Feb 7 2012 2:00pm

The Wheel of Time Re-read: The Gathering Storm, Part 18

The Wheel of Time reread on Tor.comHi, WOTers! Welcome back to the Wheel of Time Re-read! Wasn’t that Madonna concert this Sunday awesome? It was awesome. (Though the tight-panted backup dancers seemed unnecessarily angry at each other, quel dommage!)

…Right, and today’s entry covers Chapters 32 and 33 of The Gathering Storm, in which I muse upon philosophical underpinning-type things, and possibly mangle the entire field of study beyond repair. But I had good intentions, so it doesn’t count!

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 32: Rivers of Shadow

What Happens
Nynaeve stands on the wall surrounding Bandar Eban, sensing the metaphorical storm still to come, and reflects on how she misses the Two Rivers, and yet knows there is no longer a place for her there. Merise, Corele, and Cadusane are also on the wall, resolutely ignoring Nynaeve while watching for the appearance of the ghosts they’d been told about outside the city walls. Soon the ghosts appear, moving at a slow, mournful pace.

Several figures in the group—which was now about two hundred strong—were carrying a large object. Some kind of palanquin? Oh... no. It was a coffin. Was this a funeral procession from long ago, then? What had happened to these people, and why had they been drawn back to the world of the living?

Rumors in the city said the procession had first appeared the night after Rand arrived in Bandar Eban.

Merise doesn’t see what’s to be concerned about with more ghosts, considering the other much more fatal incidents occurring in the city of people being eaten by insects from the inside out or spontaneously combusting. Corele thinks they should be moving on, and Merise denounces Rand al’Thor as a fool to dally here. Nynaeve points out that his dealings with the Seanchan are hardly irrelevant, but Merise and Corele ignore her, continuing to badmouth Rand. Cadsuane, however, nods to Nynaeve curtly before walking off; Nynaeve frowns and thinks surely that couldn’t have been a sign of actual respect from her. Nynaeve heads back through the city, worrying at the problem of Rand and how to reach him.

Once, she’d thought him as gentle as Lan. His devotion to protecting women had been almost laughable in its innocence. That Rand was gone. Nynaeve saw again the moment when he had exiled Cadsuane. She’d believed that he would kill Cadsuane if he saw her face again, and thinking of the moment still gave her shivers. Surely it had been her imagination, but the room had seemed to darken distinctly at that moment, as if a cloud had passed over the sun.

She hears a child coughing among the refugees, and detours to track it down and Heal the ailment; she is angered that the child’s parents had been too intimidated or superstitious to bring him to the Aes Sedai for Healing, and tells them so. She goes back to the problem of Rand, and concludes that bullying him is obviously not going to work. She wonders what will, and then remembers that there was one person who had managed to work with Rand without bullying him: Moiraine. She thinks with contempt that Moiraine had “all but fawned” over Rand, but has to admit she had been successful.

Perhaps Rand had listened to Moiraine because her subservience had flattered him, or maybe he had simply been tired of people pushing him around. Rand did have many people trying to control him. They must frustrate him, and they made Nynaeve’s own job a lot more difficult, since she was the one that he actually needed to listen to.

Did he, perhaps, see her simply as another of those irrelevant manipulators? She wouldn’t put it past him. She needed to show him that they were working for the same goals.

She gets an idea, and hurries back to the mansion, where she commandeers three of the Saldaean soldiers on guard and takes them to the kitchens, where she demands to see the dosun (housekeeper) of the place, Loral. Loral arrives soon after, looking terrified, and Nynaeve reassures her she is not in trouble, but she needs Loral to take her to where Milisair’s people were holding the messenger from Alsalam. Loral reluctantly complies, and leads Nynaeve and the Saldaeans and the workers who had been in the room to a chandler’s shop in an unsavory district of town. They break in, and Nynaeve captures and binds the three jailers inside, leaving the actual chandler’s apprentice under the watch of one of the Saldaeans. She intimidates the two assistants into telling her where the dungeon entrance is hidden. In the dungeon, she is shocked to find Lady Chadmar there, in terrible condition.

Nynaeve inhaled sharply at seeing how the woman was being treated. How could Rand allow this? The woman herself had done this very thing to others, but that didn’t make it right for him to stoop to her level.

She questions the head jailer, Jorgin, about the messenger’s death. Jorgin tells her there was no apparent cause for the man’s demise; he hadn’t been starved or questioned harshly enough for either to have killed him, and Jorgin swears that he did not arrange for it himself. He also says the man clearly knew something about Alsalam’s location, but would not reveal it; he’s never seen a man resist like that one did.

“I don’t know how he did it, Lady. Burn me, but I don’t! It’s like some... force had ahold of his tongue. It was like he couldn’t talk. Even if he’d wanted to!”

Nynaeve reluctantly decides Jorgin is telling the truth, and is about to give up and leave when she notices Milisair is deathly pale, and weaves a Delving to see if she is sick. Instead, she discovers that Milisair has been poisoned, and leaps to open her cell and Heal her. Then she demands to know who feeds the prisoners, and Jorgin tells her it is the apprentice, Kerb. Nynaeve dashes up to the ground floor to find that the boy has fled, but to her relief, the workers from the mansion she’d left outside had caught him before he could get away.

This is, I believe, our first Nynaeve POV in TGS, and it was… fine, I guess. It’s a lot of expositional philosophical musing from Nynaeve and then some plot movement, but it’s all basically a set up for the expositional philosophical musings and plot movement in the next chapter, so I find I really don’t have all that much to say about it here.

Though it is nice to see Nynaeve independently coming to the conclusion that bullying will not work with Rand. I guess she really is growing up!

Also, I have no idea what the title of the chapter is supposed to be referring to. Shadow, yes, got it, plenty of Shadow to go around, but “rivers”?

Actually, I found the little random bits of this chapter to be the most interesting parts. Like the ghostly funeral procession Nynaeve sees from the wall, for instance. Because, okay: this may be wildly off-track and I may be falling victim to the notorious fannish tendency to over-interpret things here, but I have to say the first thing that jumped to my mind when I read this was that one infuriatingly obscure prophecy from ACOS:

A man lay dying in a narrow bed, and it was important that he not die, yet outside a funeral pyre was being built, and voices raised songs of joy and sadness.

Unless I seriously forgot something (admittedly, this is certainly a possibility) there has been nothing yet in the books that even comes close to fulfilling this one. And also admittedly, this prophecy is about a deathbed scene and not an actual funeral procession, but it seems logical to assume that the one will follow the other, so….

…So, I dunno. I’m grasping at straws, probably. Or maybe the ghost funeral gets explained later and I just forgot. But regardless, I thought of the connection, and so I share it with you. Because you’re just that lucky.

Anyway. One other random curiosity I noted in this chapter is how pretty much everyone in it addresses Nynaeve as “Lady.” Which struck me as rather odd, since it seems to me that it’s actually an insult.

As Nynaeve herself observes in this chapter, the only people who outrank Aes Sedai are ruling monarchs, and even then only technically, so to call her “Lady” is to ascribe to her a rank that is significantly below what she is entitled to — even if you leave aside the fact that she’s married to royalty!

So that seemed a little… off. I’m pretty sure the correct form of address to an Aes Sedai is, actually, “Aes Sedai.” Or “Jane Sedai,” if you’re being a bit less formal, or “Jane Aes Sedai” if you’re being super formal. *shrug*

Lastly, Nynaeve’s thoughts on Moiraine, post-ToM, make me all that much more eager to see Moiraine’s reunion with Rand in AMOL, and see how they will behave toward each other. Seriously, I am dying to see this. I really want to know what will happen when Rand realizes he can strike the first and worst name off his list. I really hope it will be the relief it ought to be.


Chapter 33: A Conversation with the Dragon

What Happens
Rand tells Nynaeve this had better be important; he and Min are still in nightclothes. Nynaeve thinks there is less and less of the boy she knew in him. She weaves a ward against eavesdropping, and tells Rand sharply she doesn’t need his permission to channel when he comments on it. She nods to Kerb, who is bound with Air, and tells Rand that the boy may know where Alsalam is.

“The King?” Rand asked. “Graendal too, then. How do you know this, Nynaeve? Where did you find him?”

“At the dungeon where you sent Milisair Chadmar,” Nynaeve said, eyeing him. “It is terrible, Rand al’Thor. You have no right to treat a person in such a manner.”

Rand ignores this, and Nynaeve explains that Kerb tried to poison Milisair and almost certainly did the same to the messenger. Rand comments that Aes Sedai are a great deal like rats: “always in places where you are not wanted”. Nynaeve snorts, and moves on, telling him that she Delved Kerb as well, and thinks there is something wrong with his mind, a “block” of some sort. She thinks there was something similar on the messenger as well, which is why he was able to resist his interrogation. Rand casually names it Compulsion, and muses that this may be the confirmation he was looking for re: Graendal. He has Nynaeve ungag the boy and asks him who told him to poison those people. Kerb insists he knows nothing.

“Do you believe that if I simply said the word,” Rand continued in his eerie, quiet voice, “your heart would stop beating? I am the Dragon Reborn. Do you believe that I can take your life, or your soul itself, if I so much as will it to happen?”

Nynaeve saw it again, the patina of darkness around Rand, that aura that she couldn’t quite be certain was there. She raised her tea to her lips—and found that it had suddenly grown bitter and stale, as if it had been left to sit too long.

Kerb starts to cry, then goes dumb, and Rand says it is definitely Compulsion. He tells Nynaeve she will have to undo it, as he has little skill with this kind of weaving, but that reversing Compulsion is similar to Healing, and he explains to her how to do it. Nynaeve is very leery of trying a weave she’s never done before, but Rand’s unintentionally patronizing reassurance angers her enough to try it anyway. It is devilishly difficult and delicate work, and she wonders how Rand had known the method.

She shivered, thinking of what Semirhage had said about him. Memories from another life, memories he had no right to. There was a reason the Creator allowed them to forget their past lives. No man should have to remember the failures of Lews Therin Telamon.

It takes her almost an hour, but she succeeds in stripping the Compulsion from Kerb, and wobbles over to a chair, exhausted; Min has fallen asleep. Rand asks Kerb, “where is she?”, but Kerb only moans, eyes blank. Nynaeve demands to know what he’s doing to the boy, but Rand explains that she did it, in taking off the Compulsion. Graendal’s methods leave little or nothing of the mind it invaded behind, once it is taken away; he’s seen it “dozens of times.” Nynaeve is horrified.

Rand spoke to Kerb again. “I need a location,” Rand said. “Something. If there is any vestige within you that resisted, any scrap that fought her, I promise you revenge. A location. Where is she?”

Spittle dripped from the boy’s lips. They seemed to quiver. Rand stood up, looming, still holding the youth’s eyes with his own. Kerb shivered, then whispered two words.

“Natrin’s Barrow.”

The boy dies moments later, and Rand opines that the only thing keeping him alive had been his desire for revenge. Nynaeve insists he could have been Healed, and feels dirtied that Rand used her to do this without warning her what the consequences would be. Rand tells her not to look at him like that, and she demands to know if he feels any guilt at all. Rand replies that if he let himself feel guilty for every death he has caused, it would crush him. Nynaeve tells him that this thing he is becoming, with no emotion but anger, will destroy him. Rand answers that he knows, and wonders why everyone thinks he is too stupid to see that. Nynaeve asks why, then. Rand tells her of stories Tam had told him about Dragonmount, and how no one ever climbed to its top, because a climber could make it up, but he would not have the strength to come back down.

“You all claim that I have grown too hard, that I will inevitably shatter and break if I continue on. But you assume that there needs to be something left of me to continue on. That I need to climb back down the mountain once I’ve reached the top.

“That’s the key, Nynaeve. I see it now. I will not live through this, and so I don’t need to worry about what might happen to me after the Last Battle. I don’t need to hold back, don’t need to salvage anything of this beaten up soul of mine. I know that I must die. Those who wish for me to be softer, willing to bend, are those who cannot accept what will happen to me.” He looked down at Min again. Many times before, Nynaeve had seen affection in his eyes when he regarded her, but this time they were blank. Set in that same, emotionless face.

Nynaeve protests that there must be a way for him to both win and live, but Rand growls at her not to tempt him to hope again; it is too painful. He tells her she did well, and she admits she did it because she wanted him to trust her. Rand replies that he does trust her, as much as he trusts anyone. He says the difference between Nynaeve and Cadsuane is that Nynaeve cares about Rand.

By surrendering that most important emotion, he might make himself strong—but risked losing all reason he might have to care about the outcome of his battles.

For some reason, she couldn’t find words for the argument.

So I once again quoted way too much of this chapter, but this whole scene was a fairly pivotal one, thematically, so I can probably be forgiven for it.

Nynaeve’s conversation with Rand neatly outlines what is pretty much Rand’s central conflict as a character in TGS. Not quite in the series as a whole, I think — that would be How To Be A Savior — but definitely in the aspect of being a savior that specifically gets resolved (more or less) in TGS. Which is, of course, how to do it without letting it break you: the choice between being hard and being strong. He outright links it here to the parallel choice, which is between having hope and… not.

The nutty thing is that right now Rand’s so twisted around that he thinks the hopeless path, the one that leads him to certain destruction, is actually the wiser choice. Or at least the less painful one. And I can see the attraction of it, in a sad way; hope is painful, because it means you still have something to lose. And after all this stress and striving and struggle, I can see how it would be comforting to just stop pulling against the current and just let it carry you over the metaphorical waterfall.

The problem is, that’s not only the coward’s way out, but it’s totally not even going to work. Maybe it would in the real world, but this is epic fantasy, bub, and round here teleology is real. I think it’s pretty safe to say that when you are involved in a cosmic fundamental battle between good and evil, the one thing you can’t do is ignore the philosophical implications of how you conduct that battle.

On reflection, I’m not a hundred percent sure I’m using “teleology” correctly above — it’s been a long time since I took Philosophy in college — but if it’s correct to use in the sense of the belief that the intent of an action, for good or ill, has an impact on the goodness or badness of the result of the action, then that’s what I meant. I don’t necessarily believe that that applies in the real world, unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately, depending on how you look at it), but in fantasy (indeed, most fiction), it is one of the central storytelling tenets: bad intentions produce bad results, the end.

Unless you’re deconstructing that particular tenet, of course, but I think we can all agree that if there’s one thing WOT is definitely not, it’s a deconstructionist work. (It leaves that to other epic fantasy serieses, heh.)

Hope = good; Despair = bad. So using despair to fight for good is, as a particularly colorful cousin of mine would say, one a them there illogimical contradictory thingies.

Doesn’t work, you know? Your tea goes stale, your balconies collapse, and you’ve lost the fight before you’ve begun. No bueno, Rand. No bueno at all. Stop making me sad, dammit!

Also, very nice setup in Rand’s speech to Nynaeve for the ultimate mountain-related events coming up at the end of the book. I See What You Did There, Team Jordan. Very clever.

Natrin’s Barrow: Ah, crap.

And with that last and most deepest philosophical observation, I leave you to ruminate, masticate and (if you feel the need) eviscerate my thinkings. Have a lovely week, kids, and I’ll see you next time!

Sam Mickel
1. Samadai
I Love Nynaeve. She sure has turned into a great character, worthy of that Al' in her name
2. Hurin
Easily one of the hardest chapters to read. The fact that Rand KNEW he was destroying himself makes it even more chilling.
3. Tensmus
This Nyna POV reminds me of her POVs in TEotW. (Perrin rescue) She is smart and capable and will find a way to do what others have not thought of.
Zayne Forehand
4. ShiningArmor
Rereading this with you has been very saddening for me. Rand was never a character I was very attached emotionally to. In fact, as he shut down as a character, it became harder and harder for me to stay invested in him. So the first time I read tGS, it was basically oh yay, another Rand chapter to get to then I can get back to the White Tower... However, after reading the climax (for lack of a better word) of this book and ToM, I find myself much more invested in Rand having now seen the light at the end of the tunnel. I feel much less apathetic toward him this time around and I don't like it. How dare they make me feel feelings for the main character of the books?!?!

As a side note, I care very much for many other characters in these books. Rand just never super high on that list.

Nynaeve in fact was one of those characters and her interactions with Rand became some of my favorite moments, especially their conversation in ToM. That scene is my main point of contention against Leigh's theory (at the time of her ToM review at least) that Rand didn't feel like himself post-epiphany.
Kimani Rogers
5. KiManiak
Thanks again, Leigh (and yes, I did enjoy the Madonna halftime show, a lot more than I thought I would).

Okay, I started off this series as very much not a Nynaeve fan. But Nynaeve’s growth over the last few books in general, with these Nynaeve chapter being a good example in the specific (and of course, The Golden Crane in KoD), has led to my increased enjoyment in reading about her and rooting for her.

And, let’s give her credit: She heals Compulsion (an incredibly difficult thing to do, apparently) on the first try, just by someone telling her conceptually how to do it. An hour of intricate work done, just by someone loosely explaining the theory of how to do it. That is badass.

Rand. Ugh. His continued descent into darkness and unpleasantness continues to be un-enjoyable. He actually said something that had me sympathize with and want to defend the Aes Sedai (comparing them to rats). He threatens that he can will someone’s heart to stop beating? And then the pain and sorrow of reading him confess to Nynaeve that he knows he’s not meant to survive who he’s become; that he accepts it. And ultimately leaving Nynaeve speechless in her attempts to persuade him to be the Rand she knows him to be? Wow. Moving. So nicely written. Good job, Team Jordan!

Finally, Leigh, good recall on the prophecy. I know there are a few out there where it is debatable whether they’ve been fulfilled or not. But like you, I can’t think of anything we’ve read that fits this one.

And yes - Natrin’s Barrow: Ah crap, indeed.
6. Greyhawk
These chapters highlight, what for me, has been the most significant change between the pre and post Sanderson books. One of the most frustrating things for me about the series was the hyperexaggeration of the battle between the sexes and lack of simple communication. Others have commented and discussed extensively on this and to what it extent it was intentional on Jordan's part or a reflection on how he viewed the interrlationships between men and women generally. All I can say is that it annoyed me to no end.

With TGS, characters started to relate in much more mature, direct and intelligent ways that was a more than welcome breath of fresh air. I have no way of knowing if this change in style (if I can call it that) was preplanned by Jordan as character growth or a result of Sanderson's involvement. However, I have viewed it as a result of Sanderson's involvement because if it was character growth how do you explain the interrletationships of all of the supposedly more "adult" and "mature" characters throughout the series? I saw this "change" (as I consider it) as an acknowledgement by Sanderson as a writer and a fan that yes these people annoyed me too and they don't have to. There is enough conflict and genuine differences of opinion that having people relate to each other as if they were 13 can largely be dispensed with from now on. That made the exchange between Rand and Nyaeve that much more significant and yes, tragic.
7. FellKnight
Re: Lady vs Sedai, I think it is more of a 'meh', myself, as we quite often over the course of the series see Aes Sedai being addressed as 'Mistress', which is farther down the chain from 'Lady' than 'Lady' is from 'Sedai'.
john mullen
8. johntheirishmongol
Poor Rand, he is all messed up and no place to go. These chapters are very sad, no one seems to know what to do to get him out of the funk, and he has quit trying. He's still spiraling downward.

There is one bit of plot movement, with him finally finding out where Graendel is located, but we know how that turns out.
9. Sundriedrainbow
Definiteky for me the most annoying thing about reading Sanderson's books is that all of a sudden, channeling is EXHAUSTING. You can't go through a scene where Elayne lights a lamp without a mention of weakness washing through her bones or something. Back in TFOH Egwene and Aviendha spend hours hurling lightning bolts at an army. But now, Aviendha redirects a river for a few minutes and is completely wiped out, when she should be dramatically stronger after this much time.
Nadine L.
10. travyl
@9. Sundriedrainbow: in EoTW Moraine almost fell from her horse and serveral times at to be supported by Lan after channeling. So the "exhausting" part isn't such a new thing, and Moiraine wasn't that weak either.

These Chapters:
- Rand reasoning why he gave up is just heartbreaking. Still painful.
- This quote from above made me laugh: they made Nynaeve’s own job a lot more difficult, since she was the one that he actually needed to listen to.
My first reaction was seeing the "old" Nynaeve, tugging her braid, but then she goes on and reasons things out, even puts himself in Rand's shoes (instead of just talking down to him). She does not bully him but offers help - Great.
Rob Munnelly
11. RobMRobM
Wow, slow response today. Wonder if we're still recovering from Super Sunday (I'm a Pats fan, and I'm still processing the loss myself.)

I like these couple of chapters of Nyn competence and humanity. Her personal growth is excellently done, and Rand's response to her sophisticated approach to him heightens the impact of the dark trend in his psyche.

Birgit F
12. birgit
I Love Nynaeve. She sure has turned into a great character, worthy of that Al' in her name

Al'Lan is the male form. Ny is El'Nynaeve.

The ghost procession reminded me of the Wren Day procession in The Dark is Rising. I thought it was just some mythical allusion and not anything about Rand's death. The prophecy probably will be fulfilled in AMoL.
Margot Virzana
13. LuvURphleb
I think rand has been listening to lews therin too much.

Also its very human. Similiar to computers which need a surge protector, Rand has been overloaded with a wash of rotten emtions. He fought his birthright, accepted it only to be met with hatred and enmity from everyone included the Aiel. Hes had to fight for every allyexcept Illian an even some od his true allied second guess him. (i.e: egwene)
I think that there is only so much negative emotions a human can take so they shut off, try to rationalize, because they know they cannot give up.
Like the phrase: "its nothing personal; its business"
Right there is a rationalization of people knowing they have to make hard choices and unable to face all the criticsim of that choice. They dress it up and put an euphemism over it.

Not that i like dark side Rand. I hate him. I want to skidoo into the book, slap him that make smores with him so he can learn to smile again.
I think this shut off is dangerous and very wrong. We have emotions for a reason. Guilt and stuff to keep that morale center.
However i do understand why Rand, who has the weight of the world literally on his shoulders, would choose this easier way for himself. After all what would a crazy emotional dark side Rand be like?
Kimani Rogers
14. KiManiak
Sundried@9 - like Travyl@10 said, channeling being exhausting is nothing new.
-The Egwene & Aviendha session you reference in TFoH had them each taking breaks to spell each other; even then they were borderline exhausted.
-In the same battle, Sammael strikes out at Rand, trying to goad him (Rand) to attack in such an exhausted state. And Rand was so exhausted that he was in a somewhat delirious state near the end (true, he had also suffered from a great fall).
-When cleansing Saidin in WH, Nynaeve collapses and Rand needs a long time (days, if I recall correctly) to recover after their ordeal.
-Elayne and Aviendha fight to near exhaustion (Elayne trying to undo the Gateway, Aviendha in holding off the Seanchan) when escaping from Ebou Dar and the Seanchan in TPoD.
-And I'm sure there are many other examples.

Yes, these are events that required a lot of sustained channeling. But, so did Nynaeve's healing of Compulsion. According to Leigh's quoting of the text (don't have my book handy but I'ma take her word for it), Nynaeve was channeling for about an hour, and was doing something similar to Healing, which we've been told is very difficult.

RobM@11 - It is a little slower today, but I'm not sure if its just SuperBowl hangover. My sympathies for you, but as a Raiders fan, I was quite happy to see your Pats lose. Yes, we're still miffed about that whole "Tuck" rule game...
John Mann
15. jcmnyu
@12 birgit

You are thinking too hard. Nynaeve's maiden name is al'Meara. Her current name is el'Nynaeve ti al'Meara Mandragoran.

I have always been highly critical of Nynaeve's perception of the world. She only values her opinion and rarely sees the other side of an arguement. She lies constantly, often to her friends, and tries to make herself appear in the best possible light. However, she has MoA that are almost without rival in the series. She heals Logain, helps to remove the taint, cures taint madness, and removes compulsion just to name a few. She also expresses opinions that are important and go unsaid by others such as after her testing in ToM. This scene and others to come are changing my mind, but I doubt she will ever become a favorite of mine.
16. Gentleman Farmer
One of the things I liked most about these chapters was that acknowledgment by Rand that he had accepted his fate, and accordingly had no more need to hope.

Not for its own sake (although that did provide some insight to the possibility of how he would re-orient his course), but for the insight into Ishamael / Moridin.

We had previously had the discussion with Ishamael regarding how he was fighting on behalf of the Dark One to bring about the end of time, basically because he was tired and saw no hope otherwise. I had, at the time, difficulty rationalizing this viewpoint, even taking into account the fact that he'd just died and been raised again to serve the DO.

But with Rand's explanation, it also sheds light on Ishy's decision. He may have thought of going with the DO, like his compatriots, for power, glory, etc. but any such decision would also be based on an analysis that the DO would eventually win. His recognition that a DO win would mean the end of everything and nullify any hope of rewards doesn't make him joint LTT and friends, but instead had him decide (as Leigh notes) that it's just easier to go over the waterfall than to struggle against the tide. His "Betrayer of Hope" name fits with that approach as well.

I like this for the insight it gives to what Rand could have become, for the explanation of Ishy's path, and for how well it ties together the back story of Ishy, the overarching themes, the parallelism of the main protagonists, and how neatly it all fits together.

In TGS I'm sometimes tempted to question how well, or whether BWS is carrying out RJ's original vision, but in this instance I think he's done a masterful job.
Alice Arneson
17. Wetlandernw
I hope to have a chance to comment later, but for now, a question: have we ever seen anything like this "dark aura" around anyone else, like the Forsaken? (I don't have easy access to my usual search tools right now.)
18. Ryanus
One more thing on the exhaustion, aside from others pointing out it's not new.

From a physics stand point, hurling lightning would be far easier than redirecting a river given the assumption that you can do so. The charge in the air in the earth want to link and create that lightning bolt, all it would take, theoretically, is helping to establish that link, then the electricity will go on it's own.

With the river. That much force, that much pressure and now you need to not only move it, but force it up, around and then into a different path.

Given the way channeling is described I'd imagine hurling lightning involves touches of air along with fire to create a link for the arc to follow. You make it and it goes on its own. The river would seem to involve at least air to create actual solid surfaces for the water to follow along with water to actually encourage the stuff to follow the air guide.

And to put it even more simply. Which is harder? Flipipng a light switch (where the power is there, just needs to be aimed so to speak) or lifting and carrying buckets of water?

Regarding Teleology. I'd actually argue it's even more important in the real world than in fiction. In fiction you can follow it because it's very obvious that intent corelates to results. In real life the only meaning and morality there can be is what we as an individual or a society give to it. It leads to growing corruption as a person moves from ends justify the means to "My" ends justify the means to the means are justified.
John Massey
19. subwoofer
Hi Leigh, not still bitter that yur Saints didn't redeem themselves? On the bright side, Brees set a record for pass yards beating Marino's old record, and Marino never won the Big Game. I dunno, been a Giants fan from the mid 80's so it's nice to see them go on a roll, almost as nice as seeing them beat Dallas. The Giants had one of the toughest schedules through the season, and their record shows it, but hey, in the end "I believe in Eli":)

Ahem... moving on... I have been seriously thinking about adapting the al' and changing my avatar name. If I had a do over, I would have been Buck al'Bundy. Heh.

It was good to see Nynaeve do a passible impression of Holmes too. Hats off to her, this was the first part of watching another female lead take charge of a situation. It feels to me like as the threads of the SGs are pulled back towards the Tower their story line has been lessened. Granted, when they were going about the world it seemed like they were over their heads but in the end, with a little help from friends, they- Nyneave, Elayne... and eventually Egwene, made it through.

When Nynaeve pulled the strings to set her husband up for success, we begin to see glimmerings of the legend that she will become. Much like Cadsuane, who goes around freestyle with little influence from the Tower, Nynaeve seems poised to do that as well. We will see more of this when Nynaeve takes her test for the shawl. I very much enjoyed seeing Ny put a few things together and get answers that broody Rand was too broody to see.... while he was brooding. I especially liked how she took charge of everyone that came within sight of her... that is how an Aes Sedai gets things done.

I have no issue with Ny being called "Lady". I feel that it is and honorific given to show respect. Moiraine got much of the same and went by Lady somethingortheother. Mat and Perrin and even Rand struggled with what to call various nobles and such, and they were, for lack of a better term, commoners so why do these people giving Nynaeve the same respect warrant raising eyebrows? It is not like a bunch of nobles are trying to put Ny in her place or pull rank.

As far as Rand going on about climbing the mountain and not wanting to come back down, meh. Seems like warped logic. If Rand was really set on the course to not live past the LB, take a trip to Shayol Ghul now. Be done with it. I think somebody needs to get Rand his blankie and a warm glass of choco milk. There there, it gets better.

Philip Thomann
20. normalphil
I liked chapter 32 a lot when I read it because it settled some things in my mind about the girls as protagonists.

We have a Supergirl being a supergirl and doing it right. Independent agents and troubleshooters of the Light- The concept was good, but their execution wasn’t. So the ERA was terrible. And they were awful at managing people while doing it, seeing them as different kind of opponent on the field. But they kept at it, and get to this point.

So this! This is how you do it! See an issue, drop everything, and go out and win a big one for Team Light. Every little step, winding up, covering your bases, letting it fly and just fielding the play with the team you captain as it develops. Keeping up a cynically dogged approach, responding to the play rather than forcing it.

Go Nyneave! Complete vindication of the concept.
Tyler Durden
21. Balance
I enjoyed both these chapters. In fact they are two I reread at random while I sit down to ah, think for a few minutes. (Insert Seinfeld joke) I love Nyn’s growth as a character and the fact that she figures out the right way to direct men. We hate being bullied, pushed, or manipulated. (As do women, I would gather) In Randland’s semi matriarchal society (don’t kill me on that. I know it’s regional, but the theories are out there about the role of men and women in this series and how the taint on Sadin, having only women wizards, ect affect Randland’s gender relations.) it seems a much more acceptable way to behave toward men. However, take the initiative, progress toward a common goal and we are usually pretty affable. (Except for the one’s with low self-esteem, who hate being helped by women, but those are the same idiots who won’t ask for directions, so who gives a shit about them.) Nyn kicks ass in these chapters. And the correlation to her future “get shit done woman” status, al la Cads is a good one. I also enjoy watching Dark Rand expound about his self-awareness. An intelligent Scary Man is always more dangerous than a dumb one.

The only instance I can think of is Ishy in the first three books. Way back when we thought Ba’alzamon was the Dark One. He was always “shrouded in shadow”. It was a big part of his character. As was the Saa bonus level of flame face. Now we know that the pong dot Saa are the first level of the flame face. Could this half glimpsed shadow be level one of the full Shadow Shroud?

A lot of times in philosophy words are pretty fluid. It’s good to specify them though, as we all have our own inflections on these sorts of things. If you explain how you’re using the word (as you did) you’re usually good. Unless you’re dealing with some pretentious asshole, but the folks here seem nice.
Stefan Mitev
22. Bergmaniac
That's not the first Nynaeve PoV chapter in TGS, there was one early on (Chapter 7).

I don't think the Aes Sedai consider being called "Lady" an insult. It happened all the time to Elayne in books 9-11, she had no problem with it, and she should know all about Randland protocol.

Anyway, I really like both of those chapters. Nynaeve shows her awesomeness. Cooperation and mutual understanding between people of different genders is so rare in this series this alone makes Chapter 33 worthwhile, plus the Rand we see here is really interesting psychologically and I find fascinating reading about him.
John Massey
23. subwoofer
@Wet&Balance- I was under the impression that those meetings that Balance referred to was in the world of Dreams. It seems to me that when we meet a fair chunk of the male baddies they are very distinctly described, as LTT remembers them... Asmo, Rahvin, whatshisnut, whoshispickle, and the guy covering third base. Outside of Lanfear, who is also very clearly described... .... sorry, had to pause a moment there, anyways, most of the female forsaken are attributed with slinking from the shadows- Grandel, Moggy, and er... the other one in the Tower.

@Balance & Norma, well put! Much more eloquent than me. Point is, yes, this is how a SG is supposed to get stuff done. Shining example. And our resident leader that tends to wax towards feminist sides of issues glosses over it. Most of the TR folk were fumbling at the beginning of our story, now Mat has an army and is a prince, Perrin is the Wolf King(woof) Rand is Rand, Egwene is the Amyrlin, Elayne is queen and Ny is queen in waiting and totally badass as Aes Sedai. Heck, I'm thinking that the second coming of Moiraine may pale to the awesomeness that is going to be Nynaeve saving her husband's hiney come LB time.

Richard Boye
24. sarcastro
[quote]Anyway. One other random curiosity I noted in this chapter is how pretty much everyone in it addresses Nynaeve as “Lady.”

[i]So that seemed a little… off. I’m pretty sure the correct form of address to an Aes Sedai is, actually, “Aes Sedai.” Or “Jane Sedai,” if you’re being a bit less formal, or “Jane Aes Sedai” if you’re being super formal. *shrug*
This, this is one of the things that make me bounce hard off of BS's writing - it's not that 's bad or anything, but it just has lots of little reminders that he is not RJ and his editors couldn't have troubled themselves to smooth over the differences - there is a whole passage in tEotW about how an Aes Sedai is never referred to as 'lady" even in polite society - the proper deferential treatment is "Aes Sedai," or "Lucia Sedai." BS has Gareth Bryne doing it too and it just BOTHERED ME.

That and the people suddenly wearing purple and ORANGE (ORANGE!), and the fact that BS's names make it seem like no one bothered to...emulsify his new characters with RJ's obviously very deliberate efforts to have each nationality have a set of consistent sound naming patterns (I am looking at you, Saldaean Lord Lyonford).
Stefan Mitev
25. Bergmaniac
@sarcastro - "there is a whole passage in tEotW about how an Aes Sedai is never referred to as 'lady" even in polite society" - could you quote that passage or give its chapter? I don't remember it at all. Elayne is referred to as "lady" all the time in the Jordan books even after she became an Aes Sedai.
Scientist, Father
26. Silvertip
@17 Wetlandernw:

@21 Balance got there first, but the dark aura in this and other scenes in tGS immediately resonated with Ishamael for me. I was remembering particularly the scene in the Heart of the Stone in tDR, when the darkness is almost a thing, like an appendage, that he controls. That reference back, of course, just reinforced the whole sense of This Cannot Be Good.

Tyler Durden
27. Balance
@26.Silvertip and23.subwoofer:

Silver, your memory of TDR, Heart of Stone scene is a good counterpoint to Sub’s argument that the Shroud only appears in the World of Dreams. I think the first part of that was in real life, unless Moiraine suddenly learned to hop over in the flesh. She got whipped by Ishy, and I think Rand saw him as wearing the Shroud during that. (Don’t have the earliers with me, some guru will find it. Going from memory) A further point would be the artists from Falme. Didn’t they draw Ishy with a face of fire and shrouded in night? If so, then it would appear that the Shroud can be seen in the real world. I think this issue needs more study.
28. sarcastro
Bergmaniac -

Elayne spends most of the books interacting people as Daughter-Heir, Lady Elayne Trakand. Only on very few occasions does she "cash in" on her Aes Sedai status, like when she drops in on the "occupying" Borderland rulers, where she attempts to wow them with her status as Daughter-Heir *and* Aes Sedai.

The real example is when Gareth Bryne and Gawyn meet Shemerin, they keep calling her "my lady." Perhaps it can be hand-waved aside as them not wanting to disrecpect her because she was "defrocked" (or "deshawled") but it strikes me as BS not knowing the "social rules" of his inherited universe.
29. Adam Reith
Re the form of address to Nynaeve:

Not directly on point, but it reminds me of the Golden Crane chapter in KoD. The first few times the Malkieri merchant addresses Nynaeve, he calls her "Aes Sedai." After she reveals her connection to Lan, he switches and calls her "My Lady" instead. Obviously, he views "My Lady" as a promotion (giving more importance to the royal Malkieri connection than to the Aes Sedai status). I've always thought that was one of the cooler little touches in that chapter, for what it says about the devotion of the Malkieri to their King and their Nation.
30. Shadow_Jak
I'm with you Leigh (and others)
Definitely insulting to address an Aes Sedai as "Lady".
Only time we see it with real Aes Sedai is when they are incognito.
"Lady Alys" or whatever.

Of course, none of the other Aes Sedai around Nynaeve consider her a 'real' Aes Sedai.

Jemnyu @15
You are thinking too hard. Nynaeve's maiden name is al'Meara. Her current name is el'Nynaeve ti al'Meara Mandragoran.

That's a real mouthful, but wait, we're not done.
Let's add some honorifics...
Her Highness, Queen el'Nynaeve ti al'Meara Mandragoran, Aes Sedai of the Yellow Ajah.

That's better, but not quite there.
If someone can just supply the rest. I'm sure there is much more.

Something along the lines of:
"Morgase, by the Grace of the Light, Queen of Andor, Defender of the Realm, Protector of the People, High Seat of House Trakand."
"Alliandre Maritha Kigarin, Queen of Ghealdan, Blessed of the Light, Defender of Garen's Wall"

Come on folks. Let's hear some fan titles for the new Queen of the reconstituted, after the Last Battle, Malkier?
31. Shadow_Jak
Adam @29
I didn't remember that. I'll have to review when I get home.
Anthony Pero
32. anthonypero
I personally felt that Nynaeve was off in this chapters. Not her voice, but... Nynaeve is just not that introspective. It felt like Nynaeve was intentionally (and unrealistically) softened here. It bothered me, more than Mat.
33. Mysterium
Re the aura - I believe that Taim has had it at some points too, although the when escapes me. His is less blatant than Rand's as well. It's different to the aura of imminent danger that is saidin.
Alexander Hatch
34. SpyderZH
I've always been a big Nyn fan and these chapters (especially 33) really exemplify why. Even confronted with Rand at his darkest (to this point), she sticks to her guns and talks to him how she wants to. She never backs down from her own opinion unless she has to (and she does back down when she's wrong; she just doesn't admit it). One of the problems I have with Elayne early on, specifically when she gets to Salidar, is that she acquiesces to the wishes of the AS too easily. This goes away slowly (like when she argues for her Aes Sedai-hood in Ebou Dar), but it never popped up at all with Nyn. She knew who she was from day one and never bowed down to others, no matter what they expected.

As for the chapters themselves, this actually came at a really coincedental time in my own reread of the series. I'm in the middle of LoC right now and Jordan mentions in the book that Bandar Eben was built on top of a city that was destroyed in the Hundred-Years War, and that city was built on the ruins of a city destroyed in the Trolloc Wars. It's almost like a haunted burial ground with the spirits rising up.

Also connected to LoC is the whole bullying thing Nyn touched on here. That's one of the main things Nyn has been stressing to the Salidar AS who are questioning her on Rand and she spitefully tells Tarna to try to force him to their will to screw with her (not Nyn's most inspired idea, I grant you). I don't know why they treated this like it's some revelation to not bully Rand. From the get-go, that's been one of his most prevelant attributes and the reason Moiraine had some much trouble with him pre-Waste.

P.S. All the talk about hope being painful but good made me think of the devastation that Sunday night laid on me as a Pats fan. Now I'm going to go cry into my Gronk jersey and dry my tears with my Mayo one...
35. AndrewB
KiManiak @5: I disagree. I do not think Rand threatened to kill Kerb. IMO, what he did was ask Kerb if Kerb believed that Rand, as the Dragonm Reborn, had the power to make Kerb's heart stop beating if Rand willed it. Rand was using the hysteria that average Joe and Jane Randlander believes about the Dragon Reborn. This is akin to parents telling their children that if they do not eat their vegtables and perform their chores than Lanfear will come in the night and harm the child. The parent knows that Lanfear will not take the child away if the child does not eat his/her veggies. What makes that scare tactic effective, is that the child believes it to be true. Once the child realizes that Lanfear will not do anything to the child if he/she does not eat his/her veggies, then the parent needs a new tactic.

(For example, you will eat your vegtables so long as you live under parent's roof; when you have your own home, you can eat what you want. But I digress.)

I do not think that pre-Dragonmount TSG Rand has become so dark that he has lost the ablitiy to have compassion. Rather, Rand believes that he must provide the outward appearance that he no longer has compassion. Throughout this book, Rand constantly projects himself to act as how the outsider would expect Rand to act -- somebody who has no compassion and is as hard as cuelendar (sp?).

If Rand lost the ability to have any compassion, how else would you explain how Rand gingerly and humanely coxed Kerb to give up the name of Natrin's Barrow. His attitude to Kerb at that moment mirrored Rand's treatment of the Asha'man who lost his mind while guarding Min. Nynaeve even comments about how Rand acts in his treatment of Kerb at this point.

KiManiak @14 re the Tuck Rule game: And Pats fans are still bitter about the phantom rushing the passer call against Sugar Bear Hamilton in the 1976 playoff game. A call, I might add, without which, the Raider's do not win that game and subsequently do not win the Super Bowl that year.

Thanks for reading my musings,
Cameron Tucker
36. Loialson
@ anthonypero 32
You know, I always felt Nynaeve was one of the most introspective characters in this series, where very little introspection gets done. She is extremely self conscious (because of her status as wisdom at such a young age being belittled at first, then because of her juxtaposition to Moiraine in power difference-and her motivation to change that, etc). She is so bullying because of her fear of what her introspection will bring her, her fears. So she acts to remove those fears, sometimes poorly, but she acts. She always is trying to DO something about issues she sees and problems at hand for the good of Everyone. She may be afraid of introspection, but at least she recognizes it and does something about it to eliminate the fears, unlike 90% of Aes Sedai-who seemingly ignore most issues that concern helping society at the fundamental levels.

In TFOH after Birgitte is nearly killed Nynaeve lets her inner struggle demean herself, and Birgitte by association and Bir calls her on it.

I dunno, I feel she thinks much more than the majority of the Main Chars, especially about the people around her (a residue of caring and having responsibility in the position of Wisdom perhaps).

She gets angry alot, and has trouble with her temper, but because she cares so much about people (see: her passion for healing), she considers options and possibilities to fix things that most of the Aes Sedai cannot, or will not.

So...that was a bit longer than I intended, but my point was that I felt she was quite spot on, for me at least. Not to devalue your view, but this is how I saw her.

...and I'm sure Wetlandernw could do much better justice to a defense of Ny's character than me (esp. post BS's taking up the mantle of author of WOT), but it is what it is :).
Lannis .
37. Lannis
Oy, Philosophy. I hated Philosophy in university... :/

But you're right, Leigh, in the WoT-world we know and love, it's a case of bad intentions = bad outcome...

Which is why we need Rand to have his Zen-makeover... NOW!

Thanks for the recap, Leigh! :)
Rob Munnelly
38. RobMRobM
Ki and Andrew - Don't get me started on the 76 game. Replay confirmed no illegal contact by Sugar Bear. There was also the noncall when Russ Francis got mugged on third down by Phil Vilipiano. The Ref, Ben Dreith, was never assigned by the NFL to another Pats game for the rest of his very long career - true fact.

Re 2001, Pats got victimized by Tuck Rule earlier in that season againsts the Jets, so were fully prepared when it favored them in the Raider game. Looked ugly, but lawful. Still, hurts to lose so I sympathize.
Evan Thomas
39. EvanThomas
As I read this chapter with Rand explaining a bit about Compulsion to Nynaeve, it seems to be a little inconsistent with earlier usage. If Compulsion is woven into the victim's brain, how were Elayne and Nynaeve able to remember their first meeting with Moghedien without being "healed". Also, how is Rand able to instruct Nynaeve about anything. Recall men and women make terrible teachers for each other. My only answers to these questions are that perhaps it is only heavy Graendal compulsion that requires healing. Moghedien does have a more subtle touch. But then, Morgase seems to have been able to overcome Rahvin's compulsion, and he seemed just as heavy handed. Rand teaching Nynaeve, perhaps men and women were able to teach each other better in the Age of Legends, when they worked together frequently, so Lews Therin was helpful here. Any other thoughts?
@17. Wetlandernw

To my knowledge none of the Forsaken are Ta'veren. And as I think this Dark Aura is connected to his Ta'veren-ness being corrupted, in my opinion, it is why we see no Dark Auras around any of the Forsaken.

Edit- I think people are confusing the Shroud around Ishy with the Dark Aura appearing whenever Rand tries to use his Ta'veren nature. I think some want it to be the same even though the circumstances of their appearances differ and even how they are worded are different. Since precedent has been established numerous times calling Ishmaels True Power connection a Shroud, one would think that RJ or BWS or Team Jordan would not all of sudden start calling the Shroud a Dark Aura if they were one and the same. It seems more than logical that they would continue to call it a Shroud. So I feel some are projecting one instance on another to suit a possible theory.

I will say though it needs further looking into to find out whether they are in fact one and the same or if their separate appearances are further separated by there connections.

41. Randommer
Ah Nynaeve awesomeness. Makes it so difficult to remember how annoying she was at the start. And now on rereads, I can't even see that anymore.

As for Rand... Though everything he said was very affecting and all, am I the only one who thinks the scene was a little...clumsy? Like a fan talking about Rand as opposed to him talking about himself. Just seemed very flowery and also...uncharacteristic :-P
42. alreadymadwithdepression
So now we see Rand's dilemma. He has accepted the aweful sacrifice expected of him. And sees others pushing and prodding him every which way. Essentially to his mind robbing his sacrifice of meaning. I'd certainly be depressed.

Nynaeve's internal monologue is refreshing if tainted still by the conviction that she is the only one who knows what should be done.
43. MickeyDee
Random comments as I wait on hold listening to rubbish muzak:

I think some people are mistaking the Wheel as a force for good. As I interpret it, from my 20 years of plodding through this series, the Wheel is neither good nor bad. It just is.

As Ta'veren are simply tools.......of the Wheel, ta'verenessuousity (What? Is too a word) is neither good nor bad, light nor dark. It just is. Sort of like mechanically-separated meat.

Nynaeve continues to be made of awesome-sauce on the Valan Luca Scale of Sauciness (tm). Anyone who can carry off wearing that cape in public must have a reasonably credible scale of sauciness after all.

Rand continues to be boringly emo-active, I wonder if he has Joy Division on constant loop? I too am pissed at those around him that want him to plan on coming back from his suicide mission. (Hint: Ishy has been through this too many times before and the reason he wears so much black is neither because it is cool nor because he has graduated from the Richmond Avenal "Goth2Boss" course). For goodness sake let him make love to his harem in piece and send him off to die already.
Jonathan Levy
44. JonathanLevy
You know, I always felt Nynaeve was one of the most introspective characters in this series,

Nynaeve? The most introspective in the series? My impression was precisely the opposite.

TFOH:34: She does not draw the obvious inference that her cooking is bad:
They did not eat alone, of course. Luca saw to that, bringing his own stool and placing it right next to her...He was there almost every night. Oddly, the only nights he missed were when she cooked.

TFOH:34: She has no idea that her behavior is encouraging Luca.

(Elayne) said, "Really, you should not encourage him."... Nynaeve planted her fists on her hips. "Encourage him! The only way I could encourage him less would be to stab him!"

TFOH:47: She is blind to the fact that she is as short-tempered as Elayne.

Now you listen to me, you ill-tempered little chit! If you don’t - ... If you can think of anything except how to show more of your legs than you already are, it might interest you to know that she was in my dreams, too...
For herself, Nynaeve gave the Daughter-Heir her frostiest stare. She had managed to maintain an even disposition while they waited, cooped up together - she had - but Elayne certainly had no room to talk.

TFOH:49: She lectures Elayne about not owning a man, while holding to proprietary feelings towards Lan:

"I did not even have a chance to send a message to Rand." Elayne got in after... "And one to Aviendha. If she is taking care of him for me, then she ought to take care of him."

"He isn’t a horse, Elayne. You don’t own him."

"I never said I did. How will you feel if Lan takes up with some Cairhienin woman?"

"Don’t be silly. Go to sleep." Nynaeve burrowed fiercely into her small pillow. Perhaps she should have sent word to Lan... He had better not forget who he belonged to."

ACOS:23: She doesn't realize how often her own thoughts turn to violence as a solution.

Nynaeve’s eyebrows drew down. Kick her? Elayne really was becoming violent, spending so much time with Aviendha. Someone ought to slap some sense into that pair.

ACOS:21: She has no idea how her behavior in the Stone of Tear was perceived by Mat.

"The Stone of Tear," Birgitte said, and Nynaeve’s head whipped around..."He says he went into the Stone, him and Juilin, to free the pair of you from a dungeon you couldn’t escape on your own." She shook her head slowly, in wonder. “I don’t know that I would have done that for anyone short of Gaidal. Not the Stone. He says you gave him a backhanded thanks and made him feel he ought to be grateful you didn’t kick him."

It was true, in a way, but all distorted. There Mat had been with that mocking grin of his, saying he was there to pull their chestnuts off the fire or some such. Even then he had thought he could tell them what to do. “Only one of the Black sisters was on guard in the dungeon," Nynaeve muttered, "and we had taken care of her." True, they hadn’t yet been able to figure out how to open the door, shielded. "Be’lal wasn’t really interested in us, anyway - it was just to lure Rand. Moiraine may already have killed him, by then, for all we know."

TFOH:54-55: She is so convinced she is a coward that she doesn't notice her behavior is foolhardily brave:

Nynaeve grimaced. Birgitte’s every word put another bubble of anger in her belly. (Moghedien) was never very brave except when she clearly had the upper hand. That could describe herself...

"You brainless fool," Moghedien sobbed, shaking Nynaeve’s skirt with both hands as if wanting to shake Nynaeve. "It does not matter how brave you are. We are linked, but you contribute nothing the way you are. Not a shred. It is my strength, and your madness. They are here in the flesh, not dreaming! They are using things you have never dreamed of! They will destroy us if we stay!"

Grimly, Nynaeve did it again. She won’t stop me short! Again. I will help Rand whatever she thinks! Again. Even if it kills us! Again. Oh, Light, she could be right; Rand could kill us both before he knows it’s me. Again. Light, I hate being afraid! Again. I hate her! Again. I hate her! Again.

Nynaeve's main virtues are courage and passion, and she carries these to a fault, so she cannot perceive when she slides into bullying and hypocrisy.

She has moments of introspection, but these are the exception rather than the rule.

Nynaeve was able to shake off Moggy's compulsion, but Elayne was not. Also, Rahvin thinks to himself that he cannot use heavy Compulsion on Morgase because he needs her to function properly, and this is causing him some inconvenience.

Edit to try to remove a few spaces.
You know what? I have come to the conclusion that Thom Merrilin does wet work. Or more formally, Thom is or was the Cleaner. Think about it....
Anthony Pero
46. anthonypero
@44. JonathanLevy

I'm so glad you did that. Because otherwise I would have spent hours looking up those passages. That is exactly why I said what I said at Post 32.

I don't see this particular character flaw as an area Nynaeve actually needs to grow in. It's kind of quirky, and I personally love Nynaeve's total lack of self-awareness. It also extends to other things, like you pointed out: her own courage, her beauty, etc... She doesn't perceive her flaws or actual worth in equal measures.

She is extremely, realistically detailed as a character in this. I can totally see how she got that way, because of her unique gifts (in the TR), and her age when becoming Wisdom, etc... for her to suddenly "grow" in self-awareness, without having to deal with any of the underlying causes of her lack in this area, is unrealistic and bad characterization. Nynaeve does a lot of that in the last two books. She does a lot of "growing" without cost.

Does this happen with people in Real Life? Not people of Nynaeve's age. Psycological patterns are set, and require breaking to change. No breaking is occuring here, yet massive change is. It just... it left me disapointed, that's all. This struck me as an intentional softening of Nynaeve's character, because she was annoying to some fans. Realistic characters, like we have in the WoT, will always have people who like them and dislike them. Real people annoy some other people all the time, without ever realizing it. That's what I loved about Nynaeve. She felt real. Elayne didn't start to feel real until she got her own storyline in TSR.
Roger Powell
47. forkroot
KiManiak @14 re the Tuck Rule game: And Pats fans are still bitter about the phantom rushing the passer call against Sugar Bear Hamilton in the 1976 playoff game. A call, I might add, without which, the Raider's do not win that game and subsequently do not win the Super Bowl that year.
Not to mention the non-call on Phil Vilipiano for blatant holding on Russ Francis that would have also sealed the win a bit earlier. That 1976 game was a travesty of justice. Raiders fans have absolutely no basis to complain about the "Tuck Rule" game.

EDIT: And I got so worked up remembering that game, I didn't follow my usual routine of reading the rest of the posts before replying - otherwise I would see that RobMRobM had made the same point.
{:: waves at friend Rob ::}

Now I'm laughing at myself ... I've sat on the sidelines (in this forum) though a lot of gun control discussions, gender stuff, spanking, you name it ... but I guess we just found my hot button eh?
Roger Powell
48. forkroot
OK back to WOT ...

JL@44 - Thanks for a great collection of hilarious Nynaeve snippets. You are absolutely right that Nyn has a blind spot a mile wide about herself, both good and bad. RJ clearly enjoyed playing that for a lot of laughs (at least I find most of those quotes humorous.)

I agree also (with anthonypero) that BWS "softened" that a little, mostly because he didn't have the time to play her thoughts for the comedic angle. It still feels like Nynaeve though, and I have no problem with a little more character progression.

In general, I think Nynaeve is one of RJ's most compelling characters. He put in just enough character "flaws" (like the introspective blind spots) to temper her high intelligence and nearly unmatched ability with the power. This is a "good thing" IMO - too many fantasy novels have grossly powerful, well adjusted characters whose only challenges are external (some powerful baddie) -- comic book stuff.
Jonathan Levy
49. JonathanLevy
Glad to be of service :) Let me add one I missed: ACOS:13: Nynaeve, of all people, explains that threatening doesn't work:
“The woman will probably think you mean to blab her secrets,” Nynaeve muttered... “You know how afraid they are that Aes Sedai will haul them all off to the Tower, if it’s known most can channel. Only a ninny thinks she can threaten people, Elayne, and still get anywhere.”
Aviendha burst out laughing. By the startled look Nynaeve gave her, she did not see the joke she had made on herself. Elayne’s lips quivered, though, however she tried to hold them.
But to address what you said directly, I am very much in agreement with your points:
I personally love Nynaeve's total lack of self-awareness... She doesn't perceive her flaws or actual worth in equal measures.
I think it is very skillfully played by Jordan for comic relief. I know a lot of people don't like the Menagerie scenes in TFOH and the Salidar scenes early in LOC, but I always enjoy re-reading them because they really are funny once you realize what Jordan is doing to poor Nynaeve. It's the same sort of joke that he plays on Gaul and Bain/Chiad.
...for her to suddenly "grow" in self-awareness, without having to deal with any of the underlying causes of her lack in this area, is unrealistic and bad characterization...
I share your criticisms, but I see it as part of a larger pattern. This is, if you will, part of the thin film of BWS lying over the ocean of RJ. The RJ is still pure, but it cannot be accessed without going through the BWS. I do not mean to suggest that all of Sanderson's contribution is bad, though I know my analogy implies it. Much of it is good, and I am grateful to him for his work. But there is a certain part of his style which simply does not fit RJ's, and I try to filter it out as I read.

It has been mentioned before, and it will no doubt attract the ire of the "Hear O Randlanders, Team Jordan is our Lord, Team Jordan is One" crowd (you know who you are :)), but I'll say it again: Sanderson's characters constantly think about their feelings, talk about their feelings, and talk about how to change their feelings, whereas Jordan's do not. Psychobabble is a characteristic of our post-modern society, not of a medieval one; it is absent in the first 11 books, but quite prevalent in the last two. In my opinion, it adds nothing and detracts much. I suppose we should chalk it up to the generational gap between the two writers.

Where else do we see this? Most obviously in the way Egwene handles Gawyn ("Like yeah, I might be ok with going to the prom with you next month, but I am sooooo not in that place right now") and in Bryne's little lecture to Siuan about how her getting used to lying is not good for her emotional well-being. I'm not saying that all cases of introspection were like this, mind you; but there were quite a few that were.
50. Looking Glass
Aura of Darkness: I tend to interpret it as just a ta’veren-gone-dark-side thing, but alternatively it's possible that Rand’s aura is actually due to Ishamael’s SFX. They are supernaturally connected, and Rand seems to get it much more intensely whenever he’s acting all Ishy-like. (Indeed, accepting Ishamael’s arguments at face value would indicate that it was that exact sort of hopeless nihilism that sent him over to team evil.)

@39 EvanThomas: That’s pretty much right- Nynaeve and Elayne got the very light version of compulsion, Kerb and Graendal’s other people got the very heavy version, and Morgase got something in between. Nynaeve more or less walked it off after a gentle reminder; Morgase didn’t overcome the basic programming for a long time, was pretty traumatized, and was still feeling the effects much later, and Kerb is apparently beyond recovery.

As to Rand teaching Nyn: Rand basically said to Nynaeve “here’s the principle, figure it out”; he didn’t give her practical instruction. And she did, because she’s really good at that. Even if it’s one of the things that men and women do differently, there’s no reason Lews Therin couldn’t know the basic theory: several times earlier in the series Rand compares notes with the girls about the different principles behind how they achieve a given effect.

@46 AnthonyPero, others: Yes, Nynaeve has grown up, but it’s hardly so suddenly as you’re saying. It’s definitely a character arc that Jordan had in the works long before Sanderson took over- the first scene that leaps to mind is way back in The Fires of Heaven when she lies to Egwene to avoid embarrassment and gets completely called on it. That’s the first point, that I can recall, where she admits to herself that she’s letting her character flaws undermine her. That was seven books ago, and she has grown up quite a lot in the meantime.

It does sometimes require a swift kick in the pants or two before she’ll admit she has a problem, and she does backslide sometimes, or not realize she’s doing something she knows she shouldn’t be doing. Still, Nynaeve does give a certain amount of thought to her motivations, perceived character flaws, self-improvement, etc. I don’t know that I’d call her the most introspective of the major characters, but she’s hardly the least introspective of them either.

very early on, she may indeed have topped the introspection charts. Looking back, it seems like she had to do a lot more introspection about re-evaluating her place in the world, and re-evaluating her reasons for re-evaluating her place in the world, than the other TR characters did. Perhaps her greater stubbornness does lead to more introspection, via a roundabout route? Egwene often seems to adapt into place without thinking as much about it, while Nynaeve has to work at changing herself.]

That said, it does feel like a bit of a sudden change. Maybe because the pace of her character arc matches up with the pace of the overall WoT plot. Which is to say that after the significant events of the earlier books, there was a while there where progress was almost too slow to notice. Now we’ve got back up to speed and everything is happening much faster and a bit less organically. I’m not sure that’s a Sanderson thing so much as it is a “let’s get this done without taking another ten thousand pages” thing.

Then again, I haven't read as much of Sanderson's other work as I'd like to (it's on the list, but it's a very long list). Maybe it is a Sanderson thing.
OK if I'm up in a tree K-I-S-S-I-N-G Min, then you guys are all sitting in a tree like a flight of vultures wishing you could be K-I-S-S-I-N-G Nynaeve. Nynaeve is hands down The most self centered of all of the girls and even though she has done the most maturing out of all the girls, her primary character flaw still prevails.

Pat's fans stop whining. You lucked out to even be in the Superbowl when the Flacco and the kicker handed you the game, on top of having two questionable calls. And last but not least, the Giants straight up beat the Pats period. The Giants were playing the best football in the league at that time, you Pats fans got a good look at what the Skins got against the Raiders in 1985 or what the Colts got when they lost to the Saints. Better teams win. And despite their records the Giants had been playing the best football in the NFL.

Terry McNamee
52. macster
These two chapters are indeed two of the most powerful in the book, if not the series. I adored seeing Nynaeve come into her own as a proper Supergirl. Criticisms about her introspection or maturation aside, Sanderson was being true to who she was here in that a) she cared, truly cared for others and had a passion for Healing and b) she is determined to make things right and do things her way no matter who or what intervenes or disagrees with her. The fact she can bring these two impulses together, while applying them in a thoughtful, humane, effective way, is I think both a natural progression of her character (or at least one which had been potentially there from the start, assuming she could get over certain attitudes and ways of thinking) and an extremely satisfying development for us to witness. Seeing her help the sick child, commandeer the soldiers, be compassionate with the dosun, methodically track down the one responsible for the messenger's death, defend Rand (both to the Aes Sedai and in her own mind), sympathize with him, trying to get him to trust her solely so she can help him...it was awesome. The fact she Healed Compulsion was just the icing on the cake.

As for Rand, I think Nynaeve said it best: "He was still a wool-headed fool, but...a surprisingly self-aware one. How could a man understand so much, yet still be so ignorant?" While this chapter was no more painful than any other Rand chapter, even post-Semirhage, it does crystallize what Rand is becoming and more importantly why. And hearing him say to Nynaeve, "You want me to live. For that, you have my thanks. Dream on my behalf, Nynaeve. Dream for things I no longer can"...it broke my heart and choked me up.

To Leigh: Despite the fact the ghostly procession was glowing and mist-like, I always associated the chapter name with them: they were walking again due to the Shadow's influence, and the way they are described as flowing with the mist is like a river. Or perhaps it's just a poetic phrase Harriet came up with to describe how the Shadow is flowing stronger around and within Bandar Eban.

Your theory about the dream of the man dying in the narrow bed is...intriguing. I can think of one way it could be applicable here, if we take the dream metaphorically as many of them were: the funeral procession, linked as it is to the funeral pyre of the dream, and the fact that it didn't appear until Rand came to Bandar Eban, is meant to suggest a spiritual death, the fact that thanks to Semirhage, Rand--the true Rand, the Rand we know and whom most of us have liked or loved at one time--is in danger of "dying" to be replaced by this dark, hard, Shadow-tainted destroyer Dragon. It is indeed "important that he not die" (as you so astutely described the philosophical importance of intentions and not allowing despair and convenience to dictate how and why you fight), yet the "pyre is being built" because Rand is destroying himself, convinced he won't survive the Last Battle so why bother? And the "voices raised" would be because those of the Shadow are joyful at Rand becoming what the Dark One wants him to be, while those of the Light (most notably Min and Nynaeve, here) are filled with sorrow and loss at what he is doing to himself. The reason the dream is described as a process ("dying", not "dead") is because it hasn't reached the endpoint yet, Rand is not yet gone so it is a conditional dream. And Rand's epiphany at the end voided the dream by him saving himself and, through uniting with Lews Therin and all his past lives, "living" again. That's my possible interpretation anyway, feel free to tear it apart.

On a side note, I find it interesting that unlike all the other ghosts which have appeared which seemed solid and alive, these are shimmering and pale with no color. Any idea why there's a difference?

On calling Nynaeve "Lady": couldn't it be that those random Domani commoners simply didn't know what the proper term was for an Aes Sedai? It's also possible that due to Arad Doman having been abandoned for so long by the rest of Randland, people there could hold Aes Sedai in contempt and thus not wish to properly honor them with titles.
Terry McNamee
53. macster
@6 Greyhawk: I have to agree. The only characters split across gender lines who still seem to have trouble communicating at this point are Siuan/Bryne, and Egwene/Gawyn, and both pairs seem to have resolved that--Siuan/Bryne by the end of this book, Egwene/Gawyn by the end of ToM. Personally, despite your point about why other supposedly mature characters aren't better communicators, I can see the changes in communication between the male and female main characters as growth and development. This lack of communication has been one of the main themes of WOT all along, but as long as that remained in effect there was no way plots could be resolved or the series brought to an end. I think Jordan knew that and planned for this growth to enable the resolutions that were needed, and Sanderson carried it out, albeit not the way Jordan would have. So I would say that this scene with Nynaeve and Rand is something Jordan intended all along, and it feels so satisfying precisely because Jordan knew that after all the miscommunication, we would need to see this.

@8 Sundriedrainbow: In addition to the points others have made, your examples are flawed. The reason Aviendha was exhausted after redirecting the river was not because channeling in itself was exhausting, but because she had to keep continually pouring the water on thanks to the lava-fire resisting it; it had something to do with the Dark One's touch and the nature of that bubble of evil. As for Elayne, her constant issues with channeling and exhaustion in these books is because of her being pregnant.

@12 birgit: Yay, another Dark is Rising fan! And that's an interesting parallel too...I wouldn't be surprised if you were right, considering Cooper is as interested in mythology as Jordan was.

@16 Gentleman Farmer: Some very keen insights there. And to further bolster your point, let's not forget the link between Rand and Moridin. So not only does Rand's fall into despair here help us to understand Ishamael/Moridin's, the two may actually be linked due to bleedover from Moridin. It's a wonderful case of a figurative foil becoming literal due to the magical nature of a fantasy series. LookingGlass also touches on this point, I see.

@17 Wetlander: I think ZEXXES is right, the dark aura around Rand and the Shroud which Ishy has are not the same thing. However, see my response to him farther down; there may still be a link, but more indirect. And yes, while we have never seen the Shroud around anyone but Ishy and a few other male Forsaken in the World of Dreams, Taim has it too, or seems to, which considering how much Ishy uses the True Power gives us some interesting fodder for what Taim has access to...

@30 Shadow_Jak: This just underscores Adam Reith's point about how the Malkieri addressed Nynaeve, but considering what one of Lan's titles was, wouldn't she, as Queen of Malkier, be "Lady of the Seven Towers"?

@33 Mysterium: The scene you are thinking of is probably when he visits Elayne in the prologue of Winter's Heart, though he also seems to have the shroud/aura when meeting with Pevara in ToM.

@34 SpyderZH: I had completely forgotten about that info about Bandar Eban. Fascinating. I wonder if that is why the ghosts look so different from the others, something about the area being so steeped in the dead? Also that's a great example of how Jordan layered his references: Bandar Eban has the Terhana Library, which is named after Teheran, the capital of Iran...which was formerly Persia. Between that and Babylonia, Sumer, and so many other cultures and empires rising and falling in that same region, it fits with the notion of cities being destroyed, then built atop of again as happened with Bandar Eban. (The same happened with Troy as well.)

@40 ZEXXES: As I said above, I think you are right that the aura and shroud are two different things. As evidence of this, the only person other than Ishy who has it, from what I can recall, is Taim. Some take this to mean Taim is Moridin; I think it's more likely he's been granted use of the True Power, as Ishy/Moridin has been. Either way it proves the shroud is True Power-related while Rand's aura is, as you say, related to the negative Fisher King/ta'veren effect. However, since the dark aura did not come about until after the incident with Semirhage, a case could be made that while it and the shroud are not the same, they do have the same cause--the True Power. It's just that with Moridin and Taim, it's an actual manifestation of the True Power, while with Rand it's that his Dragon/ta'veren nature was corrupted due to him using the True Power (either because he became of the right mindset/darkness of soul to use it, or because he drew it through the link to Moridin).

@49 JonathanLevy: I see your point about what is different about Sanderson's writing, but I have to respectfully disagree that it adds nothing and detracts much. Perhaps it points back to the fact so many people were annoyed by the characters and how they never talked or grew or changed early on (something which has also changed under Sanderson) but I am actually glad that the characters are contemplating their actions, realizing their faults, and trying to do something about it. It may not be subtle as Jordan would have done it, or handled with finesse and skill, but IMO the end results, characters who are more mature, stable, and better prepared for what is coming, is a marked improvement. I was not annoyed by the earlier characterizations, but I see these as having grown out of those. Whether the process of the change was believable, I think the change itself was a good thing and something Jordan wanted to have happen. And that's all I'll say on that.
Valentin M
54. ValMar
JL @ 44, 49

Thanks from me too. I had an angry (not really :)) debate with my computer when I read Loialson's comment @ 36...

Also, an interesting analysis @ 49. I am inclined to agree. The differences which you outline can be attributed to the different personalities of the two men. BWS simply could not align his style with the style of WOT, at least with the little time he has to finish the books. Of course here I am assuming that when we were told that he would not try to mimic RJ's style he meant word choice, sentence structure and other numerous but small things.
IMO, this large use of "feelings talks/introspections" is more than mere style difference. It actually drives the plot often. BWS is obviously very good writer so he could've achieved what was necessary moving in the same tracks in which RJ was.
We can speculate why it is written as it was. E.g. this was the way it worked out best; lack of time; confidence, etc. Who knows... My opinion could be different from the opinion of Team Jordan (never! :)) and "different writing style" includes the way characters express and look at themselves in the last three WOT books.

Having written all that, I also agree to an extent with macster @ 53, that some level of introspection and better communication had to occur. After all the problems with communication have been a theme throughout the books- something which the Light Side has to overcome to achieve victory. But better doesn't have to mean a lot more. The lack of finess, etc, could be due to lack of time.
Ron Garrison
55. Man-0-Manetheran
Hi old friends. Big wave to Sub al'Woofer! It's been a long time since I tuned in to Tor.com. But now I’m back from sailing around the world with Jack Aubrey and Stephan Maturin - a thrilling journey filled with many adventures and highly recommended! I'll see if I can get back into the re-read now that AMoL is nearly upon us. (Funny, I had more time to read and comment here when I was employed. Now that I'm retired, I don't seem to find time to do more than skim.)

Nynaeve. Always one of my favorite characters - just brilliantly awesome yet hilariously unaware. If I can remember so long ago when I first read these chapters, I became very excited with Nyn's realizations. It showed that there just might be a Light at the end of the tunnel.

And way before it became an ad campaign, Nyn sees that bullying is bad. Yeah! It DOES get better!
Anthony Pero
56. anthonypero
Communication between characters should never come at the expense of consitent characterization. Some people feel this is consistent with Nyn's character, which is fine. I disagree. Its not a big deal.

Bottom line: every one reads a character differently, and differently than the author's intent, no matter how skilled the author. We bring our own bias, history, and worldview into every story we read. No matter how hard we try to set them aside, they are there, coloring and filtering the characters we read. The same is true in real life.

ALL of the characters seem different than when RJ was writing them, because BWS saw the characters through his own filter. When he writes them, they are colored slightly differently. We, then, with our own biases, see an even greater change in the characters, even though it doesn't seem that way to BWS. Totally normal, and all the characters are so affected, just look at Mat, and Egwene.

The reason Nynaeve stuck out to me, is because of all the characters in the series, in my opinion, she was the most completely drawn, the most realistic, and the most consistent. Some of this is because she was the only major player who was already a woman grown. (leaving aside Moiraine, who was also wonderfully drawn) Even though her world was completely altered, and she grew as a character, her fundamental outlook, worldview, mannerisms (no braid jokes), personality, etc... that stuff never waivered. Until now. And for no reason. No earth shattering event in her life. No thought or explanation as to why she would suddenly start thinking this way.

Some of you (probably BWS as well) never read Nynaeve like this. That's totally cool. You're not wrong. One thing we lose sight of around here is that my Nynaeve is not your Nynaeve, because we all bring a unique part of ourselves into every character we read. No one else will read Mat the same way I did, or Perrin, etc... Also, I read the characters far differently as a 33 year old than I did as a 16 year old. That's inevitable, and it's not because the characters how changed, it's because I have changed.

That's all I was trying to say. This Nynaeve is not the Nynaeve I remember. That especially stands out to me because of reasons stated earlier.
Kimani Rogers
57. KiManiak
AndrewB@35 – Hmm. I think you may have misinterpreted what I was saying a little bit. I don’t believe I expressed my growing pain in reading about Rand’s descent by citing his words as a threat to kill Kerb. I was pointing out the threat and the wording of the threat.

If those same parents of your example told their children that if they didn’t eat their vegetables then the parents would then pray/wish/will that their children would die, then I would have a problem with that too. There’s a difference between threatening that some bogeyman (some intangible, non-present possibility) might come for you versus your Mom (the person who directly controls your health, safety and well being) telling you she will personally wish for your death.

Rand’s loss of the ability to have compassion? I didn’t make that claim, nor would I. I don’t even think that’s relevant to our discussion about someone going “dark.” Even historical characters/leaders/tyrants that we label as “bad” or “evil” demonstrated compassion when it served their purpose. However there is just as much reason to believe that Rand was saying what he needed to say in order to manipulate Kerb into giving up the information, as there is to believe that Rand was demonstrating compassion to Kerb at that particular point in time.

(Btw, I think dark Rand hasn’tfully lost his way and still doeshave compassion, as demonstrated by the little voice in his head decrying some of his actions –like his blowing off of Lan’s predicament- in the previous chapters. I think I allude to that in my comments in Leigh’s last post)

Finally, I have to admit that I don’t even recall hearing about Sugar Bear Hamilton and the 76 game; excellent recall (and grudge-holding) on your part, sir! :-) I know there’s a lot to go around. I’ll do you one better…

A lot of Raiders fans (myself included) as well as NFL films (who apparently labeled it as one of the most controversial plays of all time) still question the validity of the “Immaculate Reception,” without which the Steelers don’t beat the Raiders in 1972, and maybe the Raiders beat the Dolphins, end the perfect season, and win SB VII. Even moreso, it may have completely derailed the Steelers from becoming such a force in the 70s, with the Raiders taking their place as the AFC representative in SB IX and X instead of the Steelers.

RobM@38 – I sympathize with the loss of the Pats to the Jets that year, then, because the application of that rule sucks. I still maintain that the throwing motion had stopped and that was a fumble and not the “Tuck,” but I’m wary whenever my opinion and perception aligns with Skip Bayless’s so take it for what its worth :-)

It’s fun to speculate. And btw (just b/c tone doesn’t come across well on the internet), I’m obviously saying all of this playfully. I have no desire to antagonize RobM2, AndrewB, forkroot or any of the Pats fans out there. Its sports, its meant to be fun with a little friendly joshing and jibing…
Anthony Pero
58. anthonypero
I'll antagonize a Pats fan anyday... that's just great fun!
Tricia Irish
59. Tektonica
Hi Man-O!! Nice to see you here again!

My sympathies, RobM...I too, am a Pats fan ;-( I was hoping for redemption...and you go, Giselle, for sticking by your man!

Nynaeve used to drive me batty with her anger and self delusion. It is nice to see her character arc and maturity. She was always brave, true and loyal, and now she is gaining insight and wisdom. It started when she broke her block, via surrendering to Saidar, then she got married and did some more surrendering and compromising, and from those experiences, presumably, she has learned that there are other ways to motivate people besides bullying. Nice growth.

It is very hard to see Rand so dark and so alone, with an outlook so bleak, but it does make his epiphany at the end all the more wonderful. Contrast.
Chin Bawambi
60. bawambi
I finally re-bought TGS so I will catch up on my re-reading soon. Friend who I lent it to did some spring cleaning and there went TGS (D'oh!). On the football tip - I had forgotten about the previous tuck rule call which makes this years pro-Giants call (Cruz giving himself up) potentially the worst call of all time. Without said zebra making up a rule to CYA the Giants don't even make the playoffs in the first place... I'll start commenting on the chapters when I catch up on the reading again as I gave the book to my buddy after only one read.

PS "its never personal" has always been my private pet peeve especially within the ethically challenged world of finance in which I reside. I truly believe it should read: "Its always personal its never business".
Kimani Rogers
61. KiManiak
Ok, back to more WOT specific comments

EvanT@39 – You do answer your own question; men and women worked together in the Age of Legends. They should be familiar with the concepts and approach to do things with the other half of the Power. (And as I continued to read through the comments I see that a coupla folks addressed this; oh well) Semi demonstrates as much earlier in TGS when she says something like “Now how do you do this with Saidin again? Oh, yeah” when she is using the sad bracelets to control Rand.

MickeyDee@43 – I look at it more as: the Wheel represents "Order" as constructed by the Creator, and the Dark One wants to destroy the construct and thus represents "Chaos." Therefore I see ta’veren as agents for maintaining/protecting Order. Not that I’m really comparing Jordan to Modesitt, mind you :-)

JL@44 – Wow. I’m amazed at how easily those came to mind. And those are only a few examples, I’m willing to bet…

Zex@51 – (Ok, I’m getting away from WoT again) To be fair to Flacco, he didn’t give the Pats the game; the receive (was it Lee Evans, I think?) couldn’t hold on to the game winning TD (with partial credit going to a decent play by the New England DB, to be fair). Blaming Flacco is (almost) like blaming Brady for the various dropped balls by New England’s WRs…

Macster@52 – Nice proposed analysis of the prophecy in comparison to the ghost processional.

Macster@53 – Good points about the different style in BWS’s writing not just having a negative effect. He does bring something different to the table, and it can enhance and/or improve (sacrilege!) the telling of the story (or at least our characters’ development) as well.

AP@58 – Be careful; Boston/New England sports fans are crazy! :-)
Tina Pierce
62. scissorrunner
sad times for Rand, these are the toughest chapters for me to read. I'm torn between wanting to smack him & hug him.
63. AndrewB
Kimaniak: Actually, I am an Eagles fan. I grew up in Boston so I saw the video footage of the Hamilton play in 1976. (Please note that I was only 3 at the time so I did not see the actual game). Although I am no longer a Pats fan first and formost, I do not like the Raiders (mostly because of Al Davis and the image that he wanted the Raiders to portray).

However, you are right that the Pats fans should stop whining. The Giants were the better team last week and in 2007 . (For the record, I do not beleive that the Pats fans that have commented to date have whinned about the Super Bowl -- just espousing about how payback some times works.)

RobMRobM -- If the Pats / Raiders history is yourr hot button issue, I guess I should not mention that Ohio State defensive back who played with the Raiders in the 70's. You know, fist name Jack, last name Tatum.

Oops. my bad. I am such a trouble maker.

Thanks for reading my musings,
64. fragrantelephant
@30 Shadow_Jak

el'Nynaeve ti al'Meara Mandragoran, Queen of Malkier, Aes Sedai of the Yellow Ajah, Defender of the Peace, Team Light MVP (2010)
John Massey
66. subwoofer
@Man-O, welcome back:D Glad you didn't drown. That woulda sucked;)

er... What's really nice? The smell of the elephant? Perhaps this was one of those spam adds I mentioned making its way onto our hallowed thread. Dang spammers! Call me at home, where I can give the phone to my daughter and you can talk to her.

@Folks in general. There is no point in playing the blame game, nobody wins doing that. The Patriots lost and they handled it with class from Belichick to Brady clear on down the line. When you lose the game of your life- lets face it, for some of these guys it may be their only chance to win it all- having folks tell them, "hey, this was your fault" doesn't help. I am sure they will be reliving that game for a while and guilting themselves. No one needs to add to it. I could point out that Brady threw a ball that a flippin' linebacker intercepted, not a CB, not a Safety, a linebacker. High floater down the middle of the field, it's one on one, no problem. Sure. Welker had to do a barrel roll to catch that one ball; it was in the area, but c'mon. The safety the Giants got? The lack of a run game? No point. It's in the books now and can be broken down six ways from Sunday but it won't change the result. Good job Patriots, you handled the situation with class. There is always next season.

Nynaeve- I still think of her as Nana and laugh every time I think of Luca and the fun had with her. Show some leg, fight with the elephant trainers, have knives hurled at you and "fake" screaming. heh. Yeah, JL was right, she is all about the comic relief. And look at it this way, at the begining, Ny wanted to show Moiraine up and um... play patt-a-cake with Lan. Now Nana is all about using her gift for good. Ny choose yellow, the Ajah for healing. I'm not going to go into the long list of stuff Nana has done for Team Light, but lets be honest here, she is bags of awesome.

Rob Munnelly
67. RobMRobM
On the subject of things even more important than WoT (this week, anyway)....

Andrew, no I couldn't forget Jack Tatum and Darryl Stingley but it is beyond the scope of the current discussion - best left off the table. I'm older than you and, yes, I saw it live on TV (and in years of replay in the ensuing years).

Baw - not going to go there on luck of the Giants and zebra calls. Appreciate the thoughts though.

Tek - thanks! Opinion locally is mixed on Giselle but, almost surprisingly, I'm in her corner on this one.

AP - aren't you a funny one. And who is your team again?

Ki - I don't disagree with the Tuck Rule being a dumb rule but I takes the rules as they is.

68. fragrantelephant
@66 subwoofer

Elayne showed some leg. Nana showed her cleavage. I love the part where Uno stares at her, and then "raised the stare to her face" after she adjusted her shawl. BAGS of awesome, indeed.
@61 My problem with Flacco and his part in the loss was the play where with 20 seconds to go on 3rd down and 3, he decides to force the ball in the corner of the endzone instead of simply running for first down which would have easily been done, because there was
John Massey
70. subwoofer
Hey! Hey now! That's the Queen of the Malkier yur talkin' about there. Show some respect. Nynaeve was just playing the part is all...;)

Edit@Z- back to the blame game, le sigh, Lee Evans dropped that one though. 10:48 of this clip. And anyways, that game is in the books too. Flacco will get his contract tho'.

71. Freelancer
Plenty to say, no idea where to begin, so stream of thought...

~ For those suggesting that Nynaeve is poorly characterized in these chapters as "too introspective", her own words should prevent that conclusion:
Rand did have many people trying to control him. They must frustrate him, and they made Nynaeve’s own job a lot more difficult, since she was the one that he actually needed to listen to.
Oh yeah, she's completely over her "smartest person in the room" complex.

~ Rand's dark aura vs. Ba'alzamon's in the Stone of Tear (since that is the first appearance within the "normal" world):

I cannot say unequivocally that the two are unrelated, but in Rand's case (so far), it is just strong enough to leave very observant people with a suspicion, and no more. In Ba'alzamon's case:
Whips of black lightning curled around her; she screamed as they lifted her, hurled her to slide along the floor like a sack until she came up against one of the columns.
Rand stared up at where the lightning had come from. There was a deeper shadow up there, near the top of the columns, a blackness that made all other shadows look like noonday, and from it, two eyes of fire stared back at him.
Slowly the shadow descended, resolving into Ba'alzamon, clothed in dead black, like a Myrddraal's black. yet even that was not so dark as the shadow that clung to him.
Given that Ishamael is using some illusionary weave to seem to have appeared from up among the columns' tops in the chamber, it is not unreasonable to imagine that this enshrouding darkness is also a trick. If, however, it is indeed the manifestation of his contact with the True Power, then we can take great comfort from the fact that Rand's equivalent is so weak that its existence is not even confirmed in the minds of those who witness it. If this comparison is proper to make, then does it show us that Rand's spirit is fighting the darkness attempting to invade his soul? Or that his innate connection to the Creator is suppressing it? Or perhaps that the care and concern of those around him, like Nynaeve, or the TTT contract, are unknowingly providing a buffer of sorts against the dark one's influence? Any or all of the above? Then again, if Ishamael was just doing his best ILM work, it means nothing at all.

~ Rand's thoroughly eyes-wide-open recognition of his impending fate (as he understands it at this juncture):

Is incredible writing. All the way throught he story, nearly every other character is convinced that Rand doesn't realize what he's up against, what he faces, and what the consequences are. And all along, once he accepted his fate after Falme, he has been fully cognizant of the whole deal. Not of every detail, or of all the various cause-effect impacts, but how it was working on his own condition, what it was doing to him, he's always known.
Thanks to the link with Moridin, and the bleed-through madness of Lews Therin, he has arrived at a conclusion that hoping is too painful and unwise for himself. Though that conclusion is flawed, given the entirety of his situation, it is understandable.
Here we have a young man who, during the travel day from the Stone to Rhuidean, had already concluded that the forsaken would be hunting him, which of them were most likely to appear, and what he could do about it. This young man is no dummy. He has straight up out-smarted scheming Cairhienen nobles, figured out how to make Illian and Tear pretend to get along, and up until they finally do meet in Far Madding, stayed a clear step ahead of the Borderlands rulers, not simple-minded folk in their own right. And people STILL think he has to have his hand held to tell when the sun has risen. When you've outmaneuvered Moiraine Damodred Aes Sedai, nobody should question your intellect, or your capacity for observing the behavior of others.
72. Freelancer
EvanThomas @39

As has been stated by others, there are degrees and applications of Compulsion which comprise a spectrum. What Moghedien did to Nynaeve and Elayne was a mild weave which was not tied off, but dissipated shortly after she left them. At the other end, Graendal turns those who come near her into automatons, such is her paranoia. What was always interesting to me, was that after the description of what Nynaeve delves from Kerb, you could imagine the result of Verin's paintstaking and multi-layered kludge version accomplishing nearly the same result.

@Pat's fans
Seriously? Whining about 35-year old games, when your team should have been banned from playoff action for 3 seasons ala NCAA rules, for blatant and repeated cheating. The one and only reason I prefered the Giants last Sunday was the desire to see Bill Belicheat lose the big one.
~Silver and Black all day, Baby
Liz J
73. Ellisande
I usually just read and lurk but by pure coincidence these chapters also happen to coincide with a chapter in a LotR reread I also follow, and I was really struck by another speech that echoes Rand's above.

Frodo to Sam in the Dead Marshes:
"Sam my dearest hobbit, friend of friends--I do not think we need give thought to what comes after that. To 'do the job' as you put it--what hope is there that we ever shall? And if we do, who knows what will come of that? If the One goes into the Fire, and we are at hand? I ask you, Sam, are we ever likely to need bread again? I think not. If we can nurse our limbs to bring us to Mount Doom, that is all we can do. More than I can, I begin to feel."

And I don't mean to kick off a RJ v JRRT thing, that's not what I'm saying. But I found the similarities of despair here between Frodo and Rand in these chapters heart-breaking. Both of them believe and accept that they have their duty and their fate and there's no point in planning for 'after' because there's not going to be an 'after' for them - it's so poignant to me.

They don't behave the same way in their hopelessness, but part of that's because their duties are different. Frodo has to keep walking, so he does; Rand has to rule people and hunt Forsaken and build for war, so he does. They're not actively suicidal - they want to finish the tasks they've been given, it's the afterward they've released. Rand knows by prophecy that he doesn't have an after (both by Dragon Prophecy and Min's own visions about 'helping him die'), and Frodo doesn't see any way he'll come back.

It doesn't help they both have Dark Forces whispering in their ear metaphorically, making their situation even more grim. Not to mention Rand's constant physical pain, past life leakage, insanity, and the twelve kinds of crap people shove at him daily. I'm sure he'd prefer to be walking to Mount Doom with a sidekick! But thank goodness Rand eventually remembers, as Sam tries to remind Frodo later, that there is good worth fighting for.

(and now back to your football talk. sorry for the interruption! )
Roger Powell
74. forkroot
Freelancer@71 Hear, hear! Nicely done (refering in particular to Rand's understanding of his situation and fate.)

EDIT: @72 What? A Raider fan?? And here I had thought you a man of good judgement! (see below too)

Man-o-man! Where ya been? Good to hear from you.

OK - going back off topic ... Non (American) football fans can stop reading now:

I'm in the peculiar position of being both a Pats fan (grew up there) and a Cardinals fan (where I live now and have season tickets) , yet I find myself compelled to defend the Giants.

First off - I was at the Cruz "give up" game (it was in Phoenix) and yes, it was a completely blown call by the officials. Even Eli Manning admitted (post game press conference) that he was stunned and the Giants caught a break. It's really hard to play "what if" though ... there were a lot more games in the season. Who knows how things would have gone with the teams having different records etc.

One thing I predict is that you will see the league clarify the guidelines for "giving oneself up" in the off season, to avoid another stink like that one.

Secondly - I agree with ZEXXES that the Giants were a better team going into the Super Bowl. The actual game saw momentum swing back and forth - and unsurprisingly, a few key plays decided it late.

Now for the 2007 season SB ... I would say that the Tyree catch was a bit of a miracle play, but stuff happens. For what it's worth, those Patriots had had an extraordinary run of luck to stay undefeated and their luck turned on them just before the end. If they had had Mat Cauthon playing for them, they would have gone 19-0 :-)

As for the Immaculate Reception: This is particularly pertinent as I am writing this from Pittsburgh (on a business trip here.) I have no dog in this fight, yet I have watched the replays over and over and have never been able to tell if Jack Tatum touched the ball first (as ruled) or not. I doubt replay would have answered the question.

Interestingly enough, the league changed the deflection rule in part because of the difficulty of deciding which player tipped the ball when. Under today's rules, the IR would not be controversial.

Any residual Raider fan outrage should be mitigated by the so-called "Immaculate Deception" play (aka the "Holy Roller" play) where the Raiders were awarded an undeserved victory over the Chargers when Stabler intentionally "fumbled" the ball forward. That one also brought a rules change!
John Massey
75. subwoofer
I have no dog in this fight
Y'know, Vic went to jail for stuff like that;)

76. Freelancer
Ellisande @73

Well done.

Adam Reith @29

When Aldragoran realizes that Nynaeve is "his" wife, she becomes "My Lady" to him, as is proper. Calling an Aes Sedai "Lady" is one thing. Calling your erstwhile Queen "My Lady" is expected. In this case, it is not a title beneath her station, but evincing her station.
Anthony Pero
77. anthonypero

Packers fans. Raised in Wisconsin. Cheeshead through and through, although I must admit I felt some... mixed emotions, regarding Favre's departure. I actually caught myself rooting for the Vikings in 2009, a situation I hope to never catch myself in again.

I was probably the only Packers fan who felt the team was overrated all year long. I picked the Giants against the Pack. Game went as I thought it would... but I did pick the Pats in the SB... never so glad to be wrong.
Jonathan Levy
78. JonathanLevy
I have to respectfully disagree that it adds nothing and detracts much... I am actually glad that the characters are contemplating their actions, realizing their faults, and trying to do something about it.
Well, one can certainly disagree on this point - it is a matter of taste, to a large degree. Perhaps I could clarify my thoughts a bit better: I have no problem with characters realizing their faults and doing something about it; I agree with you that it's necessary as part of character development, and it improves the characters. The question is how to write such bits of contemplation: do you wind up sounding like a random quote from a 99cent self-help pamphlet? Or like a mature adult undergoing painful self-examination?

Sanderson has some examples of good self-examination: Egwene's internal debates in TGS are quite good, IMO, and Gawyn's were passable (IIRC), when he decides to join Egwene, and later when when he decides to stop hating Rand. But BWS also has very bad ones (mentioned above).

Jordan avoided this particular pitfal quite well. Nynaeve's examination of how her motives had changed over time (protect Emond's Fielders --> Get Lan --> Pull down Moiraine --> Learn to Heal) is, I think, the best example.

It's also worth comparing with the descriptions of how Rand contemplates his feelings towards his little harem, and how Perrin thinks of Faile before he realizes he loves her. Most of these are one-line thoughts which surprise the thinker: "Better if she is the Falcon" and "And puzzle out how I feel about you".

Ok I see 56.anthonypero said what I was trying to say in just one sentence (the first one), so I'll shut up now.

Personally, I would put this difference under the heading of 'writing styles', though it is of course much more obvious than things like vocabulary, sentence structure, etc.

It's an interesting question, whether it is fair to criticise Sanderson for sticking to his style in this case, rather than trying to match Jordan's. It can be crippling for an artist to have to second-guess himself all the time, and we don't even know if he was aware of this difference in style. I would think (though of course I have no pretense of expertise in this area) that this is something the editor should catch on the first revision, and discuss with the writer, and find some compromise. If the writer feels that this is something he can't do anything about, maybe it's better not to force it.

Also, I don't think any writer would be willing to take up the task of finishing the series if every line he wrote was scrutinized for any difference in style, and he was forced to re-write it each time one was detected.

@Football fans
Wow, who would have thought that a football match would set off more comments than gun control? :)
Alice Arneson
79. Wetlandernw
Loialson @36 – You honor me! And I do agree with you; Nynaeve is quite introspective. She’s not always very accurate in her introspection, but then few of us are. The big difference between Nynaeve and ourselves is that we don’t get to see our own opinions and actions through the eyes of others, nor their inner opinions of themselves, the way we get to see both the inside and the outside of a character in a book. We see what she does, and it strikes us different ways according to our own personalities, but we see her more clearly than she herself does, because we get to see her own thoughts, the thoughts of others about her, and the actions she takes. To several (like Jonathan @44 and anthony @46) I would say specifically that introspection and a true understanding of oneself are not at all the same thing. She thinks about her motivations and actions all the time – the problem is that she is often terribly inaccurate in her self-evaluation. All too often, when she is wrong she’s convinced she’s right, and when she was right in the first place she thinks she’s done everything wrong. Some find her annoying and some find her funny or endearing, but we all know she doesn’t see herself very clearly.

I think Nynaeve has a very ambivalent view of herself, which is part of why she’s so funny, but she’s generally quite consistent in her interactions. (Some have called her a young version of Cadsuane, and I think it’s quite apt except for some major differences in upbringing.) On the one hand, deep down she fears she’s inadequate, and sometimes this bubbles up in her thoughts (and just a couple of times, in her words), and she’s terrified that she’ll fail someone. (IIRC, it’s usually that, anyway. Not necessarily afraid that she’ll fail, but afraid that her failure will result in harm to someone she cares about. And with Nynaeve, that’s actually quite a lot of people.) On the other hand, she is consciously aware of her abilities, her skills and her training, and she had (IMO) worked quite hard when she was Wisdom to convince herself and everyone else that she was fully capable of the position she held. I think she would have effectively blocked out most of her doubts on that score fairly early, in order to have any chance of doing her job well.

So we’ve got this crazy mix of self-confidence and fear, understanding others but not herself, and probably a few other silly contradictions that I’m getting too tired to list, but over it all is this woman who cares passionately about the individual, from the Dragon Reborn down to an unknown child. As others have said, RJ definitely used her for comic relief in her amazing ability to see things completely backwards, but her heart is usually right. I think, though, that she’s one of characters we most often see thinking about what she does – usually incorrectly, but she does think. Sadly, it’s nearly midnight and my brain isn’t functioning very well any more. I hope that was reasonably lucid…

MickeyDee @43 – Rubbish muzak… I have a friend who decided that the best way to keep people happy while they were on hold was to play old Bill Cosby recordings. Now people keep telling the secretary to put them back on hold until the story’s over! Or they just need a good laugh, so they call and ask to be put on hold...

macster @52 – You said exactly what I was thinking about calling Nynaeve “Lady” – “couldn't it be that those random Domani commoners simply didn't know what the proper term was for an Aes Sedai?” I find that by far the most logical explanation, rather than trying to figure out some complicated way of making it an insult.

And… I can’t do any more tonight. I’ll read the comments from 53 on tomorrow, and find out who already said everything, and more intelligibly… Or possibly, who I have to have a little conversation with out behind the bunker, me and my shillelagh…
Anthony Pero
80. anthonypero
@Football fans
Wow, who would have thought that a football match would set off more comments than gun control? :)
Careful, JL@78, your nationality is showing ;) American football doesn't have "matches". Typically, it is paired with the word "game". Sometimes, as the case with this game, it can be called a "rematch", since they played earlier this year, and also in a previous SB four years ago. You could also call this game a "grudge match", since the two teams hate each other, but never just a match ;)

**Please read with overblown professorial tone***
Birgit F
81. birgit
Someone should open a football thread in the forum to keep this a WoT blog.

Ny was already tired before she undid the Compulsion. She watched ghosts at midnight, then Healed the sick child, then went to the dungeon. Then she woke Rand and channeled for an hour.

Ny's growth is also shown in taking along soldiers. In earlier books the supergirls always insisted that they didn't need Thom and Juilin or Mat's soldiers as protection. El should learn from Ny, she would have tried to go to the dungeon alone if Birgitte and her guards let her.
82. Freelancer

I understand wanting to keep a forum on-topic. I would answer that while this is indeed a WoT blog, it is first Leigh's blog. And the pattern was set by her, an unashamed Saints fan, to discuss playoff football here. It is an inconvenient truth that, for many Americans, Super Bowl Sunday is the most important day of the year. (I still haven't watched the DVR of the game, we've been too busy with foreign guests this week. I've discussed more cricket and running than football.)

Anyway, we'll try not to run the blog out of space with our sports jabbering.
Rob Munnelly
83. RobMRobM
Birgit - what, you want to some good Bundesliga talk?
Valentin M
84. ValMar
JL @ 78
re: the comments towards my post- I was thinking in the same lines. Probably an attempt to compromise between the two different styles was made in order to maintain the overall integrity of the piece of work that is WOT. Just how this worked in practice probably we will never know.

birgit @ 81

Thanks for undrelining the fact that Nyn took some soldiers with her! I remember being pleasantly surprised when I read it first time. A definite show of growth and learning from past experience.

RobM @ 83

birgit is probably cranky because now that the Glass-man (Robben) is back from injury Bayern are doing worse and Schweinsteiger is injured for few weeks ;)
Cameron Tucker
85. Loialson
Phew, thanks! You expressed what I was intending so much better than I could.

Ny does have introspection, often with false conceptions, that lead her to erroneous beliefs of how things actually are, but my point was that most of the characters don't stop to think at all about themselves and their motivations much on screen (yes, I'm looking at you Elayne).
On another note, just finished my re-read of tEotW, and noticed something I'd forgotten. Elayne is always rescuing stray animals and healing/curing them, and her proclivity to bring in strays is what leads her to defending Rand (and that he crashed into the Palace Garden :D).

In ToM she reaveals her intentions for the Kin, as free healers for all in her Kingdom, that she would support. Aw...political motivations aside, and even with all my frustrations with her dragging on the courageous stupid, I felt nice warm fuzzies for her.

Seeing the consistencies with her character, and how she's grown and is wanting to use her power for considerable good among the common people, just made me fall in love with her all over again as a character. Like when Leigh forgave Perrin all his crap- post ToM epic awesome, this made me love Elayne again and forgive her all.

It was a small and simple thing, just seeing the compassion behind all her devious politicking, but it made all the difference to how I view her character.
Anthony Pero
86. anthonypero
Saw this picture on FB the other day, and of course, I immediately though of Leigh and the rest of you all. Enjoy!

Anthony Pero
87. anthonypero
By the way, totally work safe, even if you work in a church, lol.
88. Pogun
Even though her world was completely altered, and she grew as a character, her fundamental outlook, worldview, mannerisms (no braid jokes), personality, etc... that stuff never waivered. Until now. And for no reason. No earth shattering event in her life. No thought or explanation as to why she would suddenly start thinking this way.
This is very likely the sort of percepual difference you were referring to but to me the reason WHY Nyn is thinking in a different way is because she has a clear cut example of her previous methodology sitting right in front of her, and SEES that is doesn't work. Cads mishandling of Rand and subsequent death threat seems enough of a reason to me at least, for Nyn to reconsider her "Boxing ears" method.

I don't think that every person needs to have a severe crash to realize that they need to make a change. True, by and large that is the catalyst for MOST people, but there are a relative few out there that don't have to go through the grinder of life to realize that they made a bad decision and need to alter their perspective/actions.
Don Barkauskas
89. bad_platypus
MickeyDee @43:
ta'verenessuousity (What? Is too a word)
Of course it is. It's a perfectly cromulent word. We're all just looking at you strangely because the proper American spelling is "ta'verenessuosity."
Hugh Arai
90. HArai
@various: I have to say I find most of the comments in this thread
a bit bizzare. Honestly, Nynaeve finally figuring out in The Gathering Storm that Rand doesn't respond well to bullying after knowing him his entire life is working too fast and out of character? How many more decades were you predicting it would take? Maybe a death-bed realization "Oh, that's why he never did what I wanted..." ?

The mileage, it does vary I guess.
Anthony Pero
91. anthonypero
Um... I think the point, HArai, is that after knowing him his whole life and not getting it... she wasn't GOING to get it, without something momentous happening that changes her perspective. That's what happens in real life... people don't ever get most things.
Bill Stusser
92. billiam
On the aura of darknes thing, Pevara saw 'An air of darkness' when she looked at Taim in the epilogue of KoD. That, along with the red and black pattern in his 'throne room' in the black tower, is part of the basis of the Taim is Moridin theory.
John Massey
93. subwoofer
I think AP is right. You have to remember that people, especially people close to each other, fall into certain dynamics when relating to the other. For instance, my sisters and I have a pattern that we always fall into despite being a lifetime removed from who we were when we were living at home. Parents, no matter how old their kids get, have a certain way to view their kids, sometimes it is quite a wake up call to one day realize that "hey, my kid is all grown up now and can stand on their own two feet". Nynaeve has had a lifetime of watching Rand grow up. She nannied him, spanked his bum, took care of him when he was sick, etc. ,somewhat mothering in her role. When Nynaeve left the Two Rivers it was to guard over her flock. Just as it took a bit for Ny to switch gears with the way she relates to Egwene, same goes for Rand.

And let us not forget that all men in the WoT world need to be smacked soundly about the head with a stick on general principles. That is a dogma that is hard to shake free of.

Teresa Nielsen Hayden
94. tnh
Dear hearts, the Tor.com Forums would be a perfect place for discussions of football. RobM, I'm looking at you.
95. yasiru89
Now that I reflect on it, it does seem odd that Nynaeve is addressed the way she is. However, with the palace guard at least, it may just be that they're indeed honouring her rank as a queen through marriage to Lan (the ki'sain being visible to all), though it becomes tricky because Lan denies being anyone's liege, so even he's just Lord Lan. For the rest of them, Nynaeve certainly hasn't yet got the Aes Sedai look, and doesn't behave as an Aes Sedai might be expected to, so perhaps it's in that.

I don't agree with Leigh that such simple duals are at play with regards to how Rand means to face the battle ahead. It's not so much about hope in the superficial sense as it is about fighting for a good reason (and 'cowardice' never even comes into it, however contrived one wishes to make the issue). This becomes clearer at the end of tGS and throughout ToM (as much as Rand appears in this latter).
He isn't particularly hopeful, but he has a reason to fight post-epiphany, more than just because it being what he must do. It also seems he's given hope of living to the wind rather than clinging to it (which he could never afford) or denying it vehemently (which he tried), going by what he tells Narishma with regards to setting up a new meeting with the Borderlanders. What is more important is the Fisher King take that's appeared throughout the series, that the land and the Dragon are one. It is in ignoring the very literal reality of this that Rand's current motivations are mistaken.
96. troublemaker
@ 30. Does Nynaeve get a title? The examples listed are of ruling queens, ruling in their own right. Is she simply Nynaeve ... Mandragoran, consort of the Uncrowned King of Malkier? Usually you had to have noble status to assume the noble status of your spouse, otherwise you were their spouse but not necessarily named within their title. For instance, Philip, Duke of Edinburgh is Prince Consort, not King. Yes, Catherine Windsor is now the Duchess of Cambridge, but that's very different than when Charles and Diana married (she was the daughter of an Earl.)
Even assuming that Lan can raise her to noble status, when you're being very formal, her title is still Queen Consort, not Queen.
But maybe he'll give her some wonderful title, like Lady of the Thousand Lakes?
Have fun with the patriarchal nature of the armigerous!
*ducks behind shield*
Kimani Rogers
97. KiManiak
::whistles innocently::

Football talk? On a WoT thread? That would never happen! All we ever talk about here is uber-WoT specific, right? :-)

JL@78 - You mean you'd like to discuss some lightweight topic like "gun control," or "world peace," or "the meaning of life" instead of something with substance and gravitas like the stupidity of the "Tuck rule?" :-)

TnH@94 - I keed, I keed! No more football, for (most likely) at least until August :-)
(Please keep your eye on the aforementioned gentleman; no need to turn your attention this way) :-)

::tries to whistle and walk away innocently, checks over shoulder and sprints into the bunker::
Juan Avila
98. Cumadrin
Oh my GAWD it's so slow at night. I was hoping to do this at 100 but they just don't make sleep like they used to! You need a whole lot more of it to achieve the desired effect, know what I mean?!

Alright, so I've been busy this week. So busy that I didn't even get to the post until today. Discussion's great! I love everybody. Except Rand. He broke my fridge with his evil ta'veren jinxiness!

For everyone that was waiting on seeing my writing, I finally got it on the interwebs here. Enjoy. More to come, probably. I need to get this whole "sharing" kick out of my system. Like, seriously. Brain, mouth, no more seeing each other, I forbid it! I know you like mouth, brain, but he is a bad influence!
99. Freelancer
bad_platypus @89

I have always insisted that cromulent, being the self-evident and inherent superlative that it is, permits no external elevating adjective such as perfectly, without crossing directly into redundancy. Cohen's authorial perogative notwithstanding.

tnh @94

Looking at who? Oh, I see.

KiManiak @97

Invoking the First Rule of Thermodynamics, eh? That being that when the heat is on someone else, it isn't on you...

**Edited for discretion upon indirect request**
100. Freelancer

Edited to add...

What, am I expected to do some kind of victory dance on this thing? Not my style.

It'sss mine, the Preciousss! Keep away, nasty hobbitsesss.
Teresa Nielsen Hayden
102. tnh
KiManiak @97:
"Football talk? On a WoT thread? That would never happen! All we ever talk about here is uber-WoT specific, right? :-)"
Tcha. You guys are forever digressing a little. I mentioned this one because somebody threw a flag on the play.
103. sleepinghour
@ 96.

Does Nynaeve get a title? The examples listed are of ruling queens,
ruling in their own right. Is she simply Nynaeve ... Mandragoran,
consort of the Uncrowned King of Malkier? Usually you had to have noble status to assume the noble status of your spouse, otherwise you were their spouse but not necessarily named within their title.

Some of the Borderlands (and Cairhien) have joint monarchies. According to ToM's glossary, "The husband or wife of a Saldaean ruler is not simply a consort, but an almost co-equal ruler." This explains Min's viewing about Perrin and a broken crown, and Bashere's comment to Perrin ("I suppose Zarine told you all about my estates before you...married her. All about the Broken Crown.") If Faile inherits the throne of Saldaea, she will have to share it with Perrin.

In Nynaeve's Accepted test, Lan says, "As my wife, how could you not be Queen? We are Malkieri here, not southlanders. You were crowned in the Seven Towers at the same time we exchanged rings." So Nynaeve would be Queen of Malkier, and Rand will also be co-ruler of Cairhien if he marries Elayne.
Rob Munnelly
104. RobMRobM
Please, Ms. TNH, edit your post to refer to me by my handle. Thx.

Almost having a LOTR movie flashback with the big eye on top of the tower looking directly at me. Ach.

I for one am done with the football talk at this point. Perhaps I should move on to a less controversial topic, such as gun control or sexual double entendres in the names of Randland Inns (Nine Horse Hitch anyone?)

Teresa Nielsen Hayden
105. tnh
RobM, if you prefer your handle, I'll henceforth use nothing else.

That isn't the Great Eye of Mordor. It's just me, plus my later-middle-age lens correction for farsightedness.
Rob Munnelly
106. RobMRobM
Thanks, T. I'll take you at your word you are not Sauron.
Stefan Mitev
107. Bergmaniac
@103 sleepinghour - That's interesting. Cairhien have joint monarchy? What is the source of this? I don't remember it? Is it from the Guide?

Anyway, about Nynaeve, when we discussed how much she has changed, we shouldn't forget that until TGS, we barely had PoVs from her after 2 really major events happened in her life - her wedding and the loss of the block. Only 3 PoVs in total in that period from her (two in WH and one in KoD).
jack syren
109. JackMyDog
Wall of text alert
@ Man-O Have made three or so journeys with Jack Aubrey and crew and found them to my taste, seagoing wooden ships and all. However, and this is on topic to this forum and the frequent comparisons between RJ and BS,s style of writing, I just couldn't continue the voyage. The Patrick O'Brian storys soon left me feeling I was reading what I call Formula writing. In my early enthusiasum I purchased a number of his books as I found them but they linger on my bookshelf unread. Like Dan Brown's lastest about the Masons, no thanks after 4 or 5 chapters.
While I read for enjoyment and read very fast I do not often "get it" when it comes to symbology and nuance of charactor analysis. It takes reading other's comments for me to see some deeper meanings.
Many years ago in a high school English class my teacher had us spend most of the year reading Huckleberry Finn paragraph by paragraph and Mr Dorsey would come up with all this stuff that Twain was saying. I'ld read it years before and loved it and couldn't figure out where he was coming up with all this hidden meanings
Still today, I can't believe that a good storyteller would structure his/her work beyond what it takes to be enjoyable just so that readers would come to find unconsious importance in his creation. Yes perhaps an author could say to himself, "I want this book to make the reader come to some signifigant conclusions about such and such and I'm going to do it by having them love the story and want to finish it leaving them feeling the way I want them to feel about this matter, moral or whatever." But it is the storytelling that is important to me.
So I can hardly tell who wrote what, RJ or BS. They both are great storytellers. This is the only Sanderson I've read, his WOT contribution. It's been great so far.
Never during the WOT do I feel this sense of a formula. Oh yes there were times I passed some parts a little quickly, lengthy discriptions of the girls fashions would sometimes disturb me. Elayne is often insufferable, EG and Gawyn deserve each other. Hated Faile, love her now, same with Perrin's arc during her captivity, hated it but Man love him now. Did BS do that, who cares?
Just love this story, it's mostly all I read lately except when I find HB copies of old favorites like Vonnegut and Asimov.
People, often young people when hearing of my interest in this are always suggesting this or that fantasy series "I would love". Just can't do it. Tried that series about the boy who found the Dragon egg,(even forgotten the name). By the end of two books I saw the formula and when starting the third introduction gave it back to my friend unread. Same old same old.
Not true with this. So somebody please tell me why I love this WOT so much. Is it the hidden symbolisms, the nuance of structure about which people comment so often?
I love the charactors and like the way you'all view their growth and change.
My favorite chapter is The Golden Crane, it's been love /hate for Ny all along until then, now all love except I hate she caved to Cadsuane here in TGS. But she learned from that.
Thank you to all who post and comment, it fills a need I have that I can't explain, can any of you explain it to me?
110. sleepinghour
Bergmaniac @ 107

That's interesting. Cairhien have joint monarchy?
What is the source of this? I don't remember it? Is it from the Guide?

It was mentioned in New Spring. At least, that's what I took this part to imply:
Merean did not know Laman Damodred, a distant man who burned with ambition, the only warmth in him. Moiraine’s opinion was that he had remained unmarried for the simple reason that even the inducement of becoming Queen of Cairhien was not enough to convince any woman to marry him.
Lan's comment from the Accepted test makes me think that wives of Kings are not normally called Queens. But it's hard to tell since most Randland rulers are widowed or unmarried. Amathera (who was not married to the King of Tarabon and a co-ruler in her own right) was called Panarch.

As for husbands of Queens, Ethenielle's late husband Brys was called Prince Consort. Perrin is the "Wolf King," so maybe he will in fact be called King of Saldaea. Mat is the Prince of Ravens, which puts him two steps below Tuon since Emperor/Empress is a step above King/Queen regnant. Not sure if Taringail ever had an Andoran title.
Hugh Arai
111. HArai
anthonypero@91, subwoofer@93: I see your argument, I guess I just consider the example of the other bully Cadsuane and Rand's threat to "kill her with his brain" to be, as anthonypero put it, "something momentous to change her perspective". She knows he's always been stubborn when pushed. Everyone from the Two Rivers knows that. Now he's actually quite seriously threatening to kill people who push him. It seems like even Nynaeve would reasonably consider rethinking her approach? Simple difference of opinion I guess.
112. Freelancer
JackMyDog @109

Good vs Evil. Virtue vs Vice. Living and acting for something greater than yourself vs prideful, smallminded selfishness.

That is the briefest version of what is so lovable about WoT. The distinctions between Right and Wrong are clear and consistent. When the Good Guys cross that line, their goals fail, and when they hold that line, they succeed. The brilliance of Jordan goes far beyond that, of course, with the interlaced mythologies, societies, and worldviews. But the essence is that the highlights and blemishes of human nature are on display in an authentic manner, and it Compels you.
Sam Mickel
113. Samadai
Sleepinghour @ 110

Mat was Prince of the Ravens when he was married to the Daughter of the Nine Moons. Now he is married to the Emperess, may she live forever. ( :D ), so we don't know what his title is.

edit for: Maybe he still is known as the Prince, I will have to look at tGS to see if she thinks of him that way before or after she declares herself Emperess.
Sam Mickel
114. Samadai
Hi Man o' Manetheren, long time no see. Happy to see you back with us.
115. sleepinghour
Samadai @ 113:

Mat was Prince of the Ravens when he was married to the Daughter of the Nine Moons. Now he is married to the Emperess, may she live forever. (:D ), so we don't know what his title is.

We get an answer to that from Tuon's thoughts in ToM: "Would Matrim be equally loyal? What would it be like, to have a Prince of the Ravens whom she did not have to plot against?" So that's probably a title he will keep.
Stefan Mitev
116. Bergmaniac
Taringail's titles in Andor were Prince Consort and First Prince of the Sword (the latter probably because Morgase had no brothers).
Anthony Pero
117. anthonypero
@tnh, @RobM:

I'd prefer it if you all would refer to me by my screen name as well, please ;) j/k.
John Massey
118. subwoofer
@AP- you want us to call you some unpronounceable symbol? ;)

I gotta admit that I as well am guilt of FB talk, sorry, am mucking out the bunker to work off my toh.

@HArai, it is not that everyone in the TR knew that Rand was stubborn, I think that stubborness is a trait of that region. As Nynaeve is from that area, she has the same character trait of stubborness as well. In regards for Nynaeve taking this long to come around, lets look at the tape, Alex. How many spankings did it take before Egwene saw the light and became the Amyrlin truly? How about Rand, it is not until the end of this book before he sees the light. Perrin- do folks really want me to dive into Perrin's battle with inner demons before he comes to his senses in the next book? I think we are still waiting for Mat and Elayne to come around, Berelaine and Galad have found er... inner peace, Aviendha goes to Rhuidean, Faile has become bearable, Cadsuane, well, she said sorry... All in all, everyone is seeing the light. I don't know if we can attribute this to the series wrapping up or to the effects of Rand feeling better about himself.

Incidentally, I would have cheerfully commented earlier, around the hunny spot, but Sub is flying solo with his little woofer and she has sniffles and is teething hardcore. Le sigh. She has the nap angle down now and I think I may join her.

Sam Mickel
119. Samadai
Sub, nap angle sounds good, too bad the angle of my desk isn't conducive to napping. ;).

I feel Nynaeve has been changing in attitude since the beginning of the series. I don't think this chapter is just all of a sudden Nynaeve just gets it. She has spent the last 2 years expanding herself, and is really coming into her power. She feels no different to me now than she did in book one. She has grown, she knows way more, she understands that sometimes to lead you have to follow. she has had these lessons again and again.
I think the problem is that we have only had a few short Nynaeve chapters in a whole bunch of books, so we have benn unable to "see" her understanding growing
Look at it this way, How many people were surprised by what she did for Lan in Knife of Dreams? who would have thought she would do that after finally having Lan by her side?
It's a funny thing, some people complain that some parts of the story are too fleshed out, but they are usually the ones that complain if "all of a sudden" something happens that they weren't expecting. I don't have the timeline handy (wrong computer) but I believethere is at least a couple months between Nynaeves POVs.
I Don't have time to go through the books, but I believe it is close to Fires of Heaven or Lord of Chaos where Nynaeve is the view point character in the story. I know there is a few one of pov's of hers in between those and KoD's but they are small, and not given over to much introspection by her.
So months of growth without being in her head too often, it just makes sense and doesn't seem like it is just "there" to me
120. DeJulis

I'm reminded of the story of, I believe, Isaac Asimov having the pleasure to sit in on a lecture at a university one day in which the professor went on at great length about these deep meanings and such in one of novels. , at one point, asks the professor how he knew the author meant these things, and the professor went on at greath length about how much it had been studied.

At the end, said simply, "well, I'm , and that's not what I meant when I wrote it."
121. DeJulis
Apparently, using angle brackets to imply "enter the author's name here" breaks tor.com. Who knew?
Robert DeJulis
122. DeJulis
And I "went black" so I can edit posts from now on. Joy.
Alice Arneson
123. Wetlandernw
DeJulis - it also helps a little if you look through the preview to make sure it says what you meant it to say before you hit "post"...
124. Wortmauer
Shadow_Jak@30: Let's add some honorifics...
Her Highness, Queen el'Nynaeve ti al'Meara Mandragoran, Aes Sedai of the Yellow Ajah.
Ah, but Malkier is in the Borderlands.
"That," said Uno, "was Alliandre, Blessed of the Light, Queen of bloody Ghealdan. And a dozen more titles, the way you southlanders like to pile them up."
— TFoH, Ch. 39, "Encounters in Samara"
And yes, Uno was talking to Nynaeve. I don't think we need to pile titles on her now, lest Uno make fun of her for it.
Jonathan Levy@49: Sanderson's characters constantly think about their feelings, talk about their feelings, and talk about how to change their feelings, whereas Jordan's do not. Psychobabble is a characteristic of our post-modern society, not of a medieval one; it is absent in the first 11 books, but quite prevalent in the last two. In my opinion, it adds nothing and detracts much. I suppose we should chalk it up to the generational gap between the two writers.
This. You might say Rousseau finally won, alas. I'm not so sure it's a generational thing, though ... there was a lot of psychobabble floating around in RJ's day too. I think he was just more aware, as a writer, of anachronism in general. Here's a wild theory: RJ learned to write fantasy by studying and researching history as an active interest; BS learned to write fantasy by studying ... other fantasy.

(I don't read them, but I've heard that this is exactly what's wrong with a great many historical romance novels. Characters from centuries past walk around with late 20th century attitudes.)
Wetlandernw@123: it also helps a little if you look through the preview to make sure it says what you meant it to say before you hit "post"...
Certainly. It doesn't always help, unfortunately. Try writing a word in Greek, for example. I did that once. It showed up fine in the preview, then disappeared in the final post. (I haven't tested the limits of tor.com ... let's see if it's just non-Latin characters like "???" (tau omicron rho), or if things like "ö" (o with diaeresis) or "é" (e with acute accent) are also censored. These all look fine in the preview.)
Huh. "Encounters in Samara" is actually about an appointment in Samara. Sort of. The chapter totally should have been called that.
125. Wortmauer
Hmm, looks like the Greek characters didn't make it but the Latin ones did. I should not have said "censored," though. That has political overtones I did not mean. The correct word is probably "redacted."
DeJulis@120: I'm reminded of the story of, I believe, Isaac Asimov having the pleasure to sit in on a lecture at a university one day in which the professor went on at great length about these deep meanings and such in one of novels
Hmmm, probably wasn't Asimov. I distinctly remember reading an essay of his years ago on the subject of literary criticism. Really opened my eyes. He made the point that an author is not in a particularly privileged position to say what is in his work and what isn't. As an example, Asimov noted that the Tolkien's One Ring represents technology — e.g., lengthening the Ringbearer's lifespan, destructive to the "old order" represented by the society the Elves worked so hard to maintain, powerfully addictive, etc. Who was Tolkien to say that this way of looking at LOTR is invalid, which apparently he did say? Asimov said that the symbolism still exists whether or not Tolkien did it on purpose. I'm inclined to agree, though before reading the essay I would have said an author is the ultimate judge of what his own work means. (Yes, I was young.)
Alice Arneson
126. Wetlandernw
Wortmauer @125 - An author is absolutely the only legitimate judge of what he meant by what he wrote; he simply has no control over what other people choose to read into it. That (for good or ill) tends to be colored by the society and life experience of the reader. The error is in the professor claiming that "the author meant this or that" in his writing; if we don't know the author meant a particular thing, I aver that it's a lie to say he did.

By all means, say that you see a parallel to (whatever) in what he wrote - that is legitimate. Say that something he wrote means (whatever) to you. Even, if you feel the need, say that you think it means (whatever) in our current sociological and cultural interpretation. But don't be so presumptuous as to claim that you know what he meant unless he said so.
Jay Dauro
127. J.Dauro

Here you are. All of Nynaeve's POVs by book and chapter. The number in brackets is the day number from the timeline, Tellings of the Wheel.

Nynaeve POV
21 - Listen to the Wind
28 - Footprints in the Air
37 - The Long Chase

8 - The Dragon Reborn
23 - The Testing
40 - Damane
42 - Falme
45 - Blademaster
46 - To Come Out of the Shadow

29 - A Trap to Spring
51 - Bait for the Net

39 - A Cup of Wine
52 - Need
54 - Into the Palace
55 - Into the Deep

8 - Over the Border
9 - A Signal
14 - Meetings
15 - What Can be Learned in Dreams
16 - An Unexpected Offer
17 - Heading West
33 - A Question of Crimson
34 - A Silver Arrow
37 - Performances in Samara
38 - An Old Acquaintance
39 - Encounters in Samara
40 - The Wheel Weaves
47 - The Price of a Ship
48 - Leavetakings
49 - To Boannda
50 - To Teach, and Learn
54 - To Caemlyn
55 - The Threads Burn

P - The First Message
8 - The Storm Gathers
12 - Questions and Answers
13 - Under the Dust
14 - Dreams and Nightmares
29 - Fire and Spirit
30 - To Heal Again
37 - When Battle Begins
48 - Leaning on the Knife

21 - Swovan Night
23 - Next Door to a Weaver
24 - The Kin
31 - Masiara

11 - Ideas of Importance
34 - The Hummingbird's Secret

20 - The Golden Crane

7 - The Plan for Arad Doman
32 - Rivers of Shadow
33 - A conversation with the Dragon
44 - Scents Unknown

15 - Use a Pebble
20 - A Choice

Almost 200 days from TFOH to the Golden Crane, and I will let others decide if there was introspection during that time.


Yes, Asimov did tell a story of sitting in a class where the professor was analyzing one of his works. But, IIRC, Asimov said he did argue some about the analysis. And finally he said something to the effect of, "Well I ought to know, I wrote it."

The professor replied that he was glad to meet Asimov, but that just because he wrote it, what made him think he knew what it meant. Asimov's implication was that he learned something from this.
Interesting arguments about purposeful intent with regards to the meaning of.

I would say during most times within a fictional work that the author wouldn't have too much conscious intent toward having a set meaning. At times I can imagine that a particular point is consciuosly trying to be made, or maybe even a certain emotion or thought process is trying to be ivoked or conveyed. I know I have done so at times in writings I have done personaly. Even here in I think reread part 5 (or was it 4), where I wrote a little short to convey the meaning of Seanchan society.

The only way one could hope to write a fictional work in a complete state of personal conviction, with the purpose of focusing a set of points trying to be made, would be to have it outlined that way right from the beginning. There would be a lot of interuptions from having to start and stop to convey what the author wants in such a way that the majority of readers would glean the material in line with the authors intent. I should say that would be extremely difficult and would be time consuming to an even greater extreme. It would be more like writing non-fiction than fiction.

Which is what I believe Jordan had been doing. He was paying very close attention to details. But at the same time he left some things vague to keep you guessing. Jordan planted passages to steer the reader here and there, giving him room to breath, while also giving the reader fodder for more indepth introspection.

But there will always be those few who see things in an unintended way. There will always be those few that even after corrected using reasonable amounts of proof, that the original thoughts and feelings that one had will linger and foul the story for them. It is always so with us, the humble reader.

But I feel the above mentioned professor did have a point, in that if the Author of a fictional work did not sit down purposefuly to convey points of this and thus, then open interpretation is fair game and should be considered a given, whether the Author intended it or not.

Anthony Pero
129. anthonypero
I've heard that some authors, on subsequent drafts of novels, employ the following trick; on each scene they write three things:

1) What does this scene need to accompish in the Plot?
2) What does this scene need to accomplish in the character?
3) What am I trying to convey through this scene?

The last point can be an emotion, or a metafictional truth (like Rothsfuss), a statement on society (say, the differences between men and women in the WOTs case), the abuse of power... all the things we are talking about. Then, when they rewrite the scene, they make sure that the scene accomplishes these three things.

So, yes, and author can (and many have) make strong, societal points conciously in nearly every scene.
Nadine L.
130. travyl
Finally caught up and though I'm ignorant of American football I agree with Freelancer that Leigh's intro gave free pass for discussion.
@ TNH 104. Had to google it, but as I understand american football like "normal" soccer does have flags to indicate rule-breaking, so it wouldn't astound me if "somebody threw a flag on the play" last sunday as well. Although anthonypero (no "space" in compliance of your request @117) would *probably* say you should use game instead of play. .
*** I got your meaning but I couldn't resist ***

@44.JL: Nynaeve's lines put togheter like this is really funny, thanks for the effort. Having read Wetlandernw's comment @79. I agree with her though.
@127. J.Dauro, Nice, thanks.
@89. bad_platypus: LOL
John Massey
131. subwoofer
@travyl- remember that conversation that Mat had with Talmanes about women dicing? Apply his logic here- "X". Best to appologize and move on, no good can come of this... I am married, I have found the value of saying "sorry" just on general principles.

@Free100, trust me, no one really wants to see an old guy dance... whew, disaster averted;)

I wonder if old Bill meant for his plays, sonnets etc. to be broken down the way many literature classes have done?

Hugh Arai
132. HArai
subwoofer@131: I suspect he was far more interested in whether they were filling the house and making him a living.
Valentin M
133. ValMar
I remember back in the day in Literature classes, from several countries- being put off from a number of works and authors. The ridiculous levels of analyzing, and then being examined on it. It felt rather demoralizing since it seemed so pointless.
IMO, the only point in 50% of the dissecting in literature is to keep a lot of "experts" employed.
Robert DeJulis
134. DeJulis
DeJulis - it also helps a little if you look through the preview to make sure it says what you meant it to say before you hit "post"...
I had that thought as soon as I saw that it wasn't quite what I meant to put down :P
135. Caveatar
"Yes, Asimov did tell a story of sitting in a class where the professor
was analyzing one of his works. But, IIRC, Asimov said he did argue some
about the analysis. And finally he said something to the effect of,
"Well I ought to know, I wrote it." "

Charles Schultz of Peanuts comic strip fame once did a strip regarding
critics and analysis of an artist's work.
Linus (the blanket carrying kid) drew a picture of a person.
His sister Lucy (big mouth overbearing older sister) analyzed it.
She commented words to the effect: "I notice that you have drawn this person with his hands behind his back. This is because you, yourself, have feelings of insecurity."
To which Linus replied, "I drew this person with his hands behind his back because I, myself, CAN'T DRAW HANDS!"

I think this probably is true of a lot of critical artistic analysis.
Analysts notice the effect but attribute it to the wrong cause(s) because they have a frame of reference/world view different from the author.
Much like we fans do.

Eric Hughes
137. CireNaes
The brilliance of Jordan goes far beyond that, of course, with the interlaced mythologies, societies, and worldviews.
This element that Free made mention of is what draws me in. It's what gives WoT that eerily familiar quality as I read it. Connecting me to the story in a manner so often lacking in other works of Fiction. Kind of like when you walk into a library or church and you take a deep breath. That smell of something known.

But there is another quality that I find facinating about WoT and it regularly comes up here in the thread too. WoT's overall enjoyability is not age dependent. I started this series when I was in 6th grade and I still haven't outgrown it. I can tell you that the character's or scene's I found satisfying then are wildly different than what I cling to now as my bread and butter. Or if there is a similarily satisfying element it has a new twist to it. Kind of like eating a slice from the same pizza, only from a different direction. Or biting off the bottom of a waffle cone and enhaling the icecream like a milk shake while munching on the delectable bits of batter rather than the more traditional top down methodology. Or pouring your espresso shots on top of the steamed milky foam rather than having them mixed in like a traditional latte...all that to say is I need a snack.

Edit: Grammar as usual.
Tess Laird
138. thewindrose
Wow - a lot of comments to get through. Having no stake in the SB this year(I am originally from WI - so in the blood and alla that;), I have to say it was a good game, and the 1/2 time show totally trumped last years.

From Leigh's post:
Nynaeve stands on the wall surrounding Bandar Eban, sensing the metaphorical storm still to come, and reflects on how she misses the Two Rivers, and yet knows there is no longer a place for her there.
So is that all the native Two Rivers characters except Perrin, now? Anybody besides me roll their eyes with what Elayne offers Perrin in ToM? 'Steward of the Two Rivers' Ah well, we are not there yet.

And then the bit from Rand - so tragic, so touching:
"I continue to wonder," he said, glancing down at Min, "why you all assume that I am too dense to see what you find so obvious. Yes, Nynaeve. Yes, this hardness will destroy me. I know."
The mountain top cannot come soon enough...

Tess Laird
139. thewindrose
Cumadrin - Thanks for sharing you writing. I enjoyed it! I would have left a message there, but didn't want to sign up.

John Massey
140. subwoofer
@Cuma- been meaning to comment about it, that was some huge ass work of fan-fic. Seriously impressive! I assume that was a labor of love. I am pleasantly waiting for your next installment. I must say, interesting choice of names for your characters, for me that is the hardest part to give the story the right feel.

Good stuff:)

Juan Avila
141. Cumadrin
@ Sub & Tempest

Thanks, I appreciate the compliments. Of course, I'm my own worst critic, so I could pick at that old stuff for hours. But I was sixteen or so when I wrote it. I'll definitely get the last chapter I wrote of that typed up this week, though. Truth be told, I'm actually almost embarrassed to call them chapters. The segments seemed so much longer in my notebook. Now they look puny, like something James Patterson would call a chapter. Yeah, I said it. :P

Regarding the character names: again, remember my age at the time. I was very fond of the less common letters and just wanted the names to sound 'hella cool!' It's a lot more apparent in some other pieces I'll put online this week, too. A short story and the first chapter of my original novel I again had the bright idea to start. The main characters in those are named Aryn and Avvin, respectively. You can just hear the pubescent nerd me of yore patting himself on the back for those, can't you?

But again, I thank you muchly for the praise and encouragement. I'm very insecure about my writing, especially the old stuff. The fan-fic I've actually never shared with anyone before, as far as I remember.
Jonathan Levy
142. JonathanLevy
79.WetlandernwAnd others.
Nynaeve is quite introspective. She’s not always very accurate in her introspection, but then few of us are.... I would say specifically that introspection and a true understanding of oneself are not at all the same thing. She thinks about her motivations and actions all the time - the problem is that she is often terribly inaccurate in her self-evaluation.
I agree that introspection and a true understanding of oneself are not the same thing. Yet for introspection to be called introspection it must contain a minimum of honest self-criticism. Otherwise it is just self-justification or self-deception.

Consider this example from ACOS:21:
Nynaeve and Elayne have sent Birgitte to ask Mat for his help. While they're waiting for her to return, Thom says she should have sent him and Juilin. Nynaeve admits to herself that that option never occurred to them. After Birgitte comes back and Elayne agrees to apologize, Nynaeve gets furious: "Nynaeve throttled her braid with both hands. She had known that they should have sent Thom and Juilin."

I'll give you 2% introspection for admitting to herself silently that it had never occurred to her to send Thom and Juilin, but the rest is pure self-justification and self-deception.

Contrast this with Elayne's reaction to the same events - she admits her fault, and asks for help in correcting her mistakes:
Aviendha leaned toward Elayne, touching her knee. "Near-sister, I will say this delicately." ... If this is true, you have toh toward Mat Cauthon..."
But Elayne was nodding. "I see. You are right, Aviendha. But what must we do? You will have to help me, near-sister."
The specific promises Elayne makes in ACOS:22 are also revealing:
“To show the depth of our regret, we undertake the following promises.” Aviendha had said an apology was only a beginning. “We will not belittle or demean you in any way, nor shout at you for any reason, nor . . . nor attempt to give you orders.” Nynaeve winced. Elayne’s mouth tightened too, but she did not stop.
The highlighted parts are not what Mat asked of Birgitte. This is stuff which Elayne has been doing to Mat since they left Salidar (trying to get him used to obeying her orders), which she has acknowledged, upon introspection, to have been wrong, and for which she now apologizes and makes amends. Contrast this with Nynaeve's reaction:
“I won’t shout at you,” Nynaeve shouted. “And all the rest, too. I promise, you . . . you . . . !” She gobbled on the edge of swallowing her tongue as she realized she could not call him one of the names he warranted without breaking the promise already
Another example of Elayne in ACOS:13
"You (Aviendha) are braver than I will ever be," Elayne replied, quite seriously. She was another who kept denying that she had any courage... Elayne drew a deep breath, steeling herself. "Tonight we will talk about Rand."
Elayne compliments Aviendha's courage, is reminded of what she acknowledges to be her own cowardice (avoiding discussion of Rand), and takes a step to correct it. This is introspection.

If anything, Elayne is far more introspective than Nynaeve. This is not to say that Nynaeve does not have moments of true introspection herself, perhaps more so than I recalled at the beginning of this discussion; but we should not confuse her occasional moments of introspection with her usual self-justification and self-denial. Elayne's thoughts upon one such surprising moment pretty much sum up my opinion (TPOD:5):
"I have to talk to you," (Nynaeve) muttered...She drew several deep breaths before beginning, in a low voice, and she did not look at Elayne.
"I . . . I’ve been behaving like a fool. It’s that bloody man’s fault! When he’s not right in front of me, I can hardly think of anything else, and when he is, I can hardly think at all! You . . . you have to tell me when I . . . when I’m acting the fool. I depend on you, Elayne." Her voice stayed low, but her tone became almost a wail. "I can’t afford to lose my wits in a man, not now."

Elayne was so shocked, she could not speak for a moment. Nynaeve, admitting she had been a fool? She almost looked to see whether the sun had turned green! "It isn’t Lan’s fault, and you know it, Nynaeve," she said at last... And the opportunity was a gift of the Light. Tomorrow, Nynaeve would likely try to box her ears if she said Nynaeve was being foolish. "Take hold of yourself, Nynaeve. Stop behaving like a giddy girl...You’re an Aes Sedai, and you are supposed to be leading us. Lead! And think!"
Folding her hands at her waist, Nynaeve actually hung her head. "I’ll try," she mumbled. "I will, truly. You don’t know what it’s like, though. I . . . I’m sorry."
Elayne nearly swallowed her tongue. Nynaeve, apologizing on top of the other? Nynaeve, abashed? Maybe she was ill.
It did not last, of course. Abruptly frowning at the angreal, Nynaeve cleared her throat. "You gave one to Aviendha, did you?" she said briskly. "Well, I suppose she’s all right. A pity we have to let the Sea Folk use one. I’ll wager they try to hang on to it! Well, just let them try! Which one is mine?"
Jonathan Levy
143. JonathanLevy
Completely unrelated thought I had:

Remember these thoughts of Verin from TPOD Prologue?
...nearly every one of those wilders had created at least one trick for herself, and those tricks almost invariably fell under one of two headings. A way to listen in on other people’s conversations or a way of making people do as they wanted.
The first, the Tower did not care much about... The other trick, however, smelled too akin to forbidden Compulsion. Oh, it was just a way to make Father give her dresses or trinkets he did not want to buy, or make Mother approve of young men she ordinarily ran off, things of that nature, but the Tower rooted the trick out most effectively. Many of the girls and women Verin had spoken to over the years could not make themselves form the weaves, much less use them, and a fair number could not even make themselves remember how. From bits and pieces and scraps of half-remembered weaves created by untrained girls for very limited purposes, Verin had reconstructed (something like Compulsion)
So Verin has been gathering information from wilder novices to reconstruct Compulsion. Interesting.

Now let's go back to TGH:7

During the conversation where Verin reveals she has figured out that Siuan and Moiraine have found the Dragon Reborn, Siuan says:
"Go, Verin. I do not want to become angry with you. I do not want to forget who it was had the cooks leave sweetcakes out at night when I was a novice."
And at the end Moiraine thinks to herself:
Light help me, Verin, how I loved you for those sweetcakes, and for your bosom to weep on. But I will do what I must do. I will. I must.
I think there are some references in New Spring to Verin's being a nice grandmotherly Aes Sedai who comforts poor novices who are having difficulties, but I don't have it in front of me.

So what?

Well, maybe Verin's not just being nice to poor novices. Maybe that's just a cover. Maybe she's trying to learn which ones had which tricks, and tease out some information on Compulsion from them. Moiraine is definitely a wilder, and I think Siuan is as well, so they may have gotten extra attention.
Valentin M
144. ValMar
JL @ 142

The prossecution has it :) I think your rather succint point that Nyn's self-justification and self-deception outweight considerably her moments of true introspection is spot on. To be an interesting character to read about, one has to have flaws.
Curious how Wetlander will argue this. I suggest throwing in the towel and trying to do a deal with the prosecution ;)

@ 143

I think you are a absolutely right here, I have no doubt. There is what you stated @ 143. Also, we know that Moiraine, before going to the WT, had the trick of eavesdropping. Can't remember about Siuan, maybe she could be very "persuasive"- she certainly was a wilder too.

Great find JL, with 142 & 143 you've been like Tuscan truffle boar. Just shows what brilliant mosaic RJ created with WOT.
145. Freelancer
RE: Literary critique and analysis:

Simply put, debunking the work of another is the art of the self-important, and most often employed by the enviously untalented. There are the rare exceptions who have a genuine ability to shed light upon the core of a work with insights of value. Most are instead seeking to overlay their own wishes for a story atop any messages the author has.

Taking a step back, how real is the construction of the characters in WoT, that dedicated readers find the need to take sides and argue the relative merits, growth, traits, flaws, and appeal of each character. I think we could all imagine doing the same to a very few characters in other stories, but not nearly to the same degree. Most stories force the primary traits of a few main characters down our throats, and then never permit those characters to be considered more than the value of those "defining" attributes. However well written the plot, that leaves the story two-dimensional. Something which no debunker could ever honestly say of WoT.

Old Bill has always been the most wrongly flogged of authors by the most worthless of debunkers. His stories were so popular because they struck the populist chord, reminding the public that the Emperor had no clothes, and in the end, deceipt and betrayal were justly punished, while virtue was rewarded. Many trips and fumbles along the way, with evil apparently succeeding until the final lightning strikes. This resonates with audiences made up of folk who mainly tried to do their best and often got the stick for it, rather than the carrot. And yes, he knew that such would fill the seats.
John Massey
146. subwoofer
@JL wowza! Methinks there do be grinding of axe with little ol' Ny;)

@Cuma- I feel we all have at least one book in each of us, whether or not it is any good is up for debate. As for being the hardest critic, I hear you, I wrote about 400 pages of book back in the day- scribler was much easier to tote around than books-anyways, my wife had me do one of her "purges" as she organizes our place every three months and I came across said scribbler. I read a bit of it and was blown away at how immature my writing felt. The passing of time has definitely changed my voice, my thoughts and my world view. It was like reading another person. Suffice to say that should I ever take pen to paper again, I would have to start from scratch as my feelings and perspective has no relation to the person I was 20+ years ago.

147. Freelancer
sub @146

Now see, your comment contained more sincere introspection than all of Nynaeve's POV thoughts put together. She gets mad props for almost always aiming at the right goals, and no question she has a heart of gold and a spine of steel, but I defy you to find a single example of her reconsidering her opinion of men's ability to think or act wisely. She has managed a few decent apologies after the fact, but never once revised her default position on that count.

But that's enough of thrashing Nynaeve, she is indeed growing. I have a philisophical question for you to ponder. Given the substantial differences in your worldview across a distance of time from your youth, as suggested by your comment, do you suppose there is a possibility that you might undergo a similar transformation across the next equal period of time?

I have no wish to pick on you specifically, sub, but your comments offered an elegant springboard for the thought. At any given point in a person's life, they tend to imagine that they've "got it right", and only upon added experience do they learn otherwise. You know, the old "hindsight is 20/20" sort of thing. So, if a person is honest with themself, the chances that future agonizing reappraisals are in the offing are quite good.

In case anyone thinks I'm rambling off-topic, I submit that this very concept is a major embedded moral to be learned from Jordan's work. Everyone learns as long as they live, if they permit it. Even Cadsuane. Even Moiraine. Even me. I think that the only significant Light-side character in the WoT saga who doesn't have such a humbling "growth moment" is Tam. Maybe Setalle Anan.
John Massey
148. subwoofer
@Free- absolutely no offence taken:)

Nopers, I did say in post 93 that the M.O. for typical WoT male/female interaction would be to beat the men soundly about the head on general priciples, don't see why Nynaeve would suddenly stray from that tried and true formula. Man bashing, it's a lost art form;)

That being said, I do agree with you and the point I was trying to make in one of my earlier posts is that all main characters are turning a page in their lives in these last few books, Lan and Nynaeve included. Like Perrin committing himself to be Wolf King and Faile being a more understandable character. Frankly, most of these folks drove me batty over the last dozen or so books, but it is this change at the end that is a big payoff. If these people were perfect from the word 'jump', what's the fun in that.

As someone else did say, it is their imperfections that draw them closer to us and make them real.

John Massey
149. subwoofer
Incidentally, both Tam and Setalle Anan have had their growth moments off page. When Tam fights in the Aiel War, becomes a blade master and finds a young baby on the side of Dragonmount, it was all about the growth. Bringing Rand back home and practically raising the boy on his own, that was something too. Tam's a much more humble guy than back in the day when he was earning his stripes.

Anan, well she burned herself out and we see glimmerings of what was in the conversations she has with Mat and the way she looks at Mat's medallion. Major character growth indeed, have everything you thought you were taken away and find a new life for yourself outside anything you thought or knew.

150. Freelancer
Of course. I meant in-text events. Nobody gets to be a rational adult without those agonizing reappraisals.
Alice Arneson
151. Wetlandernw
Jonathan Levy @142 and ValMar @144 – Sorry, I’m not arguing this tonight. I just spent the better part of the last 7 hours analyzing the frame story in The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man’s Fear, looking for clearer evidence on Kvothe’s/Kote’s apparent disability. I’m sorry, but there’s no way I’m going to go through thirteen books (how many thousand pages?) looking for counter-examples of Nynaeve’s introspective moments. Given previous history, I’m really not terribly interested in expending any effort to try to prove a positive point about a character (or aspect of a character) that others have already determined to find negative. It’s not worth the effort, especially at this hour of the night; tomorrow, I have things to do that do NOT involve spending hours on the computer or with books spread out around me trying to prove… anything. If this makes you feel happily victorious, that’s just too bad. :p

(Jo just promoted me to Re'lar over on the Rothfuss reread, so I feel a certain obligation to be profound there once in a while too... :) Or something like that.)
Jonathan Levy
152. JonathanLevy

Thanks ValMar. I don't think it's specifically stated how Siuan came to channel, but at one point she thinks to herself that her current situation has to be easier than being stuck in a dark alley with several drunk guys and with only a knife to defend herself. This might be how she started channeling.

I know it's pure speculation, but I believe we've seen a similar situation, but I can't recall all the details - perhaps someone else can help me.

Remember Floran Gelb in Tanchico? He mistakenly kidnaps one Leilwin whom Egeanin sends off to Seanchan in order to hide his mistake. So far I'm pretty confident, but I'm not sure about the rest: I think we meet this Leilwin as one of the damane captured from the Seanchan, and learn she started channeling just on the day the Seanchan arrived or fled or something. Anyway, if this damane really is Leilwin, then we might have a parallel for Siuan's possible 'spark' moment.

Tenuous, I know - perhaps someone else can shed some light? Encyclopedia wot has an entry for Leilwin but no reference to any damane.


I should perhaps clarify that Nynaeve's chapters in TFOH and LoC are some of my favorites, and I like to go back and re-read them quite often - which is perhaps the reason I have strong opinions about Nynaeve's character at this stage. She seems quite real, flaws and all, and is a very enjoyable read. I don't consider Nynaeve to be a negative character at all - merely a flawed and human one.

Have you considered getting the books in digital format? It makes finding things much easier. I would never have attempted to compile a list of Nynaeve non-introspections from physical books.
Valentin M
153. ValMar
JL @ 152

In the Encyclopedia it says that Siuan was carted off to TV as soon as it was discovered that she could channel. So at least we know that she was, at least technically, a wilder. The interesting thing is whether she had any talents which would be interesting to Verin. We know that Moiraine had.
I guess we will never know about Siuan, but your theory still makes too much sense not to credit RJ and attribute your arguments @ 143 to pure coincidence.

Wetlander @ 151

Like JL, I too have a generally positive opinion on Nyn. Particularly in the context of the story. She has many admirable qualities. But, like all other significant characters in WOT she is not perfect (except Moiraine of course).
What JL did, and me along with others agree, is point out some of her blind spots, when someone argued the opposite. Just like someone would've done if it was stated that one of Elayne's chief qualities was a safety first approach.
Alice Arneson
154. Wetlandernw
ValMar - That's why I included "aspect of a character." I suppose it could be written off as different definitions of "introspection" if you like, but y'all haven't convinced me. I just can't put in the time and energy to refute the argument.
Ron Garrison
155. Man-0-Manetheran
freelancer @ 147
"I submit that this very concept is a major embedded moral to be learned from Jordan's work. Everyone learns as long as they live, if they permit it."
Agreed, and taking your thought a bit further, let’s think of the time span involved in RJ’s writing of this story. I have no doubt that he also revised and re-evaluated his life - and consequently the depth of the characters in the books was also enriched. (This would make a wonderful chat with Harriet were one so lucky.)
Alice Arneson
156. Wetlandernw
Man-o-Manetheran - You could have the chance to do just that if you wanted to jaunt over to Utah for the AMoL release party. As of last November, anyway, Harriet was planning to be there. I SO wish I could go.
Valentin M
157. ValMar
Wetlander @ 154

Fair enough. I'll continue to be convinced that Nyneave isn't an introspective character. Let that rest on your conscience...

I'll also continue to picture Egwene, Nyn, and the other AS, clad in the Light (obviously, as you do), in the Hall in the WT cheerfully singing:

"Man's a riddle, Man's a rake,
Man's nature's the Creator's sole mistake"

I hope no one has changed the code for the door of the bunker.
Alice Arneson
158. Wetlandernw
Jonathan - about the ebooks... I've considered it, but so far it's not too bad to use a combination of IdealSeek and books.google, and it's a lot cheaper than spending $100+ on all the ebooks. I only get all the paper out if I want to switch between books, or on the rare bits where the google preview omits a critical page. I just don't have the time or inclination to sort through everything to find and then read every Nynaeve POV to prove a point like this.

ValMar - I hope no one has changed the code for the door of the bunker.

Forgive me a cruel chuckle... ::Mwahahahahaha::
Nadine L.
159. travyl
Wetlander: don't you fear that your status as re'lar will be revoked if you so blatantly refuse to do a minor book research in a few thousand pages - I remember Rothfuss' library and search field for other re'lar a lot bigger. With thousands of books not even categorized.

- by the way: still jealous that "my google.books" hasn't a preview of the WOT books. Must be a "restricted to USA" thing.
Alice Arneson
160. Wetlandernw
travyl - I'm hoping Jo doesn't see this thread and demote me. :) In WoT-world, the only thing I risk is my reputation as Cadsuane Reborn.

Okay, that's too good a line to change, but it's not really valid. I don't recall her ever arguing with anyone - perhaps because no one dared argue with her.
Rob Munnelly
161. RobMRobM
In case Wetlander gets all high and mighty about her new re'lar status, she should keep in mind the enjoyment we'll get from her having to pay the substantially higher associated tuition.
Alice Arneson
162. Wetlandernw
Darn it all, we need a "Like" button for the comments. :)
Roger Powell
163. forkroot
Simply put, debunking the work of another is the art of the self-important, and most often employed by the enviously untalented.
I can't help but feel you meant "deconstruct" rather than "debunk". I tend to think of "debunking" as proving some assertion false.
Anthony Pero
164. anthonypero
Yes, to be totally clear, I hated Nynaeve as a teen. I love her now. She's my favorite character. I totally grok her motivations now, and she is awesome. My comments way back at the beginning of the thread were not Nynaeve bashing. I love her stubbornness and tenacity in the face of all reason. It's this "flaw" that allows her to be loyal beyond belief, to love beyond thought, and to extend herself beyond anyone else in the story.

It means she stays positive, all the time, while other "introspective" characters suffer from doubt and, well, whining. Nyn had her short bout with doubt regarding Birgit, kicked its ass, and moved on. Love it!

That's why I hated seeing her this way. Removing the flaw actually removes her strength. That's what made Jordan brilliant at characterization. He not only gave his characters flaws, he took those flaws and paired them with realistic strengths. The strengths and weaknesses of the characters in this series are all two sides of the same coin. It's brilliant.
Anthony Pero
165. anthonypero
"Deconstruction" of a literary work is the art of acknowledging and identifying the biases in both the author and the reader. Deconstructionists (at least good ones) aren't attempting to determine the authors conscious intent. They are rejecting the author's intent as irrelevant.
John Massey
166. subwoofer
not sure what "grok" is... I assume this is autocorrect gone amok, but the other part-
It's this "flaw" that allows her to be loyal beyond belief, to love beyond thought, and to extend herself beyond anyone else in the story.
Spot on. When Ny takes her test for the shawl it is one of my favorites because she basically tells the old guard, "hey, this is who I am, take it or leave it", especially when she told them that she has been asked by the Dragon Reborn to be at the Last Battle and would be there regardless of being raised or not. If these "flaws" are what it takes to make a person like Nynaeve tick, I'll take it each and every time. Ny stands up to be counted when the chips are down. One on one with Moggy? Yup, she said she was scared but kicked ass anyways. Cleanse Saidin? Yup, she was there. Fight against superior numbers in T'AR including one of the Forsaken? Ny volunteered. Go with the Dragon to Shayol Ghul... you see where I am going here. Call it what you want, Ny has the intestinal fortitude to get stuff done, the kind of person needed for such momentous times.

167. Caveatar
not sure what "grok" is... I assume this is autocorrect gone amok, but the other part-

grok is from Robert Heinlein's book "Stranger in a Strange Land"
and is the martianhuman Michael Valentine Smith's 'martian' word
for "to understand fully", "to understand the totality", and some other stuff.
Difficult to believe you had never run across that.
AnthonyPero is evidently a reader of Heinlein but then again
there could be alternate explanations.

Cameron Tucker
168. Loialson
I second the need for a "like" button here.
There were at least 4 comments so far today here that I had the impulse to like, and looked for the button, but it wasn't there :'(. I facebook too much.

@ sub

Understand (something) intuitively or by empathy.Empathize or communicate sympathetically; establish a rapport.

Its a psychology jargon that's currently in vogue, apparently. Had a Prof last year who loved the word dearly.

EDIT: Annnd it was already said before I hit "post".

Does anyone know if the AMoL release party has a date yet, and where in Utah it will be? I live in Provo (about 10 miles from Brandon), and think it'd be fun to go. Just have to plan in advance.

PS @ tnh
Nitpicky thing: the cursor doesn't blink in the comment box while typing, and doesn't move when you click it to another spot until you start typing in that spot. IE it gets confusing to tell where the cursor is sometimes. Not a big deal, just a little bug that's cropped up recently, and wasn't sure the Tor moddies were aware of. :)
Anthony Pero
169. anthonypero
RE: Cursor. Editor, etc...

That is an IE thing. In all other browsers, the cursor blinks. IE's JavaScript implementation has sucked for years. IE 9 is much better, IE 10 should be perfect.
Anthony Pero
170. anthonypero
EDIT: Ack! The dreaded double post!
Anthony Pero
171. anthonypero
The AMOL release party doesn't have a date yet... neither does the book release, to my knowledge.
Jay Dauro
172. J.Dauro

When is not yet known, probably not even by Team Jordan, They have said it will be released when it is ready, but have estimated around November.

Brandon has often done his releases at Sam Wellers in Salt Lake (IIRC). Usually with a big signing. I would love to make it out for the release also.
Alice Arneson
173. Wetlandernw
Yup, I think it's in Salt Lake City somewhere; Sam Wellers sounds logical. From what Brandon said, they're planning for a BIG event. No date yet, though - as others have said, they'll schedule the party when they decide on the release date. And the release date, along with "when is the book really finished?" depends on some marketing issues as well: e.g., if you want to shoot for the #1 spot on the NYT bestseller list, you try to avoid releasing the same day/week as something else that's got a really good shot. So there are a lot of factors that go into the decision; I'm guessing they'll go for a November release, myself. Kinda hard on those who have to wait to get it for a Christmas present, but good timing for those buying the presents...

Anyway, how fun would it be to have a big meet-up of tordotcom rereaders at the release party? Not that I have any expectation of going, but stranger things have happened. So I'm told, anyway.
Jonathan Levy
174. JonathanLevy
...if it was stated that one of Elayne's chief qualities was a safety first approach.

Re: Cadsuane reborn.
You know I had a very similar thought myself just this morning, but not phrased nearly as well :)

And keep in mind that Cadsuane never had to be persuasive across the internet. You can't slap someone in the face over the internet, or make them eat beans off the floor.

167. Caveatar
Oh my, it's been a while since I read that one.
Anyway, how fun would it be to have a big meet-up of tordotcom rereaders at the release party? Not that I have any expectation of going, but stranger things have happened. So I'm told, anyway.
My my, that would be fun, wouldn't it? Not that there's any chance I could be there either.... :(

Of course, it might not be much of a party, if the new book is available. Everyone would sit down and start reading it, with social interaction quickly approaching zero. And after we were done everyone would be so sad that the series was over, that they'd just silently shuffle home.

You need to plan the release party to end when the book is handed out.
Stefan Mitev
175. Bergmaniac
I love Nynaeve but I have to totally disagree with the suggestion that she doesn't whine. She does that a lot. Mostly in a really funny way, but she sure does whine. Look at LoC for example. So many of her PoVs are filled with whining about the Yellow sisters, the Hall, Birgitte, Theodrin, Elayne, Moghedien, Mat...
John Massey
176. subwoofer
Ahhh, that explains it, it is not a real word, just 'science fictioned'. Oki doki. Not an avid reader of most SF sooo meh.

Nynaeve is a professional whiner. Makes it an art form. She even does whining better than most Aes Sedai;)

@Loilson... you live 10 miles from Brandon? Stalk his ass. Heck, I'd be over for breakfast every day asking to read the latest rough draft. Are you done yet? Call it friendly motivation. I am sure Brandon won't mind. Maybe he'll hire you to proof read or something.

As for a book signing type deal, Utah is kinda close, but not really, would be cool to finally see Brandon tho'.

Anthony Pero
177. anthonypero
Let me. Clarify, nyna doesn't do emo woah is me whining. Other than with Birgit.
Sam Mickel
178. Samadai
anthonypero @ 177

Wow, that sure is clarified. O_o
a a-p
179. lostinshadow
hi all! RL is finally done interfering with my love of this site!

been catching up with the reread and comments in general and all this talk of introspection and personal growth has got me thinking...

seems to me that of all our super guys and gals, Egwene is apparently the one who has not needed any kind of crisis or introspection to grow into her position. I mean even Elayne has a small moment of doubt wondering if Dyelin should be queen but Eggs just never doubts ... she just soaks up all the teachings and grows into this super Amyrlin. what do you all think?
Sam Mickel
180. Samadai
lostinshadow, welcome back, happy that life is allowing you to come play with us once more.
182. Faculty Guy
@Subwoofer 166ff: I mostly lurk, enjoy Leigh's summaries and commentaries, and much of the amazingly intelligent and witty follow-ups. I've read lots of your comments and feel as though I "know you" at least a little.

I am 100% confident that you would REALLY like Heinlein's SF, especially the later stuff (but all, really). I recommend GLORY ROAD, THE MOON IS A HARSH MISTRESS, and STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND (from whence, "grok"). Some few parts might be dated a little, but the philosophy is interesting, and I think you'd find Heinlein somewhat of a "kindred spirit." STARSHIP TROOPERS is also pretty good, although it had the misfortune to be made into a horrible movie.
Roger Powell
183. forkroot
lost(and found!)@179
Welcome back!

Agreed that Egwene doesn't do a lot of self-doubting, but we do see her learning and bits of introspection. Things come to mind such as her desire to meet her toh to the Aiel (for impersonating a full AS), and her reevaluation of Gawyn's ideas about her personal safety.

(Attention Gawyn haters: He was right about some stuff, and Egwene had an blind spot, assuming that all of the danger to her person was from Mesaana/BA.)

Anyway, I think in large part we don't see Egwene wavering too much mostly because she feels part of a larger destiny. She has bought in, heart and soul, to the idea that the Tower must come first, etc. This means her own personal destiny is less important than that of the Tower.

We've seen this in some of her internal dialogs where she admits she would give over if she didn't think Elaida was such a complete disaster for the WT. Fortunately, the strong belief in the Tower and her place in it's destiny helped her immensely in her struggle with Mesaana.

Her beliefs are a little but scary though, because they border on True Believer™ fanaticism. I wouldn't be surprised if she won't have to confront this at some point in AMoL and balance the good of the Tower vs the good of all.
a a-p
184. lostinshadow
@forkroot - yes, in particular your point that her beliefs may border on fanaticism is also one of my concerns.

Also it seems a bit odd to me that all the main characters seem to go through some kind of growth/introspection (some a bit longer and more painfully than others) and yet Eggs, arguably the most important supergirl (at least my sense from the comments is that people consider her to be the most important, I would disagree, but that's another point) has not really once questioned herself seems counter to what all the other main characters go through and as such makes me wonder if she still has a moment of serious doubt that she has to face before she can really fufill that perceived destiny of hers?
Anthony Pero
185. anthonypero
Not everyone suffers from self doubt, believe it or not. Some people are competent, and they know it. That doesn't mean they won't FAIL, it just means they have what the football players like to term a "short memory". I.E, a QB throws a pick, but doesn't lose confidence and keeps on throwing. Failures happen, you move on, et al, doesn't mean you are any less skilled or competent. People like this tend to not go through much self-doubt. Egwene is one such. She fairly easily admits mistakes, but doesn't let them shake her confidence in herself. Her resiliency comes through self-awareness. Nynaeve's resiliency, however, comes through self-denial and pure stubbornness.
Alice Arneson
186. Wetlandernw
Let's not forget Egwene's experience as a damane and the effect that had, as well. She felt what it was like to have no control of her own actions, and for one with her personality, it was the worst thing possible. I think it reinforced her natural tendency not to rely on anyone else to do her thinking. She'll learn from others, she'll listen to advice, and she'll even delegate (eventually), but the key thing is that she'll make her mistakes and take the consequences herself. She was always pretty independent, in spite of her chameleon appearance, because she was never afraid to try something new. I think the combination of her helplessness as a damane, followed up by her experience with the Aiel and their culture of personal honor and accountability, have contributed to her refusal to indulge in self-pity or dithering. And of course, her experience with the Seanchan combined with her Dream of their attack on the WT make her quite confident that there's no time to waste on worry.

And... that was completely off the topic of the chapter. Nothing else in this thread was OT... I feel so silly... :)
Anthony Pero
187. anthonypero
Wet, you forgot to mention her father... Egwene learned how to take advice from others and make her own decisions as a child. That DOES tend to be a learned trait from chioldhood. Adults who form thought patterns contrary to this (erm, Nynaeve, for example) almost NEVER are able to change them.
I am think Egwene's lack of introspection is due to the type of character her soul is shaped to be. Egwene has always been willing to go to great lengths to learn. And in so doing she has no real need to second guess herself. She learns the lesson and moves on to the next. Her ability to learn from a experience the first time, whether it be life lesson or channeling, has freed her mind from doubt about what she is doing, because she is confident that her logic is sound and all she needs to do is execute.

I believe this quality of pureness that many have the tendency to mistake for naivete, is what allows Egwene to rise to power in the way she did. Whether first being underestimated as a naive young girl eager to please and thus easily controlled when she was raised to the Rebellion Seat. To being dismissed as a pawn by supposed betters by the Captoring Amyrlin. Egwene has always played her hands from strength because she has always played her hand through to the end in her head, and so knows her successes and pitfalls before her and her opponent have completed their next moves.

All of this has groomed her for leadership and in my opinion, makes her the most mentally sound of all the girls and even with Mat as far as the most consistently confident about the outcome of any plans they inact.

With Nynaeve, it's got to be smacking her in the face before she knows the correct plan of action. And if she lays long term plans it takes her a long time to get there. Nynaeve has a Now action personality. It has served her well, but a leader she is not.

Anthony Pero
189. anthonypero
With Nynaeve, it's got to be smacking her in the face before she knows the correct plan of action.
I would strongly disagree with that statement. Nynaeve actions are almost always correct. It's her justifications that are just flat out fiction.
Oh so having to be practically sat on to admit how she treated Mat was a correct way to react. Or even the barest acknowledgement and apologies to Mat was sooo correct.

No, I am going to strongly disagree with you. There are many many more instances where Nynaeve transgresses. And as awesome as she has clearly become that doesn't shed those away, like a new skin.
191. Freelancer
Grok is one of the most cult-connected words in the 'verse. In spite of others' presentations of a definition, I find the need to add another. Well, less a definition than an explanation, because the word itself somewhat defies definition in the normal manner. To grok something, whether it be an idea, a person, an expression, etc. is to absorb and fully comprehend the true and complete essence of that thing, to such a full extent that your understanding of and your empathy for the subject becomes an emotional, nearly religious experience. Heinlein was making the point that humans, compared to the martians, were so frivolous and shallow in their interactions with others, never giving any real effort to comprehend one another.

Can you dig it?

forkroot @163

I did not misspeak. Debunking can be many things other than attempting to disprove ideas. I admit that my use of the word is informed by some moderately archaic sources, and its scope may have become more strictly focused in recent decades.


Heinlein isn't a SF author. He's a political anthropology author who tosses some Sci-Fi memes into his work, when he isn't sending the entire story spiraling down the toilet of degradation. Stranger in a Strange Land was a fantastic 50% of a book. Then it got stupid. Now, let's see how many friends I've made with that observation.
Anthony Pero
192. anthonypero
I guess i more narrowly define the term plan of action than you do, Zexxes, because a response to Mat's rescue certainly doesn't qualify.

Yeah, well...uhmmm.... your forgetting the part where she Needs to be rescued. Lol!
Anthony Pero
194. anthonypero
Your certainly not implying that Nynaeve did something stupid to deserve capturing, are you? I don't really remember that from the text. The supergirls were betrayed by Juilin and the wise woman. That wasn't because of a bad decision on Nynaeve's part.
It wasn't a wise decision to go off like that in the first place.....?

edit-Remember the girls were still in the 'We don't need you men, we can channel' mode. Even just outside of Tanchico when they were captured by the Yellow Agent and Thom and Juilin had to rescue them. That wasn't wise because it wasn't her agent. It isn't her agent because she is an Accepted, not an Aes Sedai. She was getting a little too comfortable posing as something which she is not. They consistantly take on actions that aren't wise or aren't very well thought out. Including Nynaeve. It is only later when she starts to use that noggin of hers, that she starts to think about the dangers of her actions.

edit-Remember here in TGS she gathers some footmen to go along with her to the jailors to interogate them. If she had not brought them then Kerb would have escaped. And that would still leave all of them in the dark on the whereabouts of Graendal, leaving one Forsaken less dead. That is an example of a correct plan of action. Calculated risks asside, such as the wisdom of holding on to Moghedien for that length of time as an example, Nynaeve has made as many mistakes as correct. But like I have said before, as she has grown so has her wisdom and thoughtfulness.

So no I can't agree with any kind of 'Nynaeve has always made the correct decisions or actions' statements.

Its just not true.

Anthony Pero
196. anthonypero
So no I can't agree with any kind of 'Nynaeve has always made the correct decisions or actions' statements. Its just not true.
Ah, now I see where our disconnect is... my point was that while Nynaeve's thought patterns are totally screwed up, her instincts are right on. While she thinks stupid thoughts about Mat, she's always there to defend him (on instinct), etc... I was contrasting her with Egwene, who is more thoughtful and deliberate. My point was always that her instinctual moral compass serves her well, even when her brain doesn't.
197. Wortmauer
CireNaes@137: Kind of like eating a slice from the same pizza motai, only from a different direction.
Fixed that for you.
Terry McNamee
198. macster
@56 anthonypero and 78 JonathanLevy: Agreed, but as so many here have stated, and as I also concur, I don't think Nynaeve's characterization is inconsistent...and since I don't, then having her also communuicate better, be (more) introspective, and reconsider her methods and world-view in addition to still being characterized the same makes me admire the writing more. We'll just have to disagree on how it strikes us, since while Nynaeve's introspection could perhaps be better, more true to Jordan's style, or more succinct and profound, to me it still accomplishes what it was intended to. As AP said, because I read her differently...I either think she does not require a life-changing event to alter her views, I think she did receive one (and we just didn't get to see her reflect on it before now), or I think that while her views may have changed, her essential self is the same.

@61 KiManiak: Thanks! That's the first time I've seriously tried to decode that dream, and with Leigh's suggestion as a place to start, the dream makes a lot more sense to me now. Of course I could easily be wrong and there will be some obvious person in AMoL who is dying but shouldn't, but for now I like my interpretation of Leigh's theory. :)

@71 Freelancer: LOL, good point about Nynaeve! Also at 72...I am not sure I can agree with you about Verin's Compulsion being like Graendal's. Because in the scene with Semirhage, when Elza appears and has been freed of her Compulsion, while she has a dazed look in her eyes and acts a bit off, she otherwise is able to talk and interact normally, unlike Kerb.

@73 Ellisande: Beautiful comparison.

@79 Wetlander: Sometimes simple really is better and correct. And sometimes it can even come from me. :P

@81 birgit: Very good point.

@85 Loialson: On a similar note, I recall back in ACOS when the Kin were welcomed back to the Aes Sedai and Reanne was so excited: "I can be Green!" and Elayne was just as happy for her. ..and then how Elayne reacted when Reanne was killed in KOD. *wipes away tears*

@90 HArai, 119 Samadai: Agreed.

@various re: literary interpretation and ownership of the text's meaning by the author--fascinating discussion. I am familiar with that Asimov anecdote. The term I've seen applied to this situation is Death of the Author. Personally I think both views are right--you should not discount the author's opinion, especially if he/she really did have specific meanings in mind while writing, but that doesn't mean other interpretations, ones the author never thought of, aren't valid and can deepen the work or at least offer a new lens through which to view it. That said, Caveatar's point @135 is well-put and something which should always be kept in mind during analysis.

@124 Wortmauer: Hah, you're right! I wonder how Jordan/Harriet let that chance for a literary reference slip by...or was the chapter title they chose meant to allude to the shoutout without being so obvious as to quote it directly?

@143 JonathanLevy: Makes sense to me.

@160 Wetlander: LOL!!!

@185 anthonypero, 186 Wetlander, and 188 Zexxes: Very good and IMO accurate assessments of Egwene's character.
Thomas Keith
199. insectoid
Playing catch-up.

re: halftime show: Eh... it was all right. Not a big Madonna fan.

Healing Compulsion: How does Rand suddenly know how to do that? LTT, obviously, but... I dunno. I guess it just seems a little... contrived.

Nynaeve: Is still in my Book of Awesome (along with Min, Mat, Moiraine, and others that may or may not start with 'M').

Free @100: You're the last one I would suspect to nab the hunny. And NO, I'm not going to nab the 2-hunny, not this late. XD

Wetlander @162: That's a great idea!

Tess Laird
200. thewindrose
Good Morning 2 hunny:)

Thank you insectoid, for bringing this to my attention.


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