Jan 10 2012 2:40pm

The Wheel of Time Re-read: The Gathering Storm, Part 14

The Wheel of Time Reread on Tor.comHappy 2012, WOT fans! Welcome back to the Wheel of Time Re-read!

Today’s entry covers Chapters 23 through 25 of The Gathering Storm, in which I battle the forces of Evil, Crazy, and Stupid, not necessarily in that order, and mostly lose. Dangit!

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 23: A Warp in the Air

What Happens
As they hurry into the manor, followed by Narishma and a group of Wise Ones, Merise reports to Cadsuane that Daigian is dead, but Corele and Nesune were only put into some kind of trance; they are still unconscious. Cadsuane theorizes that they were left alive in order to keep their Warders from being alerted. She wonders irritably how the boy could have gotten himself in so much trouble again, and how any of this could have happened. They enter al’Thor’s room to find Sarene, Erian and Beldeine there, along with Min, who is rubbing her throat, and al’Thor standing at the window. Cadsuane demands peremptorily to know what happened, and Rand tells her the danger “has been dealt with.” Cadsuane is taken aback when he turns to face her.

There was a strange serenity about him now, but it had a dark edge. Like the serenity one saw in the eyes of a condemned man the moment before he stepped up to the hangman’s noose.

Rand tells Narishma he has a weave for him, and shows him balefire, destroying a coat. Cadsuane hisses that she forbade him from using that weave, but al’Thor cuts her off, telling Narishma that this is what must be used to kill Forsaken, otherwise they might come back. Cadsuane says it is forbidden, and al’Thor replies that he has decided it is not. He tells her he has seen thousands burned from the Pattern with that weapon, and understands it better than she does. Then he shows her the bracelets still sitting on the bed, and then the box she had been keeping them in, open and empty. Shocked, Cadsuane protests that it was protected by intricate wards, but Rand answers, not intricate enough. She tries to figure out how he could have escaped from the collar, and whether he now had the access key ter’angreal that had also been in the box. She asks if he expects her to apologize, and he answers coldly that he would sooner expect an apology from a stone, and that she is exiled from his sight; if he sees her again after tonight, he will kill her. Min protests, but he ignores her. Cadsuane says this is foolishness.

He turned, and again that gaze of his made her trail off. There was a danger to it, a shadowy cast to his eyes that struck her with more fear than she’d thought her aging heart could summon. As she watched, the air around him seemed to warp, and she could almost think that the room had grown darker.

Cadsuane stammers that he doesn’t kill women, and al’Thor replies that he has been “forced to revise that particular inclination.” He asks softly if she believes that he could kill her just through using ta’veren influence on the Pattern; Cadsuane wants to believe that being ta’veren doesn’t work that way, but when she meets his eyes, she realizes that he really will kill her if she doesn’t leave. She nods, and al’Thor tells her to be certain he never sees her face again. She sees the warping darkness around him again for a moment, and forces herself to leave. She hears him telling the others that he plans to be gone from the manor by the end of the week.

Cadsuane raised a hand to her head and leaned against the hallway wall outside, heart thumping, hand sweating. Before, she had been working against a stubborn but good-hearted boy. Someone had taken that child and replaced him with this man, a man more dangerous than any she had ever met. Day by day, he was slipping away from them.

And at the moment, she hadn’t a blasted clue what to do about it.

Ah, so much ambivalence, so little time.

Because — okay. I have always been highly ambivalent toward Cadsuane. And I know some of you are like AMBIVALENCE WHUT, YOU HATE HER, but really if you go back and look at my commentary on her over the books since she appeared, I think it shows that I have admired her (even if reluctantly) almost as often as I have railed at her. Or at least enough that it has not been a one-way ticket on the Revulsion Train, anyway.

So, ambivalence. But this chapter takes my ambivalence to a whole other level, because I have said that, generally speaking, the one area in which Cadsuane ALWAYS managed to piss me off was in how she treated Rand. And here she is FINALLY FINALLY getting her comeuppance on that score — and it completely sucks, because it is Evil(ish) Rand doing it, and it is, actually, scary as hell and not awesome at all.

Not so much as in what actually happened, but the implications of it. Because when Rand said that he would kill her here if she didn’t get lost, I believed him.


A warlord/king/nascent Messiah figure with no moral boundaries? Even without knowing what comes next, that is fucking terrifying. I remember I read this chapter the first time going “aw, shit” in my head on repeat, and also lots of very cliché things like SO NOT COOL and I’ve Got A Bad Feeling About This™, and etc.

So, cliché, maybe, but nevertheless it bears repeating: SO NOT COOL.

And, dammit, it undermines my whole (perfectly cromulent, in my opinion) outrage with Cadsuane re: her insistence on treating Rand like a delinquent child, and my wish that someone would finally make her see how utterly counterproductive (also in my opinion, natch) her treatment of Rand has been. Because someone finally calls her on it and it’s Dark Side Rand? THANKS FOR RUINING MY POINT, DUDE.

All crazed-with-despair semi-evil people are to stay off my side, you hear me? I wanted dressings-down, not death threats! This is not convincing anyone you’re worth listening to, you know! In fact, the exact opposite!

So, er, yeah. Not to forget the larger point, of course, which is that in addition to undermining my talking points re: Cadsuane (heh), this chapter makes clear that Rand has gone right off the moral rails (and I don’t know why I am so into locomotive imagery today), and Anything Could Happen, and this is really, really not a good thing.

Ugh. Ugh ugh ugh. Do not want Dark Side Rand! Bad! Go away!

So let’s move on, then, right? Right!

To… Gawyn.



Chapter 24: A New Commitment

What Happens
Exhausted from days of riding, Gawyn rides into the Rebel army camp. He regrets leaving the Younglings but knows it was the right thing to do, even if he hates the idea of working with the Aes Sedai who had set Egwene up to be a puppet and pawn. He resolves to rescue her and convince her to come back to Andor with him. As he passes through the camp followers, he is shocked to see that one of the washerwomen has an Aes Sedai face; she refuses to acknowledge him, though, and so he moves on to the command palisade. The guards do not believe him when he tells them his name and refuse to send for Bryne; when Gawyn insists, they go to drive him off by force. Gawyn quickly takes out the entire squad, though he tries to injure them as little as he can. The disturbance brings Bryne soon enough; Gawyn is angered by Bryne’s rude summoning to him, thinking that Bryne should show him more respect, but follows to Bryne’s tent. Bryne then demands an explanation for Gawyn’s behavior. Gawyn replies that perhaps he was “hasty” but it was too important that he see Bryne and get him to listen to him.

“And if I don’t?” Bryne asked. “If I instead throw you out of my camp for being a spoiled princeling with too much pride and not enough sense?”

Gawyn frowned. “Be careful, Gareth. I’ve learned a great deal since we last met. I think you’ll find that your sword can no longer best mine as easily as it once did.”

“I have no doubt of that,” Bryne said. “Light, boy! You always were a talented one. But you think that just because you’re skilled with the sword, your words hold more weight? I should listen because you’ll kill me if I don’t? I thought I taught you far better than that.”

Gawyn then feels ashamed, and apologizes to Bryne. Bryne accepts gruffly, and Gawyn explains that he’s here to rescue Egwene. Bryne snorts and tells him that even if he could, why would he think Egwene will let him, when she’s forbidden the rebels to rescue her? Gawyn finds this ridiculous, and points out to Bryne that eventually they will kill her; Bryne replies he may be right, but even so his hands are tied by the oath he made. He says he will bring Gawyn to see some of the Aes Sedai, though; perhaps Gawyn can sway them. Gawyn mentions in passing that he saw one in the camp, hiding among the washerwomen; Bryne frowns, and insists that Gawyn show her to him. As they head back to the outer camp, Bryne discovers that Gawyn has no idea that Elayne is already in Caemlyn and holds the throne. Gawyn is relieved by the news, but tells Bryne he can’t go to his sister until Egwene is safe.

“You made an oath,” Bryne said sternly. “Before me. Have you forgotten?”

“No,” Gawyn said. “But if Elayne has the throne, then she’s safe for now. I’ll get Egwene and tow her back to Caemlyn where I can keep an eye on her. Where I can keep an eye on both of them.”

Bryne snorted. “I think I’d like to watch you trying that first part,” he noted.

Bryne still doesn’t understand why Gawyn wasn’t with Elayne in the first place, and then puts two and two together and realizes, outraged, that Gawyn must have been the one conducting all the raids on his camp. Gawyn refuses to apologize, and says it doesn’t matter anymore, as he has left the White Tower’s allegiance, and swears nothing he sees here will return to Bryne’s enemies. Bryne accepts this reluctantly, but asks what Egwene is to Gawyn that he would delay returning to Caemlyn.

Gawyn met his eyes. “I don’t know,” he admitted. “I wish I did.”

Strangely, Bryne chuckled. “I see. And I understand. Come, let’s find this Aes Sedai you think you saw.”

They then argue about Morgase; Gawyn is still convinced al’Thor killed her, but to his shock Bryne replies that he’s not sure he believes that, and even if he did, al’Thor saved Andor by doing so. Gawyn lays his hand on his sword, and Bryne tells him he will always the truth no matter who challenges him on it.

“Morgase the woman I can forgive. But Morgase the Queen? She gave the kingdom to that snake. She sent her allies to be beaten and imprisoned. She wasn’t right in her mind. Sometimes, when a soldier’s arm festers, it needs to be cut free to save the man’s life. I’m pleased at Elayne’s success, and it is a wound to speak these words. But you have to bury that hatred of al’Thor. He wasn’t the problem. Your mother was.“

Gawyn kept his teeth clenched. Never, he thought. I will never forgive al’Thor. Not for this.

Bryne sees his look, and advises him to ask his sister about it. They drop the subject, and eventually Gawyn locates the Aes Sedai washerwoman, Shemerin, who refuses to acknowledge them at first. Then Bryne asks her if she is Aes Sedai, and offers to leave without question if she commands it, but the woman whispers that she is not; she was once Aes Sedai, but no longer. Bryne says he needs to bring her to the sisters in the camp, and Shemerin sighs, but acquiesces. Bryne tells Gawyn he’d best come along as well.


The stupid, it burnsssss. You are SUCH A MORON, DUDE. AAAAAAAAGGGHHHH.

*headdesk* *headdesk* *headdesk*


 I honestly don’t have any other reaction to this chapter, except for a desire to invent new expletives to express how I feel about the absolutely jaw-dropping levels of willful stupidity, arrogance, entitlement, and obliviousness Gawyn displays here. The fact, that, at base, the idiot really does mean well only makes it worse. Road, hell, good intentions, etc.

I’m not kidding, EVERYTHING HE SAYS here makes me want to beat him senseless. Good God. It’s almost perversely impressive.

Seriously, pick a topic and just watch the stupid splatter everywhere:

“Oh, NEWSFLASH, we’ve got to rescue Egwene! Because I am obviously the ONLY PERSON who realizes OMG SHE’S IN DIZZANGER!”

“Oh, my sister gained the throne even though I wasn’t there to help her like I swore on her cradle? Cool whatever NOW ABOUT EGWENE. And her DANGER. Because I’m sure my sister is totally not in any kind of peril anymore now that she’s Queen!”

“Oh, that silly Egwene and her hilarious ‘orders,’ I will just wrap her in cotton and take her away and she will of course be all ‘MY HERO’ and be totally fine with this, amirite? Right! Wow, it’s like I never even met her before!”

“Oh, my childhood mentor/father figure now joins the list of EVERYONE I’VE EVER MET telling me to get the fuck over the Rand thing? Well, that is totally not good enough to overcome my batshit insane irrational hatred of him, so there! Banzai!”

“Oh yeah, I was totes raiding the shit out of your army, but it doesn’t matter now, because I’ve stopped!”

…Seriously. SERIOUSLY. The words, they fail me.

That last one in particular is just stunning, especially considering he said it right to Bryne’s face. That is extra-super special, right there. I really do not understand how Bryne had the self-control to keep from slapping him silly. Or at least locking him up and throwing away the key.

ObSheesh: Sheesh.

In conclusion: Shut up, Gawyn. Pretty please. With sugar on top. God.

Moving on!


Chapter 25: In Darkness

What Happens
Sheriam enters her tent, instinctively checking to see if Halima is there to punish her even though she knows Halima is long gone. Sheriam thinks sometimes that she would not have chosen her path if she’d known about the pain involved, or that the end times would occur during her lifetime; she had joined strictly for the political advantages.

She wasn’t so naive as to feel guilty about the things she’d done. Every sister in the White Tower tried to get ahead; that’s what life was about! There wasn’t an Aes Sedai who wouldn’t stab her sisters in the back if she thought it would give her advantage. Sheriam’s friends were just a little more... practiced at it.

She suddenly realizes that a woman with great strength in the Power is standing outside the tent, and flings herself to grovel before the woman when she enters, cloaked in an illusion of black cloth and darkness. The woman, who Sheriam surmises must be one of the Chosen from her strength, tells her that Sheriam must arrange for Egwene al’Vere to be deposed. Sheriam is astonished, and protests that it was one of the Chosen who ordered her to have the girl raised in the first place.

”Yes, but she has proven to have been a... poor choice. We needed a child, not a woman with merely the face of a child. She must be removed. You will make certain this group of foolish rebels stops supporting her. And end those blasted meetings in Tel’aran’rhiod.”

She asks how they have those meetings anyway, and Sheriam reluctantly reveals that they have nineteen ter’angreals that allow the bearer to enter the Dreamworld. The woman calls them “sleepweavers,” and orders Sheriam to steal all of them. Sheriam is appalled, having no idea how to get away with this, and the woman adds that she has three days to do it, and will lose a finger or toe for each one of the nineteen she fails to acquire in that time. The woman leaves through a gateway which Sheriam sees leads to the White Tower. Sheriam berates herself that she didn’t lie about the sleepweavers’ numbers, and reflects that her brief period of peace is over.

Egwene sits outside her cell, talking to Seaine, who tells her that Elaida will be tried for the violations of Tower law she committed on Egwene’s person in front of multiple witnesses two days earlier, but that it will not be enough to get her deposed, only censured, especially since Elaida is claiming Egwene is a Darkfriend, and there are some who believe her. Seaine assures her that the accusation will not stand, and that Elaida will not risk a trial, as that would mean allowing to Egwene to speak on her own behalf. Egwene reflects that even just censure would lose Elaida a great deal of credibility, but it may not be enough to keep the pressure on. Seaine also reports that the effects of the Dark One’s stirring are growing worse, with servants dying, food spoiling, and entire sections of the Tower being rearranged at random.

“You have to bring these things up, Seaine,” Egwene said softly. “Keep reminding the sisters that the Dark One stirs and that the Last Battle approaches. Keep their attention on working together, not dividing. […] Do what I cannot. Ask the others to do so as well.”

Seaine says she will try, and leaves as the Red guards lock Egwene back in her cell, which is too low for her to stand up straight in, and pitch black once the door is shut. Egwene worries over what Elaida will do to her, but tells herself all she can do is stay firm.

I warmed this pot myself, and now I must boil in it, if that is what will protect the Tower. They knew she continued to resist. That was all she could give them.

I am trying really hard here to remember what my initial reaction was to the big reveal here, which is of course that Sheriam is Black Ajah, and… I’m really not sure what it was.

I feel like this might be because I had, oddly, not much reaction to it either way. I was neither all ZOMG THE HORRAH, nor was I all I KNEW IT. Because I didn’t know it beforehand. I hadn’t ever really bought into the fan theories that said she was Black at all; I think I thought she was just too much of an obvious red herring to actually be Black. And yet when I found out I was wrong, I… wasn’t particularly surprised by it. Or upset, either. I really do think my reaction was, in a word, “Enh.”

I kind of feel like that is way too blasé a reaction, but it is what it is. I dunno. Maybe there is just so much other shit going on at this point that this particular revelation got lost in the sound and fury. If it had come at a time when I hadn’t been on miserable tenterhooks re: Evilish Rand (not to mention being agog over what was going to happen with Egwene, and nursing my Gawyn-induced migraine), I might have paid more attention.

And I really should have, especially considering how much it changes about the entire Salidar/Rebel Aes Sedai storyline in retrospect. Oddly, it makes it a lot more palatable in many ways, since this way at least you know a heck of a lot of the Dumb on display was actually intentional, or intentionally guided, anyway. This is, rather perversely, somewhat comforting.

At any rate, Sheriam makes herself ultra-contemptible here with her I was only in it for the perqs! bullshit; I mean, at least genuinely evil people have the courage of their convictions. The banality of evil, indeed. Pfeh.

Also, Mesaana is such a bitch, you guys. I mean, okay, that’s kind of a given considering her vocation, but really. Three days to steal nineteen items, each (I presume) in the possession of an extremely entitled and (these days) paranoid Sitter? So not doable without discovery, and I bet Mesaana knows it. Damn evil people, I swear.

Also also, Egwene = Awesome, still. The End.

No, really, the end! Go on, git! See you next Tuesday!

j p
1. sps49
Hey again, Leigh!

New, non-shiny Rand is really depressing. And scary. Most of the rest of his chapters will suck, even though there will be Nynaeve awesomenessosity.

But yay for Black Ajah progress being made!

ETA: No, I am ignoring the Gawyn bit on purpose.
Sam Mickel
2. Samadai
Yay a new post, how wonderful.
Rands dark aura is freaky. Really looking forward to the payoff later.
Gawyn is almost ready to be a good character again.
A little pre-Egwene slam on Sheriam
Rancho Unicorno
3. Rancho Unicorno
Just finished the Ch 23 reread and I think i am missing something. For so long, if has felt like you've been railing against Rand's "No Kill Women" event horizon as being chauvenistic. Here, you believe that he is no longer going to treat women any differently than men - he is willing to do whatever he must - and yet you are telling me that his threats aren't cool.

Am I missing something? (clearly I am, I just don't know what)
Rancho Unicorno
4. AndrewB
She's Baaaaaaaaack!
Rancho Unicorno
5. Megaduck
Ah, Chapter 23.

It's odd because my opinions are generally not 180 from Leigh but just this once I have to say I LOVED chapter 23. I think I was laughing in raw glee the entire time I read it. It's probably one of my favorite chapters in the series right after the scene at the end of the book where Rand goes all Jeasusy. (Which Is not a word but I totally want it to be.)

I think the change is that for the first time I get the feeling that Rand has real force of personality in this chapter. He's not wanding around insecure or blowing up into childish tantrums. He actually begins to feel mature here with a serene depth to him. (Granted, a serene depth that has a dangerous dark edge but you can't have everything.)

Having waited the entire series for someone to start acting serene and mature I am willing to overlook the shadow tinged darkness.
John Mann
6. jcmnyu
My feelings on Cadsuane are always centered on what she will do to fulfill Min's prediction. What will she teach Rand and all of the Asha'man? If it is something only she and her quirky/over bearing/semi-megalomaniacal personality could teach, then her participation in the story will be worth it. If it is more along the lines of remembering to brush their teeth twice a day, then I will remember her with disdain and great loathing. I hate her methods, tactics, and attitude. As you say to your friend who married someone who treats them badly in public, I hope she's worth it.
Jeff Weston
7. JWezy
Can I just say that in about two weeks we will come to the Chinese New Year? And the year coming up is... the Year of the Dragon!

Do you think they delayed the publication of AMoL for that?
Rancho Unicorno
8. Rancho Unicorno
Just finished ch 24.

I don't disagree with you regarding Gawyn, totally. My initial assessment of him and Galad - the former was a good character, the latter irritating - was reversed by this point. But I think that much of what you are taking issue with in this chapter is misplaced. To wit:

He is still operating under the fact that Egwene is still a recent initiate to the Tower and thus can reasonably believe that she is still naieve about the workings of the AS - a group he has dealt with since infancy. His belief that he needs to take care of her - protect her from evil scheming is reasonable, even if he will have to be educated otherwise.

Obviously he isn't going to care what the Rebels think about rescuing Egwene - he thinks they've manipulated a novice to their own ends. His belief that he is the only one to appreciate her danger (especially since he has been working for the bad guys until this point) is reasonable. His belief that as a manipulated novice she isn't aware enough of her danger to make her "no rescue" orders reasonable, is reasonable.

He thinks Rand killed his momma. "Get over it, pal," is not going to be enough for that to happen - people are usually irrational when they believe someone killed their momma. His difficulty in moving on is reasonable.

The raids were done under the auspices of Elaida's tower. It wasn't anything personal - essentially he defected from the Tower to the Rebels. While I would have expected a longer period of credibility-building, we do need to give some attention to the need for pacing. His belief that Bryne would understand the impersonal nature of the raids is reasonable.

Of course, don't expect me to defend him once he finally catches up with Egwene - at that point he's just being dense.
Rancho Unicorno
9. AndrewB
Leigh, thanks for another wonderful post. I hope that you had a merry Xmas, happy New Year and that your family medical situation has resolved itself (hopefully for the better).

When I read Chapter 23 the 1st time (and every time thereafter), I never thought that Rand believed he could twist the Pattern like he asks (ie willing Cads' heart to stop beating). Rather, I thought this section was meant to be that only Cads believed that Rand thought he could twist the Pattern around in the manner in which he suggested. Further, Cads was afraid that becuase the manner in which Rand asked the question, maybe he really could do that.

I believe my interpretation is supported by an inner monologue which Rand later has in TGS (at last I think it was an inner monologue rather than a conversation). Rand concludes that never getting upset and answering everthying with a question of his own throws off the person who wants something from Rand and gives the image that Rand is confident and all-knowing.

Questions -- By the end of ToM (if not earlier), does Cads ever learn that Elza was Black Ajah and that she was balefired along with Semirhage. Also, do the two Aes Sedai who were in a trance ever wake up?

Thanks for reading my musings.
TW Grace
10. TWGrace
makes me want to beat him senseless.
That is not much of a beating. ;)
John Massey
11. subwoofer
About this Rand thing- is there any doubt left that at this point he is almost completely batshit crazy? As we have discussed, the last chapter was his lowest point, and we reap the results of said low point here- the savior about to purposely harm a woman, because she ticked him off. How refreshing Rand, I pity the fool that gets between you and a nookie run with Min. FYI- Forsaken and BA trump all, I think Cadsuane should get a pass on this one.

Gawyn. Well Leigh, I'd stop you from *headdesking*, but rereading this chapter has me banging my own very precious noggin against the wall. This Gawyn guy, he is painful to read. It's like a crazy person is swinging a weasel and whatever the weasel latches on to goes flying- so follows Gawyn's logic. First Prince of the Sword- park your hiney by your sister's side and don't move it, methinks the Amyrlin could do with some sanity in her life... in other words, not you. Incidentally, I think it is worth noting that what Bryne says nicely mirrors what Tam told Cadsuane about bullying.

What if Gawyn was by Elayne's side when Elayne decides to give the BA in her town a surprise party?

"I'm going to go in there, but don't worry, I have a disguise."

"No Elayne, I can't let you do that, let me go first."

Oh what joy that exchange would have given me if one of the BA accidentally offed the princeling.

Sheriam. Well, I have to be honest here, red heads have ALWAYS got me into trouble, so there is no surprise here. That she joined the dark side for political gain was a bit of a let down, but then again, Lanfear...

Edit- and Leigh, I'm overlooking the reference to our Lord, because at the end of this chapter I was praying to him too. Please God, give me the strength to not reach into the book and smote this Gawyn character mightily, even though he really needs smoting.

Rancho Unicorno
12. TBGH
I finally catch up to where I'm live with the reread and these chapters pop up . . .

I've always liked Gawyn as one of the weakest, least intelligent characters who still manages to believably be a key factor in so many plots. Reading this book I kept hoping and hoping for his MoA with Egwene. I was so excited when he finally stopped taking suicidal orders from Elaida and then he has this scene in the camp.

I'm so glad I've read ToM now because otherwise rereading this chapter might have made me throw in the towel on Gawyn. (Admittedly he does some moronic stuff in ToM, but his MoA was very A.)

And @5
You scare me. You do realize death threats are not usually a sign of maturity, right?
Tricia Irish
13. Tektonica
I had always loved Rand....my second favorite character after Mat....but after this chapter, I was so depressed. I was losing all hope, rapidly. The shimmering dark aura thing made me think he might really be gone. This was a very depressing character arc.....until it wasn't ;-)

No Cads lover here, but I understand your disappointment that her comeuppance comes at the hands of Dark Rand...kind of negates it.

I totally agree with everything you said about Gawyn. Ug. Tool. Self- involved and deaf.

Happy 2012 to you too, Leigh!
Charles Gaston
16. parrothead
Nice job breaking it, Cadsuane! Have you ever done anything right, and (just as important) in the right way? Am I being fair? Probably not. Don't care, either.

I don't entirely hate Gawyn here, given he's gotten several shocks in a short amount of time, but yeah...douche. Especially his "oh, we have to go save MY WOMAN whatever she might say because she's just a woman and a young one at that!"

Sheriam felt rather anticlimactic and mundane at this point. Never really thought she was, and it was a bit of a disappointment (particularly her reasons) but not enough to gain a reaction.

Egwene = AWESOME
I nominate the following as her theme song (been on my mind for nearly a year)
Rancho Unicorno
17. Lsana
I think my reaction to the revelation of Sheriam was glee: not so much because I had guessed what she was but because we took one of the major questions fans had been debating for years and answered it. Yeah! It made me believe we really were on the home stretch.

Gawyn: What Leigh said. Not much to add there. Hate him almost as much as I hate his sister.


Think of it this way. You have a friend who lives his life according to the ethics of the druids as spelled out in The Mists of Avalon. You try to convince your friend that this is dumb, that Mists is a fantasy novel, not a Bible, but he won't listen. Until one day when he informs you that you're right, he's thrown out his copy of the book, and from now on, he's going to do whatever he wants and nothing is going to tell him otherwise. Wouldn't you be a little freaked out? His previous moral code was a little wacked out, but at least it was a moral code. Now he seems to have given up on morality entirely.

Likewise with Rand. His previous personally imposed moral event horizon was stupid and arbitrary, but it was something. At this point, he seems to have nothing. He hasn't replaced his problematic morality with something else but with a decision to do whatever the heck he feels like. It's freaky.
Alice Arneson
18. Wetlandernw
Leigh, may I just say a big "Thank you!" for giving me such a great laugh in the middle of my day? Because I laughed and laughed and laughed all the way through your Chapter 24 commentary. You made my day! Thanks for expressing all that so well and thoroughly on our behalf, since I'm pretty sure I couldn't have done it near such justice, and it needed to be said.

I'll be chuckling all day over that, and I really needed it today. Especially after Chapter 23.
Rancho Unicorno
19. Wortmauer
Gawyn: You said it, Leigh! A chapter full of stupid. My biggest problem with him is not that he's dumb, there's a lot of dumb people in that world. But that the author clearly has some greatness in store for this preppy One Percent douche. Greatness that Gawyn has been spending several books trying his darndest to un-earn. The author clearly wants to give him a way out of that boring career protecting the throne of Andor, as the next book will bear out. (Well, maybe not boring, Elayne's pretty good at making her bodyguards work far harder than they should.)

And so the other characters make allowances for him that they'd never make for anyone else without his privilege. Especially Lord Bryne. Bryne should have insisted that if Gawyn wants to quit the Tower, he needs to go babysit Elayne. ("You two deserve each other.") He should have been all "You don't get to waltz in here and take command of anything. Your expectation of privilege has duties attached to it. In Andor. If you'd rather hang out here to help our cause, go enlist. Spend your days digging ditches, foraging for supplies, taking orders you don't always agree with, and contemplating how glamorous it is to be a soldier in the 99%." He should have been all "I'm the guy in charge here, you're an enemy commander. You don't get to first-name me even if you did know me way back when." He should have at least considered treating Gawyn as a POW, a potential asset with which to barter. (Bryne has no way of knowing that Elaida wants Gawyn dead.) Or he should have sent him back to the Younglings to sow dissent. Well, assuming he thinks it's wise to trust a guy who has already (a) decided it isn't convenient to fulfill his oath to Andor, (b) betrayed his employer (the White Tower), and (c) betrayed his command (the Younglings).

Instead, based on Gawyn's One Percent privilege (which, it is true, Lord Bryne shares), and the author's clear intent to make him a hero, Bryne takes him way more seriously than either circumstances or his idiocy actually warrant.

I dunno, I guess what grates on me the most is, because he's a VIP and a main character's love interest, he'll never have to earn back his place in the story. By which I mean, he'll never be subjected to doing unpleasant or boring things he doesn't want to do. (The ninja fight doesn't count. He loves swordfighting. I'm sure I would find it unpleasant to be wounded near death by sharp pointy things, but that's the kind of stuff he lives for.) The closest he will come to having to do anything to atone for several books of being dangerously wrong is when Egwene makes him be a puppy dog for a little while. And honestly, I think he kind of enjoys that too.
Eric Hughes
20. CireNaes
He actually begins to feel mature here with a serene depth to him. (Granted, a serene depth that has a dangerous dark edge but you can't have everything.)
That would be the same false maturity that Gawyn parrots and Bryne so aptly answers. Bryne is Gawyn's Cadsuane after all. Gawyn and Rand are literary parallels in their own fashion.
Gawyn frowned. “Be careful, Gareth. I’ve learned a great deal since we last met. I think you’ll find that your sword can no longer best mine as easily as it once did.”

“I have no doubt of that,” Bryne said. “Light, boy! You always were a talented one. But you think that just because you’re skilled with the sword, your words hold more weight? I should listen because you’ll kill me if I don’t? I thought I taught you far better than that.”
Bingo is his nameo.

And can anyone say Anakin Skywalker with me? I mean, he and Gawyn were MFEO. Hand in hand, skipping through the fields.
Obi Wan: "If you spent as much time practicing your saber techniques as you did your wit, you'd rival Master Yoda as a swordsman."

Anakin: "I thought I already did."

Obi Wan: "Only in your mind, my VERY young apprentice."
I've been playing Lego StarWars with my boy. Can't get it out of my head.
Kimani Rogers
21. KiManiak
Thanks, Leigh. Happy New Year and welcome back!

3 Chapters today; what a great Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/New Years Day gift. Even if one chapter is a Gawyn chapter :-)

Cadsuane: I’ve never been a fan of her or her methods. I don’t quite hate her (but I really, really don’t like most of her methods), but I admit I wanted her to get some kind of come-uppance or the like. But, this was in no way the scenario I was envisioning.

Come to think of it, she really doesn’t get any come-uppance here. One of her victims doesn’t face her down or “put her in her place.” They inform her that they’ll kill her if they see her face again. That did nothing for me. No enjoyment in her being ruffled or intimidated in this chapter. Actually the best example of someone “handling” Cadsuane that I appreciated will be later on in TGS, as shown by Tam. I look forward to that chapter.

As for Rand: This really hurt to read. Rand has suffered through so, so much. Yes, he became irritating and annoying, but think of all of the things that were forced upon him. He didn’t choose any of this. And he keeps getting (figuratively and often, literally) knocked down again and again, only to get back up because he knows there’s no one else. And this time… he goes “dark.” I felt sad, and a slowly developing sense of dread when I first read this. And as we know, it gets worse...

This must be said: Team Jordan (thank God we’ve stopped trying to guess whether Brandon or RJ wrote a specific chapter; let’s hope that continues) did an excellent job writing Chapter 22 and 23 (and the whole book of course, but especially these Chapters). Folks can range anywhere on the how-do-I-feel-about-Rand scale from not liking him to him being your favorite character; but I would challenge anyone who’s followed Rand’s development in every book of this series and would still say they weren’t moved by the events in Chapters 22 and 23.

Gawyn: Eh. He continues to be written as a (mostly) unsympathetic character. But, I will say that there are a lot of similarities between Gawyn’s character (pre ToM) and Galad’s character (until the latter 3rd of the series, maybe): they view things very simplistically; things are what they are and our heroes don’t devote a lot of time or effort towards introspection or evaluation.

Galad had developed into (what I believe) is a better man after he found out about Valda’s treatment of Morgase and decided to start taking a hard look at things; it took Gawyn being given words of wisdom from Elayne (yes, I’m shocked that I typed that too) in ToM to be set on the same path, and maybe Morgase (and the subsequent conversation and, one would hope, epiphany that Gawyn reaches after that) will again be the catalyst to Gawyn not just begrudgingly “allowing” Rand to live, but actually accepting Rand, and continuing to mature in his outlook on both personal and world events.

Sheriam: The reveal of her true allegiance wasn’t jaw-dropping shocking to me (as I recall) the first time that I read it, but I will admit that I was not a believer of her being Black Ajah pre-TGS. I think that following the events that happened to Rand, and also factoring in Egwene’s adventures in the Tower, this reveal just didn’t stand out that much to me in the overall story.

Oh, and Mesaana is indeed an evil b!+ch.

Egwene: Still immersed in her Time Of Awesome. And taking responsibility for her actions and the impact they have on other people right here? Color me impressed.

EDIT: For some grammar and clarity.
Rich Bennett
22. Neuralnet
Hooray, a reread... Thanks Leigh, been looking forward to this for a week at least

This is the Rand chapter that shocked me most (more than the previous one). He seemed to truly turn Evil here (with a capitol E), with the black aura and threatening to KILL cadsuane... yikes. It made me think... well maybe the good guys arent going to win this thing after all... what a twist. I kept expecting black dots to float across his eyes.

I have never been a big Gawyn fan... somewhere along the line when reading the last few books, I started to think that the series would have been better if RJ had combined Gawyn and Galad into one character somehow. Gawyn's story arc with Egwene and Elayne just goes on too long... he comes off as whiny and spoiled.

I was in the Sheriam was Black ajah camp already so I wasnt surprised...However, I remember reading this chapter and being fascinated by which forsakken had visited her and was living in the white tower. I guess I wasnt as clued in as the rest of you on that one.
Margot Virzana
23. LuvURphleb
Can we please just skidoo into the book and give airplane esque slaps to both cadsuane and gawyn?

Cadsuane is such a hypocrite and so is gawyn. They really deserve a good smack. Or a toe stubbing. Or a nasty papercut next to the nail on their pinky finger. That way they can have a first hand experience on how people think of them. Tolerable but annoying and somehow more painful than a serious injury.
Why more painful?
Probably because you really cant do anything with a paper cut or stubbed toe you just have to suffer thru. Its not serious afterall.
And it does suck that when cad finally gets what she deserves its because Rand is mirror universe evil tyrant rand.
Can i just say i really didnt like GS except for Egwenes part? Its so depressing.
craig thrift
24. gagecreedlives
"And, dammit, it undermines my whole (perfectly cromulent, in my opinion) outrage with Cadsuane"

But did you at least find it embiggening though Leigh?
Skip Ives
25. Skip
Not to defend Gawyn, because there is no defending him, but berating him for being arrogant, entitled, and oblivious isn’t really fair. He was raised to be a prince and he is a teen-aged boy, that makes all three kind of a given. It’s the willful stupidity that he displays that really gets me. Perrin and Matt are the same age and manage to grow up while under similar circumstances. Elayne manages to think things through, even if she does show a complete disregard for her and everyone else’s life … hmmm, maybe it’s a family thing.

I have a way to explain Gawyn – other than writing him off as a medieval equivalent of a dumb jock. The problem is I don’t really buy it. It goes something like “Well he was raised by his mother and Elaida, to obey and defend Elayne, so he’s never had to actually think before in his life. He’s trying to do the best he can with limited information and the decisions he makes seem right to him at the time. So you can’t blame a guy for trying right?” I can accept that as the reason he defended Elaida in the tower coup, because he was told she was rightfully raised and was under attack. But he’s had more than enough time to think since then if he wanted to. And I find it inconceivable that a prince would be taught to be a bodyguard only. He must have learned tactics and some statecraft, but even the way he goes to see Gareth is ridiculous.

That doesn’t make him a bad character; it makes him all too believable.

I actually feel for Cadsuane in this chapter. Yes she rides roughshod over everyone, especially Rand, and we know he was trying to keep it all together prior to this point. But look at it this way, Cadsuane had been dealing with men who could channel this way for over 300 years, and she is used to people quaking in their boots at the mention of her name – not the other way around. Yes, she handled Rand completely wrong, but at least she tried to handle him. EvilRand scared her silly, as he should anyone with any sense. We see all the wonderful things that come of EvilRand being on his own. The real comeuppance for Cadsuane comes later, when BuddhaRand forgives his “little sister”.
Nadine L.
26. travyl
Rand: I agree that it was painful to watch Rand turning dark and I agree that Rand would have killed Cads that moment but (@Lsana, 17) Rand didn't lose his moral completely. He exiles Cads "from his sight", the fact that he went along with her abiding the second statement (“see her face”), means to me that he has some restrains left. He "rebels" specifically against Cadsuande. Note: at the same time he "nods respectfully" to the Wise Ones. - This gave me some hope : )

Gawyn: at least he is CONSISTENT to his character. And while reading Leigh's hilarious rant seems plausible, I agree with a lot of Rancho Unicorno's points (@8.). For me it would have beeen unbelievable if he had just "lost" his hate for Rand and even more if he had just given up on the decision to save Egwene, he doesn't know how they communicate with her. That Bryne accepts his promise I do find logic as well: Bryne was the man who followed Siuan across the continent because she didn't keep her oath, and even if Gawyn wasn't a shining model for clever decisions, Bryne has raised him and I think he can trust on that oath. (The most important part was mentioned by CireNaes @20: Bryne lets him know that violence and threats are not productive...)
Cameron Tucker
27. Loialson
You know, speaking of Mesaana, I'm really glad she is out of the picture for AMoL (per Brandon). She was...lame, when it comes to evil actions on her record in this age. I can't really lay the tower breaking to her, as she infested the tower post-breaking (at least it seems she didn't openly show herself to Alviarin in the tower until later-though I could be mistaken).

Alviarin takes the gold (or in this case Black) star for Evilest in the Villain category for me, at least among the second-string villains.

Demandred might one up her in the end, thought that is yet to be determined, but really, she did a top notch job causing chaos to all of Team Light.
Jonah Feldman
28. relogical
I hated Cadsuane far less after this incident. She made a mistake, plain and simple. She screwed up, almost got Rand killed or worse, and it humanized her to me.

Simply put, she is not Moiraine. She's about as good as you could get as an Aes Sedai mentor to Rand, but the Aes Sedai as an order have ingrained control issues, and they aren't perfect.
Roger Powell
29. forkroot
I think Bryne lets Gawyn off the hook somewhat once he realizes that Gawyn is besotted with Egwene. One can imagine an internal monologue like: "Hard for me to criticize irrational action when a pretty face seems to have made my own actions rather irrational"

Bryne is also an astute judge of character - he may be impatient with Gawyn at the moment, but he knows him well enough to see that once Gawyn has learned his lessons, he'll come around.

Regarding Sheriam: There's been a cloud of suspicion over her ever since the Grey Man incident in TDR. Later there was the whole bit about someone (likely Halima) beating her, which made it even more likely she was BA. So, no, it was not a big reveal.

What's retroactively scary is that Suian and Moiraine seriously considered telling her about the Dragon's birth (in New Spring.) Now she wouldn't have been Black Ajah (yet) since she had just been raised, but if she had already been a Darkfriend and informed on them, their lives would have been forfeit.
30. Randommer
Woo for DarkRand! He's just so damn entertaining, in a OMGWTFareyougonnadonow?! sorta way. Though I do think BS didn't quite maximise the cool factor DarkRand could have had, at least until the (morbid) novelty wore off. But then, I sorta think BS decoolified Rand (and Mat) quite a bit in general. Not that I'm complaining that much or anything; 'cool' just maybe isn't one of his strongpoints. Anyway, I've gone way off-topic for such a short post.
Roger Powell
31. forkroot
No, Cadsuane is not Moiraine. Moiraine would not have had the knowledge, power, or ter'angreals to organize the defense at the Cleansing. We tend to forget how badly Rand had overlooked the likely response of Team Dark to what he was trying to do. At least at that moment, Cadsuane saved the day. She also saved Rand after Fain's attack in the evil fog.

She has also proved to be a pretty good source of advice on dealing with rulers, customs, etc. both pre and post banishment.

With that said, Cadsuane should get very little credit for Rand's eventually epiphany even though she blundered into the actions that eventually resulted in her goal being reached. Rand pretty much says that in ToM.

As of the end of TOM, she seems to have settled back to being a useful adviser to Zen Rand. It will be very interesting to see her interaction with Moiraine when the latter shows up again.
Peter Reen
32. pnr060
Chapter 23 reminded me how irritating the consequences of using balefire are. The problem is that we all know that there is no way that the use of balefire will tear the pattern asunder during the course of these books. I was initially pretty excited the first time I read the theory that the bubbles of evil and the random corridor switching might have been side effects of balefire, but the prevailing wisdom nowadays seems to be that they're caused by the Dark One's influence. The only negative to using balefire seems to be that "balescreams" can occasionally make people around them uncomfortable for a minute or two. Right now the warnings about it have been completely toothless, which really diminishes how fearsome it seems (sorta like how no one cared about the Amayar mass suicide because they had no connection to the reader). I'd really prefer that there actually was some substance behind these repeated warnings (there are certainly enough of them!), so I'm speculating that there will be something in Memory that will show that flinging all of this balefire around has had some horrible effect on the world.
Tyler Durden
33. Balance
I agree about the Sheriam reveal. I thought it was a moot point.

However, I agree more with relogical@28 on the issue of Cads and Moiraine. Moiraine would not have had the ter'angreals, but she would have had the knowledge and skill. Had she defeated Lanfear, and been present at this point, she would have at least one angreal from the wagon stash. She has fought in many battles, and would have the knowledge to set up a defense. She also commanded respect. Her methods were simply different than Cad's. She could have organized the other people into her plans. This woman has held off a fist of Trollocks in open country, battled the Black Wind while traveling the Ways, battled Aginor at the Eye of the World, Balefired a pack of Darkhounds, Balefired Be’lal!!!. All the while being the only Aes Sedi, (not counting his baby momma and old babysitter) to have Rand’s trust and respect. I think she could handle protecting Rand while he cleansed the taint.
Cad’s is the best they got for this situation, but Moiraine is the shit.
Thomas Keith
34. insectoid
New Post New Post Yayyyyyyyy!! ::runs around in circles::

*cough* Great post, Leigh!

Ch. 23: I actually felt a little sorry for Cadsuane here. After all, getting death threats from the supposed savior of the world can't be pleasant. Especially if you're at the same time thinking "Oh, Light, the boy's gone over to the Dark Side!!" Which is about what I was thinking when I first read TGS: "Oh crap, Rand's gone over to the Dark Side... but wait. He's supposed to save the world... that can't be the end of it!" But still: yeeesh.

Ch. 24: While I laughed through your commentary (and laughed, and laughed; "The stupid, it burnsssss," ROFLMAO), I totally agree that Gawyn is a complete $@#!%^& idiot of a dense clod in this book. (Speaking of inventing expletives...) What does 'ObSheesh' mean?

Ch. 25: Sheriam... well, it wasn't too farfetched that she would be Black Ajah. Being beaten by a Forsaken is sort of a giveaway, there. Oh, and the Gray Man incident and 13+13 knowledge she spilled back in TDR. Egwene is still Awesome, of course.

JWezy @7: That is sort of creepily convenient...

Fork @31: Well said.

Alice Arneson
35. Wetlandernw
I find it mildly amusing how, since she disappeared in the FIFTH BOOK, so many people think of Moiraine as perfect. She made her fair share of mistakes in dealing with Rand too, and she didn't even have to cope with him during his "must be harder than" phase. No one is perfect, including (deliberately) a single character in this series, and that totally includes Moiraine.
Rancho Unicorno
36. Tesla_sunburn
6. jcmnyu

Cadsuane has already taught Rand the lesson. Its that he and the Ashamen don't have to me weapons.

20. CireNaes

I think its less fake wisdom and more bitterness as opposed to wisdom

34. insectoid

Hard for me to feel bad for Cadsuane knowing that she could have prevented Rand fall and she doesn't learning anything RE: manipulating him for this.
Rancho Unicorno
37. teslasunburn
35. Wetlandernw

admittedly we probably do idolize her a bit. The big thing her is that what Rand needed more then anything in this phase was to be told that he doesn't have to go cold a seperate.

He needed to be talked down but no one but Min ever tries and she tries to late. Rand listens. He can be arrogant and hardheaded but when someone confronts him with a good argument he relents, almost always. Instead of trying to talk to Rand Cadsuane tries to manipulate him.

The thing is Moraine had just learned that lesson. That Rand can be talked to and manipulating him is just more trouble then its worth.
Rancho Unicorno
38. KingOgofBashan
Just finished catching up to the reread. This is my second time through the series and I personally love the two books Brandon has written. My favorite part of stories is watching a character like Rand reach a pivotal moment where he either is broken or overcomes. This book ending is my favorite because it speaks of how far someone can fall and yet they can still be fixed. To me the end scene is where Rand finally surrenders to his Me against the world mentality and starts letting people help him. I think there are very strong christian themes in the series but I think Rand more resembles a Paul than a Jesus figure because he is self righteous throughout most of the series and has his salvation experience at the end of this book. Paul also was given a mission to fulfill like Rand's mission. The point is Rand is much too human to be a Jesus figure.
Stefan Mitev
39. Bergmaniac
Finally someone stood up to Cadsuane, about time. She should've apologised, come on, wards are nice, but she has Travelling available, why not hide this box in the middle of the Aiel Waste or something like that, far more secure.

Gawyn...just when you think he's finally showing some sense, he comes up with stupid stuff like his fight here. WTF was that, he could've just bribed the guy, or found an Aes Sedai who knew him to vouch for him. His "We need Egwene ASAP whatever she says" insistence doesn't bother me much, on the other hand, because objectively Egwene's plan was insanely risky and only worked due to epic level of stupidity Elaida showed for months.

When I read this chapter for the first time, I was quite disappointed by Siuan, Elayne and Egwene's apparent decision to keep Bryne in the dark about the whole Rahvin/Gaebril deal, mostly that it wasn't Morgase's fault for the problems in Andor and Bryne's dismissal. But on second thought, maybe him not knowing that Morgase was (mind)raped by a Forsaken was better for him...

Why didn't Sheriam tell Mesaana that stealing the dream ter'angreal was pointless as long as Elayne was alive to produce more?
Rancho Unicorno
40. Wortmauer
insectoid@34: What does 'ObSheesh' mean?
Ob- as a prefix, in Internet land, is short for "obligatory." When someone says "ObXYZ: ...," it means, roughly, "For one reason or another (tradition, social convention, personal convention, etc.), I feel obligated to mention XYZ or say something regarding XYZ. So, here it is." So what Leigh meant was: Clearly there needs to be a "Sheesh" in here somewhere, so let me put one in: Sheesh.
Rancho Unicorno
41. StoneBlack
She wonders irritably how the boy could have gotten himself in so much trouble again,

Cadsuane stammers that he doesn’t kill women, and al’Thor replies that he has been “forced to revise that particular inclination.” He asks softly if she believes that he could kill her just through using ta’veren influence on the Pattern; Cadsuane wants to believe that being ta’veren doesn’t work that way, but when she meets his eyes, she realizes that he really will kill her if she doesn’t leave

Hate to quote that much text but I believe these line capture the crux of the problem with Cadsuane and nearly all of the Aes Sedai who tried to guide Rand. Rather than making the effort to understand who Rand was and why he acted the way he did, it seems to me that they seem to all project their own assumptions on his character and wonder why he didn’t respond in accordance with their view of him.

What I most appreciated about this passage is Cadsuane’s sudden realization that she did NOT really understand him and that just because she wants to believe something is true doesn’t make it so.
Rancho Unicorno
42. Stromgard
I think it's very easy to be unfair to Gawyn if you don't realize how little he actually knows about some things. Not to mention how much stress he has been under in the last, oh year or so.

First of all, the stress. He has, for months, been leading a few hundred CHILDREN against an army of FIFTY THOUSAND soldiers led by one of the four greatest generals alive, and brought serious pain to said army, all while his employers has not only denied him any support, but has also actively been trying to get him and his men killed. That's the kind of stuff they usually make 2-hour movies from! I think he can be excused for being a bit frustrated and tense, since the better it goes for him, the bigger the chance he will get them all killed, (since Bryne will then send more and better troops) which he ofc is aware of.

Anyways, let's look at his misconceptions.
1. Egwene as an Amyrlin figurehead to be sacrificed when it's profitable.
This one is totally understandable. He haven't met Egwene, nor has he met any of the Aes Sedai that sees Egwene as a real Amyrlin, which at this point is limited to the Rebel Hall, Siuan, Leane, Sheriam, Myrelle, Nisao, Beonin, Meidani, Saerin, Seaine, Yukiri, Doesine, Silviana, the Tower novices and accepted, and.. maybe... a handful more. And not all of them are on her side, and at least two are Black Ajah. Everyone he has interacted with? Thinks that Egwene is a figurehead. Given that Siuan, which he ofc connects the Rebels with, even if he knows whether she is with them or not, (which I think he does since he's not surprised when he meets her later during the Seanchan attack night,) was willing to send Egwene, Nynaeve and Elayne into almost certain death, hunting thirteen Black Ajah with lots of Ter'Angreals, I think the conclusion that Egwene is a tool to be used and discarded is logical.
(BTW, do the numbers there. Three. Accepted. Against thirteen. Full Sisters. With decades and in some cases centuries of experience. Who are willing to kill on sight. And that has Ter'Angreals. Yeah, I think Gawyn and Galad could be excused for thinking they were sent to their deaths.)
Also, Mat don't believe that Egwene is Amyrlin, either. Heck, SIUAN, who wanted her to be a strong Amyrlin and manipulated everyone else to think they set her up as a figurehead, don't even fully believe it until she says in this book "You are Amyrlin." So I think Gawyn can't really be expected to believe it when very few other does.
2. Leading attacks on Bryne's men.
Remember, we know that the Rebels are - well, not the good guýs, since the Tower AS are absolutely not the bad guys, but the Rebels are trying to stand for a better leader. a far better leader. But ofc Gawyn doesn't know that. From his POW, they are the same scheming people that tried to sacrify his love and his sister, and now they are trying to bring down the rightful Amyrlin and replace her with a puppet. (The fun thing is that, both concerning the Salidar Six and the Ajah Heads seperate conspiracies, he is not far off. At least the Ajah Heads saw the error of their ways and changed. The Salidar Six had to be bullied into submission. Oh well.) So like he said to Bryne "You really expect me to feel guilty for defending the White Tower against a Rebel Army attacking it?" I'd say no.
(Consider also that in the last two books, Egwene has gone from being Amyrlin of the Rebel AS to be, step by step, Amyrlin (in fact if not in name) of the Tower AS. By this time, the Tower AS is her people as much as the Rebel AS is. Likely more since she doesn't have a Lelaine trying to take away her authority in the Tower. Light, I hate Lelaine so much. No wonder the Greens and Reds, which are the "action-oriented, in-your-face" Ajahs have opposed the Blues for centuries. Beside Siuan and Moiriane, which are very special cases, and Leane, who defected to the Green Ajah, is there any Blue at all that is likeable?)
3. He being a bit grumpy about Rand killing his mother. Well... wouldn't you be? Especially since I don't think he and Morgase separated on good terms. She wanted to take him out of the Tower since the Tower had misplaced Elayne. (Which they then did again!)
4. He thinking that Egwene needs to be rescued. Well... who doesn't from The Lord of Chaos and forward? Siuan, Bryne (he is bound by his oath, but still, and in the end he disobeys anyway), Mat, Rand, Lelaine (but she ofc don't want a rescue, a dead Egwene would make her day and she knows it). If Egwene's supporters (which knows the truth about her) suggest rescuing her several times in the last two books, why is Gawyn an idiot, for thinking that, while Suian, for suggesting it mulitple times, is not?

---------------- Spoiler Alert for Towers of Midnight -------------------

Also, and I am saying this in advance, in the next book Egwene is just as stupid concerning Gawyn as Gawyn is concerning Egwene. It's amusing that Egwene said that Siuan had no idea about how to be in love, when Gawyn definitely is Egwene's blind spot. "Go Away. Come Back. Don't Try To Protect Me. Protect Me." Sheesh. Make up your mind already, Girly. Oh and BTW, giving the man an hour of sitting down and actually TALKING with him would have sorted it out and not nearly gotten the both of you killed, not to mention that he disobeyed you is the only reason you're alive and Mesaana is finished, thank you very much. I am sure I'll get back to Egwene visavi Gawyn in comments for the re-read of the next book, but for now since I'm a huge Egwene-fan, seeing her being human and messing up at least SOMETHING felt refreshing. She was at a risk of being a Mary Sue otherwise. Now she is just awesome.
craig thrift
43. gagecreedlives

If they had of told Sheriam and now with the knowledge that it is indeed the end times could that have been enough to curb her political ambitions and she would remain in Team Light and maybe even be a politically astute ally?
Roger Powell
44. forkroot
A good question. It probably hinges on whether she was already a Darkfriend or became one later.

Why didn't Sheriam tell Mesaana that stealing the dream ter'angreal was pointless as long as Elayne was alive to produce more?
Given that Sheriam was already kicking herself for giving Mesaana the correct number, I doubt she'd see any gain in actively volunteering information to Mesaana.

In general, the Forsaken tend to treat 3rd Age channelers as no more than drones to be ordered around vs. active co-conspirators who might have useful ideas. Time and again this lack of respect for 3rd-Agers costs the Forsaken either in lost opportunity or when underestimating them in battle.
Mo -
45. Astus
@27 - Wasn't Mesaana relatively important in the schism of the tower in the first palce? Or at least assisting in exacerbating an already volatile situation?

a) She gave Elaida the minimum number of required sitters to depose Siuan and b) The large amount of 'masons' she brought into the tower certainly did quite a bit of damage.
I think that's all we know about her actions for the most part. I do agree that she was pretty moustache twirling for the most part (especially given her little speech in LoC) but it's not as if she accomplished nothing.
Rancho Unicorno
46. Mostlyanthony
Cadsuane got what she deserved. Rand should have executed her on the spot. There, I said it!
Thomas Keith
47. insectoid
Wort @40: Huh. You'd think that after 16 years I would know my Internet lingo. :)

Birgit F
48. birgit
Why didn't Sheriam tell Mesaana that stealing the dream ter'angreal was pointless as long as Elayne was alive to produce more?

El is in Caemlyn. She could make new dream ter'angreal (if she finds the time), but she isn't with the Rebels any more. If they lose the ter'angreal they have that interrupts their communication with Eg. And the Hall probably aren't going to go to Caemlyn and admit that they misplaced their ter'angreal and need new ones.
49. Freelancer
It is worth noting that all of those disturbing sentiments expressed regarding Rand in relation to Chapter 23 are, by their nature, complimentary to the craft of the author. Jordan worked very hard to make every aspect of the "hero's descent" plausible. While it is a virtual trope of the genre, an essential expression in the overall formula of such a story, it is too often forced, informed by deus ex machina contrivances, or poorly timed. Everything in the entire saga leading up to this stage, planted the seeds from which springs this excellent crop of gruesome unease. I find myself absently wondering how much better several of the Star Wars episodes might have been, had Lucas read these volumes before he began.

The commentary regarding Gawyn brings to mind one of the things mentioned in the first comments I posted on this forum, so many moons ago. Aside from the story itself, there are a number of lessons which the author wished to bring to the mind of the careful reader. Aesop did so with his terse fables. O. Henry with his twisting short stories. Here, buried within this massively epic tale, a virtual encyclopaedia of such moral nuggets wait to be mined, should one but dig with proper lighting.

The character of Gawyn is a study in humanity, and something of a mirror. The majority of the mistakes he makes are absolutely not attributable to stupidity, but to lack of information. Without having to hand all of the knowledge which the reader possesses, his decisions and actions can easily appear as they were so thoroughly described by our Hostess. When considered properly within the boundary of the limited information available to him, those choices are far less unreasonable. Of course, no reader has ever actually made an error as eggregious as any of Gawyn's, so all judgements of his mental competence are fully merited, and from them no lessons may be learned. Regarding Cadsuane, ditto.

Pretty certain I've mentioned it before, but one of the few "humans" I truly loathe is Ozzie. Raises bile every time any reference brings him to mind. Just saying.
Jeff Weston
50. JWezy
pnr060@32 - I haven't compared the timelines, but is it feasible that the random rearrangement of rooms and stuff is a tangible artifact of the use of balefire? Balefire is supposed to create rippling changes in the pattern, and the various unexpected changes appear to be disturbances in the pattern.

Problem is, I don't immediately think of lots of balefire usage in the last book-and-a-half, when there were clearly large changes in the palace in Camelyn (for example). If it were cause-and-effect, you would think there would be more of a connection.

Comments? Anyone think of BF instances that may result in pattern changes?
Valentin M
51. ValMar
Happy New Year everybody!

Wetlander @ 35
Indeed, Moiraine isn't perfect, though nobody said she was so no point going about it further. She and Cads were dealing with Rand in different times and conditions; they cannot be compared directly, IMO.
I think Moiraine had the harder conditions- she had to deal with many more external factors and more fluid situation. She didn't have a bunch of AS at her beck and call and the reputation to bully the rest, nor all the angreal. Cads put herself in this strong position with a purpose and thanks to her inner abilities, so good on her. Given the legend she has become, we are right to expect Cads to do a passable job with Rand.
What I'm getting at is that pound for pound Moiraine has done better, IMO.
You are just jealous because people like her more than Cadsuane :D
Mo -
52. Astus
Moiraine had harder conditions than Cadsuane in terms of dealing with Rand? I disagree with that. Yeah, Cadsuane has more tools at her disposal but the defining factor in all this is Rand himself. He has undergone massive changes and is really a different person pre-Moiraine and post-Moiraine. The box ep, the incident with the Crystal Sword and having to sit through Crossroads of Twilight among other things have really influenced his character.

It also bears remembering that Moiraine didn't have the best of time dealing with him either and that it was only towards the end of her stay that she finally was able to discover a medium from which she could work effectively. Before she can do much with this position, she and Lanfear go on vacation.

For the record, I'm pretty big on Moiraine and I was psyched to see the ToJ but the general feeling I get from a lot of people is like she's been made infallible or whatever. Not talking about you specifically but a general sentiment.
I also think Cads is quite a bit of a douchebag but that's another story. :)
Marcus W
53. toryx
As infuriating as Gawyn is (and I always want to strangle him by this point in the series) there is one particularly important aspect to his changed character. His threat to Bryne when Gareth didn't give him the respect Gawyn believes he deserves shows just how far he's gone away from his upraising.

I've seen other comments about how a prince in his situation is expected to be arrogant and self-righteous and that's true to a degree. But the one thing that I always admired about Morgase was her recognition that rule is in part service. She was Queen and by that right required all manner of respect and obedience but she also had a responsibility to her subjects. Her anger might have led her to overreaction at times (Thom being one of the best case examples) but I imagine that she'd slap Gawyn for believing that because he can kill someone he deserves respect and should be obeyed.

In other words, Gawyn has come to a place where he believes that Power is what makes him Right. It's not a surprising perspective since it's one that Elaida shares and is pretty popular amongst the Aes Sedai in general but it's in direct contradiction to what he's been raised to believe.

That's also the sort of attitude that is traditionally linked to evil. It's what the Forsaken believe as well, after all.

I think this is a particularly important distinction in how Gawyn has been influenced by events. Unfortunately, it's all too frequently lost due to how freaking irritating he is.
Valentin M
54. ValMar
Astus @ 52

People shouldn't confuse readers liking and making simple comments (e.g. she's awesome yey!) of Moiraine with thinking she is infallible, perfect, whatever.
It's an interesting question which Rand was easier to deal with, in terms of the man himself and his circumstances.
IMO early Rand was harder, overall. Cadsuane has to deal with the Dragon Reborn. He is well into his Dragon boots and now she has to advise and help him. He has a number of other AS assissting him, and numerous other allies.
Moiraine had to deal with a stubborn shephard boy who was aghast by the idea that she was trying to "sell" him. She had to be creative for Rand even to admit to being the Dragon, let alone start working. She almost had no allies nor did Rand, almost, to deal with the FS, BA, DF, etc.

In summary, it could be argued who had the harder job and who did better in absolute terms. There are certain advocates of Cadsuane's here who can sway me her way.
But one thing I am completely sure about. Pound for pound Moiraine did better with what she had to deal with, given her own resources, than Cads did with hers.
And no, this is not meant to be a criticism of Cads. She did pretty well, almost driving Rand into destroying the world notwithstanding.
Valentin M
55. ValMar
As for the chapters, Sheriam's reveal wasn't that big to me. Very notable, of course, but there was already a big dark cloud over her.

About Gawyn, I agree with Toryx @ 53 that Gawyn's assertion that his ability to kill made him right was the major issue. I had forgotten about it, though it must have left an impression on me re Gawyn's character overall. When I read it again yesterday I thought to myself "bloody hell, non-DF/badie folks in WOT don't talk like that". That pear has rolled a long way from the tree it fell off. His sensible sister had to talk some sense into him...

For the rest of his foolishness he has at least some excuses, mainly lack of info. He is actually right about Egwene being set up as a puppet. It's not his fault that he doesn't know all the Fantasy tropes which demand Eg's turning of the situation.
It is also very natural that Bryne doesn't prosecute him for his part in the fighting. He isn't chuffed with Gawyn's activities but it is a major coup to get such an able enemy commander over to your side. Such desertions are far more valuable than actuall killing, and have always been encouraged.
Don't forget this is a civil war of the most bitterless type and most of the people involved will expect to be on the same side after this misunderstanding is resolved...
Douglas Miller
56. douglas
pnr060@32 and JWezy@50

I think the whole ban on balefire thing is mostly an overreaction. It was banned because, way back in the War of the Shadow in the Age of Legends, excessive balefire use frayed the Pattern so much that it almost broke entirely - an apocalyptic literal-end-of-the-world scenario. Everyone saw what almost happened and paniced, determined that it should never happen again, and went overboard with an absolute ban.

The thing is, that near disaster was the result of balefire use on a truly incredible scale. There are references to entire major cities being hit with enough balefire to wipe out 2 or 3 days of past actions. Rand destroying Natrin's Barrow was small fry compared to even one of those city destruction events, and it took multiples of those plus indiscriminate widespread use across probably at least dozens of battles by hundreds or thousands of Aes Sedai to reach a dangerous degree of Pattern fraying.

In the immediate aftermath of all of that, a total ban on balefire may have been appropriate - the Pattern probably needed time to recover and repair, and the damage from even small amounts of balefire might be amplified by the existing damaged state. Using the analogy of the Pattern to woven cloth, the Pattern had been reduced to a threadbare patch, barely hanging together, every remaining thread had to support far more than it should, and even a single extra broken thread could cause cascading damage by putting extra strain on the already overburdened surrounding threads.

The Pattern has long since recovered, however, and typical use on normal scales poses no danger. Picking a small portion of one thread out of a seamless finished piece in perfect condition hardly does anything, and it takes something like Rand going all-out (without an angreal, like in the fight against Rahvin) to even make a flaw big enough to be noticable under close inspection. If every channeler in the entire world started using balefire at the slightest hint of trouble, it might do enough damage to make the Pattern look slightly shabby.

To sum up, until and unless balefire gets used repeatedly on the scale of turning Caemlyn into a hole in the ground, I won't expect any serious consequences from it beyond the immediate direct destruction. The current Aes Sedai posture on the subject is an overreaction passed down through tradition, and if it was ever not an overreaction that time has long since passed.
57. Freelancer
RE: Moiraine vs Cadsuane

Unquestionably, both share the same major objective; help to bring a prepared Dragon Reborn to the Last Battle, where he will have the best chance at victory. Differences of style and opinion regarding how to attain that goal are based on personal experience, skills/abilities, and the inherent personalities of each. There is one major point of differentiation between the two and how they dealt with Rand. Moiraine bothered to become acquainted with Rand al'Thor. Cadsuane refuses to see past the shepherd boy-turned-Dragon. That is what nearly brought a catastrophe.
Rancho Unicorno
58. Looking Glass
@17 Lsana: That’s not entirely fair to Rand- he isn’t doing “whatever he feels like”, he’s doing “whatever he thinks is necessary to win the last battle”, and just doesn’t think that particular choice leaves room for anything else.

And for better or for worse, Cadsuane is constantly obstructive, and Rand does go for the least drastic choice that would actually get her to stop. Really, nothing short of this would have gotten her out of his face.

Which ties into my next point:

@35 WetlanderNW: I think the key difference is that Moiraine, unlike so, so many other characters, is actually willing to learn from her mistakes and change her actions accordingly (on Rand and several other issues). When something wasn’t working, or was outright counterproductive, she adapted. By contrast, Cadsuane is still playing the same (rather obnoxious) game here that she was five books ago. Which, as you pointed out, is as long (in pages, if not in-universe time) as Moiraine was around total.

Anyone think of BF instances that may result in pattern changes?
Hm. The single most important ret-consequence of balefire we’ve seen has been to save the lives of people who were apparently already predestined to live. Which would suggest that the pattern is already taking it into account on some level, yes?

Actually, the story might even be more consistent if that were the case. The last time balefire was used heavily, during the war of the shadow, the Dark One was presumably even less sealed than he is now and screwing up reality more. If he could put part of the blame for that on balefire and stop its use on both sides, it would stop Team Light from using the one weapon that could kill his servants for good, while Team Dark wouldn’t be giving up any particular advantage.
Roger Powell
59. forkroot
...and having to sit through Crossroads of Twilight among other things
Thanks! A nice, cleansing belly laugh in the AM. Fortunately, I wasn't drinking coffee at the time, so no mess to clean up.
Rancho Unicorno
60. Zeynep
I would like to especially thank you for your Chapter 24 / Gawyn review in this post, because that was oh so cathartic. And also, oh so close to the soundtrack that was running in my head as I read it.

Although that soundtrack was a bit muted the first time through, because I was still reeling from "revise that particular inclination." Is that a great line, or a magnificent line?
Rancho Unicorno
61. elliesaurus
The frustration with Gawyn reminds me of a chain prayer thing my grandma sent me aaaaages ago. It goes something along the lines of "Lord, give me patience. Give me understanding, give me wisdom. But please don't give me strength, because if You do I will beat him to death."

I like to think that several people throughout the series have said this prayer a few times.
john mullen
62. johntheirishmongol
I am pretty sure that when the Sheriam reveal happened I thought it was pretty cool to finally have confirmation of what a lot of us suspected. Then later, when we get to big reveal of all the the Black Sisters, this gets overshadowed.

As for Cadsuane, I have little sympathy for her, because she was too arrogant, even when caught out. She doesn't even seem concerned for Rand, just was making excuses. She should have suspected that any of the Chosen could have gotten past her defenses and done more than just put it in a jewelry box.

As for Gawyn, he falls into the category of useful idiot. Feed him just enough misinformation and lies and he will do whatever you want. Eventually, he might figure out he is wrong but then he will still make excuses for his conduct and still will not admit his mistakes. I dont see this ending well for Gawyn.
Mo -
63. Astus
Re: Sheriam
I actually liked her. :(
Well, initially at least. While I can't say this chapter caught me completely off guard, it was bit off putting to have her state it so bluntly and her motivations were kinda lame (albeit realistic).

ValMar@54 - I can easily make the distinction between the two, trust me. Heck, I'm pretty darn excited for Moiraine's return and want to see her do the following:

- Meet up with Rand
- Meet up with Lan + Nynaeve
- Meet up with Siuan
- Meet up with Egwene & reaction to whole Tower situation
- Participate in a WoT version of The Parent Trap with Caraline.
- Say hi to Cyndane
- React to the formation of the Black Tower + Asha'man
- Not die

Of course, a few of these things do take the back seat to the little business of saving the world but a man can hope.
In any case, the 'infallible' comment was more directed to various WoT communities (on FB, LJ etc) I've come across where Moiraine is hoisted up to ridiculous levels.

fork@59 - I hope to catch you in a similar situation while drinking coffee sometime then! haha.
Karen Fox
64. thepupxpert
I've always had in the back of my mind the nagging doubt that Cads was BA, I know a ton of people will disagree with me but I just get the feeling that there will be some big reveal as we wind down the series. I felt the same way about Sheriam, even though she seemed to be on the right side, that there was something off about her. Her reveal was an "ahhhh" moment for me. I agree that her reveal was somewhat overshadowed by the other corresponding events. BTW Happy New Year everyone, it's been awhile!
Valentin M
65. ValMar
Freelancer @ 57

I knew if I shake things up folks will come up with good stuff, like this comment.

Astus @ 63

Fair enough, it's just that in short space a couple of comments stated that people who like her think Moiraine is perfect/infallible. Apparently some fans of hers are less reasonable than others.
Waiting for 13 years to see her properly (not counting her cameo in TOM) has been frustrating so I'm pretty exciting to see what is her role and fate. Hopefully she won't die.
Alice Arneson
66. Wetlandernw
ValMar @51 - No, I'm just frustrated by the wilful blindness that says "Moiraine did everything right and Cadsuane did everything wrong" in spite of the textual evidence to the contrary. Granted that prior to this reread I was more or less in the same camp, and changed my mind after a careful rereading of the TEXT as opposed to gut reaction to authority figures, I find it annoying that people still refuse to realize that Moiraine NEVER stopped trying to manipulate and control Rand. She changed her method, but never her intent, until (possibly) the day before she knew her time was up.

Whatever. It's the same annoyance I have with people who still insist that Taim is Demandred and Olver is Gaidal Cain. Or the guy who insisted quite recently that Mat was Gaidal Cain. Oy. I don't care whether people LIKE Cadsuane or not; you don't have to LIKE someone to respect their achievements, or at least acknowledge them. ::eyeroll::

BTW, sorry for all the caps. Using italics from an iPad is a royal pain, and much as I love you all, I just don't care quite enough to put myself through that. ;)
Rancho Unicorno
67. Caveatar
Cadsuane raised a hand to her head and leaned against the hallway wall outside, heart thumping, hand sweating. Before, she had been working against a stubborn but good-hearted boy. Someone had taken that child and replaced him with this man, a man more dangerous than any she had ever met. Day by day, he was slipping away from them. And at the moment, she hadn’t a blasted clue what to do about it.
Before, she had been working against a stubborn but good-hearted boy.
Working AGAINST..... HA! I knew the ol' bag was against him.

Day by day, he was slipping away from them.

Who are "them"?
The Aes Sedai? Her personal slaves/servants/attendants?
Alice Arneson
68. Wetlandernw
Re: the balefire question, Brandon has specifically said that some of the bizzare things we've already seen are a result of the Pattern unraveling, and a major cause of that unraveling is the use of balefire in recent times. (The other major cause is the DO's increasingly direct influence.) Things like corridors rearranging themselves, Leane's cell melting, Hinderstap, dead people walking around, etc. are all due to the Pattern starting to fray and tear.

(If anyone already said that, I apologize for the redundancy. I'm still catching up on the comments.)
69. MasterAlThor
Happy New Year everyone!!!!

No you aren't missing anything. The silence is deafening. No one is saying anything about it. Go figure.

I so agree with you about that. Hehehe.

So let me throw in my 2 cents in on Ch 23. So now we see that Rand is willing to kill women at the drop of at hat. Those of you who soooo wanted this got your wish. He threatens to kill Cads. Rand will now kill women. Of course this comes at a price. We no longer have good Rand. He is gone, at least until the end of this book.

I think that this Ch did a really good job at teaching us to be careful of what we wish for. I thought that Leigh did an excellent job at recapping it. She really captured the feel of it. I waited for weeks for her recap of it and the only disappointment I had was that she made no mention of the "no kill women" stances demise. To be fair she did say that she was not happy about the way Dark Rand put Cads in her place.

I didn't have a problem with that. It needed to happen.

This is a pivotal point for our hero. He has dropped to his lowest point. I am not happy about this. I was ok with his MEH. I thought that he was a little off in some of his other decisions but he was still the good kid. Well now we have to wait for Zen Rand. Which I think is the best incarnation of his character. Que Bart Scott: "Can't Wait!"

Oh and speaking of football....grumble grumble

Congratulations to Leigh and her Saints. You crushed my Lions. Thanks a lot. We will get you next year, gadget!

Anthony Pero
70. anthonypero

I have to laugh at the characterization of Gawyn in your comment. Gawyn is absolutly in the 1%... of skilled swordsmen and tacticians. Bryne would have to be a complete idiot to have him... how was it you said it... digging latrines with the 99%? Gawyn just spent the previous month defeating Bryne's forces left and right, and making a complete nuisance of himself. Gawyn is a resource, and Bryne treats him as such... because Bryne is part of the 1%, for good reason.
Chin Bawambi
71. bawambi
Cool its Bela time - the only difference I see between Cads and Gawyn is that Gawyn hasn't had hundreds of years of experience of being an ass.

Bawambi of the ducking into bunker Aiel
Anthony Pero
72. anthonypero

Except it's patently obvious that the DO desires the use of Balefire to be prevalent. His end goal is to unravel the Pattern.
Cameron Tucker
73. Loialson
@45 Astus
I cant believe I forgot the Mason thing with Danelle/Mesaana alter ego!

You're correct, she did accomplish something. But then again, I still think Alviarin did a better job with what she did than Mesaana would have in her place.

I mean, Mesaana doesn't start instructing Al until aCoS really with what to do to sow dissention among the tower AS.

Al took a simple confiding from Elaida, and turned it into a coup! Mesaana helped a bit, but to me, Al seems to take the cake. Was Mes crucial, sure, did she do the brunt of the work and accomplish the most, nah.
Eric Hughes
74. CireNaes

I like where you're going, but I take the opposite view. Rand needed Cads for the first half and Moiraine in the second. Both would have shined at that point in giving Rand the boost he needed. Instead their appearances and time of influence hit Rand at the wrong developmental stages. No pun intended.
Nadine L.
75. travyl
I will not doubt the Creator and so I burried my lingering belief of Taim/Demandred, and if Brandon said the use of balfire is a cause for the pattern unravelling (as Wetlander stated at 68) - it is. But the theory Looking Glass @58. had come up with, would have been really cool. If the DO had manipulated the Aes Sedai through misinformation and therefor preventing them to use the single weapon he cannot undo - would have been way cool. So even it is false by declaration of the author, I bow to your (LG @58) line of thinking.

Anthony @72: Please help my memory, why is it so patently obvious? The Forsaken don't really use it, if it would be his hightest desire, shouldn't he order them to use it as often as they can, even for no reason at all? (I know he wants to unravel the pattern, but where is it obvious, that he wants balefire being used?)
Valentin M
76. ValMar
CireNaes @ 74

I think you might have a point here. Rand did need a kick in the backside early on- enter Cads. She also had the "infrastructure" to assisst him. Late on all the politicking would've been taylor made for Moiraine. Plus we wouldn't have had to read all this "poke the angry bear with a stick whilst holding a shotgun with the other hand" routine from Cads.
All this is very simplistic, of course.
Tyler Durden
77. Balance
@70.anthonypero: Good point about how Bryne treats Gawyn. Plus a lot in the world is about who you know.

Cad’s and Moiraine: I certainly don’t think that Moiraine was perfect. In fact, I was remembering really not liking her when I first read the series. For the first three books I was living the story through the three boys, and she would tick me off. But she was still cool. Her persona, her gravitas, how she did things still had style. Remember her at Callandor? Just glided into a battle between Aiel and Defenders, nuked a Forsaken, then calmly, no serenely, told Rand what he needed to hear. That’s who Moiraine is. There is mysteriousness to her. A sophistication, that gives her bonus points for style.

Cad’s has her own mofo, I mean mojo. She is definitely the only Aes Sedi with the big enough, steel ovaries to get shit done. I don’t want to take anything away from her. But Moiraine is the stank on that shit.
John Massey
78. subwoofer
@61elliesaurus- Amen:D

For those folks er... looking on the bright side of Gawyn's doofusness- stay away! It seems to be spreading, hopefully we can keep you guys roped off from the rest of the population and in time this affliction will pass. Please don't let this become a wide spread epidemic, plague-like. Yeeee!

At the very least, Gawyn should have got on his horse, any horse, and galloped his way to his duty as First Prince of the Sword. That being said, his sister, Egwene- the girl he is all horny over, and a few other people have told him that Rand is not at fault for Mumsie's death. Fine if he wants to keep on blaming Rand, but hey, perhaps take some effort here and go out and confirm your suspicions with real hard facts before blaming the dude that's supposed to save the world... then having mad fantasies of dueling him with a sword... GAH!

Moiraine vs. Cads. One came before the box, one came after. They both have the same problem tho', they are both Aes Sedai. It's not about guiding Rand for the good of the Tower, it's about giving Rand the best advice so that Rand can make good decisions on his own. OTOH both ladies seem to skirt Tower influence fairly effectively too.

Rancho Unicorno
79. Wortmauer
travyl@75: Please help my memory, why is it so patently obvious? The Forsaken don't really use it, if it would be his hightest desire, shouldn't he order them to use it as often as they can, even for no reason at all?
It's true that he doesn't order his minions to use it at every opportunity. But there is that one line from the LOC prologue: "WOULD YOU UNLEASH THE BALEFIRE IN MY SERVICE, DEMANDRED?" It is an enigmatic line, especially when you consider it alongside the last scene of the same book:
Demandred knelt in the Pit of Doom, and for once he did not care that Shaidar Haran watched his trembling with that eyeless, impassive gaze. "Have I not done well, Great Lord?"

The Great Lord's laughter filled Demandred's head.
If the two scenes are related, which they almost certainly are (the very first and very last scene of a book, both in the same location with the same characters), there is a clear implication that Demandred has been baling fire somewhere. There seem to be no subplots in LOC that involve balefire at all, except one in which Rand chooses not to show Taim (DUN!) how to do it. So I take it as RJ toying with us about where Demandred is and what he's up to.
Anthony Pero
80. anthonypero
To me it was obvious based on the LoC reference stated above, and various descriptions of the War of Power, in which it seems the DOs whole plan was to unravel the pattern through the use of Balefire. The DO is no dummy. THe vast majority of his servants, other than Ishmael, don't realize what the end game is. They assume they'll rule the world in the DOs name. So they stopped using it when they realized it was destroying what they were trying to conquor. But the DO... he doesn't particularly care how the Pattern comes unraveled. So, if that won't work, he'll try a different approach. And he's not going to order his followers to unmake the pattern... because then no one would follow him but Ishy.
Juan Avila
81. Cumadrin
@79 Wortmauer

Very nice. Circumstancial (but what isn't in WoT?), but very nice. I personally have always tried to keep in mind that RJ would probably not be above lying in person and interviews and such. And so any facts attributed to straight from his mouth I've always accepted with a grain of salt. That's why I also base nearly all of my opinions and theories only on the books themselves. I really like that you pointed out that coincidence.

@78 Subwoofer

You misspelled ad- *suddenly stops mid-sentence, entering a Nicola-like state*
Two Servants seek the Dragon,
one objective to fulfill.
Two truths will guide the Dragon,
which one withstands his will?

Two will know the lightning
and thunder of his glare.
Which one will the Dragon kill
and which one will he spare?

One came before the box,
the other will come after.
One will shed the Dragon's tears
the second teach him laughter.
*notices everybody looking at him funny*

What was I saying?

(One of your sentences just felt like it needed a poem/prophecy to go with it :D )
Rancho Unicorno
82. MickeyDee
This was where TGS really got going for me. The previous scenes with Rand almost killing Min (my all time favourite of his three (am I the only one that pictures Min as Janine Turner from Northern Exposure: gorgeous, brunette with brains and short hair - maybe because I started reading the series when the first seasons of Northern Exposure aired)) together with his utter viperous aura - he is almost elemental.

subwoofer @ 11: "About this Rand thing- is there any doubt left that at this point he is almost completely batshit crazy?"

At *this point*???? I thought he's been batshit insane since he turned Lanfear's FWB offer down in the Stone of Tear. I mean you are a moderately attractive ginger 19-year-old youth and you have THE most desirable woman in the world wanting to trip the lights Fandango with you and you say..."No"? I would have committed him on the spot. I mean I did mention he was a ginger yes? And Lanfear is at least as attractive as Monica Belluci.

Wetlandernw @ 35: "I find it mildly amusing how, since she disappeared in the FIFTH BOOK, so many people think of Moiraine as perfect."

LOL I agree. I also find it amusing (and endearing) that Moiraine clearly has issues with finding a meaningful relationship with anyone within her age bracket. (tDR; tSR; tFoH and ToM) since Suian.

Thanks again Leigh, you amuse me no-end and are the bomb - cognitive dissonance FTW! LOL.
Rancho Unicorno
83. 79. Wortmauer
I would point out that the DO's line might not be an order. When he asks Damandred "would you use balefire" he may be gauging Damandreds loyalty. Like a King asking his knights if they would die for him.

I do however think he has been tasked with an order to Balefire. Who? Well we haven't seen any Heroes of the Horn. I would think there would be atleast one or two in the flesh even when most must be prepared to be called. Maybe lesser taveren?
Rancho Unicorno
84. Tesla_sunburn
Darn. Ok that post above me is me and I'm responding to 79. Wortmauer sorry.
Rancho Unicorno
85. JimF
Chapter 24: A New Commitment : Commentary

Best RANT - evah!

Great stuff, Leigh.
Rancho Unicorno
86. Wortmauer
Wetlander@66: Whatever. It's the same annoyance I have with people who still insist that Taim is Demandred and Olver is Gaidal Cain. Or the guy who insisted quite recently that Mat was Gaidal Cain. Oy.
Ugh. Just a few days ago I was reminded just how nice it is to be here. I was hanging out with a couple of friends and WOT came up and then it transpired that, oho, check this out, Wort hasn't figured out who Gaidal Cain is yet! I'm like, "Ummm, I'm pretty sure nobody's figured that one out, we almost certainly don't have enough information." They're like "But it's so obvious!" Then it hit me. "Wait ... you don't mean Olver?" Of course they meant Olver. And they were 100% convinced. It took awhile to convince them that not only are there logical in-story problems, but that we have it on RJ's authority. The whole time, I'm thinking, wow, I'd totally forgotten how nice it is to hang out in a (virtual) crowd at least a few steps beyond Basic Fanboy.

I didn't have the energy to ask about Taim and Demandred.
Alice Arneson
87. Wetlandernw
Wortmauer @86 - LOL!! I feel your pain. Have you followed the discussion on the WoT Round Table series? For some reason it drew in a bunch of noobs who kept proposing a load of the same old, tired, disproven theories. Like you, I didn't have the energy to even tell them they were wrong...

And just wait until we get to the spoiler threads for AMoL! Can't wait to see what crawls out of the woodwork then.
Alice Arneson
88. Wetlandernw
MasterAlThor @69 - The "kill no woman" stance demise happened in the previous chapter and was discussed then. This chapter, with Rand threatening to kill a woman because he's mad at her, is merely the result of his new willingness to kill women combined with his near loss of control and judgement due (IMO) to his use of the TP.

Balance @33 et al - Comparing Moiraine vs. the Myrddraal & Trollocs in TEotW with Cadsuane at the Cleansing is apples and oranges. Moiraine and Lan were trying to keep five inexpeienced and terrified young people plus one experienced but probably also terrified gleeman alive while ESCAPING the ravening horde. Cadsuane & co. were DEFENDING a stationary and mostly oblivious target who was sending up a world-spanning beacon and being targeted by most of the remaining Forsaken and possibly DF channelers. They are completely different situations and call for completely different resources.

I think one of the (many) reasons RJ swapped Moiraine for Cadsuane was the resources they had available. In this case, Cadsuane had greater base strength than Moiraine, a much more useful set of ter'angreals, and a bevy of Aes Sedai she could trust to follow directions. I don't think Moiraine could have pulled it off.

(I tried posting this many hours ago, but the server was being flaky. So here it is, and not very well polished. I might decide to write a little essay on the differences between Moiraine and Cadsuane, just to see how many people I can make hate me. :>)
Terry McNamee
89. macster
@5 Megaduck: I see your point, and in a way you are still right even now--Jesus Rand is certainly serene and mature, something you are absolutely correct he needed to be. The difference is now the dark edge has been taken away. So I would modify your statement to say, Rand did need to stop being insecure and having childish tantrums; becoming Darth Rand did help him to put an end to that; but then he had to lose the darkness, while retaining the maturity and serenity he'd gained. So it's okay to admire part of what he became, since it's the part he kept and wasn't truly a part of his darker attitude--or at least, it didn't require the darkness to exist.

@8 Rancho Unicorno--I have to agree with everything you said, but then I have been coming to understand, if not sympathize with, Gawyn for some time now. Doesn't change the fact of course that the realism and reasonability (from his perspective) of his actions are still difficult to read when you see how it causes him to be stupid and make such mistakes.

@9 AndrewB: Yes. During the scene later in this book, when Nynaeve is meeting with the other Aes Sedai to watch the ghostly funeral procession ("Rivers of Shadow"), Corele is there and conscious. She and Nesune are also around when Min is reading the Commentary, and in ToM when Rand returns to Tear after his moment on Dragonmount. As for knowing Elza was Black and was balefired...that never gets addressed, but I don't see why Rand (or Min) wouldn't have told someone. If nothing else though, she's listed in Verin's book so that information could get mentioned during the meet-up at Merrilor.

@19 Wortmauer: Actually the fact Bryne didn't haul off and smack Gawyn, or any of the other things you suggested, and instead tried to reason with him, makes me respect Bryne even more. Whether or not he saw the value in having Gawyn on his side (as ValMar suggests) or didn't resent him because it was par for the course in warfare, the way Bryne acted proves to me why he is intelligent, reasonable, skilled at tactics, and an admirable man.

@20 CireNaes: A very interesting and accurate point; I never thought of it that way. I like seeing when people draw parallels between scenes or characters that aren't evident upon first or even second reading.

@25 Skip: In ToM Elayne actually says as much to Gawyn: "You and I, we have this trouble. Birgitte keeps telling me I need to learn to be more temperate." And Bryne mentions it too: "You always were the passionate one, Gawyn. Like your mother and your sister. Impulsive, never calculating... You don't act because of the way you think, but because of the way you feel." This also explains why Elayne was able to give wise words to her brother, because she is so much like him, and because she has finally started to see the error of her ways, how her impulsiveness endangers her.

@26 travyl: Good point about Rand...though he has gone dark he hasn't lost all morality yet. Though a case could be made that Rand wasn't truly being forgiving or making allowances so he wouldn't have to kill Cadsuane. He thinks to himself later, when they get to Bandar Eban, that "she did as ordered, and so he let it be. He would not speak to her, and she would not speak to him. Cadsuane had been a tool, and that tool had proven ineffective. He did not regret casting it aside." And then that Merise, like Cadsuane, was just a "little annoyance...not worth his passion, his fury. If one bothered him too much, all he needed to do was snuff it out, like a candle." So it may more be a case of out of sight, out of mind, and that as long as Cadsuane didn't bother him, remained only a little annoyance, he would ignore her instead of killing her, because she was not worth it in his mind.

@27 Loialson: Not only did Mesaana cause the coup, but she may have been the one behind Galina's kidnapping plan and the beatings in the box, not just Alviarin. Based on comments she'd made to Graendal, it also seems she had something to do with sending Liandrin and her coven to Tear to help Be'lal trap Rand, and we in fact know a Forsaken was giving them orders, orders which didn't match the ones Moghedien was giving them in Amadicia. The only other Forsaken who could have been doing so, since Ishamael was busy with Rand, was Lanfear, but the fact Mesaana was so excited about Be'lal trapping Rand makes me think she was indeed the ones giving orders to the thirteen. Considering the fact we saw Rahvin, Be'lal, and Sammael all for the first time near the start of TDR, it's quite possible Mesaana was free that early too--she did need time to establish herself in the Tower before the coup in the next book. Though I don't think she was the one who sent Liandrin to Falme, since the plan to have the girls taken by the Seanchan seemed to be Ishamael's.

@29 forkroot: Good point re: Gawyn.

@34 insectoid: I felt sorry for Cadsuane too. In fact I think it is very clear, particularly from the part Leigh quoted at the end of Chapter 23, that Cadsuane's heart has always been in the right place and, regardless her methods or their success, it matters to her greatly that he not go to the Shadow and win the Last Battle. She also seems to care about Rand to some degree, calling him a "good-hearted boy" and being not only scared but regretful that he's been replaced by this terrifying man. She's human, she made mistakes, but she regrets it...she admits to Sorilea and the other Wise Ones that she failed, she comes to be proud of Rand in ToM, so I think Cadsuane grows and changes after all. And that she really does want to help him. What's amazing is all of these revelations and growths in her character come about through Sanderson's writing, when he professed to hate her...I wonder if he's just a good enough writer to write things he doesn't personally like or agree with (because Team Jordan said he had to), or if Jordan's notes changed his mind about her.

@38 King Og of Bashan: A very astute point. And as support for this, note that Rand was nearly blinded by Semirhage, and became figuratively blind to his own moral bankruptcy, as represented in the Fisher piece...just as Saul/Paul was blinded on the road to Damascus.

@39 Bergmaniac: The thing is though, do they all know Gaebril was Rahvin? Egwene was there when Rand revealed it (though she didn't get to participate thanks to Lanfear), but we don't know she told either Siuan or Elayne, do we? We know Mat warned Elayne off-screen about Gaebril/Comar wanting to kill her, but at that point neither Mat nor Rand knew who Gaebril was. By the time they knew, Elayne was already in Tanchico, then Salidar. Anyway, even once Elayne did find out (I think she knows now, because she mentioned what Morgase was made to do to her supporters when she first got to Caemlyn and made her claim for the throne) she was nowhere near Bryne to tell him. So if Egwene didn't tell Siuan, then Egwene is the only one who knows.

As to why she didn't tell Bryne...it could be as simple as with everything else going on, it didn't even occur to her. Or Halima made her keep it secret. Or Egwene was afraid if he knew, Bryne would go running back to Caemlyn and she wouldn't have a leader for her army. Or since like everyone else she thought Morgase was dead, she thought it didn't matter. It's not like Bryne talked to her about Morgase or anything. I do agree, though, it is a shame no one told him, for whatever reason--but at least with Morgase having come to Merrilor at the end of ToM, there might be a chance she could tell him herself (and Gawyn too for that matter). Now there's an interesting reunion to look forward to...

@42 Stromgard: Agree, 100%! Though to answer your (rhetorical?) question: Anaiya was a wonderful, likable Blue. Also we never saw anything really too objectionable about Kairen Stang or Cabriana Mecandes. Lyrelle and Rafela aren't bad either.
Terry McNamee
90. macster
@43 Gagecreed: That...is a very good point. As forkroot says, if she was already a Darkfriend it would have made no difference. But the way she tells of her joining the Black Ajah as a political move, a way to gain power, it doesn't sound like she was pledged to the Shadow before becoming a full Aes Sedai. In fact the Thirteenth Depository says it was specifically being relegated to Mistress of the Novices that made Sheriam resent Siuan, which implies that might have been the impetus to her seeking this greater power in the Tower. Whether being included in the search for the Dragon Reborn (and told the end times were near) would have saved Sheriam from the Shadow, we'll never know. I'd like to think it would have...because yes, Astus, I always liked Sheriam too and I was terribly saddened and disappointed she was Black (though not really surprised). Her reasoning was believable, but lame, and I had held out hope she was just being tortured because of her position, or that she'd been made Black against her will through 13 + 13. Yet another tragedy, it seems.

@49 Freelancer: Quite right, your commentary on the hero's descent and how well done the writing in Chapters 22 and 23 is. And you are also so very right in your distinction between Moiraine and Cadsuane @57.

@56 Douglas and 58 Looking Glass: I think, Douglas, that your theory of why balefire was banned but shouldn't be now is quite accurate. But Looking Glass, I also have to agree...it would have been wonderfully dastardly of the Dark One to blame his unraveling of the Pattern on balefire and get people to stop using it, thus sparing his servants and allowing him to keep resurrecting them. However, I do think the Dark One wants balefire used...

@64 thepupxpert: While I can see why you might think Cadsuane is Black, for the same reason some think Sorilea is a Darkfriend, I have to make the same rebuttal to either--why would someone who served the Dark One want to teach Rand tears and laughter, why would they want him to be strong and not hard, why would they be trying to convince him to change his rude, antagonistic, arrogant ways? Or to be more specific to this chapter, why would Cadsuane be concerned that Rand wasn't a "good-hearted boy" any more but "a man more dangerous than any she had ever met" if she was Black? Isn't that what she'd want, so he'd join the Dark One as Moridin wanted? Why would she want to "do something about it"?

@67 Caveatar: Working "against" as in he was resisting her attempts to make him behave and stay on a good, noble path, not that she wasn't on his side. :P And 'them' I assume means the Aes Sedai or Team Light in general.

@69 MasterAlThor: I think Lsana covered it well, actually. The reason Leigh could be against Rand before, but still against him now, is that just because she wanted him to choose a different, less chauvinistic Moral Event Horizon does not mean she wants him to discard morality altogether. Or to put it another way, she wanted him able to kill women (like Lanfear) if necessary (like, to save Aviendha, Egwene, and Moiraine), but not for him to kill women indiscriminately, or to commit all manner of other atrocities because he will get rid of anyone who gets in his way, or do anything he can justify to himself in the name of stopping the Dark One. Wanting him to choose a different limit on his conscience doesn't mean he should get rid of all limits--Leigh wanted Rand to be fair to women (give them the same chance as men, both to be judged for doing wrong and therefore punished for it, and to be able to make their own choices in standing up to evil even if it means their injury or death), not overbalance it the other way.

I would say Chapter 23 is not so much "be careful what you wish for" and more "don't jump off the slippery slope".

@75 travyl: While the points made by Wortmauer and Tesla_sunburn about the Dark One's order/inquiry are valid, I would say another reason people think the Dark One wants balefire used is because Moridin gave away to Rand the fact balefire is the only way to kill the Forsaken permanently. Why would he do this? While it's true Moridin is Nae'blis, and the Dark One doesn't really care about his servants, Moridin doesn't seem to be wanting Forsaken permanently offed out of power or rivalry--instead we see he wants all existence to end, for the Wheel to be broken by the Dark One. And in fact he, unlike the rest of the Forsaken, knows this is the Dark One's plan. So the implication is that he revealed that tidbit to Rand in order to further the Dark One's goal and bring about the blessed peace of oblivion he so desires, by helping to unravel the Pattern so the Dark One will be freed. Whether the Dark One directly commanded balefire be used, it seems he doesn't mind balefire usage if it will free him in the long run. It may be as anthonypero said, that he doesn't care what method gets him free as long as it happens.

@83 Tesla_sunburn: Hmmm...well, if the theory is correct that Demandred has either been recruiting armies in Shara or is the "murderer in Seandar" who has taken over Seanchan, both of those locations are places where wholesale balefire usage could have been happening without us being the wiser.

Re: Moiraine vs. Cadsuane--I'm staying out of it, except to say I agree neither of them is perfect, they both made mistakes, and yeah I think if Cadsuane had been around pre-box and Moiraine post-box it would have gone better. (Though Wetlander has good points at 88!) In the end though I still like Cadsuane, and I think she learned her lesson and is changing, but I also look forward to Moiraine's coming awesomeness.

As for my thoughts on the chapters themselves...not much to say except, I too was horrified and saddened at what Rand had become (even as I knew he was right about balefire needing to be used against the Forsaken at least); I was pissed and annoyed at Gawyn precisely because I knew and believed he was capable of better thought than this (and had such high hopes after he finally left the Younglings and went to the rebels), even as I understood why he believed as he did (it's like Leigh yelling at Perrin not to reveal his plans to Luc--I want to reach in and shake Gawyn: "THINK! I know you can! How can you threaten Bryne like that? Gah!"). Neverthless I too laughed hard at Leigh's recap.

Also, may I say this: while we haven't seen the full fallout yet (and won't until Chapter 26), I can't help feeling sorry for poor Shemerin. She may have been loyal to Elaida, and apparently rather weak and wishy-washy for an Aes Sedai anyway (one wonders how she made it through the Accepted and Aes Sedai tests!) but she still didn't deserve what happened to her.
Thomas Keith
91. insectoid
Cumadrin @81: *claps* Very nice! Fits right in with the discussion. :)

Rob Munnelly
92. RobMRobM
Great discussion so far in this thread. Really nice job so far - Bravo. Sorry that RL has kept me to the sidelines.

- In the Cads v. Moiraine battle, Moiraine finally figured out that the best way to control Rand is to stop trying to control him (like Saidar). Cads hasn't learned that lesson yet. Her overall strategy and goals are sound but some of her tactics weren't, and it got her into trouble.
- Gawyn's character is one of the great tragedies of WoT. He was fun, sharp and likeable through 2 1/2 books, and remained an effective likeable leader of the Younglings thereafter, but is protrayed as a clueless jerk in all other aspects, especially in his approach to Rand. Looking forward to ToM where he begins to make progress in the right direction but until then .... Argh!
-I recall the Sheriam reveal being a bigger surprise than people have portrayed in the thread so far. Yes, she acted suspiciously in TGH and in appearing to be abused in her tent, but she also seemed to accept Egwene as a real leader and to help her in a more or less effective manner - but with a flavor of usual AS arrogance that diminished some of her effectiveness - and also had that Min glow of light around her head prophecy that several folk thought was a suggestion of future greatness in one form or another. It became less of a surprise in retrospect once we got the Verin reveal later about the extent of Black sister penetration into both towers but at this point I had no sense it was a foregone conclusion that Sheriam was well and trulyy Black. Thus, I recall being surprised by this chapter, even if not shocked.

Birgit F
93. birgit
Moiraine has become a legend among the AS, too, not only among the fans. When she is as old as Cads, maybe she will be more famous.
Moiraine might be popular among fans because she was the main character in New Spring. If Cads had her own book about her youth maybe that would make her more popular.
Moiraine annoys the boys because she never explains her reasons, but later other AS are even more annoying, which makes Moiraine look better. Cads uses her status as a legend that Moiraine didn't have yet before she disappeared from the story. Later in life she might become just as annoying as Cads.
Thomas Keith
94. insectoid
Birgit @92: I think a more likely reason that Moiraine is popular with fans is that she was the first Aes Sedai we were exposed to. Also, IMO, compared to the impression one might get from Cadsuane when she first shows up (bossy, contemptuous, controlling, etc.), Moiraine is a more likable character—manipulative, yes, but all AS are. Compared to Cadsuane, Moiraine merely gave Rand a little nudge out the door.

Besides, she's defeated two Forsaken and now come back from the (supposed) dead; what's not to like? I could go on, I supposed, but even us night owls need some Zs. ;)

Valentin M
95. ValMar
birgit @ 93

You may be right that given time Moiraine too can become as annoying as Cadsuane. But it will be in a different way, they have different backgrounds and characters.

Moiraine is from the royal court in Cairhien. She is pretty, charmingly manipulative, and can't help herself playing daes dae'mar even when shopping. How would this develop over the centuries?

Cadsuane is from Far Madding; we know how they grow them there. She is formidable, uses bulldozer tactics* whether being manipulative or not. She tends to be more straight forward and daunting. The persona we see today was developed over the centuries, like an avalanche starting in a slope up on a mountain called Far Madding and gathering size and awesomness.

* bulldozer tactics- very unsatisfactory term, but I'm hungry and need my lunch... If anyone can suggest better one I'll be happy to adopt it.
Rancho Unicorno
96. Tesla_sunburn
94. insectoid

I think you've really hit it on the head there. If you'll allow me to get a little meta here. Moiraine is manipulative yes but she falls very neatly in the narrative structure of the books as the "Old Wizard" of the series. She is the Gandalf of the series. Both are manipulative but never stepping on the protaganist's toes. They push the hero to action, and they attempt to push them in the "right" direction but in the end it is the hero's choice and the hero's action that wins the day.

Cadsuane has no standard narrative analogy and she steps on Rands toes. She pushes him around and attempts to bully him. Its similar but because she lacks a "standard" role in the story people are put off by her.
John Massey
97. subwoofer
@Cumadrin *sniff* poetry, sheer poetry*sniff*

@MickeyDee- good point there, only a eunuch would ignore a booty call like that... then again, Rand turned down Berelain when her plunging neckline was flirting with gravity. Maybe that's the problem, Rand is going through er... changes, and LTT is "blocking" him. Get thee behind me, Satan!

Oh yeah, before I forget, I noticed a few new names at the beginning of this thread- welcome all:)

mmmmm... Moiraine is Gandalf? Has anybody told Thom? He may want to check under the hood to see what kind of junk Moiraine has before the marriage. Just to be safe.

Cadsuane is blunt, Moiraine seems wily, like a coyote:) Rand is the Road Runner. Who catches who?

Ahhhhh... the Hunny, lo does it call to me... must resist...

'Kwork time, somebody grab it before I give in...

Jonathan Levy
98. JonathanLevy
17. Lsana
You try to convince your friend that this is dumb, that Mists is a fantasy novel, not a Bible, but ...
Sheesh, to you expect us to take this argument seriously? Using this "logic" you could prove that WOT is not a Bible.

I tease! I tease!

19. Wortmauer
Don't forget, he's going to wind up with 3 suicide-dagger ter'angreal in ToM. This may force us to confront a very difficult question:

Which of the following endings would be more infuriating for the readers?
A) Gawyn survives the Last Battle, marries Egwene and lives happily ever after, never paying any price for his stupidity or bullheadedness.
B) Gawyn sacrifices himself in a critical moment in the last battle, dying a Hero, 'forever honored and forever mourned' by everyone, his courage and devotion praised by bards in the Fourth Age?

(thank God we’ve stopped trying to guess whether Brandon or RJ wrote a specific chapter; let’s hope that continues)
I believe the phrase you're looking for is "Let sleeping dead horses lie".
29.forkroot 33.Balance
I agree about the Sheriam reveal. I thought it was a moot point.
It may have been anticlimactic, but it does serve a purpose - it make the Black Ajah's shadow loom a little larger in anticipation of the Chat with Verin Sedai.
38. KingOgofBashan
The point is Rand is much too human to be a Jesus figure.
Not sure the homoiousians would agree with you! :)
Nice cradle, BTW.

42. Stromgard
Interesting points in the paragraph after the spoiler alert.

Valid points, to a certain extent, but there's a big exception: For Gawyn, the Rumors he heard about Rand killing Morgase carry more weight than Egwene's opinion, Min's opinion, and Elayne's opinion heard second-hand through Min. That's not lack of information, that's poor judgement. At the very least it should put a dent in his certainty, but it doesn't.
I think the whole ban on balefire thing is mostly an overreaction...The Pattern has long since recovered, however, and typical use on normal scales poses no danger.
The problem with this line of thinking is that ignores escalation. If you take the dangers of escalation into account, a total ban doesn't sound like an overreaction at all.

79. Wortmauer
The main instruction Demandred got was 'Let the Lord of Chaos Rule'. The Balefire question was a minor query about the degree of Demandred's loyalty, raised by the fact that Asmodean had died by balefire. I'm pretty sure Demandred's boast in the last scene was about spreading chaos.

Go for the hunny! It calls you. It needs you. Your precious....
Valentin M
99. ValMar
sub @ 97

Cadsuane is a rhino, while Moiraine is a fox. Also, I used the word "manipulative" mainly to describe her approach, not her morals or goals. She's ruthless too, as you might when the faith of the world is at stage stake and have grown up in the Damodred family.
Valentin M
100. ValMar
There's another fox here too, it got itself a hunny :) it's been a while.

Curimardin @ 81

Nice one!
Rancho Unicorno
101. Balance
@ 88Wetlandernw: Good point that one cannot compare a mobile escape to a stationary defence. However since noone has had to perform the duty of defending the Dragon Reborn against a group of channelers while he is cleansing the taint before, we simply have to discuss the capabilities of Cads vs Moiraine. If I remember correctly all Cads did was organize everyone, create an overhead shield, and use her little hummingbird 'greal to see where channeling was comming from. Nowhere in the narritive did she face a Forsaken in a duel. She did give Nyn a little healing, but that was it. The humming bird was nice, but it couldn't tell you who was channeling. Plus she had male and female channelers on her own side letting loose. I bet that little bird was swinging the whole time. The real heroes were the teams out in the woods, fighting the good fight. Moiraine could have held that shield, healed Nyn, and organized everyone else just fine. The real difference would be weather or not if Cad's wasn't there, would the other channelers be there to form those teams?

Side question: What ever happened to all those wagon's with the 'greals? No one in the White Tower ever makes a big deal about them arriving/ not arriving. Where'd they go?

Also Moiraine is better because she's hot! There I said it. Little woman was sexy. A few people have put forth the idea of trading Moiraine for Cad's in the beginning. Could you imagin that scene in TDR where Perrin walks in on Hottie Blue semi naked. Think if it was Cads...yeeech. :)

(at work, different browser, can't remember password, no spell check, no grey name)
Tess Laird
102. thewindrose
The author(s) have done an amazing job with Rand. Before the scene with him choking Min, Rand still evoked pathos for I think most of us. And then we get hit here, with this hard man, devoid of humanity. How terrifing to see the Dragon tell his allies - 'if you annoy me, you're dead' - and not care - at all. This had to happen to make the mountain scene as powerful, as meaningful as it was. Great writing here:)

WetlanderNW - Looking forward to your Treatise on Rand's Foremost Advisors

Gawyn - Bryne should have been like - Wiskey, Tango, Foxtrap - slap!;)

Stefan Mitev
103. Bergmaniac
It's simple really. Moiraine mostly treated Rand as an ignorant country boy back when he really was exactly that. Cadsuane mostly treats him this way after he's conquered half the world and learned an awful lot since he left Emond's Filed. Of course the latter is way more annoying. Besides, Moiraine was always polite and courteous, and didn't slap people for ridiculous reasons like you know who.

@macster - at the end of TFOH Nynaeve captured Moghedien and she told her Rahvin was in Caemlyn and Rand was coming after him for killing Morgase. No doubt after Moggy was captured, Nynaeve and Elayne asked her about Rahvin and most likely she told them he was posing as Gaebril. Siuan knew everything about Moghedien and her captivity, so most likely she was told this too, Elayne and Nynaeve used her eyes and ears network to pass that info on reports from them.
Alice Arneson
104. Wetlandernw
Freelancer @57 – I don’t think it’s so much that “Cadsuane refuses to see past the shepherd boy-turned-Dragon” as that when you’re 300 years old and have been dealing with somewhat-similar “young men” (i.e. anywhere between 20 and 40!) for as long as she has, it’s difficult to know just what changes need to be made when the young man turns out to be the real thing.

FWIW, I don’t think anyone had much of an idea what “the Dragon Reborn” would really look like. Most of the time, you don’t remember anything of your previous life when you’re reborn; Birgitte has made that abundantly clear. Who could have known he’d gain conscious access to a few hundred years of experience and memories? Rand sure wasn’t telling anyone about it – right up until this chapter. Before this, Cadsuane had guessed that he might have a voice in his head; so had Semirhage, for what that’s worth. IIRC, he had admitted it to Min but made her promise not to tell. He was so worried about a) going mad and b) people thinking he was mad, that he didn’t give much of a handle to those who would have helped him. (To be fair, the risk of giving a handle to those who would harm him was not insignificant; on the other hand, those who could do him the most damage with it – the Forsaken – all seem to have assumed the “handle” was there even when it wasn’t fully. They’ve been calling him “Lews Therin” since early days, before he was even conscious of any LTT input or effect, and assuming he had access to all the LTT memories the way they had their own.)

I can’t help wondering what would have happened if he’d been willing to trust his advisor enough to tell her about the LTT-in-his-head effect. If nothing else, it might have helped her to realize that she had no experience with that phenomenon (assuming she didn’t) instead of making her continue to think that he was merely an extremely stubborn young man who only reluctantly listened to suggestions.

Balance @101 - IIRC, the wagons full of 'greals are still stashed in Cairhien, waiting for someone to figure out who gets them. I should hope that Egwene remembers them soon and sends for them to be brought to the WT - preferably via Traveling. She's the logical one, unless Rand does it, because she was there and should remember their existence and location. I must say, it would be a bit distressing to have whole wagon-loads of 'greal just sitting out the Last Battle in some warehouse in Cairhien.

As for "Also Moiraine is better because she's hot!" I've said that for years now. Moiraine is a more sympathetic character because she's pretty, sexy, YOUNG - and knows it. It’s all part of the tool set to be used in playing the game. The men want to be with her, the women want to be her. The same cannot be said of Cadsuane.

Back to the battle at the Cleansing, though, I think you underestimate two things.

One, Moiraine was by definition a loner. That’s the way RJ set her up from day one: She and Lan were out on their own, actively avoiding most other AS much of the time. The only others she trusted were Siuan and (to a much lesser extent) Verin, Leane, Myrelle and Sheriam. (Oh, gee, look: two of those five are BA. Good choices, there.) As noted by birgit @93, Moiraine doesn’t have “legend” status to influence other AS to follow her lead; in fact, part of the coup against Siuan came about because of the revelation of (part of) what she and Moiraine had been doing. This would give Moiraine less credibility, not more, as a leader.

Cadsuane, on the other hand, had Reputation, Strength and Legend on her side. She came into the game with a group of loyal and highly talented AS - not necessarily valued in the WT for their strength, but valued by her personally for their skills and intelligence. All the AS who came with Rand due to their oaths of fealty automatically accepted her leadership simply because of who she was. When Cadsuane said “toad” every AS in the group jumped before they asked how high; they’d have argued with Moiraine, or simply ignored her (even given her strength status), because of her “at outs with the WT” status. As a result, Cadsuane was much more effective at organizing AS than Moiraine would have been. (Remember, these aren’t fan-boys and –girls she’s pulling together. They’re arrogant, self-confident AS who aren’t necessarily used to being told what to do. Cadsuane, as the strongest AS in a thousand years, had a built-in clout that was singular to her.)

Two, Cadsuane’s set of ter’angreal played a far larger part than you credit. The text makes it quite clear that Moiraine could not have held that shield; Cadsuane herself (the strongest AS by a long stretch, two levels higher than Moiraine) thought that without her angreal, she could not have held it. Furthermore, after holding it for the better part of the day, she was still able to Heal some of Nynaeve’s fatigue so that she could finish the job. Finally, while the wandering teams did the bulk of the actual fighting, until they were in place the directional ter’angreal gave the stationary defense team (Merise, Jahar and Elza) the ability to fight back at the initial attacks and keep the Forsaken off balance enough to give those teams time to find and fight the attackers.

Basically, RJ didn’t set Moiraine up to be a leader of AS at this stage. She was the solo act, the one to give you hope that AS might turn out to be worth putting up with, and the one to come back in at the end with (I hope) critical knowledge gained at great personal cost. But he knew from the beginning that she wasn’t the one Rand would need in the mid-game. There, he needed the support and cooperation of AS, and the only way he could get that was by having someone on his side who was not aligned with either AS faction, but who would be respected by both. RJ created Cadsuane to be the one AS who would be obeyed and respected by virtually every other AS, and who had some awesome tools on her belt (or her head, as the case may be). You don’t get that level of awe by being pretty and sexy; you get it by being smarter, craftier, stronger and more unpredictable than everyone else. And older. Chances are, in the process of developing the legendary status needed, you get out of the habit of putting up with much in the way of nonsense.

Honestly, if RJ had created Cadsuane with all that Legend and Awesome and Strength and Reputation and still made her all likeable and kind, would anyone actually believe in her? She needed some human flaws to make up for it. I don’t know if RJ expected quite the negative reaction she got, but I’m sure he expected some. He didn’t make her all that lovable, but for anyone who can get past their own authority baggage he made her pretty awesome.

P.S. thewindrose @102 - This was not it. I hope I have time to do it, though, and it will include some of what I said here. :)
Rancho Unicorno
105. yasiru89
On Cadsuane, she simply got what was coming to her. It's not really something I'd have revelled in had it come from someone with supposedly greater moral authority. Hard as it may be for some of Cadsuane's detractors to accept it, she would have ridden all over any such person (in ToM, Zen Rand's admonitions worked exactly because Cadsuane's purchase had been made unsure by Dark Rand in this encounter). It's rather to do with Cadsuane's revelation about how Semirhage was much like her. The casual death threat from someone who no longer seemed to care what she said or did, as though she were a pesky fly, undermined her the same way the spanking undermined the Forsaken. And this apart from the genuine fear Dark Rand was able to strike in her.
I wonder sometimes if the game wasn't to face a source of evil, whether Dark Rand would have done a better job keeping the nations bound together and the Seanchan truly brought to heel, essentially averting the future Aviendha saw among the glass columns. It is my belief that he would have been successful in creating an empire that outlived him (unlike the Dragon's Peace), but alas, we can't have a Nietzschean Superman at the helm moving to a new Age exactly because the big fight requires an essentially moral and caring creature.

On Gawyn, I don't sympathise with his deriliction in helping Elayne secure her throne, especially when Bryne, as the man who taught him everything he knows about war, would only have marginal use for him in the siege. That said, his coming clean about the raids, while the sort of thing to anger Bryne, is probably also what sealed his trust in Gawyn. At least he still had integrity, even in the course of switching sides. His Whitecloak-like fervour to see Rand dead is the most annoying thing in the chapter. If you think on it, Gawyn is a follower, and he knows Bryne to be one too. He doesn't trust Siuan or any other Aes Sedai (he might even see, by virtue of being an external observer at least, that Bryne is fond of the woman), so he wouldn't hesitate to think that these women would let Egwene rot in the Tower a prisoner if it served some plot they were concocting (considering the actions of some people in the camp, this isn't entirely an empty worry). Neither has he been witness to Egwene's remarkable ascent to power, or seen how deserving she has been of it. He would probably have given the idea of rescuing her over had she told him herself (however much he continued to press the issue) simply out of love for her (the authority problem doesn't actually arise here, and neither is that entirely his fault), but being unable to see her and eager to do something now that he had made a decision, it's at least clear what went through his mind. It's the reader's folly to not take the source of a character's motivations into consideration just because they have a better vantage of the whole landscape than the character and knows what can be trusted and what not. It's clear that with Bryne's claims on Rand, which no Aes Sedai could have meddled in even had they wanted to, he might have questioned his desire to see Rand dead, but less clear when Bryne is going by what the Aes Sedai have told him Egwene commanded.
All in all, Egwene's 'rescue' did not particularly do much harm to the reconciliation that was to come, and may indeed have helped it. Beyond that, it became clear in ToM that Egwene's overreaction was as much at fault for the low point in their relationship as Gawyn's... pigheadedness, was.

Not a great deal to note on Sheriam, though it's not as comforting as Leigh seems to think that the other women were led to stupidity instead of coming up with stupidity on their own. But the Pattern took their plans and wove Egwene into them, giving them an undeserved return to grace.
Roger Powell
106. forkroot
Wow. You wrote the post I wish I could have written, in response to Balance@101 (regarding the Cleansing). Well done!
107. Freelancer
Wetlandernw @104

I should restate my point somewhat, as it seems my meaning wasn't taken clearly.

Moiraine treated the boys (Rand in particular) as friends and companions after a time, and much less as people to be protected and subjected to her will. She empathized with their situation, and actively worked to understand who they were. Most importantly, she showed them these behaviors. Yes, her bottom line is still the Last Battle, and she did assure them that she would destroy them herself before allowing the dark one to get his hands on them.

Cadsuane, no matter what sympathies she may bear inside, never shows Rand the first shred of such. She intentionally maintains her dispassionate, aloof, Tyrannical Great Aunt
™ persona. She never permits others to see her as sharing a situation with them, rather that she is guiding and they are responding. In her POV, she admits that she depends upon the perception of others toward her in order to get things done, meaning that she is using not only others' belief in her status, but is using the person as well.

Again, I reiterate that both wanted the same ultimate victory.

As for those who believe/d Cadsuane to be Black, I could never get myself to consider it. Jordan threw us all a lovely screwball with the scene where Verin considers poisoning Cadsuane, but I felt that it cemented against any supposition that she was Black. Others used that same scene to strengthen their opinion that she was. All of that only proves that people see what they wish to see, but there's no value in substituting a desired event for what was actually written.
Nadine L.
108. travyl
On Gawyn: I totally agree that Gawyn was stupid in the way he decided to hate Rand based on no more evidence than hearsay, and an even greater jerk for sticking with the decision. But ...
@ subwoofer 78: ** stepping into the roped off section **
This I just can't let stand as an argument for his stupidity:
... his sister, Egwene- the girl he is all horny over, and a few other people have told him that Rand is not at fault for Mumsie's death ...
- his sister: she was "horny over" Rand herself, not the person I would deem non-judgemental. Besides: at this point he hasn't heard it from herself.

- Egwene: this is the girl who was "all but berothed" to the supposed culprit, she even protected Rand form Aes Sedai, when she thought him a mere male channeler and hadn't a clue of him being the Dragon Reborn - for me this qualifies as prove of her being biased.
- Bryne: he states his facts well, but this is the guy who was in love with Morgase, would have done anything for her and then got shoved off to a remote estated. - One could assume some prejudice clouding his feelings.

I fault Gawyn for not inquiring the facts on his own (he all but refused to talk to Rand himself) but not for giving in because some people he likes and respects "apparently decided" Rand hadn't killed Morgase (of course we know they were right, but Gawyn doesn't).
(Edited to erase the typos I spotted)
Valentin M
109. ValMar
Wetlander @ 104

I agree with you on the Cleansing- it's pretty clear that eventhough Moiraine is from what we can judge as competent as any AS, Cadsuane is by far the best for that episode. They have had different lifepaths, made different choices, and have different characters. At the end of these Cads is the one who has the "troops" and "gadgets". And isn't in a different world.

The above is pretty obvious to me, despite being a Moiraine fan. In fact I have just realised that Moiraine's mysteriousness, humour, etc, shaped the atmosphere/character of the early glorious part of the series for me. I've worked myself into a revelation :)
John Massey
110. subwoofer
@108- Back! Back! Keep your distance! Is that foam around your mouth I see? Or is that just a really bad gorilla suit? So you take apart the first half of my paragraph... which you quoted, but then confirm exactly what I said in the latter half of said paragraph?

Alrighty then;)

Still doesn't explain why the First Prince of the Sword is neglecting his sworn duty to his sister when she could have used him.

Meh. Excuses vs. results. We can make all the excuses in the world for Gawyn, but the guy abandons his duty to his sister, buggers around in no man's land. Thwarts the guy that basically raised him. Has and unconfirmed ax to grind with the Savior of the World based on rumors. Hears another rumor that his sweet baboo may be in trouble and goes over to the enemy calling for a "do over" clause for his past faults. okfinewhatevermovingon.

Moiraine- "Rand, my hand is cramping, must be all that waving around that I do while channeling. I can't straighten my index finger. Can you help?"

Cadsuane- " hey boy, pull my finger..."

ps. Horny women seem to handle it better than Gawyn's case of blue balls. There I said it.

*Bunker time*

Rancho Unicorno
111. Tesla_sunburn
I will say one thing for Cadsuane. She almost instantly joins the exclusive club of people you don't take every little thing Rand does as proof that he has gone completely mad. This is a verygood thing. You can't solve the problem. You can't fix Rand if you just take any excuse to assume he's crazy and can't be trusted with anything.

Rand has gone crazy by this point in the story. We can't say how much of it is Saidin and how much of it is the hell he calls life but the people who have really been able to help him deal with it assume his problems have wieght and that there is a solution.

As opposed to, oddly enough Mat Perrin and Egwene who all still jump at any unusual act on Rands part.
112. Freelancer
Wetlandernw @101
One, Moiraine was by definition a loner. That’s the way RJ set her up from day one: She and Lan were out on their own, actively avoiding most other AS much of the time. The only others she trusted were Siuan and (to a much lesser extent) Verin, Leane, Myrelle and Sheriam. (Oh, gee, look: two of those five are BA. Good choices, there.)
Well, I couldn't leave this alone after I looked at it again. First off, Moiraine also trusted Adeleas and Vandene, more than she did Verin. Remember her and Siuan's reaction when Verin stated openly that one of the boys had to be the Dragon? Lots of trust there, ohyeah. Anyway, she did in fact trust Verin to an extent, but who didn't? And Verin wasn't black-Black, she was white-Black, so trusting her was never a mistake. As for Sheriam, she wasn't Black until after Moiraine had left the Tower to chase after a baby boy. They were friends first, and we've been given no reason for Moiraine (or Siuan) to have suspected her. Look at Galina, for heaven's sake. She had few friends, and nobody in the Tower suspected her of being Black. Just nasty. So overall, I can give Moiraine a pass on her choices of whom to trust.

Finally, the readers' tendency to be more sympathetic toward Moiraine has many sources, and I don't think that her youth or physical attractiveness are in the top tier of those reasons. Nor do I think it is the larger back-story we've gotten about her from New Spring. That she was the first Aes Sedai introduced is certainly a major factor. Another is that she is shown to us in a vulnerable state almost immediately. When Rand goes to ask her to Heal Tam, she is already exhausted, and Lan is acting the guard dog to protect her. We see her need to be carried and cared for by Lan several times before the group is separated outside of Shadar Logoth. In TDR, we see her bickering and pleading with Rand to see things her way. In the Stone of Tear, we see her emotionally compromised regarding Thom. With Cadsuane, it is several volumes after her introduction before we see any evidence of dependence upon others, or failure of countenance, or any other behavior indicating common human weaknesses. There is little about which to warrant sympathy, and we can be sure she would not wish it even then.

As for the beauty aspect of it, while I'm sure that young, single males are unable to escape that point of attraction, I point out that Verin is a far more sympathetic character than Cadsuane, and it would be quite difficult to argue that she is any more pleasing to the eye.
Alice Arneson
113. Wetlandernw
Forkroot @106 – Thank you! Or… you’re welcome. Or something like that. :) I keep thinking I left something out, but at least I remembered my main points. I think.

Freelancer @112 – I knew I’d forgotten someone. Adeleas and Vandene were on my short list when I was thinking, but they slipped away when I was writing. And yes, I know Verin wasn’t really evil, but Moiraine has been back in the WT occasionally, so we can’t claim she’s had no contact with Sheriam since she left the WT back in New Spring. Still: while the BA comment was mostly for leavening, there remains the fact that she trusted very, very few other AS, and in that was designed to be a “loner” for character purposes. (Those few she trusted weren’t exactly in positions to help with an effort like this, either.) There also remains the fact that as such, she would not have had the resources to organize the defense at the Cleansing, even if she’d had the authority and the ter’angreals. RJ intended her to be a Lone Ranger kind of character. (Is it just coincidence that Lan talks just about as much as Tonto? She even rides a white horse! although her name means Westwind, not Silver…)

In other matters, I take leave to differ with you slightly on the physical beauty; she was initially presented as beautiful and elegant, a highborn lady from a gleeman’s tale. She behaved graciously to the villagers, although to an outside eye certainly not as equals. (Not overtly condescending, but nobody was left with the impression that she was anything other than a highborn lady, either.) The fact that the next time we see her (5 chapters later), she has been helping the village with the battle and the aftermath, certainly contributes to her appeal, although I’m not sure that the exhaustion and “human weakness” aspect have nearly as much effect as the simple fact of her helping at some cost to herself.

It is quite true that we see her weaknesses; she shows dependence on Lan, frustration with Rand, emotional involvement with Thom, etc. – but those tie back into her youth and (relative) inexperience more than her willingness to be vulnerable. IMO.

IIRC, we saw a certain amount of inner emotion from Cadsuane fairly quickly, but the other characters didn’t because she’s got 250 years + on Moiraine to develop the level of self-control that allows her to remain apparently unperturbed by the behavior of others. And while I agree that Verin is more sympathetic and has less physical beauty than either of the others, she’s also not in the position of attempting to advise, manipulate, guide or otherwise interfere with Rand. Her manipulations are so far behind the scenes that no one in the book even realizes she’s in the theater. It’s a completely different position.
Rancho Unicorno
114. Wotman
I don't know if it is just me or not, but my question is - When are they ever going to learn that the evilbunch has friends? I thought is was incredibly stupid to think that no one was going to rescue a forsaken that was captured, and then to put the one thing that could put an end to Rand as a heroe in such close proximity was just crazy. they now have enough experience to put two and two together and say Oh Shit!
Rancho Unicorno
115. Wortmauer
Jonathan Levy@98: Which of the following endings would be more infuriating for the readers?
A) Gawyn survives the Last Battle, marries Egwene and lives happily ever after, never paying any price for his stupidity or bullheadedness.
B) Gawyn sacrifices himself in a critical moment in the last battle, dying a Hero, 'forever honored and forever mourned' by everyone, his courage and devotion praised by bards in the Fourth Age?
Yeah, exactly. The author has set him up for one of the two, rather than option C) His behavior and allegiances conspire to deny him a meaningful role in the Last Battle or a meaningful part of Egwene's life; a position he may dig himself out of only by eating a lot of crow and making meaningful personal sacrifices over an extended period of time. A year or three of menial work on one of those Aes Sedai punishment farms like where poor Sahra Covenry ended her days would not be amiss. I don't mean someone like Alviarin gets to randomly kill him for failing an interrogation, or nothin', but let him daydream for awhile, like Sahra did, of adventures and opportunities passing him by.

Moiraine: She's a lot like Cadsuane in some ways: trading on appearances (using her highborn and Aes Sedai status to get special treatment at inns and the like), manipulating people by letting them assume things that aren't true. This has been said many times before, but the reason she has so many more fans than Cadsuane is her attitude. I don't think we've ever seen her be rude to anyone. Unless you count dumping half a pondful of ice water on someone's head. I dunno, some people might call that rude. But she's never rude to anyone in a way that she can only get away with because of her high social status (or, among Aes Sedai, her high Power ranking). To the lowborn, the low-ranking, the young, anyone she has social power over, she's always very gracious.

E.g., Moiraine never calls anyone "boy."

One small point, an aside really. Birgit and Wetlandernw, maybe others, have said Moiraine doesn't have a reputation as a legend to trade on. Not quite true. She's a loner, for sure, and does not seem to have built such a reputation intentionally, the way Cadsuane has, but especially after exeunt Moiraine et Lanfear ad terram Eelfinnae, her legend has certainly grown:
had wanted for so long to make Moiraine pay for what she had done to them that losing her had been like losing a piece of herself. But Moiraine was dead in Cairhien, taking Lanfear with her; she was fast becoming a legend among the Aes Sedai here, the only Aes Sedai to have killed one of the Forsaken, much less two.
— LOC, Prologue, "The First Message"
Then, in the scene in which Egwene discovers Myrelle's conspiracy to hide Lan, and Areina and Nicola blackmailing them for it:
"Nicola wants to be another Caraighan," Nisao muttered caustically. "Or another Moiraine. I think she had some notion she could make Myrelle give Lan's bond to her. Well! At least we can deal with that pair as they deserve, now that he's out in the open. Whatever happens to me, it will be a joy to know they'll be squealing from here to year's end."
— ACOS, Ch. 12, "A Morning of Victory"
(Yay, an oblique reference to spanking!) And finally,
Since she had already located the Dragon Reborn and killed the Forsaken Be'lal, she is already looked upon as one of those near-mythical sisters who are held as legendary heroes.
— ACOS, Glossary, "Moiraine Damodred"
Finally, I can't find the quote right now, but I seem to recall Siuan remarking on Moiraine's reputation for Power ability circa TGH; it seems she was widely suspected of knowing how to eavesdrop using the Power, something that was only formally rediscovered by the Supergirls via Marigan. (Though we also know, from Verin's POV in the POD prologue, that it's a fairly common trick for wilders to discover before they go to the Tower.) I found a similar passage, but not the one I thought I'd remembered, so who knows.

So, yeah, while she doesn't seem to have cultivated a personal mythology for her own ends the way Cadsuane has, if she had reappeared in time to accompany Rand to Shadar Logoth for the Cleansing, if she'd needed to organize the hilltop defense that day, I think the others would have gone along with it. And let's not forget Lan. When it comes to military matters, I think everyone listens to Lan.

Huh. I guess my "one small point" wasn't so small. Good thing I've kept my handle all this time.
Stefan Mitev
116. Bergmaniac
Don't you think that being married and bonded to a woman who considers all men fools incapable of doing anything right on their own and thinks men have to be ordered around all the time for their own good is punishment enough for Gawyn?
Roger Powell
117. forkroot
As for Sheriam, she wasn't Black until after Moiraine had left the Tower to chase after a baby boy.
I don't think we know one way or the other. She certainly wasn't Black Ajah when Moiraine was raised, because Sheriam wasn't raised until a couple of weeks later.

What we don't know is if she was already a Darkfriend or not. It's one of those tidbits that might be fun to have in the forthcoming Encyclopedia.
Rancho Unicorno
118. pwl
I think the whole ban on balefire thing is mostly an overreaction...The Pattern has long since recovered, however, and typical use on normal scales poses no danger.
That's not entirely obvious. Everyone assumes the Dark One's touch is the cause of rooms rearranging and other weird abnormal patterny stuff happening. They could very well instead be due to balefire affecting the Pattern's weave. There has to be a reason the Dark One asked Demandred to unleash the balefire in his service several books ago.
I don't think we know one way or the other. She certainly wasn't Black Ajah when Moiraine was raised, because Sheriam wasn't raised until a couple of weeks later.

What we don't know is if she was already a Darkfriend or not. It's one of those tidbits that might be fun to have in the forthcoming Encyclopedia.
Given that her stated reason for joining the BA is political power and not any particular convictions or moral inclinations, that very strongly hints that she turned to the Shadow after becoming Aes Sedai. Otherwise there would be no political power gained by the act of turning.
Jonathan Levy
119. JonathanLevy
104. Wetlandernw
I can’t help wondering what would have happened if he’d been willing to trust his advisor enough to tell her about the LTT-in-his-head effect.
I'm pretty sure Cads asks Rand "Have you begun to hear a voice" midway through Acos, and towards the end (after she slaps him for balefiring Mashadar he tells her "He's real. I'm sure of it". Not sure if this qualifies as "sharing the problem with Cads" in your mind.

(encyclopedia-wot puts this in acos:36, though without precise quotes)
Basically, RJ didn’t set Moiraine up to be a leader of AS at this stage. She was the solo act, the one to give you hope that AS might turn out to be worth putting up with
Interesting point. I think there's even more to it than that. RJ set up Moiraine to introduce the readers to the mystique of the Aes Sedai. Elegant, aloof, mysterious. Imagine if Cads had been the first one we'd seen. We would have viewed all the other Aes Sedai through the first impression she created. Horrible to contemplate!

108. travyl
This I just can't let stand as an argument for his stupidity:
It's quite true that the sources Gawyn has heard are biased. Does this refute the argument? Let's look at his decision again:

On the one hand, two direct and one indirect sources, which are knowledgeable, yet biased, assert that Rand has not killed Morgase.

On the other hand, unsourced rumors assert that Rand has killed Morgase.

Gawyn's conclusion:

The topic is in doubt and he should reserve judgement? No, don't be silly.
He should perhaps stop kissing Egwene for five minutes to ask why she is so certain Rand didn't kill Morgase? Sorry, too busy.
He should ask himself why the man who supposedly killed his mother let him escape alive at Dumai's wells? Of course not.
He should nurture his hatred and base all his decisions on unfounded rumors? Well DUH, makes perfect sense.

109. ValMar
Hey that's just what I said to Wetlandernw above. Great minds think alike :)

115. Wortmauer

I vote C!! I vote C!!!

Let me just mention another option, also frustrating, but in a very different way:
D) Gawyn dies in a half-sentence like Nicola.

As for Moiraine, I agree about her elegance vs. Cads' rudeness. As for her legend, it's a very recent thing, dating post-TFOH. What establishes her legend is finding the Dragon Reborn and killing Lanfear. She didn't have a legend to work with when she showed up in Emond's Field, or in Fal Dara.

If she hadn't vanished mysteriously while (to all appearances) killing Lanfear, her Legend might not have been established. She would just be like any other Aes Sedai - criticised, envied, manipulated.

116. Bergmaniac


Two replies for that:

2) Here I shortened it for you:
Don't you think that being married and bonded to a woman who considers all men fools incapable of doing anything right on their own and thinks men have to be ordered around all the time for their own good is punishment enough for Gawyn?
This is WOT after all, isn't it? Now where's the bunker......?
Alice Arneson
120. Wetlandernw
pwl @118 - While it may be "obvious" to some that the weird goings-on are strictly due to the DO's touch, we know it's not true. As a matter of fact, your supposition is correct - those things ARE in large part due to the effect of balefire on the Pattern. Those who claim that balefire is having no negative effect in this time are utterely wrong; it hasn't been used in this Age enough to make the Pattern severely tattered yet, but it IS having a noticeable effect. I think Leane would consider it significant, given that it nearly killed her.

In the grand scheme, it may be worth it to use balefire on the FS to eliminate the enemy leaders completely; however, those who warn against its indiscriminate use are entirely correct. While I don't think Moiraine used it on anything but Forsaken and Darkhounds, there was a stretch where Rand seemed to think it was okay to use it any time he couldn't think of anything else.

Moiraine and Rand were right (I think) in using it against the Forsaken, even though he didn't know it until just a few chapters ago. I think Rand was also right in using it against the darkhounds - at least, Mat would be dead if he hadn't, so I think that counts as "right" for our purposes. Other than that, though, I can't think of a single time when anyone was actually justified in using it.
Karen Fox
121. thepupxpert
Hmmm - 117, 118 & 119 are missing on my screen...
Karen Fox
122. thepupxpert
Wetlander @ 120 - Didn't Mat and Aviendha die in an explosion and Rand brought them back by using balefire? I seem to remember reading that somewhere but of course I couldn't figure out which book I read it in.
Don Barkauskas
123. bad_platypus
thepupxpert @122: Yes, when Rand balefired Rahvin in Andor at the end of TFoH.

Also, missing numbers can be because

1. The posts were deleted by moderators
2. The posting software flagged them as potential spam (e.g., because of an embedded link) and they're waiting for moderator approval

Usually if the moderators deleted them, they post something for explanation, so it's probably 2, which mean they'll show up eventually if the moderators clear them.
Eric Hughes
124. CireNaes
- In the Cads v. Moiraine battle, Moiraine finally figured out that the best way to control Rand is to stop trying to control him (like Saidar). Cads hasn't learned that lesson yet. Her overall strategy and goals are sound but some of her tactics weren't, and it got her into trouble.
Thanks for saying that. I think some readers have lost sight of what Moiraine desired. Control of Rand (so that he can reach the LB, of course). For me at least, Cads was never after control. She wanted to teach Rand life skills (so that he can reach the LB with his humanity intact and some decent maturity in place). That's why although her methods could have stood for some adaptation, she still had/has a purer motive and ranks higher in my book than Moiraine ever did. I still enjoy Moiraine and she is among my top five favorite female Aes Sedai, but she still falls short where it counts. If I had to rank them according to my gut because I'm a decider.

1) Nyneave
2) Cadsuane
3) Verin
4) Siuan
5) Moiraine

This list will catch some flack I'm sure, but only new information from AMOL will cause me to change my mind. And I doubt their intrinsic motivations will deviate in the last book.
Tyler Durden
125. Balance
@ Wetlandernw
OW OW mercy, mercy! I surrender.
Lol. Just kidding. Hey I really respect your ability to argue civilly. Part of the reason I have been with this reread since the beginning was because solid people with good logic and argument forming skills frequent here. (TOR you owe them $$$) You have changed my mind on the importance of ol’ Crabby’s hair net. A further point for your argument would be that other ‘greal on her net were used, just not shown in the narrative. The little bird did help. I agree a foreknowledge of your enemy’s avenue of approach (sensing the waygates the ‘Saken used) is a strategic advantage. (yes, yes, also their first volley of attacks, ect) Once the groups were in the woods, it loses some value due to lack of ability to communicate efficiently. I also agree on Caddy being the reason everyone was at that hilltop to be formed into groups. I thought I brought that up before at like 104 or something. I don’t think Moiraine would have had those peeps trailing her. And that is the key argument for Cad’s being the better choice for defending that hilltop and the entire world’s hope. That was her MOA, and she did well. Now we could go back and forth on whether or not Moiraine would have been strong enough to hold the shield, and give some healing. Who’s to say she didn’t find a good angreal in the wagon stash that would have made it possible. Hell the one she left for Lanfear might have been able to do it. (doubtful, but possible) Maybe a few more people would have died, maybe less, but I stand strong on her ability to perform that function, and for Rand to come out alive. If either of us really wanted to, we could pull out the old ta’ vereen card, and say of course my girl could do it. :) Or go meta and say RJ would make it so. But none of that is much fun to argue about.

I write most of my shit with a smirk on my face and a grain of salt on my keyboard. I know these books pretty damn well, having started at 12 or 13 when the first one came out, but I don’t pretend to have guru status. I just like adding my 2 cents worth, maybe make a laugh. So please also take my stance on Moiraine being better because she was pretty in the manner in which it was intended. I understand all the social implications (in Randland and the real world) that it implied, and I was making fun. It seemed like something some idiot would shout out of the peanuts stands if we were debating. However, I will say at age 13-14, as a red-blooded, heterosexual, American male I would have been very disappointed if Cads was the one Perrin walked in on. And I’m not ashamed of it :)

We could delve into this further about who is a better, Cads or Hottie Blue (see, did it there. Not serious, just having fun with the argument) But we agree that Cad’s knocked it out of the park with the hilltop defense. She was the best choice. I just like defending Moiraine. She introduced us to this world, and I respect her for it.

Let me further say, Wetlandernw I respect you for your skils at formulating an argument and expressing it coherently. In fact many that stay with this reread are damn good. My posts will never have that much coherience. The psychiatrists would never make any money if they didn't keep me drugged up, and (mostly) tied down. But they are letting me have contact with the outside world again. So thats a step in the right direction.
Roger Powell
126. forkroot
Moiraine, Cadsuane, Siuan, and Verin all have their MOAs - and of course the SuperGirls do too. But you know something? None of them did anything more important than another Aes Sedai that I bet most WOT fans hardly ever think about.

An aside: I acknowledge that the "Pattern" drives events in the end. So you could always devalue any one individual's efforts by saying "the pattern required her to do it", blah, blah. That leads to a very uninteresting discussion, so let's put the mantel of individual responsibility back on and consider what this AS did.

Anyone care to guess who I'm talking about? The most influential Aes Sedai in the last 100 years could well be ...


Gitara Moroso.

Think about what she did. She convinced Tigraine, the Daughter-Heir, to abandon her beloved young son and disappear into the Aiel waste to become a Maiden of the Spear. And if Gitara hadn't done that, there would have been no Dragon Reborn!

Now, obviously this was because of a foretelling - but try this thought experiment: Let's say that Elaida (who also has foretelling) had tried to convince Elayne to disappear and go to the Aiel waste? Wanna bet on success for that?

Now, ponder this: Gitara also convinced Luc to go to the Blight, saying that the outcome of Tarmon Gaidon depended on it. So far, of course, Slayer has been a tool of evil; however if you are looking for an Anakin Skywalker redemptive moment in AMoL, perhaps Slayer (not Moridin) is your man.
Rancho Unicorno
127. just me
“Trust me, Min. I won’t hurt you. I will cut off my arm before I hurt you.” Lord of chaos
i am amazed ow much foreshadowing is there in tis series
Rancho Unicorno
128. Wortmauer
Jonathan Levy@119:D) Gawyn dies in a half-sentence like Nicola.
You know, now that ToM makes the old FAQ entry "50 Ways to Kill a Gholam" rather moot, maybe we should start a new one, "50 Ways to Deal with Gawyn." Here's one:

Gawyn serves as best man in his half-brother Galad's wedding. Sure, he could've picked Trom or Byar, but Gawyn is family. Egwene was gonna go with him but couldn't make the time. So it turns out, a couple of the bridesmaids are Berelain's cousins from Mayene and they're just as sassy and sexy as the bride herself. He starts to let down his hair and enjoy the moment, but can't quite do it. But the matron of honor is Faile ni Bashere t'Aybara, a slip of a girl who enjoys playing head games with boys, used to hunt the horn if you get my drift, and has been known to dance the sa'sara when she's had a couple. Plus, she has an opening for a dude with a sword to follow her around, play at protecting her, and generally be a puppy dog. This was Aram's position, recently vacated. It's the perfect gig and Gawyn just can't help himself. He's got the sword, he's got the protect-women-who-don't-really-need-protecting instinct, and he can do a better puppy dog than anyone. Until he goes just a little too far, or too close if you will, and the husband with the warhammer feels he has to fight for his wife's honor. Gawyn, whose last encounter with a Two Rivers boy who did hand-to-hand combat without a sword was way back in TDR, has unfortunately forgotten that lesson. It ... doesn't end well. That warhammer is badder than it looks. Harder to dodge, in fact, than a wrench. Emond's Field 2, Caemlyn 0.

Word gets back to the Amyrlin, who vacillates between being a weepy mess from the effects of losing a Warder, anger and disappointment at Gawyn's unfaithfulness, sorrow that he is gone, relief that he is gone, and guilt at the relief. She starts to make us think of Alanna, and clearly something must be done. Aviendha stages an intervention, arranging a Maidens' night out with some of her old friends. Elayne brings a few copies of her famous crimson rod for the occasion. They don't all work perfectly, but between the rods, the Chippendale's sweat tent, and the oosquai, a good time is had by all, as best anyone can remember afterward. Egwene may or may not have, at some point, drunk-dialed Rhuarc to confess lying about being Aes Sedai way back in TSR. There may or may not have been a spanking ostensibly to help her meet her toh.

It's just as well Halima is no longer around, as the headache the next day would have been beyond even her abilities. Mostly the Amyrlin is just hoping she didn't get pregnant by that cute "what happens in white" gai'shain.
Thomas Keith
129. insectoid
JLevy @119: LOL!! Bunker's right this way, sir. ::whispers:: Password this week is 'ObSheesh'. ;)

thepupxpert @121: You must be imagining things... at least, I remember seeing JonathanLevy's comment some time shortly after it was posted. Probably just a ghost gholam in the machine.

Fork @126: Good point about Gitara. But Slayer, redeem himself? Hmm... I dunno. He's usually trying to kill everyone in sight. If he wants to redeem himself, I think he should take out Fain.

Wort @128: That is... very elaborate. ::laughs for about 5 minutes::

John Massey
130. subwoofer
@forkroot- I was thinking Laras the cook, until I got to the end of the big honking Gap of forkroot.

But methinks Slayer is going to die here. Correction, he has to die. He killed Hopper. Inexcusable.

@Wort- lol:D Dodging wrenches- heh.

I was thinking along the lines that Gawyn offhandedly mentions that he wants to kill the Dragon within earshot of one of the Maidens of the Spear. Unfortunately for him it was Sulin, who takes death threats rather personally and walks up to Gawyn with a "what did you say?" Gawyn, being the scholar that he is repeats his unique notions on the situation, not realizing this little woman is about to open a can of whoop ass on him. Sulin hears Gawyn out, nods, and kills Gawyn. Dead. With her bare hands. Sulin wipes her hands and walks off muttering about crazy wetlanders threatening the Car'a'carn.

Speaking of 50 ways to kill a Gholam, I feel rather cheated on the whole thing. Mat pretty much had a killing machine at his beck, he could have perhaps manipulated the situation a bit to work for him. Keep the gholam alive and lure it to the Tower of Ghenjei. It doesn't have to follow Mat in the Tower, but stalk around outside waiting. Mat pulls his grand escape from the Tower, and while the doorway is still open, the gholam lunges for him and Mat steps aside letting the doorway close with the gholam in the Tower. Snakes and foxes, meet something that doesn't really die and can kill with its bare hands. Enjoy.

Anthony Pero
131. anthonypero
EDIT: Deleted for duplication by author.
Anthony Pero
132. anthonypero
Hey guys... just in case any of your were wondering, my son is home and healthy. He was born on December 20th. We named him Lucas, and my wife will tell you it has nothing to do with my love of Star Wars. (The star wars onesie I bought him tells a differnet story :)

Sorry for the off topic post, but I wanted to say thank you so much for all of the well wishes and prayers that were extended last month. If you have Facebook, and you'd like to see a video of Lucas' first day, here you go:
http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10151050328045184 If you are facebook-less, you can see a lower quality version of the video here:

Fair warning: Little bitty boy parts abound!

Feel free to add me on FB if you'd like to, just mention you're from the Tor.com, with your handle, so I know, thanks!
John Massey
133. subwoofer

@AP- cool beans:) Yes, Lucas, very subtle... don't know how your wife saw through that;)

Edit- not sure how he's going to live down you flashing his junk on the 'net;) Dad!!! You never asked...

James Hogan
134. Sonofthunder
Anthony - congrats!!!!

And sorry, y'all...been extremely negligent about posting lately, ugh. I have been enjoying catching up with your comments from time to time though and hope to get back to actually contributing soon!!

For what it's worth, Cadsuane is sometimes cool, yes...I admire her dedication to do what she feels is necessary in shepharding the Dragon Reborn. But I'm sorry, I can never like her more than Moiraine! Moiraine was the first Aes Sedai I ever met...and she just exemplifies all the most fascinating parts of Aes Sedai...subtle, mysterious, kind...and yet she still will do what she must to bring the DR to TG. The wheel weaves as the wheel wills. I acknowledge she's not perfect...but gosh, I like her.
Anthony Pero
135. anthonypero
What made Moiraine awesome and admirable was very simple to me; inspite of her drive regarding the Dragon Reborn, and her willingness to whatever was necessary to ensure his success at Tarmon Gaidin, Moiraine never loses sight of RAND. She always treats him as Rand. She's never addressing the Dragon. We forgive much because we know after book 3 that she actually cares for RAND. It won't stop her from doing what needs to be done, but because we know she cares for our heroes (all of them, and by proxy, therefore, us), we cut her whatever slack she needs.

Cadsuane, on the other hand, never ever KNOWS Rand. This is important. She can't care for the Rand we grew to love and know in the Eye of the World. She can only know the Dragon. And she doens't care about the Dragon outside of his destiny at Tarmon Gaidin. How could she? So, we know she doesn't love our heroes, any of them, and we don't cut her any slack at all.
Jay Dauro
136. J.Dauro

Congratulations. A beautiful boy.

Actually, I do have to disagree with you. Although Cadsuane really knows nothing of Mat and Perrin, I do think she cares for Rand. Yes, she sees him as a boy (even after he calls her on it in TOM) but as her boy, and she is proud of him. However, because of her upbringing in Far Madding, she sees every male as a boy. Compared to her, at her age, Rand may be the only male who comes close, but he still has the physical age thing.

I have often been aggravated with her, and with Rand for not realizing what's going on. And yes, she is focused on him as the Dragon Reborn. But then, without the Dragon Reborn, everything goes down the tubes.
Roger Powell
137. forkroot
Congratulations! Love him, and watch him grow!

I like it! Hard to imagine that Slayer is redeemable, but if he's the one that takes out Fain, it would validate Gitara's foretelling.
Anthony Pero
138. anthonypero

Sorry if I wasn't clear. I wasn't implying that Cadsuane didn't care for the DR from her perspective. I was implying that she didn't from Rand's and Nynaeve's perspective. We tend to identify and have our opinions shaped by the characters whom we root for. I was saying htat we self identify with certain characters, and therefore thei opinions become ours. Rand felt cared for in a personal way by Moiraine. And by Nynaeve. He doesn't feel that way about Cadsuance, and I think it affects our opinion as readers of Cadsuane.
Tess Laird
139. thewindrose
anthonypero - Beautiful baby you have there! Love the video, I wish we had videos for our two, how fun:)

To all coming up with 50 ways to deal with Gawyn - carry on - hilarious;)

Alice Arneson
140. Wetlandernw
*sigh* So many comments started and then forcibly abandoned, and I don't know how/whether to put them together or just forget about it...

So just one for now:

Congratulations to you and your lovely wife, Anthony! What a beautiful baby boy. Are the sleepless nights still with you, or are they decreasing a bit now? :) Hope all continues to go well with him!
Thomas Keith
141. insectoid
Congrats anthonypero! Hope you get some sleep-filled nights soon. ;)

Sub @130: Good plan! That will prove that Sulin isn't a Darkfriend; a DF would want to keep a turbo idiot like Gawyn alive just for the entertainment. XD

Juan Avila
142. Cumadrin
Way to kill Gawyn #46:

Rand falls out of the tree watching the Logain parade in Caemlyn and lands on him. They both die from head trauma. "I win again, Lews Therin."


Sorry, this was brought on from my post I just made in the previous blog entry (well, the part about Rand going down, too). This way, they both die without anyone getting super aggravated at either of them in the next 12 books.
Jonathan Levy
143. JonathanLevy
128. Wortmauer

"50 ways to deal with Gawyn" is a stroke of inspired genius. I salute you, Sir, and present my small addition to the list:

Way to kill Gawyn #23:

"Boy" said Mat as they strolled down the corridors of the Sun Palace - "I haven't had this much fun since the Last Battle!". Perrin and Rand's laughter echoed down the hallway. "Who made the rhubarb tart - was it Sorilea?" asked Rand. "Cadsuane, I think," answered Perrin, "But Lini's Meringue was better. I could not keep my paws - I mean my hands - off it."

"I saw how you wolfed down Lini's" joked Rand as they passed a door slightly ajar - "but you should have seen how I absolutely destroyed Morgase's..."


In the calm stillness of the late morning, Gawyn Trakand poised for action. The Oneness, Bryne had called it. He was one with the sharpened edge of steel, with the pretty Seanchan rings on his fingers, and with the hangnail. Careful. Laughter echoed from the half-open door of his room, but he pushed it away. Hangnails were always tricky, especially on the little toe on the left foot. Egwene will feel it if you cut yourself again. He felt his cheeks flush. He did not want to face her raised eyebrow again, or her pitifully indulgent smiles. Now. Do it. A familiar voice slipped through the door to his ear - "...I absolutely destroyed Morgase...".

His hand slipped. Rage colored his face, and his heart pounded in his chest. Al'Thor. Al'Thor! That monster had killed his mother. He had warned Elayne, tried to warn her. Women never listened. He unsheathed his dagger and rushed outside, never noticing the blood dripping off his pretty rings. He would have his vengeance!


"...and so I told Myrelle - you can borrow my Warder, but not my husband!" Egwene finished the story. Min was holding her side in stitches, and Elayne was not far off. "I do not understand, near-sister" said Aviendha. "Why did you not just spank - " she frowned as she saw Egwene wince. "Has he cut himself again?" asked Elayne solicitously. Min nodded in sympathy. They were all far too sympathetic. She had seen them rolling their eyes when they thought she was not looking, and -

Her train of thought was cut off as a blurry Gawyn thundered burst through a door into the hall. "Al'Thoooooor!" he roared. "Gawyn, please!" she tried to calm him. "He killed my mother!". Min was raising an eyebrow at Elayne, who was shaking her head ever so slightly. "He confessed from his own mouth! I heard him boasting to his friends!".

"Gawyn, listen calmly". The words painfully familiar. Was Aviendha laughing? "We saw Morgase not half an hour ago at the pie-eating contest. She was just fine. She - " He slammed his fist into his hand. "I've been looking for her for minutes, and I can find nothing. Nothing! Do you have any proof?" She answered - "Darling, I will show you proof, if you come to the Throne Room, it'll take just take five minutes and - Gawyn! Come back!" He had pushed her aside, running down the hall. Aviendha was laughing, and Min was barely holding it in. With a sigh she embraced Saidar, and started to weave. Spirit and Air, just so...


"And remember the peddler, Fain? I was sure he'd show up at Shayol Ghul, but we never even saw him." said Perrin, puffing on his pipe. The view from the balcony was quite relaxing, marred only by Mat's habit of sitting on the railing, despite the great height. "You know", said Rand "I did think I saw him at one point, but he got stepped on by one of Cerandin's boar-horses before I could be sure." He started to swing his feet up onto the chair Mat had never sat on, and everything seemed to happen at once.

An unseen shadow stumbled over his moving legs, sending him sprawling. Mat lunged sideways, arms flailing, barely coming down on the right side of the railing. "Al'Thoooooooooor - " the wail cut off abruptly.

"What was that?"

"Probably another one of those Seanchan assassins."

"Did he fall off?"

"Yeah, I think so."

"You'd think they'd have learned by now how dumb it is to send these guys against Ta'veren."

"Can you see where he landed?"

Perrin gazed five stories down into the street below. "There" he pointed.

"In the dung cart?"

"Yes". He squinted. "Head-first, I think".

Rand was at his side. "You mean the one rolling down the hill?" His landing must have loosed the chocks.

"Yes. It's going to crash into that other wagon there". Recognition dawned upon his face -

"It's one of Aludra's! Down, quick!" They threw themselves flat on the floor as the explosion shook the city. Small bits of manure rained down on them. Some of them were bloody. He looked away.

Mat was on his feet already, looking down the street. A cloud of smoke was rising over the city. There was no trace of either wagon.

Rand broke the silence. "I guess we should send someone to search for the ring Ter'angreal."

"Yeah. Wouldn't do for some idiot to put them on. Who knows what trouble it might cause..."


Heart pounding, Egwene gazed down the hall. Had she been quick enough? "Did you stop him?" asked Min. "What? Uh... no." The Three Oaths held her. "I... I did something else". She would have done it a long time ago had it not been for one small thing.

Elayne rounded on her: "What did that weave do? I've never seen something so complex woven so quickly. How did you do it?" She should have done it a long time ago. "I've been practicing" Egwene evaded the first part of the question. That much was true. Her head felt oddly empty now, blessedly so. She'd have to remember to pretend to cry.

"Listen, Elayne, could you do me a favor? There's this Ter'angreal I'd like to borrow..." Maybe that small thing wasn't so small after all, but she could manage without it. For a time, anyway. Finding a suitable ... replacement ... might take a while. "And perhaps you could introduce me to that handsome Charlz Guybon who keeps following you around." Greens who lost their Warders were known seek a man's comfort sometimes. This might work out rather well after all.
Jonathan Levy
144. JonathanLevy

Congrats to you and your wife! May you be blessed with water and shade sleepful nights and poopoo-less baths.
Amir Noam
146. Amir
Jonathan Levy @143:

Well done. Most excellent.

The way you've used that "one small thing" at the end was very Jordan-esque of you.
Valentin M
147. ValMar
Congratulations AP, all the best with the little lad and family!

As for the killing Gawyn business- the guy already picked the short straw and got to be with Egwene. He is doomed.
Rancho Unicorno
148. Wortmauer
Jonathan Levy@143: Hahahaha! Thanks so much for your entry! I think you're in first place by a league. Fain trampled by a s'redit! Ring activated with blood from a hangnail! The futility of trying to stab a ta'veren! "Have to remember to pretend to cry"!

Samadai? Anyone else? Remember this is "deal with Gawyn," so bonus points if you manage to give him an ignominious end without actually killing him. Not that there's anything wrong with actually killing him.
149. whoami
It's late to comment on this thread, but I will anyway.

I liked the Gawyn chapter. Not because I like Gawyn. He was just as idiotic as we all knew he would be. It's simply that this seems to be the first time in a long while these crazy kids have talked to reasonable, intelligent, non-scheming adults. Bryne was firm, compassionate, and wise, the same way Tam will be later when Rand talks to him.

It was refreshing, and a much needed break from the willful, obnoxious brats (and Aes Sedai) that fill the other books. It really didn't seem like the same world to me.
Jonathan Levy
150. JonathanLevy
148. Wortmauer
Thanks for the encouragement :)

I must say it was fun writing up such a dismal end which he reaches by making the same sort of decisions he made in the series - with the same degree of justification :)
Terry McNamee
151. macster
@97 subwoofer re "Gandalf" Moiraine--LOL!!! And again to you @ 110...I do love how you say the things no one else will say, so bluntly but with such humor. :)

@98 JonathanLevy: Yeah, it seems like no matter what Gawyn's fate is, those who hate him won't like it. As Egwene herself dreamed, either he gets to live a long happy uneventful life, or he dies heroically in battle...no room it seems for him learning lessons or having to suffer before he dies or wins a great victory. But who knows, Jordan has surprised us before, maybe he can again through Sanderson.

@103 Bergmaniac: Good point, however your argument depends a lot on supposition--"no doubt", "most likely". We don't know for sure that Moggy told Nynaeve and Elayne that Rahvin was posing as Gaebril, or that either of them told Siuan; if they had, I really find it hard to believe Siuan wouldn't have told Bryne. Then again, not only does she have the same reason Egwene does for not telling him (not wanting him to desert the Aes Sedai and leave them without an army leader to bring down Elaida), but she loves him and wouldn't want to give him any reason to run back to Morgase should she live. And of course since she too thinks Morgase is dead, it would seem a moot point.

Anyway, I think I need more proof than supposition before I can say that Siuan knows about Gaebril; I looked at the WOT Encyclopedia and while it is clear that Elayne and Mat both know who he was (Rand told Mat Gaebril was Rahvin in TFOH when he came with the news of Morgase's death), we never see either of them tell Siuan when they're all in Salidar together, or for that matter see Elayne or Nynaeve tell Egwene. With all the miscommunication and lack of communication in WOT, it seems just as likely nobody told Siuan (or even Egwene) as it is that they knew but didn't tell Bryne. If they did know, and didn't tell...well, I could expect it of Egwene, but that would make me lose some major respect points for Siuan.

@104 Wetlander: You make an extremely good case indeed! I was never really convinced Moiraine would have done better at the Cleansing than Cadsuane (sorry if it seemed I was), only speculating on how matters would have gone. Personality-wise I think Cads would have been better for Rand early on and Moiraine better later...but that might have made things too easy for Rand, and conflict is the essence of story. We can say all we like that Cads and Moiraine might have done better if their points in the chronology had been reversed, but that's the point--Jordan wrote them in the order he did because it was more important to be true to his vision, and the way he wanted the story to unfold, than to make things easier for the hero.

People may complain about the way matters went between Rand and Cads, but I don't think anyone can deny it's at least more interesting to see that conflict than to have everything smoothly go Rand's way from the beginning. And besides, as you point out, the way he designed Moiraine would not have fit the narrative he wrote. And as others have said, I think it was important we saw Moiraine first as our quintessential Aes Sedai, not Cadsuane. So it really is all for the best it was written as it was. Wortmauer does have a point though about Moiraine becoming legendary after what happened at the docks in Cairhien.

Re: the angreal stash--I really can't believe Rand would forget about it, even if Egwene somehow did, since Jordan told us it was Rand himself who stored them away and warded them. Whether Moiraine would think to ask about them when she meets up with him, who knows, but I bet Rand will fetch them before the end. If nothing else, Elayne was just in Cairhien to take the Sun Throne, so she would have been reminded (probably by Samitsu and Sashalle) that the stash was there and could mention it to Rand at Merrilor.

@105 yasiru: Good point about the similarities between Semirhage and Cadsuane. You're right in that being dismissed so contemptuously hurt her as much as it did Semi, but I would contend (and still do) that this is what leads her to change her tune. As you say yourself, she later accepts Rand's moral authority, admits she is proud of him, follows his lead and advises him as a good Aes Sedai should. And it's precisely because she suffered the same blow to her pride that Semi did, the difference being she learned from it. It seems the bit about "having to learn something, but you won't like learning it at all" goes both ways in their relationship.

Oh and yes, Gawyn had every right to believe the rebel Aes Sedai were still using and manipulating Egwene and might not be truthful about if she needed rescuing. One word: Lelaine.

@107 Freelancer: Again, you state my thoughts on the differences between Cads and Moiraine perfectly. I personally like Cadsuane, believe in her good intentions, and feel she has learned her lesson in how to act toward Rand...but I don't think it can be denied that however she felt inside, she didn't show the sympathy and concern on the surface which Moiraine did. Whether she could or would isn't really the point; it's the fact she didn't that makes it harder for some people to like her and easier for them to like Moiraine. Wortmauer touches on this too, and anthonypero also states it very well @135.

@112 Freelancer, 113 Wetlander: One point re: Verin--while she is not sexy like Moiraine and certainly not more 'attractive' than Cadsuane, she does however have something Cadsuane lacks, and vice versa--she doesn't have Cadsuane's brusqueness, and as a result she does have that friendly grandmotherly air that makes it easy to like and trust her. Add in the distracted rambling of her Brown nature that is both hilarious and entertaining, and people will like her more than Cadsuane, and as much or more than Moiraine, even before they discover it's all an act hiding what a masterful manipulator for the Light she is.
Terry McNamee
152. macster
@116 Bergmaniac: LOL!

@118 pwl: Agreed on Sheriam. As for the changing of reality, Wetlander has a good point. Though I would say that Sanderson's comments on the subject are somewhat ambiguous. We don't know for sure the changes are being caused by balefire usage, we just know that, whether bubbles of evil or the Pattern itself unraveling, it's all stemming from the Dark One. It could be his touch is causing everything due to the breaking of the seals; it could be that the usage of balefire is weaking the Pattern which, if it is the Dark One's prison, is what's allowing the Dark One to touch the Pattern in the first place. We know in the end that the Dark One is the root cause, what we don't know is the exact mechanism of it or the reason for it.

I'm in the "six of column A, half-dozen of column B" view; I'm pretty sure the Dark One is or can be causing all these things simply by getting closer to freedom as the seals break if not by touching the Pattern, but balefire may be the very reason he's able to do so. I don't think we have enough information to know for sure which is right, and it may be that both are right. What I also think is that if balefire is part of the problem, the Dark One would indeed be quite happy to see it used so as to help him break free/touch the Pattern more; whether he actually ordered it be used isn't really relevant, because if it's helping him than he'd gladly take advantage of it.

@120 Wetlander: Agreed with you on balefire--right to use against Forsaken and Darkhounds, but not anything else.

@124 CireNaes: Opinions vary of course, but just in the short scene we had of her at the end of ToM, I think Moiraine has indeed changed--whether due to her realization re: Rand, the time spent in Finnland and what she learned there, or just time to reflect. She still seems manipulative (hard to overcome that when you're Aes Sedai and Cairhienin), but all she cares about is getting back to Rand--not to control him, but to help him. Of course we'll see what happens when they do meet up and what she tells him, but I think she isn't about control any more.

@126 forkroot: No argument with you on Gitara at all. And while you only have my word on this, I knew who you were going to say before I scrolled down...because she IS arguably the most important Aes Sedai in the last 100 years. I even liked her for the little we saw of her in New Spring. It's a shame she couldn't be around more. As for what Slayer's role will ultimately be and why he was needed, who knows...I think it would be more emotionally effective, personally, if Moridin changes sides and not Slayer, but that doesn't mean Slayer couldn't still inadvertently help the Light. If he does so by killing Fain, as insectoid suggests, awesome...though since I still think Fain will have something to do with helping Rand win, I'm not sure how to reconcile the two theories. Slayer kills Fain...but somehow in the process Fain still destroys/imprisons the Dark One through the Mashadar vs. Shadow conflict?

@130 subwoofer: I like your idea for what could have happened with the gholam.

@132 anthonypero: Congrats! :)

@136 J.Dauro: I agree with both you and anthonypero, if that's possible. I think Cadsuane does care for Rand, in her own way (I said as much myself farther up, commenting on that same "good-hearted boy" comment and her being proud of him in ToM), but as Freelancer and even Wetlander admit, what she feels and what she shows on the surface are not the same. She may not have Aes Sedai serenity but she does have Aes Sedai lack of emotion. So as much as she may (and, I think does) care for Rand, because it doesn't show on the surface then to Rand himself, and most readers, it's as if it weren't there. Perhaps people should keep in mind Bryne (and Gawyn)'s realizations from ToM, that an Aes Sedai only appears not to have emotions on the surface, and her Warder is the only one privileged to know she does feel, and care, underneath that.

@141 insectoid: Huh? Since when did anyone think Sulin was a Darkfriend? I think you may be confusing her for Sorilea...

@143 JonathanLevy: ROTFL!!! I especially like how part of why Gawyn falls isn't just Rand's ta'veren effect, but Mat's--he even falls to the side but his luck saves him from falling too. Brilliant! Also: He slammed his fist into his hand. "I've been looking for her for minutes, and I can find nothing. Nothing! Do you have any proof?" *snickersnorts* Of course he actually did lay eyes on Morgase at Merrilor, so we know this won't happen. Still hilarious.
Roger Powell
153. forkroot
Glad to count you on board with my little bit about Gitara - nobody else has said anything one way or the other yet.

I'm still thinking about Slayer and what he might do. There's no way RJ would have let that big a loose end hang - obviously there is something essential he must do at TG - but what? Maybe he kills Rand before Rand can make some sort of fatal mistake??

BWS dropped another obscure hint about Slayer in ToM - at one point Slayer tells Perrin that Luc hates him but Slayer doesn't (obviously he must have been in Isam's form). What the heck?

Oh, macster, BTW, I think JonathanLevy's piece accounts for Merrilor, that's why the whole bit about "minutes" was in there. Regardless, it was a work of comic genius!
Birgit F
154. birgit
Rand tried to spread the news about Rahvin in Caemlyn. Many didn't want to believe it, but Siuan's eyes and ears should at least have heard rumors (if the Blue had any in Elaida's territory).

Does balefire cause more damage to the pattern if it is used by / near a ta'veren?
Thomas Keith
155. insectoid
macster @152: You are correct, of course; it was Sorilea I was thinking of. But Sulin does do a "disappearing act" in these two books. ;)

Cameron Tucker
156. Loialson
@153 Forkroot
Well, I wouldn't be surprised that Luc hates Perrin, while Isam/Slayer doesn't. Slayer always had more of an opponent feel to Perrin I think, while Luc seemed to take Perrin's actions and uprooting his work in the Two Rivers personally. Perhaps it's related to that. Perhaps not, but that's the impression I got.

BTW, I agree that Gitara Got Stuff Done. I prefer Nynaeve as my fav supergirl and AS still, because I care about her as a character and she gets stuff done too. Whereas there is very mimimal Gitara actions on screen to make me care about her character as a person, although her actions were critical to Team Light.

What was she up to with Luc though...her actions there comes close to Verin in sneakiness...RAFO I guess.
Jonathan Levy
157. JonathanLevy
Glad you enjoyed it!

Yup, that's why I put the 'minutes' here. Other than that it's almost word-for-word from Gawyn's conversation with Egwene in LoC :)
Nadine L.
158. travyl
@155. insectoid: Sulin does do a disappearing act" in these two books
- No. Since Sulin is with Perrin's party, she actually does a rather unfortunate act of appearance - at Rand's side (Ch 37) just before he balefires Natrin's Barrow (got me confused quite a bit about storylines until I read somewhere, that BWS admitted it had been a mistake).

@128 & 143 - Wortmauer & J.Levy: I laughed at both your stories, keep them coming, please.
And while I'm at it: Cumadrin @81: rhymes: thank you
And subwoofer @110: I also like your humor
Rancho Unicorno
159. JackMyDog
@115 Wort.........
And let's not forget Lan. When it comes to military matters, I think everyone listens to Lan

Why is it that Lan is never mentioned when there is discussion of the "Great Generals"? During the Aiel War he was at least a Brig Gen. He was trained as a warrior destined to be a king. He ie a king. Rand recognizes this as Lan helps Rurac and confirms for Rand that Mat has the knowledge of battles.
Finally as we speak he leads "Spearhead Division" straight for the Gap. The Man Alone no longer, he leads.
Rancho Unicorno
160. mat2rivs
A question... Would Gawyn be able to somewhat redeem his selfish/idiotic behavior thus-far by giving his life defending Caemlyn/Elayne in AMoL? Or do you feel he has already done so through his actions in ToM?
Alice Arneson
161. Wetlandernw
JackMyDog @159 - Lan is not mentioned with the "great captains" because he refuses to take that role. In NS, we saw him leading a mixed bag of some 300 Kandori, Saldaean and Domani against the Aiel, but other than that he's always refused to be a captain. Until Nynaeve forced it on him, anyway.

mat2rivs @160 - The response you're likely to get here is... mixed, at best, as to whether Gawyn redeemed himself by his actions in ToM. I think it would help everyone appreciate him more if he did something for Caemlyn in AMoL - like, if they hear about the Trollocs attacking Caemlyn, you know Elayne will want to go back and defend her people, and if Gawyn managed to be actually helpful and be a leader without waffling in serving as her First Prince of the Sword, and he did some good stuff without being a complete idiot about it.... That would be nice. Also, if he apologized to Rand and Egwene for being so insistent that Rand killed Morgase, and actually learned from his experience, it would be a good thing.
Juan Avila
162. Cumadrin
I just realized that the main reason I am so accepting of Gawyn, and thus so quiet on the main comments topic of this post, is because we've shared the desire to see Rand seriously harmed or even killed for about the same time, albeit for VASTLY different reasons.

That and the poor fool is in love with Egwene. He'll be punished more than enough until the day he dies, assuming they both survive Tarmon Gai'don, which is not unlikely.

Kimani Rogers
163. KiManiak
AP@132 – Congratulations (a little late I admit, but I’ve been away for awhile)!! Star Wars? I don’t see any connection between Lucas and Star Wars (you’re gonna call him “Luke,” right?)

Loved all of the “50 Ways to Kill Gawyn.”

Wort@128 – I likes (especially the end result), but Faile? Really?

JL@143 – That was incredibly well done, sir! I laughed and laughed! My coworkers probably thought I was losing it…
Andrew Mills
164. ajmills
"Before, she had been working against a stubborn but good-hearted boy"

The word important word here is "against", and that's the problem, she was working against Rand and not with him.

I think the problem is that we blokes (annoyingly) mature slower than women do. He "just" needs to grow up a little, and I think Egwene will balance him out, or kind of temper his morals/beliefs -- or at the very least, pound some reality into his thick skull.
Rancho Unicorno
165. DougL
One thing really bothered me in TGS heh more than anything else. Nynaeve, who does pretty much whatever she wants, regularly heals anybody, even Rand, without any sort of permission. Here, Min is obviously hurt and in pain; the Nynaeve from the books, at every point other than here would have healed Min without a second thought. In fact, Min still has bruises when they go to kill Grannie. It absolutely would not have gone down that way and really bothers me.

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