Dec 20 2011 2:00pm

The Wheel of Time Re-read: The Gathering Storm, Part 13

The Wheel of Time reread on Tor.comO come, all ye WOT faithful, for one last Wheel of Time Re-read before the new year!

Today’s entry covers Chapter 22 of The Gathering Storm, in which Bad Shit Happens, and we learn the true meaning of “low point.” Ow.

Don’t forget: after this post, the Re-read is on hiatus until January 10th.

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 22: The Last That Could Be Done

What Happens
Semirhage sits in her cell and tries to figure out how that “cursed woman with the paralis-net in her hair” had made her lose control so quickly, and is planning ways to torture her when Shaidar Haran appears before her. She prostrates herself, and Shaidar Haran tells her she has disappointed the Great Lord by almost killing the boy instead of capturing him, and now by allowing herself to be captured, but she is to be given one last chance. He warns her not to fail again, and Semirhage feels the shield on her disappear, as does Shaidar Haran. Semirhage leaves the room to find the three Aes Sedai on guard dead, and a fourth kneeling to her. The woman tells Semirhage there is Compulsion on her mind she is instructed to ask Semirhage to remove, and also gives her a metallic collar and bracelet set which Semirhage recognizes as the Domination Band.

With this ter’angreal, a male channeler could be controlled. A smile finally broke through Semirhage’s fear.

Rand rides the Saldaean Blight border with Bashere, Ituralde, and fifty thousand of Ituralde’s troops. Ituralde and Bashere observe that this could appear to be an invasion of Saldaea even with Bashere’s presence, but Rand doesn’t see what else is to be done with Saldaea’s own troops off Light knows where. Bashere comments that the Blight has come leagues further inland even in just the last few months, but it is bizarre that it is so quiet. Ituralde doesn’t understand the logic of leaving the Domani to guard the Border when Bashere’s Saldaeans have so much more experience dealing with the creatures of the Blight, but Rand thinks to himself that keeping the Saldaeans and the Domani in places foreign and hostile to them is a way of ensuring neither group’s loyalty is tempted to waver. Rand tells Ituralde that he will have a hundred Asha’man by the end of the week, and that Rand is moving to Bandar Eban in four days. This is news to Bashere. They return to the manor via gateway. Rand thinks on Moridin, and wonders why the man saved him in Shadar Logoth, and whether he had lied about Rand being the one to invade his dream instead of the other way around. He thinks again he must be hard to kill the Forsaken, but is troubled that Min does not want that of him.

There were no games with Min; she might call him a fool, but she did not lie, and that made him want to be the man she wished him to be. But did he dare? Could a man who could laugh also be the man who could face what needed to be done at Shayol Ghul?

Lews Therin suddenly speaks up and says Min is right; they need to break the seals. Rand stops short, and asks what they do after that. Lews Therin says they die, like Rand promised, and Rand points out that that’s only if they defeat the Dark One; otherwise they will be far worse than dead.

Lews Therin began to weep.

Lews Therin! Rand snapped in his mind. What do we do? How did you seal the Bore last time?

It didn’t work, Lews Therin whispered. We used saidin, but we touched it to the Dark One. It was the only way! Something has to touch him, something to close the gap, but he was able to taint it. The seal was weak!

Yes, but what do we do differently? Rand thought.


Rand goes into the manor, thinking on duty and how it is crushing him. He wishes he could see Tam again, but knows he can’t risk it, either for Tam’s sake or for his own. He wonders if he is to have no other legacy than making it to the Last Battle and dying there; if he is to leave the world in chaos, or if there is a way to leave it better. He thinks on what Lews Therin said about saidin, and wonders if it is really as simple as making sure he has both women and men with him when he attempts it again, or whether he should stick with his other plan of slaying the Dark One altogether. He goes into his room and finds Min there reading while an old serving woman bustles around. Min complains that he is too tense, and hasn’t laughed in months, and Rand asks what there is these days to laugh about. Min starts to say something about Cadsuane, and Rand is instantly suspicious that Min is being manipulated by the woman, or even working with her, and then is horrified at his own paranoia. He apologizes to her, and then feels something click around his neck. He turns to see the serving woman vanish, to be replaced by Semirhage. Rand tries to move, but cannot.

At that moment, Rand felt terror.

Min then hurls a knife which almost connects, slashing Semirhage’s cheek, and screams for the guards until Semirhage curses and binds and gags her with Air. Elza enters, and Rand is relieved for a moment until she smiles and tells him he is finally come to his destiny: to face the Great Lord. Semirhage tells him the room is warded against sound; no one is coming, and he cannot move or speak unless she allows it. Rand tries to seize saidin, and cannot do that either. Semirhage remarks that he won’t like it if he tries that again, and forces him to stand and begin to choke himself. Rand tries for saidin again, and screams at the agony coursing through him. Lews Therin cries that they are in the box again, and Rand remembers that was when he first started talking to him.

Rand hadn’t been willing to see Lews Therin as part of himself. The mad part of himself, the part that could deal with the torture, if only because it was already so tortured. More pain and suffering was meaningless. You could not fill a cup that had already begun to overflow.

He stopped screaming. The pain was still there, it made his eyes water, but the screams would not come. All fell still.

Semirhage is puzzled, and demands to know what he is doing, and Rand whispers that no more can be done to him. She hits him with more pain, but Rand does not respond. Then she smiles and tells him he is wrong, and she has broken men ten times as strong. She forces him to stand and seize saidin, and then is intrigued at how that makes him throw up.

Use it, Lews Therin whispered. Kill her while we can!

I will not kill a woman, Rand thought stubbornly, a figment of a memory from the back of his mind. That is the line I will not cross...

Semirhage then makes him weave a web which Rand knows causes great pain, and Rand screams for her to stop as she forces him to put it on Min, who writhes in agony. Semirhage tells him to beg, and he does, weeping. Semirhage stops, and tells him he will come with her to Shayol Ghul and the Great Lord to fulfill his destiny to serve him, but first Min must be dealt with. She ignores his pleas and forces him to begin choking Min.

It was as if he gripped his own heart, and the world became black around him, everything darkened except for Min. He could feel her pulse throbbing beneath his fingers.

Those beautiful dark eyes of hers watched him, loving him even as he killed her.

This can’t be happening!

I’ve killed her!

I’m mad!


There had to be a way out! Had to be! Rand wanted to close his eyes, but he couldn’t. She wouldn’t let him – not Semirhage, but Min. She held his eyes with her own, tears lining her cheeks, dark, curled hair disheveled. So beautiful.

He scrambled for saidin, but could not take it. He tried with every bit of will he had to relax his fingers, but they just continued to squeeze. He felt horror, he felt her pain. Min’s face grew purple, her eyes fluttered.


Something snapped inside of him. He grew cold; then that coldness vanished, and he could feel nothing. No emotion. No anger.

At that moment he grew aware of a strange force. It was like a reservoir of water, boiling and churning just beyond his view. He reached toward it with his mind.

A clouded face flashed before Rand’s own, one whose features he couldn’t quite make out. It was gone in a moment.

And Rand found himself filled with an alien power. Not saidin, not saidar, but something else. Something he’d never felt before.

Oh, Light, Lews Therin suddenly screamed. That’s impossible! We can’t use it! Cast it away! That is death we hold, death and betrayal.

It is HIM.

Rand thinks the power rivals even that he’d had with the Choedan Kal, and screams in “rapture and rage” as he channels with it to explode the collar off of him. He releases Min and turns to Semirhage, who stares in utter shock. She whispers that she felt nothing, and then realizes aloud that it is the True Power. She asks why the Great Lord has betrayed her as Rand raises a hand and balefires her. Elza runs for the door, and Rand balefires her too.

What have you done? Lews Therin asked. Oh, Light. Better to have killed again than to do this... Oh, Light. We are doomed.

Rand lets the power go, reluctantly, and numbly notes that Min looks afraid of him. He thinks that he barely remembers what it was like to kill Ilyena, but now he knew exactly what it feels like to kill a loved one. He whispers that it is done.

“The last that could be done to me,” he said, surprised at his own calmness. “They have taken everything from me now.”

Min asks what he means, and Rand apologizes to her that the laughter and flexibility she wanted from him are things he can no longer give. He decides that to be hard as steel is not enough; from now on, he is cuendillar.

They could not break or bend him.

It was done.

So, I gave myself a raging monster of a headache when I initially acquired TGS, because I read the entire behemoth of a book through in a matter of hours, almost without pause. I say “almost,” because there were a couple of points where I had to stop.

Most of the pauses were for pesky real life reasons, like getting off the subway before I missed my stop, and such, but this chapter was the only place I stopped because of the story itself. I didn’t just stop, either; I put the book down and physically walked away from it for a bit, in fact, because of how upset I became. I was really rather surprised by the strength of my reaction, even though in retrospect I really shouldn’t have been.

Lois McMaster Bujold once said (paraphrased) that one of her mantras in approaching how to tell a story was to ask herself, “what is the worst possible thing I can do to these people?”, and then make it happen. And, well. From that perspective, this chapter earns a goddamn gold star in storytelling, because that is pretty much exactly what it is for Rand — the worst thing that could possibly happen to him. And that meant it was really, really hard to read — however necessary and inevitable that it was that it had to happen.

Another plot technique I’ve talked about before is a term that is commonly used in scriptwriting, but is perfectly applicable across mediums to any protagonist’s journey, particularly heroic ones, which is the concept of the midpoint: the point in the story where the protagonist reaches his personal nadir, or lowest possible point, and seems furthest from reaching his goal.

I remember that before TGS came out I was of the opinion that Rand’s midpoint was in TPOD (specifically, when he went bugshit with Callandor and wiped out half of his own troops), but obviously I was seriously, seriously wrong on that score. TGS very very very unmistakably contains Rand’s real low point as a character, and it begins here. And this is both totally awesome and utterly sucky, if I may be allowed to use the formal academic terms here.

On the one hand, it is totally awesome, because this nadir absolutely had to happen, from a narrative integrity viewpoint. The unspoken qualifier to Bujold’s storytelling rule I mentioned above is that the “worst possible thing” she does to her characters is not the equivalent of “rocks fall, everyone dies” (i.e. insurmountable disaster), but the worst possible thing that the character(s) can still overcome and grow from. A character’s triumphs, after all, are only worth as much as the obstacles she has to overcome to achieve them; the more difficult the trial, the more satisfying it is when the character prevails against it.

Plus, it is basically inconceivable to suppose that Rand should not have some kind of snapping point, considering the pressures he’s been under and the sheer amount of crap he’s been forced to endure over the course of the series. Letting him escape without this nadir would have felt cheap, ultimately.

On the other hand, it is utterly sucky, because yes, all of the above, but however meta-aesthetically necessary the midpoint may be, it doesn’t change the fact that it fucking blows to watch a character you care about go through it.

So, yeah.

A while back I had something of a revelation about Rand’s massive hang-ups re: harming women, which was that, while I still find it offensive and (more importantly) incredibly stupid on principle, I realized that what it really was, was a more or less arbitrarily self-defined Moral Event Horizon — a deliberately chosen line that Rand refused to cross in an effort to keep himself from descending into total amorality, or worse. I’m trying to remember now whether I had this revelation before or after TGS, which states it flat out in this chapter, in contrast to the earlier books, where it was not so explicitly said. It would be cooler if I had thought of it myself before TGS, of course, but whatever. (I could go and try to track down where I talked about this in my old posts, but frankly the idea makes me want to cry, so I ain’t gonna.)

And I have to wonder, really, if the reason it was made so much more obscure in the earlier books was actually because Jordan was trying to be subtle about it, or if instead it was because he considered it so obvious that it didn’t need to be spelled out. Even if, going by my example at least, it kind of did.

Whichever the case, the reason this chapter represents Rand’s nadir as a character is because (duh) Semirhage finally forced him to cross that line, and now Rand believes that he has no more limits upon him. That this is total crap reasoning on his part is, of course, completely irrelevant; perception, sadly, far too often trumps reality.

And then there is the other big thing in this chapter, which is Rand’s utterly unexpected use of the True Power to break free and kill Semirhage, which I think made my jaw physically drop when I first read it, because WHOA. Even though now in retrospect it seems perfectly obvious how it happened, which is of course this odd and involuntary brainshare thing Rand and Moridin have had ever since the One Power/True Power crossing the streams incident in Shadar Logoth in ACOS. After all, if they share dreams and phantom missing-limb sensations and unfortunate personality traits, why not powers?

The consequences of this development have yet to fully materialize; ToM only made reference to it once or twice from what I recall (probably because Rand was never a POV character in ToM at all except for right at the end, if I remember correctly), but I have to assume that it is going to be a major factor in the final showdown between Rand and Moridin, or Rand and the Dark One, or some combination of the above. Because, again, duh.

And again, it’s going to suck, however it goes down. But I’ll be completely fascinated to find out how it all works out in the end.

And there is probably more I could say about all of this, but I’m rather tapped out at the moment. And in any case, it’s not like the consequences of this chapter aren’t going to come up again and again over the course of TGS.

So I think I’ll stop here for now, except to say: that really fucking hurt, Sanderson and Jordan. Well done.

And that concludes the WOT Re-read for 2011, people! Have a very merry holiday season of your choice, and I’ll see you again next year!

Sam Mickel
1. Samadai
I hate that Rand has to get this dark before the light. But a very powerful scene. I would hate to be under the clutches of anyone half as evil as Semirhage.
Matthew B
2. MatthewB
"Something has to touch him, something to close the gap, but he was able to taint it."

This in the same chapter where Rand first uses the True Power. Not a coincidence. Rand will use the TP to hold the DO back while A combo of Saidar & Saidin seals the bore. The seal will be pure because the TP comes from the DO himself and thus will not reach through, tainting the seal. I think i just won WoT ;)
Sim Tambem
3. Daedos
"It didn’t work, Lews Therin whispered. We used saidin, but we touched it to the Dark One. It was the only way! Something has to touch him, something to close the gap..."

What better than the True Power to touch the Dark One? Problem solved. Seriously.
4. Palindrome
I think the counter argument to that is in the quote that Leigh quoted -"
Oh, Light, Lews Therin suddenly screamed. That’s impossible! We can’t use it! Cast it away! That is death we hold, death and betrayal.
It is HIM."

Turning the Dark One against himself doesn't seem to be very realistic. Its probably important, but I doubt its as simple as all that. It seems that using the True Power would taint the source if it touched the source too.
Matthew B
5. MatthewB
@4. Palindrome
Yeah, that occurred to me too, but Brandon's a clever guy - i'm sure he can make it work. ;)
Charles Gaston
7. parrothead
This one.

This is the absolute most gutwrenching thing I have ever read. I also had to step away - the unfortunate consequence of reading while on breaks at work. I spent the rest of the afternoon in a daze, just thinking "no. no. no. They wouldn't. They can't. no. no. no." It wasn't until I got home that I got to finish the chapter.

Min is my favorite character in the series. Her life has been turned upside down, and her only power kinda sucks given a) it's passive, no on/off button, and b) people still think they can avoid what she sees. So she has to put up with visions of (literal) certain doom, and so often no one takes her seriously. But she sticks with it, tries to help as best she can - let's remember that if not for her, no bond or Elayne sexing - and is one of the most humanizing influences on Rand and the story. Losing Aviendha would devastate him. Losing Elayne and the twins would irrevocably break him. But losing Min, and at his own hand?...when I was reading this chapter I saw the Light losing Tarmon Gai'don.
Margot Virzana
8. LuvURphleb
Argh! I do not like tor mobile. Its just not as nice as the actual site. Anyway, i will say i wanted min to die because i hate her. However this way wouls have totally ruined our hero so grugingly accepting that she is still alive. Im also sad to see semirhage go. Like alviarin in getting things done semirhage did have my respect as a great villian. At least she went out with a bang. Elza? Im going to have to actually read the chapter again because it seemed so random to me that she just shows up and is ok with rands predicament when back in winters heart she was all " all forsaken must die because he must make it to the last battle." also i completly forgot she wAs in this chapter.
I do have sympathy for mins neck. Makes me cringe just reading the summary.
Rich Bennett
9. Neuralnet
Thanks for posting one last reread before the new year Leigh!

To me this was the best chapter of the book.. so much happened here and I have so many thoughts about it. First, I am always surprised that Semirhage didnt gateway out of there right away with Rand and Min and then do the torturing, but I am glad she didnt. Also, especially with the way Leigh framed the reread, it almost seems like this imprisonment has to happen for Rand to realize that Lews Therin as a seperate entity only happened because of the box imprisonment/torture.... this puts him on the path to reintegration I think. Overall, I remember being dissapointed with how dark Rand becomes after this, and it makes me wonder if this was the shadows strategy all along. Try to turn Rand to the dark side etc.

The really interesting thing to me about this chapter is the description of the True power. After Rand embraces the True power Lews Therin says "it is him" It make me think that the dark one IS the true power. does this make the creator the one power? And then since Lews Therin had to touch the dark one with saidin to seal the bore, it make me think that the taint on saidin was made of the true power.. It will be really interesting to see how this all gets resolved/explained in the last book.

Finally, since Christmas is right around the corner, I am reminded of a conversation I had with a friend years ago about how Rand is the Christ-like figure in the book (he will die for us, shed his blood on the rocks etc.) so who will be judas... who will play the part of an inner circle character that betrays him? My money was always on Bashere, but that is looking unlikely now.

Can you beleive it.... by the time of the next reread the last book will be finished (at least the first draft). After all these years, cant wait to see how the story ends.

Merry Christmas everybody
Marcus W
10. toryx
This is quite literally where the shit truly hit the fan. Which is, I believe, one of the more brilliantly crafted scenes in the entire book.

And when I first read that he'd actually seized the True Source Power...man, the dread that filled me. I know the point of the scene is that he finally broke the moral event horizon but I never really put as much importance to that as Jordan wanted me to after the scene in The Dragon Reborn where he actually killed a woman without thinking much about it at the time.

Touching the True Source Powerthough, letting the taint of the Dark One literally suffuse his very being...that's bad news.

The problem with this scene, however, is that it's 100% (in my mind at least) superior to the opposing scene at the end of the book when he finally breaks and the two parts of himself merge into one. Compared to the writing here, that scene is just crap. I think that as a writer it's simply easier to torment your character than it is to lift him out of the gutter in one instant. Or maybe it's because we had 12 books of build up to this one moment and only a handful of pages in comparison to the resolution of the whole thing.

It's probably too early for me to talk about this but I can't help but compare the two scenes.
11. zackattack
This chapter crystalized why Min annoys the crap out of me. She is arrogant, selfish, and useless in any kind of combat/danger situation. More than that, she is, as Rand has correctly noted on so many occasions, a tool that can be used against him. Which is what we see here. She can’t even hit Semirhage with a knife from a distance of less than 10 feet. Granted, knife throwing is hard, but didn’t she get lessons from Thom? That being said, Min’s entire existence in the series is probably justified by this chapter. It forces Rand to go to that very very dark place that we really don’t want to see, but is apparently necessary to the resolution of the story. Also I have a sort of half-baked theory that this is an important step in his merge with LTT, in that he sort of experiences Ilyena’s death all over again. (What Neuralnet said.) So thanks for providing necessary plot movement Min, but I still hate you.
Juan Avila
12. Cumadrin
You three are missing the foreshadowing already in the series regarding this question. Not to mention that the True Power, coming from the Dark One himself, can safely be assumed to be completely under his control. That is, if someone tried to use it against him, he'd simply cut them off.

The factor you're not considering is the biggest and most mysterious wild card in the whole series: Fain and his power gained from merging with Mordeth. The two biggest hints that Fain is the key are that A) when Rand is cut by Fain's dagger, Flinn can only save Rand's life by turning the two evils in the wounds against each other. And B) when Rand cleanses Saidin, he uses the evil of Shadar Logoth as a buffer to sift the taint off of it as he channels Saidin through the evil, like a sieve. The 'Fain is Key' premise just seems far more logical and likely to me, all things considered. I think Rand and the True Power will at best be important for his probable (6th or 7th? I forget :P ) showdown with Ishamael/Moridin.

Now, as for my reaction to this chapter the first time, I was really surprised when Rand used the True Power, of course. Mostly because of how inplausable it was to me at the time. But hindsight showed all the foreshadowing was there, along with an explanation that I can accept.

The reason I hated this chapter though was simply because Rand nearly killed Min. Part of your commentary made me smile.
On the other hand, it is utterly sucky, because yes, all of the above, but however meta-aesthetically necessary the midpoint may be, it doesn’t change the fact that it fucking blows to watch a character you care about go through it.

So, yeah.
Believe it or not, I don't care a fig about Rand anymore. I haven't for quite some time. Probably since sometime around when he got stuck in the box. This isn't to say I don't root for him, nor sympathize with or understand what he's going through that's been causing him to act like a douchebag for half the series. I'm just sick and tired of his downward spiral that's been going on so long. If he weren't the savior of the world I'd have been wishing with every book that he'd get killed somehow.

So at the time, I was thinking, 'Oh, not MORE of this...' but by the end of the book I was immensely relieved, needless to say. Rand is no longer on my shit list since he got over his brain disorder. It helps so much to know there's an end to it, which was why I hated him so fervently for several years until tGS came out. There just didn't seem to be and end in sight.

A last couple notes. It was always pretty obvious to me Rand's Achilles' Heel regarding women was a moral threshold he set on himself. But I still hated it, too. He could've come up with a better one.

The whole phantom limb thing Rand has that you attribute as part of his connection with Moridin... is probably just the generic phantom limb many many amputees experience. Just sayin'.
A.J. Bobo
13. Daedylus
I had to stop reading after this chapter, too. Partly because of how completely screwed Rand is at this point, and partly to catch my breath at Min actually surviving. I was sure she wasn't going to make it. I had to go back and reread Sanderson's introduction to this book where he says that he's read Jordan's ending and "it is fantastic". Man, I really needed something to convince me that, no matter how bitter-sweet this story's ending will be, it won't be the complete tragedy that this chapter appears to be leading to.
14. Palindrome
@12 - Yeah, Fain is the complication I was thinking of. But the complexity for the Dark One of cutting off the True Power from Rand is that he'd likely have to cut off his Nae'blis as well. I suspect that it won't be simply a repeat of Scott Pilgrim vs The World (random reference, but think of the bus money the Dark One would drop) with isolated combat instances that are highly indendent of eachother.
15. Ryanus
@LoveUR 8.
The compulsion was removed. She was advised of it by SH and then asked Semi to fix it so she could serve better.

@toryx 10.
I think the last chapter loses something since we only have Rand's view of it at this point. Once you get Perrin's perspective I think it takes on a whole new meaning.

@Zach 11.
I don't know that I consider her useless, she's useless against a channeler, but so would any Maiden. You're making the assumption that Semirhage wasn't holding the source and wasn't prepared at all for an attack.
Personally, if I were in her situation or in that world I'd be walking into any dangerous situation with the source held and the air currents around me completely under my control. Similar to what Alise does for Elayne in the next book. Much like being able to practice expecting a blow and tensing for it you could train yourself to instantly shift from gentle direction to hard walls when needed.

@Cumadrin 12.
I'm in the same boat with you on the Fain theory. Plus I thought I had heard comment somewhere from Sanderson that Rand didn't use the TP anymore, not sure where I got that though.
I don't know that I agree on a better Moral Event Horizon. There are better ones, no doubt, but something like that is pressed on you by your subconscious most of the time, it's not exactly a choice.
And lastly I didn't take the comment on phantom limb to be Rand feeling Moradin's real hand, but rather Moridin several times seeming as if he can feel the pain of the missing hand even though his is fine.
Birgit F
16. birgit
I’m trying to remember now whether I had this revelation before or after TGS, which states it flat out in this chapter, in contrast to the earlier books, where it was not so explicitly said.

The theory appeared in the blog before it was spelled out in the books.

She can’t even hit Semirhage with a knife from a distance of less than 10 feet.

Semi deflected the knife with the OP but was still hurt.

The whole phantom limb thing Rand has that you attribute as part of his connection with Moridin... is probably just the generic phantom limb many many amputees experience.

Moridin's hand is stiff because he is influenced by Rand. That's not how normal phantom limbs work.
17. ClintACK
Re: Rand using TP during the "resealing"...

Don't forget the wonderfully ambiguous prophecy about Callandor, that "all that he is" can be seized.

I still think the reason Callandor magnifies the taint is that it's *actually* a Sa'angreal for the TP -- and using it, Rand (w/ Nynaeve and Alivia) will be able to seize "all that HE is" -- all of the TP, just like Rand and Nynaeve were able to seize and channel all of saidin at the Cleansing.

Re: Putting down the book during/after this chapter...

Me too! I had to put down the book several times when I read this chapter the first time.
Valentin M
18. ValMar
I still can remember how franticly I read the scene with Rand choking Min. I might have held my own breath! It's nice to know that things worked out fine, with hindsight.
Thomas Keith
19. insectoid
Great post, Leigh! Have a happy holiday!

Oi, this chapter. I'm sure I was just as distressed as many of you when I read it, and certainly had to put the book down for a bit. It has to be one of the most tear-jerking things I've read in all of WoT.

Because it really is the worst that could be done to Rand—breaking his MEH, re: not to harm a woman, for starters; and nearly killing one he loves dearly, just as LTT had done an Age ago.

And yes, there was a big eye-opener in this chapter, Rand's access to the TP. Holy cats 'n jammers, but that can't be a good thing, ever.

Well-written, yes, definitely, but... damn, that hurt to read.

ClintACK @17: There you go... Rand can seize all of the TP and leave it in Callandor, then just toss the sword into the Fiery Toilet!

Tricia Irish
20. Tektonica
I hadn't thought of this before, but it occured to me that
Rand's "I will not kill a woman" Personal Event Horizon might not be a result of his Two Rivers upbringing, or just an arbitrary personal decision, but directly related to his LTT memories of killing Ilyena.

This can’t be happening!
I’ve killed her!
I’m mad!

Here Rand seems to remember killing Ilyena. I just have a sneaking suspicion that LTT's memory of killing Ilyena, might have been a subconscious influence for Rand all along. And herewith begins his integration! (maybe)

And when Rand reaches for the new power lurking there:

A clouded face flashed before Rand’s own, one whose features he couldn’t quite make out. It was gone in a moment.

Moridan? Hasn't he had much clearer visions of Moridan in his head in the past? I think so. So who is this cloudy person? The DO, himself in some guise? Very mysterious.

I still don't know how Rand could reach through Moridan to the TP without Moridan's explicit help. Could Mori being working the DO's plan here? Could Semi dying be part of the DO's plan, his punishment for her, as well as mental torture for Rand? For killing a woman? A way to break him? Tease him with this immense power? Taint him with desire for it? All in an effort to bring him over to the Dark Side?

I'm so glad we learn at the end of this book, that Rand has great backbone and still has a good moral compass. Whew. This chapter was really draining.

Thanks Leigh. Have a great holiday of your own choice! See you on the flip side.

Juan Avila
21. Cumadrin
Well, derp on the phantom missing hand sensation. In my defense, I've only read tGS once. Maybe twice.
Stefan Mitev
22. Bergmaniac
Awesome chapter, one of the best in the series. It's also the first moment in a long while I felt real tension and danger for the main characters - I was on edge throughout. I had to stop reading for a while after that, the chapter was so powerful emotionally.
j p
23. sps49
I don't understand some of this chapter. Is Shai'tan unaware that Rand is tapping the True Power? Is the Dark One aware that it happened unintentionally but is allowing it because it could corrupt Rand? Or was Semirhage right in that the Dark One betrayed her to bind Rand with the TP?

And why couldn't Shaidar Haran remove Elza's Compulsion?

ETA: This was an intense chapter to read, but I might've had to put it down if GRRM was the author for fear that Min was about to die. I was reasonably sure that Min was still key to figuring out Very Important Stuff and needed to survive.
24. Gaidal
I am of a mind that Rand eventually uses the True Power to seal the Bore. Since the True Power is already TDO's, He can't taint it any more, and the True Power then gets sealed away with TDO. Hey, it could happen...
Cameron Tucker
25. Loialson
I think Shaidar Haran can sense weaves (per an earlier POV with him), but cannot channel himself.

Thus he can see that Elza is complusioned by Verin, but needs a channeler to remove it for her to be an effective tool for his purposes.
26. MasterAlThor
The TP as a way to seal the DO seems kinda silly to me. It would be like using lightning to defeat Zeus. Not gonna happen.

This chapter was when I realized just how far Rand would go. And for everyone who is banging on Rand about his not killing women. Here ya go. He kills two. Feel better.

A man being able to kill a woman doesn't make him better and it certainly doesn't make the woman any more equal. Rand definitely hit his low point here and it sucks. He crossed his MEH. Notice no one feels good about it do they?

27. Blood_Drunk
@ 8.LuvURphlebway back in Cairhein Verin put a light compulsion on Elza and all the other captured ‘Elaida’ Aes Sedai. The compulsion was worded carefully so that even a black would help Rand up until the last battle. So during the cleansing of saidin Elza melded the flows and she saw Dashiva on a hill and thinking that he is just an asha man and not an actual forsaken is the only reason she decided to destroy him. She was never truly trying to hurt any of the chosen, only trying to save Rand until he could face the dark one. As I said her orders were very subtle by that crafty little Verin.
j p
28. sps49
Loialson @25-

So Elza removed Semirhage's shield from outside the room- where she couldn't see her? Or she took out the 3 Aes Sedai? I dunno about that.
29. Blood_Drunk
11.zackattack Granted that Min is a little on the powerless side, but she help to save Rands life in KoD when they were attacked by 100k trollocs. And give her a little credit, she would not have missed with the knife if Semi hand deflected it with the power. Remember that Semi is very clever, but sometimes overconfident. She didn’t see Min as a threat until she threw the knife. Since Semi is one of the few competent evil-doers she reacted quickly to deflect it, but just barely.

20. Tektonica Interesting questions, but I think that if Moridin had a choice in helping Rand to use the TP then it was out of selfishness. He shares a bond with Rand that we don’t fully understand. At one point Moridin tells Demandred and Mesaana not to rescue Semi and then he rubs his hand (the one that Rand is now missing). It seems to me that Moridin can feel some if not all of Rands pain and Rand just went through an amazing amount of pain. Maybe Moridin let Rand take the TP just to force Semi to stop. We know that the forsaken are nothing if not selfish.
30. Lsana
A question: has it actually been confirmed somewhere that Rand's connection to Moridin was what allowed him to channel the TP? Because I don't think that's "obvious" at all. I thought (and in fact still think) that Rand was allowed to channel the TP because the DO wanted him to be able to. Sacrificing Semirhage is a small price to pay for corrupting Rand that way. I assumed that everything went according to the DO's plan here: put Rand in a desparate situation where only help from the DO can get him out, then offer that help and see if he takes it.
Tess Laird
31. thewindrose
sps49 - Shaidar Haran cuts people off from the one power just by proximity. I don't know if he can chose to or not - I am thinking it's a choice - otherwise he wouldn't be as helpful in a battle - or as helpful period.

I was horrified for Rand - what he had to go through(and the reader as well) was painful(good writing though).

32. SrsLii
Bah. This chapter made me put down the book for a minute as well. It was necessary, it was awful, and it probably says a great deal about my own character that I laughed when he balefired Semi and Elza. Yeah. >.>

TBH, though, and I'll be happy to be proved wrong, I don't think his using the TP in this scene is going to be as huge in the future as apparently everyone but me seems to think. He used the TP, and he got all dark and scary (although at least after that he DID STUFF as opposed to sitting around moping for like 9275498190345735 books), then he went to Dragonmount, kicked his own ass, and had his big epiphany. Until I started reading all y'all's theories about how he was still all TPed, I figured that was the end of the TP's influence right there. I have yet to see even one person who feels the same way though. We'll see.

I seriously hate the not killing women thing. I also hate fake chivalry and fake honor and almost all fictitious knights, though. I will say, though, that the not killing women thing pales in comparison to the spanking your wife like she's some recalcitrant six-year-old because for whatever mindfuck reason you think you have the right to dominance in the relationship. Nutting up and standing up to your wife is not the same as rolling your eyes and "disciplining her for her own good." Pfffft. And no, I'm still not over that.
Roger Powell
33. forkroot
I will never forget reading this chapter for the first time. Like so many of us, I had eagerly awaited TGS. It came out while I was on a business trip, so I was spending each evening in the hotel, making my way through the book.

When Rand was killing Min I closed the book and stopped reading. I could not see any way out and I seriously considered just quitting WOT right then and there. (Emotionally invested in the characters... who me?)

OK, so I heart Min (and thumb my cyberspace nose at you posters who don't.)

About 1/2 hour later, I reluctantly picked up the book and was shocked by the True Power grab. Didn't see that one coming, but totally agree that RJ had foreshadowed it. (Heck, I usually miss such clues.)

IMO, it was brilliant writing. Rand had to go to a pretty dark place and this got him there. It also set up the epiphany in subtle ways that are easier to see courtesy of Leigh.

Repeat after me:
True Source - good! True Power - bad!
True Source - good! True Power - bad!
True Source - good! True Power - bad!
Rob Munnelly
34. RobMRobM
Not going to re-iterate much but - painful chapter, stopped reading in middle, brilliantly written, pro-Min and anti-those anti-Min.

Tek - nice point that Two Rivers training combined with Ilyena memories is a pretty potent brew.
john mullen
35. johntheirishmongol
Obviously a very scary chapter, and somehow it fit all the clues that we had been provided, but not in the way that we expected. Beautifully designed and completed. It's that bottom that we had to reach.

I don't get those that don't like Min. It's great to have someone in the inner circle that doesn't have superpowers. She's funny and the only one who is there just for Rand.

Was glad to see Elza gone along with Semi...
Chris R
36. up2stuff
Only issue that I have with Min is that after this chapter, SHE finally even developes her own hang-up re: Rand. She finally realizes what he was talking about regarding being used against him and how the ones most likely to hurt Rand are WAAAAY out of her league.

Up till now though, she hasnt worried about that, but now she is playing the whole, "I will stay away because he thinks he will hurt me" which he so cleverly interprets as "Damn, she is afraid of me, when I wish she would be near me now, more than ever." Gotta love the good old fashioned miscommunication/misinterpretation of WOT.

Hers is at least a little more understandable though. They were both nearly killed. Avi and Elayne bug me a lot more though b/c Avi is so blinded by needing to "Bring honor to the Relationship", she might as well have her skirts pulled over her head and tied in place.

Elayne seems to have completely forgotten her pissed off letter, and seems to think she has clarified her feelings for Rand by saying again and again "how she has explained how she feels about him." Nevermind that she has not. I guess he should be Telepathic with the One power and all. Those two make me roll my eyes every time they address Rand.

Like I said, Min I kind of understand.
Kevin Stafford
37. Kevinaught
So, we seem to have all these vectors heading towards resealing the Bore: both halves of the True Source, the Dragon, the True Power, whatever-the-heck Padan Fain is now, Callandor, and probably the Nae'Blis. One thing I haven't seen mentioned yet: if channeling of the True Power is involved in resealing the Bore, wouldn't whoever's doing the channeling have to be INSIDE the Bore when it closes? Who would that be? Can't be Rand, unless that whole Avalonian ending for him takes place in the World of Dreams and his being a Hero of The Wheel saves his 'soul' from being pulled in...doesn't Moridin seem like a very intriguing candidate for this? You've conceivably got Fain/Mashadar wrestling the DO in some way, and the Nae'Blis contesting the Dragon, plus all the ancillary battles...like The Cleansing times a thousand. This situation seems ripe for some kind of a double-Gollum, maybe even with a side of Vader/Anakin in an Emporer-tossing competition. I trust I don't have to elaborate on these references here, yes? :) Thoughts? I'm very intrugued by all these players intersecting without any real idea of which side they're going to end up playing for until the very last moment.
38. Jerth
Umm...wasn't it just 1 of the 3 AS killed cuz she didnt have any warders and the others were just knocked out?? or am i remembering wrong?
Cameron Tucker
39. Loialson
Yup, you're right. They didn't want to alert the warders, so only killed the nice Aes Sedai Nynaeve spoke to (super low on the power scheme, forget her name, had Eben for her warder previously I believe). The others were just placed into a trance of sorts. Unsure if it was SH or Semi that did it though.
Terry McNamee
40. macster
One correction, Leigh: the three sisters outside are not all dead, the ones who have Warders were put in a trance to keep their deaths from being felt. The only dead one is poor Daigian. (DAMN it for turning her into a Mauve Shirt. Sanderson/Jordan, you are evil.)

@ 2-3: Yeah, I too used to think the True Power would be how the Bore would be resealed without a new taint, but I have to agree: it's going to be Fain/Mashadar holding the Dark One back while it is resealed.

@9 Neuralnet: Interesting theory, but I'm not sure it holds. Surely if the One Power was the Creator, the Dark One could not have tainted it? So either the Creator is more the One Power than the Dark One is the True Power, or the Dark One is more fully in the True Power than the Creator is in the One Power (since it can't be that the Dark One is more powerful, or even equal to the Creator, or else he couldn't have been imprisoned)...or the Creator isn't the One Power. The One Power is created by the turning of the Wheel, and the Wheel was created by the Creator, but that's not the same thing.

@10 toryx: We'll just have to agree to disagree. Because I happen to find the scene on Dragonmount just as powerful and emotional as this one. I agree this scene is very well-crafted and written, but just because the Dragonmount one used 'simpler' language doesn't necessarily make it bad or less emotional. Perhaps it's simply my immense sympathy for Rand...but the very fact his epiphany was of something so simple made it even more powerful for me. The poor sheepherder from the Two Rivers had to have everything spelled out for him before he could finally understand. Perhaps some of the description could have been more fleshed out...but the overall moment and its realizations hit me just as hard. And indeed, Perrin's POV of it later only adds to this.

@20 Tektonica, 30 Lsana: I am on the fence here. All along it HAS been the Dark One/Ishamael's plan to turn Rand to the Dark Side--he practically spells it out in the nightmares back in TEotW. So yes, I can easily see this being one big scheme, with Semirhage as the Spire (Queen) being sacrificed to put Rand in the mental and emotional place where he could both sense the True Power and want to use it, in which case he was only too happy to grant the request. But I can also see him having access due to the link with Moridin--that face may have been cloudy, but Moridin's is the only face Rand has seen that way other than Lews Therin's, so despite the lack of recognition it must be him. (Rand is, after all, going through the emotional wringer at the time.)

I don't see why it can't be both, especially if, as the theory is going, it's Fain/Mordeth who will be used to seal the Bore, while the True Power, if it gets used again, will be in a fight between Rand and Moridin. (Perhaps that is where Callandor will be used, rather than against the Dark One himself, and "all that he is can be seized" refers to Moridin via the True Power?) It is very clear the True Power couldn't be used against the Dark One himself if he was the one granting permission, so if that were to be how Rand sealed the Bore, it wouldn't work even aside from the possibility of the whole Source getting tainted. However, if Rand is using the True Power against Moridin, via the link, then as Palindrome points out, the only way the Dark One could cut Rand off from it is if he also cuts Moridin off. Which if that happens levels the playing field somewhat and might give Rand an edge against Moridin. This could be where the possibility of Moridin returning to the Light comes in, or Callandor could be brought into play as I said.

@37 Geminaut: You read my mind there. Perhaps "seizing" Moridin through the True Power/Callandor is how Rand can bring him back to the Light, or at least get him to turn on the Dark One. Then Moridin, from inside the Bore, uses the True Power to hold the Dark One back, while Rand and the women reseal it. Fain could either be shoved in by Rand to prevent a re-tainting, leap in himself to attack the Dark One/Moridin/Shaidar Haran, or be dragged in by Moridin. There's a lot of ways this could play out.

@25 Loialson, 28 sps49: In the next chapter, we find out from the sisters who bring the news to Cadsuane that not all the sisters are dead--Daigian is because she had no Warder to feel her death, but the others were put "in a trance", and neither the sisters nor Narishma could feel any weaves. This (as well as the odd nature of the trance, something never shown anywhere else in the series) suggests it was done with the True Power, which means Shaidar Haran did it, unless you believe Elza was granted use of it. As for the shield, that's simple: as soon as the sisters were dead/in a trance, the shield would have dissolved, or have been easily broken by Elza because they weren't maintaining it. I don't think she had to see the shield to shatter the sister's weaves, but if she did, then it probably dissolved as soon as they died/lost consciousness.

EDIT: Stupid Tor wouldn't let me log in so I couldn't reply until you did--yes it's Daigian. But it could not have been Semi who did it, she was still inside (and shielded). By the time she comes out of the room they're already in the trance. (Also, Semi can't use the True Power.) So it had to be Shaidar Haran. Whether he did it himself or through Elza isn't clear, though Sanderson did say something about him "using" Elza and that she didn't like it...

@33 forkroot: I join you in the nose-thumbing.

On the chapter itself...yeah, nothing else to say. Utterly horrified, pitch-perfect suspense, wonderful writing and description. Terrible irony--Rand was about to finally listen to Min, he'd realized he was being too hard, and then THIS happens. Poor Min. Poor Rand. (When he started wailing, I almost lost it too.) And then somehow I got even more terrified when he started channeling the True Power. Just for the reactions alone, it seems this development did what it was supposed to do...but I still can't help feeling it will factor into the Last Battle in some way, it seems hard to believe something that major could be over and done with so easily. Unless of course you think the full ramifications of him using it was how it drove him to balefire Natrin's Barrow, him almost balefiring Tam, and the epiphany--which granted, those are some pretty powerful, major events. But I still can't help wondering...

Oh and SrsLii, don't feel bad: I laughed too, or at least applauded. The way Rand did it and the reasons for it may be deeply upsetting, but seeing them die, especially Semirhage, was oh so satisfying. (I am actually rather surprised Leigh didn't comment on that, since she seemed to have such a mad-on against Elza for this scene every time she mentioned her before this.)
41. Shadow_Jak
Agree it was a very powerful chapter. But the True Power wasn't the thing that brought me to a halt. I'm with Fork below...

Forkroot @ 33
Yeah me too. I was actually believing that Min was toast.
Had to stop and leave it for a while before I could pick it up again.

"so who will be judas... who will play the part of an inner circle character that betrays him?"
"if channeling of the True Power is involved in resealing the Bore,
wouldn't whoever's doing the channeling have to be INSIDE the Bore when it closes? Who would that be? ... doesn't Moridin seem like a very intriguing candidate for this?"

Reading these two remarks together made me think of another Looney Theroy.
As legend fades to myth, the story always gets twisted around.

So what if Moridin/Ishmael turns out the be the thirteenth 'Chosen One' who betrays... Not the Savior, but the Dark One?

Jonathan Levy
42. JonathanLevy
Regarding this chapter in general -

This chapter was beautifully written. I don't understand those who say they had to put the book down. I turned back 3 pages and read it again, to be sure that what I thought happened had actually happened. And to enjoy it again. This line sticks with me:

Cast it away! That is death we hold, death and betrayal.

It is HIM.

A few lines earlier Lews Therin says "They have won.". That's also a kicker.

12. Cumadrin
Agree 100% with your comments on the limitations of the True Power, and on Mordeth.
The whole phantom limb thing Rand has that you attribute as part of his connection with Moridin... is probably just the generic phantom limb many many amputees experience.
The interesting 'phantom limb thing' is something which we see in Moridin, not Rand. Moridin holds his left hand behind his back, and occasionally stretches it as if it were numb/asleep. I agree that if we did not have this info about how Moridin experiences it, there would be no way to tell whether Rand's 'phantom limb thing' is a regular phantom limb thing or an amplified one, thanks to Moridin.

16. birgit
21. Cumadrin
Ok, I see I've arrived too late to this conversation :)

20. Tektonica
Moridan? Hasn't he had much clearer visions of Moridan in his head in the past?
The visions had been getting clearer and clearer, to the point where he could recognize the face. I agree the wording here is more ambiguous, but I'm not sure it qualifies as a regression. Also, I don't see who else it could be.
I still don't know how Rand could reach through Moridan to the TP without Moridan's explicit help.
For what it's worth, LTT could reach the One Power through Rand without Rand's explicit help, without even his permission, and without Rand being able to stop him. I know the cases are not identical, but these facts are suggestive.

24. Gaidal
That's like using the Dark One's hand to spank the Dark One.

9. Neuralnet
Since we don't have an equivalent of a circle of 12 apostles here, I'm not sure we have reason to anticipate a traitor.
40. macster 20. Tektonica 30. Lsana
OMG thankyou! Finally..... I've been saying it for like....5 or 6 re-reads now and most everyone shoots me down. I think its me, but thats just me being arrogant, selfish and self centered. My whole disagreement with the whole "cross the streams" theory is there isn't anything else to stand by it except itself. Granted there is the "I see dead people syndrome" and the "I see people that I killed disorder, but thats putting 2+2 and calling it 6. your still 2 short. Where as the more logical question to ask is, where did he get access from? One very simple answer is...It was given to him...he saw the face just before he got access. The only faces he has seen is Moridin an LT. And yet Brandon has stated basically that no one has access without DO's permission. Which to me means no "crossing the streams" thing going on here. You would think that Moridin would know if someone was drawing TP through him. Just as you would think the DO would know who is using his own essence.

Now we could argue that the DO doesn't know because he thinks its Moridin, but we have no evidence of such. Thats a theory to support another theory. One could also say that Moridin doesn't know because of some strange weird unexplained reason that we will, despite its lack of, except as evidence and say that its a result of "crossing the streams" and.. uh... well... thats why. And one could say that access was given because of a documented happening which occured seconds before the access was given and conclude that the simplest explanation is more likely, that being that Moridin conciously gave permission. But we could look at it as Moridins "cross the streams" connection is the reason even though the supporting theories have yet to be proven.

And yet some here take that heavily theoretical scenario as the standard answer. And I just don't get it.

Edit- Went on a smokey treat break and put some thoughts together

Ok. Lets put the theories together separately to get them straight. Correct me if I get any details wrong.

1. Cross The Streams.- as a result of Rand and Moridin's skirmish at Shadar Logoth a type of bonding connection is theorized to have been made. The first of the side effects manifest as results of which are shared thoughts, dreams and even a kind of physical symbiosis where not only can they at times communicate with each other but can be aware of, at least in one direction, each others injuries through sympathetic osmosis. This part of the theory while not confirmed is very likely to have occured.

The second more important side effect is that a later manifesting symbiosis occurs resulting in Rand having access to the True Power through Moridin, without Moridin's knowledge. This second resulting side effect is a possibility, yet is less likely because of the amount of time passed before the symbiotic effect manifested and the likelyhood that Rand wouldn't have noticed the access earlier. The latter being somewhat explained away by not having any definitive reason to need it. And yet Rand had no definitive need of the True Power because he wasn't aware it was available. Also the want of the True Power would never occur to Rand as a useful tool. This is supported as having no evidence of so much as a longing to use the True Power. Thus Rands access during the moments just before his use of it were random in nature. But as has happened time and again, rediscoveries of the uses of the One Power occur frequently so the possibility is there for this instance to occur regardless of the fact it was the True Power being used.

Also there is the problem that there is evidence suggesting that the Dark One alone grants use of the True Power. How then does Rand attain access to the True Power?

2. Granted Access of the True Power.- The theory of granted access is more easily decipherable given its simplicity. The reasons for the grant is more complicated, by nature of the fact that if true it would mean a long planned very well thought out and devious operation of corruption. This corruption is perpetrated through subduction. In this case the subduction is accomplished by laying the ground work for the subject to be made to walk a path with a series of crossroads. But these crossroads are often fraught with pins and needles every which way one treads down upon.

An example of this instance is Rands choice to use the True Power or watch Min his lover die. The choice seems simple if one doesn't know the nature of the use of the True Power, but Rand does know the consequences of such use and yet does so anyway. This particular instance is used as a catalyst a tipping point so to speak to walk a darker road. A road that leads to evil. This proves to be supported by his thoughts and actions after his use of the True Power. Where before Rand was merely irrateable and uncooperative he is now quick to anger and in general foul mood as well as brutal in action, while giving off an aura of dark menace. This attitude change is followed by a Dark Aura which seems to be the manifestation of his "darkeness" effecting the random nature of his Ta'veren effect in an negative way. This includes the fouling and rotting of life or an excess of random happenings of an accutely evil or horrible nature.

The theory is connected to this as a the result of a plan set in motion with the goal of these occurances to happen. The end result being bringing to crescendo as much pain and suffering Rand can bear, without breaking, to blind him to the nature of his actions. His suffering must be acute at times to allow this greater "evil's" to be placed as legitimate options. Each little evil leads to a larger one. Rand is hastened through this process despite protests from those he should trust. This trust though, is shaken by his percieved betrayels and slights from his advisors and friends. These annoyances are used against him to further his irratations. What is ironic is his percecptions of being manipulated are in fact a result of being manipulated time and time and again by his friends and advisors despite knowing how he feels about them and how dark Rand is becoming. In a way they do their part, unwittingly, in contributing to his suffering on the way to the end of the subduction.

The end result being the destruction of the world. Which is only spoiled by Lews Therin's thoughts on the purposes of the Wheel of Time at the very moment before annihilation. Even before this Rand almost allows himself to destroy the heirarchy of the Seanchan invasion shortly after almost executing his own father.

To close this theory its necessary to note that the intent of the granting of the use of the True Power is to open the door within Rand to these evils where they had not existed before. The sacrificing of Semirhage is a shrewd use of such a powerful tool, but the gain is such that if attained, would end the conflict succinctly in so devastating a way that it makes the move more than reasonable.

From the threat of Cadsuanes life, to Tuon's failed pattern induced compulsion, to Tams abhorted execution, to the near annhilation of the Seanchan to the very near Annhilation of the world and everything in between. All evidence to this theory is of course circumstantial. But there is a lot of it. And still just a theory.

You could go with either one if you like. They are both theories and have there problems and virtues alike. But neither can be discounted simply because a majority of readers believe either yeah or nah. Only the completion of the series will answer our questions and no more. If they are to be answered one and all at all. I suspect suome happenings and thoeries we'll never know.

Ok rip me apart

Terry McNamee
44. macster
@JonathanLevy: That "They have won" is particularly resonant when considered in light of "I have won again, Lews Therin"...

Unless you are of the camp that believes Lews Therin was a separate person from Rand, comparing him to Moridin doesn't work here. However, your point is still valid. Lews Therin, whatever he was, was working from within Rand; similarly, the link between Rand and Moridin can allow him to get "inside" Moridin and use the True Power without his permission. This is especially true if as Min's vision and Rand's nightmare from TEoTW suggests, Rand and Moridin are merging.

Lastly, no there isn't a circle of 12 apostles, but as Shadow_Jak just pointed out, there were originally 13 Forsaken. So it could be that the story of 13 followers, with one ending up being a traitor, could have originally been of Ishamael/Moridin betraying the Dark One, and it got turned around over the Ages. Then again, that designation could also apply to Asmodean...

@ZEXXES: A very well written and accurate summation of both theories. I would note, however, that it doesn't necessarily have to be one or the other--if the Dark One and Moridin want Rand to follow the path of evil and use the True Power to become corrupted enough to join them and/or destroy the world/Pattern, there's no reason they couldn't make use of the link between Moridin and Rand that was already there in order to grant him the access. In fact that would help their evil scheme even more, since to Rand it would seem like he was using it via Moridin, not the Dark One's own permission, so he could easily fool himself into thinking it was "okay" and he was "safe" because someone else was the one actually getting it granted and being corrupted, he was just siphoning off from the conduit.

Another point you aren't addressing is that just because Rand didn't feel the True Power before this moment doesn't mean it wasn't there. First off, what with the True Power being the Dark One's power, it's likely Rand couldn't draw it through Moridin at all, let alone without the Dark One knowing, unless the merger of the two was a lot farther along--i.e., it's only recently that Rand and Moridin are joined enough for him to even feel the TP, let alone use it. So that's why he never felt it before, or any longing--they weren't merged enough yet. Secondly, you discount the fact Rand actually had to have a need for the TP before he could use it. Something so awful, his almost killing Min, was needed before he would be desperate enough for that. That was why he could never use the TP before this, because he wasn't at the emotional point he needed to be.

All of that said, though, I think the Dark One granting access does make more sense, and your description of the insidious plot used by the Shadow to rationalize it is quite compelling and, as far as I'm concerned, completely accurate to what we've seen from the beginning with "Ba'alzamon's" plans. The reason I won't pick a side is because a) as I said it is possible for both to be right and b) both sides are convincing enough to me that I will accept whichever one turns out to be the right answer in AMoL.

One last thing: if you are right about the Dark One granting access, this would mean indeed there is no way Rand could use it against him at the Last Battle. Which means Fain/Mordeth must be the key to sealing the Bore, that the "seizing all he is" through Callandor must mean something else, and that Rand fighting Moridin, as well as the importance of their link, must have some other result/meaning. Of course everyone seems agreed that Fain is what is needed to seal the Bore, not the True Power, and the link to Moridin could more be connected to keeping Rand alive (because if he dies, so might Moridin) and the possibility of Moridin's redemption. But the point is, this seems to put paid to the line of thought that Rand will draw on the True Power to seal the Dark One...how could he do that, if he was granted access by the Dark One rather than through Moridin, access which will surely be denied now that he's gone Zen? Does this mean you no longer think Callandor is a True Power sa'angreal (which I have never thought could work)? Or do you think it can use the TP without the Dark One's permission? And what would be the point, if the TP can't be used to seal the Bore because it is of him?

Of course if you agree Fain/Mordeth could be used to seal it, and that Callandor will be used in some other way (perhaps against Moridin) then there's no problem, but otherwise you seem to be undermining one of your past theories with this one. Not that I mind, since I happen to think this theory makes more sense than the "Callandor as TP item" one, and if the TP were used I believe it would only be good against Moridin, not the Dark One, but I thought you might have not followed your logic through.
Juan Avila
45. Cumadrin

I and many others disagree with you, therefore you are wrong.

(Your comment was long, so I didn't read it. I'm disagreeing with you simply on the principle that a comment of that length must be an argument for something, and I like a good argument)

(I'm totally kidding. I agree it's best to just see how it plays out in aMoL and then we can argue about whatever unanswered questions there are until the cows come home. After the series is finally concluded.)

Sometimes the seriousness of these discussions just tickles me. Like how much I want to convince everybody that my interpretation of Need searching in Tel'aran'rhiod in the previous blog post comments is the correct one, and Egwene is not the answer.

Unless something is spelled out explicitly, though, people will interpret things differently. That makes good discussion. I just can't believe how much it's irking me. Especially since the issue is most likely not important in the slightest. It's just so funny to me.

Also, I'm up at 4:30 a.m. again . Mother's milk in a cup!

You stole my spot! How dare you be up this late also! Now the first half of my comment is less funny because it no longer has perfect comic timing!

I did this to myself writing the latter half of my comment, which I didn't intend to spend a half hour carefully wording like I just did, therefore I am angry at you!

Terry McNamee
46. macster
@Cumadrin: LOL!!! Well played sir, well played. Thanks for the humor, it's always good to laugh at these discussions (and ourselves) when we start taking it too seriously. If it helps though, while your Need argument may likely end up not being very important at all (though I found it fascinating all the same), this whole thing about the Dark One/Moridin/the True Power, the nature of the link and its results, and how it will relate to sealing the Bore and the Last Battle are clearly very critical to the final book and the series as a whole. Sanderson confirmed that for us with his RAFO, but we knew that anyway. So it makes sense this is something we would all find very important to debate about. But I don't know if we have enough information to figure out the answer, and I'm with Leigh on this--while I have my opinions on what makes sense, I don't want to know how it will happen, I want to wait and see it for myself. And hopefully, even if my guesses were right, I can still be surprised in exactly how it is revealed and what the ramifications are.

And to your last bold statement: that's what it's like to reason with a (Randland) woman! *ducks for cover* ;)
Chris Chaplain
47. chaplainchris1
Hey everybody...check out BWS's facebook page (or twitter - I don't twitter myself). Brandon's giving live updates as he trucks through to the end of AMOL! Four more scenes to go, he says...he expects to finish TONIGHT!
Birgit F
49. birgit
The One Power is created by the turning of the Wheel

The turning of the Wheel is powered by the OP.
Something snapped inside of him. He grew cold; then that coldness vanished, and he could feel nothing. No emotion. No anger.
At that moment he grew aware or a strange force.
TOM ch. 22
Rand's loss of emotion seems to have something to do with his access to the TP. Is this some different kind of void that is needed to channel the TP? Or maybe if the DO did grant him access his snapping is the reason he was allowed to channel the TP (it probably wasn't a Mistborn snapping).
Rob Munnelly
51. RobMRobM
As of 8:50 a.m. EST per Brandon:

"Ladies and gentlemen, A Memory of Light--the final book in The Wheel of Time--has been finished."
James Whitehead
52. KatoCrossesTheCourtyard
@51RobMRobM, this will be a day long remembered. We have seen the first trailer to Jackson's The Hobbit & we've seen the beginning of the end of our WOT journey. ;-)


PS - With apologies to George Lucas.
53. zackattack
I was discussing this chapter with a friend over several libations and we came up with the loony theory that Rand actually DID kill Min. (For the rest of the boot he and LTT argue about whether he actually killed her.) He balefired Semi and she was the one making him choke her. Is it possible that the balefire erased Semi just far enough back that it stopped her forcing Rand to choke Min before she expired? Unlikely but interesting to contemplate. Also make this chapter even more disturbing.
Chris Chaplain
54. chaplainchris1
Oops, I fell asleep...but Brandon didn't. It's done!
55. Rancho Unicorno
This post made things click in my head that hadn't clicked before. I know Tek mentioned this, but my view is just a little different.

Like others, I felt like Rand's stedfast refusal to hurt women would be his undoing. Rather, I think it willl be his salvation. By embracing so fully this moral event horizon, he reflexively cannot do the thing that broke the Kinslayer. I'm not arguing that he wanted to kill Ilyena, but that he hadn't boxed himself into a no-hurting-women-no-matter-the-cost corner. For Rand, not killing his Ilyena may mean he doesn't go crazy-go-nuts.

Moreover, I seem to remember this focus of Rand's began after Dumai's Wells, which would make a subconcious need to protect his sanity theory a little more viable. Either way, he would have been familiar with the Kinslayer stories.

I don't know. This feels like an incomplete thought. Maybe I'm just not getting something.

Of course, I don't really care. RobMRobM's post makes my thought irrelevant.
Teresa Nielsen Hayden
56. tnh
The first draft of the last book is finished. It's definitely a moment.
Terry McNamee
57. macster
@49 birgit: You sure like to quibble, don't you? :P Anyway, my point still stands--even though the Wheel does not create the One Power (and therefore the Creator must) that doesn't mean the Creator is the One Power. Nor does it explain why, if he were, the Dark One was able to taint it.

Good point about the TP however; and as usual, either theory could still be correct, since his snapping could have been the reason the DO granted access, or it could be what enabled Rand to access it himself through Moridin.

Also, in courtesy to you for your correction: you incorrectly labeled your quote as coming from TOM, not TGS. :)

@53 That is...a very disturbing possibility indeed. And while it would take a rather precise amount of balefire (since the bruises were still left on Min's throat), and Rand didn't seem in a mood to be that precise, it is still possible. Lews Therin/Rand debating over Min's death could be another example of him heaping guilt on himself for something that almost happened but didn't, a sign of his madness, an exaggeration he applies because to him almost killing her is as bad as actually doing so (since he still felt it happening). But then again... *looks sick*

And...wow, AMoL is actually done! Of course it still needs to be revised and edited but... *is very excited*

@55 A very good point. Not hurting women kept him sane this long, and it was almost killing Min that actually did push him over the edge. By the same token, that fall is what prompted Cadsuane to admit failure to the Wise Ones, which is what led to her plan with Tam and eventually the moment on Dragonmount. So in the end it did save him. However...there's still the matter of Lanfear/Cyndane, who could possibly be Rand's undoing, and if his desire not to hurt women has restored itself when he reintegrated, that could be a problem...
Tess Laird
58. thewindrose
Way to go Brandon! (I am seriously warming up to the idea that the man is a machine. He was on tour answering crazy fan questions on Saturday even - and now he has the 1st draft of the last book done! And he is getting his own books done. Wow!!)

Or maybe, he used Need in T'a'R, and the answer was Egwene:)

Celebration tonight in the Bunker - I will bring some Dom Perignon.

Teresa Nielsen Hayden
59. tnh
Cumadrin @45, please don't use boldface for emphasis, or waste vertical space quite so gratuitously.

Also, no one's required to be solemn and sober here, but if you're going to get into a head-to-head argument, you should be committed to your position.
Sam Mickel
60. Samadai
Wonderful great news to come to first thing in the morning (for me). Congratulations Brandon Sanderson.
61. Ryanus
@ Zach 53.
I'm actually in the same boat with you. Balefire makes it so whatever you did never happened, only the memory of it by those who experienced it. We see that a lot in direct level. IE Darkhound is balefired and now that door isn't broken. I don't see why it couldn't chain through something done by someone else only under duress from the balefired person.

@ Zexxes 43.
Just to be contrary I have to point out that 2+2=6 is true for sufficiently high values of 2. (Though that depends on if you round the solution or round the initial numbers. :) )
Marcus W
62. toryx
I have to admit, I'm not sure what exactly I feel at hearing that A Memory of Light is done. I've been waiting over 20 years to hear that. It's strange to think that I'll soon be reading the end at last.

I sure miss RJ.
Roger Powell
63. forkroot
I think its been previously established that balefire only erases the direct actions of the balefiree. (I'd have to run down the RJ quote, but don't have time at the moment.)

Furthermore, the text is pretty clear that Rand did not kill Min, and balefire does not erase memories.

After we read AMOL, I'll want to ask BWS what was the final scene that he wrote. We know it's not the ending, as we've been promised that's 100% RJ. I'm just curious if it's another momentous scene (like the subject of this week's reread) or some innocuous "move a character" chapter. It would be a fun question for the (presumed) AMOL book tour.
64. twedge
So, I haven't been to the theory posts in a long while, but I am *totally* convinced that Rand using the True Power is how he is going to trap the Dark One. Lews Therin mentions that some power has to touch the DO in order to trap him (ala Saidin and the subsequent taint); why not just trap the DO with his own power--I mean, it's not like the DO can taint himself? Also, if Rand holding the True Power is akin to the Choden Kal, then maybe Rand can indeed channel enough to trap the DO (this could just be the rapture-factor and not the actual-amount-channel factor, but meh).

Just want to throw another thing out there; I'm thinking the blackened hand holding Calandor that Min sees isn't Calandor backfiring, but they way Rand's hand looks after being stabbed by Fain's dagger (and the direct reason he has to be Balefired...most likely by Alivia..unless she Balefires Fain and thereby "saves" Rand...hmm..). Thoughts, anyone?

PS: Thanks Leigh for a great recap, and happy holidays!
65. twedge
SO, just read some of the posts, and most of them deal with the TP sealing the DO, lol...so..sorry about the redundancy of that. BUT, I do think I'm on to something with the whole black-hand-Calandor thing... :)
Teresa Nielsen Hayden
66. tnh
What feels weird to me is having The Wheel of Time be finite. We've wanted it to be finished, so we could know how it ends, but it's turned an open universe into a closed one.
67. Ryanus
It doesn't really make it finite. It ends this age. The world goes on. The characters who lived go on. We probably won't see it, but we know Mat, at least, has further adventures in Seanchan.

But yeah, it is the end of an era.
Rob Munnelly
68. RobMRobM
Fork - BS said that his final chapter prior to the RJ final was a set piece of 20 individual scenes - all of which he wrote in a marathon writing session ending at 8:50 a.m. EST today. His twitter account (BrandSanderson) gives some sense of what are in the individual scenes - such as no. 14 appears to be the final Mat scene in the book. Take a look and see what you can glean - or better yet we can put Terez on the hunt.

EDIT - corrected Mat scene from 16 to 14. There's not a lot else to glean from twitter except that he did something to Mat in scene 9 or so that he's wanted to do for three years. There are some other comments (e.g., that was a tough chapter; some of these are emotional, etc.) but they don't clearly identify characters. So...someone should ask BS about this.

69. Rancho Unicorno
@57 - I'm operating under the impression that the not hurting women thing will survive.

My guess is that Rand will get contaminated in the same way as Lews did, be it a result of the True Power experiment, Lanfear, or Moridin. But, what will keep him from breaking the world - and thus resulting in his blood on the rocks sacrifice - is his commitment.

By not being able to break him in the most crushing way - causing him to destroy that which he most loves - will be the failure that prevents another Breaking. And that will all be due to his commitment to not hurt a woman, no matter the cost.
Jonathan Levy
70. JonathanLevy
I think I may have lost track, but isn't there someone on this thread who may be seeing Sanderson at a signing?

If so, may I humbly ask that you propose the following suggestion to him -

Now that he's completed the first draft of AMOL - make a copy and stash it somewhere. If and when he writes a book about the writing process, this first draft will be a wonderful resource. It will refresh his memories of the writing process, and a comparison with the final draft will shed light on the effect of the editing.

Is there someone who can suggest this to him? I'm afraid he'll only read an email 3 months from now when it's too late.
Stuart Hobbs
71. rocketshobbs
ClintACK @17 So Rand channels crazy amounts of TP through Callandor, effectivley trapping the DO inside. Then Alivia and Nynaeve open a crazy portal to skimming/T'AR and Rand tosses the sword into this twisting nether... and it lands in Northrend, thus starting the Warcraft franchise.

Tektonica @20 Isn't Moridan accused of constantly holding the True
Power? Hence the near-instantaneous appearance of Saa. All the help you'd need right there eh.
Thomas Keith
72. insectoid
RobM² @51: What nice news to hear! Now all we have to do is wait another 6 months... ::grins::

KatoCrossesTheCourtyard @52: LOL!! They've only been playing it on TV all week...

Wind @58: And I'll bring some sparkling cider for the rest of us. ;)

Marcus W
73. toryx
tnh @ 66: That's a good way to put it. As much as I'm looking forward to finally seeing the end that we've been hearing about for so long, I'm also dreading that moment when I close the book knowing that there isn't going to be any more to come. What will a world be like without the anticipation/ impatience of another Wheel of Time book?
74. dlinderholm
Lots of interesting ideas here, and hooray for the first draft of aMoL being complete!

Too many extensive comments to recap, so I'll just throw out my own thoughts here:

I think that the outcome of using the domination bands on Rand was basically what Ishy/Moridin and the DO intended, but not quite. Their strategy, I think, was to put Rand in exactly the emotional place he ended up at in order to force him to kneel to the DO or die/worse, and Semirhage played her part perfectly. While I do think the plan was to offer Rand a way out through kneeling to the DO and perhaps giving him acces to the TP, none of them (DO, Moridin, Semirhage - or, for that matter, LTT/Rand) expected him to already have access to the TP through Moridin - without kneeling to the DO. I realize that it is controversial whether that is the actual source for Rand's access to the TP, but that seems to be the only reasonable explanation (and the way they were linked, crossing the streams while balefiring a manifestation of the 3rd Major Power - Fain/Mordeth - seems to lend creedence to the idea of strange/unforeseen happenings). Rand clearly didn't make a choice to serve the DO; using the TP, even through an intermediary, may have had a major negative effect on him (in addition to the terrible emotional toll of the events), but the fact that he never chooses to serve the DO in order to get access to the TP pretty much saved his soul and allowed his moment of salvation on Dragonmount to occur.

LTT thinks they have lost because he had known (just as the DO knew and the forsaken knew) that the only way to touch the TP is to be given access by the DO, which inherently means serving the DO. Rand being able to access it through Moridin via their unprecedented link was utterly unexpected on all sides.

Anyway, all speculation - which will hopefully be answered in a few months!
Scott Silver
75. hihosilver28
Now this is going back to a topic earlier in the thread...and the WoT re-read as a whole, but I am genuinely curious as to why Rand's Moral Event Horizon of not killing women offends so many people? @32 SrsLii: You said that you hate "fake chivalry", what makes you think that this is fake in Rand? A large part of this may in fact be my upbringing, as I was always taught that women were to be respected and honored and being chivalrous was a way of doing that. It is in no way a "power heirarchy" or meant to be demeaning, just a way of showing respect. Therefore, Rand's MEH hits very strongly home with me, regardless of how logical it is. If I was in Rand's place, it would be the same way for me, no matter how much I knew that a Forsaken deserves to die (more refering to Lanfear in TFoH than here). And even if I went through with it and did what was necessary, it would haunt me.

Now maybe that makes me chauvanistic, but it genuinely doesn't feel that way to me. I just wanted to gain a little more enlightenment on why this particular conviction of Rand's seems to drive so many people on edge. Is it just the logical side of a female Forsaken is just as evil and dangerous as a male Forsaken and is therefore hypocritical to not want to kill the females, while having no problem killing the males?

Merry Christmas, Leigh. Keep up the great work here and in your ASoIaF read; definitely two highlights in my week. Also love all you commenters. It's great to be a part of an intelligent SF/F reading community!
Jay Dauro
76. J.Dauro
Although this was Brandon's last 20 outline points, they are not necessarily a "chapter." He stated that they interleaved with things that are already written. He does tend to write character sequences (he finished Perrin weeks ago.) But the sections will be ordered as needed.

JonathanLevy @70
He will have every revision stored. As typical with most writers these days, he never knows when he might want to come back to something.

If you go to his website, you can actually download each revision of Warbreaker.
John Massey
77. subwoofer
Whew! You'd think Christmas was around the corner or something- it's nutballs out there!

@ Leigh- curious that you left off for the holidays on such a positive chapter and also a pt 13.... I threw a bag of salt over my shoulder just in case.

The chapter, ahem-


Sorry folks but as bad as it is for Rand, it has been really grinding for me. Yes, the poor schmuck didn't sign up for this and he's basically cannon fodder but Rand chapters have been a tough read, and it takes serious efforts by the authors to alienate the readership from the main character of the story. I have made it no secret that I like many of the secondary cast, and when Rand starts putting off Rhuarc, Bashere, Dobraine, Hurin... everyone else, well, it makes it really hard to like the guy.

Rand's been going down this dark road for books now so it's about time he hit rock bottom. I figured Min taking one for the team was the only thing keeping Rand from getting really broody. OTOH I'm not sure that this is the worst that could be done, I'm reminded of this scene from Pulp Fiction with Zee and the gimp... anyways, Rand is pretty easy for someone who's supposed to be hard. See? He does care.

Folks are still on about the True Power? That's like me punching you with your own fist- I'm not sure the DO's that stupid.

Brandon's got the book done? Good times... speaking of movies, there's this show called "Celtic Pride" with Dan Aykroyd, they get the star player of the nemesis team hammered and basically hold him hostage. I don't propose going to those lengths- I am not sure how serious a Mormon Brandon is, so getting him sloshed may be tough, but maybe some balaclavas and spanking the location of the last book out of him... Call me alreadymadwhen...

78. Shadow_Jak
Chaplainchris1 @47 and others...
Thanks for the updates.
And now the WOT is ended...

I'm so depressed!
I've always said, I'll be happy to keep reading WOT novels as long as RJ keeps writing them.
Since TGS, I've had to change that.
So now, I'll be happy to read them as long as BWS keeps writing them.
But, tragically, this seems to be the end.

Gives a whole new meaning to RAFO.
Team Jordan may have to come up with an alternate disclaimer!
Afterall, some questions simply will have to remain unanswered.

...and the wind rose to a final tremendous crescendo to scour at the Earth and swirl away the remnants of the dying Age... before dying away itself, to utter stillness.
:: sigh ::
But the stillness was not the end.
For there is no end and no beginning to the Wheel of Time.

But it was an ending.

The An end
Roger Powell
79. forkroot
Re the last book:

Don't forget there is still Harriet/Maria's encyclopedia to follow. We've already been told that AMoL will not answer all of our questions and that there will be additional answers in the encyclopedia.

So ... seems to me that we'll still be speculating about certain things, and coming up with loony theories, even after AMoL comes out.
80. Shadow_Jak
Rob @68
he did something to Mat in scene 9 or so that he's wanted to do for three years."

God, Leigh's gonna have a cow if Mat gets spanked!
or... Maybe that'd settle her down a bit. Turn about, and all that.
Unless, of course, it's Perrin that spanks him.
All bets are off then.

Hihosilver28 @75
Careful, You're treading dangerous ground.
Around these parts, there's ony one thing worse than spanking...
and that's chivalry.
80. Shadow_Jak

you forgot to spit...


82. Shadow_Jak
Zexxes @81
Thanks for watching out for me there, partner.
I can always use a little backup in tense situations.

Actually, my remark did include a spit. But it was an implied spit.
Much more refined, though not quite as accurate (watch your step!)
Chris R
83. up2stuff
My thoughts about the True source have been made clear. Can't, cant, CANT be used against DO! Fain to close bore? Meh. What bothers me about it? If he is the unique fellow Jordan said, then there HAS to be a way to seal the Bore without him. They didn't use him in the last 3rd, and wont the next time. Kind of a waste to make him the patch THIS time.

I think there will be a real surprise use for Fain.
84. Zander
I just wanted to quickly comment on the not killing women thing. I don't understand the air of mystery about it. Leigh, you say in the post that it is "a more or less arbitrarily self-defined Moral Event Horizon". I think that it's only self-defined as far as his soul, not his person, meaning that it comes from the Dragon persona, and it is not arbitrary at all. When LTT, the last Dragon, died, his last cognizant thought was that he had just killed the most important woman in his life. I think that is where this hang-up comes from. This fits with what we know now about Rand/LTT and how Rand has LTT's memories but not his voice or anything else. I always considered (and still consider) this to be one of the many brilliant minute details that Jordan brought to the story that made the series great.
85. MasterAlThor
It is finished. Yay!

(glares at forkroot) You dare to thumb your nose at me? (Takes of cyberspace glove and slaps forkroot) Sir, I demand satisfaction.


My dislike of Min goes way back. Back to when she couldn't call Rand by his name. When she couldn't treat him with any respect. When she let her love blinded self get in the way and insisted that she could protect Rand even though she didn't have any real formal training.

There are female characters that I like, but for the most part they are seven kinds of annoying. Min isn't like Nynaeve, Elayne or Egwene. She doesn't think that she has to run the show. But she does think that most men will trip over their own feet if a woman isn't there to help. That drives me crazy. I hope that the maturity growth that Nynaeve is kinda forced to go through happens to Min, Egwene and Elayne. Then those characters will become more acceptable to me.

Roger Powell
86. forkroot
M.A.T. - My cyber-cheek is stinging! But I refuse to return violence to my brother. Nevertheless I remain, most assuredly, an ardent defender of Elmindreda.

Gosh - the man is choking her to death (admittedly not of his own volition) and she looks at him and still loves him through her fear? How could anyone not love Min?

It seems to me that she worried about Rand's increasing brittleness - and addressed it with him, In fact, we see her making progress just before the awful incident with Semihrage.

Other than that, she doesn't try to manipulate him. Yes, she wants to be with him, which is true of any young person madly in love.

What's particularly amazing is that although she's head over heels in love with Rand, she understands about his two other loves and even encourages him to seek out Elayne in Camelyn. She knew that the (then) unresolved situation with Elayne was eating at him and that it would be better for him to see Elayne.

That's pretty darn selfless (and from a dedicated monogamist such as myself, a bit hard to fathom.)

Min rocks!
Kevin Stafford
87. Kevinaught
Rand, wielding the TP, to the DO: "Stop hitting yourself! Why're you hitting yourself? Stop hitting yourself!" DO takes toys, goes home.

This tickles me to no end. I am a child. And I love it. :)

Congrats to BS on completing aMoL! Thank you again RJ for giving us an imaginary world worth taking two decades to travel through. WoT has been with me for my entire adult life, which is more than anyone else in my life can say. And I am truly grateful...more than I'll ever be able to say.

And thank you all, here and in so many other corners of the world and its wide web. You brought a depth of intellect and dimension of passion to my enjoyment of this work that I NEVER expected.

Enough, before I start getting too sappy. :)
Jonathan Levy
88. JonathanLevy
76. J.Dauro

Wow, thanks for that info - I was not aware that this was his policy. I guess he's two steps ahead of me :)

I hope he's following this policy for AMOL as well... and that he doesn't post a draft version of it online by accident :)
John Massey
89. subwoofer
@MAT- Min's just using the old playschool "if you like someone, show them by punching them in the arm" psychology.

Reasons to like Min-

Beer flavored nipples.

::mad dash to bunker ensues::

90. Looking Glass
I… kind of don’t want either Fain or the True Power to be the weapon used against the Dark One, for thematic reasons. A big part of Rand’s arc is that going dark to defeat the shadow is the wrong thing to do. Using the powers of evil to defeat evil seems like it would be a step back*. That said, the connection to the Shadow (and/or to Fain, actually) might come in handy.

*Yes, it apparently worked flawlessly with the taint. I’m not saying it won’t happen, just that it seems to be undermining the theme.

Fain is still around, of course, and it would be kind of strange if he weren’t involved somehow in the ending of the story. That said, Mordeth and Madashar were essentially supernatural personifications of “the evil that men do”, and it’s quite clear that that won’t be gone after the Last Battle even if the Dark One is MIA. Fain could potentially survive to be a successor big bad embodying a more human face of evil.

Hm. It would be interesting he were a literal successor, and the dark one were actually killed and replaced every cycle. I don’t know how well that would fit with the everything else, though.

@40 Macster: I’m inclined to believe the One Power isn’t the creator himself either, but I’m not sure it’s actually ruled out. First, the taint may well be between people and the source, rather than actually in the source- a lot of the analogies used for it do kind of hint at that, plus there’s the fact that one side of it (or one access method, if you prefer) can be tainted without screwing the whole thing. Second, who’s to say the True Power couldn’t be “tainted” with the power of love and fluffy bunnies under the right circumstances?

@74 Dlinderholm: That’s possible, but it seems more likely to me that Rand’s salvation blindsided the Shadow (or at least Moridin) simply because they just don’t see the possibility. If we take Moridin’s words at face value (admittedly not a sure thing, but a couple other characters reinforce it), he turned to the Shadow simply because he couldn’t/didn’t see the possibility of hope that Rand did. If Moridin thinks there is no hope of salvation, then why would he factor it into his plans?

Which would also allow the whole of this scene to be All According To The Evil Master Plan, since it does send Rand on a downward spiral that would have been inescapable if he hadn’t seen the Light.

Take a drink every time I use italics for emphasis.
Nadine L.
91. travyl
zackattack @53.
As forkroot (@63) said I don't think Rand killed Min, but furthermore I wish to add that I am glad he did not.
If he had killed Min than he would have had a legitimate excuse to balefire Semirrhage / overstepping his MEH "safe one to kill one". The way it truly played out he just killed Semirrhage and I think this is more devastating for him than if he would have had said factor to safe Mins life.

I am amazed how much we analyze Brandon's answers. I'm not sure if every RAFO he gives us, really does mean that we will get the answer in aMoL, but rather that answering would spoil something in the coming book, so he can't adress it. And since every word and gesture he makes is interpreted there is really no easy way to answer some question.
For example the "needed" thing in the ter'angreal stash room from last thread - I don't really know how one could bring it to context in the next book and referring to it so that we learn it was that thing Nynaeve and Elayne would have found...
But then I'm not a writer, so maybe BWS can do it.
Roger Powell
92. forkroot
Looking Glass@90
Your use of italics for emphasis underscores your bold decision to eschew other methods.
Alice Arneson
93. Wetlandernw
Since I’m so late to add my comments, I’m not going to address many individual posts or do point-by-point arguments today; I’ll just throw in my thoughts.

First, though, this was brought on by Cumadrin @12 and renewed by several others. You are displeased with Rand’s Moral Event Horizon, whether it is a self-imposed ideal or not: that the refusal to harm or kill a woman is somehow not a valid MEH and “he could have come up with a better one.” I’d really like to know what you think would be a better one. It has to be something that fits with his personality and background, AND it has to be something that will nearly shatter him when he is forced to break it. Granted that this was set up since the first chapter of TEotW, if you could write your own character/background so that a different MEH was in place for an event like this, what would you use?

Other thoughts… In light of later conversations, I’m stunned by the irony of this statement, coming on the heels of his use of the True Power:
He would be harder now. He understood how. Where he had once been steel, he became something else. From now on, he was cuendillar.
We know now that there are only two things that can destroy cuendillar – and one of them is the True Power.

For those holding on like grim death to the idea that Rand actually killed Min and then brought her back to life by balefiring Semirhage, you have only to go back and read the chapter. When Rand seized the TP, 1) he shattered the collar; 2) he released Min; 3) she gasped and sobbed; 4) Semirhage realized he held the TP; 5) he balefired Semirhage; 6) he balefired Elza; 7) he released the TP. Min was never dead.

If you want more, we have also been told by Team Jordan that the bruises are still on her neck afterwards because, while Semirhage was forcing him through the DB, Rand was actually the one doing the strangling, and so the effects of his actions would only go away if he were the one balefired. If he had killed her, balefiring Semirhage would not have brought her back. Some people argue about that, saying it’s just Brandon’s interpretation, but it doesn’t matter. The text itself is quite clear that Min was not dead.

I find myself less than convinced that the mere presence of Shaidar Haran cancels out all OP access and weaves. I think it must be something he does actively if he does it at all; we know there are many things he cannot do himself. In this particular chapter, he holds a conversation with Semirhage and then the shield (held by the women outside) disappears. IMO, he didn’t do any of it directly. He found Elza, gave her some rather unpleasant “instructions” and then went to have his chat with Semirhage. Once Elza had her instructions, she first went to Cadsuane’s room and acquired the Domination Band using something she learned from Shaidar Haran. After that, she slipped in and knocked out/killed the three Aes Sedai holding Semirhage’s shield; when Semirhage came out of her room to find Elza kneeling to her, offering her the DB, and requesting that she remove the Compulsion Verin had place on her. Once free of the Compulsion to keep Rand alive, she could do whatever the Forsaken commanded.

Notice that 1) SH did not remove Semirhage’s shield; Elza did that when she knocked out the Aes Sedai holding it. 2) SH did not remove Elza’s Compulsion; she had to ask Semirhage to do that. We were told at a signing that 3) SH did not open Cadsuane’s box; he gave Elza knowledge of some weaves that allowed her to do so. In fact, the only evidence of SH having power to disrupt the OP is the fact that when he confronts a Forsaken, they seem to have no access to the OP. I would submit that, if anything, it is their link to the DO that gives SH any power over them at all, other than psychological. Correct me if I’m wrong (I don’t have time to do the research now) but I don’t believe we’ve seen SH confront anyone other than a FS who actually attempted to channel in his presence. Alviarin was too scared to try anything, and not many other non-FS have seen him.

Well, there was more I wanted to say this morning, but once again time constraints are sneaking up behind me, ready to bite… so I’ve got to run. Later, all!

P.S. Sugar cookies and chocolate crinkles in the bunker; Irish cream fudge coming later today. And French pressed Guatemalan coffee, roasted Monday, ground this morning…. Aaahhh. Life is good, time constraints notwithstanding.
Thomas Keith
94. insectoid
Min is awesome. 'Nuff said.

Shadow_Jak @78:
But the stillness was not the end.
For there is no end and no beginning to the Wheel of Time.
::sniff:: So beautiful...

Wetlander @93: Mmm... cookies. We've got homemade chocolate chip and oatmeal raisin cookies to share, and some interesting peppermint sugar cookies.

95. MostlyAnthony
Min is the only lovable woman in the whole series. 'Nuff said.
Can't wait for the next epiosde of this re-read. That will be the best moment of this book.
John Massey
96. subwoofer
Min's one step removed from Santa . She's an oracle- she knows when you've been bad or good... still working on the whole "seeing me when I'm sleeping and knows when I'm awake", but she's not so bad. As for being the only lovable woman... well, this is all hypothetical as I am a happily married man and these are strictly fictitious characters, but I'd sign up for a few of the Maidens, that one girl that had Mat dancing like a mad man, Birgitte, Leane, and er *cough* Berelain...

There be booze in that there bunker. Wife is no longer breast feeding so she's able to imbibe. Wife drinking = Sub off the wagon= whoot! Me and some Red Stag right about... now....

Eric Hughes
97. CireNaes
I would submit that, if anything, it is their link to the DO that gives SH any power over them at all
Agreed. I don't think SH is a general purpose ysalamiri either. The Forsaken are naive. When they signed on with the Dark Side, they gave up their ability to defend themselves against the DO and his/its avatar.

@all my fellow WoTers
An early very Merry Christmas everyone. I'll be taking a break here until the New Year has rolled around.

And as we approach the New Year, I will add an early congratulations as you are a mere 28ish days from your WoT Reread anniversary. Thanks for your hard work Leigh. It has been a great source of fun and added some much needed stress relief these past three years. Has it really been that long? Yikes!
98. AndrewB
I hope everybody has a happy holiday season and a healthy new year.

Chris R
99. up2stuff
Looking Glass @ 90, I don't know. More I think about it more I think while Fain will be essential to victory, I don't think he will be the "plug", "patch", whatever. He is unique to this age, and EVERY age. If that is true, the bore has been sealed without him countless times before. Also, if the DO WERE replaced every turning, there would be a Fain-like person every time, too for that purpose.

Just seems that a "unique fellow" who has "side-stepped the pattern" will be more of a special case, twist ending.
Chris R
100. up2stuff
Oh darn. Since I cannot edit a post from the mobile site, I will just have to post a Merry Christmas to all from the Bunny.

(He says with mock disappointment.)
John Massey
101. subwoofer
@up2stuff- ? You've taken on the persona of the Easter Bunny and are wishing us Merry Christmas?

Oki doki. Whatever floats your boat;)

Merry Christmast to you & all as well:D

Tess Laird
102. thewindrose
Have a Great Bel Tine everyone. (On going arguement in head about what is real and not;)

Leigh - Thanks for keeping at this! Remember - in the WoT universe you will be rewarded for this(this is not the case in that other place you hang;)
All my commenter friends - have a great time during the holidays - looks like Sub and wife already started - and maybe up2stuff as well(Iknow - its the phone!).

I am traveling back home - oh how wish that started with a capital T! So I will check in when I can.

Valentin M
103. ValMar
Have happy Holidays everyone! Merry Christmas, New Year, and any other holidays that are on this time of the year!
104. emmyloo03
This chapter was really hard for me to read since I knew it was coming. When I started following along with this re-read, I think TGS had already come out and I actually had a copy (waited for paperback so my collection would look pretty) but it had been so long since I read #11 that I had to start all over again (poor me). Anywho, spoilers abounded (and still do). I do wonder how I would have felt had I read this chapter without any idea of what was coming but alas, I knew it was there somewhere. Suffice to say there were ALOT of tears shed, ALOT of squirming and jumping ahead only to mentally gird my loins and returning to read it through properly. However horrible this moment is for Rand (and Min) I agree that it had to be done, mainly so that his Moment On The Mountaintop was all the more Momentous. Anxiously awaiting AMOL (yay on the recent tweet that the 1st draft is done!). Probably gonna have to bite the big one and get it in hardback then get it again when paperback is released. One more thought, this series is for sure my Harry Potter (not that I didn't enjoy those too) but rather that I approach the end with equal parts glee and trepidation. Thanks Leah! Always love reading your posts ;) Merry, Merry!
105. MasterAlThor
Beeer flavored nipples???? How the????

Ok. Just ok.

Anywho. Merry Christmas to all.

Happy Holidays to others.

Good Girls::
Berelain (Yes I said it. What?)

Bad Girls:
Berelain (hehe)
Misfortuna (Fridays only)
Leigh (I kid, I kid)

It is an incomplete list. But I am in a joyous mood. So here is something to tide you over for the Holidays.

Bill Reamy
106. BillinHI
Still reading and hugely enjoying the re-read, just don't have anything to add to the great posts by all. Many, many thanks, Leigh, for all your hard work. Mele Kalikimaka and Hauoli Makahiki Hou to all!
107. MasterAlThor

If I didn't know that song I wouldn't have known what you said. As it is I still don't know what Hauoh Makahiki is but I assume that it is Happy New Year.

108. MasterAlThor
Ack. The dreaded double post.
Roger Powell
109. forkroot
Hmmm - you could do like I'm doing ... I started with paperbacks ... catching up to the current releases. I even managed to hold off getting ACoS until paperback, but that was the end of that - it's been "grab the hardback on the first day" ever since.

I've mentioned here before that I've got my wife's BFF reading WoT now. The other night was great because while my wife took BFF's husband shopping (annual tradition - this way the BFF gets clothes that fit and look nice), the two of us caught up talking about how far she is along in WoT (we get static from the respective spouses if there's too much WoT talk when all four of us are together.)

Wife's BFF has been slowly finding the old hardbacks on discount racks etc. and she gives me one (to replace one of my paperbacks) each Xmas and birthday. So ... two more days to find out which hardback I get next (TSR? LoC?)
Bonnie Andrews
110. misfortuona
Well it is definitly the season for Brotherly Love (HUGZ MAT).

Haven't been posting, but have been reading and enjoying both the insightful, and inciteful comments being made. Just nothing worthwhile to add mostly.

Anyway at least need to wish you all the very best for the upcoming year of highs and lows as we push on into the end of this epic series that has brought all of us together.
You (the re-readers) have brought me so much laughter, some tears, frustration, and even fits of shouting at my computer at times over the last two years. But most importantly this re-read has brought me a whole group of crazy, geeky, fun family with whom I've shared so much.

Wishing all of you Blessings of the Season, and an incredible New Year.

Love from the Mis-sing
Nadine L.
111. travyl
I'd also like to wish you all Merry Christmas.
I greatly enjoyed the last half year (since I'm actively participating) in this forum. Thank you all for the discussions and insight you've given me for this great series.

MasterAl'Thor: I am glad that you accepted your Aiel nature, though I'm not sure if you gain much jih by changing your clan and sept as often as you do - it is fun to read though.
Cameron Tucker
112. Loialson
I hope y'all have lots of good times with family and friends, delicious food, and all around enjoy yourselves this holiday season.

Less than a year left until aMoL! Crazy! :o

(edit-too many Apostrophes!)
Don Barkauskas
113. bad_platypus
LookingGlass @90:
Yes, it apparently worked flawlessly with the taint.
I would argue that in this case, Rand didn't use evil to defeat evil so much as he facilitated the mutual destruction of two evils. He just brought them into contact and let them destroy each other. This is fundamentally different from using the True Power to kill Semirhage.
First, the taint may well be between people and the source, rather than actually in the source- a lot of the analogies used for it do kind of hint at that.
It's actually explicitly spelled out in an analogy (as opposed to being just hinted at) in TEotW by Moiraine speaking to Egwene:
"Saidin is fouled by the touch of the Dark One, like water with a thin slick of rancid oil floating on top. The water is still pure, but it cannot be touched without touching the foulness."
Stuart Hobbs
114. rocketshobbs
subwoofer @96 Re:Sleeping -she can tell when the Dragon is sleeping, or awake. Just increase the scope of the bond I guess? I wouldn't mind.
Thomas Keith
115. insectoid
Wind @102: Erm... Bel Tine is May 1. Perhaps Winternight the Feast of Lights would be closer? ;)

Happy Holidays to all, and may all be merry! I'm gonna 9 kinds of busy the next few days... loading, traveling, opening; loading, traveling, and opening (again); upgrading computers, installing software, playing with new toys, putting things away, probably undecorating a bit -_- ... And of course, reading all the nice things you guys write on here.

I'm adding Rice Krispie treats and gingerbread to the stockpile of sweets in the bunker. :)

edit: Okay, my mom's going coo coo with the baking... we've got lemon sugar cookies, 3 or 4 different kinds of RK treats, chocolate swirl cookies... I should have suggested she make ancient Aes Sedai symbol cookies—that would be cool.

Chris R
116. up2stuff
Hokay, there has GOT to be a way to add words to the spell check dictionary on Android. Maybe with repetition?

Sam Mickel
117. Samadai
Merry Christmas to all my friends here. It has been a great fun ride getting to know you(at least from your posts)
Some keyboards have better recognition then others. I use swift-x. The best so far. And yet, I don't know if you've heard but swipe has partnered with dragon and th
the holy grail true speech to text with advanced functions will be available. The beta is available now most phones as long as swipe wasn't preinstalled on your phone. I know weird about that, but oh well... I'm sure they have their reasons.
John Massey
120. subwoofer
mmmm... yeah, call me old fashion, but I tend to use my phone to I dunno, make phone calls, for instance. Plus I'm way too cheap to pay big honking fees for a data plan. If I used my phone for work that would be another thing, but then again, my work would be paying for it too. I've played that game, had that "perk" and it is a euphemism for "you are on call 24/7", then I got my own cell and did not list the number at work. So cheers to all those that have phones paid by the almighty Corp, I'll blog to you when I get home:D

Edit- after watching Star Trek I on netflix, I am revising my position to suggest that perhaps if Star Fleet offerred me a communicator I might find that also agreeable.

121. serr
this commentary would have been sooooooo much more useful if you would have written this without the spoilers. Is there any alternative like an, "A wheel of time read"? Or just a wot chapter commentary? The fckng wot chapter summaries suck.
Chris R
122. up2stuff
Serr @ 121...

1. Introduction for EVERY post states that spoilers are present.

2. This is kind of like a book club. Assumes you have either read or are reading along with the forum.

3. Differing views are expected, even encouraged. Courtesy is expected and broad generalities are not appreciated. Be specific without being antagonistic.

4. 13 books on Best Seller's list over 20+ years means it is gonna be hard finding a new reader's forum. Good idea, but hard to deliver. Feel free to return to previous topics and posts. Even the first ones get revisited and there are many here with pet theories that can be happily rehashed for hours.

5. Happy Holidays and welcome.
John Massey
123. subwoofer
@serr- ahem, assuming you have read each of Leigh's posts you might have noticed the little spoiler warning at the beginning of every post.

For instance:

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.

Right, something just occurred to me yesterday as I am rereading ToM, perhaps some of the gurus can help me out. Are ter'angreal cuendillar? I read on Tar Valon that the Domination Bands are made of that. Somebody here suggested that the True Power is one of the things that can break cuendillar, using the TP to channel balefire can melt cuendillar. If this is the case, why then has the DO not freed himself? He could just channel TP at the seals and Houdini himself out of the Bore.

Yes, I see up2stuff(waves h'lo:)) has already stated the obvious about the disclaimers.... that serr has failed to notice.

Edit: been wailing through the posts looking for said suggestion and am still baffled. Incidentally- dibs on the Irish cream fudge:D

John Massey
124. subwoofer
Another random thought popped into my head while going through aMoL- BTW I'm through the chapter where Rand introduces Min to his Da, properly, she's his special someone. Awwwwww.

Ahem, anyways, apparently Alanna has also pulled a vanishing act which prompted Nynaeve to comment something to the tune of "we should have had a hundred Maidens guarding her if that was the case" as Ny and a few others realize that Alanna could point out the path to Rand. To me this is a no brainer, it doesn't matter how much power Rand, Perrin, and to a lesser extent Mat has, if the baddies get a hold of Min, Elayne, Aviendha, Faile, or Tuon there could be some interesting hostage negotiations to the tune of "submit to the fiery toilet or we give the girl a swirly".

Tuon might be a tough reach as she is surrounded by the Deathwatch Guard, but I'm sure a Blood Knife could reach her. Elayne, same situation, she has the palace guard and Birgitte to protect her, and some OP, Same for Avi. Min+ Faile= Trolloc fodder. Those girls can twirl all the knives they want, but come Myrddraal and Trolloc and Dreadlord time, they better have a passel of guards and keep themselves distant and safe for the sake of their guys.

The whole PLOD may have been about a way to cripple Perrin. This chapter brightly illustrates a way to cripple Rand. Perhaps these boys should be taking notes.

Roger Powell
125. forkroot
Most ter'angealare not cuendillar, but the Sad Bracelets were. Obviously the seals are cuendillar but I never really thought about whether they were ter'angeals ... I suppose they are in some way.

Anyway - here's my analogy .... put a guy in a prison cell that's closed with a solid steel door. On the outside of the steel door, a large padlock holds the door shut. If the prisoner has a key to the padlock, it doesn't do him any good because the door's closed and he can't get to the lock.

Now say the door's starting to corrode and rust holes are appearing. As soon as one of those rust holes near the lock gets big enough, he'll be able to put his hand through and get the key into the lock.

So perhaps the seals hold the tie-off points to the weaves that sealed the Bore. As long as the seals are on "this side", the DO can't blast them with the TP.
Tricia Irish
126. Tektonica
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all my friends here.

Wishing you good food, drink, and the company of loved ones. May the spirit of the season give you peace and happiness.

And the New Year bring us A Memory of Light! And lots more discussion!

Special K Gooey's in the Bunker! Yay!
127. nae77blis77
@ sealing the bore

First some facts to lay the foundation of what I thought was a very fully foreshadowed method of sealing the Bore.

1. The DO is in his prison OUTSIDE the pattern.
2. Mierin & Co. were able to drill the Bore because the Pattern was already thin there.
3. Belief and Order give strength.
4. The Ogier used to be able to make Steddings.
5. Loial makes a mini-stedding in the Blight where the Green Man died.
6. Aiel in the AoL were involved in 'Singing' with Ogier and the Green man.
Now the speculation:
Rand seems to be strengthening the Pattern by his very presence now. I think the tinker's song they are searching for is that AoL song of the Aiel. I'm pretty sure that Rand and the Ta'veren boys will go to Shayol ghul, and using the Ogier, Aiel and tinker song, fix the thinning of the pattern, essentially re-growing the pattern over the Bore. Remember they need to make it perfect as it was created as in the age before the AoL. perhaps even creating a Stedding over Shayol Ghul.

However i heard a theory i like somewhere that Rand will break the wheel of time himself somehow, and turn the wheel into lineral time, eventually giving us modern the world as we know it. LOL. I still think mine is correct though that would be kind of awesome.
Jay Dauro
128. J.Dauro
A Merry Christmas to all. Thanks again for the entertainment, conversation, theories and plain fun.


Loial did sing to the Oak of the Green man. But I would not call this "making" a Stedding. If the Ogier could "make" a Stedding, they would not have wandered, dying of the longing. I would not be surprised if the boys do something to the pattern, and require the help of the Ogier, but I do not think it has to do with creating a Stedding.
John Massey
129. subwoofer
@forkroot- interesting thoughts there. If that is the case, then should not the Dark One and the Forsaken be encouraging the use of Balefire? The Dark One sits outside the Pattern and his touch on the Pattern causes it to go wonky and theoretically if he breaks free the Pattern is unwound for all time. So Balefire should be his best friend because if the Pattern unwinds this gives the DO more "thin points" to punch through from. I dunno, it is a work in progress, but I am trying to wrap my head around the Bore and what Rand is going to have to do. Callandor has been hinted at, but I do not think it is the key, it may be Rand's undoing.

IMHO what Rand does need is a circle, men and women working together. To date the two greatest things done in recent history was through the use of linked channelers. First the Aes Sedai and Windfinders joined together to correct the Dark One's taint on the weather. Second, Rand and Nynaeve used some Sa'angreal together to cleanse Saidin. The next step is to seal the Bore again and I feel that Rand is going to need a much bigger circle to deal with that. This was kind of hinted at by the Aes Sedai when they felt Rand and Ny channeling and did not know what it was and thought that they may need to get male channelers to expand their circles. I feel this may take something epic, something on a much larger scale. And yes, Ogier may be involved on some level, although I think it may be to deal with the Blight.

Like I said, I dunno, still trying to puzzle it out.

Merry Christmas to all from my little woof pack:D

Juan Avila
130. Cumadrin
*posting from my new Kindle Touch*

Oh. My. God.

Jonathan Levy
131. JonathanLevy
125. forkroot
Good analogy. To support it, there is a quote from Moiraine, I think, when she talks of the seals - she says 'more precisely, a focus point for the seal'. The actual seal is, presumably, some Saidin-construct, analogous to the prison door, as you described it.

FWIW, I'm guessing singing is going to be involved in the re-sealing somehow, along with Aiel and Ogier. The bore will be sealed, but it won't be sealed the same way Lews Therin sealed it with a bit of Saidar glue. The singing itself will do it somehow. All the talk of using Saidar as well as Saidin is a bit of a red herring. They might be used together, but they won't be enough by themselves.
Chris R
132. up2stuff
JL and Sub, glad to see a couple others not pinning all hopes on Fain or the TP. I was beginning to think I was the only one on the former, anyway.

I don't like Fain as the key, because he is unique to the pattern and the Bore has been sealed without him before. Jordan especially mentioning how unique he is, to this or any turning of the Wheel, just does not seem to set up him being used for your average, everyday, run-of-the-mill sealing of the Bore.
133. s'rEDIT
@all: A very merry Christmas and especially blessed New Year!

Although I was upset by the dark place Rand was brought to, for some reason I was not surprised. I was more surprised when he conquered the pain, because I didn't remember what had happened back in the box. After that, I sort of unconciously knew that Min was next. But I was sure she couldn't die, because she had to be part of the trio for Rand.

The biggest surprise to me was HOW Rand was able to access the TP. I had immediately through of what Semi (or was it Grendal?) had explained about the idea that the flow could go both ways, and I assumed Rand would suddenly discover that he could reverse the influence . . . before it was too late. Once that happened, it was just a matter of time (moments) before he'd take out Semirage, et al.
134. nae77blis77
@128 J.DauroI believe

they lost this ability as they did the ability to grow the Ways. Remeber before the breaking the had no steddings, and the Seanchan Ogier have no need of them. I'm pretty sure it is a lost ability, but again, i could be wildly wrong. If there is one thing Jordan and Sanderson are good at, it's throwing me for a loop when i thought I had it all figured out. :) merry Christmas to all

Speaking of Sanderson my captch says "stormberer, the" heh.
Jay Dauro
135. J.Dauro

There were Stedding during the Age of Legends. They were lost and swallowed during the Breaking. The Ogier wandered searching for them during the Exile, and a majority of them died from the Longing. Parts of this are mentioned in the main story. In TEOTW 34 Loial says
It gave us the Breaking of the World, and the Exile, and Stone, and the Longing, and eventually it gave us back the stedding before we all died. (emphasis mine)
Later in TEOTW 43
"...We Ogier were scattered, too, driven from the stedding, into the Exile and the Long Wandering, when the Longing was graven on our hearts."
Much of the rest of this comes from the BBOBA. The Ogier did at one time have the Talisman of Growing, and could create the Ways, but nowhere that I have found does it ever say they could create Stedding.
Tina Pierce
136. scissorrunner
Merry Christmas all.
been lurking lately (bad me) but still enjoying all of your comments and OF COURSE, the wit & wisdom of our Fearless Leader
Thanks Leigh, this is one awesome ride!!!
John Massey
137. subwoofer
@JL- I'm kinda sketchy on the whole Song angle to be honest. First of all, nobody knows the song, second of all if somebody does remember the lyrics, there is no time for auditions for everyone to take part. No time to boil it down to the top 20. No time to book a hall for rehersals. No time to harmonize. And how are people going to vote for their favorite singer? Unless somebody in Rand's school has invented the phone and live broadcasting I think the whole Song idea may tank due to ratings.

I think that singing is going to be to grow the Ways back and fix the Blight.

I dunno I don't get a good vibe from a bunch of Randlanders all joining hands and singing kumbaya in the hopes of fixing things. The song really didn't do much good back then, I think it may be an 0 for 2 situation.

As for fishguts, Callandor has that written all over it. It was not used before and let's face it, the last outting went seriously sideways. The whole thing may be as simple as somebody finally pulling the Dark One's finger when he asks.

There are a few surprises in store for us yet. In the last book we learn about Dream Spikes. I think there are a bunch of toys and trinkets yet to be used. Another random thought, when Elayne was making copies of Mat's medallion and whatshisnuts skipped town with a couple of copies, he took the copies that were not perfect. The flaw being that the person that wears them cannot channel, which is not the case with Mat's OG medallion.

More to come- been putting off the dishes for long enough. Pray for me.

Jonathan Levy
138. JonathanLevy
132. up2stuff
Mind you, Song and Fain are not mutually exclusive. We could see Fain being thrown down the well, and the Song rolls a big stone over it.

135. J.Dauro
Well said.

137. subwoofer
Thing is, the Tinkers and their Song have been mentioned so often in the series. It just shouts "Look here - FORESHADOWING!!!"

Plus Egwene's Need-search brought her to a Tinker camp.
Plus Mat ran across a massacred Tinker camp with a message 'Tell the Dragon Reborn' early in LoC.
Plus Min's vision in tEotW saw Perrin with things flowering around him, which suggests the Song, and has not yet been fulfilled (I think).

And Rand Sedai knows the songs of the Age of Legends.
And Rhuidean is open to all now, and any Tinker can go in and hope to hear the Aiel singing in the AOL.

Granted, the precise mechanism of how this would work is unclear, despite some hints ('belief and order give strength').

I guess the literary perspective is what inclines me towards this. You've got a big climax to the series coming up. Everyone expects the One Power to seal the DO away, like in the Strike on Shayol Ghul. Rand expects it, and grills Lews Therin on how to do it. But if you don't want to use the obvious solution, you need a surprise twist. It's reasonable to conclude from all the Song/Tinker references that this is a setup for a surprise twist. Of course, there are other possible surprise twists (e.g. Fain, or actually killing the DO instead of re-sealing him).

The technical difficulties of getting it done are not so impressive, IMO. Loial will show up with the Ogier, and that includes Treesingers. As for the rest - Ta'veren Ta'veren Ta'veren. Picking a chorus out of an army is less unlikely than getting apple trees to flower and fruit in 5 minutes. Open a gateway to Ebou Dar to bring all the Tinkers - who are conveniently collected in one spot.

It may be that the actual words/melody of the Song are immaterial. Perhaps what is necessary is an orderly, non-violent self-sacrifice. Perhaps a hundred thousand amateur singers have been collected on the field of Merrilor for precisely this purpose. They will weave the threads of their lives - along with the Dragon's - into a Seal on the Dark One's prison.

Just as the seal is being placed, Fain will jump into the fiery toilet screaming 'My Precious!!!'.

The hundred thousand singers will expire at the same moment, thus placing the seal.

And those who couldn't carry a tune to save their lives (ha!) will be left to battle it out with the remaining Trollocs and Halfmen.

It could work. :)
John Massey
139. subwoofer
Not if Simon Cowell has anything to say about it.

You're saying my idea spoke of red fish- yours is carping to makerels. There have been several mentions of Callandor... same idea. Red fish. There have been several mentions of Fain. Same idea. The problem I have with the Song is that it is about peace, not about using as an instrument to fight the DO. Song of Growing for instance. I don't see this whole story ending in an Allan Dean Foster Spellsinger type way anyhow;)

John Massey
140. subwoofer
As I am plowing through the last couple of books there are some things I have noticed and I am just going to do a stream of consiousness here as things occur to me... before I forget them... again.

First off, I am starting to look at TGS and AMoL not as separate books but perhaps as a pt1 and 2 of the same story... Or maybe one was made to correct some of the errors of the other would be more precise. One of the things Birgit or Toryx mentioned was the emotional low felt by Rand and the length of it somewhat er, cheapened the high he had on Dragonmount. AMoL made inroads in correcting this, the book itself spends much time focused on Perrin but it is also about his world view of Rand. Men Dream Here has is fast becoming one of my favorite chapters. The span of time from Rand's low to high is relatively short, but the span of time that wolves are waiting for the Last Hunt to begin... wow. And when the Light shatters the darkness and the sun streams through, the joy the wolves felt, the joy Perrin felt- whoot! Incidentally, was that Rand? In the wolf dream the dude was wearing Black and Red!! Could it be possible that in the Dream, T'AR, Rand is Moridin? I dunno, they have met in the Dream, but this whole chapter casts a shadow of doubt on that.

Egwene talks about angreal and the rediscovering of the talent of making them. She also hints that the Tower is losing it's proprietary hold because what happens when men make them? Well, enter Neald. Not only did he use Saidin to make Perrin's hammer, he also used a circle and joined Saidin with Saidar to do so. A weapon forged using both halves of the One Power. Hmmmmm. Is any of the Power wrought blades or any other weapon the same? Or were they all forged using Saidar by female Aes Sedai?

Another question- if Graendal was the one working with Slayer to spring the trap on the Whitecloaks, then why could Perrin's Asha'man sense the channeling? Granted a Portal Stone was supposedly used, a man detected the flows. Huh?

Oh yeah, and as sad as this chapter made some folks feel about Rand- I came as close to crying as I have in years rereading "Wounds". Hopper dying... wah!

s'all I got for now.

Cameron Tucker
141. Loialson

I'm pretty sure the Asha'man mentioned they detected a man channeling in TOM with the portal stone and the big fight with the whitecloaks and such.

My idea I took from it was Graendal was using male dreadlords of some sort (maybe from Taim's dark factory) to transport shadowfodder via portal stone. She always was one to pull strings from the shadows, not to fight directly (like Mesaana did).

Not to say there couldn't have been female dreadlords, but I don't think there was any in text reference to them (goosebumps and such, that the Asha'man can sense).
John Massey
142. subwoofer
Yes, that is my point tho' - there is no hint that Graendal had any help beyond Slayer. Moridin did not give her any male dreadlords and in any of Graendal's scenes we do not see her cavorting with any male channelers not the Forsaken.

The reason I am bringing this up is because this is not the first time. When the city of Maradon was under attack the Asha'man sensed male channelers from the Trolloc side... and Ituralde and Deepe were likewise hurt by a channeler attack. Which means it is happening now- I am not sure if the Black Tower are supplying these guys but they are there. The first time I read this book I glanced over this but now- Hey! Stuff is happening here and it isn't all good.

big edit: this is the first time we are seeing male channelers, not the Forsaken take part. To date we know about the Black Ajah, but have not seen any of Tam's folks doing things awry. Now we have 2 scenes.

Ahem-"The Golden Crane flies for Tarmon Gai'don," Lan said softly. " Let any man or woman who wishes to follow join it and fight."

He closed his eyes as the call went up. It soon became a cheer. Then a roar.


*sniff, sniff*

I know it is hairy chested drivel, but I'm tellin' y'all, my fighting days are behind me but I'd strap up my boots if a call like that went out.

Cameron Tucker
143. Loialson
Hmm...I can see your point. I just assumed that any of the Chosen can just snatch up any darkside channelers lying around, and have perma-access to trollocfodder anytime they want. Perks of the job, sortof.

I got that idea from when Mesaana attempted to give Alviarin orders and how Moghedien treated Liandrin and Co. Not to mention Sammael (and Graendal?) have used trolloc attacks against Rand(and for him once, I think). I'm thinking of TSR specifically here with two tribes of Trollocs fighting in the Stone if my memory isn't failing me.

My point being, in the chain of Shadow command, Graendal doesn't necessarily need Moridin's sanction/permission/gifts to obtain underlings to do her biddings. She has the authority to get troops if she wishes, and there is enough evidence in the text that Moridin is not doling out who gets how much trolloc fodder and what dreadlords/darkside channelers, all the time.

And if all else fails she can just Compel random channelers, I guess, but that doesn't seem likely given the pertinent info in the scene.
144. nae77blis77

You're right. There is no mention of the Ogier making steddings. I don't know why i overlooked that, however the fact that Loial could make a mini-stedding (at least against the blight) with perhaps the remnants of the Green man's power points that way.

I believe Callandor, two women and Rand will indeed be needed for the last battle. They'll likely do the direct confrontation with moridin/DO while perrin leads the tinker/Aiel/Ogier chorus. In fact there's nothing to prohibit ALL the foreshadowed events taking place, perhaps not as we imagine them, but somehow being important anyway. Fain just needs to be cleared of his mordeth taint before death, as Shadar Logoth needs to be a new thing 7 ages from now.
Jonathan Levy
145. JonathanLevy

It's interesting to make a list of the various potential plot elements coming together towards the last battle, half of which are bound to be red herrings.

1) Traditional: Rand uses Callandor and seals the bore.
2) Gollum: Padan Fain is pushed through the bore.
3) Valerian Resurrection: Rand dies, is brought back by the Horn.
4) Nynaevian Resurrection: Rand dies, is torn from TAR by Nynaeve.
5) Moridin Switch: Rand and Moridin switch bodies, Rand's body dies.
6) Hand of Campbell: Rand uses the True Power against the Dark One.
7) The Kumbaya: The Song seals the Bore.
8) The Millenium: Dark one is killed, not just sealed away.

I'm sure I've forgotten some. Help, anyone?
Alice Arneson
146. Wetlandernw
To add just a bit to J.Dauro @135 – One, the reason that the Seanchan Ogier don’t experience the Longing is that the Seanchan continent was less severely affected by the Breaking, and they never lost their stedding. Because they never experienced the loss, they didn’t develop the problem. Two, the ability to grow the Ways was not inherent to the Ogier, but was a gift from the male Aes Sedai who took refuge in the stedding during the early days of the Breaking. A group of those men worked together to create a means for the Ogier to travel between stedding without having to deal with the world outside; when they left for good, they gave the Ogier the Talisman of Growing so that they could grow more Ways as more stedding were rediscovered.

On another topic, I find it moderately amusing that several people seem to be convinced that Rand must seal the DO perfectly, that this must be the time when he is sealed away just like the Creator did at the moment of Creation. We know that before the AOL rolls around again he must be sealed away so that people are no longer aware of his presence, but that's a lot of time, folks. It could (literally) be ages until that perfect seal is remade. Therefore, the argument that Fain can't be used to make the perfect seal because he's unique to this turning of the Wheel is meaningless. It’s also meaningless for another reason, which I’ll get to in a minute.

We talk about foreshadowing, and we know that something has been foreshadowed with regard to many things: the Song, Callandor, Moridin, the True Power, the Fisher King, the Horn of Valere, the Aiel remnant, the Tinkers, Nynaeve's Healing skills, the deer-horn-hilted dagger, and many others - and I'm pretty sure we'll see results for most of them. I doubt, however, that we'll see exactly the results we expect to see, and I'm quite sure that most of those results won't have to do with sealing the Bore.

The theory that the power of Shadar Logoth will be part of the sealing is IMO based on two things, primarily:
1) LTT specifically told Rand that saidin was tainted because they had to touch it to the DO to seal him in; additionally, RJ specifically stated in a Q&A that if the women had been with LTT using saidar, it would have been tainted too. This makes it fairly clear that something must lie between the OP and the TP to make a seal that won't result in the entire OP being tainted. (And no, the TP won't work against the DO.*)
2) The power of Shadar Logoth has been used against the TP twice in-story, first in a small way, then a larger. Shayol Ghul could well be the third and largest use. We've been told since book 1 that, evil and twisted as it is, it stands in full opposition to the DO. That's foreshadowing, IMO.

Fain himself may be a "wild card" but that doesn't necessarily mean that Shadar Logoth is. Fain himself may not be part of the sealing; it might be the dagger, or it might not be a corporeal object at all, but it is a logical theory that the power of Shadar Logoth, directed solely against the DO, will stand between the DO and whatever use the OP is put to. Theory: More likely than Fain himself being part of the seal, I think it likely that it will be "his blood on the rocks of Shayol Ghul" - the blood from Rand's dual wounds, rather than (necessarily) his lifeblood. If the wounds are reopened at Shayol Ghul, the blood from the two, dripping down together, may form something similar to what they created at the Cleansing – something that Rand can take and magnify into a barrier between the DO and the Pattern, holding him outside while a seal is formed. FWIW, I also think that Callandor will be part of this somehow, although I don’t know how, and I’m not totally convinced that it will actually be Rand using it at the time.

Alternatively, maybe Mat will get the dagger back and throw it into the fiery swirly to distract the DO while Rand places the new seal. ;p

(*I can't see any way that you can imagine using the TP to block the TP. It is "the essence of the DO" and can't possibly be used to make a barrier to stop him. It would be like planting a strip of dandelions around the flowerbeds and thinking it would stop the weeds from growing into the flowers. It’s the very same stuff – it won’t stop itself.)

Okay, it’s late and I may be somewhat less coherent than I think I am. I’m going to post this and then see how it looks in the morning. (Well… later in the morning.)
Sam Mickel
147. Samadai
Fains goals are to kill both Rand and the Dark One(at least "deal" with him). What if Fain is the guy who kills Rand( Only to be brought back in whatever way we have previously discussed) but Fains body is killed freeing Mashadar. Mashadar enters the bore, the essence of it fighting the dark one, thereby keeping the Dark Ones essence away from the bore. Reborn( in whatever way that's possible) Rand and the white/black tower repair the hole in the pattern.
John Massey
148. subwoofer
@Wet- it's not so much Rand doing a "perfect seal" it is more like Rand/LTT doing something other than what happened the last time. That "something" is what Fel suggested, what Min is trying to figure out and what Rand doesn't know.

Alice Arneson
149. Wetlandernw
Samadai - I like it! That's one of the angles I was trying to reach for, but my brain goes a bit sideways after midnight. Something where that power is fully engaging the DO, and Rand & co. are able to place the seal without having to use the OP to hold the DO back out of the way.

subwoofer - I agree completely; it won't be the same thing as last time. I don't think it will be what LTT had planned (using both halves of the OP) either. Rand has the input of Herid Fel, Min and several others who have been studying this for a while now, and now he's wise enough to listen to their input and incorporate what they have learned. He also has the firm support of the strongest Aes Sedai (plural) of this Age (not counting the Forsaken), as well as other strong channelers (both male and female) who are not Aes Sedai.

My best guess, though, is that most of those strong channelers will be occupied with the defense of humanity against the Forsaken, Dreadlords and Shadowspawn, while Rand and just a few others will actually go to Shayol Ghul to seal the Bore. I could theorize more on what that will look like, but I think I'd rather wait and see; we know it's been written and waiting for us for several years.
150. Wortmauer
up2stuff@99: More I think about it more I think while Fain will be essential to victory, I don't think he will be the "plug", "patch", whatever. He is unique to this age, and EVERY age. If that is true, the bore has been sealed without him countless times before.
Wait, what? It has? We know it is sealed in the Second Age and we assume it will be sealed in this, the Third Age, and it may also be redrilled and resealed in other Ages, but we're really just talking about the Third Age sealing here. So, Fain is "unique to this particular Age" (in RJ's words), but the countless repetitions of "this particular Age" are all we're talking about anyway. I assume Fain was in each one.

Unless you think, when saying that Fain is "unique to this particular Age," RJ actually meant Fain did not appear seven Ages ago at the end of the previous Third Age. But I've never interpreted it that way. It would seem to undermine his circular cosmology. I know small changes happen between one turning of the Wheel and the next, but Fain is ... not exactly a small change. If you guys are right, it would mean the Pattern is diverging quite a lot more than I'd always assumed, from one turning to the next.

Also, a merry Christmas to all, or I suppose I should say Christmas season.
151. whoami
I interpret Fain as something that has never existed before (although I am not a Guru on this site).

Not everything is planned by the Pattern.

The Dark One has a choice in affairs and will do what he can to unravel the Pattern. He is not controlled by the Pattern. It's an adversarial relationship (or so we've been told).

The Dark One created Fain. It's possible that the Pattern never expected one of the Dark One's hounds to become infected by Shadar Logoth. It's also probable that the Dark One didn't expect this result either.

Fain is a wildcard. He is something like the Mule from Asimov's Foundation. An unpredicted and unpredictable individual that destroys carefully laid plans (by the Second Foundation in Asimov's case, and by the Pattern in Jordan's case).

On a secondary but related point, Randland's denizens also have free will. The Pattern chooses the shape for the Age, and uses Taveren to forge the shape, but the individuals choose how to live their lives. TGS indicated that even Min's visions are not a certainty. If Rand chose poorly (yes, an Indiana Jones reference), Min's visions would not have come to be and the Pattern would have been destroyed. Taveren, of course, have less freedom than others, and tend to be pushed by the Pattern into making the desired choices. The Dark One attempts to push in other directions.
152. DeJulis
@150, Wort:
I believe that that particular RJ quote, in conjunction with another stating that Fain has sidestepped the pattern, is taken to mean that yes, Fain is indeed unique in that nothing like him has ever been seen in any age.
153. CorDarei

Where in TGS does it indicate Min's visions are wrong? She was shocked at her vision of Moraine being wrong because they were never wrong in the past. (although she will come to realize later that she wasn't wrong)
154. whoami
CorDarei@153, I'll try to find it for you. It was the part about the light shining on Dragonmount. Min had the vision that indicated that Rand would be victorious due to light shining on the mountain. There was a discussion that indicated that the visions were an indication of what the Pattern expected to happen, but if Rand chose to destroy the Pattern, the visions would be false because the Pattern was destroyed.

It would be the same for the vision with Moiraine. Min is misinterpreting the failure of her vision because she doesn't know that Moiraine is alive, but the vision is actually accurate to the extent that the Pattern remains in existence long enough for the event to take place.
Alice Arneson
155. Wetlandernw
Wortmauer @150 - Well, we obviously haven't discussed that one enough, because I'd never met the notion that Fain is "unique to the third Age" but that he shows up in this age every time the Wheel turns. Like others here, I had assumed that RJ meant "totally unique in all of time" - a real one-off, never seen before and probably never again. The quotation is as follows:
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. (2002)
There's another paraphrase from an earlier event:
He also mentioned the fact that Fain is essentially his wild card, a character that is outside the structure of the work and can therefore act totally unpredictably. (1998)
I scrounged through the interview database on Fain/Shadar Logoth, and there's really nothing further to clarify the meaning of these statements. It could be taken either way. Hey, looka that. You learn something new every day if you aren't careful.

Interestingly enough, clear back in 1994 he had this to say:
Q: What is Padan Fain's overall role in the Wheel of Time (besides hating Rand with a passion)?
RJ: Read and find out...except you should be able to figure out most of it by now. Think a little bit -- it's all there, really.
By that time, Lord of Chaos had just come out, so he thought we should have (or be able to figure out) a pretty good idea of his role in the end-game by then. This makes me think even more that the "opposite poles" effect of SL and the DO will be significant in the final events.

Oh, and a merry third-day-of-Christmas to everyone! :)
156. Wortmauer
DeJulis@152: Very possible. I do wish he'd said "unique to this particular turning," rather than "this particular Age." The latter is ambiguous when you're dealing with a world in which particular Ages are believed to (roughly) repeat themselves ad infinitum.

Anyway, if Fain is entirely unique, given how important he is shaping up to be, this unfortunately points toward an end to circular time. I mean, can the Wheel keep turning and producing a new Third Age in a few thousand years, after something as disruptive as Fain appeared out of nowhere? Like many fans, I do not like the linear time endgame theory ... it makes a lie out of the first line of every WoT novel ("an Age yet to come"). And yet, given his role in the story so far, it's absurd to think Fain won't be pivotal in some way. If the notion of circular time has any meaning at all, it's hard for me to imagine how it can remain circular if the ending of one Third Age hinges crucially on the actions of a guy whom the last 10000 Third Ages have never seen.

Best I can come up with to reconcile these things is that Fain will somehow be important to the fates of the individuals whom we have come to care about, but not really important to the fate of the world itself, which is what the Pattern cares about. So that in a Pattern sense, he will only be a "minor variation" on past and future Third Ages after all, and the Pattern will weave on. This feels unsatisfying too, though.

I suppose we'll just have to wait for that book that I hear some guy recently finished the first draft of, and most of these questions will be answered.
157. whoami
CorDarei@153 Copied from the Thirteenth Depository's thread on Min's viewings:
"No," Min said. "But if Rand loses, there is no Pattern."

"The girl is correct." Cadsuane sounded surprised. "What this child sees are weavings in the Pattern from a time still distant—but if the Dark One wins, he will destroy the Pattern entirely. This is the only way the visions could fail to occur. The same holds for other prophecies and Foretellings. Our victory is by no means sure." That stilled the room. They weren't playing at village politics or national dominance. At stake was creation itself.
- The Gathering Storm, Scents Unknown
Alice Arneson
158. Wetlandernw
Wortmauer @156 - Good points. From that standpoint, it would seem logical that Fain would be more likely to affect individual lives than to be vital to the fate of the world. On the other hand, if he is simply part of the mechanism that reseals the DO in this Age, but that sealing turns out to be neither more nor less effective than the seals created in other versions of the Third Age, it doesn't matter. On the other other hand, it seems odd to have this major "wild card" character show up and then turn out to be relatively insignificant in the (extremely) large picture. As you say, we'll find out when that first draft gets around to being edited and printed...

Re: Min's viewings (@151, 153, 154) - At the risk of being redundant, I'm going to quote a slightly larger section and make comments. (Hey, when has the risk of being redundant ever stopped me from commenting, really?) This is near the end of Chapter 44 in TGS, where Corele downplays Rand's mental issues, because "We're obviously going to succeed."
"We've just spent all afternoon drilling this girl about her visions." Corele nodded to Min. "They always come true, and she's seen things that obviously can't happen until after the Last Battle. So we know that Rand is going to defeat the Dark One. The Pattern has already decided it. We can stop worrying."

"No," Min said. "You're wrong."

Corele frowned. "Child, are you saying that you lied about the things you've seen?"

"No," Min said. "But if Rand loses, there is no Pattern."

"The girl is correct." Cadsuane sounded surprised. "What this child sees are weavings in the Pattern from a time still distant - but if the Dark One wins, he will destroy the Pattern entirely. This is the only way the visions could fail to occur. The same holds for other prophecies and Foretellings. Our victory is by no means sure."
The thing is, the DO and the Creator are the only beings not woven by the Wheel. So when Min sees viewings of the Pattern, she sees what's in the Pattern, but that can't account for the potential actions of those outside the Pattern - the DO and the Creator*. The DO is an external agent who may be able to destroy the Pattern from without, which Min would be unable to see. So yes, in-world, there's a possibility that the DO could win this time and destroy the Pattern, making the rest of Min's viewings "fail" in a sense. From the reader POV, of course, we know that Rand will win; we just don't know how, or how painful the winning will be. We know, then, that Min's viewings are all reliable, but they know that "They weren't playing at village politics or national dominance. At stake was creation itself."

*No one seems to consider the possibility of the Creator taking a hand; even among fandom, the only inkling we've discussed is the possibility that the ALL-CAPS VOICE in book 1 might be the Creator. Given the isolation and ambiguity of that incident, I have to admit that it seems unlikely that such a thing would happen with no other foreshadowing.
Alice Arneson
159. Wetlandernw
Hey, y'all, check out Irene's comment @6 on the Management Services post of the free WoT wallpaper! After you've checked out the wallpaper, of course.
160. AndrewB
Wetlandernw @158 said "rom the reader POV, of course, we know that Rand will win ..." By "reader POV" do you mean those certain quotes at the beginning and end of each book that are credited as written in the Fourth Age? If not, please elaberate on what you mean by "reader POV." I do believe that Rand and Team Light will ultimately be successful I cannot imagine RJ would end the WoT with the DO ending the Wheel of Time for all time. Nevertheless, I do not see how from a reader's POV, we can be assured of a Team Light victory (other than the quotes I referenced above).

Thanks for reading my musings,
Roger Powell
161. forkroot
I think Min was wrong about that. I don't think that the DO gets a complete win (pattern destruction) if the Light's champion merely loses. I think that in order for the DO to truly destroy the pattern, he has to convince the Light's champion to aid him.

There's no other explanation for the DO (usually via Moridin) telling the Forsaken not to kill Rand. There's any number of times it could have been done if the DO really wanted it done. Instead, Team Dark has been trying to "turn" the Dragon instead.

In some sense, the end of TGS is the true climax of the series -- that's when Rand comes oh so close to fulfilling the Dark One's plans and destroying reality. I suppose that he could threaten to do it again, but it seems unlikely now.

So ... the ring's now been tossed in the volcano, it's time to go clean up the Shire, i.e. win Tarmon Gaidon and prevent the Dark One from scourging the earth.
162. whoami
I'm confused by your objection.

What does 'lose' mean here? My interpretation is that if Rand 'loses', that implies that the DO 'wins' and a 'win' means the DO destroys the Pattern, at least that's what we've been led to believe. Creating a new world in his own image, and all that. Possibly a new Wheel driven by the TP, or maybe the big guy just wants some quiet time.

I agree that Rand almost destroyed the Pattern at Dragonmount (destroying the world would have destroyed the Pattern), and that is really what I was referring to in earlier posts about what would happen if Rand 'chose poorly'. The result would have been the end of the Pattern, and Min's viewings would have failed because the Pattern would have unraveled.
163. whoami

Okay, I see what you mean now (after I've already posted). We're talking about the DO's lesser objective of 'winning', which may simply result in stalemate and another try at the next turning of the Wheel, and the greater objective of corrupting Rand, which may in fact be what's required to break the Wheel.

Anyway, Min is probably right that if the Pattern unravels then her viewings won't come true, and that's really what she's talking about here. She not distinguishing between the two possible outcomes, and is thinking only of total destruction of the Pattern.
Alice Arneson
164. Wetlandernw
AndrewB @160 - By "the reader POV" I simply mean that we, as readers, have a certain... confidence that Rand will win - that RJ was not writing a pointless tragedy in which the Dark One wins, the Wheel breaks, and everything falls into chaos and oblivion. If nothing else, we have the quotations you mentioned from "fourth age" characters, but we also have a certain amount of insight into the authors and their writing styles. I don't honestly think Brandon would call the ending (already written by RJ) "completely satisfying" if Rand lost. Just sayin'...
Roger Powell
165. forkroot
I think we're in sync. It's not clear to me that any character (other than Moridin and maybe LTT/Rand) understood the true nature of the "game". Certainly Min did not realize that the DO was trying to turn Rand, but her instincts (same as Cadsuane and others) that a "hard" Rand would not be successful at TG were somewhat on that same track.

Now .. with all that said, there's still plenty at stake. After all, the Finns said that Mat would give up half the light of the world to save the world (presumably rescuing Moiraine is key to Team Light.)

"Saving the world" is still pretty momentous, if perhaps a half-step below saving all of creation. So I suppose there's a bit more to do than punting a few bullies out of the Shire.
166. DeJulis

I can see your point, that Robert Jordan specified that each age is roughly the same each time the Wheel gets to it. However, I don't necessarily agree that Fain, by being unique to this specific Third Age, ruins that.
The Third Age is apparently defined as an age with the use of the One Power in which the Dark One's prison is not fully sealed, in which humanity is at roughly midieval-levels of technology (with a smattering of Renessaince-era things thrown in).
I sincerely doubt that Robert Jordan intended it to be defined at very specific levels of detail (there will be a breaking, then a compact of 10 nations, then that breaks, then an Empire forms, then that dissolves... etc). If you take it that each age is only roughly defined each turning, something like Fain becomes less huge of an anomaly; yes, he's unique, but for all we know so is the Taint this time around. Given that the Dark One is outside the Wheel, it's very likely that humanity is constantly dealing with new variations of attacks from him at each Age, while still roughly being defined by the same broad scope.

As far as Min and her viewings are concerned, I believe that it was confirmed by Robert Jordan that her viewings are always right, dependant upon the continued existance of the Wheel/Pattern. In that light, as several commenters above pointed out, the conversation in The Gathering Storm is not evidence of Min's viewings failing in any way; it's simply the characters (well, some of them anyways... whether or not they'll tell anyone about it is another matter) realizing that fact.

Finally, re: time turning linear. Doubtful. This world is defined by the Wheel and its turning. I can't see how breaking the Wheel would be a good thing for anyone in Randland.
John Massey
167. subwoofer
@forkroot- exactly, we don't know for sure if Rand is going to win, but we can be fairly certain that he isn't going to turn- so stalemate.. The wolves say so. Worst case scenario, Rand goes batshit crazy again and creates another mountain. Other than that, Team Dark did an epic fail with converting Rand.

@JL- mmmmm.... I think there is one other thing that you forgot. We do know that LTT/Rand is the strongest ta'veren in this age. We also know that it is extremely rare to have three strong ta'veren born in the same age and it has been stated, time and time again that Mat is at least as strong as Hawkwing and Perrin would be the strongest ta'veren in any other age where the Dragon does not walk. The DO lives outside the Pattern and his endgame is to see the Pattern unravel. So isn't it then a case of the Pattern vs. non-pattern or Pattern vs. DO? Seems to me if we get three strong ta'veren all together in the same room- the tripod- interesting things may develop. That's the big clue bat that has been swinging since book 1 and we see and hear every other chapter.

Just sayin'.

Roger Powell
168. forkroot
Speaking of creating another mountain - I'm surprised he didn't at least create the Randland equivalent of the Grand Canyon™ when he blew the male Choedan Kal to smithereens. That was an awful lot of power to dissipate.
Alice Arneson
169. Wetlandernw
Maybe there's a new chasm in Cairhien... The Nine Rings will do a booming business. :)
John Massey
170. subwoofer
@fork- well yeah, if something the size of the CK passes gas that "fart bubble of evil™" should at least stir the dirt. The CK goes kablooie, you'd think there'd be fertilizer hurled everywhere. IIRC back in the day Rand just looked at the statue funny and all sorts was going to break loose. It kinda seems a waste, Rand could have transported- gatewayed, whatevered the statue by the big fiery toilet, channeled like a nutbar then turned the force in on itself and made big statue "go boom™". End of giant funny looking man, end of big fiery toilet. Modern approach, the Dragons are on wheels right? Rand Gateways all the Dragons right to the fiery tiolet, all the cannons line up, "go boom™" at big fiery toilet, fixes the DO's wagon. Option 3- Rand drops the giant statue in big fiery toilet and all the liquid plumer in the world could not get out that clog- and no plumber would touch that mess- they're all union. heh...

Edit- well, in Randland I suppose it would be a Guild. It goes against the plumber's guild. It's against the bylaws, the three plumbing oaths. Unless it is done by the Black Plumbers Co™. The were unbound by the Oaths sworn on the Oath Plunger Rod... guildless heathens!

Edit edit- Or maybe the Black Plumbers™ unclog the DO then slap him with the bill. Holiday season, triple overtime, no one said anything about there being lava, big booming voice going off all the time... it adds up. The DO balks and refuses to pay, the bill goes into arrears, the BP reclog the toilet, take the DO to court for the next 3000 years or the next turning of the Wheel...

Tess Laird
171. thewindrose
subwoofer - Expensive plumbing bill in your near past? ;)

insectoid - hmmm Bel Tine - I think Forkroot has derailed my sense of WoT holidays - he puts out great Bel Tine classics during the Christmas season - like Fraasti the Myrddraal this year or Twas the Night Before Bel Tine - so in our age Bel Tine has become this holiday season - yep, I am going with that:)


@subwoofer @forkroot
You guys do know that by acknowledging DO's failed turning of Rand that you are confirming the greater part of the DO Grants Access theory.

@macster your point about Min being needed to act as the focus for turning is mentioned within the theory. She is the tool used to make Rand choose to accept access to the True Power.

Also to note there is a way, and I think more than likely, for Moridin to be a part of the Granting. If say in order for the Dark One to grant access to the True Power he needed the Chosen to be near the bore, it would make it likely that Moridin would need to be involved since he already has Access to the TP. The DO still grants the access but thru Rands and Moridins link, Moridin still transfers the access, because the DO otherwise needs a closer proximity to give access.

I think this is a neat and tidy compromise for both sides of the Access theories and actually sounds more reasonable than either really. If accepted I must, with honesty note, that it would further support mine and others theory that Rand has been set up at least since theoretically since the link was established. And would establish presedent for a whole host of theories by a whole bunch of people.
Roger Powell
173. forkroot
Sorry tempest™ (@171), there wasn't any reference to Bel Tine in "Fraasti". BTW - you should credit (or blame) Wetlandernw for sweet-talking me into creating that one.

The "Night before Bel Tine" gained its title because the events in TEoTW occur on that night - but of course it is a takeoff on the well-known Clement Moore Christmastime classic.

For what it's worth, I too have a little trouble keeping the Randland holidays straight. Good thing I don't live in Ebou Dar! (I wouldn't be very comfortable with my wife wearing a marriage knife either.)
Roger Powell
174. forkroot
I'm not sure I agree that it confirms the "DO grants access" theory. I've always felt that either scenario (DO explicitly granted access -or- was just as surprised as everyone else) is plausible. I'm willing to RAFO on that one.

There's one thing that I do believe and that is that once Rand started channeling the TP, the DO could have stopped it (cutting off Moridin if necessary.) So whether the DO planned it or not, he was quite willing to let Rand use the TP. Otherwise, it's hard to think of the DO as being that scary ... if he couldn't even control his own "essence" as it were.
Jonathan Levy
175. JonathanLevy
Seems to me if we get three strong ta'veren all together in the same room- the tripod- interesting things may develop. That's the big clue bat that has been swinging since book 1 and we see and hear every other chapter.
Whatever solution BWS/Jordan use, we'll need the Triple-Ta'veren-Tripod to implement it. And yeah, the cluebat was first introduced by Moiraine at the end of TEOTW when she didn't want to tell Agelmar "One of these farmboys is the DR, and can channel" :) It's been slowly building up with the Ta'veren Television in Technicolor, but hasn't actually been used. Perhaps just getting all three of them in the same room will have some immediate, visible effect...
I just remembered another option I should have put on my list @145:
9) Deus Ex Deus: Direct intervention by the Creator (or at least, the BIG VOICE from TEOTW)
176. DeJulis
I believe it's "dues ex machina" that you meant? The meaning stays the same, but the phrasing is important ;)
Tess Laird
177. thewindrose
forkroot - At least you would know what it means if your wife stabbed the bedpost:)

I wonder if the people in Ebou Dar will still be able to celebrate all of their 'Holidays' with the Seanchen occupation. I bet good looking people scantly clad in feathers for the Festival of Birds get snapped up as shea dancers. (I know everyone is highly concerned about this;))

I think the DO has complete control over his 'essence' - That's why Semi felt so betrayed before she was smoked, err balefired with TP.

tempest ™
Yeah thats the one not everyone agrees on. There are some who insist that the DO doesn't have complete control over his essence, mainly because it would mean some aspects of there theories are incorrect or unsupported. I feel some are unwilling to concede a more logical conclusion for ego sake. But we can, as human beings, all be that way. Yet it is amusing when you pile evidence in front of someone and they refuse to see because it doesn't fit with there idea of the world. It's their prerogative and we don't have to always agree.

As to granting access, I think it will never truly be confirmed as there's no reason for it to be. A lot of the details we talk about and put theory to will never get answered. I'm just stating that there is enough evidence to make it more likely than any other. That Semirhage detail is one I hadn't thought to include. Some details you just take for granted sometimes I guess.
Alice Arneson
179. Wetlandernw
DeJulis @176 - No, I'm pretty sure he meant exactly what he said. There is a difference, both in phrasing and in meaning. The Creator has been a presence since the beginning of the series, so if he stepped in and took a hand, it wouldn't be "deus ex machina" at all. Not that it would annoy those likely to be annoyed by it any less, but the Creator as an individual entity can hardly be interpreted as "ex machina."
181. DeJulis
My understanding of the deus ex machina is that it was a criticism based on the fact that the hero of the story should be able to resolve the conflict without the sudden intervention of the divine. deus ex deus ("god out of god"...?) doesn't seem to make sense to me. Strictly speaking, the creator is hardly a surprise character that could come in and solve the problem; then again, he kind of is, based on what Robert Jordan has said (the creator takes no part) and what was printed (BIG LETTERS VOICE in The Eye of the World).

Based on the above, the creator stepping in and resolving everything would be deus ex machina, as I understand it.
Nadine L.
182. travyl
@forkroot 174. and Zexxes 178.
Forkroot, at first I found your argument about the Dark One having control over the True Power completely logical. But ZEXXES "inspired me to think on it" - so I have to post an argument.
Mind, I don't "insist ... mainly because it would mean some theories are incorrect". But dwelling on the argument, what "pile of evidence" is there, to prove this point?
Ok, the Forsaken seem to think the Power must be granted (a big point in favor of the supposition - but even Forsaken have been wrong before).
I agree the True Power is BAAAD News because it's the Dark One's essence, I agree it will prove disastrous for the person using it (saa and emotionally). But why would the Dark One have complete control over it? He is quite "omni-potent" but I'm less convinced since ZEXXES insisted on it, sorry.
(Just to make a really bad analogy: If I slice you open, then your "essence" will spill out, unless put a bondage on it)
We always see the One Power compared to water (sea or river) - if this is true for the True Power as well, maybe he can't direct every drop of it. So I could imagine, that if Rand would access it via Moridin the Dark One might not instantly realize it?

Having that said, I still like the argument, that the Dark One might have been pleased with the effect the use has to Rand (Dark aura and all), so he might have granted it.

PS: I hope this made some sense, my "argumentative skills" are quite lacking due to my constant use of the dictionary to help me ;)
Nadine L.
183. travyl
And while I'm being argumentative:
subwoofer @ 124. - "they better have a passel of guards and keep themselves distant and safe for the sake of their guys".
I see Min concede after her experience, but Faile? This goes against her character and her Saldean culture & upbringing. There's no way she will keep herself distant from danger, IMO.
184. Wortmauer
DeJulis@181: the creator stepping in and resolving everything would be deus ex machina
Where on earth did you get the "and resolving everything" part? Jonathan Levy never said that, and I doubt he meant to.

In the same spirit of trying to kill a nice lighthearted phrase by picking it apart, except with actual facts, I must point out that ex takes the ablative: "deus ex deo."
Alice Arneson
185. Wetlandernw
“Deus ex machina" is from the Greek stage-play technique of lowering a “god” onto the stage via machinery in order to solve a problem the protagonist couldn’t. In more modern usage, it generally indicates the intervention of some artificial device or character who doesn’t really have a plausible in-story validity, and is used to get the author out of a corner into which he’s painted written himself. In this case, the Creator has been there all along, and we’ve know it all along, despite the characters’ firm belief that he doesn’t intervene in the Pattern directly. Because of that information, his intervention wouldn’t be “deus ex machina" in the normal literary sense; if RJ planned all along that the Creator would step in, he’s been setting it up since the first book. While “deus ex deus” might not be exemplary Latin (I wouldn’t know, I’m only a beginner doing third-grade level), in this case it doesn’t mean at all the same thing as “deus ex machina”, and it was (IMO) a rather clever little play on words. Which we have now thoroughly spoiled by all the analysis.

Edit to add:

Wortmauer – thank you! I knew there had to be something different about the second “deus”, but we don't get beyond nominative and accusative in third grade. Or at least not yet. :)

Also, good point that all JL said was "direct intervention" - which, IMO, will have to happen somewhere along the cycle of the Wheel in order to have a perfect seal again. We've rather had it rubbed in our faces that man can't hope to do as good a job as the Creator, but on the other hand we know it has to be made perfect sometime. Looks to me like the Creator will intervene sometime. However, again IMO, I don't think it will be this time; there are several more Ages to roll around before they get to the point where the DO has been so thoroughly sealed for so long that humanity has completely forgotten his existence.

Argh. I just came up with a seeming inconsistency - someone please help me sort it out. At the beginning of the series, Rand runs through a litany in his head several times:
“The Dark One and all of the Forsaken are bound in Shayol Ghul, beyond the Great Blight, bound by the Creator at the moment of Creation, bound until the end of time. The hand of the Creator shelters the world, and the Light shines on us all.”
If the DO and all the FS were bound at the moment of Creation, how could they ever have been in the world? Is this showing complete ignorance of the Age of Legends, or at least of the presence of the Forsaken in that time? Or does this somehow define "the moment of Creation" and "the end of time" as the beginning and ending of an Age respectively? Does Rand simply not know at this point that the DO was partially freed 3000 years ago, and that the FS were just humans who joined him? Obviously he knows who they are later, but... help me out here. That quotation doesn't make any sense in light of what we know of the Wheel.
Roger Powell
186. forkroot
I'll grant that the Creator has "been there" in the sense of being referenced. I would still find it disappointing to see the Creator take an active hand in events at the end.

Why? Well, all indications are that the Creator was sufficiently omniscient to create the necessary internal corrective mechanisms for the Wheel/Pattern. In particular, in times of stress the Pattern spins out ta'veren to correct things. It is Rand/Mat/Perrin's job to fix things, and they should be up to the task.

It would feel really cheap if Rand et al require "Divine intervention" to save the day.

As for the quotation you mentioned - I'd call it analogous to the corrupted Seanchan prophecies. We see people "in world" get stuff wrong (or partially wrong) all the time. Obviously, the Forsaken were not bound at the moment of Creation, the whole bit about Shayol Ghul being beyond the Blight is a post-breaking phenomenon IIRC, etc.

At the time of TEoTW, it's been 3000 years since the Strike/Breaking, etc. I find it very plausible that the "theological traditions" would have been blurred somewhat.

Heck: Ask most people today and they'll tell you Jesus Christ was born in winter (he probably wasn't) with Three Kings visiting (they probably weren't kings, we don't know how many there were) And we still have another 1000 years to work on blurring that one!
Alice Arneson
187. Wetlandernw
forkroot @186 - That's kinda where I was heading with the whole "DO bound" business. Maybe I'll find more clarification (if I notice!) in my next reread. :)

More later on divine intervention - gotta run off to dinner with the extended family.
Charles Gaston
188. parrothead
forkroot @186 - that is an excellent analogy. Especially the part about the kings, since even in the Christian tradition, they're not supposed to be there at the birth but rather on Epiphany; in the general mindset, though, they arrive on Christmas Eve. So you can end up with the popular version, the officially sanctioned version, and what actually happened.
189. Jeff S.
Forkroot, Wetlandernw and parrothead,

and isn't this mini discussion EXACTLY the theme of the whole book from the beginning? The Wheel turns, myth becomes legend, etc, etc.
Rand is being one of the first examples and setting the stage for people having what they "know" be totally wrong. I don't see it as a discrepency at all.
Chris R
190. up2stuff
Can we just "drop a deus" and get on with the discussion?

(I know its a bad joke, but I had to point it out.)
Alice Arneson
191. Wetlandernw
Back to the previously promised "divine intervention" question...

Yes, I too would be distressed if the Creator stepped in and suddenly fixed everything. I doubt that's what JL had in mind, really, and it's certainly not what I would expect to see if he intervened. Like I said earlier, if/when the Creator steps in and seals the DO outside perfectly again, it logically can't be at the end of this Age.

But along the lines of "what you think you know isn't always actually the truth" it's possible that they are wrong about the Creator never intervening in things. If he were to meddle a bit, I think we'd see that it was set up from the beginning. But for what it's worth, I also think that if he intervened, it would at most be something on the level of tripping Fain so that he turns toward the DO instead of Rand at the last second. (That's not a theory! Just a silly example of the greatest level of interference I'd expect to see - as in, not much, not very direct, not very obvious.)

My only points in talking about it as much as I did earlier was to point out a) the difference between "ex machina" and "ex deo" and b) the possibility* that the Creator already showed up in book 1, so it's not out of the blue.

* This all depends on who CAPS LOCK VOICE at Tarwin's Gap belonged to. If it was the DO, and he was just whingeing about this not being the right place because he wasn't ready, then intervention by the Creator would be completely unforeshadowed - and won't happen. If it was the Creator, and he was simply noting that things weren't all set up yet, then it might happen - but even then, I think his "intervention" would most likely be limited to another CAPS LOCK VOICE statement: "IT IS TIME. YOU ARE THE CHOSEN ONE. YOU MUST DO WHAT MUST BE DONE." or something equally enlightening.

uptostuff @190 - It would be a better joke if they were pronounced the same...
Alice Arneson
192. Wetlandernw
Jeff S. @189 - Yes, in a way it's exactly an example of the way time distorts knowledge. I was just confused because later in the series, the knowledge that the Forsaken were all AOL channelers who turned to the DO during the War of the Shadow seems so very common. I was trying to figure out how Rand could know that they were active in that war, and still believe that they had been bound in Shayol Ghul at the moment of creation. I think I've convinced myself that during these early stages, people in the Two Rivers (at least, and probably most other places too) considered the Forsaken to be myth rather than history; I think we even get some people scoffing about them being "stories to scare children" rather than anything an adult should take seriously. But if so, the whole AOL, War of the Shadow, Breaking etc. would all be mythology to them; somehow I keep thinking that they understand that those things really did happen. The questions on my mind were along these lines: Is it only the Aes Sedai and the ancient-historians who know that it all really happened? Do most people in Randland really believe that the WotS and the Breaking are only stories? Obviously they all know the stories, and know some of the implications of the Dragon Reborn, but does widespread belief in the reality of these things only come later in the series? Or is this a slight continuity error?

OT: forkroot @186 - the wise men (alas, yes, there are three) in my nativity scene start off on the other side of the room on Christmas day, and they don't get to see Jesus until Epiphany - by which time the shepherds are all back on their hillsides. :) If I had my druthers, the family would be in a house by then too, but it doesn't work. My nativity set is a family heirloom, painted by my husband's grandmother, with a stable build by his grandfather... so the baby is stuck in his manger and they just stay in the stable.

What can I say? We like to celebrate Advent, all twelve days of Christmas, and Epiphany too. I like my parties! Incarnational celebration FTW!
Terry McNamee
193. macster
First all, sorry for the long absence. Holidays are too time-consuming, and too much fun. But glad to see everyone's been playing nice and having fun here. :D

@74 dlinderholm: Agreed 100%

@80 Shadow_Jak: "Unless it's Perrin that spanks him." I am suddenly reminded of Isam's parody: I KNEW IT!!

@86 forkroot: Couldn't have said it better myself.

@90 Looking Glass: I don't think Fain will be a weapon per se, but that his presence/actions may provide the right distraction, or he'll say or do something which will help. If he is a weapon, don't forget it may not have to be Rand who uses him--the connection between Fain and the Dark One, and how the two wounds (and the taint and Mashadar) work against each other, means they may just go head to head and destroy each other. Rand may not have to do anything except fight Moridin, and arrange things for the two evils to go matter/antimatter on each other. (As bad_platypus describes the cleansing, essentially.) Of course that's just a simplification, I'm sure it will be more complex and epic than that, but the point is there may be ways for it to work that wouldn't require Rand to do something bad or undermine the theme.

Those are several interesting notions there...that it's the people and their access tainted, not the Power itself (though that isn't what is implied by the way the Cleansing is described, Rand is clearly cleaning the Power itself not just people's access to it--again as bad_platypus pointed out), and especially that for balance's sake it is possible the True Power can be tainted with good. Perhaps that is where the white light in Rand's head comes in?

@93 Wetlander: I didn't even think of the ramifications of that cuendillar quote. Chilling and awesome. As for Shaidar Haran...I allowed for the possibility that he didn't do the things himself, and you make a good case that he did it all through Elza. It is still possible he put the Aes Sedai in the trance and broke her shield from within the room (he may not need to see weaves to do that, and it's not like Semi could see whatever he did), but I think you are right that he taught Elza how to do it, just as he taught her how to get the Band from the box. (Which exonerates Sorilea, since Elza could easily have guessed where Cadsuane hid it, or Shaidar Haran could have sensed it.) But however it was done, he was still the ultimate source of the knowledge, which I think covers all the bases.

@78 Shadow_Jak: Very well said. I wouldn't be surprised if AMoL actually ends something like that.

@97 CireNaes: The theory is still listed on the WOTFAQ that indeed as Wet suggests, Shaidar Haran only has power over the Forsaken, not those who walk in the Light, which explains his weird powers and the fact he hasn't been sent against Rand or any other good guy. It makes sense to me.

@124 Subwoofer: Indeed, Min and Faile are likely weaknesses to exploit. Though it seems Lanfear is one too...

@125 forkroot: Great analogy!

@129 Subwoofer: I've also thought all along that men and women working together will be needed to seal the Bore. I think this will involve Callandor, and it may also connect to Moiraine's knowledge/wishes from the Finn and why she is so important, but whatever it is, it will surely be epic. Also, Ogier vs. the Blight is Made of Awesome.

@133 s'rEDIT: That's a good point. Seems a bit of a waste that that feature of the Band never got used--and, unless one of the copies shows up in AMoL, never will get used.

@137 Subwoofer: No, Cadsuane says that the flaw in Callandor can be overcome with a circle of a man and two women, with the women leading the circle...so in this situation, Rand can use it in a way that won't go sideways. Of course there's still the "deeper flaw" and Min's vision of the onyx hand, but that doesn't mean Callandor can't still play a role. I like the idea that singing will fix the Ways and the Blight, however.

On a related note, it seems to me we still can't tell what caused the darkening of the Ways. The taint is gone, but since the madness it caused stayed behind that doesn't tell us anything. Shadar Logoth is also gone, but Fain, the dagger, and Mashadar still exist, so... In the end I expect whatever the cause was, it can't be undone without channeling untainted saidin anyway, or singing as you suggest. I hope they do get restored, as they seemed to be quite beauiful...not to mention getting rid of Machin Shin would be a real relief, and a restored Ways would allow for people, not just channelers, to travel great distances again.

@138 JonathanLevy: That's a pretty awesome summation of both all the foreshadowing and the way it could go down. And to further support your Tinker theory, if Rand manages to make peace with Tuon (on his own or via Mat), this would facilitate the gating into Ebou Dar to pick them up.

@140 Subwoofer re: the mysterious male channelers bringing in the Shadowspawn: That is a big unanswered question. Popular theories--the red-veiled Aiel (if they are indeed male channelers), Darkfriend Asha'man from the Black Tower, Demandred. Take your pick. As to why we didn't know of them working with Graendal before now...I'm guessing dramatic license.
Terry McNamee
194. macster
@144 That's a very good point, that Mordeth and Mashadar need to be eliminated somehow. I'm leaning more and more to "Mashadar/Dark One annihilate each other". Perhaps not literally, or to that epic an extent, but in some way...

@145 JonathanLevy: Your option 4 has always made me scratch my head. While Nynaeve has been mentioned as bringing back someone "three days dead" and she may well be able to with her Healing (likely in some way connectd to the three women on the boat), why do people think she can rip someone out of TAR? The only person we know for sure knows how to do this is Moghedien, who is surely not going to be sharing the info before the Last Battle. Same goes for the other Forsaken. So unless Moridin spills his guts after changing sides, or Rand foresees a need for it and draws on his LTT memories to tell her how...

@146 Wetlander: Now that's a brilliant theory on the wounds, one I've never seen before. I like it a lot. And as I stated above, I do still agree Fain/the power of Shadar Logoth will be involved. Whether it destroys the Dark One, weakens him, or merely blocks him away while Rand seals the Bore, we shall see. All the foreshadowings mentioned will indeed likely not be related to the sealing, but at least some probably will. It will be fascinating to see how it happens.

@147 Samadai: I like that one too.

@Wortmauer, whoami: Something like this has been/is being debated on Theoryland, but in essence the point of contention seems to be how unique Fain is, with this indeed being justified by the Dark One being outside the Pattern, and thus being able to influence and twist it in ways the Pattern did not plan for. (There is also the question how the Pattern can plan for anything when the Wheel does not seem to be a conscious entity like the Creator.) Basically, if Fain is indeed completely unique and has never been seen before, the only way this can be explained is by the Dark One's influence changing the Pattern more than the turnings of the Wheel would normally have done, and this then interacting with Shadar Logoth when the Wheel attempted to fix the Pattern.

@167 subwoofer: Interesting...so the Dark One, being outside the Pattern, can change it in ways which can't be predicted...but three powerful ta'veren together, even though they are both of and within the Pattern, could also be outside it, to the extent that what they do can undermine the Dark One? I wonder how this might relate to Fain...but it certainly suggests some very exciting things happening once all three are together.

@several on the Creator: let me just chime in and say that I've believed all along the voice in TEotW was him, and either Jordan realized he gave himself away too early and backpedaled, or he was deliberately obfuscating the issue so we'd discount the possibility until AMoL. But I also think if he does step in, it will not only not be magically " resolving things", it will be as Wetlander said: indirect influences, akin to the things the Pattern/ta'veren do.

@185 Wetlander: Considering it tells us right in the glossary of TEotW that the Forsaken were Aes Sedai in the Age of Legends who went over to the Shadow and then were sealed with the Dark One when he was resealed (i.e. not when he was first imprisoned), I think it is safe to say that little catechism is indeed an example of myth and legend twisting over time, so that the people of Randland forgot who and what the Forsaken actually were, ascribing to them the same status and power as the Dark One himself. So it is a contradiction, but one caused by in-universe factors, so not an inconsistency. I think your idea that the Two Rivers people see it all as mythology and legend until Rand learns otherwise (from Moiraine, from encountering the Forsaken himself, and from his Lews Therin memories) makes the most sense.
Terry McNamee
195. macster
Now for something completely different! I have been re-reading The Eye of the World (nostalgia, memory refresher, and prep for AMoL) and ran across something a bit startling I had forgotten. In Chapter 27, "Shelter from the Storm", Perrin is having one of the dreams, and Ba'alzamon has this to say: "Ba'alzamon ignored the weapon, concentrating on the wolf, instead. Flames danced where his eyes should be. 'Is this what you have to protect you? Well, I have faced this before. Many times before'" (p. 409, emphasis added).

Really? We were told the wolfbrother thing was very old, from the Age of Legends or even before the (re)discovery of channeling, so this couldn't have been something Ishamael experienced in his own lifetime. Does this mean, then, that he is referring to past turnings of the Wheel? While we're never told directly I don't think, the idea of three powerful ta'veren all in the same Age, let alone two being companions to the Dragon, is implied to be something that has never happened before. Does this mean that, Moiraine's beliefs aside, the Dragon has had these companions in previous Third Ages? Or could it mean there have been other Lightsiders (perhaps Heroes of the Horn--Birgitte did recognize what Perrin was) who were wolfbrothers, but not necessarily companions of that Age's Dragon? And somehow Ishamael (or a previous incarnation) faced them?

What I find really interesting about this is it could explain why Ba'alzamon never seemed certain at first which of the three boys was the Dragon. Because either some other Age's Dragon was a wolfbrother, or there had been powerful wolfbrother heroes of the Light, so the fact Perrin was one wasn't enough reason to discount the possibility he could be the Dragon Reborn. I am curious what will happen when and if Birgitte meets Perrin again, whether she will volunteer or he will ask for info on past wolfbrothers, how she knew what they were, whether any Heroes were wolfbrothers. If this isn't in AMoL, perhaps it will be in the encyclopedia...
196. DeJulis
I really hate to be argumentative, especially since it seems a few of you seem to be offended in a sense that I am quibbling, but I'm going to pull a bunch of RJ quotes in here.

First, here we have multiple quotes from RJ stating that the creator does not interfere.
Budapest Q&A - April 2003
Q: But the Creator does not interfere!
RJ: The Creator does not interfere, but there is clear evidence of the theological doctrine.
Crossroads of Twilight book tour 18 January 2003, Harvard Coop - Tallis reporting
Rand has no direct connection with the Creator. The Creator is completely removed from the world; aside from ... creating ... the Pattern, he does nothing else whatsoever to influence anything.
Melbourne book signing 28 August 1999 - Raf Kaplan reporting
Someone asked him about the Creator...he gave the distinct impression that he wouldn't even contemplate havng the Creator step in, nor is there any real Creator worship, because there is no need, the effects of the Creator are all around the citizens of Randland. I believe he's said that much previously. He quoted Terry Pratchett (from Mort, I think) regarding the way belief works.
Fallon Blood book signing 12 October 1996, Joseph-Beth Booksellers, Cincinnati, OH - Michael Martin reporting
Re: the Creator's "Inability" To Act On His Creation...Having encountered a similar "theology" in Donaldson's Covenant series, I have been quite curious why the Creator can't act on His own world. It didn't seem to make sense, except as a plot device. RJ answered this question. His thesis was this: A perfect Creator should create a perfect creation. To act, miraculously or no, on this world, would be tantamount to acknowleding imperfection in Himself. So, when humanity screwed things up, they've been left on their own to "patch" things up.
East of the Sun Con, Stockholm, Sweden 17 June 1995 - Helena Löfgren interview
On the question of the "alignment" of the characters, he said that there are no completely good character in the books, as he thought such a character would be completely boring, and would probably be killed rather quickly, like other fully good persons in the world. He took Jesus as example of this. Instead, every person struggles with the good and bad sides of his/her personality. Another point he pressed was that "no one's going to rescue you", there are not going to happen any miracles. The Creator shaped the world and set the rules, but does not interfere. Humankind messed things up, and has to fix it too, as well as finding the truth themselves.
Here we have several quotes regarding the voice at the end of The Eye of the World :
Letter to Paul Ward from RJ - March 2000
Q: (paraphrased) Is the DO pure TP? Why does the Creator ignore Randland except to talk to Rand at the end of TEotW?
RJ: No, the Dark One is not pure True Power. Who says the Creator takes little interest in the activities of mankind? And I will neither confirm nor deny that the Creator spoke to Rand.
Barnes and Noble chat 19 October 1998
Phoenix from Chico, CA: Mr. Jordan: First Congratulations on your new book. I'm absolutely dying to read it and I'm sure it will be as awesome as the rest. My question regards The Eye of the World: Near the end of the book Rand hears a voice that vibrates his skull with its intensity. Was that the Creator taking to him? I believe the voice even said "I WILL TAKE NO PART . . . ."
RJ: Read and find out. Ain't I a stinker?
And here we have a slightly ambiguos quote:
Barnes and Noble chat 11 November 2000 Doug Carlson from Urbana, IL:: What would happen if the Dark One was victorious? And why can the Dark One act on the world but it seems the Creator cannot?
RJ: Read and find out. It's a good question, and an important theme—but read and find out.
So here we have a creator who, from the author's mouth, takes no part in the world. In that sense, if the creator were to step in and do anything, it seems to me that it would be "...some artificial device or character who doesn’t really have a plausible in-story validity..." in the sense that a.) we aren't sure we've actually seen the creator in-story (and I tend to lean towards the voice not being the creator, for what it's worth), and b.) the author has said straight out that the creator won't be seen to interfere with anything in-story.
Even something as minor as finally informing Rand that now it's actually time to "DO WHAT MUST BE DONE" would fit the definition of "interference" by that standard, in my opinion.

As far as all JonathanLevy saying was that there would be "direct intervention" and not actually resolving anything... I can't think of anything that the creator would do that wouldn't satisfy the definition of "resolution," especially in the sense that he would be intervening. If the creator steps in and does anything, even just to make Fain focus on the Dark One instead of Rand or something, that implies that without that intervention the Dark One would win, and thus the creator would have resolved the situation.
Jonathan Levy
197. JonathanLevy
176. DeJulis
I was trying to be clever with my titles, as in @145 (e.g. Hand of Campbell, referring to a certain Bruce Campbell movie where his hand turns against him and he winds up cutting it off).

179. Wetlandernw
As usual, Wetlander explains what someone was thinking better than he could have :)

184. Wortmauer
In the same spirit of trying to kill a nice lighthearted phrase by picking it apart, except with actual facts, I must point out that ex takes the ablative: "deus ex deo."
HaHa! Sadly, I can only reply with:
- "People called Romanes, they go the house"?
- It says: "Romans go home!".
- No it doesn't.

I'm sure you know the rest :)

185. Wetlandernw
Be careful. That's the line of reasoning that drove Herid Fel a little too close to madness, and definitely too close to the gholam. At one point he speculated that the Creator created the DO's prison with a bore and a patch over it.

191. Wetlandernw
See my reply to comment 179 :)
This all depends on who CAPS LOCK VOICE at Tarwin's Gap belonged to.
That's the big question. The voice says "I will take no part", which really doesn't fit with the DO at all. It could be the Creator, which is what adds the "Deus ex deo" option to the list. But there's another possibility. TEOTW contains many artifacts which do not appear in later books. It's as if the magic system and the universe weren't fully fleshed out yet. Plus there are many constraints imposed by being the first book (tons of exposition), and by having to have a satisfying end to the first book.

It's possible that this big voice is such an artifact. Something which Jordan couldn't really work into the series later on, and slowly discarded. It's a bit of a stretch, but it's possible, and any other solution would also be a bit of a stretch.

194. macster
While Nynaeve has been mentioned as bringing back someone "three days dead" and she may well be able to with her Healing (likely in some way connectd to the three women on the boat), why do people think she can rip someone out of TAR?
This is not a theory which I believe in, but it is strongly advocated by some people. I'm not sure my description will do it justice, but the main points are:
1) Nynaeve has often been described as someone who learns weaves after seeing them once (2-3 times in the early books, I think)
2) Nynaeve saw Moggy rip Birgitte out of TAR.
3) Rand has to die. Once he dies, he goes into TAR. Nynaeve can go into TAR and rip him out again, and that's how he dies and lives again.
4) Why bother with the whole story with Birgitte? If it's not to foreshadow Rand's resurrection, then its tasks could have been accomplished much more easily.

Please don't pile on objections - I probably agree with most of what you'll say. However, I have a duty to describe even a theory that I don't agree with fairly, that it might stand or fall on its own merits. I hope I have succeeded.

196. DeJulis
I should perhaps point out that "Deus ex deo" is #9 on a list of plot elements which might appear in the final book and might not. In all likelihood at most 2 or 3 will appear.
198. DeJulis
I understand :) I've mostly been trying to clarify my own attempt at (what I felt was) a clever-er "correction," since a few people seem to have a rather whole-hearted agreement with your assessment.
Alice Arneson
199. Wetlandernw
DeJulis @198 - Just to be clear, here: I don't think anyone is seriously expecting to see direct action from the Creator in AMoL, "resolving everything" or otherwise. (Did you notice all those "ifs" in there?) It's just one of those questions that's been hanging around being ambiguous since book 1, and belongs in JL's list for that reason, and for that reason I maintain that "machina" is less appropriate than JL's tongue-in-cheek "deo".

Speaking for myself only, I'm not at all convinced that the VOICE in TEotW is the Creator. I about half suspect that it's the DO, insisting that they're too far away from Shayol Ghul for him to act (though he makes it sound like his choice), and "the chosen one" (current nae'blis) has to take whatever action will go down here. But there's enough (intentional) ambiguity in the scene that we really don't know what was happening; if it was the Creator, then I wouldn't be surprised to see him pop back in at the end and say "GOOD JOB, DUDE." However, it's entirely possible that we will never know who it was, or only find out when the Encyclopedia comes out.
Sam Mickel
200. Samadai
Yeah, I don't see the creator doing anything more than what he did in EotW, but maybe at just the right moment to cause a needed distraction.
I mean who wouldn't be distracted by a big booming voice, during the last battle.

whoohoo, I got 200
201. DeJulis
"DeJulis @198 - Just to be clear, here: I don't think anyone is seriously expecting to see direct action from the Creator in AMoL, "resolving everything" or otherwise. "
I wasn't ever insisting that this was the case.
"It's just one of those questions that's been hanging around being ambiguous since book 1, and belongs in JL's list for that reason, and for that reason I maintain that "machina" is less appropriate than JL's tongue-in-cheek "deo"."
Ignoring everything I've seen from Robert Jordan (which I posted above), yes, I agree with you.

However, my argument from the beginning has been that machina is more appropriate. Ignoring the voice from The Eye of the World, the creator is not ever present in the series. Even with the voice, it's not certain that the creator has ever been written in. By that light, the creator stepping in would likely be "...some artificial device or character who doesn’t really have a plausible in-story validity..."

When the original phrase was used, the gods were perceived to be always present, always watching - even if they weren't implemented as characters in whatever play being written until the very end, to come in and intervene. That being the case, "deus ex machina" has never been a correct interpretation, since it would always have been "deus ex deo." Even with the meaning being altered slightly over time, it still implies the same basic premise: the characters were unable to resolve the conflict on their own, and only with some previously un-introduced character/thing coming in at the last second were they able to overcome their adversary.

I think we're going to have to agree to disagree. I don't want to derail this any more, and it seems you're not likely to change your opinion despite your stated disbelief that the voice was the creator.
OK this Deus ex... Is killing me. You guys are basically arguing that over one thing. Will the Creator get involved. Answers in the next book, guys. Was the voice in book 1 the Creator. Probably not. Why? Because RJ who for all intents and purposes is the Creator, said numerous times that the Creator doesn't get involved. Ever. Now the argument should be... Does that include talking to us. I think it does. But that is completely nefarious and unanswerable. Why? Cus he's chillin upstairsand is completely closed mouth about it.
Alice Arneson
203. Wetlandernw
Let me put it in terms of two alternatives:

If THE VOICE was not the Creator, then his overt presence in the last book would be "ex machina" - but won't happen, because RJ (and Team Jordan) has always been better than that, and the resolution has been planned from the beginning.

If THE VOICE was the Creator, then his overt presence in the last book would not be "ex machina" - and would be likely to happen at about the same level of "intervention" as the first time, and as a planned bookend effect.

Since RJ very carefully and deliberately did not give any clues as to the owner of THE VOICE, I remain open to the possibility that it was the Creator rather than the DO; I can't honestly think of another entity that it could be. Can you? The level of "intervention" in book 1 was pretty minimal; the effect was mostly to get Rand to stop pounding his fists on the ground and get on with finding/fighting Ishamael. The way in which it was done, and the following scene, leaves it open to interpretation; the only thing we know for sure is that it wasn't Rand's thought.
Nadine L.
204. travyl
Wetlander @185. Thanks for pointing out Rand's quote.
While I think it's completely plausible that legends would get distorted over time as forkroot and macster pointed out, I think here it is not the case. I would offer a different solution:
I interpret is as "euphemism" in a sentence which is more wish than actual reality:
the well known prophecies warn that the Dark One will get (partially) free, that's why the dragon has to be reborn. So the part about "bound until the end of time" is not true, but a deeply expressed plea that it shall be that way.
If you have such a supplication it sounds a lot better if you abridge it, even if you know it's false. The way Rand says it, sounds a lot better than "the Dark One is bound since creation and the Forsaken since the Breaking..."
@travyl- the way Rand says it doesn't just sound better, it maker more sense.
207. Hawkido
Okay you have Rand who has been a dick the last few books, in his head you have 2 nuts (Rand and LTT), there is the taint, and a hole to fill...
That is front to back male pelvic region, in order... who said there is no male homosexuality in WoT?
208. Wortmauer
Wetlandernw@203: I can't honestly think of another entity that it could be. Can you?
A great question. Who is the VOX MAIUSCULUS, or CAPS LOCK VOICE? Some think it's Quidam Ater, the Dark One, but it probably isn't. There's reason to suspect it isn't Deus (Deus ex Deo or simply Deus Iordani), though that theory is popular too. Most other characters do not have access to capital letters in that kind of quantity. So who does?

Demandred, of course! We know he tends to "take no part" openly in this struggle; he's been behind the scenes for 13 books. But he does not have the same authorial constraint on direct action that the Creator does. He has been well foreshadowed to come out into the open in AMoL. Most importantly, we know from Isam that he has access to the BIG VOICE.

Some might quibble that RJ stated clearly that we had not seen Demandred's alter ego on-screen yet. But of course, that's literally true here: nobody saw the VOX MAIUSCULUS, only heard or perhaps otherwise perceived it.

(By the way, my Latin is very rudimentary; I'm mostly faking it. I use a desk dictionary for vocab, and wiktionary.org for declensions.)
John Massey
209. subwoofer
@macster- hmmm. Well first off, let me address the taint of the Ways. It does not matter if Saidin is cleansed, the weaves used to make the Ways were tainted to begin with. It is like the crazy Asha'man now, Rand cleansed Saidin so they will not get any more crazier, but that does not heal them of the crazy they are already infected with... that's Nynaeve's job.

Second- huh? Yes, some of the flaws can be overcome by Rand channeling in a circle with two women but that has a few inherent flaws. One flaw being that women will have to be right there staring at the DO's ugly head... perhaps Rand's not wanting to see women hurt may override his initial idea. The other thing being who will lead the circle? Ny let Rand lead with the cleansing, but whom else will be so giving?

And er... just to be clear I never suggested that Rand and the boys stand outside the Pattern. Can't happen. The nature of ta'veren is to draw the Pattern tightly around it. I'm merely suggesting that the DO is outside the Pattern and might try to bud in line and the three ta'veren say "nothing doing".

As for this OCD battle over semantics, I am not a big fan of the Creator taking a direct hand in events. What's the point of having the champion of light, the Dragon Reborn, if the Creator takes direct involvement for the course of things.

Alice Arneson
210. Wetlandernw
Wortmauer @208 - LOL!! That's one of the things I love about this group - somebody always has the key to turning everything around the corner into the humor zone. :)

subwoofer @209 - Hey! Who are you calling OCD? I'm not OCD. I'm only obsessive some of the time, and I'm only compulsive the rest of the time. Don't be looking at me with your "OCD".

211. AndrewB
Here is an idea as to who the Caps Voice at the end of TEotW. I do not know if I agree with it. It came to me as I was reading the above comments. I have not given it much thought. But if it is not the Creator, then the following is as likely as any. That said, I probably am missing something obvious that will render my idea worthless.

Here goes -- the voice could be the subconsious part of Rand's mind that is LTT. One theory believes that LTT and Rand have always been one. In other words, LTT is only a part of Rand's subconscious -- Rand is LTT reborn. Like the Heroes of the Horn, the Dragon has been spun out of the Pattern when needed. In the AoL, he was LTT; in the present Age, he is Rand. As Brigitte explains, most Heroes when reborn do not know anything of their past lives. However, for some reason, Rand does know about his past lives; or at least, his most recent life -- LTT. Thus, Rand is LTT and LTT is Rand.

Now to circle back to my idea. What if the Cap Voice at the end of TEotW was the LTT's portion of Rand's subconscious. Rand does not start hearing LTT's voice until he is captured in LoC (IIRC). But if Rand is LTT, he is LTT for his entire life, even if the "LTT voice" does not manifest itself in Rand's mind until a certain point in time. The situation at the end of TEotW could be so important (for lack of a better word) that Rand's LTT portion of his subconscious is required to assert itself. It does so in such a "forceful" manner that it "explodes" in the other part of Rand's mind -- thus the use of all caps.

This rational is similar to a point that Egwene ponders in TGS. (I believe it was in the scene when she was cracking nuts for the 3 White Sisters.) She concludes that it was not that Rand did not have a temper when he was growing up in TR. Rather, nothing bothered him to the extent that he unleashed his temper. If Rand's temper could be kept in check for about the 1st 18 years of his life, then so could Rand's "LTT persona."

I apologize that the above is not well thought out. I admit that it is very rough. I am grasping at straws. That said, I felt I had to throw it out. If I tried to organize my idea in a more cogent thought process, I would likely have never posted it. I would have found reasons to counter my own idea. If it inspires somebody to expound upon this idea, then great. He or she may be able to better express this idea than I did above. If others think it is the dumbest WoT idea he or she has ever heard, so be it. I am not attached very much to this idea. Thus, I will not be disappointed if it is shot down in 5 minutes or less.

Have a happy and healthy new year. Thanks for reading my musings.
Juan Avila
212. Cumadrin
The BIG VOICE was Bela.

All Hail the Hypnoto- erm... Bela.

(I also thought about suggesting it was Lews Therin today while catching up on 70 or so comments, but thought better of it. Bela is far more likely anyway IMHO)

Oh, while I'm here... to whoever's been talking about theories of Rand dying then getting ripped out of Tel'aran'rhiod by Nynaeve, don't forget there's also two other people who could feasably take someone out: Egwene and Rand. Both know how to open Gateways to enter Tel'aran'rhiod 'in the flesh,' and could thus conceivably let a Horn-bound Hero free. Assuming Rand can still channel after his hypothetical Last Battle death, he may be able to just walk back to life.

That brings up a third question to ponder, though. Would Rand's soul go to Tel'aran'rhiod after he dies? If so, souls probably can't channel, otherwise what stops heroes from channeling themselves back to life with all their memories? Or, if they can't channel, finding someone who does and convincing them to channel a Gateway to the waking world for them?

In my opinion, the Dragon's soul probably doesn't go to Tel'aran'rhiod when his flesh dies anyway. It's a little too important even for Tel'aran'rhiod. I just checked the Great Hunt scene and the Shadow Rising scene (the Need explanation scene again, my favorite!), and nowhere there nor anywhere else in the series is it stated that the Dragon's soul specifically is bound to the Horn.

Finally, I'd like to put forth a couple of my own questions regarding Tel'aran'rhiod and the Horn. Why can't the wolves see the heroes in the World of Dreams, and where do the Heroes' horses come from when they manifest in the waking world after the Horn sounds?

I haven't yet figured out the wolves, but my theory for the horses in the real world is holograms.

Yup. Holograms. The Horn of Valere is a WoT version of a mobile emitter from Star Trek.
Jonathan Levy
214. JonathanLevy
211. AndrewB
The problem with the LTT idea is that it is very very very premature. LTT's first memories affect Rand at the beginning of TSR, and it gradually becomes more and more blatant, until they're having conversations at the end of LoC. The assumption is that the gradual effects of the taint and/or its madness are making Lews Therin leak through. Under this line of reasoning, a conversation in tEotW is much too early.

Also, Lews Therin does not speak in CAPS.

Mind you, there seem to have been some retcons in the spread of Rand's madness (in particular, in TDR he seems like he's about to lose it more than once), so we could say that this is LTT with a serious retcon.

It's not a very appealing solution, however.

212. Cumadrin

I'm pretty sure resurrecting a dead Hero from TAR is more complicated than just opening a gateway from TAR to the real world and letting them march through. Moghedien's weave on Birgitte was far more dramatic, left her almost dead, and might have torn her connection to the Wheel of Time and/or Gaidal Cain (I consider Min's viewings of her to be somewhat ambiguous).
Juan Avila
215. Cumadrin
@93 Wetlandernw

I haven't been sure if I wanted to respond to this, but I figure it best I be more specific. What I should have said was 'Rand shouldn't have had such a hypocritical moral dilemma in the first place.' I think he would've been portrayed just fine if his secret promise that he couldn't keep (and that wasn't shoved in our faces every chapter for six books) was to protect innocents, or those closest to him that he cannot live without. After all, it was those two issues that ultimately drove him to the brink at the end of this book, not his unwillingness to kill women. It was nearly killing Min here and nearly killing everyone innocent in Ebou Dar that finally got him to the top of his mountain and forced him to come to terms with what he must be to defeat the Dark One. I think the whole thing regarding women was nothing more than a very well-done device to get us to hate Rand for forcing Moiraine to sacrifice herself to take out Lanfear. It did that superbly. I'll never forgive him for it.

To answer your questions, I would've used the actual dilemmas that ended up shattering him when he almost broke them, not this tertiary one that only helped distract him from his real problems when he did break it time and again.


I was arguing for an alternate method to Moghedien's that no one seems to consider. We are never told her method is the only one and using a direct Gateway seems a perfectly reasonable possibility to me, especially if your target isn't being forced from Tel'aran'rhiod as Birgitte was.

Also, as I mentioned, there's no evidence the Dragon even goes to Tel'aran'rhiod at all when his body dies. It's just an assumption everyone has leapt to. When the Hunt for the Horn or the Horn itself is ever discussed or portrayed in the text, many heroes get mentioned in association, but never the Dragon. Plus look at the following:
Justice shone like a mirror in Artur Hawkwing’s gauntleted fist. “I have fought by your side times beyond number, Lews Therin, and faced you as many more. The Wheel spins us out for its purposes, not ours, to serve the Pattern. I know you, if you do not know yourself. We will drive these invaders out for you.” His warhorse pranced, and he looked around, frowning. “Something is wrong here. Something holds me.” Suddenly he turned his sharp-eyed gaze on Rand. “You are here. Have you the banner?” A murmur ran through those behind him.

“Yes.” Rand tore open the straps of his saddlebags and pulled out the Dragon’s banner. It filled his hands and hung almost to his stallion’s knees. The murmur among the heroes rose.

“The Pattern weaves itself around our necks like halters,” Artur Hawkwing said. “You are here. The banner is here. The weave of this moment is set. We have come to the Horn, but we must follow the banner. And the Dragon.” Hurin made a faint sound as if his throat had seized.
Emphasis mine. That specific line could be interpretted both ways: that the Dragon is the greatest Hero of the Horn and thus their natural leader if he's available, or that the Dragon's prominence as a soul bound to the Wheel is greater and separate from those bound to the Horn. Also note that Hawkwing mentions going to battle both with and against Lews Therin, but never in the context that both are summoned by the Horn. Food for thought.

I want to make clear that I don't think this type of theory has any chance at all of coming true, but I appreciate looking at it from every possible angle. It's another curiousity subject to me like discussing Need was.

Lastly, as I thought in bed last night, I may have figured out why the wolves can't see Heroes in Tel'aran'rhiod. Because of the natural differences in human and canine eyes, wolves would need special glasses in order to see them. 3d glasses, if you will. Furthermore, they cannot hear Heroes because they speak via sub-space transmissions, which humans can hear naturally since we invented that fictitious communication method. It would be most efficient if a receiver were integrated into mentioned hypothetical glasses. And obviously wolves can't smell them because they're holograms. They could probably touch them, though, as Moghedien would attest that Tel'aran'rhiod holograms definitely have their safety protocols off.
John Massey
216. subwoofer
@Wet- wha? Who said I was addressing you? No, no, I was talking to the other people that were going on for 9 posts about the finer points of Latin translation... Yeah, that's it, that's what I meant;)

@Cumadrin ".-----.--"

John Massey
217. subwoofer
Speaking of this fascinating chapter there are quite a few interesting thoughts that Rand ponders before strangling the life out of Min.
Eerily, Rand felt as if he could almost remember those events- not what had happened, but the anger, the desperation, the decision. Was the mistake, then, not using the female half of the power as well as the male? Was that what had allowed the Dark One to counterstrike and taint saidin, driving Lews Therin and the remaining men of the Hundred Companions insane?
Could it be that simple? How many Aes Sedai would he need? Would he need any? Plenty of Wise Ones could channel. Surely there was more to it than that.
There was a game children played, Snakes and Foxes. It was said that the only way to win was to break the rules. What of his other plan, then? Could he break the rules by slaying the Dark One? Was that something that even he, the Dragon Reborn, dared contemplate?
and earlier...

Will you set the groundwork for another Breaking or for another Age of Legends?

Alice Arneson
218. Wetlandernw
Cumadrin @215 - Lucky for us we have cool things like Moral Event Horizons, the residence of the Dragon soul between incarnations, and the qualities of the Heroes to discuss at times like this. January 10 is a long way off, and I have to say I'm rather dreading the discussion next time. (I may have to bite my tongue, tie my hands behind my back and just not say anything at all.)

Long discussion of the MEH coming up, but it will take a bit of putting together...

subwoofer - you crack me up. I hope your adorable daughter inherits your sense of humor - she'll be completely irresistable! Make sure she grows up knowing what she believes and why she believes it, and she'll be unstoppable. :)
219. Jalla516
Delurk as I've actually got something to comment on that nobody already has:


It's probably the dark prophesies where Ishmael got his knowledge of Mat and Perrin.

In the second paragraph on the last page of ToM we get a glimpse one such prophecy:

"In the day, when the One-Eyed Fool travels the halls of mourning, and the First Among Vermin lifts his hand to bring freedom to Him who will destroy, the last day of the Fallen Blacksmith's pride shall come. Yea, and the Broken Wolf, the one whom Death has known, shall fall and be consumed by the Midnight Towers. And his destruction shall bring fear and sorrow to the hearts of men, and shall shake their very will itself."

The Shadow may have other prophecies that explains the Ta'veren trinity more, or Ishmael could have enough exposure to wolf brothers in the age of legends to understand that one of them would be a wolf brother.

In a New spring the Black Ajah is killing men who are said to be lucky, blacksmiths, and men who can channel.
So they knew there would be three of them, but not when it would occur.

That was the advantage Moraine and Suian had when they started looking for the Dragon.

As for the 'Is this what you have to protect you? Well, I have faced this before. Many times before'. It could be that Ishmael has enough knowledge of Wolf brothers to know that it's hardly a threat/defence. Or it could be, as I think it is, just theatrics. He is after all trying to appear to be the DO, and trying overwhelm three young boys in to giving up the fight before it has really started.

We have no information, I believe, that Lewis Therin had other versions of Perrin and Mat for companions in the last age. So it's likely to be the Dark phropecies.

Ba'alzamon probably knew who was who at this point, but just needed to be certain.
Jay Dauro
220. J.Dauro

I believe you will find that in New Spring the BA killed a single blacksmith who was too lucky. They also killed other men who showed luck. This was not because they were looking for the trinity, but because often the first sign of a channeler is luck. See Siuan's comments in the Epilogue.
Thomas Keith
221. insectoid
Happy New Year, WoT lovers! ::raises glass:: Here's to the promise of A Memory of Light sometime this year.

Been busy trying to beat this here Windows 7 into submission, finish installing stuff on another new machine, and help build shelves in the kitchen, among other things.

Sub @170: You, sir, are hilarious. I second Wetlander's comment @218.

Cumadrin @212: ::tries to do droning sound effect, fails:: Never mind... here. 8|

Thomas Keith
222. insectoid
Gah!! That link was supposed to point here, but I conveniently forgot that copying and pasting bbCode urls doesn't work here anymore. And it won't let me edit the comment, either... it loads the text into the preview box and then does nothing when I try to change it.

So, uh... 'tis the season to find new bugs?
edit: or perhaps "Happy New Bug". :P

223. Jalla516
The blacksmith you mention is acctually never mentined as lucky, only "rose to prominense with unexpected suddeness".

I just want to make that point.

I've searched on the net for more information, and it looks like I was wrong regarding the Black Ajah searching for Mat
and Perrin. It's not a 100% confirmed as searching for lucky men and the blacksmith rising suddenly in prominence can be interpeded to mean Mat and Perrin.

I don't think it's likley however.

As the Black ajah manipulation of the Reds to go out and gentle men on the spot, and leave them to the mercies of the village they where found where an unsanctioned initative by the BA.

Ishmael punished them quite hard for that.

My point that Ishmael probably knew of the trinity because of the dark prhopecie still stands however, and that was my main point to answer macsters questions.
224. Wortmauer
Happy new year! In honor of the occasion, and one of our recent topics:
Should all the darkfriends be forgot,
The filthy and insane?
Should Shadar Logoth be forgot,
In the guise of Padan Fain?

The Dark One's hound, is Fain, my dear,
The Dragon's second pain —
With Mashadar he's known to spar,
He's Pa — dan Fain!
226. Wortmauer
Faced with Dickinsonian meter, I sometimes find I can't stop.
Should all the evil be forgot,
Who fled to Almoth Plain?
Should all the Fades and Trollocs caught
In the quest of Padan Fain?

He tortured Myrddraal, my dear,
En route to chez Barthanes,
And past the din of Machin Shin
Went Pa — dan Fain!

Should all the ruins be forgot
Of Mordeth's fell domain?
Of Aridhol Rand left a hole
Far away from Padan Fain.

He's messy when he kills, my dear,
Unpleasant last remains,
So raise a toast to th' dagger's host
It's Pa — dan Fain!
Roger Powell
227. forkroot
Wortmauer@226 (and prior)
Thank you! Now I'm not the only person to ruin a holiday classic for everyone. Well done sir!
Kimani Rogers
228. KiManiak
I'm definitley a fan of the Holiday Season, but all of this year's related distractions kept me away from this reread for far too long.

(Then there was the need to catch up to the 200+ comments from you guys; that took quite a bit of time) :-)

A lot of good comments this post (Thanks, Leigh! btw) as well as our penchant to dissect, analyze and over-analyze passages, comments, phrases and even (latin!) words. Yeah, I definitely missed this.

And since there really isn't anything relatively new or original I feel I can add at this time, I'll just wish you all Happy Holidays, and a Happy New Year!

Oh, and Wortmauer@224 & 226 - Very Nice! You put a smile on my face.
Amir Noam
229. Amir
Jonathan Levy @145:

Nice. I especially like The Kumbaya.

Here are a few others (since I see you've already covered the Deus Ex Machina :-)):

10) The Fionavar: The Dark One escapes, only to find that he is now a part of the Pattern and can't destroy it without dying himself.

11) The Wizard of Oz: Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain Bore.

12) The Trojan Horse: Bela saves the day.

13) The Sith: Moridin sees Rand's missing hand, realizes the error of his ways, picks up the Dark One and throws him down a well.
John Massey
230. subwoofer
@Wet- do what you want, just keep the Irish cream fudge coming:) And my daughter has a sense of humor all her own... so far it involves daddy doing the same thing 100 times... and she has no fear of what scares me, but she likes watching football, so it's all good:D

@Amir- I like the Sith idea, dunno if Moridin is gonna admit to being Rand's father, but it has potential.

Happy New Year all! All the best to Leigh as well, hoping our fearful leader boldy goes where no woman person has gone before...

I went back to read a prologue from The Great Hunt because I remembered something that I just couldn't recall. I found it interesting that this particular happening was essentially ignored in the Re-Read. But there is passage spoken by Ba'alzamon about some plans he had. Seeing as how Ba'alzamon later becomes Moridin, I found the passage interesting. Especially if those plans involving Rand turn out to be ones discussed by all of us here. Given the subject matter I highly recommend reading that prologue. It doesn't necessarily confirm a definitive plan, but it does discuss the possible turning of Rand.

Give it a read and lemme know what you think.

Jonathan Levy
232. JonathanLevy
I was arguing for an alternate method to Moghedien's that no one seems to consider. We are never told her method is the only one and using a direct Gateway seems a perfecty reasonable possibility to me
If you create an object in TAR, and open a direct gateway from TAR to the real world, you can't take the item out through the gateway. It fades and disappears. I would expect the same thing to happen for a rat, a horse, or a hero.
Also, as I mentioned, there's no evidence the Dragon even goes to Tel'aran'rhiod at all when his body dies. It's just an assumption everyone has leapt to.
I'm not sure this quite qualifies as a logical 'leap':
1) The Heroes bound to the Wheel live in TAR.
2) The Dragon is one of the Heroes bound to the Wheel.
3) Therefore, the Dragon lives in TAR.

Looks more like a syllogism to me.

As for the Heroes having to follow the Dragon when summoned by the Horn, I don't think you can infer from this that the Dragon is not part of the set of Heroes. There's a much simpler explanation: The Horn is naturally blown before the Last Battle, and the Dragon has naturally already been reborn before the Last Battle. It's therefore no surprise that when the Heroes are summoned by the Horn, the Dragon is waiting to lead them.

Also, it's interesting to note that Hawkwing's line about following the Dragon is in apparent contradiction to something one of the Aes Sedai (Siuan, I think?) said, that the Heroes will follow whoever blows the horn, be it for good or for evil.
Oh I almost forgot. Ba'alzamon/Moridin and Rand have had their dreams connection link thingy since the Eye of the World. So we can remove that side effect from Cross the Streams theory.

Amir Noam
234. Amir
Jonathan Levy @232:
If you create an object in TAR, and open a direct gateway from TAR to the real world, you can't take the item out through the gateway. It fades and disappears. I would expect the same thing to happen for a rat, a horse, or a hero.
The Holodeck tried to use this rule. Didn't always stick :-)
Thomas Keith
235. insectoid
Lurking about because installing software gets boring after a while.

Amir @229: The Sith idea is good... except for one problem: the DO doesn't have any physical body that we know of. There is Shaidar Saran Haran, of course; that would be pretty cool if Moridin tossed him into the Big Fiery Toilet.

ZEXXES @233: Are you sure about that? If you recall, in TGS ch. 15 (post), Rand met with Moridin in what Rand initially assumed was his dream:
Moridin tapped his fingers on the chair. "Why have you come here?"

Come here? Rand thought, with shock. Hadn't Moridin brought him?
And later:
"We are connected," Moridin finally said. "That is how you came here, I suspect, though I do not understand our bond myself."
The implication here is that Rand somehow wound up in T'A'R (I assume that's where they are) with Moridin specifically because of their crossing-the-streams bond from Shadar Logoth.

But thats the same as its always been with TAR. The point you're missing is that those objects or even constructs were created in TAR. i.e. they gain existance in TAR: a world that does not truly exist, except within dreams and not from without in the Real World. (sounds kinda funny calling make believe "Real"). So they have no foundation to exist outside of TAR, because they didn't begin there existance in the Real world.

So potentially Rand could die and IF his spirit becomes spun into TAR, he could be spun or ripped back out into the Real world again, as Birgittte was.

@235. insectoid read the the end of TEofW. Don't have it in front of me but you could check the re-read. And even there Leigh calls it "Ba'alzamon's dream castle" it was the very first time they met.

an excerpt from Leigh Butlers re-read: part 7, chapter 51.
The Borderlanders move to attack the decimated Trolloc army, and Rand sprints up the stairs, climbing until he comes to the door to Ba’alzamon’s dream chamber. Rand blasts it apart and enters.
“Yes,” Ba’alzamon said from in front of the fireplace, “I thought Aginor’s greed would overcome him. But it makes no difference in the end. A long search, but ended now. You are here, and I know you.”Rand tells him he’s tired of running. He sees that Ba’alzamon has a cord, too, a black one that seems to pulse in counterpoint to his own. Ba’alzamon tells him it makes no difference how Rand feels; he has the same choices as before, kneel or die. Rand replies that Ba’alzamon does not weave the Pattern; angrily Ba’alzamon retorts that he’s been pulling the strings since the beginning, sending Jain Farstrider to the Ogier and Black Ajah to manipulate the Amyrlin Seat. He shows Rand illusions or visions of Nynaeve and Egwene, and then Kari al’Thor, screaming as she is tortured by Fades.
Rand’s scream echoed hers. The void boiled in his mind. His sword was in his hand. Not the heron-mark blade, but a blade of light, a blade of the Light. Even as he raised it, a fiery white bolt shot from the point, as if the blade itself had reached out. It touched the nearest Fade, and blinding candescence filled the chamber, shining through the Halfmen like a candle through paper, burning through them, blinding his eyes to the scene.
From the midst of the brilliance, he heard a whisper. “Thank you, my son. The Light. The blessed Light.”Ba’alzamon tells him not to be a fool, he’ll kill himself: “Not until I teach you!” Rand replies “It is ended”, and severs Ba’alzamon’s cord with his sword. Ba’alzamon screams, and is flung into the fireplace from the recoil, and Rand blasts him with fire, feeling whatever is fueling his cord running out. Light fills the room, and Rand sees Ba’alzamon burning as he howls, and then something hits Rand and everything fades to black.
Its also interesting that this happens Immediately before - after the supposed Creator shout out.

Its also interesting to note that he states that he has been manipulating Rand for awhile, even this early in the series. Granted most of what he states are lies and illusions to make Rand despair and do something stupid. Ba'alzamon simply underestimates how unpredictable Rand is at this stage of the game. Which sets the stage for a more elaborate insidious plan of manipulation that Ba'alzamon claims to have set in motion in and as early as the prologue to the Great Hunt.

Alice Arneson
238. Wetlandernw
Just a quick and possibly irrelevant thought on the Heroes, the Horn and the Dragon: Maybe Siuan was right in general. Maybe the Heroes always do follow the Hornsounder, for good or ill - except when the Dragon is present with the Banner. Perhaps the presence of the Dragon (apparently with the banner as evidence?) trumps the Hornsounder and, in that case only, the Heroes follow the Dragon instead.

This obviously doesn't touch the original discussion here, whether or not The Dragon soul hangs out in TAR between incarnations and whether or not he can be ripped out like Birgitte was, or exit through a gateway, or any of that. We have only opinions and interpretations, not solid proof, for any of that, and we'll find out (or not, if it's irrelevant) in a few more months. Personally, I'm beginning to wonder if we'll see some mix of Nynaeve Healing Rand's body AND pulling his soul back from TAR (or wherever) after he's been three days dead. Bizarre speculation FTW!

Might as well; we've got another week to fill before the reread moves forward.
Jonathan Levy
239. JonathanLevy
234. Amir
Oh G-d, there were some pretty horrible holodeck episodes, weren't there? I shudder to recall. A fistful of Datas. Ugh.

235. insectoid
I'm with you on the dreams. In TGS their dreams are linked unconsciously. In tEotW Ba'alzamon is bringing Rand into T'A'R to mess with him. Ba'alzamon pulls a similar trick on three darkfriends in TDR - he murders one of them in the dream as punishment for having let Mat escape from Tar Valon.

Once Rand captures Asmodeon the first thing he asks to learn is how to ward his dreams. There are no more visits from Moridin until TGS, when their psychic connection has intensified to a degree that Moridin is already inside his wards.

I'm not questioning whether Rand can be spun out of T'A'R.
I'm not questioning whether Rand can be ripped out of T'A'R a la Birgitte.
I AM questioning whether Rand (or any other Hero) can waltz out of T'A'R via a gateway.

The scene you quoted happens after the supposed creator shout-out, not before.

And I think quite a bit of what Ishamael tells Rand actually turns out to be true.

Also, see my reply to insectoid at 235.

238. Wetlandernw
That's a fairly solid way to reconcile the two versions we have. I remember reading some interview with RJ when various questions were asked about this issue (e.g. what happens if the banner and the Dragon are on opposing sides of the field?), but I can't come up with anything more specific.
Tess Laird
240. thewindrose
JL at 239-
That's a fairly solid way to reconcile the two versions we have. I remember reading some interview with RJ when various questions were asked about this issue (e.g. what happens if the banner and the Dragon are on opposing sides of the field?), but I can't come up with anything more specific.
I am pretty sure that's when you play capture the flag...

I don't remember any of the Hero's using the OP at Falme? Maybe you cannot channel until you are actually born - if you are a channeler that is also a Hero. But, if channeling was why you became a Hero, then what good would you be if you couldn't channel?

I hope everyone had a wonderful New Years weekend!

Nadine L.
241. travyl
the flaw, I think I spot in your suggestion @238. is that there is no Prophecy connecting the Dragon Reborn to the Horn. If it would be such a superior connection that it supercedes the Hornsounder, I would have expeted, that the Heroes have to play such a vital role, that they are mentioned in the Karaethon cycle. (I think they will play a vital role but somehow only indirectly, where they will follow the hornsounder (MAT!)).
But then again my previous argument disregards Arthur Hawkwings comment and the Karaethon cycle is maybe only supposed to help the world recognize the true Dragon Reborn, and since the Heroes will follow him at TG, after he is recognized it is not mentioned. - So you could be right.
I realize just made my own post redundant, but I will let it stand.

Amir @229:
I like how you connected Bela to the Trojan horse ;)
Alice Arneson
242. Wetlandernw
Argh. I wrote this earlier and didn't get to post it because ... never mind. You don't want to know why. I'll just try to recreate it.

JonathanLevy @239 - I did a scan of the interview database, and concluded two things. One, RJ pretty thoroughly confirmed that the Dragon soul is one of the Heroes of the Horn - and also, that he doesn't necessarily do Dragon-y things every time he's born. Sometimes he's just a normal Hero, and sometimes he's just... some farmer or something. So yes, his soul would be in TAR between incarnations. As to my idea @238, some of the quotations I found seem like they could support the idea that Dragon trumps Horn (once they're called by it), but others seem like they'd oppose it. I suspect it doesn't really have anything to do with the story itself, and he never really bothered to work out all the possibilities to answer the wacky scenarios the fans invent.
239. JonathanLevy
I actually did mean after not before. I'll make the correction....it was late I think.

I don't know either about using gateways out of TAR. I suppose though that as long as you had a former existance in the "Real" world you could use a gate in TAR. I haven't found anything that would spell out "No you can't" yet.

But the point I was hoping people would see about the prologue in Great Hunt and the prologue in EotW, especially EotW, is that Ba'alzamon was sealed away already with the bore. How then was he speaking with LTT? I may have missed some other important piece of info somewhere or I just don't remember the detail. But he was there when LTT offed himself, when he shouldn't have been. He was there at the end of EtoW where he had no physical presence with Aginor and Balthamel. He only appeared when Rand was despairing on the scorched battlefield. And just as he was about to be trampled.... out of thin air Stairs appear out of no where, black stairs leading to Ba'alzamon's "dream castle".

So ask yourself how did he do that? At no time ever during the rest of the series have we seen anything like that. Was it a gateway leading to Ba'alzamon? If so, how did he know that Rand was there? I submit to you that the reason is that he was already there. In his head like he was there in LTT's when he raised the Dragonmount. Or maybe it was a hole ripped into TAR. No matter what, Ba'alzmon was manipulating him even way back then. And his statements confirmed it in the Prologue in the Great Hunt. Not on the fly manipulations either. But planned manipulations.

You ever wonder about how Ba'alzamon showed up in the prologue in EotW? It wasn't a gateway. Did he walk out of TAR?
Am I getting something confused here?

Oh yeah, the lies part. Iwas thinking on the Kari Al'thor thing.

Alice Arneson
244. Wetlandernw
ZEXXES - A couple of things going on here. RJ said that one of the reasons the Ba'alzamon movement in TEotW looks different from any other Traveling we've seen is that he was using the True Power. We've also been given pretty good info that Ishamael wasn't sealed in quite the same way as the other forsaken, because he gets free periodically for about 40 years at a time. To the best of my knowledge at present, we've not been given much explanation as to why that is; we just know it is.

For instance, we know he was free near the beginning of the Breaking, just after the sealing, as himself. He was free around the beginning of the Trolloc Wars, when he became known as Ba'alzamon. He was free during some of Hawkwing's reign and for some years afterwards, and he went around with the name Jalwin Moerad. Finally, we know he was free shortly after the Aiel War, 20 years ago. There are hints that he may have been free at other times as well. As I said, we don't know the physics of it, but we know it happened. RJ once referred to Ishamael being "spun out periodically" if that helps any.

Edit - That didn't make much sense... RJ said that when Ishamael showed up in the TE0tW prologue, it looked different because he was using a True Power gateway rather than the One Power version we've seen elsewhere. Hence the "how did he get there?" confusion.
245. DeJulis
Couple things I think you're missing.

First, at the end of The Eye of the World, Ishamael is free and has already been free. Notice that he appears outside of Shadar Logoth to drive the Myrdraal in after Moiraine et al towards the beginning of the book. Ishamael was not at the Eye with Aginor and Balthamel because he did not need to be, not because he couldn't be. Ishamael also might not have been aware that Aginor and Balthamel were
free at that point, nor that they were going after Rand at the Eye.

The fact that he appears mostly in dreams during that book does not mean he was still bound; indeed, the fact that he appears in both Mat and Perrin's dreams as well as Rands would imply that there is no special link between Rand and Ishamael at that point, unless you also want to posit that he is mind-linked with all three of them.

Second, at the end of The Eye of the World when Rand meets Ishamael in Tel'Aran'Rhiod, I believe it's Rand creating the gateway there on instinct. Remember, Rand was channeling pure Saidin from the Eye; there are several things that he does during the end of The Eye of the World that don't quite jive with how channeling was fleshed out later. The stepping-stones are implied to be the same as the ones he initially uses when Skimming in The Shadow Rising; at least, I always took it to be so.
246. Hawkido
I don't believe channelers CAN become heores of the horn...
None of the mentioned HoH have been channelers, plus there is a noted difference between channelers and non-channelers (13x13 trick, prevelence of talents that do not require channeling, but only seem to fall onto channelers, (fortelling, etc...)

Plus the HoH when called from the horn are every bit as great as their legend (read: greater than any living non-channeling person)... which is quite great... Birgette's arrows exploding and destroying ships, ala 15 inch battleship guns... Her bow was not classed as a ter'angreal, and no living legend actually has her wielding such a bow. The mention of her wielding a weapon are surely left overs from the last time she was called from the HoV. Just as David Crockett in real life was just your average guy who lived a not-so-average life, his legend has him killing a bear when he was only 3 years old. I think the Horn takes the fabled extremes of these people's lives and makes them reality for the duration of "the Blowing" (tm).
247. DeJulis
Birgitte's arrows did not explode. They started fires.

I believe that the way the Horn of Valere works is that it pulls their non-corporeal form into the real world for a time; that's why they can't be hurt by the Seanchan's weapons. It probably creates a link between Tel'Aran'Rhiod and the real world, such that the Heroes can still do some things that aren't technically possible in the real world, like creating fires with their minds and such.

I don't recall any story of Birgitte mentioning that her arrows explode; just that she never misses.
248. JackMyDog
Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas to all you folks from a lurker who can't read anything else but WOT anymore.
With all your help, I've got my mind around the timeline thing in TGS and ToM.
However, since the holiday histus I have re-read a bit ahead and am troubled by something. When Rand opens a gate to Natrin's Barrow, Sulin leads the Maidens. But she's with Perrin and leads the Maidens with him in the Battle of Jehannah Road. I don't know how to search Dragonmount.com to find notice of this.
Can anyone speak to this issue.
Cameron Tucker
249. Loialson
That was an error on Brandon's part. He already conceded that he confused where Sulin was at that point, and that the error was fixed in later editions. The mention of "Sulin" leading the maidents was changed to "Nerilea" leading them.

At first Brandon mentioned (paraphrased here) in some signings that he thought that Sulin could be with Rand and Co, since Perrin was a month behind and Sulin could have gotten there by then. Then it was realized that it was not possible, and the error was corrected, and the name changed in later editions.

Go to the encyclopedia-wot.org, TGS Ch 37, footnote 5, for the reference.
Alice Arneson
250. Wetlandernw
Hawkido @246 - While I don't believe anyone has asked the question directly, it is clearly possible for a channeler to be a HotH. Aside from Brandon's positive answer when asked if a channeler who is a Hero can channel when called by the Horn, RJ specifically stated that the Dragon soul is one of the Heroes, though in other ages he's not always spun out as the Dragon. Since channeling is linked to the soul, he would clearly be able to channel even when the Dragon isn't needed.
251. Wortmauer
Hawkido@246: plus there is a noted difference between channelers and non-channelers (13x13 trick, prevelence of talents that do not require channeling, but only seem to fall onto channelers, (fortelling, etc...)
It does seem odd that all these Talents that seem to be unrelated to the One Power nevertheless seem to only happen to channelers ... if that's true. But I don't believe it is. The only people talking about these Talents are Aes Sedai — talk about your tunnel vision perspective. If some random Joe started Foretelling, or found himself able to Delve for the health of a person's body, or seeing ta'veren glow, would the Aes Sedai ever even hear about it? Would they believe it? They have a lot of interest in believing only the things that make them seem a "different flesh."

In fact, we have a counterexample. As Bair says: "It is not a thing of the One Power, though Aes Sedai believe it is. I cannot channel, nor can Seana, yet we dreamwalk as well as Amys or Melaine." (TSR Ch. 23.) Besides dreamwalking, I can think of three Talents — wolf-talking, Pattern aura reading, and violence smelling — that we have only seen manifest in non-channelers (Perrin, Elyas, Noam, Min, Hurin). And I'm not even counting treesinging.

We even have an example of a "Talent" that Aes Sedai have deliberately faked for their own corporate image: the ability to prevent yourself from sweating or shivering in extreme heat and cold.

So, yeah, I see a lot of reason to doubt the Aes Sedai belief that there are any "Talents" only bestowed upon channelers, except ones that directly relate to the One Power, like Berowin's efficient shields or Egwene's affinity for Earth.
252. Hawkido
The Dragon, the Horn, and the Banner Discussion (TM)

So we know that all 3 must be present, but do they all have to be on the same side? Who ever holds 2 of the three gets the HoH? It is clear that the HoH COULD NOT act without the banner. However, He didn't mention that the Horn was required to gain the HoH allegience, Perhaps for Dragon Battles (TM) in which the HoV is used are different than the HoV being used for other purposes. Plus the dragon banner may be why the HoV isn't to be used for selfish reasons... you blow the horn and the other side has the banner and the HoH turn on you LOL. It may not be a hard rule but a best practice.
253. Hawkido
@250, @251

Ta'veren sighting is one that is mentioned as a talent that Loial and I think his mother have to a lesser degree... but ter'angreal function determination has no direct power influence. Touch a helmet and you know it allows you to control a jo'cart or sho'wing. This helmet can be used by non-channelers per the wayback machine and source book. However this talent may actually exist in non channelers, but as they so infrequently handle *'greal it just may never be noticed... and any man who did have that talent surely would never reveal it due to potential severing or mistreatment by the reds. So on further thought perhaps there are more examples (with the ones you guys listed) of non-channelers having talents... seems odd tho that the super majority only fall on power weilders. as they only number about 1 to 2% of the population (counting those who can learn wether or not they ever do, plus the very very weak )

Has it been mentioned what the Seanchan do with the super weak people? A sparker who is like morgase but can only barely grasp the source?
Rob S
254. RobSS
@ 252
Matt blew the horn, not Rand. Yet the Hero's spoke to The Dragon, followed him and his banner. Ingored Matt, the horn sounder.
So maybe if another blows the horn they will still look for the Dragon and his banner
Alice Arneson
255. Wetlandernw
We don't really know why Hawkwing said what he did about the Dragon and the banner. However, we do know that the Horn is much, much older than the dragon banner, so it's hardly reasonable to think that the Heroes are only allowed to fight for whoever flies the banner. In story, the idea that the Dragon trumps the Horn once it's blown is one of the few rationalizations I can think of. Outside the story, I think RJ wrote this cool scene in TGH, and then had to do some creative thinking to make the mythologies work for all the questions the fans asked. I have no doubt that he knew all along how the Horn was going to play in the story, beginning to end. I just think the mythology got loose a bit during q&a sessions.
John Massey
256. subwoofer
H'lo all, enjoying the discussion, just wanted to throw a few thoughts out there.

Let's not forget that the Horn of Valere was found in the pool of saidin with the Dragon Banner. I am thinking that this is not a happy accident. Also the Banner of the Dragon was used by LTT, but that is not to say that he is the one that had it made.

.... Idle thought- the person that keeps that Banner clean should have billboards made advertising the fact. "Get your hose and finery drycleaned here- Official cleaner of the Banner of the Dragon Reborn".

As for the Horn Sounder, well somebody else could blow the Horn, but it will not do them much good until the link to Mat is ended... by having Mat die, again.

Another thing comes to mind; the Heroes of the Horn are fairly aged, we're talking Freelancer age here, has anyone bothered to ask them if they know the song the Tinkers are going on forever and a day about? Has anyone asked Birgitte?

craig thrift
257. gagecreedlives
Thats some mighty fine fishing your doing there Sub. Lets see if the bait is good enough
Nadine L.
258. travyl
Reading all your post I spotted a new problem - and this time I can't talk myself out of it, please help:
The horn was stored away at the Eye with the banner underneath clean saidin - I seem to recall that saidin pool was created at the Breaking with some of the last man (and some woman) working togheter - which means, no one sounded the horn since the breaking. - How then can the heroes have met the dragon multipe times? Is this a circular time thing? (Soooo hate that concept.) If so, why is Arthur Hawkwing the leader; by this name he lived clearly after the horn was stored away.
I'm very much confused.
Even more confused since Rand is not the dragon but the Dragon reborn, which would indicate Lews Therin being the Dragon is unique, even in circular time, in previous wheel-turnings that soul then went by another name?
Roger Powell
259. forkroot
Seems to me that this just says that Hawkwing has been reborn many times - the last incarnation was Artur Hawkwing, but he could have been other individuals in other Ages, or even earlier in the 3rd Age. Remember, Birgitte has led a number of 3rd Age lives.

Speaking of the Heroes: The next time they show up, I'm hoping like hell to see Jain Farstrider in their midst.
Alice Arneson
260. Wetlandernw
Subwoofer @256 – You make me wonder if the AS who set up the Eye found a way to bind the Heroes to the banner as well as the Horn – so they come to the Horn’s call, but are then constrained to follow the banner. Seems a bit odd that they could manage to affect the way the Horn works (or the Heroes) but it’s a valid possibility.

We know that the Horn wasn’t used during the AOL, the War of the Shadow or the Breaking, and then it was bundled up with the banner and a seal and tucked away in the Eye under a pool of pure saidin… but there seems to be a lot we don’t know. RJ said, when asked about Moiraine’s statement that the Heroes will follow the Hornsounder whether he’s Team Light or Team Dark, that “Moiraine doesn’t know everything she thinks she knows.” In fact, since it’s not been blow for two whole Ages (at least), there’s probably a whole lot NOT known about it, and a lot of the things we think we know (because the AS said so) may not be quite true.

LOL on the idea of asking the Heroes about the Song. Why not? They’ve been around and in/out of time for a goodly few.

travyl @258 - Good questions, though I think the second is easier than the first. Rand is known as the Dragon Reborn because the previous Dragon (LTT) is still remembered by that name in history and legend. In one sense, every time that soul shows up as Dragon, it’s the Dragon Reborn, but if there’s no record (myth, legend, whatever) of the last time he showed up, they come up with the name all fresh and new and think it’s the first time.

Your other question (or set of questions) is much more difficult to answer, and we can only guess. And… I’ll do that, unless someone beats me to it, but I’ve got to go get dinner on the table right now. Later!
Alice Arneson
261. Wetlandernw
travyl @258 – Okay, forkroot gave you the quick answer, and I believe he’s correct. But I’m going to expand on it, of course. ;p

The first reason they know him is that he’s a Hero of the Horn as well. (RJ said so.) Since they all seem to lounge around in TAR between incarnations, they’ve had a lot of time to chat.

Second, and more related to your question, is that Heroes last much longer than Ages do. They are spun out many times, as is everyone, and live lives of greater and lesser excitement – sometimes they’re heroes in life, and sometimes they’re just ordinary people. (Also per RJ.) They may be spun out to be born, live and die many times in an Age, and they show up in many Ages. For an example, Shivan and Calian are born at (or near) the end of every Age; they are “said to herald the end of Ages, the destruction of what had been and the birth of what was to be.” They probably have several lives during the Age as well, but not as quite the same portentous folks.

Third, and mostly just because it’s a fun thought, it’s a fair bet that they meet up during some of their normal lives, particularly those in which heroic people are active. (E.g. we know that Gaidal Cain and Birgitte Silverbow often (usually? always?) spin out near one another and have adventures together, only realizing who they are and that they’ve done it again once they’re dead.) So Hawkwing and Rand may have met as other people several times even in the 3rd Age; they wouldn’t have known one another for who their souls were during that lifetime, but might figure it out back in TAR again. They seem to be known by their latest heroic incarnation, so that speculation might not be true, but it could be.

(Side note: I’m not sure about that “known by their latest heroic incarnation” thing; it seems to be something a fan used to explain something and it’s been taken as fact. I suspect there’s something else going on, but I don’t think I’ll try to get into it now. I’ll go wash dishes and see if that shakes the thoughts loose.)

As to why Hawkwing is the leader, I think it’s something about that particular soul; he tends to be a leader, whether it’s during a “normal” lifetime or when called by the Horn. FWIW, I’m betting that a fair few of the Heroes were kicking around being mortal during Hawkwing’s reign; it seems to have been a time for heroics.

forkroot @259 – re: Jain Farstrider – oh, yeah. You better just believe it. Must. Happen.
Juan Avila
262. Cumadrin
Personally, I've always taken the Hornsounding at Falme as a pre-destined event that had to happen with certain criteria met, and Hawkwing, at the time being a manifestation of his true soul, and not just limited by only having lived one life at the time, was just sort of 'in tune' with the 'weave of that moment' as he called it. Therefore he was forced by the Pattern to make sure certain details were just right before the Heroes could act.

That's always been my interpretation, at least. Another possibility to consider is that since at least four ta'veren (and probably a few more besides Hawkwing and the Tripod) are present, even if only manifested by the Horn, that the ta'veren effect was increased so much that it literally gave Hawkwing a 'gut feeling' that made him be sure the banner was raised, as the last checkmark to setup the 'weave of the moment.' Rather than how it might've normally worked, like making Perrin's saddle straps break, causing him to fall out of his saddle and accidentally cut the saddlebag with the banner off Rand's saddle with his axe, allowing the banner to spill out, prompting Hawkwing to blurt 'Gee Lews Therin, you know, since I'm going to attack my son's ancestors' army, do you think we could fly your banner so they might not suspect I'm here? I'd like to keep my involvement on the down low, and the only thing better than flying the Dragon banner would be if you had a one on one fight with Ba'alzamon and it was projected across the sky like a drive-in movie. And what are the odds that will happen?'

Or something. Basically I'm saying I think it was just the Pattern getting everything just right for the moment, rather than evidence to interpret the relationship between the Horn, its Heroes and the Dragon with. I was only using the scene to back the theory that the Dragon is a more prominent (and possibly separate) hero than the rest bound to the Horn, since it seemed like a reasonable detail that RJ might've left cleverly hidden. To try to challenge everyone (including myself) to not take established popular opinion as fact. RJ was consistantly clever in giving us enough hints about how 'things' in the WoT universe work to put together part of a puzzle for the in's and out's of any given 'thing,' yet still have plenty of room for interpretation. Asking all the different questions you can is one of my favorite things about the series, if it hasn't been obvious yet thanks to my comments.

But since he said what he said regarding the Dragon and the Horn, I'm maintaining my established beliefs about them together, for now.

Regarding Nynaeve ripping Rand back from Tel'aran'rhiod again, I was putting forth Egwene and Rand as cadidates (even though I don't think the theory itself holds water) because there's no evidence that Nynaeve can even duplicate what Moghedien did to Birgitte. So I started brainstorming 'alternate modi operandi' to try to accomodate the theory, which incidentally led to me questioning the Dragon soul's whereabouts between incarnations for a while, and all the rest that followed.

I had a good time pondering and researching it all, regardless of how much water I thought each theory held.

New pointless detail question I've had in the last day or two: How much silver was Birgitte's arrow made out of, you think? Considering it was light enough to fly normally like a wooden arrow in Tel'aran'rhiod, yet dense enough to provide enough silver for Elayne to later create an a'dam out of it for Moghedien (which was very nice karma regardless). This is mostly a rhetorical 'hey did you think of this?' question since the quickest answer I would think of is Birgitte just bent the rules with her arrows flying flawlessly in Tel'aran'rhiod despite them presumed to be pure silver.

Lastly, I agree Jain should be elevated to Horn-bound status. Call me sentimental as well, but I would also be 'not displeased' if Ingtar also showed up at the next sounding (assumption being the Last Battle). And Hurin too, if he dies heroically. I missed Hurin. And Uno. he could be called Uno Tongue-Lasher or Uno Sailor-shamer or Uno too-many....

And Bela! Don't look at me like that.
263. Angelique Sedai
Like many others, I too had to take a break after reading this very intense chapter. It was one of the few moments where I genuinely cried after reading something - it was a necessary but a so, so painful chapter.

Thanks for keeping up the great work, Leigh!
Nadine L.
264. travyl
forkroot & Wetlandernw,
Thanks, your explanations make sense. My mind just isn't fit to understand the concept of circular time - I'll have to wish for Rand to break the Wheel (trap the DO under it's debris) and change time into a streched out, linear snake ;)

I like your alternate version how the banner could have been revealed.
Anthony Pero
265. anthonypero
@Heroes following Rand instead of Mat in TGH

It's also possible that the Heroes respond to the intentions of the horn sounder. Mat wasn't blowing the Horn for them to come to him, he was blowing the horn for them to come to Rand's aid. Mat had no intention of leading anyone into battle at that point.

Also, in regards to the Banner... I wouldn't be sure that the Heroes living in Tel'aran'rhiod are limited to the knowledge of their own past lives. There may be things that, while being dead and "stored" in Tel'aran'rhiod, that you just know. It is a sort of afterlife for them, after all.
Nadine L.
266. travyl
This is so much fun you guys, I thank you all (Leigh are included, but of course deserve to be singled out).
Following the advice of a fellow ReReader (hint: not Aiel :-) ) I started to read the posts in the early threads and this thread gives a strong sensation of deja-vu compared to Part 8 of TGH ;)

An here a quote, which proves why ReReading WOT books is fun:
From TGH, Chapter 46 (just after Egwene is freed from her a'dam, punishes her former sul'dam Renna and is stopped by Nynaeve):
"Rand would kill someone who did – a thing like that," Elayne said. She seemed to be steeling herself. "I am sure he would."
- Just let me say one word: Foreshadowing!

(I think you all see the connection to this thread (Elayne was right, even before she definitely knew that Rand is Aes Sedai as well)
Jonathan Levy
267. JonathanLevy
Oh my, did I have a strange dream last night. In one of its saner moments, I picked up AMoL, read through it in 3 hours, and the plot did not advance at all - at which point I discovered it was just volume 1 of 2.

Terry McNamee
268. macster
@196 DeJulis:

Generally I would have to agree with you (and Wetlander) about the Creator not taking part, because Jordan said he didn't, because it would be lame (leaving aside whether it had been foreshadowed or not/machina vs. deo). But I am not sure I would call speaking to Rand (or anyone) really interfering, or doing miracles, or any of the things Jordan said in those quotes you gave, and if he were to appear at all in AMoL I would expect it would be in the same vein--as Wet said, a way to bookend the series, a voice speaking to him but doing nothing more. (I have to wonder how much from the first book will come full circle in the last--this voice, the Eye, the Green Man, the strange things Rand did with the Power, Ishamael, the Horn...) And in the end I don't actually think the Creator will get involved, I was merely speculating on what would happen if he did (and, as I said, speaking to his Champion I don't see as quite the same thing as interfering).

That said, however, the quotes you give do make things ambiguous, as you yourself admit. Particularly "I will neither confirm nor deny that the Creator spoke to Rand" and the RAFOs he gave, especially in response to "And why can the Dark One act on the world but it seems the Creator cannot?" Obviously we can't know for sure what those quotes mean, or what Jordan had planned, until AMoL, but it seems odd to me that Jordan would allow for the possibility of the Creator interfering (by not categorically denying he was the one who spoke, and not confirming the Creator cannot or will not act on the world), when he stated the Creator did not interfere elsewhere. Contradicting himself there. Does this mean the voice was the Creator? Not necessarily, but it does mean, I think, that something important is hidden in this line of thought, and that something about the voice, the Creator, and the Dark One will be key to the Last Battle in some way.

@197 JonathanLevy: While it is true that Jordan didn't have everything all worked out at first, and that he may even have admitted this and that he made changes/ironed out the magic system as he went, I wouldn't completely discount the 'artifacts' from Eye of the World as having no relevance or never appearing again. We've already seen a return of Waygates and Portal Stones, and we have the narrative returning to Tarwin's Gap again too, so it wouldn't surprise me if something about the strange effects during book one's climax, the Eye, the Green Man, and so on might not show up again in AMoL. For some reason, Sanderson's comments on having read Jordan's ending for the series and how incredible it was makes me think of the ending of TEotW--not that it was that incredible, but the fact that Jordan had always said that, from the beginning when he wrote the first book, he knew how the last one would end. It seems there are thematic elements which should tie TEotW and AMoL together, and events/effects/unresolved questions from one may have a bearing on the other. But maybe that's just me.

Re: Nynaeve and knowing how to rip someone from TAR: Ah, I see now. I have to agree with you, I can't subscribe to the theory, but I can see where people get the ideas from. All I will say, since you asked not to pile on objections, is to note that while Nynaeve has been able to duplicate complex weaves, I'd imagine she was a little too horrified by what happened to Birgitte, terrified of Moghedien, and suffering from the effects of what Moggy did to her, to be able to really notice the ripping-out weaves, let alone duplicate them later.

And as for your last point, I can think of a number of reasons why Birgitte's story was included which don't have to do with foreshadowing Rand's resurrection--to show what an utter bitch Moggy was, for separating her from Gaidal that way; to give Birgitte a life where she knew she was a Hero, even as she was losing her memories of those past lives, as a form of dramatic irony; as part of Elayne's story, including whatever role she will have in the Last Battle; and to show how the Pattern can weave threads in ways we could never predict, redirect or reshape their lives so as to teach them lessons or put them in places where they will be more useful. An example of this, from the Fires of Heaven re-read, was when Drew Holton said they had asked at a Sanderson signing the point of Morgase's story and he received the answer it had to do with how the ta'veren twisting could cause a queen to become a peasant, and show the consequences. Something similar could be in effect for Birgitte.

Needless to say though, if Nynaeve did notice and can duplicate Moggy's trick, it had better be well-written, otherwise my suspension of disbelief will be a bit bent. Despite the asspull nature of it, I'd almost believe Rand's Lews Therin memories telling him how it's done over that.

@199 Wetlander: I have to admit, I just re-read the scene at Tarwin's Gap tonight, and as I was reading the voice's lines to Rand, the choice of words, the all-caps, and the fact it "made his skull vibrate" (not a far cry from how Demandred describes it in the prologue of Lord of Chaos) made me think uncomfortably of the Dark One. If that is who it was, what a dastardly twist, and no wonder Jordan would neither confirm nor deny who the voice was or if the Creator could affect the world as the Dark One can. If that were the truth, Jordan must have been snickering inwardly the whole time he answered those questions.

@204 travyl: Interesting point. You could well be right, that the catechism is for exaggerating effect, something the people of Randland would appeal to to keep from thinking of the truth and out of fervent belief. However, if such a thing were repeated often enough over time, it could still come to be seen as the literal truth, which is what Wet was getting at--and would explain why the Emond's Fielders kept appealing to it to deny what was right in their faces.

@207 Hawkido: *does a spit-take* ROTFL!

@208 Wortmauer: *laughs even harder* Brilliant!

@209 Subwoofer: I am still not convinced the Ways were tainted by saidin. They were created back during the Breaking...but it took until the War of the Hundred Years for them to darken? That's a rather long time between cause and effect. There are several convincing points to suggest it was not Shadar Logoth/Mashadar which tainted the Ways, but timing is not one of them--the end of the Trolloc Wars, when Aridhol destroyed itself, is much closer to the corruption of the Ways than the Breaking. I don't think Machin Shin is Mashadar, came from Shadar Logoth, or anything silly like that (more likely to be something of the Shadow, or a thing of the Ways which got corrupted), but I do think the darkening itself may have been caused by Aridhol's evil. Regardless, it is clear that whatever the cause was, the effect won't disappear until something (channeling, Singing) is done to heal it.

On Callandor: I wasn't trying to say using it would be a flawless endeavor (note I mentioned the 'deeper flaw' and Min's vision of the onyx hand), I was merely pointing out that the flaws you mentioned wouldn't necessarily prevent Rand from using it. As for your other points...Rand doesn't seem quite as averse to women being involved and possibly getting hurt after his epiphany--he actually says right in ToM that he wants Nynaeve to be one of the ones in the circle with him and Callandor. As for who else would be so giving, I'd nominate Moiraine for that role, since she is supposed to be key to him winning, after all.

I wasn't saying the boys were outside the Pattern either. I was saying that their ta'veren nature would allow them to do things the Dark One could not counter or predict, the same way his actions could do things the Pattern itself could not counter or predict. They fulfill the same role in the Age Lace, being monkey wrenches in the Pattern, it's just that one acts from outside the Pattern, one from within.

@211 AndrewB: That is a very interesting idea! I'm not sure I can completely subscribe to it, but it is unique, creative, and fascinating, and it bears further thought...

@212 Cumadrin: I have a serious, possible answer to you on the wolf question. The wolf dream, for all intents and purposes, is the same as TAR. Therefore, wolves can see anything TAR-related, such as people who dream themselves there, those who go there in the flesh, dreamwalkers and true dreamers, and so on, as well as of course wolfbrothers. However, Heroes of the Horn are not of TAR itself, they are either tied to the Horn or to the Pattern (remember that TAR lies between the mirror worlds, between the threads of the Pattern, but we aren't told it is actually composed of them), so therefore the wolves can't see them. Or to be more simplistic: the power of the Horn itself shields them from wolven eyes, since they are only there until the Pattern spins them out again.
Terry McNamee
269. macster
@219 Jalla: First, thanks for taking the trouble to address my question! Second....hmm, you may be onto something, particularly about the dark prophecies bit, but let me point out what had struck me so about the passage I quoted. Ishamael said he had actually "faced" wolfbrothers before many times (at least that is the implication I get from his words). Not that he knew of them from prophecy, had been told by the Dark One, had read about them in the Age of Legends or anything like that, but from personal experience. You may be right that he was just indulging in theatrical grandstanding to scare Perrin, but at the same time I don't know if we should conclude everything he says is a lie or an exaggeration. Even his claim of the White Tower using all the false Dragons isn't wrong, since the Aes Sedai did use them--not in the sense of setting them up or creating their power bases as Siuan tried to say the Reds did with Logain, but in the sense of using the pursuit, capture, and gentling of the false Dragons to justify their existence and make the rest of the world trust and follow them ("See? You do need us, we're the only ones who can stop false Dragons from causing a second Breaking or otherwise ruining the world!").

You are likely right that Ishamael did know of the three ta'veren from the start, from the prophecies if nothing else. However that doesn't answer my question of how Ishamael knew of wolfbrothers at all, or could say he had "faced" them before. My speculations on if past Dragons or companions of Dragons or heroes of the Light had been wolfbrothers was just that, speculation (though I think Birgitte's knowledge of wolfbrothers might make it a bit more likely some heroes, whether with or without a capital H, had that ability). I was just struck by the fact Ishamael knew of wolfbrothers at all, and had faced them.

It is possible, I suppose, that he could have read of them in his lifetime--we were told wolfbrothers predate the Age of Legends but that doesn't mean there weren't any during it, and after all, that scrap which Moiraine read in Adeleas and Vandene's library must have been from before the Breaking...believing it survived from before the Age of Legends too is a bit much, so someone of that Age must have written it. However, none of that explains how Ishamael could say he faced them. So assuming he wasn't making it up, either he was speaking of something from a past life, or...there were wolfbrothers who faced him during the War of Power. Perhaps even in the years after the Bore was sealed--just because the Aes Sedai of the present didn't know of wolfbrothers appearing after the Age of Legends doesn't mean they didn't, particularly if Ishamael did away with any who opposed him.

@224, 226 Wortmauer: And your hilarious brilliance strikes again. :D

@ZEXXES 233 and following: You have a point about all the weird effects at the end of TEotW, although others have correctly pointed out Ishamael was already free at that point, and even if Rand Skimming to face Ba'alzamon was something he did not and not Ishamael, you're also right that Ishamael had plans for Rand from the start and was manipulating him all along (whether through his Aes Sedai truths, outright lies from the vision figures he showed him, or manipulating Kari if that was really her). However, this doesn't mean he was always in Rand's head, or that them being drawn together in TAR in the recent books is just another form of their original connection and has nothing to do with the crossed-streams incident--because it's very clear that Moridin is being honest when he questions what Rand is doing there and doesn't understand it completely, certainly didn't intend it. While in the early Ba'alzamon scenes he most certainly wanted Rand there, was directly causing their meetings, and knew how and why it was happening.

Which suggests to me it doesn't have to be one or the other, but both: at the start of the series, it was Ba'alzamon manipulating and trying to turn Rand that led to him appearing in his dreams, he was choosing to enter his mind or drawing him into TAR to make it happen. However, after Rand learned to shield his dreams via Asmodean, Moridin couldn't perform the same trick...until the crossed-streams incident, and then it started happening without his say-so, them being drawn together and appearing in each other's dreams whether Moridin wanted it or not, in ways and at times and for reasons he had no control over. Hence his genuine puzzlement, anger, and confusion--what had started as his own nefarious scheming has now been turned on its head and is drawing him in, in a nice bit of karma.

@239 JonathanLevy: Just a side note, we don't know for sure how Ishamael was able to bring people into TAR--some have theorized that selling your soul to the Dark One gives him and his chief servants the ability to draw you to them, control you, have power over you, which would explain both the Darkfriends in TDR and Shaidar Haran being able to block Forsaken from the One Power but nobody else; others have said it's because Ishamael is a true dreamer and thus can pull people into TAR the same way Egwene or the Wise Ones could. Either way, though, you're right, none of those things require him to have a link with Rand, and the fact him shielding his dreams kept Moridin out until after Shadar Logoth only makes it clearer that crossing the streams was the cause of this.

@241 travyl: An interesting side point--while we don't know of the Horn itself or the Heroes being mentioned in the prophecies, we do know two things: Mat is mentioned in them, and the Aes Sedai believe that the Horn must be found before the Last Battle. This last one doesn't prove much, since not only can Aes Sedai be wrong but as Adeleas and Vandene themselves say, the only connection between the Horn and the Dragon is that one will be at the Last Battle and one found before it, though we don't know why. It does seem, though, that the Horn wouldn't need to be found unless the Heroes were necessary to the Dragon's victory or at least had a part to play. (Possibly Mat comes to Merrilor, hears of what's happening in Caemlyn, then stops at the Tower to get the Horn so he can save the city? Or alternately, he and the Horn will stop the second Seanchan attack on the Tower.)

Mat being in the prophecies though...while we don't yet know all of his role, since he seems to have multiple uses (finding the Bowl, taking out Couladin, bringing Tuon and the Seanchan to peace with Randland, rescuing Moiraine), his main feature which is in fact mentioned in the prophecies is his luck...something which will serve him very well as a general, and both of those traits in turn will help him lead the Heroes in battle. All of this suggests that Mat was destined to blow the Horn...and so even though it is not mentioned itself in the prophecies, it is needed for Mat to fulfill his destined role and help Rand. Why is it not mentioned specifically? Well either those who wrote the prophecies didn't foresee the Horn and its role, just the one who would use it, or they did but deliberately left it out to keep the Shadow from finding out and preventing its use. And you have to admit, being able to call back dead heroes from the grave is a nice counter to one who can literally resurrect the dead.

@245 DeJulis: Very good point about Rand channeling pure saidin. Not only was this Rand's first big One Power battle where he was doing things by instinct, he didn't have the taint to deal with. That could explain a lot of the unusual things he did, and why he hasn't done them or been able to do them later; the rest of the time he's dealing with tainted saidin, and by the time he cleanses it, he's already maddened. It is perhaps key to note that after his moment on Dragonmount when he is both sane again and channeling untainted saidin, he's able to do a lot of amazing, incredible things he couldn't before. Even if some of this is due to the Dragon/Fisher King effect, his reintegration, or (if ZEXXES is right) having forced himself with the Choedan Kal, I wouldn't be surprised if some of it is having access to untainted saidin again.

@251 Wortmauer: Very good points, I agree completely, though I will note one thing: it's been proven that at least the ability to see ta'veren is linked to the Power, since Siuan could not do so while stilled but was able to again after she was Healed. We've also only seen Foretelling from channelers. The other talents though definitely don't seem linked to the Power.

@253 Hawkido: What makes you think being able to read ter'angreal functions isn't something of the Power? Not only are ter'angreals all made with and use the Power (even if they allow nonchannelers to use them), but Aviendha is a channeler. There is that one item Bayle Domon had which the man who sold it to him said made him feel warm, but that might have been a male angreal and he a latent channeler, so...

@256 Subwoofer: If anyone would think to ask Birgitte, it'd be Perrin, considering his Tinker connections and Aram's death being forefront in his mind. Throw in the fact he and Birgitte met before in TAR, and that she is most likely with Elayne who like Perrin is now at Merrilor, and... Of course there's no guarantee she knows (or would remember anymore), but one of the other Heroes might.

@Cumadrin: I think you're right on about the Hornsounding at Falme. Though your alternate version is quite amsuing.

@forkroot: You'd better believe Jain had better be there! On that subject though, I wonder if we'll ever learn if he was Graendal's old man, or what she/Ishamael did to him. Not that I wanted Noal to betray Mat or anything, but it seems like that plot fell by the wayside.
Terry McNamee
270. macster
Another bit from The Eye of the World I ran across--it's not foreshadowing really, or something revelatory, but it did make me laugh at the irony:

Chapter 48, The Blight:

Rand: "Do they have sheep in Tar Valon? That's all I know, herding sheep and growing tabac."
"I believe," Moiraine said, "that I can find something for you to do in Tar Valon. For all of you. Not herding sheep, perhaps, but something you will find interesting."
271. alreadymadwithlongabsence
anthonypero @265
Artur Hawkwing clarified this when Mat sounded the Horn. While I can't say that all soundings of the Horn follow the same conditions, he did indicate that Mat's blowing of the Horn had particular conditions attached to it.
We have come to the Horn, but we must follow the banner. And the Dragon.

macster @270
Not surprising. As a Blue, Moiraine would have known the value of training not only the potential Dragon Reborn but a ready-made support group as well.

As for the Heroes at TAR:
It is peculiar that the wolves did not see Birgitte. But then again this is TAR where a lot of things are mutable. Clearly Birgitte had been observing Perrin and the girls while they were there. As for the wolves not noticing, I don't really find it too intriguing. The wolves have always struck me as accepting things as they are. They've never had cause to seek the Heroes of the Horn and therefore don't sweat too much that they don't see them even if they could all be hiding out in the same realm.

Happy new year everyone!
Rob Munnelly
272. RobMRobM
Macster - holy moley, dem is some long posts. Can't comment on the lot but I will say that I for one will be surprised and at least a touch disappointed if CAP LOCK voice does not play a role in AMOL.

And re the ripping out weave - if Nyn saw it, she can duplicate it. That point has been made repeatedly through the series. Whether or not she should have been too busy to learn them won't matter.

Jonathan Levy
273. JonathanLevy
268. macster
If that is who it was, what a dastardly twist, and no wonder Jordan would neither confirm nor deny who the voice was or if the Creator could affect the world as the Dark One can.
Ok, here's another potential dastardly twist, which I might add to my list at @145.

The Creator and the Dark One are the same entity. The Creator created the Wheel of Time, and the True Source, and the Pattern, but his creation took on a life of its own and he lost control of it. He has been trying to regain control ever since, and work it into his own image. Men living within the pattern perceive this as an attack upon their universe, and name their enemy 'The Dark One'.
Re: Nynaeve and knowing how to rip someone from TAR
Yeah, most of your objections are precisely the ones I have made in the past.
Anthony Pero
274. anthonypero
Interesting theory JonathanLevy, but it would seem to be contradicted by Jordan specifically saying that the Creator will take no direct action. The DO does, obviously. He doesn't just work through proxies.
Jonathan Levy
275. JonathanLevy
246. Hawkido
247. DeJulis

Re: A few thoughts about Birgitte's bow and arrows.
There was one Seanchan vessel in the harbor not burning, though its towers were black from fires already extinguished. As the tall ship crept toward the harbor mouth, a figure on horseback suddenly appeared around the cliffs skirting the harbor. Riding across the water. Min’s mouth fell open. Silver glittered as the figure raised a bow; a streak of silver lanced to the boxy ship, a gleaming line connecting bow and ship. With a roar she could hear even at that distance, fire engulfed the foretower anew, and sailors rushed about the deck.
The speed with which the foretower caught fire again suggests that the arrow is an incendiary device more powerful than a regular fire-arrow. Also, the description "a gleaming line connecting bow and ship" sounds more like a phasor than a projectile.

"Do we run or fight?" Birgitte asked. "I recognized those Seanchan fliers from Falme, and truth for true, I suggest running. My bow is the ordinary sort, today." Aviendha gave her a slight frown, and Elayne sighed; Birgitte had to learn to guard her tongue if she really intended to hide who she was.
"My bow is the ordinary sort" suggests that the power displayed in TGH:48 comes from the bow, not just from the arrows.

In short, when Birgitte hangs around in TAR, she has a regular bow with silver arrows, and when Birgitte is summoned by the Horn of Valere, she comes with a ray-gun. :)

274. anthonypero
...contradicted by Jordan specifically saying...
Nothing that can't be worked around with a little creative Aes Sedai wordplay! The Creator takes no part, whereas the Dark One does, much like Dr. Jekyl would never go creeping about at night whereas Mr. Hyde does, and Rand would never Balefire his father, whereas LTT would.... :)

Edit: For spelling....
Alice Arneson
276. Wetlandernw
JL - Nice point on the diffences in Birgitte's bow.

It's a fair bet that the Heroes have a high level of control inTAR, in terms of making things work the way they wish. (They should; they have Ages to practice!) IIRC,there's an occasion where one of the girls is talking to Birgitte, and they hear Gaidal Cain but can't see him. She tells the girls that they can choose whether or not they wish to be seen and a few other things like that.

My working theory (which will probably never be answered in the books, and only maybe in a q&a) is that when the Heroes are summoned by the Horn, they bring certain aspects of TAR with them - and along with it, their control over how things work. So if they want to ride across the water or the air, they can do just that. If Birgitte wants her arrow to hit a specific target, it will. And if she wants her arrow to working like a homing incendiary missile, she can do that too - just like she'd be able to do in TAR. If my theory is correct, though, one wonders why they don't just use that ability to make all their enemies be tied up with unbreakable ropes or something...
Roger Powell
277. forkroot
Hmmm - I believe it's about time to...

Jay Dauro
278. J.Dauro
Thank you, forkroot. I've been **twitching** a bit myself. Leigh, come save us.
Juan Avila
280. Cumadrin

Taking it further, I've wondered especially since ToM why Tel'aran'rhiod fights aren't simply Need/Willing yourself into sight of your target and then Willing them unconscious, or sort of Green Lantern-ing a manifestation of a Looney Toons mallet to smash them over their heads or into some kind of submission at the least. Egwene and Mesaana made it clear that ultimately it comes down to willpower, and prior to a direct confrontation of will, Perrin and Slayer made it clear that quick-thinking reaction is most essential. Those were my conclusions, at least.

I would love Tel'aran'rhiod. It is basically the Matrix, only humanity's location is reversed. I've imagined the thing's I'd do with the freedom you have in the World of Dreams for years, and it would be like free form role-playing I used to do. Only better. If I got into a Tel'aran'rhiod fight, it would be like a pair (assuming an opponent like myself) of Ninjas wielding Green Lantern power rings flying around in an over the top movie-style fight scene trying to trip each other up with conjurations of their imagination while teleporting like the kids from the movie Jumper. Or Nightcrawler from X-Men if you're more familiar.

Sorry, it's just a secret fantasy I've been thinking about ever since I started writing. Just pure imagination at work. Maybe I'll write an example and link it on the next blog post or something.
Alice Arneson
281. Wetlandernw
Cumadrin @280 - I think the thing that stops TAR from working that way is that very few people have that level of control over their thoughts. It seems like there's a combination of natural ability, mental control and training that goes into it; if your opponent is anything like a match for you, things get tough in a hurry. That's why Perrin vs. Slayer was such a battle, and why Egwene was able to defeat Mesaana. Perrin and Slayer were fairly evenly matched, but Mesaana didn't know as much as she thought she did.

Another post coming your way in a few minutes... I've been musing for a while but haven't had time to do the writing!
Alice Arneson
282. Wetlandernw
Cumadrin @215 – Thank you for responding to my question @93 (which I’d forgotten about, but I’m glad you didn’t) on the MEH. I can certainly see your points, and I believe you’re right that it was his revulsion at what he almost did (killing Min, killing Tam, killing a bunch of innocent people in Ebou Dar in the process of destroying the Seanchan) that drove him to Dragonmount.

I can also see some value in having Rand consciously set up this arbitrary “line in the sand” for himself. First, there’s a point to be made that Rand has a basic approach to life that includes protecting the innocent and putting his loved ones ahead of himself, and that this attitude is so basic that he doesn’t even think about it; it colors everything he does, without him even being aware of it. That said, there are some points to be made in favor of the “I will not kill a woman” decision.

(Note: it's getting late, and I'm beat. I apologize in advance for any typos or failures in editing... I'm not proofreading very carefully tonight. Feel free to pick the nits - I'm sure there are lots. :) )

From the character perspective, it makes sense for several reasons.

1) It’s a clear and distinct issue. It’s easy to see, and therefore easy to do. For a certain definition of “easy” anyway – not that it was easy to restrain himself necessarily, but that it was a clear-cut decision. Anyone he faces is either male or female – it’s non-ambiguous. To define the line in terms of “innocent” is far fuzzier and therefore less useful as a measuring line. (See also the author perspective below.)

2) It fits his background (granted that this was set up by the author) of a culture in which women are treated with respect and are valued members of society, but which also recognizes distinct roles and characteristics for men and women. (In spite of what some people want to believe, women in general are less phyisically imposing than men in general. The fact that Alsbet Luhhan could probably have taken almost any man in the Two Rivers doesn’t change the fact that most women couldn’t. Nor does it change the observable fact that when women know that they are both capable of and free to do “men’s work”, most of them simply don’t want to.)

3) He didn’t draw such a distinct line during TDR when he was clearly in the process of developing effects of the taint but had isolated himself from humanity; once he came back in contact with people who were familiar and he knew cared about him, he started realizing that he didn’t really like the direction he’d been going. One obvious and unambiguous (see #1) way to distance himself from that direction was to draw this line in the sand.

4) When Moiraine dies because of his inability to kill Lanfear, he holds on to his line. One perspective on this is “That’s totally stupid. Learn your lesson; be willing to kill a female Forsaken, at least, so it never happens again.” (Which is exactly what happened – by being unwilling to kill or even still Semirhage, Min very nearly died.) Rand’s perspective, while being a bit less obvious, is no less valid for him: “If I change my mind about this line I’ve drawn, if I declare that that moral imperative is meaningless, then her death will have been completely meaningless as well.” In effect, he honors Moiraine as best he can by holding the line.

From the author perspective, it’s extremely useful.

5) As you pointed out, it serves as a great device to make us angry with Rand; his refusal to harm or kill even a Forsaken because of her gender created several untenable situations. In addition, it creates a lot of frustration (especially in certain readers) regarding his attitude toward the Maidens and any other woman who willingly puts her life on the line for him.

6) As for the character, so for the author and reader: it is an unambiguous definition. Guilt or innocence is sometimes difficult to determine exactly, but male or female is pretty clear.

7) It serves to show Rand’s connection to LTT and his guilt over Ilyena’s death; at first, it was only hinted at, and that as much in hindsight as anything. But as we see the connection grow, it’s easy to draw a link between LTT’s horror at having killed his beloved wife and Rand’s horror at killing any woman.

8) It was necessary for several critical plot events: Moiraine’s assumed death and amazing return; Lanfear’s assumed death and annoying return; Semirhage remaining alive, uninjured and unstilled after her capture; and a multitude of other minor events.

9) Finally, and most important, it served as a critical breaking point with some very specific repercussions. When he found himself powerless to stop his own body from doing the very thing he’d sworn never ever to do, and that to a woman he loved, he didn’t just break – he shattered. He found (or was given, depending on your theory) a way out, and the rebound was phenomenal. Up to that point, he wouldn’t kill any woman, even if she were a Forsaken; after that, it was “Forsaken (Semirhage & Graendal), their toys (everyone at Natrin’s Barrow), darkfriends (Elza), and anyone I think failed me or defies me (Cadsuane).” No, he didn’t kill Graendal, but he sure tried, and thought he had. No, he didn’t kill Cadsuane, but does anyone doubt he would have at least tried if she had defied him at that point?

So there we have Rand, going from “kill no woman” to “kill any woman that annoys me” in… a very short space. It may not be the ideal “moral event horizon” from all perspectives, but it’s very, very effective. It serves all sorts of authorial purposes, and makes certain actions both more believable and more shocking at the same time. While “killing innocents” or “protecting my loved ones” might have been just as valid in some ways, they would not have worked as well for the particular story RJ was developing. IMO.

It will be very, very interesting to be in Rand’s head again in AMoL, to find out what happened to his list and what he’s thinking about this MEH now that he’s had his “Rocky Mountain High.” I find that I really, really, really hope we’re in Rand’s POV when he finds out Moiraine is alive – preferably in a face-to-face meeting. I have a certain suspicion (or maybe it’s just a hope) that his MEH will be linked to that meeting in some really cool way, on which I refuse to speculate.

Okay, that was a very long-winded ramble about something not many people really care about any more, but it was fun to put it together. For a certain definition of fun, anyway.

New post tomorrow!!

Juan Avila
283. Cumadrin

A well-written and thorough response. I don't argue that the MEH as part of his overall psychological degradation was not effective and important. It was a valuable element in his journey towards his assumed destiny as tragic savior of the world. You made very good points all around on its merits and necessity in the story.

I'm not ashamed to admit that my opinion is colored due to, ironically, how effectively and immensely it all affected Rand. I simply don't like HIM anymore, because I've had to watch him walk his road of mistakes on this subject every step of the way. It's drained me.

That said, I still hope he can win me back in aMoL. I don't hate Rand, but at this point my main grief if he really doesn't survive Tarmon Gai'don would be for Aviendha, Elayne, Min and everyone else close to him that would mourn him. Not for him in his own right.

Rand's emotional/psychological breakdown over the last half of the series has been beautifully and effectively well done. Too well done, in a way. It's made me indifferent to his personal fate. But that's okay; even if I don't always love the hero unconditionally, he still earns my respect and gratitude.

Especially for all the fun conversation.
284. Sean Hagen
So, I wasn't sure where to put this, so I just decided to put it here.

Tor.com Leigh Butler Partial Feed ( just the stuff before the cut )
Tor.com Leigh Butler Full Feed ( the whole post )

Now, an explaination!

I'm a geek. But I'm a geek with little time. I use RSS feeds a ton to keep up-to-date on the various blogs I read for fun, work, and to learn. Having just now finished reading the latest instalment in Leigh's WOT reread, I dispaired for a moment thinking that I'd forget about this series ( the reread, that is, not WOT ) and never come back.

See, I tend to be forgetful. Hence, RSS.

Unfortunately, Tor.com doesn't seem to understand that on the web, choice is king. They've only got two RSS feeds:

1) For all the posts on the front page.
2) For all the posts on the front page, but only the stuff before the cut.

In a word: argh.

So, because I wanted a feed of just the WOT Reread posts by Leigh Butler, it looked like I was SOL. But then I remembered Yahoo Pipes, and there was rejoicing throughout the land.

Right now, both of the feeds are for ALL of Leigh's posts on Tor.com, not just the WOT Rereads. As this post is no longer in the RSS feed, I felt it was better to leave the feed as-is, rather than to put in filters and blindly hope that they worked.

Anyways: for people wanting a more specific RSS feed for the WOT Reread, here you go. For people who don't care ( or are... mad at me? I dunno, I have no idea what the reaction for this will be. It's late, and I'm not braining well. ), no biggie, continue on as you were.

For the folks running the Tor.com site: maybe you should look into having a few more RSS options? Like perhaps, one for each author? Or even each series? ( Gasp! ) Just a thought.

And now, because it is 2:30am and I've been up since 9am-ish, it's time to go pass out.
Jonathan Levy
285. JonathanLevy
Have you seen the film Inception? I think you should :)

Thank you. I think Birgitte explains to Nynaeve that in Falme the heroes were not truly there in the flesh, therefore the One Power could not harm them.

The idea that the heroes, when summoned by the horn, bring certain aspects of TAR with them is an interesting one. I think, however, that the TAR-aspects should be attributed to the Horn, rather than the Heroes. There are certain TAR-like elements which could not be supposed to have been willed by any of the Heroes - e.g. the link between Rand's battle with Ishamael and the Heroe's battle with the Seanchan; The fact that Rand's struggle was visible in the skies; The way Rand was thrown from his horse and did not fall to the ground, and more.

That said, the TAR-like environment certainly explains how the Heroes managed to do things they could not do in the flesh.


I think you could add the women in Graendal's palace to the list. LTT mopes about them at some point in TGS - don't remember where, exactly - maybe before he starts walking the halls of the Stone? Or before he gets collared.

284. Sean Hagen
I didn't understand 90% of what you said, but you seemed to have gone to some effort to prepare an RSS feed for the common good, for which I am sure many of us are duly grateful. So - Thanks!
286. Just Mo
Holy jeebus. Try this theory on for size....
Balance has been a central theme to WoT, obviously. Good balances Evil. Dark balances Light. Saidin balances Saidar. etc. So...DO balances Creator logically. But the "right" side often depends on which side youare on. ("history is often written by the winner", someone once said) If the DO breaks free, he breaks the Wheel and re-creates everything, thus becoming the CREATOR. Is it such a stretch that he could create a linear timeline as opposed to a circular one? Opposites and Balances. Logic bomb....dropped. teehee!
288. Just Mo
Well, I was re-reading some of the comments above and a few stated that it was ambigious sometimes who the CAPSLOCK VOICE belongs to. Usually it's the DO, but once or twice it's generally agreed that it was the Creator talking to Rand. And got to thinking that maybe the Creator and the DO are basically two halves of the same gold coin....in perfect opposition to one another. What happens when you flip a coin infinately? Half the time it comes up heads and half the time it comes up tails basically. WoT is ALL about balance...so why has the "evil" side been losing consistently since the beginning of time? Well, I tend to think that it didn't. After all, the "winners" tend to write the history books the way they see it...painting themselves as the "good guys". Who is to say that it wasn't just "the DO" that got sealed up, but in fact, just the loser. That's why both sides are always trying to keep the Fisher on their side. He helps them win the round.

Bah, I'm sure this is sounding 9 kinds of disjointed, but in my head (which is currently suffering from sleep deprivation from a 12 hour night shift) it all makes perfect sense. LOL sorry!
Kimani Rogers
289. KiManiak
**Twitch*** Almost there... almost there...
Alice Arneson
290. Wetlandernw
Cumadrin - I rather agree; Rand got to be an extremely unlikeable person. If it had been written less beautifully and effectively; if it had happened without the near-perfect inevitability of the progression, I probably would dislike not only Rand but the whole series. (I've read books where the hero is unlikeable before, but either I wasn't given enough to like him in the first place or it was a not-entirely-believable progression. I don't tend to read those books again, if I even finish them in the first place.) I wasn't so much trying to convince you that you should like Rand or his choices as a result of my argument. It was more an exercise in figuring out why it was so effective - why I hated it happening, but liked it anyway. Once I'd done all the work, I figured I might as well share it. :)

Jonathan Levy - You're quite right - it's probably an effect of the Horn, drawing the Heroes into the real world without actually removing them from TAR completely. What happened with Rand was certainly not by his intent, anyway! However, for those who are called by the Horn, I think their control of the effect is conscious and deliberate.

Also... When I was thinking about Rand killing women, I was specifically thinking about the many women he killed at Natrin's Barrow, but when I wrote it up, that bit got left out or subsumed in the too-general "all the people there" idea. I've wondered if those have been added to his list, or if the list got left on Dragonmount. We haven't really been in his head since then. Given his epiphany, I half expect the latter, but I've always hoped that his meeting with Moiraine would result in the list vanishing in a puff of smoke. For some reason, I've always assumed that since she was at the top of the list, he would be done with it when (and only when) he found that she was alive after all.

RAFO...... ::sigh::
Eric Hughes
291. CireNaes
Just Mo@288

Fun speculation and I agree that both the Creator and the DO know the Fisher is the key as the one who has the capability to contain or release the DO. However, I am of the opinion that the DO is more than just the loser. The DO is really the bad guy. Evinced by morally corrupt tactics, the twisting of the Creator's work into truly horrific counters that work towards corrupting or destroying order, and the end game desire to unmake his prison without any regard to the living entities within it. Also, RJ was very keen on there being clear good and evil in this series. So although the Creator and DO could indeed be "connected" with the Pattern acting as the buffer between the two, I don't think the DO is just the misunderstood loser from a previous intergalactic smackdown between two dieties.
Jeff Weston
292. JWezy
JustMo@228 - It's not just you - this is a recurring thought for me. I would love to have somebody write a story in which the creator is imprisoned in their creation, and must (by human proxy) find a way to escape without destroying his creation. Or choose to remain imprisoned, or whatever.

The really interesting part would be how far the author could carry the light/dark ambiguity while still having a satisfying conclusion. It would all center on what the task was, and how the exposition was handled.
293. Just Mo
@CireNaes 291--Yeah, I do get your point. It just seems odd to me that, throughout the entire series, RJ and BS have made it a point to show the balance between everything, and yet one side has never ever won once in infinity? Just sounds like there is more to the story that we aren't seeing. Dunno. I think weird things with no sleep and nothing going on 10 hours into a 12 hour shift. lol
Juan Avila
294. Cumadrin
@Just Mo

A bit late, but I should point out that judging from Rand's Portal Stone Airlines trip to Falme in tGH, the Dark One considers it a win as long as the Dragon dies before the Last Battle. "I win again, Lews Therin.'

One could also infer he considers it a win as long as he's not pernanantly sealed away undetectably/imperviously or destroyed, as seems to be Rand's best case scenario goal THIS time around, since he can always be drilled again and again and get another crack at the Wheel. So the trend is actually opposite to your assumption.

Hmm... drilled again and again.... maybe the wheel is the metaphorical 'lock' on the metaphorical 'cuffs' (the Pattern) in the BDSM game the Dark One and the Creator are playing. And he wants to destroy it because he forgot the safe word.

Even better: what if the safe word is his true name which no one is supposed to speak? Every time someone speaks it and the world seems to lurch, it's the Dark One bucking against his restraints, yelling "What!?!" Burn me, I forgot the big voice. 'AHEM... WHAT?!?!'

Best. Theory. Ever.
Terry McNamee
295. macster
@272 RobM: Yeah I get going pretty easily, especially when there's a lot of people to respond to.

Well, that talent may have been established but I've never really liked it, it just seems too unrealistic. (Yes I know, it's a fantasy series.) Which is why I said, if that's what ends up happening, I really hope it is well written enough to make me wowed by the coolness and forget any objections I might have.

@273 JonathanLevy: An interesting, startling, and possibly upsetting notion, but I think the posters after you put paid to why it isn't likely.

@275 JonathanLevy, 276 Wetlander: If you are correct (and I am fairly sure you are) that the amazing things the Heroes can do and their inability to be harmed by the Power when summoned are due to the Horn drawing upon some of the nature of TAR to give the Heroes the ability to make their thoughts a reality, this would seem to undermine my idea that the Heroes and Horn are not of TAR. However it also provdes the answer to Cumadrin's question, which Wetlander touched on: "they can choose whether or not they wish to be seen". So that's why the wolves can't see the Heroes, because at the time Birgitte didn't want to be seen by anybody but Perrin.

@280 Cumadrin: Well then, assuming that the people in TAR were able to have the focus and control Wet describes, I guess now we know how TAR battles would look if WOT ever were made into movies or a miniseries. ;)

@282 Wetlander: *applauds* I couldn't have said it better myself! In fact I probably would have used even more words. :P I also have to agree with Cumadrin and your further response to him...that the strength of his reaction to what Rand became is a testament to the power of Jordan and Sanderson's writing. And the fact he can still respect and be grateful to Rand even if he doesn't like him any more is also quite remarkable.

@291 CireNaes, 293 JustMo: While I agree with CireNaes, I think you have a point too, JustMo. In fact I would hazard a guess that this issue, whether the Dark One can actually win, whether and how the two sides are balanced, why it is everything else is equal but he and the Creator seemingly are not, will actually be very critical in the Last Battle...

@294 Cumadrin: That is...deeply disturbing. And also hilarious.
Anthony Pero
296. anthonypero
Sean Hagan @ 284:

Actually, this site does have RSS feeds for nearly everything, they are just not visible. For instance, visit http://www.tor.com/Leigh%20Butler#filter. Look at the source code, in the header, and you will find this link:


This will give you an RSS feed with the teasers nd titles, and links. This works for every teaser page on the site. The content management system is generating the RSS feeds, but for some reason, they are not showing up in FF, nor are they discretely printed on the page.
297. DougL
I was reading this again recently and I must say. Throughout the rest of the book I don't think Min, or anyone ever thinks, even Rand, that he only escaped that situation because of how much he loves her. If that had been Cadsuane or pretty much anyone not Elayne, Avi or Min on the ground they would be dead and Rand would be off to SG with Semiharge.

I also don't get why Nynaeve didn't reflexively heal Min the moment she saw her, Nyn does that all the time.

In the end, I also don't see why Rand and Min aren't exclusive. I cannot imagine a better woman than Min, he has spent little to no time with Elayne and Avi has basically avoided him since they took Camelyn from Rhavin. Whatever, it's a book series but this foursome romance thing is not something I can wrap my head around. The initial stage of the romance with Min was a little odd, but since then, solid wonderful support and tons of great sex with a beautiful and intelligent young woman. What's not to love?

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