Mar 20 2012 2:00pm

The Wheel of Time Re-read: The Gathering Storm, Part 24

It’s a Wheel of Time Re-read! Shocking!

Today’s entry covers Chapters 42 and 43 of The Gathering Storm, in which there is epic failage, epic pwnage, and epic crimes against grammar and the English language in general. Sowwy.

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, slightly obscure cut text, and the post!


Chapter 42: Before the Stone of Tear

What Happens
Lews Therin is very upset that they do not know the names of the women in Natrin’s Barrow to add to the list. Rand yells at him that it is HIS list, not Lews Therin’s, but Lews Therin only moans about using balefire when he’d promised never to do that again.

What have we become? Lews Therin whispered. We’re going to do it again, aren’t we? Kill them all. Everyone we’ve loved. Again, again, again...

“Again and again,” Rand whispered. “It doesn’t matter, as long as the world survives. They cursed me before, swore at Dragonmount and by my name, but they lived. We’re here, ready to fight. Again and again.”

Concerned, Min asks if he is thinking about the people, and Rand looks at the silent, ragged crowd gathered to watch him ride through the streets of Bandar Eban, and thinks that this is the first time he’d left a nation in worse condition than he’d found it. He thinks that Arad Doman is going to be crushed between the Seanchan and the Trollocs, and Rand was leaving it to happen. Bashere approaches, and Rand asks him if the what remains of the Council is going to do as he ordered: select new members and elect a king. Bashere says that he thinks they are going to flee the moment Rand’s back is turned.

Arad Doman, as a kingdom, was finished. Like a table laden with too much weight, it would soon collapse. It is not my problem, Rand thought, not looking at the people. I did everything I could.

That wasn’t true.

Bashere says Ituralde reports that he’s catching glimpses of Shadowspawn forces assembling that are large enough to crush him, and Rand curses the Borderlanders mentally, thinking he will have to do something about them soon. His party reaches the main square, and Flinn and Naeff open large gateways, as the people of the city watch silently from all around. Before Rand can go through, one of the dockmasters of the city, Iralin, approaches him. Iralin tells him that the food is spoiled. Rand asks, what food?

“All of it,” the man said, voice taut. “Every barrel, every sack, every bit in our stores and in the Sea Folk ships. My Lord! It’s not just full of weevils. It’s grown black and bitter, and it makes men sick to eat it!”

All of it?” he repeated, shocked.

“Everything,” Iralin said softly. “Hundreds upon hundreds of barrels. It happened suddenly, in the blink of an eye. One moment, it was good, the next moment... My Lord, so many people have come to the city because they heard we had food! Now we have nothing. What will we do?”

Rand closed his eyes.

“My Lord?” Iralin asked.

Rand opened his eyes and kicked Tai’daishar into motion. He left the dockmaster behind, mouth open, and passed through the gateway. There was nothing more Rand could do. Nothing more he would do.

He put the coming starvation out of his mind. It was shocking how easy that was.

Bandar Eban vanished, those too-silent people vanished.

Rand is shocked by the cheering on the other side of the gateway in Tear, in sharp contrast to the silence of the Domani, which makes him feel even worse. He rides through the city to the Stone. Neither Nynaeve nor Cadsuane had been around when he’d left Bandar Eban, but he thinks it will be easy for them to find him, as he no longer intends to hide. Bashere asks what he’ll do if Ituralde hears of his withdrawal from Arad Doman and decides to abandon the Borderlands to defend his home from the Seanchan; Rand answers, then Ituralde will slow the Seanchan from nipping at his heels. Bashere sighs and says it is all a mess, and they will be in a bad position, going in with the Seanchan at their rear; Rand agrees, and says this is why their next move must be to find the Borderlanders and settle whatever their complaint is with him.

“I have little patience for men who abandon their duties.”

Have we done that? Lews Therin asked. Who have we abandoned?

Quiet! Rand growled. Go back to your tears, madman, and leave me be!

Bashere allows as to how he has no idea what Tenobia et al are doing, and Rand orders him to take a couple of Asha’man and track the Borderlanders down once his men are settled. The parade reaches the Stone, where Darlin is waiting to greet him along with Dobraine, Caraline, and Weiramon, who Rand thinks looks like a dandified fool as usual.

I like him, Lews Therin thought.

Rand started. You don’t like anyone!

He’s honest, Lews Therin replied, then laughed. More than I am, for certain! A man doesn’t choose to be an idiot, but he does choose to be loyal. We could do much worse than have this man as a follower.

The remaining High Lords and Ladies of Tear are there as well, as is Alanna, who Rand deliberately ignores. Darlin greets Rand politely, but he is plainly annoyed at having to wait for weeks after having been ordered to put an army together in great haste. Rand congratulates Darlin on his ability to follow orders, but says they will have to wait a bit longer before they go. Confused, Darlin asks if they are not going to Arad Doman as originally planned, then.

“What Arad Doman needs, nobody can give,” Rand said. “Your forces will be coming with me.”

“Of course, my Lord. And... where will we be marching?”

“To Shayol Ghul.”


He abandoned them. To starve.

I just, what. No.

That is so incredibly not cool that it bounces right off the scale of Cool-Not Cool and punches through the space-time barrier into some alternate dimension of Eternal Suck.

He just – left them there.

I say again, HWAT.

And while I suppose that just as there are people who will argue that no, really, the Randster is all right, that whole balefiring a city full of people thing in his last chapter was totally justified (because all the inhabitants probably were all brain-liquefied vegetables anyway, I mean yeah we never actually confirmed that or anything but hey Schizo al’Crazypants whoops I mean Rand said so, so it must be true, so that is totally not mass murder, because unlike what certain brain-farting recappers may have claimed a few posts ago balefire doesn’t actually destroy souls, so aside from that whole “possibly destroying the fabric of reality” minor detail thingy, that makes it completely okay, just like burning down an asylum for the incurably insane is jes fine, because hey, it’s not like those crazy people had any real quality of life, right, and they’ll probably get to be not-crazy in their next life, so we totally did them a favor, and next up are cripples and old people! Yay!), that there will also be those who will say, I guess, oh hey leaving Bandar Eban to tear itself apart in food riots is totes okay too, you can’t blame him for that, because you can’t make an apocalyptic omelet without breaking a few hundred thousand eggs amirite amirite, and besides what was Rand supposed to do, pull three million tons of foodstuffs out of his ass?

I’ll tell you what he was supposed to do. He was supposed to STAY THERE AND FIX HIS FUCKING MESS, that’s what he was supposed to do.

No, I have no goddamn clue how, that is not the point. The point is that the Rand I’ve been following around for the last decade and a half would never have pulled this shit.

Before now. Gah.

Of course, before now he was also not a walking vortex of Bad Crap Happening that can make an entire harborful of food go rotten just by looking at it sideways, more or less literally, but that just makes it more his fault, if you ask me. (I don’t know, actually, if we are supposed to infer that all the food going bad is in fact due to Rand’s rapidly souring ta’veren mojo or not, but that’s certainly what I think happened, so there.)

His fault, sez me. And none of this “but he can’t control it!” crap, because a hit and run is a hit and run, whether you meant to do it or not, the end. Own your shit or get away from my toilet, dude.

Seriously, I really just want to push the Rand chapters in TGS away from me with a stick. A pointy stick. Maybe a cattle prod. Maybe a Tesla coil.

It’s possible I said that already, but if so it bears repeating. BAD TOUCH GO AWAY NO.

Ugh. And the fact that I now know he’s going to come back and fix things with his magical Jesus powers in the next book does not actually lessen my disgust with him at this point in the slightest.

Ergo, in conclusion:


Blarg. And this is not even to touch the whole thing where he wants to go to Shayol Ghul right now, which is officially the worst idea in the history of ever.

The only other thing that struck me about this chapter (other than the GRAVITATIONAL EVENT-LEVEL SUCKAGE) is Lews Therin’s utterly bewildering mancrush on Weiramon. Which I find even more bizarre now that I know Weiramon’s a Darkfriend than I did the first time I read TGS, when I was still nursing my theory that he was just a jackass.

Seriously, what was that about? I mean, I suppose it could be to punch up the contrast later when Zen Master Rand comes back, takes one look at Weiramon and is all BAAAP! Darkfriend red card, you out, buh-bye, but that… was a really odd way to get it across, if so.


Chapter 43: Sealed to the Flame

What Happens
Egwene sits quietly in her tent, meditating on recent events. She is furious at Siuan and the others for disobeying her explicit command not to rescue her, but reflects that she herself had made mistakes as well, in not confiding more of her plans to Siuan, and also in unconsciously encouraging Siuan’s already-entrenched tendency to defy authority when it suited her. She considers the disastrous timing of her rescue, and how best to proceed from here.

There was no way she could return to the White Tower as a novice now. Her defiance had worked only because she had been a captive Amyrlin. If she went back willingly, she would be seen as subservient, or as arrogant. Besides, Elaida would certainly have her executed this time.

Egwene had thought that as Amyrlin she would have more control over her fate than as a simple country girl, but she now considers that perhaps one’s station in life doesn’t change how twists in the Pattern can ambush one.

No. It was not just an illusion. The Amyrlin did have more control, if only because she controlled herself and kept the tempest outside her. She swayed before the needs of the moment, but her actions were well-considered. She had to be as logical as a White, as thoughtful as a Brown, as passionate as a Blue, as decisive as a Green, as merciful as a Yellow, as diplomatic as a Gray. And yes, as vengeful as a Red, when necessary.

Egwene thinks that she cannot afford to wait any longer on negotiations, and if she is going to resort to force, she must do it now, while the Tower is still reeling from the Seanchan raid. She hopes history will forgive her for doing it. She rises and exits the tent, only to find Gawyn sitting on the ground in front of it. She notes again how handsome he is, but forces down her concern for and attraction to him. She tries to sidestep him, but he insists they need to talk. She tells him she already told him she hasn’t sorted out how she feels yet.

He set his jaw. “I don’t believe that Aes Sedai calmness, Egwene,” he said. “Not when your eyes are so much more truthful. I’ve sacrificed—”

You’ve sacrificed?” Egwene interrupted, letting a little anger show. “What about what I sacrificed to rebuild the White Tower? Sacrifices that you undermined by acting against my express wishes? Did Siuan not tell you that I had forbidden a rescue?”

“She did,” he said stiffly. “But we were worried about you!”

“Well, that worry was the sacrifice I demanded, Gawyn,” she said, exasperated. “Don’t you see what a distrust you have shown me? How can I trust you if you will disobey me in order to feel more comfortable?”

Gawyn didn’t look ashamed; he just looked perturbed. That was actually a good sign—as Amyrlin, she needed a man who would speak his mind. In private. But in public she’d need someone who supported her. Couldn’t he see that?

“You love me, Egwene,” he said stubbornly. “I can see it.”

“Egwene the woman loves you,” she said. “But Egwene the Amyrlin is furious with you. Gawyn, if you’d be with me, you have to be with both the woman and the Amyrlin.”

Gawyn confesses that he still does not truly believe she is the Amyrlin in more than just name; Egwene says this is why they have to wait to talk. Gawyn warns her he does not intend to let this go. He asks if the rumors that she intends to attack the Tower are true; he says he doesn’t care about Tar Valon, but he knows what it will do to Egwene to order the attack. She tells him she will do what she must for the good of the Aes Sedai and the White Tower, no matter how painful.

All of the remaining Ajah Heads in the Tower except Tsutama Rath (Red) are gathered in secret to discuss the situation following the greatest disaster in the history of the Tower.

Just enough space for five women. The most powerful women in the world. And the five most foolish, it seemed.

Adelorna Bastine (Green) informs Jesse Bilal (Brown) that this is all her fault, and Ferane Neheran (White) agrees. Jesse counters that just because she was the one to point out that there were times that the Ajah Heads ran the Tower instead of the Amyrlin didn’t mean that the others hadn’t all willingly gone along with it. Suana Dragand (Yellow) opines that there is no point in trying to assign blame, and Serancha Colvine (Gray) agrees, and says they must work together, as they are not going to get leadership from the Hall.

It had seemed like a brilliant plan. The division of the Tower, the departure of so many in rebellion and the raising of a new Amyrlin, had not been their fault. But it had presented several opportunities. The first had been the easiest to take hold of: send Sitters to the rebels to steer them and hasten a reconciliation. The most youthful of Sitters had been chosen, their replacements in the Tower intended to serve only a short time. The Ajah heads had been certain this ripple of a rebellion could be easily smoothed over.

Serancha asks where they think they went wrong; Ferane thinks it was Elaida’s total lack of logic that ruined it, but Jesse thinks it was also that their methods of choosing temporary Sitters raised too many suspicions among the rank and file. Serancha adds that the unexpected effectiveness of the rebels also contributed to their failure. Jesse thinks to herself that they should never have allowed Elaida to disband the Blues, whose doggedness at getting their way was legendary.

“I think it is time to admit that there is no hope to save our plans,” Suana said. “Are we agreed?”

“Agreed,” Adelorna said.

One by one, the sisters nodded their heads, and so did Jesse herself. Even in this room, it was difficult to admit fault. But it was time to cut their losses and begin rebuilding.

They agree, first, that Elaida must be abandoned to her fate; even if she didn’t deserve it, there is no feasible way to rescue her. Serancha says they will need a replacement, then, and Suana says it will need to be someone strong, but cautious, someone the sisters can rally around. They each then promptly put forward that a sister from their Ajah is the best choice, until Jesse points out that they are doing the exact same thing as the Hall. They all know that the Sitters will never stand for anyone not of their own Ajah anymore. Ferane suggests it should be one of the Ajaha Heads themselves, but Jesse knows none of them will ever allow one of the other four to gain that much power over the others. They start sniping at each other until Serancha admits she can’t think of anyone who the Sitters will all accept.

“I can,” Adelorna said softly. “She was mentioned in the Hall several times today. You know of whom I speak. She is young, and her circumstances are unusual, but everything is unusual at the moment.”

Serancha protests she’s too young, but Ferane counters that she has “flair” and courage, and Adelorna confirms that the rumors of what she did during the raid are all true. Ferane adds that the novices “all but worship her.”

“If the Sitters will not stand for someone of another Ajah, what of a woman who never picked an Ajah? A woman who has some experience—however unjustified—in holding the very position we are discussing?”

Adelorna further points out that this would be the best method of making peace with the rebels. Suana agrees, reluctantly. Serancha says she will not be party to creating another puppet, and Ferane tells her that she doubts that will be the problem here.

[Jesse:] “Sisters, if we agree to this, it will end our dream of ruling from the shadows. For better or worse, we’ll be setting up an Amyrlin of strength.”

“I, for one,” Adelorna said, “think that’s a splendid idea. It’s been too long.”

One by one, the others agreed.

Siuan watches from a distance as the rebel Hall goes into session. Bryne joins her and asks what she thinks Egwene will tell them. Siuan supposes she could call for Siuan’s stilling, but Bryne doubts she is the vengeful type. Siuan just worries that she has lost Egwene’s trust. Bryne asks if it was worth it, and Siuan thinks it was, and that it is not always possible to wait for certainty before acting.

She could feel Bryne’s smile through the bond. Light, but it was good to have a Warder again. She hadn’t realized how much she’d missed that comforting knot of emotions in the back of her mind. That stability. Men thought differently from women, and things she found complicated and baffling, Bryne saw as straightforward and simple. Make your decision and go. There was a helpful clarity to his way of reasoning. Not that he was simple—just less inclined to regret decisions he’d already made.

She then realizes Bryne thinks that she might consider agreeing to bond him one of the “acceptable costs” of the night, and tells him he’s a fool. He laughs and says he’ll have to make his second demand extra unreasonable, then. Siuan is not reassured by this. Bryne goes on to say that he thinks he understands her better now: she is a woman of honor, but her own demands of herself are more stringent than anyone else’s could be. She grumbles that this is tedious, and demands to know what his second demand will be.

“Well, frankly, I’m planning to demand that you marry me.”

She blinked in surprise. Light! The bond said that he was honest.

“But only after you feel the world can care for itself. I won’t agree to it before then, Siuan. You’ve given your life to something. I’ll see that you survive through it; I hope that once you’re done, you’ll be willing to give your life to something else instead.”

Siuan stutters that she will think on it, and Bryne chuckles. She knows he senses the truth from her, and ruefully decides they are both fools together.

Egwene stands before the rebel Hall, each Ajah short the one Sitter who had gone to the Black Tower, and carefully does not look at Sheriam. She mentally curses Siuan for coming to rescue Egwene rather than keeping an eye on the Black sister as she’d been told. Romanda “oozes” satisfaction, while Lelaine barely hides a sulk . Egwene embraces the Source, and then orders a few Sitters who follow suit instinctively to let it go. Egwene then reaches into her purse and pulls out the Oath Rod, which she had taken from Saerin in the Tower that morning; the Sitters recognize it and gasp. Egwene weaves Spirit into the rod and quickly lays the Three Oaths upon herself, ignoring the discomfort as the oaths tighten upon her.

“And now that you’ve seen me use the Oath Rod and know that I cannot lie, I will tell you something. During my time in the White Tower, a sister came to me and confided that she was Black Ajah.”

There are more gasps, and Egwene dares anyone to deny the Black Ajah’s existence any longer. No one speaks, and Egwene says that she has seen what distrust can do, and that she is determined there will be no distrust here any longer. Egwene announces that she is not a Darkfriend, and says it is time for them all to prove themselves. Sheriam embraces the Source, but Egwene had anticipated the move and slams a shield on her, cutting her off.

Oh, Sheriam, Egwene thought. I had hoped that Verin was wrong about you.

“Egwene?” Sheriam asked uncomfortably. “I was just—”

Egwene stepped forward. “Are you Black Ajah, Sheriam?”

“What? Of course not!”

“Do you consort with the Forsaken?”

“No!” Sheriam said, glancing to the sides.

“Do you serve the Dark One?”


“Have you been released from your oaths?”


“Do you have red hair?”

“Of course not, I never—” She froze.

And thank you for that trick as well, Verin, Egwene thought with a mental sigh.

Egwene says the woman who came to her named Sheriam as a leader among the Black. Sheriam asks who it was, and Egwene tells her it was Verin. Sheriam sits back and remarks she’d never have expected it of Verin, tacitly admitting everything. Egwene wraps Sheriam in air and turns back to the thoroughly shocked Hall. Lelaine asks who else was mentioned; when Egwene answers some were Sitters, Moria makes a break for the exit. She is caught and detained as well, and Romanda comments that this was a very dramatic way to reveal the knowledge; Egwene counters that they would not have believed her had she simply announced Moria and Sheriam were Darkfriends, and Romanda concedes the point. She is the first to unswear and reswear the Oaths and announce she is not a Darkfriend, followed by Lelaine and then the rest of the Sitters.

“Very good,” Egwene said, returning to stand at the head of the room. “From now on, we continue as one. No more squabbling. No more fighting. We each have the best interests of the White Tower—and the world itself—at heart. The twelve of us, at least, are confident in one another.

“Light, what a mess,” Romanda muttered.

“It must be done,” haughty Berana said with a shake of her head.

“And it must be done quickly,” Egwene said. “So that the Black sisters don’t have time to escape. I’ll warn Lord Bryne to create a perimeter of archers and sisters we trust to stop any trying to escape, just in case.”

Lelaine asks, what of the White Tower? Egwene replies that after they have cleansed themselves, the rest of the Aes Sedai must be next: she plans to begin an assault on Tar Valon by this evening. Romanda glances at Sheriam and Moria, and stands in support, followed by unanimous consent from all the Sitters.

“Light preserve us,” Lelaine whispered. “And forgive us for what we are about to do.”

My thoughts exactly, Egwene added.


She cleans all the things too, and oh, it is so sweet to see that get underway.

I suppose I ought to say something about the “Egwene sucks!”/“No she doesn’t!” debate going on in the comments of late, but I really don’t know how to respond other than to sort of shrug helplessly in a “Girl you crazy” kind of way, because I just don’t get in the slightest how one can find Egwene to be anything other than pure concentrated Awesome in TGS.

Which isn’t to say she doesn’t make mistakes, because she totally does, as she herself points out in this chapter. But the difference is, she acknowledges that, and examines her mistakes so she can learn from them, and hopefully not do them again.

That? Is called “owning your shit”. Which means CERTAIN UNNAMED MESSIAH FIGURES are getting seriously pwned right now in the leadership department. You know, leadership? That thing where you don’t abandon the people who depend on you, and run off with your tail almost not metaphorically between your legs when you screw up? Yeah, that thing. You gonna let your high school girlfriend show you up like that, man? SACK UP ALREADY, SHEESH.

Anyway. Egwene roxxors, I think is my point here. The only sour note in her bits of this chapter, in my opinion, is Sheriam, whose reaction once she had definitively been outed as Black struck me as a tad… weird. I dunno, in the space of one line of dialogue she went from panic to all lounging back and being blasé about it all, and it was just really not what I would have expected from her. *shrug*

This chapter also features the solving, sort of, of one of the bigger WOT mysteries of the later books, which was What Was The Deal With The Too-Young Sitters. It’s actually kind of amazing how much time the fans spent on this particular conundrum (seriously, there were org charts involved and everything), but then, what better fun for geeks than to have a ton of fictional data to chew through and get all organized, and then argue about the results? It is How We Roll.

I say this was “sort of” solved here, because the idea that the Ajah Heads had sent the Obstructionist Five Sitters (Takima, Faiselle, Varilin, Magla and Saroiya) to the rebels deliberately in order to facilitate their reconciliation with and reintegration back into the Tower was probably the first idea put forward, even before we had anything more to go on than Siuan’s vague assertion in TPOD that some of the rebel Sitters were “weird”, and I think it’s always been the most popular notion. The problem, of course, is that many people argued against it, on the grounds that unless the Ajah Heads had known ahead of time that the coup was going to go down, it seemed highly problematic that in the midst of the chaos they would have had either the time or the werewithal to corral the Ob5 Sitters and brief them on their mission and send them on their way.

I can’t really tell, from reading this chapter, whether we are supposed to infer that the Ajah Heads were in fact warned ahead of time or not, but my general impression is that they were blindsided by the coup. If so, they couldn’t have planned ahead for it, obviously. However there seems to be an implication, as well, that they may not have sent the Ob5 the day of the coup, but within a day or two after.

I find the latter a little odd, if so, because joining a rebellion really seems like a “shit or get off the pot, right now” kind of decision, whether you’re doing it for real or as a double agent. But, okay. As long as you go with it, that accounts for the timing issue that kept a lot of fans from completely buying the Ajah Head conspiracy thing, et voilà.

Anyway. Aside from all that, I remember when I first read the scene here where the Ajah Heads talk themselves into giving Egwene the title that it was awesome and yet a little facile, even so. I don’t really think that on re-reading it, though. Mostly because they really do seem to be backed into a corner otherwise on picking an Amyrlin. I mean, seriously, who else would be acceptable at this point?

It is very nice that both the Ajah Heads’ conversation and Egwene’s own thoughts emphasize how symbolically important it is that Egwene has truly never been part of any Ajah, and thus in the time of the Tower’s deepest divisions along those lines can actually be acceptable to all factions, and represent a… well, a purer ideal of an Aes Sedai and an Amyrlin than anyone else could. Of all Ajahs and none, indeed.

And also, Bryne proposes to Siuan! Sort of! AND YET STILL THEY HAVE NOT KISSED. Aw. They are so repressedly adorable. I’m not even slightly frustrated on their behalf, nuh-uh.

(Dude, I don’t think they’ve even had a full-contact hug yet. It is All So Regency!)

Gawyn: Shut up, Gawyn.

And we out, kids! Have a lovely and nutritious week, and I’ll see you next time!

Francesco Paonessa
1. ErrantKnave
Been waiting for this all day. Thanks, Leigh!
Bonnie Andrews
2. misfortuona
Thank you Leigh. You have the most in-elloquently hillarious use of the english language. I agree entirely on your take on bat-shit crazy Rand and his abandonment of a starving city.

I think marching to Shayol Ghul is a just his way of saying the last battle is comming and we all have to get our duckies headed the right direction, but it might also have been another zig to his numerous zags here as well.

Mis- wishing y'all a Happy Spring!

edit for: PS... oh yes Gawyn. I'm one of the few who like him as a character, but even so I was so with Eggy here when she does the "you've suffered!" Thing. I might have turned him into a toad or something at that point. Hmmm.... okay no toads here, but I'd have at least gagged him with air and hung him by his heels for the rest of the coup.
Daniel Goss
3. Beren
The only problem that I had with Egwene becoming Amyrlin so easily (and yes, five people sitting in a room and just deciding on her does seem to be too easy) was that it was so . . . telegraphed. Didn't we have, previously, at least one of almost every ajah say something like "That was very logical, you'd make a good white" or "You are very brave, just like a Green" or "You are boring and stuffy, just like a Brown." I just remember thinking by the time I heard the third declaration of that sort that she was going to pull a "By your powers combined, I am Captain Amyrlin!"

But yes, she is awesome. Just seemingly arbitrarily awesome in some spots.

Francesco Paonessa
4. ErrantKnave
Gosh, could there have been a better (worse?) side-by-side comparison of the two main characters at this juncture?

Schizo al'Crazypants: Starvation? Doom? Let's go, Lews Therin.

Egwene Almighty: Darkfriends? Schemers? BAM! Fixed that for you.
Ron Garrison
5. Man-0-Manetheran
Weary-man. Yes, what was that about? I have no clue. I understand having mixed feelings about someone (Weary-man, seriously?), but it's odd that it was expressed as a dialogue between Rand and LTT.
Louis Theodore Tellman
6. Louis Theodore Tellman
And so, the Great Purge (part of Egwene's trip through the Accepted Ter'angreal, right?) begins... Kick. Arse.
Louis Theodore Tellman
7. itsjustme
"Shut up, Gawyn" indeed. Very well put!

As for the whole like/hate Egwene thing, I agree. She pretty much totally kicks ass in this entire novel. Without a doubt, her storyline was my favorite in this novel. I didn't start hating her until the next book, when she's all "I'm barely old enough to be called a woman but already know more about what has to be done to save the world than the man the pattern specifically spun out for this job, who just happens to have well over 400 years of experience in this very battle rolling around in his head." And she doesn't even stop for a minute to think beyond what she "knows" HAS to be true. Even when Elayne and Nynaeve aren't so excited in the whole "Rand must be stopped at all cost" plan, she chalks it up to the fact that Rand's ta'veren nature twisting their minds. They can't possibly see something that she doesn't when it comes to what must be done. So, in this book, very cool. In the next, hate her more than just about anyone in the story. She's just as ignorant as Elaida at that point.
Rob Munnelly
8. RobMRobM
Leigh - you're beeing just an eensey bit tough on our Rand. Re Graendel, his options all s*cked. If he didn't blindside her, should well have enslaved or killed hundreds more than were located in Natrim's Barrow. Re this chapter, he is overloaded with disastrous news - Bandar Eben starvation, imminent attacks from Trollocs in the Borderlands, Lan marching to death in Tarwin's Gap, bizarre uncommunicative Borderlander armies in SW Randland, and the need to make additional shifts with armies in Tear. Fixing Bandar Eben would have brought down the rest of the houses of cards. Tear was the obvious and necessary choice to seek to improve the situations in all of the hot spots - even though Rand had to go through the anguish of knowing that some would starve until he had time to fix the Bandar Eben food crisis. Argh.

I agree, I still don't get the Lews Therin - Weimaron love fest, either then or with full information in ToM available. Is BS trying to make the point that LTT (ie. Rand) was firmlyheading down a darkside path at this point?

Egwene is cool here, that is all. Re Sheriam, she's had a tough road the last few books. Abused by Halima, unfingered by Mesanaa - when caught, it was almost a relief and she caught a case of the giggles

Chris King
9. KingFielder
The thing that annoys me about Egwene (not to Egwene sucks levels, though) is that she has learned so much about herself and others and grown as a person and a leader, but still believes she "loves" Gawyn. What does Egwene love about Gawyn other than his looks? Do we have any idea what she sees in him? I wish she would realize that she has outgrown her young girl crush on Gawyn and move on. The Egwene-Gawyn relationship has always read as forced to me, like RJ thought that Egwene had to have a romantic interest (I feel the same way about Moiraine and Thom). Do all the main characters need a love interest? Guess you can't be single and happy in the WoT.
James Golden
10. Treemaster
Quote: "I don’t know, actually, if we are supposed to infer that all the food going bad is in fact due to Rand’s rapidly souring ta’veren mojo or not, but that’s certainly what I think happened, so there."

Actually, if this is correct -- and I agree with you -- then best thing Rand could do was to leave the city.

Quote: "No. It was not just an illusion. The Amyrlin did have more control, if only because she controlled herself and kept the tempest outside her. She swayed before the needs of the moment, but her actions were well-considered. She had to be as logical as a White, as thoughtful as a Brown, as passionate as a Blue, as decisive as a Green, as merciful as a Yellow, as diplomatic as a Gray. And yes, as vengeful as a Red, when necessary."

It's language like this that makes it tough for folks like me to like Egwene, even in this book. It's just too self-congratulatory.
Louis Theodore Tellman
11. whatshesaid
" just like burning down an asylum for the incurably insane is jes fine, because hey, it’s not like those crazy people had any real quality of life, right, and they’ll probably get to be not-crazy in their next life, so we totally did them a favor, and next up are cripples and old people! Yay!"

yes, I accept your solution.
Louis Theodore Tellman
12. Rancho Unicorno
I'm going to disagree with you again, Leigh (I do that a lot, don't I?).

Rand walking away makes perfect sense for two reasons.

First, he has already established that the survival of the individual is irrelevant. All that matters is that humanity survives, in some form. In his brain conversation, he accepts that people will curse and revile him, just as they did when he was LTT, and is willing to take that upon himself so long as he wins. He's ready to embrace the Kinslayer title, so long as someone is around to call him Kinslayer. Sticking around to fix this mess is a distraction that he can't afford if he is going to stop the one being that wants to destroy the fabric of reality.

Second, I think we are supposed to understand that he knows that he is the cause of sudden spoilage - that the DO's touch is only being magnified by his ta'veren-gone-wrong skills. If he sticks around to try and fix the mess, he will likely only make things worse. If he sticks around to explain this, he only invites attacks and rumors of being an evil Dragon (or something), losing any support while still not fixing anything. If he leaves, he loses the support of the people of AD as they starve, but not of the rest of the known world. Rand believes he must be hard to avoid losing TAG, and so he is making hard decisions - ones where the best answer for the world is not always the right answer for his ethics.

Sucks to be him, but he already knows that.
Roger Powell
13. forkroot
Yeah, I had the same thought - as totally sucky as it was, it was probably better for Bandar Eban that "Dark Rand" got out of there. I don't know if the level of food spoilage would be proportional to his proximity, but since he goes back and "unspoils" it in ToM, it would appear that proximity is important.

So this guy sees a doofus banging his hand with a hammer and the guy asks the doofus why he is doing it. The answer, of course, was: "Because it feels so good when I stop!"

As far as I was concerned, I absolutely HATED reading Rand's exit from Arad Doman. LOATHED it ... DETESTED it. OK, so I suppose RJ/BWS had to take us there in order to illustrate just how important the Epiphany was. Yup .. feels so good when you stop.
Scientist, Father
14. Silvertip
I bought Sheriam's reaction. She had been finding her position as a mole for the Black harder and harder to maintain -- it's just a few hours since she lost a finger at this point, isn't it? With all that building up, I'm picturing her as a bit like someone like Bernie Madoff when the scheme finally comes crashing down, with at least a measure of relief that it's over and you don't have to keep juggling faster and faster any more.

I also agree with @RobM^2 that you're being a bit tough on Rand here. Not that he *isn't* being callous to the point of batshit crazy, as you say, but it's IMHO just a bit too easy to say: Well I don't know what he could have done, but darn it, he's smart, he should have figured something out! I'm not totally comfortable with slamming somebody too hard for a decision when I can't actually come up with a reasonable alternative. And yes, from the point of view of the fiction and the plotting, it fits right in with his ongoing Descent Into Darkness (TM), but it helps me maintain some sympathy for him as he goes through it, which I suspect is what the authors were trying to accomplish.

Gawyn: Shut up, Gawyn.

Deana Whitney
15. Braid_Tug
I'm reading the past comments and doing a re-read as I go, so the older posts are fresh.

So it just struck me how often RJ/BS does juxtaposition of charters really well. Character doing bad vs. other character doing good in similar situations in following chapter. Since I wanted to cry at Rand’s behavior, the jump to Egwene kept me from doing so.

Her mental thanks to Verin was perfect. But she does get too self-righteous soon. But not Elaida level. Egwene has to see the error of her ways so the men and women will work together. Elaida would never admit to being wrong.

@3 Beren, “I am Captain Amyrlin!” Too Funny!
Rich Bennett
16. Neuralnet
thanks for the reread Leigh.

This is Rand's lowest point... I was much more shocked by his decision to abandon Bandar Eban than his balefiring of Natrin's barrow. I really hated what Rand had become at this moment in the series (and he used to be my favorite character). I still cant get over that there must have been some way he could have saved Bandar Eben from starvation... with traveling they can move people and goods across continents instantly... there just had to be some way to help them. It doesnt bother me quite as much now, knowing what lies ahead in the series... but this seriously bothered me the first time reading it.

I loved the resolution to the Egwene story arc... but even with this great ending, I was mostly just happy to see the white tower/rebel thing finally reaching a conclusion. Reading about the politics of the rebel camp had gotten old IMHO.
Louis Theodore Tellman
17. Sal Serio
As far as was detailed, and understood from the state of the kid that Nynaeve removed the compulsion from, there was no way that anybody in Matrom's Barrow could be healed. If Rand's messenger (forget his name at this moment) was so heavily compulsed after just a few moments in the same room, I highly doubt that anybody in her service at the barrow would be any less compulsed. I am not justifying, really (I do believe that it is a complete gray area where which would be better... living life as a mindless zombie to the will of others or being completely removed from the pattern), but just making a statement.

On regards to Egwene vs. Rand, I think that, while they have had similar difficulties, the difference is the path which Egwene was on while encountering her challanges was of her own choosing where Rand's was not. She wanted to be Aes Sedai and though some of her prediciments (at least) over the course of the series were very difficult to bare, they were all met on the path of her choosing. Rand did not get that choice... he never wanted to be The Dragon Reborn, and was forced onto his path and into the situations that he faced. He may have long since accepted his fate, but that does not "ease the badger" any more.

I just think that it is unfair to completely compare Rand and Egwene! Rand definitely got the dung-covered short end of the stick.

As far as leaving the city to hunger... yeah, that sucks, but there is a certain point when you just have to move on. If there was no other tasks he needed to complete maybe he could have stayed longer, but really, what else could he have done (before finding his salvation and correcting his alignment)?
Louis Theodore Tellman
18. Sal Serio
Oh... and Egwene, while totally awesome in this book, still makes mistakes that she has yet to own up to... particularly, her treatment of Gawyn. Sure, they all have points of guilt in their part of the situation, but Egwene can't be let off the hook with how she totally thinks that Gawyn is too stupid to understand anything so she tells him nothing.
j p
19. sps49
I dunno, but if Arad Doman is getting worse despite Rand's "best" efforts, he may have decided/ realized that leaving was the best he could do.

Egwene is being a little too awesome, but there's too much plot now to wrap up the way it deserves.
Deana Whitney
20. Braid_Tug
@18 Sal Serio,
But that is the main problem most of the charters have! They don't tell each other anything! As Leigh has pointed out many times, if the charters had talked to each other, more than half the books would be 1) shorter & 2) less frustrating.

Plus, how often have you been in a relationship (romantic or otherwise) when someone is pissed at you, but won’t tell you why they are pissed? As a woman I’ve done it (sad to say) and it has been done to me (by both genders). Plus there are those time when the last thing you should do at that point in time is to talk about your anger to the person. Sometimes it’s best to walk away for a few hours.
Matthew Hunter
21. matthew1215
Well, let's see here.

Rand leaving: On the one hand, he couldn't DO anything. He had sent all the food he could by ship, and it had arrived, and then it all spoiled instantly; he had sent troops to keep order, and they had only succeeded in preventing things from getting worse; he had eliminated a forsaken from the area (even if not the one he thought) and it didn't seem to help. At some point you've got to cut your losses and move on to a problem you can actually solve.

On the other hand, given how the ta'veren stuff works and what Zen Rand was able to do, I think if he had stayed and tried to save the people, that by itself might have been a positive influence and changed the excessive darkness of the pattern that was causing the food spoilage in the first place.

On the gripping hand, I'm not sure Evil Rand would have been able to maintain any sort of positive attitude about the city anyway. So maybe he needed to move on already and get his head sorted out.

So, that's that.

Egwene's little trick to get Sheriam to reveal herself strikes me as unlikely to work. Possible, yes, but if it was that easy to catch a black sister in a lie (admittedly under quite a bit of stress!) then surely this wouldn't be the first time it happened. Maybe Sheriam is just that incompetent.

Kingfielder@9: I agree with you re Egwene and Gawyn. The relationship seems forced. Mind you, that doesn't mean that it's not realistic for a character like her to cling to her girlish crush as one of the few things separate from her identity as Amyrlin, but it's not a healthy relationship for either of them.
Alice Arneson
22. Wetlandernw
Quick comment before I have to run - as much as I've disagreed with Leigh occasionally in the past, I am in complete, total, absolute, confirmed agreement this time. For sure.

Okay, I can make allowances for certain issues, but I still agree. Rand's reactions don't indicate to me that he had even thought about, much less concluded, the possibility of his presence causing the spoilage. Yes, from the omni-view, we know what was happening, and yes, leaving was actually the best thing he could do for the food, but that does NOT in any way excuse his attitude. Which was also my argument back on the balefire-the-whole-assylum chapter; while it may in reality have been the best thing for them, Rand's attitude and motivations stank.

Will get to comments on the comments later. For now, Rand makes me mad and Egwene is Awesome with a capital WOOT.
Marcus W
23. toryx
The thing about Rand abandoning all the starving people is that, as totally fucked up as it is, it's also the only thing he can actually do. Since, after all, he appears to be the one spoiling the food just by being in its presence. It's literally an impossible situation. A rock and a hard place. A null value. A SYNTAX ERROR. Until Rand fixes himself, he can't do a damned thing for anybody. Beyond messed up.
Bill Reamy
24. BillinHI
Have to agree (in part, at least) with itsjustme @ 7: Egwene has done and will do awesome things, but she embodies the worst (as well as the best) of the Aes Sedai, in particular the absolute conviction that she and they are the only ones who KNOW what MUST BE DONE. They have obviously forgotten that the Dark One was never totally free before LTT and the Companions put the seals on his prison. If he had been totally free, it would have been game over at that point: no third age, no Dragon Reborn, etc. To my mind there isn't any valid reason to believe absolutely that breaking the seals will totaly free the DO.

And I get that Egwene doesn't know that saidin has been cleansed and believes that Rand could still be going mad from the taint, if he isn't already.

And don't get me started on the Aes Sedai belief that they (and only they!) must control the Ashaman completely!! Yeah, the TAS don't know saidin has been cleansed, I get it. But the AS with Rand who bonded the Ashaman loyal to Rand know what's up (or should). And as far as whatsherpickle taking the dragon pin away from her bonded Ashaman because SHE didn't give it to him..... blarg, to quote Leigh.
Louis Theodore Tellman
25. Tarcanus
I cannot, for the life of me, understand how more people didn't know Weiramon was DF as early as his first introduction to the series in Book 3.

In The Great Hunt, we had the DF social where one of the DFs was described as having silver filigreed boots. No one else's boots were described at all - and rarely are boots one of the things described for any other characters. But yet, in The Dragon Reborn, when Weiramon is first described, RJ made sure to tell us he had silver filigreed boots and an oily attitude - this was RJ blatantly telling the readers that Weiramon was a DF.

I can't believe it was such a point of contention.
Roger Powell
26. forkroot
Re Byrne and Siuan:
Awwww! One of the better romances in WoT in my opinion. I do think they ought to reconsider though and get married right away. There's a big battle coming, and despite Gareth's assurances, he cannot guarantee that he and/or Siuan will live through it. Seems like they could balance a little personal happiness in there with all the work they have to do.

I think Egwene knows the source is cleansed by now. Merise and Narishma's visit to the SAS happened some weeks before and Siuan has had plenty of talks with Egwene in T'AR since then. I find it unlikely that Siuan would withhold news of that importance from Egwene.
Louis Theodore Tellman
27. zackattack
Some Thoughts, more or less in order (sorry for the length but I'm feeling pensive):

As one of those who thought Rand’s balefiring of NB was completely justified (perhaps more so than Egwene’s fireballing of fleeing To’raken a few chapters later) I would like to go on record as being DEFINITELY NOT OK with Rand abandoning Bandar Ebon to starvation. In war it is sometimes necessary to kill people. It is also necessary to care for your own people. Perhaps more necessary. So yeah, bad Rand. Bad! Sadly, I also completely understand his decision based on what I know of his frame of mind at the time. Well done RJ/BS.

“It is as I said before: EGWENE AL’VERE WINS ALL THE THINGS.” This is pretty much the definition of Mary Sue isn’t it? I generally think Egwene is more awesome than not, but I also think most of the criticisms leveled are her are valid, including that she is a bit of a MS.

I definitely appreciate Egwene acknowledging her mistakes here. I just wish she had taken it a bit further and been less harsh with Siuan. Because really, girl risked her life to save you from the thing you fear the most (being re-leashed). How about a little gratitude?

I find it interesting that the adjective Egwene uses to describe the Red Ajah is “vengeful.” It's rather jarring alongside the more or less complementary adjectives used to describe the other Ajahs. Perhaps (justifiably so) she is not as unbiased towards Ajahs as she seems to think she is.

Gawyn: I have not wanted to smack him this much since he sided with Elaida in book 4. (It was book 4 right? Too lazy to go look it up…) Egwene IS Amyrlin. Even Lelaine and Romanda admit this. Even RAND admits this (granted not until the next book, but still before Gawyn does). For him to be unable/unwilling to acknowledge that diminishes her. Also he just comes across as such a spoiled whiny princeling here. Can we get some character growth up in here already? No? I have to wait another whole book? Lovely. She should have fallen for Galad. Gawyn and Berelain deserve each other. I hope he bites it in AMOL.

Tip o’ that hat to Adelorna who put forth Egwene to be the “new” Amyrlin after all the snubbing the Greens have done towards her.

Siuan and Bryne: Have not kissed? They’ve been sharing a tent for how many months of pent up sexual tension? Just because it didn’t happen on screen doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. Personally I think after they rescued Egwene there was probably some major ruckus in Bryne’s tent. Possibly wards were needed. Ok maybe not considering how prude most WoT characters are, but I would at least bet on some heavy petting.
Douglas Miller
28. douglas
For all the people saying Rand leaving may have been the best thing he could do because his presence was causing the spoilage:

I don't have a reference on hand and won't have time to find one until this evening, but I remember a statement from Brandon that the mass spoilage of everything was actually caused not by Rand's presence, but specifically by his act of abandoning the city. Things were bad but tolerable while he was there and trying (however poorly) to help. The sudden spoiling of all the food in the ships didn't happen until he made the decision to stop trying and leave. Further, it is important that the reason he left was that he had given up on the city; if he had left in order to remove his negative Ta'veren influence then leaving would not have had the same effect.
Alice Arneson
29. Wetlandernw
toryx @23 - (and others, of course; I'm just picking your comment because it was the most recent when I started typing) From our view, I can agree that leaving was the best thing he could do, but couldn't he show some regret about these things, or a little longing to find something to do about it? He could have at least said something inane like "I will do what I can when I return" instead of just booting his horse through the gateway without another word. It's not the leaving, it's the attitude of abandoning them that gets me. By all means, do what you have to do, but show some compassion even when you can't fix it.

Of course, that's the point here in the story line; Rand is losing his humanity, and doing it deliberately. No emotion, no compassion. (Except, of course, that he doesn't get rid of all emotion - he retains all his anger.) This will in due time take him to the very bottom, where he has to go before he can look it in the face and turn away from it. That doesn't mean I have to approve of (or enjoy) the crappy decisions he makes while he's getting there.

Sal Serio @17 - You can't entirely give Rand a pass on getting into the TAS trap; he made some very stupid decisions that made it possible for them to capture him.
Louis Theodore Tellman
30. Looking Glass
It’s interesting that Egwene picks “vengefulness” as the Reds’ signature positive trait. I mean, yes, they have far more than their share of power tools. Still, if that’s the best she can think to say of them then it’s got pretty damning implications for someone. I’m not sure if it’s her, or them, or both.

Sheriam’s reaction didn’t strike me as especially outside the spectrum of normal responses- her thoughts basically go:

>Well, at least I don’t have to worry about the coverup any more.

Being conclusively outed actually solved her coverup problem. In the worst way possible, yes. But it’s not a problem to be solved (and stressed over) any more, just an unfortunate fact to be lived with.

Well, maybe not lived with, per se.

The Ajah Heads: I don’t think that they could have known for sure ahead of time; even if they had full knowledge of Elaida and Alviarin’s actions, there wouldn’t have been any way of being certain that Siuan’s supporters would respond with a general uprising.

However, I also think the very speed and secrecy with which everything moved would have actually served to cover a short delay in getting the sitters out. Some sisters of all stripes would certainly have been totally blindsided; even the genuinely anti-Elaida crowd probably wasn’t totally out of the tower the first day. And except for the blues, most likely had relatively little need to hurry.

@9 KingFielder: I’m not particularly invested in Moiraine/Thom, but intellectually I like it a lot better-- they’re reasonable and mature adults who have quite a bit in common and a foundation of mutual respect. Not that that needs to result in romance, but you could do a lot worse.

Also, I don’t see Thom or Moiraine as the sort to wallow in angst at center stage, which gives them a substantial leg up on, um, everyone.

Maybe it's just me, but it feels like the captchas have grown increasingly surreal of late.
Louis Theodore Tellman
31. Sal Serio
@20 WouldBeBrownAjah

Don't get me wrong... I totally agree with you! All of the characters need a slap in the back of the head. Like I said, the fault is not Eqwene's alone. Gawyn is just as much at fault as well as just about every other character interaction in the series. I was just pointing out that she does not recognise all of her faults.

You did get me thinking... there should be a Wheel of Time dating site. For one thing, I am having a frustratingly hard time finding anybody in my area who is even aware of the series. Even wearing my Ta'veren Tees around has not helped. People that do ask me about it just give a half-smile, disinterested nod after I start explaining.

Second reason is that I feel a relationship based on WOT should last a long time as the series teaches you everything NOT to do in a relationship.

Anyway.. tangent over! :)
Louis Theodore Tellman
32. pwl
and next up are cripples and old people!
You forgot "recently leashed damane on to'raken from your list.

No excuse for the abandoning, that's terrible. But how is Egwene having a MOA saving people from a fate worse than death while Rand is at a Moral Event Horizon doing the same thing?
Roger Powell
33. forkroot
I had never spent a whole lot of time on the "too young sitters + why are the Ajah heads meeting" mystery - in fact, I thought it was sort of an extraneous plot thread. I've come to change my view though and this is why:

For the first time, we realize that everyone who stayed in the Tower didn't just fall in line with Elaida. In particular, it showed that the Ajah heads were both intelligent and ambitious and unwilling to give over some of their traditional power. So we now see the dysfunctional Tower for what it was - a product of the Black Ajah's manipulation, using Elaida as a tool, along with a subtle (and in the end, unsuccessful) movement to resist the complete disintegration of the Tower.

Lest we come down too hard on the Ajah heads for not really having a good enough plan, remember that they thought they were just dealing with a megalomaniac in Elaida. They had no idea that the entire Black Ajah under the thumb of a resident Forsaken was actively working to fracture the Tower to the point of uselessness.

Lastly, let's give them credit for realizing that they just didn't get it done, and for deciding that tapping Egwene was the sensible (obvious?) choice. If they hadn't formed their little cabal, the ensuing post-Elaida power vacuum would have caused critical delays and the fight with the SAS might not have been avoided.
Tricia Irish
34. Tektonica
Leigh....I agree that Rand leaving was not cool, however, I have no idea what he should've/could've done. And maybe, just maybe, getting his dark, evil, one with the land self out of there, WAS the best thing he could do, before even more things went to hell. Not easy to see our hero be so ineffectual, but as RobM states@8, he's totally overloaded and headed in the wrong (dark) direction. Whaaaaaa......

I don't get the Weiramon comment either. Rand always thought he was a toady and never trusted him. What is LTT all about here? As a repository for "all the things Rand doesn't want to deal with", perhaps LTT here is leaking Dark thoughts ?

Back to the comments....
Paul Long
35. Caveatar
Deleted Cav
Irene Gallo
36. Irene
Quick housecleaning note: it look slike permalinks on time stamps are back. Yay! Hopefully shoutboxes wont be too far behind.
Eric Hughes
37. CireNaes
Rand and Weiramon XOXO. LTT was a dingbat when it came to judging another person's character. His pride was likely what got in the way of good character assessment in the AoL. I've tried to imagine his interpersonal dialog based off of what little information we have from the AoL in the BWBoBA. In the words of Alec Baldwin, "Let's take a look at the scores."

:::LTT striding confidently out of the Collam Diam::: "Why would anyone not like me? I'm awesomesauce personified in Tamyrlin form and the servant of servants if I ever saw one!:::tickling a baby while signing an autograph:::Watch out, the Dragon's gonna get you, he's gonna get you! Don't give me that look Latra, you know I know what's up. Joar, looking good my man! Hey, I heard the latest piece. Not your best work, but don't worry about it. It's all about people thinking you're talented. Take it from me:::thumbing his ear while humming:::How's your mom doing? I haven't seen her around in weeks. Channeling sickness, you don't say. Too bad, too bad:::ruffling Joar's hair:::Well, you just tell her the Big D says hello. That should make her right as rain. Barid! Baby! How's my favorite number two? You know, you never smile. It's just not healthy. We need to turn that frown upside down! I know, we'll get you another silver medal for your display case when I whoop you at the next no'ri tournament! Hay-Yo! Just kidding! Seriously though, you'll get there. After all, Duram managed to pull a fast one on me once, I'm sure you'll get the gold...eventually. Elan. Whoah, take it from me my man, you've got to find a different color pallet for that pale complexion of yours. The black and red are just not doing it for you:::nervous chuckle:::Hey, of course I read the book! No, no, I loved it! No I don't think it's too dark and esoteric! Don't let anyone tell you different. I'm positive this one will make the top 10:::sees Meirin walking angrily towards him:::Hey, I've got this thing with Ilyena in a few and would love to talk, but I'll be at the Hall tomorrow and I'm really looking forward to that announcement of yours! You stay classy big guy!"

As far as Egwene is concerned, I don't have a problem with her. I don't take her confidence and go get'em attitude as arrogance and a can't conceptualize another person's viewpoint. She's a decent fictional human being in my book.

Edit: For grammar and a few minor tweaks.
Ron Garrison
38. Man-0-Manetheran
Sal Serio @ 31
“I am having a frustratingly hard time finding anybody in my area who is even aware of the series. Even wearing my Ta'veren Tees around has not helped.”

LOL. I know what you mean! A certain treasured member here on the re-read gave me a Band of the Red Hand “It’s Time to Roll the Dice” t-shirt. Everytime I wear it, I hope to come across another WoT fan. So far, nada. Who knew we were such a rarified bunch?
Paul Long
39. Caveatar
Deleted Cav
Louis Theodore Tellman
40. zackattack
@37 CireNaes The image of LTT as a bumbling, baby kissing politician made me snicker.
Kimani Rogers
41. KiManiak
Once again, Leigh my thanks for the post.

This post got me going with a lot to say (So Wall of Text Warning)

Um, Leigh, is anyone really arguing that Rand is alright here? I thought the consensus was that the reader should feel that Rand is pretty messed up, and doing pretty messed up things. Killing dozens of people with balefire and leaving a city-load of people to starve isn’t something that the average sane human being would approve.

Having said that, I reject the comparison Leigh makes between Rand’s actions at Natrin’s Barrow and the strike on a mental hospital. Really? Are we to consider that a fair comparison?
(I’m going to assume that Leigh was over-dramatizing for effect, and didn’t really mean to compare destroying an enemy stronghold with an enemy general that surrounds themselves with irretrievably-mentally-damaged slaves that are also being tortured, with inhabitants of a mental hospital.)

So, back to Natrin’s Barrow vs Arad Doman: First off, it’s WAR time (prelude to The Last Battle, some would argue). Of course horrible actions are going to take place. But there are major differences between making a conscious choice to destroy an elite enemy commander (with a guarantee of human collateral damage), and leaving an entire city of people to starve.

Second, Rand knows he’s being-a-coward-with/running-away-from Arad Doman. The reader knows Rand is being-a-coward-with/running-away-from Arad Doman. I don’t think we’re supposed to feel good about it. This continues to show how Rand has changed from the good-hearted young man who just a few books ago was willing to risk capture or possible death vs letting Lan fall off of a roof in WH. It’s painful to read.

It’s easy to say what Normal Rand was “supposed to do.” But by this point, should the reader really be shocked that Dark Rand has chosen to leave Arad Doman and focus solely on facing the Dark One in Shayol Ghul?

But Leigh, at the end of the day, I understand your “Leigh Rage! Leigh Smash!” feelings related to Rand’s devolution in TGS, as a number of us share our dislike of the situation. I say this for every Dark Rand chapter, but it hurts to read, and I can’t wait for Veins of Gold (only a few more chapters to go)…

And then, Egwene…

Look, I appreciate that she reviews some of the mistakes she had made in regards to communicating with others (especially Siuan); and on her introspection regarding how much control she thinks she has over her own life and how the Amyrlin should act (wait, Greens are decisive?).

I would have just preferred the review go a little further in terms of information, assumptions, mistakes and lead more towards humility, understanding and awareness of the qualities of others. Oh, and when she talks about sacrifices, especially focusing on what she has had to sacrifice, and the potential undermining of those individuals sacrifices? But then her not thinking that way at all when she deals with her friends, or even, I don't know, THE FREAKING MESSIAH (who yes, happens to be her ex-boyfriend)? Ha! I had to laugh at her. Egwene still continues to demand trust from others, when not necessarily trusting them back.

Actually, its fascinating to compare Egwene’s irritation with how Gawyn treats her, with how Egwene treats Rand (both when there was the romantic-aspect in the first few books, as well as the non-romantic aspects since there declaration of “let’s be friends” in TSR).

This continues to be one of my major issues with Egwene; she wants to be treated by her friends/loved-ones one way; but she will treat those same friends/loved ones a different way (I think Rand used some “A cat for a hat” saying in LOC when Egwene wanted Rand to tell the Wise Ones to let Egwene do what she wanted). And she hides behind “the good of the White Tower” as an excuse for her actions.

And then, Egwene’s actions in the Hall, unmasking the Black Ajah. This, I did enjoy reading. This was very effectively done, and Egwene was incredibly shrewd in the way she did it (and then spelling it out to Romanda and the Hall; I liked that little touch). The trick she used on Sheriam was fine; I didn’t see it as overly masterful or incredibly lame. It was fine. But the methods she used to get the Hall’s buy-in, and ultimately rid the camp of the Black Ajah was masterful. Well done.

Comparing Dark Rand’s leadership style to Egwene’s? Pass for now, as it’s not a fair comparison. I hope Egwene would be a better leader then Dark Rand at this particular point in the story. Now, I’ll be more than happy to compare Egwene’s actions and leadership style to Zen Rand in ToM…

The Ajah Heads: Unfortunately, their initial actions are what we’ve come to expect from Aes Sedai. Where did they go wrong? Um… supporting Elaida from the get-go? Thinking she would be a puppet and not a train wreck? Allowing her to disband an entire Ajah?

I have no problem with them ultimately picking Egwene. She was (by far) the best possible choice. She is a good Amyrlin, and will do a lot for the White Tower.

Siuan and Bryne: Still like them this way. They can both be fools together. And, now they’re engaged…

And, my wall of text is done, for now. Feedback on the comments in a later post, if I have any...
Paul Long
42. Caveatar
Deleted Cav
Eric Hughes
43. CireNaes

When leading a small group or bible study with trusted friends, sure. But not while preaching. You wouldn't believe how easily people get offended or overanalyze things that are said from the pulpit. I don't take it personally. After all, Rom. 14 and 1 Cor. 8 were written for a reason and that reason is far more important than me having a few laughs while preaching.

By the by, have you heard the reason why God made our butt cracks verticle rather than horizontal? It's so when we slide down a banister we don't go, tbtbtbbtbtbtbtbttbtbtbtbtb.
Eric Hughes
44. CireNaes

Glad to brighten your day.
Don Barkauskas
45. bad_platypus
douglas @28:
I don't have a reference on hand and won't have time to find one until this evening, but I remember a statement from Brandon that the mass spoilage of everything was actually caused not by Rand's presence, but specifically by his act of abandoning the city.
That was how I interpreted it upon reading it. However, the only quote I found does not support that view. From the Theoryland quote database:
Question: How about the food going bad in Bandar Eban? Was that caused by Rand being nearby with his cloud of evil?
Brandon Sanderson: We've heard earlier in the books that the Dragon is one with the land, and the land is one with the Dragon. This is an old belief—many kingdoms believed that the wellness of the king was directly tied to the wellness of the land. In WoT, this is quite literally true.
Mark Locy
46. Tathas
Egwene cleans all the things! What is she, some kind of wizard?
Eric Hughes
47. CireNaes

Thanks a million. Your efforts and everyone else's at tor.com are above and beyond. By the way, the mobile site is showing some much appreciated tweaks as well. I post with my phone most of the time and you all have made it a lot easier.
Something has just occurred to me. Remember how so many of the BA's escaped before they could be executed? Well how was that done? Might it be possible that Messana is one of the sitters in the Rebel Tower? Verin said that one of the Forsaken was in the Tower and I just assumed she was in the actual Tower. But what makes us think she didn't leave along with the others? She could have been with the Rebels all along! Which, by the way, could be why she still hasn't picked up any Angreal from the storeroom. Because she wasn't there to have the opportunity!

Also if Messana is in the Rebel camp, then could it be that she is one of the Sitters on the Rebel council. Could she be the one who tipped off the other Black Sisters. Is she capable of defeating the oathrod? Also they asked if they were BA's. They didn't ask if she was Forsaken! The Forsaken don't consider themselves to be Aes Sedai or Black Ajah...

Whatcha think?

Louis Theodore Tellman
49. ryamano
I don't understand one thing about unmasking Sheriam: is an Aes Sedai incapable of saying any lie, even when in a very fast conversation? Aes Sedai can say things that they think are true, but in fact aren't. Couldn't they accidentally tell a lie while having a conversation and not listening to the other person (by having a very fast conversation, or by not paying attention or by having difficult hearing).

Egwene stepped forward. “Are you Black Ajah, Sheriam?”

“What? Of course not!”
“Do you consort with the Forsaken?”
“No!” Sheriam said, glancing to the sides.
“Do you serve the Dark One?”
“Have you been released from your oaths?”
“Is the European unladen swallow air speed faster than the African one?"
“Of course not, I never—” She froze. "I mean, I don't know!"
Karen Fox
50. thepupxpert
@37 Reminded me of MetroMan in Megamind... "And I love you too, Random Citizen!"
51. Ryamano
Dammit, the site is swallowing my comments.

@48 Zexxes

Mesaana was Danelle. She was found out to be so in ToM. If she had a low-maintenace disguise already in the Tower, why have another among the Rebels? The Forsaken who was supposedly to take care of things among the Rebels was Halima/Aran'gar/Balthamel.
As for how the Black Sisters got word of what was happening, I don't know. But considering the nature of their occupation, they should be suspicious of these things. Especially after so many sisters are not released by the Hall.
Cameron Tucker
52. Loialson
Love Egwene in this book and the previous, KoD. Her captivity to Amyrlin plot arc always enthralls me. Her dealings with Rand in the next book was a little step back, but she was honestly blindsided by Rand and manipulated by him a little. So I'm hoping that the reunion in aMoL will be epic with LOTS of communication!

teensy side note from the last thread. You said that the WT has one binder and Therava now has the one Sammael found, and that we have no evidence of other binders whatsoever in the text. Moridin has three binders, per Graendal POV, ToM ch 5.

Just a thing to note, I understood what you were getting at...but the Shadow does currently hold 3, even if we don't know how long they have had them or if they've been using them for the Black Ajah or not, so your theory on the BA using the WT oath rod may still be valid.
51. Ryamano
"If she had a low-maintenace disguise already in the Tower, why have another among the Rebels?"
Uhhh, why not? If it serves a purpose, if it helps you achieve your goals, if it helps you keep track of what the Rebels are doing, if it helps you interrupt their plans....why not?

Tyler Durden
54. Balance
"Sack up"


Something I never thought I'd hear our beloved hostess say, but none the less find very humourous.
Daniel Goss
55. Beren
@49 Rymano

That's actually a very interesting question. We've seen Aes Sedai come up against a lie before, though, and I think the phrase used was something like "her throat clamped down" because she was unable to complete the lie. I don't know if it's made explicit in the text, but presumably the reason that everyone knew Sheriam could lie after she said what she did was because she said it with no ill effects at all.

Karen Fox
56. thepupxpert
@53 Zexxes - The only issue I see with this theory is which SAS she would be impersonating; she'd have to be important enough in the ranks to be in on all the high-level meetings, which means she would be very high profile, which is exactly the opposite of who she is impersonating in the Tower. Not sure that is likely but I agree that it's a possibility.
Roger Powell
57. forkroot
Thanks for the correction! Given that it was Moridin who had the stash, and we know that he has been loose cyclically in the past (as Ishamael), it's certainly possible that he's had that stash all along and has made one of those binding rods available to the Black Ajah. After all, he's the ultimate originator and director of the Black Ajah.

Given that he has activity cycles and the BA goes on when he's inactive, it's also possible that he had a fourth binder which is held by the BA.

Now there wouldn't be much point to having and hiding an additional Oath Rod if you still need the original to unswear the normal Aes Sedai oaths.

Too bad you've already seen Brandon, otherwise I'd ask you to ask this question:

"When removing an oath sworn on binder rod, must the unswearing occur on the same binder rod?"
56. thepupxpert

I'm thinking that just because we know that Mesaana assumed one persona in the White Tower, doesn't mean she would then assume the same kind of persona in the Rebel Tower. That would actually be kinda stupid.

Also remember, she was one of the instigators of Elaida's coup. She may have been the actual planner of it and likely is. But she was later dismissed from influence by Elaida. She could have then decided to see what could be done within the Rebel camp.

I know some mention Halima among the Rebels, but all she seemed to have done with her time is poison Egwene and rescue Mogs. After that, her/his cover was blown. Leaving Mesaana to take control of the Rebel Tower BA.

But if I'm right and I'm not saying I am (I think its unlikely too, but it does explain some things), but if I am.... who is she?

I should put that differently... who was she?

Paul Long
59. Caveatar
Deleted Cav
Sam Mickel
60. Samadai
I always pondered the Weiramon thing not as Lews Therin trusting him, but as Lews Therin actually reading him correctly, and understanding that Weiramon is truly one of those who gives his loyalty once, and it can't ever be traded or bought away. So Weiramon is a loyal man, he just had his loyalty to the DarkOne all along.
William Fettes
61. Wolfmage
Re: Leigh’s rant about Natrin's Barrow

Whilst it was kinda funny in an over-the-top way, at least for me, it was too much of a strawman against what was actually being said in that thread to be taken seriously as a rejoinder.

A couple of points:

-Yes, the systemic risk of using that level of balefire is anything but trivial. Yes, Rand did not even pause to contemplate how much balefire by third parties might already be destabilising the pattern, and thus whether his usage on this scale could act as a tipping point with disastrous consequences. He also failed to consider whether his actions might set in motion a future tipping point from third party usage that he could not control.

These are very serious points. But I didn’t see any concerted attempt by those arguing for Rand to discount them. Many people, including myself, expressly acknowledged the problem. At best, some might have been bit too casual about the resulting non-destruction of the pattern – conflating the bare fact of a non-catastrophic result with a considered weighing of the risks. But that was not the main thrust which was about compulsion.

-No, Rand’s “say so” about the level and scope of the compulsion used by Graendal on those around her is anything but an arbitrary and lackadaisical guess. There’s little doubt the AOL light-siders over-took several bunkers occupied by Graendal in the past, and LTT as the Light's CiC, would have had access to the most intimate details of what was recovered. He also would have reports from other commanders and agents in the field to go off, not to mention the high possibility of some direct personal experience. Accordingly, Rand is drawing on authentic memories spanning centuries of this person which give him a detailed psychological profile of her that there is little reason to discount.

At best, we are talking about a nagging possibility, against the thrust of the balance of probabilities, that some on the outer staff might have received a lower level of compulsion than the majority of the inner staff and her pets. IMO this is certainly a valid point to raise, as I said in the previous thread, but it’s a hypothetical point and not firm, dispositive evidence.

-No, comparing valid arguments about the irreversible agency-quashing nature of the compulsion used ubiquitiously by Graendal -- something that cannot be healed by the most prolific healer of any Age known -- which weigh as part of the collateral consequences of taking out an important military target in the war to defend all of life -- to a policy of euthanasia for the old and infirm is ridiculous and completely risible.
Wolfmage- I thank you for taking a lot of the words and then some, right out of my mouth.

63. MasterAlThor
As humans we all have the ablity to piss others off. Some have a Talent for it. Leigh, I am in awe of your Talent. I supposed that makes you an excellent writer. I might even infer that you intentionally did so.

I enjoyed reading your recap even though I was stung by some of the barbs your tossed out. That people is a Talent we should all strive to have.

Meh. Others have pointed out much better than I can on what is wrong with SuperChikaNumbaOne.

Man I don't like that he left Bandar Eban to it's on fate. I really don't like that he is partially the reason for it. But here is where we need to think about everything that he has been through.

Trapped and beaten
Crossed the Streams (something we learned back in the 80's you should never do)
Assassination Attempt

Yeah I think none of us would be thinking right after that. I agree that it is a MEAN, TERRIBLE, HORRIBLE thing to do to people who are looking to you to save them, but hey we didn't sign up for sunshine and rainbows. And you all know we are going to get to the payoff of all this very soon. WOOT WOOT!


"By your powers combined I am Capitan Amrylin!
I am going to go lie down now, before I stop breathing. Too good, too good.
Valentin M
64. ValMar
Howdy folks!

Rand's descent into Darkness is really well done. Now that we have the benefit of hindsight I really enjoy how painfull it was to read. It reminds me how the WOT has made me raise my expectations of the standard of the books I start to read- and in many cases abonded after finding them dull after reading WOT.

Re: Natrim's Barrow. Whether Rand was right or wrong there, could please people start calling the place a city and thus magnifying the number of people there by hundreds of times than were actually there.
If you are convinced in your view on a point of principle, there's no need to pimp-up your argument.

Mind you, I can recall only the Dear Leader doing it, and I don't want to be dragged out and shot and fed to the pigs... and if so, could you do it in that order please?!

Hm, what else? Oh yes, the Eggster, and the Ajah Heads Cabal.
Firstly, the Heads- I think it was brilliant. Basically, this made so many things fit. The whole thing with the Eggster becoming Amyrlin always felt a bit incredilous to me, despite the "puppet" rationalisation. Now it is one precise part of the jiggsaw. The political currents in the Tower and why many things like the apparent consent to Elaida's rule were let be. The too young Sitters...

Secondly, the Cleansing- that was good. Sheriam's reaction made sence to me too.

Thirdly, the Beauty and the Beast- who's Eg who's Gawyn I don't know. But I wonder. When I read their interractions here and later on, that's how I imagine how Twilight reads.
If anyone is prepared to admit of reading it, can you tell me if my impression of these wretched couple's relationship is vaguely true?
Don Barkauskas
65. bad_platypus
ZEXXES @48 et seq.:

While it's not impossible that Mesaana was also in the Rebel camp, it's highly unlikely. First of all, even with low profile disguises in both camps, her absence could be noted and remarked on. (Not likely, but it's a small point.) More importantly, in KoD, Ch. 3, it's pretty clear from what Mesaana says to Aran'gar that Mesaana has been relying on Aran'gar to destabilize the rebels while Mesaana did the same in the Tower.

bad_platypus @45:

I'm going to take the opportunity to disagree with myself here. On further reflection, I really like the idea that it was Rand's decision to abandon Bandan Ebar that triggered the spoilage. BWS's quote could be construed in that manner: once Rand gave up on the city, the land reflected his inner feelings and the grain spoiled. The timing seems too coincidental not to be significant.
Leigh Butler
66. leighdb
douglas @ 28:
I remember a statement from Brandon that the mass spoilage of everything was actually caused not by Rand's presence, but specifically by his act of abandoning the city. Things were bad but tolerable while he was there and trying (however poorly) to help. The sudden spoiling of all the food in the ships didn't happen until he made the decision to stop trying and leave.

Teleology, baby!
Thomas Keith
67. insectoid
Happy Spring everyone! It's possible I may be going insane. This could be for any number of reasons:
a) a March hare;
b) March Madness;
c) taint-induced madness;
d) my other computer's Win7 being maddeningly unpredictable and headdesky;
e) the never-ending sea of clutter and junk in the garage;
f) the peculiar outbreak of bickering here in the bunker over the last few weeks.
I'm thinking that d) and e) are the most likely. ;) Nevertheless, f) does worry me a little. And c), as we all know, can be Healed. So, onward!

Great post, Leigh! Hilarious commentary, as usual. I have no idea about the jump text...

Rand: SO not cool, leaving people to starve, even if your icky TP-related dark aura is the cause of the spoilage! "Schizo al'Crazypants" made me LOL.

LTT re: Weiramon: Seriously, WTF? But keep in mind that LTT is certifiably, 100% bugnuts.

Gawyn: Is still an idiot.

White Tower Sitters: Have got horse sense! No serious nuclear-grade Awesomage like Egs demonstrated could possibly be ignored.

Siuan & Bryne: Awwwww. We all saw it coming, of course, but still, Awwwww.

Sheriam: Sigh. She never really acted evil at all throughout the series; the Gray Men thing was suspicious, sure, and the knowledge of the 13+13 trick, and being beaten by Halima... but until this book she never really did anything obvious. Such an incompetent enemy!

Egwene: Is pictured in the dictionary under "AWESOME". Sure, she's had her faults, and made some mistakes, but she's STILL Awesome. 'Nuff said.

Beren @3:
"By your powers combined, I am Captain Amyrlin!"
That is hilarious. XD

Irene @36: YAY!! Thanks Irene!

CireNaes @37: *LOL*

ZEXXES @48: It doesn't make sense for Messy to be in two places at once. Obviously, there was a Black sister with the rebels that somehow found out that Sheriam and Moria were caught, tipped off as many other Blacks as they knew, and possibly tipped off someone in the Tower as well—after all, a good number of Blacks had skeedaddled by the time Egwene was raised. Granted, Messy could have accomplished this, but I don't think she was with the rebels the entire time. (Also, bad_platypus has a good point @65.)

Now, excuse me while I go have a conversation with the voices in my head...

Paul Long
68. Caveatar
Deleted Cav
69. MasterAlThor
I was just going to let this one go, but I couldn't. I am not that strong. Are we really going to compare what Rand did at NB to the raizing of the mentally infirm? KiManiak has the right of it. You really can't compare the two. Wolfmage is also on point with his comment at 61.

NB was a strategic military target. Just how exactly is a mental facility a military target?

70. Freelancer
Shocking cut text. Really charged up.

Nice link in the commentary too.

KingFielder @9

Love is the ultimate irrational wonder. Attempting to logically determine Egwene's source of affinity for Gawyn is an unwise errand. How many couples have you known for whom the initial reaction upon seeing them together is "What on Earth does she see in him?", or vice versa? Love cannot be put in any box. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

RE: Rand's "rapidly souring ta'veren mojo"...

I submit that Rand has at play several aspects of his complex nature. His status as a powerful ta'veren impacts otherwise random events, it is true. It does not alter the fixed condition of nature itself. This is a separate influence, the Dragon nature.

Zexxes @48

Mesaana was unmasked as Danelle following the fight in the T'a'R version of the Tower, where Egwene broker her mind thanks to a timely lesson from Perrin. Danelle was the "dreamy" Brown who brought the enemy into the Tower disguised as extra stonemasons just before the Tower coup that unseated Siuan, but that's the only example of her doing anything authoritative, she was not a Sitter. She was seen with a small group who supported Elaida during the period immediately following her installation as Amyrlin, but that group was dissolved over a short period of time. Mesaana did not need for her persona to have any power, since she had Alviarin as her puppet. No, she wasn't taking a part among the SAS as well. The forsaken aren't especially permissive of sharing operating turf, and that thought works in all directions. Aran'gar wouldn't have wanted her there, any more than Mesaana would have wanted another of them in the Tower.
Paul Long
71. Caveatar
Deleted Cav
William Fettes
72. Wolfmage
Re: Abandoning Bandar Eban

This scene had so much emotional heft for me that I felt crushed by the weight of it. I mean, after all the trouble he went to get the food and supplies there via the Sea Folk, the revelation that it was all spoiled was just terrible. I certainly won't defend Rand here, but his decision to Gateway away certainly resonated strongly with the sense of terrible futility of the moment.

I too had strong suspicions reading this that the spoiling was part of a self-reinforcing process - with the protective mantel of the light receding and the decay of the dark accelerating to match Rand's hardening and descent into means-end thinking. So, it’s certainly not a good argument to say means-end thinking means he was technically good to minimise his proximity to the food. That is basically missing the forest for the trees!
73. Freelancer
Caveatar @68

I've a bone to pick with you naming Lot's wife Calcy Chlora. I'm thinking it was Sodie Chlora.

As for Mesaana meeting with Sheriam, yes, but not in Salidar. It was in the rebel camp outside of Tar'Valon. Mesaana is frustrated by Elaida's idiocy, by Shadar Haran's injunction against killing either Elaida or Alviarin, and by Egwene's stoic integrity, which is slowly succeeding in the Tower in spite of her captive status. So she goes to the SAS camp and demands that Sheriam work to depose Egwene, and that is also when Sheriam's fingers are threatened if she doesn't recover all of the Dream ter'angreal. That said, this looks very much like an isolated visit, and does nothing to suggest that Mesaana had been regularly among the rebels.
Jeff Schweer
74. JeffS.
Hi all,
The jump text is a quote from Nikola Tesla, an essay called "Man's Greatest Achievement", New York American, 6 Jul 1930.
I knew it was Tesla, as he is an idol of mine in a lot of ways, but I had to look up which essay.
The preceding paragraph of the essay to the jump text is interesting in context of Rand and his recent actions.

"To create and to annihilate material substance, cause it to aggregate in forms according to his desire, would be the supreme manifestation of the power of Man's mind, his most complete triumph over the physical world, his crowning achievement, which would place him beside his Creator, make him fulfill his Ultimate Destiny."

We 've seen him annihilate material substance, sure enough and after "Veins of Gold" we see him placed to make him fulfill his Ultimate Destiny."

Nice choice of quote, Leigh. Very nice indeed.

More input later when I have a chance to digest the comments so far.
Louis Theodore Tellman
75. alea_iacta_est
I, for one, was glad that Rand left Bandar Eban. It was getting really depressing to read how nothing he did helped the city at all, and how everyone was once again trying their hardest not to do as he said.
Seriously, you think he should have stayed their, achieving nothing whatsoever, rather than leaving and fixing things that are actually fixable?

I mean, yeah, it gets fixed in ToM, but that's only because the pattern is being all 'here, let me fix all your problems for you'. Actually, that's what I hate about the pattern. If it had just done that from the start, Rand wouldn't have gone nearly as dark as this, because things would've gone his way instead of having this constant struggle and failure. But apparantly it's more reasonable to punish him for not enjoying his (extremely suckish) job by making it harder. Yeah, great thinking there.
Louis Theodore Tellman
76. Makloony
@71 Sheriam didn't meet with Messana until after Halima was sent packing. Therefore Messana did not invade Halima's turf because Halima was already gone.

As for Rand spoiling and unspoiling the food in Bandar Eben. I feel that the food did not spoil until it was opened. At the moment the food was opened spoilage happened that is why when Rand changes he can go back and tell them that the rest of the food is just fine.
Some Person
77. The Ninth Horse
I agree with ryamano @ 49 re: Sheriam's "lie". She would be undertandably upset at being accused of a crime punishable by death, so any ill effect of lying might not be noticeable, even if she weren't Black. But that assumes that the Oath Rod works that way: we only know that it causes problems when the person attempts to lie, but it presumably does not if they have already lied. Furthermore, we know that telling untruths is possible if they are believed. That probably also applies if the an honest answer is mistakenly given to the wrong question. So bullying someone into accidentally lying probably causes no ill effects, nor does it prove anything. Of course, the Aes Sedai might not know this, but if they witnessed it, I imagine they would want to test it.

But most importantly, I don't think that method is believable. Not only are Aes Sedai well experienced in more sophisticated misdirection, many are also experienced in bullying, so I don't think a rapid-fire round of questioning would really catch one off guard. I also didn't like "By the way, that dress you are wearing is green", so take from that what you will.

As an aside, I wonder how alcohol affects the Oath Rod.

The BF made sense (how do you beat someone when you may only have one opportunity and killing them means they will come back unrecognizable?), unjustifiable or not. Same for the abandonment: Rand failed in Bandar Eben, his military and his direct attention were needed elsewhere, and his non-military people wouldn't follow orders without swords to their backs. He tried to prevent them from starving but was thwarted by things beyond his control (though it could have been related to the BF). Should he give up on more important things to focus on something he already failed?
Ron Garrison
78. Man-0-Manetheran
Re: Ebandoning Bandar Aban

alea_iacta_est @ 75: "everyone was once again trying their hardest not to do as he said."
& Makloony @ 76: "I feel that the food did not spoil until it was opened."

Exactly! If the people had just observed the "Refrigerate after opening" warning, Rand wouldn't have to take all the blame!
Sam Mickel
79. Samadai
M-o-M @ 78

"refrigerate after opening" ROFLMAO
funny stuff
Louis Theodore Tellman
80. AndrewB
IMO that there was a lot of confusion in the hours and days following the Blue's efforts to spring Suian and Leane before they were stilled. It is reasonable that some Aes Sedai who initially did not participate in the fighting, fled shortly thereafter. I recall reading somewhere that about 1/3 of the Aes Sedai remained in the Tower with Eladia; 1/3 eventually made their way to Salidar; and 1/3 remained neutral. I think it is unlikely that a 1/3 of the then current Aes Sedai were out of the Tower at the time of the split.

We know that it took some Aes Seadi a long time to reach Salidar. Many of the other Aes Sedai had a head start on Siuan, Min and Leane. Yet they (and Logain) arrived in Salidar before Adeleas, Vandene and Aeldene arrived. Eladia had time to convince Beonin to act as her mole within the Salidar camp. (As an aside, based on what we later learn of Beonin's character, it probably did not take Eladia very long to convince Beonin to serv e as a mole.)

Given the above, it is not surprising that the Ajah Heads had time to gather together and plan to send the youngest Sitter to join the SAS.

Again, I may be mistaken (I know, that happens more often than I would like), but I thought that right after leaving the Tower, all of the anti-Eladia Sisters did not flee en mass to Salidar. This raises a question. How did the Blues get the message out to Sisters who were not of the Blue Ajah that they "resistance" was to flee to Salidar? I would not put it past the Blue Ajah to have a contingency plan of where to evacuate in case of some disaster that occured to the Tower (whether it be an attack that destroyed the Tower or an assault on the Blue Ajah as an entity). However, this would have been one of those secrets that only the Blue Ajah would know. As such, how could the Blues have advised any non-Blue?

I suppose that when the efforts to free Siuan and Leane were turned back forcing the Blues and other pro Suian forces to flee, all non Blues were in groups with at least one Blue who could have told them to head to Salidar. Yet that seems unlikely.

In the grand scheme of WoT matters, I understand my question does not matter (given that the Split happened in Book 4 and in Book 13, the schism end). Nevertheless, it is a question I find myself still pondering.

For me, this is a very appropriate point in the re-read to ask this question as (i) it does not bother me in the slightest that Rand left Bandar Eban right after learning that the food had spoiled ; and (ii) I have no major problems with Egwene's actions in this chapter . (I do think that Egwene was too harsh on Siuan. Siuan's rescue of Egwene was the correct thing to do given what information that Siuan had -- that Egwene was filled with forkroot and would be an easy target for collaring by the Seanchan.)

Thanks for reading my musings,
Richard Chapling
81. Chappers
Okay, this may be somewhat of a tangent (it does have Egwene in it, at least!):

I've worked out how they'll defeat the DO. It's oh-so-obvious in hindsight: Egwene's going to fulfil her dream of being the Best Water-Carrier Ever.

Jusification: The DO hangs around in a large fiery lava toilet pit. The last possible place that there'd be water. Corollary: he's obviously weak to water.

Picture the scene: Egwene: "You may have me shielded and tied up with Air, but I still have this bucket of water, that I carried all the way from Tar Valon!"¹

There follows a homage to The Wizard of Oz, etc.

After all, it's right there in the first paragraph of Ravens, the "new" introduction to the series. Obviously RJ changed his mind and invented some new foreshadowing when he rewrote the ending. It even accounts for Verin's sneaky comment about "this battle isn't being fought the way that al'Thor assumes it will be."

¹ The bucket was given to her by Narg or Bela, naturally.
Louis Theodore Tellman
82. Wotman
I think NB was well done, even though Dark Rand was cold and deliberated, he did the best he could to get Graendal, and I was really pissed when she pulled a fast one and bailed.

I always wondered why Rand did not assign Nyneave to heal the food spoilage, I think with a couple of linkings, they could have reversed the spoilage, but that is just me sayin.

Egwene .. eh, moving on

I think they did a realistic job in dealing with the BA, I know there was no way they could get them all, but they did pretty good, as for telegraphing the Eqwene/ Amrylin thing, it was a work in progress while she was in the WT, working behinf the scenes, she could tell the tower was ripe for picking. She is a master at manipulating the manipulators. Which is why I do not like her.
William Fettes
83. Wolfmage
Re: Egwene

I had only unqualified praise for Egwene in her Moment of Awesome from the last thread, and she continues to be impressive here.

I was fine with the trap Egwene uses against Sheriam because I thought it was persuasive evidence and rather clever. We know that an honestly mistaken belief can be uttered without falling afoul of the Oath. From that we can surmise that mistaken perception of a question could lead to an answer that was false or misleading. But Sheriam did not plausibly mishear the question here. She was alarmed by the turn of events, yes, and she went into a repetitious mode of denial to the flurry of accusatory questions, but her hearing and cognition were not impaired and there was nothing ambiguous about the question. So it’s perfectly consistent that the Oath would clamp up her throat in the situation and restrain her from telling a lie despite her build up of some inertial cadence.

Egwene also deserves huge credit for finally acting decisively against the Black Ajah here. After years of denials, inaction and ineffective secrecy by Tower leaders about this cancer, it's terrific that someone finally steps up to take them out, root and branch. Of course, she could only do this because of Verin's amazing work and sacrifice, but it was still entirely her decision not to wait and it’s a hugely important victory for the Light in reclaiming the Tower as a bulwark against the Shadow.

The only caveat I have about Egwene here is that she is gratuitously harsh towards Siuan. At least with Gawyn, she is trying to correct what I think is a genuinely belittling attitude to her status as the true Amyrlin and someone with real prowess as a leader. That would be very, very aggravating coming from her lover. So I understand her frosty reaction.

Her harshness to Siuan is less understandable IMO because the main source of her umbrage is that, hypothetically, the rescue might have undermined her achievements in building authority in the Tower, and the political opportunities of the moment that might be possible in the aftermath of the attack, and thus the ultimate goal of unification. I completely understand and respect her inner anger over this at the time, because it was a valid concern. But she is rebuking Siuan at precisely the moment when that eventuality is rendered moot – after she has already been invited back on terms obviously favourable to her goal. IMO that makes it a rather self-indulgent point about her personal authority that is very arguably gratuitious.

Admittedly, she does acknowledge some role in what happened, but it didn't give any real regard to the fog of war and certainly didn’t stop her giving the rough side of her tongue to a trusted ally, who, more than anyone, put her in position. She seems curiously unmoved by the fact that the circumstances of how Siuan last saw Egwene created a new uniquely dangerous situation that wasn't anticipated by her standing orders, and they were interrupted from being able to properly discuss these orders in light of the attack. It’s true that Egwene acquitted herself well during this attack , but given how she ends up fatigued beyond belief and essentially incapacitated by using so much power, she is not really in a good position to be arguing she needed no assistance whatsoever.

Moreover, Siuan is a trusted advisor and 100% onboard with Egwene. She harbours no illusions that she can defy Egwene at will and act as the Shadow Amyrlin with her as puppet. So I think her need to put Siuan in her place is a rather big overraction to what was an exigent course of action and certainly one that wasn't taken lightly.

She does make a more substantive argument about the importance of tracking the Black Ajah in the SAS camp that has some force. But again, the entire unification plot depends on Egwene living. So it’s not obvious that risking Egwene's life and freedom through inaction was a good way to serve these goals regardless.
84. Freelancer

I was aware of the source of Leigh's jump quote, hence my opening remarks @70. Tesla is a remarkable historical figure, and sadly too little is known of his work in general. He was without question a genius in the area of collection and manipulation of ethereal energies. When writing, however, he too often strayed from the science which was his strength, to an almost grandiose man-centric philosophy. I find it difficult to relate to anyone who commonly suggested that man had within his grasp the ability to ascend to equality with his Creator.

Oh, and that lump of metal being sold as a mechanical achievement with his name as the brand is an insult, he would have been embarrassed to be associated with it.
Paul Long
85. Caveatar
Deleted Cav
Jeff Schweer
86. JeffS.
Free @ 84
I think we crossposted while I was writing mine or Iwasn't paying attention which is possible. I honestly didn't see your comment @70 until after. I won't argue his penchant for grandiosity in this and some of his other essays, it's pretty obvious. If you take in account some of his other personal, shall we say, idiosyncracies? The tone he takes in this and other essays seems completely in character.
(I've never understood why he had to calculate the cubic volume of the food he was eating for instance)
As far as the car, you nailed it, what a pile of...
With apologies to any and all involved in marketing, sometimes it's just wrong.
Rand, dark and darker. Almost lost to the shadow at this point.

I'm going to wait until the next post or so to comment on the Ajah heads and Egwene, etc. I starting rereading this section to prepare for todays post on Sunday and before I realized what happened, I had finished TGS and was 8 chapters into TOM. Anyway, when we get back inside the tower with Egwene and company is when I might have something to add.
Jay Dauro
87. J.Dauro
Master AlThor @69

What makes NB a military target? The presence of a Forsaken in the middle of a large number of people who are now basically mentally infirm.

So, if the Forsaken is in the middle of a mental facility. A facility where the patients were not caused by the Forsaken, but are not curable. Is it then permissable to balefire all just to get the Forsaken in the middle? I believe this is the point. Yes, we know this has happened in real life, an enemy uses innocents as human shields. You have to decide whether you can attack. It's never easy, but we really are not shown Rand agonizing over the decision.

AndrewB @80

I also agree that Egwene is too harsh on Siuan. I mean, an enemy force basically walked up to her while she was incapacitated and kidnapped her. No one stopped them or apparently even questioned them. Yes some were wearing copied Tower Uniforms, but we have Siuan's word that the copies were crude. So what was to prevent a Black Sister from just walking up to an incapacitated Egwene and killing her?
William Fettes
88. Wolfmage
J.Dauro @ 87

These are hardly insurmountable concerns. The modern standard is pretty well accepted and ethical IMO. It is governed by three main concerns: distinction, proportionality and military necessity. That is, you can't just make no distinctions between military belligerents and civilians simply because there is intermixing with civilians and the big bad. So you have to look at the consequences to both. You also have to have a valid military target which is part of a strategy to defeat the enemy. Finally, the military advantage you are trying to secure must be proportional to the collateral damage to civilian life and property that is foreseeable through taking out that target.

So, the presence of civilians doesn't automatically render an otherwise valid military target impermissable. It is part of a weighing process.

Arguably, you can adapt that standard pretty easily to Rand's actions.

1. He certainly made a distinction between Graendal and her people. Though obviously he put a steep discount on the value of those civilian lives because they were basically pre-desceased by the level of compulsion used. He also considered it unlikely that there were really any civilian lives involved with a lower level of compulsion.

2. Graendal as a genius-level Forsaken is certainly a valid military target, whose death would harm Team Dark.

3. Very arguably, the military advantage secured by taking out Graendal is proportionate to the consequences. We know most of the civilians that were killed were effectively brain dead and beyond hope of restoration to a real interior life, so the harm in question is really about the uncertain number of a smaller subset of the people around the property who might have received lower levels of compulsion. Exactly how big you think that uncertainty weighs against the self-evident importance of taking out Graendal is a matter of proper contestation. As NB is a grand old estate, there is some value in the civilian property loss itself -- but it is not like it is critical infrastructure that affects the survival and welfare of the wider civilian population. So, overall I think the argument is pretty easy to make out.
john mullen
89. johntheirishmongol
Hard to argue with what is going on with Egwene here, and it was a great call to publicly out the Black Ajah.

As for Rand, he is having a bad week.
Paul Long
90. Caveatar
Deleted Cav
Thomas Keith
91. insectoid
Leigh @66: Tele-what?

Free @70:
Shocking cut text. Really charged up.
That was very clever of you.

Man-O @78: LOL!

William Fettes
92. Wolfmage
insectoid @ 91

Teleology comes from the Greek word "telos" meaning purpose; teleology refers to the primacy of design or purpose in something. In law, for example, a teleological approach refers to a purposive model of statutory interpretation which constructs the words of a statute with the purpose of the legislation in mind. Such an approach might seek to ignore a formalistic definition and seek to narrow or broaden certain words if it better achieves the objectives. In theology and philosophy of science, teleology refers to arguments based on an ultimate designer.

I believe Leigh is using the word quite differently to this as a reference to the way that the Wheel of Time universe treats intentions seriously with metaphysical and physical consequences. AFAIK this is a bit of a departure from normal usage of teleology in ethics. Typically teleology is seen as being linked with the consequentialist tradition, which actually ignores intentions and focuses on evaluating actions according to their concrete ends. The tradition more associated with intentions in ethics is called deontology, but that isn't the right word for this concept either.

If there is a better pre-existing nomenclature for this idea I'm not sure what it is.
Leigh Butler
93. leighdb
Wolfmage @92:

"That's a great deal to make one word mean," Alice said in a thoughtful tone.

"When I make a word do a lot of work like that," said Humpty Dumpty, "I always pay it extra."
Thomas Keith
94. insectoid
Wolfmage @92: Okay, I think get it, mostly. Your post had a lot of big words in it. *winks*

Leigh @93: LOL at the TTLG reference!

Paul Long
95. Caveatar
Deleted Cav
Louis Theodore Tellman
96. yasiru89
Now there's a problem of confirmation as to whether the people in Natrin's Barrow were Compelled or not? Given all that we know of Graendal, and the condition of all those around her that we've seen- what do you think? Would someone so concerned about keeping herself hidden just let walking liabilities work for her?
And neither did Rand ever say what Leigh claims he did regarding the situation in her little diatribe. But it's certainly telling what Rand does think given what he does say- "Before condemning me, let us first determine if my sins have achieved anything beyond my own damnation.".
It may be a great temptation to resort to the charge that the other side are just taken over by irrational fandom when your own arguments are found lacking, but we must all try to resist this.

Leigh goes on to draw an entirely false equivalence between irrecoverable mind-erasing and 'incurable insanity'. They weren't bloody crazy people- they were braindead people moving at Graendal's whim! So the 'let's up the ante with more false equivalences' routine next resorted to, bringing in the old and infirm and crippled, is as relevant to the argument as figs and mice.

On the risk of balefire- it's the only thing known to destroy the Forsaken beyond their master's grasp. However insane he was at this point, Rand was well aware of this as well as the risk posed to the Pattern (he notes immediately in WH that what the Defenders are hinting at is the fraying of the Pattern).

Then there comes the presumption that those who defended Rand's actions at Natrin's Barrow would defend them here with regard to Bandar Eban. His actions here are morally indefensible, but the point is exactly what Leigh too hastily dismisses- there was nothing else Rand could do. Staying in Bandar Eban and trying to sort out their food problem might have come at the cost of other nations starving or the Shadow getting the first critical strike in the Last Battle. It's not the obvious moral problem which a toddler could have pointed fault about and condemned Rand for that's important here- it's the sense of desperation and helplessness. Both in the protagonist and by extension the world (in a 'the Dragon is one with the land' sense that certainly is to be inferred here) as both teeter as one on the brink of destruction. There's clearly a right and a wrong, but the point isn't so superficial, being instead the question of whether the facility exists in the protagonist to do what is right. For all that Rand had done to establish order and feed the people of Arad Doman, in the end nothing came of it and there was nothing else he could do but abandon them to their fate to save humanity as a whole. But you could think of this also as the Pattern's rejection of Rand's current state as suitable to go into the Last Battle. The ta'veren does not always, even unwittingly, control what the Pattern intends for him. Rand was about to leave Arad Doman better for at least the grain, but is he at fault if the food spoiled as a reflection of his nature? It is in the first place the Pattern and the Dark One that bring about the problem and push Rand to a corner so that the few must be abandoned for the many. Skipping ahead to ToM, eventually Rand does nothing new to solve the problems in Arad Doman. His policies remain as they are at this point- no conquest, with Domani to govern and maintain order, and most importantly, it's the same grain once abandoned that avails them. As a ruler, Rand had made the right decisions every time, but fails to see the reflection of himself upon the land, which brings about the worst in every situation.

On comparisons with Egwene, none of the above applies to her and she has her part clearly set out in her mind. It certainly helps that her own ambition and belief that the Tower is a worthwhile are spurs in her task. The lucky breaks she's had like Verin, have no comparable scenarios that apply to Rand- his lot keeps getting worse with every turn. The situation is also nothing near as clear for him, buckling as he is under the weight being the linchpin for a world on the brink of annihilation. Her leadership and logistical challenges are also nowhere near the scale of cities and nations as it is for Rand (and as I've pointed out, he does a good job of these and it's not management failure that fails to avail him in these matters).
So one wonders at this point, in converse, whether it's just fan worship of Egwene that's really bringing these pointless comparisons to the fore.
Terry McNamee
97. macster
Leigh...I love you (platonically) and you are an amazing, well-read, intelligent, awesome person. And I absolutely agree with you on your reaction to what Rand did in Bandar Eban. But I really think you crossed a line in your comments today.

Not just the whole comparison of what Rand did at Natrin's Barrow (an act of war, an act calculated to get rid of a very dangerous enemy, remove that enemy's resources from play, and at the same time spare them any further degradation, and an act which as callous as it was, saying terrible things about Rand's soul and psyche, was still carefully and fiendishly cleverly carried out) to destroying a mental hospital, though that is bad enough. What really upsets me is your implicit attack upon your readers. I get that you were ranting about what awful atrocity Schizo al'Crazypants did this time, and also that some of this was done for comedic effect but...Dudette, Not Funny. Yes, you mitigate it somewhat by heaping blame onto yourself as being the "brain-farting recapper" who was wrong about whether balefire really does prevent souls from being reborn, but in all other respects you imply if not outright state that any reader who was defending Rand's action at Natrin's Barrow, let alone who might defend his leaving of Bandar Eban, is worthy of mockery, denigration, and outright scorn. The sarcasm you use is scathing, the contempt impossible to miss, and whether referring to the supposed blithe dismissal of damage to the fabric of reality, the arguments about whether Rand was doing Graendal's victims a favor, or the supposedly incipient excuses for him abandoning all those people to starve, you come across as putting down anyone who disagrees with your opinions on these matters.

You're free to feel as you like of course, and also free to write your blog as you wish. But don't you think it rather unwise to not only indulge in ad hominem attacks like that, but to fling them at your own readers? Thinking that excusing Rand's actions is a disturbing and worrisome line of thought is a perfectly acceptable view to hold, but expressing it with such ridicule and crude rejection, even under the guise of humor? Not Cool.

*takes a deep breath* All of that said, as I stated I do still agree with you. Justifications can be made for Natrin's Barrow, however thin you and others may believe them to be. They can even be made, however tenuously, for this action as well--some commenters have already made their cases well. But IMO that still doesn't excuse what he did in either case. Natrin's Barrow still damaged the Pattern, and the headspace Rand had to be in to make it is quite upsetting and terrifying. Leaving Bandar Eban to starve is far, far worse, and the justifications are even more threadbare--particularly since, even before I saw that quote from Sanderson, I was positive it was him deciding to leave the city that triggered the food spoilage, so that the whole issue of whether his departure would spare the city was putting the effect before the cause. I was frankly horrified more by this than Natrin's Barrow--not because I am desensitized to death or felt the Compelled people didn't even suffer, but because at least on some level his decision there made sense. Heck, it was even doing what Moiraine originally wanted him to do, seeking out and killing Forsaken. But this...this is harsh, cold, and pointless.

Yes, there really wasn't anything Rand could do, although if he hadn't been so hard and impatient and without compassion he could have stayed to make sure the food was distributed and the merchants chose new members and a new king before he left. (I do wonder what Alsalam will come back to...though I imagine with Ituralde's help and the Last Battle about to start it doesn't matter so much at the moment.) But he still should have tried, or at least shown more emotion and remorse than merely closing his eyes and being shocked. (Though at least he did that much.) And the proof of this is in much of what you quoted: "I did everything I could./That wasn’t true." "He put the coming starvation out of his mind. It was shocking how easy that was." “I have little patience for men who abandon their duties.” Have we done that? Lews Therin asked. Who have we abandoned? Rand knows damned well that what he did was wrong.

The fact we can make justifications for why he couldn't stay and there was nothing he could really do doesn't change the fact that the act of leaving is still callous, horrible, and completely unlike the Rand we knew and loved. In fact it almost makes it worse, because all the excuses in the world don't change the emotions (or lack thereof) behind it, and knowing they exist makes it far too easy to brush the issue under the table. Expediency is never the answer, and even if there wasn't time or resources to do anything (setting aside what happens in ToM that proves there was indeed plenty of both, with belief, determination, and positive ta'veren effects), one should still retain humanity throughout one's actions. When it seems most necessary and simplest to dispense with such things in order to get things done is exactly when you should hold onto them all the more. The fact I was pissed at Rand, scared of him, and feeling for him all at once shows how well written this whole arc was.

Weiramon: Personally I wasn't sure what to think. I had pretty much concluded he was a Darkfriend, but even if he wasn't he was clearly incompetent, useless, and dangerous, so no matter which was the truth, having "Lews Therin" endorse him and proclaim how refreshing it was for him to be so honest worked for me either way. As a clue bat to him being Shadow-aligned ("at least he's honest about his allegiance, clearly quite loyal to the Shadow while butt-kissing and trying to manipulate me in such a clusmy, obvious manner") it's perfect, but even if Weiramon had just been an idiot, the fact part of Rand was liking him and admiring him would be troublesome and show how screwed up in the head he was. With him actually being Dark, it makes it even more distressing.

On Egwene: I too don't understand how people can still have problems with Egwene in this book (other than the Mary Sue accusations--those are pretty well-founded, even if they aren't completely damning since even a Mary Sue can be done well). But then that is why Your Mileage May Vary exists, people just see things differently and that is that. While it's true she needs to do more soul-searching, admit more mistakes, and learn from them, at least she's doing some, which is more than what she did before and what people have been rightfully criticizing her for not doing all along.

I thought the reveal with Sheriam makes sense. She panicked at first because she was so used to covering up the truth (and because of the sentence for being Black), but since she was never a true Black (joining for power rather than The Evulz), in the end it was a relief to be revealed and not have to fight any more. That and once she knew who had given her away, there really was no point in denying it any longer.

Others have said it but I also agree: the mystery of the Sitters makes sense if there was a delay before the obstructionists were sent to Salidar. Elaida's crowing to Alviarin about her mole, and her knowledge of Salidar at all, shows that there had to be a delay--because how would Beonin have had the info to give her if she hadn't gotten to Salidar first? And we know she did, as she was one of the original Salidar Six. As to why she and other Sitters arrived late, thus allowing time for the Ajah Heads to have briefed and sent them, it's already been explained: no one knew of the coup, or how it would turn out, ahead of time, but once it happened, the Blue fled, Elaida disbanded it, and she started cracking down and creating a tyrannical regime, those left behind could see which way the wind was blowing and defect. It took a while for everyone to get to Salidar, so the moles showing up late too wouldn't look suspicious--it would be excused as them not fleeing until they realized how awful Elaida was and that they needed to get away from her/join up with the people who wanted to bring her down. And since other Blues were long in appearing (Aeldene, Maigan), some of them could have easily guided the Sitters to Salidar.

I love Bryne and Siuan together. I wasn't certain about them at first, but from KOD onwards I've loved them. Whether or not they've done the hanky-panky (or even just kissed) doesn't matter, since I think their relationship is a hoot. "Fools together", indeed!

Oh, and Gawyn does have a few points...but overall yeah, he needs to shut up. I did like, though, that he admitted he didn't care about Tar Valon (he was only with Elaida because of his feelings about Siuan and what she did to Elayne and Egwene) but he knew what attacking it would do to her. I thought Egwene's line in regards to this, "I have to go order people I care about to slaughter another group of people I care about" to be really poignant.

And though I still hate her overall, I had to be a bit sobered by the fact that Lelaine of all people who was so distressed over what they were about to do to the Tower. Even though the attack ended up not happening, it really underscores for us how bad it would have been if it had.
Terry McNamee
98. macster
@3 Beren: I about fell out of my chair laughing. "Captain Amyrlin", indeed!

@9 KingFielder: Jordan has said directly, and also via Min, that quite often one is fated to be with someone by the Pattern despite the person's feelings on the matter. I could see Gawyn and Egwene as another example of this, where the Pattern wanted them to be together, so it made each of them confuse lust or infatuation with real love so that they wouldn't fight the relationship. Also don't forget Egwene's dream that Gawyn would either marry her or not, and live a long life to die in bed or die young and violently, and she didn't know which road led to which combination of fates. Just because he has gotten together with her doesn't mean he won't die. (After all, Aes Sedai can survive losing their Warders.)

@10 Treemaster, @27 zackattack: Funny, I actually loved that passage. And I didn't see it as her being self-congratulatory or a Sue at all. She wasn't saying what qualities she already had which was why she was such a great Amrylin and a perfect person, but listing what qualities she would have to have if she wanted to be a great Amyrlin.

@17 Sal Serio: I don't think anyone has said Rand and Egwene are exactly alike or have gone through all the same things, just that they have some similarities in experiences, attitudes, and mental blocks/problems. And in fact the things they don't have in common (like your point about her having a choice and him not) makes it even more important to compare them, so that these differences can be underscored. Egwene has things about herself and her experiences which could and should be remembered when helping her empathize with Rand (in fact she needs to do that more), and at the same time the things which are different are things she needs to keep in mind to keep from being a know-it-all who thinks she knows what's best for him.

@BillinHI, forkroot: Egwene does in fact know saidin is cleansed. When she is raised to the Seat in Chapter 46 and chooses Silviana as her Keeper, she tells her that saidin is cleansed. And she learned it in this very book, when Siuan told her about Delana, Halima, and the Asha'man visit to the rebel camp in Chapter 8.

@27 zackattack: Egwene not being unbiased toward the Reds is another flaw which makes her a realistic character. And after her experiences (Liandrin, Elaida) no one could really blame her. Many readers still hate the Reds too.

Also: the Amrylin Seat in love with the leader of the Whitecloaks. Wouldn't that have been interesting? :D Though I guess that would have been another way to resolve the Whitecloak/Aes Sedai schism.

@30 Looking Glass: "Also, I don’t see Thom or Moiraine as the sort to wallow in angst at center stage, which gives them a substantial leg up on, um, everyone."

Truer words have not been spoken.

@32 pwl: Now is this an exercise in fairness, or a question asked from the POV of an Egwene-hater? Either way, I'll just say that Natrin's Barrow is not a Moral Event Horizon for me, but rather the start of him jumping off the slippery slope, as each act after this is worse and worse, and less justifiable. By the time we get to him threatening Hurin, almost destroying the Borderlander army, and nearly killing Tam, I wasn't even surprised anymore...just disgusted and ready to wash my hands of Rand altogether. Wanting to destroy Ebou Dar and all the Seanchan, then the whole world? Absolutely in character for Rand's mindset at that point, a perfect progression.

But it started here, and at Natrin's Barrow (well technically it started when he killed Semirhage with the True Power, but in that case the act was completely justified, just that the means were terrifying). Not because the act itself was horrible, but because of why he did it and how he felt about it. At least Egwene was trying to spare the Aes Sedai being collared. Yes, Rand felt that about the Compelled slaves, but the difference is he was using balefire to do it, threatening the Pattern, while Egwene was not. And no one ever said the fact Egwene could justify such a thing was necessarily a good mark in her favor--in fact several have argued it shows how damaged she was by her time as a damane.

So actually no, there isn't a difference between the two acts as far as I am concerned--save for the fact Rand didn't care if he destroyed the Pattern to kill Graendal and "free" her slaves, in fact he didn't care about anything anymore but doing his duty and then dying. While Egwene wanted to stop the Seanchan from winning and conquering Randland, prevent people from getting into that slave state in the first place, and was in fact bringing down countless enslavers instead of one Forsaken and her innocent zombies. That is why she is awesome to me, while Rand did what was needed, but in a way that was disquieting, dangerous, and set up for his later true Moral Event Horizon. You'd have to ask Leigh why she still sees what Rand did as an MEH and Egwene as having a MOA.

@37 CireNaes: ROTFL!!! Priceless, and I have to wonder how accurate it might be...

@41 KiManiak: Glad I am not alone in my feelings re: Leigh...as for Egwene, I still believe she will be forced to face her failings, admit her mistakes, and grow as a person in the last book. And I think what happened in ToM was still Rand manipulating her to do what he wanted, and once he reveals to her his full plan, she will realize she was an idiot, eat crow, and become a firm ally.

@45 Bad Platypus: The quote you bring up indeed does not say anything about what the specific impetus to the food going bad was. It says it is related to Rand's Fisher King effect, but not whether that was something which just generally followed him around like a miasma or if specific actions or decisions on his part trigger it. Since it doesn't specify, both can still be right--it is his Fisher King/Dragon nature causing it, but he had to decide to abandon Bandar Eban before the food went bad.
Terry McNamee
99. macster
@48 Zexxes: While others have made good cases why Mesaana could not have been with the rebels, IF she was I would guess she was disguised as one of the Blacks who vanished and got away. But it is more likely that one of those Blacks guessed what was going on from all the sisters who went into the tent and weren't coming back, and she warned the others in the camp as well as the Tower.

@60 Samadai: I concur.

@61 Wolfmage, 63 MasterAlThor: Thank you for stating my own thoughts as well.

@67 insectoid: I think the point was that Sheriam got caught up with the wrong crowd in her quest for power, and when the Forsaken got free and the Last Battle approached, she suddenly found her oaths called in ways she never expected or wanted. So didn't do evil things, or enjoy them when she did them, and she's an object lesson on what happens to those who are overly ambitious. You're still allowed to like and feel sorry for her. I did. (Though it pissed me off in TDR when she told Egwene she hoped those who never returned from their Accepted tests had unhappy lives in the rings, because she had no room for those who shirked their responsibilities. Rather rich coming from her...)

@80 AndrewB: I am not sure, but recall that prior to Elaida's reign, friendships between Ajahs were not discouraged, and that in fact the Blues were strongly allied with the Greens and had support from Browns too. So it is entirely possible that through friendships across Ajah lines, something like the location of Salidar should things ever go south for the Blues had been passed on. Or could be after the fact via pigeons or eyes-and-ears. (Remember Aeldene showed up late--while she was out of Salidar she could have been directing efforts to contact non-Blue supporters and sending them there.)

@83 Wolfmage: Indeed. Egwene basically finished what Moiraine and Siuan started in New Spring, fulfilled the charge she, Nynaeve and Elayne were given in TDR, and brought down the organization that killed Tamra, her searchers, and so many more. A beautiful and wonderful resolution of that long-standing plot.

@87 J.Dauro: Agreed. While I thought some of Siuan and Gawyn's arguments for rescuing Egwene were specious, and obviously we know that Egwene was doing awesomely and in no real danger, at the same time she was in battle, and even if she had Vora's sa'angreal, she was also depending on the novices to be able to channel at all. If any of them had died, been taken by the Seanchan, or otherwise removed from the circle, thus depriving Egwene of Power, she'd have been a sitting duck. And the situation in the rebel camp was in fact deteriorating, while the Tower, thanks to Elaida, was pretty much already falling apart and ready to choose a new Amyrlin--with the ready choice of Egwene already presented to them because of her interactions with the Ajah Heads and the Black Ajah hunters as well as her actions during the Seanchan attack.

Granted Egwene did not know this, but as Wolfmage pointed out, while her anger at Siuan could be excused in the immediate aftermath of the attack and her rescue, once she was summoned into the Tower and she was made Amyrlin, she should have realized that all her worries about the unification efforts falling apart were for naught, Siuan jeopardized nothing, and she should drop the distrust and anger. She does seem to be more mollified and forgiving of her in ToM, but not enough yet for my tastes.

@96 yasiru: Very well said, all. One point I will make though: I wouldn't say that Rand's actions in ToM make no appreciable changes for Arad Doman. His overall plan for the country doesn't change, no, but not only does he bring his positive ta'veren effect in to restore the grain and feed the people--and do not discount the importance of that act, people were starving--he does something much more important. He brings hope. He brings order. He helps the people by inspiring them, getting the guards cleaned up and working together, the women washing and healing and looking after the children, peace between Iralin and the Sea Folk, and so on. This is critical because remember "belief and order give strength". Not only is this the compassionate and humane thing to do, it directly counteracts the despair and chaos of the Dark One. And lastly, he does restore Alsalam to them, who I suspect will be able to get the merchant's council in line and start Arad Doman's recovery, barring major destruction in the Last Battle of course.

That being said, you're right that most of this was simply building off of what he had already done or arranged, and that the reason he didn't do it now was because of his utter hardness and lack of emotion, thinking nothing mattered but fulfilling the Prophecies. His mistake was in abandoning them without seeing through to the end what he had done for them or had planned for them, deciding other things were more important than caring for the people who depended on him. If he had stayed to try and help further, the grain would not have gone bad, and it really would not have changed anything as far as the Borderlanders or the Last Battle were concerned. In fact he might have been on hand sooner to save Maradon.

Of course in the end it is best it worked out as it did--aside from the obvious benefit of Dragonmount, he got to go to Tar Valon to start gathering forces, got the note from Tiana that led him to Alsalam, was able to answer the Borderlanders' challenge, had the actual power and control to save Maradon, and so on. The point is, what he did later for Arad Doman proves there was more he could do, or a path he had already started he could have remained on. The difference is he needed to be in the right head space for the solution, and it had to happen at the right time as the Pattern decreed. This doesn't mean, though, that we can't look at what Darth Rand was doing here and be concerned, stunned, and worried...particularly since at the time of first reading we didn't have the benefit of hindsight we have now.
Paul Long
100. Caveatar
Deleted Cav
Louis Theodore Tellman
101. AwesomeRedFontGuest
I can't really add anything to the conversation... except a +1 to the group who thinks Rand is doing his best, and Egwene comes off as a Mary Sue.

Remember when Egwene was forced to choke her precious Gawyn to death? Or when her hand got blown off? Or when she had to channel tainted magic? Or when she had to cleanse it?

Yeah, neither do I.

I like Egwene despite her being a Mary Sue, but comparing her to Rand is just SO not fair. I don't think anything really bad has happened to her since she had a collar around her neck in book 2 >.>

But my memory sucks, so feel free to correct me :D
Paul Long
102. Caveatar
Deleted Cav
Terry McNamee
103. macster
@Caveatar: Why yes, that would be the proper meaning of my name. As to whether an ancestor wrote that poem, I have no idea. It'd be fairly awesome if so.

@AwesomeRedFontGuest: Well, she was captured in Tear and threatened with being turned to the Shadow, and nearly killed by Lanfear in Cairhien, captured by the Tower, and nearly beaten to death by Elaida, then stuffed in a tiny cell. But yeah, not too much comparable to Rand...which I still say means that comparing them is a worthwhile endeavor, since it shows how dissimilar they are. If Egwene keeps up the comparisons and realizes both how they are alike and how they're different, she can sympathize more with Rand while also realizing she isn't the one making the true sacrifices.
Paul Long
104. Caveatar
Deleted Cav
Jonathan Levy
105. JonathanLevy
My favorite line is just before Moria panics: "Many. Sitters among them."

Something completely random just occurred to me re: Sheriam.

Before she is executed, she uses the same loophole as Verin did.
Sheriam confesses to a number of crimes, including stealing the TAR ter'angreal. How did she do this? Well, she knew the hour of her death had arrived, so now she could betray the Black Ajah.

Maybe this was blindingly obvious to everyone but me. :)

Also 41.KiManiak and 61.Wolfmage and 97.macster

It seems to me that our fearless leader is using law-court procedures on the battlefield. For achieving shining NYT editorials, it's great. For achieving victory... not so great. It's all a question of priorities.

An unrelated thought - sorry if someone mentioned this already.

Graendal surrounds herself with mind-controlled slaves who worship her and adore her. We see her showing them off at one point when Sammael (I think) visits her.

Ok, now let's take the best-case scenario, in which Rand manages to balefire only Graendal, no collateral damage. What happens to those 400 mind-controlled slaves with no other thought but worshipping Graendal when she dies in front of their eyes? Even assuming that Nynaeve can heal each of them with, say, 30 minutes of work?

25. Tarcanus
One of the Tairen bards in Barthanes' party in TGH also has silver-worked boots.

LTT was a dingbat when it came to judging another person's character.
This is actually a very perceptive judgement on Lews Therin. There's a thought of his in TFoH:44 which supports it quite nicely:
Are you still so jealous of me, Tel Janin? When did I ever slight you, or give you one finger less than your due?
Lews Therin utterly fails to appreciate that it is precisely because Tel Janin receives all his honors and awards from Lews Therin that he became jealous of him.

49. ryamano
Also 55.Beren
We've seen Aes Sedai have their mouths snap shut while they're talking quickly when they realize they're speaking a lie. I think it's an open question whether an Aes Sedai can talk quickly enough to fully utter a lie before she realizes what it is.

Of course, if she'd pinned it under the dorsal guidance feathers, she wouldn't have had this problem.
Louis Theodore Tellman
106. Looking Glass
Tathas @46: Yes, yes she is. She is the boss of all the wizards. She is friends with wizard princess and wizard Jesus and the king of the wolf people, and they fight orcs and vampires and samurai on elephants and magic ninjas. Then the hero with the magic horn and the magic spear saves the wizard lady from the evil faeries.

Describing this story in kid-friendly terms is pretty awesome.

Zexxes @58: I think you may be confusing Mesaana and Alviarin?

Caveatar @71: Mesaana did move in on Sheriam once Halima was gone. IIRC, that meeting provides fairly conclusive evidence that Mesaana wasn’t in the rebel hall- if she had been, she’d have known about the hall using dream ter’angreal before Sheriam told her.

AndrewB @80: Not every non-blue needed to be with a blue to find out- just enough of them to put the location into their own message networks. That would have compromised any secrecy the location originally had… which is consistent with the fact that every single tower ajah had someone infiltrating the camp.
Louis Theodore Tellman
107. zackattack
@macster 97 I for one welcome Leigh’s scorn! Because I just love me some attention. Any kind of attention. Or possibly I am a masochist. Or maybe I recognize that this blog is written for entertainment and try not to take it too seriously if the humor occasionally falls a bit flat. :)

@ 101 AwesomeRedFontGuest: I think the reason Egwene gets compared to Rand is because in her mind she has set herself up as the female counterpart to Rand. Which I think is probably what bugs the crap out of me so much about her in the next book. I will have a LOT more to say about this when we discuss ToM. (I know. Be excited.)
ana liese
108. analiese
@ Leigh

I just don’t get in the slightest how one can find Egwene to be anything other than pure concentrated Awesome in TGS.

Are we talking about the same Egwene who condemned Elaida (and Rand in previous books) for considering an oath of fealty to the Amyrlin without sparing a thought to the way she blackmailed Sheriam's circle into swearing fealty?

Egwene, who had a bloated enough ego to compare herself to a Hero of the Horn?

Egwene, who killed captive Aes Sedai and never once thought about saving them? Rand killing Graendal's brain-damaged victims is a horrible, evil thing, but Egwene killing Aes Sedai that still were perfectly normal and could have been saved with some help from their Warders, that's no big deal.

Egwene, who didn't even wait to scold Siuan in private, but instead chose to humiliate her friend in public after Siuan saved her at considerable risk?

Egwene, who transformed into such a Mary Sue in TGS, she quoted the Karaethon Cycle in the dinner scene with Elaida (amazing she found time to read and memorize all that, really...does Eggy Sue have a photographic memory too?) and was suddenly capable of giving sage advice to 100+ year old Aes Sedai about her aging Warder? I guess some people might find all of that awesome, but to me, Egwene's chapters in TGS were among the most poorly written in the entire series.
Maitrey Deshpande
109. LittleWolf
@80 AndrewB
The Blues put up the location of Salidar through their eyes and ears (Salli Dara or something like that, non-blues think it’s a name of some woman). Siaun meets up with an eyes and ears in Lugard and gets Salidar’s location, I forget which book, TFoH I guess. (All AS know the code for a distress signal put up by the eyes and ears of their Ajah).

Also I agree with JonathanLevy, Sheriam might have exploited the same loophole as Verin (that they can betray the DO and the Black Ajah in their last hour). She reveals quite a bit, such as confirming that Mesaana is in the Tower and that she handed the T’A’R ter’angreal to her. Unless, she’s forsworn all oaths now and can blab all she wants .

I liked Egwene’s arc in TGS, till this chapter showed up. The whole Sheriam “is your hair red?” trick, c’mon, it looked really flimsy. (Ok, not looked, it is flimsy).

(Parenthetical aside ftw).

@3 “Captain Amyrlin”. *snort*

Paul Long
110. Caveatar
Deleted Cav
Eric Hughes
111. CireNaes

That's why I'm so fascinated with LTT's pride. Something he/Rand regularly pines about in the series during Rand's less lucid moments.

Your quote was an element I considered in putting together that satire. Demandred in any other age would have been Tamyrlin and although he was good at everything LTT was good at, he always came in just below the mark. Be'lal actually boasting about beating LTT once in stones, something Demandred (conceivably) had never been able to do. Latra's polemic campaign regarding the women's involvement with LTT's 100 companions final solution. Asmodean stilling his own mother (I came up with a fictional "and then some" reason for that one involving LTT), Lanfear's jealousy of Ilyena for ruining her plans for power by capturing LTT's attention and actually holding it. Ishydin's prior career as an esoteric philosopher with nihilest tendencies along with his anouncement in the Hall of Servants about their impending doom and his allegiance to the D.O. that quasi kicked off the war. LTT's career as a political powerhouse as well as his crazy level of aptitude with any task he put his mind to (swordplay, complicated games, strategy, channeling, politics). So much I would have liked to see teased out. I didn't incorperate Graendal's murder of LTT's trusted friend/secretary or Sammael's similar to Demandred's beef with LTT, but hey nobody's perfect.


I had watched that film a few months back. Maybe that's what inspired me. Juggling babies. Doesn't get better than that.

Edit: Grammar
Roger Powell
112. forkroot
I find it difficult to relate to anyone who commonly suggested that man had within his grasp the ability to ascend to equality with his Creator.
From this I can conclude that Lanfear is just not your type.

Egwene, who had a bloated enough ego to compare herself to a Hero of the Horn?
Comparing oneself to another has nothing to do with ego - it's only if the results of the comparison don't jive with reality that ego could be a problem.

For example, there's nothing wrong with me comparing myself with LeBron James, as long as I draw accurate conclusions such as:

1) LeBron James and I have some things in common. We're both male citizens of the USA.
2) LeBron James is a much, much, much better basketball player than me.

Fine ... no ego problem. OTOH, If I had reached a conclusion like:

I am roughly as good a basketball player as LeBron James.

Now we're talking ego (pure delusion.)

OK - So when Egwene compares her confinement with Rand's what does she come up with? She realizes that Rand had it a lot worse than she did. She felt empathy toward Rand as she took her own suffering as a starting point and then imagined how it could be worse.

{:: Now if you all will excuse me, I'm late to my meeting of Egwene Defenders Anonymous ::}
Deana Whitney
113. Braid_Tug
@ 31, Sal Serio
Try a Renaissance Faire, if nothing else, it’s fun to flirt with the people in the silly shirts. Good luck!
The whole WoT dating site has come up several times in the comments. But there was a survey in 2009 about the support of Significant Others. Only about 1/4 were fellow WoT fans, most were tolerant. So maybe a dating site for “SciFi/Fantasy Readers” might be better – more options.

@64, ValMar
Twilight: Egwene and Gawyn’s relationship is more functional, sadly than Bella and Edward.
Bella is a non-functioning person without Edward. Gwyane, while he makes bad/odd choices, can still function as a person. Plus if you dislike the Emo of Perrin, you never want to deal with the Emo of Twilight. It’s a case where the movies are better than the book, because you don’t have to deal with the 1) repetitive internal monologues and 2) immature writing style.

Perrin at least has the excuse that he lost his entire family to a tragic death, so he latches onto Faile for dear life.
Bella is just an angst ridden teenager.

(Had to read to find out why my nieces were crazy for the books. Now I’m trying to get them to read other stuff.)
Tess Laird
114. thewindrose
Dang - we are over 100 already - great googly-moogly - thanks for the catch-up reading at work!;)

SO, some big points of contention in the comments. Rand / Egwene / Gawyn(JJ).

I was horrified by Rand leaving Bandar Eban, truly becoming a Moridin protege. His 'look at me' balefiring of Natrin's Barrow. .. I see a lot of my fellow commenter's are rationalizing these actions. What I see is our hero, no longer a hero - I was wondering if anything could lift him up in my eyes. Thank the light for mountaintops and apple orchards! (And great authors with a great team:)

Egwene - Have any of you worked really hard at something, and have this idea about how it will come to fruition. And then something happens that you think just derailed the outcome. She is going through this. Now, her outcome did happen - but not the way she planned. So, what I had an issue with, is her continued displeasure with Siuan(suprisingly I have no problem with her issues with Gawyn - I know can you believe it;)).
Siuan, Egwene's mentor, also a friend - someone who believes in Egwene, knows how traumatic her time with the Seanchen was. Who risked her own life and those who came with her to rescue Egwene. SO, I get it - she is worried that she will not be able to heal the schism with out battle. That would truly suck - but that dosen't happen. Please stop running Siuan through the wringer, and if Rand stops by, and is all messiah like - maybe listen to him? He's not into boxes like you are not into leashes:)

Nadine L.
115. travyl
I wish Aviendha were here, let me quote her (ACOS, Ch21):
"Near-sister, I will say this delicately." She looked and sounded about as delicate as a stone post. "If this is true, you have toh ... And you have made it worse since, just by the actions I have seen"
Yes, I'm talking about otherwise awesome Egwene. Thanks to her awesomeness she didn't need rescueing and as Wolfmange @83. explained so well, it could have been unfavourable that she was torn from the Tower.
But from Siuan's POV it made total sense to rescue Egwene who might have been in danger (doused by forkroot, imprisoned in a cell), and Egwene was desperately needed back at the SAS camp. Siuan didn't act selfish. That Egwene tells Siuan that she lost her trust, because Siuan actually thought for herself instead of blindly following "stupid and not explained" instructions is disappointing.
I am not an Egwene hater per se, but this scene totally made me remember the situation with Mat at the stone: Another character risks himself to help her, and gets a totally not cool response.

On a completely different topic:
I do agree with macster @97. that it is a bit unfortuante to be "blatantly passiv agressive" towards other posters, while we (and especially tnh and irene) worked so hard to cull that sort of behaviour ot of us in the previous posts. While reading the first part of the comment I couldn't help but wonder if thn would be able to "delete" some of Leigh's post.
Nadine L.
116. travyl
oh, and Re Jonathan Levy @105:
I don't think Sheriam could have used "Verin's loophole". She clearly revealed the facts about the Black Ajah in hope of being spared - so she wasn't certain that she would die within the hour.
I chose to believe that she was unsworn from the oath, and talked then. The other, unlikely possibility would be that Team Jordan blundered.

@Loialson: did I miss something? I remeber you asked for questions to ask Brandon, but I never saw any "signing report" off late. ??
John Smith
117. TheHardTruth
Hey Leigh? Louisiana Leigh!

Read your Newspaper today??? **Shiiteatinggrin**

Hear that BOMB that just decimated your town? Feel good NOW?

Hows morale back in Saintsville TODAY? :)

''WHO DAT?""

''WHO DAT?''

''WHO DAT?''

God Im loving it!!!
John Smith
118. TheHardTruth
For those who aren't football fans, or haven't heard what happened today in NO, that is just good-natured ribbing, lol

As for the reread - when this is complete, it will be a massive accomplishment. Worthy of pride. Keep going, Leigh!
Eric Hughes
119. CireNaes

I'm reminded of Star Trek III. Nice "cloaked wvessell."
Eric Hughes
120. CireNaes
And as far as the whole Rand/Egwene comparison debate, I have to say that I consider Egwene to have experienced an almost equal amount of trauma all things considered. Captured by Whitecloaks, enslaved in a very violating manner (thoughts as well as physical captivity), quite a few One Power battles under her belt where she hasn't always come out on top (mind injuries), being mind massaged by the biggest lecher among the Forsaken (ewwww), publicly degraded, beaten violently, shoved in a small cell, beaten some more, shoved in a small cell, beaten some more.

Now granted she has not been made to strangle Gawyn (much to the regret of some here, I'm sure). But she does know what it's like to be contolled by an a'dam for a long time and to be politically maneuvered against constantly (Rand's feeling of everyone trying to control him sound familiar?). This was done to the point that her core identity almost disappeared (Rand's quote of they've done all that can be done to me comes to mind here as well as Rand struggling with losing himself to LTT).

The only differences I see between her and Rand is that Rand has had a limb blown off and during her meteoric rise she has taken advantage of more support by mentors and friends (Wise One's, Siuan, Aviendha etc...). The first point gives Rand a hand up on the score chart, but the second. Come on. Rand self-isolates, so that's on him as he has had Nyneave, Min, Elayne, good potential mentors (Rhuarc, Lan, oh yeah, a super supportive father that he avoids like the plague to "protect" him). Anyway, I don't see what all this fuss is about. Egwene isn't even among my favorite Aes Sedai.
Valentin M
121. ValMar
WouldBeBrownAjah @ 113

So the girl's name is Bella?Ha, that was worth knowing. So is this inexplicable thing about Bela in WOT because of this coincidence or not? I am guessing not, but who knows...

PS, I think the comparisons between Rand and the Eggmaister are rather futile. Mind you, they could still be an interesting exercise for those involved and some of the readers but I no true conclusions can be reached. IMO, of cource.
By no means I am saying to stop, by the way.
Roger Powell
122. forkroot
Egwene isn't even among my favorite Aes Sedai.
Mine neither. Ain't it a PITA when we have to defend her?

I like reading what you have to say. I'd probably like it even more with a few more line breaks. How about taking the plunge and going black (so you can edit your posts, have a shoutbox, etc.) C'mon in, the water's fine. And keep posting please!

I reread Leigh's commentary and I don't agree that she crossed the line. First off, I submit that as the recapper, she is held to a somewhat different standard, given that she "owns the mike" (read: is employed by the people that actually pay for this website.) If you haven't noticed already, Leigh has strong opinions which she will state forcefully (often crudely.) I frequently disagree with her, but I never find her boring.

In this particular case, as you note, she fesses up and dings herself while at the same time making what many think is an inappropriate analogy. Fine - it's not the first time I've disagreed with her, not likely will it be the last. But I detected no ad hominen attack, just a poorly argued position (IMO).
William Fettes
123. Wolfmage
forkroot @33

Good post. Just one quibble. Whilst I accept that the Black Ajah presence and their manipulations are the most exigent danger, and the primary cause of much of the strife and division, I still think Elaida’s responsibility was significant and sufficiently apparent to warrant more from the Hall. I think the Hall’s failure to remove her, or at least properly contain her, and manage the succession process can still be regarded as a disaster regardless of the Black Ajah.

I mean, Elaida's major failures become a matter of public record pretty quickly, and the subject of much gossip and derision in the Tower. IMO these failure make Siuan’s transgressions seem trivial by comparison and Siuan was a formidable Amyrlin with a real support base. What can possibly explain tolerating such an isolated incompetent Amyrlin like Elaida, apart from the civil war making it a difficult decision? What Elaida does to the Tower’s reputation, to morale and unity, to the rule of law, to military preparedness, and to relations with critical allies and the Dragon Reborn are all arguably a kind of high treason that crosses the threshold. Yet the Hall doesn't move against her forcefully. They are content to let her wreak havoc and fiddle at the margins to gainsay her excesses. That is truly unacceptable IMO and it makes them complicit in her reign of terror.
Matthew Hunter
124. matthew1215
Valmar@121: The Bela thing dates back over a decade to the rec.arts.sf.written.robert-jordan newsgroup. Originally, as I recall, it was just a comment on how Bela kept showing up in the story whenever some character or other needed a horse. Then people starting joking about more and more improbable places and roles Bela could show up in... nothing to do with Twilight. Although, if you think about it, you could replace Bella in Twilight with Bela from WOT and it wouldn't make much difference. They have about the same amount of personality. To a vampire, blood is blood. To a werewolf, meat is meat. 'Nuff said.

It's undeniable that Egwene has gone through a lot of her own trauma and character growth. She gets dinged not for not suffering, but for not realizing that Rand and other characters have also suffered and grown. Egwene is very aware of how far she has come, but Rand and Mat and Perrin in her mind are still the boys she knew from the village. She begins to understand here that they have grown as well, but I don't think we'll see that cycle complete until aMoL.

On Rand abandoning the city: I think a number of commenters are missing the point. Rand abandons the city because he's run out of hope; he can't see anything he can do to solve the problems there, and he has lots of other problems to deal with, so he decides to move on. Post-ToM, we know that the problems in the city were getting worse because of his bad attitude and that a better attitude could turn things around. But Rand doesn't know that. He hasn't figured out the zen truth that intentions and "good thoughts" produce real, physical results.

Within the scope of what Rand understood about how the battle would be fought, he was doing the right thing -- cutting his losses to focus on things he could save. Sure, it's possible he could have come up with something. In fact, he probably could have. But he had already spent quite a few books trying to sort the place out and nothing was working. So, in Rand's eyes, giving up and focusing his attention elsewhere is a tough but defendable decision. In our eyes, because we know that the thing that's screwing up his efforts is his attitude and hopelessness in and of itself, we tend to blame him for not seeing and understanding that.
Jay Dauro
125. J.Dauro

So how many Sitters does it take to depose an Amrylin now? And how many sitters are BA?
Would the hall have been able to depose Eliada without the Black and the Red? We know that Talene, Duhara and Evanellein are Black, so that means 5 of 18 probably won't stand.

The hall does have complicity, but I doubt they could have deposed her.
Roger Powell
126. forkroot
I agree that it seems like the Hall had ample cause to move against Elaida and under normal circumstances would have done so. Apparently, the Black Ajah had sufficient influence on the Hall (including some Sitters like Talene) to prevent this. I can see no other explanation.

The fact that Elaida wasn't pulled down immediately after she physically assaulted Egwene was proof positive (at least to me) that Mesaana and the BA wanted her to continue to run things and keep screwing the Tower up.

An interesting question is: Did the Ajah Head cabal have any BA influence? We know that the remaining five (Jesse Bilal, Adelorna Bastine, Suana Dragand, Ferane Neheran and Serancha Colvine) are not Black Ajah but the text refers to them declining to include Tsutama because she is too new. To me, that appears to imply that Galina would have been part of the cabal before she went missing. Certainly the cabal was up and running before Galina left on the embassy to Rand.

If we assume that Galina knew about the cabal, she would have told Alviarin. Thus the BA could probably stop any moves against Elaida coming from the Ajah heads.
William Fettes
127. Wolfmage
J.Dauro @ 125

Good question. The 13th Depository has a good summary of the relevant Tower law:
Deposing an Amyrlin This requires the greater consensus in the Hall: a minimum of eleven Sitters with the presence of at least one Sitter from each Ajah except the Amyrlin’s former Ajah (which won’t be informed of the vote until afterwards) and all Sitters standing in favour (A Crown of Swords, Glossary). It is not done without good reasons and the Amyrlin is supposed to be publicly charged and tried first, and given the opportunity to defend herself against the charges (The Fires of Heaven, The Practice of Diffidence). Elaida broke custom, and came very close to breaking law, in the way she had Siuan deposed summarily (The Path of Daggers, Unexpected Absences).
An Amyrlin can expect to be deposed for hiding one of the Forsaken from justice, as Egwene did with Moghedien, and for unsuccessful scheming and large scale failures such as kidnapping the Dragon Reborn (or unsuccessfully attempting to do so) or sending a large, but inadequate, number of sisters to capture male channellers so that they are captured instead (The Path of Daggers, An Unwelcome Return), as Elaida has done. It is considered probably too harsh a penalty for not informing the Hall of the Dragon Reborn and hiding him from the Tower (The Fires of Heaven, The Practice of Diffidence) as Siuan did. Either Egwene or Elaida are at risk of being deposed: Elaida for outrageous and divisive decrees and the failure of her missions, Egwene for being captured and because Lelaine really wants her job badly enough to commit serious crimes, as we will see in my next post in a couple of days’ time.
Deposed Amyrlins are often stilled as well, if they broke serious laws or brought the Tower into disrepute. The Aes Sedai try to ensure that a deposed Amyrlin will not be a rival to any new Amyrlin.
So, the normal rule for deposing an Amyrlin is quorum attendance (50%+1) with every Ajah present except the Amyrlin's former Ajah.

Under Elaida's Hall of 18 (minus all 3 Sitters from the Blue Ajah), I think that means it would need a quorum of 10, with every Ajah attending except Red. Then a vote would need to pass with the Greater Consensus. So you can safely ignore the 3 Red Sitters, and you still have a buffer margin of 5 for Sitters who can be accidently left off the invite list to increase the likelihood of success.

So I think it should be doable given the size and repetition of Elaida's epic disasters, with a 5-Sitter buffer for anyone who is unreliable or Black. Though I confess I'm not an expert on the intracacies of Tower political allies. Of course, a big part of the problem is the Ajah Heads' influence over the younger Sitters -- but I'm arguing they're equally negiligent in allowing Elaida's reign to continue anyway.

Part of the reason I'm a little ambivilent about the post-schism great show of magnanimity and reconciliation, which I think is meant to show how wise, post-partisan and focused on the job Egwene is as a unity leader, is because I think these people are incompetent and negligent. They never got any real comeupance or decent rebuke for their role in fomenting and maintaining this disaster, and so very arguably they don't deserve to be pandered to as if both sides were equally at fault.
Paul Long
128. Caveatar
Deleted Cav
Louis Theodore Tellman
129. yasiru89
Regarding Sheriam, I too assumed she was using the same loophole Verin did when she passed on her notes to Egwene. She seemed thoroughly defeated at that point and knew what was coming to her.

On Egwene, I should say that there are certain characters in whom unlikely triumph is not only tolerated, but celebrated by those who identify with the character. Most of the time, the only difficult decisions these kind of characters have to make concern their own crusade for acknowledgement and power. They are outsiders, defiantly challenging the 'establishment', so to speak, and so garner support from readers as almost a matter of course no matter how gracious the author is being with them. Egwene is such a character, particularly through tGS.

On the other hand, when an author might like to torture one of his characters, an evident method is to make him synonymous with said 'establishment', which is more than willing to commit unconscionable wrongs (with the reader at once pitying any voice of dissent or desperation in the character, so that his redemption is not summarily excluded (we know, even without hindsight, that things cannot go on as they are), but disapproving too that he should press on without heeding said voice). When the author writes of this character failing, it seems he should, whatever his intentions or how reasonable his methods of rule. Even when the rate of failure seems unreasonable, this too is taken as a matter of course (it certainly helps when other narrative devices hint obliquely as to why this should be so). Clearly, Rand has been such a character since tSR, with the resolution coming to a head in tGS.

forkroot @122-

I would, but I fancy myself something of a contrarian, necessarily from the outside peering in with a ready sneer for lax arguments (of course the real reason is that I can't be bothered at the moment).
This is only reinforced when moderators went on in the last entry's thread to censor left and right to get things on track as soon as possible only to have our dear author here resort to attacks ad hominem. Which is what they are, for the quite explicitly given suggestion (while dismissive of actual arguments or attempting to counter with such thin logic which is in itself insulting) that it is only adoration for a character that makes her dissenters so... irrational.

I'll at least try for more breaks between paragraphs as here (even that last one was something of an improvement- it's the thin column format here which I've yet to familiarise myself with).
96. yasiru89

Oh thank you for your words regarding Egwene/Rand comparisons.

It is the scale of Egwenes problems that are lacking. Rands tribulations are on a scale that dwarf Egwenes, fantasticaly.

Alone, the weight of Being, dealing with, and then going about the motions of executing some sort of plan to become the Savior of the world blasts out of the Universe any pressure, any trial or tribulation, any act of valor that Egwene has gone through or done in her time of life. Period.

I mean think about the task of uniting all of the nations of the world All of the powerful institutions of the world, so that you may bring them to a situation where they can effect something positive upon the outcome of Tarmon Gaidon. Whilst, trying to figure out how your going to defeat The Dark Lord.... an entity which IS the summation of of all evil and the death of ALL of Creation.

Now think about the task of uniting all of the factions and the split of the Tower, so that you may bring about a situation where the Tower has some influence on and can effect the outcome of HELPING Rand save the world.

Think about that for a second.....

She has no bounties on her head. Well she did, once, but she didn't know about it.

She has faced One, count'em, one Forsaken (and did an admirable job of it, too).

Rand has faced Ishy what 3 times, Bel'al, Rahvin, Sammael, Aginor, Aran'gar/Balthamael, Semirhage, Graendal, Asmodean and of course Lanfear.

He has killed Rahvin, Aginor, Semirhage, Aran'gar, Ishy and Sammael (caused it at least).

He has Moridin screwing with his head, Lews Therin driving him insane more than the taint ever could alone. He has bubbles of evil dropping in on him. Trolloc armies trying to over run him. Aes Sedai trying to enslave him and they aren't even the Black Ajah. The BA's are another matter all together regarding Rand. He is being mentally brutalized by Cadsuane. And Cadsuane is one Advisary that she is lacking without comparison.

Note Egwenes advisors were all teachers essentially that she went to study under.

Rand had Asmodean as his professor. Wow. Really? Stellar!

His advisors? Moraine- grade B. Cadsuane- grade D . The Three Wise Witches otherwise known as.... grade C, Min- grade A, Lan- A+, Thom A-, a few others too of course but of less influence.

Anyway, as far as scale goes, We really shouldn't be going there.

I mean....Come on... really! It's not even close.

Oh, and um.... Mesaana theory? Debunked. Thank you all for driving that sillyness out of my head.

I can now move on to even crazier theories.

Roger Powell
132. forkroot
Actually Rand never killed Aginor. When they faced off, Aginor did himself in by drawing too much of the OP.

Later, as Dashiva, Aginor(now Osan'gar) was blown to bits by Elza wielding Callandor in a circle with Merise and Narishma.

For the record: Moiraine bumped off Belal, Someshta killed Balthamel, Mashadar got Sammael, Graendal nailed Asmodean, the Finns murdered Lanfear, and Egwene has disabled Mesaana without 100% killing her.

Rand's "kill" list is surprisingly short: Ishamael, Rahvin, Semirhage, and Aran'gar.
Terry McNamee
133. macster
@104 Caveatar: Not seeing the connection there...all I know of my ancestry is the name was written as MacName, MacNanamy, MacNanny, and of course MacConmidhe. So I don't see how there could be any connection to Mac Bradaigh.

@105 JonathanLevy: Interesting point. It's true as travyl points out that if she thought what she confessed would spare her life, she couldn't have said it, but then again, I'm pretty sure she knew that no matter what she said, the sentence for being Black would be carried out. Maybe she was released from the oaths, though, they did have the rod right there. What interests me is what the "disturbing crimes" were which she confessed to. Are we ever going to find out what they were? I suppose they weren't important or relevant...

Also, good point on her servants; even balefiring Graendal back half an hour could never undo what was done to them all, it would take a long time for Nynaeve to Heal them, and most of them would likely have ended up like Kerb...

@106 Looking Glass: LOL! That is a fun way to describe it. Also, good point about the non-Blues.

@107 zackattack: *smirks* Good for you. Also, if that was you telling me to lighten up as it was just for humor value, I still think it was gauche of Leigh to chastise the commenters for defending Rand's actions (especially pre-emptively in the case of Bandar Eban).

@108 analiese: Ah, here we go again... *sits back with some popcorn to watch the fireworks* Like I said, of course her most awesome moments are going to draw out the die-hard haters... I had also hoped we could leave poor flogged Bela in peace on the oath of fealty bit. Well, I'll just wait to see if Wetlander says anything. ;)

@114 thewindrose: One point, since I'm not sure of your interpretation...yes, a lot of us are rationalizing Rand's acts. But we aren't (or at least I am not) saying this excuses him of what he did, or that he isn't being unheroic in doing these things. Just commenting on what justifications he has to explain why he did them or felt he had to. I understand exactly why Rand did these things. Doesn't mean I like it.

@115 travyl: Hah, well said! Yes, Egwene has toh... And personally I think Leigh does too, but anyway...

@120 CireNaes: "Now granted she has not been made to strangle Gawyn (much to the regret of some here, I'm sure)" Bwa-hah! You're on a roll!

One point though which has already been brought up: another difference between Rand and Egwene is that Rand has had no choice in being the Dragon Reborn or in much of what was done to him, while Egwene was the one choosing her path.

@122 forkroot: As I actually said, the unfortunate comparison Leigh made wasn't even my main beef with her. Perhaps ad hominem was the wrong phrase, your opinion is just as valid as mine, and yes Leigh can write what she wishes. But just because one can say something (free speech) doesn't mean one should (common sense). Consider:

"I suppose that just as there are people who will argue that no, really, the Randster is all right, that whole balefiring a city full of people thing in his last chapter was totally justified (because all the inhabitants probably were all brain-liquefied vegetables anyway, I mean yeah we never actually confirmed that or anything but hey Schizo al’Crazypants whoops I mean Rand said so, so it must be true, so that is totally not mass murder, so aside from that whole “possibly destroying the fabric of reality” minor detail thingy, that makes it completely okay"

The first couple lines read as snarky sarcasm to me; they also suggest that anyone who trusts Rand's word on whether the people in Natrin's Barrow could be saved or were worth saving is as crazy as he is ("he said it, it must be true"=yet more sarcasm). Her calling the possible destroying of the fabric of reality a "minor detail" implies she is contemptuous of anyone who dismisses, or seems to dismiss, the danger to the Pattern which balefire brings. And she implies that anyone who accepts Rand's reasoning as to why what he did was a mercy and not mass murder is complicit in those murders--"that's okay!"

"that there will also be those who will say, I guess, oh hey leaving Bandar Eban to tear itself apart in food riots is totes okay too, you can’t blame him for that, because you can’t make an apocalyptic omelet without breaking a few hundred thousand eggs amirite amirite, and besides what was Rand supposed to do, pull three million tons of foodstuffs out of his ass?"

And here she not only assumes ahead of time that people will be excusing Rand for what he did in Bandar Eban, she puts words in their mouths and suggests that like Rand, anyone who thinks it's okay to leave the city and let the people starve because "there's nothing that can be done" and "people will have to be sacrificed to stop the Dark One" is as callous, soulless, and immoral as Rand comes across as.

Leigh is a passionate person with strong opinions who of course is welcome to state and defend them. But I don't see what gives her the right to make assumptions about the readers (of WOT or this blog), or to implicity judge them for the opinions they have given or might give. Someone on this thread (or maybe it was one of the last couple, I forget) said they were disturbed by how many people were defending Rand. It seems clear Leigh agrees and is also disturbed by this. Again, she is free to feel that way, but I don't see why her being the recapper who is paid to do this excuses her from common courtesy. It may not have been an ad hominem attack, but she was morally judging anyone who agreed with Rand (or whom she thought did or would) and assuming before the fact how people would respond, why, and what it said about them.

To sum up: I don't care if Leigh finds that line of reasoning appalling, or wants to rant about Rand for following it. I do care when she judges other people, such as myself, for following it too, or for understanding it/seeing the value in it even as I still agree it was a horribly callous thing to do. In fact as I stated I actually agreed with her that what he did was wrong; I am just offended on behalf of other people who have tried to explain Rand's reasoning. Being dismissed in advance as crazy, immoral, or blind to the truth simply because they can see Rand's rationale is not respectful of the readers' intelligence or morality, and equating defenses of him as being simple sycophantic protagonist-love is indeed insulting.

The fact others, from Wolfmage to travyl to KiManiak to JonathanLevy to yasiru, have also noticed and commented on this, suggests I am not just being overly touchy and emo. But perhaps I should just shut my mouth and keep my opinions to myself. I imagine tnh or Irene will tell me to do just that, soon enough.

@128 Caveatar: They never do say what happened to Danelle. While it's possible Mesaana kept her alive in order to extract info from her (or even used her while under Compulsion for the Oath Rod re-swearing), I suspect she is dead now if she wasn't before.
132. forkroot

I knew Mashadar got Sammael but it happened while he faced Rand so I gave him the kill.

Asmodean faced Rand and Rand won. I didn't claim that Rand killed Asmodean.

Aginor killed himself while facing Rand so I gave Rand that kill also.

I made a Faced list and a Kill list. It was made plain.

It matters not to me, that while fighting someone else you are forced in to killing yourself. That win against Aginor was Rands first, especially as Rand had no clue what he was doing. And against Sammael, forcing someone into a fatal mistake is the same as making the kill yourself, in my book.

So I'll stand by my list in this case.

133. macster
One point though which has already been brought up: another difference between Rand and Egwene is that Rand has had no choice in being the Dragon Reborn or in much of what was done to him, while Egwene was the one choosing her path.
I've actually brought that up before. I believe one other has too. But people have a tendency to think of it as a minor problem in comparisons. Though, I would disagree with them....


The "disturbing thing" was a different matter. I forget what for. But I know I didn't write it about that per say.

I Don't think Leigh would be a very good Commander. She would be too conflicted about making some very hard and soul damning decisions required of one.

Paul Long
136. Caveatar
Deleted Cav
Alice Arneson
137. Wetlandernw
Just had a good laugh at something… A lot of people accuse Egwene of being a Mary Sue – and then proceed to point out all the things she does wrong. Doesn’t that negate any Mary Sueness, in proving that she is, in fact, not at all perfect ? Not that Wikipedia is the final authority of definitions, but it describes a Mary Sue as “a fictional character with overly idealized and hackneyed mannerisms, lacking noteworthy flaws, and primarily functioning as a wish-fulfilment fantasy for the author or reader. It is generally accepted as a character whose positive aspects overwhelm their other traits until they become one-dimensional.” Indeed, she gets some serious MOA – especially in this book – but RJ/BWS write her with a boatload of flaws and mistakes as well. In fact, I’ve never seen how any character in this series can possibly be accused of being a Mary Sue (male or female), because they’ve all been written too humanly; they all have strengths and weaknesses that are very, very realistic, which is why they polarize the fandom so much. Love or hate Egwene, here or elsewhere, all you want, but the fact that she does the overwhelmingly right and very cool MOA-making stuff here doesn’t change the fact that she still has her faults, her blind spots and her mistakes. She’s not a Mary Sue.

One other thought I had (while I was washing dishes, of course!) regarding Egwene and her alleged “lack of character growth”… Yes, like the rest of the main cast, Egwene is gaining a position of power and authority, and she seems to be doing it without a lot of angst or navel-gazing. Rather than assuming this makes her a shallow person, it struck me that the biggest difference is that she simply accepts the consequences of her choices and moves on. While she didn’t seek the position of Amyrlin in the first place, once it was thrust upon her she didn’t (unlike three young men we know) waste any time moaning about not wanting the job the Pattern had assigned her. She just got on with being the very best Amyrlin she could be. As she had accepted whatever discipline the WO dished out when she was their apprentice, so she accepted whatever difficulties, discomforts, or abuse came along with her determination to do the job in front of her: namely, to reunite the WT before Tarmon Gai’don if it was in any way possible. That’s not to say that she always made perfect decisions, or that she never let her frustration goad her into saying the wrong thing, but in at least one area, she’s the character with the least growing-up needed. She’d already learned that “what must be endured, can be endured” and she didn’t let it slow her down with needless whining.

douglas @28 & others – I can’t account for what you’ve heard, obviously, but one thing I did find in the interview database was Brandon attributing the food spoilage to Rand’s Fisher King identity – that it was not his presence or absence that caused it, but merely who he was becoming. Presumably that includes becoming the guy who would abandon the city… So whatever the base cause, apparently leaving not only didn’t help anything regarding the food or the situation in Arad Doman, it may really have made it worse. So even that small justification is gone.

Irene @36 – YAY!! Thank you!

CireNaes @37 – LOL! You can tell I have small kids – I heard almost the whole thing in the “Chick Hicks” voice… He is, though, isn’t he?

KiManiak @41 – “Egwene still continues to demand trust from others, when not necessarily trusting them back.” Isn’t that normal under stress, though? I know you can trust me, because I’m in my head and I know I’m okay, but I don’t know if I can trust you, because I’m not in your head and I don’t for sure know that you’re okay. It’s pretty natural, really. I’m not sure, in her place, I’d have been entirely trusting of my friends, either. Elayne and Aviendha have their own priorities and responsibilities, which while they don’t obviously conflict with Egwene’s, aren’t necessarily quite the same. Nynaeve? Egwene knows firsthand how hard it is to resist ta’veren influence, and Nynaeve has been around Rand pretty much non-stop for months now. Yes, after a nice, long heart-to-heart, she could probably reassure herself of their trustworthiness, but do any of them have time or opportunity for that yet?

As far as trusting Rand goes… take a look at what he’s been like recently, and tell me honestly you’d trust him with a dead skunk - much less, the fate of the world. I don’t know how much intel Egwene gets on him in this condition, but if she’s got any at all, there’s no way she dares trust him. So he shows up at the WT in the next book (having seen virtually no one since he nearly killed Tam) and says “I’m going to do something that sounds totally insane, and I’m not going to explain my reasons or anything, but you should trust me.” Like, hello? NOT!! Yes, he’s the prophesied savior of the world, but those prophecies aren’t exactly full of sweetness and fluffy kittens when it comes to the side effects of what he’s going to do. As far as she knows, it may be up to her (since he came to her) to mitigate the negative effects as far as possible, when he does something really, frighteningly dangerous. Not that I think she’s perfect – just that her attitudes are understandable.

Except that she deserves to have Siuan slap her upside the head; if an enemy (Katerine, anyone?) had come along and found her in the condition her friends did when they rescued her, she’d have been toast. For all her awesomeness, a bunch of novices wouldn’t have been able to protect her in the aftermath if the wrong person had come along first. And it’s not like she couldn’t go back, in any of several fashions, if and when she chose. Obeying orders is all well and good, but when the situation goes pear-shaped like this, initiative is not uncalled-for.

ryamano @49 – I’ve wondered about that too – Sheriam obviously wasn’t entirely listening to the questions at that point, just denying everything Egwene said. Couldn’t she have unintentionally, even unconsciously “lied” about her hair color without being proven BA by it? I suppose it’s possible that the subconscious pays enough attention to stop even an inadvertent error, freezing one’s tongue before the error slips out. That’s the best rationale I can find, anyway. (Verin, on the other hand, was not making an inadvertent slip about the color of Egwene’s dress; it was calm and deliberate, so therefore clearly a lie.)

However… I had a new thought on the trap – namely, that it doesn’t actually matter whether the normal Oath would have stopped Sheriam from denying her red hair or not. What matters is that she assumed it would have, and acknowledged that she’d been caught. It was her own admission that did her in, not any “Oh, look, she can lie” proof resulting from Egwene’s trap. She buckled under pressure.

Also: LOL

In general Re: Rand in these recent chapters… I think macster made some very good points @97. As I’ve said before (and probably will again), for me the actions themselves were only part of the problem. It was his attitude that was completely, totally wrong. The complete absence of compassion or concern for the incidental casualties, shrugged off with a casual dismissal when someone else pointed them out, just grates on me.

A wise man once said, “Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends.” This isn’t the same situation, but it still resonates for me. Rand knows he cannot give life – he tried it once, and it tore him up when he failed. Sometimes you have no choice but to condemn someone – or many people – to death, because you have a greater responsibility that requires you to choose between the few here, or the many there. (Coventry comes irresistibly to mind here.) The fact that you must make the choice, and sometimes choose to kill (or allow to be killed) innocent bystanders, doesn’t mitigate the need for genuine human compassion. Not so very long ago (book time, anyway) Rand would have at least shown regret and sorrow for those he would destroy or leave behind, but not here. Some form of conscience is still active, in that he acknowledges that he should feel some regret, but as I read it, he simply doesn’t really care. In the case of NB, they just don’t matter much to him; in the case of abandoning Bandar Eban, he flat-out chooses to ignore the problem and walk away. That hurts.

And… someone may have said all this; I’m once again posting before finishing the comments, because RL (in the form of an alarm that will go off in 5.5 hours whether I’m ready or not) is sneaking up to bite me. Apologies for the lack of proofreading; I hope I didn’t leave any fragments hanging around to sound completely stupid. (At least, if something is going to sound stupid, it might as well be a point you disagree with rather than something I forgot to delete…)
James Hogan
138. Sonofthunder
So, for me, one of the images that stuck most clearly in my mind of TGS is this one: Rand sitting atop his horse, hearing all the grain was spoiled. Closing his eyes in hopeless defeat. Spurring his horse through the gateway. Bandar Eban. Abandonded. Arad Doman. Abandonded.

Even more so than his bale-firing of Graendal's complex(which I could justify, even while being horrified at Rand's callous attitude), this chapter chilled my heart and told me Rand was truly lost. I have several enduring memories of TGS, that mark the book for me: Rand choking the life out of Min. Egwene standing near the top of the Tower, striking down any that oppose her. Rand riding away from the hopelessness of Bandar Eban to the cheering crowds of Tear. And then Dragonmount. These are what make up TGS, for me.

So just all that rambling to say, well done - Jordan and Sanderson. These chapters, while chilling to the core, did what needed to be done - they showed the depths of Rand's lostness and let us despair.
Louis Theodore Tellman
139. yasiru89
Wetlandernw @137-

While I did not myself point to Egwene as a 'Mary Sue' I can appreciate where this charge comes from and how you fail to see why it is warranted. I would advise that laughs be saved, because those things Egwene's detractors point out as things she does wrong are often points of contention.

Most significantly however, the 'noteworthy flaws' in your cited definition need not be character flaws (where reasons and motivations are significant), but a tendency to be provided choices, time and again, where the decisions she makes (whatever her reasons) are clearly the 'correct' ones. The character faces no real dilemmas in her choices lacking any more than superficial or artifically constructed ambiguity in those consequences you make mention of.
That her role is often a pragmatic one when we see her, as opposed to an introspective (and somewhat stagnating one) as is the case with Rand, also allows character flaws to go by in irrelevance. She experiences a pseudo-development as a character, in that her flaws are in her present circumstances not really explored and challenged and resolved in some way, but are swept under the carpet because necessity dictates it.
A 'wish-fulfilment fantasy' if ever I saw one, which also makes her one dimensional as charged all through her exploits after being proclaimed Amyrlin among the rebels up to now, not that she always was or need always be- it's simply a fact of this stage in the series (which is also where she is most lauded), and need not be a criticism of the authors.

Again, the comparison with those 'three young men' requires more thought- she may have been thrust upon the position of Amyrlin (a position where could have had an easy time of being the puppet those who put her there wanted- and it's a good thing that she didn't, but it does mark her as having genuine ambition), but she crucially chose to be Aes Sedai (and even had premonitions of being Amyrlin, for whatever that's worth given her determination to do her best in any role she undertakes), just as she chose to align herself with all those she had in the past (this is not a flaw, necessarily, but a character attribute). Can we honestly say this is at all like Perrin, who only wanted to be a blacksmith, or Mat, who wanted to gamble, flirt and carouse, or Rand, who would have been content at home? Rand and Perrin at least, from rather early on, were resigned to their roles and accepted the consequences of what they had to do, so clearly there must be a more important distinction.

Egwene didn't particularly think of her role as Pattern-assigned- she had her own ambitions and love of the institution she was part of, which made it far easier to brave difficult times. More than resignation, she had reason. This is what crucially separates her from said 'three young men'. They all found their reasons much later- Mat evaded his responsibilities when he could, Perrin did what he had to but never accepted himself in the role he had undertaken and Rand took the blows of the hammer that came his way because his destiny had been foretold and the consequences of failure were dire, not because he had an intimate reason to fight.

Further on Rand, he tells Nynaeve that he cannot afford to feel and take the blame for everything at his feet. This explains his lack of compassion and what not on being told the food had all spoiled. Given this, his simple turning away spoke volumes. None of what happens is right, but the question isn't about condemning as wrong and horrible what so obviously is, but in asking whether the efforts the character expended were worthy and whether any further course was reasonably available, thus recognising the desperation the character is subjected to given his attitude towards himself and his own fate (which is where the problem lies)- not his intentions and actions (almost wholly good at every point in the series).
ana liese
140. analiese
macster @ 133

@108 analiese: Ah, here we go again... *sits back with some popcorn to watch the fireworks* Like I said, of course her most awesome moments are going to draw out the die-hard haters...

Well, okay. If you don't have any better argument to offer...

Wetlander @ 137

A lot of people accuse Egwene of being a Mary Sue – and then proceed to point out all the things she does wrong. Doesn’t that negate any Mary Sueness, in proving that she is, in fact, not at all perfect ?

I don't think Egwene is that kind of Mary Sue. Rather, she's a combination of what TV Tropes describes as a God Mode Sue and Black Hole Sue.
God Mode Sue exists purely to show up how pathetically weak the rest of the world is, and how badly they need his or her help. If there's anybody else that is even capable of standing up for themselves, they may lose their abilities for some reason when the character comes into the equation, or become incompetent boobs, or both. They'll probably get captured or find something that they just can't handle. Then the God Mode Sue shows up, saves the day on his or her own at least twice as easily as they usually do when working as a team, and doesn't get his or her ass kicked at all. Then he or she stands around and wallows in their praise a bit.
...Yep, that's pretty much Egwene.
Characters don't act naturally around her. They instead serve as plot enablers for her, with dialogue that only acts as set-ups for her response. She dominates every scene she is in, with most scenes without her serving only to give the characters a chance to "talk freely" about her. Most people don't oppose her and anybody who does will either realize their fault in doing so or just prove easy to overcome. If there's only one in a million chance she could succeed at something, she'll accomplish it with flying colors. If the logical outcome of the story would end in her failure, a Deus ex Machina will ensure her victory. Nothing is too implausible for her to accomplish, whether it be going from Rags to Royalty, killing an Eldritch Abomination, or bringing about world peace. In the rare cases when Sue fails, it will usually be a temporary setback that will either prove advantageous in the end or else just serve to hammer in the point of how special the character is.
Also pretty much Egwene. The Seanchan conveniently took care of Elaida for her, and the Tower Aes Sedai surrendered the exact second Egwene was about to attack Tar Valon. Century-old Aes Sedai turn into bumbling idiots who need Egwene's help and advice on everything, including how to handle aging Warders. Heck, in ToM the Sitters voted in her favor without even knowing what the vote was about. I wish I could have liked Egwene's storyline, but instead I found myself thinking "this is ridiculous; are we supposed to believe this?"

And yes, Mat's pretty much a Mary Tzu, but at least there's a supernatural explanation for that in the series. Egwene doesn't even have the excuse of being ta'veren.
Louis Theodore Tellman
141. yasiru89
analiese @140-

It's uncanny how well the quoted text fits Egwene. Though in fairness, it should be said that while Egwene is not ta'veren herself, she is connected to the three major ta'veren threads and is part of the web formed with them at the centre. So it's not beyond credulity that the Pattern should help her sometimes (though she's been competent on her own as well) and that she should become the centre of the machinations of others because of her unique position (Verin and Meidani coming to her for instance).

The key difference between Egwene and Rand here is again that the Pattern isn't holding back from Egwene because her reasons aren't quite right (not that they aren't, but the Dragon being 'one with the land', things only work out for Rand following the epiphany on Dragonmount, even when the solutions he implemented earlier were good ones to begin with).
Jonathan Levy
142. JonathanLevy
I don't think Sheriam could have used "Verin's loophole". She clearly revealed the facts about the Black Ajah in hope of being spared - so she wasn't certain that she would die within the hour.
From what I recall of the text, it does not explicitly say anything about her motivations. But I should point out that these two options are not necessarily contradictory. It's quite possible to confess in the hopes of being spared without believing for a moment it might happen. In fact, we've seen something very similar in ACOS:
Moghedien forgot the Myrddraal. She flung out her hands toward the Bore. “Mercy, Great Lord!” She had never noticed that the Great Lord of the Dark possessed any mercy, but had she been bound in a cell with rabid wolves or with a darath in moult, she would have begged the same. In the right circumstances, you begged even for the impossible. The cour’souvra hung in midair, turning slowly, glittering in the light of leaping fires below. “I have served you with all my heart, Great Lord. I beg mercy. I beg! MERCYYYYYYY!”
If we say that Sheriam might have gotten free of that oath, we have to explain how she did it without reprecussions, why she would have bothered since it brought her no benefit, why she did not seek help while being tortured by Aran'gar, why she would have waited until just before her execution to confess, when she could have done so earlier, when she might have thought her bargaining position was better, etc.

Personally I think it's easier to believe that Sheriam just had Moghedien's reaction. If so, it tells us something about how Egwene was perceived at that point - an implacable force purging the tower, inexorable and unmovable by please for mercy.
William Fettes
143. Wolfmage
I don't at all begrudge Leigh setting store by the possibility of recoverable life. It's a valid concern IMO. It's very reasonable and humane to think that if there is any chance that one or more of the compelled gets to have even a bit more, even limited, life, then that's a price too high to choose this particular opportunity to kill Graendal with an act of violative annihilation. What if there was one, five, or a hundred that could be saved? Shouldn't that give anyone pause as a weighty thing not to be blithely dismissed in the thread chatter? I can actually agree with that without forfeiting my personal position.

It's a question of how you read the text, obviously, which depends on whether you think Rand's certainty is evidence of anything. It may not be. I think we haven't seen Rand cross that particular rubicon of carelessness / insane / evil yet. But he's certainly way out there beyond the weeds. And the way he processes it is inherently alarming.

So, what's the evidence for discounting the possibility? Well, it's not unassailable by any means. It's mainly that LTT's memories have yielded actionable intelligence in Rand's fight against the Forsaken before. We've read of patterns of behaviour, habits, personal weaknesses like pride, and relationships, including grudges, to mention a few. We also know LTT was in a position to have such privileged information of Graendal, and certainly, Rand has been informed by other such memories at critical times to concrete effect. But we just don't know as a certainty, and the absence of convincing investigation that deals with this will either reinforce your hair standing on end about it, or it might leave you where you are if you accept that it's a more considered position. So I think it's reasonable to disagree. But you can take either position without it being the case that the other view is some trangressive abomination.

But the thing is it's Leigh's blog here and she doesn't have to deal with the specific posters or the best version of any argument or side. We're here because she's a superstar blogger. I don't know what you'd call it, but to me it's Hunter S Thompson-esque gonzo genre recapping and analysis with a real heart and penetrating wit. So, at least according to me, she can riff off whatever she wants as inspiration to talk about her reactions IMO even if it's a little uncharitable to certain specific arguments. I think we can all afford not to take as a personal affront what is at best some mildly Hulk-Smashy annoyance at the gloss of a permissive line. Besides, you'll know when she's really upset - see damane slavery or spanking!

In terms of Bandar Eban, she evidently sees the two as more of a seamless piece of moral darkness than some others. That's a valid reading IMO. I thought they were both dark, but Bandar Eban much more so for different reasons. I think that's also a valid reading.

That's my two cents anyway.
143. Wolfmage

I certainly took Leighs words as an affront.... forrrrrr ohhhhh....7 seconds.

It was a " Oh really? Well imma.... Oh...whatever... she doesn't give a frak what I think, so why should I give a frak about about what she thinks of us?".

And that was that.

Louis Theodore Tellman
145. yasiru89
The problem isn't about 'affronts to specific posters'- it's about dismissing arguments on the basis of from whom it is assumed they come from (slavish fans of a certain character in this case), without regard for their own merit as actual arguments.

On Natrin's Barrow- has there been at any point the merest hint that Compelled minds are recoverable? From the example we saw, not even knowledge from the Age of Legends and the skill of a healer like Nynaeve succeeded at the task.
One day there might be found a way to undo even the severe kind of Compulsion Graendal uses (however unlikely that sounds, the method Nynaeve employed resulting not even in a vegetative state but leading on to death; Rand in fact goes on to say- "I did nothing, Nynaeve. I suspect that once you removed that Compulsion, the only thing keeping him alive was his anger at Graendal, buried deeply. Whatever bit of himself remained, it knew the only help it could give were those two words. After that, he just let go. There was nothing more we could do for him.").
But without such hypotheticals, here were people for whom nothing could be done, who would be puppets without a master if left alone, or died if the best that could be done was tried. For a hope that relies solely on the possibility of present ignorance, those people would have kept on suffering regardless. It's rather similar to the maiden (was her name Leah?) that Rand uses balefire on in Shadar Logoth to spare her Mashadar.
ana liese
146. analiese
CireNaes @ 120

And as far as the whole Rand/Egwene comparison debate, I have to say that I consider Egwene to have experienced an almost equal amount of trauma all things considered. Captured by Whitecloaks,

Well, Egwene's hands were tied for a day or two, and she had to use the Whitecloaks' loo. I'm sure that was very upsetting, if not quite as much as for Perrin who was brutally beaten and threatened with execution.

enslaved in a very violating manner (thoughts as well as physical captivity)

This I agree with. Egwene really did suffer horribly as a damane.

being mind massaged by the biggest lecher among the Forsaken (ewwww)

Halima's headaches, while unpleasant, were a pretty minor thing, all things considered. Egwene found Halima to be "earthy and refreshing," which is how I doubt Rand would describe having Ishamael/Moridin in his dreams and mind. While we're speaking of violations of the mind, how do you think Berelain, Aviendha, and Nynaeve would feel if they knew Egwene had spied on their dreams, repeatedly in some cases? She was also very disappointed that she never managed to get into Rand's dreams, which she of course is entitled to.

Overall, I don't feel what Egwene went through is even half as bad as what Rand went through.
Louis Theodore Tellman
147. AndrewB
travyl @116 - I agree. My understanding of the Sheriam scene that prior to her execution, Sheriam (along with the other captured Black Ajah sisters) was stilled. It was the her stilling that allowed Sheriam to tell her Black Ajah deeds. Somewhere between the her stilling and when she was marched to the killing stump to be beheaded, Sheriam confessed her sins and revealed what she had done and known.

Thanks for reading my musings,
Jonathan Levy
148. JonathanLevy
147. AndrewB

Now that is a possibility I had not considered. I think I need to go re-read that scene.

Never could figure out why they bother to still before executing. I mean, what's the point? When gentling pre-cleansing men it does make a bit of sense - it confirms that the man is, in fact, a channeler. But for Black Ajah? It's like cutting off a murderer's hand before beheading him.
Birgit F
149. birgit
the original Danelle. Evidently a brown, and wth, Verin might have known and sent a letter to somebody tellling where she was

Verin didn't know who Mesaana was impersonating. She couldn't have known that something happened to the real Danelle.

The Tower AS might have deposed an incompetent Amyrlin like Elaida earlier in normal circumstances, but the Tower was already split with the rebels besieging the Tower and the Ajahs couldn't agree on a replacement candidate because nobody would vote for someone from another Ajah.
Louis Theodore Tellman
150. Looking Glass
@137 Wetlandernw: On “Mary Sue”: it’s a difficult term to define nowadays. Once, it was basically synonymous with “implausibly perfect fanfic author wish-fulfillment self-insert”. Which Egwene doesn’t meet for all sorts of reasons.

However, the term has picked up some additional applications since its introduction, at the cost of a clear definition. There’s a school of thought that suggests the defining trait is that the character is not just, or perhaps even necessarily, flat themselves, but rather that their presence sort of sucks the multidimensionality and general protagonism from the originally deep characters around them in order to make them appear more awesome and/or important.

That’s essentially the accusation that people are leveling at Egwene, both in general and in the tower defense sequence specifically- not even that she’s too awesome to exist, but that other characters who should have some depth and capability themselves have been unfairly diminished without any justification save to make Egwene look good.

I’d say there is some merit to that view. Egwene has largely been set against a backdrop of petty, stupid, or ineffectual characters of late, and made to look better thereby. While there are well-justified story reasons for that, I think the tower sequence in general takes it a bit further than is reasonably plausible. All the more so because we know there are some reasonable and competent people in the tower, and they get to do pretty much jack all after Egwene arrives on the scene.


On Sheriam: Oh, good point about Sheriam’s exposure being a matter of having caved under pressure. As she has on many occasions before. Heck, even the joining the BA appears to have been her taking the path of least resistance.

It occurs to me a BA member who thought through the implications could probably have used the BA oath to mimic the actual effects of the three oaths, and defend against carelessly lying, as an obvious violation of the three oaths could be construed as revealing important information about the BA. Then again, if they were the sort to think the implications of their actions through in depth, they probably wouldn’t be BA members in the first place.

@148 JonathanLevy: On stilling Sheriam: The modern bans on cruel and unusual punishment are largely a reaction to the fact that many pre-modern codes incorporated quite a lot of it. Especially for the big stuff. Sheriam has spent decades committing treason and probably murder and who knows what else on behalf of the ultimate incarnation of evil. She’s lucky she wasn’t drawn and quartered or something.

Stilling convicted BA members also makes sense from a purely logistical perspective. Even with just one channeling BA prisoner, you’d need a round-the-clock shield (or constant forkroot, or some equivalent measure) maintained by people who are completely reliable themselves, and who would also face a risk of outside treacherous attack (as Adeleas and Ispan, for example). The rebel purge caught enough BA for involved measures like that to be pretty much impossible even if they had any incentive to do it. Whereas if you still them, you can pretty much just chain ‘em up by the dozen.
Ron Garrison
151. Man-0-Manetheran
wetlandernw @ 137:
“Sheriam obviously wasn’t entirely listening to the questions at that point, just denying everything Egwene said. Couldn’t she have unintentionally, even unconsciously ‘lied’ about her hair color without being proven BA by it?”
Well, we may debate the point, but for those that live under the Oaths everyday, there seemed to be no doubt in their minds. Their experience of the Oaths is that they cannot lie. If Sheriam was still bound by the Oaths, the lie would have stuck in her throat.
Paul Long
152. Caveatar
Deleted Cav
Paul Long
153. Caveatar
Deleted Cav
154. Freelancer

The idea of a broad-based impact through the Source, when executing a channeler, is most reasonable and worthy of consideration. The power analogy is spot on, and worthy of a thread opened via reference to Tesla (though he was not a proponent of alternating current as a delivery medium). And while there is no doubt that Jordan was utterly capable of considering cause and effect that deeply, the lack of textual support more than suggests that this was not the reason why they did bother to still a channeler prior to execution. If concern for a "backlash" upon other channelers was an issue, the idea should have had entry into one of the early discussions of Tower justice.

Consider instead the uniform reaction to channelers at the notion of being permanently cut off from the One Power. Once having known the wonder of holding and weilding the Power - the enhanced senses, the magnification of life itself - the horror of having it taken away twists their stomachs without fail, to the extent that they are unable to bear the presence of one so ... deformed, and send them away to die. As a form of punishment, even knowing that death is shortly to follow, it is sublime.
Roger Powell
156. forkroot
Never could figure out why they bother to still before executing. I mean, what's the point? When gentling pre-cleansing men it does make a bit of sense - it confirms that the man is, in fact, a channeler. But for Black Ajah? It's like cutting off a murderer's hand before beheading him.
You think that's nonsensical? Here in Arizona we had a death row inmate have a heart attack in mid February. The state paid for a quintuple bypass - then we went ahead and executed him on schedule two weeks later.

When people ask why I read fantasy novels, I respond that they make more sense than Real Life™.
Hugh Arai
157. HArai
@various: I don't see how so many people can say Rand didn't care about what he did at NB. As pointed out upthread, you don't say things like: "Before condemning me, let us first determine if my sins have achieved anything beyond my own damnation." if you don't care. Yes, he did it anyway and forced himself not to dwell on it,
even though he thinks it earned him damnation. That's quite different from not caring.

also @various: If it is bad that Rand killed the (hypothetically) recoverable people at NB (and it is) how can it not be bad that Egwene killed the recoverable people during the raid on the Tower? I don't think it's a total coincidence both Rand and Egwene basically said "they're better off dead", and that both of them are approaching the issue from a place of severe mental trauma.

Re: Egwene's treatment of Siuan and Gawyn: Egwene has a lot of good leadership abilities. However she apparently does not have the ability to allow (and trust) others to take effective independent action that truly great leaders have. Siuan did not deserve the slapping down she got, and say what you like about Gawyn's track record, the fact their "relationship" is only resolved when he promises to abandon all independent thought and do whatever she tells him reflects poorly on Egwene not just Gawyn.
Eric Hughes
158. CireNaes

I'll see you at the meeting. Together we can move past this addiction.

Overall, I don't feel what Egwene went through is even half as bad as what Rand went through.
That's fine. What I'm generally curious about is why placing Egwene on a similar plane of suffering might be viewed as an insult to Rand (just using your post as a springboard, not a claim that this is what you're doing).

What I'm driving at is a recognition of mutual or shared suffering experiences that just about positions Egwene as one of the few individuals who could actually come close to an understanding of what Rand has gone through (and consequently be less tolerant of his behavior or how he interacts with people).

I'll step out on a limb here and share about how my position has shifted in the 18 years I've been reading this series. When I was younger I was more distraught and defensive of Rand. "If only the other characters would realize what was going on in his head or the level of pain he was in!" I would flail about with all the righteous indignation of a redheaded teenager (probably because I was a redheaded teenager around that time). I would blame other characters for Rand's terrible self-care. "Why don't they get it! Read his mind already!" I cringe when I think back on those moments. In placing the impetus of action for dealing with Rand's emotions and pain on his supporters rather than on him I had created an unnecessary emotional dissonance (fancy way of saying I ramped up my teen angst).

It was times like those where I wished for some kind of literary solace in the form of sparkling vampires and beefy yet gentle werewolves who would take me out to baseball games. Only the undead really know how to brood. You know?

So Rand needs to talk to people, plain and simple. I was stunned when he was bonded by no less than three women at once and not a single one of them confronted him about his idiotic repressive tendencies. Nay nay! They teared up. Sure, let me cry for you. That’ll help. If I recall correctly, Elayne and Aviendha even complimented him! Wait to soldier on! Cherio, pip pip, my you've got a stiff upper lip. Not one was like, hold the phone Rand Al’Thoroughly jacked up. Why haven't you talked to anyone about the amount of pain you're in? Wow, now that we know, wouldn't this be a great time for you to do that, before you leave this room? Nope. Not on this WoT train o’ pain. Too much cathartic communication would be a ridiculous proposition. Much better to maintain the status quo so that I can enjoy the ire I harbor towards the other fictional characters. Clever bit of writing, that.
Don Barkauskas
159. bad_platypus
Re: Sheriam

I completely agree with Wetlandernw @137, that whether or not a non-Black would have been stopped from answering the question under the circumstances, the key is Sheriam believed that she would have been stopped. So she thought she was caught and confessed.

As for why the BA were stilled prior to execution, it's symbolic. The horror of burning out/stilling is deeply ingrained in Aes Sedai, and stilling followed by execution means "Not only do you die, but you die no longer an Aes Sedai."
Jay Dauro
160. J.Dauro
But we now have a number of AS who know that a stilled woman is no longer bound by the Oaths . Someone should make the jump to "Why cant a BA answer questions? Oaths. Lets Still her and try a few questions."
Nadine L.
161. travyl
While I like Andrew’s interpretation @147. of how Sheriam could talk about BlackAjah stuff and agree with LookingGlass @150 that it really does make sense, that the BA sisters would have been stilled prior to execution, I'm not sure if this is supported by the book.
I was looking up a quote to answer J.Levy @142 about Sheriams motivation, and this is from Egwene (TGS Ch 45):
Sheriam had seemed almost relieved when her turn came, though she'd soon begun to struggle, sobbing and desperate. She'd confessed to several disturbing crimes, as if hoping that her willingness to speak would gain her amnesty
I took this as basis to claim Sheriam tried to be spared. I do now agree with JL's point @142 about Moggy. But:

If we take Egwene as a "reliable source", then Sheriam's struggling IMO speaks against stilling: I'm not certain on this, but wouldn't it be more likely that a stilled sister would go willingly to death (having been deprived from the One Power once and forever?)
edited to add: It takes a strong character or strong motive to retain the will to survive after stilling. - Both I do not attribute to Sheriam.

Wetlander @137:
HArai @157 beat me to it: I still don't agree that Rand is emotionless. Closing his eyes shows emoition as much as his words after NB. IMO it shows just utterly defeated Rand is as sonofthunder@138 beautifully pointed out.
It comes to the same effect though: Rands actions and his state of mind truly hurt - and I agree that this scene is yet again a new low-point in down-spiralling.
Roger Powell
162. forkroot
Remember that Amico Nagoyin and Joiya Byir, both of the Black Ajah, were captured at the Stone of Tear. Amico was stilled in the process of being captured. She was willing to talk and gave pertinent information (about the threat to Rand in Tanchico), whereas Joiya gave them nothing.

I'm sure that Sheriam would not have been able to give up any information until she had been stilled.

As J.Dauro correctly notes - the S.O.P. now when catching the BA should be to still them and then interrogate them.
Kimani Rogers
163. KiManiak
Darn RL delayed my comments on the comments til now. So another big honking grouping of text from yours truly…

itsjustme@7 – Egwene was fairly impressive in this novel. There are certain aspects of her that continue to frustrate, but overall she protected the Tower from the Seanchan, reunited the Tower and purged the Black Ajah. That is pretty cool.

I just think that blindly praising Egwene, and stating that you don’t get where those who are critical of Egwene are coming from, calls for a response/discussion of Egwene’s flaws and character issues. Just like criticizing Dark Rand in TGS without looking at some of the other factors involved (um, he’s gone all Dark Rand, people!) also calls for a response/discussion.

Let’s look at the whole makeup of the best representations of both characters; and then look at both what is good about Rand and Egwene, and what is not so good about Rand and Egwene.

forkroot@26 – I would have no problems with Siuan and Bryne getting married before the Last Battle. I think it would be a good touch. But, I guess I can see how Bryne’s attitude of “let’s wait until after the Battle” could come from a General who may not want to give the impression that after the Last Battle, there won’t be a tomorrow. You know; give others something to live for. Now, I don’t know if that’s what he’s doing there; probably not…

CireNaes@37 – That was funny! I enjoyed picking out the different soon-to-be-Forsaken based on their character traits. Very cool.

Cave@42 – So I agree that some are more able to identify their personality/character strengths and weaknesses than other. I would also agree that even those who consider themselves fairly introspective/self-aware/in-touch-with-their-feelings/whatever may have difficulty assessing all of their flaws, that an outside observer would consider obvious.

But I think its fair to say that Egwene has a combination of struggling with her lack of self-awareness, self-righteousness, and hypocrisy that dwarfs any of our other Superkids. She expects friends, loved ones and subordinates to see her as the woman she has become (to the point of feeling frustrated/betrayed when they don’t), while not even trying to give them the same courtesy. She wants the benefit of the doubt, but won’t give it.

I see nothing wrong with continuously pointing out that flaw, anymore than we point out Rand’s flaws, Nynaeve’s, Perrin’s, Elayne’s, or even Mat’s. Even moreso, because of her position (Queen of all Aes Sedai), what she did, and who she left behind to get there.

But I continue to enjoy your quotes and references, so please keep them coming.
Kimani Rogers
164. KiManiak
Wolfmage@61 & MAT@62, yasiru@96 – Excellent points on re: Rand at Natrin’s Barrow, Rand in Ebou Dar and Rand vs. Egwene. I obviously concur on those topics.

macster@97 – Very good post. I appreciated your comments regarding our fearless leader –still love you (platonically) too, Leigh!- and about Rand’s actions in Ebou Dar. I would hasten to add that I don’t think anyone here is supporting Rand’s actions all that much (if at all). It’s clear that he’s taking the coward’s way out; that he’s running away from his problems.

I think that some folks are just reacting to the “OMG! How could Rand do that! He’s a horrible person!” comments by pointing out that: 1) He really couldn’t do much better at that time; 2) He wasn’t in a very good state of mind at that time, for various reasons; 3) There were other things that he could be focusing on as well; 4) He was definitely running away, and wasn’t necessarily proud of that fact; 5) This is not the Rand we know and love, nor is he the Rand that the Pattern needs its “Champion of Light” to be.

The reader is not supposed to like Rand at this point, and Team RJ did an excellent job writing this chapter in that he got the reader to feel all of the negative emotions that have been mentioned in this post; from our fearless leader, all the way down to the various rereaders who are still trying to defend him and/or rationalize his behavior.

macster@98 – I believe I’ve said it in the past (maybe I forget to do it in each and every one of my posts, as I lose myself in my points/arguments), but I would love to see some personal growth in Egwene, as well. I really do like certain aspects of her personality; I’m just irked by other aspects of her personality (obviously, a little more than the traits that I like). But I have no problem with your scenario.

Also, I went on my Egwene diatribe up there @41 in response to our fearless leader’s comments in the post about her (Leigh) not getting how folks can be critical of Egwene. I don’t subscribe to blind hatred or blind adoration for any of our SuperKids (although my comments on Mat may kinda read as the latter, and my comments on Elayne read as the former); I believe it’s okay to critically dissect their actions, as long as you try (obviously each person’s attempts are based on their own, subjective, perceptions/opinions) to be fair. Give credit where it’s due (good job in saving the Tower), and call “bullshit” when it’s called for (bad call on scolding Siuan).

analiese@108 – As you can see, I tend to be critical of Egwene as well (although I might contest some of the things you had issue with, as they didn’t bug me so much); however, I must say that I have no issue with the writing style. Egwene irks me, Elayne irritates me, Rand saddens me and Mat amuses me because the writing continues to be top-notch.
(EDIT: That last sentence was kind of awkward. I mean that I am emotionally affected by these characters due to the stellar writing)

forkroot@112 – Don’t sell yourself short; maybe Lebron is only much, much better than you :-)

Also, no need to be anonymous; shout it out loud: “You defend Egwene, and you’re proud!”

And, still 50 or so comments to catch up on, but darn RL is dragging me back…
Alice Arneson
165. Wetlandernw
CireNaes @158 - YES! See, that maturation process on the part of a reader can make a huge difference in how he or she views the characters. Some never quite grow up, others started out more mature, and over the course of this long series, most of us have changed our perspective on one or more characters. I started this thing in my 20s, but I was still all "Rand the Hero can do no wrong except when other people mess with him and push him into it." I still have a lot of sympathy for him, but I have a lot more sympathy for some other characters now too, and a lot less tolerance for some of his more idiotic attitudes. If only I could remember more clearly, it would be very interesting to go back and see how (and when!) my view of various characters has changed...
James Hogan
166. Sonofthunder
Wetlander@ 165 - And this is why I'm so intrigued to see how I will view the characters in the coming years! Now at the ripe old age of 24(soon to be 25!), I've always found Rand to be one of my favorites(even as much as I shake my head at his actions sometimes, he's still who I tend to identify with!), along with Perrin. Not really sure why I don't identify with Mat, hm. Anyways, I'll be very interested to see my attitude toward certain characters change over the years...

Also, I love Egwene, but I do confess I've tended to like her less in each subsequent book. This makes me sad.
Alice Arneson
167. Wetlandernw
travyl @161 - I don't think Rand was entirely emotionless, but the only emotions he displays any more are negative, and that mostly anger. No sorrow, no compassion, no regret or remorse. But that's partially interpretation, so we need not argue the point.

As far as the BA, the text a couple of chapters from now makes it quite clear that in Salidar over fifty BA were stilled and beheaded. We haven't got there in the reread, obviously, but that's what's happening. As far as hoping for clemency by telling secrets after stilling, why not? Everyone in Salidar knows that stilling can be Healed. Maybe if you could give them enough info, you could get a pardon. (Not bloody likely, with Egwene in charge, but while there's life, there's hope, I guess.)
Nadine L.
168. travyl
BA, the text makes it quite clear that in Salidar over fifty BA were stilled and beheaded. As far as hoping for clemency by telling secrets after stilling, why not? Everyone in Salidar knows that stilling can be Healed.
Oops. I forgot / didn't remeber both facts. - Thanks for the clearing up.
Eric Hughes
169. CireNaes

Started this series at age 12. We moved around a lot and I rarely communicated how I felt about life. Consequently I over identified with Rand. Once I went to college on my own dime a few states away from my parents I enjoyed reading Mat's storyline more. Fell in love with my future wife and I over identified with Perrin. "Faaaaiiillllleeee!" LOL!

I got married not too long after turning 20. That had a lot to do with how I broadened my interpersonal views. Our premarital counseling set me on the right developmental track. I started enjoying Moiraine and Lan's story more. Wife and I moved to get her Master's degree first while I worked and went on a deployment. It was around this time that I got on board with Egwene's storyline. Then we had our first child. Man alive. I was like, so this is why Cadsuane's so cranky. She's not so bad. Had our second during my first Master's degree. Baby girl, started thinking about Mat a whole lot differently. At that point I was on a zero angst policy for the younger WoT characters. I enjoyed their adventures and mishaps, but would I want to go on a double date with them? Not a chance. Now I'm getting closer to wrapping up the class work for my second Master's and my wife will begin her PhD this September. I'm suddenly enjoying Suian and Bryne's story more. I identify with anyone on WoT who's looked at funny because they're young, but they're in charge. Like, what? I've never done anything? I don't have life experience? My marriage has not only survived but thrived as well due to our hard work despite our hectic schedules. Then I calm down and think, of course they think I'm young. I AM young. I look young. Nothing wrong with that. I'm confident. They think that's weird. No big deal. I just need to get to know them. Share my life story. Ask them about theirs. Not throw a wine goblet across the room and scream at whoever's trying to test my mettle.

I love this series.

Edit for spelling.
William Fettes
170. Wolfmage
I think my reactions have stayed fairly consistent to most characters, though obviously re-reading over time gives you lots of new insights which colour things in different ways. The main change I'm sure about is in regards to Nynaeve. I never disliked her in any sense, as she has self-evident virtues, so it's not a 180 turn-around or anything. But I do think my first impression was probably more anchored in how the Super Boys perceived her and maybe some of her superficial quirks and flaws registered in a more shrill way with me.

The change happened pretty early on in the course of dozens of read-throughs, making me more tolerant of her quirks and flaws and just more sympathetic overall. Probably that is partly due to the process of getting older enabling a better grasp of her situation as the too young, too pretty Wisdom in the Two Rivers, and the difficult task she faced in leaving that leaving the Village and her identity behind, but also it's just part of how later context and better overall familiarity with her journey contextualises the earlier text so you can hang onto a more constant and well-rounded appreciation of her grumption, intelligence and bravery and no longer sweat the small stuff.

Similarly, I've definitely hardened my view of Gawyn, which was originally very positive, and softened my view of Galad, which was originally more ambivalent due to Elayne's framing.
Paul Long
171. Caveatar
Deleted Cav
Louis Theodore Tellman
172. yasiru89
On stilling before execution, I suppose it makes sense in that the immediate shock of it is the worst. As you go on, as we've seen in cases like Logain and the Aes Sedai stilled during Rand's escape in LoC, the severed individual begins to long for death and you will be giving them what they want. There's a cruel justice in granting death in the wake of that initial shock, before they begin longing for it.

HArai @157-

Except there was nothing hypothetical about Egwene's situation. Mat was able to figure out how to open the collar in an hour- and as easy as that, they're free. The problem isn't whether you can easily get to the point where this can be achieved (i.e- recovering the persons physically). It's that, assuming you could have gotten your hands on these people, whether any way exists to free them and recover them mentally. We've seen that even this latter is possible in cases like Alivia and some of those former damane Elayne had charge of. Which is why it's so different from Rand's situation with 'crudely' Compelled people (as Rand put it, in explaining Graendal's favoured method of Compulsion to Nynaeve).

Egwene would certainly have been acting on her trauma, in declaring the captured Aes Sedai as good as dead or worse than dead or what not, but Rand actually had something to go by- his memories about prior cases of Compulsion (see the 'A Conversation with the Dragon' chapter in tGS).

Wetlandernw @165-

Though your response was addressed to another, I am curious how it is that you fail to realise that your attitude that 'only mature readers really get it' (where maturity is a suitably ambiguous construct), by the expression of which you obviously seek to somehow validate your views, is an entirely subjective one. Worse, it is a fallacy ad hominem, though a more subtle kind that doesn't offend as readily as some of those that get heated retorts around here. If there's any 'meat' to your arguments (such that perhaps indeed 'mature' readers, in some sense, are those who get it- though this should be established after the fact) it should come out without the fallacy. That one's views on a character has changed over the years doesn't give these new views any added authority.

Really, are we so... immature, that we should put maturity on a high plinth and accuse by implication that those who disagree with our view do not possess it?
Paul Long
173. Caveatar
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174. MasterAlThor
NB is a military target because an enemy general is not just present there, but resides there. The people there are mentally infirm because of her. Someone mentioned it earlier, but do you really think that Grendeal is going to take a chance on one of her defenders/pets/daily ops people turning her in? This is the reason I don't have a problem with what Rand did there. And also why I have a problem with how Leigh charcterized it.

forkroot@112, CireNaes@158
That is a very nasty addiction that the two of you have and I am glad that you are seeking treatment for it. Shock therapy works...so I hear. LOL.

Worry not about your opinions brother, and definitely do not "shut your mouth". You aren't attacking anyone so you should be able to say anything. If you get a chance check out the NYT op ed from yesterday. A man I think is the scum of the earth managed to write a very good peice. His name.....Bill Maher.

You pointed out the exact reasons why I don't care for Egwene. Thank you.

Paul Long
175. Caveatar
Deleted Cav
176. MasterAlThor

Agh, no!!!! You need to come back to the Darkside.....err I mean the dislike side of Nynaeve. She is a despicable character and should have terrible, horrible, mean things done to her.

I might just be a slight bit unhinged when it comes to her. But I don't think so.

177. MasterAlThor

You should make the jump to a more permanent status. Leave the Red Letter Crew behind.

178. MasterAlThor
And now for something completely different.

For the parents out there.

As many of you know I have 5 kids. My two youngest are 7 and 5. They are getting bigger and growing older. I need this to stop. I cannot have anymore children and once these 2 grow into the teen stage I will no longer be able to pick them up when they fall asleep in the back of the car, no longer be able to tuck them in and read them bedtime stories, no longer be able to take them for ice cream and share the newness of new flavors with them.

So I am willing to pay good money for anyone that has found an anti aging elixir. Time is running out so a swift response would be appreciated.

Louis Theodore Tellman
179. Dark One
MasterAl Thor-
Come and join my team - you will get to live forever. Added bonus for you if you give me your kids.

If you join up, I will let you take down those pesky super grils you are talking about. However, Rand is mine.

The one and only Dark One™
Paul Long
180. Caveatar
Deleted Cav
Alice Arneson
181. Wetlandernw
yasiru @172 - Say what?? "only mature readers really get it"? Where did that come from? In the post you reference, I pointed out that most of us change over the course of time, and that the changes in us (which presumably reflect a maturation, rather than the converse) often affect our understanding of and feelings about various characters. In context, this applies mostly to those who have been reading this series for at least 8-10 years; barring major life changes, people don't tend to change all that much in just a couple of years - at least not to the extent I meant.

If you don't feel the generalization applies to you, then don't worry about it. If you feel it does and it makes you defensive, you're in a lot of company. Most of us feel defensive when someone tells us something we don't like to hear, whether we believe it's true or not. You don't have to agree with me, but my observations are based on three years of this reread, with all the people who have come, stayed or gone for various reasons. It's a microcosm, but it's a big enough sample to provide fair data.

I have, in the past, elsewhere, and based on my observations of the ages of the various readers, pointed out that Cadsuane seems much more likely to be appreciated by people who have had more life experience - call it age, maturity, whatever you like - and have seen more relationships from more angles. Very few readers in their teens and twenties seem to "get" what she's about, at least in part because they are more accustomed to being under authority rather than in authority, whether acknowledged or not. Observably, a much higher percentage (though far from 100%) of those over about 40 seem to be able to understand her, whether they like her or not. The percentage gets higher as the age group gets higher. Again, you might not like or agree with that assessment, but those are my observations.

Anyone who has been in a position where they have authority wrt people older than themselves, but have a hard time getting those people to recognize it, should be able to understand Rand, Nynaeve and Egwene better than they would without that experience. (I'm irresistably reminded of the crusty old Italian manager who just couldn't bring him self to work with a 20-something woman engineer, no matter how well-qualified. It had nothing to do with my training, experience or skill - I was just too young and too female to do that job! Yeah, I relate to Nynaeve - I'd have loved to take her approach sometimes.)

On the other hand, anyone who has been in a position where experience gives them an edge in outthinking a situation, but has to put up with an inexperienced kid fresh out of school who thinks he has all the answers and then freaks out when life doesn't follow the textbook, should be able to at least understand Cadsuane, Gareth Bryne and Mayor al'Vere. "Just let me make my own mistakes" is a mantra that gets very, very old in the hearing - as you watch someone make stupid, sometimes disastrous, mistakes that could have been prevented had they been willing to consider learning from someone else's mistakes. ("Now listen up. If you don't know your history, you're bound to repeat it.")

In neither case does understanding necessitate agreement with their various approaches - thumping people with your shillelagh may work for some, less so for others - but it should provide a certain comprehension of their situation and its accompanying challenges. As a teen, or even a twenty-something, one's chances of being in the first category are pretty fair; you don't get to be in the second category without, frankly, getting older. I'm sure there are a few teens out there who simply have the insight to understand the older characters, but they are few and far between. As they should be.

But I'm still not sure where you got "only mature readers really get it."
Chin Bawambi
182. bawambi
My problems with EggyGodSue are mainly due to my issues with her personality. The stuff she accomplishes is pretty cool, her perseverence is exemplary and I defended her last time because I thought the text didn't support the opposite position but....I will never like her as a person (nor do I have to for enjoyment of the narrative) because IMO she has no concept of personal loyalty. It only surprises me when she shows loyalty to another not when she acts toward Siuan as she does. It would make a better ending to the story if she and Nyn have a permanent fracture at the end of AMOL than if everything is hunky-dory between them.
Alice Arneson
183. Wetlandernw
MasterAlThor @178 - You remind me of something I saw the other day... on the order of "If you pull the pin out of a grenade, can you put it back? I... kind of need to know real soon."
Paul Long
184. Caveatar
Deleted Cav
185. MasterAlThor
Thanks. I will keep that in mind. LOL.

Thank you for the idea. Alas my wife tells me that my mind has gone to pot and I cannot remember anything.

Very funny. But seriously do you know if you can???

186. Freelancer
yasiru89 @172

Please forgive what is surely a minuscule nit to pick, but from your comment, with which I completely concur in spirit:
On stilling before execution, I suppose it makes sense in that the immediate shock of it is the worst. As you go on, as we've seen in cases like Logain and the Aes Sedai stilled during Rand's escape in LoC, the severed individual begins to long for death and you will be giving them what they want. There's a cruel justice in granting death in the wake of that initial shock, before they begin longing for it.
Justice is very often cruel. In the appropriate use of the word cruel, not mean-spirited or despicable, but direct and emotionless. I'll bet that what you're thinking of for that line is that "There's a cruel mercy in granting death...before they begin longing for it". And I could be wrong, but in my reading, there is nothing especially notable about justice being, or seeming cruel, while a cruel mercy, that would be well remarked.
181. Wetlandernw

Wet, Wet, Wet.... I think the problem here is assuming that people of a certain age group are more capable or even more likely to agree with "Your" opinion, because of the life experiences of a given age.

I think a lot of the problem that this Forum or any other Forum is having is a lack of respect. You see, a lot of people mistake being Literate for how well they can string together a bunch of big words with big vague meanings. It is an artful practice, but it certainly doesn't show the character behind the words. There is a reason why people in the South spoke the way they did for so long. Or even the games that the French and the English would play with each other are quite interesting. But they occured face to face. Words written, lack the honesty that the spoken word inflects.

And therein lies our problem. People are trying, nowadays, to convey their emotion through the written word. And a lot of times the reader is mistaken about which emotions are trying to be conveyed. But its usually becase of this VAIN idea that in order to make one feel more intelligent, they must put together a string of words that most conveys their intelligence to the reader. A very annoying practice. This is not a contest of wills between Professors of Literature. This is a Forum for Opinions; For presenting our idea's; For making new friends; For sharing our love of the same beloved Dream.

This is not a place to showcase your command of any language as a means of saying "See How intelligent I am, Now you go back under your bridge, Troll". It is not a place to say, "Well listen here sonny, I dun gone through a lot in my time here and otherwise, and what my mean'n is to you should be recognized as such. I gots tenure, ya'see!" It isn't a place for Pontificating as much as a ear molesting priest would, simply because you've read the book 50 times and were on whatever said Blog 10 years ago!

Edit- If you don't agree with someones critic of your opinion, then break their critique down on its own merits, but not because of any other benign factor such as AGE! Sure, they may not understand your opinion because of their age. Age does bring certain enlightenments. But those younger generations won't become enlightened unless you are willing to help to illumine them. But telling them, "oh your just a youngster, you'll come to understand in time", is not a valid point of defense for your opinion.

That is just.....uhhhhhhnyaahhhrrrgraaaaaaaaah!... Ya see?

186. Freelancer
"There's a cruel mercy in granting death...before they begin longing for it". And I could be wrong, but in my reading, there is nothing especially notable about justice being, or seeming cruel, while a cruel mercy, that would be well remarked.
I like that. It would be an especially valid point with regards to Rand and the actions he took at Natrins Barrow. An Emotionless execution, all Pattern ramifications aside and a very cruel, mass mercy killing.

Edit- I wonder how many of the Compelled slaves were longing for death.

Anthony Pero
189. anthonypero
Oh, Leigh had a goodie in there, yes she did. I can't really bring it up, however, because I don't feel like starting a political flamewar today. So I'll just shut up now. And besides, Subwoofer gave us up for Lent, so if I can't bait him, its really not worth it ;) Maybe I'll try over on facebook.
190. Freelancer
From Wetlandernw @165:
CireNaes @158 - YES! See, that maturation process on the part of a reader can make a huge difference in how he or she views the characters.
How about we consider what is NOT said here. The above statement does not say that the change in someone's views of a character is RIGHT or WRONG, simply DIFFERENT based on the changing paradigm through which that character is viewed. This is a process which can neither be avoided nor gainsaid. It is not a judgement, but an observation, which Wetlandernw makes here. Reading an accusation into it as has been done is incorrect. That is a judgement.
From Sonofthunder @166:
Wetlander@ 165 - And this is why I'm so intrigued to see how I will view the characters in the coming years! Now at the ripe old age of 24(soon to be 25!), I've always found Rand to be one of my favorites(even as much as I shake my head at his actions sometimes, he's still who I tend to identify with!), along with Perrin. Not really sure why I don't identify with Mat, hm. Anyways, I'll be very interested to see my attitude toward certain characters change over the years...
Sonofthunder reads Wetlandernw's words as intended. Notice that he doesn't wonder if his current views on any character are currently RIGHT or WRONG, he is merely pondering how they will be altered with changes in his frame of reference, his worldview. as time goes on.

Wetlandernw's words here do not presuppose that others of a definable group will AGREE with her opinion (she and I, while sharing many viewpoints, disagree quite strongly about a few characters, without the slightest bit of animosity). What she said, what is being misread and attacked, is that sympathies regarding the actions, motivations and behaviors of certain characters can AND WILL adjust given a reader's natural alignment with said character's perspective. I have never been half as much a fan of Mat as many here, and likely never will be. However, my sympathies for him have grown, not because I have changed that much, but because he has grown quite a bit since bagging that badger in Emond's Field. This growth brings him somewhat more in alignment with my worldview, and thereby makes him, for me, easier with which to empathize.
Hugh Arai
191. HArai
yasiru89@172: I must have been unclear. The hypothetical I was referring to was the possibility of "curing" the inhabitants of NB. One pretty much has be considering that possibility if you're going to dispute Rand's "they're already dead" judgement. As far as Egwene goes, she herself is proof that damane are not better off dead. I think few people would say Egwene would have been better off if Nynaeve had killed her at the end of the scene she was leashed in. There's no hypothetical about it. "Shoot the hostage" is not the solution that you're supposed to hope the good guys choose.

That's why I wonder about some people like Leigh calling what Egwene did a MOA while saying what Rand did was a horrible act. I think they were both pretty horrible acts, although understandable in both cases.
190. Freelancer

I agree with most of what you have said in this particular post and defended him her well in its regard. But unfortunately he she goes on to ruin it for you here:
181. Wetlandernw
I have, in the past, elsewhere, and based on my observations of the ages of the various readers, pointed out that Cadsuane seems much more likely to be appreciated by people who have had more life experience - call it age, maturity, whatever you like - and have seen more relationships from more angles. Very few readers in their teens and twenties seem to "get" what she's about, at least in part because they are more accustomed to being under authority rather than in authority, whether acknowledged or not. Observably, a much higher percentage (though far from 100%) of those over about 40 seem to be able to understand her, whether they like her or not. The percentage gets higher as the age group gets higher. Again, you might not like or agree with that assessment, but those are my observations.
Now I realize that post was in response to yasiru, but that still doesn't excuse the over generality he she imposes on the various ages. Granted there is the possibility he she is correct in that view, I tend to think it unlikely. Lacking any empirical data to back his sentiment, I'm going with calling shenanigans and stating that you might want to take a look at the whole picture here before defending anothers opinion.

Now I state this being a today turned 42 year old male. And I definitely do not get Cadsuane. The nature of generalizations tends for many to mean ALL of a demographic. I tend to not concur and think that it means most of a demographic. But he she is stating his her opinion as if it is fact and hard at that, in his her opinion. Gleaned through his tenure here as a poster for as he she says 3 years here. I would beg to differ having been, at the very least, an observer of the goings on, for just as long.

My point is he she is using Age as justifiment of why his her opinion is correct and persons of a certain age demographic wouldn't understand his her opinion of Cadsune, because of their lack of life experience, etc. I feel he she would be better served avoiding that kind of condemnation. I feel he she would be better served correcting someones discrepent knowledge based on factual knowledge, rather than hyperboling conjecture.

Tess Laird
193. thewindrose
Thanks Freelancer - I was frowning at the screen and trying to understand where people were getting the idea that Wetlandernw was making such an allegation that you had to have a mature (read aged) view to understand and appreciate the characters! What I understood from what she was observing about herself and other's is that your views change on characters, especially if you are reading something like WoT over the years.

IE, I have been reading these dang books since 1990, and throughout all these years I have waxed and wained on several characters. I did not like Nynaeve until 5 years ago - now I think she is all of that and a bag of chips. I laugh so hard when I read her in the early books, where before I used to grind my teeth and I beleive my eyes might of glazed over. Now, I think Egwene kicks serious ass in this book, but I still cannot stand her 'I must be the best at everthing' - and 'I am the Tower' - who knows, maybe in 10 years I will be more understanding. Maybe I will be more understanding of why Rand thought it was a good idea to Balefire a whole compound(I have never been a soldier - but what if my son or daughter joins the army)? I don't mind Berelain, but what if my son gets invovled with someone like her. Who knows what will happen, but I do know I read the series differrently now than I did 5 or 10 years ago. I am still loving it, but my views have changed because I do not live in a vacole!
Roger Powell
194. forkroot
Hover your mouse over the icon next to a comment and you'll see the person's name. Now as it happens, I come from a state where there is a man named 'Alice', but that's Arizona (which everyone else in the country thinks is full of kooks, right?)

Wetlandernw comes from Seattle, where they love their coffee, their microbrews, and their Gore-Tex outerwear.

In Seattle, people named Alice are reliably female.
I know I just went back and visibly corrected how many times I did that! OMG lol!

I don't know why I keep doing that when she is obviously the most beautiful woman to have walked the Earth! Geez... my apologies my dearest Alice. Strike me down to my death and it would not be enough to atone for my offense.

I beg your forgiveness....

Nadine L.
196. travyl
Wind @193
I don't doubt that "life-experience" can change one's viewpoint, and I expect it to, for readers whom started the series in their early teens (while still forming their identity).
But besides that, don't forget the coloring you got from later books, which interact and do their part to alter your attitude towards the characters.
The first years, you got to know a character with skills and flaws etc. Then years / books later you've learned more about the character and re-reading the whole thing, with hindsight knowledge changes assessment and sympathies on characters.

At my first read, I could read straight through from books 1-11 (with a few weeks wait for TGS). On my re-read I *still* disliked Mat in the first few books, but certainly forgave him much more freely because I knew much more about him later. Same goes for Nynaeve - and all this though the re-read was within a year or two from the first go.
Roger Powell
197. forkroot
Good points those. I also wonder if the amount of time spent waiting for books might affect people's views of the characters.

Some people having been waiting for every book since TEoTW, some have picked up the series recently and read right through to ToM. Myself ... it's in the middle. I picked up TEoTW right when LoC hit the shelves, so the first book I had to wait for was ACoS.

I think this made me more negative toward Nynaeve than I might have been otherwise because I had a lot of waiting time while still thinking more about her braid-pulling and self-delusion. Like you, when I did my reread and really started evaluating her character arc, I became more appreciative of her good qualities.
Alice Arneson
198. Wetlandernw
ZEXXES @187 & 192 – “I think the problem here is assuming that people of a certain age group are more capable or even more likely to agree with "Your" opinion, because of the life experiences of a given age.”

I didn’t say (or assume) anyone was more likely to agree with my opinion; you only assume that is what I meant. I said that, according to my observation, as people get older they are more likely (capable, if you wish) to view certain characters with greater comprehension, whether they approve of the character’s behavior or not. And yes, I said that in general, the experience that comes from simply spending more years interacting with other people is likely to be a contributing factor. And I would certainly never promise that “you will come to understand in time,” because many people do not, in fact, come to understand certain things no matter how many years they live.

If you look at the paragraph you quoted @192, count the number of times I said “more likely” or “higher percentage” and similar conditional terms. I did not claim that these are hard and fast rules; I stated, repeatedly, that these are my observations. As I said to yasiru, if you don’t think my observations apply to you, that’s fine with me. If the shoe doesn’t fit, quit trying to cram it on – and quit blaming me for things I didn’t say.

Oh, and Freelancer knows me pretty well. I don’t think you need to worry too hard about him misinterpreting my opinions.

As for my language, would you prefer that I go back to words of one syllable? This is the language I speak, think and write. When I communicate, I try to find the best words I can to express what I wish to say. If it bothers you, or makes you feel that I’m trying to put you (or anyone else) down by showing off my great linguistic skills, I don’t really know how to help you. I did one exercise to produce several paragraphs of monosyllables, and nearly went off my rocker doing it. Not for you, this forum or anyone else will I change the way I articulate my thoughts on a long-term basis. I am an engineer and technical writer by training and profession, with a fair pile of good old English (and some German & Latin) literature thrown in for good measure. This. Is. My. Language. If you don’t like it, you can either skip my comments, or learn to live with it.

forkroot @194 – Thank you. I was trying to figure out how to address that one. I’d have thought my post @181 would have made it clear that I am, indeed, reliably female. ;)
199. Freelancer
analiese @108
Are we talking about the same Egwene who condemned Elaida (and Rand in previous books) for considering an oath of fealty to the Amyrlin without sparing a thought to the way she blackmailed Sheriam's circle into swearing fealty?
To be careful, Elaida was planning to demand an Oath of Obedience. This would have made every Aes Sedai Oath-bound to follow her slightest whim. There is a world of difference between an oath of alliegance, submitting to another as authoritative, and giving yourself up to be a robot at another's command. Yes, Egwene took oaths of fealty, from people who had either:

1. Planned to use her as a puppet to hide their own manipulation of the Salidar Aes Sedai, then to use her as a disposable scapegoat when they finally came back to the Tower.

2. Attempted to extort favors from her or subvert her purposes for no better reason than their own petty desires. Egwene was engaged in a cold war, and could not afford for her already very tenuous position to be threatened before she could begin to get something accomplished.

Elaida's plan for an Oath of Obedience was born of megalomania, a narcissistic urge to be The One.

Egwene's motivations are not for herself, she has thrown herself into the position fully, and wishes for the Tower whole. In her own POV, if her execution could bring the Tower back together, she would accept that. Can the same be said of Elaida?

Egwene has much to learn yet, proven by how easily Rand manipulated her about the meeting at Merrilor. But attempting to equate her actions and the motivation behind them with Elaida's, is imbalanced.
Valentin M
200. ValMar
'Evenin all. What you know, now we got ourselves a phoney generation war (hopefully over by now) and Wetlander became a man. Or is it corrected already? Ah, obviously yes.

Travyl and others have also poured some water on the misenderstanding about the "maturity" issue.

Anyway, I just came by to collect the two hunny, we had this date for weeks but it kept on cancelling on me.

PS In the future folks just make double sure you are being offended, before becoming offended...
Paul Long
202. Caveatar
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Paul Long
203. Caveatar
@195 Zexxes

Strike me down to my death and it would not be enough to atone for my offense.

There is no need to beat yourself up Zex. Let me help. SLAPPP!
pow, zap. bang. Whop! Come on folks, let us help Zex with the
flaggelation and or the beating. Had enough? I ain't. POW.
Slap. okay. We should be through. Don't thank me. Just helping out.

Alice Arneson
204. Wetlandernw
Irene, tnh, and whatever other PTB are around... I really, really, really want a "like" button for the comments. :)
Valentin M
205. ValMar
Caveatar @ 202

You'll notice that the "00" posts tend to be shorter than usual. And often get fleshed out a bit later. You can guess the reason... As for the reading, you got a bit too much out of the two letters. I think. As I am European, and less than half your age (was 72 right?), I tend to struggle to understand the gist of some of what you write.

Anyway, not a hippie, haven't been to the US yet. No motorbikes, but right about the music.

It's almost 1am here, the 2hunny is waiting, so I bid good night to all
Alice Arneson
206. Wetlandernw
ZEXXES (and anyone else who cares) - I apologize if I came off too harshly in my comments @ 198; I'm very tired (not an excuse, just by way of explanation) and a bit short-tempered because of it. I really do talk and think the same way I write - just ask my family. My almost-9-year-0ld daughter sounds just like me. (This is the kid who identified an old banana clip as "Look, Mom, it's an obelisk clip!" - at less than 2 years of age, and nearly bounced out of her seat (about the same age) when she saw Mount Rainier on a clear day - "It's a - it's a - it's a... Look, Mom! It's a volcano!!")

My comments regarding my observations about age & experience changing the way we see characters (the same is true of real people) were just that: casual comments on what I've observed in myself and others over time. They were intended to be loose generalizations and seen as such, not as judgements or criticisms of anyone who doesn't agree with me. (I save those for when I'm wide awake and really, really irritable. And have been washing dishes.)
Paul Long
207. Caveatar
Deleted Cav
Eric Hughes
208. CireNaes
I think a lot of the problem that this Forum or any other Forum is having is a lack of respect.
I disagree entirely. With some other forums, sure, but not here. Negative interpretation is the primary issue at play in our purely written form of interaction. Most messages are transmitted and received at a nonverbal level (e.g., body language and tone).

And I enjoy highfalutin terminology and linguistic cartwheels. That's why I'm here. It's not only fun, it's suitable. We are in what amounts to an internet book club. A celebration of literacy. American English is like Koine Greek. Efficient, practical, approachable, and typically (but not always) lacking an ornate quality. Bringing it back the other direction is a worthy endeavor, not an effort at exlusivism or invalidation. Rather an appreciation for a certain genetic apptitude with the written word. Something that you possess as well. I've seen it. With my eyeballs. On my computer screen.

If people have used this in the past in a more insidious manner towards you then that that truely sucks. Here, I give people the benefit of the doubt. I've never in my life wanted to actually meet anyone I interact with on the internet, until I found this reread. You all are the folks I could (depending on prior family trauma) play board games/cards with, meet for diner somewhere, or share a proud moment like my wife being excepted into her PhD program (which she totally was last week and it still makes me smile). Ugh, this is such a time suck. I'm need to get back to my gender issues paper.


Nah, not buying it. Maturity is wholly clear and quantifiable. The ability to contextualize while thinking about another's actions or words is one (the opposite of this is called splitting). The ability to exercise impulse control is the other. It's the cognitive piece between emotion and action. These elements are influenced by both age and instruction, both positively and negatively (the outliers here being genetic maladies that typically require a combination of therapy and chemical manipuation).
Paul Long
209. Caveatar
Deleted Cav
Paul Long
210. Caveatar
Deleted Cav
Louis Theodore Tellman
211. AndrewB
Another reason I am apparently "not normal." (Wetlandernw, please do not take the following as an attack on your position. I agree with you that in general time and age changes how you view things). I started reading WoT when I was a freshman in college. That was almost 20 years ago. Nevertheless, with two exceptionns my appreciation of the characters and their actions have not changed over time simply because my RL circumstances have changed.

(Of course, my impressions of the characters have changed where the characters themselves have changed (e.g. Faile).)

The two characters I speak of are Gawyn and Aviendha. With respect to Gawyn, I have lost respect. I have come to see him as a young man who has yet to grow up into an adult. For me, on the otherhand, Aviendha - I have come to appreciate (yes, that sentence was a horrible example of an English sentence). I did not get how she could hate her destiny. As time has marched along, my views on her initial interaction with Rand changed.

The other major characters - I feel the same way with towards them in the early books when I reread them today as when I read them the first time 20 years ago.

Why did I post this post? It is simple. I am jealous of those who make frequent posts with insightful comments. I do not make as many posts as most and when I do, such posts are hardly insightful. This post is just an excuse for me to string some words together.

Thanks for reading my musings.
Tess Laird
212. thewindrose
**Looks up at the 2 hunny**
Curse you, you sneaky Londoner!!

And, how 'bout this - a generational gender genome war.

Paul Long
213. Caveatar
Deleted Cav
Jeff Schweer
214. JeffS.
Who was it that said that the U.S. and England were separated by a common language? I can't remember but it seems appropriate at the moment.
Generational Gender Genome war? Linguistic cartwheels! still giggling outloud

And I agree with WetlandrNW we really need a "LIKE" button.

AndrewB from my point of view you seem exceptionally normal, but my point of view has always been suspect.

On changing your opinions on things as time passes. Generally my appreciation has ebbed and flowed depending on the way the various characters have reacted to their situations and with only a few exceptions, I have not hated any of them. Elaida being the main exception. Recall that I want her to drown in woolly catapillars.

I think some of the characters, Nynaeve for example, resonate with me differently now. Nynaeve is my favorite character now, but I'm not sure if I can say why really. Is it the awesome scene in KOD where she starts gathering Malkieri to join Lan. Possibly. That scene makes me wish I could wear the Hadori and travel north to the gap.

Sorry all, I'm rambling and I can't seem to type out what I mean.

I guess the simplest summary is this:

As I've changed, the books and characters have changed. I don't see stereotypes. I don't see tropes. I see people in a fully realized place dealing with their lives with various levels of success.

Just like I do.
Roger Powell
215. forkroot
I've never in my life wanted to actually meet anyone I interact with on the internet, until I found this reread.
I've actually done it - multiple times! {:: waves at Samadai, BillinHI, and RobMRobM ::}

Each time it was a lot of fun. There are some really good and interesting folks on this forum.

To that end, let me chime in and suggest that when anyone thinks they've been "dissed" in this forum, as a first step try rereading the post in question and see if it might be interpreted another way. As CireNaes pointed out so eloquently, the lack of body language makes it easy to misconstrue the tone of postings (or E-mail, etc.)

While we've had occasional trolls pop up here, most of us are genuinely interested in a discussion not a flame war. It seems to me that most "dust ups" begin when someone feels they've been targeted or talked down to when in actual fact that was not the OP's intent.

Lastly, if someone does insult you just remember Proverbs 15:1 - A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

Paul Long
216. Caveatar
Deleted Cav
217. Freelancer
JeffS @214

Whoever else surely said it, Gen. George Patton said it during WWII while addressing UK troops.

At a global meeting for my employer recently, I was picked from a group to present findings during an "objective session". When we had finished putting our brief presentation together, I noted that our group included a Brit, a Scot, an Aussie, and an Irishman, as well as a few Asian folk. So, as our PowerPoint title page came up, which included all of our names, I declared that I had been chosen since I was the only one who spoke English as a first language. Everyone but the gents at my table enjoyed it.
Paul Long
218. Caveatar
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Paul Long
219. Caveatar
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Roger Powell
220. forkroot
Um...I'd vote "Harsh"
Paul Long
221. Caveatar
@211l AndrewB
This post is just an excuse for me to string some words together.

String 'em together Manly B and we will string 'em up if they
are guilty. But our words are like weak watered liquor. They don't
have proof, just circumstantial evidence.

Musings of the Manly B
We are amused and amusing and sometimes bemused by the muses
Clio and Melpomene and Mnemosyne and all.

From old house in Virginia. A skeleton of a bird, big raptor of sorts
maybe a raven or some such ,which has bonded to the bust below.
It is a pallid bust.
Almost faded away it says, "P..las", which is obviously Athena in some
greek word or other.
It was found above a chamber door.
Lots of old books in the chamber.
The skeletal remains are unidentifiable but a legend shows the name
to be "quoth".
I will sell it for a reasonable offer, but offer soon or nevermore offer again. I wonder who the Po boy was who had it for a pet.
Must have gone Bust ed and had to leave it.

Any offers?
Paul Long
222. Caveatar
Deleted Cav
Louis Theodore Tellman
223. Wortmauer
Caveatar@136: Trying to think of a name for little horsie. Hey, how about "horse"? Or 'hippus"? nah. Hippoduopotamus?
Thank you thank you! I love a good pun. Hippoduopotamus! Ha!
CireNaes@169: Started this series at age 12. I love this series.
Not gonna quote the whole thing, but I loved reading that little essay of yours on the evolution of your perspective on the characters. Very nice.
Wolfmage@170: Similarly, I've definitely hardened my view of Gawyn, which was originally very positive, and softened my view of Galad, which was originally more ambivalent due to Elayne's framing.
Yeah, I'm pretty sure RJ intended exactly that effect. We mostly see the Brothers G through Elayne's and Egwene's hardly unbiased viewpoints until relatively late in the game.
HArai@191: As far as Egwene goes, she herself is proof that damane are not better off dead. I think few people would say Egwene would have been better off if Nynaeve had killed her at the end of the scene she was leashed in. There's no hypothetical about it. "Shoot the hostage" is not the solution that you're supposed to hope the good guys choose.
This. I agree, it's pretty WTF to hear all this "Egwene is so awesome for shooting her friends in the back as they are carried off." Where does she, of all people, get off saying a damane is better off dead?

Presumably at least a few of the captured Aes Sedai have Warders. Shouldn't be hard to effect a search and rescue if you've got someone who can do gateways and someone who can point in the direction of his Aes Sedai. Presumably those to'raken aren't supersonic, and probably have to eat and rest just like most other animals, so you should have at least a few nights where they have to camp on the way back to Seanchan territory. Their numbers are depleted (and weren't that high anyway; it was a raid, not an invasion), and your gateways give you the surprise.

I see only two problems with this. One, the Tower is too busy politicking and figuring out whether to fight or reunite, so they wouldn't have been able to take such decisive action for a few days, at which point the raiders could be back in Altara surrounded by all sorts of protection. And two, you run the risk of rescuing Elaida, and then you have to formally depose her instead of just sighing with relief that the Seanchan solved your problem for you.
Wetlandernw@198: As for my language, would you prefer that I go back to words of one syllable?
Yes, please! That was hilarious! For your next act, see if you can keep each sentence within 140 characters. Ur allowed 2 use homophonic abbreviations if u need 2.
Paul Long
224. Caveatar
198. Wetlandernw

Wasn't intending to say that Linguistic dexterity is a denunciation of character. Its the character behind the words I'm concerned with. Your character is not in question at all. Your character, from what I can glean, is one of warmth and while I'm sure you have some flaw somewhere, I submit that we all have character flaws. Mine is tenfold and so technically speaking, I really shouldn't even be going there. But therein lies one of my flaws. *chuckle*

No, my point is more in a direction of justifications. I have a tendency to jump on opinions that aren't based on logical values. When an opinions basis is an elitist play for domination because they feel that their command of language justifies it or their play of condemnation is of a separatist social nature, belying false authority... well it all gets my hackles up.

So I say something about it. Good or ill, we all like to speak our minds and thats all I'm doing. Most of that wasn't directed at you per say, but you did open that particular box. I know children who are capable of understanding logic that baffles some adults. I know people who are basically illiterate, but in a battle of spoken word? They would literally flay the skin off of your body, just after your brain melted trying to contain the brilliance of what you just heard.

There are so many shades of grey, so generalizations are appropiate at times. But when used as a support of opinion, it becomes pure conjecture. When used to critique, it is unnacceptable, at least for me. Given what was said, it's just as bad as where Leigh went wrong earlier here.

Anyway as you noted in a later post you felt your words were exasperating and to me they weren't, so no worries :~)

And again, I apologize for the uhhh gender snafu.... that was very very uhhh... just... bad.

Paul Long
226. Caveatar
Nadine L.
227. travyl
I know most of time Gawyn is an idiot, and I don't know what it states about me that I feel the need to defend him so often. (Well sub isn't here so I'll go on):
Egwene faults him for not accepting her as Amyrlin. > Gawyn:
"When we parted you were just an Accepted, and that wasn't so long ago. Now they've named you Amyrlin? I don't know what to think."
"And you can't see how your uncertainty undermines anything we could have together?"
Compare this raction to Egwene in TSR (Ch7):
Egwene wanted to shake him. He ruled Tear? Well, perhaps he did, if it came to that He was a shepherd, not a king, and even if he had call to give himself airs, it was no good to him that he did. She was about to tell him as much ...
I'm not an Egwene hater, I quoted it to support Gawyn. Why are most of you so exasperated about him here? I don't see it. And "Shut up" and the like don't really explain it to me.
Rob Munnelly
229. RobMRobM
Z - It's been said several times above, probably more eloquently than I can formulate, but please try to bring it down a notch or two. The reason we have existed as a functioning group for more than two years is that people tend not to assume the worst when something is said by another. I find it really boring most of the time (some flame ups have entertainment value, occasionally) to devote posts to meta-criticism interpreting the meaning of each others' posts. I'd rather make fun of Suffa in the bunker.

Free - Nice summary of the position re Eg's oaths. I also was tempted to do research to find your old posts on the subject, as you are the preeminent scholar in this area.

Fork - yes, we did have that enjoyable get together in Boston, along with your lovely spouse. (To add the visual, when you think Fork and his wife, think Galad and Berelain. Or Padan Fain and Berelain. One of the two. That is all.)

Rob (who is looking to see the Hunger Games this weekend)
James Hogan
230. Sonofthunder
Rob @229, *applauds* Agree absolutely - join me in the bunker for some Scotch?

Also - Wort @ 223, I still have no problem with Egwene unleashing hell on the Seanchan(including captured damane), but that's also mostly because I see this as full-out war. I may be a bit cold and unmerciful, but she's doing what must be done here. Of course, I also see Rand's balefiring of Natrin's Barrow as justified. So my thoughts may not count for much...

If they were not in a battle situation though, I do hope that Egwene would use maximum effort to free the damane. I do think she would.

Also Wort - I would *love* to see Wetlander post in under 140 characters, using homophonics. Please, Wet? Oh that would be have me crying on the floor laughing!!
Rob Munnelly
231. RobMRobM
@230. But of course. I'm not a big cigar guy but I'm sure I can find some Two Rivers tabac somewhere if you're interested.
Paul Long
232. Caveatar
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Paul Long
233. Caveatar
OK. Its a dirty job but somebody has got to do it.
And its fun too.

And As Always All Agreeing Are Accepted As Available
But Betimes Boorish Behavior Becomes Bad Business Buddy
Cool Collected Cogitation Causes Comforting Camaraderie Cousin
Dauntless derring do develops different dispositions Daily Daddyo
Eternally Easing Each Effortless Elating Escapade Evermore
Facetious Fun Facts For Fictional Fakery Folks. Fine Fettle Finally Flying
Good Going Guys Grinning Gleefully Girls Great!

Have Happy Humorous Habits Harmed Hunnys?Huh? How?
I Imitate In Intense Idle Idiotic Ideation
James Joyce's Joking Jarring Jackanape Jests
Knowingly Keep Knowledge Kind
Looks Like Liberal Limited Lameness Left
No!Nay! Nichts! Nyet! Nein! Non! Never Numbnuts! Now,
Many More May Modify My Mighty Mild Mind Manipulation.
Originally Only One Option Overtly Opined.
Puerile Pelting Posts Put Properly Polite People Pouting
Quietly Quaking Quitting Querulous Quibbling
Ridiculous Ranting Rambling Rarely Refined Rises Readily
Some Say Should Stop Showing Simple Silly Self So
There!. That's That Then. Thanks. TaTa To The Thread Temporarily
(Unless Useless Unctiousness Unleashed Unnecessarily)
Vicious Voluble Vain Vulture Vituperation Visited
Why Would We Waver When We Wander Where We Wish?
Yours Youthfully Y'all Younguns. Yep.
Still working on it. Gimme a minute to warm up. Stopping now.

I see several others except X and I would have to go to
!kung of the Pygmies to get some and Greek to get the others.
Z wouldnt be all that hard but too much work and I play. Work be
damned. I am retired.
And I am sick and tired, of being.....Sick and tired.

Want to play scrabble?

Valentin M
234. ValMar
Caveatar @ 213
English is not my first language and my speaking of it has been influenced from all over the place, including the US. But the biggest influence is British as I've been living in the UK for over a decade.
Therefore I'm pretty sure that knocked up doesn't mean very tired. Maybe you were thinking of knackered. This one is used for tired or broken.
Paul Long
235. Caveatar
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Paul Long
236. Caveatar
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Eric Hughes
237. CireNaes

You do know how to make an impression. Funny stuff.


Glad you did. It was a little embarrassing writing that out. I still have my MBTI Type II from my premarital counseling. I've been a full on Thinker and Introvert every single time I've taken it, except that time. I actually scored as a low end Feeler and Extrovert while we were engaged. Now that is twitterpated. When Perrin was chasing Faile after her kidnapping with a single minded love sick purpose I was totally on board.


Impressive...most impressive.


By the by, I'm glad you're here. You bring a fresh perspective.
Paul Long
238. Caveatar
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Eric Hughes
239. CireNaes

Reading back, oh boy. I see where you got that.
:::slinks down in chair with red face:::
Alice Arneson
240. Wetlandernw
Wortmauer @223 - Yes, please! That was hilarious! For your next act, see if you can keep each sentence within 140 characters. Ur allowed 2 use homophonic abbreviations if u need 2. Umm… can you say stilted? That would be hard. Can’t say until I try whether it would be harder than monosyllables, but it would be an “interesting” exercise. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll try it sometime. Just for you. And Sonofthunder. (It really would be hard. Even when I’m texting, I use proper spelling, grammar and punctuation unless I deliberately misuse something for effect. What can I say? Maybe, maybe just a teeny bit OC?)

Caveatar @224 – ROFL! ‘Tain’t easy, though, is it?

ZEXXES @225 – I’m not quite sure I see how the use of language, or a statement of my opinions as based on my observations, either one, become “an elitist play for domination” or any of the rest of that sentence. Domination? Condemnation? Separitist? False authority? I’m sorry, but I honestly don’t see where any of that is coming from. Am I condemning my past self by learning to see something differently? Of course not; all I said was that after certain experiences, I came to see certain characters in a different light. Neither am I condemning anyone who continues to hold a different opinion of those characters, whether because they have not had those experiences, or because the experience didn’t lead them to the same conclusion. My point was merely that the longer you live, the more you’re likely to have those experiences, and the more of those experiences you have, the more likely you are to change your perspective. “Likely” and “guaranteed” are not the same thing. It’s all probabilities.
"Figures often beguile me, particularly when I have the arranging of them myself; in which case the remark attributed to Disraeli would often apply with justice and force: 'There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.’” (Mark Twain)
Don’t know what that had to do with anything. It just seemed like a good twist. (And I put that in before I read Caveatar @ 235! Great minds, or some such.)

Caveatar @226 – I like that.

Caveatar @232 – Actually, RobM lives in the Boston area; forkroot & wife hail from Arizona. In the latter case, though, the “from” is quite applicable, as they seem to spend a fair amount of time far from AZ. I keep hoping they’ll make it to the Seattle area sometime!
Also @233 – Wow! I’m in awe.

travyl @227 – That’s a very good point. I do have sympathy for Gawyn here – he’s been given so much of the mushroom treatment for the last couple of years, is it any wonder he doesn’t know quite what to think? After all, the change in Egwene’s circumstances happened quickly and while he was being buried in the manure off to the east, and the AS just don’t take an Accepted and make her Amyrlin, unless they want a puppet. He was quite right about that, actually – how could he know that she’d manage to strongarm the entire WT, and both sides at that? His attitude is not at all unreasonable, in this case. It would be nice (from our perspective, anyway) if he would give her the benefit of the doubt, and at least try not to get in the way until he has time to see for himself what’s going on, but at the same time I can see why he doesn’t. Then again, I’ve never been quite as down on Gawyn as some, though I still want to smack him for accepting gossip as authoritative in the case of Rand supposedly killing Morgase. I wonder if we’ll get to see the fallout of the family reunion in AMoL…
Paul Long
241. Caveatar
Deleted Cav
Eric Hughes
242. CireNaes

It's fine Cav. No worries. My wife got a kick out of it when I had her read it. Unintentional humor is often the most enjoyable.

As my son said not too long ago during his pre-K writing lesson to his younger sister who was making a ruckus while drawing at the kitchen table, "Silence! I proclaim silence!" Priceless.
Paul Long
243. Caveatar
Deleted Cav
Alice Arneson
244. Wetlandernw
Caveatar - I didn't read it as carefully as it deserves - RL is interfering with my enjoyment this morning and I'm snatching bites as I can here. (That post up at 240 was written in bits and snatches over the course of a couple of hours - hence any disjointedness! :) At least I'll blame it on that...) Will go back and read it properly this afternoon, I hope, and then respond accordingly. Mostly I was impressed that you could string that much together without going right over the edge of sanity. Or... did you? Guess I better read it before I say any more.
Roger Powell
245. forkroot
For the record: I am originally from the Boston area, now a naturalized Arizonan. My wife is originally from Nebraska, and is also now an Arizonan for life. We do indeed call Phoenix home. As Wetlandernw notes, there is a certain peripatetic nature which we must indulge often.

Whether or not she is "Berelain" to anyone else, the missus is my "Berelain" which, of course, is all that matters.

At the moment, "Berelain" is a whirlwind picking up the house and expecting me to assist (we're hosting a big party tonight.) So if I expect to rate closer to "Galad" in her estimation, and avoid being "Padan Fain", I had best desist from the reread and go help.

Later, friends .....
Paul Long
246. Caveatar
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Paul Long
247. Caveatar
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Jonathan Levy
248. JonathanLevy
161. travyl
Good points, and thanks for providing the relevant quote.

I suppose I always saw the stilling and execution as part of the same procedure, or ritual. So when it says 'when her turn came' I understand that as being before the execution AND before the stilling. So if she confesses at this point we must ask how was it possible for her, and Verin's loophole fills that need.

If we suppose that it's before the execution but after the stilling, then there's no need for that explanation. But the text on its own does not seem to suggest Sheriam was in the middle of a two-stage process.
wouldn't it be more likely that a stilled sister would go willingly to death?
Either that or she'd be too overwhelmed by the pain to be coherent, as the Sister stilled by Rand at Dumai's Wells. But I certainly agree that begging for mercy is much more likely to happen before being stilled.
ana liese
249. analiese
Freelancer @ 199

There is a world of difference between an oath of alliegance, submitting to another as authoritative, and giving yourself up to be a robot at another's command.

There actually isn't much of a difference—I think you're underestimating what an oath of fealty means, particularly for an Aes Sedai. Whether it's an oath on the rod or by their hope of rebirth and salvation, they HAVE to obey, as Rand's sworn Aes Sedai grudgingly acknowledged. The "by my hope of rebirth and salvation" oath is considered unbreakable, even moreso if the person in question happens to be Aes Sedai and already bound by the Three Oaths.
“Beneath the Light and by my hope of rebirth and salvation...” Not the same wording as Faolain and Theodrin, but every scrap as strong. More. By the Three Oaths, no Aes Sedai could speak a vow she did not mean. –Egwene on Nisao's oath, ACoS
It has been repeatedly stated in the books that only a Darkfriend would break that oath, which implies Randlanders actually believe they will not be reborn if they do, or otherwise punished by the Light. Egwene herself believed none of her sworn sisters would be able to break their oath to her unless they were Darkfriends. Only Beonin found a way around it (temporarily) by convincing herself Egwene was no longer Amyrlin.
"So you're the one who betrayed me!" Egwene said angrily. A thought occurred to her. How could Beonin have betrayed her after swearing fealty? "You must be Black Ajah!"
"I would not have sworn to you except that the Hall, it would have had me birched if it learned the secrets you knew. Perhaps more than once, even. Reason enough to swear, no? I never pretended to love you, yet I maintained that oath until you were captured. But you are no longer Amyrlin, yes?"
Furthermore, since Egwene ordered the sworn sisters to "obey any order Siuan gives as if it came from me," she also gave a second person complete power over them without any sort of time limit or caveat.

So yes, it was an astounding display of hypocrisy for Egwene to make statements like these (about Rand, Elaida, and the Black Ajah hunters) without acknowledging her own sworn sisters:
"I am not trying to Heal the White Tower just so he can chain Aes Sedai like damane." –Egwene, Winter's Heart
The false Amyrlin just turned back to her soup, smiling to herself, no doubt contemplating a fourth oath to demand obedience. Couldn't she see how that would undermine the Tower itself? It would transform the Amyrlin from a leader to a despot! –Egwene, TGS
"This is why an oath of obedience is a terrible idea," Egwene said. "No woman should have this much power over another. What you have done to these others is only one step shy of Compulsion." –Egwene, TGS
Interesting word choice, that: "Chain them like damane." Considering Egwene's strong feelings about damane, it says a lot that she compares an oath of fealty to that. There was no Oath Rod involved in Rand's case, so Egwene clearly considers a standard oath of fealty to be a horrible violation.

Egwene was engaged in a cold war, and could not afford for her already very tenuous position to be threatened before she could begin to get something accomplished.

I actually don't have much of an issue with Egwene's decision to blackmail Sheriam's circle into swearing fealty, for the reasons mentioned. They had previously tried to use her as a puppet, and Egwene had few other tools available to strengthen her position. What I object to is the way she got on a high horse afterwards and acted like she'd never done the same thing she now expresses moral outrage at.
250. MasterAlThor
My goodness.

Caveatar is going to push us on through 300 by himself. I purpose that if we do hit it, we should just give it to him.

A like button would be great on here. Might cut down on the comments.

You are absolutely correct in your comparison. Yet another reason why I do not like Egwene.

Cousin Rita doesn't happen to be a meter maid does she?

As for lauganges I speak Common (smiles at Sulin, Samadai, Jalani, Mis, Brandwhin and Scissorrunner). I have also been know to speak a little Drow.

So forkroots wife looks like Berelain? Hope he has Galads sword skills. You will need it.

I just actually got back from a 3 hr training in Japanese Sword. Yes I can name the 8 killing cuts of Happo Giri. Don't mess with me.

Paul Long
251. Caveatar
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Paul Long
252. Caveatar
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Dawn Boyall
253. deebee
@several: divided by a common language

mmm I hate to spoil the party but I don`t think anyone under about 60 would use knocked up to mean tired.
And Caveatar-lots of those other examples are also about a hundred years out of date. (Somebody tell Barack Obama we don`t use chuffed to bits any more either...) Amazingly English adapts and changes over here too ;)
But I`m always amazed at how well non-English speakers learn the language. In my time I`ve studied Latin French German and Welsh -yup, all at the same time. And I`ve never achieved half the degree of fluency or even competence that speakers of other languages have achieved in English. Though at least our nouns don`t have gender issues!
Louis Theodore Tellman
254. Wortmauer
Leigh's description of the NB incident: The most impressive straw man I've seen constructed in ... man. A long time. I don't care for the straw man style of rhetoric — usually comes off as lazy and unfair — but at least this one wasn't lazy. I can see a lot of effort went into it. Natrin's Barrow is still nothing like an insane asylum, though.

Sheriam's confession: I guess I've just assumed she had already been stilled. And I never saw an incongruity with the custom of stilling a condemned prisoner before executing her. I agree with those who say it's symbolic rather than practical. You're being kicked out of the Aes Sedai. It seems similar to Colavaere's sentence in ACoS, where Rand strips her lands and titles, and she acts as though that's worse than being executed.

Caveatar@235, if you're gonna paste large blocks of other people's text, could you please at least cite and attribute? Explicitly, I mean. I gather your post was quoting Mark Twain, but it's not entirely clear. I'm not asking for a full-on bibliography here, just a little common courtesy to those who wrote what you are pasting, and to those of us reading it. I know Twain is in the public domain at this point, and he's not in a position to really mind, but it's the principle of the thing.

Ruth's speech to Naomi, well, I got that one without the cite. (:

Also, could you demarcate your quoted text in some way? I use a block-quote function, others prefer italics, heck, use dark green text instead of black if you fancy — but if you don't show any boundary between what you're writing and what someone else wrote, it can be very hard to pick it up. This applies whether you're quoting another post here, or pasting some long article from somewhere else that has nothing to do with WOT, or anything in between.
Do you live in a walled settlement deep rooted or with root plants?
Good guess, but no. I am, however, thinking of putting a berm in my front yard. It's way too flat and boring. Of course berms are really for defense, but there's also some great landscaping possibilities — retaining walls, flowerbeds, etc. The two main problems are figuring out drainage (I have a very shallow grade to the street), and deciding to pay hundreds of dollars to some guy with a dumptruck and a Bobcat.

Anyway ... no, no wall or berm (yet). When I joined the Band of the Red Handles and started posting instead of just reading, gosh, was that way back when Michael Jackson was still alive?, it was in vogue to preface long posts with a "wall of text" warning. I always thought those warnings were a bit silly, especially since back then our long posts were usually at least on topic. So I reached into my bag of dog-German (the bag with useful vocab but very little sense of grammar) and picked a Red Handle that would convey this warning implicitly. I used to be one of the long posters, see. I think birgit's thread statistics usually put me near the top, if not in sheer quantity, at least in average post length.
Wetlandernw@240: (It really would be hard. Even when I’m texting, I use proper spelling, grammar and punctuation unless I deliberately misuse something for effect. What can I say? Maybe, maybe just a teeny bit OC?)
I'm the one percent! ...of people who still don't have (or want) a cell phone. But if I did, I am sure my texts would be as grammatically immaculate as my email. Well, I might omit the full stop at the end of a sentence. But SMSisms like "2" and "ur"? I'm not saying it caused me physical pain to use those @223, but it did feel pretty weird.
Alice Arneson
255. Wetlandernw
Wortmauer @254 - But SMSisms like "2" and "ur"? I'm not saying it caused me physical pain to use those @223, but it did feel pretty weird.

Exactly. I think I maybe used r u once when I needed to send something fast before the light turned green, and my fingers almost froze. It just... yeah. Felt pretty weird.

As for wall-o-text warnings... I still do it sometimes, but I mostly figure that anyone who's been around here for more than... oh, a week or so... has probably come to associate my name with the warning. :) Even a short note tends to be pretty long. *sigh*
256. MasterAlThor

My heart mourns for your loss of your Rita.

As for a Muse, I am sorry but I do not have one. While I am educated and intelligent I am nowhere near the level you, Wetlandernw and Freelancer tread upon. I fear that somewhere along the way, I chose the short cut that ended up robbing me of my innocence and set me back further than I wanted to be.

Paul Long
257. Caveatar
Deleted Cav
Paul Long
258. Caveatar
Deleted Cav
259. MasterAlThor

Truly you have a dizzing intellect.


R.I.P. Trayvon Martin's everywhere
Paul Long
260. Caveatar
Deleted Cav
Paul Long
261. Caveatar
Deleted Cav
262. MasterAlThor

Though I don't know who Jimmy is, I sense that his passing has affected you greatly.

I also want to say thank you for the kind words. I will be happy to call you Brother. I name Freelancer as one and I consider Wetlander as an older Sister who, like many others, I live in fear of. There are many others here that I also consider family. Welcome aboard.

Off to bed I am. I have church in the morning.

Paul Long
263. Caveatar
Deleted Cav
264. Freelancer
Caveatar @221

I shall weigh my token coffer o'er your quaint and curious offer.
And you say all lore related is forgotten and abated?
Should I treat, you will, I trust, deliver then both bird and bust.
Else with a heart both sad and sore this sale I'd refuse evermore.

~ Apologies to E.A.

Ma'T @259

I see your PB reference. I would concur with Caveatar, there is but one true measure, and we all stand below the bar. And in that docket, none will be concerned with the standing of any other, nor defend themself therewith.

Analiese @249

This debate has been had, when the relevant text was before the reread. I do not underestimate the impact of an oath taken by one bound to the First Oath, and Egwene surely benefits as Amyrlins before her did not, from receiving those oaths. But fealty is NOT a constraint to unthinking obedience. If, in the judgement of one bound by such an oath of fealty, the most beneficial thing they could do for their liege is disobey, they would be free to do so. Fealty retains freedom to think and consider the best way to serve under that oath. Elaida's intended direct Oath of Obedience to her would permit no such personal judgement or consideration. Look at the actions of those sworn to Egwene, and see that they continued to do what they believed best served her, whether they felt she would directly approve or not. That would not be possible within the Oath Elaida proposes.

If the point being made is that Egwene is a hypocrite in this case for denouncing an action she also performed, or condoned, I do not agree.

Caveatar @263

Took me a few moments to find where I'd left my secret agent decoder ring, that was cute...
Paul Long
265. Caveatar
Deleted Cav
Paul Long
266. Caveatar
@164 Freelancer.

I shall weigh my token coffer o'er your quaint and curious offer.
And you say all lore related is forgotten and abated?
Should I treat, you will, I trust, deliver then both bird and bust.
Else with a heart both sad and sore this sale I'd refuse evermore.

Mrs.Utterback, (Lit teacher high school)
would tell me to "shut up now! You don't compare!)
Upon a time, for various infractions and misbehaviors
she sentenced me to study E A Poe over the weekend
and to come back monday and recite it to the class.
Most of the class rolled their eyes and I said,
I have stuff to do monday and I was going to skip school.
"You recite the RAVEN Monday or you are expelled!"
"Can I do it sooner?"
"Sure you can, as soon as you can recite it find me."
I said, "Found you."
Once upon a midnight dreary...
at this point her eyes got bleary, (*couldnt help it)
and she stared at me with class mates smirking until
I almost reached the end. She stopped me.
"SIT down! You smirking sillies, you Take turns and FINISH it.
I sat and smirked until she walked over and smacked me on top
of my head and hugged me and said. Take off monday next to
end of term. I don't care!"

~ Apologies to E.A.
Bastard should have lightened up. Casque of Amontillado my shiny
dark ass. Just old Thunderbird wine at eighty cents a quart. Ring
them bells Annabelle Lee. (Robert E. Lee's daughter I bet.)

I ADORE your abilities as much as the rare and radiant maiden was
I refuse to 'give you the bird' , nay, nevermore. A name like
"Quoth, the Raven" sounds like a Rogue Bard in a computer game.
Since I have been busted , the bust is yours officer. Take the credit
or "take the cash and let the credit go." as Edward Fitzgerald said
that Omar Khayyam said, but they were both robbing a wineshop when
they said it. Bunch of drunks. Winos.
And when you get the pallid bust of Pallas tell the girl to get some
sun. What the hell? They don't have sunlight on Olympus?
Never could STAND them bastards, sayeth Darky.

@263. How many minutes, Point 263?

And Athena all aglowing with the large owl eyes all knowing
lost her heart and lost the battle and at last she lost her head
For she pissed off Aphrodite who appeared in naught but nighty
and Zeus though horny, flighty sent the Bust to the poet Ed
And the Ravens of Allfather said this is too much of bother
Nevermore to quoth the Poet I will crap on the bust instead

So the bust and the bones are bound just like stones
which are mortared and bound into one.
You have made my whole day, you don't have to pay
You can have it for nothing you son of a gun.
Caveatar. Most fun I have had in ten years.
Paul Long
267. Caveatar
Deleted Cav
Rob Munnelly
268. RobMRobM
Sheer Poe-try on this thread.


P.s. Now that I think more about it, when you think Forkroot think....Tam al'Thor. Couple of years under his belt, competent, friendly, etc.
Valentin M
269. ValMar
Caveatar @ 236

My mother tongue is Bulgarian. Thanks, though English is a very easy language and I try, like everyone else here, to write in a coherent manner.
There's no need to consider what you write on my behalf. It appears to me that the people to who it's relevant and who can properly appreciate it have no trouble getting it.

Haven't been to Mars, too. There's always some kind of trouble brewing there.
Jay Dauro
270. J.Dauro
Analiese @249

The diference is easily seen in WH-25. Allana has sworn Fealty to Rand,bBut she will not release him from the Bond. An Oath of Obedience would force her to, with an Oath of Fealty she can decline.
Louis Theodore Tellman
271. yasiru89
Freelancer @186-

I do mean 'justice' and not mercy. Without setting some idealised form of justice upon a pedestal (which admittedly is fashionable these days), it is possible to weight against each other various means of justice based on how merciless they can be. To give death when the severed individual longs for it is mercy, but to deliver it before that resignation and longing come to effect, when all that rules the mind is the shock of what was loss (atop which death would be yet another loss), brings only further pain and anguish.

HArai @191

I don't disagree, but my point was that they certainly were not 'understandable in both cases'- since in Egwene's, what she forsook was not in fact an entirely hypothetical option (unlike with Rand). Had it been possible to recover those leashed women, they definitely could have been rehabilitated. The same is evidently not true for the occupants of Natrin's Barrow, who could only have had salvation in this life had they been recovered, in the unlikely event that a safe way to remove Compulsion was to be discovered. In Egwene's case it came down to removing a collar and helping the mentally subjugated get their feet back on the ground and hold their heads high assuming physical recovery (or rescue) were possible- in Rand's it came down to an unlikely happening (said new discovery to tackle Compulsion) assuming physical recovery were possible.

That said, I don't entirely fault Egwene for doing as she did. It was a terrible decision, but it made sense given the kind of war she was fighting. However, it seems to me this wasn't the reason she did what she did- her own trauma while leashed seems to have been the deciding factor.
In Rand's case there's most certainly less of a moral dilemma and, even with their reasons for action aside, he wasn't being nearly as ruthless as Egwene was. I share in your confusion that Egwene's smiting fist should be seen as somehow more 'righteous' in the comparison than Rand's.

Wetlandernw @181-

It comes from such statements as-

'Cadsuane seems much more likely to be appreciated by people who have had more life experience...'
'Very few readers in their teens and twenties seem to "get" what she's about...'

, the gist of which seemed, as I put it, that you seem to be saying 'only mature readers get it'.

'If you don't feel the generalization applies to you, then don't worry about it.'

This the problem I'm trying to bring across. It doesn't matter whether I feel it applies to me or that anyone else feels it applies to them. It isn't even relevant whether I disagree with you or not. Rather, you assume that whatever measure by which you gauge maturity confers authority to the judgement of a character (i.e- in this case, is relevant to the defence of a character against whatever charge). This is simply fallacious reasoning relying on how well a character might resonate with readers of a given demographic. The pith of your observations might equally well be explained without appealing to some imagined authority had by the reader depending on how similar in whatever regard the they are at a given point to the character in question.

You are obviously quite free to remark on whatever it is you may have observed in following whichever thing for however long, but this mustn't extend to the generalised presumption that others may not understand whatever it is you might be on about. Inevitably, a good argument for something turns out to be what stands on its own reasoning (and merits thereof) as opposed to what draws in who might be reading it and agreeing.

'Cadsuane does X because she has been through such and such and sees the value of it/has no patience for a different course' is a much better argument than 'You probably don't understand why Cadsuane does X because you're probably Y'

On the other hand, assumptions on another's comprehension of a thing does not add anything worthwhile and certainly does not validate one's own position.

CireNaes @208-

This is irrelevant, really. Mine was a point on fallacies undermining an argument. One can come up with what definitions they like for a thing, the scientific merely one such case (if rather a more clear and consistent one), and for Wetlandernw it seems life experience is apparently the decider.
If there is something worth saying in the context of an argument or defence, it need only assume that who reads or hears it has a grasp of reasoning, without further qualifying said individual on the basis of whatever appropriate adjective, however legitimate-soundingly defined.
James Hogan
272. Sonofthunder
Cav @265 - I'd be the supplanter. If my parents had another son, they were going to name him John - but all I got were three sisters! (Whom I like quite a bit, so I'm not complaining)
Debbie Solomon
273. dsolo
Don't want to get into all the discussions re: trolls, disrespectfulness, etc. , so I'm just going to duck in with a quick definition. "Knackered" means tired or worn out in British slang. It is not a reference to salvage, but to the knacker man, who collected worn out animals and slaughtered them for rendering. Ducking back out now.
274. MasterAlThor

I have once again been proven wrong. It appears that I do have a Muse.
As you are wont to say..."I am still learning".

Freelancer, Caveater

Thanks guys. But if you don't mind I will let you guys teach while I learn. Someday when you are tired and decided it is time to put the mountain down I will pick it up.


Oh and they are called Katas. I actually know 2 of them.
Paul Long
275. Caveatar
Deleted Cav
Paul Long
276. Caveatar
Deleted Cav
Paul Long
277. Caveatar
Deleted Cav
Paul Long
278. Caveatar
Deleted Cav
Louis Theodore Tellman
279. AndrewB

IIRC, you have criticized the Forsaken for, on the whole, being ineffective in their plans against Team Light. While reading the sports page this morning, I thought of a new plan that the Dark One will implement:
"NO Saint" Plan.

As Sean Payton and Gregg Williams will not be working this season (especially come January 2013 when AMoL comes out), the DO will hire them to implemenat and run a bounty program. Per orders of the DO, Rand is untouchable. However, Sean Payton and Gregg Williams will offer the following bounty for "taking out" the certain members of Team Light. Coins will be paid out in Andorian gold coins.

10,000 gold coins for Mat or Perrin
9,000 gold coins for Fain
8,500 gold coins for Egwene, Nynaeve, Elayne, Aviendha, or Min
8,000 gold coins for Cads, any Aiel Dreamwalker, any Clan Windfinder, any Sitter, leader of the Sea Folk (forgot her title), Logain or Tuon
7,500 gold coins for any Great Captain, Galgan (as the top general of the Seanchan), any Aiel Clan chief, Galad or Gawyn)
5,000 gold coins for any other Aes Sedai, any Warder (except Bryne and Gawyn), any damane and suldam (these are a 2-for-one package special), any other Windfinder, or any other Aiel Wise One.

Now that Verin is dead, there is nobody on Team Dark to act as a snitch for Roger Godell the Creator.

Thanks for reading my musings,
Paul Long
280. Caveatar
@279 AndrewB
LIKE + one field goal score. Whatever that is called.
Something to muse on. For sure.

Remainder Deleted Cav
Eric Hughes
281. CireNaes
This is irrelevant, really.
Try contextualizing it.
Alice Arneson
282. Wetlandernw
yasiru @271 –
'Cadsuane seems much more likely to be appreciated by people who have had more life experience...'
'Very fewreaders in their teens and twenties seem to "get" what she's about...'
, the gist of which seemed, as I put it, that you seem to be saying 'only mature readers get it'.
Dude. Explain to me how “seems much more likely” and “very few” has suddenly come to mean “only.”

You’re ignoring my actual words, and twisting my statements to force an insult that simply doesn’t exist. If you insist on being insulted, I can’t stop you, but it’s your doing, not mine. That is all.
Valentin M
283. ValMar
Caveatar @ 278

Bulgaria it is, the one and only. Volga Bulgaria (of which Bolghar/Bulgar was a capital) was destroyed by the Mongols in 1237-9 or something.
Probably have some Thracian blood too. Spartacus' maybe :)
The cereal and wheat stuff is completely new to me.

One intersting thing I read about recently. Bugger. This word was first recorded in use in the 14th century in English. It came from Bulgar, as in Bulgarian. There was a widespread Heresy, the Bogomils, which originated from Bulgaria. One of the things the Church accused them of was sodomy, so the word Bulgar became a byword for it and by pronunciation turned into bugger.
Hm, this centuries old obsession with sodomy by the Roman Church. Rather ironic, given the recent confirmation of the horrible roumors and accusations from the past few decades.

AndrewB @ 279

I'm sure Leigh enjoyed this one ;) Were there any practical consequences from the Saints policy? I.e. do statistics show higher occurence of violent stuff (this is the technical term I believe) upon the opposition facing the Saints defence? Does anyone know?
Paul Long
284. Caveatar
Deleted Cav
285. Freelancer
yasiru89 @271

I see your point, definitely. But I come to a different conclusion about human nature. I would call it merciful to complete the execution before the stilled sister began that suffering which leads to desiring death, and would call it the more painful justice, the more sadistic, to make them enter that horrific state.
Paul Long
286. Caveatar
Deleted Cav
I tend to look at it this way,

What do you do to a person who you are about to execute , but deserves a little more than just the death itself? You take a way something you know that they love. In this case, that thing is Saidar. It's the only form of revenge a good person could have in a situation such this.

I think we all agree that they deserve worse, but one should be able to live with the justice they have given. I think what was done is not enough persay, but it shows the quality of character of the Aes Sedai to have this kind of restraint.

Louis Theodore Tellman
288. yasiru89
CireNaes @281-

Try having an argument.

Wetlandernw @282-

The 'only' is of little consequence. As I went on to say, I've no problem with your observation and it may well have some truth to it, however anecdotal and based on subjective impressions is your evidence. I do not accuse you of a generalisation. My charge is instead that you confuse a possible resonance based on reader demographics with insight into the concerned character as though one is likely to be unable to fully appreciate a defence of said character's actions for lacking this special authority so well correlated with 'maturity'.
Whether it is a generalisation or not matters not, it's the implication that a detached understanding is somehow lacking compared to a 'familiar understanding' (supposedly often conferred by age and maturity) that I take issue with.

'You’re ignoring my actual words, and twisting my statements to force an insult that simply doesn’t exist. If you insist on being insulted, I can’t stop you, but it’s your doing, not mine.'

I congratulate you on your remarkable skill with straw men. It is easily at Leigh's own quite considerable level. It is either that, or you've went ahead and ignored my actual words much like you accuse me of doing. I clearly declined offence at the outset and still take none. The problem I had is not about insult, but about the way statements are framed to draw in the reader's circumstances rather than stand alone on the merit of their general persuasiveness. It's precisely these kind of assumptions on those exposed to the content as opposed to the content itself that lead to moaning about perceived insults or, as in this case, making it out to be that another is.

Freelancer @285-

I suppose it comes down to longing for death with the surety that one will be obliged and that it shall come, set against denial at every step- first access to the Source, then life itself before the rejection of it begins.
Paul Long
289. Caveatar
Deleted Cav
Rob Munnelly
290. RobMRobM
Yasiru89 @288 - no offense, but do you have any idea how dull it is to the dozens of regular posters on this re-read to keep reading about meta-disputes over what posters said/mean to say? You've made your point, Wet and some others have made theirs - one round is enough. Please (I beg of you) focus back on your thoughtful substantive comments on WoT. Egwene, Gawyn, Rand, Suffa, Saerin, Gareth Brynne-Siuan, Sheriam, etc. Lots to talk about.

291. Freelancer
And now for something worth reading.

Brandon vs ... Brandon in Suvudu Cage Match Round 4.

Ok, officially Moiraine vs Kelsier. And may the best Brandon win.
Jonathan Levy
292. JonathanLevy
(also 199.Freelancer)

I think there are quite a few differences between what Elaida planned and what Egwene actually did.

First, a medieval oath of fealty contains limits, and involved a degree of reciprocity. For example, the oath of fealty from the anglo-saxon dooms (www dot fordham dot edu/halsall/source/560-975dooms.asp)
By the Lord, before whom this relic is holy, I will be to ____ faithful and true, and love all that he loves, and shun all that he shuns, according to God's law, and according to the world s principles, and never, by will nor by force, by word nor by work, do ought of what is loathful to him; on condition that he keep me as I am willing to deserve, and all that fulfil that our agreement was, when I to him submitted and chose his will.
Notice that the stress is on being faithful, and obedience is not mentioned at all, except by implication. A feudal lord who would try to alienate his vassal's lands, or command them to dance in little pink dresses would very quickly find himself facing rebellion, even if his vassals were oath-bound channelers. The same is not true of an oath of obedience.

Second, an oath of fealty expires when the Lord to whom it was sworn dies. A new oath must be sworn to the heir of the deceased Lord. Normally this would be routine (Rand does this in Cairhien after he conquers it), but a vassal could choose not to swear. He might forfiet his lands, but he had that choice.

But Elaida would require all Aes Sedai to swear to obey the Amyrlin Seat, whomever she might be. Thus whenever a new Amyrlin were elected, all Aes Sedai would pass like puppets into her hands, much as Lan was passed from Moiraine to Myrelle.

Consider also the extremes to which some Aes Sedai might go to prevent the raising of an Amyrlin they feared, rather than obeying her until she died. Each election would result in a civil war.

Consider how few Accepted would want to become Aes Sedai under such conditions.

Consider also how little time it would take for a Black Ajah member to be made Amyrlin, if Elaida's oath were sworn.

Third, quantity has a quality all its own. Suppose we grant that Egwene made herself dictator over a little coterie of six Aes Sedai. Is this really morally equivalent to becoming dictator over all Aes Sedai?

Egwene may have power over six women, but the exercise of that power is limited by all those Aes Sedai over which she does not have that power. If she abused her hold over Nisao and the rest, she might find herself condemned, birched, deposed, exiled or stilled by all the other Aes Sedai. Elaida would free herself of any such constraints.

If I may indulge in an historical example: Each Roman senator was an absolute ruler within the four walls of his own home, permitted to execute any of his household slaves on a whim, and even allowed to kill his own wife and children through the right of paterfamilias. Yet some tried to make themselves dictators over all the rest, and some did not. Are they morally equivalent? Was Cato a hypocrite for opposing Julius Caesar, who eventually made himself dictator for life?

254. Wortmauer
I agree about the symbolism of the stilling-before-executing. Also, comparison with Colavaere is apt.

Good example about the limits of an oath of Fealty.
Alice Arneson
293. Wetlandernw
Freelancer - Thanks for the link. I've been looking forward to reading that. He wasn't just kidding about it being full of in-jokes! :)

JonathanLevy @292 - Nice write-up. I had started something similar but abandoned it due to RL constratints. Thanks! FWIW, I did a little searching in WoT text to see what more I could find to define fealty in-world; while there isn't a lot, it's quite clear from the behavior of those sworn that there's a lot of room for interpretation within an oath of fealty. Obedience sworn on the Oath Rod? Not so much.

ETA: If anyone could find a way to wriggle around anything other than a direct order, it would be the AS; then again, an Amyrlin who really wanted obedience could probably find a way to word her orders with no wiggle room, since she's also had a lifetime of experience in wiggling. Except Egwene, but she's a born manipulator, so she could do it too.
Louis Theodore Tellman
294. Wortmauer
Wetlander@293: then again, an Amyrlin who really wanted obedience could probably find a way to word her orders with no wiggle room, since she's also had a lifetime of experience in wiggling.
That makes sense on the face of it ... but the Aes Sedai are kind of stupid about this, as in so many other things. Ever notice that? They fall for their own style of wordsmithing! An example leaps to mind:
"Lanfear was linked to the Dragon, to Lews Therin Telamon. Moiraine, do you have some clue as to where the Dragon will be Reborn? Or was Reborn? Has he come already?"
"If I did," Moiraine replied levelly, "would I be here, instead of in the White Tower? The Amyrlin knows as much as I, that I swear. Have you received a summons from her?"
"No, and I suppose we would...."
— TGH, Ch. 22, "Watchers"
So even Vandene, who I'm guessing has been an Aes Sedai for 200+ years, is fooled by this First Oath trickery.

Yeah, this has bothered me a little for a long time. "Everyone knows" that the Aes Sedai's words don't always mean what you think they mean, yet we still consistently see people, even other Aes Sedai, fall for this stuff.
Paul Long
295. Caveatar
Deleted Cav
Alice Arneson
296. Wetlandernw
Wortmauer @294 - This is quite true. Makes you wonder.... But wasn't there something in NS about it being against tradition to challenge a sister's statement? IIRC, you were expected to accept her statement as all the truth, or as much as you were going to get, even though you could tell she was twisting. Something like that, anyway. Which would make it even more important, if you expected to be obeyed, to make sure your wording was direct and unequivocal.
Paul Long
297. Caveatar
Deleted Cav
Teresa Nielsen Hayden
298. tnh
RobM @290, I'm sure the comparison was inadvertent.
James Whitehead
300. KatoCrossesTheCourtyard
@294Wotmauer, I wonder if Jordan wanted to write the Aes Sedai more like that in the beginning of the series. You definitely get that feel when Moiraine wonders what that 'wretched woman' Liandrin is up to in tGH.

However, writing that way may not have appealed to Jordan that much & might've felt that he didn't need to have every character warning everyone else about Aes Sedai all throughout the books.

Another possible problem might have been that the Aes Sedai are, at first blush, a little too similar to Herbert's Bene Gesserit & he might not have wanted those kind of comparisions. Also, internal monologues of the characters would make the Danny Kaye "Vessel with the Pestle" bit seem straightforward. ;-) That and they'd all sound as if they were Caihienin nobility.

As to the tone of a commentor's post, I would say if you are unclear about something, ask the poster. This is a very polite forum and I have enjoyed finding it very much. Don't post much as I don't have the same level of knowledge as a number of you have but when I do I have never worried about being considered a newbie.

People here take what I say (or any other poster for that matter), agree or disagree, comment, don't comment, correct or draw out the thought I've teased slightly into far more detail. That's fabulous & very rare in the land of the internet. Best bet is to ask for clarification & never assume that someone is attacking you or your opinion if he/she disagrees with you position.


PS - Knackered is definitely 'tired out.' As to Obama's use of 'chuffed,' I assumed he got it from Hagrid. ;-) As from using old/outdated expressions, my dad, who is from northern England, still uses the expression 'dead belting.' Which, I am told, goes back to the beginning of the 20th century (at least).

PPS - It doesn't take an ocean to divide people by a common language. When he was a boy my father visited Newcastle, about 30 miles north of his village, with my grandfather & heard a man speak. Afterwards, he asked my grandfather what language he was speaking as his accent was so different from what he knew my father thought the speaker was foreign. ;-)

PPS - My first 300. I'm so proud...
Teresa Nielsen Hayden
301. tnh
Guys, discussions of language can be frustrating, but they're seldom improved by overheating.
Paul Long
302. Caveatar
Deleted Cav
Eric Hughes
303. CireNaes

No, thank you for the invitation anyway. My ROE only allow for argumentation within a very specific set parameters. This is not one of them. I desire a more mature format of discussion. To be clear my definition of maturity is based upon my previous parameters outlined @208. These are my very basic parameters, based upon both my fields of study. I don't require you to conform to them, but I do require these of myself. Consequently, any response I make will remain curteous. I have no issues with your selection of topics and appreciate your broad approach to the reread as any WoT centric subject interests me. However, your word choice comes off to me as accusatory and snarky when I read it. That's my personal assessment based off of the constraints of our current form of communication. I'm just not interested in that style of debate. Ergo our interactions will look different than what you might be used to.

Edit for grammar.
Paul Long
304. Caveatar
Deleted Cav
Eric Hughes
306. CireNaes
You got it. Rules of Engagement. I have my own conversational guidelines. There is a triple antecedent to me personally, the past few reread (e.g., Rand's and Egwene's actions) and the perceived tone of several posters who have responded in light of that very subject.
Paul Long
307. Caveatar
Deleted Cav
Nadine L.
308. travyl
Freelancer @291
Thank you for bringing that cage match to our / my attention.
That is really funny. And Brandon not only making fun of his characters but of himself as well (“Does that word even make sense in-world?”)
or does he mock us?
Teresa Nielsen Hayden
309. tnh
Caveatar, games (loosely defined) are one of the emergent properties of good communities and conversations. I'm very much in favor of them as long as they're the benevolent kind, which I'm sure yours are.

So, no need to be alarmed. I was making an observation, not giving a warning. I'm generally a believer in nudge rather than clout.
Alice Arneson
310. Wetlandernw
travyl @308 - Probably all three. :)

He's quite aware of some of the complaints directed at his writing; he doesn't hesitate to poke fun at himself, but once in a while he'll gently poke fun at us, too. From the comments, obviously, some people take it all wrong, but I saw it as an overt invitation to simply join in the fun and not take it too seriously. (Someone was all outraged about "demolishing all pretence of the fourth wall" or something on that line. Really? What made you think that?)
Paul Long
311. Caveatar
@309 tnh

Thank you. I regretfully bypass the creative misunderstanding
of the word. "clout".
All the best to you and your coworkers.

Paul Long. Can you explain the weird view count on the forum?
Roger Powell
312. forkroot
I agree it was funny. Brandon missed one good chance though ... when the characters were discussing
{Mistborn spoiler whited out}
Kelsier being dead, Kelsier could have pointed out that there's always a chance of a Mistborn prequel and he could yet get more screen time like Moiraine did in New Spring.
I got a huge laugh out the reference to the homicidal hat trick - Brandon knows he's caught a lot of flak for that one.
Valentin M
314. ValMar
I too read the cagematch thingy. In general don't care about it, but in the last 12 years any sightings of Moiraine have been at a premium, so...

Really enjoyed it, great stuff from Brandon! Got worried in the end- this ne'er do well having a go at our Moiraine ;)

Some people actually got offended for some reason by it?!
Well, as the saying goes "What one can do to themselves, even their worst enemy can't".
Paul Long
315. Caveatar
@313 tNH

Weird view count?

Caveatar threads on site forums.
Iceman cometh
Darkun's tale.
4 or 5 replies but the view count is over 2000.
Doesn't make sense. Have I inadvertently cause
bandwith usage or something?
I don't know how it works.


@CireNaes while I admire your sense of restraint and politeness, I wish you'd send that same post to some here that you would tend to defend. As I have seen numerous times where some here were either as bad or worse than anything yasiru has posted here. I feel a little bias is at work here. And sofar as this particular subject narrows to, I would agree with yasiru here. I try and stay as unbiased as possible when it comes to the defense right and wrong. But this time, for the most part of it, he has the right of it.

Yasiru, in my opinion has been wrong on a couple of occasions and even has a problem with letting things go when the effort has become futile. But on the other hand, some have taken to exasperate him in an ill manor. I would also go so far as to say that some do so by taking to sides along prior relationship reasons. I think even management has done so, on more than one occasion.

Anyway I hope no one takes offense at my words here. I am simply making an observation.

Teresa Nielsen Hayden
317. tnh
Caveatar, I think the forum numbers are real. The unequal distribution of replies and views on the different topics satisfies my sense of what's probable.

What's weird is that the main forum index is only giving you a count of four or five replies per thread, when what I'm seeing is 50 replies and 2,178 views on The Dark'uns Tale, and 35 replies and 2,024 views on The Iceman Cometh.

The most likely tale here is that The Developer Cometh. We're getting odd manifestations all over the site. If this one persists more than a day or two, let me know and we'll delve deeper into the question.
Paul Long
318. Caveatar
@317 tnh
Some of the replies are me replying to the first one because of
the 10,000 character limit. 2nd is a reply to first for next segment.
That would account for a reply for each Page Number about 50 or so per thread.
But if there are that many people reading it , with no more comments
then somone clicked by mistake, or some are keeping up with the
continuing thing. Lots of stuff there but, I just don't understand it.
A neighbor opens it up, copies and pastes it and closes the link.
Still, my only concern is that I may be somehow interfering with
the site operation. I don't want that.

In fact there is a little thing for you personally on there.
The New Heroine. A thank you for you. With a verse which
has the lines shape either a sword end, (redactor sword)
which could also be seen as a split quill for a writer or editor,.
It is based on a comment you made somewhere. In fact two
comments. #14 #15 on the Iceman Cometh thread.

It has persisted for 10 days now.
As long as I am not causing problems.
I am okay. Just confused but I have been confused for
ten years and this site is helping me heal from a devastating
stroke years ago.
Nuff said. Do what you can. Thanks.

ana liese
319. analiese
My browser crashed right after I wrote up a long post, so this is going to have to be a short reply to JonathanLevy @ 292. Will reply to others tomorrow.

First, a medieval oath of fealty contains limits, and involved a degree of reciprocity.

That's all very nice, but European medieval laws and customs don't actually apply to Randland. Even in WoT oaths of fealty aren't all the same.

When Alliandre swore fealty to Perrin:
“Under the Light,” she said firmly, looking up at him, “I, Alliandre Maritha Kigarin, pledge my fealty and service to Lord Perrin Aybara of the Two Rivers, now and for all time, save that he chooses to release me of his own will. My lands and throne are his, and I yield them to his hand. So I do swear.” -TPoD
Perrin was nice enough to offer her one in return:
"Under the Light, I do accept your pledge and will defend and protect you and yours through battle’s wrack and winter’s blast and all that time may bring. The lands and throne of Ghealdan, I give to you as my faithful vassal. Under the Light, I do accept..." -TPoD
When Theodrin swore to Egwene (Theodrin's was the only one we got to see in its entirety, but Nisao's also started with "Beneath the Light and by my hope of rebirth and salvation..." and Egwene thought it was just as strong despite different wording):
“Under the Light and by my hope of salvation and rebirth, I, Theodrin Dabei, swear fealty to you, Egwene al’Vere, to faithfully serve and obey on pain of my life and honor.” -ACoS
The "by my hope of rebirth and salvation" part is what I find interesting since it implies a belief that they will be punished by the Light with no rebirth/salvation if they break the oath. So I feel Theodrin's was stronger than Alliandre's. And, of course, Egwene made no oath or promises back.

Second, an oath of fealty expires when the Lord to whom it was sworn dies.

Except Beonin at least seems to have sworn her oath to the Amyrlin rather than Egwene al'Vere since she felt hers only held as long as Egwene was Amyrlin. So it really depends on the exact wording of the oath, which we don't know since the rest of Sheriam's circle swore off-screen and Elaida's never happened. So it's hard to compare how much wiggle room they offer--a small variation could make all the difference. For all we know, Elaida would have required people to swear to Elaida do Avriny a'Roihan rather than the Amyrlin.

Egwene may have power over six women, but the exercise of that power is limited by all those Aes Sedai over which she does not have that power. If she abused her hold over Nisao and the rest, she might find herself condemned, birched, deposed, exiled or stilled by all the other Aes Sedai.

Only if other Aes Sedai knew about the oaths, which they do not and almost certainly never will. Sheriam's circle would have to explain HOW Egwene blackmailed them into swearing, which would result in everyone being condemned, birched, deposed, and exiled by all the other Aes Sedai. Beonin said that she would have been birched for her transgressions; Myrelle and Nisao would have fared even worse.

Furthermore, as Egwene herself pointed out, none of them would be able to betray her in the first place unless they were Darkfriends. (On that note, it makes no sense why Sheriam never said anything about the oaths of fealty prior to her execution when she was making confessions left and right. She had every reason to want revenge on Egwene, and this was the perfect opportunity to ruin Egwene's chance of being raised Amyrlin.)
Paul Long
320. Caveatar
Deleted Cav
Teresa Nielsen Hayden
321. tnh
Zexxes, if you have gripes, hit me with them, not CireNaes. There's a private mail system in the forums. Tell me about it there.

Caveatar, thank you. I'll go have a look at the new piece.

You aren't interfering with the operation of the site. We've got capacity like a midsize car ferry: not unsinkable, but it takes a lot to swamp us.

The number of readers isn't unrealistic. Back on Usenet the rule of thumb was 1:10, that being the ratio of people who posted to people ("lurkers") who read but didn't post. However, on a reasonably popular website, that ratio can easily skew into the ranges you're seeing.

You're just going to have to accept that thousands of people have read your forum threads. It's kind of fun, once you get used to it.
Paul Long
322. Caveatar
@321 The New Heroine
Two comments by you prompted long posts of which I have
not been capable of for 10 years. The New Heroine and Shannon's
test kiss. True facts except where it could cause unwanted effects.

I am healing from a stroke which took out 30percent or better
of my memory. It is coming back. Thanks To RJ(including DAN,
the Judge, Ms Rigney. And the people on this re read site. !!
Not least to your kindness. Thank you.
I would like to send you a private communication to have you
judge an action I contemplate. My balance is 2000 miles away
and would not understand. You would.
Please read your email, Personal when you can.

I find it difficult to believe that 2000 people have read all that.
It is as easy as breathing to me to write it now that I am awake
again. The Iron Master stuff is true. I am one of the few remaining
Iron Masters properly raised who knows a "chant", or a dozen
in sounds exactly like what my dad called, Cal Deen" and it really
is Chaldean.
I dont want to see that lost. It is as old as the iron age and has
lore as old as the Garden of Eden which isnt exactly completely
told in the collection which makes up the Old Testament and some
is from the Buddhist stuff, some from Egypt and some from
No lie. And I am just now remembering it. Another stroke will take
me out, I fervently hope, and one meager chance to preserve it will
be lost. I owe it to my dad and all those guys.
I learned the Forge Flame and the Void from him.
All I post there is accurate. Darkun talking is an old guy tellling the
truth while being rustic.

RSVP quasimodo42431 AT yahoo.com

James Whitehead
323. KatoCrossesTheCourtyard
@304. Caveatar,

Four thousand of us fought three million.
When you visit Sparta, tell them:
Here, the soldiers kept their word.


Wow my first correspondence with da cap'm!

tnh, I have no gripes. Nothing to have a gripe about. As I said, I was simply making an observation. Maybe allowing all, including myself, to reflect on the course of recent threads. I feel we are all getting to be a little too quick to jump on people. But I also feel that some feel they can say no wrong. What's frustrating is when their behavior is backed up and another's is maligned.

No gripes. Just a commoners effort to bring some clarity to the situation. And hopefully we can all cease all of our petty grievances and enjoy the re-read as intended.

325. Freelancer

Be assured, if (when) you get the chance to speak with him face-to-face, you'll know the answer to your question. He takes his craft very seriously, but outside of publication, not so much, least of all himself, and certainly not a Suvudu cage-match essay. He happily pokes at himself first, but isn't afraid to needle anyone else if the chance presents itself. ("I had the shot. I saw there was no danger, so I took it.") I would have guessed from the beginning that he wouldn't have Kelsier triumph over Moiraine, just because Kelsier is his own character and Moiraine inherited, and he would lean in favor of Jordan's creation.

Now, against most other authors, he'd unleash Kelsier's best efforts. He won't get the chance, though, Moiraine is too recently returned to us faithful readers, she's a lock in the polling.
Paul Long
326. Caveatar
304 Kato

LIKE +4000 Greeks
Eric Hughes
327. CireNaes

True, I am a little biased, but that bias is based on a few factors. A few of the regulars often post what I think fairly often. This one I do my best to ignore. A sustained track record of posts helps determine humor over snarkiness. A biggie is whether or not a poster has apologized for an offense regardless of whether it was intentional or not. Finally, any poster who has stated they had kids. Lack of sleep can lead to all sorts of shennanigans.

See you in the next post.
Paul Long
328. Caveatar
Deleted Cav
Paul Long
329. Caveatar
Deleted Cav
Terry McNamee
330. macster
@138 Sonofthunder: Agreed 100%.

@140 analiese: Right, because I saw no point in getting involved in the argument. I'm just going to enjoy watching others argue about it. Is that a bad thing? Though I would say it seems that you are not exactly unbiased in your depiction of Egwene...and that since, as I pointed out earlier, the Aes Sedai were shown to be incompetent and corrupt, it stands to reason that someone would have to come along and show them how wrong and stupid they were. Which suggests your problem isn't with Egwene herself, but with any character who would have had to take on her role in the story, and with the way Jordan planned the story from the beginning (Aes Sedai being proven wrong, forced to humble themselves and truly serve).

@143 Wolfmage: I agree as well, it is right to value those lives. What I don't agree with is that it was okay for Leigh to assume no one was valuing them, that the people defending Rand's actions were automatically dismissing that value. Particularly when people were repeatedly saying they still thought he was in the wrong--just not so much for what he did, but how and why he did it. Leigh seems to be saying that what he did is itself still wrong, and that's fine--as long as she doesn't condemn others for disagreeing with that, which she seemed to be. As you say, "But you can take either position without it being the case that the other view is some trangressive abomination."

You're right, she's free to write her blog how she wants and say what she wants. And we're free to call her on it if we think she went too far. She doesn't have to listen or change, but we still have the right to say what we think, and how her words made us feel. And personally I didn't like the implications of what she said. To put it in reference to your words, you think both his actions were dark, but Bandar Eban was darker--but by Leigh's yardstick, she assumed you would not only refuse to see Bandar Eban as dark, you would defend it in callous, heartless ways that make her doubt your sanity. Perhaps she was just exaggerating for effect, but still...

@147 AndrewB: Yes, in fact it says right in Chapter 45 that "over fifty Black sisters had been stilled, then executed" which had to include Sheriam. I am guessing the stilling was part of the punishment though, not as a means to get around the oaths to the Dark One and extract confessions.

@158 CireNaes: Hear, hear!

@164 KiManiak: Oh, I know you weren't blindly attacking Egwene. And I do agree with most of your feelings about her and her flaws (just that I still like her enough to forgive them or overlook them except when they become particularly glaring). I was just agreeing with Leigh that I didn't see how anyone (meaning, not you, since you weren't) could criticize Egwene at this particular moment. She's done not-so-great things and made mistakes, even in this very book (case in point, Siuan), but I don't see how anyone could have a problem with her defense of the Tower. If her killing captured Aes Sedai smacks a little too much of Rand at Natrin's Barrow--well, a lot of people are defending Rand, so why not Egwene too? And even if someone says this shows her trauma and that she isn't any better than Rand, that doesn't change the fact the defense itself, as well as uniting the Tower and getting rid of the Black Ajah, was still awesome. So it's not "how could someone ever criticize Egwene" but "how could they criticize her right now".

@170 Wolfmage: "grumption"--hah!

@171 Caveatar: Cadsuane as Ilyena...that's both mildly disturbing and hilarious!

@174 MasterAlThor: Thanks for the support. :)

@179 LOL!!!!

@193 the windrose: "...because I do not live in a vacuole." Brilliant!

@199 Freelancer: Thanks for the direct and simple way of stating the facts re: Elaida and Egwene, I agree wholeheartedly. Sadly it seems most people who want to equate their actions re: the oaths will not understand the difference between oaths of fealty and one of obedience, no matter how many times it is explained to them. I've tried, Wetlander has tried, and people still don't get it. To put it in line with this thread, people are going to have their views, based on their experiences and perceptions, and nothing but further experiences will change those views.

@202 Caveatar: *falls over laughing*

@229 RobM: *spittakes at your descriptions of fork and his wife* Yeah you'd better get in that bunker...

@242 CireNaes: Your son is quite precocious. But that doesn't surprise me. :)
Terry McNamee
331. macster
@249 analiese: The difference is in degrees (Elaida wanted to make every sister swear, Egwene was just a small circle) and what they were swearing to do. By the First Oath they had to mean their oath of fealty when they swore it, but Elaida would be making them do things that were wrong, things that were just about her own glory and power, while Egwene, whether on her own or through Siuan, was having them do things in order to serve the Amrylin and bring the Tower back together for the Last Battle. Also, an oath of fealty itself is not one of automatic obedience, but one of loyalty--swearing to be loyal to someone does not mean you automatically do everything they say, there is still leeway to interpret what is asked, or to choose to reject an order that you view as wrong or violating one of the other Oaths. And finally, an Oath of Obedience on the rod would literally compel said obedience; an oath of fealty that is only enforced through the First Oath would not, as sisters who have sworn the First Oath are only kept from physically uttering a lie--they are quite capable of thinking around the truth, just as they can think around the Third Oath by believing themselves in danger or that what they are attacking is Shadowspawn. They could probably even think around the Second Oath if they could convince themselves what they made wasn't a weapon.

So yes, there is a difference. Both Freelancer and JonathanLevy have eloquently attested to this, as has Wetlander on past threads. I would suggest you pay attention to the context in which said oaths were sworn to Egwene and how those swearers acted afterward, before you make such generalizations. In point of fact your reference to Beonin undermines your own case: if an oath of fealty were as binding as an oath of obedience, Beonin would not have been able to think around it to betray her. Also note Zerah the rebel mole who when forced to swear an oath of obedience almost died because of the conflict between that oath and the First Oath: she'd been told to deny the story of the Red Ajah and Logain as a lie, when she believed it to be truth--and she wasn't able to think around that or convince herself it was a lie to save herself. That would be the true power of an oath of obedience, and not like anything we've seen from those who swore to Egwene.

@264 Freelancer: *claps* No need to apologize, I bet E.A. would enjoy that.

@266 Caveatar: *wipes tears of mirth from his eyes* Thanks for that hilarious bit! You've got the Greek gods right...

@271 yasiru: I can't speak for anyone else, but the reason I found Egwene was awesome was not because she killed captured sisters, but because of the beating she gave the Seanchan themselves. That is likely why people can enjoy what she did but be appalled by Rand--all he was doing was killing a bunch of innocent people to free them, and getting rid of Graendal (or as it turned out, Aran'gar). Not as much reason to cheer, when readers have had a lot more reason to hate the Seanchan and want to see them and their slavery brought down than Graendal...unless you were really hating her for all that Compulsion she did. The fact less people seem to want to see Graendal punished for that than the Seanchan may be due to us not knowing any of the Compelled characters, or it may be due to the damane remaining intelligent and conscious the whole time they are being broken while the victims of Compulsion are, or at least are perceived to be, no longer aware of what is being done to them or what they have become once the Compulsion is woven. Obviously with Rand's assessment of Kerb we have to wonder if this is actually true, but in any event up until now I suspect more people were horrified by the living torture of the damane than of the presumably mind-wiped Compulsion victims--I seem to recall Leigh noting that herself, that while she found Compulsion skeevy it was the damane that really horrified her.

@294 Wortmauer: Good point. Only answer I can give is a) overconfidence and b) Aes Sedai are still human and fallible. Or perhaps they don't wish to waste time dissecting everything each other says--particularly since actual wiggling around the First Oath and mere careful speaking and equivocation sound the same.

@300 Kato: One point--it is stated in the glossaries (and somewhere in the series too I think--by Thom?) that the Game of Houses was invented by Aes Sedai, or at least it's rumored to have been. In which case it sounds like that yes, the original intention was for all Aes Sedai to sound like Cairhienin nobles. I am reminded of Rand thinking about how Moiraine was both Aes Sedai and Cairhienin which made it doubly difficult to second-guess or understand what she was really saying/planning. I agree, though, that Jordan probably dropped the emphasis on this so as to keep from having to write such convoluted thoughts for anyone dealing with an Aes Sedai.

@319 analiese: You just made the point we were arguing for us. We have no idea what exactly the sisters swore to Egwene, it happened off-screen. So even taking the "by hope of rebirth and salvation" into account, without knowing the exact wording of the oaths, we have no idea what wiggle room there is. Yet you're assuming you know what wiggle room there was or wasn't, and applying this in a way that does not give Egwene the benefit of the doubt, instead assuming the worst about the wording of the oath and what it would make the sisters have to do. I don't see how you can argue, just because it never got to happen, that Elaida would not have sworn direct obedience to herself without any wiggle room; that's completely in character for her to do. And regardless, an oath of direct obedience would never allow any wiggle room, while clearly the oaths of fealty, however they were worded, did.

Whether this is due to the nature of fealty in WOT, or because of the First Oath and Aes Sedai familiarity with working around it, who knows. But there's no reason to assume the oaths to Egwene did not allow such wiggle room (and plenty of reason to assume they did, based on the swearers still being able to act in what they perceived as her best interest rather than blindly obeying) or to then equate her actions to Elaida's--except either misunderstanding of what an oath of fealty is, or bias against Egwene. Since you have pointed out that oaths of fealty in Randland differ, meaning that the ones sworn to Egwene, regardless of strength, could very well have lacked the same quality as Elaida's (not enforced via compulsion, and allowing for interpretation), then it would seem to be the latter in operation here.

As for Sheriam I already addressed this at one point: she was trying to spare her own life through her confessions. Why would she jeopardize the chance she could be allowed to live by ratting out Egwene's oath of fealty? Do that, and Egwene would be sure to gag her with Air and have her killed. Also, Sheriam was not Pure Evil, she just joined out of ambition, so I could see her as not wanting the Tower truly destroyed in the end, that if she's going to die for joining the Black she'd want the Dark One stopped, and that a united Tower would be more likely to do that. (Plus stopping the Dark One would mean there was a chance he wouldn't get her soul.)
332. Freelancer
RE: Schrodinger's cat

Never cared for that exercise, or the abused logic of the "result". Non-determinacy opens no door to the abandonment of reason. The cat's state cannot be known while the box is sealed, this is sure. But to permit the concept that the cat's state can be both of a diametric plural is, while amusing, absurd. Put mathematically, OR=!AND.
Paul Long
333. Caveatar
Deleted Cav
Paul Long
334. Caveatar
ila is better.

Free , I agree, Irwin should agree with me.
I suggest he get his self in that nest
he would know for certain, when he started hurtin'
that he was alive or had rid us of one logical pest
Irwin Shroedinger was a real humdinger
but his logic confused the bird with the nest.
Put the logic in a box, stop the relativity clocks
Time is time and waits for no theoretical pest.

Y'all stir up my Thalia from here to Westphalia
But its late and I have to go to bed and rest

Shrody used that to show what HE thought of
the twisty Logic? of the quantum Physicists.
If you follow their logic you end up with the
ridiculuous (he called it) Cat astrophic Both and neither
and don't know til you think you know and of course
what YOU think are The Laws of The universe and must
be so.

Irwin agreed with you. And pissed off a generation of
those dudes, who got revenge by claiming he was
brilliant to come up with such an idea.
How is THAT for twisty?
I spell the name because a guy I worked with one time
was named for the twisty cat guy and HE spelled it that
way, without the umlaut, and sometimes with a 'V'

Paul Long
335. Caveatar
Deleted Cav
Teresa Nielsen Hayden
336. tnh
Zexxes @324: I'm here. You can talk to me any time. If you want to bring a comment to my attention (and to Irene and Bridget's attention as well), just flag it. I try to check my private messages at the Forums daily, though I'm not always that conscientious.
I feel we are all getting to be a little too quick to jump on people. But I also feel that some feel they can say no wrong.
That's normal. We always see our own point of view more clearly than we see that of others, and some people are more perceptive (or are trying harder) than others. The fun part is that we all believe our perceptivity is above average.
What's frustrating is when their behavior is backed up and another's is maligned.
By whom? If you think the moderators are getting it wrong, write and tell us about it.

If you're talking about the community of your fellow commenters, that's a more complex problem. I can give you three rules of thumb. First, never accuse others of being part of a conspiracy against you. If they aren't one to start with, hammering on them will turn them into one; whereas if they are one already, grousing about it won't make them stop. Second, if you don't like the role of resentful commoner, don't clutch it to your bosom. Be someone else instead. Third, have you ever noticed how members of in-groups can afford to be confident, relaxed, and gracious? Imitate that behavior. They don't keep membership lists.
337. Freelancer
Caveatar @335

Are you certain that was Schrodinger? I was certain it was Heisenberg, but I certainly won't superposit that it was, nor superimpose that it wasn't. Then again, I suppose you could certainly be right about your Uncertainty.

tnh @336

Wisdom, thy name is Moderator. And with no need of Nynaeve's stick.
Paul Long
338. Caveatar
@337 Freelancer IT was Heisenberg. Of that I AM certain.

I combined them (wrongly) as a model of what some theorists come
up with to explain what nature itself limits us from understanding.
When we are sure we know we are certainly wrong. Close maybe
but not exact.

It was Werner Heisenberg, with the uncertainty principal
an Irwin Shrodinger whose cat it was which Irwin used to show
what he thought of the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum
level events combination of two systems.
Werner Heisenbergs was the measurement of location and momentum
cant be accurately measured at the same time.

Find one change the other by measurement.
Quantum entanglement is mindboggling of course and when
uncertainty is entangled with the interaction changing the data
being measured totally contradictory conclusions will occur.
We can't know everything at the same time.

And you are right. They are different.
And the conclusion that we can never possibly know with absolute
accuracy and if we measure we change what we measure is the result
of those wild ass ideas about reality.
And confusing sources of ideas and mis applying them even Mat
couldn't guess the real answer.
You can't get something for nothing.
All that is came from ....nothing.
IF -1 combines with +1 to give 0
then 0 can spontaneously split into a +1 and a -1.
and even if it is possible, we can never really measure it
and if we do we cant be certain of the results .
Literary quantum entanglement. Result HAS to be wrong.

A poor example of modeling energy and reality into words and
books. Can't be a one to one. We do it anyway and call the result
Wisdom and Knowledge.
And still we design doors to smash our thumbs and we still stick
our thumbs in them and close the doors too.
Major problem with the way we think. Even the best of us.

The hairsplitting white ajah in the books were doing that in one scene.

OF course I could be wrong.
I am often wrong but I am NEVER Uncertain. Everyone has the right
to My opinion.
Thank you for questioning that. No offense intended even if invited.
You people restore my faith in the sanity of ....some of us.
A few? Maybe. hmmm. I can't be certain.

Find a contradiction and chase it down and find out that RJ
planned it that way and our guess was wrong. No contradiction
at all and we actually learn something.
Lots of Must be and Cant be in nature and also in the wheel of time.
Free in one free in all , sealed in one, sealed in all. ??
Prophecy is notorious about this and we believe it and kill one
another over disagreement about something we Know we DONT
Make sense. Nope. True anyway. Think I could get it published in
a journal? Probably. I have seen some even more muddled and high
praise is heaped on the muddler. Myth is truer than fact in history.
History is rewritten all the time, And we base our lives on such
'Everybody knows that.' Wars are fought and people die because
of politicians' certainty of wrong information,.
Seen any weapons of mass destruction which were known to be there.
And many died because they Were but they werent. Modern
Truth in Action leads to Missing in Action. And history will record it
both ways and future people will base their idea of truth on it.
Ain't it so?
I have seen flame wars run on for days about this stuff and it is all
over what fictional (unreal) characters' were thinking and why they did
what they did. You ever seen that? Not here for sure.
My old codgers would have loved you Free. As do we all here.

Shrody used that to show what HE thought of
the twisty Logic? of the quantum Physicists.
If you follow their logic you end up with the
ridiculuous (he called it) Cat astrophic Both and neither
and don't know til you think you know and of course
what YOU think are The Laws of The universe and must
be so.
Irwin agreed with you. And pissed off a generation of
those dudes, who got revenge by claiming he was
brilliant to come up with such an idea.
How is THAT for twisty?
I spell the name that way because a guy I worked with one time
was named for the twisty cat guy and HE spelled it that way,
without the umlaut, and sometimes with a 'V'. Some relative of his.

73, Seventy Threes CB talk, or 30,Newspaper End of article.
meaning Thats all and I'm gone.

Paul Long
339. Caveatar
Tnh And Irene And now they have brought in Bridget as well.
Silver arrows will enforce the peace(Irene) judged by the
Harvester of the Heathen (Teresa . .Hayden) when fired by
Power, Strength, Virtue and Vigor (Bridget meaning)
Take a look at THEM arrows Luca.
And I can spell Birgitte too. That one means Exalted I think.
Silverbow has many names and who says Bridget aint her?
I love words and the use and misuse of them and I love this site.

Teresa Nielsen Hayden
340. tnh
My middle name is Barbara, which is usually interpreted as "foreigner, not from here." I figure it comes out "International Harvester."
Louis Theodore Tellman
341. s'rEDIT

Oh, my friends, my friends! Just wanted to tell you I'm still alive, and being so, RL has intruded upon WOT rereads...again.

I lurk when I can, but I can't keep up with the prolific thinkers/writers among you. Take a bow, you know who you are!
Deana Whitney
342. Braid_Tug
@ Caveatar (for all his post)
Wow. I bow to you Sir.
I really don’t have the words to express my thoughts after reading your poetry and everything else.
ana liese
343. analiese
macster @ 330

Right, because I saw no point in getting involved in the argument. I'm just going to enjoy watching others argue about it. Is that a bad thing?

Not at all—that's why I mostly lurk here. I just find those type of comments rather pointless. If you don't have anything to add to the discussion, why bother announcing that you don't?

Though I would say it seems that you are not exactly unbiased in your depiction of Egwene...

If being unbiased was a prerequisite to post here, there would be no posts at all. We're all biased to some degree.

and that since, as I pointed out earlier, the Aes Sedai were shown to be incompetent and corrupt, it stands to reason that someone would have to come along and show them how wrong and stupid they were. Which suggests your problem isn't with Egwene herself, but with any character who would have had to take on her role in the story, and with the way Jordan planned the story from the beginning (Aes Sedai being proven wrong, forced to humble themselves and truly serve).

No, the story definitely called for the Aes Sedai to realize the error of their ways. I just think it could have happened in a better way than an 18-year-old girl suddenly transforming into a Mary Sue of All Ajahs. This may come as a surprise to some people here since Leigh is clearly a fan of Egwene and tends to attract like-minded people, but Egwene's storyline in TGS was heavily criticized by many fans for being implausible and poorly written. (If you don't believe me, Google 'Egwene Mary Sue' or read some of the Egwene threads at Dragonmount's forums. Now that's an occasion to bring out the popcorn for...)
Paul Long
344. Caveatar
Why don't you post like all of us. The world could use your wit
and charm.
For Lady you are, a lady and a scholar and your wit and charm are
exceeded only by your extreme beauty and fine manners.
(I could go on (as you are aware), but I will wait for others to
chime in.

Caveatar, Happier than I have been since this Millenium began.

No joke on that one.
The Harvest has one hope, that the grain go not to waste
That the Harvester is gentle and will never act in haste
The Harvester has care for the field of golden grain
Seed preserved with care next year will grow again

I will stop. It begins to be too rewarding to continue.

Paul Long
345. Caveatar
Deleted Cav
Paul Long
346. Caveatar
@337 Free

Wisdom, thy name is Moderator
Damn, I thought it was Teresa Barbara Nielsen Hayden.

(Can't help it Free. Well, I could but it is more fun this way.)

ALL: I withdraw temporarily to write about Guinevere's return
to Camelot after Lancelot is dead and Arthur has been taken
to his long home.
(I am going to make it up of course. It only happened in my mind)
A lady here needs to see what and who she is and to know her value.

Alice Arneson
347. Wetlandernw
tnh @340 - Oh, thanks! I just spit coffee all over the screen! "International Harvester" indeed. I'm going to be chortling over that all morning. It has forever changed my mental image of you. :)
Paul Long
348. Caveatar
@343 analiese

Correct on historical accuracy.
Egwene's storyline in TGS was heavily criticized by many fans for being implausible and poorly written.

True, and those fans were expressing their disappointment in the
writing of A Master Scribe and A Master Amanuensis.
Had those fans written it as they KNOW it should have been written
then we would have a more perfect story.
Where are the rewrites those fans have done to make it more
plausable and better written?

Do they intend to sell their improved version to Tor?
Personally I would like to see their better writing.
I have never in 65 years and 20000 books of all kinds
seen anything better than WOT as it stands.
I would pay one thousand dollars a book for their better version.

Where can I purchase their work? Good price. I got the last one
for 15dollars. Cheap I thought. Maybe they are right and I
await their masterful improvements.

I will not pay until I have read it though.
I appreciate your truthful statements of fact. I understand that you
thought RJ would not use a MarySue character. Good on you.
I don't think he did. I think he used a mythical historical figure.
The name was not Mary Sue though. Look and you will find out
what her name is. Millions of Hindu worship her. Check it out
and you will find Egwene, who is known as......I won't ruin it for
you. Too spoilerish. No lying winks. You will have a happy
wait for AMOL when you find her.
Not only Hindu. All through history in all areas.

Paul Long
350. Caveatar
Deleted Cav
Eric Hughes
351. CireNaes

As always thanks for the invitation and honor to give feedback to your prolific art. However, it's time for me to go on a hiatus for the next five or six weeks. I will continue to read your posted works and everyone's posts in the reread, but my time for contribution has expired. It's lurking season for me. Once the middle of May arrives I will be happy to.
Paul Long
352. Caveatar
Deleted Cav
Jonathan Levy
353. JonathanLevy
319. analiese
Very brief reply to your brief reply:

1) Examining the WoT oaths is, of course, the correct thing to do. Kudos for digging up the quotes.

That said, the oath to Perrin does not mention obedience, unlike Theodrin's. And Egwene did not dictate the terms of the oaths, allowing each sister to choose whichever wording she saw fit, and bind herself to the degree she intended. Elaida would dictate the terms of the oaths, exacting whatever degree of obedience she desired.

2) Beonin may have convinced herself her oath expired once Egwene was no longer Amyrlin, but that's not my point. My point is that her oath was not automatically transferred to the next Amyrlin, which in this case would have been Elaida. The way Beonin works to undercut Elaida after she is disappointed in her reception is proof of that.

Only if other Aes Sedai knew about the oaths, which they do not and almost certainly never will
Sorry, this is just plain wrong. If Egwene took Myrelle and used her for a live mounting block, the other Aes Sedai would have put a stop to it right away, even if neither Egwene nor Myrelle explained about the oaths. Same if Egwene is displeased with Myrelle and slits her throat. Elaida's oath of obedience would put her at liberty to do just that.

331. macster
Excellent example with Zerah.
Louis Theodore Tellman
354. pwl

Necro, but if you're still reading...
You'd have to ask Leigh why she still sees what Rand did as an MEH and Egwene as having a MOA.
That's exactly what I was doing with my post @32. Which was why I quoted her post and not yours. I'm not an Egwene-hater, although she's not very high on my list of preferred characters. She has her moments both ways. I just dislike such obvious double-standards, and it's especially egregious in this case because Leigh's posts are only a week apart between these two statements (Egwene MoA vs. Rand wanting to murder the elderly, with equivalent justifications).
Louis Theodore Tellman
355. Wortmauer
Caveatar@344: I will stop. It begins to be too rewarding to continue.
I'll believe it when I see it.

(Sorry ... it's probably just me and Terez27, but I'm not really a fan of the "off-topic diarrhea of the keyboard" style of WOT discussion. As of this post you have 89 of 355 posts on this thread. That's one quarter of all posts! I can't rightly say how many were actually on topic because my eyes glaze over after 3 or 4 posts in a row by the same guy. It's getting hard for me to fish out the on-topic discussion from amidst the Caveatar flood.)

(Mods, would it be possible to rate-limit posts by author? Intuitively, I think this environment would improve if each poster were limited to, e.g.:
(a) 1/10 + 1 of the total posts per thread (rounded up; so you can post twice in the first 10, or 4 times in the first 35);
(b) 2 posts in a row;
(c) 3 posts per hour;
(d) 8 posts in 12 hours.
Exceeding any of those four feels to me like either a flood or a flamewar; I can't think of a circumstance where legitimate on-topic discussion would need to move faster.)
Terry McNamee
356. macster
Tnh, I'd have to say your post at 336 is indeed one of the best examples of wisdom I've ever seen. Except for Caveatar's @338.

@analiese 343: I'm not going to say much, since I think Caveatar and JonathanLevy more than answered it for me, but I will say the following.

1) I never said my statement wasn't pointless, just explaining what it meant and why I made it. I.e., I was amused and found it funny. And since you say you lurk to watch the arguments, you should see what I mean. If the fact I found the argument you were involved in funny offends you, I can't control that.

2) You're right we are all biased about various things. Doesn't mean it is wrong to point out such biases when they crop up, and do our best to mitigate or work around them.

3) Clearly your conception of the "many" fans who agree with you about Egwene's Mary Sue-ness is a personal and subjective one. Because first off, who are all these supposed fans to be found through Google, and more importantly how many are there really and do they truly represent the majority of WOT fans? It seems to me your personal beliefs about Egwene apply again--namely that you only notice the people who agree with you about her Sue-ness and discount the rest. I also like how you discounted the point made (I believe in this thread) that the reason Egwene became the Aes Sedai of all Ajahs is because that is what a great Amyrlin is supposed to be, or needs to be if she is to be successful. So again, any character in her role would have to do and be what she did (be a God Mode Sue, if you insist) because only by appealing to all the Ajahs yet be of none of them could she get enough support behind her to be elected. If you think that means Jordan screwed up on how he designed the story, fine; if you think that means a different character should have been used or could have done it better (because of Egwene's age and lack of experience vs. her role), also fine. But that doesn't mean Egwene herself is the problem, or that the way it was written was "wrong"; at most I would call it a mismatch between character and plot. But speaking as a person who has in fact been annoyed by Egwene, even disliked her, in the past, I still think she had the right character traits needed for this role. Others may have been better than her, but still others would have been far worse.

And on that note, I am not sure if you were implying I was one of those "like-minded people" attracted by Leigh, but as I just stated, I hardly consider Egwene flawless and there have been many times I was unhappy with her; aside from ToM, certain parts of TFoH and LoC come to mind, as well as early moments from TEotW. I just don't dismiss the good and amazing things she's done because of her flaws, nor am I instantly going to assume the worst about her and her motives in any situation. And while I have been annoyed with or even mad at Egwene at various points, I still contend her oath of fealty is not like Elaida's oath of obedience, and I thoroughly enjoyed her time in the White Tower in this book. So maybe that's just me, but I find that a more balanced view of her than either being a sycophantic fan or a frothing hater.

@354 pwl: Ah, thanks for clearing that up. To be fair though, I was making that statement to say that I too was not certain why Leigh was holding that double standard. The fact she then turned around and started attacking readers who could possibly defend Rand's actions--not just at Natrin's Barrow, but preemptively IRT to Bandar Eban--makes her look even worse, I'm afraid. Though I would say, as I did before, that I actually can see the similarity between Rand and Egwene's actions. Which means on the one hand I think they both deserve a little slack since we can understand and justify their actions, but on the other hand we should be concerned and worried for them both. Also, as I said, I found her defense of the Tower and attack on the Seanchan to be what was awesome, not the killing of the captured sisters. There is a difference.

@355 Wortmauer: While if I squint I think I can see what you were getting at, particularly on having to weed through poetry and digressions to find what is being discussed by Caveatar himself as well as others, I have to agree with Zexxes from the latest thread and think that you really should have kept this private with the moderators. And also that I have to find your opinion and Terez's in poor taste...because not only do you really have no right to look down on someone else's opinions (not whether they are factually backed up or logical, but the fact they have them and share them), I would say that what you call "off-topic diarrhea" I would say is one of the main attractions of the re-read. Discussion can wander to all sorts of interesting avenues and corners, and I don't think having to weave in amongst many posts to follow the course of a particular discussion is either particularly onerous nor beyond you, Terez, or anyone else. If you don't like it, just ignore it; and if you want some sort of direct, focused, on-topic discussion there are plenty of forums and other places on the Net where you can get that.

Bottom line, if TNH thought there was a problem with this, she'd have stepped in by now and put a stop to it. And while I have seen her corral the commenters when they start wandering into either flamebait topics or ones which have very little to do with WOT, as well as keep threads from dissolving into nothing but poetry or what have you, she has not to my knowledge prevented people from wandering in their WOT discussions down whatever meandering paths they wish. Because that is half the fun, and asking her to end that is...well, telling people to stop having fun. You don't want to be one of those guys, do you? Especially if in doing so you cause people to abandon the re-read because they feel they are unliked, unwanted, viewed as not properly contributing. Caveatar already tried to leave once until Wetlander stopped him...maybe you think he should, but that isn't your right to decide. If he has random ideas pop up he wants to share, or a stream-of-consciousness moment, let him; it likely means the thread was dying, no one else was on, or the ones who were were encouraging him.
ana liese
357. analiese
macster @ 356

If that's "not saying much," you would fit well among the Ogier! I will read and reply to your and others' posts when I have more time (probably not until the weekend, unfortunately). Not to beat a dead horse--I suspect most posters have already moved on to Leigh's new post--but since several people have written long posts directed at me, I feel I at least owe them the courtesy of reading and responding. I do appreciate people taking the time to read and comment on my posts, even when it's just to disagree with me. :)

1) I never said my statement wasn't pointless, just explaining what it
meant and why I made it. I.e., I was amused and found it funny. And
since you say you lurk to watch the arguments, you should see what I
mean. If the fact I found the argument you were involved in funny
offends you, I can't control that.

For the record, I didn't find your post @ 133 offensive. Just a bit childish ("die-hard Egwene hater") and, well, pointless. But harping about the fact would be pointless too.

2) You're right we are all biased about various things. Doesn't mean it is wrong to point out such biases when they crop up, and do our best to mitigate or work around them.

It just struck me as an odd accusation--of course I'm not unbiased; none of us are. I don't think it's a coincidence that the people who rushed to Egwene's defense also seem to be fans of Egwene. And I don't mind that; it can even make the debate more fun (except when people take criticism of their beloved Character X as a personal insult and lash out at the critic). If you can get a fan to admit a negative thing or someone who dislikes the character to admit a positive thing, then you know you've made your argument well.

On your third point, I think you're reading things into my posts that aren't there (not to mention making a number of insulting assumptions about me...). To quote my own post:

This may come as a surprise to some people here since Leigh is clearly a fan of Egwene and tends to attract like-minded people, but Egwene's storyline in TGS was heavily criticized by many fans for being implausible and poorly written.

To clarify: I'm a long-time fan and follow most WoT boards, but rarely see posters from Leigh's reread anywhere else (at least, not the same user names). Posters here also seem more Egwene-positive than most other places, hence my comment about Leigh attracting like-minded people who may be surprised to learn of attitudes elsewhere in fandom.

At least two major forums--Dragonmount and Theoryland--had to instate special rules about Egwene discussions because the bashing got out of hand. Egwene being a Mary Sue/having a poorly written storyline is a common complaint in WoT fandom, and short of linking to literally hundreds of posts where this has been discussed (example thread), I was trying to provide some proof for my statement by suggesting you google 'Egwene Mary Sue' and see for yourself rather than to expect people to just take my word for it; there are countless such threads in the results. So I think it's fair to say it's a common complaint, although many people don't seem to be familiar with the term Mary Sue and just say her storyline and character development felt unnatural. And if it's a common complaint, perhaps there is some merit to the argument that Egwene's storyline was not well written?

It seems to me your personal beliefs about Egwene apply again--namely that you only notice the people who agree with you about her Sue-ness and discount the rest.

I don't ignore people who disagree with me; in fact, that's why I follow this re-read where Leigh and other Egwene fans post. I don't only post because I hope to convince people to agree with me; I'm equally interested in hearing what people have to say, and am usually open to the possibility that I am wrong or missed something important. In this particular case, however, I've yet to see a good argument to convince me otherwise. But more on that later.

I also like how you discounted the point made (I believe in this thread)
that the reason Egwene became the Aes Sedai of all Ajahs is because
that is what a great Amyrlin is supposed to be, or needs to be if she is
to be successful.

If I have failed to address a point, it's probably because we're already on post #357 and I haven't had time to read all the posts directed at me, let alone ones you're not even sure were posted in this particular thread. If you wish to bring a post to my attention, it would help if you mentioned the number or at least the poster's name.

In any case, I disagree--an Amyrlin only needs to be a competent leader, not possess the defining characteristics of every single Ajah. One scene that stood out as particularly absurd was where head of the the Yellow Ajah asked Egwene to join the Yellows even though she had no Talent whatsoever for Healing. You don't need to be a doctor to run the hospital. Furthermore, many of those traits practically appeared overnight and were not present in Egwene in earlier books. That's why it felt so unnatural. The storyline requires Egwene to be a master politician and manipulator able to outwit century-old Aes Sedai? A few lessons from Siuan, and voila! If RJ had made her ta'veren, it would have made more sense for 200-year-old women to dance after Egwene's pipe, but since she's an 18-year-old girl who spent most of the earlier books bickering (unsuccessfully) with Rand and her friends...well, I have a hard time seeing it.
Anthony Pero
358. anthonypero
So I think it's fair to say it's a common complaint, although many
people don't seem to be familiar with the term Mary Sue and just say her storyline and character development felt unnatural.

One of the defining characteristics of a Mary Sue is that they act as wish-fulfillment for the author. I'd be interested in your take on how Egwene constitutes wish-fulfillment for RJ/Sanderson.
Teresa Nielsen Hayden
359. tnh
Wortmauer, I can't currently rate-limit posts. While I'm sure it would be possible to build that capability into the site, our developer already has a long list of tasks that need doing first. Even if I could get it adopted as a priority, it wouldn't happen for a long time.

Onward. Let me explain my dilemma. I've gotten letters from users who feel like they're drowning in Caveatar's output. I've also gotten letters from users who enjoy his writing and are defensive of him as a member of the community. Both are obviously sincere.

As a moderator, I try to always judge the behavior rather than the person, and to always act in service of the conversation. Sometimes it's hard to do both at once. Please don't think I'm unaware that some commenters have taken their conversation to Facebook. That's their privilege, of course. Tor.com owns the site, but it doesn't own the community or their conversation. It does value them, though -- I value them -- and I wish they'd come home.

Caveatar isn't privileged. What he's doing is within the rules. He digresses? So do you, so do I, so do we all. I can't ding somebody for a nearly universal habit. And you know, Caveatar himself has been making a real effort to post more of his output in the Tor.com Forums.

If you and others want to encourage him to post oftener in the forums, and less often in the main Jordan threads, I can give you a suggestion: go over to the forums and respond to him there. I'm pretty sure he'd rather have a handful of responses from real human beings than be read by those thousands of non-responding forum readers who were weirding him out the other day. You've probably noticed that he's a bit lonely. Can't blame him for wanting to hang out where people are talking.

And as for you? Thank you for talking to me. I appreciate it.
Rob Munnelly
360. RobMRobM
For what it's worth, I vote to let Cave keep being Cave. If someone thinks it is too much, just pass on by.

361. Freelancer

Thank you. With your permission, I'd like to restate part of something I wrote elsewhere. If you find it inappropriate, please delete it. Caveatar, if you are uncomfortable with anything stated in the following, please email me and I'll delete it.


Caveatar has himself stated that he is a stroke victim, and refers in some of his comments to "getting things back", or recovering memories, thoughts and ideas which had gotten misplaced, disconnected from awareness by the damage to his brain.

Taken in light of that, what he has been doing makes more sense. The man has an incomparable storehouse of knowledge and experience packed away, hordes of factoids and memories both personal and received. But those things became lost, hidden, shrouded just out of view. Now he is rediscovering them by building tiny bridges between them, linking and connecting bits and pieces as he can.

Consider when comprehension of a new bit of information, or a novel idea strikes you. The "light-bulb" moment, if you will. Can you imagine the illumination happening in a mind that is re-comprehending all of these things? I'd probably want to share that as well. This is therapy, folks, and although I could understand if the moderators wished to keep discussions more on-topic to WoT, the precedent on this forum is otherwise, (regularly initiated by Leigh herself).

One more thought. While none of us can pretend we are following all of what Caveatar is presenting, I don't believe that any thoughtful reader can claim that they aren't learning something from all the varied concepts that he is constantly connecting. I most certainly am. He benefits, we benefit.

After what I've read from tnh, I feel confident that she would not quash a source of potential insight here unless other aspects of those posts were egregously out of line. They are not. In fact Caveatar goes out of his way to twist insult into poetry, or shoot off on tangents of value originating with another's boorish epithet. He is kind, noble, and pleasant. Not to mention hecka smart. He belongs here.
William Fettes
363. Wolfmage
analiese @ 319

Thanks. Well said. I’ve thought along similar lines before though I haven’t elucidated them.

IMO there are important differences between the two forms of obedience, but I do think it’s telling that the strongest, most-dismissive version of the Fealty distinction, which rather triumphantly declares Egwene free of any hint of hypocrisy, jumps straight to extrinsic historical sources to anchor us to a very specific idea of the Liege Lord-Vassal relationship. It then leverages this conception to invite us to consider the degree of flexibility and interpretation in the internal deliberative process of how commands backed by an Oath like this are not as controlling as might be supposed. Well okay.

Of course, such historical examples are relevant and interesting, and may even be considered highly persuasive notwithstanding Randland is a made-up cosmopolitan world, and not medieval Europe. But this version of the argument is a little too neat and dismissive for me. We have seen some wiggle room in the text, where, for example, the Oath of Fealty is seen as no longer binding when the identity and status of the Oath Taker comes into question - but that's very far from the kind of general interpretative discretion or escape clause that's necessary to say an Oath of Fealty in Randland is generally flexible.

Indeed, the text generally shows the Oath is treated very, very seriously, that prevarications about following it are rare and culturally sanctioned, and for practical purposes, habitual obedience in matters of any import is basically assured.

So it’s a question of degree. No, it obviously isn’t complete obedience based on absolute control rooted in the body's physical automatism – which is obviously a different order of control. But it is certainly still a powerful source of controlling power that will compel obedience in most people as long as the identity/status of the Oath Taker remains the same as when the oath was given.

On the issue of hypocrisy – how much of problem you see here will depend on what you found offensive about Elaida's Oath. Now, I personally don’t think Elaida's Oath was only wrong because it was a obedience compelled directly by the Oath Rod. It was also a huge breach of convention, an the abuse of power and a huge shift in the institutional balance of power between the Amyrlin Seat and ordinary Aes Sedai/ The Hall. And it seems to me that none of those issues really go away when you have an Oath of Fealty.

The only thing that qualifies my reaction here is that Egwene was facing extraordinary circumstances in terms of the Black Ajah infiltration – where the issue of trust was paramount. But the Oath doesn't really solve that and we can be at least somewhat concerned that she has apparently given little-to-no thought to when her Oath might expire, if ever, or whether she would see it as appropriate for some future Amrylin to do the same thing.

Arguments about institutional norms and rules are basically never persuasive when they are based on the personal qualities of specific leaders. The whole point is to design institutions so that you don’t have to rely on the benevolent tendencies of the latest dictator-in-chief. So appeals to Egwene’s higher objectives and motives here, compared to Elaida, really aren't the point. I accept she is benevolent, but I also didn't oppose Elaida's proposed Oath of Obedience simply because she was a megalomaniac who would be liable to abuse such power.
As if there should ever have been any doubt, that Caveatar belongs here.

My arms will always be welcoming.

I really don't get the confusion behind the difference between an Oath of Fealty and the Oath Obediance.

Oath: 1. a : (1) a solemn usually formal calling upon God or a god to witness to the truth of what one says or to witness that one sincerely intends to do what one says
(2) : a solemn attestation of the truth or inviolability of one's words

2. : something (as a promise) corroborated by an oath

Obediance: 1. to follow the commands or guidance of

2. to conform to or comply with

Fealty: 1. the fidelity of a vassal or feudal tenant to his lord
2. intense fidelity

Fidelity: 1. the quality or state of being faithful

Faithful: 1. obsolete : full of faith
2. steadfast in affection or allegiance : loyal
3. firm in adherence to promises or in observance of duty : conscientious
4. given with strong assurance : binding

Now given that the Aes Sedai do not generaly trust the oath of anyone let alone one of there own alone without the Oath, I ask that you bear with me that their God as far as their oath is concerned is the Oath Rod, which binds them physically from deviating from that Oath.

The nature of the word Fealty as an oath, doesn't necessarily require absolute submission to whomever the oath was given. Nor does it necessarily mean that the oath dies when the receiver of the oath perishes. Fealty is a form of steadfast support and loyalty. Its an oath to not go against the receiver, to give support when asked for to follow when called upon. But it also gives leave to do so as you wish to. Meaning one can follow at leisure, support as much as the giver deems necessary, to be loyal unto him, but no more than to oneself or your own. It leaves room, lots of room to maneuver. It is a contract semi-binding as long as the the receiver of the Oath fulfills their end of said contract.

An of Obeidance is much more absolute. It implies absolute authority over the Oath giver. As in, One orders, if they will to and expects that the command is taken and executed, with out question. This applies to all things, unless exceptions were implied during the oath giving. But if you gave an oath such as "I give oath to be Obediant with out fail to King so and so and so and so". That is pretty cornering; short, to the point, with little wiggle room if any at all.

This is very important to understand and is sometimes hard for many to take, because if this is excepted, it means a great many people upon the Earth are oath breakers. And whether they except it or not, it does not change the fact that it IS true and that they ARE oathbreakers to be judged by those who hold those Oaths and those who are loyal to the receiver of the oaths or those who heard the oaths spoken and received.

This is, by the way, the main way that honor can be established. Once upon a time, boasts were made of the Oaths one made and were kept. It was a VERY GREAT Dishonor to not keep an oath. So they were not given lightly.

It goes to show the depth of the deteriation of American society, that our leaders are so primed on reneging on their promises or to spell out have truths or pure deceits to hide there greed or cowardice. Seemingly lacking any honor at all.

Anyway it seems natural for me to distinguish the difference between the two Oaths by themselves.

But with an Oath Rod to bind the oath, it becomes a more foreboding occurance.

An Oath of Obediance would mean that you would not have the option of disregarding an order. In effect you would be a slave of that person, beholden to the receivers every order. With an OoO, you would be compelled to obey the moment the order was given. I believe it would go so far as to become Your Will as the Binding the rod brought would make it so physicaly for you, it would Compell you to do so.

Now an OR Fealty Oath (OoF) only compells you to comply specifically with the definitions of fealty known to the bearer, given when the oath was spoken and excepted. This allows vast leeway as it applies. Goodness, its not even close to the same or even similar to any degree!

With Obediance a person could order you to kill yourself and you would do so because physicaly the bond of the Oathrod has already conditioned you to do so.

With Fealty a person could order you to kill yourself and you would be compelled to consider it until you psychoanalyzed your way out of it; unless the fealty order was given specifically with a clause that equaled the terms and conditions of obediance. Either way you'd have to give that oath fealty with a specific inclusion of obediance at some point within the oath.

They are not the same. You can trick yourself in to not believing that they are are, but that still doesn't change the fact that they, flat out, are barely related. They exact two different results. One is voluntary with conditions. The other IS a compelling.

Paul Long
366. Caveatar
@359 tnh
Teresa = Harvest
Barbara = barbarian= Foreigner/Stranger
Neilsen = Champion or Cloud
Hayden =Heathen or Pagan=not Christian accepted by Rome
I Leave out the Hayden because that is a married name. (I assume.)

And as for you? Thank you for talking to me. I appreciate it.
You read what LIFE (Eve) said to her father LIFE(one who has life in
himself, I AM, the ETERNAL (outside time) source of life of all things
Did you not?

In respect of you and all others here I will respond to all on the
forum posts but not here because some here use cell phones to
read this site and I can't even focus on text in one of those.
I am truly sorry for not considering those people who get pleasure
from reading these discussions.
And I apologize from the bottom of my heart to Wortmauer.
Had I known what I was doing to his beloved place of enjoyment
I would never have done so.
NO lying icon smiley faces.
To He She Undecided, Both, neither, Freemartin, or any othe life which
has its own definition I will Post again to make that apology.
All others may choose to read my response on the forums. The Nick will be Caveatar,as it has been since I first got on the net in1982.

Moved to Forums Caveatar to Wortmauer...Thread.

366. Caveatar

Love is a precious thing.
And though I know you not to My bosum
Nor My right hand or My left
Nor even just My side
I have more than some for You

Zexxes the Mercurian

Paul Long
368. Caveatar
Deleted Cav
Paul Long
369. Caveatar
@355 Wortmauer
Caveatar@344: I will stop. It begins to be too rewarding to continue.
I'll believe it when I see it.
Sir, I stand corrected.
Thank you for your honest and straightforward statement.
I am pleased that you did not make it private with the moderators
even though that seems to be the way things are normally handled.

I saw no misleading smiley faces and I honor your truth and face to
face statements.
Had you posted a request at the first opportunity, I would have stopped
I didn't realise until you spoke that I had disrupted the enjoyment of
a wonderful place. You (I would have) must have felt like I was 'pissing in the pool" or yelling loudly over the music you and others were enjoying.
Sir I do in your direction what I would not do for Barack Obama
or the ruler of the entire planet if we had one:

I bow to you in acknowledgement of your open statement of truth
and your call for consideration of others.
I bow to no one except those I respect for their actions.

No evasion or untruth here.
I take my oath on it.
For As Long As Fire Burns and Coal is Black.
In the name of the Eternal Creator. So be it.

Paul Long
Paul Long
371. Caveatar
Deleted Cav
Paul Long
372. Caveatar
Deleted Cav
Gerd K
373. Kah-thurak
I can understand why the current situation is problematic for you as a moderator, but at this point these threads have become completely unreadable from my point of view, which is regrettable, as I allways liked to read these discussions. I dont know if and what can be done about this, but this has gone far beyond the occasional Off-Topic post or debate. At least half of the comments have nothing at all to do with the Post/Re-Read...
Yes, it is Ka. But to blame the totality of it on one person, is ridiculous. I've seen Free do it, as well as Wort, Man, Ki.... I could go on and on. And it's OK if THEY do it. Just not a relatively new commentor who just happens to be a little more breathy about it. If we all were to use a little more restraint we'd all be somewhat better off. But we don't necessarily want to take away the joy of it either.

Tolerance and restraint are wonderful virtues don't you think?

The fact of the matter is, as we're approaching the end of the series, we will all have to deal with the great influx of new fans and not all are going to be to everyones liking. So you can either let that ruin this forum for you or you can learn the very concept of tolerance and just deal with it.

Louis Theodore Tellman
376. Wortmauer
Caveatar@369, it sounds like you took my post in the spirit it was intended, rather than the spirit it was worded. As is my wont, I came on a bit strong. I am certainly not asking you to shut up, or leave the site, or never to post anything off-topic. It's a rare day in a place like this where everyone is 100% on topic anyway! In fact, though I don't remember the exact context off-hand, I'm pretty sure I'm on record for thanking you for making me laugh out loud, a week or two ago. You've had fun and insightful things to say about many topics (though I'm particularly attuned to the ones relating to WOT) and I think you should continue.

So, um, don't go away. (: And I'm sorry if I offended or made you feel bad. Though if I did, you put a good face on it.

tnh@359: Thank you for your response! As a sometime coder, I can certainly understand that features don't appear ex nihilo, even if everyone wants them, and developers usually have nice long TODO lists at the best of times. I also appreciate that you can't really act when nobody has actually done anything wrong, and in fact many others have expressed approval of the direction this forum has gone. Anyway, thanks for that.

Those anti-flooding measures: the best part would be that people would have to be craftier to get the 100th or 300th post. If you could only do 2 in a row, or 3 per hour, Sub's old strategy (i.e., claim posts 195-200 all at once) would fail and I think it would be quite amusing ... to everyone but Sub. Whose reaction, then, would probably be even more amusing.
ZEXXES@375: The fact of the matter is, as we're approaching the end of the series, we will all have to deal with the great influx of new fans and not all are going to be to everyones liking.
I guess you're referring to this: You're right, at some point we'll have to get used to big influxes of noobs ... but we do call it TTTSNBN for a reason. (: I for one am not eager for the day those kinds of people find their way to these threads.
Paul Long
377. Caveatar
@376 Wortmauer

No long quote but
Caveatar@369, it sounds like you took my post in the spirit it was intended, rather than the spirit it was worded.
I did exactly that. You are correct. I can tell an honest statement
of feeling from a lying aes Sedai twisty insult followed by the
ubiquituous signature of a poisonous serpent. It looks like, ;)

As is my wont, I came on a bit strong.
I wouldn't have it any other way. I am also about 80 percent deaf
for reasons I will not mention. And my Listening is about the
same percentage. To get someones attention Loud Definite
and NonContradictory , without the slap followed by a wink.
When I see that I think the perpetrator is a sadist wanting to
make love to me. Slap me sillier and wink to show how much
he/she loves me. I hope they 'get a nut' from it. Any black person
can tell you what 'Get a nut' means. I am about 1/32 black.
I use it like that in what is called "ebonics" Blackics, WTF is that?

I am certainly not asking you to shut up, or leave the site, or never to post anything off-topic.
You did not even imply that I should shut up. You stated your
heartfelt opinion on what was happening, what that was causing
and suggested ways for keeping your beloved relaxing place from
being , ....turned from a playground to a slum.
Close enough? Do I understand you? Yes I do.

It's a rare day in a place like this where everyone is 100% on topic anyway!
And all my posts and all yours and all others are on topic of
The Wheel of Time, its Characters, Team Jordan, Tor, et cet
(sounds like some hungry bastard ate an entire group of
badgers, Et, ebonics for Eat/Ate and Cett, a collective noun
for a group of those things, Never could STAND them bastards.

In fact, though I don't remember the exact context off-hand, I'm pretty sure I'm on record for thanking you for making me laugh out loud, a week or two ago.
Yes you are on record as saying exactly that and I have it in MY
computer records as a note about what makes people laugh
You helped me to know with your vote that THAT shit is funny
I don't care who you are--Larry the Cable Guy

You've had fun and insightful things to say about many topics (though I'm particularly attuned to the ones relating to WOT) and I think you should continue.
Curiouser and curiouser, said Alice. You have to keep running faster
and faster to stay in the same place.
All my posts have had the same end. To answer the questions
coming from the reread and the comments.
Don't work a puzzle for someone, ever. You will get hurt. Rightly.
You have destroyed the fun, shamed the one you helped, and
Pissed Off the guy who made it. The point is to understand what
it is and what it teaches and getting it to fall apart is incidental.

So, um, don't go away. (: And I'm sorry if I offended or made you feel bad. Though if I did, you put a good face on it.
All together now. Both statements. Still no smiley face. The
open parens ( and the colon merely begin an unbalanced
parenthetical statement.

And the first shall be last, "So, um, don't go away."
I dont like seafood, he said, crabbily. (Swifty)
I don't like to continue, he said, stopping on the road. (another)
Did I do that to provoke you?
No, but many like ones actually contain a lower level message.
RJ does it all the time with graphic scenes.
That causes dispute about why and who did what to which witch
because the real answer is, It means ALL of the above. When
properly resolved much edification occurs.
For example The Thirteenth Suppository would be a pill which,
for the good it does might as well be stuffed up your _ (as s)wallowed.

Baker's dozen too. And the unlucky number. Imagine 13. It would
need the fastest enema giver in the..anywhere to succeed.
Fastest at running too if they worked.

That nonsense can be read and decoded into a message that says.
for example, Jimmy Dickens is a giant among men, if all men are
only 3 feet tall.
NOW. I encoded Wetlandernw in a post to her. One person saw
it and the instructions to find it are in plain sight. Maybe only one
person read it because it began with Caveatar and they just scroll
fingered on by.
Wet Alice A probably read it because it was addressed to her. She
didn't mention it for whatever reason.
I have posted this very way in plain sight the mythical names and answers to at least 6 and maybe 7 eternal questions on the WoT reread.
I know what the Moridin board game looks like. I saw one when I
was a young boy. Never could work it but it is exactly the pieces and
dimensions mentioned in the books. Same game. Not a toy.
It is a planning map for winning a battle such as the Civil War
and you can take back moves and try again til you get it right.
It is damned near impossible to win with the desired effect.
Never has been done as far as I know.
It was an Iron Master's Master Piece.
Ancient one.
I can tell those wondering the design, the purpose and the suggested
tactics for winning. And Moridin hasn't got a hope in hell for winning.
He missed the lesson the Blacksmith Puzzle is based on. He can not
win because he doesn't understand the goal. It is not HIS goal.
Anyway, I have written that into a twisty post.
I wrote Mat's luck explanation in another. Not at all from the same
I wrote several much sought for answers the same way but you have
to read the post, and LISTEN to the Wind in your mind to get them.

I know what that means also. My aunt did it and taught me how to do
it . Psychiatrists make fortunes , failing to get that through to their
patients. My aunt, 2 hours max could teach anyone. And it works.

So, um, don't go away.
An order? no A request? Certainly. Explained in all the rest of your
An apology. In its original meaning
(now usually expressed by the word "apologia")
of speaking in defense of a cause or of one's beliefs or actions
from the Ancient Greek ????????
The correct word even today.
That "I am sorry if I hurt you..."IF I hurt you. (Don't believe you did
but cover it up with a savaging of meaning.
Conditional sorry but never gonna be convinced of it because you
didn't take it the way I meant it.
I edited your use of 'if' and my quote of it for this reason.
I think you meant "I might have overreacted without considering
the language I was using and the tone and IF that is correct I hurt
you and I did not mean to hurt you.
A great apologia. Plato and Socrates will drink hemlock because they
could not better it.
I just used the Sword Redactor and it has been a long time.
Re, edit it yourself if you like. Ain't it fun? Yes it is.

Words have exact meanings. Liars can't tell the difference.
And Assholes have one thing in common. Dirty place that needs to
be wiped out and washed clean. Not to twist the language like....
Bill Clinton smoking a cigar and saying, "that is not what sex is"
Wait til he finds his daughter in the same position as Monica
and she says. "But daddy, you said This Isn't Sex."
Redefine some shit then Billy!
Rhodes scholar my shiny black ass. Darkun

I explained more than once that I would go to the forums, and why
and that I have the devil of a time linking shit without messing stuff
up and losing it all.
I post thread Starter Caveatar, and I add continually.
The Last Lone Defender of Camelot is my view of what things
were like and as usual, I give a woman credit for being more than
an animal.
She didn't wipe out folks for no reason than to show they had
a bigger dick. She doesn't HAVE one.
She didn't make Morgan le Fay the bitch she was.
Uther Pendragon did that when he raped Morgana's mother with
her a young girl watching it all, and Celidon, the Merlin making it
possible, and Uther loving it and his knights were Dieing while
he Cheerfully Cavortingly Copulated Causing Catastrophic Collapse
I like my version and I can't get the Trial by combat to jell in my
mind. I need Dumai's Wells and I get Aram Trakand instead.
On the forums, Caveatar, all welcome
with a Caveat All Readers. I will treat any male who insults me with
the most literary and brilliant burning of his ass he never could
imagine. I can do it and on my thread I WIll do it.
If a thing callling itself female assaults me I have a line to the people
who make threats do "not respect any who disrespet me, whether they
be 5, 30, or 80"
I hope to God and Guantanamo that a five year old doesn't get in this
animal's way. That monster would kick the kid for not showing
the self defined respect due it.
The post in question has already been mentioned to the law with a
response of , Link to this place on the net. They will investgate no
matter where on the net the poster is.
Now then. Any one who posts threatening language in my summary
of things, will receive an immediate referral to the cybercrimes people
and I will see to it that one finds out
that Guantanamera means Woman of Guantanamo but when the
song was written they didn't wear bright orange jumpsuits.
Only lately.
Whoever ,make sure that you like that color.
You will wear it.
Don't bother to delete the post. They already have it.
Hope they show more respect than you do.

WortMauer. I will honor your honest and straighforward request
and I have never submitted to a threat in my life.
Honorable requests I always listen to.
And you did one and Wetlander did one and several others did
too. Else I would not be posting THIS WOT, Way OFF Topic
Wall Of Text, alphabet gone wild.
If you wonder what it all means I will say only this:
Read and Find Out. (RJ's Listen to the Wind(Spirit, air).

I will post here when I have something to say.
I will read here as always.
I will finish my Iron Age Long Iron Master knowledge and LOre and the path of the Sword Justice from Eden to TODAY!

I will write the Meeting at Merrilor First. For myself only.
I couldn't pick up the dandruff RJ or Brandon lose from their
magnificent heads. Not qualified. Mine is what I expect.

Thank you for honesty and let us both thank the moderators
and those very gifted people who responded to your post.
Y'all know who you are and Freelancer especially.

Free you described what has been happening to me exactly and more
lucidly than I could myself until I read your statement.
Object to it? Not a Fucking Chance! I love it. I treasure your
explanation of MY mind which I couldn't explain myself.
Thank you. Paul Long
C ya l8r. L8r G8r. fifties silly shit.
When you alliterate an alphabet as I did. Get the damned'X".
Never could STAND that bastard.

Paul Long
378. Caveatar
I will explain one hidden message. Right or Wrong the message is
Darkun, reverse Nukrad...split like the atom into two parts
Nuk Rad...expanded Nuke Radiation.
See how it changes like nuclei breaking down and changing?

Nuklear (stet, sic) Radiation is based on things like quantum particles
which make up the nuclei of OUR level, but those quantum thingies
can't have light in their sublevel because light is a result of their
nature and exists in The Wait for it....PATTERN>
Quantum level is CHAOS.
The Zero Point energy of that sub space, Sorry Woof.
make that "Well groomed, sub space."
(Thats better. LAUGH FOR SURE. Yall miss the hairy woof like I do?)
Hell yes you do.
That is the shit that blasted out the Sharom, screwed the unscrewdable
men and tainted the energy of Light with the chaos of ...Chaos.
See wut I mean Vern? (Jim Varney comedian)
Now, Moridin is the danger, Chaos is his weapon to destroy and control
and that lying bastard is behind it all, and THe Dark One doesn't exist
except as a force. Taking the blame for Moridin, Dark One and his
I bet Matrim Cauthon that is how it is.
And Matrim (6) Cauthon (7) letters makes triskadeka, 13, the luck
of Chaos. The Dark one Chaos' own luck.)
Want to bet.

Wall of text followed by 2 in a row equals...whatever anyone says
it equals. All solutions are true in Robert Jordanland.
ana liese
379. analiese
anthonypero @ 358

One of the defining characteristics of a Mary Sue is that they act as wish-fulfillment for the author. I'd be interested in your take on how Egwene constitutes wish-fulfillment for RJ/Sanderson.

The definition of a Mary Sue is a little broader than that, at least nowadays. See my post at @ 140 and Looking Glass @ 150 (who does a better job of explaining it). yasiru89 @ 139 also made some good points.
Eric Hughes
380. CireNaes
Yikes, I go away for a little while...

Well said, Free. This is therapy, the best kind really and well worth the while. Anyone who has worked in a hosptial setting for a time knows how important some type of community or human contact is for increasing the chances for recovery. There has been very little in my life that has had more of an impact than after visitations with Veteran's who had no family or friends to speak of, yet still put on a face of strength or managed a smile for me. Those who were just as concerned with how things were going with my life and family as I was for their condition. Those who were just as eager to pray for me as I was for them.

This reread is doing a great service in offering our support for a prior service member and much more importantly, a fellow human being.

Cav, I will do my best to drop a hello or two in your various forums. Let me know via email if anything changes health wise.

MAT, you are in my prayers as well and those of my children and beloved, brother.

I have a stats exam to attend to. See you all later.
Paul Long
381. Caveatar
@380 Eric Sean
My neighbor and friend is fire chief here.
He downloads and reads stuff but does not post
He has your email and instructions to notify you
if I have come to the point for you to preach
about "man goeth to his long home, and the mourners
go about the streets" From memory , may be wrong.
He will identify himself from my computer if necessary

Louis Theodore Tellman
382. yasiru89
RobMRobM @290-

I would very much like the same thing, though discussion of such matters of direct relevance is certainly facilitated by thoughtful commentary that doesn't lend weight according to who is forwarding a given claim. Dull may be the maintaining of such standards, but I'd rather expend the effort to nip a problem in the bud even if they come down to these dreary 'meta-disputes'. Problems which always precede me, most often arising out of such arbitrary attributions of authority as @327.

That said, I certainly have made my point (and others possibly theirs) and so we proceed.

CireNaes @303-

By 'argument' was meant a 'point'. Your short and seemingly hardly thought-out response lacked one (given how my last to you had made clear that my issue with what was said had little to do with whatever definition you might care to stand by for a thing, when the thing itself is of questionable relevance) and sounded, to me, snarky and insinuative.

macster @331-

A very interesting observation. And a point in favour I think, for the claim that Egwene is a kind of Mary Sue character through the events of tGS. Her supposed dilemmas weren't particularly deep or pressing, and where they were (with the threat of the Black Ajah for instance) circumstances (the machinations of others, etc.) conspired to aid her and she needed but a certain level of competence to ensure things went well (for which she is to be applauded, but perhaps not too loudly). There are black and white effects clearly distinguishable when it comes to what the results her decisions might have, and she is ever able to steer the course to land on the white.

As I see it, while she's always been a character for whom how her character is has been more important than how it might be moulded by events and influences, tGS is the least important book of the series for Egwene's character and its development- because Egwene is a kind of unifying force (or just a plot/Pattern tool) in it rather than a person, a force that needed to have a presence in certain events to ensure things happened a certain way, but without much reflection on the person involved (save for the general love of the White Tower bit, in which sense she's something of an avenging spirit of the Tower, to further the force metaphor). A curious thing because it's Rand, being ta'veren, who we might expect to find a role for him to settle into made ready, whereas the reality of it turns out to be that the Pattern seemingly doesn't care for the way he is.

That said, there are significant hints of doubts that Egwene has put to sleep in favour of embracing tradition and thereby bringing the Tower back to its former glory that we see in ToM during Nynaeve's testing for the shawl and the Tel'aran'rhiod scene where she sees the ancient Aes Sedai symbol on a window (or something of the like, I'm not entirely clear). Certainly a good thing, because it means we shouldn't expect Egwene to remain a 'Mary Sue'.
Eric Hughes
383. CireNaes

Phaw! I deleted 3 rough draft responses before I settled on that one "point."

The link however...you got me. Full on insinuation encompassing the entire context at play with a hint of snarkiness. Funny though. Thought it might take the edge off. Ah well, can't win them all.

We are obviously at odds. Shall we agree to disagree seeing as we're already doing that about the actual topic of our conversation? I feel as though this has become a waste of energy for both of us. Best to move on.
Louis Theodore Tellman
384. yasiru89
CireNaes @383-

I regret not actually being able to watch the video you linked, owing to certain bandwidth problems at the time.

I'm quite happy to move on. :)
ana liese
385. analiese
Caveatar @ 343

Where are the rewrites those fans have done to make it more plausable and better written? Do they intend to sell their improved version to Tor? Personally I would like to see their better writing.

I'm not sure I follow you here, but criticism of WoT seems to upset you. And I get that--it's hard not to feel upset when someone comments negatively on something you love. For the record, I have been reading this series since 1994 and would not be here talking about it nearly two decades later if I didn't love it. But I have not liked every single character/storyline, and Egwene's storyline was one that disappointed me a great deal in recent books. To me, it often read like bad fanfiction featuring a Mary Sue, and I think WoT is and should be better than that. Since a significant amount of time was spent on Egwene in both TGS and ToM, that brought down my overall enjoyment of those books.

Some people like Leigh feel differently about Egwene, and some people have expressed sentiments similar to mine. I don't believe you need to be a writer or artist yourself to be allowed to criticize a book or piece of art. If a story failed to engage or convince the reader, then it's fair for the reader to say so, whether he's an award-winning author or a 10-year-old kid reading fantasy for the first time.
Louis Theodore Tellman
386. yasiru89
analiese @385-

Hear, hear!
Paul Long
387. Caveatar
@385 Analiese

Thank you Analiese.
If a story failed to engage or convince the reader, then it's fair for the reader to say so, whether he's an award-winning author or a 10-year-old kid reading fantasy for the first time.
That explains it to me.
I appreciate your response.
I see that I was mistaken in my misapprehension.
Isaac Asimov once said almost exactly what you said.

Criticism of WoT itself does not upset me, I do it myself and so
does everyone else.
I (mis)perceived some statements as being a statement that RJ did
a poor job in writing. If that were true then we all would not be here
after 20 years wondering about it.

I am sorry I did not re read this post sooner to see your response
and I fear it will never be read and seen by you.
Sum Up.
You answered my question exactly as I needed it answered.
Thank you.

ana liese
388. analiese
Caveatar @ 387

Thank you for your kind response. To be honest, I feel you didn't entirely misinterpret my other post, so I will try to make my position more clear so you can decide for yourself. I started reading WoT when I was ten, and eighteen years later, it still holds a special place in my heart. I think RJ was an incredible storyteller, as is evident by how strongly everyone feels about his characters. We love them; we loathe them; we talk about them like they're real people. I've lost count of how many times I've reread the books and feel very sad at the thought of no longer being able to wait for the next WoT book after AMoL as I have done for nearly two thirds of my life.

Still, some parts of WoT left me thinking the writing was not as good as it should be and those parts usually involve Egwene. I thought her storyline since being raised Amyrlin was implausible and not very well written (in the sense that I couldn't believe in it or enjoy it, not that RJ lost his way with words). Sometimes I express myself more bluntly than I should, but that is how I feel, and it brought down my enjoyment of the last few books even though I loved other parts like the Borderlanders in the ToM prologue and Aviendha's visions. So, to sum up, RJ is one of my favorite writers, but I think there are one or two storylines and characters that he did not write well.
Paul Long
389. Caveatar
@388 analiese.

Thank you for the response.
I thought this thread was moribund if not dead.

I feel exactly the same way as you do except that I word the ideas
differently. I misunderstood/misread what you were saying and your
response clarified it for me.
SO. Separated by a common feeling. Damn!

Okay, since you are still here. I thought that too, and I made excuses
like I did for Robert A. Heinlein after he had his debilitating stroke.
THEN I reread. (I have read every word the man ever wrote. He was
truly the Dean of Science Fiction. I met him once and didn't know it was
him, the sneaky bastard.That is another story. )
On the reread of Heinlein I questioned every time he (what I assumed) made a mistake. After about 5 times through I noticed something. His
contradictions and foulups were a flashing marker.!. Follow it up and
resolve the contradiction and you find. DAMN! the man told me
something and I didn't realize it! YOU BASTARD! was my first thought
and then I saw. He was telling the readers that even a stroke which
should have made him silly and stuff, had not damaged him to the
point he could not get the message across. Then I called him worse.
"How dare you do that to me? I have loved every frigging word you
ever wrote you bastard". Then I realized, He is telling me personally
that "If you think I screwed up , and if you do love what I write, this
is a personal message to you." Then I got a little something in my eye
and what I thought was impossible took place. The bastard had
done even more than I expected. I laughed and , yes, cried, and said
"Old man,. Your purpose DOES hold. To sail beyond the sunset and
by all the god damned gods, Give em hell Robert Anson Heinlein,
you Magnificent son of a BITCH. I wish I was going with you!

I feel the same about Robert Jordan, Mark Twain, and .....
not many others.
Robert Jordan has pushed Mark Twain out of first place in my heart.
I refused to die until I had read his autobiography, released in 2010,
part one only, and learned not a damned thing that I hadn't already
learned from his writings. When I meet Sam Clemens in hell I am
going to tell him what the boys in Tom Sawyer said, "I can lick you."
Analiese: please point out where you think RJ failed in ability to
write a 'strong woman' for instance, and then look for contradictions
(or I will), and we will find even more than we imagined before..
It works with Twain and it works with the Gospels which contradict
each other. Deeper understanding. But it is one hell of a chore to
solve the contradictions.
If you like I will show you one in the Legion Possessed Demoniac.
Almost like they are saying, "here is something special. flagged to
get your attention. Prove it false. and you will understand."
Well, that gripes my ass at first but it is very worth while.
Took me a week on the Legion posessed guy.
Took a month on another.
John Thomas Parish, DD, and moreso told me , "Paul, I knew that
at first reading. You should have faith."
I said, "You should explain the frigging thing and then I wouldn't have
to have faith!"
Too long. Thanks anal i ese? sounds like a spam email . Laughing.
hoping for a response.

Mods: I would say I am sorry, but, I am not.
John Massey
390. subwoofer
Happy Easter all:)

Gonna start here, its as good a place as any. Tried to work through the last few threads... took a nap, came back to it... maybe that was all the Polish food I had today...

Also gonna skirt the comments as they have all been asked and answered for the most part.

Leigh, for once I find that I am very much in agreement with you on many of the comments you made. Rand skips out=bad, Gawyn is err... Gawyn= bad, the head honchos of the Ajahs=tools, Black Ajah=ewwww, Egwene= gets s#!t done. And about time too.

Rand skipping out had me flipping out almost as much as the facebook timeline... who came up with that plan anyways? Put in plans to save the people then let it all fall by the wayside. Seems to be a cross between dispare/depression/ and self centerness. Times like these a leader has to be more than themselves. These kinds of situations define a person.

Egwene OTOH gets stuff done. Finally! Lelaine was really starting to honk me off too, Meg Ryan but not Megan Fox looks aside.

"From now on we continue as one. No more squabbling. No more fighting".

I'm not holding my breath on that one tho'. The show "Survivor" says otherwise. Put a bunch of men on an island, and they will butt heads but eventually camaraderie wins out. Do the same for ladies and there is Sue's famous "Rat and Snake" speech...

I was hoping the whoop-assing would have been more on page instead of wrapped up in a few paragraphs however... oh well, can't win 'em all:)

Terry McNamee
391. macster
@357 analiese: *chuckles* What can I say, as I contemplate matters, search for the words, respond, and draw my thoughts together, posts often tend to spiral out of control and become much longer than I ever intended, so that things which were supposed to be "not much" end up being quite long indeed. As thewindrose can attest! ;) As for being an Ogier, I take that as a compliment. :)

First off, let me apologize for calling you, or implying you were, a die-hard Egwene-hater--though I would say that between your bluntness and your last posts in this thread, it does seem pretty clear that your opinion of her is pretty much set in stone and it is not a positive one. Let me also apologize for insulting you...but it seemed as if you were insulting me. I notice you didn't respond to anything I said about not liking Egwene, or having been angry at her in the past, and that I was therefore not one of those 'like-minded people' drawn here by Leigh. I am not sure if that is because you realized you were wrong to assume I was one of them, or if you feel you won a point by getting me to admit I see flaws in Egwene--if the latter, I never have denied disliking Egwene or some of her actions in the past, so this is not really anything new. But you may not have seen me state that before.

In any event, what offended me was you assuming that because I was disagreeing with you, I must be one of the sycophantic Egwene lovers drawn here by Leigh and her views, when you really had no way of knowing whether I had ever taken issue with her or acknowledged her flaws. I may disagree with you as to what these flaws are, whether they interfere with my enjoyment of the story, and so on, but I do acknowledge they are there. So I respectfully ask that you don't assume such things of me, or anyone else for that matter--we all come here with our different backgrounds and experiences, and have different reasons for why we like/dislike certain characters or events or view them as well-written/badly written. Some of us may come here because we feel more comfortable with so many others who share our views. Others come because they just like WOT, or because even if they may disagree with the prevailing views, they still like hearing what others have to say and sharing their own views.

I love WOT. I neither love nor hate Egwene; I think she is a good person with flaws who has done some stupid things and some wonderful things. I am not going to say she can never do anything wrong, but I also won't automatically assume she is arrogant, unfairly manipulative, deceitful, or any other negative accusation leveled against her just because she is Egwene. I take each things she does on its own merits, and can thus say "this act was good, this one was bad" without it being based on my subjective judgments of her character or of the writing. I could care less if you don't like her or if you want to attack her; she is, after all, a fictional character. What bothers me is when people assume things about other people because of their opinions and judgments in regard to such characters. As when Leigh assumed awful things about the readers because she assumed they would automatically defend Rand's actions. I think you should be more fair to Egwene, and judge what she says and does without it having to be based on your judgment of her as a person or of Jordan/Sanderson's writing, but since you have your bias and that can't be changed, all I would ask is that you don't assume everyone who disagrees with you about Egwene is an Egwene fan--or that if they are, that this necessarily means they can never see any wrong in her and will only blindly follow along with what Leigh and the other fans say.

On the opinions of the fandom: you're right, I have not been to or visited those sites and seen the large amount of flaming and bashing, and personally I don't want to. Not because I love Egwene and am distressed when I see her attacked, but because I don't see the point in watching such arguments. I stated originally to you that watching arguments can be fun, but this is only in moderation. When you start to see the same thing over and over, going on for pages and pages, becoming increasingly nasty and virtriolic, and eventually dissolving into personal attacks on the debaters, then it no longer becomes fun. And personally, I don't enjoy watching anybody being consistently bashed unless they are a) evil or b) objectively deserving of it. Does this mean I never want to see dissension or debate about characters and their actions? Of course not, but it does mean that after a while it gets very old and doesn't lead anywhere except into bad blood and nasty rivalries as people adopt their positions and refuse to change them. At some point it becomes better to simply separate the factions just to keep the peace.

And while it is true there are many people who hate Egwene and many who love her, I would remind you of the silent majority. It may seem like everyone in the fandom hates her as a Mary Sue, or loves and worships her, because only the most vocal people speak up and share their views. But I would bet that most fans of WOT who don't say anything don't do so either because someone else has already expressed what they would have said, they don't want to get involved in a flamewar, or...they don't care. Because Egwene doesn't matter to them one way or the other as they neither hate nor adore her, or they are actually more interested in the writing and the overall series. And they either don't see the problems in the writing that you do, or they balance them with the good aspects and decide it is not worth it to complain about it.

My apologies on not giving you the proper reference to the point I brought up; like you, I didn't feel like going back through all the posts and threads to find it. I will say this, however: you're right, a good leader wouldn't necessarily have to have traits of all the Ajahs in order to lead. However, that is what Jordan/Sanderson wrote as needed for the story. You may feel that means they failed in the writing (as you stated below) and you're perfectly justified in feeling that way. But again, that isn't related to Egwene. Because it seems from the way the White Tower plot was written, Jordan felt that any good leader would indeed need to have traits of all the Ajahs in order to succeed. You can think he was wrong to feel that way, and that he failed as a writer by including this and by having it be Egwene who embodied them. But the fact is, any Aes Sedai, even one with centuries of experience, would lack all those traits too, and being suddenly made to display them so as to become a great Amyrlin would have been similarly unrealistic. I won't debate with you on whether there was any indication Egwene had these traits before TGS, but I think my point still stands: any Aes Sedai in her role, as written by Jordan, would have had to have all those qualities to succeed, and would have been unbelievable in possessing them. So while Egwene may be a particularly egregious example, it isn't her fault that she got shoehorned into that plot. If there is a God Mode Sue needed to unite the Tower, that is a fault of Jordan's plotting and writing, not what character he slated for the role, since no character would have had the qualities to do it under that scenario.

@363 Wolfmage: Zexxes already answered the point for me, and I see no reason to flagellate this deceased equine any longer, but in the interests of clarity for you and Analiese (and anyone else with the same interpretation), I feel compelled to note this:

It then leverages this conception to invite us to consider the degree of flexibility and interpretation in the internal deliberative process of how commands backed by an Oath like this are not as controlling as might be supposed... We have seen some wiggle room in the text, where, for example, the Oath of Fealty is seen as no longer binding when the identity and status of the Oath Taker comes into question - but that's very far from the kind of general interpretative discretion or escape clause that's necessary to say an Oath of Fealty in Randland is generally flexible.

The whole point on which this debate hinges is that yes, there IS wiggle room in Egwene's oath of fealty. The fact people (like myself and Wetlander) appeal to real-world medieval fealty in our arguments does not invalidate them, because the point isn't that we are saying Randland fealty is exactly identical to real world fealty (although I think it is germane to point out that surely Jordan knew of what real-world fealty was like from his research, and had it in mind as he wrote). We merely use real-world fealty to explain how the concept generally works. The point is that whether or not Randland fealty is like real-world fealty, we have seen examples right in the text of how the oath works--on the one hand, Beonin being able to wiggle around it, on the other hand Zerah not being able to. Yes, Beonin felt herself able to betray Egwene because Egwene was no longer Amyrlin in her eyes--but as JonathanLevy pointed out, if the oath itself was inviolable, it should have then transferred to the person she did see as Amyrlin (Elaida) and clearly it didn't. And if the oath could not be disobeyed, it wouldn't matter that she viewed Egwene as no longer being the Amyrlin--she still swore the oath, and by the First Oath should have been held to it no matter what. Particularly if the wording of the oath was "I swear to be loyal to you" as opposed to "the Amyrlin". The fact Beonin could think her away around this in her mind, the way Aes Sedai usually do when evading the First Oath, suggests the oath of fealty is not ironclad. Meanwhile, Zerah was forced to swear an actual oath of obedience to the Black Ajah Hunters, one she could not disobey because it was explicit, and as a result when it conflicted with her belief in the truth of Logain's story, she nearly died--she couldn't make herself believe otherwise to save herself, and the oath of obedience forced her to speak this lie while the First Oath kept her from speaking it. That is how Elaida's oath would work, and that is not what happened with Egwene's.

Yes, Egwene can be called hypocritical to some degree for using similar methods. But the simple fact is, aside from the circumstances (the Black Ajah, plus sisters working at odds with Egwene instead of bringing the Tower back together and helping Rand), Egwene's method is not nearly identical enough to what Elaida or the Hunters did to justify the amount of hate and disgust she is getting for it. Yes, the fact Egwene was a good person and Elaida not doesn't invalidate whether the oath is a good idea or should have been sworn. And yes, the fact she apparently hasn't released them from their oaths or even thought about it is a mark against Egwene. But it doesn't mean she is wrong to be horrified at the idea of an actual oath of obedience that takes away free will and can even kill sisters through conflicting oaths. It is unfortunate she doesn't see the similarities to what she did and thus decide to release her sworn sisters, but that doesn't mean the oaths are equally heinous or that she can't be upset by either a) the nature of Elaida's oath or b) the fact it was Elaida who would be administering it.

@382 yasiru: If you're referring to what I think you are (the fact readers are enjoying what Egwene did because they really want to see the Seanchan punished), then you're right, that does make Egwene a kind of Mary Sue: in this case, not of the author(s) and his wishes/desires, but of the reader--because so many of us would love to get in there and make those bastard Seanchan pay. If that is the case, then, this would seem to prove the maxim that not all tropes are bad--even a Mary Sue can be accepted when she is doing what we want, when her effortless win against the Seanchan satisfies us by giving us what we wish we could do. Obviously this did not work for everyone, since some people dislike Egwene on general principle, and others can't accept what they see as a flawed story with no real conflict or narrative tension even if it gives them something they really want to see. But it does suggest that being a Mary Sue isn't necessarily bad, and it really all depends on personal interpretation of the character, events, and writing.

@388 analiese: I ask this in full sincerity, not snarkily, but have you ever considered (and I ask this because Yasiru at 382 reminded me of it) that the reason Egwene had it so easy, that her raising as Amyrlin, winning everyone's loyalty, and uniting the Tower was because Rand is ta'veren, rather than her? That the only way the Tower could unite and be behind Rand is if Egwene led it, so the Pattern enabled this to occur? That in general he needed her there, as his opposite among the Aes Sedai, in the same way Latra Posae needed to be there to oppose Lews Therin (or else the entirety of the One Power would have been tainted by the counterstroke)? After all I don't believe we have confirmation Latra Posae was ta'veren either. In which case the reason Egwene got where she did is because the Pattern needed a Mary Sue (or as Yasiru put it, a unifying force, an avenging spirit of the Tower, a tool) in order to give Rand what he needed--someone who would support him as Elaida and the other Aes Sedai would not (because she knew him and had grown up with him) but who would also oppose him when needed because of her personality and his. I imagine either you did not consider this, or that this is one of the arguments you speak of which did not convince you. But I find it very interesting and sensible. It may not seem like good storytelling to you, and you may not be able to stomach it because of the Mary Sue-ness or your feelings about Egwene, but it's at least a possible explanation for her story beyond "Egwene sucks" or "Jordan screwed up".

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