Jan 31 2012 2:00pm

The Wheel of Time Re-read: The Gathering Storm, Part 17

The Wheel of Time Reread on Tor.comHappy Tuesday, y’all! Welcome back to the Wheel of Time Re-read!

Today’s entry covers Chapters 30 and 31 of The Gathering Storm, which may have left me with a mild concussion, and definitely left me with a bad taste in my mouth. Blarg.

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 30: Old Advice

What Happens
Gawyn remembers his father Taringail’s advice to Galad that he’d overheard as a small boy: that there are two groups he should never trust: pretty women, and Aes Sedai, and Light help him if he had to deal with someone who was both. Lelaine Sedai, who Gawyn finds pretty, tells him she cannot disobey the Amyrlin’s wishes. Gawyn argues that Egwene is trying to protect them, and is “self-sacrificing” to a fault”, but Lelaine replies that Egwene seems confident of he safety, and Shemerin’s information confirms that Elaida is too power-mad to consider Egwene a real threat. Gawyn tries again to find out how they are communicating with Egwene, and Lelaine tells him coldly that it is none of his business. Gawyn tries to get his anger under control, and asks if there isn’t even a possibility that Egwene is wrong.

“Perhaps,” Lelaine said, continuing to write. She had a flowing, ornate hand. “But must I not uphold the Amyrlin, even if she is misguided?”

Gawyn gave no response. Of course she could disobey the will of the Amyrlin. He knew enough of Aes Sedai politics to understand it was done all the time. But saying that would accomplish nothing.

Lelaine makes a vaguely worded promise to consider bringing the matter up before the Hall, and proceeds to quiz Gawyn on what he thinks Elayne will do about taxation rates on fruit. Gawyn thinks she is attempting to gain leverage with various Andoran Houses, but doesn’t dare not answer, as this is the only bargaining chip he has to get to see Lelaine and the others. As he leaves later, he watches the people in the camp and begins to realize that they really do see Egwene as the Amyrlin.

Obviously, she had been chosen because the rebels wanted someone easy to control. But they didn’t treat her as a puppet—both Lelaine and Romanda spoke of her with respect. There was an advantage to Egwene’s absence, since it created a void of power. Therefore, they accepted Egwene as a source of authority. Was he the only one who remembered that she’d been an Accepted just months ago?

Gawyn rides to meet Bryne at one of the outer guard posts. Bryne asks how the meeting went, and Gawyn tells him, about as well as he would expect. Bryne wants to talk about the Youngings again, but Gawyn tells him he will not betray his trust to them even if he left. Bryne obliquely threatens to put him to the question, and Gawyn tells him that the Younglings are youths, and not a threat to him now that Gawyn is no longer leading them. Bryne accepts this conditionally, but warns him that if the raids continue they will revisit the topic. Gawyn thinks about the situation, and blurts out to Bryne that he cannot let it come to bloodshed between the rebels and Elaida’s faction. Bryne counters that he gave his word, and Gawyn points out that there will be no reconciliation if it comes by the sword. Bryne wonders why he cares, and asks him what his true allegiances are: to Elayne, or to Egwene? Gawyn flounders for an answer.

“Whom to serve?” Bryne said, thoughtful. “Our own skill frightens us, sometimes. What is the ability to kill if one has no outlet for it? A wasted talent? The pathway to becoming a murderer? The power to protect and preserve is daunting. So you look for someone to give the skill to, someone who will use it wisely. The need to make a decision chews at you, even after you’ve made it. I see the question more in younger men. We old hounds, we’re just happy to have a place by the hearth. If someone tells us to fight, we don’t want to shake things up too much. But the young men... they wonder.”

Gawyn asks if Bryne ever wondered, and Bryne tells him yes, several times. He says he serves the rebels now because the world is changing, and he needs to be part of it, but also because he has come to believe the rebels are right, and Elaida cannot be allowed to “pull this world down with her”. He tells Gawyn that he will need to pick a side, and more importantly, he’ll need to know why he chose it. Gawyn knows he is right, but he does not know which side to choose.

…Okay, ‘cause, wow.

Sorry, I just have to quote this astounding piece of drivel for posterity:

No man trusted beautiful women, for all their fascination with them. But few realized what Taringail had said—that a pretty girl, like a coal that had cooled just enough to no longer look hot, could be far, far more dangerous.

Lelaine wasn’t beautiful, but she was pretty, particularly when she smiled. Slender and graceful, without a speck of gray in her dark hair, an almond face with full lips. She looked up at him with eyes that were far too comely to belong to a woman of her craftiness. And she seemed to know. She understood that she was just attractive enough to draw attention, but not stunning enough to make men wary.

She was a woman of the most dangerous type. One who felt real, who made men think they might be able to hold her attention. She wasn’t pretty like Egwene, who made you want to spend time with her. This woman’s smile made you want to count the knives on your belt and in your boot, just to make sure none of them had found their way into your back while you were distracted.

Wow. WOW. That is… wow.

That is some spectacular objectifying misogynist bullshit, right there. Seriously, WHAT THE FUCK, GAWYN.

Because you know what, there are a lot of perfectly legitimate reasons to not like or at least not trust Lelaine, or Aes Sedai in general, but are you seriously telling me you’re basing your judgment of her on the fact that she is, what, MEDIUM PRETTY?

Really? Really. You’re going to apply a character judgment to her based on the one factor that she (a) has no control over and (b) has NOTHING TO DO WITH HER CHARACTER?

I don’t even know where to begin picking apart the levels of insulting stupid here. I’ve been sitting here making indignant gestures at it for like five minutes, such is the level of my incredulity.

Because, gee, how dare Lelaine not be drop dead gorgeous, so you can immediately KNOW that she’s untrustworthy, like all beautiful women obviously are! How devious and misleading of her to arrange to be merely pretty! I bet there’s a conspiracy, yeah! A conspiracy of women, masterfully manipulating their level of prettiness, all just to fuck with your head, Gawyn!

I can’t even – how can you – are you seriously – gah.

Oh look, a desk!

*headdesk* *headdesk* *headdesk* *headdesk*

Ye gods.

And let’s not even mention that this delightful sliding scale of beauty to evilness is based on advice from Taringail, of all people, who, lest we forget, is the giant douche who was so outdone by his wife’s political ascendancy over him OHNOES that he plotted to assassinate her. Because this is the healthy example all young boys should follow, right? Riiiight.

Granted, I’m about 90% certain that no one ever told Gawyn that his father was planning to murder his mother, but even so, whatever. That is still no excuse for hosing us all down with this much liquid drippy fecal matter, and that’s a fact.

Hell’s bells. And here I was thinking I couldn’t get any more annoyed at a character than I already was at Gawyn. That’ll show me!

…yeah, and then the rest of the chapter, Gawyn has to pick a side, whatever, I’m done. Ugh.


Chapter 31: A Promise to Lews Therin

What Happens
Cadsuane makes her way through the streets of Bandar Eban, careful not to show her face in accordance with the letter of al’Thor’s edict to her, and arrives at an inn called The Wind’s Favor, which is owned by a man whose daughter Namine is a Brown in the Tower, and her longtime informant. Quillin tells her that there have been many people who have claimed to have communications from Alsalam since he disappeared from the public eye, but he does not trust them. He does not believe the Council of Merchants is holding him, as they are too disorganized; Cadsuane wonders if this means al’Thor’s suspicions about Alsalam being held by a Forsaken are correct. Quillin also tells her of the fears in the city that Rand’s Aiel are poisoning the incoming grain, bolstered by the fact that the spoilage has become much worse since the Dragon Reborn has arrived in the city, along with other foul occurrences like stillbirths and stones randomly falling and killing people. Cadsuane asks about the balancing occurrences, like unexpected marriages or windfalls of wealth, but Quillin tells her there has been no such thing.

Al’Thor was ta’veren, but the Pattern was a thing of balance. For every accidental death caused by Rand’s presence in a city, there was always a miraculous survival.

What did it mean if that was breaking down?

Cadsuane leaves the inn and heads to the docks, reflecting that she had bungled her handling of al’Thor, and that his collaring at the hands of a Forsaken had made her job all that much more difficult. She wonders if it is too late to change him, and if he is beyond saving; she refuses to accept the idea, but cannot figure out what to do about it. She reaches the docks only to find that al’Thor has arrived there with his entourage; she shields herself from him, but notices again that aura of darkness around him, and despairs of what to do, until a sudden idea strikes her.

She spun on her heels and hurried back the way she had come, her head bowed, barely daring to think about her plan. It could fail so easily. If al’Thor really was as dominated by his rage as she feared, then even this would not help him.

But if he really was that far gone, then there wasn’t anything that would help him. That meant she had nothing to lose. Nothing but the world itself.

She goes back to the mansion and finds Sorilea and the other Wise Ones, and tells them she has failed. Bair and Amys agree that there is no fault when the failure is due to another (al’Thor). Cadsuane tells them she has a plan, and asks for their help.

Rand watches Cadsuane disappear in the crowd, and decides to let her go. He thinks that perhaps it had been a “poor move” to exile her, but that it was too late now to rescind it. He turns his attention back to the Asha’man Naeff, who is reporting on Bashere’s negotiations with the Seanchan for the new meeting place with the Daughter of the Nine Moons. Naeff doesn’t think they will accept Katar as a neutral meeting place; Rand tells him to return to them and say they will meet at Falme instead, as it has a certain “historical significance”. Neither Naeff nor Flinn like the way the Seanchan look at them, and Flinn argues that they want to enslave every last one of them, or execute them. Rand stares Flinn down until he backs off and apologizes, and sends Naeff off. Nynaeve approaches, and points out that Falme is deep in Seanchan territory; Rand doesn’t think they will attack even so. Nynaeve grumbles, but accepts this, and Rand thinks she is one of the few he still trusts, even though Lews Therin is not as sure. Rand asks if she’s heard from Lan; she tells him that is none of his concern.

“The entire world is my concern, Nynaeve.” He looked at her. “Would you not agree?”

She opened her mouth, no doubt to snap at him, but faltered as she met his eyes. Light, he thought, seeing the apprehension in her face. I can do it to Nynaeve, now. What is it that they see when they look at me? That look in her eyes almost made him frightened of himself.

Nynaeve tells him reluctantly that Lan rides to the Gap, but that she arranged to leave him in Saldaea so that it would take him some time to reach it, and hopefully to gather an army on the way, but she adds that he could use some help. Rand replies that if he will not wait for the rest of the forces of Light, he deserves what he gets, and then thinks that even so, it might serve as a distraction for the Shadow.

“Yes,” Rand said thoughtfully. “His death could serve me well indeed.”

Nynaeve’s eyes widened in fury, but Rand ignored them. A very quiet place, deep inside of him, was struck with worry over his friend. He had to ignore that worry, silence it. But that voice whispered to him.

He named you friend. Do not abandon him...

Nynaeve tells him curtly that they will speak again on this. The party reaches the mansion, where Rhuarc reports that they have found four of the Council, and another two are dead, which means they need to find four more members to elect a new king. Rand wonders why he is bothering with this when he can just appoint a king, but orders Rhuarc to keep searching. He calls for Milisair Chadmar again, who confesses that the messenger she was questioning is dead, from his poor treatment in prison. A courtier named Ramshalan calls eagerly for her execution; Rand finds him obnoxious, but pretends to consider the notion, terrifying her, before ordering her to be locked in the same dungeon where the messenger died. The Aiel drag her out screaming.

If Graendal sent the messenger, Lews Therin said suddenly, I’d have never been able to break him. She’s too good with Compulsion. Crafty, so crafty.

Rand hesitated. It was a good point.

He reasons, though, that just finding the evidence of Compulsion would be proof enough, and orders that anyone who claims to have spoken to the King be brought to him, gritting his teeth at all the things he doesn’t have time to fix before the Last Battle. Nynaeve tells him she does not approve of this, nor his attitude toward Lan. She asks if he even thinks of Mat and Perrin, which leads him to see them in the colors: he sees Perrin in a tent with Galad, of all people, and Mat riding through what looks like Caemlyn. He tells Nynaeve that Mat and Perrin live, but he barely knows them anymore, nor they him; what he cares about is the Last Battle, beside which a “pair of boys from my little village” are meaningless.

[Nynaeve] was silent, although her face took on a profound sadness. “Oh, Rand,” she finally said. “You can’t go on like this. This hardness within you, it will break you.”

“I do what I must,” he said, anger creeping into him. Would he never hear the end of complaints about his choices?

“This isn’t what you must do, Rand,” she said. “You’re going to destroy yourself. You’ll—”

Rand’s anger surged. He spun, pointing at her. “Would you end up exiled like Cadsuane, Nynaeve?” he bellowed. “I will not be played with! I am done with that. Give advice when it is asked for, and the rest of the time do not patronize me!”

Nynaeve recoils, and he realizes he is reaching for the access key in his pocket, and forces his anger down with difficulty. He ends the audiences abruptly and leaves the hall, telling himself he only has to keep things together for a short time longer. He finds he is looking forward to that as much as Lews Therin is.

You promised we could die, Lews Therin said between distant sobs.

I did, Rand said. And we will.

Gloom doom sad sigh.

I am frankly shocked that Nynaeve didn’t have more of an extreme reaction than she did to what Rand said about Lan in this chapter, because if it had been me in her place, Dark Side or no, I don’t know whether I would have been able to stop myself from hauling off and slapping him upside the head. I don’t even know that the possibility of being killed for it would stop me, because What. The. Hell.

I mean, my God. Forget that he’s talking to the man’s wife, who happens to be not only someone he’s known since birth but is someone who has personally saved his life multiple times, but isn’t this the man who just three books ago Rand fell off a roof for rather than sacrifice? And this isn’t even to mention the number of times Lan has saved Rand’s bacon! Cognitive dissonance much?

Yeesh. If we ever needed an extra clue that things were seriously wrong in Rand Land, no pun intended, that was it. Seriously, “His death could serve me well indeed”? That is straight out of the Evil Overlord Book of 1001 Handy Megalomaniacal Phrases, right there.

Moridin? That you?

If so, go away, please. I’ve already said it but it bears repeating: DO NOT WANT SEMI-EVIL RAND, PLEASE TO GO BYE-BYE NOW.


Also, my other reaction to this part of the chapter was, oh, Nynaeve is still with Rand? I hadn’t even noticed till now! She’s been awfully quiet up till now, hasn’t she? Very unlike her. Enh.

The glimpse of Mat and Perrin doing things and/or being places they totally weren’t when we left off with them is either a clever clue that their timelines are significantly behind Rand’s, or is just kind of confusing. Which is it? You decide!

Cadsuane: admits in this chapter that she bungled things with Rand. And while I totally think that that’s exactly what she did, I can’t help but be rather taken aback that she apparently agrees. It’s not that I think she’s incapable of admitting that she is ever wrong, but… well. It was a rather sharp reversal of attitude on her part, to my perception.

But either way, fortunately she has An Idea. I think I was kind of “Oh, crap” even before I knew what the idea was, like I do now. I am so psychic sometimes!

And for my next trick, I will predict when this post ends. Which is… now! Holy crap, I am amazing. See you next week, peoples!

1. JimIII
Leigh, I just wanted to say that, as an old member of RASFWR-J from the late '90's, I really appreciate what you're doing here. It warms my heart, and my re-read has FINALLY caught up to yours. You've done an awesome job, and keep up the good work!
2. LM
I love your reaction to Gawyn's 'ideas' on women. I had pretty much the same one.
3. JimIII
That's weird, LM -- it didn't even occur to me that somebody could find that offensive; I just thought it was Stupid Gawyn being Stupid again (as he continues to be for the next book-and-a-half or so), and that it was kind of funny. Maybe just because I'm a guy, but the idea of somebody judging Lelaine based on her looks is just too goofy to take seriously.
Anthony Pero
4. anthonypero
Leigh, your rant was epic.

However, and I could, of course, be wrong, I read that not as "Being pretty rather than beautiful makes you untrustworthy", but rather, "Being pretty rather than beautiful makes you more dangerous." Untrustworthy and dangerous are not the same thing, obviously.

As far as "No man trusts a beautiful woman... " To make this accurate, the statement would need to be ammended like thus: "No man trusts himself with a beautiful woman." I don't mean in a slovenly way, or self-control way. I mean we don't trust our perceptions around a beautiful woman. A man is on guard around a beautiful woman he doesn't know. Not because the woman is inherently untrustworthy, but because our judgement can become clouded.

Now, am I saying Gawyn meant it this way? I dunno, it's ambiguous after re-read. But that is certainly the way I took it. And it's a short step from "Don't trust your judgement around a beautiful woman" to "Don't trust a beautiful woman." In otherwords, its common, typical, completely believable human nature to take our own failings and pin them on someone else. We all do it, far more than we care to realize.
5. Wendy Darling
Gawyn is terrible!

But doesn't the series resemble a period of time in our history that was rife with misogyny?
Jeff Weston
6. JWezy
I think that Nynaeve's reaction to Rand's comment is somewhat muted by the fact that she has just received the stare-o-doom from him. While the true power (or whatever) infests him, the point is made several times that his look alone can be daunting. She is mad, but scared, and justifiably so on both counts.
Stefan Mitev
7. Bergmaniac
"No man trusted beautiful women" is a pretty weird statement coming from someone who clearly worships his mother, has prepared all his life to be a bodyguard and a trusted subordinate to his sister and is totally devoted to his current love interest, given that all of those are stunning beauties. Oh, well, it's not like Gawyn's thought processes ever made much sense to begin with... ;)

Speaking of his thought process, if he wanted to go rescue Egwene so much, it's strange that he didn't even consider going to Elayne for help in that after Lelaine and company stonewalled him. She's his sister, happens to be Egwene's closest friend and has vast resources as a Queen. I could understand him rejecting this option because he didn't want to risk her getting involved personally in the rescue, but not even considering it as an option makes no sense, especially since he was talking about Elayne right in this chapter.
aaron thompson
8. trench
I remeber reading that Gawyn chapter for the first time and thinking, "Oh jeez, Leigh is gonna have an aneurysm when we get to this part in the re-read."
Erin C
9. Wishflower
Hi Leigh! First time commenter here (yay!), I stumbled onto your re-read pretty late in the game but found it to be exactly what I needed! After reading through the series yet another time, I needed a change-- your commentary has been awesome to read and has given me a fresh perspective. Thanks! -^_^-

Regarding the Gawyn thing: I think when characters do/think/say these stupid, judgemental things, half of readers find it offensive and frustrating, half find it funny. Kind of how you find all of Nynaeve's hypocritical thoughts/actions hilarious, while others may find them annoying and rude. It's all matter of perception though I understand your point of view.

On Evil Rand: I wish he would hurry up and have his Mountain Top Revelation, help grow apples and get his Lews+Rand=Awesome persona on already.
10. Looking Glass
Cadsuane: It is a pretty sharp turn in attitude, but having your messiah trainee take a diving leap off the slippery slope to murderous madness would have to provoke a little introspection in any remotely reasonable character.

If anything, her particular brand of pride probably reinforces the “I screwed up” conclusion- she seems to view herself as the only adult in the room, which would imply that she’s the one responsible if the kids start eating paste.

Gawyn: appears to have acquired his habit of listening to exactly the wrong authority figure at an early age.

And Galad got this advice, too, which, hm. May add context to even more things. It does kind of put an interesting spin on the apparent “hooks up with Berelain and makes appallingly beautiful babies” future, at least.

Though of the royal siblings, Galad’s probably the most inclined to learn from prior mistakes. Sometimes in favor of making new and interesting mistakes, but still. Some level of critical thinking is in use.
11. Caveatar
Bryne (RJ) seems to point out the problem with the Aiel Post LastBattle
in this conversation.
Killing is basically their chief occupation.

"What is the ability to kill if one has no outlet for it? A wasted talent? The pathway to becoming a murderer? The power to protect and preserve is daunting. So you look for someone to give the skill to, someone who will use it wisely. "

He nicely describes the exact problem with the Aiel. Maybe Aviendha
should talk to good old Gareth Bryne when she returns.
Kristoff Bergenholm
12. Magentawolf
Oddly, I rather prefer semi-evil Rand over then 'down from the Mount' Jesus-Rand...
13. alreadymadwithcadsuane
Sigh. Cads admits that she did wrong. Surprise, surprise. Also admits that even had the Forsaken not intervened she would have still continued doing it. What a piece of work.

Bryne hits Gawyn's problem right on the head. Heh.

Magentawolf @12
Sigh. It is a symptom of how messed up we are if we cannot find a middle ground between semi-evil and down-from-the-mount-Jesus.
14. Rancho Unicorno
Beware: ramblings below

@4 - I agree with you, almost. I think that the end result isn't pinning the blame on someone else, but rather identifying an issue and taking a safe stance. You don't tell a kid not to play with fire because his childish attention span suggests that he'll get hurt by this inherently neutral phenomenon. You tell him not to play with fire because fire is dangerous. Same thing with a beautiful woman.

Additionally, I see where RJ/BS/Galad gets the idea from:

I think about my business relationships. With a person whose personality is bothersome or just not a solid mesh with mine, I know that I can maintain my control and perhaps drive the interaction. With someone incredibly charasmatic or otherwise capable of controlling a room, I know that I need to be wary and I can set myself to dig in (and thus try to exert control). But if I get along with the person - they are engaging but self-effacing enough to not be overly dominating - I can be caught unaware and get myself into trouble.

I think I'm less impacted now that I'm married, but I remember the beforetime. If a girl was unattractive, if asked for a favor, I could evaluate it on it's merits - I knew that there was no chance of me doing something just to make myself more attractive to her. If a girl was "too attractive" (based on my self-awareness and self-worth), I would evaluate the same request on its merits because I would doubt that any herculean effort on my part would change her view of me as just a friend. If a girl was pretty/cute/etc, that was the danger area. I would do darn near anything short of jailtime for a smile or the hope of one. Looking back, I did some stupid things. And this is discounting any effect of personality - this is just in the initial meeting. Throw in a great personality (and I'm sure an AS could put on nearly any personality)...

Could those girls be blamed for my attraction (or not) to them? No. But, knowing my wellbeing was at stake, I knew to be more wary of women I found cute than anybody else. And thus, a broad based rule - never trust a pretty woman - would have been good advice for someone whose driving philosophy was "pretty women like it when you do whatever favor they ask you to, if even if it could result in serious physical harm or worse."
Andrew Lovsness
15. drewlovs
As stupid as Gawyn sounds, it was these instances that made him more realistic for me. After all, he has had very little contact with the opposite sex besides his mother, sister and other Aei Sedai. Worst, the male father-figures for him to choose from do not give sage advice on women. Bryne is old enough to be his grandfather, and the memories of his real father show a man who would kill a woman if he felt the need. Not good choices!!

If Gawyn was extremely sensible when it came to women, that would be unrealistic to me. He is a person who has been lied to and manipulated, if not out-right betrayed by the women in charge, and has been killing others in their name since he was able to adequately hold a sword; his attitude towards women could only BE screwed up.
Skip Ives
16. Skip
Yeah ... I remember reading both these chapters quickly. Both are well written, but I don't particularly like either, pretty much as intended.
17. Rancho Unicorno
All that rambling, and I put in Galad instead of Gawyn.

I'll take advantage of this extra post to mention my Rand thoughts. I didn't have a problem with him and his Lan comments. I thought he was finally beginning to disconnect himself from the concerns of the world and could thus truely prepare for the LB. I suspected that the fall of LTT was that he hadn't separated himself and so he had a weakness. By being hardened, he would be better able to withstand and find peace. It wasn't until I read the line (conveniently) quoted in this week's ASOIAF post that I realized that he needs to be steel and not iron- strong yet tempered enough to not be hard and brittle. Fortunately, that's how things go. Nevertheless, until he gets to patricidal-Rand, I'm still good with him.
Alice Arneson
18. Wetlandernw
I'm with Anthony on this one. For a man, particularly a young one with raging hormones or an older one who never learned adequate self-mastery in that regard, attractive women ARE dangerous. As Gawyn himself says, you might find yourself distracted enough to let something happen to you; as Anthony says, your judgement might become... tilted. So yeah, I read this as not so much "pretty women are evil" and more "any woman has her own agenda, and the pretty ones can get you to go along with it too easily." Which is still stupid, and not something to which I can really relate, but I can recognize it when I see it.

It does rather imply that, in Taringail's opinion at least, all women are unscrupulous. Uh, pot/kettle, anyone? I think Taringail was one of those opportunistic and unscrupulous people who assume everyone else has the same (lack of) moral values as himself. He would find men less "dangerous" because he can usually figure them out; women are both distracting (at least the attractive ones) and harder to understand (for him), so... yeah. I guess you can't entirely fault Gawyn for assuming his father would be worth listening to, especially given that since he was just a small kid at the time, the extent of Taringail's treachery was probably never revealed to him. By the time he was old enough to get it, maybe Morgase just didn't think it was necessary to tarnish his memories for no real purpose.

If she had told him, it might have reduced Leigh's probability of concussion, though.
Andrew Lovsness
19. drewlovs
BTW, it was this chapter with Rand that I realized things were coming to a head, and he would either implode (which would be the end of the books, really) or something significantly good was going to happen. After that realization, it was only a matter of slogging through the pain.

Though...what happens with Granny's palace still gives me shivers. I mean... damn. Jordan and BS certainly make "good gone wrong" pretty fucked up. I hate using profanity, but no other word really conveys my opinion here.

Sorry to get a little ahead of the discussion...
Nadine L.
20. travyl
Leigh I laughed out loud, reading your rant – thanks. Though my interpretation is much more what AP @4 and Wetlandernw said (and more eloquent then I could have, so I won’t try).

The Rand-part really did hurt. Not just his attitude towards Lan, but him giving up and welcome-ing death ;(

Berg @7. Gawyn is just outside the walls of Tar Valon. I think it reasonable to not travel to Caemlyn and ask his sister (as long as he isn’t offered a Gateway anyway) – I know I risk ostracism again for using Gawyn and that other word in the same sentence.

Wetlandernw @18. I heard it quite often on this thread from Leigh and others, but why do we know that Taringail plotted to kill his wife (and are we sure Thom killed him?)
- by the way, still jealous ("my" google-books, doesn't show any WOT books - maybe only US-restricted or because I don't have an account.
Rob Munnelly
21. RobMRobM
@18 - Wet, I was going to respond to your post but then I realized that you can't be trusted - or, rather, I can't be trusted in your vicinity.

EDIT - By the way, was there a need for me to add an LOL at the end of the post? I hope not but if there is any doubt, then LOL.
Tomas Gerst
22. IamnotSpam
I have to agree with 15 drewlovs on Gawyn for my part but I thought that it was interesting that I think that this is the first male perspective we get on Lelaine. I mean before this I had an older female character in my head when I thought of her and Romanda. All in all I think it was actually another shot at showing that her character had her own ambitious plans that may be different then Egwene's.
As far as Rand goes well there are a lot of bumps on the way down to rock bottom.
Kurt Lorey
23. Shimrod
I'm really sorry that Leigh couldn't have had a discussion about Gawyn with RJ. It would have quite likely been memorable. But on this subject, I am in the Anthony camp as well.

Truly, I should go back and find the rantings about how most of the female characters acted when within the proximity of Galad. I expect no less than equal head-deskings over that behavior.
j p
24. sps49
There are enough females I've encountered who do rely on their looks to make Taringail's advice appear sound. At first. Then the "wait, what?" reaction hit me.

On the one hand, we have Cadsuane thinking she could've handled Rand better. Then she confers with the Wise Ones and

Bair and Amys agree that there is no fault when the failure is due to another (al’Thor).

So that didn't last long.
25. Tenesmus
Leigh, I will go out on a limb and explain Gawyn's rationale, as I read and comprehended it; and experienced in life.

When a stunningly beautiful woman shows an interest in me, I have to pause and ask myself, "Why?" Not because I inherently think beautiful women are evil schemers, but because, at some level, I am wondering what made HER notice ME? Especially since I am, at best, a 7.5 on a 10 scale. This reaction is borne out of no less than a dozen experiences between the ages of 14 and 35 where an overly attractive female would initiate an encounter or converstaion with me, only to have an ulterior motive that had absolutely nothing to do with her actually being interested in me as a person. Her interest in me, unerringly and without exception, (though a small sample size) was to get something out of me-- money, do her homework, buy her beer, attempt to pickpocket me, the phone number of a friend, an extra concert ticket, to get me away from my friends so her Large male friend could intimidate me into "lending" him a few dollars, a lap dance, or a ride to a house party that when we got there she told me that I wasn't invited inside and not to worry because she was meeting a friend who would give her a ride home. All of these incidents (and others) really happened. Never has a smoking hot female ever paid me any mind for any selfless reason. Maybe its just me, but I bet there are other males reading this who have had the same experiences with "tens." So yeah, Leigh, my guard is up when a "10" talks to me, and there is nothing remotely msoginistic about it. I don't automatically dislike them, I am just wary.

Now given the context above, I understand what Gawyn is saying. If Lelaine is an arbitrary 8.5/10, then the natural guard reflex I would have if she was a 10, may be absent, and I could end up getting hurt badly. He is not talking about every woman on the planet, but relating the reaction he would get from a 10 to the reaction from an 8.5. He is talking about a specific type of situation, nothing more. He is saying that Lelaine would be very effective at subterfuge. Which, by the way, she is. I understood his thinking, and while a bit juveneile (we are talking about GAWYN people!) it does not rate a rant to the extent of yours.
Noneo Yourbusiness
26. Longtimefan
I will say that Gawyn did not make the most astue observation and that just goes along with his general misguided thinking as a character.

On the other hand there is an entire nation in this world that rasies women to be alluring and seductive for the advantage of trading and bargaining.

Domani women anyone? An in book established culture where the women are not "untrustworthy" but who are spoken of (and in Leane's case shown) to use thier looks to influence men.

I am not saying it is not sexist to make the observation so poorly but it is an instory behavior that has been exhibited in some (not all) of the female characters.

Generally this is not a book that has a lot of chapters that I like. There are some great chapters in this book. The last few have not been some of them.

Edited for spelling.
I am yet again going to put myself out there and say without reading further in Leigh's comments about Gawyn's opinions, but....you know I have had the same feeling about women. Women, In My Humble Opinion, have for as long as humanity has existed used there beauty as weapon. It is a powerful weapon. So powerful, that they easily recognize it as such from as early an age as 3 or maybe four in my daughters case. They use it like a whip on your heart or a cudgel on your soul.

The most dispicable abuse of this power is of course the "Con". And it happens to be the most widely used. I don't care if its offensive to anyone saying that. But it happens so much that I truly think that women see nothing wrong with it all. And if you call them on it....your an A*****e. If its mentioned at all, your a crass sexist pig.

I sometimes believe that women simply want it both ways: they want to say and act the way they want towards men, treat us in anyway they want, do whatever they want to us and we should just except that. I have met hundreds if not thousands of women in my lifetime who I would describe as being just like Lelaine. They are so prevelant among women of beauty that its just part of the package nowadays. It's so very rare to find a woman without those qualities described by Gawyn, that it's almost not worth trying for.

(shiver)....yeah I avoid them like the plague. Which means I do a lot of avoiding.

Not to say that we men don't have our flaws. Its just that I think in this particular instance at least, that Gawyn has the right of it.

Joseph Irwin
28. IncongruousAmoeba
I don't know why everyone seems to blame Gawyn for the sexism here: I'm pretty sure almost the exact same sentiment has been expressed multiple times by other characters in the series. It's just another example of RJ's "Men:Mars Women:Venus" thing he basically built the series around. Was it just how blatant it is here that struck a nerve?

Anyway, my reaction was basically, "ho hum, another male character has deep reflection on how fundamentally different women are, I wonder how long it will be until a female character thinks exactly the same thing in reverse?" Frankly I was bored of the whole schtick by the second book or so -- one of the only things that I dislike about WoT.
30. zackattack
Not sure why my previous post came up blank (let's blame Gawyn) but here it is again:
I admit, I pretty much glossed over Gawyn's musings as "Oh, here's another one of Jordan's misguided but well-intentioned observations on women." I'd be surprised to find out BS had written that particular scene.
I was very pleased and surprised when Cadsuane finally admitted her failure. I was neither pleased nor surprised that she immediately started scheming again.
@27 If your goal was to out-rant Leigh, congrats, I think you win. Now you might want to seek some help.
31. Bittersweet Fountain
Even though I am female, I am going to have to agree with a lot of the guys who are backing Gawyn (or at least the rationale for Gawyn's thinking).

First off, Gawyn is like what...twenty? Maybe? It shouldn't surprise us if he is foolish. Sure Mat, Perrin, and Rand are all around that age, but it's not like any of them are paragons of wisdom.

Also, I went to a school that was 75% male, and I have seen how girls use their looks to get stuff from guys. In fact we had a name for it. TBS. Tech B**** Syndrome. But like the male commenters have said, guys aren't stupid. They know to be wary of smokin' hot girls who are suddenly giving them attention a day before their High Speed Aerodynamics homework is due. But the merely pretty girls? I have seen MANY a guy suckered by a pretty girl.

A female has no control over her level of attractiveness, true. And I would say most females think they are a lower level of attractiveness than they actually are. (We tend to think poorly of ourselves as a whole, at least, those of us who like me and my friends are young twenty-somethings.) But we girls do grow up with how we look, and I think a lot of us subconciously learn that if we behave/play up our looks/say something a certain way we can get things more easily. I find myself doing this, and I'm not even sure I'm considered a "pretty" girl. I find that when dealing with an older gentlemen, I subconciously act younger/cuter--especially if I know he has grandchildern--so I remind him of his grandchild. (Of course, this sometimes backfires on me and then I have to deal with creepy old man. Alas. It happens). I don't intend to manipulate the people around me. But I do it subconciously, because over the course of my life I've learned that older men will do something for young/cute girls who remind them of their granddaughters. This is something I'm currently trying to break myself of, and I don't do it because I'm an evil manipulator. It's subconcious.

And I think a lot of girls subconciously use their beauty. Not because their evil, but because a lifetime of prettiness has shown them that being pretty and emphasizing will help them get what they want.

And wow, this is a really long response, so I'm going to stop typing now. :)
@31Bittersweet Fountain

Thank you, oh thankyou! I was just about to follow zackattack's suggestion and call a shrink friend of mine (who also happens to be quite fetching) to see about the errors of my male machismo.

Now I do understand you weren't talking specifically of my opinion of the subject but, what you say is interesting and shares some similar parallels.

I also want to note that I wasn't meaning that all women are this way or even that all pretty women are this way. I just feel that in my experience, personaly or through simple observance , that women use there beauty in ways that should make every man wary. I do not mean to say that this makes women evil or dispicable or anything like that. It's simply a statement that some women do use there beauty in nefarious ways whether unconciously or consciously.

John Massey
33. subwoofer
Now hang on a sec. here, Gawyn may be on the very edge of a rational thought, albeit poorly worded... kinda like a blind guy trying to smash a pinata with a pool noodle- it can be done, but a whole lotta crazy effort is involved.

About this pretty girl business, I have to weigh in from my er... guy perspective. There has been a time or two in my long distant youth when I may have put myself through the ringer for a girl I thought was tangible. With the vantage of 20/20 hindsight I have wondered what the hell I was thinking, and that I'd never do something like that again... er, yes. We're guys, we're dumb, so sue me.

Bill Cosby did some stand up about it too. Adam and Eve in the Garden... "Eat this mud pie... eat this tree..."

The level of Gawyn's mental acuity is that he actually recognizes this, but sticks around anyways.

Lan- good point Leigh, wasn't there some hairy chested drivel about "the sun turning green" or some such a few books ago? Didn't Lan train Rand and prepare him for his first meet with the Amyrlin and any number of other things that made Rand who he is through some very difficult times?

Bros before hoes Rand- leave no man behind.

This here is a clear cut case where Rand needs to serve in an army to get an inkling of military life and why we don't abandon our men.

Alarmingly enough I am also in agreement with Leigh in regards to Nynaeve. I'd be searching about for something to hit Rand with, lazy eye look or no.

34. Bittersweet Fountain
@32 ZEXXES (and just in general an addendum to my thought)

To be fair, it isn't like pretty girls shamelessly use guys and guys never do the same in return. I have seen the same happen in the opposite direction.

The difference I think is that guys seem to have this universal kryptonite, which is prettiness/looks/beauty. Whereas girls (huge stereotype about to come) for the most part don't put as much stock in looks. Girls seem to have more unique kryptonites. Personally, I have been used terribly by some incredibly geeky guys. But they didn't realize they were using me. They didn't really the reason why I was so dependable/friendly/nice/willing to drive them to the hospital at 2 am was because I had a ridiculous crush on them and not just because I'm a really good friend. (And of course most of the relationships culminated with them then asking dependable me, "So...do you think Mary Sue likes me?" And of course, Mary Sue is always one of my friends and never me. Alas.)

And the number of young guys I've seen use their charming, young smiles on older women is uncountable. Just this summer I had two interns who literally did nothing the entire summer. I went to the intern office to tell the ladies who work there to never hire them again. And the ladies were like "What? Not hire them. But they're such nice boys and they seem so hardworking?" Hardworking? Please, all that time they spent smoozing you was supposed to be spent doing a report for me!!!

So I think this is something that happens in both genders. We learn at a young age how to play our parents into getting what we want. (The five-year-old daughter smiles prettily at her father. The five-year-old son asks his mother so sweetly). It's life. And I don't think it makes Gawyn a crazy person to pick up on it. There are a lot of other things that make him crazy. Like ignoring his duty to his sister!!!! I MEAN COME ON, GAWYN! (And this is coming for someone who has always had a soft place in her heart for the guy).
Juan Avila
35. Cumadrin
@Subwoofer & many others

I'm so glad so many of us can see these views of Gawyn's from an impartial perspective. The fact is the world quite often is not pretty and kind and forgiving and full of lollipops and gumdrops. Or even fair. Perhaps the greatest feat RJ accomplished with WoT is how well he reflected this in his world. Right after I finished the blog post I was mentally preparing my outline for a response to Leigh's rant as I started the comments. Luckily, I am again pleased to see how sensible and articulate we as a group partaking in this re-read experience are.

So, I won't say much, other than this (and this is my opinion): One of the most important themes in WoT is about perspective; and maybe more so, lack thereof in all the characters. And let's not kid ourselves, it *IS* all the characters. And it is so damn well-crafted and presented to us over the course of the series that Leigh's reaction is actually completely understandable. One thing she is right about is to be furious about what Gawyn is so bluntly thinking about in this chapter, but not for the reason she thinks. She, and us, should be, and I believe are, furious not because Gawyn is right, but because this problem is something that's well-recognized yet still probably unalterable in us as a species.

And that is what drives so many of us to read, love, and be so invested in this series. Because if you stare at a problem long enough, it may not disappear, but it also won't sneak up on you, either.

That's all I hope I need say on the gender topic here, I hope. Now I can resume work on a li'l WoT project of mine and finish it in good time (it's been a *long* day). Your comment especially reminded me why I started it, Sub.

Until next time, gadget.

Am I the only one who looks forward to Leigh's introduction section joke as much as the summary and comments and closer joke? I was a tad bit disappointed this week.

*obligatory ;) *
Jeroen Boerlage
36. Alea_iacta_est
So am I going to be the madman of the party again? Oh, why not.

I actually liked this Rand chapter. He was getting his shit together, finally. For several books now he had let himself get slowed down and bothered with politics and minor lords rebelling and stuff like that. Each time that happened I got extremely frustrated at him, both for having to deal with it and for not really dealing with it.
Rebelling lords in Tear? Give them a visit, tell them to obey your orders because you're the effing saviour of the world, and be done with it. But he didn't, instead he indulged in their petty desires and powerplays and I found that incredibly hard to read.
Now, finally, he acts like a general is supposed to act. The Lan comment is perhaps the best example of it, because it is what a proper general would say. So this guy decided to lead an army with no chance of winning to a fight with the shadow, and I'm supposed to drop my other business like saving the world to go help him? Yeah, screw that.

Granted, it was tactless to say it to Nyneave's face, but it was the right descision to leave Lan to his fate. Personal feelings towards people don't matter at the level Rand needs to be thinking.
Tyler Durden
37. Balance
Wow I was pleasantly surprised on the amount of thoughtful responses on this subject. And I loved the Subwoofer link. Cosby did perspectives well. Anthony and Wetlander have the right of it. And hats off to you ladies for understanding so well one of our weaknesses. For the record guys do this too. It is not a phenomena tied solely to the females of our species. We just do it differently. I’ve known plenty of players who’ve earned the name.
Anthony Pero
38. anthonypero

I'll look it up later, but basically, Thom said so at some point. Maybe in tGH when he was holding his dead gf. Don't know. I'll look it up later, if I can.
Anthony Pero
39. anthonypero
Ok, I found it... it was in TSR Ch 17, Moiraine speaking to Thom while manipulating him to go with Nynaeve and Elayne:
Her smile was just short of laughter, but she spoke as if reading from a page. "Thomdril Merrilin. Called the Gray Fox, once, by some who knew him, or knew of him. Courtbard at the Royal Palace of Andor in Caemlyn. Morgase's lover for a time, after Taringail died. Fortunate for Morgase, Taringail's death. I do not suppose she ever learned he meant her to die and himself to be Andor's first king. But we were speaking of Thom Merrilin, a man who, it was said, could play the Game of Houses in his sleep. It is a shame that such a man calls himself a simple gleeman. But such arrogance to keep the same name."

Thom masked his shock with an effort. How much did she know? Too much if she knew not another word.
So, it was Moiraine who implied that Thom killed Taringail, and also that Taringail meant to kill Morgase.
40. jerec84
You gotta wonder what Egwene sees in this idiot.
Alice Arneson
41. Wetlandernw
RobM @21 - I started laughing before I got to the edit, and I'm still laughing. Not quite sure why so much, but that really hit my funny bone. :) I love your sense of humor! No, there was no need to put an LOL - not on my account, anyway - I burst out laughing without any instructions whatsoever.

(I haven't read any of the last 20 comments... Once I can stop laughing and get my eyes dry again, I'll have to go make dinner. Catch y'all later; these chapters have a few things I really want to comment on.)
Juan Avila
42. Cumadrin
That's all I hope I need say on the gender topic here, I hope. Now I can...
Wow, good thing I removed the 'hopefully' from the start of the second sentence in my quick proofread. One doesn't want to appear too hopeful. Yeesh.

Some things that came to me in the last hour or so. I won't say what I was doing. Only that it is where most great epiphanies occur.

First, I want to amend that my comments were in no way meant specifically towards women or men. I noticed besides being so hopeful that I was also rather vague in my first comment.

Secondly, and completely unrelated to today's post or this discussion, what I was... thinking about pertains to Birgitte and her memories of previous lives. I recalled a theory about immortality: if a human were to attain such a thing, the longer they lived the more disconnected they would be to the present. The human brain is simply incapable of remembering so much life and also functioning in the present. Were someone to live hundreds, and worse yet thousands of years, the present would appear to be going by faster and faster, thus making that individual's reactions to the present happen slower and slower. It's basically the gist behind the whole Ogier/Ent being so slow and methodical trope, or a really funky coincidence.

Anyway, since Birgitte is not an Ent or Ogier, and thus not in possession of a fantastical biology like they are, which would presumably compensate for the greater amount of memories accumulated over their lifetime, I think the whole deal about her forgetting all her memories since she was ripped out of Tel'Aran'Rhiod (we meet again, dream world) is a big OHNOES red herring meant to scare the crap out of all of us and make us sad about what her fate is. It's probably nothing more than her brain coping with the copious (pun so intended) amount of STUFF in her head. Assuming RJ gave any thought to the whole logic/physics/biology of living so long. Or rather, possessiong thousands if not (b)millions of years worth of memory. What say you: At least a 50/50 chance he did, don'tcha think?

Just a thought I had that was new to me. For all I know it was discussed back in the re-read when Birgitte notified us her memory is deteriorating. I'm somewhat sure that/those chapters(s) were ones I skipped when I first found and caught up on the re-read back in the middle of aCoS and then disappeared into cyberspaace for a year or two until last November. And, believe it or not, I haven't read the blogs I missed in that time, much less the comments.

And, to bring it all around again, that is just another example of: perspective! Holy crap, am I too amazing? Text your votes to: WoTwut now!

Sorry, kind of in an uncharacteristically manic mood all of a sudden. It's probably just my undiagnosed bi-polar actin- Hey look at the shiny red fire truck!
Jay Dauro
43. J.Dauro
travyl @20

The primary reason for believing that Thom killed Taringail comes from when Moraine confronted Thom in the Stone of Tear, to get him to go with Elayne. She says that Taringail was plotting to take the Throne, and implies that Thom killed him.
Her smile was just short of laughter, but she spoke as if reading from a page. “Thomdril Merrilin. Called the Gray Fox, once, by some who knew him, or knew of him. Courtbard at the Royal Palace of Andor in Caemlyn. Morgase’s lover for a time, after Taringail died. Fortunate for Morgase, Taringail’s death. I do not suppose she ever learned he meant her to die and himself to be Andor’s first king. But we were speaking of Thom Merrilin, a man who, it was said, could play the Game of Houses in his sleep. It is a shame that such a man calls himself a simple gleeman. But such arrogance to keep the same name.”
The Shadow Rising Chapter 17 (p. 277). Tor Books. Kindle Edition.

Morgase later thinks
Taringail had been a cold, distant man, and there was never love, despite two wonderful children; it had been almost a relief when he died in a hunting accident.
The Fires of Heaven Chapter 19 (p. 356). Tor Books. Kindle Edition.

So, it's not a definite statement, but most accept it. Of course, we are reasonably sure that Thom killed another king, Galldrian.

And of course, while I was looking this up and checking for other references, Anthony beat me to it.
Roger Powell
44. forkroot
You gotta wonder what Egwene sees in this idiot.
Well he's pretty handsome, but not so striking (like Galad) that Egwene's internal warning bells would go off.
Tess Laird
45. thewindrose
I will have to admit that I haven't been reading the chapters along with the reread, but I vaguely remembered that this Gawyn chapter was coming up. Leigh, you did not disappoint:) (I am hoping some more ways to deal with Gaywn come from this!)

It is a bit hard for me to see Egwene falling for this guy - the way he has become. (So it goes both ways - eh;)

And then we get - the Moridin connection-
“Yes,” Rand said thoughtfully. “His death could serve me well indeed.”

Lelaine -
“But must I not uphold the Amyrlin, even if she is misguided?”
She is a perfect Aes Sedai isn't she?

Juan Avila
46. Cumadrin

Thus, we should all be much more wary of Gawyn. He is the most capable of using his looks to further his own nefarious schemes!

dun dun DUN!

Granted, that's like saying 'watch out for the cute gerbil, lest he poo in your hand.' It catches you unawares much easier than a bunny like Galad would, since they're notorious for it, but it's still just a rodent poo'ing in your hand.


I went looking for the ™ symbol online last week for something I'm writing, since I don't know the ascii code for it (not that it was a hard search). Little did I remember, you use it every time you comment here on this blog I read every day. So it goes.


You can't write fake html code here? Cuma is sad to learn this.

Was that an acceptable derivative of the phrase 'little did I ___?' I actually checked a li'l bit, but I'm not sure, and that's a question that would bug me for days if I let it.
John Massey
47. subwoofer
@Cuma- yes, vague and bageling;) S'okay, we're all friends here:) Not sure what part of my brilliance you were in reference to, but oki doki.

Erm, as far as beautiful women- just a cautionary tale from personal experience- beware of women with red hair(natural), French women, or women named Michelle, or any of the above combination, and if by fate you stumble onto one that is all three... run.

There is a very real reason why one of my tag lines is "how heavy is it?" Being an athletic guy, and owning a truck, there are usually some very unhealthy equations involving me and heavy objects... I drew the line when women I hired started asking me for "help". Now I am strong supporter of "teamwork" , "transparency", and "outside the boss solutions".

In regards to the wisdom of Bryne, that is also very real to me. There was a point in my life when joining the army meant, in no particular order, seeing the world, leaving home behind, being given a gun with real bullets, live fire conditions etc. What I did not notice in the fine print was rules of engagement and that in many cases your enemy is a teenager with an AK-47 and is not bound by any such rules. When you are young you think you're bullet proof... if you make it to later on in life, you realize how batcrap crazy you were.

In some ways I much prefer the simplicity of a woman using her feminine charms as opposed to the complexity of war. Worst case scenario, I'm moving a piano up a flight of stairs, beats being shot at. Maybe this is why Gawyn left the joy and fun of guerilla tactics to deal with a camp full of women that sided with his sweet baboo.

48. AndrewB
What I found most amusing about the Cads section -- her thoughts about how different the innkeeper is from the typical innkeeper (e.g. his tendency to keep a spotless common room and not hire help). I do not know why, but it certainly amused me.

BTW, enjoyed the recollections regarding idea espoused by Gawyn.

Thanks for reading my musings,

p.s. as you can tell, I did not have anything substantive to contribute to the comments that have been made so for. I was feeling left out so I decided to post a useless comment about the chapters Leigh re-read.
50. jerec84
Well he's pretty handsome, but not so striking (like Galad) that Egwene's internal warning bells would go off.
Haha, brilliant. That must be it.
51. Hari Coplin
Nynaeve doesn't know what to do!
john mullen
52. johntheirishmongol
Sometimes Gawyn is stupid, sometimes amusing...mostly infuriating. To tell the truth, I didn't think too much of what he thought about Lelaine as being anything other than him being Gawyn. But I do find the discussion very interesting.

As one of those with some experience, I have known a few women in my life, and I have to agree that most use a little flirtation now and then to get what they want. I never thought it was a big deal. I suspect it probably bothers other women more than it does me. However, I found that treating beautiful women as smart and smart women as beautiful (long ago, back in my single days) was a strategy that stood me very well.

As for Rand, he isn't nearly as hard as he think he is. Cadsuane, et al, trying to control him and lead him the right directions were doing it all wrong. He needed someone to take him out(Mat), get him drunk(Mat), bring him home to his gf, get him laid and pass out. After all, it's not like the whole world is depending on him. Oh wait, yeah he is...Anyway, there was no way he was going to let Lan go off and get himself killed no matter how much he tried to make himself think he would.
Jonathan Levy
53. JonathanLevy
You gotta wonder what Egwene sees in this idiot.
Well he's pretty handsome, but not so striking (like Galad) that Egwene's internal warning bells would go off.
That is such a clever line (given the current topic of discussion) that I must take my hat off for you.
craig thrift
54. gagecreedlives
"I bet there’s a conspiracy, yeah! A conspiracy of women, masterfully manipulating their level of prettiness, all just to fuck with your head, Gawyn!"

Not to nit pick Leigh but thats a pretty good description of the Domani culture.



Just realised I had Leane and Lelaine mixed up. But still think my point is cromulent
55. alreadymadwithtaringail
On Taringail's advice:
Err yeah.. It is kinda the pot calling the kettle black. But you have to understand the context of this being that of a man educating his son in the intricacies of Daes Dae'mar. The first lesson being trust no one. The second being trust those with certain advantages(like pretty faces) even less.
56. Faculty Guy
On "looks" and "danger."

Our freshmen are reading Machiavelli and this morning one of our political scientists gave a lecture on "POWER." (He use the opening scene from THE GODFATHER movie as an illustraton.)

He described five classic "forms" in which power is exerted, for example, threatening/using force, offering reward, etc. ONE of the forms has to do with "attractiveness:" Attractive people can exert power (i.e., influence others to do their will) because of their charisma.

Seen this way, a "pretty" woman is "powerful" (and so is a handsome man, e.g., Galad) and there POTENTIALLY dangerous IF she/he decides to use the power in a destructive way.

So in this sense, I think Taringail's warning is sound. One should be wary of any powerful person because that person has the potential to exert great influence.
Alice Arneson
57. Wetlandernw
alreadymad @55 - You reminded me of something I was thinking about earlier - Taringail was Cairhienin, where scheming is a way of life that becomes as natural as breathing. So along with the general commenting here regarding how true to life his advice can be, there's the simple fact that for the formative years of his life, he was taught to assume that everyone is continually maneuvering for personal and/or political gain. Marrying the Andoran Daughter-Heir clearly didn't change his outlook!
Nadine L.
58. travyl
Anthonypero (39.) and J.Dauro (43).
Thank you very much. It is so great to get answers and references.

PS: Reading the comments above, one might conclude, that RJ was right to put "only" gorgeous and pretty women into his books* - there seem to be quite a lot of these around in our world as well, based on all the guy's stories ;)
(* I think this was once a criticism, though I can't reference it, sorry)
59. alreadymadwithcairhienin
Wetlandernw @57
No. It did not change his outlook. If any it reinforced it.
60. Randommer
Totally agree that Nynaeve's reaction to Rand's rather clichéd Evil statement about Lan was off. I mean, eh? He said her husband's death would serve him well, and her reaction is an eye-widening?? I don't buy it.

Quite like that chapter aside from that blip, though. I particularly found what Rand said about Perrin and Mat very sad, and more so because it's kind of true. Mat, especially, hasn't treated Rand as a friend for a long time.
James Hogan
61. Sonofthunder
I'll have to agree with most of you here - when I read the bit with Gawyn musing on the dangers of a pretty women, I understood *exactly* what he meant. I didn't take it at all to mean that she was inherently flawed because she was "pretty", but just the fact that she was dangerous *to* Gawyn. It's possible Sanderson didn't word it as well as he could have, but hey, most of us guys here got what Gawyn was saying! I also recognize the danger to myself when I'm around someone that's not smoking hot say...but just pretty enough.

It's already been said enough in this topic, but hey, us guys don't always have the best of judgement when we're dealing with women, ok? This is true. And I've had experiences where I automatically find myself doing a favor for someone just because...she was pretty and charming and she smiled at me. Sad but true. (Or is it sad?) Anyway, I found Gawyn's thoughts here highly realistic. And this worries me, to find myself so closely aligning with Gawyn. Uh-oh.

In regard to Nynaeve's reaction to Rand's Lan-dooming...let's just say that Rand's pretty scary lately. But I also agree that her reaction was a bit *too* subdued.

(In other news, about finished with my second reread of ToM - just got through the ToG - gosh, I love that book!!)
Jonathan Levy
62. JonathanLevy
I find it quite interesting that so many guys have chipped in saying "Why yes, I too was always wary around very beautiful girls, but sometimes let my guard down around the merely pretty ones", and so few have said "To be honest, I was something of a sucker for pretty girls, and the prettier they were, the more of a sucker I was".

I wonder, if we ask the ladies which of their friends had guys fawning over them, will they tell us that as a general rule, the prettier she was, the more admirers she had? Or will they say that the really beautiful girls had more trouble getting guys to do favors for them than the merely pretty ones?

I remember reading a second-hand quote of Nietzsche to the effect that pride and self-regard have no difficulty in overcoming memory when necessary; so let this be a clarion-call to a bit more honesty during introspection.

I'll go first. As a young bachelor, was I also warier around really beautiful girls than merely pretty ones? Of course I was, just like everyone else. They had to say please and bat their eyelashes before they got what they wanted.
63. canadianrose
Regarding Nynaeve's reaction to Rand's words on Lan: let's not forget we are seeing this from Rand's perspective, not Nynaeve's. Her (potential) fury at his comments probably isn't foremost in his thoughts right now, so although she didn't physically abuse him for his evil-ness, she might have displayed other signs of fury that we aren't privy to from our limited perspective.

Also, Nynaeve as a person has changed; she doesn't go around thumping people (as much) the way she used to as Wisdom, and after all Rand is Scary - a far cry from the woolhead she watched grow up. I'd like to see someone else in her position smack him upside the head when even saying the words "you mustn't"to him is enough to have him screaming at you. I think in this instance her "lack" of response is probably understandable (although if we had been in her head, I'm sure we'd have heard all the things she'd have liked to have done to him at that moment!)
Jonathan Levy
64. JonathanLevy
63. canadianrose
and after all Rand is Scary
I think this is fully half the explanation, but only half. The other part, I would say, is that Nynaeve's anger is subsumed under horror and shock that Rand has reached such a state that he might even consider such a thought, let alone voice it out loud.
Anthony Pero
65. anthonypero
Let's not forget that the actual tactic Rand is imploying really does work. Especially in this world. We see other employ silence and calm and stares instead of arguing and shouting to great effect... without the dark edge.
66. Bmertens
Hey all,

i'm reading the serie for the first time. I'm glad i can re-read some scene everynow and than! And i'm looking forward to reach the end of the story soon! I love the books, the wrinting and the cliffhangers!

I'm looking forward to talk about some scenes and thoughts about the books!

Talk to you soon lads!

Sincere regards
Jonathan Levy
67. JonathanLevy
66. Bmertens

Hi Moghedien, good to see you here!

Now get back to your briefing :)
Alice Arneson
68. Wetlandernw
Jonathan @62 – Well... I’ll give your question a shot in the context of college experience. While I don’t know that the gorgeous girls ever lacked for attention, I did notice that the more savvy guys simply didn’t try to hang around them. Most of the guys that tried hard to be available to the beautiful girls were either drop-dead hunks themselves (and knew it) or were egotistical enough to not realize that they really, really weren’t. The exceptions were usually people who had known each other for a long time and were actual friends. So yeah, the more astute “average” guys would get a bit wary if a really gorgeous girl paid them any attention – partly because if she wasn’t already a friend, she must be seeking you out for some purpose of her own, and it wasn’t terribly likely that she just thought you seemed nice and wanted to get to know you. (Not that such a scenario was impossible, you understand, but it was infrequent enough not to be expected…)

@ several re: Nynaeve’s reactions. Keeping things straight, the time that Rand noticed her actually bite back a (probably acerbic) comment was when he said that everything was his concern, including whether or not she’d heard from Lan. (She’d just told him it was none of his concern.) He sees her open her mouth to say something, falter, and sees apprehension in her face. I would suggest that this is given to us to help us realize just how scary Scary Rand is getting. When Nynaeve, who spanked him as a kid and smacked people around when she thought they were being stupid or arrogant, backs down in apprehension just because he looks at her… I think it's telling us that there’s some serious scary up in here.

FWIW, when he made the comment about “His death could serve me well” he simply ignored Nynaeve’s reaction altogether; however, she was angry enough in spite of the above-mentioned apprehension that she tells him they’ll talk about it again.

More on scary Rand when I get my thoughts together on that chapter; for now, duty calls. Later!
69. yasiru89

I sometimes think Leigh is purely on the prowl for an opportunity to get miffed at something that might even marginally touch on political incorrectness. Lelaine is not dangerous because she's 'MEDIUM PRETTY', but exactly because she's crafty and knows her unintimidating attractiveness something she has in her arsenal of wiles. It's how one uses what one has; there's nothing whatsoever in the text to even remotely suggest that Gawyn is prejudiced about her (rightly, as we know from her character and plans) because she is a certain way.
Neither is the sentiment misogynistic (unless you're clamouring to make it out to be of course), if a stranger you met had a sword, and clearly seeing as your flesh is weak against steel, it makes perfect adaptive sense to be wary of the stranger, because, however the stranger came by the sword, he is able to use it. Similarly, beauty in a woman can be a distracting thing, and so a weakness in some men, making it quite reasonable to advise caution. If Galad was anything other than as he is, it would be taken as a matter of course that women be wary of the charming handsome fellow employing those qualities to snare them in his plots. Why the double standard?

Furthermore, Taringail was Gawyn's father, and regardless whether Gawyn was aware what kind of man he was (he wasn't, and still isn't), the man died when Gawyn was young, compounding an absence, and this fact remains, however dismissive one chooses to be. I should advise that one give up being the eager PC Police Constable desperate for promotion and try and appreciate what's going on in a character's head and why that character might think and act the way they do (without that same prejudice one is wont to condemn a character for!).

Of Nynaeve, she is now unsure of her own safety to be her usual overly-presumptive self with Rand, because getting balefired in the face would help neither Lan nor Rand himself. The latter having become a man willing to push aside everything for a goal he would pay for the achievement of which with his death, pushing him would have served nothing. The course Nynaeve eventually does take, trying earnestly to establish trust (and perhaps out of a ta'veren tongue-slip admitting as much and thus indeed gaining trust and openness) and find out what's wrong and how to fix it, instead of trying to ride over like a steamroller with some half-baked generic answer she is convinced is correct (much as Cadsuane did), is commendable, and a significant point of character growth for her.
70. yasiru89
Trying to explain elementary survival dynamics seems to have made me fail to make one particular note on Cadsuane, so with apologies for the double post, I would say that what makes Cadsuane effective for so long (and indeed allowed her to survive this long, along with her ter'angreal net) is exactly that she's not under very many conceits about herself. She does not confuse her image among the flock as how she truly is and so is not taken by delusions of grandeur. It is because of this that she can admit her failure (if only to herself, Sorilea notwithstanding), and bounce back with a plan so readily (if one bound to be more disastrous, sudden epiphanies atop mountains notwithstanding).
Terry McNamee
71. macster
My thoughts on the chapters: I agree with most of you on Gawyn and his thoughts on women, and also especially yasiru. I think Leigh overreacted, but see my response to Bittersweet Fountain in the next post as to why she did, IMO. All I will say on the subject is that it did indeed strike me he wasn't blanket judging women, or even pretty women, but that he specifically thought he should be wary of them--not because every pretty woman is an evil, manipulative bitch, but because all women who are pretty, due to their prettiness, have the potential to be this way, if they choose to use their looks to get ahead, and if men allow themselves to be fooled/used by them.

He wasn't commenting on how horrible women are and that you should never trust them, he was in fact noting that the very phenomenon of using one's looks to get what you want is wrong. The fact that it happens to be women he's thinking about here isn't really the point; in fact while he never came out and said it, I always got the impression that Gawyn felt just as annoyed and bothered by the fact that Galad could and did use his looks to do the same thing. He may be more blatant about it this time, but the implication is still there. (Isam said it best in his parody: "He's out buying more mirrors. I'll be crying under my bed.")

So in actuality, Gawyn agrees with Leigh and anyone else bothered by this part: he thinks it's wrong for people to use their looks this way, and he avoids them (and distrusts them) because of this judgment call. He distrusts Lelaine not merely because she is a pretty woman who could potentially use her looks to manipulate others, but because he knows people exist who do this, and he judges (rightly) that she is one of them.

It probably doesn't help that Gawyn got this advice from Taringail though; as many have testified to already, Taringail was hardly the poster child for open-mindedness, tolerance, and honest dealings with others. So even taking into account Taringail's Cairhienin background and when/in what circumstances Gawyn received this advice from him, it's easy for people to go "Oh Taringail was a plotter and schemer who tried to have Morgase killed, you can't trust anything he says" and then assume anything Gawyn got from him must be tainted, misogynistic, and wrong.

So even if you do think Gawyn's judgment was sexist, the fact this came from Taringail suggests that Jordan/Sanderson agree with you, and were using Taringail as a big clue-bat that this isn't a right or proper way to think. Or, to go back to my original point, to show that like Gawyn, Taringail was a product of his culture, and the fact culture/society can make a person think such things of women is something we should indeed bemoan. But that isn't something to blame on Gawyn, and certainly not Jordan/Sanderson.

A few other comments:

"Was he the only one who remembered that she’d been an Accepted just months ago?"

Is it just me, or was that Sanderson poking fun at things the fandom has noticed for a long time, such as how swiftly things have happened in WOT, the shortness of the Supergirls' novitiates, the suddenness of Egwene's rise to power and taking center stage in the narrative? It certainly seems like a meta observation about fantasy tropes in general, or specifically the dissonance between how many years we've been reading of these characters and how little time has actually passed for them.

"What did it mean if that was breaking down?"

A question that drives at the heart of the latter half of this book, and one still not completely settled. Even as of ToM, we aren't sure exactly what happened here. Was it using the True Power that did it? Was it Rand becoming dark enough that the Fisher King aspect became only negative? Was it more of Moridin leaking through the link? As of ToM I don't recall how many positive ta'veren effects we hear about around Rand, but we certainly don't hear of nothing but negative, so presumably his epiphany on Dragonmount fixed what was wrong. And we know it couldn't have been something which came from being ta'veren alone (since it didn't happen around Mat and Perrin), nor is it due to just the Dark One's touch or the Pattern unraveling since it only happens around Rand. We know when Rand tried to get Tuon to sign the treaty and she resisted, this was his ta'veren nature, but we still don't know why the dark aura was there or how it relates to the various influences upon him (True Power, ta'veren, Dragon/Fisher King). The answer could be any or all of the possible reasons, and I think it wasn't given to us explicitly so we could reach our own conclusions, much as what happened with the Lews Therin voice. But who knows, it could still be a factor in AMoL.

"Al'Thor hadn't reacted like most peasants suddenly granted power; he hadn't grown selfish or petty. He hadn't hoarded wealth, nor had he struck with childish vengeance against any who had slighted him in his youth. Indeed, there had actually been a wisdom to many of his decisions--the ones that didn't involve gallivanting into danger."

This is a passage I really like, because it not only shows what many of us have thought of Rand all along--that he has good instincts, a good heart, and once he's learned from Elayne, Thom, and Moiraine he can lead very well when he tries--but it also shows what Wet has been saying about Cadsuane all along. She does respect Rand, and she is not trying to dictate to him, control him, or hurt him. In fact there's an interesting parallel here (proving the characters are indeed a sort of past/future mirror) with what Nynaeve thinks about Rand in "Rivers of Shadow", that she "didn't want to tell him what to do; she just wanted him to stop acting like a fool. And, beyond that, she just wanted him to be safe. She'd also like him to be a leader that people respected, not one that people feared."

Granted, Cadsuane likely doesn't want Rand "gallivanting into danger" because of his importance to the Pattern and stopping the Dark One, not necessarily personal concern for his safety. But couple that with her thoughts from before about him being a "stubborn good-hearted boy" and how in this chapter she's trying so hard to save him from himself (even if her methods weren't working, which she finally admitted), and I think it is safe to say Cadsuane does care, if not quite the way Nynaeve does. And that as long as he stays safe, isn't a fool, and remains human (being well-mannered is a subset of this) so that he knows why he is fighting and does it for the right reasons, she doesn't care what he does. And in fact approves of much of it.

"That look in her eyes almost made him frightened of himself."

This bit, plus the fact Rand actually goes cold when Nynaeve reveals Lan is riding to his death, and of course that voice reminding Rand that Lan was his friend and should not be abandoned, does indeed prove Rand isn't as hard as he thinks he is. It also gives us hope that the real Rand, as Nynaeve reflects, is still in there, just bruised and battered and hiding, and so points ahead to his epiphany at the end of this book.

Sorry for the quoting ahead to the next two chapters, but I really feel they and Chapter 31 all go together and speak to the same points and questions so should be considered as one. Much of what Leigh and others have reflected on gets answered, or at least addressed and deepened, in 32 and 33.
Terry McNamee
72. macster
@6 JWezy, @63 canadianrose, @68 Wetlander: Nynaeve actually says as much in the next chapter, "Rivers of Shadow"--she notes that she "had half a mind to stride to his new 'palace' and give him an earful", the way she wrangled Congars and Coplins, then amends this to "but Rand wasn't just a Congar or Coplin. Stubborn folks back in the Two Rivers hadn't had Rand's strangely menacing aura".

She then goes on to think about how he used to be, and comparing him to Lan, then thinks about how he'd seemed ready to kill Cadsuane and become unpredictable. She references his explosion at her about "patronizing" him, then that "he would never threaten or exile her, despite what he had said. He wasn't that hard. Was he?"

So quite clearly, whether or not she is specifically thinking about balefire, his temper, his darkness, the aura, his unpredictability and what might happen to her if she took him to task, this is why she restrains herself and doesn't lash out at him for his comments about Lan.

@11 Caveatar: Very astute point! This is something which makes me think Jordan wrote both those scenes, so as to make the parallel to the Aiel that much more clear and relevant. Of course it could be these things were in his notes and Sanderson just tailored Bryne's thoughts to Aviendha's, but something tells me it was Jordan himself. Either way, the connection stems from Jordan in the end. Also, I just like the idea of Aviendha and Bryne interacting--we've never seen that in the books at all (they were both in Salidar together, briefly, but that was it), and considering Bryne fought in the Aiel War (didn't he?), it would be very interesting indeed to see his reaction to her and the shared perspective.

@13 alreadymad: Middle ground is exactly what I was going for.

@17 Rancho Unicorn: Steel...strong yet tempered so as not to be brittle. Perfect.

@21 RobM: LOL!!!!

@26 Longtimefan, @54 gagecreedlives: I think the point Leigh was trying to make (and in her defense, when the Domani thing first got brought up with Leane using her wiles on Bryne back in Fires of Heaven, she admitted to feeling ambivalent about the whole thing) is not that women (or people) can manipulate and use others based on their looks, but that such a thing was seemingly being used by Gawyn (and Taringail) to blanket generalize about women. So it isn't that a culture exists where women can use their beauty to get ahead (which is after all only admitting the sad truth about what often happens in our own culture--see my thoughts below), it's making a judgment about this.

When Leane pulled her act on Bryne, he didn't fall for it, but he also didn't go "Well now I know Dad was right, you can't trust beautiful women" nor do we ever really see anyone casting aspersion on Domani women. If anything, Bryne and Leane's comments (particularly hers based on what she was taught by her aunt) and other comments re: Domani in the series come off as mere rueful self-recrimination--that if you allow yourself to deal with Domani without being wary of their wiles, you get exactly what you deserve. It isn't treated as something which makes Domani "evil" or duplicitous, but just an aspect of their culture/society which you have to be aware of if you're going to interact with them, and if you let them manipulate you it's your own fault for not being wary--wary of their techniques, rather than of their beauty itself or women in general.

So I think the reason Leigh got upset is it came off as a lot more of a value judgment (and very dissonant from modern sensibilities) than previous depictions of attitudes toward women, even Domani.

@31 Bittersweet Fountain: Well said. I think Cumadrin also said it well: the thing that makes Leigh and others mad (or at least, this should be the source of it) is not that a man can think something so seemingly sexist about women, but that due to the sexist way society has been for so long, people have become conditioned to think this was true: men assume it of women, and women assume they have to use their beauty (and thus perpetuate the stereotype) in order to get anywhere, because that is the one coin the sexist world would let them get away with possessing and using. See Arad Doman again. So rather than being mad at Gawyn for thinking this, we should be mad that the world makes him think it. It shouldn't be the case that women have to use beauty (or men their hunkiness) to get ahead, it shouldn't be that men (or anyone) assume this to be true, but it is, and that is both saddening and something to be upset about.

@36 Alea: You have a point, but I think alreadymad touched on what my response would be. To wit: it is good for Rand to get his act together, he does need to be willing to sacrifice the needs of the few for the needs of the many, and what Lan did was pretty thoughtless and selfish. On the other hand, just because Lan wasn't looking at the big picture and Rand needed to think about the whole world and the Last Battle doesn't mean Rand can simply forget about or dismiss people who matter to him, let alone be so cold and callous about it. He needs to be strong, not hard. So the answer, as always, is moderation: Rand can and must step back, keep things in perspective, balance everything and learn when to fight and when not to, where he can afford to focus and where not. That doesn't mean he has to be a dick about it.

To contrast, in "A Conversation with the Dragon" Rand says he can't suffer and feel guilt for one or he would feel it for all, and it would crush him, so he divorces himself from all emotion; in Towers of Midnight, after he defends Maradon, he tells Min and Bashere that while he can't be everywhere at once, devote himself equally to everyone and sacrifice the greater good for one person, he does have to feel and care--he has to know why he fights, not only so as to keep fighting but because to be any other way is to be like the Dark One.

The Dark One tried to crush Maradon due to the hope of the Light the defenders had. By refusing to lose hope, by still caring and feeling the pain of those he loses, even if he cannot save them all, even if he cannot be there for them all, Rand proves he is not a tyrant, is not selfish like the Shadow. Moderation and a middle ground are possible--to do what needs to be done, but to remain human and emotional even as you do it; to strive your hardest not to fail, even if it means some may die in the process, but still care about the ones you cannot save, the ones who willingly give their lives so you can succeed. The ones who care, like Moiraine and Lan.

@44 forkroot: Apropos, and absolutely brilliant.
Ok...well... my thoughts are jumbled here because I've gone through a couple of comments here and I'm confused about how I should separate them. With that said here we go...

Cadsuane. Well I'm still of the opinion that during this book especially, Cadsuane as far as the Rand thread is concerned is a negative influence. I give her credit to some little degree, because she new she was on his wrong side, but had no resources within her to change how he felt about her presence around him as an advisor. But she throws that credit completely away, in my opinion, when she berates him shortly after the Semirhage/Rand choking Min incident. He is brought low at that point... and the one time where she absolutely needed to have shown her quality, is the one time where she absolutely FAILS. It was shameful really, and she recognizes it, even if only for a small moment in time. And with that said she would have and could have regained some sort redemption had she just followed those thoughts through a little further. But noooooo, she has to allow her pride to dominate her once again and comes up with... the Master Plan. We saw what happened with that didn't we.

Now I do realize that some of us here, within our fine ranks of commentors, believe that Cadsuane's plan had actually worked out, albiet not quite in the fashion Cadsuane thought it should have happened, but some think it worked. I disagree. The only credit I would lend her, and I say LEND her, is if she had not put that plan into motion it probably would have meant Rand going to the dark side. But no, her plan failed as soon as Rand almost killed Tam. That was definately not supposed to have come anywhere near happening. It was all down hill from there, all the way up to the Great Epiphany on the Mountainious Crypt. Remember the Ray of Light.

Nynaeve. Well she has grown the most out of all the characters here in Randland for sure. Her maturity stands well for her in these chapters and well it did, because you know he's got the bald headed man in his pocket, right? Like he really needed it against her. As strong as she is, she's no match for Rand. And yet he does trust her. He doesn't trust Cadsuane, nor Egwene or any of his Aeil brethren... hell, I don't think he trusts Perrin and Mat anymore completely. There is Min though, his heart. But close to the end there, he pulls away from her also when she starts mentioning Cadsuane (stupid, stupid and she new it as soon as the name left her mouth). Then Tam... and so on. But Nynaeve he trusts. He knows that she, more than anyone, has always had his back. From the very beginning even. I actually thought he used kid gloves on her when they argued there.

Rand's comment about Lan was just thinking out loud, albiet very....ummmmm... Ming the Merciless of him. Yeah... a cross between Ming the Merciless and Darth Vader. Ming's words with Vader's voice, yeaaaah! Or maybe simply the Emperor Palpitine.

LB. Well I for one didn't see that rant coming. I knew the Mat rant was coming... but this one just seems a liiiiitle too much on the 70's Womens Lib militia tip. I mean enough here have commented on the subject of Beauty as a Weapon to, in my mind at least, think that she is aware that women do exactly as Gawyn described. Now she might not be aware of (or any woman for that matter) the extent that men read a woman in that way and lump them into a deragatory category, with just a look upon someone. But I know I do it all the time. We all do as people. Its unavoidable. White people see a group of Black guys walking towards them, you can visably see them tense up and start looking around to see where to run or if others are around (safety in crowds). Happens to me all the time. Or the way beautiful people absolutely shit on someone with their eyes when a particulary hefty fellow human being is in their presence. Or the way some act as if the homeless family in the shelter or the father collecting unemployment and food stamps wants to be unemployed and homeless collecting food stamps. It is the genetic flaw of Human character that we do these things ceasely. Just as LB assumes that Gawyn is a masochistic pig for doing what he did without knowing the entirety of his life. As if we know him, a minor character, whose past is barely mentioned at all. Whos present is barely mentioned at all.

I feel that all that judge in this way are just as flawed as those they criticize.... as I do right now; so am I flawed.

Tyler Durden
74. Balance

You make some good points in your argument, re: Gender Relations, beauty. Your comparison on how Bryne handled a similar situation to Gawyn’s makes a valid point about maturity. However, we were not inside his head during that scene. How he behaved and what he was internally monologeing don’t always have to match up. He does think about it later. And to your defense I don’t remember him thinking “Don’t trust the Domani wench”. He reacted with the same caution that you explained was a healthy instinct around Domani. However, I disagree with the statement:

…”if you let them manipulate you it's your own fault for not being wary--wary of their techniques, rather than of their beauty itself or women in general.”

I put forth the notion that their beauty is part of their technique. Leane did spruce herself up a bit before going to work. She made a conscious effort to appear more appealing. Thus it is a part of the technique.

Herein lies a gateway to the cause of the differing opinions on this matter (Gender Relations, beauty and how a species uses it to advantage). I believe a cornerstone of you argument (see below) is where you and our Hostess are disagreeing with myself and some other commenters.
Your statement: “… due to the sexist way society has been for so long, people have become conditioned to think this was true: men assume it of women, and women assume they have to use their beauty (and thus perpetuate the stereotype) in order to get anywhere, because that is the one coin the sexist world would let them get away with possessing and using.” Full stop, disagree.

Let me clarify. I do not disagree with the idea that a male centered, sexist society exists within the framework of our world. (History, Current, Future) Our species has come a long way in improving that situation through laws and cultural conditioning (in some areas of the world better than others), but it is still a factor. I do not disagree with the idea that a species in general can be behaviorally conditioned, through generations, to think and behave in a certain way to specific gender stereotypes.

I put forth the notion that using attractiveness to your advantage has little to do with sexism. I believe it is an inherent trait in humans (and all living beings) to use our innate abilities to our advantage. Tall people will use their height. Quick people will use their speed. Smart people will use their brains, ect. Beauty (or attractiveness) is just one of those innate abilities. (Highly subjective to the sample population you’re working with, but none the less exists.) You could start the entire human race over from scratch, on some other planet, and the attractive members will use this trait to their advantage. As will the tall ones, the smart ones, ect. Recognizing this fact within our own species is not a flaw. It is simply healthy instinct. Now, the historical accuracy of your statement: “…and women assume they have to use their beauty (and thus perpetuate the stereotype) in order to get anywhere, because that is the one coin the sexist world would let them get away with possessing and using”, can cause for some bent wires when Gawyn brings up being wary around pretty girls. But the statement he makes in of itself is not sexist. It’s simply healthy instinct. If he was homosexual he would have made the comment about Galad. In fact, I bet attractiveness is still a factor in asexual species too. Life instinctually goes toward that which we find appealing
So what I think other commenters and myself are trying to say on this subject is relax. It’s ok to be sad about this being prevalent in our society (and Randland too, isn’t that why we are all here), and it’s perfectly fine to bring up historically significant cultural implications of it. Due to the fact that its root cause is not based in sexism, it’s nothing to get too bent out of shape about.
Jonathan Levy
75. JonathanLevy
69. yasiru89

I sometimes think Leigh is purely on the prowl for an opportunity to get miffed at something that might even marginally touch on political incorrectness.
I'm sorry but this makes absolutely no sense to me - I think I must have missed something. Why only sometimes?

76. Confutus
I don't quite see how Gawyn's obvious sexism is so much worse than
its "Men think with the hair on their chest" counterpart we have seen
from some of the womenfolk. (Yes, I'm looking at you, Nynaeve. And you too, Elayne. And several of your sisterhood.) There's roughly about as much truth to it as there is to the reason the Seafolk give for naming their ships after men.
@75. JonathanLevy

Lmao.... Why only sometimes....
*crackle* (rolls of the couch)

78. Shadow_Jak
Forkroot @44
Well Played! Well played indeed...
I never even thought of this obvious (now!) comparison until I read your post.

But, in fact, I'm thinking that this was the way RJ ( or maybe Brandon) meant it to be seen all the time. I can just imagine his chuckling over this and wondering how many would see it.
79. Shadow_Jak
As for the whole beauty, feminism, etc thing. I can only point you to "Undeniable Truth of Life # 24".

I'll be heading for the bunker now.
(from whence I may never emerge)
Anthony Pero
80. anthonypero
@ 69-74:

Holy Battle of the Walls of Text, Batman! Now I've got to READ all dem words?
Valentin M
81. ValMar
Hi All.

Been following the comments with interest. I generally agree with the sentiments re: what Gawyn really meant. Probably what set off Leigh was the the rather crude and non-nuansed way in which he thought about it.
Besides what has been said already vis-a-vis been wary around pretty women, something we menfolk can relate in RL, we should remember that Gawyn's circumstances have been different.
His social cirlce is the high nobility. It may not be as bad as Cairhien or Hollywood but most of his interractions with people are loaded. He has to be wary much of the time and with women there is the added element of beauty/pretty.
The "advice" from his father and his environment probably have made Gawyn a bit more cynical in his attitude towards women (and men too, certainly).

Re: Nyneve's reaction on Rand's comments on Lan. In the past her aggressive interractions with people looked a bit like the actions of a bully. Usually there wasn't any chance of a resistance when she thumped people around in the TR.
Whether due to personal growth or the people she's been around, she has changed as the series had advanced and is more "considered" in her approach in her disputes with others (I think both). I guess Nyneve didn't think it was a good idea to have a go at Rand any more than having a go at Cadsuane or a couple of Windfinders.

PS I wonder how can someone find Nyn's musings on men funny, whilst being angry of men being overprotective, etc. Surely if you don't like the one you shouldn't like the other, or at least not snort out coffee, roll on the floor laughing, giggling...

PS2 Happy Super Bowl Day to those who care! Even I might watch it and root for the Giants. They are GRRM's franchise. Also, I have heard (from Family Guy/30 Rock I think- very reliable!) that Patriots fans are a bunch of louts. At least as far as the docile North American fans can be loutish... Vancouver excluded of course ;)
Anthony Pero
82. anthonypero
Everyone's fans are a bunch of louts. Just ask their rivals.
Tess Laird
83. thewindrose
ValMar- How goes it in your fine city? I read an article about how some renters were getting treated quite unfairly because of the upcoming Olympic Games. Hope all is well with you.

I decided to go back and read the chapters we have this week. Still really can't stand Gawyn, but Bryne has some good lines here:
"Who are you, Gawyn Trakand?" Bryne asked, prodding further. "What are your allegiances, really?"
"You know me better than most, Gareth."
"I know who you are supposed to be," Bryne said. "First Prince of the Sword, trained by Warders but bonded to no woman."
(...)'That skill of yours with the sword is no small gift. Where do you use it?"
"For Elayne," Gawyn said quickly.
"As you do now?" Bryne asked with amusement.
"Well, once I save Egwene."
"And if Egwene won't go?" Bryne asked. "I know that look in your eye, lad. I also know some small bit about Egwene al'Vere. She won't leave this battlefield until a victor has been chosen."
"I'll take her away," Gawyn said. "Back to Andor."
"And will you force her to go?" Bryne asked?
The next chapter really shines a light on Nynaeve's growth. When Rand and her discuss the upcoming Seanchan meeting, she is shown to be one of the only people who can still meet and hold Rand eye:
"You can be sure?"
He met her eyes, and she held them, something few people could seem to manage these days. Finally, he shook his head. "I cannot be sure."
Also Rand reflects on Nynaeve here:
She muttered something else to herself, but he didn't catch it. Nynaeve would never make an ideal Aes Sedai; she was far to free with her emotions, particularly her temper. Rand did not find it a fault; at least he always knew where he stood with Nynaeve. She was terrible at games, and that made her valuable. He trusted her. She was one of the few.
(...)Nynaeve controlled her anger, which impressed Rand.(...The bit about Lan and then this...)He liked to think of Nynaeve as the same belligerent Wisdom who had bullied him back in the Two Rivers. She'd always seemed as if she tried too hard, as if she had worried that others would ignore her title because of her youth. But she had grown a lot since then.
It is interesting to note how Nynaeve is 'holding' her temper, and chosing her battles, while Rand thinks he is so calm and in control, when he isn't, really. We are in his thoughts - and he likes to think he is, however look at the end of this chapter:
The explosion surprised him. He had thought his temper controlled. He forced it down, and had a surprisingly difficult time of it. He turned and stalked from the room, throwing open the door, his Maidens following him. "I will have no more audiences today," he told the attendants who tried to follow him. "Go and do as I have told you! I need the other members of the merchant council. Go!"
I am not saying that Rand is totally out of control, but he isn't that calm cool collected individual he pictures himself to be.

Cumadrin - What did you want to write fake html code about? There was a well known poster a while ago, who used to like to rickroll us - he isn't around much anymore(Rfife - who actually blogs on Tor about WoT events every now and then.) Quite awhile ago, subwoofer started signing off with Woof and we told hime he should trademark it. I decided it was a fun idea, so I decided to follow suit, insectoid and MasterAlThor did as well, and there are some others that use one at times. Will you ever post any of your writings?

The bunker needs to get a good airing out - there are some who have been in it for quite awhile;)

Juan Avila
85. Cumadrin

Oh, it was not my intention to post a link or anything. I just wanted to insert a fake html command tag into my post earlier for comedic effect. ie /sarcasm but with html brackets. Just a technique I picked up for occassional use back in my serious forum using days.

And yeh, I noticed after I made that comment that others were using the trademark symbol. It was just an amusing observation, and you were the closest at the time.

Also, you want to see my writing? I assume you either mean the three chapters of a WoT fan-fic novel I had the audacity to attempt back in tenth grade and mentioned recently, or my current project I hinted at with Sub. Also WoT-related.

*shifty eyes*

I wouldn't mind sharing, if people really want to see. I'd probably publish somewhere else on the web and then link that here on the blog comments, though.

That reminds me, what did you mean by 'bageling,' Sub?
Stuart Hobbs
86. rocketshobbs
While Taringail was telling his sons about the dangers of pretty ladies, Morgase should have been cautioning young Elayne about shy, tall, gentlmen. Maybe she was, it'd explain why she never goes for Mat's smiles!
Rob Munnelly
87. RobMRobM
@81 The view from not so snowy Massachusetts is just the opposite, thank you very much.

The GRRM football essay is wonderful (putting aside his hatred of the Patriots). Look for his Not a Blog just before the first round of the football playoffs. He made all sorts of connections - despite the wrong color, Lannisters rooting for the Lions, Dothraki for the Broncos, Maesters in the Citadel for the Ravens, Wildlings for the Giants, Septons for the Saints, etc. The funniest line came from the comments, which equated the Patriots with the Others. As long they aren't utterly destroyed until some future Super Bowl, I'll take it.

Valentin M
88. ValMar
windrose @ 83

There is heavy snow here, looks like we'll be snowed in tonight. London will be paralized, the airports cancelling flights. And no wonder- there might be as many as two inches of snow!
There isn't a problem with my accommodation, thanks for asking. If anything, I may be trying to cash in. May chuck the old folks out and let a room out ;) But the Olympics will be a pain in the ass for many reasons.

RobM @ 87

I trust I wrote my comment in a way that it was clear that I meant no serious offence. If not, I suggest any compaints be sent to Quahog, Rhode Island or NBC ;)
Enjoy the game, fans!
Rob Munnelly
89. RobMRobM
No problem. As of tomorrow, Pats will have been to Super Bowl 7 times, all in my lifetime. Life is darned good.
90. yasiru89
JonathanLevy @75-

There's always the benefit of the doubt that it's simply an instance of Leigh succumbing to the (no doubt attractive) logical fallacy that is the taking of correlation for causation (or just mistaking which way the causation goes altogether). Which is really what's at play here with the 'pretty people are crafty' theme.
Juan Avila
91. Cumadrin

Yeh... but after tomorrow, they'll have a losing record in the Super Bowl. All in your lifetime.

Sorry, couldn't resist.

I hear there's a bunker or something around here...?

*runs away snickering*
Rob Munnelly
92. RobMRobM
I'm confident Pats will do just fine tomorrow. Good luck to the Giants - I suspect they'll need it. R
John Massey
93. subwoofer
@Cuma- bageled or baffled, end result, I'm still confused:) Post your stuff on the forum side, create your own thread then link it.

Steering clear of the football comments, unless we are commenting on the pro-bowl cheer leaders... I kid, I kid;) Just thought it was fitting seeing as the initial part of this thread was about beautiful women using their feminine wiles on us biddable louts. Meh. Seeing as most guys have lived to tell the tale about it, nobody's the worse for wear. Beats being left for dead at the side of the road. And it's not like most of us were unaware of what was going on, so there is no point in playing "the blame game". Seems to me their are a fair number of songs on the subject too, heck even Subway has a commerical about it, so nothing unique there. I'd say at least half of us could show up to the next 'Con with a tee saying "been there, wanted to do that..."

@Valmar- 2 inches is heavy snow? no comment.

@folks in general. Now I know some are still burned by ol' Cadsuane, but at the end of the day I think she means well. It is just hard to relate to her because she is from another era.... like when dinosaurs roamed the earth the Age of Somethingortheother, where nothing really great happened, it was just a long time ago. I dunno, in a few ways Cadsuane reminds me of Granny Weatherwax, except she can read. Both seem fairly good at headology tho'. Rand seems to have mastered the staring bit, somebody may want to inform him this is not his role in these books. Incidentally, Rand is not "calm and cool" I think these are the peices left of him after a psychotic break. He was just made to kill his wife. Something tells me he is not processing things in a normal fashion afterwards; Rand is going through the motions, but he is more or less on autopilot here folks.

I wish people would stop saying that Rand killed Min, especially considering she was clearly alive after the incident.

I'm reading TSR and i came across this bit concerning Gawyn and who's better tiff..
The grizzled man shifted uneasily, and one of the others muttered, “He’s the one they say killed Hammar and Coulin.” Jordan, Robert (2010-01-13). The Shadow Rising: Book Four of 'The Wheel of Time' (p. 783). Macmillan. Kindle Edition.
“You killed Coulin?” Siuan said in a cold tone fitting her former office. “And Hammar?” Jordan, Robert (2010-01-13). The Shadow Rising: Book Four of 'The Wheel of Time' (p. 783). Macmillan. Kindle Edition.
“I always thought Galad was the more dangerous of those two, but I am no longer sure. Hammar, and Coulin. . . .” She shivered. Jordan, Robert (2010-01-13). The Shadow Rising: Book Four of 'The Wheel of Time' (p. 784). Macmillan. Kindle Edition.
Siune was clearly stunned and Leane was almost dumfounded that he killed the Towers Blademaster trainer and the Master of Arms both.

I know its an old argument but what I can't remember is whether Coulin was mentioned as one of his blademaster kills. That makes two right? And lets face it, if that sparring match with Sleete was any indication, if that was for real he'd have three blademaster kills.
Terry McNamee
95. macster
@74 Balance: Perhaps you are misunderstanding me. First, I did not mean to imply that women using their beauty to get ahead, and men judging them for this, is sexist. What I was saying was the same thing you are: that believing women doing this is a bad thing is a sexist belief to have, when it is merely one way among many of taking advantage of your assets and getting ahead. (And Leigh acknowledged this herself when speaking of Leane, Bryne, and the Domani.) Also, I did not limit myself only to women: as you noted with how Gawyn would feel about Galad if he were gay (and as I said myself I think Gawyn feels about his brother anyway), ill-judging men for using their good looks to get ahead is also sexist.

Secondly, you seem to be thinking that I am bent out of shape and deeply upset by Gawyn and his seeming misogyny, and that I needed to relax. But I am not upset, in fact I stated right from the start that I thought Leigh was overreacting. What I was doing when dissecting the nature of beauty in gender equality and how it applied to Gawyn was trying to explain, IMO, why I think Leigh (and others) might be upset and bent out of shape, then address what truly lay behind the upset and parse out how it has less to due with sexism and gender relations and more to do with distress over the nature of culture and society, whether ours or Randland's and how it causes people to manipulate and use and misjudge each other. In other words, I agree with you about the others needing to calm down--the worst I said was that these sorts of beliefs are saddening and it should bother us they exist, but that is hardly a rant on the caliber of Leigh's. So, no need to worry about me. :)

@76 Confutus: Well said. The fact there was a big debate in the comments back when Sea Folk ship-naming conventions came up (because Leigh tried to do research into why ships were always female in our world and only came up with crude, misogynistic explanations) only underscores your point. Was that reference of yours deliberate?

@84 thewindrose: I love those musings of Rand's about Nynaeve. What is even more neat is that he makes comparative statements to Nynaeve in ToM, just before she goes back to the Tower for her Aes Sedai test, complimenting her on not being like the other Aes Sedai, that he doesn't want them to change her, and that being Aes Sedai is "what she decides it is". In other words, he feels the same way about her after the epiphany as before, which shows these are his real feelings. I also liked where he was thinking about her wearing the Domani dress, something she never would have done in the Two Rivers, and then thinks to himself "She has a right to change...What is a loosening of dress compared to the fact that I have ordered exiles and executions?" Sad, but true and in-character.

@94 ZEXXES: I'm not sure but I don't think Sub is one of those who actually thought Rand killed her; he was exaggerating for effect/simplifying from "almost killed/felt like he killed/emotionally killed her".
John Massey
96. subwoofer
@Z- ahem,
"those beautiful dark eyes of hers watched him, loving him even as he killed her."
Now I'm not saying Rand was successful, but I fully believe that was the intent here, a dead Min. Thanks for the support Macster:) I dunno, IMHO the torture aspect is what Semi was after here. In combat it is really difficult to strangle the life out of somebody with your bare hands; you really have to overpower them, and even then it takes a while. It is much easier to just crush their windpipe and be done with it. It is also a very eerie feeling.

@Z- you burning a candle for Min perhaps? I find it interesting that there are folks that like her and yet nobody goes to a Con dressed as her (from what I have seen anyways). I was attempting to correct this, but somehow I cannot pull off ringlets;)

Also, personally, I could give two figs about how pretty Gawyn is with a sword, it does not make up for his rampant boobishness over the last however many books. All I see whenever I read the name Gawyn is a giant nipple. I was going to start calling him nipple-head but I already gave that name to this person I know... maybe nipple-head the second, he is a prince after all, it is just long to say...

John Massey
97. subwoofer
Y'know, I musta tuned Leigh out when she went on a rant about female ships and such, at some point it all starts to sound like one of the adults in a "Charlie Brown" cartoon.

Interesting thought there, I have always assumed it was because of how ships translate from any other language into English. What I mean by that is that in other languages ( this is what I distilled vaguely from 10+ years of French in school, and keep in mind I still can't remember what I had for breakfast so this could be all wrong) for whatever random reason objects are assigned a gender. In countless tests this has been a fill in the blank question which I have gotten wrong ___ chaise. The word is "une" as opposed to "un" because somehow the gender of a chair is feminine. I went on a fact finding mission to find a chair with junk hanging down and came up unsuccessful so apparently the French were right. How we assign random objects a gender is a mystery to me but apparently the default is female as masculine totally changes the meaning of the word... like if you want to distinguish between "weed" and "husband". Gah... I'm rambling here... must be flash backs of high school French, which I tried to repress.

Heh, I tried to google the reasons and some guy (claims he's a captain) talked about a Prince Henry the Navigator that finaced many expiditions for his country discovering the new world. Named most of his ships "she" because " like a women, they take much powder and paint to keep looking good". I do not put much stock into this explination, but there does seem to be a common theme here... and not that men back in the day were all goons...

@96. subwoofer

No candles for me man... Gets me allergies going. My opinion, as far as I'm concerned, Min is his woman, his squeeze and the others are just.... Well I won't go there.

@95. Macster

He isn't the first to state it in that way. It lends itself to certain theories that clearly are simple fabrications of the mind.
John Massey
99. subwoofer
@Z- Go there, go there... we want to know your thoughts on Rand's harem.

And I did say " he was made to kill his wife", no success there, just the intent was very clear.

John Massey
100. subwoofer
What's this?

sniff, sniff

The hunny?!!!

Whoot! Whoot!

I'd like to thank my daughter, who kept me up half the night with sniffles from her cold.

I'd also like to thank my wife-the professional sleeper- who programmed the thermostat to "fry husband's head" at 06:00 in the morning, thus replacing any thought of sleeping in with the survival instinct of burying my head in a snow bank to keep it from melting.

'Tis a glorious day after all:D

The sun will come up eventually... in six weeks or so, birds, leaves, flowers... ahhhh the Blight in the spring, going to take my family to skip through the tundra... Tra la la la:)

Edit- amended link for a clip without a fandub.

Edit edit- found much better clip after a talent search...

The Naming of Vehicles.

Planes, I believe are named after girlfriends.

Ships were named by the builder. At times the owner would have the honor of naming given to them. At some point the latter became the tradition. Ships usually weren't named after women. Boats were, but not ships because most ships belonged to a national navy. They named ships many things but they were rarely named for a woman.

The sea was often referred to as a woman. Usually a particularly fickle one. But almost always the sea has been a she and was and still is referred to as the Mother or the Cradle. Boats names were so named for women as a way of the wishing to get back home. The life on the sea was a dangerous one and it always seemed the larger the boat the greater the danger. I think for me I refered to my boat as a woman because of the way you treat them; coaxing mumbling sweet nothings in her ear (especially when things aren't going right). You can imagine the scenario..." come on baby I'll scrape your toes and sand your arse if you just keep me sail above the line....come on baby I'll even buy you da' blue dress ya like!" Referring of course to scraping the hull, sanding it down and painting it anew. It is simply the tribute to the love of our lady on shore that we are thinking of.

Just get me home to her one more time. Just get me home.

Why any woman would take offense to that I don't know. But like I said before...70's Womens Lib militia.

Anthony Pero
102. anthonypero
@Sub: Double posting to the hunny diminishes the honor. You, sir, are no Tai'shar um... Whereveryouarefrom :)
Jay Dauro
103. J.Dauro
“That might be a good idea,” Leane said. “I always thought Galad was the more dangerous of those two, but I am no longer sure. Hammar, and Coulin. . . ”
The Shadow Rising (p. 784). Tor Books. Kindle Edition.

Yes, Gawyn killed Coulin and Hammar. Does that make him a better swordsman than Galad? When they fought in the Tower, Galad always bested Gawyn. Galad has defeated his Blademaster in Valda. But I would suspect Valda could have been trying a bit harder to win than Hammar and Coulin, after all, Gawyn was their pupil. Interesting to think about.

For all of you who think that one of the three is to be Rand's primary squeeze, and the other two are just " ... Well I won't go there."

I think Rand has already settled that argument.
“I love you, Elayne.” Without a pause, he went on, words rushing out of him, water from a burst dam. And his face a stone wall. “I love you, Aviendha. I love you, Min. And not one a whisker more or less than the other two. I don’t just want one of you, I want all three."
(emphasis mine)
Winter's Heart (p. 321). Tor Books. Kindle Edition.

I have to think that Rand does and will love all three equally.We have beem prepared for this with the Aiel custom of having muliple wives.
Now, we may see one or more of the girls die in the last battle and leave him with less than 3, but I do not think it will be his choice.

And Sub, how do you say "frozen wasteland" in the Old Tongue?
Valentin M
104. ValMar
sub @ 93

re: the snow- yeah it's really pathetic in the UK- people flying here in the winter should check the weather to make sure there aren't any complications.
In Bulgaria we are having 2 meters or more in some areas and things are running normally. Well, almost. Today Hillary Clinton got stuck there for longer than planned. Ah, like the good old days when it was easy to enter Bulgaria, but to exit...

Re: ship names. Don't know if it's gender thing. But in Bulgarian "ship" is masculine and the names I can think of are all male (all navy). One Austrian river ship in 19th century had also a male name. It doesn't explain the Anglo-Saxons, though.
Gender is a pain in the ass when learning foreign languages- even if your own has it too. At least Bulgarian is easy- words finishing with a/ya are feminine, e/o are neutral, the rest are masculine.

Zexxes and Min, sitting on a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G
Just stay clear of Moiraine...

anthonypero @ 102
Double posting to get a 100 is tolerated, if rather cheeky. Though it's far more satisfying to get it with one post, for me at least.
John Massey
105. subwoofer
@AP- clearly you do not know me at all. Heck, I've run the table from 15 or so posts in. A mere double post is minor;)

Why, I've held entire conversations by myself on several threads, even in the "virtual room" that is the internet. Where there is a will there is a way, and I've got the will.

And I hate to toot my own horn, but I am the dogfather of the hunny- the hunnyfather you could say;) Something about it, like the big "00" double-aught buck- it calls my name. Lo, I hear it now, "Sub, I'm here waiting, come get me"... maybe it's my imagination...

Tess Laird
106. thewindrose
J.Dauro at 103:
And Sub, how do you say "frozen wasteland" in the Old Tongue?
C-A-N-A-D-A ;)

Anthony Pero
107. anthonypero
Just to be clear, my post at 102 was meant to be tounge in cheek. I've posted 6 in a row once to bet the hunny.
Min reminds me of a Goth chick for some reason. I like Goth Chicks. As long as she's hot I don't discriminate. So if you see Min and me sitting in a tree K-i-s-s-i-n-g, well.... Don't tell Rand.

Don't relish being balefired.
Joseph Irwin
109. IncongruousAmoeba
1. Gawyn says something approaching levels of "women are emotional ninjas" (link: http://www.impawards.com/tv/whitney_ver3.html )
2. Leigh: "Ya know, it's kinda sexist to judge women by their attractiveness only, ASSHOLE!" (something musta hit a nerve?)
3. Thread: "Well, when Gawyn says 'bitches ain't shit' he doesn't mean it literally, and besides he kinda has a point if you look at it from just the right angle..."
4. Me: "WTF??" *facepalm* smh
Alice Arneson
110. Wetlandernw
@109 - Say what?
Juan Avila
111. Cumadrin

You signed up with that name just to comment here, didn't you? I like it.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed by IncongruousAmoeba in no way reflect the views of Cumadrin or his sponsors.
Jonathan Levy
112. JonathanLevy
43.J.DauroRe: Thom's complicity in Taringail's death.
Taringail had been a cold, distant man, and there was never love, despite two wonderful children; it had been almost a relief when he died in a hunting accident.
TFOH Chapter 19.

I think you should have also quoted this line from TSR:17
“An interesting day, yesterday,” she said as he sat down.
“I’d not call Trollocs and Halfmen interesting,” he said dryly.
“I did not mean them. Earlier. The High Lord Carleon dead in a hunting accident. His good friend Tedosian apparently mistook him for a boar. Or perhaps a deer.”
Another hunting accident? Is this Thom's modus operandi?

I think the expression you were looking for is: Tai'shar Canederan!
Jeff Weston
113. JWezy
J.Dauro@43: I think that the two characters mentioned were the husband and lover Thom was forging letters about earlier in the chapter. I thought the "accident" was the husband getting his revenge on the lover (which then results in the husband being "treated" by the wife, who clearly demonstrates where her loyalties were).

So in this case, it was manipulation rather than Thom actually stabbing anyone.
Anthony Pero
114. anthonypero
Sub is from Canada?!?! Gosh, that explains so much! (Where's that bunker again? **dives**)
Anthony Pero
115. anthonypero

I'm a bit lost on what you are saying... that Thom didn't directly (physically) kill Taringail, or that he didn't directly (physically) kill
Juan Avila
116. Cumadrin

He didn't directly (physically) kill High Lord Carleon.
Kimani Rogers
117. KiManiak
Once again, thanks to Leigh for the recap.

Sigh. Late again in my comments to the recap, unfortunately. Oh well, I’ll just respond to Leigh’s post now and then review the comments and see if its worthwhile for me to add/respond to any of those later.

Well, since Gawyn was the focus for one chapter and Cads for part of another, I’m not feeling too bad.

I’m not even gonna touch Gawyn’s perception of Lelaine and Leigh’s response to that. Except to say she (Leigh) had me cracking up with her comments. It’s a Gawyn chapter; there’s rarely anything of substance involved. End result, he learns he has to pick a side… which is what most of the other main and secondary characters were doing several books ago. All you can do is shake your head at the character…

Hmm. The pairing of a Gawyn chapter with a (pseudo-) Cadsuane chapter. I’m sure some of my fellow commenters may have already made note of our ill fortune in having to endure the two of them for this reread post, so I won’t add to that. I do respect that Cadsuane does actually admit that she bungled the handling of Rand and asks for help. Unfortunately, we all know how that turns out…

I’ll say it again; it is painful to read about Rand in this state. He’s questioning Nynaeve and threatening her; he expresses little concern for Mat and Perrin or his “little village;” he’s thinking about how Lan’s death will serve him… This part just hurts. And yet, Rand still is aware of that little voice inside, the voice of reason. Part of him wishes to ignore it, but he can still hear it; he hasn’t completely lost himself. Once again, kudos to RJ/BWS/Team Jordan for the excellent writing.

Fortunately, we know that Rand gets better, but not before more bad things happen...
Anthony Pero
118. anthonypero
So, on a complete tangental note:

Damon Lindelof was tweeting from the Superbowl during halftime (while he was at the concession stand) rubbing in his presence at my dream ticket event... and I couldn't help tweeking him a little bit, lol (not that he read it, I'm sure). I tweeted: "Try not to get lost on the way back to your seat, avoid walking sideways if you can."

So, how is this even tangental, you ask? Well, Rand is LOST in this scene. Almost as LOST as the writers of LOST were trying to wrap up the show.

Ok, I know it was lame. **ducks**
The last two seasons of Lost did suck pretty bad
John Massey
120. subwoofer
No offense taken AP, hence the "winky face". Dang tootin' I'm Canadian! Hence the icon. Y'know what they say, don't mess with us canucks. Two words- Vimy Ridge. Canada took it battling uphill against well fortified and dug in German troops... we heard there was a brewery on the other side;)

Never really got into "Lost". Always thought it was a modern day spin on Gilligan's Island.

Oh yeah, if any TOR Moderators are paying attention, there seems to be random companies logging on and posting admail on our comment boxes on our profiles. While this is not the end of the world, it would be nice if we could either flag or delete said comments. Lemme know what TPTB say is possible. Edit- I figured out how to delete the comments. See?! Equipment is not smarter than User:)

Oh yeah. GIANTS FTW!!! How about them Cowboys:P

Jane Smyth
121. Kaboom
On the 2 latest topics of conversation.
The french word for "ship" (bateau) like the bulgarian is masculin, so again no link there for the ships being refered to as "she" .

I also am always surprised at the confusion 2 inches of snow have in many places, having been through several "real" snowstorm, with one resulting in 2 meters of snow (1991, east coast Canada). I certainly try very hard to avoid traveling to London in winter if at all possible. It is already tedious enough in summer with the fog! :)
John Massey
122. subwoofer
@Kaboom- yes, but can't you see the propellers and rudder obviously compose the er... junk of the ship, hanging down there. Masculine it is, en Francais, svp;)

Well now theryah go... I like that info alot. Explains alot too.
Anthony Pero
125. anthonypero
You can delete the comments... I've been doing it for a month. Under the Shoutbox is a "Show All" and "Edit" link. Click either one. Under the offending post, click "Remove Post" I did that to all your posts montsh ago ;) j/k
Anthony Pero
126. anthonypero
In some places, like places with mountains, or without snow removal equipment, two inches of snow will effectively shut down all forms of travel that don't involve walking.

I'm from Wisconsin, and I'm used to driving in all kinds of horrible weather. But I lived in Johnson City, TN one winter, and an inch of snow made it impossible to leave my apartment, because I couldn't get up the hill to get to the street.
Alice Arneson
127. Wetlandernw
Out here, we get what they call "Seattle cement" - wet snow at just below freezing, which packs down into the slickest stuff you've ever seen. Next day, it warms just enough to melt the top millimeter, and then freezes again. And maybe snows on top of that. And we have hills (15% is not terribly uncommon), with roads that go straight up and down them. I personally can't leave home without going up to the street, up a short hill, and down a long one to get anywhere. Two inches can shut us down, for very good reason - four-wheel-drive is fine for driving, not so much for braking. Sliding down a steep quarter-mile of that Seattle cement... not much fun, no matter what you're in. Worse, if you almost made it up and then slide sideways all the way back down... usually into someone else who didn't make it either.

Yeah, where I grew up in Montana (in the mountains), it's much easier to drive in the snow than it is out here. Back there, you usually just shrug and go on with life unless you get more than 2 feet in one day. Here, not so much. It starts snowing, you get home and stay there.
Alice Arneson
128. Wetlandernw
By the way, has anyone else been having trouble accessing encyclopaedia-wot.org lately? I get nothing - for a couple of days now. Serious bummer!
Cameron Tucker
129. Loialson
@Wet 128
I just got on encyclopedia-wot.org to check your question, and browsed around the site no problem. Have you tried a different web browser?

I'm using IE 9 32bit, works like a charm.
I had trouble getting on there just yesterday. Went to the sister site instead.

In Maryland you never know what you're going to get. You could be calling for a foot of snow and get snow, sleet and freezing rain. Living in an area that is 50% recovered swampland can give you some weird weather. It's the reason for Marylands legendary humidity. Between the swampland, the rivers and the Chesapeake Bay, you can go from two inches of rain to three feet of snow, depending on what the front does.

But clearly the worst for us are the ice storms. The DC-Baltimore metro area is not flat. There are valleys, gullies, foothills, watertable swamp marshes and old river beds all filled to recover as much as this densely populated area can hold. But despite all of that, we have thousands of small forests and groves usually surrounding natural and man-made lakes or bordering the various remaining farms. That holds a lot of humidity and if a cold front weakens enough we get downpours of ice. And lemme tell you, the seat of power of our country comes to a standstill during ice storms. Nobody is on the road. Nobody is going to work and you can find plenty of emergency road vehicles parked at 7-11's and cops at Dunkin Donuts because they don't want to find themselves stuck in a ditch or in the hospital. If your dumb ass goes out there and you get stuck or wreck and you're OK, well you're on your own.

Rooves caving in, cables down every where, trees mummified in ice and cracked in half from the weight of the ice everywhere, roads with two or three inches of ice, ancient pipes bursting; we had a river going down a road when a hammer bubble burst a 66 inch main because another smaller pipe burst up the road. I think they said 150,000 cubic ft. per minute was pumping out of that sucker. Later that break flooded way down stream and was a sheet of ice 2ft thick in places covering the entire GW area of DC..... For a week. All because of an ice storm.

I remember sitting there watching the rushing water on the news on a customers T.V. Watching a River flowing down River Road. LOL!!! Having driven right past River Road and having seen the water just coming down the road and saying "something must of burst up there", but not paying it any mind. There wasn't much water coming down at that point.... it had burst seconds earlier. Later it was said to have blown like a bomb leaving a 30 ft crater and blowing out windows 2 blocks away.

A couple of weeks later we had another one.

Hope we don't get any ice storms this year.

Jane Smyth
131. Kaboom
That's the first time I hear the term "Seattle cement", but the description matches pretty well with what we have been having this year in Montreal. This winter has so far been pretty mild with the weather continously going from below to above freezing and back. The result is a almost continous wet ice, very slippery. Just last week we had a snow storm followed by about 1 cm (almost half an inch) of freezing rain. Although the streets are amaizingly well maintained at all times (and winter tires are mandatory by law), it is not such the case with the sidewalks. Some days, the only way to get to work (up a steep hill at the base of our "mountain") is to wear a pair of crampons over the winter boots. They have been very usefull this year.
Valentin M
132. ValMar
anthonypero @ 126 and others
It is true that we shouldn't be too critical of some places not being able to cope with snowfall- a case of infrastructure and individual habits and abilities of people to cope.
But what happens in the UK with moderate snowfalls recently has been numerous school closures, sports fixtures postponed, public transport stopped, flight cancelations etc.
Apparently in the past such overreaction to this weather didn't happen. Health and safety has been accused, though I suspect to partly cover failures and a lack of taking responsibility at local and regional levels.

I imagine the US is better in this respect since even where snow is rare you get other extreme weather and therefore are better prepared overall.

Anyway, ranting about the weather, it must be Tuesday afternoon :)
Heidi Byrd
133. sweetlilflower
The city of Atlanta doesn't own snow plows or ice trucks. Anytime we get any ice or snow, the whole place shuts down until they can bring some trucks down from Tennesee. It is pretty funny, but we hardly ever get anything and it doesn't make sense for the state to own winter weather trucks b/c we hardly ever get anything. It has been pretty warm here for the last month or so. I've only had to wear my winter coat three times. I am kind of worried about the lack of snow. My sister lives in northern NY and she says they have only gotten about 4 inches of snow when they should have had about 5 feet by now. If there is no snow, then when spring comes, there will be no melting. Without all of that water, we will be in for some serious drought conditions down here in the South.
I am re-reading the whole series to prepare for Jordan*Con, and perhaps the drought conditions of RandLand got me thinking....

On a side note, while reading the books, I noticed that in the openign prophesis, it mentions Rand bringing the sword of justice to the world. The word justice was not capitalized...but it got me thinking....
Anthony Pero
134. anthonypero
Actually, ValMar, in this exceptionally MILD winter in the heart of Ohio (which is the Midwest, snow country), my daughter has already had school delayed or cancelled 7 times! At the risk of sound like I have OLD MAN syndrome, in MY day (1985-1997), in Wisconsin, my school district cancelled school ONCE, the entire time I was in the school district. It was -40 F, with a wind chill of -90 F. So, yeah, they cancelled school that week.
Anthony Pero
135. anthonypero
I suppose this conversation can't be labeled as OFF TOPIC, since the title of the book in discussion is The Gathering Storm, huh?
Nadine L.
136. travyl
- Aren't you all annoyed with these non-SI Units?
inch - feet - fahrenheit?
Anyway: right now we don't have so much trouble with snow, but (some minor) with the temperature: -30 to maximum -10°C for more than a week caused some water-pipes to burst in the country!

AP: thanks for the hint about deleting commts, I finally got rid of this stupid advertisment.
Anthony Pero
137. anthonypero
NO, no I'm not annoyed at all by using the same system of measurement I've used all my life (GET OFF MY LAWN!!), lol, but for those from across the pond:

-40 F = -40 C (Color me surprised)
-90 F = -67.8 C
Valentin M
138. ValMar
travyl, I am. But I assume most people here are primary into Imperial, not Metric units so that's what I use. Unless it's temperature, I don't get Fahrenheit...
Anthony Pero
139. anthonypero
Oh, by the way, here in the States, the Virginia Senate passed the 'Amazon' tax act today. Unanimously. The House is expected to pass it as well. This act is supposed to be in defense of 'brick and mortar' stores, but Amazon stopped fighting it months ago, and decided they didn't care. This act passing will not help the B&Ms, not for bookstores, and it will in fact, make it worse for other kinds of stores.

Amazon currently has 9 regional distribution centers, located in states that do not have a state sales tax or have otherwise granted Amazon a waiver. 9. Why only 9? To avoid the sales taxes. What do you think is going to happen if Amazon is forced to collect sales tax? They are going to build more distribution centers... lots more. In every metro area.

In a few years, Amazon will have regional distribution centers within 3 hours of nearly everyone in the US. And with 60 minutes of the vast majority of the population. They will be able to offer free same day shipping to most customers, and probably even have pickups available for most customers who don't want to wait that long. All at prices no one but Wal-Mart can match. The only thing that has prevented Amazon from doing this already is sales tax. In my mind, today officially marks the begining of the end for big box electronics stores and bookstores. If they can get the Seattle grocery thing going everywhere else with more distribution centers... imagine no longer having to go grocery shopping?

AMENDMENT: I said US Senate, and it was the Virginia State Senate. State Sales Tax is obviously a state governmental matter. That makes 5 states that have passed this law. There is a big push for all states to do so.
John Massey
140. subwoofer
@AP Yeah, -40 in any system of measurement is really, really cold.

Incidentally, interesting news about that tax, I wonder if it affects stuff downloaded or stuff delivered to the door?

@Leigh- seeing as Gawyn's random comments about pretty girls sent your knickers up in flames, I'll stoke the fire a little more;)
Joline lead the pack. Once, Mat might have described her as a pretty girl, with her slender figure and large, inviting brown eyes. But that ageless Aes Sedai face was an instant warning for him now. No, he wouldn't dare think of the Green as pretty now. Begin letting yourself think of Aes Sedai as pretty, and in two clicks of the tongue you'd find yourself wrapped around her finger and hopping at her command.
Just so its a level playing field, Mat made this comment chapters before Gawyn started to comment on the same, IMHO. Mind you I do recall that you thought Mat was off base with his initial "Woman are like mules" monologue, I do not know if you incorporated this little gem in with the same sentiment you shared for the other part of the Mat and Talmanes conversation.

Alice Arneson
141. Wetlandernw
subwoofer - Yeah, I always figured you for a bit of a pyromaniac. ;)
Nadine L.
142. travyl
Excellent remark, subwoofer. Leigh's ire might have been sparked because it was Gawyn, and from experience "we" don't have the highest opinion of his reasoning skills.
At least *I* think Mat did well with that statement and it supports the arguments to defend Gawyn. - Thanks for sharing.
Tess Laird
143. thewindrose
**Looks at comment 142** Just great subwoofer! Now you are defending Gawyn - and I thought we were on the same team;)

John Massey
144. subwoofer
Whoa! Whoa! When I say whoa, I mean whoa!!!!

Let's not get carried away here... this is a clear cut case where two wrongs do not make a right. Just because Mat has the same ideas in regards to pretty women, that does not make Gawyn Stephen Hawking.

Now, IMHO getting involved with beautiful women leads to disaster ( I married one, my life has kinda gone sideways as a result) but we cannot attribute Gawyn to this stroke of genius. Hey, use a tool often enough, its bound to work at least some of the time, and Gawyn is a really big tool;)

Terry McNamee
145. macster
@109 While I cannot agree with you, since I am one of those who doesn't see Gawyn's statements as wrong or meaning what they seem to mean, I do have to laugh and be grateful for one thing: "women are emotional ninjas". :D

@112 JonathanLevy re: Thom's MO: Somehow I doubt it, since it seems unlikely Galldrian died in a hunting accident. ;)

@sub: Oh my yes did Leigh rant about female ships. It was...interesting. And funny. It was Part 6 of The Shadow Rising, if you care to take a look. :P
146. Stubob
I honestly didn't hate the Semi-Evil Rand all that much. In fact this re-read reminds me that I now associate him with Shane on The Walking Dead. They may do questionable if not outright horrid things but they do it because there is little to no other choice.

And in both people (enemies & allies) keep interfering, questioning, provoking, etc). It would make me crazier too.
Thomas Keith
147. insectoid
Playing catch-up.

Gawyn: Is pictured in the dictionary next to the definition for "FREAKING MORON". Sheesh. ::hands Leigh some aspirin::

Rand: Is pictured in the diction... okay, well, he's a big jerk. For saying that Lan's death would be a "service", if nothing else.

Sub @100: LOL!

148. Patty Bennett
I've been catching up on the reread for months. So grateful as I don't have time to read the series again. Just got home from buying TOM. Can't wait! I'm 61 years young & maybe a little out of the normal age for this sort of thing but I have loved nearly every minute of it & am especially grateful to you, Leigh, for being so faithful to the cause.
Anthony Pero
149. anthonypero
We have plenty of people your age and older on the re-read, Patty, welcome!
Alice Arneson
150. Wetlandernw
Patty, I second the welcome! It's good for the young 'uns to have some of us 'wise ones' around, you know. ;)
152. Javon
It's nice to have someone to reread the story that I can connect all of the dots for the final book, the comments have been a fountain of youth for this sort of thing!
153. Mit
What I can't understand is why non of the characters know any karate. I mean Rand is so awesome, but he'd be even more awesome if he did some martial arts!
Anthony Pero
154. anthonypero
Rand has studied some of the Aiel way of "fighting with hands and feet." Sounds like Martial Arts to me. It's just not very useful when you can fry someone with the One Power.
155. pcslaurifer
So I should probably read this before I make this point as some or many may already have made it, but frankly since I am coming to this whole reread thing late I just don't have the time to review everything before commenting so here goes. .............

You're awesome Leigh buuuuuutttt....... It is either ridiculous, stunningly naive or both to say that a woman's looks has nothing to do with her character. Are her looks not a part of her being? Are you suggesting her perception of herself is not at all influenced by the way she looks? Or that her perception of herself does not at all figure into her character? Both seem glaringly untrue. Everyone's looks figure into their characters because their looks are an integral part of who they are and thus inextricably linked with their character.

This isn't to say Gawyn isn't an idiot or that he is right about dangerous pretty women, which to me seems a bit silly. Beautiful women may at times expect to be treated better than just about anyone else on the planet but that doesn't coincide with any sort of danger. And if they can use their looks to get ahead or get what they want I for one say, 'more power to them'. Use what you got to succeed in life.

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