Tue
Jan 17 2012 2:15pm
The Wheel of Time Re-read: The Gathering Storm, Part 15

Well, hello there! Would you like a Wheel of Time Re-read? Then by all means, have one!

Today’s entry covers Chapters 26 of The Gathering Storm, in which Plots get Positioned, and I buy stock in Raid, because AAAAAAGGGHH.

I apologize for the short entry this week, but I realized too late that the next two chapters really need to go together, and Chapter 28 is a doozy. Also, my 90-year-old grandfather had to have surgery this weekend, which has been more than a little bit stressful and distracting. (He’s doing very well now, though, thank goodness.) You’ll have an extra-long entry next week to make up for this one, promise.

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 26: A Crack in the Stone

What Happens
Aviendha watches the rest of the manor prepare to depart while she is forced to continue with her most humiliating punishment yet: using her finger to transfer water from one pail to another, drop by drop. She is furious about this, and ashamed of her anger; she thinks that perhaps she is too dense to figure it out, and therefore not fit to be a Wise One. She is surprised to realize she wants to be a Wise One just as badly as she ever wanted to be a Maiden. Min approaches, and asks if she is all right. Aviendha replies curtly that she is fine.

The woman turned and looked out over the camp. “Don’t... you have anything to be doing?”

Aviendha could not suppress the blush this time. “I am doing what I should.”

Min wants to talk to her about Rand. Aviendha remembers how she’d felt his pain the night before, but had thought it was a nightmare, and had not raised the alarm quickly enough, for which she owes him toh. She tells Min Rand will deal with his problems, as she will deal with hers, and the time for them to face their trials together is not yet.

I must be his equal, first, she added in her head. I will not stand beside him as his inferior.

Min comments that she doesn’t know what to make of Aviendha; she had expected Aviendha to seek Min out as soon as she arrived at the manor to discuss their situation, or maybe to challenge her over Rand. Aviendha snorts at the idea of fighting over a man, and further at the idea that Min could even hope to match her in a physical duel, which offends Min, so Aviendha lets it go. Min says she doesn’t like the idea of sharing, and Aviendha agrees, at least concerning a woman she doesn’t know well, but says they must continue as they have for now, as she is occupied with other matters.

“Like dipping your finger in buckets of water?”

Aviendha blushed again. “Yes,” she snapped. “Just like that. You will excuse me.” She stood and strode away, leaving the buckets. She knew that she should not have lost her temper, but she could not help it. Min, repeatedly pointing out her punishment. Her inability to decipher what the Wise Ones wished of her. Rand al’Thor, constantly putting himself into danger, and Aviendha unable to lift a finger to help him.

She could stand it no longer.

She storms across the green, turning aside twice to avoid Rand, until she finds Amys, Bair and Melaine, and informs them that she has “memorized every lesson, repeated every fact, performed every duty” that they have asked of her, and furthermore can channel better than any Aiel woman alive, and that they shame themselves by treating her so. She refuses any more punishments until they either tell her what they want or send her away. She expects anger and disappointment from them in reply. Bair asks if she presumes to be their equal; Aviendha has a moment of panic, but then replies that if these punishments are all they have left to teach, then she has learned all she must, and is ready to join them.

She gritted her teeth, waiting for an explosion of furious incredulity. What was she thinking? She shouldn’t have let Min’s foolish talk rile her so.

And then Bair started to laugh.

It was a full-bellied sound, incongruous coming from the small woman. Melaine joined her, the sun-haired Wise One holding her stomach, slightly bulging from her pregnancy. “She took even longer than you, Amys!” Melaine exclaimed. “As stubborn a girl as I’ve ever seen.”

Amys’ expression was uncharacteristically soft. “Welcome, sister,” she said to Aviendha.

Aviendha blinked. “What?”

“You are one of us now, girl!” Bair said. “Or soon will be.”

Amazed, Aviendha protests that she defied them, and Amys explains that a Wise One must stand up for herself; she could not be allowed to become a Wise One while still thinking of herself as an apprentice. Bair comments on the wisdom of their system as opposed to that of the Aes Sedai, where those on the bottom “simper and beg like hounds”, and are ignored by those above them. Amys says one Wise One may have earned more honor than another, but no Wise One should let herself be pushed aside when she believes she is right, even by other Wise Ones.

“No woman is ready to join us until she has declared herself ready,” Amys continued. “She must present herself as our equal.”

“A punishment is not a true punishment unless you accept it, Aviendha,” Bair said, still smiling. “We thought you ready weeks ago, but you stubbornly continued to obey.”

“Almost, I began to think you prideful, girl,” Melaine added with a fond smile.

Aviendha is dazed, and thinks she must thank Min for unwittingly riling her so. Bair says she has one more task though: she must go to Rhuidean. It is not the same any longer, but that is no reason to abandon tradition. Amys explains that she may wear her clothing this time, and normally she would walk the whole way, but in this case time is short, so Amys suggests Aviendha Travel to Cold Rocks Hold and walk from there. She compliments her on how well Aviendha did, and confesses they were much harder on her than most apprentices, but there is just so little time. Amys advises her to spend her days of contemplation running to Rhuidean well, as she will not likely have another opportunity for such for a while. Then she smiles, and turns her back to Aviendha. Aviendha looks to where Rand is standing, and promises him silently she will be back for him, before heading to the Traveling ground and weaving a gateway.

She ducked through the gateway, exulting—finally—in what had just happened.

Her honor had returned.

Shemerin explains to the small group of Aes Sedai in Romanda’s tent (Romanda, Lelaine, Siuan, Sheriam, and Magla) how she had left Tar Valon through a small Watergate, to avoid the Amyrlin’s notice. Romanda is annoyed that she couldn’t prevent Lelaine from hearing about this meeting. Shemerin apologizes for seeking employment among the camp followers, but begs them not to send her away, promising to live as a normal woman. Romanda tells her she is still Aes Sedai regardless of what Elaida says, shocked by how meekly the woman had accepted her demotion, but Siuan is more interested in the details of where this gate is. Shemerin tells her, but adds that it is far too small to take an army through. Magla wants to know how Elaida could have thought demoting a sister was remotely acceptable, and asks what Shemerin did to earn it, but Shemerin only says she was “weak” and without poise. Romanda notices something about the size of a cricket creeping under the canvas flooring of the tent, but ignores it to observe that Shemerin was likely an example used so that Elaida can later use the punishment on her real enemies. Then Siuan notices the bump under the canvas, and asks what it is, and suddenly the canvas splits to allow a huge cockroach to scramble through.

The roach skittered across the canvas, antennae twitching. Siuan took off her shoe to swat it. But the bottom of the tent bubbled up near the rip, and a second cockroach climbed through. Then a third. And then a wave of them, pouring through the split like too-hot tea sprayed from a mouth. A black and brown carpet of scrambling, scratching, scurrying creatures, pushing over one another in their hurry to get out.

The sisters screech in revulsion and jump up, and a moment later Magla and Lelaine’s Warders rush in, but don’t seem to know what to do about a flood of roaches. Siuan starts squashing them with the Power, and the others join her, but there are too many, and they are forced to evacuate the tent. Lelaine asks Romanda if there’s anything dear to her in the tent, and Romanda answers, nothing she’d ever touch again in any case. They weave Fire and burn the tent to the ground, the insects popping and sizzling inside. Magla comments that those were “four-spine” roaches, only found in Shara. Siuan replies they’ll no doubt see worse from the Dark One before they’re done, before dragging Shemerin off to draw a map of the Watergate. Romanda watches all her possessions burn.

Light, she thought. Egwene is right. It is coming. Fast.

[…] The Tower needed to be whole. Whatever it took. Would she be willing to bow before Elaida to make that happen? Would she put on an Accepted dress again if it would bring unity for the Last Battle?

She couldn’t decide. And that disturbed her nearly as much as those scuttling roaches had.

Commentary
FINALLY, LAWD.

…I mean about Aviendha, not the cockroaches.

‘Cause, as a point of information, O my peeps, the appearance of a flood of giant hissing cockroaches (okay, the text didn’t specifically say they were hissing cockroaches, but whatever, that’s totally what they were, and for God’s sake don’t click on that link if pictures of giant disgusting bugs squick you) will never, and I mean never, elicit the sentiment of “FINALLY” from me.

My sentiment would be, shall we say, rather less welcoming, and rather more oriented toward screaming and running and possibly throwing what the kids call an EPIC SHITFIT, because no.

That doesn’t just go to “Crispin Glover” on my squick-o-meter, it fucking buries the needle, you guys. Kill it with fire, indeed, Aes Sedai. Thank you for that.

…Sorry, I had to stop and close that tab on my browser before I could even keep going. Ick ick ick ick yeargh bad no. This is exactly why I am against apocalypses, people, because shit like this happens, and I Do Not Approve!

As for what Romanda et al were actually talking about before AGH COCKROACHES, I… really have nothing to say about it, except: hey, at least the rebels didn’t let their plot device Shemerin get eaten by AGH COCKROACHES before getting that map!

AGH NO MORE COCKROACHES. Back to Aviendha, or Topics That Don’t Make Me Check Under My Desk Every Ten Seconds.

(Although, as a totally random aside, I really rather wish I had kept a record of the things I have Googled in the course of writing this blog, because I’m pretty sure the compiled list – to which I can now add “hissing cockroach” – would either be hysterical or horrifying. Probably both. Hysterifying? Horsterical? …I’m going to stop now.)

(AGH COCKROACHES)

Um. Aviendha. Yes. Let’s try this again: FINALLY.

I’m so pleased to come to the end of the “This Is A Test A What A Test A What A Test Oh, A Test” plotline re: Aviendha’s Wise-Oneifying, in fact, that I am going to mostly ignore how obvious this chapter otherwise was about getting her the hell out of the way so we can forget about her until ToM. Where, admittedly, her storyline gets seriously awesome, but still. I mean, yes, okay, it’s crazy complicated up in here with the myriad plotlines and I appreciate that, but that was just a little too… something.

I don’t know, it bothered me. Almost as much as the fact that Aviendha and Rand have been in the same place for *mumble* days and have not once managed to actually interact. Even while mostly buying the rationale presented (and I did, even if I have some issues about the rather facile way it was presented to us), it still bugged me, because WHYYYYY with the never talking to anyone, WOT people, you frickin’ kill me. And this is, by far, the most egregious example of it in the entire series, if you ask me. They are IN THE SAME HOUSE, for the love of Mike. AND, psychically bonded to boot! What is this I can’t even, for reals.

All I’m saying is, this better not be a trend. If Rand, Mat and Perrin end up in the same house in AMOL – hell, if they end up in the same zipcode in AMOL (or WOT equivalent, whatever, you know what I mean) – and somehow manage to STILL not have an actual conversation, I may have to have a small aneurysm in protest. I would also like to note for the record that I spelled “aneurysm” correctly on the first try without looking it up first, and I am therefore damn impressed with myself.

Ahem! My point is, however correctly I can spell it, I am not even slightly in favor of actually having an aneurysm. So I’m just tossing that out there. For, you know, informational purposes. *cough*

Moving on!

My pleasure that Aviendha passed it aside, as far as the nature of the Wise One final exam itself is concerned, I’m… a bit dubious. Because, while I certainly agree with Bair that the Aes Sedai hierarchy system is stupid, for pretty much exactly the reasons she gives, I’m not sure that a system which apparently has no final authority at all would work much better.

I mean, I understand that the nature of clans and septs and all usually means that one Wise One’s business doesn’t often overlap with the others’, but if everyone is more or less of equal standing, how are conflicts resolved when they do happen? If Wise One A wants X to happen, and Wise One B wants not!X to happen, and each “believes she is right” and absolutely refuses to yield to the other, and Wise Ones C through Z cannot gainsay either A or B because no one of them has any more clout than any of the others, then how is the impasse to be broken?

I dunno. I guess no system is perfect, but that seems like a pretty glaring flaw, there. Hierarchical systems are easily abused, no doubt, but there’s a reason why they continue to exist in spite of that: so that at some point you can have a person or body of persons who have the power to say, “okay, this is the final decision, so everybody shut up and deal”. Otherwise no one would ever get anything done, it seems like. I disapprove of the Aes Sedai system of rank not because they have ranks, but because the criteria by which those ranks are assigned is dumb.

*shrug* Maybe I’m missing something about the Wise Ones’ system. And probably what I’m missing, honestly, is that Bair’s assertion that all Wise Ones are equals is real nice and all in theory, but is just not at all the reality, and this is just one of those unspoken things that you figure out as you go along: that no, some Wise Ones really do outrank others. (Case in point: Sorilea.) I still think not having it codified presents issues, but this at least makes a little more sense to me than the other.

So, bye, Aviendha! See you most awesomely/terribly/upsettingly/impressively/ I don’t even know in ToM!


And bye to you too, O my peeps! See you next week!

109 comments
TBGH
2. TBGH
What always amazed me is that both the Wise Ones and AS have these tests that only the strongest women could pass and then their ranks are filled with weak self-involved women. Obviously this is more of an issue in the white tower, but the books also have examples of Wise Ones who still act like apprentices. I mean, didn't they just get over that before they became Wise Ones?

And I'm sorry, I know supposedly Moirane's and Nynaeve's tests for the shawl were extra special hard, but we're supposed to believe every AS we see in the books passed that 100 weave thing without losing their composure at all? Really?

To make a really stretched real life parallel, it would be like a group of Marine Sergeants where after years of training and picking the best of the best of the enlisted, half of them were really weak-minded and pushovers for the rest.

Maybe it's a particular pet-peeve of mine because I was thinking before New Spring how Moiraine would obviously breeze through her AS test since she was one of the strongest and most composed AS in the world. It just reeks of unreasonable obstacles for the sake of unreasonable obstacles.
TBGH
3. Ryanus
I don't know that there's really NO end to the who's righ thing. I think it just instills enough backbone to not just roll over for someone with "more honor". We saw this type of disagreement in action back in Lord of Chaos with Sorilea and Amys butting heads over who was in charge on the way to rescue Rand. It seemed like it sorted itself out in about two days. Sorilea ended remaining in charge but started listening to Amys more.

But yes, it does have issues. Such as allowing Sevanna to wander in claiming she's a wise one.

The other chapter didn't do a lot for me in large, but it did make another step towards Romanda being redeemed as a worthwhile character. She's realizing things are getting serious and while not immediately stopping her own plans is at least now considering that submission or giving up her own ambitions may be nessecary and would not be automatically off the table. While she still annoys me, this and her voting for Nynaeve next book do quite a bit to help her in my eyes.
Jeff Weston
4. JWezy
I can't wait for Insectoid to comment on this post.

The thing about the Wise Ones method is that it really does prepare the inductee to be strong willed, and it seems clear that will is the way they sort themselves out. The one with the strongest will wins. Of course, your will varies with the topic (you won't go to the wall for everything, just things you care about), so the appearance is that there is no persistent authority. Because there isn't.

Maybe that's why the Wise Ones seem to tolerate Cadsuane better than most - she gets things done more by strength of will than by depending on the Aes Sedai pecking order.
TBGH
5. Ryanus
@2 TBGH, I actually don't find it that odd. Both cases involve a test that works great, so long as nothing outside the current setting comes along.

For the wise ones it's a simple issue of them not really congregating often, not in large numbers. So what happens when the harshest, strictest, most strongwillege wise one you've ever dealt with in your life is someone that was easy going, persuasive and calm. Then you follow your clan over the wall and run head first into Sorillea having never encounted anyone like her?

For the aes sedai, the thing about those tests is that they demand composure for composure's sake and undying loyalty to the tower. A standard Aes Sedai has spent years being beaten down and broken when it comes to their willpower to make them obedient to the tower. During their time as accepted their spirit is kindled with the idea of independnant thought, but in the end they're still expected and forced to comply no matter what their personal wishes are. Spend four-ten years going through this, and then take a test where the sisters aren't out to make you fail and may very well take your natural personality into account some and it's not hard to see many of these people succeed and then be largely ineffectual when faced with something they've never encountered.

IE the Seafolk. The reason the AesSedai break so much around them is exactly that, they've NEVER had someone stand up to them in that way. Even the monarchs and generals who opposed them did so quietly, calmly and to some extent politically. Not outright scorn, contempt and punishment.
TBGH
6. TBGH
@5 Ryanus

I don't see how the Accepted brainwashing enables them to better face public nudity, poisonous spiders, trollocs, etc. without flinching. Not to mention in both instances Moiraine and Nynaeve had to execute (multiple times) feats of channeling that would be impossible for 95%-99% of the AS in existence just to survive once they'd reached the circle.

The Wise Ones do get a little more slack from me, but the test is basically "Can you stand up to someone senior to yourself who's stronger than you who's been set over you when you think they're wrong?" And then it seems some of these people after supposedly standing up to their teachers when they were students (a harder task than many in today's society can appreciate) can't stand up to them anymore after becoming somewhat of an equal.
Rich Bennett
7. Neuralnet
I am always a bit surprised by the lack of jealousy between Min and Aviendha. They are in the same camp, bonded to Rand, the man they love... Min is sleeping with him and Aviendha isnt... yeah this would never be a problem (rolls eyes). I always have to sort of look the other way about the whole situation because it just seems completely unrealistic.
R B
8. MasterAlThor
Ok kiddies. It's time to play Wheel of Personailty! Where we will spin the Wheel of Personality and see if I decide to be M.A.T., Dragon or Rich today. Yes there are dangers to each, but what the hay.

So let's spin the Wheel of Personality!!!!

MAT: Hope it's me. I feel like signing today
Dragon: No one wants to hear you sing. Go sit in the corner.
Rich: Guys. Come on. We all agreed to this.

And the Wheel lands on Rich
.
Rich: Whoo Hoo!!!! Alright you two, back of the bus. Well you guys got me for better or worse.

(MAT: Jaws was never my scene and I don't like Star Wars)

What!?!?! MAT get back there and be quet. I am trying to tell everyone how I feel about this chapter.

(Dragon: Oh like anyone cares about what you have to say)

Look you. Don't be a hater cause you lost.

(Dragon: You got lucky. Spin it again. I bet you your name doesn't come up again)

(MAT: I just want to sing......Yeah I got this thing that's coming over me)

ALL OF YOU SHUT UP!

Who the heck was that"

(Dragon: I thought there was only the three of us)

(MAT: No. There is another)

Wait? Was that a Star Wars reference? I thought you just said... Nevermind.

(MAT: Well maybe he is a construct. You know a way to deal with the strees)

(Dragon: Oh don't you start that crap again.)

Ummm folks I am sorry but it seems that I am having some issues with my inner voices. I will have to come back and reveal my thoughts once we all get on the same page here.

Thanks Rich
j p
9. sps49
The Aes Sedai testing ter'angreal (wasn't there an acronym for it?) must have some scaling ability, otherwise someone like Daigian would get rolled over tout suite.

Aviendha avoiding Rand- yes, I can read the story's justifications as well as most. It's still subpar storytelling to have main characters not communicate to have the plot unfold a certain way.
R B
10. MasterAlThor
Oh and you guys should keep an eye on Samadai. He has been getting calls at work from Lanfear. Might be under some form of Compulsion.

Just sayin.

Rich
R B
11. MasterAlThor
Double post. Darn it. Sorry.
TBGH
12. pwl
The reason I disliked Aviendha's scene here is the parallel with Shemerin's situation, with an overall theme: people only have power over you because you accept it. The Wise Ones send punishment after punishment after Avi, only because she accepts it. Shemerin is demoted from AS, but the only reason it works is because she accepts it. It read as pretty blunt victim-blaming, really. While you can make sense of the examples in the universe, parading that viewpoint around is...well, very not cool, IMHO. In response to Avi's outburst, the WOs could have just as easily made her dig sand around the camp naked for a month. If Shemerin had tried to stand up and claim herself Aes Sedai after Elaida's proclamation, unless the tower was willing to schism to support her Elaida could have just as easily had her birched (it's a crime to claim one is Aes Sedai when one is not, and I doubt the laws explicitly state that the Amyrlin cannot demote a sister). Yet everyone considers it perfectly reasonable that "if she'd just stand up to him, he'd stop hitting her".

And are we really supposed to believe that Sevanna is the only megalomaniac that demanded to be recognized as a Wise One when she had no qualifications? If arrogance and pushiness is all that is needed to legitimately take the top positions in an organization, wisdom isn't going to be found in said organization.
Drew Holton
13. Dholton
Leigh, I just have to ask, if DISGUSTING COCKROACHES give you such a hissy cow ( and I'm with you on this), why did you move back t New Orleans!? This is a place where your home has to be sprayed against bugs every two hours! And they just try to pretty up the
DISGUSTING COCKROACHES by calling them "palmetto bugs". Bah.
Anyway, back to your point re Rand and The Boys talking, in TOM Mat and Perrin actually do give each other a complete debrief of their adventures. It was, unfortuately, (but understandably) offscreen though.
Nadine L.
14. travyl
Ryanus, you beat me to pointing out the contest between Sorilea and Amys. I whole-heartedly agree with you, though I seem to remeber that both went aside and came back somewhat ruffled. So maybe not just a contest of strong will but assertiveness. (I actually like that system, it fits into their society).

About the tests: I think it was pointed out that the "test" was particulary strong for former Maidens because of their strong regard for upholding honor - so weaker Wise Ones, might not have that a hard time.
Besides: I still think one cannot just claim his own opinion over others and thereby becomes a Wise One. I think one must be an apprentice and judged ready for it to work. Sevannas example faults this theory, but then she never went to Rhuidean either and Bair clearly says Aviendha will only be one of them if she goes (ok, this might be plot related, but previously every Wise One had to take 2 trips to Rhuidean) - so the "claiming" is only part, and Sevanna's acceptance hat more to do with Shaido stupidity....
Sanctume Spiritstone
15. Sanctume
Re: Wise One System

IIRC, the Aiel tribes war/raid each other in the wastelands.
The Wise Ones being equal to each other sounds like true ambassadors.
TBGH
16. wcarter4
I have to disagree with Leigh on one thing: We HAVE seen a few built-in fixes to the Wise One's seeming lack of heirarchy.
Dreaming and duels.
Most of the time the Wise Ones seem to defer to an individual during specific circumstances, who is it shifting at times. This makes me thing that If WO FU has delt with situation X before than WO BAR is going to defer to her when another situation similar enough to X comes up.
Dreaming also gives them the advantage of foresight which would aliviate much of the uncertainty of at least some decisions.
AND if all else fails we have seen an instance (I cant remember which book) were two wise ones tusseled over an issue made up with a water cermony and then got along like best friends (with the winner of the fight ironically submitting in decisions).
Charles Gaston
17. parrothead
Things I most miss about the South after moving to Seattle:
My mama's cooking
People who really 'get' college football

Things I miss least about the South:
102 in August with 99% humidity
GODDAMN COCKROACHES TERMINATE WITH EXTREME PREJUDICE kthnxby

Bye, Avi! Even though you should have snuck in some time for Randsnuggling.
Leigh Butler
18. leighdb
DHolton @ 13:

Well, I would point out that if you think there are no cockroaches in New York City, you're deeply, deeply wrong.

But your point is taken, and all I can say is: such is the awesome of my hometown that even the giant, disgusting, flying cockroaches are not enough to keep me away.
Juan Avila
20. Cumadrin
I've always had my suspension of disbelief perpetually set very high regarding the Aiel. This way they remain nearly 100% unmarred as a culture of pure awesome near-uncomprehesible badasses. I'm really good at letting things go, with regards to my literature, I suppose I should specify.

Oddly, up until this post I remembered the roaches being abnormally huge. Like size of your open hand (including fingers) size huge, which is significantly larger than even the ole Madagascar Hissing Cockroach, IIRC. I guess I just wanted to believe they were fantastical roaches and not normal, albeit exotic roaches.

The 'four-spined' description threw me off a lot as my first thought was multiple sets of vertebrae, which of cource insects don't have. My next thought was then horns or the like, furthering the assumption of a fantasy type of cockroach. Having looked at Leigh's link, though, it's reasonable to infer Sanderson was just using a description of the exosteleton.

*kicks up a clod of dirt immaturely*

I wanted kool badass demon cockroaches, damn it. Oh well.
TBGH
21. Megaduck
I will point out that the Wise Ones never really need to make a rapid decision. That's the Clan Cheif's job. In the Aiel culture they are more of a circle of advisors or priests. Highly respected, but they seem to be more the holders of tradition and correct behavior then of actual policy, at least until recently.
TBGH
22. Ryanus
@6 TBGH, but the test allows flinches, blushes, etc, it comments on that in Moraine's testing. As for the strength of the weaves. That goes with the person. Nynaeve and Moraine happened to be strong and so used the weaves to effect in massive forms of the basic required weave. Not all would.

@12 pwl. I'll preface by saying that I never support blaming an actual victim. That said, I don't know that either of these cases quite fit. These aren't cases of someone being attacked, coerced, etc with no ability to fight back or no practical ability to resist. These are two individuals given utterly absurd and unacceptable punishments, in the case of the Aes Sedai, punishments that they were told to flat out ignore and not follow. This isn't a case of an innocent victim being blamed because they wouldn't stand up for themselves. These are two cases of a person being told something stupid and then willingly going along with it because they think they should. I'm aware a line can be drawn, but to actually consider it the case in these examples would seem to make light of all those who truly had no choice.
Stefan Mitev
23. Bergmaniac
On one hand, since I really dislike the whole idea of 3 women happily sharing Rand, it's good that Aviendha stayed away from him the whole time here. On the other hand, internally it makes no sense whatsoever -I know she didn't want to marry yet for a plausible reason, but she should've at least spoken to him a lot. She could sense he was in deep trouble mentally and had very few people who he could trust. And not only is Rand the man Avi loves, he's the saviour of the world. Not even trying to help him here just makes no sense.
Rand's behaviour in this respect makes no sense either. He didn't even say hello to Avi onscreen in Arad Doman, didn't ask her how she was doing, how was Elayne and what was going on with the Caemlyn's Succession war...

So many implausible things like that would've been avoided if only Min was Rand's girlfriend. And it's not like the foursome has played much of a role in the plot, though I suspect it will in the last volume, there has to be some bigger reason for it than "RJ thought it would be cool".

The cockroaches invasion - thankfully I didn't read this ten years ago when I had a real phobia of the little buggers, it would've given me nightmares for a week.
Drew Holton
24. Dholton
Leighdb @18

Well, there's a reason I don't live in New York City, either. Nope, this is for me: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mbk81X6WHA4. Although Denver is not a cowtown! It's a high tech cowtown.

That being said, I did spend the last two years of high school in N'awlins, when the drinking age was still 18, and so managed to somehow have a great time while I lived there, despite the bugs and humidity.
TBGH
25. pwl
These are two cases of a person being told something stupid and then willingly going along with it because they think they should.
"I'm only doing this because I love you and need to teach you better"? It's stupid, but people willingly go along with it because they think they should.

I'm not saying that my initial impression might not have been a little too hair-triggery. But I haven't been able to shake it, and your explanation doesn't really change it. To elaborate a slight bit on why it really bothers me, it frames things in terms of bad things not being able to happen to you* if you don't let them, which of course makes it a personal moral failing if bad things do in fact happen to you*. It's a pattern that I'm a bit sensitive to, and it seemed to come across loud and clear in a couple situations in TGS. It really jolted me out of the books, and normally I have an ironclad suspension of disbelief. To be honest, I was a little surprised that Leigh didn't twig onto this as well.

I'm not really looking for an argument or trying to make a point about the author or anything like that, just wanted to share my impressions.

*referring to interpersonal relationships; of course, the Dark One can come and fry them at any time in this cosmology.
Margot Virzana
26. LuvURphleb
This chapter is forever imprinted on my brain. I find myself dwelling on it more so than any others. This is noteworthy because i know WOT well. Specifically chapter names for important scenes. I.e TFoH far snows is where rand aviendha hook up. Yet i do not know this chap name. I couldnt even remember which book it was in cuz all i remembered was the COCKROACHES. Reading this riled me up. Listening via audible freaked me out.
I... Never want to see one cockroach at a time let alone a swarming mass of hissing cockroaches.
There is an x files episode in season three with these bugs. And at one point mulder gets into a house infested for scientific purposes. Amd a woman lived there. Voluntarily!
That to me is insanity.
Cameron Tucker
27. Loialson
@7.Neuralnet

All three have had internal monologue re:jealousy of Rand, but(and I think this is one of RJ's theme points here) they don't go all catty like many girls would. They knew in various forms that they'd have to deal with each other in his life (Min from her viewings, Avi from familiarity with sister-wife traditions, and Elayne via her faith in Min's viewings). What I think actually makes this trio Heroines, I think, is that they at least try to talk it out with each other and make it work. They love Rand, but care about each other also, to varying degrees.

What makes these girls great is they don't stoop to desperate housewives levels, they try to be good people, and that is what makes them unique.

(As an aside, I never found catty girl fights/mudwrestling type stories to be all that entertaining; those are kindof degrading to the girls, and although I recognize it happens sometimes, I'm glad that type of conflict was kept to a minimum between these three.)

They do have issues, Min is trying to address them here with Avi, as they're the only two haven't really resolved their differences and problems with each other in this love quadrangle, but culture issues and Avi's personal frustrations bleed in to the conversation and causes conflict.

I think Min, Avi, and Elayne all honestly will make it work, and will care for each other too in the end, as well as loving Rand. At least that's my hope, because I like all three of them as characters, and dont wish them to destroy something that could be good.
Jonah Feldman
28. relogical
I gather that the Wise Ones would have an unspoken agreement to never have public conflicts with each other. They work behind the scenes when dealing in controversial matters, because it would hurt their credibility in the long run if they were to oppose one another's decisions. And they're good enough judges of character that if a woman "passes" the final trial by standing up to them but hasn't learned their lessson yet, they can decide amongst themselves to fail her anyway.
TBGH
29. Ryanus
On the jealous thing. I don't really see that there should be any at this point. Stupidity of no contact aside, Min's getting what she wants, Aviendha is used the idea of sharing a man and is staying away of her own choice. She might be somewhat internally envious or jealous, but there's no real reason for out and out cat fight or spite.


@25 pwl. I think I see where the issue is then. You equate the stance of allowing something to happen with the stance that it's your fault. I don't really think you can link the two together.

It's not that it's not Elaida's fault that Shemerin is accepted. But Shemerin going along with it does make it a case of something that she could have fought against but did not.

To use a real life example of the outlook the Wiseones went for, I'm involved in the SCA and a few other sport fighting groups. When we're sparring and someone gets hit and mutters about it (Particuarly if someone snuck up on them) We tell them they shouldn't get hit. We're not actually telling them its their fault they got hit, but by taking a stance of "You control if you're struck or not" it encourages more active behavior towards paying attention to your surroundings and moving. Now if we just sympathized with them on how it's no fun getting hit from behind we just encourage that such behavior is "Mean" or "underhanded" and keep it separate from other methods of attack in the person's mind.

Obviously there are places where such a stance would be horrible and insensitive. But I don't think the book is this in either case. One is a deliberate attempt to get the person fed up enough to stand up to them. The other was a power made psycho making a decree she couldn't actually make and everyone else telling her flat out to ignore it.

As a side thought, the Wise One situation is also done to give a taste of the worst punishment a wiseone can meet out (from aiel perspective, da'stang). So it's also similar in a way to why police cadets get to experience their own pepper spray and taser. You have more respect for a punishment you can give out if you know exactly what it is and what it will do to you.
TBGH
30. ?
Off topic... Where's Loial? :P
TBGH
31. Wilson of the blood
Leigh,
Prayers offered for a speedy recovery for your grandfather. Consider yourself hugged.
Wilson
Brother/Cousin
4th of 3
Nadine L.
32. travyl
@30. Loial left Rand in KoD, Ch 20, right after the huge trolloc battle to go with his mother to the Great Stump - where he will convince his fellow ents ogiers to participate in the last battle (hopefully).

@31. Wilson, how nice to hear, you are still following this thread, that's just great. I am a new fan (only 2 years or so) but I do love the Wheel of Time books.
TBGH
33. Wortmauer
JWezy@4: Maybe that's why the Wise Ones seem to tolerate Cadsuane better than most - she gets things done more by strength of will than by depending on the Aes Sedai pecking order.
Eh, they can't know that and neither can we.

The Wise Ones don't know what the Aes Sedai pecking order even is, except that they obviously have one. (As we discovered in New Spring, it's fairly secret — few except Aes Sedai know the specifics.) So they can't know whether Cadsuane, in getting stuff done, is working with or against the system.

We do know how the pecking order works, so we know that Cadsuane has been in the first rank for 250+ years, at the very top for 20 years, and arguably still at the top, depending on whether you count the Supergirls who have neither been tested nor held the Oath Rod. Does she get stuff done "by strength of will"? Maybe ... but it's pretty hard to claim she doesn't also make use of the fact that every Aes Sedai, by custom, will defer to her in almost any situation. In fact, I suspect it's the other way around: rather than acquiring influence by being bossy (strength of will), she became bossy because she was already the boss (top of the hierarchy). Could happen to anyone.
TBGH
34. Franklyn
@22 Ryanus

I guess my point boils down to, either the dangers are real and anyone who could survive them should be much more intelligent and mentally tough than the average AS is shown as. (Also, you wouldn't increase the actual danger to try harder to kill strong channelers right?) Or it's just a test of composure where the testers will keep you from dying if you're not able to simultaneously spot and fry tiny poisonous spiders while doing ridiculously complicated weaves. In which case the Moiraine and Nynaeve testing chapters are seriously overblown.

(I know the book specifies it's the first by the accepted who die in the test.) And I'll hold off on more discussion until we reach the Nyn testing chapters, but that one aspect of New Spring totally killed my suspension of disbelief and as a result this topic is one of my very few beefs with RJ.

@ leighdb

Pretty please more than one chapter next week! I'll bring extra cookies!
TBGH
35. Ryanus
@34 Franklyn,
I'm not sure why the two would relate still. Being able to use weaves creatively in combat situations and being able to ignore everything for the sake of a specific goal don't automatically relate to being capable in multiple situations.

I think the Aes Sedai as a whole show a very focused singleminded drive in support of the tower, so there's that. As for the combat stuff. The only time we've seen Aes Sedai in a combat situation and them come up pathetic as far as I know is the Seanchan attack. And they're understandable not used to taking on other channelers or dealing with facing a device that once it connects you're done with no chance of response.

Every sister we've seen facing shadowspawn have fought? Sometimes too directly, sometimes they've lost, but I don't think I've seen one break in terror. Though I may be wrong.
Julian Augustus
36. Alisonwonderland
What has not been mentioned on the example involving Sorilea, Amys, et al accepting Sevanna as a Wise One is that Sorilea and co had no choice: they had to accept Sevanna as a Wise One because the Shaido Wise Ones declared Sevanna as one of them! The fact that every non-Shaido WO believed this was bunk wouldn't make any difference; if they are accepting Shaido WOs then they have to accept Sevanna.
Hugh Arai
37. HArai
Wortmauer@33:
In fact, I suspect it's the other way around: rather than acquiring influence by being bossy (strength of will), she became bossy because she was already the boss (top of the hierarchy). Could happen to anyone.
Personally I suspect she's bossy because she doesn't trust others to get it right. A trait shared by Rand, Moiraine, Egwene, Nynaeve, Elayne and many more. She gets away with it so effectively because she is at the top of the hierarchy (like the others I mentioned come to think of it).

Alisonwonderland@36. Good point. The Shaido Wise Ones accepted Sevanna for their own reasons. After that, the other Wise Ones had to accept her or lose their "neutral ambassador" status in inter-clan relations.
Stuart Hobbs
38. rocketshobbs
As far as Wise One A promoting X vs Wise One B preventing X, all I have to say is: Shaido.
Alice Arneson
39. Wetlandernw
Hah! I FINALLY got caught up to the comments, and on the same day as the post! (Only because it's a snow day here...)

JWezy @4 – “Of course, your will varies with the topic (you won't go to the wall for everything, just things you care about), so the appearance is that there is no persistent authority. Because there isn't. Maybe that's why the Wise Ones seem to tolerate Cadsuane better than most - she gets things done more by strength of will than by depending on the Aes Sedai pecking order.

Two very good observations there! I hadn’t really thought about it before, but you put your finger right on the reason that the WO thing doesn’t bother me as much as it does some people. The reason no individual seems to be in charge all the time is that no one person cares about every issue enough to make a big deal about it. (Except for a real control freak like Sevanna, which is a whole ‘nother discussion.) I suspect that the things they see in the rings, plus the history lessons experienced in the columns, probably combine to give the Wise Ones a slightly better perspective on what really matters than the average person. That insight would give you a better sense of “wall issues” than you might otherwise have.

Right on about Cadsuane, as well, I think. The Wise Ones respect her strength of will and agree with her purpose; IIRC, she never gives them the “I’m Aes Sedai so you should obey me” schtick that the other AS have tried, so she doesn’t lose points for that. It’s one of the things I like about Cadsuane: she only pulls rank on those AS who think they’re hot stuff and use it like a club. To me, it’s like “Okay, if you really insist on playing that game, I’ve got you beaten hands down.” Those who just go ahead and do the things they are good at, and do them with confidence and intelligence rather than arrogance, she treats with respect and equality. Then when she has occasion to interact with the WO, she does the same thing, if with a little more caution.

It’s sort of a “who you are, not what you are” issue. If you think you deserve respect because of WHAT you are (AS, WO, chief or Car’a’carn) they’ll slap you down every time. You earn respect by WHO you are – your character, strength etc. Not that it’s a perfect system, but it’s better than some!

Ryanus @5 – Several good points as well. Much of what we’ve seen and called weakness or ineffectiveness is a matter of encountering complete unknowns, and being ill equipped to face it. Few of the Aes Sedai stand up well to the WO or SF, because they’ve never even conceived of anyone who would treat them with indifference or contempt. (The Whitecloaks may hate them, but even they have a certain measure of respect and fear of the power of an AS.) I think just maybe Cadsuane’s lesson from “the wilder in the Black Hills” has stuck with her and, while not exactly keeping her humble, has at least equipped her to recognize that there are people besides AS out there who are worthy of respect. Or caution, at any rate.

Whoever-that-was @8 – LOL! Get your multiple personalities to respect each other properly, and we’ll see…

sps49 @9 – “It's still subpar storytelling to have main characters not communicate to have the plot unfold a certain way. I might agree, except that “failure to communicate” (and its implications for functioning with insufficient information) is a primary theme of this whole series. Like it? Not necessarily. Enjoy the effects? Not necessarily. Call it “subpar storytelling” because I don’t like the effects of a theme? Not necessarily.

pwl @12 – The question of whether it’s the victim’s fault isn’t at issue. The point here is that sometimes the victim has a choice in how they respond. If Shemerin’s reason for accepting her demotion was fear of being birched, and she’d rather be demeaned than hurt, well, okay. Shemerin can’t help the fact that she’s always been a bit of a waffler, but it’s fairly obvious that Elaida chose her to be an example because she was the least likely to fight. Would the Hall really have gone along with the demotion if Shemerin had refused it? Maybe, but I doubt it. Even if they had, though, she could at least retain a measure of self-respect.

You bring up an interesting juxtaposition, however: Shemerin, who simply accepted her groundless demotion and ran away, side by side with Aviendha, who accepted the discipline of her teachers until she was willing to let her pride (“I can’t ask, that would incur toh!”) suffer for the sake of getting on with the important things. The big difference in the two scenarios, though, is the purpose of the “superior officer” – Aviendha’s teachers wanted her to realize that she had done no wrong and stand up for herself; Elaida merely wanted to make an example of Shemerin for her own personal elevation. Maybe standing up for herself wouldn’t have done Shemerin any good, the way it did for Aviendha. Clearly it wouldn’t have made Elaida see her any more fondly…

Cumadrin @20 – Suspension of Disbelief FTW!! With you, mate. Re: the cockroaches, I try really hard not to picture them in too much detail, but they always seem gigantic to me. Like, yeah, hand-sized or so. (Although having Siuan tackle a hand-sized roach with her shoe works the old suspension pretty hard, now that I think about it.) Anyway, you have my permission (FWIW!) to visualize the biggest, baddest demonic cockroaches you want. In fact, you’re welcome to my share. I prefer my cockroaches… far, far away.

(parrothead – that’s one of the things I too appreciate about Seattle: the general lack of disgusting bugness. Where I grew up in Montana, there weren’t too many narsty creepy-crawlies, and I’m grateful to be able to live in another place where there aren’t many. The times I spent living in Florida and California, plus the stories of a friend who lived in Louisiana, provided WAY MORE THAN ENOUGH in the way of revolting bugs.)

Alisonwonderland @36 – Yup. Annoying as it is, knowing Sevanna has absolutely no qualifications according to the traditional standards, "our" WO have to accept her because of other traditions. Specifically, if the WO's of her own clan say she's a WO, the ones from other clans can't refuse her. Ah, well. She's probably wearing a translucent dress now anyway. Maybe she likes it.

And hey – where have you been hiding?
Julian Augustus
40. Alisonwonderland
Hi Wetlander, real life is what. I am waaaay too busy at work, and the few times I am able to check in, I see something like 394 responses and I quail at the thought of tackling all that. Happened to log on today and there were only 33 responses! Sweet.
Jay Dauro
41. J.Dauro
Wortmauer @33

Yes, I believe they can make some judgements. Cadsuane does at times give other AS instructions, and when they are acting in a manner she doesn't approve of, she will slap them down. But she also will treat AS that others totally ignore with respect. (Of course Wetlander beat me to this.) The WO would notice. And by this book, I believe the Wise Ones do know how the AS determine rank, they have mentioned it.

In the testing for most Sisters, the Accepted being tested does not really have the option of channeling before reaching the mark. Nyneave was able to do so strictly because of her experience in the dream. A testee does not know why they have to remain calm, just that they have been told to. They really have little reason to assume this is to support the Tower, at least as far as I have seen in the two tests we view. So it seems to me that if you can remain calm, and ignore people being assaulted or killed while you calmly walk to a marker, you have a big advantage. I would call this a test for lack of empathy. It may be that the Tower feels that ignoring the pain of anyone outside the Tower is a good thing, I would say we have seen a number of examples of this behavior, from Sisters on both sides of the light. And yes, Moiraine and Nyneave wouldn't do well with that.

We haven't seen many of the tests, but I would agree with others that they are probably tailored to the testee. We do see the test changing as it progresses, as the Sisters running it try to bring it to the breaking point for that Sister.
Cameron Tucker
43. Loialson
@42
Sorry tnh, my mistake. I thought it was a spam making fun of my handle, and then realized it was genuine later on after reading more comments. I apologize.
T C
44. Freelancer
I just wanted to point out that the opposite of X could be written as notX, or as !X. Logically, not!X == X.

Hi, Leigh.

So anyway, on that subject of the Wise Ones' org chart of authority, it seems to be mostly intuitive, with the occasional need for internally handled conflict resolution. We have been given one example where two of the senior Wise Ones end up at odds, "quietly" step aside and "discuss", and immediately afterward one is clearly leading. So it isn't as though every Wise One can claim equal weight to their opinion at all times, rather that they have equal opportunity to have their opinion weighed.


As for Aviendha, the non-communication part is more important to me here than her "stubbornness", with which I have no small problem regarding this particular initiation method. Had she shared the tiniest bit of what was going on with Min, the solution may well have been reached sooner. Partly because Min is a puzzle-solver, but also partly because the fastest way to clearly see the solution to a problem you are facing, is to try explaining it to someone else.
Roger Powell
45. forkroot
Leigh - Sorry to hear about your grandfather, but if he's come through it well at 90, good on him!

For anyone who's interested - we have 24 more chapters of TGS, plus a smallish epilogue. Then a meaty ToM prologue, 57 chapters, and an intriguing epilogue. If (big "if") Leigh could do three chapters per week, there's a pretty good chance of getting to that ToM epilogue in time to enjoy the speculation (i.e. before we have AMoL).

We're not paying customers. Tor (and Leigh) can decide to do what they darn well please. I'm just curious how others feel about quantity vs quality and whether we should beg Leigh to speed it up at the risk of some quality loss.

(It's really a tradeoff - if you don't believe me, go back to the start of the reread where Leigh was doing 7-8 chapters per chunk.)

For my part, I think discussing ToM prior to the appearance of AMoL would be a lot of fun and would help contribute to the buildup. That's just one person's opinion though, and I'm curious how others feel.
T C
46. Freelancer
I worked in the Navy with two men from New York, one an Italian and the other Puerto Rican, who both had stories of pretty substantial-sized roaches. On a port visit in Singapore, the three of us were headed for one of the many ultra-inexpensive outdoor feeding spots just after dark, and stepped across a metal grate covering the sewer drain in a residential area. Out from under the grate scurried two objects I couldn't see well, but figured for rats given their size. The other two could see them clearly, however, and left me both surprised and alone when they suddenly made like the Road-Runner. Failing to understand why two New Yorkers would flee from a pair of rats, I took a better look. That's when one of them open its shell and fluttered its wings. I didn't stick around after that.
Roger Powell
47. forkroot
Re Avienda not approaching Rand: Now that she and Elayne are first-sisters, I would think that she would want to coordinate laying the bridal wreath with Elayne (along with the other reasons for delay that we are given.) She's well aware (through the bond) that Min and Rand are together and understandably would want to delay intruding into that situation until she's ready.

Re Rand not approaching Avi: A little harder to understand although he's preoccupied and well on his way to becoming "Dark Rand".
TBGH
48. Wortmauer
J.Dauro@41: Yes, I believe they can make some judgements. Cadsuane does at times give other AS instructions, and when they are acting in a manner she doesn't approve of, she will slap them down. But she also will treat AS that others totally ignore with respect.
Sort of. What you're saying, though, is that Cadsuane, from her exalted position, has the liberty to ignore the Aes Sedai hierarchy and treat people more "fairly." That doesn't mean she didn't get to that point because of it. There's still the inescapable fact that most of the world has been conditioned to roll over for any Aes Sedai with her Power ability. Other Aes Sedai will fall in line with her plans with only a little prodding because of her rank. Muggles, simply because she is Aes Sedai. It's all very well to say Cadsuane is so awesomely strong-willed that she can make things happen regardless of hierarchy, but given that the hierarchy works entirely in her favor, it isn't very convincing.

The most convincing case that Cadsuane's influence does not wholly derive from her Aes Sedai ranking is that business at the latter half of WH in her home town of Far Madding. Almost uniquely in the west lands, they have developed a cultural immunity to the respect bordering on awe that most people have for Aes Sedai, yet Cadsuane still somehow has a hold on the ruling council there. (How this came about would, I bet, make for a good prequel short story we will never see.) But I don't think most Wise Ones would have any reason to know about her doings in Far Madding in WH or prior. (Also, we haven't really seen any other Aes Sedai make their way in Far Madding except under her umbrella, so it's hard to know exactly how much influence Cadsuane commands there that other Aes Sedai would not.)

The second most convincing case that Cadsuane has more than her inborn advantages is that Rand al'Thor puts up with her and retains her as an advisor when he won't listen to most other people at all. We happen to know it's a cheat, though. He doesn't put up with her because of her strong will; it's only because Min had a viewing that Cadsuane is somehow vitally necessary to his primary mission, and he trusts Min's viewings. The Wise Ones wouldn't know about the viewing, of course, so they probably credit Cadsuane with somehow getting Rand to not throw her out on her ear. (Well, not until Dark Rand took over a chapter ago.)

Much more convincing is Sorilea. From reading her bio, she seems unlikely to be all that influential, but when you meet her.... Though even Sorilea is not without advantage. The Aiel clearly lend a lot of weight to advanced age:
Aviendha herself found it peculiar. How could strength in the Power, something you were born with as surely as your eyes, weigh more heavily than the honor that years could bring?
— TPOD, Ch. 1, To Keep the Bargain
And Sorilea evidently has a great deal of that "honor that years could bring."

Now I don't hold it against Cadsuane to be so effective "only" because she was born at the top of the pyramid. You use the tools you've got, and she does. (Speaking of tools, those legends of Cadsuane's exploits become a lot easier to explain, don't they, when you realise what her paralis-net can do? Like the story of her dragging a male channeler halfway across the world to Tar Valon alone, without even a Warder. I always wondered how that was possible, until we started to learn about those ornaments.)

If y'all can believe it, this long and winding road of a post is actually more on topic than it started. I cut one major tangent in editing.
TBGH
49. Staizer
Here is why Aviendha not talking to Rand and vice versa doesn't bother me:
They may love each other, but they don't understand each other at all. Not even a little bit. She sees him as some (almost) failing Aielman and he sees her as the (second) most baffling woman alive (next to Elayne). She tells him she loves him, she tells him to go away, she tells him to be devoted to Elayne, she help the three girls bond him together. I would honestly be confused too. What would he say to her? Especially when he can feel her emotions but he doesn't know why she is feeling them.

Then Aviendha is afraid if she even interacts with him she will automatically place herself below him in status. The hierarchy of things would make her feel less than him and how could she respect anything she said or did with him when she doesnt respect herself.

I wish they had talked but I can understand why thy didn't
TBGH
50. Mostlyanthony
Let's face it: Min is Rand's one and only true love, the other two are mere crushes, and yet another device to stretch the story unnecessarily.
john mullen
51. johntheirishmongol
Avi I sometimes like, and sometimes she infuriates me. For a Wise woman, she has about a 3 in wisdom. It takes her forever to pick up on things that involve herself. To a certain extent, it felt like it was stretching when this particular little plot went on and on, like giving her something to do to keep her out of the way.

As for the discussion about what kind of heirarchical stance the women fit into, remember this is a tribal group and not a nation, which is totally different than most of us have seen unless they have been overseas. Tribal groups can run by consensus
TBGH
52. Radagast
And then there's that chapter in Jack Vance's Planet of Adventure where the landlady explains that it's too difficult to get rid of the roaches, so they make stew and soup and many other delectable things with them.

Then there's the pensanu, or shite rooster in Imajica that can render an entire wagonload of dung inedible with one ... turd ....

I think of you, Leigh, when I read it.
JAMES MCCLELLAN
53. ZEXXES
11. MasterAlThor You sure that was adouble post? You never know.....just say'n.

Hysterifying. I like that word....

I, Zexxes Rabban Quintera, do submit to you the word, Hysterifying, created by the Lady Leigh Butler. So on this day and henceforth, the word Hysterifying should be used in the way deemed useful as a description of that which is horrifying to the mind while leaving one in a state of hysteria.

I propose that this decree be voted upon yea or nay by the ending of this posting cycle, with the results of to be submitted on the day of the new posting cycle.

My vote is Yea

Zexxes the Mercurian
Birgit
54. birgit
The Wise Ones don't know what the Aes Sedai pecking order even is, except that they obviously have one. (As we discovered in New Spring, it's fairly secret — few except Aes Sedai know the specifics.)

Before the Windfinders and Wise Ones and Kin appeared the outsiders AS interacted with were non-channelers. Of course it is difficult for non-channelers to figure out the AS hierarchy, but many Wise Ones can channel. It is strange that novices/Accepted like puzzle-solving Siuan don't figure out the hierarchy.

EDIT: They probably don't think about it because they are indoctrinated to never mention OP strength and age. (Washing dishes does give you time to think about WoT).

The Whitecloaks may hate them, but even they have a certain measure of respect and fear of the power of an AS.

The AS had the same problem with the Windfinders that Semi had with Cads. Both are used to being treated as more than human by others and are helpless when someone refuses to accept that status.
Marcus W
55. toryx
The thing that bothers me about Aviendha's final test is that the entire system of Apprentice to Wise One is that when you're told to jump, your first response must be "How high?" There isn't any room for disobedience and it's a lesson taught over and over again with a great deal of punishment to prove the point.

So how is anyone supposed to figure out that there's a point when you can reject all that? It seems very counter-productive to me. It's like putting new recruits into boot camp and then making them go through that hell of mental programming until they wise up enough to resist, which is never going to happen because the whole purpose of the set-up is to teach people to obey without thinking.

Faugh.
Heidi Byrd
56. sweetlilflower
Yeah! I finally caught up! Of course, I skipped every post that concerned...bugs....but, yeah! I always kind of wondered how that Aes Sedai knew that those bugs are only found in Shara. I mean, as far as we know, no AS has ever been there, right? I guess just stories from travelers?
JAMES MCCLELLAN
57. ZEXXES
Yeah I was wondering if she could be the hidden Forsaken for awhile there.
TBGH
58. Looking Glass
Also, Wise One power is pretty much exclusively based on the influence that other people give them, and the traditional Aiel solution seems to be “if you choose to listen to a fool, you deserve what that’s gonna get you”. The pre-Rand clan system meant that no one person got a critical mass of power or influence over the Aiel as a whole, and the environment and the society was unforgiving enough that fools and their followers didn’t last long.

The Car’a’carn’s coming did kind of break the system in various ways, but hey, that side effect was clearly indicated on the side of the bottle.

(Do not use if printed foil on arms is broken or missing. Uses: provides temporary relief for sight-blinding, leaf-blighting, grass-burning, inflammation. Users may experience side effects including existential despair, the breaking of all bonds, the destruction of society, mild to severe irritation. The chance is higher if you take other prophecies containing prescription or non-prescription messiahs. Consult your Wise One if sight-blinding, leaf-blighting, or other conditions persist. Do not take more Car’a’carns than directed. Drink a full glass of water with each dose. Adults and children 10 years or older: take one Car’a’carn with the dawn. Do not exceed one Car’a’carn in a one-Age period. Children under 10 years should consult a Wise One. If you have taken more Car’a’carns than directed, contact poison control immediately.)
--

@55 toryx:
the whole purpose of the set-up is to teach people to obey without thinking
That's not really true, though, especially not the "without thinking" part. It’s not arbitrary; they want their apprentices to understand why they are getting those instructions. With the punishments, it’s all stuff where they legitimately believe it should be readily apparent to the punishee exactly what they did to be punished and why that was wrong. Which is why Aviendha’s flipping out, because this time it’s not.
Tess Laird
59. thewindrose
sweetlilflower - Maybe the comment is meant to shine a light on Magla? She is a Yellow Sitter, and part of the 'Obstructionist 5' who join the SAS. She isn't in Verin's Black Book;), however Verin mentions that she didn't find 100% of the Black Ajah. Was Magla at the retaking of Oaths? I can't recall. (Although I am pretty sure she was...) If she wasn't, this could be a clue in favor of the Sharan/Demandred theory. Anyways - probably a red herring.

I don't think the Wise Ones are training their apprentices to be mindless automatons. Before they really started treating Avi as a da'tsang, she was learning and encouraged to think on her own. She is stubborn and was a maiden, so she has a double dose of quailties that needed to be addressed before she could become a Wise One. Sevanna is like an exception that proves the rule/course. She definitly believes in herself, but has an appalling lack of consideration for anyone else. What were those Shaido Wise Ones thinking? They must know that she never went through the rings. Did they think she was so good at what she does, that the training wasn't needed? Did she somehow manipulte Therva, so that they would just let her become a Wise One. I have always been interested in how she pulled this off.

Zexxes - related to Tylin Quintara? I vote yea on Hysterifying.
We haven't used 'choss' in a long time - as in you little piece of choss(not you Xexxes) - that one is from way back LoC.

tempest™
Alice Arneson
60. Wetlandernw
birgit @54 - (Washing dishes does give you time to think about WoT.) Doesn't it, though? I do some of my best composition then. Too bad I can only remember bits of it when I get back to the computer...
JAMES MCCLELLAN
61. ZEXXES
Well I chose Quintara because the name already existed in the series, but I have used the name as an alter ego in the past for many years. The name I first saw, and used thereafter, in a book series by Jack L. Chalker. The Quintara were demons and were waiting in stasis.... waiting for the right conditions to be released to resume there reign. It was excellent science fiction with satanic overtones. The first book in the series is "Demons at Rainbow Bridge". I recommend the series for a short respite as the books are not long and are only a Trilogy. Actually all of his books are pretty good...not the best...but entertaining.

The name Rabban is from Dune, the original movie, not the book. His gleeful chuckling at the Harkkonen Baron's descriptive cruelty, always tickled my funny bone.

Zexxes is just me being what my minds eye sees and has chosen as the name for my Self. Although it is not my True name, it is as close as anyone will ever see. But even more simply and way more childish, is that Zexxes is "sex" spelled backwards 4 times. I've use the name everywhere online for at least 12 years, never giving out my lawful name if not necessary.

Yes I know, I know..... sex? Well you know... I like sex.... and I'm a guy... and a ram and a dog. Its what I do!

Z
Birgit
62. birgit
I always kind of wondered how that Aes Sedai knew that those bugs are only found in Shara. I mean, as far as we know, no AS has ever been there, right? I guess just stories from travelers?
"Those did be four-spine roaches. Sailors do see them on ships that visit Shara."
TGS ch. 26
The roaches are "as wide as a fig".
Debbie Solomon
63. dsolo
re: Rand avoiding Avi. I always thought he was avoiding her for the same reason that he tried to get Min to leave. He's afraid that being around him is dangerous. Min won't leave him, and he's probably afraid to approach Avi, and have the same thing happen. Also, he doesn't want any spies to know how important Elayne and Avi are to him. Remember, he was in disguise with Elayne, and no one knows who the father of her babies is.

re: Standing up for yourself, as a WO or AS - if I remember correctly, when Eg found out about Shemerin and questioned how Elaida could demote her, the reply was that Shemerin allowed it. That seems to imply that if she had stood up to Elaida, she would have retained her status. After all, she had passed the AS test, so she was a bonafide AS. I'm a nurse, which means I have passed licensing boards. If my employer suddenly decided that I wasn't a nurse, but a nurse's aide, it would only work if I accepted the demotion.
Tyler Durden
64. Balance
@59.thewindrose
Sevanna was a crafty bitch. She was the wife of the Shaido Clan Chief Suladric and roofmistress of Comarda Hold. That gives her qualifications. The Shaido know her. I doubt she was Suzy Holdmaker and stayed quiet while married to the chief and being roofmistress of a powerful Hold. I’ll bet she was very active in Shaido politics. We know from seeing her in action that she is a skilled manipulator. After Suladric’s death she worked her way into being the main squeeze of Coulidan. We all know how smart he was. Who do you think steered the ship in that relationship? Even after he was chief of chiefs. She seemed to already have some pull with the Shaido’s most influential Wise Ones. In fact I believe they were the ones who were part of the conspiracy that Sevanna set up to control the Shaido Aiel. Weren’t they the ones who killed Desaine? Once the most influential Wise One’s tell all the other Shaido that Sevanna is one of them, and in command, it’s taken as truth. During the PLoD we see those Wise One’s begin to take back some of that power because they are disappointed in Sevanna’s leadership. The point of my argument is Sevanna had power because she was in a conspiracy with the Shaido’s most influential (somebody figure out a better name than that) Wise One’s. I don’t think Amys, Biar, ect, REALLY accepted her as a Wise One. They just treated her as such in public, around other Shaido Wise Ones.
T C
65. Freelancer
toryx @55
So how is anyone supposed to figure out that there's a point when you can reject all that? It seems very counter-productive to me. It's like putting new recruits into boot camp and then making them go through that hell of mental programming until they wise up enough to resist, which is never going to happen because the whole purpose of the set-up is to teach people to obey without thinking.
If you are here describing boot camp, then I respectfully inform you that you are wrong. It is not, nor has it ever been, about teaching people to obey without thinking. You are not only expected to think, you are required to think. The goal of Basic Training in the military is to recondition people to accept their role as a member of a larger group, to consider the objectives of the group as superior to one's personal wishes, and to accept the heirarchy of authority without which good order and discipline cannot exist. If, however, a servicemember believes that their immediate chain of command is operating out of bounds, there is always a recourse. Even in Boot Camp.

I don't mean to rant, but the portrayal of military recruits as mindless drones is erroneous and misguided, and I cannot let it pass unanswered.
Tess Laird
66. thewindrose
Heh - I was looking for something in tFoH and came across this little gem, must say I had a good laugh:
The Maiden in the blanket - Melindhra? -knelt behind Mat and put her hands on his shoulders, looking up at Moiraine over his head. "I will see that he does as you say, Aes Sedai." With a sudden grin, she ruffled his hair. "He is my little mischief maker, now." From the horrified look on Mat's face, he was gathering his strength to run.
Chortle!

So anyways - I was in the wrong book. In LoC is where Sevanna has risen to Wise One status.
Therava and Emerys said Sevanna was a Wise One, and though Sorilea grumbled, there as no choice but to accept her as one. Egwene was sure they were spying, but Amys merely looked at her when she suggested it. Protected by custom, they had free run of the tents, welcomed by all the Wise Ones - even Sorilea -as if close friends or first-sisters.
So Sevanna manipulated herself into that position somehow with Therava and Emerys. Maybe they thought it was great fun to do this, and didn't realize that Sevanna wouldn't stop pretending, or maybe she has some hold over Therava and Emerys, like the hold she and Therava's group have with the killing of Desaine.

tempest™
TBGH
67. Caveatar
Avi and Rand apparently aren't hooking up because of Avi.
She refuses to go to him until she can do so as his equal.
And how in hell do you equal the Car'a'carn/Dragon Reborn/Saviour of the World/Champion of the Light?

Avi seems to have found the answer to both her problems with the same answer.

I must be his equal, first, she added in her head. I will not stand beside him as his inferior.
(I recommend you get horizontal, damn the standing beside.)

“No woman is ready to join us until she has declared herself ready,” Amys continued. “She must present herself as our equal.”

It is up to her to decide that she IS his equal. She has done ALL that she could do in each and every situation she has faced. She has given her all, heart, body and soul to doing what is needed. Not even the Dragon could do more.

@Leigh I recommend a pair of the sharptoed cowboy boots. They are designed to kill cockroaches in corners. Thats why they are shaped that way.
Alice Arneson
68. Wetlandernw
Caveatar @67 "@Leigh I recommend a pair of the sharptoed cowboy boots. They are designed to kill cockroaches in corners. Thats why they are shaped that way." LOL!!! I knew I liked those boots for a good reason - even if we don't have cockroaches here. :)

Freelancer @65 - Thank you! I knew there seemed to be something wrong with the characterization, but never having been there I couldn't say one way or the other. Excellent point, about reshaping one's thinking so that the good and the objectives of the larger group outweigh one's own wishes. Your explanation makes much more sense - and means that it merely took Aviendha a while to realize that she could stand up to the chain of command.

(At that, I only yesterday noticed that Aviendha didn't actually figure out that it was a test and that she was supposed to stand up to them; she just got mad enough to do it anyway, and they still had to explain to her. I have to wonder - in other times, would they have required her to figure it out, or is it always enough to simply behave as their equal in order to receive the explanation?)

And... that was kind of a revelation. A true Wise One puts the good of the larger organization ahead of her own gain, which is what makes them so effective. With the plurality, no individual should be able to force issues for her own personal ends. Again, Sevanna is the proof - Balance @64 ::waves:: made some very good points as to both why and how she was accepted, and how even with her presumed power, the Shaido WO were able to begin to rein her in. I suspect that if they hadn't wanted her as the figurehead/fall guy, they could quite readily have pulled her down completely without Perrin & Tylee's help.

Among the rest of the clans, we see the WO functioning as they are meant to - a plurality which works out internal disagreements and then acts on the chosen path. It's not necessarily consensus the way we think of it, because sometimes there are rather sharp disagreements, but once a decision is reached, they all either support it or get out of the way. So there isn't really a heirarchy; there are a lot of individuals who have been trained to think in terms of the good of the whole, and given insights not readily available to everyone (the Rhuidean ter'angreal). That's why the older ones have more - but not overwhelming - influence. They have years of experience to help them figure out what might be best for the whole, including the knowledge that sometimes the noobs have really good ideas and should not be dismissed out of hand.
TBGH
69. Curtain Jerker
Long time listener, first time caller. I wanted to wait until I caught up to the most recent post in the re-read before I commented. A few quick points:

1. First of all, excellent job Leigh. I've blitzed through the entire re-read in about two weeks and you've been informative and provocative. I don't know any of your earlier work dealing with WoT but if it is half as good as this re-read you deserve more than a dedication in Towers of Midnight. Bravo good lady, and bravo everyone else who has made the comment section an excellent read as well.

2. I don't know who posted it earlier, but whoever said that Min is Rand's one true love and Elayne and Avi are crushes is - IMO - 100% correct. I have a couple of more thoughs on this but want to wait till the post on Rand's epiphany on Dragonmount to post them because they belong there.
TBGH
70. Hawkido
On the subject of roaches:
My Grandmother was quite the frontier's woman. She said they handled roach infestation with CatNip of all things.. I thought it was kinda silly. She also put bay leaves in the jars of uncooked rice and beans she had on the shelves. She said it kept the bugs out of the dry goods.

What the hell the captcha phrase had greek and cyrillic letters in it!!! I didn't feel like looking them up in an ascii code, so I requested a diff phrase... that's not cool!
After growing up and moving into a roach infested apartment I tried the CatNip thing. It worked horrible... for my neighbors, but great for me. The roaches moved out post haste. I don't know if it will work for those Palmetto Beetles down in the N.O. Swamps. But for your common cockroach it is a great nonchemical way to get them out of your house. Just sprinkle it behind the stove and unver the cabinets and fridge, and any other place you see roaches retreat to when the lights come on.

Best I can figure is the cat is about the only known predator for the roach, and cats are "drawn" to CatNip to put it mildly. If you haven't see a cat high on catnip I would suggest youtubing it . They get severly doped. Its funny.
Cameron Tucker
71. Loialson
@70 Hawkido
High kitties. Now that's a good lolcat.
TBGH
72. yasiru89
Regarding the Wise Ones, theirs is primarily an advisory role, where the Clan Chiefs making most decisions. As Leigh says, there wouldn't be any conflict when the affairs are clan, sept or hold affairs. For larger scope, as has become more common, we've seen them consult with each other, and I imagine a democracy is at play. There will also be people like Sorilea who can forward her cause through sheer force of will and get people to agree. This is all still much better than the Aes Sedai system, seeing as the Aes Sedai are much like men in that regard, deferring to power and making decisions singly and not as a group.
TW L
73. Shadow_Jak
Parrothead @17
"Things I most miss about the South after moving to Seattle:"
Roaches are no joy, true. Also heat and flies and gnats and "love bugs" and 'skeeters'.

But, having lived in Seattle (OK, actually Tacoma), I must point out Great Great Northwest, while indeed a wonderful place to live, also has it's downside (like never seeing the sun for weeks at a time!).
And as for disgusting. it's hard to beat those Olympic sized slugs!
Oh, and for another NW treat, Google "geoduck". Now that's dis-gusting with a capital "DIS"!
Alice Arneson
74. Wetlandernw
Shadow_Jak @73 ... Umm.... You have a point there. The slugs here can be truly revolting. (The worst I've seen was about 6 inches, but I've heard of worse...) Geoducks are also on my "things to avoid" list! (And in case anyone is wondering, it's pronounced "gooey-duck" for some reason.)
TBGH
75. alreadymadwithwiseonetest
Does anybody else find it disturbing that Wise Ones' hierarchy almost depends entirely on whoever says she has the biggest cojones? Because seriously it is so fricking open to abuse.
Alice Arneson
76. Wetlandernw
But it doesn't. Not really. If the other Wise Ones disagree with her, one woman can't force everyone else to go her way. The greater danger would be someone who is extremely persuasive and can convince everyone else that she's right. IMO, that's where the rings come in handy - they show you the consequences of your decisions (at least for major ones), so even if you're willing to risk something stupid, that doesn't make anyone else willing to.

Certainly there are natural leaders, and those to whom others naturally defer (like Sorilea and Amys). But there have been plenty of times when we saw others disagree with them, and it seems to be resolved over a lot of steam. Maybe there's something about sitting around naked and dripping with sweat and steam that cooks out the stupidity... :) But it does get resolved, and the same person doesn't necessarily always win the argument.
john massey
77. subwoofer
Are you suggesting Congress should be held in a sweat tent? ;)

Woof™.
T C
78. Freelancer
The discussion of Wise Ones and how to decide who is right™ in a disagreement, has somehow managed to completely ignore an additional resource at their disposal.

Dreamwalkers.

Hard to dispute a well-established and proven source of clairvoyance for helping to figure out what to do next.
Anthony Pero
79. anthonypero
I always viewed Cadsuane's character as existing primarily for Nynaeve. They share a TON of traits. Cadsuane gives Nynaeve a model (both good and bad) from which to mold herself. Egwene's character is modeled and influenced by Suian, Elayne is similar to (but not modeled after) Moiraine, etc... I thinksome of this was very intentional on RJs part, some of it was just... well, you have thousands of speaking characters and see if some of them aren't similar, lol.

I just find it amusing that there is all this Cads bashing going on when she is essentially an old Nynaeve.
Nadine L.
80. travyl
Freelancer @78.
Do you have any reference for your association between Dreamwalkers and "proven source of clairvoyance" - my memory fails me:
I know Aes Sedai Dreamers are said to have prophetic dreams, but is it written, that Dreamers (Egwene) are the same as TAR Dreamwalkers (some of the WO)? - Undisputedly they have and advantage (long distance communication) and they might have foreknowledge because of their trip to the rings, but is it stated that Dreamwalkers are the same as Dreamers?
Alice Arneson
81. Wetlandernw
travyl @80 - Read TSR Chapter 23. The Aiel Dreamwalkers have significant insight into the future, some of which is clear and some not so much. They seem to see the future in terms of possibilities, which it seems is somewhat different than Egwene's "true dreams". For example, in the dreams about which they wrote to Moiraine, Melaine explains:
"It was no more than an even chance that the young man who calls himself Rand al'Thor would come. If he did not, it was certain that he would die, and the Aiel too. Yet he has come, and if he survives Rhuidean, some of the Aiel at least will survive. This we know. If you had not come, he would have died. If Aan'allein had not come, you would have died. If you do not go through the rings -"
It is implied, mostly by lack of comment, that any Dreamwalker has this ability to see the future, if dimly. Some things are certain, some are not, but they all see it.

Hope that helps a little.
Nadine L.
82. travyl
Wetlander, thank you. It does help :)

About your "question "@68
I never took the punishement as a test to be figured out. I interpreted it as an attempt to prompt Avi to "demand her rights as an equal." They had to rush thing because of looming Tarmon Gaidon. It's not the test she needs to "see trough" but she must "perform" the act of standing against them as an equal to become a WO. In other times they might not have rushed it with all the useless punishment. Then again they might have had to do that anyway, Bair indicated that it took the other former Maiden Amys equally long to step out of apprenticeship.
T C
83. Freelancer
Thanks, Wet. Apologies, travyl, I supposed it to be so well established that Wise One dreamwalkers had access to glimmers of future events, as to not require provenance in discussion.

You are correct regarding Aviendha's treatment. It isn't a test, it's a prompting, which has no value if the apprentice is given any advance indication of why it's happening. That makes it ipso facto appear cruel. The presumption is that everyone has a point at which indignance and outrage outweigh obedience, and they refuse to accept the treatment any longer.
Tyler Durden
84. Balance
Don't really have anything to add. Just wanted to wave back. :)
TBGH
85. Curtain Jerker
Quick question about the Wise Ones. It seems that every Aiel woman who can channel or Dreamwalk becomes a Wise One - hence why Aviendha was conscripted from the Madiens to Wise One boot camp.

Are there any Wise Ones who can neither channel nor dreamwalk? Or do you have to do one or the other in order to become a Wise One?
Alice Arneson
86. Wetlandernw
Curtain Jerker @85 - Probably the majority of Wise Ones can neither channel nor dreamwalk. There are only three Dreamwalkers among the whole of the Aiel at present. (The fourth one, Seana, was killed by the Draghkar at Cold Rocks Hold.) While many of the Wise Ones can channel to some degree, many are so weak they'd never make Accepted in the WT; however, they find every single woman with the spark, and most of those who can learn as well. It's not a requirement, though, and there are many who cannot channel at all. I can't find any percentages, but every clan or sept hold has at least one Wise One who is trained in healing and herbs, as well as a fair number of other things. I would venture to guess that the Dreamwalkers learn to find the dreams of every apprentice WO so that, once "graduated", they can be contacted when necessary.

travyl - Back to an earlier question... the Glossary of LoC implies that the Aes Sedai "Dreamer" is essentially the same thing as the Aiel "dreamwalker". For what that's worth....
Birgit
87. birgit
scifi.com chat 14 November 2000

Ran: Are Dreaming and Dreamwalking essentially just different names for the same Talent, or are they separate Talents that often occur together? The illustrated guide seemed to confuse the issue somewhat.
RJ: No. They're very different. A Dreamwalker can enter dreams but a Dreamer only "understands" dreams, though Dreamwalkers are generally Dreamers too.

East of the Sun Con, Stockholm, Sweden June 1995 - Karl-Johan Norén reporting
On Dreamers, Dreamwalkers and prophetic dreams he said that the ability to interpret one's dreams, enter Tel’aran’rhiod and meddle with other people's dreams were different Talents.
Thomas Keith
88. insectoid
This post apparently was brought to you by Parson's Pest Control...

I hadn't forgotten about you guys... honest! I have this electronic project that I'm working on that's been eating up most of my spare time. So apologies if this turns out to be lengthy...

I did read it on post day, and had a good belly laugh for your commentary, Leigh. Great post as usual! And hope that your grandpa recovers soon.

Ah, Aviendha finally comes to her senses and talks back. Took her long enough! Should've been totally obvious from the beginning: if you want to be a Wise One, act like one!

Cockroaches: Despite my nickname (they ain't no relatives of mine, so let 'em burrrnnn!), roaches are among the six-legged critters that I am less than fond of the possibility of finding. (Not sure if I've ever actually seen one in person.) Large moths and earwigs in particular startle me a good deal. (Ants are very high on my mom's squick-o-meter.) But there are some bugs that I like; ladybugs and honeybees, for instance.

Hysterifying: Yea!
Horsterical: Sounds equestrian.
Here's a new one: squiver. Cross of squick and shiver!

JWezy @4: Sorry for the long wait! :P

MAT @8: ::falls on floor laughing:: I guess all MAT wants to do is 'Bicycle'? Or was it one of the others, in reverse?

Dholton @13: Bab-o had the same idea; aren't roaches like twice as big in the South??
Leigh @18: 'Flying'!? O.O

Wilson @31: It's Wilson yayyyy!

Free @44: I've seen it written as X' as well, FWIW.

ZEXXES @53/61: That's an inventive nick!

Wetlander @60: Waterproof the computer, that's the ticket! ;)

Hawkido @70: Catnip, really? No wonder we never see any around here.
Loialson @71: Yes, we do have those. XD

Jak @73/Wetlander @74: Banana Slugs!! I remember seeing those once.

Sub @77: ::shudders at the disturbing imagery::

Bzzz™.
john massey
89. subwoofer
@ Insectoid- erm, yes, didn't mean to conjur up graphic imagery, mind you the primaries seem to be awash with rich old white guys telling disenfranchised folks what they want to hear in dark times. I do see the parallels of the White Tower and the gov't, both seem to have their heads in the sand when it comes to the common people...

meh.

The thing that gets me personally about bugs is that people get queasy at roaches and such, but don't bat an eye at eating lobster or shrimp or crawfish. yeeeee! God has blessed me with an allergy to shell fish, but I still have the good sense not to eat any of these larger bugs, that happen to live under water.

IIRC this chapter had an interesting POV from Romanda, good in the sense that we see Siuan from another viewpoint, and also we get to see an old, experiences Aes Sedai, whom has a postion of power viewing Egwene. Romanda seems a pivotal character to me in that she opposes Lelaine, has her own power base, outside of the highest of the Aes Sedai, and leans towards the good guys in getting stuff done ie- the raising of Nynaeve. I do wonder what was in Romanda's journal.

And this is one instance where hairy chested men with swords didn't do a lick of good. I do like the idea of Siuan swing a shoe at the critters tho'.

Woof™.
Nadine L.
90. travyl
Freelancer: no need to appology (@83, for my stupidity). Wise Ones as prophetic Dreamers really are a well established concept. The earliest mention is in TDR, Ch 39 - when Rhuarc says the WO urged him to leave because of their dreams - so basically as early as we see any Aiel.

I wish I'd share another attribute with Mat (luck), instead of these stupid holes in memories! Luckily I got you all, while Mat only had the Finn to fill the holes.
Still, after the comments @83, 86, 87 I am again slightly confused about Dreamers, Dreamwalkers etc ;)
TBGH
91. Wortmauer
Freelancer@78: The discussion of Wise Ones and how to decide who is right™ in a disagreement, has somehow managed to completely ignore an additional resource at their disposal.

Dreamwalkers.
Well ... we think of dreamwalking as a pretty common trait among Wise Ones, but it's really not. This is easy to forget, because dreamwalkers feature so prominently in our story, but consider the proportions. Sevanna managed to gather, what, something like 400 channeling Wise Ones at Malden? If about half the Wise Ones can channel, and if there are 12 clans about the size of the Shaido, that's at least 9600 Wise Ones throughout the Aiel. As Wetlander just noted, only 4 of these were dreamwalkers as our story opens — Amys, Bair, Melaine, Seana — and Seana is now deceased.

So, I wouldn't say a Talent is much of an "additional resource" if only 1 in 2400 of your corps has access to it. (Or 1 in 3200, now that Seana is dead and Egwene is no longer playing at being a WO apprentice. And Bair is surely getting onward in her life expectancy.) I'm sure the dreamwalkers have made themselves as useful to the Aiel as possible, but they're spread awfully thin.

I'm just sayin'.
Jack Diamond
92. violetdancer
Wow, guys! It's been so long since I posted here, I forgot my password. Real Life again got too much in the way, and usually by the time I read the post and all the comments anything I want to say has already been said. No point in repeatedly writing ditto toryx, wetlandernw, freelancer or LOL at what sub posts. Although I actually have been keeping up with you.

One thing I haven't seen is anyone pointing out that Avi was pretty much an apprentice on her own. She spent so much time with Elayne and away from all the other apprentices, she didn't have the benefit of apprentice gossip. We saw some of that when Egwene was with the Aiel. Maybe Avi took so long to get it because she was never around when other apprentices became WOs and heard what the others had to say about it.

Keep up the good work, all. I'm still here.
JAMES MCCLELLAN
93. ZEXXES
You know an upcoming chapter is going to discuss Verin's role in things so to speak. And I just happened to be reading TDR and came across Verin giving Egwene a ter'angreal just before she was to walk through the Accepted Ter'angreal. And I was thinking....I wonder if Verin tried to kill Egwene or at least harm her in some fashion.

Knowing all the obscure knowledge that Verin is inclined to mumble about, what if she knew that another Ter'angreal can't be in close proximity to the Walking Ter'angreal and that the last time they lost an Accepted to it was because of that second Ter'angreal. I know it doesn't say exactly that in the book, it only mentions that there was a severe vibration observed when another ter'angreal was present. But maybe Verin did some research and discovered that if another Ter'angreal, one dealing with Tel'aran'rhiod is in close proximity, that bad things tend to happen. Bad enough to lose the person in the Ter'angreal. And since Egwene was to keep her posession of that Ter'angreal secret, Verin knew that she would keep it hidden while in the chamber and not mention that she had it, keeping it secret. A brilliant play if thats what Verin did.

Just a theory. Was wondering if anyone agreed. I mean she is Black Ajah... she was probably just following orders from Lanfear as she was present in the White Tower during that time frame. And we know that Lanfear spoke to Egwene shortly before her becoming Accepted, questioning Egwene about Rand. Lanfear probably guessed that Rand and Egwene were an item and wanted her removed from the picture. Verin had no clue that Egwene would become the person to whom she would confess her sins to and provide the means to possible redemption.

Whatcha think?


Z
TBGH
94. Just Mo
So here's something that's been tumbling around in my head the past few days. It concerns Rand, The DO, and Padan Fain. RJ has stated that Fain has unintentionally "side-stepped" the pattern. What if (and I have absolutely ZERO to back this up) Rand kills the DO and Fain, being all "two kinds of Dark Badness", ends up becoming the new DO to maintain the balance. Just something to think about before the new post tomorrow.
Alice Arneson
95. Wetlandernw
Just Mo @94 - It's been proposed and discussed. Personally, I don't buy into it, but some do.

To me, it's a lame plot device, but I suppose if it were sufficiently well-executed, it might pass muster. I just don't think RJ designed his world in such a way that a human could actually kill the DO in the first place; in the second place, I think a rather different fate has been foreshadowed for Fain. In the third place, I don't quite see that as being an ending that Brandon would call "perfect." YMMV.
Chris R
96. up2stuff
Berg @ 23,

sorry if someone has already pointed this out, but Avi probably would not have approached Rand regarding his discomfort, pain, etc, because she would have seen it as shaming him. Aiel wont acknowledge weakness or show it. If she acknowledged how much pain he was in, she would have toh, or he would. I forget exactly how it works, but she would avoid either scenario.
Cameron Tucker
97. Loialson
@93
I fuzzily remember BA higher ups were upset with Verin over giving up that ter'angreal to Egwene...Or was it the sitters. Hmm, can't find it at encyclopedia-wot. Unsure if there is any in book evidence to back this claim up. I like the idea, though, Verin was definitely an (awesomely) shady suspect :)
T C
98. Freelancer
Wortmauer @91

Well, it's simple enough, if you have one, you have one. When a group of Wise Ones isn't sure what to do, they contact a Dreamwalker to see if she can offer any insight. Water is found, issues are settled, etc. We know this to be true from the text, and I was merely pointing it out for those who were still worried about a gaggle of "equals" trying to sort out who leads, or whose opinion carried the most weight.
TBGH
99. Wortmauer
Loialson@97: I fuzzily remember BA higher ups were upset with Verin over giving up that ter'angreal to Egwene...Or was it the sitters.
Close, but not quite:
Verin smiled faintly. "You did very well with the previous tidbits I gave you. That was quite the interesting situation. The Amyrlin commanded that I give you the information to hunt the Black Ajah sisters who fled the Tower, so I had to comply, even though the leadership of the Black was frustrated by the order. I wasn't supposed to give you the dreaming ter'angreal, you know. But I've always had a feeling about you."
— TGS, Ch. 39, "A Visit from Verin Sedai"
So, the BA leadership were frustrated by the Amyrlin's order for Verin to give out detailed information about the 13 renegade BA, but agreed that Verin had to comply to avoid suspicion. Best I can read between the lines, nobody (Black or not) knew Verin had given Egwene the stone ring until long afterward. Except the other Supergirls, of course.

The Black wouldn't have been so upset if they'd realised that sending the Supergirls after the 13 renegades was part of a much larger Chosen plot against Rand. But, as has been our theme all along, nobody talks to anybody, the bad guys least of all.
JAMES MCCLELLAN
100. ZEXXES
Yeah, I wasn't thinking that Verin was involved in any plots with the thirteen. I was leaning towards Lanfear moving things along with regards to Egwene. You must remember there were assassinations going on after the thirteen had already left. The Grey Men were always the tools of the Forsaken. Lanfear's presence lends itself more fittingly towards a Forsaken run campaign. Egwene was without a doubt a focus of hers and we know that an attempt on her life was made at least once. I'm simply implying that maybe two attempts were made. One failed attempt by the Grey Man and one by Verin, both ordered by Lanfear.
Cameron Tucker
101. Loialson
Thanks Wortmauer, I knew there was something going on there.

Hmm, on a similar note, I wonder why Lanfear didn't just kill Egwene when meeting her under disguise of the old lady...did she just push her out of TAR because it's "her" territory?

What do you think?
Jonathan Levy
102. JonathanLevy
101.Loialson

There are a bunch of little things which Lanfear does before TSR which don't make much sense at all, and (I think) are best seen as a plot device, or a mood-setting device.

I'm not talking about her attempts to seduce Rand, or her meeting(s) with Ishamael. I'm talking about little things.

For example, last chapter of TDR: She sends Berelain with a little note to Moiraine saying 'Lews Therin is mine, tend him'. That doesn't make much sense, does it? I mean, what's the point? The only thing this could accomplish is introducing Rand to a really beautiful woman.

She also shows up at the end of TGH to scare Min, and tell her to take care of Rand until she comes to claim him. Apparently she also heals Rand a bit. This can be excused, to a certain extent - seeing if Rand is ok after the battle with Ishamael makes some sense.

In TDR she has a nice long conversation with Mat, which is interrupted just before she tries to use Compulsion on him. What's the point of that? She's trying to get him to seek Glory. Why should she care? She wants to marry Lews Therin. How does Mat advance that cause? I don't think he does.

Also in TDR, she disguises herself and helps send the supergirls to Tear. This is part of a complex plot: The girls will be captured in Tear, as bait for Rand (think Han Solo and Skywalker). Why should she want to send Rand to Tear? To seize Callandor, for which he is unready? To face Be'lal, who wants to kill him and take Callandor for himself? This flies in the face of her own interest - when she talks to Rand in TSR, Callandor is a problem (she can't trust him with it) and Rand is too unready (in her mind) to deal even with a Trolloc invasion, much less a Forsaken. Then why did she send him charging into Be'lal (and Ishamael!) just one book ago?

And yes, we've got Sylvie as well. Compare with Moghedien a couple of books later, who sees Egwene in TAR, and tries to trap her in a Dream to get rid of her. That's very credible. Sylvie makes much less sense.
Terry McNamee
103. macster
Well, apparently either the blog ate my posts, or the moderators deemed it necessary to delete them. Oh well; that's what I get for not checking back sooner. So, since I can't remember what all I said before, I'll just say this instead.

@58 Looking Glass: LOL!!

@67 Caveatar: Well said, a very brilliant reading to apply Avi's obvious lesson to her other situation with Rand. Agree 100%.

@77 Subwoofer: LOL! Absolutely right, as usual.

@80 travyl: Also recall Bair, Amys, and Melaine's dreams about the three women on a boat, the man with a knife at Rand's throat, Rand cutting the wetlands in two with a sword, and the Bowl and "she who is no longer".

@89 Subwoofer: Siuan with a shoe is awesome. ^_^

@93 ZEXXES: It's just as likely Verin knew, or guessed, that the resonance between the ring and the arches would cause Egwene's test to predict the future the way true dreams do. She also says in TGS that she gave her the ring because she 'had a feeling about Egwene'. I took this to mean it was Verin trying to meet her double obligations to both Light and Shadow--she withheld the notes, so that without them Egwene might run afoul of danger in TAR and die, but gave her the ring so she could also learn how to use TAR (and interpret her dreams), thus giving the Light an advantage. Egwene may rarely have shared those dreams with others, but we know they were an advantage since Halima was interfering with them.

@99 Wortmauer: Yes, the only one we know knew Egwene had the ring was Lanfear, and due to her manipulating the girls (and Liandrin) in order to help Rand escape Be'lal's trap and get Callandor, she didn't tell anyone. Joiya and Amico knew she had it, obviously, but since they were both captured they didn't get to tell either. The rest of the thirteen didn't know when they met Moghedien in Amadicia. So, since we know the Shadow knows of Elayne having made copies later (and Mesaana later orders Sheriam to bring them to her), my guess is the Shadow found out after Halima freed Moghedien from the a'dam; she obviously knew pretty much everything Elayne and Nynaeve were doing in Salidar, and probably what Siuan and the Salidar Six were doing too.

@100 ZEXXES: Lanfear claimed she never uses Gray Men. I think it is more likely (as is mentioned on Thirteenth Depository) that it was Ishamael who sent the Gray Man (he knew of Egwene and her dreaming, and after his plot to get rid of her/use her against Rand in Great Hunt went south, he may have decided she had to be eliminated--he is certainly the one who, as Moridin, sent Halima to interfere with Egwene's dreams later). And Lanfear, because she wanted the girls alive to bring down the trap set by Be'lal and the thirteen and help Rand, sent Isam to kill the Gray Man and save Egwene.

@102 JonathanLevy: Not sure about the Silvie thing, and the note from Berelain and warning to Min really don't make sense (especially how she goes apeshit later about Rand supposedly sleeping with Aviendha, yet did nothing to the girl who was snuggling Rand right in front of her). But I think you have the Tear plot backwards: Mesaana sent the thirteen to Be'lal to help him lure and trap Rand (Dominic of Thirteenth Depository thinks Be'lal wanted to use the 13 Fades which Liandrin claimed would be used on the girls to instead turn Rand to the Shadow so he would then give him Callandor--I agree), but Lanfear threw a monkey wrench in this. She gets the girls to go there to lure Rand, so that he will take out Be'lal before Be'lal can get those Fades. Then, when he takes Callandor but cannot handle its flaw, she can step in (as she did in TSR) and offer to find him a teacher.

As for Mat, I think like her overture to Perrin in TAR that was Lanfear going along with Ishamael's plans when it suited her, since he wanted the legs of the tripod brought down, turned to the Shadow, or elsewhere when Rand needed them most. Or it could be another function of her helping Rand in Tear--get Mat and Perrin to go there and they too could possibly help him win. Or get killed, thus helping the Shadow. Either way, a win.

And a theory, which I remember being in my old posts that were eaten: setting aside whether Rand's true love is Min and the others only crushes, how's this for a possibility as to why Elayne and Aviendha are in the story (beyond stretching it out) and why Rand was fated to have three women--what if the special bond they used to make him their Warder will be key in helping to resurrect him after he dies? This could be related to the dreams about three women on the boat with him, partaking as it does of the image of Arthur being carried to Avalon...
Anthony Pero
104. anthonypero
Macster is right. Lanfear's actions in TDR were meant to help Rand avoid Belal's trap.
Jonathan Levy
105. JonathanLevy
104.anthonypero
Macster is right. Lanfear's actions in TDR were meant to help Rand avoid Belal's trap.
I guess a quick re-read is in order, since that's not quite how I remember it. I do remember being confused by it. If either of you has any references which clarify Lanfear's actions, I would be most appreciative.

103.macster

Mesaana sent the thirteen to Be'lal to help him lure and trap Rand, but Lanfear threw a monkey wrench in this. She gets the girls to go there to lure Rand, so that he will take out Be'lal before Be'lal can get those Fades.

Perhaps I should do my re-read before I ask this, but I'm not sure I understand how this is supposed to work. Be'lal is trying to lure Rand to Tear, so Lanfear throws a monkey wrench in this by luring Rand to Tear? As for getting Rand there quickly before Be'lal has his fades - Fades travel on the edge of a shadow, as soon as Be'lal needs them he'll get them. If Be'lal wants to Turn Rand, his problem is getting 13 channelers, not 13 fades.

Maybe Lanfear was getting the supergirls to go to Tear just so Rand might have some help? That's a bit more plausible, but is less so if you recall the utter contempt in which the average Forsaken holds modern Aes Sedai - not to mention modern Accepted! Would Lanfear really consider three untrained girls much help against Be'lal?

Oh well, re-read time.
Birgit
106. birgit
So, since we know the Shadow knows of Elayne having made copies later (and Mesaana later orders Sheriam to bring them to her)

Mesaana didn't know about the ter'angreal, Sheriam told her:
And end those blasted meetings in Tel'aran'rhiod. How is it so many of you get there?"
"We have ter'angreal," Sheriam said, hesitantly. "Several in the shape of an amber plaque, several others in the shape of an iron disc. Then a handful of rings."
"Ah, sleepweavers," the figure said. "Yes, those could be useful. How many?"
TGS ch. 25
Then she orders Sheriam to steal the ter'angreal.
Anthony Pero
107. anthonypero
My read on it (no books so unsupported by text this morning) was that Lanfear intended to help Rand live through it and claim Callandor, then take it away from him till he was "ready" for it. That's why she sent the Trollocs and Fades to help him a few days later in the Stone. As to why she sent the girls... Who knows? It may have been to distract Be'lal from his plans, I guess... give him something else to capture his fancy as a distraction. Or it may have been to keep the BA 13 from helping Be'lal in his plans... We DON'T know that Lanfear sent the BA out. In fact, I'd wager she didn't.
TBGH
108. alreadymadwithlanfearplan
JonathanLevy @105
We must remember that at this point most of the Forsaken had his/her own agenda. Bel'al's was to capture Callandor for himself. Lanfear's was to win over the Dragon to her side. We are almost sure Bel'al summoned the BA13 to Tear. Lanfear knew Rand's next step was Tear, and lured his allies to make sure the situation got confused enough for Rand's luck to win out. Eventually Lanfear intended to offer to complete Rand's training (ala Darth Vader minus the "I'm your father" speech) and in the process seduce him over to her side (and her bed).
Terry McNamee
109. macster
@JonathanLevy: Let me clarify. I was suggesting that the monkey wrench Lanfear was throwing in Be'lal's plans was in getting Rand there too soon, before he was ready to face him. Remember that nobody expected Rand to go to Tear when he did, and that it was Moiraine trying to manipulate him and the attack on their camp in the Mountains of Mist that made him flee; before that nobody had any idea what he was going to do or where he'd go. Also, you're right that Lanfear didn't want Rand to have Callandor when he couldn't control it (at least, not unless she were in charge of him learning to use it via Asmodean), but she wanted Be'lal to have it even less. If Rand could get there and get the sword before Be'lal was ready for him, dealing with a confused, besotted (or so she thought) Lews Therin who needed her help and training would be a lot easier than dealing with a super-powered Callandor-wielding Be'lal.

As to how the girls fit into this, anthonypero makes a good suggestion: they were meant to distract either Be'lal himself or the thirteen. I would lean toward the latter, because thanks to hanging around the Tower as Else she likely knew or suspected what Siuan was having the girls do. In fact I believe Sanderson confirmed that Verin and Lanfear had met; if this happened during TDR, then Verin could have been forced to tell her all about the thirteen and Siuan's plan to send the girls after them, and she did in fact use the thirteen's belongings to send the girls there. So clearly Lanfear knew that the girls going to Tear could be a problem for the thirteen, and indeed they would be harder to replace than the 13 Fades.

She might not think the girls would be of much use against Be'lal, but she likely wouldn't think much of the thirteen's abilities either. If the girls die, she gets back at them for having Rand's love; if the thirteen die, she gets to spoke Mesaana's wheel as well as Be'lal's. Not to mention if they did get turned to the Shadow, even better: more powerful channelers to serve the Dark One, and with them all having cared for Rand that could be more incentive to get him to turn to the Dark Side. Also, if the theory is correct that the turning trick "uses up" the Fades, them being used on the girls would keep Be'lal from turning Rand right away--thus allowing Lanfear to work on him instead.

One other point: you mentioned her sending him in to face both Be'lal and Ishamael; as far as I know, Lanfear had no idea Ishamael was going to be there, him showing up happened just because of Be'lal's defeat and Rand claiming Callandor. So you really can't use Ishamael's unexpected appearance in battle as a reason to question the reasoning behind Lanfear's actions.

Finally, to both you and alreadymad, my point about Mesaana was this: in Lord of Chaos, during Graendal's talk with Sammael, she mentions that Mesaana had been "very proud" of Be'lal's trap in Tear. This implies she knew about it, and was therefore the one to send the thirteen, not Lanfear. Lanfear had her own game, one which worked against Mesaana, Be'lal, Ishamael, and the thirteen; the only one she cared about was Rand, so anything she did should be interpreted as an attempt for her to interfere with the others' plans in order to save Rand's life and make him beholden to her.

@106 birgit: My mistake. Hmmm, so does that mean that nobody in the Shadow knows about Egwene having the ring, or the other ter'angreal? Mesaana learns of it from Sheriam but she likely didn't get a chance to tell anybody before Egwene cooked her noodle. Elaida doesn't know of it (or else she'd have taken it from her) which means Alviarin didn't either. (Though she may have figured it out from seeing Egwene in TAR.) Moghedien didn't know (since she only knew of the sleep ter'angreal Nynaeve and Elayne had) unless they mentioned it when they talked about their meetings with Egwene. Ishamael knew she was a Dreamer but no more than that. So unless Halima discovered it while being her masseuse...
Terry McNamee
110. macster
@anthonypero: One correction, it wasn't Lanfear who sent the Trollocs, it was Semirhage, on the Dark One's orders to save Rand from Sammael's Trollocs. This is revealed in Lord of Chaos, I believe. I think you are right about Lanfear's plans and motivations, though.

@alreadymad: The only thing we know Be'lal did was pull Alviarin into TAR. While it is possible this was to get her to order the 13 to Tear for his turn-Rand-t0-the-Shadow plan, Mesaana's knowledge of the trap still suggests she was involved as well. And I have my own ideas about why Be'lal spoke to Alviarin. Not that he couldn't have had more than one reason to do so, especially after he'd spoken with Liandrin...

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