Jan 24 2012 2:00pm

The Wheel of Time Re-read: The Gathering Storm, Part 16

OMG YOU GUYS, It’s a Wheel of Time Re-read, and you have THIRTY SECONDS to dismantle it or it will EXPLODE!

…Okay, not really. That would be pretty funny, though.

Today’s entry covers Chapters 27 through 29 of The Gathering Storm, in which there are zombies, terrorists, and puppies.

No, seriously, there are!

…Well, sort of. In a WAY.

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 27: The Tipsy Gelding

What Happens
Mat rides toward the town of Hinderstap with the three Aes Sedai, Joline’s Warders, Talmanes, Thom, and five soldiers, looking forward to a night of dicing in a tavern again. Thom is looking at Moiraine’s letter again, and Mat tells him to put it away; it’ll be weeks before they can attempt the rescue, at least until after they reach Caemlyn. He remembers that Lanfear fell through the door along with Moiraine, and wonders if he’d be a big enough fool to rescue her too if they find her. He and Thom banter about the good old days when only Myrddraal and Darkfriends were trying to kill them, instead of gholam and Forsaken. Mat catches a glimpse of Rand in the colors, and is glad that for now he’s nowhere near the man. Thom grouses that he is getting too old to be of use anymore, which Mat declares ridiculous.

“Well, lad, I didn’t mean to get your spirits down. Just idle talk. I still have a few things I can show this world. If I really can free Moiraine... well, we’ll see. Besides, somebody needs to be here to watch, then put this all to song, someday. There will be more than one ballad that comes from all of this.”

The town looks refreshingly normal, though Mat notes that most of the villagers’ otherwise good clothing looks like they’ve been torn and mended multiple times. The mayor, Barlden, welcomes them cordially, but says that all travelers must be out of the town by sundown. Mat protests that sunset is less than three hours away, but neither he nor the Aes Sedai can shake the mayor’s insistence on “the rules”. The dice begin rattling in Mat’s head, but he ignores them. The Aes Sedai head to the nicest of the three inns to take a bath, and Mat drags a reluctant Talmanes into the seediest one. Mat joins a dice game and, to Talmanes’s shock, begins losing immediately, upping the bet each time, until half the inn is eagerly betting against him. Mat whispers to Talmanes to calm down, this is what he wanted, but Talmanes is worried for another reason:

“Something feels wrong about these folk, Mat.” Talmanes spoke very softly, glancing over his shoulder. “While you’ve been playing, I’ve been talking to them. They don’t care about the world. The Dragon Reborn, the Seanchan, nothing. Not a care.”

“So?” Mat said. “They’re simple folk.”

“Simple folk should worry even more,” Talmanes said. “They’re trapped here between gathering armies. But these just shrug when I talk, then drink some more. It’s as if they’re... they’re too focused on their revelry. As if it’s all that matters to them.”

“Then they’re perfect,” Mat said.

The mayor comes in, looking ready to toss them out, but he hesitates when he sees how much gold Mat is losing. Then Mat calls for Harnan and Delarn to bring in his chest, and shows the awed villagers the pile of gold inside. He offers to bet the contents of the chest against as much foodstuff as the village can get to the inn before sunset, on one toss of the dice. The villagers eagerly rush to gather the food, but the mayor is very suspicious, and insists that he make the toss on Mat’s behalf, to ensure Mat doesn’t cheat. Mat hesitates.

Would his luck work if someone else threw? Sometimes it worked to prevent him from being wounded in combat. He was sure of that. Wasn’t he?

“Go ahead,” he said to Barlden. The man looked shocked.

They go outside to wait while the villagers pile up foodstuffs, and the mayor grows more and more anxious the closer sunset approaches. Mat fights off a sense of guilt for using his luck this way, but reasons that the Band needs this food, and all men use what gifts they have to earn their way. He comments to Talmanes, though, that he thinks he was right; there is an edge of exhaustion and desperation to these villagers.

“We can go, then?” Talmanes asked.

“No,” Mat said. “We’re staying.”

And the dice stopped rattling in his head. It was so sudden, the silence so unexpected, that he froze.

He sees a group of men showing Barlden a sheet of paper and gesturing at him, but Barlden waves them off. Mat decides enough is enough, and tells Barlden to make the throw. Barlden tosses the dice, and it’s a winning throw. Barlden tells them to take their spoils and never return, immediately, and ushers everyone else back into the inn, leaving Mat, Talmanes, Harnan and Delarn alone on the street. It is suddenly eerily quiet.

“Well,” Mat said, voice echoing against silent housefronts, “I guess that’s that.” He walked over to Pips, calming the horse, who had begun to shuffle nervously. “Now, see, I told you, Talmanes. Nothing to be worried about at all.”

And that’s when the screaming began.


This chapter didn’t annoy me nearly as much as the first Mat chapter in TGS did, but I still found an awful lot of it to be completely extraneous, and the banter occasionally a trifle painful, so I pretty much left most of the first half of the chapter out. Therefore, if you want to read Talmanes saying things like “I heard that!”, you’re on your own.

(Of course, even so it’s still not as bad as The Bath Of A Thousand Pages in COT, so, okay.)

I kind of agree with Mat re: using his luck in this way – both his doubts about the ethicality of it, and his rationale to put those doubts aside, actually. Because on the one hand, yeah, it really is a wee bit skeezy to use what essentially amounts to cheating for monetary gain. And it is cheating, because sure, “warping the laws of probability” is a much fancier trick than weighting a die, but in practice the end result is the same. The coolness of the method of doing a thing still doesn’t change what the thing is – and actually, the fact that it’s pretty much impossible for Mat to be caught at his kind of cheating makes it worse.

On the other hand, as Mat points out, he’s got thousands of soldiers to feed and shelter and support, and the legal/non-skeezy avenues he has for providing for them are rapidly dwindling. And, you know, there’s also that thing about his destiny to help save the world and stuff, which his Band presumably needs to be in fighting shape for in order to help him with that. So yeah, it’s hinky, but relatively speaking, I think in Mat’s particular circumstances, cheating at dice can probably be given a bye, mostly.

The ethics of it all aside, here’s your homework for the evening: Mat is unsure, in this chapter, whether having the mayor throw the dice for him will keep his luck from working on them. Considering the ultimate results, did Mat’s luck work on the toss, or not? DISCUSS.


Chapter 28: Night in Hinderstap

What Happens
Talmanes yells at Mat for not listening even as they and Harnan and Delarn fight furiously against the villagers, who appear to have all collectively gone mad. Howls and screams echo from all over the town as the villagers pile into the streets, attacking anyone they see but ignoring Mat’s chest of gold in the street. Mat tries to keep to wounding attacks only at first, but is soon forced to fight to kill just to keep from being overwhelmed.

There didn’t seem to be an ounce of humanity left in them. They spoke only in grunts, hisses, and screams, their faces painted with anger and bloodlust. Now the other villagers—those not directly attacking Mat’s men—started forming into packs, slaughtering the groups smaller than themselves by bludgeoning them, clawing them, biting them. It was unnerving.

Mat and the others beat a retreat on their horses, leaving the food and the gold behind, looking for Thom and the Aes Sedai. The dark streets swarm with the villagers, all trying to kill one another, even the children. Delarn is thrown from his saddle; Talmanes yells for Mat to leave him, but Mat turns back anyway, and fights his way to where Delarn is being overwhelmed. He gets the wounded soldier up on Pips, but finds himself surrounded by mad villagers, and is about to go down when Thom jumps into the fray and gets him out. They catch up with Talmanes and Harnan, and see balls of fire flashing in the windows of the inn ahead. They go around to the back, which is deserted, and Mat leaves Delarn outside in the saddle as he is too badly wounded to walk.

“Mat,” Delarn said from the saddle.

Mat turned back.

“Thank you. For coming back for me.”

“I wasn’t going to leave a man to that,” Mat said, shivering. “Dying on the battlefield is one thing, but to die out there, in that darkness... Well, I wasn’t going to let it happen.”

They enter the inn, finding several corpses on the ground floor as well as the cook, who they are forced to kill, and hear fighting from above. They go up the back stairs to the second floor, and almost get fried by fireball until Mat yells at the Aes Sedai to stand down. The Warders are standing guard over some of the servants, who are trussed up to keep them from attacking people. Mat tells the Aes Sedai that they have to get out of town before the whole place comes after them. Joline initially wants to wait until dawn, but then agrees to come, though she insists on bringing the two girls among the servants with them. Mat gives in, and the party leaves the inn. Edesina gets to Delarn and Heals him just in time.

“It’s as if the darkness itself intoxicates them,” Thom said while Mat helped Delarn into his saddle. “As if Light itself has forsaken them, leaving them only to the Shadow...”

“Nothing we can do,” Mat said, pulling himself into his saddle behind Delarn.

They head out of the village with no further incident, and hours later they camp on a hillside outside the town. Thom and Mat can’t sleep, and Mat asks Thom if he feels so useless now that he’s saved Mat’s life again; Thom grins and concedes the point. Mat thinks he caused what happened in the village, but Thom disagrees, telling him he’d overheard things which lead him to believe the villagers had almost been expecting what happened. He also fishes out a piece of paper with a good likeness of Mat drawn on it, and tells him some men were showing it to the mayor.

“An outlander woman in some village north of here is giving them out and offering a reward to anyone who has seen you. The man got the paper from a friend, so he didn’t have a description of her or the town’s name.”

The suns rises then, and the two serving girls whom Joline had insisted on taking suddenly vanish from their bonds. Mat goes back to the village with Thom, to find that only property damage remains from the night before; all the villagers are alive and unharmed, including some Mat had personally killed, and the only blood they see is from where Delarn was injured. Astonished, Mat demands to know what is going on. The mayor explains that none of the villagers remember what happens in the night, but they’d started having nightmares of violence and mayhem, and then realized that no one could remember going to bed at night, even though everyone wakes up safe every morning in their beds. Anyone who stays the night in the town is similarly trapped. Mat asks why they don’t just leave.

“We’ve tried,” the mayor said. “We always wake up back here, no matter how far we go. Some have tried ending their lives. We buried the bodies. They woke up the next morning in their beds.”

The room fell silent.

“Blood and bloody ashes,” Mat whispered. He felt chilled.

The mayor tells them to count themselves lucky to have escaped, and that they should move on. Thom offers to get the Aes Sedai involved, to see if they can do something, but the mayor refuses sharply, and asks them to just go and take their gold and foodstuffs. Mat agrees, but asks about the paper with his likeness first; the mayor says it’s been circulating among the villages in the area, along with a picture of a burly youth with a beard and golden eyes, but the mayor wasn’t going to risk trapping Mat in the town overnight just for a reward. Whoever is looking for them is in the village of Trustair. Troubled, Mat leaves. Thom assumes they’re going to Trustair, but he is still gazing at Hinderstap.

“Something’s wrong in the world. There’s a snag in the Pattern here. The town unravels at night, and then the world tries to reset it each morning to make things right again.”

Mat makes an off-color joke about it, but leaves extra gold to cover the price of the foodstuffs they’re taking.

When in doubt, have an action scene! Yay!

This is a philosophy that I can get behind, at least in this particular case. I’m not sure this chapter was the most relevant interlude ever, but it was exciting to read and I enjoyed its vaguely zombie-apocalypse-like mien, so I call it a win overall. There are few narratives which cannot be improved by the addition of zombies, sez me.

Okay, I’m kidding. Sort of.

I’m pretty sure I enjoyed this chapter more the second time around than the first, actually. Possibly because this time I already knew it was kind of a random incident that (as far as I can tell) does not connect to the rest of the story except as one more example of World Go Crazy, and so did not have to be disappointed by that later.

And after all, the whole point of the World Go Crazy incidents is that they are random, and occur without rhyme or reason. So there’s that. And Hinderstap is hardly the only example of such; Perrin’s ghost/weevil escapades in So Habor come to mind. Of course, I, er, hated that whole interlude, so maybe that’s not the best supporting argument, but you know what I mean! Maybe!

“Thom, you’re with me. Talmanes, watch the women.”

“We have little need of being ’watched,’ Matrim,” Joline said grumpily.

“Fine,” he snapped. "Thom, you’re with me. Joline, you watch the soldiers.”

*snort* Okay, that was genuinely funny.

Also and much more importantly, this chapter contains: Impending Verin.


Though I totally had no idea that’s who the mystery woman searching for Mat was when I first read this, of course. And given the vagueness of the description, not to mention the sheer number of people, evil or otherwise, who are looking for the Superboys (sometimes avec wanted posters, even), my total lack of clue on this front is not surprising. But it’s something to look forward to now, so yay!


Chapter 29: Into Bandar Eban

What Happens
Rand recites his list in his head as his procession enters Bandar Eban, starting with Moiraine, as always. He wonders if Lanfear is alive again, like Ishamael, and thinks that if so Moiraine’s death had been for nothing. The Domani are gathered to watch him, but none cheer. Dobraine meets the parade and formally delivers the city to Rand, but Rand only rebukes him for not restoring order to the whole country. Dobraine reports that they have a member of the merchant council, Milisair Chadmar, in custody, and Rand wonders if he can still trust Dobraine. He knows Cadsuane is following him, but as long as she keeps away from him he is content to leave it; he thinks that she had been an ineffective tool he does not regret casting aside. He goes back to his list as they continue, adding Semirhage and Elza’s names even though he thinks they have no right to be there.

Each name on Rand’s list pained him, but that pain was a strange, distant thing now. His feelings were... different since the day he had killed Semirhage. She had taught him how to bury his guilt and his hurt. She had thought to chain him, but instead had given him strength.

[…] But Lews Therin had one more name to add. Elmindreda Farshaw, he whispered.

Rand stops short and thinks furiously at Lews Therin that they did not kill her, she is alive, but Lews Therin is silent. At the docks, the only ships in the harbor are the Sea Folk rakers with the grain Rand had ordered sent, and Rand sees signs of starvation on the faces of the people in the streets. Merise approaches him, and tries to convince him that his exile of Cadsuane was a foolish mistake, attempting to goad him. Rand stares at her until she wilts, having discovered silence is a much better tool for cowing people than anger. Merise rallies after a moment, though, and continues her argument, insisting that he made mistakes just as much as Cadsuane did.

“Enough.” He did not yell the word. He spoke firmly, but quietly. He made her feel the full force of his displeasure, his gaze seizing her own. She suddenly slumped in her saddle, looking up at him with wide eyes.

There was a loud cracking noise from the side, followed by a sudden crash. Screams broke the air. Rand turned with alarm. A balcony filled with onlookers had broken free of its supports and fallen to the street, smashing like a barrel hit by a boulder. People groaned in pain, others called out for help. But the sounds had come from both sides of the street. Rand frowned and turned; a second balcony—directly across from the first—had fallen as well.

Rand thinks it is ta’veren again, though he doesn’t recall that the random occurrences around him were usually this violent, and wonders if it has something to do with the new and addictive force he had tapped to escape Semirhage, which he knows must be the source of power Lanfear had created the Bore to find – the Dark One himself. This is why he carries the ter’angreal access key to the Choedan Kal with him now.

That other force called to him, sang to him, tempted him. So much power, so much divine wonder. But it terrified him. He didn’t dare touch it, not again.

And so he carried the key. He was not certain which of the two sources of energy was more dangerous, but as long as both called to him, he was able to resist both. Like two people, both yelling for his attention, they drowned one another out. For the moment.

Rand thinks of Aviendha and how she had avoided him before leaving – he can sense her far away in the Waste – and decides it is better that she fled before his enemies had a chance to find out he cared for her. The procession arrives at Milisair Chadmar’s ridiculously opulent mansion, and as they enter Rand tells Rhuarc that the Aiel may take the fifth, but only from the rich sector of the city. Corele approaches and decries the practice, but Rand just stares her down, and then informs Dobraine that he has done passably well in Arad Doman, but now he is to leave immediately for Tear to tell Darlin to stop “pestering” Rand and continue gathering his forces. Dobraine looks disappointed, but obeys, and Rand tries to convince himself that Dobraine is not plotting against him.

Light, what is happening to me? Rand thought. I need to trust some people. Don’t I?

Trust... ? Lews Therin whispered. Yes, perhaps we can trust him. He cannot channel. Light, the one we can’t trust at all is ourselves...

Rand has Milisair Chadmar brought to him. She is younger (and more beautiful) than he expected, and he thinks it would be a shame to execute her. He asks when she last received a message from King Alsalam, and she replies that it was weeks ago. He demands to know where the messenger is; she tries to dissemble at first, but then admits she has been having him questioned. She tries to imply that perhaps it would be better for him if Alsalam is not found.

“I will not be king here,” Rand said. “Bring me the messenger, Milisair, and perhaps you will live to see a new king crowned. You are dismissed.”

She leaves, and Rand sees Min outside, looking troubled. Then she walks away, and Rand almost goes after her, but then decides she can wait, and calls for people to start going over grain distribution plans. He determines that he will restore order in Arad Doman, and find Alsalam – not least because finding him might mean finding Graendal.

If he did find her, he would see that she died by balefire, just like Semirhage. He would do what must be done.

Ugh, this is just all so upsetting.

It’s all itchy and wince-y and sad-making and foreboding and doom. DOOOOOM.

How can Rand not see it? I mean, okay, he does sort of get it, but seriously, dude, BALCONIES ARE COLLAPSING when you glare at people too hard, this is a CLUE. A clue of WRONGNESS. Wake up and smell the Dark Side, HELLO, IS THIS THING ON.


Man, I hate it when characters force (FORCE!) me to resort to abuse of the capslock key. It’s just so uncouth. But if I don’t, how else will they learn? I ask you.


Anyway! So it sucks to be Bandar Eban, clearly – and its situation has not just improved, either, THANKS SEMI-EVIL RAND. But at least we have now mostly completed our obligatory Epic Fantasy goal of visiting pretty much every single major city on the map. The only other ones that haven’t been on-screen yet, I think, are Maradon in Saldaea – which we’re going to get to in ToM – and Shol Arbela in Arafel, which I bet you money we’ll see in AMoL. If I’m incorrect on this, I feel absolutely certain someone will tell me so in the comments.

Do we get some kind of achievement for completing the set, I wonder? Yeah, probably not.

Coming back to the Rand thing for a moment, I do feel I should clarify that as galling as I find Rand’s whole downward spiral here, the fact that it makes me so crazy is, actually, a testament to how well it’s being written. Mostly because it shook me out of a lot of the complacency I had toward the upcoming concluding events of the series, which at this stage of the game is a pretty impressive accomplishment.

One distinct disadvantage that many stories told in what I guess you would call a “traditional” manner have is that the general expectation of a happy ending (or at least not a completely tragic one) can sometimes rather lessen the tension surrounding the fate of central characters. Because, okay, yes, I may be watching Jack Bauer run into a burning building with four hundred armed terrorists and a bomb with two minutes left on the timer and, I don’t know, a box of puppies dangling off a fire escape or something, armed with nothing more than a handgun, a cellphone and copious amounts of Kiefer Bitchface™, but… yeah, I’m pretty sure he’s going to make it out alive. With at least half of the puppies, too. Because that’s how these stories go; it’s a feature, not a bug.

(Although it occurs to me that I stopped watching 24 around season three, and I think it’s had like seventy more seasons or something since then, so maybe Jack Bauer has been blown up and/or killed all the puppies by now, or at least tortured the puppies for Vital Information, so maybe this isn’t the best analogy, but I’m too amused to delete it, so whatever, you get my point.)

Um. What was my point… oh yes. My point is, Rand’s frighteningly steep slide in TGS down the slippery slope of By Any Means Unnecessary (to the point where his methods in this chapter are, uh, actually starting to seem very similar to one Agent Jack Bauer’s, actually. Huh) was disturbingly effective in pulling me out of my certainty that, while Rand unquestionably had a lot more suckage ahead of him before the end of the series, that it would All Come Right in the end.

That reassurance will be restored, mostly, by the end of the book, but at this particular point in TGS? It was pretty much gone.

And yeah, I hated it, but… that’s exactly what a really good story should do. The happy-or-at-least-not-completely-tragic ending gains a hell of a lot more resonance if you can convince your audience, even momentarily, that they might not be getting one.

(Of course, Team Jordan’s going to kick the stool out from under us again in this manner in ToM, but we’ll get to that in due time.)

And that’s the Troof, or at least as much as you’ll get out of me without a gunshot to the knee! …Yikes, I just freaked myself out. Have a hopefully questionably-legal-interrogation-free week, kids, and I’ll see you next time!

1. cv234
Yay re-read. My favorite part of Tuesday
2. youston
I'm somewhat curious to see if your 'least-favorite book theory' holds true for re-read posts, as the next one will be the first one I've had to wait for. If nothing else, this should serve as incentive for you to make it extra-super special.
3. MikeDeepo
We haven't seen Fal Moran, Mayene, or Godan in Tear. I don't think we actually visited Katar in Arad Doman or Jehanna in Ghealdan, though I wouldn't swear to it.
4. Curtain Jerker
Yay Tuesday!

As far as your question on Mat and the dice, I say he "won," because the townspeople went nutso right after he won. It wasn't like he won, and that win led to an hour more of gambling, and that hour spent gambling was what led him to be trapped in the town after sunset. He won, got the food - that he vitally needed - and then everything went pear-shaped.

Chapter 27 is tons of fluff. It is what I expect from Jordan (why use one paragraph when you can use one page!), but it really could have been folded into the following chapter. I hate the end of chapter cliffhanger thing. There's no real need for it. It reminds me too much of those Goosebumps books I read in 4th grade.

Re-reading Rand's descent into the terrible emotional state that culminates with his epiphany on Dragonmount is hard, even though I know how it ends. It is good writing, and I can totally understand why Rand the character feels the way he does, but it is just tough for me to see someone I literally grew up with (I started reading WoT in the mid 97s, so Rand and Co. have been part of my life for some 15 years) transform from the "There's A World Outside The Two Rivers!?" to the "Boy Who Could Be King" to "Now I Have Become Death, The Destroyer Of Worlds."

Then again, Jesus al'Thor rocks, so I guess we've gotta get to rock bottom before the ascent. Keep up the good work Leigh.
TW Grace
5. TWGrace
I think including the Mat chapters was word bloat in action. I dont know if it was Jordan or Sanderson, but the majority of them in TGS could have been left on the cutting room floor, or at least seriously pruned, and had little effect on the story or plot.

I sometimes wonder if they were padded in to simply "give people more Mat", and that is why they seem so off at times.

But whatever, the "Dark Rand" chapters more than make up for any deficiency.
j p
6. sps49
I never thoght "oooh/ icccck zombies, how very meh" for Hinderstap (which I also read as "Hinderstrap" until the spoiler post, yay dyslexia); I read it as Groundhog Day.

But wow, commenters were MAD.

Agree on the well written dread.

ETA: Oh, and Mat definitely won the dice roll. He has food and he made it out of Hinderstap safely.
7. Dougg
"I sometimes wonder if they were padded in to simply "give people more Mat", and that is why they seem so off at times."

That was the impression that I got. I feel like, had AMOL been one book as Jordan intended, Mat's entire story would have been limited to what we got in TOM, plus whatever's coming in AMOL. This story was entirely superfluous - but Sanderson would have been lynched if he had given us a WOT book without a Mat storyline.
Jennifer McBride
8. vegetathalas
@5 -- I always read the zombies as Sanderson-off-RJ's outline. Say what you want about his other books, Sanderson's always known how to use the Rule of Cool. If it'd been him alone, I'd expect something a lot more wicked awesome.

I didn't care for the zombies. I didn't think they fit in well with the WoT motif, probably because one of the themes of the story is choice. The pattern doesn't give you many choices, but you still can choose how to respond to what you're given. IE, Rand finally accepting his lordening versus Mat and Perrin being dragged along, kicking and screaming. This is constantly echoed not just in the characters, but in the setting--Two Rivers folks get hit with tragedy and keep on fighting, Beslan's choice to put aside his personal war with the Seanchan, etc.

So the zombie thing bugged me not because it verges on cliche, but because it seems fundamentally anti-WoT on its most basic level. Now, there are no choices to make. The choices the villagers make turn out to be absolutely meaningless. That's antithetical in a world where the Creator sealed the Dark One up and left mankind to choose whether to be Lightside/Darkside surrogates in their everlasting chess game.
9. cleopatra2525
Mat's luck is definitely at work on the mayor's toss. Look at what happens: the mayor wins the toss, says "okay, you got what you wanted. Get out." The mayor starts herding people away from Mat et al.

What happens if the mayor's toss loses? The townspeople stay to ooh and aah over their newfound wealth. Perhaps even more people come out to see (and maybe stake a claim to a piece of) the chest full of gold that Mat has just lost.

The mayor winning the toss leads to Mat and co. having a fighting chance rather than being immediately overwhelmed and killed when everyone goes crazy at zombie o'clock.
Bonnie Andrews
10. misfortuona
Leigh you rock... anyone who can incorporate interogating puppies into the re-read is aces, a little twisted perhaps, but we're dealing with a zombie chapter here so whatever.
I liked Hinderstap, it is just the sort of WTF sort of thing we needed to emphasize that everything, EVERYTHING, is going sideways in the world.
@ Vegathalas I don't know about choice being so central.. The big guys, our main characters, and kings and such have choice but did the average joe in Bandar Eban have any more choice (maybe a little) than the people of Hinderstap? I don't know really but perhaps it'll make for fun discussion.

Mis-tell me vat I vant to know or no kibble for you.

PS. On a personal note.. Howdy to all my brothers and sisters out there... long time no see. HUGZ!
11. ryamano
I thought chapter 27 had lots of signs of being written by a fan. Of course, we may never know if that chapter was written by Jordan or by Sanderson, but consider this: the characters don't reminisce much on the past. They don't go "wow, look at all the things I've done" or "I wonder what happened to that guy at Caemlyn I met so long ago"*. At least not in the 11 books Jordan wrote the only time I remember they doing that was when a character was about to be reintroduced or shown to be important (like how Rand liked Min and kept thinking about her) or when Rand thought about what happened to his flute. But here, they're doing exactly that. Not that I'm complaining, just that it seems like it's a fan saying "Isn't it awesome that I'm writing WOT? Look at all the awesome things these characters did!".

* Mat never thought about the SL dagger after he was healed until this chapter, for example.
Bonnie Andrews
12. misfortuona
Oh Snap almost forgot!!
Congratulations are in order to Brother Blind! Another beautiful baby in the Illusion household.

Mis-can't wait to see the pictures!
Marcus W
13. toryx
Hinderstap annoyed me. It was too strongly the zombie vibe for my tastes and I was so bored by zombies even a few years ago that I just gave myself a headache rolling my eyes. Besides, most of the dialogue in those chapters made me want to throw the book across the room. Mat was the worst, but a lot of the others were almost as bad.

I think I would have liked the events just a little bit more if at least one of Mat's men had gotten killed and caught in the curse. It would have had a much stronger emotional impact.

Evil Rand in Bandar Eban was depressing as hell and I did kind of want to shake Evil Rand but I never doubted for a second that things would turn all shiny bright and better eventually. The Wheel of Time is not a series where fantasy expectations/ tropes are set on their head.

There's a lot of strong dread in the Rand chapters from this point on nonetheless. Personally, I kind of liked that.
Charles Gaston
14. parrothead
Despite dubious diction decisions, Hinderstap is one of my fave parts of TGS. Why? Because we get to see ODIN riding into VALHALLA (granted, an inverted one where they party all day and fight all night, but still); if you squint you can even call the Aes Sedai Valkryies. How cool is that? Of course, it definitely does suck for them.

Rand: still needs a hug. Too bad he's on a no-hugging regimen.
15. Taryntula
While I understand why people were miffed over the Mat chapters in TGS, and I agree about the opening Mat chapter being a little "off," Hinderstap was actually one of my favorite chapters. No accounting for taste, eh?
16. azuarc
I don't recall minding the first Mat chapter, but Hinderstap was definitely a hindrance to the book. I agree completely that it sounded fan-written, it didn't add anything useful except "go check out Verin in the next village over," and it wasn't really that awesome. Save that for some Lovecraft short story, imo.

Incidentally, I don't think of the villagers as zombies. Zombies don't attack each other. And zombies EAT their victims. These people were just possessed with mindless rage. I suppose it's a little like the 28 Days Later zombies, but the fact that everything resets daily sounded more like a weird bastardization of Brigadoon to me.
17. Kmorgen
I re-read this after reading the Mistborn trilogy and this came off to me more Kelsier and the crew than Mat and the Band. Later Mat chapters in TOM seem more consistent. Also the pacing is different then anywhere else in the series. There are no other two chapter 'short stories' that seem more fiting as a WOT contribution to a zombie anthology. That being said, this is not a complaint just an observation, it (the Hinderstap side story) does not fit.
18. olethros
Zombies? More like werewolves in a Bill Murray movie.
Ali Davis
19. dejavoodoo114
I haven’t been on here since the ToM spoiler thread but I am now almost caught up on TGS reread. I decided to go ahead and read this one while continuing to work through the rest so here goes.

I agree with Cleopatra @9, Mat’s luck worked for him because he got the food and a chance to escape.

When I got the whole zombie idea I had to stop and ask myself if I was reading one of my brother’s books instead of mine. Never been a fan of zombies but I can see how this is showing the pattern breaking up and that they aren’t Exactly zombies... Still…The fighting to escape and rescue the others were good scenes though.

Most of this chapter seemed off to me and even on my 3rd reread last week threw me out of the story. Still, while I agree that it may have been unnecessary to include it at all, I love Mat (even when off) and so was glad to have these chapters.
Tricia Irish
20. Tektonica
This was a tough chapter. Hinderstap didn't do much for me story wise, but it's always nice to see Mat in action....so maybe that IS why this chapter is in here. It's OK by me.

I think Rand is fairly cognizant of the dangerous allure of the TP. He seems to be fighting against it, as best he can, but it's obviously manifesting itself in his demeanor, and random, pattern based bad occurances. This whole descent is so hard to witness, but yes...it was important to have the soft comfy rug pulled out from under us....at least for awhile.

Why do I think that even after his Jesusing at the end of TGS, and his benevelont self is back in ToM, that Rand will be tempted again by the use of the TP? It's not all roses in the next book. Nynaeve sees something in his head that gives her pause. ;-(

Mis@10: Howdy!!!...nice to see you here! (Not that I'm here much...mostly lurking.)

And a hearty WOT congrats to Blindillusion, baby boy!
Rob Munnelly
21. RobMRobM
I'm with Toryx - Hinderstap annoyed me. Isn't this also the chapter where Mat had the big set up about acting particular roles in the town (or did that come later? - don't have the book with me.) That particularly seemed off, as I don't recall Mat ever committing things to written form.

Heidi Byrd
22. sweetlilflower
I liked the Hinderstap chapters. Especially with the juxtaposition with Rand's chapter. The Dragon is one with the land indeed! Rand is sort of stuck right now, so parts of the world get stuck. I wonder if after Rand's moment of clarity on Dragonmount, the town goes back to normal?
23. alea_iacta_est
Gaah! I still don't get it! Why is everyone going all 'ooh, look at Rand being semi-evil' when he isn't, actually?
The worst thing he does is glare at people. He has no intention of doing anything bad, and is in fact still working to repair the land. The largest part of that not working is the pattern screwing him over.
24. alea_iacta_est
And somehow my comment got changed into something I wrote earlier and then discarded?
Sorry for the double-post, but I wanted to extrapolate on my point from above, being that, as far as I was concerned, both the first time I read the book and subsequent times, Rand getting 'even harder' wasn't much of a big deal. In fact, I was glad he finally manned up a little and stopped letting everyone get him worked up so much.
25. Jeff R.
You know what bothered me? It took me about ten seconds to come up with "okay, let's destroy every bed in the damned town while we're awake and see what happens" as a plan, and yet the Histerstapians apparently have experiences years or centuries of this and it doesn't seem to have occured to any one of them...
(It isn't as thought things could be easily made worse, after all)
Kimani Rogers
26. KiManiak
Thanks Leigh!

So, more of the “infamous” Mat chapters of TGS. Looking just at what happens (and not on the telling of how it happened), I can say that these were fun, interesting chapters that showed the continued deterioration of the Pattern, and some of our favorite heroes at their finest. The AS weren’t so bad, either.

As for the ethics of Mat’s use of his probability warping powers: There is potentially a bit of gray area here on whether its an abuse or not, but overall I have no problem with it, for a lot of the same reasons as Leigh.

The Pattern (and/via his ta’vereness) gifted Mat with the Band (ostensibly to assist on the side of the Light in the Last Battle), and all of the responsibilities that go along with maintaining such a large force. It should also aid him in the method of caring for (or at least feeding) that force, as long as it is not to the extreme detriment of the Pattern’s other resources.

Oh, and Mat’s luck did ultimately work, in my opinion. If nothing else, it informed him about the deteriorating state of affairs, as well as giving him a little more information then he would have gotten just from Thom re: the “Wanted” posters for both him and Perrin. This indirectly leads him to Verin. He and his men end up with the food that they need.

Sigh. Poor Rand. I remember that it was painful to read these chapters where he gets “darker” the first time; I tend to avoid a lot of them on my rereads as well. I did recall the apparently mostly negative aspects of the ta’veren effect, and the lack of the positive offset effects. Again, I have to agree with Leigh in commending the writing.

But, as I said, I generally try to avoid these Rand chapters because they are written so well that they are difficult to read. It was always easy (for me) to continue to root for Rand, no matter how much the pressure and the madness got to him in the earlier novels. Here, it became increasingly more difficult. Which made the reading experience less of an enjoyable one, for me.

Thanks for recapping, Leigh and going through the Dark Rand chapters for us. I still have little desire to reread them again. But “Veins of Gold” is acoming (although we are probably a few months away in the reread).
Nadine L.
27. travyl
Once again I don't fit with most of the commentators: I liked the Mat chapters, although I see where the criticism is coming from. I especially liked him "using his luck to lose" while of course he wins.

alea @23.
It's not that Rand is evil, but *dark*. His "hardening" isn't a good thing. He might not "intend to do anything bad" but he comes close (he almost kills his father (and the world)!). I don't think the pattern screws with him either, but, since he is "one with the land" his dark post-TruePower aura affects the land (spoils food) and his ta'veren effect is only negative.
Joel Salomon
28. JCSalomon
Mat’s use of loaded probability is troubling, but consider the other options for supplying roaming soldiers (this will come up a lot in your other read-through).
Kimani Rogers
29. KiManiak
travyl@27 - Oh, I think there are more than a few of us that liked these chapters. Like you, I can see where the critics are coming from and I respect what they have to say; I just don't fully agree (or I just wasn't as negatively impacted as they were).

I enjoy these chapters on my reread. This thread, the Egwene thread and the Tuon threads are the ones I'm likely to reread the most when I choose to pick up this book and reread certain sections. Oh and "Veins of Gold," of course...
30. Caveatar
I also wondered WTH when reading The Hinderstap scenes.
However I sometimes reread them because the following makes me think I missed something important for the overall story.
“We can go, then?” Talmanes asked. “No,” Mat said. “We’re staying.”
And the dice stopped rattling in his head. It was so sudden, the silence so unexpected, that he froze.
His decision to stay seems to be a Pattern Level Event but I can't see WTH about Hinderstap it could be. I do think it was there to tell us something though. I just wish I knew what!
Philip Alan Smith
31. AlanS7
@11 but Mat did think about the dagger after healing pre TGS, eg, the scene in Crown of Swords when he remembers Mili Skane trying to knife him in the stable in Eye.

edit: emend reference to Eye of the World
32. stargazer
@parrothead - my god, that's brilliant. I never even noticed the Valhalla connection before. Great catch.
Jay Dauro
33. J.Dauro
Mat actually took 5 Red Arms into Hinderstap.
He was, however, accompanied by the three Aes Sedai, two Warders, five soldiers, Talmanes, a pack animal and Thom.
The Gathering Storm (p. 400). Macmillan. Kindle Edition.

Two of these (Harnan and Delarn) came out with him, the other 3 were with the Aes Sedai, we do not know what happened to them.

Brandon was asked about this at a signing:
Brandon says of the five Redarms that enter Hinderstap with Mat that the three that seem unaccounted for when everyone else escapes are not “forgotten” and their circumstances are RAFO.
And from another signing Brandon says
Go read up on the mythology of Odin and Locke. They were actually thought to be one person in all of the original myths. See the things attributed to them, including things like ravens and the spear of Odin and things like this. And then see what Mat is doing. The idea is that Mat is actually founding these myths and by the time our Age comes we remember Mat but we have all of this other mythology associated with him and we’ve forgotten that he was even known as Mat. That’s just genius. So, I’m doing my best to continue that. It would be very easy to over do it in fan sort of a way. I have to be very careful to not put a reference to something like that in every chapter just because it’s fun. But if you search through The Gathering Storm you should be able to find a few things that are happening. Particularly, I don’t want to give any hints, but the things happening in Hinderstap were intended as things that through a lot of mythology later on become myths in our time. There are references to writers from our world being referenced in The Gathering Storm among books people are studying.
So I expect we are going to see more of/about Hinderstap in AMOL. As Parrothead stated above, it is probably the source of our myths of Valhalla.
Greg Bloom
34. MuleHeadedLummox
@30 - If Mat had chosen to leave, he would not have gotten the information about Verin's whereabouts. Also, the events that night contributed to his improving relationship with the Aes Sedai in his party. (Would they have stayed the night and been trapped if Mat had chosen to leave?) Either of these could be events major enough to warrant the dice.
Anthony Pero
35. anthonypero
8. vegetathalas

"So the zombie thing bugged me not because it verges on cliche, but because it seems fundamentally anti-WoT on its most basic level. Now, there are no choices to make. The choices the villagers make turn out to be absolutely meaningless. That's antithetical in a world where the Creator sealed the Dark One up and left mankind to choose whether to be Lightside/Darkside surrogates in their everlasting chess game."

But that's exactly the point! This is a result of the DO breaking free and unmaking the Pattern. As Thom said, it's like the Wheel snagged on the pattern here. It's the DOs touch. It's the Pattern that weaves free will into the equation. The DO represents the antithesis of this.
Teresa Nielsen Hayden
36. tnh
J. Dauro @33: I think you mean the Tor edition. Identifying it as a Macmillan book is a glitch in the ebook version.
Anthony Pero
37. anthonypero
Anything Tor comes up as Macmillan in OpenLibrary and Google Books' metadata searches, for some reason.
Jay Dauro
38. J.Dauro
Sorry about that.
Actually, this is the first time I have copied and pasted from the Kindle Edition. I selected the text, then pasted into the comment box. This was in the paste, so it came straight from the Kindle edition. I trimmed the authors, and never payed attention to the Publisher tag. I will have to remember to change that from now on.
Jordan, Robert; Sanderson, Brandon (2009-10-27). The Gathering Storm (p. 400). Macmillan. Tor. Kindle Edition.
39. VoxOrange
"So much power, so much divine wonder"

supports my pet theory that the Dark One is the Creator.
Tyler Durden
40. Balance
I agree with our hostess about Hinderstamp. I enjoyed it because it was an action scene, and it was a fun one. We hadn’t really had anything like that for a while, and it was a good time to bust some (zombie) heads. However, I agree with most of the posts that voiced complaints. You guys said everything I would have. I think Himdertramp would have been better if it had been part of a threepeat a la Shadow Rising. How cool was it watching first Perrin with his Axe, then Mat with his cards, and then Rand with himselves? A lot better than the normal Trollock rush ploy. I think this scene would have gone over more if we also got a Perrin one. A Dark Rand woop ass scene would have been fantastic. I’m not talking balefire. I’m talking rapping a thread of air around someone’s head and popping it off. Ahhhhh, can’t have everything I guess.
OK I'm thinking since my post was vanquished that I may have offended. Maybe it was taken the wrong way. I dunno. But I will say that it wasn't meant to be, seeing as my being a person of color I thought her her characterization of the word Truth was funny in a gettofied sort of way. So I guess I tried to follow the humor, albeit taking it bit farther. But I guess that kind of humor isn't appropriate for a fantasy bog...

So to all offended I apologize. Didn't mean anything by it.

edit- it turns out I never sent the thing and you know what.... who cares anyway!


42. Tenesmus
I agree that the Mat and Perrin chapters wern' t necessary in this book. They could have been in the prologue or epilogue. It would also been cool to have the Mat POV end in Hinderstap with them getting the picture followed by a Verin POV chapter with Mat walking in. It would really have been nice to get one last glimpse in Verin's head before her exit.
John Massey
43. subwoofer
Thank you so much Leigh- with 3 chapters to rant about I am sure we are not going to get bogged down in er... the stuff we usually get bogged down in- but hands off the puppies. Leave the puppies alone. No touching innocent little woofers.

@Balance- am thinking you meant wrapping, not rapping. Somehow the images of Rand starting a flow and Mat doing beatbox are slightly unsettling;)

There are several good parts in this to go on about, Joline flashing Talmanes(whenever I see his name I think tamales) Thom saving everyone's collective bacon, three Red Arms going up in smoke, Mat using folks' greed against them, and mele fighting. All good times:)

IMHO these guys are not zombies. Zombies are dead folks, they don't have memories, can't talk, don't care about starting fires, eating, clothes, all that normal stuff, these citizens do care. They go nuts, kill each other and are reborn the next day... the Groundhog Day thing. Mind you, when they do go nuts, it reminds me of the Reavers from Firefly that go loons out in the big empty. I think that would be about right. Zombies, not so much.

Mat's luck- well it worked for him, didn't it? He used his luck to control the dice to the very end, all was good. Kinda, except for the unknown... town going crazy and stuff.

Rand- dude, dude, dude.

*shakes head*

I don't think this is "evil Rand", more like batshit crazy Rand. The DO's taint almost took him... and he was getting all angsty like the Twilight cast. And the lure of the Dark Side of the Force... and that stupid litany of women that he flogs himself with... gah.

And dude- not trusting Dobraine?

*shakes head again*

dude. C'mon.

Juan Avila
44. Cumadrin
Mat's luck almost certainly did work. Why go through all the trouble of causing a losing streak just to be rendered inert because someone else tosses the dice?

Anyway, I had a few paragraphs to say about Mat's mental dice, but then I couldn't find the source I was looking for that my whole hypothesis was based on. Bugger.

The gist was based on Rand/Mat/Perrin being analogous to Tyr/Odin/Thor. Specifically, concepts associated with those Norse gods. Rand exemplifies Tyr's connection with justice and legality in his attempts to abide by the laws of the nations he's taken over. Thor was associated with the common man, and the similarity is obvious with Perrin and the Two Rivers folk.

I took Mat's mental dice in Hinderstap as an example of Mat's connection to ethics, of his struggle with the grey area between right and wrong. What I can't find for the life of me, though, is where I made that connection for him in the first place. It's not one of the themes I spend much time thinking about when I read or discuss WoT.


The dice stopped when he acknowledged the grey area and made the best choice he could given his situation. I know that seems a little lame, but you have to consider it couldn't have anything to do with Hinderstap's record-skipping-town problem, since Mat couldn't do anything about that.

@33 J.Dauro

I must say I'm a little disappointed in the explanation regarding the missing soldiers. I don't mind them getting left behind as much the fact someone should've noted their absence, namely Mat. If Sanderson's 'RAFO' can be considered a contractually binding guarantee of some explanation in aMoL, though, I will put my peeve to rest.

Comments on Rand and Hinderstap the record-skipping town itself to come, if I can think of anything.
Tricia Irish
45. Tektonica
Hey Jay@33:

I think I saw on Facebook that your name will be in MoL, didn't I??? Very cool!!
46. Curtain Jerker
The Gathering Storm is Rand's book; Towers of Midnight is Mat and Perrin's book. I'm thrilled that we got some Mat in TGS, but I agree with others who say it was forced/unneeded.

Question for the audience: Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't Rand stop being terrified/enamored with the True Power in ToM? Or is that a result of the entire book (except for the end when he wants to jump Lanfear's bones) not being in his perspective, so we don't really know if Rand wants to get his sa'a on?
47. Freelancer
Zexxes @41,

It does not appear that there are any skips in the comment number sequence, so perhaps a more mundane glitch prevented your comment from posting correctly. Also, around here when a comment is delete for content, there is usually a corresponding admonishment from one of our illustrious Moderators.

sub @43,

Not so sure about the Reavers analogy...
"If they take the ship, they'll rape us to death, eat our flesh, and sew our skins into their clothing – and if we're very very lucky, they'll do it in that order."
~ Zoe
In Hinderstap, there's no raping, no eating flesh, just rage-fueled beatdowns. Definitely not zombie either, and I never saw it that way. This is also another instance where readers presume that this is all Brandon making his own mark on the story, when it is far more likely that the meat and bones of this interlude is from Jordan himself.

There is no question that the Hinderstap episode is weird, and stands apart from most events in the overall story. Then again, so was So Habor. Realistically, to how many different places, situations, occurences, and strangenesses have we been treated in these thirteen volumes? Just exactly how unnatural is Hinderstap compared to:

~ Shadar Logoth, with Mordeth and Mashadar trapped therein
~ The Ways, and Machin Shin
~ The alternate world visited via Portal Stone
~ Rand's astral-like journey to Tarwin's Gap after consuming the Saidin at the Eye?
~ Accepted Test journeys through the ter'angreal in the Tower
~ Wise One journeys through the ter'angreal in Rhuidean
~ etc.

I've said before, I read immersively, and it takes quite a bit to jar me out of the story, I can't be bothered to go looking for reasons.


Hey there, good to see you about. Been Mis-sing you around here.
Jay Dauro
48. J.Dauro

Yes, apparently I need to make some armor, blood-red and deep green, nearly black. I did squee.
Terry McNamee
49. macster
@3 Quite right: Katar is mentioned during Ituralde's campaigns on Almoth Plain, and Rand suggests it for his meeting with Tuon but the Seanchan reject it. And Jehannah is mentioned a lot (it's where Masema and the other Shienarans were sent by Moiraine, but her contact was dead), particularly in regards to Alliandre and returning her people there, but we never see it. Considering what it's named after (Gehenna) and all the strife, death, and rioting there, this may have been intentional.

@4 Curtain Jerker: "Now I Have Become Death, The Destroyer Of Worlds." Awesome reference...and I mean that in the original sense as well as its current meaning.

@5 TWGrace: *shrugs* Well, as you yourself point out, Jordan has spaced things out and bloated the story a great deal, usually to immerse the reader more in the details of his world. So if he wrote Hinderstap, he was being consistent, and if Sanderson did, he was staying true to Jordan's style.

@8 vegetathalas: What anthonypero said. The Creator is all about choice and free will; the Dark One is his antithesis; so as he gets closer and closer to being free and can touch the Pattern more, you get things like Hinderstap with chaos, death, and no choice, only compulsion. This is yet another glimpse of what the Dark One will do if he ever breaks fully free. As such I found it not only appropriate but utterly chilling, and not just for the "zombie" feel.

@14 parrothead: That is an awesome allusion, and based on the quote from Sanderson farther down that J.Dauro gave us, I think you're absolutely right.

@22 sweetlilflower: It would be nice to think so, but somehow I think it will require a more concerted effort on Rand's behalf, or the final sealing away of the Dark One. Nice tie to the Fisher King effect, though.

@25 Jeff R: I doubt the Dark One's touch can be foiled that easily. Destroy all the beds and the people would just wake up on the floor or something. Based on how despondent and resigned to their fate the people of Hinderstap were, I have to think they must have tried your idea already--I mean, fleeing the village and especially killing yourself are rather extreme measures to take, so surely ideas which were less drastic were tried before those. The reason it isn't mentioned is because after suicide doesn't work, who'd bother saying "Oh yeah and we destroyed the beds too"?

@travyl and KiManiak: Don't worry, you're not alone. I still like the Hinderstap chapters too.

@33 J.Dauro: Apparently that's another example of Sanderson saying one thing at a signing and then backtracking later, as he did with Sulin being "right where she was supposed to be" and then later admitting he made a continuity error. Because the newer paperback editions of TGS have made mention of the missing Redarms being at the inn with the Aes Sedai, and leaving Hinderstap with them, and this is also mentioned on the WOT Encyclopedia. So, no they didn't become part of Hinderstap nor will their absence be some critical plot point in AMoL. Just another continuity error. (And before anyone jumps on Sanderson for screwing things up again, keep in mind that Team Jordan missed them too, and so did Jordan himself in the infamous "What happened to Erian at the Cleansing?" gaffe.)

@34 MuleHeadedLummox: Good point.

@44 Cumadrin: Now that's a theory on Mat and his Odin-hood that I haven't seen. Very interesting, and I think accurate.

@47 Freelancer: Good point on the numerous weird events in WOT. One you forgot was Fain's "house with the flies" trap for Rand in The Great Hunt.

As for the chapters themselves, not much to say that hasn't already been said. As usual I didn't have any problems with the Mat chapters, or the diction here (don't worry, I'll let you know when it did knock me out of the story), and I thought the Hinderstap incident was some great writing, and not just for the action. Not everything can be immediately relevant, and in fact having everywhere the heroes go be significant and part of a greater plot is a very tired and predictable trope. Sometimes things just happen which aren't part of the main narrative but exist as either flavor/world-building, or are there to hint at and tease out important themes of the work. Clearly the unraveling of the Pattern here is very important to the overall millenarian nature of WOT, as well as the growing power of the Dark One which started in COT and has gotten much more pronounced in TGS and ToM. That is why such incidents are in the story...so even if Sanderson had to write it, I believe Hinderstap itself, or at least what happened there, had to be in Jordan's notes.

And it terrified the hell out of me, especially when it was revealed those put in their graves after suiciding still woke up back in their beds. As for whether they were zombies or not, I will say they very much felt to me like the "phoners" from Stephen King's Cell, except for the reset button. Which makes sense to me because the horror in WOT has been there from the very beginning (think Ba'alzamon's dreams to the boys) and has been actually compared to Stephen King by critics, including Leigh herself. So it didn't feel out of place to me at all.

That said, I do agree with toryx that having one or more Redarms get sucked into the "curse" would have been even more chilling.

Darth Rand: Despite how overall disturbing and upsetting his descent is, I had to at least chuckle over his thought process with Merise--basically, "Gee, all I had to do to get these annoying Aes Sedai to leave me alone is glare at them silently and respond to challenges with questions? Why didn't I try this sooner, it would have made my life so much easier." Of course the gallows nature of this disappears when he thinks that "if one bothered him too much, all he needed do was snuff it out, like a candle" and then wonders if that thought was his, Lews Therin's, or came from...elsewhere. *shudders* Of course that could just be referencing Moridin through their link, but considering where the True Power actually comes from...

And on that note, I loved Leigh's quote about the Choedan Kal and how he carried it to balance the True Power, keep him from being too tempted to use one or the other. It very much partakes of both the saidin/saidar dichotomy, and the taint vs. Mashadar. Which does mean people may be right to worry about Rand still--on the one hand, his Jesus self seems completely good, noble, and balanced and so would surely not use the True Power even if he still could. On the other hand, we know he can still be tempted (see Cyndane), and he now no longer has the Choedan Kal to act as balance. Could Callandor possibly fill that role instead, assuming its flaw doesn't do him in?
50. Curtain Jerker
@49 macster Thanks for the kind words. As far as your question about balance, as far as I remember (and I could be wrong), Rand only carries around Callandor when he goes to meet the Borderland army. He uses it as proof that he isn't a false dragon in Far Madding, even confronting Tenobia with it before Paiter (sp?) confronts him with the Foretelling. He doesn't use the True Power when he wiped out the massive Trolloc army outside Maradon, cause Naeff can see the weaves.

Maybe he's gotten better? With only the limited Rand POV in the Epilouge, don't know what's going on in his head, outside of the scene with Lanfear. I guess we'll RAFO.
john mullen
51. johntheirishmongol
It was good to see Mat and I wasnt thinking zombies in these chapters, more about something like a wheel within the wheel. I enjoyed seeing him again and I was not as thrown off by what happened as many of you seem to be.

As for Rand, to me he seems to be disconnected from himself and that downward spiral thing is still going on. However, it seems to me that while this all leads to Rand at the top of the mountain, he doesn't really need to hit bottom to be smart enough to figure out what he eventually does. A crisis of conscience is fine, but a conscience of faith wasnt really needed.
Jonathan Levy
52. JonathanLevy
Just a little bit off topic, but it touches on a subject which has been energetically discussed here in the past, namely, trying to identify who wrote what based on the style of the text:

From BWS's twitter feed:

»Bryzie101Brian Condon
@BrandSanderson just wondering if there will be any sort of way RJs ending will stand out, or if it just flows with your work. #WoT #AMoL
6 hours ago in reply to ?

Brandon Sanderson
@Bryzie101 I think those who know our different writing styles will be able to pick out the differences.
2 hours agovia web
Mo -
53. Astus
Also have been seeing Hinderstap as Hinderstrap in my head for the longest time. Just realised that there's no r now!
I actually enjoyed this whole sequence for the most part. It was fun and different despite some of the characters still feeling a bit wonky (Tal, Mat etc.) I really did like Mat's retort to Joline too! Made me chuckle, it did.

I have to be honest though, I never really did fear that Rand was gonna tip over the edge. Yeah, it was disturbing that he was on the path to cutting down some younglings but I never doubted that there would be some resolution and that he would turn back to the light. I mean, he's The Hero!
Still, pretty dark stuff here.
54. Just Mo
The problem that I have with the Mat Chapters (only since BS took over) is that it seems like he's trying to hard to make the comedy that we all adore Mat for. It's not the writing style. It's not the character himself. IMO, it's like The Boondock Saints I and II. One was absolutely excellent. Two wasn't bad by itself either, but when held up to One...well, you can just tell they tried to hard to remake the exact comedic flare that One did without effort and it shows. Doesn't completely turn me off of Mat...but I can (I think) definately tell who wrote which parts of Mat's storylines since Mr. Sanderson took over. And really, it's only in the Mat story Arcs that I'm absolutely sure I can tell the difference.
Mo -
55. Astus
I have to say, the letter Mat sends to Elayne in ToM rubs me the wrong way much more than anything that occured in Racoon City.
I wanted to grow my hair out just so I could tug at it. Appropriate levels of sniffing made up for it though.
Ali Davis
56. dejavoodoo114
J.Dauro@33 I never noticed before that there were 3 missing red arms! I had assumed that these chapters were throw ins. It would appear that I was wrong and I am glad about it. Uselessness bugs me at least a little even when it is fun. And these chapters are fun.

I have never read much about those mythologies. Also, I don’t have the time to now, so I guess I will RAFO instead of trying to guess.

Balance@40 LOL I agree with you there. OTOH after rereading the slow books one after another with TGS then ToM to look forward to… Well, they weren’t nearly as bad as they had been when I had to wait for each to come out. I am hoping that the last 3 books will feel more natural once they have all been written. That being the case I look forward to getting a Perrin kick ass scene!

Cumadrin@40 I like your thought on why the dice stopped. Mat thinking about the morality of what he is doing really showed us how far he has come as a character. Life sucks sometimes and sometimes you have to choose between to “right” ways. The need to feed his men and get them to the last battle is important and the villagers were willing to put the stuff up for a bet so….

Justmo@54 What you said about the Mat chapters is EXACTLY how I feel. I still love Mat and the Mat chapters despite this, but it’s there.
andrew smith
57. sillyslovene
@missing Redarms:
I believe I saw them referenced somewhere in ToM as being stuck in Hinderstap. Or at least that there were some members of Mat's band that were still stuck there.
Ali Davis
58. dejavoodoo114
I am thinking that since these guys are Not zombies we need another name for them… I think the reason people keep calling them that is because, well, what else is there? I have never been a fan of SciFi preferring Fantasy so I am not aware if there is anything out there that would work. If not here is an option.

We call them ‘CRAZIES’


Can you tell I worked really hard on that one? *cough*
60. Freelancer

I didn't forget about the flies episode in TGH. It doesn't belong on the list, because it's an illusion created to trap Rand, not a real place with unnatural behaviors. And just to sound testy, please don't assume that an "incomplete list" in your opinion is evidence of a memory failure. Note the "etc." at the end? That means that I acknowledge there are more examples, but a comprehensive listing would be a waste of space, and would drown the purpose beneath the volume. You might have been better served to suggest that I left out Tel'aran'rhiod, for example.

As for this comment:
That said, I do agree with toryx that having one or more Redarms get sucked into the "curse" would have been even more chilling.
If you review the references by J.Dauro @33 you'll see that you probably get your wish. Three unaccounted for Redarms post-Hinderstap, and the author acknowledges that they weren't "forgotten" in the post-melee accounting of Mat's group.

Astus @55

Heh, Racoon City, indeed. A closer analogy for Hinderstap than some others, with the exception that just as with zombies, the infected in RE don't bother with each other, but group up to attack "healthy" humans.

dejzvoodoo114 @56

It is very much worth making the time (even losing a bit of sleep) to bone up on the various relevant mythologies. The result is an exponential increase in your recognition of Jordan's brilliance, in crafting such a story of interwoven details from such diverse sources. Hinderstap is far from the first example of a side-trip to mythology references which are mistaken for unnecessary filler. The amazing thing is, he told us that this would be happening at the beginning of each volume, and yet so many of us never consider to watch for it.
Birgit F
61. birgit
Isn't this also the chapter where Mat had the big set up about acting particular roles in the town (or did that come later? - don't have the book with me.)

That's in the next Mat chapter before they don't go to Trustair because Verin finds them first.
Anthony Pero
62. anthonypero
And the next chapter, as much as I love it, is where I was convinced that I was going to hate the last three books, because I realized Mat was totally, totally off. Kudos to Brandon for rescuing that in ToM.
Rob Munnelly
63. RobMRobM
@61. Thanks, Birgit. That chapter was the big Mat writing fail, IMO.

While I didn't really enjoy Hinderstap, I've grown to accept it. If entire wings of the White Tower can trade places seamlessly, deathless zombies at night doesn't offend my suspension of disbelief overly much. I also hadn't realized quite how much RJ had intended to create parallels to Norse mythology, as I believe a Hinderstap-like story originates there.
Tess Laird
64. thewindrose
So - did anyone else have a good chuckle about Mat noticing that the clothes were of good quality - but had been mended several times? I think Mat may have more clothes than Tuon when thay finally start living together. (And that is saying something, with what we have read about her!)

subwoofer - You given Perrin the short shrift again? You know he does have that connection to the Tinkers and the Lost Song, so he should be in the band too:)

I think Mat's luck is in working with the dice toss. To be honest, after reading this section the first time - it made me think about the carved cluster of dice ter'angreal and that there is a high probabilty that we will see it in aMoL used against Mat - that Mat and the dice and chance are mentioned here to 'cluebat' us for aMoL;)

65. WolfRaven
I've been reading the comments and considering the crazy that affects the people of Hinderstap and to me their reaction seems like a logical progression of what is afflicting them. Each day they wake up like normal everybody alive and well, but at some point during the night everything resets. This looping of the pattern seems to me like something that would make people go crazy. If we consider past references to similar events. When Rand uses the portal stone and everybody gets myriad views of their "other lives" they are deeply affected by it. Suppose that during the night at Hinderstap they are deluged with all the possibilities that exist for them within the pattern, that in and of itself would be enough to render them as mindless savages. Or it could just be the trauma of the reset, of being forced back through the pattern to where they began earlier in the day renders them nearly mindless ravening beasts. With a world setup like the Wheel, I'd think that any sort of "time travel" like what these people experience would be extremely traumitizing.
Anthony Pero
66. anthonypero
Since they don't remember anything, just vague dreams, I'm sure they just want to ignore it as best they can. And they probably spend an inordinant amount of time fixing broken doors and whatnot... so they stay busy :)
67. Bauer
re: puppies, Leigh, you should try 24 on Netflix, Jack gets pretty dark. Kinda fun, they send him in like a bomb, take out everything.
Nadine L.
68. travyl
Does anybody have a TGS-book of later printings with him?
I would be interested if someone could settle the debate between J.Dauro @33. and macster @49. (and Freelancer @60) regarding the "3 missing" Redarms.

If I read encyclopaedia-wot correctly the presence of the Redarms was corrected when Mat finds the Aes Sedai. Technically still both statements (33, 49) could be true if the 3 Redarms "got lost" afterwards. Though I admit that macsters argument makes more sense to me, because nobody (e.g. Mat) notices them being missing.

So my question: has anybody a TGS book where these 3 Redarms camp with the rest outside town to pass the night? Or is it clear in your book that they got out?

@J.Dauro: I'm so jealous, my Kindle doesn't allow me to copy/paste from the books I bought : (
Jay Dauro
69. J.Dauro

The latest Kindle version does include the Redarms coming out with Mat. I always start by listening to the audiobook, and it's always done before the first release, so it always has the errors.

I am using the Windows Kindle software to find and copy quotes. You should be able to download it and try. I also always carry them all on my Kindle, just to refer to. ( And I own hardback copies for me, and paperbacks to loan. )
John Massey
70. subwoofer
@TWR- well it depends, is Rand the one hit wonder Dragon, a la Vanilla Ice, or does Rand have skillz like the Dre taught Marshall....hmmmm. Throwing Perrin into the former may be insulting, and let's face it, if Perrin gets all red faced from a girl doing some hip shaking, imagine his stage fright on karaoke or open mike night. Besides, it was Mat and Rand that had formal training by Thom, Perrin floated down river with Eggy.

@Free- hi old feller, glad to see you are still, er... breathing:D


Equally impressed you saw something modern like Firefly. I didn't recall the raping part, but the mindless rage is fairly bang on. Are we sure there is no eating? And does anybody recall any female crazies? Er... outside of Aes Sedai? When buddy was holding his guts in, I was pretty sure one of the baddies were going to use it for natural sausage casings. Oh well, if we want to be real techincal about it, the mindless, raging beatdown type guys remind me of the general population of cabbies in Beirut. Holy wow, those guys needed anger management classes... they wouldn't give right of way to a tank.

Just as a random comment, even if this is all based on RJ's rather extensive outline and major parts are written by him(honestly, the guy went on like a champion) Brandon's mark is still in the pacing. Dang these last two books flew by at light speed compared to some of the, um, earlier world building books.

72. Alora
I just read two years of posts in less than two months and it wasn't until I just went to hit the 'next' button that I realized I was out of posts to read. What am I supposed to do with every spare second of my free time now? Does this mean I actually have to...*gasp*...WAIT?! Say it isn't so!
Anthony Pero
73. anthonypero
Try the Rothsfuss retread while you wait. And if you've never read "The Name of the Wind" before, read that.
Roger Powell
74. forkroot
Ah but it is so!
Yup ... you've gotta "go gray" (actually black) now. Register a name (so you can edit your posts) and jump into the discussions!
75. Shadow_Jak
OK, so about Hinderstap...
Sounds like a very useful place to me.
Rand should go spend the night there, with drugs to be sure he sleeps through that night. (Would never do to have him balefire the whole sheebang.)
Next morning, he wakes up in Hinderstap, Travels to Shayol Gul and has it out with the DO. If he wins, fine, if he loses,..
Next morning, he wakes up in Hinderstap, Travels to Shayol Gul and has it out with the DO. If he wins, fine, if he loses,..
Next morning, he wakes up in Hinderstap, Travels to Shayol Gul and has it out with the DO. If he wins, fine, if he loses,..
Next morning, he wakes up in Hinderstap, Travels to Shayol Gul and has it out with the DO. If he wins, fine, if he loses,..

Hey, it could work. Well, OK maybe not.
76. tehbane

Even better... what do you get when you cross Hinderstap villagers, Mat's gunpowder, and traveling?

Re-usable suicide bombers! :-D

Mat, why are you not thinking tactical implications here? Tsk, tsk.
Alice Arneson
77. Wetlandernw
tehbane @76 - ROFL!!! "Re-usable suicide bombers" indeed. Oy.

travyl, if you check on books.google.com, the searchable TGS (page 434) has Talmanes waking "the five Redarms" where my hardcover says "the two Redarms". If you read the part prior to that, it has the three Redarms in the inn with the Aes Sedai & their Warders, and coming out of the village with them. So... looks like it's one of the things that got fixed in the ebook and later printings. (I'm actually a little bummed about that - I like the idea of them remaining in Hinderstap and it becoming important in the last book. Like, you know, reusable suicide bombers.)

Jay Dauro - I knew I couldn't be the first, but let me jump in and say congrats on the Deathwatch position! I wonder if you're human or Ogier... I don't remember that he specified. WAY COOL!!! I'll be watching for you. :)

Shadow_Jak @75 - LOL!
John Massey
78. subwoofer
@shadow_jak - brilliant plan! It would be much faster than waiting around for the next turning of the Wheel:)

@Jay Dauro- cool beans:) I always pictured you as the strong silent type.

Was thinking about throwing my name in the ring as well, but I figured Brandon would have a tough time working "subwoofer" into the lexicon of other foreign/non-modern sounding names.

@Alora... relax, we'll always have more comments:) Go grey and add to the general fodder.

Jay Dauro
79. J.Dauro
Sub and Wetlander


But I am not looking forward to the tattoos. On the other hand, my wife insists she will shave her head so that I know who my owner is.
Roger Powell
80. forkroot
Was thinking about throwing my name in the ring as well, but I figured Brandon would have a tough time working "subwoofer" into the lexicon of other foreign/non-modern sounding names.
So you want to get your Tor screen name into the books? Hah! I did that way back with RJ years ago. I got him to name an important herb after my screen name - yep... that's exactly what happened!
Alice Arneson
81. Wetlandernw
Jay @79 and forkroot @80 - BAHAHAHAHA!! Thanks for the laughs - what a great way to start the day :)
82. Dils
Re 18: I too got more of a werewolf vibe than zombie/reaver vibe. The book even references the villagers beginning to run on all fours with an animal like lope, or words to that effect.
83. s'rEDIT
As an immersed reader, I did not enjoy Dark Rand AT ALL. He both scared and disgusted me. But taking a step back with all of you, and surveying the character arc, I can certainly see the necessity for the author(s) to go there.

Elijah Foster
84. TheWolfKing
We haven't seen Jehannah, Mayene, Shol Arbela and most importantly, IMO, Lugard, which in case you don't know, is the speculated location of Demandred posing as King Roedran. I think that it was maybe on purpose we haven't seen this because if one of our main characters (perrin, Rand, or Mat) went, they may have noticed signs of compulsion, especially if Rand went.
Lannis .
85. Lannis
He remembers that Lanfear fell through the door along with Moiraine, and wonders if he’d be a big enough fool to rescue her too if they find her.

Okay, this? Thank god we know Cyndane is out and about, because I read this and wondered for a millisecond what would happen if Mat *could* rescue Lanfear, and all I saw was new-woman-killing-Rand going after Lanfear to have Mat-I’m-no-hero-but-i-just-saved-that-chick stand in his way for a nanosecond before everything went BOOM! Dark...

Yeah... not cool. Thankfully it’s not an option...

Also: hi guys! ::waves:: Great to have finally caught up again.

@ J.Dauro: Congrats on making it into MoL! Be sure to get Sanderson to sign the page where your name is listed! :D

Re: homework. Erm... excuse me, miss? I’ve been away... I don’t think I can participate with the rest of the class... ;)

Thanks for the recap, Leigh, as always. :)
Roger Powell
86. forkroot
We saw Lugard briefly when Siuan, Leane, Logain, and Min came through on their way to Salidar (don't forget the infamous Nine Horse Hitch Inn!)

Hi! Good advice to J.Dauro - I take it you had Brandon sign your page?
Jay Dauro
88. J.Dauro
Oh yes, I will get Brandon to sign. Don't know when yet, but it will happen.

I was there when Brandon signed Lannis's copy. And he does remember who you are and the use he made of your name.
89. Freelancer

Firefly, modern? Not so much. Oh, you should have seen the Han Solo vs Mal Reynolds thread I discovered on XKCD. It was a riot. Of course, everybody knows that Mal IS Han, so a discussion of who wins a fight between them is moot. Really, how much difference can you find between the two? Both mouthy, both shoot first, both keep joking even at the end of the proverbial rope, both smugglers, both opposing a tyrannical regime (Empire/Alliance). Anyway, I've been an Adam Baldwin fan since long before The Man Called Jane. He reads more than I do, and yet plays characters who are all brawn, no brain.

On the subject of names in AMoL, I wasn't into it. Anything or anyone might be called a freelancer, depending on what it is they are doing, but it should stay an adjective rather than a pronoun. Besides, with nine more volumes of the Stormlight Archive to go, I expect there will be further opportunities available for such a thing.
Anthony Pero
90. anthonypero
Ah, Adam Baldwin... I will miss you, Colonel John Casey. Chuck signs off tonight.
91. s'rEDIT
@anthonypero ^

What?! It's been canceled? Why didn't I know this? Oh, I am desolated.
Anthony Pero
92. anthonypero
Well, not cancelled per se... after the 4th season Universal told the creaters they were picking them up for another 13 episodes, and that they would be the last episodes... so we've known since the end of last season that this would be it.

Which is really disappointing, because these season has kinda blown chunks, I guess we could call Season 5 UpChuck... Yeah, I went there, lol.

Still, it's Chuck, and it will be missed.
Kimani Rogers
93. KiManiak
I actually remember Adam Baldwin from waaaaay back in My Bodyguard (where, as Freelancer mentioned, he played a role that was heavy on the brawn) when we watched it in high school; I remember that when I later found out his name I initially assumed he was one of the Baldwins, or maybe a cousin :-)

Guy has been in Independence Day, Angel, Firefly/Serenity and Chuck (just to name a few). Talk about a nice collection of franchises...
Cynthia Ahmar
94. tenkuu
I don't think the Hinderstap chapters are irrelevant to the rest of the story, especially not if they're of many things reflecting Rand's state of mind. In fact, if you ask me, it's rather telling that the rest of the world (people who are not near Rand) all think this is the Dark One's doing when it is more the Dragon's doing (through the Dark One). Ie anyone who hasn't seen Rand in a while, even of those who are close to him, would not believe just how dark he has gotten to the point of being a direct threat to the world. But to get back to Hinderstap, now I have to wonder if all those people who committed suicide during this snag in the Pattern will actually end up dead when everything is right again.

As for Rand, he has finally locked away his true self somewhere it can't be harmed, and as another commenter said, I can't fault him that. I also can't disagree with his thoughts that the Forsaken must be dealth with using balefire, because it's not as though he can convert them, and that would have been pretty much the only alternative in order to get rid of them for good.
95. chuckFan
I started a re-read about a year ago (hadn't read KoD, TGS or ToM before this though) and happened across this blog. Thanks to both Leigh and all you commentors for all the time and effort! It's brought a whole new depth to these books that I have thoroughly enjoyed! And now that I'm caught up, I can join in the discussion--yay!

Quick question re: Hinderstap. It seems the prevailing assumption is that the "snag in the Pattern" is attributed to the Dark One, but could it be caused by Rand's overuse of balefire instead? Thoughts?

Came up with my moniker before I saw the last few comments. Knew there had to be some other Chuck fans hangin' around here! Farewell to a fun show.
Alice Arneson
96. Wetlandernw
chuckFan @95 - The "snag in the Pattern" as you put it (I like!) could absolutely be attributed to overuse of balefire. I asked Brandon a related question at a signing last fall, and he said that the Pattern is getting a bit tattered for two reasons. One is the increasing strength of the DO's touch on the world, and the other is the use of balefire. So along with the "bubbles of evil" that escape from the DO's prison and drift along until they attach to the Pattern and pop, there is some actual fraying of the Pattern itself. That's where many of these weird things like dead people walking around, corridors shifting, and stone acting like melted wax are coming from. It's not necessarily easy to tell the difference between a "bubble of evil" and a "frayed Pattern" event, but there is some distinction. And balefire is definitely part of the equation.

While Rand may be correct in choosing to use it against the Forsaken, those who speak against its use are not entirely wrong either. A "surgical" use of balefire - like the one Rand used on the Darkhounds at Mat's door in Rhuidean - while not exactly safe, is probably justified anyway. The "tactical nuke" approach that he used at Natrin's Barrow to get rid of Graendal (and which didn't exactly work - it only got rid of Halima/Balthamel, not Graendal) was extremely powerful and probably did some serious damage to the Pattern. I would call that one rather less justified, even though his rationale wasn't completely OTL. He figured he had to do something she wouldn't expect, which was probably true, but she still out-maneuvered him. I know it's not fair to use the failure of his plan as an argument that the balefire was not justified, but that much balefire was a terribly reckless thing to do regardless of the plan. (OTOH, I'm rather pleased to be rid of Halima for good!)
John Massey
97. subwoofer
@free, I was referring to anything not silent and b/w... or cave paintings;)

Chuck? Well, I'm sure there are better roles out there for the Hero of Canton.

The thing about Rand going buck wild on Natrim's Barrow is that it worked partially. Graendal is still alive... unkown to Rand of course, and she is getting her a$$ handed to her currently. OTOH if certain Aes Sedai didn't have such a hang up about said balefire, when the Forces of Darkness paid Rand a visit when he was busy doing good, there may be a few less Forsaken that the DO could resurrect.

Another thing, what if we get the Forsaken trapped in that village of the darned? All their plans go sideways on a daily basis and they are stuck for life... DO couldn't do anything about it. hmmmm...

::sniff sniff:: Is that the hunny around the corner???

Cynthia Ahmar
98. tenkuu
Wetlandernw@96: No, balefiring the whole building was not entirely justified, but given what he thought he was doing, I can excuse it as tactically sound.
Juan Avila
99. Cumadrin

Actually, if Forsaken got stuck in Hinderstap as it is currently, it would be very bad for team Light. All they would have to do to get back to their own plans every morning is Travel (after making it obvious they're still trying to leave by walking out of sight of town, if they wanna keep themselves covert), and if they died say, facing Rand, they'd just wake up in Hinderstap the next morning with no one the wiser, and they could try again/continue. Remember, time outside Hinderstap is still moving, and the residents remember everything about each new day; they are completely aware they are stuck in a time-loop. The only precaution a Forsaken might need is to not have any items on them that could be destroyed when everyone in the town goes berserk every night.

A Forsaken trapped in Hinderstap would be practically invincible. The only question would be would getting killed with balefire free them. I think it would, probably, as I think of Hinderstap as a 'knot' in the pattern that attaches the ends of the town's threads back to itself twenty-four hours behind as opposed to continuing on in the weave as it should. Therefore if you used enough balefire you could burn someone's thread back far enough so that they'd be dead before their thread entered the 'knot.'
100. AndrewB
I do not have much to say about these chapters. After I finished reading the Hinderstap chapter the first time, I thought that was different. I did like Mat's dialogue in that chapter. His line at the end about the pies was funny. His back and forth with Joliene was also funny.

Something tells me Joeline will make a signficant appearance in AMoL. Maybe she will be instruemental in helping Mat get his hands on the Horn.

Thanks for reading my musings.
John Massey
101. subwoofer
Dang it! Everyone switches to "lurk and pounce" mode when the hunny approaches. I, OTOH switch to "snore" mode as my beddy time approached.

@cumadrin- well, maybe, but it sounds like the Forsaken would have to Time Travel. Not to mention that yes, they do remember stuff, but I dunno about the pull of the place. Maybe the knot snaps them back like a wet towel. As for invincible... not so much, those clown-shoes have been set up as such from the word "jump" and that myth has been shattered time and time again. It would really be disheartening to their plans if they had to "Cinderella" on a daily basis for fear of their daily towel lashing. Imagine Rahvin, like clockwork every night going to sleep somewhere's else. That would make his plans with Morgase tough. Lanfear, by day a hottie, by night mindless beserker. Can't see that going over well. World of Dreams, bye bye. And the Forsaken, being the self involved egomaniacs that they are, would spend a ton of time trying to figure a way out rather than continue on like all is sweet and light.

John Massey
102. subwoofer
A few things to ramble about if you will...

Gawyn- we were this "" close to being free of him. He strolls into Bryne's camp, starts laying about him like an ass with a jawbone and some archers show up, have him dead to rights and he spouts some poppycock like "I am unarmed.... And none of these four will die this day. Go and tell..." Gah! Shoot dang it, shoot! Fire! Release! Pull!



Rand's plan to "kill" the DO. That seems kinda wonky eh? What's the skinny? Tip toe up and unleash balefire? And what happens when that goes sideways? Perrin, powerless as he is already proved that balefire is not the be all and end all, the DO is just going to giggle at this one.

Moridin- Rand's baddy mirror- does he power up too?

As Rand is a big honking ta'veren, can the baddies be the same?

Belief and order give strength. I am focusing on the "order" part, order vs the DO's chaos. Maybe it should be belief in order?

Sharina- brilliant woman, Suian, even more so.
As a novice she understood things that most Aes Sedai had never learned- or had forgotten the moment they took the shawl. How to be humble when necessary, how to take a punishment, how to know when you needed to learn rather than pretend you already knew.
Mmmmmm. Uh huh, uh huh. Real old age gives real wisdom it seems.

Elaida- well, on the bright side, she did start a BA hunt. That is something anyways. She also was a prime example to all the squabbling factions on how to not be an Aes Sedai, let alone Amyrlin.

S'all I got for now.

Valentin M
103. ValMar
sub @ 101

Last night I especially didn't go for it when it was at 99- was a bit disappointed to see it at exactly 100. And AndrewB didn't even bother to cheer for the "100", bad manners...

Also, I take it cum in N America doesn't have the same meaning as in the UK? It will make for an interesting nickname :D
John Massey
104. subwoofer
What? Oh er... fix that... sorry Cumadrin....

Juan Avila
105. Cumadrin

Heh. Very old problem with my name ever since I first used it on Dragonmount back in '03/'04 or so. Chalk it up to me misremembering how to spell another WoT name. Had I done it right it'd be Comadrin, of course. Anyway, relatively long story short, my mates call me Cuma. Like puma.

I'm not sure what you mean by Time Travel, but as for the going berserk being problematic, a Forsaken could make arrangements for one's self every day at dusk if they had a mind. I hope I don't have to go into details about that; your point about being inactive every night, though, is a very good one.

I also agree that they probably wouldn't consider entrapment in Hinderstap as a positive situation, and would be 100% occupied being pissed off and trying to free themselves. That's a problem with them not knowing the bigger picture, ie what we the readers know, but also a problem with them not likely being able to take the situation they're in and make the best out of it. Completely understandable. I'm just pointing out how useful it could be, not that any of the Forsaken would be likely to see the small bright side of that particular crappy situation.
106. AndrewB
ValMar -- I did not cheer for the 100 because I could not. I logged on through my Blackberry. I was able to post 100. As it was 99, I made my comment. I was not sure if I would get 100. So I planned to wait and then make another post lauding my marvelous efforts to reach 100.

Alas, when I tried to make another post, tor.com would not let me post. Whenever I try to post on my Blackberry, it is always a 50-50 proposition that I can get a post through.

So now that I am in front of a computer, it is time to gloat (better late than never, would you not say). Without further adieu, here is what I would have said had I been able to post last night.
"Finally, after nearly 3 years (I came across this blog in April 2009), I have gotten 100. I did not even have to make multiple posts just to grab 100. (You guys and gals know who you are -- naughty boys and girls.). Scratch off another item from my tor.com bucket list."

Subwoofer @102 -- True; however, Elaida did not initiate the BA hunt to root out the BA. Rather she tasked Seaine with obliquely finding proof of Alvairin's traitorous acts against the Amyrlin (at least Elaida beleived the acts were traitorous). So we cannot completely praise Elaida for thte BA hunt.

Thanks for reading my musings.
107. AndrewB
I do not have much to say about these chapters. After I finished reading the Hinderstap chapter the first time, I thought that was different. I did like Mat's dialogue in that chapter. His line at the end about the pies was funny. His back and forth with Joliene was also funny.

Something tells me Joeline will make a signficant appearance in AMoL. Maybe she will be instruemental in helping Mat get his hands on the Horn.

Thanks for reading my musings.

(in honor of the Hinderstap chapter -- read post 100 to full appreciate)
Anthony Pero
108. anthonypero
Nice! Very topical. *sleeps* Nice! Very topic... Wait, why is my door broken? Where is my wagon?
Stuart Hobbs
109. rocketshobbs
@102 Sub: As far as having a ta'veren as an enemy/bad guy I think you would have to be reading this novel in one of the Portal Stone's Mirror Worlds.
We've seen through Mo's Rhuidean trip, Rand being all nutso in love with Lanfear and claiming the name LTT.
In his current state on the DO's spectrum, he could be further away from zer0.

I'm thinking that ta'veren may be the Creator's blessing, as it appears in a Halo of Light around the recipient.
John Massey
110. subwoofer
@AP& Andrew- heh:)

As far as Joeline goes, her and the other two Aes Sedai can relate to the Hall the direct effects of being a channeler under Seanchan occupation, it blows, and these ladies are Aes Sedai a while before Egwene took the shawl. The other thing that occurs to me is that if any Sitter or anyone else scoffs at the thought that the Seanchan are a threat, they should be made to wear the A'dam for a day. Think of it like the cops that carry a taser being tasered themselves to see how much fun it is.

John Massey
111. subwoofer
Oh yeah, been meaning to say something about the chapter title "The Tipsy Gelding". As far as I know, a gelding is a horse with its junk fixed, er castrated. So tipsy gelding would be a drunk sackless horse. Anybody care to speculate on the symbolism or why a person would name a bar like that... or why Brandon would give a chapter that heading?

Heidi Byrd
112. sweetlilflower
As far as I know, Harriet is the one who chooses all of the chapter names. No idea why she chose it.
Heidi Byrd
113. sweetlilflower
Perhaps it is something that hails to the legendary town of Bad Ass? (you'll only get this if you're also a Pratchett fan) There may have been a gelded horse that got into the ale?
Heidi Byrd
114. sweetlilflower
On a completely unrelated note, I want to brag that I just bought my ticket to Jordan*Con. suckers.....
47. Freelancer

My favorite right now is in The Shadow Rising where Perrin's ax is flying around trying to kill himself and Faile; Mats 4of a kind Queens grow to life like sizes and try to stab him to death; And Rand gets to star in Enter the Dragon where he gets to face multiple doppelgangers jumping out of whole and the shards of broken mirrors and soul suck him to death while having a nice little sparing session.

...Aaaannnd all of these Incidents occurring on the same night no less! Jeez!

Chris R
116. up2stuff
Only prob with Rand living in Hinderstap...

Sleeps through mele first night, wakes up, faces DO, and loses...

Next day...no more pattern.

Good idea, only detail that I see.
117. Shadow_Jak
up2 @116
Next day...no more pattern.
Good idea, only detail that I see
Good point, Ya got me.

That's OK, tehbanw @76 had a better idea anyway...
Re-usable suicide bombers! :-D
Love it!
118. David DeLaney
Just a note for further back up the thread where you-all are talking about Rand/Mat/Perrin laying the foundations for Tyr/Odin/Thor: and of course Perrin is a blacksmith. And Rand has lost the hand that Tyr lost, though not EXACTLY under the same circumstances - Perrin's wolves get reattached to him (and to Loki, who might as well be Padan Fain at the moment) through the Ages - ... which means that we know that Mat's gonna put an eye out in AMoL for yet _another_ reason, and finally complete the Odin look.

And Alora@72? There's always the Malazan Book of the Fallen reread (evil chuckle)...

Alice Arneson
119. Wetlandernw
David DeLaney @118 - Ummm.... Mat already gave up one eye in ToM. You think he's going to give the other one as well? Never heard that Odin was totally blinded.
Stuart Hobbs
120. rocketshobbs
Like Wetlander@119 said, Odin is only missing one eye. I believe he gave it up (or lost it) to gain wisdom beyond all ages. Mat gained his wisdom while hanging from the tree, and lost his eye to free Ms Damodred.
Anthony Pero
121. anthonypero
Mat also represents Loki, as well. Which is awesome, because the earliest versions of Norse myth that we have don'e separate Odin and Loki as brothers, they are the same person.
Anthony Pero
122. anthonypero

It sure would be convenient if the new post went up on my lunch break.

123. David DeLaney
Wetlander@119 - He wait what? I -read- that book, I swear I did! Okay, looks like it's going to be at least a Sanderson-three reread once AMoL comes out, before the full reread...

--Dave, Leigh will catch me up by then though, whew

ps: does this mean one of the other hometown tricksters gets to be Loki?
Terry McNamee
124. macster
@60 Freelancer: No offense, but there was no need to get testy. I was not aware you were you using the criteria of only unexplained weird things, rather than anything weird which happened in the books, so the fact you didn't mention a scene which related to an illusion didn't strike me as a deliberate omission. With as much happens in the series, how many details and events amongst all the long descriptions, it would not be unlikely someone could forget something, nor would it reflect badly on you if you had; people forget WOT details all the time. And while it is true your "etc." meant there were likely many things you didn't mention, I have been re-reading Great Hunt recently so that moment stuck out in my mind, thus my mention of it. I was only trying to help add on to your list, to bolster your point.

As to your comment about the Redarms, see what travyl, J. Dauro, and Wetlander said.

@64 thewindrose: I too think the dice ter'angreal are going to show up again. In fact I think a lot of extraneous details seemingly forgotten will come back to be important in the last book.

@69 J.Dauro: Thanks, glad to have that confirmation, I was about to quote the paperback myself.

@75 Shadow_Jak: LOL! A clever idea...

@84 TheWolfKing: forkroot already answered this for me, but let me also add: since Siuan, Leane, Min, Logain, and Bryne did not meet the king nor did any of them have an ability to recognize Compulsion or other Power weaves at the time they were there, the Demandred theory still holds water.

@96 Wetlander: I have to agree with you on Natrin's Barrow. Even if Rand was right and all those people were mere puppets of Graendal's and killing them freed them, at the same time burning their threads from the Pattern still caused a lot of damage, I imagine, though no idea how much. Of note though is the fact this happened after Hinderstap (since Rand has a vision of Mat in Caemlyn while talking to Nynaeve in Bandar Eban, well before he balefires Natrin's Barrow), and I don't recall any wholesale balefire usage before this--just the Darkhounds, Mashadar at the end of A Crown of Swords, and while fighting Rahvin and Ishamael, both of which happened in Tel'aran'rhiod and only affected the architecture. So if balefire usage is affecting the Pattern, either the effect is much stronger compared to how much is used than we knew, or there is off-screen balefire usage going on. (Demandred, is that you being the Lord of Chaos?)

@100 AndrewB: Well Joline is a Green. If it isn't Alanna who will help Mat get it, it makes sense another Green would.

@102 subwoofer: I don't know about powerups, but I have wondered all along--many theorize Rand becoming darker was due to his link with Moridin, so might it not be that once Rand had his epiphany, the link could work in reverse and Moridin might start taking on some of Rand's goodness? Could this be where his "memory of light" comes in?
Alice Arneson
125. Wetlandernw
macster @124 - I can't give a definitive list, but there's one infamous use of balefire you left out. Rand tried to balefire the fog just before Padan Fain slashed him with the SL dagger. (I call it infamous, because it's the only time in the first eleven books that Cadsuane slapped Rand - but it somehow managed to leave a lot of readers with the impression that she spent the next 5 books slapping him around.)

Just sayin'... :)
Thomas Keith
126. insectoid
Playing ketchup.

Hinderstap: Is pretty weird. Trapped in an endless loop... hm, sounds like something out of sci-fi. I mean, they can't even die...

Now, I know that the general consensus is that Mat is a little "off" in this book... but the few times I laughed out loud during his chapters on first read were the bit Leigh quoted in the commentary ("Joline, you watch the soldiers"), and this one:
"She's not a woman, Talmanes," Mat whispered warningly. "She's an Aes Sedai. Don't think of her as a woman."

"I'm trying, Mat," Talmanes said. "But it's hard." He hesitated, then added, "Burn me."

"Be careful or she will," Mat said (...) "In fact, she nearly did that just a moment ago."
Rand: Is getting worse. 'Nuff said.

tehbane @76:
Re-usable suicide bombers! :-D
Great idea!!

J.Dauro @79/Fork @80: LOL!!

Sweet @114: ::glares::

127. AFuller
So, I'm sure no one's reading this thread anymore, but I'll post anyway (I'm behind...so sue me!).

On the subject of zombies fitting in the WOT environment, I think I'm reminded of the scene in Matrix Reloaded in which the Oracle reminds Neo of all the stories he's heard of vampires and ghosts. This is WOT -- our stories of vampires and ghosts come from myths fading to legend, etc. We've got the whole checklist now:
Ghosts - seen all over the place: So Habor, Far Madding
Vampires - the gholam
Werewolf - Perrin & wolf brothers
Zombies - Hinderstap

True, none of these behave in exactly the way we know them to, but maybe in this loop around the Wheel it's different. Or, maybe the stories have faded enough to lose the details.

Different topic: Anyone see any parallels with Rand's use of the True Power and drug addiction? I thought in TOM we might see something about Rand's struggle to avoid the next hit. No? Just me, I guess.
Alice Arneson
128. Wetlandernw
AFuller @127 - Hey there! Yes, people do still check back. Welcome!

And... excellent catch! I don't think I'd seen that suggested anywhere, and yet we know that one of the themes of WoT is how stories change over time. In the micro, we see rumor changing what really happened all the time; in the macro, we see things like "Mosk & Merc" and "Lenn" - myths based on the things we've lived through (well, the old farts, anyway) becoming "fairy tales". And, of course, there are the implications that Rand, Mat & Perrin are prototypes of what later became our Norse mythology. So - good catch. Zombies do indeed fit the WoT-verse.

As to your other topic, I haven't seen it discussed a lot, but I think there are some intentional parallels between TP and drug use. RJ used permutations of the the term "addiction" with it repeatedly, so I think we're supposed to be wondering. We didn't see it affecting Rand in ToM - but then we weren't in his head in ToM until the epilogue, and that was a very short scene. So who knows? It might be that Rand only used it the once, and that's not enough for an addiction - or it might be that he's longing to use it again... RAFO, FTW!
William McDaniel
129. willmcd
Count me in among those who like the Hinderstap chapters.

I felt like Thom, in his waxing nostalgic for the days of TEotW when he, Mat and Rand were traveling together, was to a degree speaking with the "voice of the fans". Most of us remember those early books fondly, when it was all about the main characters and every chapter had some new adventure in it, and we weren't reading pages and pages dedicated to descriptions of Seaine, Doesine and Yukiri's dresses, or having to check Encyclopaedia WoT constantly because we can't quite keep the difference between Seaine, Saerin and Shiaine straight (or Sumeko and Samitsu, for that matter).

Yet, as Thom reminds us, the story could not stay in those early stages forever, not while having the characters develop in the way that they needed to, and so the scope of what we read about necessarily grows. And then we are treated to a self-contained adventure of sorts (but one with ties to the current state of the Randland world) that to a degree recalls some of the action of those early books. The heroes wander into a strange town in which things don't seem quite right, the mystery unfolds itself, tension gradually builds, and eventually a fight breaks out.

(This also would completely work as a D&D adventure in the "Ravenloft" campaign setting, and that endears it to me, as I mis-spent many weekends of my youth engaged in tabletop role-playing.)

I do agree with the opinions expressed by toryx and macster that the scene might have been improved by the death of someone who actually had a name prior to this scene (like so many others, I have the first edition hardcover which doesn't even have the "three dead redarms"). One of the things that makes the gholam seem a real threat was that it killed Nalesean and Tylin. Are Harnan and Delarn both so important to the balance of the series that one couldn't have been sacrificed to give this episode some teeth? Or even Edesina?

I love reading about how different people reacted to the different parts of the books, and seeing how their perceptions compare with mine. One thing that always jumps out at me is when readers make comments to the effect of "This is one of my favorite chapters to go back and re-read!" or "I always skip the 'Dark Rand' chapters in my re-reads!".

In the way I process books, the idea of skipping a chapter, or going back to read an individual passage out of context, is anathema. I simply cannot imagine ever wanting to do it. Everything has a place as part of the larger narrative, and to remove it from that context, for me, removes it from its meaning. Vive la différence!

I also have to wonder if Wetlandernw, per her remarks @ 127, is coming back and reading all of my comments as well.
131. Freelancer

And she's not alone. So you know, any post you've commented upon that gets a new comment, gets bumped to the top of your Conversations listing in your Profile. Many of us start our visits to this site there, as the easiest link to the most recently active threads.

So, when an older WoT re-read post gets bumped by someone such as yourself, it is noticeable, and I for one always peek to see what was added, though I rarely add a follow-up unless the new comment is either rife with previously untold thoughts, or insanely provocative. I do love a good argument.

That said, it has been interesting to follow your progression through the older re-read segments. And for what it's worth, I'm with you in refusing to skip, skim, or otherwise avoid sections of a story during a re-read. Some would call it compulsive, but I can't imagine not reading every word.
William McDaniel
132. willmcd
Wetlandernw and Freelancer, many thanks for dropping in to say "hi". I've been entertained and enlightened by both of your comments (along with many others) throughout the re-read.

I am endeavoring to catch up with the re-read and actually participate in a little of the discussion before the big ending (which, based on current pacing should be in April sometime). Lots of comments to plow through before then!

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