informer. Finally someone who gets it! Someone in a "respectable" medium who recognizes the storytelling potential of gaming and isn't afraid to say so.

One more thing, sadly: Anne McCaffrey, both the first woman to win a Hugo Award and first to win a Nebula Award, passed away yesterday at the age of 85. She will be very sorely missed by her millions of fans.
Roger Powell
35. forkroot
Hmmm - Thinking about this more... I'm less and less convinced that Sorilea had anything to do with it and it must have been Shaidar Haran who opened the box.

Elza still has Verin's compulsion weave on her when she presents the Domination Band to Semirhage. In order for Sorilea to tell Elza how to untrap the box, Sorilea would have had to have phrased it that this action would somehow contribute to getting Rand to facing the DO at the Last Battle - a difficult sell at best, and how would Sorilea know to phrase it that way? Even if coached by SH?

As far as we know, nobody knows the specifics about Verin's compulsion weave. So even if Sorilea knew that Elza was Black Ajah, she wouldn't know about Elza's compulsion.

As for Sorilea herself opening the box - she was with Cadsuane at the Aiel tents. So now we would have to construct a theory where Sorilea instructs another unknown Darkfriend on how to open the box, and that intermediary gives the DB to Elza. Too shaky IMO.

We do know that SH can stop Forsaken from channeling, and we strongly suspect that it can access the TP. It's looking more and more like SH can probably just destroy weaves of the One Power without having to know their specifics. Presumably destroying all the weaves would not trigger any traps or alarms.

The nagging loose end is: how did SH know where the Domination Band was? Only Sorilea and Bair knew that it was in the old letter box (vs. the trunk). Bair's actions in the T'AR battle in ToM make it a virtual certainty that she is not a Darkfriend.

So I suppose it's still possible that Sorilea told Shaidar Haran the location of the SB and warned it that there were defensive weaves on the letter box.
Rob Munnelly
36. RobMRobM
Looks like tor.com was down for a while and I lost my post re Elaida. *le sigh* The Elaida of KoD and earlier is wrongheaded but not vicious or stupid. She builds a new tower. She plots to avoid the blackmailing of Alviarin. She sends sisters to eliminate the BT. She let's Egwene live and doesn't even order her birched. She limits access to Beonin's advanced weaves. Etc. There is an intelligence shown consistent with the woman who rivaled moiraine and siuan for speed in gaining the shawl in New Spring, who advised the brilliant Queen of Andor for years. The individual steps are unwise but have an underlying logic. The Elaida of TGS is Snidely Whiplash, twisting her eeeevil mustache. Too much too evil too soon. Too black (not in black sister sense) not enough grey. A bit more grey would have made Eg's triumph that much sweeter, IMO.

Rob
Homeschool
37. Lii
"She asks, since when does the White Tower kidnap and torture heads of state instead of subtly guiding them to do their wishes?"

Since, like, ALWAYS. For serious. I mean, she had a lovely garden chat with the captive (maybe former) King of Illian not too many chapters before this. Elaida LITERALLY bundled him up and whisked him off to the Tower. Literally. Like rolled him up in a rug, IIRC. And although she hadn't stooped to beating the crap out of him yet, I doubt his former status would have stopped her if she got it into her head to do so.

In addition, the Tower has been kidnapping heads of state (and anyone else they damn well please) for some-odd three thousand years at this point. I'm 100% certain that at least some of them needed "coercion" of some kind.

So seriously, I have no idea what Egwene is talking about with that.

Otherwise, I have absolutely no issues with that chapter as it is so badass that it would be an absolute sin to nitpick at it instead of simply enjoying it for the Work of Awesome it is.
Homeschool
38. Alea_iacta_est
@32 Yeah, I sort of get that, but I don't see what the bad thing is about that. At several points in the series it is said that a victory for Rand at that point might be as bad as the Shadow winning (or something like that), and I just don't get why. He's focused on winning, ok, but isn't that all he has to do? Afterwards, he is both prophesied to die and break the world (or in the process, I guess). What kind of bad things could he do after winning? I think breaking the world is pretty much the worst thing he could do.
And I agree that almost levelling the continent is a bad thing, but that happened after this point, and it would not have come to that if the Last Battle had happened right then.

My point is, I think, why does the Dragon need to have anything resembling humanity to fight the Dark One? What does it matter why he fights as long as he does it?
T C
39. Freelancer
Sorilea is in the clear. It was one of Brandon's answers at the TGS signing in San Diego, that Elza had been taught (by Shaidar Haran) a way to defeat Cadsuane's wards on the box to retrieve the male a'dam.
Roger Powell
40. forkroot
Freelancer@39
Thanks for the interesting info, although if it was presented as you say, it does not clear Sorilea, it implicates her further.

If Shaidar Haran itself had destroyed the One Source weaves with the TP that would merely be an extension of some of it's known abilities.

Since Shaidar Haran instead told Elza how to undo the weaves, it either has a heretofore unknown ability to read original inverted weaves of saidar or it talked to Sorilea who knew how to disarm the wards. From the text only, the latter is more reasonable.

Obviously if Brandon stated that Sorilea is in the clear, then the former explanation must then stand. So did BWS explicitly clear Sorilea, or was it your interpretation?

--
Regardless of the above, I can imagine the conversation between SH and Elza:

SH: You are to go to Cadsuane's room and retrieve the Domination Band. It is in an old letter box that is warded. Here are the weaves to unward it...

Elza: I live to serve Great Lord but I cannot do this as the Dragon must live to face you at Tarmon Gaidon.

SH: You defy me! What is this?

Elza: I live to serve you Great Lord. Nothing must prevent the Dragon from avoiding his doom at your hands at Tarmon Gaidon.

SH: Very interesting - come closer child. Ah yes ... I see. Very well ... know then that my commands will indeed serve that purpose. The Dragon must be defeated at Tarmon Gaidon. And, oh ... by the way, when you bring the Domination Bands to Semirhage, tell her you are under compulsion and she is to remove it.

Elza: It shall be as you command Great Lord.
Thomas Keith
41. insectoid
Great post as always, Leigh! Hope you have a wonderful Turkey Day.

Domination Bands: As many have already reminded you, Semi made copies. Too bad melodrama never works on characters in a book you're reading, huh?

Ishydin: Let's see... hmm. As to why Rand was in Moridin's dream, I think I just assumed that it was further confirmation of the link between him and Rand as a result of Crossing the Streams in ACoS. And that bit where he tells Rand he's stupid made me chuckle when I first read it.
"Go. Leave me in peace. I do not know what would happen to us if we killed one another..."
Interesting, that.

Min: You go, girl!
Rand: Is going crackers. Then there's this bit:
"You'll think I'm mad."

She snorted. "I already think you're a wool-headed fool. Can it be much worse than that?"
Heh.

Avi: Still doesn't get it... real dense.

Egwene: Is bucketloads of awesome and badass. On first read, when I got to the verbal beatdown she gave Elaida, I didn't really care that Elaida took longer than made sense to try stopping Egs, because I felt like shouting "YES, YES, YES!" (Except that I didn't want to make my mom wonder; she hadn't read that far yet.)
There was no backing down now. Egwene wished it hadn't come to this. But it had, and Elaida had demanded a fight.

It was time to give her one.
YES!

Annnnd... that was quite a bit of quoting I did. The Light help me if I'm becoming wordy!

And just think, next week we'll be covering Leigh's FAVORITE chapter. [/sarcasm] So, has the Cadsuane thing been fully decoded yet?

edit to add: Could someone tell me what today's jump text means? I live under a rock and am clueless.

Bzzz™.
Stefan Mitev
42. Bergmaniac
RobMRobM "The Elaida of KoD and earlier is wrongheaded but not vicious or stupid. She builds a new tower. She plots to avoid the blackmailing of Alviarin. She sends sisters to eliminate the BT. She let's Egwene live and doesn't even order her birched. She limits access to Beonin's advanced weaves. Etc. There is an intelligence shown consistent with the woman who rivaled moiraine and siuan for speed in gaining the shawl in New Spring, who advised the brilliant Queen of Andor for years. "

I strongly disagree. The Elaida of earlier is really stupid, especially when it comes to everything related to Egwene. Her whole plan to deal with Egwene once she captured her made absolutely no sense after Beonin informed her that Egwene was keeping in touch with the rebels and they have Travelling available. There was no way to break Egwene if she had an easy way out any time she chose by contacting the rebels to open a Gateway in her room during the night. Yet Elaida proceed with it anyway and didn't even consider trying to take away that option from Egwene somehow.

She started building a huge residence for herself right in the middle of a rebellion against her among the Aes Sedai and on the verge of the Last Battle. How much more obvious could it be that she was completely delusional and stupid?

Let's not forget what Elaida's grand plan for the Last Battle was - keep the Dragon captured in the Tower until the moment comes to send him to Shayol Ghul. The fact that there were a bunch of prophesies he was yet to fulfil by the point she tried to capture him and there would be no way to do it from his cell in the Tower didn't bother her at all.

What about the murders of the Warders of leane and Siuan and their immediate stilling without any trial? Was that not vicious? How about demoting Shemerin to Accepted and basically ruining her life?

Elaida did such a "good" job advising Morgase that as we see in TEOTW basically everyone in Caemlyn disliked her and thought she was a bad influence on the Queen, even those really loyal to Morgase like Basel Gill and Almer Bunt. Gareth Bryne, who after Morgase is probably the person who knew the most of her qualities as an advisor, didn't hesitate to join the rebels against her and said straight out he never liked her and didn't think she'd make a good Amyrlin.
Thomas Keith
43. insectoid
RobM² @9: Hehe... Snidely Whiplash.

toryx @21: Agreed—but it did do a very good job of making Elaida go apeshit. (Pardon my French.)

Free @39: I concur. Personally, I don't think Sorilea is a DF.

Bzzz™.
Homeschool
44. Blood_Drunk
@5 I really don’t think Sorila is a DF. Some of her actions have been those of an old leathery woman that’s had a hard life, which has given her street smarts, but left her with little time for foolishness. I will continue this with regards to Shadar Haran.

@30 Rand cant fight the last battle as he is now for several reasons. #1 By losing his humanity even if he beat the DO, he would become a despot no better than any of the forsaken. #2 By becoming cold and hard enough not to allow people to use those you love against you, then you become no better than the evil you fight against, this may even be what the DO wants. If Rand loses sight of why he is fighting for the good then he could be more easily swayed to the dark side. #3 Rand could say ‘to hell with it all’ like he did at the end of ToM. If you have no reason to fight other than just b/c you were told you have to, then you begin to wonder what the whole thing was for. Rand was ready to destroy it all b/c he got lost on why the world was worth saving.

@33 Ok you totally took the words out of my mouth. Shadar Haran can cause channelers to lose their ability to channel. It seems more like his mere presence than an active power he has, but I really don’t have much to back that up besides the fact that when he appears it seems too instantaneous that they lose their power. Masana is in the middle of talking to Alviarin and then falls to the floor when SH comes in the room. The same essentially happens with Graendal in ToM when she tries to run after failing to kill Perrin. What if his mere presence acts like Mat’s ter’angreal and disrupts flows of the pattern. SH was able to divine that there was some kind of compulsion in Elza, maybe he could sense the weaves in Cad’s room as well and then by touching the weaves he was able to destroy them rather than set them off b/c he is the hand of the DO. I feel like that dagger that Avi gave to Elayne is going to be his undoing. Also, this is skipping ahead, but when Verin leaves Mat a note that says that the waygate is not sealed there are really only 2 possibilities IMO. First, that SH did it and it is his ability to undo weaves that allows shadowspawn into the city. Or, second, the ashaman that was sent with loial to find and close all the different waygates was one of taim’s minions and was able to undo the weaves he placed himself. However I thought that Rand placed that particular trap on Caemlyn’s waygate himself.
Rob Munnelly
45. RobMRobM
Berg - to me, it's a matter of degree. While smart on some levels, Elaida was never a nice person or an effective leader. To make a literary allusion (Dryden), she is Zimri - "Stiff in opinion, always in the wrong...." but Elaida got stupid-er and vicious-er in TGS. The contrast between effective Egs and and nutty Elaida is sharpened by this device but something is lost. I would have preferred a more nuanced denouement.

P.s. Re the murders or the warders, obviously vile but no doubt the BAs played the decisive role in that result. Shemerin's demotion occurred after BS took over and helps prove my point - unnecessarily mean and foolish.

Rob
Homeschool
46. yasiru89
I thought we had been over this, but... dear feminists, Rand's refusal to hurt women has been demonstrated time and again to be a personal toehold on sanity and likely shaped by spectres of Ilyena's death at his hands in his past life, perhaps combined with a Two Rivers upbringing (where women are respected, rather ironically, considering the charge of disrespect levelled against Rand because of this) and male genetic programming. It's not so much that Rand thinks women can't handle pain as well as men, as Bair presumes (especially considering that Rand 'knows' the kind of twisted thing Semirhage is the best of out all of them) but that allowing the torture would land him in such an existential minefield and that's not the kind of thing he can afford at the moment.
A more reasonable account than blatant, out-of-nowhere misogyny, don't you think?

On to other things, I was under the impression that the Domination Band had been replicated and it was copies they found with Semirhage. Semirhage meant to collar everyone that came, including possible Asha'man besides the Dragon Reborn. I can't seem to recall the conversation Leigh mentions between Cadsuane and Nynaeve. Except, there was an instance when Cadsuane questions Nynaeve about where the latter had seen the thing before and Nynaeve mentions there was only the one originally.

Moridin's reasons might not be as compelling to us reading about these events, but imagine actually living with the knowledge that all things are bound to perish in black fires of absolute evil. That it's inevitable would take a toll on a man. Especially a philosopher who has lived for centuries and has become aware of the Wheel's past turnings and viscerally experiences the immortality of his soul.
Moridin's reasons made him sympathetic in this chapter (should one be able to appreciate their gravity under the immersion of the story), and that much more dangerous. Verin will tell Egwene later on why the Forsaken are actually rather predictable for being petty and selfish and after their own power, but not Moridin as we see now.
That said, I don't think Rand's plan to slay the Dark One is as daft as it's made out to be. You don't see an ultimate source of good helping the people of Randland along. The same, it stands to reason, could work with an ultimate evil, because good and evil are in all things and men make enough of either to exclude ultimate sources. Rand may not succeed in killing the Dark One, but perhaps he can make that ultimate evil somehow less and thereby slay the idea of it (in somewhat a LotR fashion).

More than all the counters Leigh comes up with against her impression, it has always seemed to me that the great failing of Elaida's when it came to Egwene was exactly the same as the Sitters' failing with her and the Forsaken's failing with her- underestimation. Elaida isn't fishing for a reason to punish Egwene or make an example out of her, not even after the first fiasco. This is where she cracks. Before this point, she thinks the girl already subdued and is actually in rather a good humour about what she takes to be desperate defiance in the face of an impossible situation. The more desperate, the sooner the girl is to kneel before her. Elaida counts on the situation to eventually win over Egwene and make the girl grovel before her rather than expect the girl to surmount the situation.
Homeschool
47. yasiru89
Having read the comments, a few additional notes:

I think Cadsuane's concerns about whether the Dragon can face the Dark One as he is are more pragmatic than mystical (this latter seems the unspoken assumption). She thinks the Dark One might be able to convert someone with that much darkness within them, or break them outright. And, even if he lives through the Last Battle, for having stared into the abyss too long, he might come out corrupted even on victory and yet still be the most powerful man in the world, rather similar to last time.

It's been confirmed Sorilea is not a Darkfriend. Personally, I think she's awesome. My favourite Wise One (and the Wise Ones are my favourite group of female channellers anyway). That said, a lot of what happened up to Semirhage finding Elza outside her cell remains unexplained. Who put the Compulsion over Elza? Who undid Cadsuane's wards? It can't have been a simple Black Sister considering the skill both tasks together would have required. So either another of the Forsaken accompanied Shaidar Haran, OR, more frighteningly, Shaidar Haran is capable of doing a fair bit more (presumably the True Power) than what powers we've seen him display (like creating an orb of black light and some other things not related to his ability to deny the Source to channellers).

This leads up to a conjecture I've had on the 'Light' in Rand's head post-epiphany. It's the story's counter to Shaidar Haran, it seems to me. Imagine if Rand meets Shaidar Haran on the way to the Pit of Doom. With his channelling ability ineffective before the creature, what chance does he have? Maybe the Light in his head has a purpose further than keeping the madness at bay (because we could always just have Nynaeve work on it now even if his case is more complicated than the average Asha'man's)- to allow him access to the Power when he's supposed to be shielded. THIS is probably why he doesn't care about circles of thirteen anymore (eg- in the Tower and in the Borderlander camp).
Kimani Rogers
48. KiManiak
Thanks again, Leigh. I was going through reread withdrawal with that week off. Needed my fix; now I’m feeling all right…

Cadsuane has always been intelligent and perceptive in regards to others, their actions, choices, etc. I actually do enjoy reading her POVs, even if I don’t always (or often, for that matter) respect her methods and/or actions.

I admit when I first read this I was very curious about who these other AS were that Cads gave the a’dam and sad bracelets to. Still do wonder, for that matter. Also, she trusted these AS enough to leave them Callandor?!?! The second most powerful sa’angreal in the world and she lets it out of her sight? Really?!?!

I think Moridin made a possibly well-rationalized point about not being able to destroy Ultimate Evil and that its all going to end someday; but I have no problems with Rand continuing to maintain hope and not accept that depressing outlook. Hope is important and what should continue to drive us. Hey, you could always take some hyper-rationalized yet fatalistic view that nothing anyone does ultimately matters, anyway, as the world and the universe will someday come to an end. But darn is that depressing… :-)

Egwene… Well she starts the chapter off by showcasing her awsomeness and her future hypocrisy yet again in the same scene (more evident after reading ToM, of course) when discussing how the Amyrlin should treat with Rand.

(I especially chuckle at the “Acting without information is lunacy, and the White Tower deserved the tempest it riled up,” line as it so applies to Egwene in ToM. But I’m jumping ahead, again.)

Anyway, I think Egwene did a great job demonstrating her wisdom and converting other Aes Sedai to her side. Egwene is incredibly smart so I’m not surprised (but yet did enjoy) reading about Egwene using logic to impress the White Sisters enough for them to attempt to recruit her.

And then the confrontation between Egwene and Elaida in front of the Sitters. Elaida is smart and stupid at the same time, trying to use Egwene serving her as a symbol of her power and authority but bungling it so much that she completely turns the Sitters against her and elevates Egwene in the process. Plus, Elaida loses her cool and makes the absurd Darkfriend charge.

Egwene, on the other hand, was masterful here. I really enjoy reading the way she handled herself, cultivated the respect of the Sitters, and how she handled Elaida here. Egwene trumps Elaida on multiple occasions (quoting the Karaethon Cycle and then asking Elaida to clarify how her plan would have allowed Rand to fulfill it was beautiful!) and reduces Elaida to having to resort to brute force as the only way to stop Egwene.

And to challenge Elaida to prove that Elaida values the White Tower more than her position of Amyrlin and make it clear to the Sitters that Elaida does not, and would not place the good of the White Tower over her comfort (as evidenced by Suffa giving Traveling to the Seanchan)? Oh, well done by Egwene. Well done, indeed. I so loved Egwene here.

I’m sorry you had a problem with that scene, Leigh. I was fine with the way it played out, myself.
Kimani Rogers
49. KiManiak
Comments, comments!

Tek@5 – I also had the “Sorilea is a Darkfriend” theory in mind (not that I in anyway subscribe to it; just seeing if there might be any textual support for that theory here) when reading this section. I also didn’t see anything that would lead me to think she’s a Shadowrunner. Do we really think that Sorilea saw the weaves, passed the info on to Elza and then just disappeared back to the tents?

Oh, and I got the impression that Sorilea (and other Randlanders) had elevated the Forsaken to almost “boogeyman” status; and that Sorilea’s comment was just another reminder of how the reality of the Forsaken (and any of our myths) doesn’t measure up to the preconception.
Or, what AndrewB@25 and blood_drunk@27 said…

lambada@6 – Yes, it was good to be reminded that Min came up with the idea first. Also that both Dark-Rand and Zen-Rand think it has merit…

ap@13 – Thanks for that Carrie mental image. Now that’s how I see her, too…

Paulie@20 – I thought that Sorilea was with the other Aiel when Rand returns to Tear and pledges never to disappoint the Aiel again, as she was part of that entourage of Rand’s followers along with Rhuarc, Bair, Cadsuane, Nynaeve, Min, etc. But, I don’t think the text explicitly states she was there.

wcarter@22 – I like your reasons re: Sorilea not being a Darkfriend

Alea@30 – I guess a quick response to your question about Rand would be: What exactly would Rand be fighting for, then? Why go through all the trouble, instead of just ending things. Kind of like where Rand almost ends up mentally and emotionally at the end of this book…

forkroot@33 & 35 & Freelancer@39 – I enjoyed reading the different points. I personally feel that we’ve been shown enough in the continued growth/development in SH’s abilities and importance by Team Jordan to allow for the possibility that he was able to locate the domination band, negate the wards and “convince” Elza to free Semi and request the removal of her Compulsion.
Jay Dauro
50. J.Dauro
RobMRobM

Wow. So BWS took over at book 5? Shemarin's demotion was first contemplated in the Prologue of TFoH, the actual demotion was in TFoH - 49, and she runs away from the Tower in LOC - 7.

We do not discover how she escaped the city, and get her story until TGS, but it was always RJ who wrote the demotion.

We also see Elaida's treatment (mental torture) of Medani in KOD. No, Elaida was already showing these traits long before BWS.
Roger Powell
51. forkroot
yasiru89@47
It's been confirmed Sorilea is not a Darkfriend.
Confirmed? By whom? Please provide the reference. The comments to date leave room for debate on the topic.
Who put the Compulsion over Elza?
That one we know. It was Verin, way back in ACOS, who put a compulsion weave on each of the captured Tower Sisters who then all swore to Rand.

We now know that Verin was aware that Elza was Black Ajah. Verin's oaths prevented betraying Elza, but she was able to protect Rand obliquely by making Elza's compulsion a belief that Rand had to survive to face the DO at TG.

It was pretty ironic that Elza was directing the flows from Callandor when she vaporized Osan'gar.

Kimaniak@49
For the record, I don't think Sorilea is a Darkfriend; however we have not yet fully explained away a certain amount of incriminating evidence.

BWS' statement that SH told Elza how to disarm the traps just further complicates things. There has been no previous evidence that SH could touch the True Source. So how, exactly, was it supposed to describe to Elza a complicated disarming weave?

Even if SH could demonstrate a weave, we're back to the question of how it could know. The text is very clear that Cadsuane used several original tricks. Sorilea was the only channeler who knew the disarming sequence.

I guess one wild idea would be that Elza was granted access to the True Power and used a TP weave to break the wards.

Occam's razor suggests that BWS (or RJ) just messed up a bit and didn't have that part of the backstory consistent.
Homeschool
52. Wortmauer
toryx@21: Actually, that particular line ruins the scene for me a little.
Me too, but maybe not for the same reason. I think I have two problems with the line:

1) It's basically a one-liner from stand-up comedy, and as such, rang the Sanderson Anachronism Bell in my head. "I'd associate you with the Dark One, but, oooh, wouldn't want to insult the Dark One! ZING!" Also, it has to be said, Egwene needs to not quit her day job. (Or rather, the author shouldn't quit his. I get the feeling he finds his clever wordplay somewhat funnier than I do. See also: Mat, Elend, Lightsong.)

2) It's not even true. The reason Egwene doesn't accuse Elaida of being a Darkfriend is because she doesn't believe it, not because she wants to avoid insulting him.

[As an aside, in general we don't know who wrote what (we can glean some from textual analysis but there will always be dissent), but in this case we actually do know. Sanderson has cited on multiple occasions this instance where he felt the need to deviate from the outline. The notes called for a single dinner scene with Elaida, but it just wasn't working, so he split it into two scenes in two separate chapters.]

You know what Egwene should have called Elaida? Da'tsang.
john mullen
53. johntheirishmongol
Some really interesting chapters here. I don't have any doubt that Sorilea is on the side of light. While she is tough, she has a sense of humor and I don't see that in any of the darklords.

As for Elaida, I feel she has gone all the way from confident and full of herself into full blown megalomania. I can buy her idiocy. She is building herself her own tower in the middle of a war!

When Rand and Moridin are talking I get visions of the scene in The Matrix with Neo and Morpheus.
Terry McNamee
54. macster
Ah, the chapter which made people actually think Sorilea is a Darkfriend. I've been looking forward to this... I can see why people would think she was one, based on a) her being the only person in the room other than Cadsuane who could channel and possibly see the weaves on the box b) Cadsuane just happening to be out visiting Sorilea when Semirhage is freed and c) her turnaround from thinking the chief of chiefs needs to be harder than most, harder than other chiefs, to wanting to help Cadsuane teach him laughter and tears. This last, I have always believed, is simply Characterization Marches On: people seem to have this idea that characters who have an opinion or viewpoint will necessarily always maintain it over time. It makes perfect sense to me that Sorilea, by virtue of her position among the Aiel, her own personality, and her opinion of chiefs vs. wetlanders, could have originally thought Rand needed to be very hard--but when she saw the results of this, she changed her mind, probably because he went too far, farther than even she felt was right.

As for b) (see forkroot @33), I call ta'veren effect: Rand needed to go through this experience with Semirhage and the Domination Band, possibly because he'll need the True Power later but most likely because the Pattern needed him to come close to breaking in order to be made whole as a full person, both Rand and Lews Therin. So it made sure Sorilea would summon Cadsuane, so Shaidar Haran could free Elza and Semirhage. As for a), we don't have proof that Cadsuane redid the weaves at all, let alone that Sorilea could see her while she did it.

Sorilea's thoughts on Semirhage indeed don't sound like a Darkfriend's--look at how Liandrin and her coven reacted to Moghedien, with Liandrin plotting to kill her or Compel her while the others continued to serve her despite her revealing dissension among the Forsaken; or how Alviarin, upon discovering that Mesaana didn't know as much about the Shadow's other plans as she pretended to, was stunned but didn't immediately start going "Huh, she's human after all". Sorilea's reaction is actually more similar to how Nynaeve reacted in Tanchico when she discovered how little Moghedien knew. (Though admittedly discovering she was on a Power-level with one of the Forsaken also helped de-mystify and de-fang Moghedien in her eyes.)

As for her thoughts on the Seanchan, while it is true the Shadow wants Team Light embroiled in conflict with them instead of the Shadow, that doesn't mean everyone who wants to fight the Seanchan is secretly a Darkfriend. Her anger and revulsion toward the Domination Band, the a'dam, and what the Seanchan are doing seems genuine and based in humanity, not a dastardly Shadow plot. Compare how the Maiden at the end of the chapter, as well as Aviendha, react to the news of the collared Wise Ones. And then there's the Wise Ones with Perrin who speak in ToM of giving the Seanchan a year and a day to release their captives before pursuing the same blood feud Sorilea mentions here. Aside from setting up what Aviendha sees at Rhuidean, this shows numerous Aiel feeling this way about the Seanchan, and they can't all be Darkfriends.

@40 forkroot: Put me in the camp that Shaidar Haran did it. I don't see why, if he has access to the True Power and can also cut people off from the Source, that he couldn't have sensed the weaves on the box and thus known how to destroy them, assuming his ability to cut off the Source didn't simply suppress or sever them. Recall in ACoS how he felt a weakness when away from Shayol Ghul, and wanted that link to be severed...and then we see him doing more powerful things, such as what he does to Graendal in TPoD or to Mesaana in CoT. It seems logical that as the seals weaken and the Dark One gets closer to being freed, Shaidar Haran is getting more powerful, even able to range farther from the Blight (he appears to Graendal near Ebou Dar in ToM), so his powers being strong enough to undo or destroy Cadsuane's weaves is feasible to me.

We know he can sense the Source because he senses Graendal and Sammael's channeling; what he does to the spear and that black globe of evil have to be the True Power; and unless Elza did it (which we don't know if she has the strength to do so) it appears that Shaidar Haran was the one who removed the shield on Semirhage in Chapter 22. (Elza might have killed weak Daigian, but I don't think she could have put the others sisters in that trance either.) So it is logical that he could undo or destroy One Power weaves, or tell others how to do so. Heretofore unknown, New Powers as the Plot Demands, but justified by the Dark One getting stronger.

As for how he knew where the box was, assuming he couldn't just sense the weaves or the Domination Band's evil, it's very possible Elza knew where they were being kept even though she'd never seen the box itself (Cadsuane has it in her room), or she could have just told Shaidar Haran where the room was/led him to it, on the logic that Cadsuane would have the band there, and once they got close enough he felt it and the weaves and knew what to do/tell Elza to do.
Terry McNamee
55. macster
To Leigh: others have covered this, but to address your confusion directly, I don't think Cadsuane is saying she knows of only one Domination Band, then turning around and revealing she knows of others. She was stating that Nynaeve had claimed there was only one, and it was supposed to have been destroyed, but she didn't see it done. So Cadsuane was positing the notion that it hadn't been, and had therefore been available as a template for the copies to be made from. So it "may have been used as a pattern" for the copies she did in fact know existed and had left with those retired Aes Sedai, not "there may be copies".

Chapter 15: I love this chapter, especially the talk between Rand and Moridin. The way it comes full circle and references things from as far back as The Eye of the World is brilliant; if this was written by Brandon and not Jordan, he did an incredible job of doing call backs and mimicking the feel of those early nightmares. The part with the rats behind the stones (how Lovecraftian!) and their tiny, almost human hands, was particularly well done. *shudders*

What also struck me about this chapter was how Affably Evil Moridin seemed. He'd never struck me before this as particularly horrific, particularly compared to his original cackling mad Obviously Evil Ba'alzamon self (other than the thing with the cour'souvra), and I had in fact enjoyed reading his thoughts re: Graendal and Sammael in ACoS and how he helped Rand. But here he seems...well, human. And in a wonderful literary contrast to Semirhage, instead of this humanity revealing the petty, selfish evil behind a terrifying legend, it reveals someone we can sympathize with.

I love the reference to Rand and Moridin sitting by the fireplace as if they were "two old friends"...the fact Moridin actually almost made a joke (mocking, of course) regarding Lews Therin's suicide, how he was arrogant enough to make a whole mountain for his grave...Rand rather snarkily saying that Moridin's last gift of sanity brought no comfort, which made Moridin snort...and the moment where Moridin reveals how despair over the Dark One's inevitable victory had made him change sides: "You were always so full of thoughts, Elan. Your logic destroyed you, didn't it?"

Even before the bit with Graendal seeing that "memory of light" in Moridin's eyes in ToM, it was this chapter which convinced me that Moridin may be that long-awaited example of there being "no one so lost to the Shadow they cannot come back to the Light". Some may think that catechism could come true with Lanfear, and if that were to happen it would probably be a pretty good blow to the Dark One...but losing Moridin would be far worse for him. And it may just be that his link with Rand is how this could be accomplished. After all, if that link is partly why Rand has become so dark, moody, twisted, and nihilistic, as well as how he used the True Power, then why couldn't it go the other direction? Especially with Rand's epiphany on Dragonmount...note that the moment with Moridin's memory of light comes before that epiphany (Graendal meets with him after Natrin's Barrow is destroyed, and there was a chunk of time between that and Rand meeting Tam, during which she would have been plotting against Perrin, sent Isam, the dreamspike was put in place, and then Tam leaves just before the trial). We haven't seen Moridin since then--who knows what being bonded to Zen Rand might be doing to him? (The bit with Cyndane at the end doesn't tell us anything about Moridin's state of mind, since his supposedly torturing her doesn't have any basis in fact.)

I also wonder why he revealed about balefire being the only way to kill Forsaken permanently. Is this part of his desire to see everything end, because too much balefire use would rend the Pattern? Or could it be related to freeing the Dark One, since every thread eliminated, even those of the Forsaken, is one less holding the Dark One in his prison?

The part with Min is very telling indeed. Aside from it revealing to us that it was her idea to break the seals, not Rand's (which should make things interesting if Egwene lays into Rand at Merrilor while Min is there), there's Rand's reaction. He tells her that makes sense, but then he admits that if he broke the seals, he has no idea what to do then. Which means that unless Min has learned or will learn what to do, or he has the knowledge from Lews Therin after being reintegrated, then Egwene may actually be partly right. Breaking the seals does need to happen, and she shouldn't be fighting him and splitting the forces of the Light on the eve of the Last Battle. But they do need to plan, and figure out what to do to seal (or destroy) the Dark One, before he can break them.

Loved, loved, LOVED the Egwene chapter. And while I can see why you and others might have some reservations or issues with it, I don't. Not because I am an Egwene groupie, but because for the most part everything she said and did was spot on as a leader, and so needed to be brought against Elaida. The fact it was so viscerally satisfying, and so many readers needed it, I think sweeps under the rug whether any particular parts of it were unbelievable or didn't ring true. This is one of the big things about fantasy, and fiction in general--it's escapism, and it allows us to put ourselves in the roles of characters we root for, to feel we have power, to exult when bad people get their comeuppance, to cheer when Good triumphs over Evil. Obviously some people couldn't do that here because they felt some things Egwene said, or which Elaida said, ruined their suspension of disbelief.

But I will just say this: claiming that it "could have been better" if it was "more realistic" if Elaida had interrupted Egwene, not allowed her to make her many astute points, and attacked her right away, seems to be missing the point. This isn't reality, and complaining that it isn't is a bit ridiculous. Yes, it is possible to have unrealistic things still be described in a realistic manner, but as some have already noted, the trope of seeing a hero rail against a villain and be able to say as much as they want before they get shouted down, attacked, or whatever is a very old trope. This does not of course make it right (traditions can be flawed and cliches are usually best avoided) but at the same time, things don't become cliches and traditions without a reason, and the fact is, Talking Is a Free Action and Realistic Diction is Unrealistic are tropes which have stayed with us and likely always will. They're built into writing, especially this genre. So basically, you can't have your cake and eat it too. If such tropes throw you out of the story and ruin it for you, that's fine, but to complain because the story is using conventions true to the genre is missing the forest for the trees. If you don't like those tropes, why are you reading fantasy? Take enough of these tropes away and it won't even be fantasy any more, just reality...which suggests you'd be better off reading historical fiction or modern fiction.

“I wish I weren’t needed here, Elaida,” Egwene said softly. “I wish that the Tower had a grand Amyrlin in you. I wish I could step down and accept your rule. I wish you deserved it. I would willingly accept execution, if it would mean leaving a competent Amyrlin. The White Tower is more important than I am. Can you say the same?”

This is one of my favorite passages. And it's one that also convinces me, whatever others say to the contrary, that Egwene is not the evil hypocrite so many think she is. Whatever may or may not be true about the oath of fealty, Egwene shows here not only that she is a good leader (and better than Elaida), but that she truly does have the White Tower's well-being at heart. Whatever she does, even those somewhat skeevy oaths, is done in the name of the Tower, the Aes Sedai, and the Light (because however she is currently against him, she is on Rand's side and does want the Dark One to be defeated). This may be an ends (or utopia) justifies the means argument, but in this case at least I think the ends really do justify it. Even if Egwene were doing the same as Elaida, she is doing it for the right reasons, she is a good person, and she is good for the Aes Sedai. I believe she will come around in the end to setting her path right, and that her overcoming her flaws to do so will be satisfying.

I'll have more to say on the subject of Elaida's "Snidely Whiplash" tendencies and Egwene's Darkfriend accusation in a bit, but for now I'll just say that I actually do think, despite her megalomania and many other failings, Elaida genuinely does believe what she is doing is right. She thinks all must serve her, she believes her Foretelling will let her save the world and be the greatest Amyrlin ever, she thinks she will control Rand and thus win the Last Battle, but the point is, she still believes that is a good and decent thing to do. She is vain, arrogant, and foolish in wanting to get personal power out of it all and believing she is more skilled and worthy of veneration than she is, but she believes that if everyone just saw her the way she sees herself, and did what she was told, then there'd be no more obstacles to saving the world from Rand or the Dark One. And she wants to do this--her reaction when she found out the dead were walking and the vermin wards in Tar Valon were failing showed she really does have her heart in the right place on that score. So it makes perfect sense to me that it was Egwene calling her a Darkfriend, when she is so convinced that her Foretellings and her plans for Rand and the Tower will stop the Dark One and save the world, which made Elaida lose it.

Before that, she really did believe (as idiotic as that was) that she had Egwene under her control--note that when she dropped the tray of soup in Chapter 2, Elaida thought it was due to incompetence, not an act of rebellion--and so she was content to try and make her perform in front of the Sitters, and believed she could easily defeat her in debate. And note that even Egwene acknowledges her intelligence when she switches the conversation to the rebels, putting her on the defensive--she was "not completely incompetent, just arrogant". The combination of this intelligence and arrogance, I think, is why she let the talk go on as long as it did. Egwene keeps noting how Elaida isn't paying attention to the Sitters, and if she had been, and had seen she was losing ground with them, losing them to Egwene, she would either have put an end to the debate sooner or changed her tactics to seem more conciliatory.

In fact when Egwene made her accusation, Elaida had been ready to shelve the whole matter as "pointless". She arrogantly believed she had proven Egwene to be a silly novice, and that even if she had not cowed her, she had refused to bend to Egwene's reasoning and thus established her power as Amyrlin. Remember how upset Elaida was at her advisors (and the Hall) refusing to acknowledge her, pretending to bow and respect her while badmouthing her and working against her behind her back. It would be very important to an arrogant person like Elaida to be seen standing up to someone like Egwene. She let the debate go on because she was convinced that throwing her weight around, crushing dissent with the force of her rhetoric, was the only way to prove her power as Amyrlin and to achieve obedience--through fear, rather than respect. (She should have taken lessons from Machiavelli.) And she thought she could do that to Egwene.

My other favorite bits? Egwene quoting that Brown Amyrlin, and her response to Elaida's plans for Rand not allowing him to fulfill the Prophecies: "Your logic is astounding."

(Sorry for all the TV Tropes references too. I can't help it!)
Terry McNamee
56. macster
@7, 35 forkroot: Exactly. As for Elaida being a bungler, yes that would make her fit in with the Forsaken, but we've also been told that the Dark One approves of selfishness in his followers--but not incompetence. Witness the dead Forsaken who could be brought back but haven't been (Osan'gar), and those who have been so badly punished because they failed (Graendal, Semirhage, Mesaana, Moghedien, Cyndane). With as much of a failure as Elaida has been, it wouldn't be long before Moridin or Shaidar Haran disposed of her, one way or another, as of no use to them.

@18 LoghainsBrother: And here we go with another attack on Sanderson...other than pointing you to what Anthonypero said above, let me focus on your own point: that the approaching end of the series meant things had to happen, information had to be shared. There's no way it couldn't be and have the characters even meet up and all be aimed in the same direction, let alone have the series end with any sort of finality or satisfaction. More specifically, everything which has happened in TGS and ToM was plotted out in advance by Jordan. So even if it was Sanderson's choice as to exactly how certain plot points panned out, I am sure Jordan made note of the need to share information as part of it. In fact you miss the reverse side of the "miscommunication as a theme of WoT" thesis--because Jordan has all along also shown that when information is shared, when characters are honest and talk to each other and reveal what they know, they and the Light are always rewarded in-story for it. So it stands to reason that Jordan would continue this trend in the final books, that after so long of showing the dangers of miscommunication, he would turn around and show the ultimate reward of honesty and openness by having all the characters meet and learn things they had been blind to for so long, all as preparation for their victory over the Shadow. And in fact in many cases there was no way certain plot points could have happened without the sharing of information--and surely Jordan saw that as well as Sanderson.

@20 Paulie: It was implied she was there at the Stone when Rand returned and cast out Weiramon and Anaiyella, but I believe someone also asked Sanderson whether Sorilea had met Rand since Dragonmount and he said yes.

@21 toryx: Ah, but that was precisely the point. As I stated above, if Elaida was not exactly covering herself in glory during the debate, she was still handling it surprisingly well. She continually managed to control her temper; she took note of the way Egwene was calling attention to her power-trips (the incipient gag of Air, forcing her to kneel with the Power, trying to say the Amyrlin's authority means she doesn't have to listen to a novice); she answered Egwene's question about Rand for the sake of the listening Sitters; she turned the talk to the rebels. Even when she started the conversation by dismissing the Seanchan as a threat, she initially she didn't do so with arrogance and accusation, she simply said to Shevan with a sigh, "The Seanchan again?" While her refusal to believe in Egwene's Dream or that the Seanchan were a threat is stupid, the former is something most in the Tower don't believe in now that Anaiya is gone (that and I bet Elaida sees it as competition with her Foretellings), and I don't blame her for not wanting to believe a culture like the Seanchan's could exist.

Anyway, the point is, Elaida was holding her own for the most part--so I think Egwene said that deliberately, to goad her into losing her temper and thus showing the Sitters what Elaida was truly capable of, the kind of woman she was. The accusation was petty and vindictive (and amusingly awesome to most readers), and it was supposed to be--because at that point, Elaida had not only proven that calm and reasonable debate wasn't going to defeat her, she had actually refused to listen on the matter of Rand and to accept responsibility for the problems in the Tower. She was going to simply drop the debate and ignore Egwene. Even if her answers and Egwene's had convinced some or all of the Sitters, Egwene knew she'd lost any other chance to bring Elaida down thanks to what Katerine had told her, and accepting it when Elaida tried to drop the debate would have looked like capitulation. So she said something sure to set Elaida off. Not a good debate tactic, no, but it was a very good political move--forcing your opponent to take off their mask and show the true person underneath, thus making your case for you.

@24 Ryamano: We did have one POV from Sorilea back in LOC, when Rand was kidnapped by the Tower Aes Sedai and she was looking for the missing Min. It was very short and didn't tell us anything about her allegiances. But I don't think she's a Darkfriend either.

@28, 42 Bergmaniac: Exactly.

@30 Alea: I am disturbed and saddened that you asked that question. And no I am not being patronizing, it genuinely bothers me that you have to ask why losing humanity is a bad thing. Unless you were asking for the sake of argument. Because surely, setting aside the fight with the Dark One, the reasons for why it is bad to be inhuman should be obvious. To address it in-story though--not only do we have the fact that an inhuman Rand could decide there's no point to fight when he doesn't know why he is fighting, or that he could just try and end everything as he does on Dragonmount, there's the fact that being the way he is while fighting the Dark One means we cannot trust or condone his methods. If he becomes so dark, cold, and inhuman, what might he decide was justified in the name of this battle? Look at how he's willing to sacrifice Lan as a distraction to the Shadow forces. Who else, what else, might he sacrifice? Look at how he treats Hurin. He almost destroys the Borderlanders, almost kills his own father... He who fights monsters can become a monster himself...if you stare into the abyss too long, it will stare back into you...in other words, Rand is in danger of falling into the same sort of thinking as Aridhol, and we all saw where that went. Then there's the fact he could cause another Breaking--that isn't something you can readily dismiss, you know--and what if he doesn't die in the Last Battle, so remains around afterward with all that power, but also with a Shadar Logoth mindset? Anyway, the fact the Shadow wants him like this should be enough reason to want to change it.
Terry McNamee
57. macster
@31 Ryanus: I think the Darkfriend comment, aside from my reasoning above, was also meant as a parallel to what Egwene later finds in Verin's book, that Elaida was not Black, but had been as much trouble to the Shadow as to the Light. A seeming prescience on Egwene's part that was meant to be foreshadowing or an amusing irony.

@36 RobM: Um, I wouldn't exactly call building a personal palace bigger than the Tower to be an intelligent decision. No, it isn't an evil one either, but it does show she had the megalomania well before TGS. And sure, it was stupid of Elaida to dismiss Egwene's quoting of that Brown Amyrlin as "nonsense", but we never saw Elaida show any respect for any Ajah other than Red--look what she did to Shemerin, Joline and Teslyn, and her thoughts on Coiren and her delegation. Heck, she didn't seem to have much respect even for Toveine, one of her own Ajah (though that may have been because of how she screwed up back during the Vileness, but note how allowing her and the other Red Sitters to take the fall for Elaida, while intelligent, also points to the same selfishness and "I am the law!" mentality we see here). I also wouldn't say that trying to capture and imprison Rand, which would not allow him to fulfill the Prophecies, was logical--understandable, from the POV of a Red or anyone who only knew the bad side of the Dragon stories, but not logical. And she came up with those plans long before TGS.

@37 Lii: I think the point there is that Egwene was in fact referencing Mattin, not just Rand. Because both of those kidnappings were instigated by Elaida. It may be that other Amyrlins have kidnapped heads of state in the past, or at least conflicted with them openly rather than manipulated them subtly (Tetsuan and Bonwhin come to mind--note they were also Red, and what happened to them), but even if Egwene knows this, that was long in the past and the Aes Sedai have been much more subtle in the centuries since. So I think her comment was meant to underscore how tyrannical and out-of-control Elaida had become, regardless what other Amyrlins may have done.

@44 Blood_Drunk: What if the wards were undone by Taim, since he is near Caemlyn and is (or was, pre-Dragonmount) as strong as Rand? Or there's Demandred who may be in the area too, Moridin (who we know was connected with the Black Ajah there), Mezar and the missing Asha'man after they were 13 x 13'ed...a lot of possibilities. Though it being Shaidar Haran is very likely too. I also wonder how exactly Verin knew about the impending attack...did Moridin tell her? One of the Black Ajah in Caemlyn, whether one of Chesmal and her coterie or another we haven't seen? Mesaana? The only thing that can't be is that she was ordered to undo the trap on the Waygate herself, since there's no way saidar can be used to undo saidin weaves...

@46 yasiru: Very good points, about both the possibility of destroying the Dark One and Elaida cracking.

@48 KiManiak: While we don't know who these Aes Sedai are or why Cadsuane trusts them, the only way they could be a threat with the a'dam or Callandor is if they gave them to someone else--particularly in Callandor's case, since it is a male sa'angreal only which they could not use unless part of a circle.

@51 forkroot: I think yasiru was making that statement based on what Freelancer reported from Sanderson. We'll have to wait and hear from Freelancer on whether that was his opinion or if Sanderson outright stated Sorilea didn't do it.

@52 Wortmauer: We'll have to agree to disagree, I thought it was awesome and very appropriate as a way to enrage Elaida. (Which is also why she said something she didn't believe was true, by the way. IMO.) I like your alternate suggestion, but there's a problem with it: while in keeping with Egwene's time among the Aiel, Elaida would have no way of knowing what that meant and therefore be enraged by it. Since it seems the point of the scene was to push Elaida over the edge and reveal her instability to the Sitters, and not just make the readers cheer, then it had to be something Elaida would recognize and react to. Interesting, though, that it was all supposed to be one scene and Sanderson split it. Does that mean all the talking with the other Sitters and such was supposed to happen before this one dinner? It seems more believable to me that it happened between two of them, so I think he made the right choice.

Also, if the dinner was originally supposed to be one scene, and it was always plotted by Jordan that Elaida would beat Egwene and lock her in a cell, then regardless of whether Egwene's words all rang true, it seems clear that Jordan always did envision Elaida as this crazed and arrogantly stupid. Which means even if he'd have written this scene differently, I expect some people would still say he ruined it by making Elaida too evil. Because it seems more like they'd have a problem with his overall characterization of Elaida, since the way she is now follows from how she was before.

My apologies for so many posts...but I had a lot to think about and a lot of comments to respond to.
craig thrift
58. gagecreedlives
Gotta feel sorry for poor, poor Fain. Did such a great job of setting up Shadar Logath v2.0 at the White Tower (with a little help from his friends) but didnt get to stick around to enjoy himself. Considering how much he enjoyed the tension between Elaida and Alviarin I have no doubt this would of been paradise for him
Homeschool
59. yasiru89
For forkroot @51-

I was under the impression that Brandon Sanderson denied she was, except I can't remember where (possibly an interview report, but a casual search yielded nothing), so I might be misattributing.
The biggest supposed 'tell' that Sorilea is a Darkfriend though, is that she saw the Domination Band in Cadsuane's room and the choice is between her and Bair from that one scene. But there are other ways it could have fallen to Elza's hands, I think. One of those being the weave dissipating in Shaidar Haran's presence, which I favour.

On Elza's Compulsion, I don't think you mean the Compulsion Semirhage was instructed remove, do you? It might be that Elza's fanatic desire to see Rand through to the Last Battle is Verin's doing with her pieced-together Compulsion, but even after Semirhage presumably removes it, she tells Rand that it's his destiny to face the Great Lord (even showing signs of having the Compulsion removed, actually), so this takes away from your hypothesis I think.
It didn't make sense that Semirhage was instructed to remove Compulsion from Elza unless we revise your theory to the possibility that Verin Compelled Elza not to harm Rand. Without that, all we seem to have is conjecture and myriad possibilities.
Captain Hammer
60. Randalator
forkroot @51

There has been no previous evidence that SH could touch the True Source.

Yes, there is. In ACoS, ch. 40 he burns a Shaido spear with black fire.
Angry black flames raced down the spear haft from Shaidar Haran's hand, the hand of the Hand of the Shadow. In an instant the wooden haft was charred and twisted; the spearhead dropped off. The Myrddraal let the blackened stick fall and dusted soot from its palm.
Anthony Pero
61. anthonypero
forkroot and others @33 etc re. SH powers:

Actually, SH has shown that he is somewhat like a super version of Mat's Medallion. He seems to be able to stop people from being able to even touch the OP, almost like the OP is the Force, and he's a yalismiri. Sorry for the Star Wars reference, but it's the best I can come up with.

Is it so hard to believe that if SH can create a bubble that completely negates the OP, like his own personal moving stedding, that he couldn't simply walk up to the box and open it with his hands? No alarm would be set off, because there is no weave.

I'm not saying the SH has this power, I'm saying that that is one way he could have the ability to simply shut down channeller's ability to channel. And it would make this a cakewalk. No Sorilea or Elza needed.
Rafael
62. Ryamano
@60 Randalator

There's no evidence that the black fire is the True Power. Occam's razor would say it'd be so (why introduce another source of power so late in the series?) but we've seen, for example, the Shadar Logoth dagger cause things to burn or fester, without it being linked to the OP or TP.

As for the Rand-Moridin talk, I have some theories that Moridin is a previous version of the champion of the light, one version that got fed up with the pointlessness of fighting for the Light side again and again without accomplishing anything in the end. Ishydin does say (and more importantly, thinks to himself) that there were champions of the Light that turned to the Dark. He says Rand had done so, but Rand knows it's a lie due to the visions he saw in TGH. So when he thought about the turn-coat champions he might have been actually thinking about himself in a previous incarnation.
Roger Powell
63. forkroot
Wortmauer@56
You know what Egwene should have called Elaida? Da'tsang.
Cute, but damane aren't technically considered da'tsang. They are both property, but damane are highly valued.

Wall'o texter ... err, I mean macster@54
As for a), we don't have proof that Cadsuane redid the weaves at all, let alone that Sorilea could see her while she did it.
Sorilea saw the untrapping procedure, the text is quite clear about that. Granting that Cadsuance is not actually described as resetting the weaves (that text would be a bit pedantic), it is unreasonable to assume that she didn't; furthermore she makes reference to the box being warded in the conversation with Rand just before banishment.
@40 forkroot: Put me in the camp that Shaidar Haran did it. I don't see why, if he has access to the True Power and can also cut people off from the Source, that he couldn't have sensed the weaves on the box and thus known how to destroy them, assuming his ability to cut off the Source didn't simply suppress or sever them.
I was in that camp with you until Freelancer@39 produced the quote from BWS.

Randalator@60
The example you give is normally cited as Shaidar Haran using the True Power (essence of the Dark One), not the True Source. Given that SH is something like the DO's avatar, it's almost certain that it has access to the TP. It would be quite a stretch to think that the Dark One's creature could channel the One Power though.

yasiru89@59
As I explained @40, Freelancer's quote did not exonerate Sorilea, in fact it actually implicated her a bit more. With that said, there seem to be a smattering of anecdotal references to BWS affirming that Sorilea has interacted with "zen-Rand". If true, that should clear her.
Valentin M
64. ValMar
A guru is urgently needed to exonerate, or not, Sorilea.
Homeschool
65. wcarter4
On Soriela and the box: That proof is flat out insubstantial.
While it is certainly enough to warrant certain character's suspicions of her in-story (since they don't even know Shadar Haran exists) It shouldn't be for the reader.
We have already seen him make the Source DISSAPPEAR to Forsaken. Not just the True Power but the One Power. Mat's Mediallion and the Gholam and capable of making weaves simply dissolve as well.
Taken all into consideration, this is substantial evidence that Shadar Haran is capable of bypassing any protective weave Cadsuane put on her box.
On the aside about Soriela's "unreadable expression" seeing the domination bands well--she's an Aiel we only have 2-300 previous chapters where Aviendha or another Aiel comments to his or herself about the shameful way wetlands wear their emotions on their face.
Could Soriela be a Dark Friend? Yes; is it all likely given her actual track record of actions? No.
Homeschool
66. AndrewB
Macster @55-57 re Egwene/Elaida dinner party. Great points.

For all of you who celebrate Thanksgiving Day, have a safe and healthy holdiay. For everyone else, stay safe and healthy.

Thanks for reading my musings,
AndrewB
Homeschool
67. Staizer
Honestly, the reason I think it is a bad idea for Rand to be. . . dark? Is the fact that he is not logical while angry. Think about it this way, Rand wants to end the cycle, the DO wants to end the cycle. . . if Rand stays in his current slump then he is doing exactly what the DO wants him to. Not that Rand is wrong per se, but that in stopping the cycle while upset, depressed, emo, all the dark side stuff, he will literally be ENDING the cycle. Taking the wheel and smashing it and all the spokes involved to itty bitty little pieces, which only the DO and Moridin wants.

HOWEVER, and this is a bit HOWEVER. Consider the fact that maybe getting rid of the wheel is NOT wrong. Take the world as it currently is in the Wheel of Time as a giant perpetual motion machine. In its current state it will keep going forever, but nothing ever comes of it, what is the point? But, if you were to end the loop, make it so that time is no longer circular you release all that potential energy to go somewhere useful. You would also lose all of the energy to use for yourself (OP), but it would be available to the universe as a whole.

I honestly think that this is where WE are in this story, the Wheel has come unraveled and we are no longer in the cycle. Honestly, why else choose THIS telling of the cycle instead of some OTHER 3rd age? Instead of Rand The Dragon Reborn, have Sam The Dragon Resurrected, Mat The Trickster would be Chris The Prankster, and Perrin The Wolf King would be Bob The Canine Lord. The only biggest reason to tell any particular story is because it is DIFFERENT from the norm and if the Wheel Turning is "normal" then why talk about Rand and not Sam?

Anyway, back from my digression, Rand needs to be whole in mind and body to prevent him from reacting without thought, doing that ruined his meeting with Tuon, caused him to alienate his friends and family and betray everything he had been trying to do. Whereas Zen Rand is able to be reasoned with, thinks and acts with informed decisions.
Roger Powell
68. forkroot
Staizer@67
There are certain hints that what you are saying is not too far-fetched.

One hint is Rand's idea of actually slaying the DO. Although Moridin dismisses it, we should not. We know that in Jordan's cosmology, the DO is not the sole source of evil. Fain/Mordeth is a very evil being, but in opposition to the DO. Thus it is possible to conceive of destroying the DO - you don't get into any philosophical problem of "no evil", since evil would still exist.

Another hint is Fain/Mordeth himself: From the WOT Interview database :
Wotmania/Dragonmount Q&A - 9 December 2002

Q: Has the Padan Fain/Mordeth character been present in previous Ages, or is he unique to this particular Age?

RJ: He is unique to this particular Age. A very unique fellow, indeed. In some ways, you might say he has unwittingly side-stepped the Pattern.
To me this raises a HUGE flag that Fain could make things different this time around; however we need to balance that against the very end of TSR when a "Fourth Age" historian is quoted. From that we may conclude that regardless of what Rand does or doesn't do, the Age that follows will still be considered the Fourth Age.
Homeschool
69. wcarter4
At 67 Staizer and 68 forkroot,

I don't think our age is supposed to be free from the wheel. We are explicitly the "First Age" or age before the Age of Legends given that Elayne found an Audi decal in the Tanchico museum and they have legends of some 20th and early 21st century current events. The "Second Age" started when the first channeler discovered the One Power, according to an interview of Robert Jordan (I'll try to track down exactly which one later)
It started off with quite a few people dying before they finally got the hang of channeling.
As for Fain being unique, he's also said that the ages are more cylindrical in nature than purely circular. (By that meaning that not every third age is exactly the same as the one before or after the minor detail very--the further you go the more the details change). RJ also explicitly stated that there WASN'T anything inherently special in this third age. I take that to mean each age has its own unique elements.
That being said, no of those things point to this not being the end of the Wheel. RJ also explicitly said the DO could be killed (although with the caveat that it would take more balefire than all reality could handle without unraveling). Still you don't have to kill the DO necessarily to forever upset the statis quo, just find away to end the cycle of his capture and release

Still, there are very horrible consequences to ending the cycle that Our Heroes should consider
1. What happens to the souls bound to horn when the Wheel (and therefore the cycle of reincarnation is forever destroyed) For that matter what happens now to EVERYONE's souls when the die?
2. If there is no Wheel (and therefore no pattern) what is going to keep reality stable?
3. What happens to the One Power and channelers? (Ironically this seems at once the least apocolyptic question)
Roger Powell
70. forkroot
wcarter4@69
FWIW - this has been discussed extensively in this reread before. Our age is probably not the First Age because of the Portal Stones. They predate the Second Age and since they are unknown in our Age there must be at least one Age in between (unless the Portal Stones are yet to come in our Age.)

You make some interesting points about the Heroes of the Horn, the cycle of reincarnation, etc. As for the "One Power" though, presumably knowledge of the True Source has to disappear at some point before "our Age" comes around again.
Alice Arneson
71. Wetlandernw
The male a’dam – To expand on what others have said, we know there were more in the “plain wooden box” they found at the manor where they caught Semirhage. I assumed that what Cadsuane meant was that Nynaeve had thought there was only the one, which was supposed to have been destroyed. Either these are copies of that one (as we know to be true) or the Seanchan already knew how to make them (which they didn’t, but the characters don’t know that). In either case, while Cadsuane knows where all the ones from the manor are, she doesn’t know whether that’s the sum total of the copies made, or whether the Seanchan are cranking them out by the truckload in anticipation of a raid on the BT.

WinespringBrother @4 – Don’t forget that the decoding effort may not be 100% correct, despite the confidence of the theoryland think tank. In any case, some of us would prefer to wait until it’s revealed through the Hunt and get the authoritative version first.

RobMRobM and anthonypero @several – don’t forget this little tidbit from the ToM book tour:
In The Gathering Storm, Brandon did tell us that Rand was mostly his voice and Egwene was RJ; in Towers of Midnight, Mat was RJ and Perrin was more Brandon. I'm not quite sure what he meant by voice, considering he doesn't usually answer questions like this.
@ many –
Q. Was the Compulsion which Elza told Semirhage about, Verin's work from after Dumai's Wells, and was it Shaidar Haran who told her about it and to ask Semirhage to remove it?
A. Yes.
Q. How did Elza defeat the wards on Cadsuane's plain wooden box?
A. Elza had been given knowledge of several rarely known weaves, and in other ways made into a tool of Shaidar Haran. Not all of it was pleasant for her.
forkroot makes some good points on this subject @33 which are the best evidence I’ve seen for Sorilea as a DF. But… they aren’t proof, as they could be read in other ways as well – as noted @35. I think she’s clear, but I’m willing to RAFO. If anyone wants, though we could try to come up with a question for Tinaa to ask Brandon Friday night, to see if we can clarify it. However, someone already asked Brandon if Rand has seen Sorilea since his epiphany, and Brandon said he thinks so… which would answer the question.

Alea_iacta_est @30 & 38 – I don’t think we’re supposed to know exactly why it would be a bad thing for Rand to fight the DO in his current state, but (to expand on what macster said) think back on Aridhol. It was dead set against the Shadow, but did such horrible things fighting Team Dark that it really, seriously was not part of Team Light any more either. What happens to the world if the champion of the Light, the Fisher King who is one with the land, the Dragon Reborn, takes that same path? What if he becomes so evil in his battle against the DO that he turns the whole world into another Shadar Logoth? This is not the kind of victory we want, here…

Blood_Drunk @44 – Good point on the dagger ter’angreal and Shadar Haran. I hadn’t thought of it before, but it sure makes sense. Having the DO unable to see Rand just doesn’t seem like it makes in-story sense, but having SH unable to see someone… That could be very useful indeed! Especially given the increasing role SH seems to be playing. About the Caemlyn Waygate, though, I don’t think anyone said it was ever sealed, just that it was guarded. IIRC, Rand thought it was sufficiently well-guarded that he didn’t set any traps on it. Logic indicates that if so, Hanlon & the BA would have taken out the guard and allowed the gate to be opened.

Just a note @many regarding the “retired friends” Cadsuane mentions… don’t forget that she’s the oldest living Aes Sedai, so anyone in retirement now would be some years younger than her, and she almost certainly knows every last one who’s old enough to retire, personally and thoroughly. Over the last nearly-300 years, she would have identified those she felt she could trust. And she quite possibly thought that Callandor would be safer somewhere in hiding than readily available to rapidly-darkening-Rand or any of the various baddies (SH?) who might come calling. Bad enough Team Dark got the DB – what if they’d gotten and removed Callandor before confronting Rand? Of course, they didn’t abscond with the Choedan Kal first, so there’s that. Still, keeping the two most powerful known male ter’angreal in the same place might seem like a fairly risky thing to do.

macster @55 – Wow! That is all.
Roger Powell
72. forkroot
Wetlandernw@71
A. Elza had been given knowledge of several rarely known weaves, and in other ways made into a tool of Shaidar Haran. Not all of it was pleasant for her.
Interesting... So it sounds like there's some sort of "defeat all trap weaves" weave. That seems to take most of the heat off of Sorilea as apparently Elza did not need to know the specifics of Cadsuane's traps.

I'd be very interested to know if that weave that SH taught Elza was a OP weave (if so, SH probably can channel the OP at least enough to show a weave.) Alternatively, if it was a TP weave, then Elza likely got a minor TP dispensation from the DO.

===
And ... getting ready to fly to see family. For all those posters in the US, let me be among the tardiest to wish you all a safe and happy Thanksgiving.
Birgit
73. birgit
Moridin'd's dream den sounds like finnland with the corridor where it doesn't matter which door one takes. Maybe he was able to deal successfully with the finn to get Lanfear back because he is used to strange geometry.

Why is Rand more himself in the dream while Perrin has to hold on to his "home" in the real world to avoid losing himself in TAR?
Jonathan Levy
76. JonathanLevy
21. toryx
(also 52. Wortmauer )
toryx, I think you're quite right. I also felt that Mat's parting quip when leaving the Tower of Ghenjei was similarly off-key.

22. wcarter4
Point #2 (Sorilea wanted Rand to care) is very convincing.

@general
These chapters had two (imho) well-written introspection scenes. First, when Egwene debates with herself whether she should curtsy just once or not; and second, when she decides to change her policy of silence during the dinner.

From what I remember, the previous books did not contain such long and explicit introspections; the closest I can recall was Rand's hesitation before summoning rain in Alcair dal, but that's much shorter.

In short, I don't think it's very Jordany - he used to imply these things, or stuff them into one or two italicized thoughts in the character's head. Maybe it's a draft, maybe it's BWS's work, but in any case I rather enjoyed reading them.

52. Wortmauer
Very interesting note on Sanderson's decision to split the dinner scenes. Do you have a link by any chance? I would love to read that.
(Edit: Found it on my own - hope I didn't cause you to waste any time on this.)
Also, spot on on the Da'tsang idea :)

55. macster
Yeah, the Rand/Moridin fireside chat is a chapter worth re-reading several times.
It will certainly be interesting to see post-epiphany Rand meet Moridin.

63. forkroot
I'm pretty sure the collared Shaido Wise Ones consider little Suffa to be da'tsang after watching her cower and beg and offer the Seanchan Travelling.

72. forkroot
Interesting... So it sounds like there's some sort of "defeat all trap weaves" weave.
It's called TRZP.
Let's see if anyone gets THAT reference :)
Homeschool
77. wcarter4
@forkroot
I'll see if I can't figure it out. On a side note, I'm aware that the One Power has to go away eventually just as the Ogeir do, but I'm not convinced it has to happen all at once.
There's no reason the talent won't simply "fade out" of humanity the same way Wolf Brothers did for lack of need as newer and better technologies appear that make them less reliant on it. Only to reappear in another age when the Pattern deemed the time right.
What I was referring to was the literal "death" of the One Power along with the Pattern and Wheel. That being a permenant no going back scenario albeit still more minor than the oblivion awaiting souls and dead Heroes.
Homeschool
78. MyAmyrlin>YourAmyrlin
@76 Bard's Tale
Captain Hammer
79. Randalator
forkroot @63

Woah, True Source - True Power...what a newbie mistake. I bow my head in shame. I have toh.

Aaaaaaaaanyway, to rescue whatever shred of dignity I have left (or at least can regain): I was thinking of True Power (DO's essence) the whole time, so I tend towards the idea you mentioned as well @72 that Elza might have been granted access to the True Power for this specific task. As to why Shaidar Haran didn't do the job himself, either it was very dangerous even with the TP weave or maybe Cadsuane put up physical wards (as in ter'angreal) against shadowspawn, if she didn't have them in her paralis-net anyway, that prevented him from getting close enough to the box himself.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to find a specific darkish yellow grain of sand in that sandbox over there...
Alice Arneson
80. Wetlandernw
FWIW, I'm pretty convinced it was Elza who opened the box, quite possibly with the TP as Randalator says. Brandon mentioned that there are a lot of things SH can't do himself just yet, so he has to use people for the job. And use would definitely be the term... (See quote @71)

Randalator - about that sand... how's that working out for you?
Captain Hammer
81. Randalator
Wetlandernw @80

Reasonably well. I'm pushing ahead quite nicely and I'm expecting a major breakthrough in the next couple of years...
Nadine L.
82. travyl
Randalator @79 & 81.
When you've found that grain (I think it's more left than the area you're searching right now) you might want to expand your punishment and search for this specific orange fish, which is lurking in Aryth Ocean, I'm sure Harine will take you on a free boat trip.

I might even join you in your search: I read over your mistake.
And it took me like forever to even understand the difference, doing my first read of the series. When I finally realized RJ had presented a new form of power I went back to TEOTW and was totally bewildered since he did use "True ..." there already. - It took the forums to explain to me the difference between True Power and True Source :)
Sam Mickel
83. Samadai
Happy Thanksgiving to all my friends, even those who don't celebrate it.
Barry T
84. blindillusion
Wow, has it really been that long since I posted on the re-read? March. Sheesh. Can't really catch up, but I do believe it's about time I started adding to the mix again. Keep things amusing, perhaps.

A quick hi to everyone.

Happy Turkey days for all.
Thomas Keith
86. insectoid
I'd have posted earlier (yes, I'm a night owl), but I had food coma, sort of. ;)

Shaidar Haran: I'm going to side with the "his-presence-interrupted-the-weaves-on-the-box" camp.

Randalator @79 et al: LOL!

Blind!!! Welcome back. @85: :P

Bzzz™.
Valentin M
87. ValMar
Did anyone eat from a whole deep-fried turkey? Anyway, happy shopping today!

As for WOT, now that the end game is coming I am more than ever for RAFO. With one book to go, many of the mysteries, unknowns, and theories that are left will be part of the final resolution and I personally would be loving being amazed and surprised at the turn of events in AMOL. Mind you, I'm the sort of reader who was oblivious of the true nature of Aviendha's WO test...

I am not saying that it's wrong to discuss stuff like how things will get resolved, Rand's survival, Sorilea's allegiance, etc. Just giving my personal perspective on this kind of speculation this close to the end.
T C
88. Freelancer
Wetlandernw @71

Hmm, that Q&A clip looks familiar. I'd like to point out the unquestioned answer which is included there. Since Brandon answered the question about how Elza defeated the weaves to open the box, then she certainly opened the box.

As for speculation regarding Shaidar Haran's abilities and limitations, a few thoughts. He clearly has the ability to directly affect and punish those dedicated to the dark one. He is also able to find them at will, even if no door is available, as his visit to Graendal on her island proves. He knows of the disposition of his chosen.

Yet he requires proxies to be sent with orders to kill Mat and Perrin, because he cannot directly touch them himself. I briefly considered that this was reflective of the same "mental" control that both Perrin and Egwene learn in Tel'aran'rhiod, that if you refuse to accept something as real it doesn't exist there for you. However, this couldn't work the same way, as I suspect any Lightside individual suddenly faced by Shaidar Haran would accept him as all too real, and his power would work just fine. So it must be something else.

I'm left supposing that the connection created with the chosen (and likewise for shadowspawn) gives him closer contact and impact on them, and the rest of the world remains out of his direct reach, requiring him to use those like Elza to accomplish his goals. Which is just another way of saying what Wetlandernw already said @80. So, ditto.


Randalator @79

Self-imposed punishment, when your toh is to others? Would the wise ones approve? And a useless labor, at that. There is no lesson learned, no ji recovered...


blind @85

I see what you did there.
Eric Hughes
89. CireNaes
Happy Thanksgiving to my fellow Americans as well. And I'm pleased to report that the Muppets are back on track.
john massey
90. subwoofer
"Egwene is cracking nuts"

heh

Gawyn's? Please, oh pretty please?

Sorry, had to get that out of my system.

methinks Sorilea is onto something with the killing of the Forsaken- put me firmly in the camp of the scorched earth policy, kill her, dead. The slit throat thing is a bit sketchy tho', cause the DO can just plonk Semi's being into another body, I still say screw the knowledge, the only good Forsaken is a dead Forsaken.

@Randalator- careful, some folks use that stuff as cat litter y'know.

mmmmmmmm turkey...

Herid Fel... again. It's like the guy found out how they put the caramel in the caramilk bar. Pity he got fragged. Pity he didn't keep detailed notes... beyond "don't bring girl, too pretty". Am half ways thinking that Fel was CTSL, pity that too.

Woof™.
john massey
91. subwoofer
Re: Elaida & Eggs- here's the thing, when we first meet Elaida she's the Queen's advisor, so one would think Elaida is not a complete fruit cake. Right off the start Elaida picks up on Rand's fancy sword, something that escaped everyone else's attention and then she has some kind of vision about Rand. The set up for Elaida being hot stuff was very real. Later we find her hashing it out with Moiraine again, and then busting the SG's balls... er metaphorically speaking. Then Elaida takes the throne and all her good sense dribbles out her ears. mmm. no comment.

Pity she didn't see Austin Power's in reruns, that would have settled Egwene once and for good.

Woof™.
Homeschool
92. Lsana
The "fireside chat in Hell" as I like to think of it is one of my favorite scenes in the book, and I think it gives a lot of insight into Mordin. Or perhaps more accurately, into Elan Morin. He does seem like he would be an interesting guy to talk to, and I can almost sympathize with his reasoning. On the other hand, he's giving all of this advice while enjoying the view of people being totured.

Also in this scene, I found it interesting that Moridin insisted that he wasn't Ishmael anymore, but really didn't have any reaction to Rand calling him "Elan Morin." Previously, most of the Forsaken went berserk if anyone mentioned their real names.

@everyone who thinks Rand will kill the DO and stop the wheel turning,

Each and every book begins with the reminder tha this story takes place in "an age yet to come, an age long past" which suggests that Rand's third age is definitely part of the turning of the wheel. His world is both our past and our future, and that cannot be if the wheel isn't still turning.

@55,

Ever since I read this chapter, I've been wondering why Moridin "let slip" that Forsaken can be killed permenantly by Balefire. My first thought was that the DO wants the Balefire to be flying and that Rand tossing around Balefire is well worth the lives of a few Forsaken to him. However, given is reaction to Aran'gar getting toasted, that doesn't seem to be the case. Reading through this thread, I'm wondering if it was a bit of Elan Morin showing through; that deep down, he wants Rand to win this battle and allow the Light to win out.
Jonathan Levy
93. JonathanLevy
78. MyAmyrlin>YourAmyrlin

Boy, that was much faster than I expected :)

79. Randalator

toh-spankings are regularly scheduled in the bunker daily at 21:30. Don't be late.

90. subwoofer

LoL. Good thing it wasn't Nynaeve, she'd have crushed them to powder.
john massey
94. subwoofer
@Lsana- exactly, everyone is sweating bullets about the DO and the breakdown of the Wheel. Has anyone stopped to think- "what if the Creator has AAA?" or "what if the Creator had a spare Wheel?" It's not that hard to fix a flat.

Woof™.
Valentin M
95. ValMar
sub @ 94

What if the Creator is a woman? I'll go book a spanking in the bunker, as per JonLevy @ 93...
Sam Mickel
96. Samadai
ValMar @ 95

I would be careful what you ask for, I saw RFife in the bunker with Suffa, they both had his yellow shawl wrapped around them and there was spankings galore going on. I had to oosquai overdose to get the image out
Birgit
97. birgit
"what if the Creator had a spare Wheel?" It's not that hard to fix a flat.

Perrin could inspect the Wheel instead of wagon wheels during an audience (with the DO?) and send his carpenter to fix it.
T C
98. Freelancer
Perrin could inspect the Wheel instead of wagon wheels during an audience (with the DO?) and send his carpenter to fix it.
You know that Perrin would want to fix it himself, right?
Tess Laird
99. thewindrose
Hope everyone who takes part had wonderful Thanksgiving or happy Thursday:)
We must be slacking - birgit that was very funny - Perrin / fix wheel / chortle!!

Some of you may find this interesting, looking the discussion - toh reversed...

Pass the oosquai Saamadi:)

tempest™

edit - sorry for the a in the wrong place Samadai! But wait a minute, yikes - Saa....
Valentin M
101. ValMar
Samadai @ 96

You have a toh to me for putting this image in my mind.
Homeschool
102. Stromgard
macster @ 55

I'm not defending Elaida, I _hate_ Elaida, but I can see where she's coming from.

She was if I remember correcty "the third daughter of a minor House in Murandy".

If Murandy is anything like Andor, minor Houses are just pawns for major Houses. Except in Murandy, politics between major Houses involve constant open warfare, duels to the death, and assassinations.

Now imagine growing up as "the third daughter of a minor House" in that enviroment. Female relatives get assassinated, or get married off to people they've never even met, and male relatives dying in battle or being forced into duels to the death, all because of whims of people so far up the Noble Food Chain that you barely know their names. You, and everyone you've ever known, are just tools to be used, thrown away or discarded for the ones above you. And then, once you have learned the lesson of powerlessness equalling pointless suffering, the Aes Sedai comes and puts you through Hell Week for a couple of years, commenting on how extremely powerful you are. (Which she were, she was the most powerful Accepted in centuries.) Also, you have a Talent that is totally awesome. Eventually, you get your shawl, only to discover that strength with the One Power equals political power among the AS, and no one is as strong as you. No one. At all. Until THEY came. The other two. (Moiraine and Siuan.) They tend towards the Blue way of thinking, and you are Red, but still, you do everything to aid them and gain their trust and be their friend, because united, you three can control the whole Tower, no one has the strength to oppose you. And then you (wrongly) believe that they are betraying and turning on you. They get raised and stick very close together, almost as if they are conspiring to use the fact that they are, each, equally strong as you to turn the Tower against you. And you start to feel powerless again. Then one of them, more or less, gets the offer to become Queen of Cairhien, and flees the Tower to aviod that from happening. And you think "Now why would someone give up that?" and come to the conclusion "To get even more power". You are not quite sure what's happening, but you try to spy on Moiraine and Siuan as best as you can. Then you get the Foretelling and rush off to Andor to get control of House Trakand. And the Amyrlin dies and guess who gets the job offer? That's right. the _other_ one that equals you in strength and is conspiring with the one that ran away from a crown. So now someone that is your adversary is your boss, and then you find out that her co-conspirator have taken control of the Dragon Reborn. And to top that, three more, each one stronger than any of you and your adversaries, have appeared at the Tower, and they leave the Tower on months-long missions TWICE, both time connected, in ways you don't really understand, to your two enemies.

Welcome to the world of Elaida a'Roihan.

Having grown up in a world where lack of political power means death or worse, being moved to a world where magical strength equals political strength, and seeing the only five people that are your equals or superiors in raw strength turn against you and conspire together... Yeah, I can totally see her craving power for herself, and reacting with extreme hostility to anyone undermining that power, while still doing what she can for the greater good.
Which also explains why she is willing to give Travelling to the Seanchan to get the Seat back. She is horrified at the thought of being powerless, because where she came from? That equalled being abused and violated.

There is a _reason_ we don't see much of everyday Noble life in Murandy (or Altara, pre-Seanchan, for that matter) - it would be too depressing, horrifying and angsty, to a point where, compared to it, A Game of Thrones would seem tame, dull and suitable for small children.
Alice Arneson
103. Wetlandernw
Stromgard @102 - One teensy little flaw... "Eventually, you get your shawl, only to discover that strength with the One Power equals political power among the AS, and no one is as strong as you. No one. At all. Until THEY came." This is, in fact, not true.

At the time Elaida was raised to the shawl, there were three Aes Sedai who stood well above her in power: Cadsuane, Kerene, and Meilyn; in addition, there were two others, Lelaine and Romanda, who were her equal in power and significantly her senior in position and age. So the idea that she had a few years of undisputed power at the top of the pile is completely out, and there goes half your argument as presented.

Not that I'm saying Elaida's behavior is impossible to understand. I think it's perfectly "understandable" in simple human terms, even if it is horribly stupid from the omniscient POV of the reader; I just can't let erroneous data stand as a basis for argument. One of the things RJ has always done well in WoT is the believability of the characters; while their behavior might be annoying, it's always (IMO) in keeping with human nature and is completely understandable as such.
Homeschool
104. Stromgard
Oh? I thought it was said in The Great Hunt that in terms of raw strength in the One Power, until the Supergirls showed up, Moiraine, Siuan and Elaida were the strongest by far?

I'll need to check on that quote. Maybe I remember wrong.
Alice Arneson
105. Wetlandernw
They may have been the strongest in recent years, but we've been told several times that until the girls came, Cadsuane was the measure of strength. She was the strongest Aes Sedai in the the last thousand years; in New Spring she identifies Kerene and Meilyn as being next in strength. Linda at Thirteenth Depository has done a pretty good job of researching it: http://13depository.blogspot.com/2009/02/saidar-strength-ranking.html.
Cameron Tucker
106. Loialson
I hope all of you had a wonderful Turkey day and stuffed yourselves silly, for those who celebrate Thanksgiving-esque things, and that everyone else just enjoyed their weekend!
Homeschool
107. Stromgard
I just realized something. Maybe that is the reason that Elaida was trying to keep the Ajahs apart, because with the Ajahs working together, they would be people that had power. People that was not her. And from her experience, what happens when People That Is Not Her has power?

They see everyone else as expendable. (And, admittedly, given what Adelorna, Ferane, Jesse and their merry little band was up to, maybe her fears were not totally unfounded. "Hey guys, I have got this awesome idea. Let's get rid of the Amyrlin and replace her with an easily manipulated fool. Then we can rule from behind the throne, without anyone ever knowing. All the power and no lame responsibility or boring actual ruling. Woohoo!" It didn't work out for them. I am so sorry for their sake. Not!)

Now.... which Ajah would be most likely to view people that way? (No, not the Whites, but it was a good guess, actually.) The Blues ofc! And coincidentally, the one where BOTH her two suspicious rivals were part of (or had been) AND the one that have had managed to get more Amyrlins than any other. Suddenly, disbanding the Blue Ajah makes a bit more sense. And her view of the Blue Ajah wasn't totally unfounded, either. Suian casually suggested murdering Nicola and Arenia as if it was something the Amyrlin did on a daily basis, and don't get me started on Lelaine. And they are the GOOD guys.

Maybe Elaida was on to something when she didn't trust anyone except herself with having any power, because the only one she knew that wouldn't misuse it was herself? I mean, it makes sense? The only times SHE is misusing her power is when she is keeping everyone else away from it. She's a megalomaniac, but only in the aspect of thinking "The world is about to end and I am the only one that cares about it and know how to save it." Given that I sometimes wanna hit a huge number of Aes Sedai over the head with a blunt, heavy object and scream "Stop scheming for power and get your shit in order! The world is dying! Dumbass!", I can fully understand Elaidas distrust in her Sisters. Especially when reading the prologue of TFoH. I mean, really? The deposed Amyrlin has esceped from prison, hundreds of Aes Sedai have deserted the Tower, and the Dragon Reborn walks the land, and everyone but her in the room is fine with doing nothing about it and not even bringing it up at a meeting of the White Tower leadership? I mean, seriously, WTF?

And to TOP that, when Elaida managed to separate the Ajahs, no one tried to mend it. Instead they were taking the opportunity to ASSAULT each other PHYSICALLY! (Since, you know, they couldn't hurt each other with the One Power.) If I were Elaida and read THAT report I would headdesk and think "OK, that's it. From now on no Sister gets to decide ANYTHING except what clothes to put on."

And the sad thing, Elaida is not the only Aes Sedai that thinks that she is right and everyone else are wrong. An example is in ToM, when on two separate occasions, Siuan and Egwene disagrees with Nynaeve about whether Rand is wrong or right, and we see, from BOTH of their POVs, how they both discard Nynaeves view because "She takes his side far too often for comfort" (Siuan) and "She was likely caught up by his ta'veren nature" (Egwene). Hello? You don't think that maybe, juuust maybe, Nynaeve knows Rand BETTER than you guys? Seeing as she has, I dunno, TRAVELLED with him for the last half year or so as his closest confidant, except the ones he is bonded to, while neither of you have seen him in about a year? (And longer than that for Siuan.) Also, I adore the way that NEITHER of you even considers that maybe, just maybe, you know, the Dragon Reborn might actually KNOW what he is doing? Good going, Amyrlin and Ex-Amyrlin! You are just now prime examples of Aes Sedai at their worst (We Are Right And Everyone Else Is Wrong By Default) and you are both too Aes Sedai to even see it. Egwene has another such moment in ToM too, when Perrin stops balefire and instead of being awed and realise she can do that too, she more or less maintain that it's impossible, since her AS thinking starts up again "if we can't do it ('we' including the wise ones this time) then it can't be done, Perrin couldn't have done that cause we would have known if it was possible, therefore it couldn't have happened". The "we know everything about everything and everyone that disagrees with us is automatically wrong" attitude they fall into so easy sometimes makes me wanna scream, TBH. Grow up already and get some wisdom! No wonder Gareth Bryne, who's officially one of the five best living generals in the world, needed to strike a deal that put HIM in control of their army. Otherwise, it wouldn't have taken more than a day or two before they have begun telling him how to do everything. I mean, you know, they are Aes Sedai, ofc they know more than him about how to lead an army, that goes without saying.
Homeschool
108. Wortmauer
Stromgard@107: Having a palace built taller than the White Tower is not a sign of a woman who cares so much about the End Times that she can't trust anyone else to make important decisions. It is a sign of a woman who cares a great deal about the best interests and perceived greatness of Elaida a'Roihan. Perhaps she also cares about the Last Battle, but the only thing she has done about that is to take the Dragon Reborn into protective custody. And the box and the beatings made it clear that it was about much more than just pragmatically having him on hand for Tarmon Gai'don. I'm pretty sure his rough treatment was intended to mold him into a suitable trophy, a symbol of her power.

All of which is to say, I think the evidence is pretty overwhelming that Elaida is primarily driven, not by a desire to do right by the Tower, the people of the Third Age, or the Pattern, but by simple megalomania.
Homeschool
109. Stromgard
Yeah but... can't the showing off of Rand and her palace being larger than the White Tower be a means of crushing the Aes Sedai independence and making sure that everyone obeys and march in rhythm in the same direction at the same time. Something the Aes Sedai have shown, time and time again, to be terrible at.

Honestly, they have worked in unison TWICE in 13 books. Half of them worked as a team when the Tower was under assault, something which happens once every 2000 years or so, and the other half worked in unison when they sieged Tar Valon, something that they only did because the Tower Law demanded it. And this when they all know the Apocalypse is coming. Egwene, and Elaida, have to FORCE them into coordination and cooperation because they refuse to see the need for it, even when the world is ending. The Five, which could use a ton of penance by the way, but likely won't since noone else knew about what they did, make it sound (some of them) that it's a BAD thing to have a strong Amyrlin that control the Tower when the world is ending. As if it was better to have the Aes Sedai squabbling like the Forsaken used to do, everyone going her own way and doing her own stuff. The problem with Elaida is not that she is a megalomaniac that try to force the sisters into submission, but that she doesn't know what to do when she has the reins. A thousand coordinated, disorganised Aes Sedai doing their own thing and working against each other's plan would throw the world further into chaos than otherwise. Why do you think the pattern has forces almost every remaining non-BA AS under strong authority, whether it is under Rand, Cadsuane, Egwene, Perrin or Sorelia? (Except for the Borderlanders 13, but they are likely having a leader too.) The only three running free right now that I can recall are Pevara, Nynaeve and Moiraine. Which, incidentally, are three among the few that seems capable to do the right thing.

Why do you think Elayne defers to Egwene's will without question or argument every time they meet? Because she knows herself. Elayne is impulsive, intelligent, strong-willed and rebellious to any authority above herself. She is aware of her flaws and therefore don't trust her own jugdement because if Egwene says "Go left" she would reflexively turn and take steps to the right. Elayne KNOWS this and so make an effort to get in line, because she trust the Wisdom of the Amyrlin more than her own judgement, especially when she knows her own judgement will be clouded by her strong desire to follow her own head. Elayne's qualities are awesome for a Queen, but terrible for a follower, and the rest of the hundreds of AS that has this flaw don't have the excuse of being rulers, nor are they making a conscious effort to be obediant and trust the Amyrlin voluntarely.

The White Tower need to be united and it's not about to happen if they are given too much of a choice about it, since hundreds of the Sisters will value personal freedom and personal power more. They need to be pushed or tricked into submission. Both Elaida, Egwene and Egwene's dozen or so faithful supporters realize this. (Elayne, Nynaeve, Siuan, Lelaine, Meidani, Saerin, Seaine, Yukiri, Doesine, Silviana and maybe one or two more.) The bad thing with Elaida is that she didn't know what to do once she had control. It's not that getting control was bad in the first place. And besides, everything except the current system is good, BTW. "Hi! I'm dumb and inexperienced, but I have lots of magic skill. Everyone bow to my will."
Homeschool
110. all cool names are gone
Could someone explain the A'dam count from a Plain Wooden Box. I read 6 larger circles and five silvery leashes. Are the male A'dams all equiped with two bracelets. The larger circles are the collers? My first impression was , if the male a'dam has 2 bracelets then the box only held one male a'dam, but now I can't see which is a coller and which a bracelet and the count makes no sense. Why would RJ give us numbers if it wasn't clear, riddle?
Jane Smyth
111. Kaboom
I interpreted that as 6 male A'dam and 5 female A'dam
Chris R
112. up2stuff
Stromgard,

Everyone agrees that the Tower should be reunite. The problem is that Elaida is a hypocrite and and a nutbar control freak. She is kind of like Pedron Nial in that they both wanted, ultimately, all the forces of light united to face the shadow, UNDER THEM. Not the Dragon Reborn, or the 5 Great Captains, or even the Creator him/herself. They DID want the world and life to continue, but for the express purpose of singing their praises throughout the following ages. Nevermind all the saving humanity and stuff.

Elaida dreamed of having Rand in chains, at her feet. Kind of her own personal bazooka that she could point at the Dark One and squeeze the trigger. She could not envision submitting to the Dragon Reborn, nevermind that he was one of us awful men. The Amyrlin seat is supposed to be the sole focus of the Light's resistance to the shadow and she can just trot the DR out now and then to fulfill those pesky properties, give him a wash and wax and then put him back in his box until she needs him for Tarmon Gai'don.

The problem is, the Amyrlin is a symbol as well as a person, much like the DR. Rand gets it that all the leaders must LEAD their followers, not DRIVE them. That was one of the positive results of his Dragonmount Epiphany. Inspire, Encourage, CARE about people. Dark Rand was following the same philosophy, compounded. Everyone is a tool. I will use whomever I must to win. Zen Rand believes "I must UNITE everyone to SAVE OURSELVES." Elaida wants everyone to do exactly what she wants, at her direction so SHE can save us. You ARE right that she has no idea what to do, and could not buy a clue with a million dollars, she just isnt capable of seeing the broad enough picture, even if she were inclined to.

Now, as for Elayne, I disagree that she follows Egwene's orders because she knows she can trust HER judgement over her own. Look at her repeated blunders in the face of danger while pregnant all because she trusted Min's viewings without fail. Birgitte, Dyelin, Avi, and others kept telling her that she needs to watch her butt so it doesnt get handed to her. Avi and Birgitte were her friends and percieved as eqauls, rather than advisors. "They dont know what I do." The others, including the WO's should have have been lent a little more credence when they said to have a care, though. She knows they have sound judgement.

No, Elayne follows Egwene in AS matters, because she believes that she is a rightfully elected Amyrlin/Authority figure. Kind of like how she had to defer to Morgase, she knows how to defer to Superiors. I believe there is a point though where she reflects that if her duties as a Queen conflict with an order as an AS, she wont budge. She knows, that her AS career will be molded by her rule. Separate Church and State, if you will.

You are right that all AS going in different directions will not serve the world any good, but Elaida wants to dictate and command everyone to follow her, "shut up dont tell me lies about Seanchan, Asha'man, Aiel, etc." Egwene wants everyone to come together and as a good leader should, she says, "this is what needs to be done, can I count on you? By the way, any suggestions?"

The final problem with Elaida is that she is not Trustworthy. She ordered the Dragon Reborn captured. When Rand, or the Pattern or whatever, proved that was not possible, she blamed her minions for screwing up, and did not accept that that was the wrong course of action that she was an utter idiot. She also SIEZED her stole, in a coup. She figured out that Suian and Moiraine had been conspiring to aid the DR without the knowledge of the Tower or Hall. So, she conspired to have them removed by pulling together a few other sisters and coerced them to "vote for me, or I'll kick your ass". She wanted to depose an amyrlin for conspiring without the hall, by conspiring with other sisters, in secret. She is just a hypocrite.
Homeschool
113. Stromgard
I meant to compare Elayne to for example Nynaeve or Siuan. They are both extremely loyal to Egwene but aren't beyond acting against her will, if they think it's the right thing to do. (Helping Rand destroy the seals, rescuing Egwene from the Tower.) Elayne is not doing anything like that at all, she'd side with Egwene against Rand in a heartbeat, for example.

And yet, apart from Egwene, if Elayne can rebel against any authority and have things her way, she will. We see it in Ebou Dar when she wrestles the leadership of the group with blunt force from Merilille, we see it traveling with Nynaeve from Tarabon, we see it in her relation with Birgitte, that she simply HAS to do stupid and foolhardy things without Birgitte backing her up even though she knows that it's wrong, we see it in almost every mention of her childhood, we see it when Rand fall down into the Palace Garden...

And yet, even though being a Queen and even though it goes against every fibre of her personality, she obeys without any trouble at all, because if she would not, it would SERIOUSLY undermine Egwene's authority. I mean, really? She is one of the strongest Sisters in history and the only Aes Sedai Queen in 1000 years, who also happens to be able to CREATE angreals. She is imba.

My point is, if SHE can be obedient, ANY Aes Sedai can be obedient. Oh and did I mention she is still a teenager?
Roger Powell
114. forkroot
birgit@73
Moridin'd's dream den sounds like finnland with the corridor where it doesn't matter which door one takes. Maybe he was able to deal successfully with the finn to get Lanfear back because he is used to strange geometry.
He probably didn't get her back. From TOM Chapter 57 (Moiraine speaking):
"They claimed to have killed Lanfear by draining her too quickly. though I think they may have been trying to make me afraid. A man was there once when they woke me. He said I was not the one he wanted.
Presumably Lanfear would have had the same body if she lived (like Moiraine). As "Cyndane" she is in a different body, so it appears that the Finns told Moiraine the truth and the DO snatched Lanfear back ala Moridin and the 'gars.

Randalator@79 and following
Nice work on that sand. You have no toh to me.

Stromgard@several
I think the best part of your points about Elaida is your noting of her position in the pecking order in Murandy and how life there may have shaped her views prior to the awakening of her channeling power.
Alice Arneson
115. Wetlandernw
all cool names are gone @110 - Kaboom @111 is correct. Semirhage had specified the number of people Rand could bring, ostensibly allowing there to be the same number of channelers (6) and non-channelers (1) on each side. She brought one domination band for Rand, by definition, plus one for each channeler he brought along, be they male or female - 5 of each gender. So a total of 6 sets of the domination band (in case Rand brought all Asha'man) and 5 a'dam (in case he brought Aes Sedai).
TW L
116. Shadow_Jak
@110 and 111

Yes, six male and five female A'dam
Rand had agreed to bring no more than five other channelers, his choice of male or female.
So that covered all the options.

Edit to add...
and Wet says it so much better than I.
Plus she said it first.
:(
Alice Arneson
117. Wetlandernw
Shadow_Jak - Yes, I got there first, but we love to hear from you. :) How ya been? Haven't seen you around much lately.
Cameron Tucker
118. Loialson
Just pondering on some other questions going through my head, and wanted to run them by everyone.

Was Lanfear actually killed by the Finn, as they told Moiraine, or did Moridin find her alive when he came for her (it's nearly 100% certain it was him that came for Lanfear in Finnland, wasn't it?)?

Or was she killed by Moridin after he found her for some reason to reincarnate as Cyndane, or is it just as simple as the Finn were telling the truth?

I don't know if this question is important or not, but Cynfear's wishes are sure to come back to bite Rand in the behind I think, judging by her PoV in Winter's Heart. I doubt she's changed much since then, all the cronying for Ishydin can't have changed her that much, it's pretty certain.

I wonder if Cyndane is related in any way to the reincarnation of Ilyena perhaps...? Loony theory, not likely, but I do wonder if Ilyena will pop up again, somehow in relation to Cyndane...hmm, probably not.

Maybe a better question would be: Will we ever see, or have we seen on screen the reincarnation of Ilyena so far in the series?

Has anyone asked these questions yet?

I might post this on tomorrow's post as well, as I'm sure many won't see it between then and now.
Jonathan Levy
119. JonathanLevy
118. Loialson
"Will we ever see, or have we seen on screen the reincarnation of Ilyena so far in the series?"
My opinion: Elayne is the reincarnation of Ilyena to the same extent that Taim is Demandred.

Ok, let me explain that.

On the one hand, there are certain parallels. Rand's got a pretty blonde love-interest. Oh hey, Lews Therin also had a pretty blonde love-interest. Rand's is called Elayne. Lews Therin's is called Ilyena (=Elayne with a heavy Ukranian accent). There's also what might be an oblique authorial hint early in TSR - Lanfear tells Rand that Lews Therin was hers before he ever laid eyes on "that pale-haired milksop". She's talking about Ilyena, but Rand thinks she knows he's been smooching with Elayne.

On the other hand, Elayne is just third of three, whereas Ilyena was "twooo wuv". And, more tellingly, Lews Therin (in Rand's head) never makes the connection between the two. This is the same Lews Therin that starts screaming 'Demandred' each time he sees Taim, and thumbs his earlobe each time he sees Berelain.

So we are given a few hints in this direction, but they have not been developed because Elayne-as-Ilyena has not been a plot device - at least not so far. I doubt it will become one in the last book; I think any appearance of Ilyena-reborn would either be so-foreshadowed-that-it's-lame (if it's Elayne) or so-out-of-left-field-that-it's-lame (if it's Coplin daughter #5).

I guess I'll copy-paste this on the next post if you do the same with yours :)
Homeschool
120. Wortmauer
JonathanLevy@119: Excellent post on the parallels between Ilyena and Elayne. Years ago I came to basically the same conclusion: The parallels are quite intentional on the author's part, but only as a literary device; Elayne isn't actually Ilyena reborn. (Mainly because we've never seen any evidence of a specific person reborn, except Rand, Ishamael, and the Heroes of the Horn. So it would be, as you say, "out of left field" to suddenly unearth another.)
Jonathan Levy
121. JonathanLevy
120. Wortmauer

I've often wondered whether, when writing tEotW, Jordan intentionally left open the possibility of having Elayne turn out to be Ilyena, but decided at some point that it wasn't necessary, and would ruin the balance between Rand's three ladies.

As for never encountering a specific person being reborn, it suddenly strikes me a bit odd. In a world like WoT, wouldn't you expect there to be a 'past-life' reader on every street corner? Wouldn't you expect people to obsess about this even if they didn't have any evidence? Instead of cursing with 'Fortune prick me', say something like 'by the sins of my past life'? But then again, Jordan's characters (unlike GRRM) are not often irrationally superstitious. Except Tuon :)

As for a specific person being reborn, there is only the interesting case of Mat. We get some baseless speculation of his being Aemon reborn when he starts spouting the Old Tongue in tEotW; and he has a very bold conversation in the Old Tongue while being cleansed of the dagger (though that may have been Mordeth speaking), and he has a very vivid memory in TDR about leading Manetheren's troops into battle.

One could conceivably argue from this that he's someone reborn - but this also strikes me as a literary device which is discarded once Mat gets the *finn memories in TSR.
Anthony Pero
123. anthonypero
JL @ 121:

It doesn't strike me as odd at all (that there are no past life fortune teller types), since that would smack of the OP, and the Tower would come down hard on anyone doing it.
Anthony Pero
124. anthonypero
I always took Mat's pre-*finn (and to a lesser extend Egwene's) memories as ancestral "blood" memories, rather than "soul" memories like LTT. As you say, it was abandoned in favor of the *Finn, and it's never come up again with Egwene or Perrin, so it's really a moot point. But I didn't take it to mean he was someone from Mantheren reborn as much as he was descendant of them, like ancestral memories in Dune.
Jonathan Levy
125. JonathanLevy
123. anthonypero

I hadn't thought of that. It's a perfectly consistent explanation, though.

124. anthonypero
Well... first, we don't have an in-universe theory which allows Dune-like transmission of memories. Unlike Dune, which goes out of its way to expound on that theory. Moiraine's value explanations to Agelmar about Manetheren's blood don't count - she's working around the First Oath, to avoid saying 'boy #2 is the Dragon Reborn'.

(edit to say: that's not quite true - there is mention somewhere about people accidentally saying a word or two in the Old Tongue without understanding what they're saying - but that could also be explained as a reborn soul which grabbed a stray thought from a previous incarnation).

Second, we do have an in-universe 'soul' memory theory.

Third, the 'blood' memories might explain occasionally spouting the Old Tongue, but they don't explain a very specific memory of one man's deeds on a real battlefield.
Stefan Mitev
126. Bergmaniac
I thought putting the Ajahs against each other was Alviarin's plan, and she forced Elaida to contribute to it when she had leverage on her and blackmailed her. Apart from disbanding the Blue, I don't think Elaida wanted the division between the Ajahs.

The Amyrlin is not supposed to be a dictator. There are checks and balances for good reasons, one of which is not allowing a borderline lunatic at the Amyrlin seat like Elaida to completely ruin the Tower.

How many times have Egwene ordered Elayne as an Amyrlin? Very few, IIRC. And we have at least one example of Elayne not obeying 100% - when Egewne asked her to tell her everything Rand did during his visit in Caemlyn in WH, Elayne didn't tell about the triple bonding. This and her deal with the Kin without asking Egwene first whether the Amyrin with it, show that Elayne is far from blindly following the Amyrlin.
TW L
127. Shadow_Jak
@117
Hi Wet!
Very well thanks.
Always a pleasure to read your posts, even when they ace me out.

I keep up with the reread, but I always seem to be late for the parade these days... after all the good stuff has already been said (mostly by you and the other regulars)
Homeschool
128. LoghainsBrother
@56 macster: No need to get all aggro... I have nothing against Sanderson. I think he did a great job and I totally discovered him as a writer after TGS.
I didn't mean to use "ascended fanboy" in a derogatory fashion...

And there's a good chance you're right. That the shift had to happen in the last books and it was Jordan's intention.

Still, this shift really stood out for me from the rest of the series.
Homeschool
129. Wortmauer
LoghainsBrother@128: While I agree that TGS has a number of red flags labeled "look, a new author," it also must be said that there have been previous instances where the tone and pacing shifted between books. Most noticeable to me: TSR has a markedly different tone from the first three books, and KOD picks up the plot pace quite a bit after the settled feel (some would say treadmill) of books 8-9-10.

I would say that, yes, TGS is a big uptick in characters communicating vital facts, and indeed this is exactly what a true fanboy would do, but the in-story justification (Tarmon Gai'don is coming, everyone needs to really start getting their act together) is just as strong as the reasons behind those earlier shifts.
Terry McNamee
130. macster
@62 Ryamano re: Moridin as a past Light Champion who turned--now that's an idea I never thought of. Fascinating...

@63 forkroot: Actually no, we have no textual proof Sorilea saw the untrapping. Here's the relevant passage:

"Cadsuane and the two Wise Ones reached her chamber...Her most precious possessions she either wore...or kept locked in a dingy-looking document box that sat on her mirror stand....As Sorilea closed the door behind the three of them, Cadsuane disarmed the box's traps." (p. 310, emphasis mine)

In other words, not only was Cadsuane standing between the stand and Sorilea when she undid the wards, Sorilea had her back to her as well while she was closing the door. By the time she crosses over to look into the box, the wards are already undone and it is open. I believe I read on Theoryland that some think Sorilea saw the wards reflected in the mirror. But even if One Power weaves cast reflections (which as far as I know we have no indication of one way or the other), there are two problems with this theory. The first, as I said, is that Sorilea actually had her back to Cadsuane to close the door while the unwarding was done. The second is that it has been stated that the stronger one is in the Power, the easier it is to identify weaves, follow how they are made, and reproduce them. Sorilea is very weak in the Power. So even if she could have seen the weaves, I don't see how she could be strong enough to follow them (especially ones as convoluted as these) to tell someone how to undo them. I suppose it's possible she could have been Compelled, or Shaidar Haran looked into her mind, so as to see the weaves and follow them using his/Elza's knowledge rather than her own, but that's the only way I can see it happening.

@67 Staizer and 69 wcarter: An interesting notion, that the Wheel needs to be undone to ger rid of the Power so that it won't be around in our Age. But I think the others are right, it is not that the Power no longer exists in our Age, it's that we don't know it does and so can't detect or use it.

@68 forkroot: Very good point on evil still existing without the Dark One. Destroying him may cause a big shakeup in the Pattern, but it wouldn't necessarily be the end of the world or an undoing of a cosmic truth (there shall always be evil).

@Wetlander: I can't believe I didn't follow the logic the rest of the way--to Fisher King-Dark Rand turning the whole world into Shadar Logoth. Do Not Want! Also, *bows to you for your respect*

@73 birgit: An intriguing notion, but then again Rand is meeting Moridin in TAR where the surroundings can be molded. So it may more be a sign that Moridin is making it so that no matter which door Rand goes through, he enters that room. As to why Rand is more himself: good question. Possible answers: 1) the first time Rand started actively hearing Lews Therin's voice was in LOC, after his fight with Rahvin in TAR where he almost transformed into Lews Therin. If entering TAR was what first destabilized him, perhaps re-entering it re-stabilizes him. 2) the taint does not extend into TAR 3) Lews Therin, whatever he is/was, is something in Rand's mind/soul, so being in a place where the mind and soul have an affinity (and where in fact coming there bodily is a bad thing) may allow Rand to be stable 4) something about the link to Moridin is stablizing him. Also keep in mind that Perrin had not yet fully accepted his wolfbrotherhood even as he tried to train in it, so might be in danger of losing himself that way, while Rand actually wants to be stable; and that Perrin was there through his wolfbrother talents, while Rand was dreaming normally (and being drawn by the link to Moridin).

@ Randalator meeting his toh: LOL!

@92 Lsana: Yes, that is what I was getting at. Even though he's evil and nihilistic and a sociopath, I actually find myself liking Moridin. I feel sorry for him, and I hope he does get to come back to the Light and find out his despair was misplaced. Of course knowing Jordan/Sanderson, he'll either reject the offer when it comes, or Redemption Equals Death (if for no other reason than him still being linked to Rand when Rand dies), in which case he'll be a Tragic Villain. But maybe he can give Rand the secret to winning before/as that happens.

Also, I'm not sure what you mean about the Forsaken going berserk when their real names are used--the only ones we learn in-story (and in the presence of the Forsaken in question) are Asmodean (who just reacts as if acknowledging his old name is a weakness) and Lanfear, who did indeed go berserk though we're not sure why. (The name reminds her of when she had Lews Therin, and was rejected?) It seems you were thinking of her. That said, it is interesting Rand calls him by name and he doesn't reject it as he does Ishamael. More evidence, perhaps, that his soul can still come back to the Light. Your point about why he let Rand know about balefire is extremely valid, and poignant.

@97 birgit: LOL!

@Stromgard: While Wet and others have made their points re: Elaida quite clearly, I have to say that I can also understand where Elaida is coming from. I said in my posts that she was smart (at one time anyway), with her later incompetence being due to her megalomania and/or Fain. I would argue that she was definitely not the right one to be Amrylin due to these points and also her not knowing what to do to lead, but your points re: her views of those in power due to being from Murandy, and her being right about the other Aes Sedai and the Tower are very valid. (Problem is of course, it's true of her too.) I don't defend her, but I can see why she feels and acts as she does, and that however/whenever she spiraled out of control, she was competent at one point and her allowing Egwene to speak is a combination of this competence, her megalomania, and her arrogance. And her being a hypocrite and untrustworthy doesn't change the fact that she may still be right in some of her views of other sisters.

Also, to you and Bergmaniac on the splitting of the Ajahs--yes, it was Alviarin's idea, but it was Elaida herself who chose to demote Shemerin and send Teslyn and Joline in disgrace to Ebou Dar, which was the start of the dissension. And later, after Alviarin vanishes/falls from power, Elaida has not done anything to undo what Alviarin did. Of course by then she was probably too far gone in megalomania/Mashadar, but I think a case could still be made that, if not outright trying to split the Ajahs of her own will (as in this dinner scene), she certainly at least didn't care if they split, so long as they all did what she wanted, granted her power, and looked to her to win the Last Battle.

@124 anthonypero: Agreed.

@128 LoghainsBrother: Sorry. I've just gotten annoyed (and I'm not the only one here) at the repeated attempts to try and blame Sanderson for things which are viewed as wrong or bad in these books. Not that he is to be exempt from criticism, but it seems that when something is wrong or off, people always blame him for it instead of Jordan, or instead of remembering the editorial team allowed these things to pass too. My apologies if I came off as too harsh because of these past incidents. As for your original point, as Wortmauer says, even if Sanderson's fanboy tendencies may be partly responsible, they wouldn't have been allowed if Jordan hadn't called for the character communication and/or if the editorial team hadn't viewed it as the correct decision. And in any event, I think it was supposed to stand out. Perhaps not as strongly as it does, due to Sanderson being a more direct and less subtle writer than Jordan was, but considering how important communication and its lack have been to the series, and will be key to the Light winning, I don't think Jordan would have written it so subtly we wouldn't have noticed the difference.
Anthony Pero
131. anthonypero
Macster@130 RE: @63:

Um... it a pretty big jump to go from Sorila closed the door to her back was turned. I don't remember the last time I actually turned my back on a room to close a door. Maybe when I was sneeking in and had to close it quietly. Anyway, there is no textual evidence to support your claim that she had her back to Cads. I would demonstrate physically, but...

Macster@130 RE: @73:

Actually, Rand specifically mentions that where he is meeting Moridin is NOT the same place that Egwene meets with the WOs. The inference is that this is Moridin's dream. Ishmael actually pulled people into his own dreams or shapped the dreams of others. He is a true dreamer like Egwene, not just someone who learned how to use T'a'R.

JohnathanLevy@125:

I realize that there is no in-world mechanism explicitly stated for blood memories. I'm saying that this is a plot mechanism that RJ abandoned. There are many. Read the WOT-FAQ for a comprehensive list of mid-stream changes and inconsistences that Jordan made over the course of the books. I believe this was one of them. That's why you had not one but TWO characters whom it was introduced with. It's either a) ancestral memories of a sort, or b) like others were saying, they were BOTH specifically meant to be previous souls reborn. I'm going with A.
Julian Augustus
132. Alisonwonderland
Forkroot @33:
If Shaidar Haran did open the box, this implies a whole new set of powers that it previously did not display. In the past, SH appeared to use the TP for a few things like burning up a spear or making a globe of darkness. I would say that as a minimum, it would have to have the ability to detect and destroy One Power weaves with the TP.
I think we've seen SH display quite a bit more than this. First evidence: during the confrontation between Graendal and Semrhage-Lanfear, Graendal managed to put both Semi and Lanf under compulsion with the help of her angreal just as SH showed up. What is important to note here is that the one-power disappeared in his presence! Graendal thought she wasn't shielded, she just couldn't sense the source any more. Second evidence: just as Mesaana was getting ready to beat up on Alviarin SH showed up. Same thing happened - the one power shattered, and Alviarin could suddenly see Mesaana as a real woman. Final evidence: prologue of LoC, Demandred stepped onto the dark slopes of Shayol Ghul, and met SH who took him to the DO's presence. On the way there, Dem noticed that he could no longer sense the OP; he wasn't severed, he just couldn't sense the OP.

What may be deduced from these incidents is that the mere presence of SH can neutralize the OP in a certain radius around him. We know he showed up in the manor house and gave some instructions to Elsa. Occam's razor would suggest the most likely explanation of how Elsa came by the domination bands is that SH neutralized Cads' weaves and allowed Elsa to simply pick them up.
Terry McNamee
133. macster
@anthonypero: Actually, I turn around to close doors all the time. Granted, it is possible to close a door behind one's back, so the textual evidence isn't conclusive, but neither is it conclusive she could see the weaves either. You also didn't touch on the fact that we don't know if weaves can be seen in a reflection (because Cadsuane was still between her and the box) or Sorilea being too weak in the Power to follow such convoluted weaves. So basically, there is still really no proof either way, and no one should be unilaterally declaring Sorilea guilty or innocent (except Sanderson, and we still don't have an explanation from Free whether the exonerating of Sorilea was his own opinion or if Sanderson actually said it himself).

Also, now who's making assumptions? There is no proof Ishamael is a dreamer or dreamwalker--the fact he can pull Darkfriends from their dreams may simply be a power he has as Big Cheese of the Shadow, and he could also be very good at manipulating T'a'R; as we've seen with Perrin, that isn't an indication of being an actual dreamwalker. Are Moghedien and Lanfear true dreamers too, then? Rand's thought about it not being the same place may be simple opinion, and a wrong one at that. And the fact Rand may be in Moridin's dream could simply be due to the link between them, not any actual dreaming ability on Moridin's part.

Note I am not saying you're wrong, in fact I think you are probably right--the ability to control the nature of one's own dreams and those of others would surely be related to the ability to control T'a'R, and even if the latter is an ability anyone with enough skill in the World of Dreams can do (wolfbrothers are never actually said to be dreamers, but they do connect to T'a'R and have abilities there), the former seems to be something only true dreamers can do. I am just saying we don't have evidence or proof to know one way or the other, so we shouldn't make assumptions.

@132 Alisonwonderland: Agreed 100%. (One minor quibble: it was Moghedien in that scene with Graendal and Cyndane, not Semirhage.)
Anthony Pero
134. anthonypero
@Macster re: Ishmael

Tuche'. Given the evidence we have, though, it's a pretty safe assumption.
Homeschool
135. TBR
It never stops to amaze (annoy) me that Aes Sedai can punish/spank/beat each other but when it comes to Forsaken or a known Black Ajah member there are rules against torture.
Anthony Pero
136. anthonypero
Spanking and "beating" hardly amount to torture. And setting a punishment for a broken rule is a far cry from trying to force someone to tell you something they don't want to tell you. When you opt to be Aes Sedai, you agree to a set of rules, including the spankings. Your free will is not violated in the slightest. It's sort of an "opt-in" clause. The same can not be said of torturing someone for information.
Homeschool
137. Dorianin
You're forgetting Fain...."She might trust her own mother...."etc....I think your reasoning would have been the logical progression, but the sheer psychosis resulting from the his touch(yes, I know, modern DSM treatments are untrustworthy....) would mean that not only is she completely batfuck insane, but unpredictably so....my view anyway.....
William McDaniel
138. willmcd
I found chapter 15 to be the first really great chapter of TGS. At that point, any concerns that I had as to the series have a disastrous ending without RJ were alleviated; I knew that BWS was going to do a great job (especially knowing that Rand was primarily "his voice").

Like many others, I enjoyed that casual way that Rand and Ishydin interacted with one another, and it spoke volumes about how the two of them had changed since TEotW, and I liked the way we finally got some insight into Moridin's philosophy. We see now why the DO favors him above all the others; he is not vying for his personal power and trying to leverage an advantage, he truly wants to same thing the DO wants (the Norn Queen Utuk'ku in Tad Williams' "Memory, Sorrow and Thorn" series his some similar characteristics). And I liked revisiting a location that we hadn't seen since the first book; in a strange way, it took me back to where I was, a freshman in college in 1993, when I read TEotW for the first time. It was very interesting that in Moridin's realm (is it called a "dreamshard" in AMoL?) Rand and LTT are more integrated, and Rand has lost his connection to Mat and Perrin.

The offhand way Rand called him "Elan" was what resonated most with me, and like Lsana @82 I was surprised that Moridin let it pass without comment, especially after his strong reaction to being called Ishamael earlier.

I also really liked the Min POV. Rand awakes from a surreal and disturbing dream to a brief time of lucidity, and communicates honestly for the first time in who knows how long. For these few moments, we see a Rand who is more like the sheepherder we knew back in TEoTW.

As to the Egwene part, I liked the dialogue about how realistic the conversation (and especially that last remark about the DO) was or wasn't, and thought both sides had good points. What strikes me, bearing in mind that Egwene drives me nuts most of the time, is that all of her intelligence (and know-it-allness), all of her unshakeable certainty of her own wisdom and correctness in every situation, served her perfectly here, and perhaps those traits were exactly what was needed in confronting Elaida. The way she was such a pain in the butt to everyone else who knew her before that moment was some significant collateral damage, but this seems to be the moment she was made for.

And I imagine that's true in real life; the most dynamic leaders, the type of personalities you need to bring about a revolution, are often pretty intolerable in personal relationships. When Steve Jobs died, nobody was talking much about how nice of a guy he was, but instead how he changed the world.

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