Apr 3 2012 2:00pm

The Wheel of Time Re-read: The Gathering Storm, Part 26

Hello! This is a Wheel of Time Re-read! Unless you look at it from the opposite point of view, in which case it is… well, no, it’s still a Wheel of Time Re-read, never mind.

Today’s entry covers Chapters 45 and 46 of The Gathering Storm, in which speeches are made, a plot is resolved, and a tower stands.


Previous re-read entries are here. The Wheel of Time Master Index is here, which has links to news, reviews, interviews, and all manner of information about the Wheel of Time in general, including the newest release, Towers of Midnight.

This re-read post contains spoilers for all currently published Wheel of Time novels, up to and including Book 13, Towers of Midnight. If you haven’t read, read at your own risk.

And now, the post!

Once again, scheduling note: JordanCon 2012 is coming! I will be there, and speaking on some panels, and meeting people, and generally having the blast I always have whenever I go to this shindig. I hope to see some of you there!

Coincidentally, it looks like I will be polishing off TGS in the Re-read right before I go. Therefore, your Auntie Leigh will be taking her traditional between-book break starting the last week of April, before starting Towers of Midnight. How long that hiatus will be, I ain’t for sure yet, but I will let you know as soon as I do. And in the meantime, I will have some fun JordanCon-related blogging for you!

So there’s that. Onward!


Chapter 45: The Tower Stands

What Happens
Egwene walks through camp, pointedly wearing a crimson gown. She thinks the Aes Sedai habit of wearing dresses in one’s Ajah colors has helped fuel the divisions, and means her red dress to be a reminder not only of that, but to symbolize the blood shed that past hour. Though around twenty of them had escaped, over fifty Black sisters had been stilled and executed that morning, including Sheriam, who had sobbed and confessed to several “disturbing” crimes before going to the block.

That scene would always be vivid in Egwene’s mind—her former Keeper, lying with her head pressed against the stump, blue dress and fiery red hair suddenly bathed in warm golden light as a thinner section of clouds moved in front of the sun. Then the silvery axe, falling to claim her head. Perhaps the Pattern would be kinder to her next time she was allowed a thread in its great tapestry. But perhaps not. Death was not an escape from the Dark One. Sheriam’s horror at the end indicated that she might have been thinking that very thing as the axe took her head.

Egwene feels sick at the deaths, but had insisted on execution instead of interrogation, as some Sitters had advocated; she thinks she learned the folly of being too greedy for information with Moghedien, and is determined that Verin’s sacrifice not be wasted. Every other Aes Sedai in camp has resworn the Oaths, and the Black sisters’ Warders are being guarded until the Darkfriends can be sorted from them; she hopes the innocent ones can be convinced to stay alive long enough to fight in the Last Battle. She notes the looks of “respect, awe, and a little horror” she receives as she walks through camp, and doesn’t blame them for the latter.

If there had been any doubt that Egwene was Amyrlin, it had been dispelled. They accepted her, they feared her. And she would never quite fit in with them again. She was separate, and always would be.

Lelaine, a model subject to Egwene now that she has no choice in the matter, approaches to report that Bryne is ready for the assault, and asks if using gateways for a flanking move are acceptable. Egwene thinks it skirts perilously near using the Power as a weapon, but tells Lelaine she will make the gateway herself. Romanda joins them to report that, disturbingly, there has been no contact with the sisters sent to the Black Tower at all. Egwene thinks it is more disturbing that the group had just happened to include Nisao, Myrelle, Faolain and Theodrin, all who had sworn fealty to Egwene. She wonders if it was intentional, sending away those most loyal to her, but then if so, wonders why Siuan hadn’t been sent as well.

Was this perhaps Sheriam’s work? The woman had confessed to several things before her execution, but this hadn’t been one of them. Either way, something was happening with those Asha’man. The Black Tower would need to be dealt with.

Lelaine also reports that Sheriam had apparently stolen all the dream ter’angreal the night before her capture, which is a blow, for now they have no unflawed copies to work with. Lelaine asks if Egwene thinks Sheriam’s claim that she had given the ter’angreal to a Forsaken hiding in the Tower is true; Egwene replies that she thinks so, though she doesn’t mention that Verin had verified it. As they reach the edge of camp and mount their horses, Egwene notes that Gawyn is still following her at a distance, and thinks that she is still not certain what to do with him yet. She embraces the Source, ready for an attack; it galls her, but she knows that she can no longer risk herself like she used to.

She could have been killed, rather than captured, all those weeks ago. The Salidar rebellion would have floundered, and Elaida would have continued as Amyrlin.

They ride up to the troops assembled outside the village of Darein, where the White Tower is visible; Egwene feels pride to see that it still stands, bloodied but unbowed, metaphorically. As she joins Bryne and Siuan, she notes that Bryne has gained a “certain familiar grace”, and asks Siuan if she’s at last taken another Warder. Siuan confirms it, and Egwene tells Bryne to do his best to keep her out of trouble, opining that Siuan could use a dose of military discipline to remind her that “sometimes, obedience overrides initiative.“

Siuan wilted, glancing away.

… never had the dissension extended beyond the doors of the Tower itself. Never had Aes Sedai led troops across those bridges. To do so now would attach the event forever to Egwene’s tenure as Amyrlin. Whatever else she achieved, it would likely be overshadowed by this day.

She had hoped to liberate and unite. Instead, she would turn to war and subjugation. If it had to be so, then she would give the command. But she wanted to wait until the last possible moment.

They wait the hour, and more, and Egwene reluctantly turns to give the command, but as she does, a procession appears on the far side, all Aes Sedai. One of them steps in front of the blockade, and Egwene recognizes Andaya Forae, a Gray Sitter, which implies a willingness to negotiate. Andaya weaves an amplification of her voice so she can be heard, and asks for Egwene al’Vere. Egwene does the same, and orders Andaya to have the others come out as well; to her surprise, they obey, and she sees the procession is of two Sitters from each Ajah except the Blue and Red. She asks what they want.

“We have come,” Andaya said. She hesitated. “We have come to inform you that the Hall of the White Tower has chosen to raise you to the Amyrlin Seat.”

Siuan gasped in shock, and Bryne cursed quietly to himself. Several of the soldiers muttered about it being a trap. But Egwene just closed her eyes. Dared she hope?

She asks if they deposed Elaida, and after a moment Andaya replies that Elaida was taken in the raid the previous night, and presumed dead or “otherwise unable to fulfill her duties”. Siuan mutters that it is no more than she deserved, but Egwene counters that no woman deserves that. Bryne points out that this could be a trap, but Siuan doesn’t see how Andaya could lie like that, as she was not on Egwene’s list of Black sisters. Egwene restores the weave and demands that her army be allowed into the city, her Aes Sedai be accepted back “in fellowship” and the Blue Ajah reinstated. Andaya agrees, and Egwene replies that she accepts. Siuan cautions that this might be rash, but Egwene replies that it is what they wanted, and besides, who is Siuan to lecture her on being rash? Egwene gives the orders to prepare to cross the river, and then begins across the bridge herself, Siuan (and Gawyn) following. As she rides, she feels a growing sense of joy.

On the other side of the bridge, the Sitters waited, solemn. The Tower rose just ahead. Wounded. Bleeding.

But it still stood. Light, it stood!


Chapter 46: To Be Forged Again

What Happens
In the Tower, Egwene is led to a small waiting room near the Hall, where a Brown sister named Lairain goes over the ceremony with her. She remembers how nervous she had been when doing this same ritual in Salidar, but now she thinks that the ceremony itself is of little importance. She overhears Siuan arguing with a sister outside (Tesan, White) that Egwene should not have to do this twice, and calls her in to disagree.

“I was raised by the rebels, Siuan,” Egwene said sternly. “These women deserve the chance to stand for me as well. Otherwise, I will never have a claim to their loyalty. The ceremony must be performed again.”

Siuan asks what she wants to do with the sisters from the camp, and Egwene tells her to have them gather before the Sunset Gate in ranks, by Ajah; when she is finished with the Hall ceremony, she will go to formally accept their apology and welcome them back. Siuan is incredulous at “apology,” and Egwene counters that however needed it was, they rebelled, and the Tower must know that they regret the division. Siuan protests that Egwene was with the rebels, but Egwene replies that she represents all Aes Sedai now. She encounters Gawyn on the way to the Hall, and orders him to stay put. She enters the Hall, and remembers that she had done this before, in a way, during her testing for Accepted. This time, however, she is shocked to see a great hole has been blasted in the wall of the chamber, directly behind the Amyrlin Seat itself, though the throne is miraculously undamaged. She notes the Black Ajah Hunters among the Sitters in the Hall, and wonders how much they had to do with the decision for Egwene, but does not sense any real disapproval from any of the Sitters. She is discomfited by how many seats are empty: Talene (Green/Black) had fled “weeks ago”, and Velina Behar (White), Sedore Dajenna (Yellow), and Evanellein (Gray) are also missing. Velina and Sedore were on her list of Black sisters, but Evanellein was not, which makes Egwene worry that Verin may have missed her. There are no Red Sitters either; Egwene knows Duhara is Black, and had left the Tower weeks before, but the other two (Javindhra and Pevara) have also vanished mysteriously. That leaves only eleven Sitters.

It would have to do. At least each and every Sitter currently in the Tower knew of this event; it wasn’t in secret, like Elaida’s raising. And Egwene could be reasonably certain no Black Sitters would stand for her.

Saerin begins the ceremony, but Egwene ignores her to ask Tesan about the Red Ajah. Tesan confirms that the Reds have been more or less confined to their quarters, and that she “needn’t worry about them”. She also confirms that Silviana Brehon is still imprisoned, but Leane is free and with the rebels outside. Egwene orders Tesan to have Silviana brought to the Hall immediately, and only then continues the ceremony. As it goes on, Egwene compares this with her raising in Salidar and realizes that the Tower Hall’s motivations for raising her are actually much the same as the rebels’: they were terrified, and reaching for stability, and Egwene was the only one everyone could agree upon.

Originally, in Salidar, Egwene had thought the women were being idiots. She was more experienced now, and hopefully wiser as well. She could see that they hadn’t been fools. They’d been Aes Sedai—covering their fear by being overly cautious, yet brazen at the same time. Choosing someone they wouldn’t mind seeing fall. Taking a risk, but not putting themselves in direct danger.

She is not surprised, therefore, when all eleven Sitters stand for her, though the Sitters themselves seem a little taken aback that no one had established independence by holding back on the first round. The ceremony complete, Egwene goes to the Amyrlin Seat. Saerin meets her there, but before she gives her the stole, asks Egwene in a low voice if she is certain she wants to bear this weight. Egwene replies that she already does, and has since Elaida cast it aside, and will until her death.

Saerin nodded. “I think that might be why you deserve it,” she said. “I doubt anything in the histories will compare to the days ahead. I suspect that, in the future, scholars will look back on our days and judge them to be more difficult—more trying of mind, body and soul—than the Time of Madness or the Breaking itself.”

“Then it’s a good thing the world has us, isn’t it?” Egwene asked.

Saerin hesitated, then nodded. “I suppose it is at that.”

She declares Egwene Amyrlin, and Egwene sits, feeling as if she has returned home. Tesan returns with Silviana as the Sitters are presenting themselves to her, and Egwene orders the chains taken off of her. Silviana, who has obviously received rough treatment, surprises Egwene by kneeling serenely before her and kissing her ring. Yukiri asks if this is the right time to be dispensing judgment. Instead of answering, Egwene faces the Hall and tells the Sitters that they bear a great deal of shame. The Sitters are indignant at first, but grow shamed as Egwene denounces them plainly, for allowing the divisions in the Tower become so wide, and for putting a madwoman on the Amyrlin Seat, and then failing to take her down even after she almost tore the Tower apart. It is they, she says, who are supposed to be a check upon the Amyrlin, and they failed.

“You are a disgrace. The White Tower—the pride of the Light, the power for stability and truth since the Age of Legends—has nearly been shattered because of you.”

[…] “You dare call yourself the Hall of the Tower? You who were cowed? You who were too frightened to do what was needed? You who were too caught up in your own squabbles and politicking to see what was needed?”

Egwene looked down at Silviana. “Only one woman in this room was willing to stand up for what she knew to be right. Only one woman dared defy Elaida, and she accepted the price of doing so. And you think I brought this woman here to exact vengeance on her? Are you really so blinded that you think I’d punish the only person in the entire Tower who did anything of decency these last few months?”

They were all looking down, now. Even Saerin wouldn’t meet her eyes.

Silviana looked up at her.

“You did your duty, Silviana,” Egwene said. “And you did it well. Rise.”

Egwene tells Silviana that she is ashamed that once again an Amyrlin has been raised without allowing one of the Ajahs to participate – the Red, this time. Silviana replies that there was good reason for that, but Egwene says that even so, it will mark her reign with tension from the Red. Silviana admits that she sees no way around that.

“I do,” Egwene said. “Silviana Brehon, I would have you as my Keeper of the Chronicles. Let it not be said that I spurned the Red.”

Everyone is surprised, and Egwene is not certain what Silviana will say, but after a moment Silviana accepts humbly, to Egwene’s great relief. She hopes that Silviana will be the envoy to the Reds she needs. She says aloud that the Reds have a difficult path ahead of them; reports claim that saidin has been cleansed, and their purpose must change, but she sees great things ahead for them. She returns to the Sitters, and tells them that they are shamed, but Egwene herself is not guiltless either, for siding with the rebels and allowing them to raise her. She says they must all bear their shame with determination.

“The time for healing has begun, and there is no longer any use in pointing fingers. You failed. But you are all that we have. We are all that the world has.”

She leads the Hall to the Sunset Gate, where the rebels wait. As they walk, Silviana asks if she means to maintain two Keepers, herself and her Keeper from the rebels, but Egwene tells her her previous Keeper was revealed as Black Ajah and executed. She tells Silviana about her “important visitor” and what will need to be done with the Oath Rod. She also tells Silviana that she will need to select a new Mistress of Novices capable of handling the thousand new novices coming in from the rebels, with more on the way. Silviana is shaken, but accepts her tasks smoothly, and Egwene reflects that Silviana will be an excellent Keeper for more reasons than that she is a diplomatic bridge to the Reds. In the square, Egwene address the rebels, the Tower Hall, and most of the rest of the Tower as well, who are gathered in the windows of the Tower above the square. Egwene makes a speech in which she says they cannot pretend the rebellion did not take place, but that it is time to join the division together again. She tells the rebels that, necessary or not, they did something terrible, and so must admit to their guilt.

“You did not come here in glory,” Egwene said to them. “You did not come here victorious. For there is no victory, and could have been no victory, when sister fought sister and Warder died to Warder.”

She says the Tower is as a shattered sword, which must be melted down and completely reforged to be saved. She says they will be tested to the limit in the days ahead, but that they will prove stronger than their weaknesses.

“The White Tower stands, and we shall stand with it! We will become one again. We will be an assembly that tales will tell of! When I am finished with you, it will not be written that the White Tower was weak. Our divisions will be forgotten in the face of our victories. We will be remembered not as the White Tower who turned against itself, but as the White Tower who stood strong in the face of the Shadow. These days will be legendary!“

[…]”Let it go forth across the land!“ she shouted. ”Let it be spoken of, let it be relied upon, and let it be remembered. The White Tower is whole and complete. And no one—man, woman or creation of the Shadow—will see us divided again!"

All cheer her, on both sides, and Egwene hopes they will still cheer her in the months to come, with the work ahead of them.

Ladies and Gentlemen: One major WOT plotline, RESOLVED.


No, seriously. I’m still a little incredulous that it actually happened. But oh, so very, very glad it did.

Though on a purely selfish note: holy hell, these two chapters took FOREVER to recap. Egwene makes SO MANY SPEECHES. Not that I had a problem with that on the face of it, but ugh, to try and summarize them was a bitch and a half. But, that’s a pretty me-centric issue, so never mind.

Okay, so there has been an awful lot of back and forth in the comments recently about whether Egwene does or does not suck. It should be fairly blatantly obvious from my recent posts which side of that particular debate I come down on, but the fact that there has been this much discussion about it does indicate that there’s legitimate wiggle room in the subject for there to be a genuine question. I’m not entirely sure that last sentence made any actual sense, but hopefully y’all got my gist there.

Having done some thinking on the matter, I think a lot of the divide here ultimately comes down to a question of perspective, or rather one of predisposition. For those readers who, like me, have always liked Egwene and usually or always saw her behavior in a positive light, the tendency to continue doing so is very strong; for those readers who have historically disliked or been annoyed by her in the past, the tendency continue thus is equally strong. This seems like a “duh” kind of statement, but the point I’m making here is that for both factions, that tendency toward emotional inertia re: Egwene tends to remain in effect regardless of the merit of the behavior being judged. Or rather, the merit of the behavior can be re-jiggered to fit whichever viewpoint one is personally inclined to (or determined to) adhere.

Anyone who doubts me on this score need only pay even the most superficial amount of attention to American politics, and observe, on both sides, the ratio of the tendency to align along party lines versus the tendency to align on the merits of the issue. It… ain’t proportional, is my point here.

I am not at all exempting myself from this tendency, by the way, at least in regards to WOT, and Egwene specifically. And I am, of course, aware that this tendency probably does not apply across the board, since I’m sure there are those who used to love her who hate her now, or vice versa. However, I am saying that this is enough of a phenomenon that it’s worth considering as a factor in the debate.

These two chapters alone provide numerous examples of Egwenisms which can, I imagine, be used with equal facility to argue for either her awesomeness or her suckiness, depending on which one of those qualities the observer is more likely to, er, observe.

Take, for example, her treatment of Siuan in these two chapters. For those of us with anti-Egwene tendencies, it could be viewed as high-handed, hypocritical, and, well, bitchy of Egwene to call Siuan out like that and humiliate and chastise her, especially in front of witnesses. And I can certainly see how one would think that; if one looks it from a perspective of their relative positions historically, and how one would want to be treated by one’s own friends if one screwed up, then yeah, it’s mean and bitchy.

But for those of us predisposed to view her actions in a positive light, it could be seen quite differently. I, for example, would first of all challenge the notion that the chastisement was uncalled-for in the first place. Siuan did disobey a direct order from her acknowledged superior, a very emphatically phrased and often repeated order at that, and just because she did it with the best of intentions doesn’t mean that there should be no consequences for it. And consequences aren’t consequences if they don’t sting.

Secondly, I would observe that friendships, frankly, just don’t go well with power, and sometimes one must be sacrificed for the other. Egwene is simply no longer in a position where she can afford to be “nice” all or even most of the time anymore – not even to those she considers friends. Actually, especially to those she considers friends, because she can no longer in conscience allow her friendships to clutter her objective judgments, either on their behalf or in general. 

In addition, she must consider that as a powerful leader, her friendship is no longer the most valuable or necessary value she can offer her friends anyway. In the hierarchical view Egwene must of necessity adopt now that she is at the top of it, it is more beneficial to Siuan in the long run to respect Egwene as a leader than it is for Siuan to like her as a person. From that perspective, reinforcing Siuan’s (or Nynaeve’s, or Elayne’s, or etc.) status as Egwene’s subordinate, even harshly, is to help Siuan, not to feed Egwene’s ego or whatever.

Actually I think that is a great deal of the problem here in general, now that I think on it. It seems like a lot of the anti-Egwene complaints I’ve seen have been centered, more or less, on the contention that Egwene is becoming (or, in some cases, always has been) egotistical, arrogant, and full of herself – that she thinks she is all that and a bag of chips, as the youth of, um, ten years ago say. And certainly many of her statements in these chapters, to herself and to others, can be read that way.

But I rather think this hinges on the subconscious assumption that Egwene has no right to claim the things she says of herself – that she is not the best, or indeed the only, person who can do this job, that it was not her destiny or fate or whatever to become the person she has and gain the power she’s taken. If you think that she is wrong, that she doesn’t have the right to say these things about herself, well then yeah, she’s an overentitled narcissistic megalomaniac.

But if she does… well. Is it egotism if it’s true?

I will also note that there has never, in the history of the world, been a great leader (or a great anything, really) who didn’t also possess a healthy enough dose of ego to believe that they could achieve that greatness, or that they deserved to have it. The meek may inherit the earth, but you’ll note that that trait did not even remotely apply to their spokesperson.

(Humble? Sure. Meek? No. No one who mouths off to every authority figure in earshot and physically throws people out of temples can sanely be described as a “meek” person.)

But again, that’s how I would see it, because I like Egwene and identify with her, and I think that she deserves the power that she holds and I think she deserves to act like she deserves the power she holds.

If you don’t, well, then I can see how she might drive you right up a tree, and never the twain shall meet. *shrug*

So, yeah. AND, regardless of your position on the Scale of Egwenity, I defy anyone to deny that her verbal smackdown of the Tower Hall was anything but a thing of beauty, because EXACTLY. Took the words right out of my mouth, girl. If that’s an example of fan service in action I’ll take it and gladly.

That said, I’m not as sure about Egwene’s thoughts to herself on why each of the Halls chose to raise her. It’s not that I don’t think she’s right, but it seems a little harsher than I would have put it. Perhaps this sounds a little strange coming from me, but prioritizing stability is not exactly the most un-noble goal for a government to have. But then, Egwene, by nature and by circumstance, is a progressive, and progressives are often impatient with the slowness of stability.

But contrariwise, she did chastise the Hall (quite rightly) for failing to check Elaida, who can be viewed as that oddest (and scariest) of creatures, a radically progressive ultra-conservative – in the sense that she was willing to destroy the Tower’s stability in order to preserve it. Or her version of it, anyway. Egwene is surely smart enough to realize that charge of checks and balances must also apply to her, and as a progressive force, the checks on her must needs trend toward the conservative simply by definition. So I don’t entirely get why she was disparaging them on those particular grounds. Especially since there were so many other grounds to disparage them on, heh.

But anyway. The best part of both of these chapters, no contest, is the bit with Silviana. A brilliant political move AND a dose of true poetic justice in one, which are two things that don’t get to hang out together nearly as much as they ought to. Plus, Silviana is awesome, and Egwene is so right that she will be ten times better as Keeper than either Lelaine or Romanda would have been. The fact that it’s also a delightful little karmic slap to those two for their scheming, opportunistic, plot-lengthening ways certainly doesn’t hurt, either.

Sheriam: Well. Exit Sheriam, stage thunk. Initially I was set to be rather annoyed that we got her execution in flashback format, but on reflection we really did kind of have other fish to fry, so whatever, I guess.

From TFOH, Chapter 26:

Rays of silver and blue flashed about [Sheriam’s] fiery hair, and a soft golden light; Min could not say what it meant.

Mm. Well, so much for it meaning Sheriam was going to redeem herself/go out in a blaze of glory by taking out Halima, which was totally my pet theory about her even before I found out she was Black. Damn. Oh well. It’s a tad anticlimactic, in my opinion, but at least that’s one more prophecy we can slide into the “Fulfilled” column, so that’s good.

Incidentally, I would like to note for the record that fifty beheadings in one morning is a GREAT DEAL. Even if the executees were all unquestionably evil, that is just… a lot. Of course, from my perspective even one beheading is over my personal quota, so take it for what it’s worth, but I think fifty in a row is plenty for anyone. Yeesh.

But! The Tower is united, Hooray! Snoopy dances for everyone!

And now my brain go melty, so this is where we stop. See ya next time!

Mark Evans
1. mce102
Thanks for the re-read Leigh.

Egwene shows how much she has learned here
2. Lsana
I'm also glad to have this plotline resolved, but if you'll forgive me three problems I have with Egwene's actions here:

1. Egwene's thoughts on whether or not using the power to transport troops counts as using the power as a weapon. She came out sounding a little too much like, "Being Aes Sedai is all about seeing how far you can bend the rules without actually breaking them." Glad to see someone who thinks like that is in charge (not that anyone else is much better, but still).

2. It seems like the height of hypocracy for Egwene to demand an apology from the rebels given her own actions. She was not merely a symbolic leader of the rebellion but the one who insisted on marching an army to Tar Valon. Her whole, "I'm above that now" really rubbed me the wrong way.

3. Egwene should have abolished the Red Ajah. I know why she didn't, and it was for all the right reasons, but the bottom line is that the Red Ajah has accomplished its purpose, and having it stick around doesn't seem to serve any purpose other than, "Well, we've had a Red Ajah for a long time, so let's keep it." Raising Silvana as her Keeper was inspired, and by all means make it clear she was raised from the Red, but also make it clear that it's time for the rest of the Reds to accept the applause, take a bow, and then find themselves a new Ajah.

On the plus side, it's a minor point, but I do think Egwene's idea of "Stop dressing only in your Ajah's colors like you're a bunch of high school students on spirit day" is long overdue.
3. Louis Theodore Tellman
Good things are a comin'!!
4. Skia
I am one of those in the camp that initially found Egwene annoying in the early to mid books to liking her character now. I've liked her entire tower arc and I like her realization that she has to deal with Rand as a person rather viewing him only as the dragon reborn.
I am a little bit annoyed at how she automatically rejects Rand's plan without talking to him about it, but overall I like Egwene now.
Tricia Irish
5. Tektonica
I am not an Egwene hater, but I do think she's a bit full of herself. That said, raising Silviana was brilliant, as was her dressing down of the Tower hall ,and trying to equalize blame by making the rebels apologize. So now the Tower can unite and get on with Tarmin Gaidon, OK?

I like that she acknowledged that Saidin had been cleansed and that the Reds would have to find a new pupose.

And I really look forward to all the changes she's going to make.....I hope we get to see a few of them....what with all the new novices, some of whom are pretty "mature", the Knitting circle ladies (or whatever they were called), the Wisdoms from the Aiel, and the Seafolk (ug). There's a whole new roster of players that Egwene is going to have to integrate into the ball game! What will the Hall think of all this??

Thanks Leigh!
6. trunuyawkr

RE: Egwene calling out Siuan...... Please remember Egwene was trained by the Aiel, and in Lord of Chaos (when she was first raised Amyrlin by the rebels) there was a large chunk of a chapter that dealt with her internal musings on how Aiel would do what needed to be done, knowing they would have toh at the end - and how they would calmly go to meet that toh with their head high, knowing that they had made their choice in full knowledge that it WOULD incur toh, but that the toh is the lesser evil than if they hadn't acted at all. (Sorry for the long sentence!) So, from Egwene's viewpoint, Siuan had made her choice knowing there would be toh to meet, and dispensed it - a very natural reaction in her Aiel ordered mind. The same train of thought could be applied to her treatment of the rebel group - yes, they HAD to split from the Tower, but that did not mean there wouldn't be toh to face for doing so...... just that the toh is less than what NOT separating would have meant.
7. Blend
You said re: Egwene and the Rebels:

'Her whole, "I'm above that now" really rubbed me the wrong way.'

I don't think she's trying to say that she's above it, I think she's trying to make the non-rebel Aes Sedai feel okay with not having rebelled. Regardless of whether it was warranted or not, the rebels rebelled. They went against the rightfully raised Amyrlin seat, whereas the non-rebels did not. It could be argued that the non-rebels had a rough time of it, what with having to deal with Elaida, and the divisions between Ajahs which was much more prevalent in the tower than in the rebel camp. It seems to me that Egwene, by chastising the rebels, is giving the non-rebels a nod of 'you did right, and you're right to be angry at the rebels'.

I don't see Egwene as thinking that she's above it, and I don't think anyone can argue that Egwene has not been punished for it, seeing as she spent what, a month getting beat several times a day by Silviana, and managed to get the entire Tower to stand behind her despite that. She is the Amyrlin now, she has to represent everyone, including the non-rebels. She can't show favouritism to the rebels, that would just undermine any orders she would/could give to the non-rebels.
8. Great Male Oso
I'd argue with Leigh's contention that one's views of Egwene follow long-standing predispositions. I don't think I'm alone in changing my view of Egwene based on her actions, and having had positive and negative opinions from time to time throughout the series.

Here in TGS I'm generally positive. She accomplishes a great deal here, and her treatment of Siuan doesn't bother me.

But in the next book she really fails. Her treatment of Rand, and her attempts to subordinate the Wise Ones to the Tower, really bother me. Her unquestioning assumptions that the Tower knows best and is entitled to direct the course of civilization are ridiculous - is there any institution in all of Randland more screwed up than the White Tower? What would make anyone think that an institution that has failed so badly at controlling itself would be competent to direct or control anyone else?

At first I wasn't sure that Leigh's description of Egwene as a "progressive" was really helpful, but considering the way Egwene acts in TOM, I'm thinking it's actually spot on - she has exactly the mix of arrogance, self-importance and the totally unwarranted assumption of one's own superiority that make "Progressives" so annoying and dangerous.
9. Rancho Unicorno
Executions - Not to drag NB/FM and the Tower attack back into this, but Egwene seems to be on a AS killing roll.

Opening gateways - if it was too close to using the OP as a weapon, wouldn't the AS simply be unable to do it? That is, I thought it isn't a noble intent that stops them, but their Oath - just as they can't lie. But, I'm usually wrong about these things.

Siuan - I find the irony delicious. Egwene, as noted in previous postings, was nothing if not disobedient and full of initiative. For her to castigate Siuan for the same (and Siaun is far less guilty of it than Egwene) is the perfect summary of what I don't like about the woman Egwene has become (I'm in the I used to like her well enough but now I can't stand her camp).

Accepting Amyrlin - I'm going to agree with Egwene here.

Silviana - Again, I'm in total agreement with Egwene

Reprimanding the TAS - The big collapse came about because of secrecy regarding Rand, creating a leadership void that Elaida seized for herself. Should the TAS Sitters have been a counter to her? Sure. But, it would have demanded a level of unity among the non-Reds that was near impossible when they had all been broken by the schism - and even then, they had rolled out a plan to reunite the tower. It just wasn't fast enough. Nevertheless, I certainly hope that Egwene remembers this speech when the Hall tries to limit her power (I see nothing indicating that she is willing to honestly and openly consult the Hall).

Reprimanding the SAS - These people broke off and made me their Amyrlin, they were naughty. Ignore the fact that I made a concious decision to do the same. Ignore the fact that, as mentioned above, I brought an army to fight the tower - and I did so as a commander-in-chief after outflanking the Rebel Hall. Ignore the fact that my qualification as AS and belief that I was the true Amyrlin was based on the actions of the SAS.

Black Tower - "As Rand pondered the best way to approach the Final Battle, he couldn't help but conclude that the White Tower would need to be dealt with." Yeah, like Egwene would let a comment like that fly.

Egwene's personality - Do I take issue with the Egwene that took risks and acted on her gut to do the right thing? No. Do I have a problem with her growing and realizing that life has shade of grey that demand care and adjustment? No. My problem is that she seems to be doing the same thing that the United States is intent on doing in the ME - now that she thinks she has things figured out, everybody else needs to think the same way, right away, never mind the missteps that come with the growing process.
Rob Munnelly
10. RobMRobM
Leigh - I really like your Egewne liker/hater analysis. I've always been on the plus side for her (although she does tick me off on occasion, including in ToM) and often have been surprised by the extent of argument expressed on the minus side. I guess I have a soft spot for "ooh ooh" girls.

Maitrey Deshpande
11. LittleWolf
Yay, I'd been dying to hear your thoughts about these chapters Leigh!

Something that has been niggling me ever since I read them, the Black Ajah execution bit. I totally agree that Egwene was right to execute them, rather than holding on and pumping them for information, but were they ever questioned to know what exactly motivated so many Sisters to turn to the Shadow? IMO, it's really important to know that, my numbers are a bit hazy here, but percentage-wise, AS are more likely to turn to the Shadow than any other organisation and/or the general population. How did that ever come about when AS are meant to be a force of the Light and fight the Shadow (yes, they plot and backstab, but giving up your soul?)

Also, were any of the Black Sisters given a chance to defend themselves? Again my memory is a bit hazy here, but what I recollect from Verin's POV is that she went over to the Shadow by happenstance (something about not keeping her mouth shut and asking too many questions) and then decided to use the opportunity to turn double-agent. I'm sure Egwene knows this, were any of the other Black Sisters given this chance, especially if many of them were a victim of circumstance? Discuss!

12. cordarie4life
yay for black Ajah blood bath!
13. Jeff R.
Long-term, I think that the Red will need to keep the "Ajah that deals with male channellers" role, shifting from "gentling them" to "bonding or being bonded by them" and specializing in managing multi-gender circles. This will, no doubt, require significant adjustment. And reclaiming the black tower, of course...
14. TimBuktu

Like you, I've shifted in my views on Egwene. Through the first 4 books or so, she was among my favorite characters. She now ranks among my least favorite. Over the same timeframe, Nynaeve has made the opposite transition, and I believe their reversal is due to the fact that Egwene has largely become the character Nynaeve was in the first book(s): an arrogant, overbearing, (perhaps too) young woman in a position of authority who seeks to maintain that position through condescension, holier-than-thou lectures, and utterly eschewing and disregarding her friendships.

Most, if not all, of the fault lies with Jordan's weaknesses in portraying women in positions of power--except for perhaps Morgase, they all seem to fit the same mold--but since Egwene is his creation, she has to own up to it.
Matthew Hunter
15. matthew1215
Leigh: I wouldn't say I dislike Egwene all the time, but I do think she has some serious issues with o'erwheening pride that *deliberately* echo Dark Rand's and contrast with Zen Rand. Remember Latra Posae (sp?) from The Strike At Shayul Ghul; Egwene is also a parallel for that character. Her choice, to help Rand or oppose him, will be pivotal... and so far she has been set up to oppose him, by way of her pride and arrogance. Pride and arrogance that Rand suffered from, was shattered by, and has now overcome to achieve enlightenment.

To sanity check your thoughts on Egwene's issues here: what would you think if Rand had given a similar speech to, say, Perrin (for allowing Masema to be killed instead of brought to Rand) as Egwene gave to Siuan? Being a leader, even a rightfully elected one, does not excuse arrogance or egotism, it just makes it easier to get away with them. It's one thing to enforce the protocols of heirarchy on those who are your subordinates and nothing else, quite another to enforce those same protocols who are your friends as well.

By insisting on rigid heirarchy, by alienating her friends, by insisting on mindless obedience rather than allowing for individual initiative under changing circumstances, is Egwene acting more like Dark Rand or Zen Rand? Which one helps the pattern, which one damages it?

All that said, I'm not saying Egwene is completely wrong in any of the above. She does have legitimate authority concerns with the freshly reunified tower and she needs to solidify that authority fast. My concern is that she is choosing fast over wise, particularly with respect to her friends, who will be much more valuable to her as trustworthy friends in short supply than as just another subservient aes sedai.

Lsana@2: I find it amusing that Egwene gives her long overdue demand to stop dressing only in ajah colors shortly after picking out a red dress to show solidarity with the red ajah. Hypocrite, much? As for abolishing the Red Ajah, it seems to me that there is a clear need for a non-gender-specific Police Ajah now and for the foreseeable future.
A.J. Bobo
16. Daedylus
I'd like to throw a vote to both the pro-Egwene and anti-Egwene sides of the argument. At this point, she is awesome. Pure, plain awesome. But in the next book (which I think we can talk about safely here) she goes back to making me want to kick her out a very high window. When she interacts with Rand, she goes into old-fashioned Aes Sedai mode and acts like she knows everything and he doesn't know anything. (Actually, she started doing that somewhere around book 4.) Since book 2 or so, all I've wanted is for the Aes Sedai to give Rand a little respect and actually TALK to him. But they never did. And Egwene continues that fine tradition.

But until we get to that chapter in the reread, I'll like Egwene because of what she did here.
Richard Boye
17. sarcastro
Yay, yay yay....

Yay for so many things Silviana, the Hall smackdown, the castigation of the rebels and their acquittal, yay for Gareth Bryne but boo on one thing.

Larain Sedai is wearing ORANGE. NO ONE WEARS ORANGE IN WOT. It was one of the tiny little indicia that BS is not RJ that just ruined the whole (voluntary) illusion that we are reading the completion of RJ's work. It gets worse in the next book.
Bill Reamy
18. BillinHI
I like it when the mainland is on Daylight Savings Time (even if it does mess up my DVR settings!) as I get to see the new post before there are already multitudes of responses.

As for Egwene, she is a flawed character just like all the other characters in WOT. After all, RJ wrote her that way. I am generally on the "like Egwene" side but she does manage to annoy the hell out of me at times with her thoughts or actions. I loved it when she said (or was it thought?) that the WT would have to be melted down and re-forged! But then she continues with the assumption that that same WT is the ONLY qualified leader of the forces of Light!! The Black Tower will have to be dealt with!!! Yes, Rand had the right idea in that male channelers would be needed at TG but he definitely screwed up the implementation.
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
19. Lisamarie
I do like Egwene (although she annoys me in ToM by not taking Rand seriously)...and I don't think she should have totally disbanded the Red Ajah. I think it is appropriate for them to, instead, change their purpose/goals.

As for meek, because that stuck out with me - the word meek, at least in Catholic theology (I can't speak for other denominations) has two meanings, none of which really line up with what we think in our society when we say meek.

One of the meanings is basically the same as humility - a sense of 'God is God and I am not' and accepting that will. The other meaning, found in some Catholic Encyclopedias is 'The virtue that moderates anger and its disorderly effects. It is a form of temperance that controls every inordinate movement of resentment at another person's character or behavior.'

It does not mean being quiet, mousy, letting people walk all over you in every situation (sometimes it is the prudent thing to pick your battles, but being meek doesn't meak you can't speak your mind or call people out on their hypocrisy) or never having any emotions. I suppose one could argue that the temple incident borders on not being meek, but one could also argue it was an ordinate amount of zeal (at least for the Son of God, I am not suggesting we take it upon ourselves to do such things).

Even though Jesus is God, he still exemplefies meekness because he a)gives us an example of submitting to the will of the Father (not mine, but thy will be done), and also b)submitting to torture, false accusations, etc. It would have been just for Him to lash out agaisnt his attackers and smite him, but He didn't - instead he accepted it and even prayed for His enemies. So that's where the idea of Jesus being meek comes from.

I apologize for derailing the conversation.

Back to Egwene, I think she is awesome - yes, she does come off as a little full of herself, but I think she deserves it, and I also think that due to her station she HAS TO. She is the Amyrlin Seat, so you kind of need somebody in that position that is strong and self assured. It doesn't mean she isn't willing to seek out advice, other peoples' perspective, etc - but I think, since she isn't just 'Egwene' anymore, she has to come off that way.
Kimani Rogers
22. KiManiak

Once again, thanks for the post and all of the WoT-goodness for yet another week.

There is, potentially, a lot to say about Egwene in these chapters, but I think that I’ll let others say the bulk of it (and Leigh, you said a lot that is highly debatable, and as you observed, very much guided by your own biases).

So very quickly (for me, anyway) I’ll just say that I think Egwene will make a great Amyrlin, but I was not overly thrilled with her opinion of some of the others (Siuan, the rebels) and her attitude towards -and actions during- the events and proceedings leading up to (and including) her installation in the Tower as Amyrlin. I did like the selection of Silviana as Keeper.

But, yes, one major plotline was definitely resolved.

(A little aside. I find it interesting that Romanda comments that no contact with the delegation to the Black Tower had been received, implying something potentially ominous.

However, in ToM we see that Nynaeve was able to Travel to the delegation tents easily, and “encouraged” Myrelle to release Lan’s bond. So, in retrospect, this seems to be a whole lotta nothing. Unless Team Jordan just wanted to remind us that the delegation had not successfully recruited Ashaman, yet.)
Skip Ives
23. Skip
I don’t really fall into either Egwene camp, but I think her character arc has past from annoying to awesome, if human. I think part of the early annoyance was intentional, to showcase the societal norms of Randland. Nor do I have an issue with Egwene’s development and use of power. She is a ruler for life and the checks on her power are limited. All she is doing is exercising those powers. She is not rising above herself, while she chastises others for rebellion or failure to act, she also takes on some of the blame herself.

Also, remember that this is a speech – it’s an inherently political act. What does Egwene need now? She needs a whole and united tower, not a fractious one. So declaring one side or the other the “winner” is counterproductive to her aims. There is plenty of blame to go around, and she uses that to paint everyone with the same brush, including herself. That way there is no one to gloat and no one to feel unfairly singled out. I’m not saying it has to work on everyone, just that it is a politically astute way of approaching her problem.
24. LoghainsBrother
I don't have strong feelings about Egwene to either direction. I like reading her chapters and I definitely think she was the complete star of the book and totally awesome in general, but she generally fails to evoke strong emotions from me.

But it seems to me that you're totally missing the point of the hatedom for her. I think most people who hate her view her as a Mary Sue. And they have a strong case:
She's hardly ever wrong.
When she is wrong at first, it usually turns to her advantage.
If it doesn't, she never fails to learn the lesson.

It's just a bit too much to believe in one character. Even if people take it too far, it's still a valid argument.
25. ryamano
Secondly, I would observe that friendships, frankly, just don’t go well with power, and sometimes one must be sacrificed for the other.

Remember what you wrote here, Leigh, in your Read of Ice and Fire. In the future (probably in 2015), this will be interesting to discuss.
Alice Arneson
26. Wetlandernw
Odd though it seems for me to be saying this so many weeks in a row, I'm in complete agreement with Leigh again. You go, girl!
Irene Gallo
27. Irene
I'm going to leave that unpublished. You can ask Timbuktu to elaborate on his opinions, or refute them with your own thoughts, but he hasn't stepped over any lines just by brining the idea up. I'd like to leave room for disagreement as long as everyone stays respectful.
Teresa Nielsen Hayden
28. tnh
Peace, Cav. We ride herd on behavior, not literary opinions.
29. Blood_Drunk
6. trunuyawkr
Well said, I thought it was fine that she made the rebels appoligize, but your right, it goes toward owning up to her toh. While necessary, she still needed to accept her own role in the division and only asked the others to accept their resposibility as well.

Oh and the part with Silviana was brilliant. With all the beatings she endured, its no doubt that some thought she would want to punish the messanger but it was Elaida's orders that she was following.
Kimani Rogers
31. KiManiak
Lsana@2 – I’m not sure about abolishing the Red Ajah, especially so close to when the Blue was abolished and rebelled. I’m in the camp that thinks the Red needs to be repurposed; and I think Pevara’s and Tarna’s (sigh, still so sad) plan to partner the Red with the Ashaman is a good one. Plus, many have speculated that the Red would be tasked in hunting down enemy channelers post-TG.

trunuyawkr@6 – re: Toh – I’m not sure if that is what Egwene was doing here, versus scolding a subordinate for not obeying her orders and messing up her plans. It feels quite different, since the Aiel very rarely came off appearing “holier than thou” and a number of folks often accuse Egwene of embodying that.

Great Male@8 – I think you are right to challenge Leigh’s assertion about some folks’ perceptions of Egwene being based on whether/not they like her, versus the actions she’s taken. I think one should be able to assess a character and state “I liked this about them; I didn’t like this about them.” Some here can do that; others choose not to do so.

Rancho@9 – I think that a major issue that many folks have with Egwene (which I noticed Leigh skipped around in her comments above) is her hypocrisy in relation to her friends and loved ones. You spelled out a couple of noteworthy examples (Siuan, SAS, Black Tower). There are a multitude of others.

Matthew1215@15 – Good counters to Leigh’s post. Would she support Rand if he would have told Perrin that; or gone off on Rand for being crazy? A good leader should be able to determine whether a subordinate that disobeyed a command has good cause, based upon the circumstances. Even if that leader had their plans shaken, they still should look at it from their subordinate’s point of view.

Otherwise, that leader should just surround themselves with yes-men (or yes-women, in Egwene’s case) and mindless automatons; not close confidants that you can trust (especially when it comes to them telling you whether/not you were wrong).

Lisamarie@19 – interesting post re: meekness. I also see meek (in the context of that phrase) as meaning humble, not weak. As for Egwene “willing to seek out advice,” I don’t believe she does that often (I can only think of the occasional talk with the Wise Ones, who are definitely not her subordinates). She had Siuan instruct her re: ways of the Amyrlin, but I don’t know if she was seeking advice. There are times where her friends offer her advice. But I can’t think of too many occasions where Egwene actively seeks it.
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
32. Lisamarie
KiManiak@31 - yes, I see what you mean. I think my post was a little confusing; I wasn't intending to make it seem like Egwene embodies meekness, I just got a little sidetracked.

I'll admit, I never saw her quite as full of herself as others did (although her behavior in ToM regarding Rand does tick me off, but we'll get to that), and I guess I see her as better than people like, say, Elaida, in that she even allows herself to be instructed. But I suppose she never does actually seek out advice.

But, even if it does sting a bit, I do agree with the points made that, if she wants to unify the tower, she can't make it look like one side was right and one was wrong, so it is a wise move to call out both the rebels and non-rebels for their part in the mess, and she also admits her own guilt as well.
Skip Ives
33. Skip
@24. LoghainsBrother A MarySue? I realize she hasn’t lost a hand or been scarred to the extent Rand has, but couldn’t you say the same for him if you are being that broad?

She’s been kidnapped, chained, tortured, jailed, beaten and faced realistic chances of death several times. She was almost killed for some of the times she thought she knew better and was wrong. From the start of the series the cost of going down the wrong path was death. If we are being told the tales of another age, it stands to reason that ones that live on in stories made a lot of right decisions or there would be no story to tell.

At least she earned her power, like Rand and many of the others. Mat got hit with the powers that really look like they were wheeled in via deus ex machina. I’m not complaining, this is a story of prophesy and legend, if things didn’t work out just right there would be no story, and besides Mat paid for his power even if they fell to him.
James Golden
34. Treemaster
@16: "When she interacts with Rand, she goes into old-fashioned Aes Sedai mode and acts like she knows everything and he doesn't know anything. (Actually, she started doing that somewhere around book 4.)"

Actually, whatever one's views of Egwene, one has to admit that Egwene has been doing that to Rand since the first time she appears in The Eye of the World.
35. Seamus1602
I like Egwene, especially in these chapters. The Tower Raid and subsequent political wrangling is pretty much the apex of her SL throughout the series (though we'll see what happens in AMoL).

However, I do still have problems with Egwene.

1. The 3 Oaths. I still hate how quickly she kowtowed to the 'necessity' of the 3 Oaths. It has long been my belief that the 3 Oaths are the root of the AS problems in Randland - all they do is provide cover for every member of the BA that exists.

2. Her continued anger over the bonding of AS that were sent on an assasination mission. She's never once mentioned that assasination mission, that I recall, but she harps on those bondings all the time.

3. Her stance on Elaida's forced Oath and her minion's oath of fealty. In her view, it's pretty much the worst possible crime to compel obedience, but I still see very little difference in what she forced on the sisters in her control and what Elaida wanted. (This also goes back to the 3 Oaths - they make any oath magically binding, meaning that anyone with the power to subdue/torture a sister can create a new, binding oath)

I still want to call Egwene the best AS we've seen, but Nyn takes that title for me, largely because she has some level of rationality about the world at large, not just the world seen through a WT filter.

And I really didn't mean for this to turn into me bashing Egwene because she deserves so many props for her actions. Her saving Adelorna is probably my favorite scene in the last few books. She's awesome and rational and pretty amazing, but it can still sometime bug when she keeps buying into AS-isms.
36. Lsana
@13, 31 (and various others),

There are two major problems with re-purposing the Red Ajah for a "dealing with male channelers in a way that doesn't involve gentling them."

1. The Red Ajah is not an organization that views men and women equally. It's not true that the Red Ajah is filled with nothing but man-haters, but it's true that there are a lot of man-haters in it. Either they joined the ajah because they hated men or they've gotten a rather unfortunate view of the male half of the species during their work.

2. The Red Ajah is the organization that male channelers blame, fairly or unfairly (and for the record, I say unfairly), for their pain. These are the people male channelers would be least likely to want to deal with.

A similar problem would apply to making the Red Ajah a police force against enemy channelers: they wouldn't be seen as objective and it wouldn't be the right position for many of those currently in the ajah.

I know that Egwene didn't want to eliminate the Red because it would have been bad politics, but it seems to me in the real world, organizations that were started for good purpose but continued on after that purpose was accomplished become very destructive. One thing she could have done that might have worked out better would be to eliminate ALL ajahs: declare that from now until the end of the age, the only purpose any Aes Sedai has is to help the Light win. After that, assuming there still is a White Tower, we'll see what if any ajahs need to be created.
Ian B
37. Greyfalconway
50 beheadings definitely IS a lot. If each of those women was only roughly 120lbs (and some were probably much more) then Egwene has over SIX THOUSAND POUNDS of dead human flesh to dispose of.
38. zackattack
Others have already covered what I was going to say so I’ll just add that I too was a big Egwene fan (including and perhaps especially in TGS). It was ToM that soured me on her and judging from the comments I am far from alone in that regard. Leigh, you may need to rethink your Eg-lover/Eg-hater theory.

For now Egwene is awesome. This is one of her best moments in the series for me.
Dawn Boyall
39. deebee
Rays of silver and blue flashed about fiery hair, and a soft golden light; Min could not say what it meant. (TFOH26)

That scene would always be vivid in Egwene’s mind—her former Keeper, lying with her head pressed against the stump, blue dress and fiery red hair suddenly bathed in warm golden light as a thinner section of clouds moved in front of the sun. Then the silvery axe, falling to claim her head. (TGS 45)

I`m with Leigh on this one, it`s hard to reconcile Min`s viewing with the way Sheriam`s plot arc fizzles out. The death scene feels as if it`s been written to explain away the colours in Sheriam`s aura. So I wonder if her arc was orginally intended to be something else? It`s easy to imagine that some plot threads have been tidied up a little in the interests of finishing the series in fewer than 15 books. In any event, Min`s viewing didn`t seem to suggest the grim reality of public beheading, which has to be one of the most gory and primitive methods of execution, often requiring several goes to achieve decapitation.

Or is the point of it a foreshadowing of another of Min`s viewings which turns out very differently from the way we expect?
40. thehiso
If you guys are talking about Egwene not wanting Rand to break the seals to the DO's prison as her "kowning everything" in TOM I think you are being too hard on her. Of course she(along with most people) wouldn't want the seals on the DO's prison broken. I mean we as readers get to see all the angles and we still have no clue if that is the right thing to do or not. We assume that's the right thing because Min and Rand think they have figured it out, but we really don't know. It could backfire terribly and releasing the DO could doom Team Light.

I don't think she or anyone truly realizes that Rand IS Lews Therin because that is something no one has ever seen before and therefore it would be hard to just go along with what he thinks since he(as Rand) is just as young as she is. So I don't see it as much of a stretch or her being arrogant or whatever to not want the seals to be broken on the DO's prison. It seems very rational to me.
41. MRCHalifax
I love Egwene as a character, but I strongly dislike her as a person - it's an indication that I find the character to be one of the best written in the series that both of those statements are true. There is a human tendency to find positive qualities in people we like or admire and to mentally blank out their negative qualities, and to do the opposite in people on the other side of the fence. Egwene is on the right side, and has a ton of positive qualities - she's strong willed, intelligent, perceptive, quick thinking, willing to bury old grudges, able to adapt herself to new situations, and can be quite clever.
However, personality wise, she's a total bitch, and has been since about book five.
She's the only character I really feel that way about. Cadsuane, Verin, Moiraine, Aviendha, Min, Siuan, Faile, all of them have faults of one sort or another but I don't dislike any of them as people. I once disliked Nynaeve, but her character started to shift around book three or four, and by book seven she was one of my favorites. And looking back in the series, I can see the character that I've come to love in her earlier chapters, and can appreciate how she's changed for the better. With Egwene, I originally liked her, but as the series has continued she's become less and less likable for me, her character moving in the opposite direction as Nynaeve. I even know the exact scene where I realized I now preferred Nynaeve to Egwene: when Egwene attacked Nynaeve in TAR to hide the fact that Egwene was in TAR when she shouldn’t be, and how Egwene giggled about it afterwards.
Along those lines, I disagree with your theory of emotional inertia, Leigh. I initially disliked Nynaeve, and came to love the character. I initially disliked Mat, and came to love the character. I initially liked Elayne, but I really don’t care for her one way or another now. I loved Rand at the start, but I loathe DarkRand (though like Egwene, he’s a fascinating character to read). Egwene is a character I initially liked, but have come to loathe as a person.
For all her strengths, she’s not a very nice person, and she’s greatly lacking in ability to be objective. In the Gathering Storm, her negative qualities rarely come to the forefront, in part due to the nature of the challenges in front of her. Instead, her positive qualities shine, and even people who dislike her will often say that they enjoy her chapters. In Towers of Midnight, her negative qualities are much more evident, and those that dislike her find more to dislike.
Ron Garrison
42. Man-0-Manetheran
Egwene's Leadership Qualities:

Instead of giving the Tower AS the what for and demanding an apology from the Rebel AS, she should have: (select one)
0- Consulted the latest polls to determine a course of action.
0- Shaken up her Etch-A-Sketch to see if she should change her position on everything.
Seriously, I think her actions showed great leadership. She said what needed to be said to the Tower, and to the rebels as well. If she hadn't, there still would have been grumbling in the halls about whe were the "real" AS. Her actions ground down those petty arguments and allowed them all to start afresh.

Silviana - a brilliant stroke of wisdom and diplomacy

Not disbanding the Red Ajah - Had she disolved them, she would have been just like Elaida. They are Red, and yes they need a new purpose. Let them work it out.
43. Hammerlock
Yes, the AS bodycount shoots up here, in terms of an army of thousands 50+ is a relatively small amount of bodies to dispose of. Given the need to deal with the BA switftly before they sussed the issue, and the difficulty and likelihood of high collateral damage should the BA realize their situation, plus the virtual END OF THE WORLD being nigh, the harsh justice is clearly justified.

Re Egwene: My primary issue with her is "where is this stuff coming from?"
She's barely 21, if that. She's had very little formal education. Suian is her sole source of Sekrit Tower info, and unless the One Power grants eidetic memory or they had a pocket version of the 13th Depository she shouldn't know half the stuff she does off the cuff.
She goes from outspoken village girl to novice to aiel trainee to a woman capable of elaborate speechifying. At least Rand has the crutch of "past life memories bleeding through" to handwave some of his leaps (which, One Power ones aside, have been comparitively minor).

Its certainly possible to have someone that talented and gifted come into their own that young, and we're dealing with a cosmology that spits out "coin on edge" random chance as a matter of course. That said, she doesn't come across as a Real person, as much as the Amyrlin 3000.

That said, I do love the subtle parallels between her actions and Dark Rand's--in many ways the same, but she has a shinier veneer to hers that keep people from freaking out immediately. I'll be mildly upset if she doesn't fall a bit from this in AMoL and have to eat a hearty helping of crow.
44. gadget
@24 LoghainsBrother - I agree. Egwene did come off as very Mary Sue-ish to me in this book. Don't get me wrong, her plot thread in this book was amazing and made of awsome, especially in counterpoint to the Dark Rand thread, yet it did seem a little like having a little too much sugar-filled snacks before dinner. It was vary cathartic at first read, but I find the Dark Rand sub-plot much deeper and more interesting (And I'm not usually one of those who consider 'darkness', 'grittiness', or 'shades of gray' as equal to 'more depth' the way many seem to).

That said I started out disliking Egwene; I thought she was a shrill little magpie, totally projecting her own motives on Rand & co.'s motives for leaving the Shire Two Rivers as wanting 'adventures' when they were just scared and trying to do the right thing. As the books progressed I started to like her more and more, though she is not my favorite character.

As for the Red Ajah, it seems that they are destined to become some sort of 'Inquisition' for the White Tower to hunt down and deal with renagade (read: Darkfriend) channellers. This is not far from what their traditional role has been, so it seems to fit. Or they could just be the happy bond/be bonded by male channellers group. I could be wrong.
45. Be'Lal
In LoC, it was a plot point that a woman being raised Amyrlin would be summoned by a specific ceremony. Disappointing that the TAS seem to have forgotten.
Roger Powell
46. forkroot
Re Egwene: She can't be all bad ... after all, she did dump those obnoxious Sea Folk into the river.
Reading ToM again. Came across the word Balescream. I remember as a kid being a fan of the Transformers and thinking that of all of the Transformers, Optimus Prime and Starscream were the two coolest names. And then I said to myself, "Balescream would be a cool name here in this setting now, wouldn't it?"

Yes sir, it would! And sooooo....

Balescream- the warping of the pattern as a side effect of Balefires use, emanating from the focus of the event and its event horizon.

Balescream- "a moment when creation itself howled in pain"

I like that....

edit- changed it to all caps as the name in itself is a major event, shouting its name. BALESCREAM then seems more appropiate, to me, than Balescream.

I'd also like to note the interesting parallels between Blackholes and Balefire. Well more like micro singularities and balefire. I'm thinking that they sorta have things in common such as blackholes warping time around it the closer to it you get and balefire warping the pattern as the pattern seeks to right itself lacking a now non existant piece of itself. And its opposites where balefire is dreadfuly bright with its use and blackholes and singularities lack of light. Although there is a flash of light just before the blackholes birth.

But the real similarity is that micro singularities are too small to sustain their activity and then winks out of existance. Taking with them anything that was within its event horizon during its brief life. And that has its relation with balefire as it also removes from existance any evidence that what was there exists at all, even going so far back into time, given the strength of the One Power used. I think blackholes do the same, in that since light can not escape the pull of a blackhole and since as you aproach the speed of light time slows down, maybe time reverses within the bounds of the blackhole with all of time reversing in on itself in this one point of space.

That aint proven I know, but its a theory somewhere abouts. And with the late James Rigney having been a student of Physics at one time, I believe he had this parallel in mind when he imagined balefire for the first time.

Warp Z
Tricia Irish
49. Tektonica
Excellent summary of my feelings about Egwene and Nynaeve. You nailed it.

Man-O: Hi!! I agree...she did the politically correct thing with the two factions...TAS and SAS. Picking Silviana was genius.

I didn't like her chewing out of Siuan....it could've been done in private, at least. Why don't people just explain themselves to each other? Siuan of all people, would understand the loneliness of the position of Amyrlin. It could've been a very moving scene with the two of them acknowledging Egwenes final ascendency to Amyrlin of all.....a kind of farewell to the past.

Hammerlock@43: May I help serve the crow? (I agree.)

Although she was pretty awesome in this book, I do hope that Egwene alters her viewpoint toward Rand in MoL. This business of "guiding" and "controlling" the Dragon, must STOP. (ala ToM). There needs to be a recognition of each other in a deeply felt, understanding , cooperative way.
Thomas Keith
50. insectoid
Yay, new post! Yay, more Egwene awesomeness! Thanks Leigh!

Egwene: Is still Made of Awesome, especially that speech to the rebels. For the record, I am firmly in the "like Egwene" camp.

Sheriam: Well, uh, so long Sheriam! Too bad about that "halo of glory" thing...

Dream ter'angreal: Ouch. Doesn't Elayne still have the original? I forget.

Silviana: Is still Awesome. Egs could not ask for a better Keeper.

New purpose for the Reds: How about storming the Black Tower OF EVIL in AMoL?

Oh, and Gawyn was in these chapters.
Exit Sheriam, stage thunk.
Couldn't have said it better. XD

Z @47/48: Love the new name! Abbreviating it will be difficult though... :P

William Fettes
51. Wolfmage
I agree that one of the forces in play is this kind of self-reinforcing anchoring from previous scenes. With a complex character like Egwene, who is obviously precocious and a bit divisive, it's easy to draw out material to support and reinforce an existing understanding. Though I don't think we should overstate this. I would think that many or even most of us are perfectly capable of holding both positive and negative views about different aspects of a character simultaneously, and where there are true conflicts, revising the prior view in harmony with new facts, without wanting to or needing to downplay or dismiss anything.

That said, I think if we exclude the hardcore Egwene haters, who cannot see anything positive in her character, what Leigh is saying above about it mostly coming down to your view of the legitimacy of her leadership is a rather glaring red herring.

I honestly don't see any non-haters questioning Egwene's basic competence and fitness as a leader forged in the fires of three separate cultures, mentored by the best - etc. I think that's basically universally accepted, and it's really nothing to do with most of the back-and-forth about her character.

It's pretty obvious that she is awesome, and that's she has the kind of skills, temperament and perspective to make her uniquly qualified to take on high office, even if there are some who might want to debate whether some of that success and virtue has always been "shown" to us convincingly and organically in the text, as opposed to being told to us in an authorial voice by other characters, or just general Mary Sueness. I think there's some of that, but it's generally beyond dispute that she is a good leader at this point.

But anyway, the objection to Egwene berating Siuan so harshly isn’t coming from people who dispute her legitimate expectation of obedience. As a sovereign leader, of course she needs to be careful about anyone defying her authority or even the perception of it. Rather, I think some of the more relevant questions to ask are as follows:

-Why was such a harsh rebuke necessary, with the ongoing spectre of lost trust hanging over Siuan's head?
-Why not a milder, though still-forceful rebuke which was limited to the actual issue, with no ongoing withdrawal of trust, and given in private? Surely that achieves everything necessary and propotationate to the actual problem, without, you know being a dick about it.
-Why is she still exactly as strident in her tone and huffiness as she is when she is justifiably worried in the immediate aftermath of the rescue. I mean, I see the point in being really upset when you really are genuinely worried that the unification only happens if a particular sequence plays out as planned. But that's moot at this point, yet she has not really moderated her umbrage a hair. Without any bad consequences to the rescue, the nature of the rebuke seems to be excessively (basically entirely) premised on her personal authority, which, as I've argued above, only takes you so far in defending this form of rebuke.
-Why is no consideration given to the mitigating circumstances of the raid? It's true she gave explicit orders, but surely there is some grounds for wiggle room with the Seanchan invasion? I mean, obviously absent any such big new event, the standing orders are completely controlling, but I really think the Seanchan invasion arguably changes things enough that it’s far more understandable and forgivable to act on it as a new reality that was unanticipated by the orders.
-Even if we accept that this disobediance must decrement some of the trust that Egwene has reposed in Siuan, where that takes you should, at least partly, be determined by how much credit you already have in the bank. And I would argue Siuan is owed a great deal of credit by virtue of everything she has done for Egwene. Egwene literally could never become a real Amyrlin without Siuan.

Egwene learning how to hold her own and even out-manoeuvre the Hall? Siuan. Her various critical game-making ploys with the War Powers and Tower Law? Siuan. Her being able to name drop past Amyrlins and secret histories to win over the TAS with erudite and mysterious lore she never personally studied and only superficially understands? Siuan. I could go on and on. Egwene obviously has her own amazing independent accomplishments as well, and she deserves her position on merit in the end, and she is the one who ultimately acts on advice and takes the risk. But in light of Siuan's huge contribution of personal loyalty and expertise to Egwene's rise, I think the treatment is rather shabby, honestly. Siuan was not just any trusted, but easily replaceable, operative or lieutenant. She has been Egwene's most critical ally - a dedicated, loyal and indespensible consigliere who made her rise to power possible. For that reason, I find it uncomfrotable, and a little indecent of spirit and disproportional, even though I am prepared to accept most of what Leigh said about the separatenes of friendship and responsibility.

This isn’t an exhaustive list, but if being irked at the Siuan incident relates to prior negative impressions, I think it would be themes that I’ve noticed brought-up repeatedly such as:
-Egwene’s occasional rough-tongue treatment of friends;
-A sense of hypocrisy, or at least permissive looseness, arising from how she sets and applies standards to herself and others;
-Her great sense of moral certainty even when it isn’t at all obvious that she has thought through the issues with sufficient care or with even a barely charitable interpretation of what other actors, including friends, might have been doing.
-Her tendency to fixate on moving forward, not looking back, which is both a virtue and a bias, I guess.
-Her tendency to conflate what is her own personal interpretation of the step that must be taken to achieve the ultimate goal, with the ultimate goal itself. I think we see this in her reasoning all the time.
-Her tendency to invoke ji'e'toh as a transaction to do what is expedient. Obviously she does pay a cost, but it's open to debate whether this gimmick is really morally satisfactory. (I don't think it is and I don't think she applies it consistently to rely on it so much.) With Siuan, for example, she puts her on notice that trust is withdrawn and she will need to earn it back, which is distinctly closer to the conventional understanding of trust as a convenant, than the other way. That tradition sits in tension with the transactional approach in a way that the series never properly explores, and were it applied to Egwene on the various occassions she breaks the rules she would have been cast out because she broke trust. I mean, I would love to see Siuan just demand to be spanked to nullify her wrong. Assuming Egwene doesn't object to meeting toh this way, which should could hardly do given her record, she would be forced to reset her trust immediately. So, I think it would be an interesting test for Egwene's principles to see whether she really sees trust that way or not.



Great Male Oso @ 8
“I'm thinking it's actually spot on - she has exactly the mix of arrogance, self-importance and the totally unwarranted assumption of one's own superiority that make "Progressives" so annoying and dangerous.”
Boo. Just don't. WoT threads are so much the better for the absence of this kind of bare-knuckled political invective which relies on putting people in the 'other' category with nasty dehumanising caricatures. The reality is fantasy attracts a lot of conservatives and progressive alike, and despite that political cognition gap, the Tor community that has bloomed around Leigh's blogs still manages to treat each other with dignity and have great in-depth philosophical conversations about just about anything. I think we're very lucky in that regard. But every time someone gives into their temptation to say something nasty, a crack in that comity and collegiality appears. One crack might be minor in isolation, but pretty quickly such cracks become the norm and change the tone of the whole place, and soon enough we will be like every other place on the internet with highly segregated hostile camps defending entrenched positions and talking past each other with complete epistemic disconnect. I think it's pretty clear we would all lose if that happened.
insectoid -

No worries! Just continue to call me Z. I'll always be Zexxes, and I'll probably tire of this name at some point and come back to my original. I mean everywhere I go, I use Zexxes and it is mine, its original, and no other but one has used it although he doesn't anymore since he saw that I had precedent.

53. Wotman
Egwene, Egwene, she can be awesome, but then she screws it all up. It is not so much that I dislike her here, but if you look in the back of the book under White Tower, you will see her picture. She is the epitome of the WT and that is the problem, she is so arrogant and treats Rand so badly.
She does well in the tower and makes wise choices, but the tower seems to think because they have power they obviously know what needs to be done and the rest of humanity - well not so much.
If I were Gawyn, I would have been riding hard and fast outa there, actually later, he did.
Siuan got what she deserved, I woulda been real pissed if someone came in trying to be a hero and screwed up everything I was trying to do.
The Red Ajah, I think they will repurpose themselves on their own, I think it was starting to happen when they decided to hook up with the black coats, they will be sorely needed for TG. The so called "battle Ajah", looked pretty pathetic, throughout the book, they didn't do much planning drilling or anything, it was more a college frat than anything, they haven't done anything for a couple of hundred years anyway.
Love them chopping heads, glad they glossed over that, didn't have time to do much with them due to the circumstances, and that was what puzzled me when Egwene chewed up the TAS when she new all too well the tower was riddled with black and a Chosen to boot, there really wasn't much they could do to control Elaida, but that was conveniently forgotten.
I don't even want to go there with Egwenes attitude about Rand at least for now.
Jeff Schweer
54. JeffS.
Belal @45
To me the difference between this ceremony and the one in Salidar has to do with our own familiarity with the ceremony, having seen it before and with Egwene's as well. There is a mention on how "She remembers how nervous she had been when doing this same ritual in Salidar, but now she thinks that the ceremony itself is of little importance." and "Egwene orders Tesan to have Silviana brought to the Hall immediately,and only then continues the ceremony. As it goes on, Egwene compares this with her raising in Salidar and realizes that the Tower Hall’s motivations for raising her are actually much the same as the rebels’:they were terrified, and reaching for stability, and Egwene was the onlyone everyone could agree upon."
Quoting both Leigh and the book here.

So what we have is that the ceremony is going on just as it always would, but we aren't hearing it word for word this time, we're in Egwene's head listening to her thoughts as she mouths the ritual responses all the while thinking about what's next. We don't need an exact recitation, we've done this before.

Silviana is a women of conviction. You couldn't ask for a better Keeper. The political ramifications are just a bonus. Man, I just love that chapter, gives me goosebumps. 8^D

I am just an egg
edited to add. I should have done this in word and then pasted it in. I have the formatting blues
55. AndrewB
Hammerlock @43: As part of Egwene's training with the Wise Ones, Egwene was expected to retain whatever she was taught. Moreover, the Wise Ones felt that explaining things once were enough. Woe be the apprentice who did not remember what she was told.

I got the impression that although Egwene did not have tutors and other educational advantages that a noble would have, she was a naturally quick learner (eg her picking up weavea quickly, even pre damae (sp?) status. This skill skill coupled with what I said above - it is not so far fetched to think to think she could have instant access to what Siuan taught her.

Thanks for reading my musings
(Posted from a smart phone)
Roger Powell
56. forkroot
Wolfmage@51:Part 1
Well said. Your summarization of how much Egwene has gained from Siuan's friendship, training, and experience was particularly apt. To cut her off at the knees for exercising her judgement in obviously unforeseen circumstances is petty and unbecoming.

Wolfmage@51:Part 2
{:: Stands and applauds ::}
57. AndrewB
If Z can change his screen name, I will also make a change. No, I will not proofread my posts. Rather, I will change my tag line.

"Wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then." - Bob Seger, "Against the Wind"
Katie McNeal
58. Katiya
I guess your thoughts on Egwene haters vs. lovers makes perfect sense, Leigh, and you certainly spend a lot more time reading the comments than I do. However, fwiw, I really liked Egwene when I first began the series years ago, but I was quite a bit younger, as was she. As I have gotten older, and Egwene has gained the maturity and knowledge of someone well beyond her years, I have begun to like her less and less. I might have disliked her in the beginning if I had been older, as the older me now recognizes a bit of what I can only call brattiness in younger Egwene, but regardless, she is likeable for me. It has more to do with how she's written, I think, than anything the character actually does or doesn't do, though.

There's been a lot of talk about whether or not Egwene qualifies as a Mary Sue, and this is the book in which she crosses over for me. She doesn't sound like herself to me, she doesn't read like a more mature version of the character I liked from six or seven books ago, but as some ultimate Aes Sedai superhero created from sugar, spice and Chemical X, Aes Sedai version. I can't find anyone to relate to in that ultimate calm, almost featureless wisdom on display that is her in this book.

Having said that, I don't know how much of that is Egwene's character evolution, and how much is how BWS writes her. I am one that, while I greatly appreciate and respect Brandon for finishing the series, dislike his style overall. We all have issues with Mat, it seems, but I think Egwene might suffer a bit too. But then again, I've been less than enthused with her since she sent Nynaeve and Elayne off to Ebou Dar and began to politic around in Salidar for real, so I suspect it's a little of both.
Roger Powell
59. forkroot
While musing on rolling heads, it suddenly occurred to me that there's a very practical reason for stilling the BA members prior to execution.

If Romanda thinks that opening a gateway for troops for a flanking maneuver might run afoul of the three oaths, consider how likely it would be that shielding an Aes Sedai so that she could be beheaded would violate the oaths!

Obviously an unshielded sister would not submit quietly to the headman's axe - thus the stilling seems like a practical necessity.
john mullen
60. johntheirishmongol
I didn't have any issue with Egwene here. I do wonder at the logistics of executing 50 BA. How do they manage it? If you have an executioner, 50 executions would wear you out. Besides, do you carry one in an army? Unless you are carrying one for deserters.

I highly doubt if Gareth could assign his men to it. Unless, they had something like a guilliotine.
William Fettes
61. Wolfmage
Interesting point about adrift organisations becoming destructive.

forkroot @59

Thanks for your kind words. :)

Wotman @ 53
“Siuan got what she deserved, I woulda been real pissed if someone came in trying to be a hero and screwed up everything I was trying to do.”
Except she didn’t actually screw up anything. In the end, it wasn't critical that Egwene be there in the immediate aftermath of the attack to keep the political foundations she had built amongst the sisters, or to soak up the reflected glory and political capital of the moment. That happened anyway because she sufficiently impressed key people who were there to deal with the power vacuum left by Elaida.

So why should that hypothetical counter-factual harm of losing that political capital from being "rescued" still count for much after it is already clear that she has been invited to the Tower on favourable terms? Sure, it was a valid concern at the time, when she didn't know, but why continue to harbor sore feelings over it when you were ultimately mistaken about how it played out. Personally, I think Egwene should be bit more big minded and pragmatic about it - no harm, no foul.

I mean, yes, deal with the relatively minor matter of the disobedience. Do it firmly in private, but use words to soften the intial rebuke a little to make it clear that you at least understand the difficult nature of the decision she had to make when Egwene's safety may have been compromised and there was no way of checking before preceding. Don't just get on your high horse and publicly bannish your must trusted advisor to the dog house for the grievous sin of disobeying you in a one-off exigent crisis. And once it is clear that you haven't lost what you feared, try to be an adult about it and let your anger subside to a level that is more proportionate to the actual harm suffered. Don't continue to carry on as if that potential problem still has all this force.
62. yasiru89
It isn't Egwene's ego that's the trouble, but her sense of entitlement (and a fine distinction, one is assured, exists). A good leader expects to be obeyed, but is also aware of the pitfalls in such expectations. Egwene's reaction whenever she's failed to be so aware, has been indignation and outrage, with whatever blame and punishment she wishes to place on those responsible for failing to meet her expectations, going by her viewpoints, seeming to come of personal irritation that she's not being recognised rather than as an effort to better the way things work.

For some readers, in whom this last resonates strongly, Egwene will have become something of a wish-fulfillment fantasy (further to the Mary Sue trope she can be said to embody, continuing on from previous discussions). I stress however that I personally don't see this as some sort of lack on the author's part, especially since meta-considerations are at play (the workings of the Pattern, Egwene truly being destined in some sense to unify the Tower, etc.). Egwene is as much a plot device in this arc as she is a character. But this should not obscure our scrutiny of the development of her character- she is, I believe I've observed as much before, the kind of character for whom circumstances have allowed a reprieve from self-reflection and the rectifying of flaws. As Moiraine feared in tSR, she has hardened before being perfectly moulded. Fortunately, her few flaws, if not the kind to endear her to some of us, aren't the sort to give her a propensity towards evil.

Silly objections to execution in general notwithstanding, I'd say the best outcome the Aes Sedai could have hoped for certainly came about.
63. yasiru89
A further note on Egwene is that isn't the most loyal of people. She will always take the side of the institution she wishes to be part of, in whatever best way she thinks she might be able to ingratiate herself with it or, in some self-righteous sense, become it (see her castigation of the Rebel and Tower Aes Sedai alike- she's making it out to be that she's the only one who has truly upheld the spirit of the Tower, omitting how involved she was in the Rebels' efforts- a decent political manoeuvre, but she does it so naturally without such considerations that it's more than that- it's part of her character).

It occured to me, with regard to the executions, that the Dark One may be able to transmigrate those s0uls, whatever their failure, should he require more Dreadlords. It may be argued that he might only be able to do that with his Chosen, but recall that he was even able to hold the soul of Rand's adoptive mother, who wasn't even a Darkfriend. So perhaps the executions, in a purely functional sense, were pointless after all.

Lsana @36-

An excellent point indeed. However, I agree with Egwene's move to keep the Red Ajah intact, simply because it would foster efforts at cohesion between Ajahs in the Tower- which is after all her goal, however little we ourselves might care for the Tower's plight.
64. DMAC
I really dig the "conceptual" Egwene character Jordan created and developed...she's awesome, but sometimes her dialogue (and inner monologue too) can get in the way of the full embrace. I think that has more to do with Jordan's ability to write in the female voice and relate to the female mind. Thats probably a difficult challenge for most authors. I tend to take a more Gestalt view of Egwene, you can't really define her by a breakdown of her character traits both good and bad...she is what she is.
Birgit F
65. birgit
The reason some people dislike Eg's treatment of her friends and the oath of fealty is probably a bias of Western culture against authority. Everybody is supposed to be equal, therefore hierarchies that make one person more important than others must be bad. Eg lives in a different culture where authority and rank are more important. She has to make sure her authority is respected by everyone, including her friends (at least in public) or she would lose credibility with those she rules.
When Eg is acting politically clever she is accused of being too mature, but when she acts childish (not forgiving a mistake, having trouble dealing with her boyfriend) people dislike her for that, too.
Eg has always adopted the culture of those around her. Of course she becomes the perfect AS (including the bad traits) as the super Amyrlin.
William Fettes
66. Wolfmage
birigt @ 65

Perhaps, but I'm not persuaded that has much explanatory power by itself. Plenty of characters enjoy generous reader support in their rise to ascendency in power and stature in Randland. Indeed, you can practically hear the squawks of fan outrage when a fan favourite receives an indignity or inconvenience to their power. Egwene herself is frequently on the receiving end of some of this criticism in relation to Rand. So it's not just some generic non-Confucian anti-authoritarianism in western attitudes.

I think there is probably some general anti-Aes Sedai / anti-White Tower sentiment, however, no doubt caused by how well exposed we become to their general dysfunction and silliness over time. Over the course of the novels, the cool mystique of uber-competent Aes Sedai like Moiraine and Verin becomes shattered, and we start to see that calibre of Aes Sedai as being very much an exception to the general rule. Then you have the introduction of the far more powerful and militaristically organised Ashaman, uber individual channellers who make everyone else look like kittens, and other arguably more functional channelling groups, which can cause some challenges for the ostensible centrality of rank and file Aes Sedai and the White Tower to the WoT universe.

The gender inversion at the heart of the series is deliberately structured to produce some of this dysfunction, in addition to Team Dark and the Black Ajah running interference, so it's a little unfair. But it is what it is -- we've seen too much to pretend the current lot are generally deserving.

That means by the time Egwene has unified the Tower and clothed herself in the identity and rhetoric of the White Tower manifest, some readers are probably suffering sufficient alienation from the White Tower and Aes Sedai as a whole, that it can ring a bit hollow for them. It doesn't help that Egwene does this in part by struggling against these forces, showing them up, and thereby somewhat reinforcing the point. I can't speak for anyone else, but I know I grappled with that feeling in TOM when reading some of Egwene's more grandiose rhetoric about the Tower.

On a meta level, I know full well that sentiment goes way too far. Obviously the White Tower plot is too important not to be critical to the final resolution, and with the flame of Tar Valon and the Dragon's Fang representing the two gendered sides of the One Power, the White Tower as an institution is just too symbolically potent to be relegated to minor status in the finale. They must be a core part of an overall gender unification to fight effectively and achieve a victory for the Light. But sometimes even obvious meta knowledge like this still struggles against your gut feelings based on immersion in the universe.

With all that said, this is a structural explanation that isn't going to be apt to describe everyone, or even a lot of people. It does a bit of disservice to the people who've gone to the trouble of explicitly outlining why they have a problem with Egwene, to dismiss their considered views as some kind of general anti-something bias. That's too much false consciousness. If you ignore the haters, but take the trouble to read the opinions of reasonably measured critics you can usually find reasonable and good faith issues that can't be reduced to structural factors or bias. That reality may make some people uncomfortable, but it's there.

I think it's telling that Egwene is as polarising as she is -- with lots of examples of a 'control' opinion whereby the same person may have a problem with Egwene, but likes Nynaeve, or another characters who is polarising by design because of their abrasive manner. We can know from that that general arguments from sexism, or powerful assertive women, for example, are non-starters.
Roger Powell
67. forkroot
It occured to me, with regard to the executions, that the Dark One may be able to transmigrate those s0uls, whatever their failure, should he require more Dreadlords. It may be argued that he might only be able to do that with his Chosen, but recall that he was even able to hold the soul of Rand's adoptive mother, who wasn't even a Darkfriend. So perhaps the executions, in a purely functional sense, were pointless after all.
I'm not 100% convinced that the DO really had Kari Al'Thor's soul. What we see at the end of TEoTW is a vague set of possible powers for the DO that we don't really see again. "Kari's" appearance might just be Ishamael creating an illusion in T'AR. There is some precedent (actually antecedent) in TDR when Rand is tormented in his dreams -- with familiar characters being impostors.

OTOH, I don't have the text handy, but doesn't "Kari" thank Rand after he ostensibly frees her from torture? Doesn't sound like something a constructed illusion would do.

(Actually I am 100% sure that Jordan had not fully fleshed out his story/cosmology/etc at that point and that there has had to be some retconning regarding the events at the end of TEoTW. Why do I think this? LET'S JUST SAY A LITTLE VOICE TOLD ME SO.)

Last point: When we've seen the reconstituted Chosen, they've had to be snatched at the moment of death and rehosted (the balefired ones couldn't be snatched because their thread was burned back before their moment of death.) Considering that Team Dark is unaware of the Dragon's reborn identity until the end of TEoTW, why would the DO have snatched the soul of some obscure Two Rivers woman when she died many years before?

Even though I'm skeptical of the "Kari Al'Thor" example, I actually agree with your premise that the DO can resurrect other Darkfriends, not just the Chosen. It's clear that there's some cost though. In the prologue to LoC, Demandred muses about a body shortage at SG because of the curtailed border raids. (Apparently innocent prisoners were required to be sacrificed in some despicable process to make Shadowspawn blades.)

At a minimum then, reconsituted Dreadlords will cost the DO some spare bodies. Furthermore, they will no longer be moles in the White Tower, poised to betray it. They will be merely unidentified enemy channelers.

So while I agree with your point that some of them could come back in different bodies, I have to disagree that the executions would have been functionally pointless.
William Fettes
68. Wolfmage
forkroot @ 67

Great post. That's good mastery of the detail for Book 1! :)

I tilt towards it not being Kari as well. I checked my copy of tEoTW, and Nynaeve and Egwene are also presented by Ishamael next to Kari at the same time, when we know they are not dead. So that begs the question why would only one be real next to two fakes? Also, I tend to think the sparse and fluid nature of the prose used by RJ in this chapter lines up nicely with it being a pocket of malleable reality, like T'AR.

So, if we assume it's T'AR, or some varient of that kind of plane, I guess one possible explanation for Kari's benign response could be that Rand is at that point unconsciously shaping her reality, confirming and shifting her image from what Ishamael set in motion to effectively save her. So she gets those light side lines by virtue of that. I mean, she is being tortured and somewhat passively echoing despair until Rand attacks the molester-halfman and Ishamael, so that's consistent with him getting an opportunity to win focus over a T'AR construct, if such is possible. It's also worth bearing in mind that Rand is a powerful dreamer, and at this point in his illustrious career he is effectively using all abilities unconsciously, helped along by taveren luck no doubt. Food for thought anyway.
69. MRCHalifax
The safest thing to do would have been to Balefire the Black Ajah. Not being in contact with Rand, Egwene really has no idea about the threat of transmitigation. The fault for that lies equally with Rand and Egwene, another problem generated by their lack of communication. Bringing back channelers in spare bodies would be worthwhile, and very much worth Demandred or some of the darkfriend Asha'man/remaining Black Ajah travelling to some remote village and snagging bodies for future use.
Tricia Irish
70. Tektonica

A good examination of Egwene, indeed! Egwene should've dealt with Siuan in private, and suggested Siuan meet her toh, so they could get back to trust, and working together. Siuan is her greatest ally in the AS, and mentor. I understand that she needs to be "her own woman" now, but having great advisors is a sign of wisdom and strength, imho. (She would do well to take Nynaeve on in that capacity, as well.)

And bravo for encouraging civility.
71. Rapter
Re. Egwene’s age and competence, Alexander the Great was twenty when he became king and Commander of Macedonia, and is considered one of history's most successful commanders.
Egwene and Suian, It is often said, (of someone who has been promoted,) “He was a nice guy till he got promoted; now he is pushy and throws his weight around.” Comes with the territory guys.
All the Salidar AS (or at least the Sitters,) knew of Egwene’s order that she shouldn’t be rescued or helped in any way. Suian overrode that order giving credence to the possibility that she was “The power behind the throne”. Suian needed to be publicly admonished and sanctioned to disabuse that notion.
Paul Long
72. Caveatar
@67 Forkroot
Regarding the bodies and souls of the Dark One Moridin's
resurrected folks. What if the Heros in Tel'aran'rhiod
Too Long, Off Topic

Ian B
73. Greyfalconway
Does anyone else think the light in Rands brain is made of power from the eye of the world from so long ago instead of just generic saidin? I haven't read book 1 since I reread the series in prep for tGS, so I could be totally off.
74. Looking Glass
Eh, I think Egwene has valid reasons other than just a no-rules-for-me attitude not to apologize with the SAS:

Politically, having at that point been chosen by both sides of the split, she has a point about not actually being part of either side exclusively, and another about not being seen as part of either side exclusively.

From an intent perspective, everything Egwene did (yes, including leading an army to Tar Valon) was done with the intent of reuniting the Tower. And unlike the Tower AS, the Rebel AS really weren’t even trying to fix the split before Egwene took over.

From an actual-results perspective, Egwene’s actions did bring the tower back together. And Egwene has already faced severe personal repercussions for siding with the rebels.

None of the above is to say Egwene isn’t also sitting a bit higher on the Egwene-knows-best scale than she really should be. I think she is, and that’s quite deliberate by the authors- there’s a whole ‘nother book of character arcing to do, after all. But she has other good reasons for this.

Rancho Unicorno @9: Kind of- their oaths physically stop them, but the mechanism is based on their beliefs about what those oaths mean in the context of the situation. The opinion of a respected leader (and, whether you think she deserves it or not, that’s what Egwene is) on the subject is probably helpful to those AS who aren’t sure exactly where their personal line should be, though any AS who was certain this was across the line would still not be able to do it.

Yes, an AS could decide by instinct rather than introspection, and find out where that subconscious line is by getting more helpful until they hit oath. That approach might be an interesting way of studying someone's personality, but hinging the success of your civil war on that approach is... suboptimal.

Plus, the AS do seem to take the no-military-uses oaths somewhat more seriously than the no-lying one as actual moral guidelines (either for real moral reasons, because they can’t afford to have everyone assume they skirt those the same way, or both). The no-lying one actually seems like it was deliberately worded so they could prevaricate any time they needed to, but still make definitive statements.

LittleWolf @11: I’m not sure if it’s explicitly covered for or against in the text, but I suspect that any sister who said “I’m working against the shadow and would be willing to testify to that under Oath” would be presented the opportunity to do so. It’s pretty clear that it was the Oath Rod rather than Verin’s list that was the final arbiter of guilt or innocence.

Matthew1215 @15: I’m don’t think Egwene’s choice of apparel was particularly hypocritical- she never said “don’t ever show solidarity with one ajah”, just “not to the constant exclusion of all the others”.

KiManiak @31: First, not being a yes-man means providing your honest advice, not disobeying orders when a superior has listened to and disagreed with that advice... possibly based on a more complete view of the situation than available to you.

Second, it’s not like the Seanchan attack on the tower was some drastic unforeseen circumstance for either Egwene or Siuan. They both knew when Egwene gave her orders that the attack was coming at some point, possibly while she was still in captivity. In fact, Egwene’s actions in her own POV show she obviously had considered that eventuality and how to deal with it. Why should Siuan think that situation was something her orders weren’t meant to cover?

Yes, Egwene might have been harmed or even killed. She chose to take that risk.

While she may have been able to find a more graceful way to reprimand Siuan… she may not, since Siuan’s actions were a pretty public violation of her orders.

Greyfalconway @37: Fifty is a lot of people for the size of the AS organization, but it’s not really all that many bodies to dispose of in terms of an army. Especially given that they’ve got all sorts of supernatural means of corpse disposal, up to and including hurling them into the endless void (a la the gholam).

Balescream @48: Seems like a bit of a stretch, honestly; black holes don’t appear to violate either causality or conservation of energy. IIRC, singularities that evaporate don’t just vanish with all contents; they evaporate because they release all their contents (as energy).

Forkroot @59: Three problems with that interpretation. First, it’s not clear stilling someone for a beheading would be any more innocuous than shielding- less so, really, since (at least before Nyn) it was assumed that would send you into permanent suicidal depression anyway.

Second, an execution is a legal action, not a military one. We don't call guillotines and electric chairs weapons, much less handcuffs.

Finally… there’s a specific exception in the oaths for darkfriends, so it’s all moot point anyway. Any AS could lightning a dozen helpless BA members right in the face without any oath problems whatsoever.
Karen Fox
75. thepupxpert
Wolf @ 53 Well said, I would also point out that had Egwene been actually captured by the Seanchan she would not have been so forceful in her dressing down of Siuan if Siuan had rescued her.

edited for spelling
Karen Fox
76. thepupxpert
sorry double post.
ana liese
77. analiese
Rapter @ 71

Re. Egwene’s age and competence, Alexander the Great was twenty when he became king and Commander of Macedonia, and is considered one of history's most successful commanders.

Alexander was the son of a king and tutored by Aristotle until he was sixteen. You'll notice that no one is complaining about Elayne or Faile having too much political skill--that's because they were taught from the cradle how to rule and play Daes Dae'mar. Faile mentioned how she'd spent her entire life studying history and politics prior to running away.

Egwene does not have that background; according to Steven Cooper's timeline, she was raised to Amyrlin in late November and captured by the TAS in March the following year. So it only took four months and a few lessons from Siuan for Egwene to transform from a country girl into a master politician capable of outmaneuvering century-old Aes Sedai.

Aside from that, Egwene also found time to squeeze new weaves out of Moghedien, attend to her regular duties as Amyrlin, travel across several countries, rediscover how to make cuendillar, how to split her flows in fourteen ways, memorize the Karaethon Cycle, Tower Law, the history of the Tower and sayings by past Amyrlins.

As a Tower captive, she gave relationship advice to novices, advised Aes Sedai on how to handle aging Warders, impressed White sisters with her logic, the Browns with obscure quotes, the Grays with her diplomatic ability, the Yellows because she happened to use the word 'heal' in conversation... Even taking into account that Egwene is a quick study and eager to absorb knowledge, at some point one has to put the book down, take a strong drink and read the Mary Sue entry at TV Tropes.
Jonathan Levy
78. JonathanLevy
15. matthew1215
Remember Latra Posae (sp?) from The Strike At Shayul Ghul; Egwene is also a parallel for that character.
Excellent comparison!
I find it amusing that Egwene gives her long overdue demand to stop dressing only in ajah colors shortly after picking out a red dress to show solidarity with the red ajah.
Huh? Egwene was complaining that people were dressing in their *own* Ajah's colors. Her action is quite consistent with that, since no-one would think of her as a Red sister.

Have not had time yet to read the rest of the comments... :(
Deana Whitney
79. Braid_Tug
@ 17, Sarcastro – Orange, you know, I remember being struck by that and thinking it was weird, but couldn’t put my finger on why. Thanks.

@36, Lasana
Telling all the Ajah’s they are disbanded would cause another uprising. Telling everyone, “We’re all heading to the big fight together”, is the right thing to do. But you don’t tell all the divisions of the Military that there is no rankings or specializations right before going to war. You need the bomb guys doing their thing, and the medical core doing their thing. Considering the dumb way the AS have of establishing rank, I don’t want to think about the mess no Ajhas would create.

@69, MRCHalifax
I hope you’re joking. Egwene was around when Moraine told Rand about the consequences of using balefire. So I don’t think she would use it, unless it was on a Darkhound or something.

Speaking of which, where are the Evil wolf counterparts? Hope they (and the wolves) show back up for the big battle. That has Viking mythology written all over it.

@ 77, Analiese
I wouldn’t discount all of Egwene’s time with the Aiel, and her other life experiences since leaving the 2 Rivers. I’m sure her and Elayne were talking about more than just boys, even if all we ever got to see on screen was that. But yes, she moves from “country girl into a master politician” much faster (yes, too fast) and with less “why Me” than the boys do, or than would be plausible under other circumstances.

@ Caveatar, since post 24 is all but dead, I thank you here for pointing me to your story in the Garden. A very nice take on the whole thing. So I will not bow, nor curtsey, but I do give you applauds, as an audience would give to show appreciation for fine work.
Chin Bawambi
80. bawambi
Back to beating Eggs with Bela again I see ;) I actually don't have a problem with her being a MarySue re: her abilities she is after all a SuperGirl but I would like to further expound on Analiese's point. It is quite ridiculous that she has the political skills of Churchill with the AS but can't see simple alternative viewpoints from other Two Rivers folk.
My main problem with her as a fictional person is her lack of personal loyalty. I really do hope that there is a break between her, Nyn and Elayne when all is said and done. I will be disappointed in a true healing of all lightside forces after the last battle. The divisions between all groups and nations are just too stark to have it all wrap up in a neat bow for me.
81. Looking Glass
Analiese @77: It’s not quite as bad as all that. She does have a huge amount of ability, but (a) so do all the other major characters, since destiny’s explicitly stacking the deck, and (b) she does have a bunch more going for her than a few months with Siuan.

First, when it comes to native talent, the Pattern is throwing out a whole bunch of little wunderkinds… which might be implausible itself, but doesn’t separate Egwene out from the pack. She has a whole lot of raw talent in several different areas, but so do Rand, Mat, Perrin, Nynaeve, Elayne, Aviendha, Min*, Gawyn, Galad, etc etc etc. Egwene can be a young prodigy without actually deviating much from her peer group.

Then, Egwene did have some training and experience prior to becoming Salidar. She spent the better part of the preceding year as apprentice to the wise ones, and to some degree Moiraine. All of whom were big on the notion of “how (and why) to influence rulers and other powerful people” training, and none of whom would be likely to slouch on the Power side of things either. Moiraine and Rand were really into the prophecies, too. Even before that she had a couple months of the Seanchan’s intensive “turn a schoolgirl into a weapon of mass destruction, with a side of multipurpose industrial machinery” course.

Then, the Pattern’s again stacking the deck by passing out instinctive Power knowledge like party favors. If Aviendha can pop halfway across the planet in a fit of romantic frustration and Nynaeve can toss around frigging balefire as an off-the-cuff improvisation, Egwene’s again not off the curve with cuendillar.

Then, with the dreaming, Egwene gets to work in her sleep, which is bound to increase productivity.

Finally, a fair amount of Egwene’s performance in the Tower was a function of simply keeping her act together, and just going with good sense and unity when everyone around was used to panic, paranoia, and petty politics. It’s not like she didn’t still have regular access to Siuan’s decades of knowledge of tower law and history, and even individual AS, then, too.
Matthew Hunter
82. matthew1215
Wolfmage@68: You say that Rand is a powerful Dreamer. Actually, I don't think he is a dreamer *at all*. That's one talent he (and Lews Therin) doesn't have.

Yes, Rand has been in TAR a lot. But how does he get there? I contend that for every instance in the books when Rand has appeared in TAR, he's been pulled by Ishamael, Moridin, Lanfear, or else entered in the flesh (which you don't need to be a dreamer to do). He can ward his dreams to prevent being drawn in (you don't need to be a dreamer to do this either).

I think there's only one case that doesn't have a clear instigator -- the conversation with Moridin in one of Sanderson's books, where Rand shows up unexpectedly in Moridin's dream, and that's probably due to a link rather than both of them being in TAR. The ending of ToM (with Lanfear's cry for help) is either a) a trap or b) deliberately instigated by Lanfear with just about the only ability she could access without being allowed to channel.
Some Person
83. The Ninth Horse
Going kind of off-topic here…
Seamus1602 @ 35
I still want to call Egwene the best AS we've seen, but Nyn takes that
title for me, largely because she has some level of rationality about
the world at large, not just the world seen through a WT filter.
I think a big difference is that, while Egwene sees problems with the White Tower and Aes Sedai, she still worships them and that becomes her character. Nynaeve happens to be Aes Sedai, but that is more of a tool for her than her character (initially for completely selfish reasons re: Lan and Moiraine, but later for actually doing something useful).

A thought: Egwene proved in the Tower defense that a huge organization isn't always necessary to accomplish what is needed, yet she spends so much time fixing the Aes Sedai organization when perhaps she could be more effective by doing actually useful things. Even Cadsuane and her coterie accomplished more in a handful of books than the White Tower has in the entire series.
Matthew Hunter
84. matthew1215
Jon@78: About the dress. I think Egwene was calling out her subordinates for attaching an excessive amount of symbolic meaning to the color of their dresses... right after she mused about paying a lot ot attention to the symbolic meaning of the color of her dress. Sure, part of it is "work together you idiots and quit emphasizing the divisions", but part of it is also "why are you worried about what color dress you wear at the end of the world?!"
ana liese
85. analiese
bawambi @ 80

My main problem with her as a fictional person is her lack of personal loyalty. I really do hope that there is a break between her, Nyn and Elayne when all is said and done.

I think that should have been a natural consequence of what transpired between Egwene and Nynaeve in TFoH and ToM, but if it didn't happen after Nynaeve's Aes Sedai test, it probably never will. Nynaeve's too attached to Egwene (or the Egwene she remembers babysitting) for that.

Arguably, seeds have already been planted for a conflict between Elayne and Egwene. As a monarch of two powerful countries, Elayne is invaluable to the Tower, but the Tower doesn't have much to offer her in return anymore. Elayne's already expressed reluctance to shorten her life with the Oath Rod, and the deal with the Kin will probably not go over as well with Egwene as she believes, but what I think will really be the deciding factor is whether Egwene's request for Elayne to bring her army to Merrilor will result in heavy losses for Caemlyn. If that happens, Elayne will have to consider whether it's in Andor's best interests to have a Aes Sedai Queen obligated to follow the Tower's orders.

Further complicating the issue is the fact that Egwene's bonded and is planning on marrying Andor's First Prince of the Sword. And that Elayne's bonded to Rand and pregnant with his children. If things turn ugly at Merrilor, that would be an added incentive for Elayne to turn her back on the Tower. But I think Andor is the #1 issue for her--she is as devoted to Andor as Egwene is to the Tower.
William Fettes
86. Wolfmage

I used the wrong term, but I nonetheless do think it's strongly suggested that he is Dreamwalker (ie. he has the inate talent to enter T'AR, though it is untrained). However, I'm pretty sure he's not a Dreamer (ie. he does not have prophetic dreams).

Excluding the Ba'alzamon dreams, where it's obvious that Ishamael is pulling the SBs into his own dream, there are several occassions that it appears he has entered T'AR independently without any apparent ter'angreal and before he has learned gateways. Just from memory, both Perrin and Egwene run across him in T'AR in tDR, and AFAIK there are visits to the Heart of the Stone. Plus in one of the middle books, he is there spying on the Salidar meeting (though it could be that last incident was in the flesh - I can't recall.) I'm pretty sure there are other examples too.

Now, I guess it's still possible those early T'AR appearances were the result of Ishamael or perhaps Lanfear pulling him into the T'AR and letting him run around by himself - sometimes throwing Dark nightmares at him. But I've always thought the simpler explanation was just that he had the latent talent - inherented from LTT. No reason why the most talented man of the Age wouldn't have a facility with something as important as T'AR. It's pretty common amongst Forsaken, for example.
William Fettes
87. Wolfmage
As readers, we know that the idea of Siuan being, or having designs to be, the true puppet master behind the throne is a total red herring. At this point, Siuan and Egwene have already had several moments of mutual recognition where it was basically settled in neon lettering that Siuan regards Egwene as the true Amyrlin, and that she has no intention or desire to maniuplate her. Indeed, she doubts she could even do it if she tried. So, there isn't any ambiguity in their relationship that needs to be resolved personally.

It really shouldn't need restating, but apparently it does: Siuan didn't take the decision to attempt the rescue lightly. She was anything but cavalier about Egwene's orders, insufficiently deferential to her authority, or stuck in a mode of she-knows best. She agonised over it precisely because of the orders and the stakes involved. She knew full well Egwene might be unhappy. She only made the decision because there was a real possibility of captivity and death -- and there was no opportunity to get further advice. And remember too that had she and Bryne not rescued Egwene, she may well have been killed by one of the remaining bloodknives when she was helpless at the end of the fight. So the absence of evidence of harm up to the rescue isn't evidence of absence of danger from the attack and its aftermath.

In regards to the alleged need to set an example for acts of visible disobedience, I understand the logic, I don't think that's partiuclarly compelling. First, it's a rather cynical form of leadership if you're conceeding there's no real harm from the rescue and no real relationship problem to deal with that sits behinds Egwene's anger, but punishment is necessary merely because it serves as a useful example to others. Second, we have plenty of examples in the text of the art of Aes Sedai chastisement and enimity - including how Siuan deals with the runaway SGs publicly when they return to the Tower, and Leane and Siuan's affectation of enemity in Salidar. It's easy enough to create a very convincing impression that someone is out of favour without actually disabusing them.

As I suggested above, give her a firm rebuke in private for disobeying, allow things to normalise a bit because, after all, it all turned out fine in the end, and then remind Siuan to tremble and quake as she leaves. Such an visible exit would mean the story of Siuan being set down hard would be circulating the Tower within minutes. Even set her a public penace if you must. I doubt Siuan would worry too much about some extra work to keep up appearances.

So, yeah, you really don't need to abuse the friendship unduly or cast aside Siuan's well-earned trust just to make it look like disobedience has consequences.
Charles Gaston
88. parrothead
Due to a combination of Real Life, Honore de Balzac, and Greg Weissman, I've missed the commenting of late, otherwise known as The Rise and Fall of Awesome!Egwene. For the past 1 1/2 books, she's been my favorite character, and now...Bitching at her best friends and strongest supporters - here in public, and in a way that skirts dangerously close to a violation of AS protocol (Amyrlin or no, you do NOT interfere with a Sister's Warder, doubly so for a new one, and it gets even worse since Egs knows Siuan and Bryne aren't going to stay platonic); referring to herself in third person with her love interest, because we totally don't have enough Type A Tsunderes in this series; eventually telling off the world savior because she Knows Best. Very, very disheartening. A lot of people have mentioned how Mat feels a bit off, and perhaps with better cause, but he was never my fave. Starting here, I felt the biggest characterization fumbles were with Egwene and (next book) Faile probably because I like them better.
Roger Powell
89. forkroot
Looking Glasss@74
Finally… there’s a specific exception in the oaths for darkfriends, so it’s all moot point anyway. Any AS could lightning a dozen helpless BA members right in the face without any oath problems whatsoever.
Depends on which version of the oaths you are reading. We've seen the exception include Darkfriends in TGH (Chapter 23) and TFoH (Chapter 2); however there are 12 references to the oaths scattered throughout the books (including one in the BBoBA and several in the Glossaries) that do not include the exception for Darkfriends (just Shadowspawn.) It could be argued that the preponderance of the non-Darkfriend version indicates that there probably wasn't an exception for Darkfriends.

Big thanks to IdealSeek for making it easy to look for this!
William Fettes
90. Wolfmage
Analiese @ 77

"..memorize the Karaethon Cycle, Tower Law, the history of the Tower and sayings by past Amyrlins."

She is memorising a lot, but it's not so detailed or comprehensive that it's unrealistic IMO. Egwene has never been much of an academic -- appreciating rigour for the sake of it. Her mind is very sharp, but she prefers to jump straight into things. So, she uses her excellent recall to recite what she has learned -- a rather simplified cheat-sheet version of events -- which is missing a lot of what we might reasonably expect from a real student of history.

In other words, she is faking it until she can make it. It works on these Aes Sedai because her presentation is calm and self-assured, she uses the snippets she does know to full effect, and the thrill of the secret knowledge is sufficiently titilating to the Aes Sedai that they don't probe her for possible gaps in her knowledge.

It's funny, because it works so well, even though we might reasonably wonder whether it's really a great thing to have a leader relying so heavily on a crib-notes version of history. It's a bit like someone with a lot of impressive, rare scholarly books on their shelves trying to pass off that they know their contents - when they have only read a blurb and a review from someone who is an expert. Better than nothing, but it's a long way short of actually reading the books yourself.

The one consolation, of course, is that we trust Siuan. We trust that she focused her tutlage on the essential facts and context. This is another example of exactly why Siuan anchors everything about her modern identity as Amyrlin.
91. MonktonGaz
My beef with Egwene (arrogance and assumption) can be summed up by one part of one line:

"...We are all that the world has."

Yeah. You go girl. No need to mention the hundreds of thousands of men and women about to die for the cause with weapons in their hands. Oh, and Mat and Perrin's importance in the whole shebang. And that guy you once knew... something reborn, wasn't it?

No, it's just you and your gals.
92. yasiru89
On Egwene, what she does and says may be appropriate, perhaps too appropriate, fortuitous and convenient even- hence the Mary Sue charge, but it's what she actually thinks that gives insight to her character. A character might be brilliant if their deeds alone define them, but in a narrative as we have in this work, the reader is also able to parse motive and mindset of a character.
(Criticism of her is clearly not a matter of resenting the power and authority Egwene comes to wield owing to some sort of cultural bias, since, as has been already said, there have been occasions where the exercising of such facilities has been almost unanimously lauded in certain characters.)

On the executions, it's amusing indeed to read the seeming shakes of the head at the 'logistics'. Need readers be reminded that Bryne has quite a sizeable army around who are channellers?

forkroot @67-

While I haven't got tEotW handy to look it up, if I recall there were illusions Ishamael made use of in that scene, but it was strongly hinted that Kari at least, was real (because she didn't dissipate like the others). And on the contrary, her parting thought would have been pointless if it had all been an illusion- what possible purpose could it have had? If anything, it bolstered Rand's spirit, knowing that he'd freed his mother- better for Ishamael to have exposed it for an illusion had it really been and further enrage Rand and thereby get him to make a mistake.

It may not be 'easy' to resurrect people, but considering captives aren't going to be scarce given the increasing Trolloc raids in the Borderlands, and how the Shadow seems to be able to conveniently produce any number of Trollocs, its energies are well put to use in trying to resurrect these women to make use of as Dreadlords ('Dreadladies'?).
Jonathan Levy
93. JonathanLevy
45. Be'Lal
In LoC, it was a plot point that a woman being raised Amyrlin would be summoned by a specific ceremony. Disappointing that the TAS seem to have forgotten.

I think Be'Lal is referring to the ceremony by which Egwene was summoned (when she was still outside Tar Valon), not the ceremony by which she was raised. In LoC it was explained that the ritual for summoning to be raised Amyrlin is the same as the ritual summoning to a trial (for example, for impersonating an Aes Sedai). In TGS they did not use the same phrasing.

If the sister has been proven to be a Darkfriend, you're allowed to use the OP against her.

It might be necessary for other, non-DF executions.

I see 74. Looking Glass got there before me.

Interesting way of looking at it.

As a Tower captive, she gave relationship advice to novices, advised Aes Sedai on how to handle aging Warders, impressed White sisters with her logic, the Browns with obscure quotes, the Grays with her diplomatic ability, the Yellows because she happened to use the word 'heal' in conversation...
Well... yes and no. Often people in a tightly-knit organization will confide in an outsider to a surprising degree. In Elaida's Tower, an Aes Sedai with a delicate problem has few people to turn to. She doesn't want to discuss it within her Ajah, because within a week everyone will know (gossip gossip). She can't discuss it outside her Ajah because they've become the enemy now. A non-Aes Sedai is out of the question. So she keeps it a tight lid on it while it's bubbling up.

Then this Egwene shows up. She's not being solicited for her wisdom; she's just a convenient sounding-board, but when she gives good advice she makes a good impression.
at some point one has to put the book down, take a strong drink and read the Mary Sue entry at TV Tropes.
I've done that a couple of times over the last few weeks, mainly because I'd never heard the term 'Mary Sue' before. Upon reflection, I don't think most of what Egwene does fits the trope, mostly because either lots of other characters do similar things (e.g. Nynaeve is stronger, Nynaeve also discovers Lost weaves, Elayne also has a Lost Talent), or because Jordan has built it up carefully over several books (Egwene has an excellent memory back in TSR, Siuan has been tutoring Egwene over six books).

It's not as if she's magically sprouting abilities as the plot requires them. A lot of words have gone into building it up, even if the timeline is too short.

There's only one scene which I think is fully Mary-Sue-ish, with no mitigation, and that's the second dinner with Elaida, where Elaida seems to be reading from Egwene's teleprompter.

I see 81. Looking Glass has also addressed this, and quite ably.

I thought she was calling them out for stressing loyalty to her Ajah at the expense of loyalty to the Tower. This has been a recurring theme on her part.

Yes, there are different versions of the oaths. On the other hand, Alanna in TSR explicitly explains that because the Whitecloaks are not darkfriends, she cannot avenge her dead warder. I'm pretty sure the different versions are unintentional authorial inconsistencies. Not being able to use the OP against Darkfriends would be quite an oversight.

92. yasiru89
Dreadladies indeed! As good as Disemvowelment, I say :)
Jay Dauro
94. J.Dauro
As much as we are told there is a specific ceremony for being summoned to be raised to the Amyrlin Seat, we are also told it is the same ceremony as being summoned to judgement

“Egwene al’Vere,” Sheriam said formally, “you are summoned before the Hall of the Tower.” ... “Ask not why you are summoned,”... “It is yours to answer, not to question.” ... “Delay not in your coming.” ... “It is yours to obey in haste.” .... “It is well to fear the summons of the Hall. It is well to obey in haste and humility, unasking. You are summoned to kneel before the Hall of the Tower and accept their judgment.”

Lord of Chaos: 32

The Hall may have realized that the head of an opposing army might not come to such a summons.
Stefan Mitev
95. Bergmaniac
I really dislike how Egwene treated Siuan after the rescue. It was so petty, misguided and unnecessary. Egwene owes her whole career to Siuan, how about at least a little gratitude? And Egwene herself told Siuan to organise a rescue if it looked like she was in imminent danger of execution - it makes no sense to object to a rescue attempt when it sure looked that she was in imminent danger of being leashed, which Egwene considers an even worse faith. What kind of leader is one who doesn't allow his subordinates any initiative? Her beaviour here is not of a strong leader, it's of a petty tyrant.

Not to mention that coming from Egwene of all people "obedience overrides initiative." is hypocritical to the extreme. Where was this attitude when she left the Tower without permission in TGH and when she disobeyed the WO (after giving her word to obey them on all matters related to her TAR training) and kept visiting TAR on her own?

Anyway, at least the Tower split is over at long last. About time.
Roger Powell
96. forkroot
Yes, there are different versions of the oaths. On the other hand, Alanna in TSR explicitly explains that because the Whitecloaks are not darkfriends, she cannot avenge her dead warder. I'm pretty sure the different versions are unintentional authorial inconsistencies. Not being able to use the OP against Darkfriends would be quite an oversight.
Agreed that the authors have left a mess with the inconsistencies. Although the preponderance of the direct references omit the "Darkfriend" clause, we do see Elaida naming Egwene as a Darkfriend in TGH and then pummeling her with the OP. This seems to support the idea that Elaida's oath included the Darkfriend clause.

This seems to me to be a rather disturbing loophole in the oaths. If I want to attack you with the OP, I just have to call you a Darkfriend (without a shred of evidence to support the allegation!) Presumably I have to believe the allegation myself - but that still allows a delusional person like Elaida a way to use the OP against anyone.
Jonathan Levy
97. JonathanLevy

If a person is delusional enough to name people 'Darkfriend' with no evidence, she is might equally be delusional enough to think they were trying to murder her with no evidence, so she could attack them with the OP under a different clause.

So I don't think the Darkfriend clause opens much of a loophole. Of course, there might be the rare case where a sane and balanced Aes Sedai becomes convinced that some poor fellow is a DF, and acts with extreme prejudice.
Dawn Boyall
98. deebee
If the three oaths do allow the OP to be used against the Black Ajah, I still find myself troubled by the use of an axe for the executions. Maybe I`m just too squeamish, but it does seem gratuitously bloodthirsty when there`s a good OP alternative available.

On the other hand, execution by beheading was a fate reserved for nobles and royalty in mediaeval times, so perhaps the Black Ajah were given an execution that reflected the high status conferred on Aes Sedai.

I like your explanation for Elaida`s use of the OP against Egwene, the argument that it was used as legitimate punishment rather than as a weapon always seemed like semantics to me. But if Elaida had managed to convince herself that Egs was a darkfriend then she was free to lash out in the way she did.
99. Freelancer
Been letting this one stew a bit, and I'll have much, much more to say later. For the moment, I'll just say that leadership is all about how to clear away roadblocks to improve the effectiveness of those you lead.

Egwene dressing down Siuan is, perhaps, the closest to hypocritical event in these chapters for her. She sees a goal, and in spite of the attendant turmoil of the preceding hours, she sees what Siuan did as a minor setback in her achieving that goal. A leader needs to keep the larger picture in view, and not tunnel on that particular goal. Some other stuff happened, girl, and you friend was interested in your life above your goal, let it be.

As for the rest, hating on Egwene for deciding to be a good leader is disingenuous at best, and shortsighted. Women who were, mere moments before, on the verge of battling one another to the death, must now, and quickly, be brought back together. If she doesn't show equal displeasure with both sides, that will never happen. One way to get two people to work together that aren't happy with each other, is to give them a common source of greater unhappiness. If you are in a position of leadership over them both, you are the best target for their mutual grumbles. As publicly as possible, let them each see you taking the other to task for their most troubling aspect. Now they are similarly either humbled or disgruntled, depending on their own opinions of themselves, but the reason is not each other, it is you. Now they can get back together and get things accomplished.

A thought military folks teach to those new to leadership, is that if your subordinates like you and think you're doing everything right, you probably aren't, and if they all have something for which to complain about you, then you probably have a good handle on things. If their displeasure is focused on you, it keeps a clear path on their workload, and they will get the job done. That doesn't mean you intentionally poke at them all the time, or force issues to be unpleasant for them, that's just stupid. But there are times when you need to wear the black hat.
Valentin M
100. ValMar
Hi everyone. Little opportunistic, but the one hunny is mine!

Been reading the discussion on the Egmeister with interest, been some time since I enjoyed one like that here. Last post the mathematics stuff made my head hurt (damn you Corele and Min!).

Basically, I agree with those who think that the Egster
1 is going to be a great leader, got the qualities for it;
2 some of said qualities do not make for an attractive personna;
3 said qualities are a bit too rich for my taste (the Mary Sue-ish stuff), on occasion I need to suck on a lemon when reading her chapters;
4 is more ruthless than necessary with her friends (from awhile back with Nyn to just now with Siuan). But this maybe a side effect of an overall trait which is helping her be a successful leader.

As for the Ajah colour dresses, Egwene's point was simple and correct- the AS were wearing them as uniforms and helping deepen the divisions between the Ajahs.

Once again folks, thanks for bringing me pleasure and some mental exercise with the comments!
Sam Mickel
101. Samadai
I think these are some very good Egwene chapters. She was totally just in putting Suian in her place in public, Suian acknowledged Egwene as her superior and went against her command. People point to the :"Earn my trust" as proof that Egwene is cruel to her. I don't think it is so. Who does Egwene have with her when Nynaeve comes to the tower? Suian. She needed the public scolding (even she thinks so in the chapter where she sits outside the meeting between the hall and Egwene) She knows it was worth the cost of what she would have to pay (the scolding in front of everyone) I believe that Egwene has looked past it as of the first few days of ToM. Suian is firmly in her confidence again
Sam Mickel
102. Samadai
On a side note, what a horrible thing tvtropes must be. To go looking for something to put a meaning on something you cant find a meaning for yourself. I have checked it out, and couldn't believe the BS that is on there. If you need to find out what "trope" an author, writer is usingto enjoy, or to tear down something why bother reading/watching it in the first place. You could just find others reviews of it and skip the process completely. "Oh one of the characters is a complete Mary Sue, well then I know everything will just work out for them don't I?"
Not that I am saying there is no point in discussion of a subject, there always is, but looking for a reason to dislike, rather than like something is wrong (to me)
Valentin M
103. ValMar
The problem I personally have with the Scouring of Siuan is that Egwene didn't just do it for political reasons- i.e. she wasn't too angry anymore because things have worked out and Siuan knew this and was willing to take the bullet.
Eg was truly up her arse here with all this trust talk, not permitting the thought that Siuan was trying to prevent her being colared, again. And this is a character trait- this kind of thoughts are at the front of her mind later with Nyn when she isn't singing form the same hymn sheet as Egwene.
Shock and horror! Egwene is not perfect.
ana liese
104. analiese
deebee @ 98

On the other hand, execution by beheading was a fate reserved for nobles and royalty in mediaeval times, so perhaps the Black Ajah were given an execution that reflected the high status conferred on Aes Sedai.

The reason nobles and royalty were usually beheaded was that it took much less time than hanging, as was done with commoners. Which is not to say beheading wasn't also a very painful way to die. It usually took several blows to sever the head, so the convicted's family would sometimes pay the headsman to sharpen his axe before to minimize suffering. The guillotine was later invented to speed up the process and was seen as more humane.

We see this reflected in WoT, where the Whitecloaks execute common Darkfriends by hanging while the Tower seems to prefer beheading (at least for Aes Sedai) and has its own place for that, the Traitor's Court which we saw in Egwene's Accepted test. It's also said that "every Accepted, every novice, even all the servants, would be gathered in the Traitor’s Court, according to custom, to watch the will of Tar Valon made fact." So there's an element of public humiliation as well. If the Tower wanted to, it could probably find a more painless way of executing Aes Sedai with the OP. But Tower Law is not particularly merciful--when Aes Sedai are birched, they're stripped naked and flogged in public. (Which explains why Sheriam's circle felt it was a better idea to swear fealty to Egwene than to be birched for their transgressions.) Even runaways are punished with birching, so the SGs got off lightly in TDR with just kitchen duty and sessions with Sheriam. It's a little surprising that Elaida never tried to have Egwene birched for being a runaway. Legally, she probably could have done so.
Don Barkauskas
105. bad_platypus
Re: The two versions of the Oaths

In the original versions, Darkfriends were not included in the Oaths. Later, RJ changed his mind and decided they should have been there all along, so the Oath was ret-conned to include Darkfriends. Here's the quote from the Theoryland database:
Brandon said he had to make sure he got the wording right for the oaths, so he went back and copied it word for word from the previous books. Maria was the one that changed it, saying RJ decided that Darkfriends should have always been included in the oaths.
106. DorseyPender
The one thing I would add to Wolfmage's excellent series of posts is that a good commander should want his subordinates to take the initiative in the face of changed circumstances. Even in a land where Travelling is a possibility, a commander can't be everywhere at every time, and subordinates simply must deviate from their orders to avert disaster or seize opportunities. An army becomes paralyzed if every subordinate is afriad to take risks. Contrast the performances of the Army of Northern Virginia--where Lee fostered the initiative of his corps, division, and brigade commanders--and that of the Army of Tennessee--where Bragg made a scapegoat of anyone who showed the slightest disloyalty--for proof.

Granted, there's a sliding scale based on the strength of the order and the judgment of the subordinate, and, in Egwene's favor, this was a very strongly-phrased order. However, the change in circumstances was equally dramatic, and Siuan has shown herself over and over to be a capable, competent, and loyal servant who should be afforded a great deal of discretion. If a rebuke was to be had, Egwene would have been well-served to follow Lee's example at Bristoe Station, where he told a general who had led a disastrous (and unauthorized) attack, "Well, well, general, bury these poor men and let us say no more about it." Something similar for Siuan would have been more than sufficient.
Alice Arneson
107. Wetlandernw
Drat. Double post. Will fill back in with better stuff if I can.
Alice Arneson
108. Wetlandernw
analiese @77 - "So it only took four months and a few lessons from Siuan for Egwene to transform from a country girl into a master politician capable of outmaneuvering century-old Aes Sedai." Wow. Now you really are betraying your anti-Egwene bias by exaggerated understatement. "Four months and a few lessons"? Really? In four months, she only had "a few lessons" from Siuan? One hundred twenty-six days, even averaging only one "lesson" per day, is a bit more than "a few lessons." Not little 20-minute lessons, either; they spent a lot of hours together. Even though some of it was dealing with day-to-day stuff and Egwene did have a few other things to do, a minimum average of 3 hours per day would be a fair assumption. As others have noted, in the 169 days Egwene was apprenticed to the Wise Ones, she learned that they did not like to repeat themselves; she was expected (and quickly learned) to remember everything she heard on one telling. Given her situation, I think it's fair to assume that she carefully remembered everything Siuan said - and you can bet that Siuan was making sure Egwene knew everything she (Siuan) could think of that might be useful. I think a fair amount of useful information and strategy could be imparted in 400 hours or so, especially when it could all be recalled at will.

Looking Glass @81 did a fine job of summing up Egwene's experience, but I couldn't let a deliberately obtuse claim such as that quoted above stand without challenge.

Looking Glass - I'd like to add that during Egwene's tenure with the Seanchan, she learned about and rather forcibly expanded her strength/skill with Earth, which is not a common strength in women. That has to have been instrumental in figuring out cuendillar. (IMO, RJ was setting up her cuendillar rediscovery back in Book 2.)

matthew1215 @ several re: Egwene wearing red - It might be worth looking at the actual text instead of basing too much argument on the exact wording of Leigh's recap:
Egwene had asked for crimson specifically. In the Tower, sisters had formed the habit of wearing only their own Ajah's color, and the practice had helped fuel the division. While it was good to be proud of your Ajah, it was dangerous to begin assuming that you couldn't trust anyone wearing other colors.
Egwene wasn't "calling anyone out" for what they were wearing; this was her private thought, recognizing both the positive and negative aspects of dressing in Ajah colors. At most, it's a matter of thinking ahead to ways in which she could encourage them all - both TAS and SAS - to get beyond the recent divisions, both in symbol and in fact.

Oh, and whoever asked way back up-thread - their original dream ter'angreal was among those stolen by Sheriam; Egwene thinks that Elayne will be livid about that. (Of course, by the end of ToM, they ought to be able to find all of those and possibly more that Mesaana had cached.)

yasiru @92 - RJ was quite clear that those of both genders are called Dreadlords.

Oh, and to whoever was annoyed about the lack of communication with the AS sent to the Black Tower and "why didn't they just Travel and find out?" - it's addressed in the book. After the initial statement that there had been no word, Egwene asked if that seemed odd, and Romanda's actual words were, "Yes, Mother. With Traveling they should have been there and back by now. They should have at least sent word. This silence is disturbing." Given the circumstances, it would be expected that those who went would send back word, not that those who remained behind would go check on them repeatedly. At this point, when the lengthening silence gets worrisome, it becomes a question of "(how soon) should we send someone to check on them?" Don't forget that, in general, once an embassy is sent, they are free to do as they feel necessary without anyone looking over their shoulder all the time. Standard procedure would be to give them time to do what they need to do and then report back.
109. Looking Glass
DorseyPender @106: The change in circumstances was dramatic, but hardly unforeseen. Egwene and Siuan were both well aware that the Seanchan could attack the Tower at any time. Egwene clearly considered ramifications of and responses to that in advance, and could easily have told Siuan “don’t try a rescue unless the Seanchan attack” if she thought that scenario would justify her retreat from the tower. Which she obviously didn't.

Basically, aside from the profoundly unconclusive fact that Egwene woke up suddenly, I don't recall any for Siuan to think this was a situation not covered by Egwene's orders.
ana liese
110. analiese
Wetlandernw @ 108

Wow. Now you really are betraying your anti-Egwene bias by exaggerated understatement.

I find this statement odd given that I have always made clear what I think of Egwene. From your posts, it's also clear that you are strongly biased in favor of Egwene, but I don't hold character bias against anyone--we're all biased to some degree; anyone who claims otherwise is either a robot or lying. I do however hold it against people when they are unable to separate the person from the argument and choose to attack both.

Even though some of it was dealing with day-to-day stuff and Egwene did have a few other things to do, a minimum average of 3 hours per day would be a fair assumption.

3 hours per day? "A few other things"? Now who is making exaggerated understatements? Egwene was traveling across several countries--she mentions "long freezing days in the saddle" (TPoD)--and doing all the other things I listed. In the evenings, she shared her tent with Halima (I don't remember if Halima was allowed to listen in on Siuan's lessons, but probably not the 13th Depository stuff or 'how to make Sitters do your bidding' considering her connection to Delana).

For the record, I don't find it strange that Egwene rediscovered cuendillar, only that she managed to do all those things in just four months. Looking Glass @ 81 claimed Egwene was able to work in her sleep, but this is not true--in TFoH she says she can't stay in T'A'R too long because she still needs regular sleep. She doesn't spend more time awake than anyone else.
Kimani Rogers
111. KiManiak
Lisamarie@32- I don’t think I interpreted your comments as you suggesting that Egwene embodies meekness. I think neither her harshest critics nor her most strident supporters would honestly make that claim. Humility isn’t one of Egwene’s character traits; nor should anyone get away with calling her “weak.”

Lookingglass@74 – I believe I said “yes-men” and also “mindless automatons.” I would describe yes-men as lackeys, sycophants and/or kiss-ups (who tell someone what they want to hear) whereas I would define mindless automatons as people who blindly do what they’re told, and don’t apply reason, logic or common sense when doing so. Obviously (or maybe not, since you did point out that you misunderstood), when I was referring to disobeying orders when exposed to a drastically different change in circumstances, I was referring to being/not-being mindless automatons.

Second, the Seanchan attack wasn’t entirely unforeseen, but please remember that Egwene and Siuan were in mid-conversation when (to Siuan’s perception) Egwene is forcibly yanked out of T'A'R. Siuan wakes up to see that the Tower is being attacked by Seanchan.

A logical/intelligent conclusion (and Siuan is both intelligent and does use logic more often than not) would be that Egwene may not have been prepared for those specific circumstances at that specific time, and that Egwene is therefore in an unusual amount of distress due to the Seanchan attack. Also, Egwene is being dosed with forkroot, and may not be able to defend herself from being captured by the Seanchan.

Revisiting the order on whether or not to rescue your leader should be the duty of any capable second-in-command/lieutenant/subordinate in that circumstance.
(I admit to thinking: “What would Riker do if Picard was in a similar situation?” And: “Would Picard have chastised Riker for saving him in a similar manner?” Of course, not a great comparison, as Siuan is better than Riker, and Egwene is definitely no Picard).

Wetlander@108 re: communication with the Black Tower envoy – Are you referencing my post@22? If so, I wasn’t annoyed; I found it noteworthy that Romanda made a comment that no contact had been established with the delegation to the Black Tower since their departure.

This implied (or you can argue that I, and I’m assuming other readers, inferred) that something potentially ominous could be happening at the Black Tower. This drew the reader’s (or at least, this reader’s) attention back to the AS at the Black Tower.

It would therefore be logical to assume that due to Romanda’s comment, Egwene’s interest should have been piqued as well (especially since Egwene still has a problem with Rand for the capture and bonding of the 50 or so Sisters sent by Elaida to assassinate everyone on Tower grounds; I’m sure her formal apology as Amyrlin for the White Tower having sent those assassins will be coming any day now).

Anyway, I was commenting on how that quick exchange could be read to hint at something cool in ToM, that did not occur (although so many other cool things did occur in Tom).
Nadine L.
112. travyl
KiManiak and Wolfmage adressed it already:
Siuan did not override the order lightly, but carefully considered what she should do. She thought that Egwene was still in a prison cell, maybe shielded and doused (Egwene was pulled out of TAR and never came back, when she started to relate that she wasn't). I don't think you can say, that such a situation was forseen when Egwene gave her orders.
As others I don't fault her for beeing pissed, when it happens, but I do fault her for not being able to / not trying to take Siuan's point of view. Blindly following orders might be what she wants of her subjects, but acting in the others best interest doesn't deserve a rebuke with the "you will have to work hard to regain my trust" speech she gave Siuan.
To sum it up: I wholeheartedly agree with Wolfmage. Sorry if I just repeated what he and others already said more eloquently.

Aside from Egwene, what always bothered me, was the number of Black Ajah. Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I seem to remember that it was said that the tower and Salidar Aes Sedai had both about 300 AS, with another 300 sisters in neither camp. If this is correct, it would mean one in six Salidar sisters had been Black, which is just shocking and doesn't feel right?
Alice Arneson
113. Wetlandernw
analiese @110 - So if it's really only one hour a day average (which I don't believe for a minute) that's still 126 hours, which still looks to me like more than "a few lessons." Half an hour a day? Still 63 hours, which still looks like more than "a few lessons." Even the measly 20 minutes a day I mentioned would add up to 42 hours; granted that it would be a bit scanty for teaching a lot of political maneuvering, I don't see how it can justifiably be called "a few lessons." However, you're quite correct - you've never tried to pretend that you are at all impartial with regard to Egwene.
Alice Arneson
114. Wetlandernw
travyl @112 - It's actually more like one in five, I think. Back in Ch. 39, Egwene notes that there were "over two hundred" in Verin's count, and Verin thinks that she probably missed a few. In LoC, we're told that there are 294 AS aligned with Elaida, nearly 1/3 of the AS. That would give us about 900 total, although back in NS we were given a count of nearly 1300. If you call it an even thousand, two hundred would be one in five...

Scary, isn't it? The White Tower, supposed to be The Great Bastion Against the Shadow, was 20% Black. At least it accounts for some of the failure; even if all most of them did was subtly drag their feet and try to sidetrack the WT a little, a fair amount of damage could be done over a thousand years or so - especially since no one was willing to even think about the possibility of their existence. Come to think of it, the idea of "don't even suggest such a thing!" was probably started by the BA in the first place, and if not, was certainly reinforced by them.
115. DorseyPender
Agree with what others have said re: Siuan's reconsideration of the order.

Just to further stoke the fire, a certain character in TOM was rather sternly ordered, in no uncertain terms, not to enter another character's bedchambers. Yet that character, despite showing far, far, far, far, far (and so on) less capacity than Siuan though this point in the series, and despite a far less marked change in circumstances, decided to disobey that other character's orders, and, VOILA!, managed to save her from being murdered in her sleep.

Initiative is the lifeblood of any army, organization, or structure.
Stefan Mitev
116. Bergmaniac
Egwene mentioned in LoC that she listened to a number of Moiraine's lectures to Rand about the Game of Houses. Even though she didn't have much interest in that back then and considered Game of Houses absurd, that helped somewhat when she became Amyrlin. Of course, even taking this into account, an 18 year old with less than a year of education in politics easily outclassing supposedly the best politicians and manipulators in the world many of which have had literally centuries of experience at their job, remains quite implausible. I think RJ missed a chance to make it a bit easier to accept by making Egwene more interested in politics early on and had Elayne teach her some of that.
Jeff Schweer
117. JeffS.
93. JonathanLevy and also
94. J.Dauro

Jonathan, I see what you're saying and that could be it. I missed that was what Belal meant. J. Dauro has a good point about the realities of the situation though.
The Dragon brings change to everything, doesn't he. Some Aes Sedai may not agree, but there it is.

On the whole corpse disposal thing.
Channel earth and air to dig a pit. Air to lift and transport to said pit, dump em in, channel Fire to incinerate with walls of air to feed and block it off. Done deal. or you could open a small gate to nowhere and dump them in as some one else has mentioned already.
The One Power, take the drudgery out of all of your body disposal needs and it's only $19.95 ( other infomercials by request) 8^D
William Fettes
118. Wolfmage
Bergmaniac @116

Arguably, yes, it's an outlier for a normal person. But I do think it fits Egwene's character that she is perfectly adapted to assimilate the tools she needs, as necessary. Her preconceptions and passions matter less in that sense, because she is always 'on' and can take what she needs from her experiences when she needs it.

Moreover, although she isn't exactly interested in politics per se, the seeds of her political accumen are planted as early as Tear. From memory, Moiraine remarks to herself how well Egwene reads the temperature of the High Lords with Rand. This is despite the fact that Egwene doesn't like the High Lords, or the game they are playing, and she is still a little horrified at the very idea of Rand playing their game. So she does start from this position where high level politics is alien and disasteful, (something she has long left behind), but nonetheless, Moiraine is impressed with her the raw social and political intelligence, absent any formal training in politics.
Tess Laird
119. thewindrose
So, I had no problem with Egwene becoming Amyrlin in truth - Amyrlin of the united! Aes Sedai(a plot line finished!). Hmm, that has been hinted at since tEotW - Egwene becoming Amyrlin.

I see comments on how much time Egwene would have had Siuan craming her head with knowledge. Mention of traveling by horseback all day long - what do you think Egwene was doing during this time. Admiring the countryside, considering what dress to wear - or maybe getting her ears talked off by Siuan? I am thinking the last one .

In Chapter 46 - Egwene thinks to herself - that these Sitters are doing the same thing as the SAS Sitters- they are scared, they can't come up with anyone - so Egwene makes a great choice. If she bungles it, then they can point to her youth, or her lack of tower training.

I also had an issue with Egwene's treatment of Siuan that has gotten less as I have read this again. It is interesting that she tells Siuan that she needs to earn her trust - but who is with Egwene when she is at the bridge pushing off the attack for over an hour. Who is with Egwene, when she crosses over the bridge invited to become the Amyrlin. Who does Egwene send back to the SAS to tell them to line up by Ajah with sitters in front.

John Smith
120. TheHardTruth
Nice section, but two questions, and these are NOT meant as criticisms.

1 Where is the OTHER ''Commentary''? There used to be one for each chapter recap. Ive noticed that in addition to several ''One Chapter Only'' post in recent weeks, the ''Commentary'' section has also been shrank a few times as well. Again, not criticicizing just curious.

2 While noone can help the timing, wouldn't it be the decent thing to do for LB to use JordanCon AS her ''vacation'' in between books? Shes already steadily shank the content, now no post during the Con and then a vacation after? It just seems odd.

Oh well, I am enjoying the recaps and I have been here since Day One. Looking forward to TOM!
Alice Arneson
121. Wetlandernw
@120 - Leigh usually takes time off for JCon plus a week or so afterwards. I would too, if I were her. Fun as it is, her schedule also looks pretty tiring; plus she blogs the whole crazy thing for us. A week or two off would be, I think, vital to recovering from a weekend of nothing-but-WoT; I personally think that it's perfect timing to finish TGS, do JCon, take a break, and then, hopefully refreshed, come back to tackle ToM.

Oh, and lets not forget that, being only human and all, she does need some sleep and can't sacrifice her "real" job just so we can get to the next book a week sooner. Not meant as criticism, but there it is; she has a life outside tordotcom.

As far as the combined commentary, she's done that a few times recently on chapters that, IMO, fit so tightly together that it would feel weird to do the recap/comment/recap/comment thing with them. These two chapters, following a single sequence of events, are best taken at once rather than trying to split the commentary. Obviously, that's my opinion, but the first time she did it I was profoundly grateful because it just worked better. As it did here. YMMV.
Dawn Boyall
122. deebee
I think of this blog as a theatre performance laid on for free. The audience can turn up week after week and enjoy the show. But when the company who own the theatre or the actress who stars in the show decide to take a break, who are the audience to complain?
And neither is it a collaborative performance. The audience is free to discuss, to comment-but they don`t get to tell the actress she should play that scene a different way.

I don`t really find it surprising that so many sisters are black. If you think of Averagejane Sedai- she takes what, ten years to gain the shawl? Or more, and how much of that time was spent curtseying and scrubbing pots? Then one day, finally, she gets the shawl, after a gruelling test.

And what does she find her longed-for status means?
Since she`s only average in the power, her status is fixed forever in the middle of the heap. She can forget any idea that finally she`s reached equal status with the other sisters. Those who are stronger than her will outrank her for the rest of time. Not only that, new sisters who are stronger than her will be raised and will automatically take precedence over her.

So will she find her satisfaction in work? Well, what do most AS do? The healers mostly don`t heal, the Battle Ajah don`t work on battles, the blues have causes, which in most cases doesn`t seem to mean anything. Yes there are some who become advisers to monarchs, but very few. Averagejane Sedai has little hope of becoming a Sitter or Keeper, and certainly not Ajah head. Those jobs will fall to sisters who are stronger in the Power-and they`ll be there for hundreds of years.

So all in all after fifty years mulling on these frustrations I guess the idea of some intrigue and the possibility of gaining some power and status in the Black Ajah might be quite appealing.

Maybe if the AS developed some other system of advancement, and based status on something other than inate ability, there might be fewer blacks.
123. yasiru89
Samadai @102-

You mistake the purpose of TVTropes. It serves, particularly in this case, in an encylcopaedic capacity, indicating the telltale signs of a given trope. It certainly does not make any judgement of a trope or its subversions, however they are played out- distinguishing itself from a review. The idea that Egwene is a 'Mary Sue' character precedes citation of it, the page simply provides strong indicators to this effect so that a common platform for arguing for or against said indicators is established. It helps deconstruct and thereby sharpen arguments, whether for or against whatever position regarding these indicators- which are the true points of contention, whereas 'Mary Sue' is a convenient blanket term, a manifold of these indicators, the use of which augurs them.

It's a wonderful site, if perilous in being the very incarnation of counterproductiveness.

For my part, I've said that while Egwene is most definitely a Mary Sue character in tGS, this is not really a mark of bad-writing, since a meta plot requirement is at play. However, it exacerbates a crucial problem of her character- that she's not particularly likeable unless one 'slips into' her character.
124. yasiru89
Wetlandernw @108-

Ah, there go my hopes of Dreadlads and Dreadlasses.
Valentin M
125. ValMar
thewindrose @ 119

"who is with Egwene when..."?
Is this a trick question? My guess is Bela.
127. Looking Glass
Deebee @122: Agreed that the political system has to be super frustrating if you didn’t win the Power lottery, especially since they spring it on their students by surprise after years or decades of work.

That said, while political power within the tower is largely restricted, I’m not sure most AS actually lack the opportunity to do the work of their ajah; it seems more like most of them are just more inclined to politick than to actually pursue that work.

There appears to be little stopping a sister from wandering off to fulfill her calling elsewhere (beyond the significant fact that many have lived their entire adult lives, maybe decades or centuries, without leaving the tower). It seems like lots do leave, actually, though lots more don’t. Any green looking for a battle, for instance, would likely have no problem finding opportunities out in the borderlands.

For that matter, members of some ajahs (white, brown, yellow) could probably find as much work in their field as they wanted without even leaving the tower, assuming that they weren’t sat on by the political leadership. Even if they did get quashed they could just go somewhere else.

The reds and grays, and some blues depending on their inclinations, would appear to have the hardest time of it. The reds because their calling doesn’t involve much more than a sort of census work unless someone explodes, and the grays because they really need political influence (and conflicts to mediate, too, not that Randland seems short on those). Some blues would have similar problems, but you can’t really categorize the blues well because they’re apparently not supposed to be much more than an agglomeration of miscellaneous activists.
128. Freelancer
deebee @122

If your logic holds true for human nature en toto, then a similarly large faction of society are violent criminals. Think of all those MBAs who end up working as low-level analysts when they had planned on becoming a CEO within ten to fifteen years. I won't belabor the point, but it takes more than dissilusionment regarding hopes of attaining the top rung of the ladder to turn someone toward evil, unless they are already possessed of other bad experiences or inherent character flaws.

Most people find many other ways to gain fulfillment in their lives. And, within the WoT-verse, simply being one of those who have the One Power at their disposal carries a tangible, if unquantifiable, level of satisfaction, the type of which would be quite enough for most people's ambitions. Everybody is not an Egwene. Most people are Perrins (a large part of why he is not as well loved by the most strong-willed readers), they aren't asking for much out of life, and want it kept simple.

And about Egwene. Her "ambition" is not, nor ever has been, about an egomania on par with Elaida. Making such comparisons is prima facia absurd. Egwene does not enter into a situation seeking power and domination over other people. She approaches every new life experience with one plan in mind. "I will be the best ______ ever". For anyone who hadn't discovered that about her earlier, the Egwene-centered prequel-prologue "Ravens" should settle it.

Anywhere she goes, anything she is given to do, she immediately immerses herself in the task, giving herself over to succeeding as quickly and thoroughly as possible. Yes, she is compulsive about this behavior to a fault, proven by her decision to disobey the Wise Ones at the risk of losing their tutelage, believing she can learn more and faster than they are offering. Young, foolish, overzealous, but by no means evil, and by no means with plans for world domination.

Given all that, why should it be a surprise that she assimilates a great deal of political acumen in a short timeframe under the guidance of a veritable master of political maneuvering? And again, she doesn't do everything right by any means, and not everything works as she'd wanted (therefore NOT a Mary Sue), but her goals are about the society into which she has been placed, not about her own self.

And just for the record, I like Elayne more than I do Egwene, so the above isn't the bias-fogged impression that Leigh describes in her opening comments. Actions and intentions judged on their own merit, faults judged on their own merit. I try my best to read the story as it is, as little of the color "adjusted" by my own desires and intentions for the characters. I read about Padan Fain the same way I read about Rand. Wondering what happens next, not wishing what would happen next. Maybe that's why I don't grok the "wanted to throw the book across the room" reactions. I am as likely to be as shocked, moved, thrilled or saddened by an event as the next reader, but since I do not read with a "this must happen to that person or something just isn't right" mindset, I accept whatever happens.

That's part of why I don't think you can find an example of me commenting that "Jordan should have written that a different way". The story isn't designed around my expectations, nor could it ever have been. As I said above with Egwene, judged on its own merits, not against a scale of expectations from a reader.
Nadine L.
129. travyl
Deebee: @ 122
Elaborating the facts that Looking Glass and Freelancer already stated (that Aes Sedai really can pursue can pursue their own projects (and nobody would intervene heeding tradition) and most people don't really mind if they aren't the one in command (and bear responsability)) - IMO being an average Jane Sadai isn't explanation enough to be seriously tempted to become black:

Given the fact that the oath "by my hope of salvation" is considered to be "unbreakable" I don't think any average person would decide to forsake that and turn to the shadows.
Besides: what do they really gain: they are still just average powered, still in the same position of the pecking order and to cover up their true allegiance they need to do everything they can to fit in (It might be telling if you kill off to many sisters who upset you). The sole "advantage" is, they may order around some darkfriends, but risk to be ordered around by others (even non-Channeler DF's likewise). And if the DO is not pleased: he might punish you in the end. - Not a prospect I would want to sign up for lightly.

On a narrative point I do understand that it gives us a greater impact when they behead fifty people instead of seven, but that every fifth woman black is just horrible. In this case I don't understand why the Black sisters didn't cause more damage, because as soon as an Aes Sedai would need to not work alone, chances are high that they are working with a black among them.
Nadine L.
130. travyl
@124. yasiru: LOL

@Leigh, in answer to 120 (the hard truth):
Leigh, please take your time with the vacation. At least one reader (me), while greatly enjoying your work here, would gladly accept, and even consider it a favor, if you didn't start with TOM until after june 20 (due to RL demands) ; )
Dawn Boyall
131. deebee

My point about the preponderance of Black Ajah is about the disconnect between what novices and Accepted think their lives will be and what they find. And then they have another two hundred and fifty years or more of knowing there is absolutely no hope of that changing. They don`t even acquire status and respect with age. I can see why the Kin wanted to change that. Your average MBA probably has some hope that he can get some level of promotion/increase in seniority and status before he hangs his hat up and starts growing roses. (Gender correction-take his to mean his/her...)

I agree that the life of most darkfriends seems pretty grim when seen close up, proximity to the Forsaken is not all beer and skittles. I wonder how many darkfriends actually have any idea what they`re getting into in reality? Since there`s no possibility of getting out again.

I`m struck by the thought that we`ve never seen anyone challenge the belief system. (unless I`ve missed it)
The cosmology seems to be a universal belief across the nations. You would perhaps expect there to be agnostics and atheists who don`t accept the whole Creator/Wheel/Pattern ology, or that different nations might have a variant of the belief system. But even more likely would be completely different beliefs.

It`s not something I`ve thought about before but now I have, I find it puzzling.
Alice Arneson
132. Wetlandernw
Side note… I wonder if Egwene’s rhetoric about the importance of the Tower is more necessary than many of the readers think. I know it has really grated on some, who point to the Borderlanders and the Aiel as being cutting-edge Shadow Fighters who seem to be more effective than the WT. I’m afraid I’ve been thinking… (a dangerous pastime, I know). While from our perspective, there are many others who are also critical in the battle, a unified and effective White Tower would undeniably be a huge asset to Team Light. Better yet, a purged, unified and effective White Tower working in concert with a purged, unified and effective Black Tower would be a phenomenal asset to Team Light. Borderlander armies notwithstanding, Lightlords are going to be vital to keep humanity alive long enough for Rand’s work at Shayol Ghul to be accomplished. The AS, just recovering from a rather devastating series of events, need a goal that's not just bigger than they are, but WAY WAY bigger than they are. Whether the world needs them as much as they think is irrelevant; they need to believe in their purpose. Whether Egwene knows that and is merely giving them what they need, or whether she needs it too, I won't guess.

Looking Glass @127 – In New Spring, we’re told that there were 423 AS in residence in the WT, with about twice that number out in the world. Whether that’s typical over history, or an artifact of the recent completion of the “Aiel War” is unknown.

deebee @131 - When someone asked RJ about the lack of formal theology, he replied,
“This is a world where what might be called the proofs of religion are self-evident all the time. It seemed to me there was no necessity for the trappings of religion which by and large are to reinforce us in our faith. And to convince others, if your beliefs are made concrete and manifest around you at any given time, there is not the need for that.”
I also had some thoughts about your comments on the preponderance of BA, but I can’t get my head around them right now, and the kid wants to dye Easter eggs RIGHT NOW. Makes it hard to concentrate… but FWIW I think your point is valid. After anywhere from 8 to 20 years of training, during which you are actively discouraged from making comparisons of strength, to suddenly be confronted with the fact that, no matter what or how good your other skills, you’ll always be less than the newest AS with a notch more strength would be grating. Most would settle in and find their place anyway, or go out and about where there are other opportunities, but it’s rather a setup against those who find that difficult. **sigh** No more time for further musing now. Maybe later.
Tess Laird
133. thewindrose
Valmar - Ha! She was there too. (Bela was also on all those rides through the countryside.)

If you able, take a gander at the histories in the 13th depository:
Andaya Sedai stood before Bela, taking a moment to smooth out the unseen wrinkle in her light gray silk dress that was slashed with a darker grey lace.

"Bela al'Equum," Andaya said formally, "you are summoned before the Hall of the Tower." Her dark birdlike eyes shone with some suppressed emotion. Bela's stomach sank; those fool Sitters were going to try and make her the Amyrlin Seat.

"Ask not why you are summoned," Seaine said right behind Andaya, her quiet voice making the formality more serious. "It is yours to answer, not to question." For some reason she had dyed her hair blonde making her thick black eyebrows stand out even more; that was the sort of unimportant detail that seemed to loom large in Bela's mind.

"Delay not in your coming." Bela had always thought Saerin an upper-level dressage competitor, but the olive skinned woman sounded as serious as Seaine. Egwene and Siuan adjusted their dresses and frowned, their irritation beginning to turn to disbelief. "It is yours to obey in haste."

The three Sitters spoke in unison. "It is well to fear the summons of the Hall. It is well to obey in haste and humility, unasking. You are summoned to kneel before the Hall of the Tower and accept their judgement."

Bela couldn't help herself, she snorted. Not for all the apples in the world would I lead these petty children. She quickly pushed Egwene in front of her, hard enough that the three Sitters had to catch Egwene from falling and ruining her exquisite crisom silk dress. Bela looked each woman in the eye until each of them bowed their head in shame, a shame that quickly was turning into embarassment. Bela's heart sang as she galloped off to go and join al'Thor. Enough with all the dress talk!
Thomas Keith
134. insectoid
Wind @133: *LOL*
This made my day. XD

Dawn Boyall
135. deebee
Wetlander @132

The RJ quote is effectively explaining why there are no formal religious structures-no priesthood, no churches, no saints.

What I question is why there is no dissent from the belief system. Where is the evidence which is so convincing that souls are reborn, that there is a Wheel and a Pattern? When memories become legend and legend fades to myth yada yada-wouldn`t you expect that beliefs would start to diverge and new variants arise?

This level of conformity over thousands of years and across continents seems a bit unlikely. And RJ himself draws on several different religions and mythologies. which makes it all the more ironic.

But I guess this is authorial fiat so there`s no point in going there.
Alice Arneson
136. Wetlandernw
deebee - check out the theoryland interview database. Search for "religion" for a lot more discussion of the subject. Not everything you get with that search will be relevant, but you're not the only one who has wondered. :)
137. Wortmauer
deebee@135: Where is the evidence which is so convincing that souls are reborn, that there is a Wheel and a Pattern? When memories become legend and legend fades to myth yada yada-wouldn`t you expect that beliefs would start to diverge and new variants arise?
Those are very good questions. And that sort of stuff has bugged me for years. How do they know there are seven Ages? Nobody lives through multiple ages and apparently no records or even myths ever survive that long. How do they know there's a specific Creator? Apparently he never takes a hand in anything. At least with the Dark One, you can feel his effect by naming him — a "proof of religion" as it were. Speaking of which, I've mentioned this before, but why does anyone still remember the Dark One's name? If nobody ever says it aloud, I'd expect it to be forgotten within two or three generations. (Unless it's always passed down in written form — but why would it be? — and even then, I'd expect some people would know it and others not.)

How did news of the Strike at Shayol Ghul get around, if the Hundred Companions all either died or went mad on the spot? How does the world know that the Forsaken were trapped in the Bore? "No surivors? Then where do the tales come from, I wonder."

By the way, there are a few oblique references to doubters in the world. Well, at least one:
"Ba'alzamon is dead," Rand said hoarsely, and the Amyrlin snorted like a stablehand.

"If you believe that, you are as much a fool as the Domani. Many there believe he is dead, or say they do, but I notice they still won't risk naming him. The Dark One lives, and he is breaking free. You will face the Dark One. It is your destiny."
— TGH, Ch. 8, "The Dragon Reborn"
138. AndrewB
Wetlandernw @108 - Even after ToM, it is possible that Egwene and company will not find the ter'angreal that Sheriam stole for Mesaana. Mesaana may have hidden them with some weave that is specifically atuned to Mesaana. Also, she could have inverted her weaves. This would produce a location akin to what Mesaana did in the World of Dreams in ToM - her hidden and created room. Granted that you can do things in the World of Dreams that you cannot do in the Randland.

Who knows. This could be one of the things that the Forsaken know but nobody else does :)

On the other hand, Wetlandernw, you could be correct. We will find out (or not) in AMoL.

"Wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then" - Bob Seger, "Against the Wind"
Alice Arneson
139. Wetlandernw
deebee @ 135 - I posted earlier but included a link, and wouldn't you know it, this is the one time my post gets flagged for a moderator to look at. (I include links all the time and almost never get flagged. *sigh*) Anyway, if you go to theoryland.com and search the interview database for "religion" you'll see a fair amount of q&a - others have wondered, too. My summary version of the whole thing amounts to "RJ didn't really want to deal with religions specifically in the story, so he built his world in such a fashion that, at least in this Age, everyone pretty much understands how stuff works: Creator, Dark One, Wheel, Pattern, One Power with two aspects, etc." Really, I'm rather grateful that we didn't have to add dueling religions into the story; it would have added at least another half-dozen books.

Wortmauer @137 - The Heroes of the Horn have apparently been around the Wheel - the whole Wheel - more than a few times. That's some good personal observation, right there, since they remember all of their many lives while they're in TAR. Obviously, they don't remember while they're spun out, but there would be ways to make sure the truth is told during any Age that has dreamwalkers. Anyone who can get into TAR reliably and learn its rules could be contacted at will by any of the Heroes, given the appropriate bits of the whole story, and there you go. The proscriptions against the Heroes contacting living people who are "just visiting" can be broken when they think it's important enough.

AndrewB @ 139 - It's quite possible that Mesaana has a well-hidden stash, and it won't be broken into until some fifth-age archaeologist gets to digging around in the ruins of this big broken tower thing... Maybe the weaves will still trigger and kill the first person to touch it, and it will start a whole "curse of the mummies" type of superstition about the dig.
Alice Arneson
140. Wetlandernw
Okay, that's weird. Two posts flagged for the moderator, and only one of them had a link. And I usually don't even get flagged for links. The site is out to get me tonight.

Short version: deebee, try searching the theoryland interview database for more from RJ on leaving out religion. Wortmauer, if the Heroes have lived multiple spins, they could tell the tale to any old dreamwalker who happens by. Andrew, my current theory is that Mesaana's stash will kill a fifth-age archaeologist and start a "curse of the mummies" superstition about the dig site.
Dawn Boyall
141. deebee

I have read the RJ comments on religion-hence my comment that this is authorial fiat.

RJ is effectively saying that people have total belief in the cosmology because they see the OP used around them, which confirms all the tenets are true.

I don`t see how use of the OP proves the existence of a Wheel and the Pattern. It proves that some people have some powers that others don`t, but I could think of various alternative religious theories which could account for that.

In various parts they don`t even believe Trollocs exist because the physical evidence is limited geographically. But no-one questions that there is a circular cosmology, that souls are reborn.

I can understand why there might be sufficient evidence for a major religion to exist, with belief in a Creator and the DO. but you might expect that some other belief systems would have developed in parallel. If you look at our belief systems, there are many variants of that basic dichotomy, Good v Evil-but they span many different religions.

But RJ says otherwise, and I guess he knows. Maybe the Pattern needs there only to be one belief and takes corrective action against dissenters.
142. yasiru89
I'd forgot to make a quip about the Dread team's mascot character- Dreadlemur!

thewindrose @133- That was hilarious.

deebee 135- Actually, I think the knowledge of the Dark One's existence, and the very real effects he's had in the past might well serve to bring solidarity to the other side. Nothing like a clear and present threat to deny dissent- and even if the attached history is to be dismissed, there's the presence of Trollocs, Halfmen and even what misfortune and discomfort follows the very utterance of the Dark One's name. A unified belief is stronger.
143. yasiru89
Wortmauer @137- The short story, 'The Strike at Shayol Ghul' is a piecing together of what might have happened there. We certainly know that the Hundred Companions instantly went mad, but nothing of whether they died. It may be that some information could still have been obtained from them by other Aes Sedai.

On religion, as I said, an opposing force sometimes consolidates a viewpoint. The Shadow wishes to bring ruin and end all things, so surely salvation lies in rebirth. The Creator might even come of the Dark One, in wanting to imagine an anti-thesis of the adversary of men (as God might have come about originally in men's minds as an actual solution to the problem of evil and suffering, if not a pragmatic one then a hope-engendering one- a reason to oppose the bleak features of life for the sake of an ambiguous, but surely grand salvation), stronger, but not one to depend upon.

Knowledge of the Ages and the Wheel and the Pattern probably come from the Age of Legends. In such a utopian time lacking war and conflict, you can imagine much research went into the physics and metaphysics of the world. Even the opportunity to question the Aelfinn for instance could have been used to find out about the past, because they could afford to back then without pressing political concerns.

The Dark One's name, I would assume, even if it were forgotten, might undergo a process of rediscoveries- how many combinations of syllables can make a person nauseous or unfortunate, after all?
Jay Dauro
144. J.Dauro
Oh I don't know - I would hate to think that the Dark One's name was something like "liver". (Makes me nauseous.)
Valentin M
145. ValMar
Wind @ 133
Maybe Bela has been possessed by a skinchanger all this time...

Re: the Black Ajah numbers. Yep, more than 20% of the AS are BA. I think such massive numbers can have occured due to a combination of factors, not just one.
One could be the characters of the AS and, consequently, the power structure as suggested in recent posts.
Another could be a deliberate action of the BA to increase it's numbers combined with favourable conditions in the WT. We've been shown consistently how little restraint there is on the actions of the BA.
Also, as Wetlander pointed out, in about 20 years there has been a huge fall in numbers of the AS, by about a quarter. That'a a lot for an organisation whose members' lifespan is measured in centuries and haven't been in open conflict with anyone in that time.
I suspect the proportion of BA sisters in the 300 disappeared AS since New Spring is much smaller than 20%...
Jeff Schweer
146. JeffS.
building the % of BA by direct assassination. This is a pure Occam's Razor answer. All of these AS disappearing while out of the tower and while traveling never to be seen again.
I think your theory gains even more credence when you factor in how the AS denied that there even was a BA. Two AS meet while out and about in the country. There would be a base level of trust in a sister that you may have already met in the tower so your defenses would be down

One BA rides away from the camp in the morning...

makes perfect sense to me.

I am only an egg
You know this hypothetical "Strike at Shayol Gul " has me thinking of a little short about the story of the making of the Sharom and the Bore. As in was Miriam committed to the Dark One before the Bore and after. What did she do to create the Bore.

Really, in my opinion, the greater work would be the back story of Lanfear and LTT's relationship, her work towards the discovery of the TOP, the building of the Sharom and creating the Bore, and continuing through to the story of the sealing of the Bore by LTT and the Hundred companions, right up to and through the Time of Madness, ending with LTT committing suicide.

That to me would be one helluva story.

Watchu think?

148. AndrewB
Wetlandernw @140: "my current theory is that Mesaana's stash will kill a fifth-age archaeologist and start a "curse of the mummies" superstition about the dig site."

Great theory. I will drink to that in the bunker. Or I would if it was not passover and I could have a beer.

"Wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then" - Bob Seger, Against the Wind
Cameron Tucker
149. Loialson
Hey, did anybody else notice that the WOT re-read thread now has the latest A Clash of Kings thread in it??

@tnh, is that supposed to happen?
URL here:
Thought I'd report it, and as I cant shoutbox a moderator anymore (at least I can't figure it out :) ) this is the best place for it.

Not much to say on Egwene, other than she is fantabulous, I loved how she helps fix the tower, and does it beautifully.

But girl, you have some serious stupid to clear out of your head by Merrilor, if Team Light has any hope of sealing The Dark One away for good.
150. JimF
Ahh, all those characters and how we readers relate to them. Per 14. TimBuktu: "...Like you, I've shifted in my views on Egwene. Through the first 4 books or so, she was among my favorite characters...."

In the first four books, I could hardly stomach Egwene. She rubbed me wrong from the beginning, and the foray with Perrin and Elyas really cemented it. Then came the trek to Tear. I really wanted Elayne or Nynaeve to rip her head off. The first time I recall having any positive regard for her came about because of Mat. When he knelt to her before setting off to Ebou Dar with El and Nyn, he elevated her enormously, both to all viewing the scene, and in my perspective.

I still don't like her (I love Mat and Nynaeve, and I always want to like Rand and Elayne and Perrin, and virtually all the other first and second team), but I do respect her. She's been tough and focussed and smart in her dealings with the AS and other groups, and I acknowledge that she is a potent force and a good guy.

Unfortunately, she's still the same old girl she used to be when it comes to Rand, and she may yet get her head torn off. She's too used to thinking of him in a very condescending way, and he is completely beyond that now (something she should have begun to realize back in Tear or during the time in and following the Aiel Waste, but she could never manage it). I'm really interested to see how their next meeting turns out. She's fortunate that she gets the Buddha Rand, and not Rand the Terrible.
Jonathan Levy
151. JonathanLevy
What I question is why there is no dissent from the belief system. Where is the evidence which is so convincing that souls are reborn, that there is a Wheel and a Pattern?
Why do you think people are looking for evidence when deciding what to believe? For a thousand years (say, from 500 AD to 1500 AD) the medieval Catholic Church preserved the Christian faith quite well, with very few people demanding to see the evidence.

As for Randland, the Aes Sedai are an unquestionable source of authority. They wield the One Power, therefore they know what they're talking about, and if they say Time is a Wheel with Seven Spokes, it must be true. Being turned upside down and spanked with a Flow of Air is much less a test of faith than believing a wafer has been transubstantiated into the Flesh of Our Lord after a priest blesses it.

As an aside, in TEOTW Logain is referred to as 'The Unbeliever'. This suggests to me that RJ's decision not to have any structured religion (except for Whitecloaks) may have matured late enough to have left a few artifacts in the first book.

137. Wortmauer
How does the world know that the Forsaken were trapped in the Bore?
Ha. This bugs me too. Let me take it one step further. How does the world know that there are thirteen Forsaken? How could the world know their names?

During the War of the Power, Team Dark had plenty of leaders, who were as busy jockeying for power and backstabbing each other as fighting against Team Light. The list of the Top X Bad Guys must have been very volatile. Now factor in the difficulties Team Light would have in compiling such a list, and it gets much worse.

Long and short of it, on the day of the Strike at Shayol Ghul, Team Light could only have a very vague estimate of what the top leadership of the Shadown consisted. The only people who came back from the Strike were gibbering madmen.

So unless Lews Therin or one of his buddies took a couple of polaroids in between placing Seal #6 and Seal #7, and happened to drop them in the lap of another Aes Sedai while taking a break in between flattening mountains and boiling seas, I don't see how this information could have gotten out.

I mean, look at the lengths Rand went to to confirm that Graendal was killed - and he still got it wrong. How could anyone have confirmed that Moghedien was at Shayol Ghul in the first place, and that she hadn't managed to escape?


It's still a great catechism, though, so perhaps we should leave it at that.
Valentin M
152. ValMar
Probably the knowledge of the nature of the WOT universe has been preserved by the AS over the years.
The WT probably made the nature of the Creator and the DO so clearly evident that it was taken as a fact by the population. Also, as the AS were in effect the upholders of this theology it was up to them to create some kind of religious type of structure with admin, myths, rituals, enforcement, etc.
They clearly didn't feel the need for it.
Dawn Boyall
153. deebee

The Catholic Church was one faith on a planet that has had many. And that is one thousand years. The AOL was say three thousand years ago?
How many religions have arisen on earth since 1000 years BC? That`s been time enough for faiths to rise, fall and be forgotten except for a few monoliths.

So my point is simply that in the course of thousands of years, you would normally expect some level of evolution of other faiths and dissenting views of the cosmology. What is one person`s tenet of faith is another`s superstition. The existence of Trollocs is seen as superstition by some, presumably despite AS warning of the dangers from the Blight. So I`m surprised that no-one has an alternative view on the cosmology or thinks that it isn`t literal truth.

Edit to add:
Anyway, even if I see this as a bit of an anomaly, RJ is quite clear that there is total acceptance of the cosmology in his universe, so there isn`t any point in pursuing this-his world, his rules.
154. yasiru89
When there is real Power to be seen being wielded, however much one fears and resents the wielders, there's cause to believe. Had the Catholic Church or any other religiously-significant institution been able to bring about frequent enough miracles as all know the White Tower does, their supremacy would be soon enough established and endure indefinitely (or for as long as said frequently miracles last without becoming irrelevant). In this case it isn't even an onerous, conflict-ridden system of morality being forwarded by said institution that's an issue- it's purely the metaphysics in question.
John Massey
155. subwoofer
And Egwene went forth amongst the Aes Sedai with the jawbone of an donkey, and smote them hip and thigh and dangly bits... And about time too. It would have been more satisfying if it was Rand calling the ladies out, but I am glad somebody did it.

"You blocks, you stones, you worse than senseless things"... I mean really, the world hangs in the balance and you are all squabbling for leadership? Really? And an 18 year old brings this to your attention? Wells, all I can say is that it is about time and damn skippy.

There should be a guantlet of paddles for group spankings...

::bunker? where forth art thee??::

Thomas Keith
156. insectoid
SUB!! You're back! Hallelujah!!!

edit: I almost wrote 'Haleighlujah', but caught myself. XD

Jay Dauro
157. J.Dauro

I'm not sure I can handle giving you up for Lent next year. It's good to see you back again.

Tess Laird
158. thewindrose
Hiya sub - seems like I just saw something you wrote:D Welcome back. We need your brand of levity here!

Tricia Irish
159. Tektonica
Yay!!! Sub's back!!!

We need you, buddy......
John Massey
160. subwoofer
Thanks for all the well wishes folks... I gave up most blogging in general and with all the fallout from the Manning sweepstakes, not to mention the new season starting for F1- I was a dyin' over here. And Tebow??? Holy- ! My good friends on the FB reread kept me from going out into the streets with a paddle and dispensing justice... or just relieving tension if you will, but it had to be done.

Edit-@wind- dunno about my brand of levity- but I certainly have the "open mouth, insert foot" angle down to a science;)

Speaking of paddling, one thing that occurs to me is the despensing of penance. How does one do that and should one do that? From the next book it seems that Egwene decided that the Tower has bigger fish to fry, or maybe if anyone lives through the Last Battle, that will be penance enough.

My thoughts are- have the ladies, as a whole, learned their lesson from the chastisement Egwene gave them in one of her many speeches? Are the Sitters, sisters, and head honchos of the Ajahs all working as one now? Is Lelaine really the model of compliance? The constant back and forth with Ro been squashed for the greater good? Is Egwene really respected now? I suppose we will see in the final book. For now, on the surface it seems that it is so.

About Siuan... here's my thought; Egwene, don't forget about the people that helped you get to where you are. Do not leave your friends behind, that is the mistake that Rand is making, don't be a Rand. Your friends make you stronger, not weaker. It is not favoritism to show your friends respect, I think they earned that. You get what you give. Golden Rule time here.

Edit edit- is it me or are there some changes that have occurred to formatting at TOR here? Did we take an "upgrade" again and downgraded ourselves?

Nadine L.
161. travyl
Sub: we won't have to wait until the final book to see that the Aes Sedai are still sheming around Egwene. We'll see in TOM how she outmaneuvers them and gains the right to deal with king Rand.

I agree with your point about respect your friends. But aren't you to harsh on Rand here? Which friends are you talking of, that he left behind?

Wetlander @140.
if the Heroes have lived multiple spins, they could tell the tale to any old dreamwalker who happens by
Except that Birgitte seemed to break the rules for even showing herself to other Dreamwalkers. Gaidal clearly said it wasn't allowed to talk. And since I don't see any benefit if one knew that time is circular with 7 ages, I don't think a hero would risk whatever concequences we don't know of, to inform any dreamwalker that the wheel has 7 spokes.
Rich Bennett
162. Neuralnet
A little late to the party but thanks for the reread... for most part I like Egwene but I can see why the haters gonna hate.

Really the only letdown of these chapters for me is Min's viewing of Sheriam and the end of the black Ajah in general. Just seemed like it happened too fast... too off screen.
Kimani Rogers
163. KiManiak
Welcome back, Sub.

Re: the Aes Sedai “learning their lesson” about keeping their eye on the prize, not being petty, not being decisive, whatever, I think we need only look at Nynaeve’s test for the shawl and the Hall’s attempt to depower Egwene (and Egwene’s very clever outmaneuvering of the Hall, as Travyl@160 noted) to see that the Aes Sedai in general do not appear to have learned any of those lessons.

They still seem (predominantly) to be the same petty, scheming, arrogant individuals that they always have been. To be fair, such a radical change in culture will take time, and require a few more potentially harsh lessons to be fully accepted, IMHO.
Alice Arneson
164. Wetlandernw
travyl @161 – I’m not really suggesting that they would break the rules on a regular basis; just that I don’t think it’s likely that Birgitte is the first to ever break it. All it would take is one Hero breaking the rule and having a series of conversations with an influential dreamwalker or two. Once it’s been established in the “real world” (i.e. non-TAR) by someone who has cause to know and be believed, it doesn’t need further reinforcement until there comes such a catastrophic failure that all knowledge of such things has been lost. It might only happen once around the Wheel, really, but I don’t find that at all difficult to imagine.

KiManiak @163 - To be fair, such a radical change in culture will take time, and require a few more potentially harsh lessons to be fully accepted, IMHO. – Or, possibly, facing Tarmon Gai’don and simply not having any more time to play politics… Simple, harsh reality may take the place of time and repeated lessons. :)

In other thoughts… I've been reflecting on some of the discussion here, and I find that, aside from understanding (not approving, but understanding) Egwene's treatment of Siuan, I'm a little bit glad it happened. It proves that she's not suddenly perfect and infallible, and I'm glad RJ wrote it that way.

I've concluded is that Egwene has, to some extent, not only chosen to sacrifice her personal relationships for her political position, it seems to me that she has (probably inadvertently) set aside her "interpersonal skills development" for the sake of political skills. By which, I mean that she’s not paying any attention to “how to win friends” because she is focusing solely on the “influence people” aspect. It's doubtful that she would see it that way, but it's not at all surprising that she's done it. It's a natural human reaction to focus on the things we find most important, and for more than 6 months now, her primary responsibility has been to lead the Aes Sedai and reunite the Tower. (While it’s certain that some of her ideas regard the Tower are mistaken, I think they are understandable nonetheless, but that’s another topic.)

We all know Egwene is the girl who throws herself into being the very best at whatever she tries. Have you ever known someone like that? Somehow, “being a friend” rarely pops up on the radar as an area in which to strive for success. They strive to be the very best at their chosen sport, instrument, game, subject… whatever seems important to them, and they work incredibly hard at it. Usually, though, they tend to assume that friends are friends, and you don’t have to work at being friends. In many cases, that can work out all right, but in Egwene’s case, there’s the additional factor of the unique position she now holds. She can’t afford to have people who are dismissive of her orders because they think they have special rights, so she ends up being harder on her friends than she really should. (Gee, I don’t know anyone who ever overreacts like that…)

It’s frustrating to us to see her essentially shoot down her own friendships, and we can’t help thinking it’s a very, very bad idea. (After all, we’ve been watching Rand…!) Unfortunately, I actually think she may be right, at least for the short term. Once her friends and mentors can get past “you’re just a kid” to the point that they can treat her as Amyrlin in all ways, she may be able to afford to let them treat her differently in private, but not now. Add to that, she can’t afford to think of herself as their friend first, and still be able to do her job well.

Most Amyrlin’s wouldn’t have this issue, because they’d come to the job as much (much!!) older women; even Siuan had some trouble with it, and she came to it after half a lifetime of training and experience as Aes Sedai. She and Moiraine had, IIRC, deliberately built up a façade of distance so that they could each do their own thing without repercussions from too close association, but it didn’t entirely work; too many people remembered that they had been very close friends, and in the end it backfired. Egwene, at not-quite-20, isn’t willing to risk even the slightest appearance of favoritism, and I fear she may be right.

Come to think of it, as it stands she’ll have to play her cards carefully if she wants to send AS help to Tarwin’s Gap. If it doesn’t come from a cooperation agreement with Rand, she’ll have to be careful to present it as “not failing the Malkieri again” – or at least as a logical part of Tarmon Gai’don - rather than letting it look like “I’m sending you all off to defend my BFF’s husband.” Then again, it may not matter; in ToM Rand promised to send help to Lan, so…

::sighs:: How do you spell RAFO?
165. s'rEDIT
@ all
OT: my son

I introduced my son to WOT in 99, then he, just a little over a year ago, persuaded me to go back and read Knife of Dreams, even though I thought I had given up on RJ after Winter's Heart. He told me I'd really like what BS had done with GS and ToM . . . that I would find it well worth the read. He's the one who found Leigh's reread in Dec 2010 or Jan 2011, to help me catch up in time for AMoL. We were discussing who would get through it first!

It's going to be me, but I wish it weren't.

My son was a Harrier pilot, just joining a squadron in Yuma. He had just gotten his own plane back from a repair shop and flown it to my town for a visit. He was in a fatal plane crash yesterday morning, while he was doing stunts with someone who had wanted a demo flight.

I know I haven't kept up with you all, but there are certain ones of you who have been precious to me, whether you know it or not.

Forgive me, but I just needed to share.
John Massey
166. subwoofer
@travyl- well, first we see Rand offering Lan up as canon fodder. Rand has doubts about where Nynaeve's allegiance lies, despite all she has done Let us not forget that Rand had sketchy thoughts about Mat and Perrin too in regards to if he was able to trust them... did I metion about Hurin? I dunno, I feel I am being honest about Rand, let's not paint everything with the "harsh" brush ok;) The simple fact is, Rand, at this point does not trust anybody, Aes Sedai, Ogier, friend, whomever. It is not that Rand left his friends behind, I feel that Rand does not recognize friend from foe from sycophant at this current point in the story.

John Massey
167. subwoofer

s'redit- I am sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Words cannot say...


Alice Arneson
168. Wetlandernw
s'rEDIT - I grieve for your loss, and I'm praying for you and all your family. I'm so deeply sorry, and grateful for his service on our behalf.
Kimani Rogers
169. KiManiak

Wow. I don't have the words.

It sounds like you and your son had a great relationship even into his adulthood, which seems to be becoming more rare these days. I am incredibly sorry for your loss. Your family will be in my thoughts and prayers, as well.
170. al'Kohol
Some really thoughtful posts in this one.

Re: cosmology, it seems like there's far more evidence for the Dark One than there is for the Creator. I suppose Rand talked to him all the way back at Tarwin's Gap, but the average citizen hasn't seen or heard from him. He seems to be a very non-interventionist Deity, outsourcing all that savior business to the Dragon.

The Dark One, on the other hand, is very clearly kicking around, what with the Blight and the shadowspawn and what-have-you. Heck, the Dark One even has a solid recruiting program going on for Darkfriends. Where are the Creator's missionaries?
Eric Hughes
171. CireNaes

I will pray for you and yours. Thank you for honoring us by sharing your loss here.
Nadine L.
172. travyl
my condolences as well. I am so sorry for you and your family.
Valentin M
173. ValMar

My sincere condolences for your loss, too.

I remember hearing about this crash on the news, and now this tragic event a world away feels much closer.
Sam Mickel
174. Samadai
You and your family will be in my prayers. May he be sheltered in the Light of the Creator.
Tricia Irish
175. Tektonica
Oh, s'rEdit. I'm so so sorry for your loss. Losing a child must be the very worst kind of pain. I am glad you just had time together, and have remained close, but oh, there are no words.
Roger Powell
178. forkroot
I am deeply sorry for your loss, and heartwarmed (as one of the collective) that this group has meant enough to you that you are willing to let us share this time of pain with you.
Forgive me, but I just needed to share.
Forgive you? We honor you, and come along side of you in your moment of grief. Your son had chosen to be a difference maker - a defender of innocents in a hostile world. He chose a dangerous profession that often requires sacrifice from the best and brightest. Be comforted that his was a life of achievement and purpose.

Our warmest regards and prayers go with you.
179. Taryntula
I'm in the middle of my own re-read, in TFOH, while still reading Leigh's re-read, but I have to say that this chapter really shows how far Egwene has come as a character. I just re-read the chapter where she runs fifty laps with Aviendha around the Wise One's camp in Rhuidean, and just her conversation and internal though processes have come so far.

I'm glad she's moved on from the bossy ex-girlfriend from high school to the leader of awesome we have now. As much as I love Siuan, I know the world needs an Egwene at the Last Battle to kick some major baddie tushy.
Jay Dauro
181. J.Dauro

Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
Irene Gallo
182. Irene

All of Tor.com has you in our thoughts. We are so sorry for your loss.
Tess Laird
183. thewindrose
s'rEDIT - So sorry to hear of your loss. May your heart and soul find peace and comfort.

Thomas Keith
184. insectoid
s'rEDIT: My sincerest condolences on your loss.

Chris Chaplain
185. chaplainchris1
s'rEDIT - so very, very sorry. I wish there was something I could say, but I can't imagine what you are going through. Just know we are praying for you and yours, and grieve the loss of your son, a fellow WOTer who like RJ was taken from us too soon. Much grace.
Leigh Butler
186. leighdb

My deepest condolences to you on your loss. Thank you for coming to tell us, so that we can keep you and your family in our thoughts.

187. pwl
Sorry I'm not doing everyone the respect of reading the whole thread first, but wanted to get an opinion from other people also in this section of the book:

While Egwene's political reasons for raising Silviana make sense, she just found out two things:

1) Just because someone seems noble doesn't mean they're not Black Ajah, see: Verin. Silviana could be one of those "evil with a particular moral code" like Kimblee in FMA.

2) Don't trust any Aes Sedai until they go through the un-swearing/re-swearing process.

Yet she just takes the first opportunity to give knowledge of the Purge to someone who hasn't resworn before they can get it started inside the Tower. Yeah, some AS got away from Salidar, but they'd be running their asses off and not infiltrating the Tower to warn their hearts (if any of them were still inside the Tower). That was very bad OPSEC. Yet nobody seems to notice and go wtf?
Alice Arneson
188. Wetlandernw
pwl @187 - Well, except that we see in the epilogue that Silviana was the first to reswear, and most of the BA that escaped the WT had done so before Egwene even got back there to be raised, while Silviana was still in a cell. So while I agree that Egwene probably should have had Silviana reswear before she told her about the BA list, it's a moot point and you can't blame this event for the mass exodus of BA.
189. AndrewB

My condolences for your loss.

Jeff Schweer
190. JeffS.
I hope to help comfort you in your loss but also to salute your son for being one of those who would protect us all as family does for each other.
Military service is sacrifice and love in equal amounts. Your son proved worthy in every way.

Jeff S. USN (ret)
Barry T
191. blindillusion

My sincere condolences to you and your family.

192. Freelancer

Very sorry to hear of the loss of your son. May the Almighty comfort and guide your family during this time, and ever. As the Marines proclaim and are, He is, always faithful.
193. Freelancer
O/T - Any news on getting shoutboxes back?
194. DJW
@137 et al

My justification for this weirdness is that Ishamael, during one of his walkabouts, did a kind of State of the Union (of EVIL!) for the remaining Darkfriends etc.

"So, er, yeah, the big guy is temporarily gone, and so are 13 of our generals. Since we are essentially impotent at the moment, let's create a mythology of terror surrounding us. We can make it sound like we are so uberawesome that Team Light had no choice but to seal us in cuz they couldn't defeat us. Tell everyone you know the following names, and make sure to sound really terrified when you do: Moghedien, Sammael..."

That, or the fact that presumably some Darkfriends outside Shayol Ghul knew of the meeting. It wasn't like it was a secret meeting as far as we know. Maybe there was a mass e(VIL!)-mail the day before to all high-level e(VIL!)mployees of the Dark One informing them. We know there are 31 who were granted True Power usage; that leaves more than enough Forsaken-level bad guys outside after the sealing of the Bore.

If nothing else, they could figure out who was inside by going there and asking the DO what was up; we've seen that he can still communicate through the Bore at Shayol Ghul. It's not as if all the Darkfriends suddenly died when the War ended. Maybe they were captured by Team Light and questioned, or turned when they realised it was over.

In short, there are any number of ways to reason it out if you really want to.
195. MasterAlThor
s'rEdit @165

I was told that no parent should have to bury their own child. I am so sorry for your loss and me and mine will pray for you and yours. We are a family here and you mean a lot to us whether you know it or not.

196. MasterAlThor
A belated Happy Ressurrection Day to all. Hope that you all had a good one.

Welcome back Sub.

Very good comments everyone. Even the pro Egwene people managed to make me take a second look at my stance on her. I still don't care for her. But I have come to the conclusion that she is a very believeable character and thus she has that Nynaeve quality of being a character that I love to hate.

Again it is not that I hate Egwene, I just really don't like her in these chapters. She is a very capable leader and she gets stuff done which is why I imagine that most people like her. It is her character flaws that I cannot look past. If she was real, I wouldn't bother trying to hang with her.

Rob Munnelly
197. RobMRobM
MAT - I like Egwene - feisty, tough, smart.... almost sounds like me (LOL).
Cameron Tucker
198. Loialson
I'm deeply sorry, my prayers are with you and yours.
Chris Chaplain
199. chaplainchris1
Wall of Text! (Or, I'm back!)

I have several comments to make; though as we're due for another post, they're probably moot. But it's the first real opportunity I've had to post in a while, so here goes anyway.

First, re: Egwene's treatment of Siuan. There’s a lot of talk about the “no harm, no foul” nature of Siuan’s disobeying Egwene and liberating her from the Tower. Wolfmage has probably been most eloquent and effective in communicating this, and the common (perhaps dominant) view, that Egwene treated Siuan shabbily, given their history, their friendship, how much Egwene owes Siuan, and the fact that nothing bad happened as a result of Siuan's disobedience.

I think this is very naïve. Siuan’s actions were incredibly dangerous, *should* have been disastrous, and came only minutes away from actually *being* disastrous. Siuan did no harm? This is true, thanks to incredible good fortune, Egwene's careful groundwork, and, to be frank, authorial fiat. I mean, of course, the will of the Pattern. :)

I don't disagree with how much Eg owes Siuan, but dismissing Siuan's actions with a simple "no harm, no foul" seems wildly inappropriate to me. I see her actions in a radically different light.

Anyway, consider the following.

1) By rescuing Egwene, Siuan put an end to Egwene's campaign in the Tower. As Egwene reflects, there's no way she can return and pick up where she left off. In one stroke, all Egwene's options are taken away. Elaida clearly can't be negotiated with, Egwene can't keep working from within, they are left with no options but to hope against hope the Tower capitulates suddenly before the Last Battle, to leave the conflict behind and leave the Tower split (thus leaving the forces of Light split at the Last Battle, and leaving Darkfriends entrenched in the Tower in possession of all the angreal, sa'angreal, and ter'angreal gathered over the last 3 millenia), or to finally attack all out.

That's the option Egwene chooses, because her back's to the wall, because Siuan put her there. Had the rebel army attacked on schedule, the two sides would have been fighting before the Tower signalled its surrender. Had Egwene given that attack order, I doubt the battle could have been resolved by the Tower side saying "wait, hold on, we were about to reunify!" It would have been disaster precipitated by Siuan's actions. At the time Egwene rebuked her, in fact, that disaster was imminent. The army was massed to attack. Egwene was going to use Traveling to attack. She was going to attempt to subjugate the Tower instead of unite it. And the necessity for that would have been because Siuan disobeyed orders and rescued Egwene.

2) Why didn't that disaster occur? In the first place, because Egwene hesitated to launch the attack, giving the Tower time to get its act together. In the second place, because the Seanchan got Elaida.

Yep, without the Seanchan capturing Elaida, NO WAY would Egwene have been raised Amyrlin of the Tower the next day. The Seanchan attack would have been potentially disastrous for Elaida's rule, which was already shaky, yes. But with Elaida actually there, the transition would have taken much longer, and again, Egwene and the rebels would have felt forced to attack. Once Siuan liberated Egwene, that became the only option.

Would the Hall of the Tower have deposed Elaida after the Seanchan attack if Elaida had still been there? Maybe, if Egwene had also been there, able to speak her case, after showing how effective, competent and composed she was in the face of the attack, an attack which vindicated her claims to be a Dreamer. But consider what might have happened, had Elaida not been captured. How hard would it have been for Elaida to spin the attack and Egwene's disappearance as linked?

Did Egwene really "dream" a Seanchan attack - or was she secretly in league with them, knowing they were coming to liberate her, and her 'predictions' of attack were a cover story, an attempt to undermine Elaida? Surely this was the proof that Egwene was a Darkfriend! She was in league with Darkfriends who attacked the Tower, with enemy channelers (surely Dreadlords) and flying creatures of the Shadow!

Maybe the testimony of Adelorna, stating how ferociously Egwene fought, would cast doubt on this interpretation, but the fact would remain that Egwene claimed the Seanchan were coming, and that she gained her freedom during the raid, after contriving at just the right moment to get rid of her Red guards, and after the mysterious death/disappearance of Verin. Suspiciously convenient timing, occurring just as the Seanchan attacked…

Egwene told Adelorna herself that leaving the Tower would be abandoning them. Could Elaida spin things to save herself, even just temporarily, by painting Egwene as a Darkfriend in league with the Seanchan?

Maybe that's far-fetched. My point is, had Elaida remained in the Tower, Egwene being raised would not have happened, and the all-out attack would have. Which means that it is only thanks to the Seanchan that Siuan's actions didn't lead to disaster.

3) The other factor which kept Siuan's actions from leading to disaster is that Egwene had done enough, and the Seanchan attack done enough damage, that the Aes Sedai in Tar Valon were shocked to the point of removing their collective head from their collective arse in order to actually make a smart call. I'm glad. But considering their past behavior, one wouldn't want to bank on them making the right call, is what I'm saying. Had they not finally come to their senses, again, we're back to all-out war...because Siuan liberated Egwene from the Tower.

To my mind, once Egwene's taken from the Tower, all the likely scenarios lead to war. That's only avoided because the Seanchan did us a solid and because the AS in the Tower finally got smacked with the cluebat – both rather unlikely scenarios.

Granted, before Egwene was captured, we were probably looking at all-out war - hence Egwene leading her contingent to declare war on Elaida. But once in the Tower, Egwene determined that there was a way to avoid having AS fight AS again, and she was progressing nicely. She's every reason to be angry with Siuan for forcing her hand away from the plow and back to the sword.

Beyond that, as others have pointed out, Wolfmage and others have it backwards. Egwene shouldn't rebuke Siuan in private, because Siuan's action was very public, and in opposition to Egwene's oft-stated commands to the Hall. That requires a public dressing down. It's in private that Egwene the person can say to her friend Siuan, "look, I know you meant well." That can't be her public response, though, not and leave her any authority as Amyrlin, even leaving aside the many who think Egwene is controlled by Siuan.
Alice Arneson
200. Wetlandernw
chaplainchris - Way to make a comeback! :)

Thanks for putting your finger on all the reasons I couldn't quite find; while in a sense it bothered me to have Egwene treat Siuan that way, I couldn't help feeling that she was right and I was reacting on emotion rather than reason. But... I never worked hard enough to figure it out.

Welcome back!
201. Wotman
Yeah, Wolfmage, what chaplainchis1 said! ;) You were looking at it from hindsight, Egwene did not have that luxury. she was too weak and exhausted to stop it, even the White Tower did not know what had happened to Elaida, so Egwene was forced to attack. All because of Siuan's action. While it is true she was just trying to help. She was doing what she always does and that is use people; without Egwene, she was dead in the water because she was too weak in the power and would have been kicked aside.

But, I do feel Egwene is too full of herself besides all that.
Matthew Hunter
202. matthew1215
chris@199: Sorry, I still don't buy it.

First, you indicate that Egwene can't go back. I call BS. The Tower is in shambles and Egwene has Traveling; she can go back any time she wants and pretend to be buried under the rubble or something. If that was a good idea, it's not foreclosed on. On the other hand, if Egwene is captured by the Seanchan or dead, she really *is* out of options.

Second, if Egwene remained in the Tower under guard, we don't know what the Hall would have done. It's hard to raise someone from prisoner to President in one fell swoop. Which brings me to...

Third, remember Egwene's commentary about not being able to go back to the Tower and ask to take up her role as a novice again? How is this different from Egwene, somewhat victorious after the Seanchan attack, to meekly submit to captivity once again? She's free, of her own acts (with a little help from the Seanchan) and she has the Tower's most powerful sa'angreal. Shall she hand it over and ask for a cup of forkroot tea? This destroys her position as surely as anything else.

Fourth, under what other set of circumstances could Egwene *possibly* get a better starting position from the Hall of the Tower? Egwene was held captive. When the Seanchan attacked, Egwene a) Escaped her guards on her own b) Obtained the Tower's most powerful sa'angreal, c) Fought the only effective resistance to the Seanchan raid, d) Escaped the tower grounds back to her own forces, and e) was literally on the verge of ordering an invasion of a disorganized and already shattered Tower with her own undamaged and organized forces. Oh, and by the ease of her escape, demonstrates that the Tower couldn't hold her anyway, that she was there by her own choice.

Due precisely to Siuan's actions, Egwene is in the strongest possible bargaining position. Sure, it might not have mattered with Elaida still in power. Or maybe the very strength of that position would have forced the Hall to depose Elaida and summon Egwene anyway. The truth of this argument is demonstrated by the ceremony itself -- NO ONE in the hall tries to force Egwene to wash their feet. They are asking HER, they need help from HER.

Elaida was well and truly beaten. There was nothing Egwene could do in the Tower to continue the fight. (Look at her own thoughts a little while before the attack, she even admits it to herself). The Seanchan attack gave Egwene the chance to improve her position from political prisoner to revolutionary general with perfect political justification. She would be a fool not to take it. Because she is exactly that type of fool, as her dressing-down of Siuan indicates, the Pattern made sure she was not given a choice in the matter.
Stefan Mitev
203. Bergmaniac
The Tower Aes Sedai would've known Egwene could've left if she wanted to during the Seanchan raid if Siuan's intervention wasn't happened. Many of them know Egwene knows the travelling weave and they knew she was able to channel vast amounts during the battle. So she couldn't have continued to pretend she was held prisoner and had no way to get out.

She still could've gone back anyway and pretend she had fallen exhausted in some dark corner during the chaos, as matthew1215 said. But politically the cat was out of the bag anyway, everyone would realise she had stayed it was part of some plan to undermine Elaida, not because she was forced to.
Jonathan Levy
204. JonathanLevy

My condolences for your loss. There is none greater.
William Fettes
205. Wolfmage

Whilst I appreciate the effort you put into the post, you've plainly ignored the key qualifier I made in regard to the chastisement. That is, I never questioned Egwene's umbrage in the immediate aftermath of the rescue. Of course, she is within her rights be upset with Siuan when the effect of her absence is unknown, and potentially, inimical to her efforts. At that stage, yes, she may reasonably assume her absence could have undermined the accumulated moment of opportunity she had sewn by being there on her own terms. But the whole jumping off point for this argument was that this ceases to be coherent reasoning the moment she is being invited back to the Tower on favourable terms. At that point it is an academic counter-factual, and yet her umbrage is still stuck at 11 which is clearly disproportionate to the reality.

Second, I don't buy the argument which you seem intent on pressing beyond merit through sheer repetition of the word "disaster" that civil war is the only plausible interpretation of the rescue. As I've said, I concede fully that it is a reasonable worry that her efforts to build a support-base and show resolve are undermined by a perception that she has fled. But there are many other ways things can play out, as we saw. For example, it is acutely clear that Egwene chronically underestimated exactly how much of an impression she had already made on key Sitters and powerbrokers in the Tower during her time as captive. It's also clear she was wrongly over-sensitive to the idea that this impression could be dispelled by her absence. None of that suddenly changes with Elaida not taken, and we have almost no reason to think Elaida's leadership would last more than a matter of hours after such a failure. In that case, you have almost exactly the same foreseeable outcome - a power vacuum and lots of key Tower personnel primed to accept Egwene's leadership. It's a fluid situation, certainly, that could have gone multiple ways, but there's no reason to assume civil war was the only outcome.

Finally, I have already adequately addressed the issue of public reproof above. The point is you don't need to give a public rebuke and withdrawal of trust, just to impress upon others that there are consequences for disobedience. Not only is a public rebuke purely for the sake of appearances a cynical form of leadership, but it's entirely unnecessary. A highly visible dramatic exit from an audience with the Amyrlin, and a penance on public record, more than serve the same function of showing consequences without actually disabusing the friendship. That's really just a failure of imagination.
Chris Chaplain
206. chaplainchris1
@205 Wolfmage - I'm not sure how to respond. I'm probably reading into this a tone of irritation that I hope you don't mean - but that I'm afraid I provoked. Looking back at my post, I did use the phrase "very naive" for what I'm calling the 'no harm, no foul' perspective. If that, or other things, were offensive, then I apologize.

So let me backtrack. You and matthew1215 @202 do a good job of giving a different perspective than mine. I certainly agree that 'disaster' was not inevitable - obviously, because disaster was, er, evited. Avoided. It would certainly be over-statement on my part to say that civil war was the only plausible outcome of Siuan's rescue. But I do think it's a plausible outcome, and that Siuan/we got lucky. Depending on the Aes Sedai in the Tower to make wise decisions has not worked out well for us in the past. You minimize this point of view with qualifiers, but do give some credence to it:
I never questioned Egwene's umbrage in the immediate aftermath of the rescue. Of course, she is within her rights be upset with Siuan when the effect of her absence is unknown, and potentially, inimical to her efforts. At that stage, yes, she may reasonably assume her absence could have undermined the accumulated moment of opportunity she had sewn by being there on her own terms.

We have some common ground, here. You say that, before the outcome is known, it could be reasonable to assume some undermining of Egwene's efforts. We differ in the degree - I think it's a highly reasonable assumption, and that it was averted through some unlikely circumstances (Elaida's capture, the Tower AS Ajah heads coming to a consensus that Egwene should replace her and convincing their Sitters to follow through).

In other words, I think Egwene at that point has a lot of grounds for her anger with Siuan; you think she has some reasonable grounds, if to a much lesser degree than I do.

Is that a reasonable summation thus far?

If so, then let me address the points where our differences really come to a head. You say that I plainly ignore the key qualifier you make in regard to Egwene's reproval of Siuan. You're right. In my defense, I didn't mean to. So I'll address it now. You say @51:

Why is she still exactly as strident in her tone and huffiness as she is when she is justifiably worried in the immediate aftermath of the rescue. I mean, I see the point in being really upset when you really are genuinely worried that the unification only happens if a particular sequence plays out as planned. But that's moot at this point, yet she has not really moderated her umbrage a hair.

In the first place, one of us is missing something. Egwene's rebuke to Siuan is NOT moot at this point. At the point when she tells Siuan she'll have to regain her trust, and that she could use a dose of military discipline, she is riding to the front lines to order the assault on Tar Valon. The outcome looks like war. So even if you believe that Egwene should moderate her umbrage when things turn out ok (I still think this too lightly dismisses how risky Siuan's action was), that is not applicable to the actual reproof that...well, that I thought we were discussing.

So which reproof are you upset about? What is the statement that her umbrage is still stuck at 11 which is clearly disproportionate to the reality based on? The only reproofs I see occured earlier, beyond a comment about Siuan not being the one to lecture her on rashness. How is that disproportionate? I think it's entirely appropriate to remind her that things turning out ok doesn't immediately make the disobedience and broken trust go away.

But I think we differ, too, in how harsh we think Egwene's reproof was. I don't consider it particularly harsh. No penance, no public tongue-lashing, but a statement that she'd lost trust and would have to earn it back. I'm not seeing the harshness or the abuse of friendship, there. Rather it’s a needed reminder that friendship doesn’t mean she can break ranks without consequence. The *actual* consequence is pretty light.

You've commented that Siuan didn't make her decision lightly, agonized over it, and knew Egwene might be angry. I characterize it differently. Siuan's let it be known at many prior occasions that she didn't agree with the decision to stay in the Tower, and she's argued against it repeatedly, with Egwene repeatedly reinforcing the order. In Egwene's POV earlier in TGS, she sees Siuan as bullying, or forcing herself to refrain from bullying, to get her to change her mind. That *is* from Egwene's POV, not Siuan's, but I don't think it's a stretch to say that Siuan wanted Egwene rescued all along, didn't agree with Egwene's decision, and the Seanchan attack was the excuse she was looking for to go in and get her. Even in ch. 43, after the rescue, Siuan’s POV indicates that Egwene needed to be rescued because she was needed in the camp. Siuan felt Egwene didn’t understand how close she was to losing control of the Salidar contingent.

Siuan may be right, for that matter, but it indicates that there’s more to Siuan’s action than being scared about the Seanchan attack. She doesn’t think “Egwene didn’t understand that she might have been killed by the Seanchan”, she thinks “Egwene didn’t understand how much we needed her here.”

I don't at all mean that Siuan wasn't genuinely worried for her; Siuan is awesome, and her protectiveness of Egwene genuine. And indeed the Seanchan attack did endanger Egwene, and that should mitigate some of Egwene's anger. (I think it does; as I said, the actual consequence to Siuan is pretty light.)

But Siuan didn't, from my perspective, agonize over going to free Egwene; she agonized prior to that over having to obey and refrain from her impulse to rescue her, and bring her back where she ‘belonged’. The Seanchan gave her the excuse she needed to overrule Egwene, and she did so not "knowing Egwene might be angry" but knowing full well that she would be, and that she'd be rebuked. It’s a very Wise One-type attitude – take what you want, and pay for it. The rebuke is no more than she earned.

On the issue of public vs. private, I didn’t and don’t think it adequately addressed. For instance, you call

public rebuke purely for the sake of appearances a cynical form of leadership, one that’s unnecessary because A highly visible dramatic exit from an audience with the Amyrlin, and a penance on public record, more than serve the same function.

You’re suggesting a public show of disfavor while privately they remain friends. How is that different from a) what I suggested – a public rebuke while in private allowing for more understanding, or b) what we actually see Egwene do?

Well, I do see one difference. Your description sounds – sorry, but I can’t think of another adequate way to say it – more melodramatic and more cynically manipulative than what Egwene actually did. That is, she didn’t arrange a dramatic show for the cynical purpose of impressing others – she straightforwardly yet openly said Siuan would have to earn back some trust. (That, by the way, is not something I read as the end of a friendship. An open statement of grievances is necessary in friendships, unless we want them littered with passive aggressive behavior.) She showed honestly (not cynically) that even friends needed to remember that she was Amyrlin. She then continued (as Samadai says in 102) to treat Siuan as her trusted aide.

The only difference here is that you’re suggesting Egwene shouldn’t be angry at the disobedience b/c it turned out ok. Therefore you want her to keep her relationship with Siuan as-is while putting on a public show (a lie) to indicate to others consequences for disobedience, including potentially ordering public penance for the sake of appearances. (How is that not cynical?)

I’m suggesting that Egwene has legitimate grounds to be angry, that Siuan’s success and the good fortune that war was avoided don’t make those grounds go away, and that Egwene therefore should honestly rebuke that behavior and then go on. Which she does, while making clear that the relationship *does* need to change. Egwene’s POVs do indicate that she believes Siuan’s gotten used to flouting authority when she doesn’t like the orders and that this needs to be addressed. YMMV, and obviously does, but I’m not actually trying to convert someone to that point of view – just argue that there are rational grounds for that point of view.
Chris Chaplain
207. chaplainchris1
@200 Wetlander - thanks. It's one of those cases where the reread makes me think through things that I hadn't, which I appreciate. I'll admit that on initial rereading my sympathy was with Egwene, not Siuan, so that's my bias...probably because Siuan was supported by Gawyn while Gareth Bryne tried to dissuade her. Anytime someone's supporting Gawyn over Bryne, I'm inclined to think they're making a bad decision! I know Siuan had good motives, and it's possible Egwene even owes her her life; but I still see Egwene's point, that from her POV it was a disaster. (Ch 43)

The indignation on Siuan's behalf forced me to examine why I put myself on Egwene's side in that dispute - the Wall of Text was spawned from that. Anyway, thanks for the welcome back. I've been lurking all along, but it's nice (this week, at least) to have a bit of time to participate, as well.
Chris Chaplain
208. chaplainchris1
@202 matthew1215,

Ok. You don’t have to buy it. I didn’t mean to indicate that my POV – or my take on Egwene’s – was the “correct” one, simply a legitimately reasonable one.

You don’t agree with me that Egwene couldn’t go back? Perhaps you’re right. I was simply going along with Egwene’s assessment, in ch. 43, that going back after having been freed would be seen as prideful and would put herself in Elaida’s power. Egwene’s assessment was also that if Elaida remained in power – which she has to assume is possible – that she’d be ready to order Egwene’s execution. So, Egwene felt she couldn’t go back, and if she didn’t want to abandon the struggle, she had to resort to force. I accepted that analysis of Egwene’s, and built the rest from there. Obviously, if you don’t buy that analysis, nothing else I posited would be compelling.

But I’ll ask you this – is it reasonable to think that Egwene, by the time she’s awake and able to consider the ramifications, could fake her way back into the Tower and, without lying, claim to have been missing the whole time? Maybe she could get away with it, but I wouldn’t want to risk it.

So I shouldn’t say Egwene didn’t have any other options. Just that they didn’t seem like good options to her, and they don’t to me. The fact that one of them – hoping the Hall gets a clue – turns out to actually happen, is beside the point. Was it reasonable to believe the Hall would get it right, with its history?

You say remember Egwene's commentary about not being able to go back to the Tower and ask to take up her role as a novice again? How is this different from Egwene, somewhat victorious after the Seanchan attack, to meekly submit to captivity once again? She's free, of her own acts (with a little help from the Seanchan) and she has the Tower's most powerful sa'angreal. Shall she hand it over and ask for a cup of forkroot tea?

But Egwene was exhausted and incapable of stopping someone from taking her captive again and taking the sa’angreal back. That is, in fact, what happened. Her captor just turned out to be Gawyn instead of Elaida.

You ask under what other set of circumstances could Egwene *possibly* get a better starting position from the Hall of the Tower? How about the starting position where she a) Escaped her guards on her own b) Obtained the Tower's most powerful sa'angreal, c) Fought the only effective resistance to the Seanchan raid, d) provided a calm and resolute center of leadership during the aftermath, helping arrange for care of the wounded and the like, in contrast to Elaida’s habit of ranting and raving, e) having saved the lives of Sitters, stands beside those Sitters in their midst as part of their deliberations over what to do next?

It does drive home, to me, that Egwene’s dismay is because she can’t personally have a hand in what happens next with Elaida and the Hall. For all that I like her, she DOES have a tendency to see herself as essential to…most everything. In this case, given the Hall’s past gross mistakes, I do think she’s right to be worried. But her anger is probably as much frustration at being forced out of the action in the Tower (at a moment of great triumph and possibility) as anything else.

As for Elaida being well and truly beaten – Elaida’s had innumerable disasters under her rule, and still kept her place. A Seanchan raid seems less inherently disastrous, to me, than it becoming known that Elaida had the Dragon Reborn kidnapped and tortured, earning his enmity and the enmity of the Aiel clans. Elaida's skirted disasters before. It’s not unreasonable for Egwene to think she would again.

Indeed, I argue that it would be irresponsible and arrogant for her to assume Elaida was beaten and that things would go her way.

And at the same time, I’m not sure how you argue that Elaida was beaten while also arguing Egwene couldn’t have an impact in the Hall any longer. If we take it as given that Elaida was beaten even if she hadn’t been abducted – a big if, but ok – it doesn’t necessarily follow that Egwene will replace her, or that the Hall will agree on *any* compromise candidate. The Tower Hall has been acting thoroughly broken for months. Egwene knows she’s had some positive impact, but if she could be there to argue on her behalf, that would be multiplied. As it is, she has to choose between hoping that she’d done enough and praying for a good outcome, or taking the opportunity to attack while the Tower was weakened and ending the dispute once and for all. She also has to fear that that decision could lose the goodwill she’s gained in the Tower, possibly even unite the sisters there in the face of the attack.

Things turn out well, of course, but Egwene’s concerns (and thus her anger with Siuan and Gawyn) still seem reasonable to me.
Chris Chaplain
209. chaplainchris1
And now for something completely different - and then I'm going to bed and will mercifully leave you all alone.

Wetlander @139 – all excellent points, but of course we do have dueling religions, or at least dueling sects, whatever RJ said…witness the Seanchan. Yes, they believe in the Wheel, Rebirth, the Dark One…but on other things they differ greatly. They have no knowledge of taveren, and therefore the basic functioning of the Wheel and the Pattern is unknown to them. Instead they have their omens and portents (imo silly, though I know some put stock in them). And, of course, they have a different version of the Prophecies of the Dragon.

As for why we have such conformity of belief in Randland…as others suggest, I suspect the credit for that must go to the White Tower, which is the main institution that has had continuity for the last 3000 years. Likewise, I (and many others) suspect Ishamael’s meddling for the divergences we see among the Seanchan.

This, of course, leaves out the theological debates over the nature of the One Power and whether or not it should be touched. The Whitecloaks are the most extreme example, but there seems to be widespread discomfort with the idea of being touched by the Power even for Healing. The Seanchan believe touching the One Power makes you an animal which can’t be trusted and must be leashed. Our early exposure to Shienarans indicates that there, Aes Sedai are held in almost reverential awe, even while discomfort with the Power remains.

I know for most people these don’t qualify as religious differences, but they certainly qualify as sectarian differences. For that matter, I’ve always felt that Randland does, in fact, qualify as religious, whatever RJ said – we’re just defining the term differently. Randlanders aren’t church/mosque/templegoers, but they pray, believe in a higher power (or Powers – the Light probably = the Creator, but the Wheel/Pattern are sometimes spoken of as having a will), and have specific religious beliefs and doctrines including a catechism. They also have a term for those who disavow or dispute those doctrines (Darkfriend). This all qualifies as ‘religious’ in my book, even leaving aside the question of Aes Sedai and Children of the Light.

And Wetlander @164 – excellent post. But the answer to your question at the end is, surely, “arayefoh”?
Matthew Hunter
210. matthew1215
chaplainchris@206: I don't disagree entirely.

Siuan's actions were risky. Egwene's plans to stay in the Tower were risky. Both courses of action involved risk and the potential for disaster. For either action to resolve in a positive way would require a great deal of luck. (Hoping that the Hall of the Tower unseats Elaida while she is still living AND appoints a prisoner Amyrlin in order to avoid division? That's a LIKELY plan?)

Egwene has a right to be angry with Siuan for disobeying orders, even a right to order some sort of punishment,

The problem is, Egwene takes it too far. It goes from Siuan listening to Egwene, following Egwene's orders not to attempt a rescue, to a sudden change in circumstances (Seanchan attack), plus, if I remember correctly, Egwene disappearing from T'A'R in midsentence when the attack started. All of those things are screaming of "new situation, requires initiative from subordinates rather than blind obedience!"

Siuan was certainly not looking for a loophole in Egwene's orders or trying to get around them. She knew Egwene's reasoning and made the best decision she could with the information she had. Siuan gambled that Egwene needed help and that the time was right to change tactics. Siuan was right to act on her own initiative and right in what she chose to do about it. Egwene's chastisement reflects the fact that Egwene does not recognize that Siuan was right because Egwene sees only the affront to her authority, not how much the situation has changed to her advantage as a result of Siuan's actions.

A good leader would recognize and even reward the initiative by overlooking the disobedience. If there must be punishment, which is debatable, it should be a token punishment to preserve the willingness of subordinates to take the initiative when needed. Public is fine. Ruining friendships and emphasizing a loss of trust when the initiative was *successful and correct* is out of line. Yes, at the moment Egwene made that comment the outcome wasn't yet clear, but she had already admitted to herself she saw no way to proceed with her plan from within the tower at that point.

Bottom line, Egwene's pissed because Siuan disobeyed orders, NOT because Siuan made things worse. That makes her chastisement petty and offensive.
Chris Chaplain
211. chaplainchris1
Matthew@210 - I also don't disagree entirely with you! Yay, progress!

For one thing, when I made my initial post, I was positing that the Seanchan attack really didn't change things much, b/c Egwene had been anticipating it all along, and as Siuan had every reason to believe Egwene was locked up in a hole somewhere, it wouldn't be likely that she'd be in harm's way. I was wrong about that. As you say, she and Siuan are in mid-sentence - in fact, Egwene's just said she's not exactly in prison - and before she can clarify, she gets an odd look on her face, then vanishes. So when Siuan wakes, she knows Egwene's "not exactly" in prison, whatever that means, that she was awakened unexpectedly, and (once she gets some news) that the Tower's under attack.

So yeah, she has plenty of reasons to decide the situation has changed.

Granted that, does Egwene still have reason to be angry? My attempt to summarize what I'm saying, what you're saying, and what Wolfmage is saying about that one issue is as follows:

Me (chaplainchris): Siuan could have easily made a mess of things, so it's reasonable for Egwene to be angry.
Wolfmage: Egwene's got no reason to be angry once it's clear that things will work out.
Matthew1215: Siuan's intervention actually made things better, so Egwene really has no reason to be angry; it's petty for her to be mad.

The part where I still disagree with you is that I don't agree that Siuan's intervention improved her standing with the Hall. I don't think Egwene does, either. I think you're really overstating it when you say "she (Egwene) had already admitted to herself she saw no way to proceed with her plan from within the tower at that point." You've referred to that before, but I'd like some textual support. My memory is that Egwene thinks that, after leading the fight, if she can also lead during the recovery, her position will be greatly enhanced. Hence my realization in 208 that Egwene's anger is mostly frustration at losing that opportunity, and not being able to directly influence the Hall as they come to grips with the aftermath of the Seanchan attack.
Alice Arneson
212. Wetlandernw
For anyone who thinks Egwene had given up on winning from within the Tower, please reread pages 650 and 651. She's so exhausted she can't move and can barely think, but those thoughts are centered on rebuilding the Tower, the work she'd need to do in the next few days, and how she'd need to be a strong and capable leader. Her last thought, as Gawyn, Gareth and Siuan carried her away, was:
No! I'm winning, don't you see? If I offer leadership now, when the rubble is being cleared, they'll see me as Amyrlin for certain! I have to stay! I have to -
Even slipping into unconsciousness, she was focused on staying to provide leadership where Elaida had obviously failed. She'd just led the defense that Elaida had failed to set up, and she was preparing herself to lead the clean-up and restoration that Elaida would be incapable of doing well. She was sure that if she could do that, Elaida would be removed and she would be raised, and obviously it would only happen if she stayed and worked for it.

Incidentally, referring back to a discussion way up the thread... IRL, Joan of Arc had a whole lot less training than Egwene, but she managed to outmaneuver the generals on both sides of the conflict and win some major victories for her country. Was she a Mary Sue too?
James Whitehead
213. KatoCrossesTheCourtyard
@212Wetlandernw, she was to the French, well most of them. ;-)

Matthew Hunter
214. matthew1215
chris@211: For textual support, check Egwene's attitude while she's imprisoned. Siuan gets no real notification of any change of circumstances that might offer hope.

Aside from that I will also note that it's somewhat pointless to use Egwene quotes about wanting to stay; my contention is that Egwene is *wrong* about her ability to continue from where she left off. She thinks she can go on working from within, but her actions during the Seanchan attack completely destroyed any pretense of her remaining a prisoner EVEN IF Siuan did nothing. Nor could Egwene continue to lead had Elaida remained in the Tower; nor would the Sitters *allow* Egwene to lead any rebuilding efforts even if Egwene had been in any shape to actually do so (and, in fact, when Siuan reached her, Egwene was unconscious and unable to do anything constructive or leadershipy).

So, to sum up:

1) Egwene's prior instructions to Siuan amounted to "You can only attempt a rescue if you think they are about to execute me."
2) Egwene is yanked out of TAR in midsentence after saying to Siuan she's not in prison exactly.
3) The Seanchan attack constitutes an obvious risk of capture or death.
4) While in prison (or "not exactly" in prison) Egwene herself had previously admitted that she saw no way to continue the campaign from there, and that's the most recent information Siuan had.
5) Egwene's subsequent desire to "lead the rebuilding" is a naive assessment of the situation, because a) she was in no shape to lead anything, and b) her actions to counter the Seanchan exposed her "captivity" as the polite fiction it had been all along.

And then Egwene is all pissed that Siuan used her initiative?!?!

Egwene's only realistic choice at that point -- and, I note, the choice that *worked* -- was to return to her power base, make a show of strength with her own forces (rather than being found unconscious and helpless after the attack) and demonstrate that not only could she escape captivity at any time, AND take on the Seanchan with only novices and a single sa'angreal for aid, but that she has the full power and majesty of the forces of the Amyrlin Seat In Exile to call upon.

I don't play poker, but if I can venture an analogy, it was the point in the game when bluffs are called and cards are shown. Egwene's mustering of her forces showed Egwene's true hand and called Elaida's bluff. Not only did Egwene outfox Elaida while held prisoner on Elaida's home ground, Egwene was still in position to lead her own forces despite a lengthy absence and an enemy raid.

If she continued to play the meek prisoner she gets none of that, and while the Hall might have chosen a new Amyrlin, they would have been free to discount Egwene as their prisoner and choose a candidate they liked better -- a "real" Amyrlin acceptable to both the Tower and the rebels. That move is blocked by Egwene escaping and returning to her power base. No longer a prisoner, and in the rebel camp, the Tower Hall is forced to consider her as a unity candidate -- they can no longer ignore her or even execute her to free up the rebel amyrlin position.

I'll concede that this whole situation is based on gaps in the knowledge of the major characters. Siuan doesn't know what's happening with Egwene, correctly evaluates it as too risky, and attempts a rescue. Egwene, thinking Elaida is still in power rather than a Seanchan captive, is still focused on her original undermine from within plan. She fails to realize that the situation has changed and her best move now is to show all the cards and call the Tower's bluff.

Wetlander@212: But Siuan didn't know that. When Egwene was in prison, she was ready to give up. She changed her mind after the Seanchan attack -- but didn't have time to communicate that to Siuan. Even if she had had time to do so, Egwene was badly misreading what she could have accomplished as a polite fiction of a prisoner.

Oh, and Joan of Arc claimed to hear voices from God. I think that qualifies her as a Mary Sue.
Matthew Hunter
215. matthew1215
Oh, and one final point.

After the Seanchan attack, and Egwene's leading of the resistance, she's *never* going to get such a dramatic moment in which to exit stage left and return at the head of a conquering army. If Elaida had not been captured by the Seanchan, after Egwene's display of power and leadership she would have been due for the chopping block before the rubble was cleared. Her whole masquerade depended on Elaida never realizing Egwene was a threat, and that was out the Tower window and halfway to the streets of Tar Valon by the time the Seanchan left. If Egwene doesn't take that GREAT BIG FRIKKIN' HINT to leave town and start calling the Tower's bluff to force a resolution, then when does she leave? If it's not right in that moment, it's anticlimactic and reduces her ability to pressure the Tower Hall.
216. srEDIT

Just wanted to thank you for your condolences. This has been a tough two weeks, but the warm thoughts and prayers you have all offered have been greatly appreciated.

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