May 15 2012 2:00pm

The Wheel of Time Re-read: Towers of Midnight, Part 1

The Wheel of Time reread on Tor.comPencils ready, WOTers! Because we’re back, and Wheel +Time + Re-read = FUN. Right? Right!

Today’s entry covers Part I of the Prologue of Towers of Midnight, in which numbers add up, dilemmas multiply, and equations are reduced by a different integer than we were perhaps led to expect. Though we shoulda oughta woulda known, if we’d only done the homework. For shame! *points*

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 upcoming final volume, A Memory of Light.

This re-read post contains spoilers for all currently published Wheel of Time novels. If you haven’t read, read at your own risk.

And now, the post!


Prologue: Distinctions [Part I]

What Happens
Lan Mandragoran rides east through the barren lands of northern Saldaea, parallel to the Blight, thinking of how much Nynaeve had become an Aes Sedai, taking the broadest possible interpretation of her promise to put him in the Borderlands. He notes movement nearby and maintains his pace while preparing an arrow for possible ambush, but then sees it is a single man on foot, leading a packhorse. The man greets Lan eagerly, telling him he’s been looking for him and has brought supplies. Lan demands to know who he is, and the man introduces himself as Bulen from Kandor. Lan is startled to remember Bulen as a gawky lad from twenty years ago. Bulen tells him he set out as soon as he’d heard from El’Nynaeve that the Golden Crane had been raised.

Burn that woman, Lan thought. And she’d made him swear that he would accept those who wished to ride with him! Well, if she could play games with the truth, then so could he. Lan had said he’d take anyone who wished to ride with him. This man was not mounted. Therefore, Lan could refuse him. A petty distinction, but twenty years with Aes Sedai had taught him a few things about how to watch one’s words.

Lan tells Bulen to go back to Aesdaishar and starts to ride on. From behind, Bulen calls out that his father was Malkieri, but died when Bulen was five, leaving Bulen his hadori. Lan continues to ride off, and Bulen shouts that he would wear his father’s hadori, but has no one to ask permission that he may, so that he may fight the darkness. Lan tells him to go to the Dragon Reborn or his queen’s army, then. Bulen points out that Lan cannot forage for supplies in a land that has none, and Lan hesitates.

“All those years ago,” Bulen called, walking forward, his packhorse walking behind him. “I hardly knew who you were, though I know you lost someone dear to you among us. I’ve spent years cursing myself for not serving you better. I swore that I would stand with you someday.” He walked up beside Lan. “I ask you because I have no father. May I wear the hadori and fight at your side, al’Lan Mandragoran? My King?”

Lan reflects that Aes Sedai may wriggle around their promises, but he will not. He warns Bulen that they will ride anonymously, and he is not raising the Golden Crane. Bulen agrees, and Lan tells him he may ride with him, then.

And the one became two.

Perrin dreams he is in a forge, hammering on a red-hot piece of metal. He knows somehow that this is not the wolf dream, even though Hopper is in the corner of the room. He knows he is making a piece of something very important, but not what it is. Hopper is amused that men insist on making things into other things, and Perrin sees that the result of his work is misshapen and shoddy. He starts working on it again, reflecting that everything should be better now, but somehow it seemed worse.

He hated those rumors that the men in camp whispered about him. Perrin had been sick and Berelain had cared for him. That was the end of it. But still those whispers continued.

The piece is still terrible, and he tosses it aside and starts on another. He thinks that he needs to spend time with Faile to fix the awkwardness between them since her rescue, but that he has no time for that. The second piece is as bad as the first, and Hopper comments that if he is so unhappy he should just leave. Perrin replies that that would mean giving into being a wolf, losing himself, and he won’t do that. He thinks he has gained a precarious truce with the wolf inside, but that he could still lose control at any time. Hopper is only amused. Perrin asks if there is any way to reverse it, to go so far away that he cannot hear the wolves anymore.

Hopper seemed confused. No. “Confused” did not convey the pained sendings that came from Hopper. Nothingness, the scent of rotting meat, wolves howling in agony. Being cut off was not a thing Hopper could conceive.

He sees the quenching barrel is boiling, and reaches in with tongs to draw out a figurine of Aram. The figurine moves, screaming in pain, and Perrin cries out and drops it. It shatters on the floor, and Hopper wants to know why Perrin thinks so much about that one when in Hopper’s estimation that’s what always happens when a young pup challenges the pack leader. The forge disappears, and Perrin sees a shadow of himself in Malden, fighting the Aiel. He is startled by how formidable he appears, and is confused that the other Perrin has the axe, when in the real Malden Perrin had carried the hammer.

A horn or a hoof, Young Bull, does it matter which one you use to hunt? Hopper was sitting in the sunlit street beside him.

“Yes. It matters. It does to me.”

And yet you use them the same way.

He becomes the other Perrin, and reenacts his battle in Malden, except with the axe instead of the hammer. When Aram arrives he refuses to reenact that fight, and splits off from the other Perrin, watching the shadow version of himself fight Aram instead. Then the other Perrin turns into a wolf and rips Aram’s throat out, and Perrin protests that it didn’t happen that way; Aram had been killed by Aiel arrows. Hopper asks why it matters how it happened; dead is dead. Perrin says he should never have allowed Aram to keep the sword.

Does not a cub deserve his fangs? Hopper asked, genuinely confused. Why would you pull them?

“It is a thing of men,” Perrin said.

Things of two-legs, of men. Always, it is a thing of men to you. What of things of wolves?

“I am not a wolf.”

They go back to the forge, where the barrel is still boiling. Perrin pulls out more figurines: Tod al’Caar, Jori Congar, etc., until there are hundreds of them on the floor. Perrin thinks they look accusing. Then the shards of the Aram figurine attack him, and Perrin lurches awake in his tent. The camp is still sick from a bubble of evil that caused serpents to appear and bite hundreds of the company. Perrin tries to go back to sleep, but finds rest elusive.

Graendal sips wine and listens to Aran’gar complain about being holed up in Natrin’s Barrow and missing “all the excitement.” Graendal suspects Aran’gar is just trying to needle her, and in retribution, embraces the True Power and uses it to caress Aran’gar’s cheek, revealing that she had permission to use it along with Moridin.

The Great Lord’s essence forced the Pattern, straining it and leaving it scarred. Even something the Creator had designed to be eternal could be unraveled using the Great Lord’s energies. It bespoke an eternal truth—something as close to being sacred as Graendal was willing to accept. Whatever the Creator could build, the Great Lord could destroy.

Aran’gar is unnerved by this proof of favor toward Graendal but also aroused by it, and sends for Delana to take the edge off. Graendal thinks the Black sister is ugly and unappealing, but finds it useful that Aran’gar is so insatiable. Then Graendal freezes as an alarm only she can hear goes off. She leaves Aran’gar to her pleasures and casually goes to meet with her captain of the guard, who tells her that a minor Domani lord, Piqor Ramshalan, has been caught approaching the palace. She has them bring Ramshalan to her and immediately clamps down on him with Compulsion. He spills out that he has been sent by the Dragon Reborn to seek an alliance with the merchant family living here, and then a lot of drivel about his own importance that Graendal cuts off.

The Dragon Reborn had found her.

He had sent a distraction for her.

He thought he could manipulate her.

She instantly wove a gateway to one of her most secure hiding places. Cool air wafted in from an area of the world where it was morning, not early evening. Best to be careful. Best to flee. And yet…

She hesitated. He must know pain…he must know frustration…he must know anguish. Bring these to him. You will be rewarded.

Aran’gar barges in, and Graendal closes the gateway before she notices it. She curtly explains the situation and asks if Delana knows Compulsion. Aran’gar replies that Delana is “passably skilled.” Graendal has Aran’gar go get her, and while the other Forsaken is gone she uses the True Power to lay a weave on a dove that will let her see through the bird’s eyes. Aran’gar returns with Delana. Graendal removes her own Compulsion from Ramshalan, and orders Delana to put Compulsion on him instead, and Aran’gar to do the same. Delana is confused and Aran’gar suspicious, but both obey. Graendal worries that al’Thor will attack, but reassures herself that he will not harm women, which gives her time to respond.

How had he managed to trace her to this palace? She had covered herself perfectly. The only minions she’d let out of her sight were under Compulsion so heavy that it would kill them to remove it. Could it be that the Aes Sedai he kept with him—Nynaeve, the woman gifted in Healing—had been able to undermine and read Graendal’s weaves?

When Aran’gar is finished Graendal sends Ramshalan off, and seats herself to follow him through the eyes of the dove. She watches Ramshalan walk through the woods and return to a clearing where al’Thor, Nynaeve and several others are waiting. Graendal watches as Nynaeve examines him and confirms he is under Compulsion, and decides the Aes Sedai needs to die. She sees that al’Thor has the access key, and that it is glowing, and suddenly realizes she’d been played. She releases the True Power and embraces saidar, and makes a gateway to just outside the complex as Aran’gar is demanding to know what’s happening, as she is feeling an unbelievable amount of power building up from outside. She slams shields on Aran’gar and Delana to prevent them from escaping, and leaps through the gateway just as Aran’gar and everything else is consumed.

A wave of wrongness washed over her, a warping in the air, the Pattern itself rippling. A balescream, it was called—a moment when creation itself howled in pain.

She breathed in and out, trembling. But she had to see. She had to know. She rose to her feet, left ankle twisted. She hobbled to the treeline and looked down.

Natrin’s Barrow—the entire palace—was gone. Burned out of the Pattern. She couldn’t see al’Thor on his distant ridge, but she knew where he was.

“You,” she growled. “You have become far more dangerous than I assumed.”

She thinks it is a disaster at first, but then realizes that she is now safer than she has ever been before, since al’Thor will think her dead. She limps away, planning her next move.


Mandarb’s hooves beat a familiar rhythm on broken ground as Lan Mandragoran rode toward his death.

I gotta say, as book-opening sentences go, this one is pretty kickass.

Other than that, I have nothing for Lan’s part of this Prologue except a well-satisfied grin. It was exactly the teaser it should be; you already know (more or less) where his arc is going, and yet you’re eager to see it unfold. Nicely done.

As for Perrin, I honestly don’t know how much of this is the influence of hindsight and how much of it was my genuine reaction at the time, but I seem to recall that when I first read this bit my readerly attention perked up a bit, at what seems like a subtle but definite shift in tone.

On the surface it seems like the same emo crap Perrin’s been wangsting about for the last umpty-million books, but on closer inspection, there was this feel of things swinging around. It was a feel of, instead of this particular story arc just spinning its wheels in the mud, that it was going to a place where it was like, oh, we’re going to actually look at your dilemma head-on now, are we? And stop nancing around it like it has icky cooties? Interesting.

It’s all set up in this passage, Perrin’s central conflicts as a character: his discomfort with and lack of confidence in his role as a leader, his problems reconciling his love for his wife with the moral dubiousness of the things he’d been willing to do as a result of it, his role as a destructor (axe) versus that of a builder (hammer) and how easily those roles can be conflated, and most importantly, his fear of accepting the part of him that is Wolfbrother, and all that it implies – or what he thinks it implies, anyway.

It’s kind of a matter of opinion whether Min’s viewing of him battling his way toward a cliff has been fulfilled or not, but to me Hopper’s refusal here to take Perrin’s bullshit on the latter subject has a distinct air of herding him toward a precipice he has so far simply refused to even look over the edge of, much less contemplated jumping off of it. And it’s about damn time.

Of course, it’s easy for me to say that. But the comparison of the idea of Perrin accepting the wolf within to that of jumping off a cliff is apt for a reason. If someone told you, hey, yeah, step off this two-hundred-foot dropoff with no apparent bungee-like gear or giant trampoline at the bottom to break the fall, it’ll be fine, you’ll totally fly, trust me! – wouldn’t you hesitate? At the very least? I would. And yet, at some point you really just have to take that leap of faith, don’t you?

The Graendal POV was fairly unique in that I had the exact same AHA! reaction twice while reading it: once completely erroneously at the beginning, before I realized it was a flashback, and once correctly at the end, when my TGS-era prediction of “No body, no kill!” was proven right anyway. Not that I think I get major kudos for this or anything, because I don’t think hardly anyone believed she was Really Most Sincerely Dead. But it was gratifying anyway, so neener.

Although, looking at Jordan’s track record over the series, honestly none of us had any business making that assumption based on a lack of body, because that’s been one of the few fantasy tropes (warning: timesuck link) that Jordan actually inverted fairly consistently when it came to villain deaths. Not coincidentally, that tendency has also been one of the biggest sources of controversy/disgruntlement/endless conspiracy-theorying in the fandom.

Most infamously, of course, in the case of Asmodean. More recent WOT fans may forget (or not have been aware) that the first giant fight over Asmodean’s murder scene was not just over who “You? No!” referred to, but also over whether “You” had actually killed him or not. Hence the disclaimer at the start of the FAQ article on Asmodean’s death, informing the reader that yes, he’s really dead, and no, the “death took him” line was not a horrific pun on Moridin “taking” Asmo somewhere. (I was always like, for what, coffee?) But, there were a similarly large (or even larger) number of fans who automatically assumed Sammael’s death in ACOS was a fakeout for the exact same reason: no body. In both cases it took a flat-out declaration from Jordan himself of the unequivocal deadness of the two characters to get us to shut up about it.

Well, mostly. Given the number of times I’ve seen people still arguing that Taim is Demandred, it wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest to find that there is someone out there who still believes Sammael or even Asmodean is still running around out there, all evidence (and sanity) to the contrary. My favorite was the guy I saw somewhere on the Internet years ago who declared that Jordan’s assertion that Sammael was really, truly dead was, and I quote, “obviously mistaken.”


The mind boggles sometimes, it really does. Though I guess it does show just how well we as a genre-savvy (and, er, narratively paranoid) set of people have internalized this particular trope. (Some of us clearly more than others, sheesh.)

Ergo, the lack of physical evidence in Graendal’s “death” in TGS probably shouldn’t have made us all as disbelieving as it did. Even though in this case we were right. And… um. So, the lesson is, even when you’re right, you shouldn’t have been expecting it!

…Or something that makes actual sense. Shaddup.

BUT THE POINT IS, Graendal is not dead. Yay…ish? Sort of yay. I certainly wasn’t ever rooting for her or anything, far from it, but I definitely did think that it would have been a waste of a good villain to die like that.

Whether she then fulfilled her Good Villain-y campaign promises… well, we’ll get to that.

As for Aran’gar, pfft. A lame death for a lame villain. Sure, whatever, don’t care.

Though as a random note, I was deeply amused by the use of the phrase “exchanging affections” to denote Aran’gar and Delana’s sexytimes. It’s just so… prim. I had to giggle at it. Heh.

And I’m not disparaging it, because really, I sat there for a ridiculously long time trying to come up with an alternate phrase that still worked both within WOT’s style of prose and within WOT’s level of, er, smuttishness (i.e. none), and couldn’t come up with anything that wasn’t either completely anachronistic or utterly idiotic sounding.

Seriously, try it yourself. Hours of entertainment, y’all. So, it’s a perfect phrase to use there, I just think it’s hilarious.

(On that note, though, “she’d been played” is a verbatim quote from the text. I’m just saying.)

And here the lesson endeth, at least for now! Thanks to everyone who wished me a happy birthday in the comments to the last entry, by the way, y’all are sweet. Have a delicious and nutritious week, kiddies, and I’ll see you next Tuesday!

Welcome back Leigh!!! Missed you!

Karen Fox
4. thepupxpert
We've all been waiting and now it's here! Thank you Leigh, hope you had a nice time off.
Rowland Hills
5. TickTockTick
Welcome back Leigh!

Hi everyone, thought I'd post to introduce myself. I've been a fan of WoT for the last fifteen years or so, and found this re-read when I wanted to start my own WoT re-read around November last year, ready for AMoL when it comes out. I've never read commentary and critique along with a book before, but I decided to give it a try. Initially, I was just planning to read Leigh's posts on each section, but found that the comments had an awful lot of good stuff, whether pointing out foreshadowing, discussing theories for TGS/ToM/AMoL, or looking at parallels between real life and Randland. So much so, in fact, that I've read through every single comment made to date (admittedly, skimming some...) with the exception of TSR#10, where I saw the number of comments and just said to myself "No way! I do not have enough hours in my life for this!" It's taken me up until now to join in the discussion as I wanted to catch up before commenting, and as you may have noticed, there's one hell of a lot to read...

In fact, side point here, but having seen birgit's stats at the end of every chapter, I wonder if anyone's compared the number of words in the comments for each book against the number of words written by RJ/BWS in each book? I suspect that there's about five times as many words in the discussion as in each chapter.

Moving on, I wanted to thank a few people for the entertainment and insight I've had from this site. Specifically, Leigh (of course) about whom I can only channel Wayne's World and say "We're not worthy! We're not worthy!". As well as Leigh, I feel like I've got to thank Wetlandernw for the considered insight (especially after the dishes) Sub for the fun (and that bowl of the winds!), Samadai for the fanfic, Cirenaes for the surreal, Freelancer, Forkroot, Anthonypero, MasterAlThor, thewindrose, KiManiak, srEDIT, macster, alreadymad..., toryx, Tektonica, jamesedjones, insectoid, Randalator and RobMRobM as well (and lots of people who I've failed to namecheck, for which my apologies) but thanks to all for the the polite, informative and well reasoned discussion...

...not to mention everyone for the "hunny chasing", the cage matches, the limericks and haikus, and the film casting, whether people or muppets!

For the bunker, I can certainly bring a few bottles and nibbles and help consume mojitos!

My responses to a few surveys from the early days (we've not had many of those recently...do we all know each too well?):

I'm male, 33 (WoT age 14), and live near Cambridge, England (with mostly English ancestry, along with a little Irish). I have a Masters degree in Engineering, and now work as a Management Consultant in the Energy industry. I've got two kids (four and half years old and 8 weeks old), and my wonderful wife tolerates me reading WoT (and other SF or Fantasy books) but has no interest in it herself. I don't think I could choose an Ajah, but if I had to identify it would be brownish-blue!

Thanks for reading my thoughts, and I look forward to going through ToM with you all over the rest of the year. I picked it up last week after finishing TGS and finished it three days later. Amazing how much faster I am when not working through the commentary and thinking about things in a bit more depth!

I do have an admission to make here. I'd really hoped to be totally fully caught up with the re-read before joining in, but I've actually still got to finish reading the full comments on the last few chapters of TGS, which I read through too quickly to follow the full re-read, but since ToM is kicking off now, I figured that I'd like to be here for the whole of this book, so I'm joining in today rather than wait another week or so.

Oh, and lastly, I'll try really hard to avoid being too pedantic, especially about spelling and grammar mistakes, even if I do find someone saying "exceptable" as jarring in the comments as Leigh found "paranoia" in the text.

Hmmm...there was me thinking that I wasn't going to do a wall-o-text for my introduction. Sorry.
Francis McBeare
6. Noeyes
Finally, it's here! Thank you so much Leigh.
Neil Sood
7. RanchoUnicorno
So far, somewhat nutritious. I skipped my usual deep dish pizza truck for the kabob truck. It was a bit lighter, although I found it a bit salty - nothing that a few glasses of water can't cure.

I'm going to miss DC.
Karen Fox
8. thepupxpert
I never got the impression that Delana and Aran'gar were "exchanging affections", but more like that Delana was "providing affections for" Aran'gar. Big difference.

Lan's arc and POV was very emotional, even during the re-read when Bulen was asking for permission from Lan to put on the hadori, got me all misty-eyed.
9. s'rEDIT
Welcome TickTockTick! (Hope you've read Phantom Tollbooth!)
Brett Michie
10. bchurch
Just wanted to say thanks again for all your awesomeness, Leigh! Its been some time since I posted here, but I've been following this re-read almost as avidly as I've read the books lo these many, many (21 in fact) years. And Happy Belated Birthday to you as well. Another thanks to you for this post on my birthday. Between this and Blizzard's long-awaited game release today, it's shaping up to be a good day for a birthday. :)
Daryl Strickler
12. Seacaptain13
I finally caught up! 12 books and almost a year I have been trying to catch up on re-read. Although I have been reading this since 1992 so I guess a year isn't that long. I was going to originally time rereading the novels with MoL release but these posts are so enjoyable that I rushed to catch up. This is my favorite book in the series although it may be because stuff starts really happening. Who is up for a good spanking? I have been waiting to say that for a while now!
13. denari6
I really get pumped up when I read about Lan and his journey. He is like a force of nature, a hurricane that starts off as a tropical wave somewhere in the south Atlantic. I remember first reading the charge of Rohan against the flank of Orcs outside of Minas Tirith. I could hear the horns and feel the raw emotion. I sincerely hope when Lan charges against the Trollocs, I will be there as well, (Just a few expections team Jordan).

I still cant help but roll my eyes at our dearest EMO Perrin. Someone please give him the randland equivalent of Zoloft or Effexor. I am glad though that the renuion of team Perrin has become complicated. It would be easy for an Author simply to say all is well with the world.

I had to chuckle when I first read about Graendal's escape. Even when you walk up and punch her in the nose, she still outsmarts you. Now that she is gone, (supposedly), will we never get to read about misty see through dresses? Inquiring minds want to know.
Anyways, Glad you are back in full swing Leigh~

Rich Bennett
14. Neuralnet
Thank, thank you, thank you! So glad the weekly rereads are back. Seriously though, can you believe the reread is actually catching up to the last book just before it is out... perfect timing (you planned it this way all along didnt you Leigh?)
Damon Garner
15. IrishOmalley
Graendal and Slayer.. just... won't die! I must grudgingly accept this in balancing our lack of main character deaths thus far.

Perrin - grumble grumble grumble.....

Lan - Have fun storming the castle er Tarwins gap...
Kimani Rogers
16. KiManiak
Welcome back, Leigh! Thank you for shepherding us to ToM!

Love the start with Lan. I’d say that Lan’s arc in ToM is one of my favorites, but I think I like most of the arcs in ToM, so I’d be saying that a lot. Anyway, I was intrigued by how Lan shifted from trying to play the same word games as an Aes Sedai, to honoring his duty as the king of Malkier by granting permission to Bulen to don the hadori and ride with him. “And the one became two.”

Actually, I think there is great symmetry in the sense that this book begins with Lan riding to face the Shadow alone, and ends with Lan leading thousands to face the Shadow. From lone warrior, to king in truth. Yes, I love this arc!

Perrin and his dreaming, again. I understand that this is the beginning of his development in ToM, so it doesn’t bug me as much as I think it did when I first read it, still fresh from my impression of Perrin form KoD. It did seem a lot like “the same emo crap” as before, with some hints of difference, but I wasn’t really expecting the growth we would end up getting in ToM.

Graendal. Not dead. I know others doubted that she was dead, but I remember reading this passage and being slightly upset (Yes, I was one of those who did believe she was Really Most Sincerely Dead). Couldn’t she just die, already?! But lord, that woman is intelligent and crafty. Or, at least, until later on in this novel, when she becomes the stereotypical incompetent supervillian. But that’s later.

Anyway, goodbye Aran’gar. You were creepy. So long, Delana. You were… kinda pathetic, actually.

TickTockTick@5 – Welcome! And you’re welcome. Congratulations on the (relatively) newborn! Hope you’re getting as much rest as you can. By the way, Wall of Texts are always welcome. Of course, I’m somewhat biased…
You know I didn't note that little tid bit, " Exchanging affections". That is cute. Imma have to snag that one.

And I also didn't note the beginning line of the book either. And yes, that is, all kinds, of badass. Similar to "The Name of the Winds ending phrase: "You may have heard of me". Granted you'd need the preceding text to make that as good as Lan's intro. When I re-read the beginning of Lans intro, just now, I distinctly heard the intro to White Zombies "Blood, Milk and Sky" as the background music. With that chinking sound of the harness and bit, with Mandarb's shod hooves striking the beat. And Rob Zombies gravely voice chanting:

The siren sings a Lonely song
of all the Wants and Hungers
The Lust of love a brute Desire
the Ledge of Life goes under

Divide the Dream into the Flesh
Kaleidoscope and Candle eyes
Empty Winds scrape on the Soul
but never stop to Realize...

With the down tuned guitars crunching and grinding toward the long awaited death, so many steps ahead.

Yeah that was a very cool Opening Line.

Tricia Irish
18. Tektonica
Leigh: Nice to have you back....we did go rather sideways on the thread, but it was fun! Hope your birthday and hiatus were, erm, fun!

TickTock: Welcome! Quite a feat, reading all our meanderings! The bunker's thata way......

Seacaptain: You too?! Wow. Welcome.

bchurch@10: Happy Birthday!

I was rather ticked when Graendal reappeared. I didn't really think she was dead, as she was one of the 2-3 active Forsaken. I thought there had to be a "mano a womano" in here, somewhere. I just wanted things to start getting resolved!

Lan is so obtuse sometimes. Love him, but geesh. What is with the "I'm going to the blight alone to fight the hoards and die" business?? Idiotic.
I'm glad Nynaeve knew what she was up against, attitude-wise, and took some steps!
TW Grace
19. TWGrace
When I first read the ToM, I thought Graendal's "survival" to be a a cheap gimmick. I didnt get the impression that she was being smart, or crafty, or inventive, just that the authors were playing mind games with the audience. That it seemed very artificial and manipulated simply to get a response out of the audience. Almost like Sanderson/Jordan were going "Neener Neener, you thought she was dead? LOL"
Margot Virzana
20. LuvURphleb
Finally! Who knew i was so addicted to this re read that when i found nothing last week i spiraled into a tor depression and proceeded to check every day for something, anything to help endure the grueling minutes until the next WOT post . (run on sentence, boo yah)
Fortunately i have many other blogs to read and now WOT is back so i can forget my bleak previous week filled with darkness and eclipse.
thank you Leigh for coming back, hope your break was a nice one.
I have so much to look forward to with ToM. Not only do many plot points finish but the art of COMMUNICATION is actually discovered.
Rob Munnelly
21. RobMRobM
Not much to say. Welcome back, Lan is cool, Perrin needs to get over his emo, and I was another one of those who thought that Graendel was DED. (But, at least, saving her required the death of another Chosen and sidekick.)
Daryl Strickler
22. Seacaptain13
Thanks for the welcome, I've been dying to get in the discussions. I knew I had to catch up for this book for it has my personal favorite scene in the series. I don't understand why every strong male character in these books has such a hard time with leadership. I'm guessing Matt, Perrin, Lan etc. wouldn't ask for directions either...
Deana Whitney
23. Braid_Tug
Knew the post would come during my lunch meeting.
Now off to read it. :-)

Edit: Now read...
Love Lan to kick it all off. Remember getting chills at this.

Figured the whole Aran'gar / Delana thing was a recent development. While in the SAS camp plotting and stuff kept them busy. Aran'gar could “indulge” now that she was holding up in Granendel's world and the "pets" were mindless. Delana was there and could be compelled. (Small "c", not the big "C").

@ TickTock, welcome! Your commitment to reading the comments was much higher than mine. Normally around post 100 I started skimming.
Matthew Hunter
24. matthew1215
"I was always like, for what, coffee?"

Coffee, then death. But coffee first.
Charles Gaston
25. parrothead
What's this? Some kind of stick in the ground? Ah, a POST!

...sorry for incredibly lame pun.

Lan, even when he's being obstinate to the point of suicide, is awesome. In fact that's kind of WHY he is awesome. Oh, but wait until we get to Perrin down the road in this one....AW YEAH.

Graendal. Trapping her makes catching eels barehanded in frigid water look easy. Kinda glad that she makes it out of Natrim's Barrow just for that reason. My only complaint is, what exactly does she do throughout the series? Then again, she and Demandred are the only Forsaken who haven't been killed (and besides Moridin/Ishy the only ones left at all), and they are the ones whose actions are the most elusive, so maybe that's the point.
26. clintack
Yay! You're back! And into the home stretch.

Nothing else really to say, which is why I don't often post comments to the rereads, but I love to read these.

*Loved* the whole of the Lan thread through this book -- basically Lan and Nynaeve rock, and if they don't end up reclaiming Malkier and having a dozen children, I'm going to be very unhappy.

I felt cheated by the Graendal thing -- after Rand went to *such* lengths to confirm her death, the sheer number of coincidences involved made it pretty implausible. And then she was really wasted after all the buildup. (I do get the idea that all of the Forsaken were really a huge distraction from the DO's side, but it would have been nice if even one of the twelve lesser Forsaken had managed to accomplish *something*.)

And I didn't really like the Perrin bit -- it seemed like more of the same. (The rest of the Perrin bits in this book were amazing, I just didn't notice the subtle changes at this point because I was just powering through the "boring Perrin bits" to get to more of the good stuff. And boy was there a lot of good stuff in this book!)

Nonetheless, my reaction when I was reading all of this at the time was the same as my reaction reading this post -- a simple, "Yay!"
27. Wortmauer
Yeah, I still don't like the Graendal loophole. She got away with it all because, at the last minute, she decided to undo her own Compulsion on Ramshalan and have Delana put one on him instead. If she had known Rand's plan, that would have made perfect sense. But she didn't realize his plan until she saw it unfold, after Ramshalan was already back with the gang.

I can see the author tried to justify Graendal's choice. But it's a hard sell. Graendal wanted a big confusing mass of Compulsion with strange stuff in it, to confuse Rand (or rather, Nynaeve). Whyever would she think anyone but herself was the most qualified to do this? She didn't have any firsthand knowledge of Delana's Compulsion ability at all. Why undo her own work and have someone else do it?

Having Aran'gar add some saidin work made sense. But it just seems out of character for Graendal to not think she can do the best, most intricate, most exact saidar Compulsion work. The only reason for her to have someone else do it is to game the balefire trick Rand was planning to use. But apparently she didn't think of that until well after her actions.
Matt Spencer
28. MisunderstoodMe
Semirhage did accomplish the destruction of a continent spanning empire - Seanchan! Mesaana split the "all powerful" white tower. The most powerful individual kingdoms in Randland including Tear, Andor, and Illian were infiltrated and ruled by Forsaken.

However, I would agree that for the most part Rand was fairly untouchable - his difficulties were almost all self imposed until Semirhage blew his hand off, and then later collared him. The super-girls had more struggles, but they too did not have too much trouble going toe to toe with the forsaken - heck Egwene even got massages from one of them with no apparent harm.
29. chosen
Wait is Leigh saying that Taim is not Demandred?

Oh I get it, Demandred is Taim, ok all cleared up ;)
Donna Harvey
30. snaggletoothedwoman
Welcome back Leigh, hope you had a great birthday and break. I just LOVE the way this book opens. Lan riding thru the hills, the sound of Mandarb's hooves beating..... gives me chills. I was sooo glad to read of Perrin's growth. It took him a long time to sort out his feelings about being a leader. Now, did I mis-read something? Was Grandel trying to tie herself to Tuon?
Matthew Hunter
31. matthew1215
Misunderstood@28: I remain convinced that Halima's massages for Egwene are a Chekov's Gun that has yet to go off in full. We've seen some sparks from it, probably.. but I really will be pissed if we've already seen all the consequences of Egwene's poor security.
Karen Fox
32. thepupxpert
parrothead @ 25 - I believe Moggy is also still around albeit chained to Ishy/Moridin and Lanfear is still around as Cyndane, but both of them have pretty much had their wings clipped, so to speak.
Francesco Paonessa
33. ErrantKnave

*ahem*... I'll just read the post now. Welcome back, Leigh.
John Massey
34. subwoofer

::schemey fingers steepled::

Lan- love him, in a strictly guy love, er man crush kinda way. Nynaeve- I heart her, this is what a wife should do for her guy:D

Perrin- question- I thought emo people don't have beards and comb their hair funny? Didn't Perrin get the memo?

Graendal- evil evil evil. And still turns up like a bad penny. Clear cut candidate in need of a spanking:P

Ron Garrison
35. Man-0-Manetheran
Graendal on the True Power:
“The Great Lord’s essence forced the Pattern, straining it and leaving it scarred. Even something the Creator had designed to be eternal could be unraveled using the Dark One’s energies. It bespoke and eternal truth—something as close to being sacred as Graendal was willing to accept. Whatever the Creator could build, the Dark One could destroy.”
I think this passage gives us a very good indication of the nature of the relationship between the Creator and the Dark One. The Creator creates; the Dark One destroys. At the moment of Creation the Dark One was sealed away in Shayol Ghul. This was necessary so that Creation had a chance, a leg up. Things would have been fine if someone(s) hadn’t become greedy for more power. By drilling the bore, they allowed the DO back into the world. Although he was not completely free, he had humans to do his bidding.
“Graendal opened herself and accepted the Great Lord’s dominance of her, feeling the thrilling ecstasy of his power, his passion, his very substance. It was so much more intoxicating that the One Power, this raging torrent of fire.”
Sounds like a good description of the power of negative political campaigning. Those who choose to do so become intoxicated with “the thrilling ecstasy,” and they can’t stop sowing anger, hate and chaos. So....

And a welcome to TickTockTick! Enjoy! “Bowl of the Winds” brought a nostalgic grin to my face. Thanks for that. Not only did you read the comments, you clicked on the links! That is a true WoT Re-Reader!

And a hearty welcome to Seacaptain13. Yarrrrr.
Neil Sood
36. RanchoUnicorno
@27 - Think of it this way though:

1) Graendal realizes that Rand knows where she is
2) Graendal puts on her Compulsion and is about to make her move in this little chess match.
3) Graendal realizes that putting on her own Compulsion will confirm that she is there - that she is the opponent that is being sought.
4) Graendal lifts her Compulsion
5) Graendal has Delana put on a Compulsion that will give away someone else is there, but may hide her (in the off chance they can tell whose weaves they are after sifting through that mess)
6) Graendal think she has out manipulated Rand
7) Graendal realizes whats about to happen and skips town
8) Graendal realizes her stroke of luck in watching the Compulsion collapse after the balefire.
Daniel Shepard
37. 81stShepard
And here we go... Having started this series 15 years ago, I've grown up with Rand, Mat, Perrin and the gang. Many, many things have changed over the years, but our friendship hasn't. I've ridden their highs and lows right along with them, and to see them finally coming down the final stretch... It's sad but glorious at the same time. These are the men these boys turned out to be. The men they're SUPPOSED to be.

Having reread the series more times than I can keep track of, I find myself coming back to this book more than the others. I think that Leigh pointed out the whole self actualization and paradigm shift thing a few books back (thank you for that btw Leigh. I always wondered what it was that made me stand up and cheer when I read awesome moments like those) (well, at least that I remember), and I think that this book is my favorite because of those narrative devices. The world is now seeing my friends the way that we see them. Pure, unadultrated awesome. Perrin's forging the hammer, Mat making the gholam his biatch, and Rand single handedly obliterating the largest Trolloc army since the Trolloc wars.

THIS is what I signed up for. Manly tears of joy and pride well up when my friends truly step up and say; "Hey now... No. Things are going to be a little different."

This book gives me hope. Yes, there are some bits that scream that Randland isn't going to be very nice, like Avienda's trip through the columns and what's happening at the Black Tower, but none-the-less, I feel that we're ready.

We're all ready for the Last Battle.

BTW: Does anyone think that Rand's going to actually kill the DO? Or just seal him up again?

Thanks for reading my wall-o-text first post on these here forums.
Bethany Pratt
38. LiC
I freaking love this book - and once again, the scene with Lan made me tear up.

What I absolutely HATE about this book though is the sheer number of typos and flat-out mistakes (Birgette carried a sword at one point). I know Sanderson was keeping track on his Facebook when folks brought them up - when will/was a 2nd edition released with all the errors fixed?
John Massey
39. subwoofer
@81shepard- welcome aboard:D

The Pattern is about balance, but the DO is outside the Pattern. There is a lot of speculation in regards to the DO and Fain. It is not outside the realm of possibility that Rand does something final, the questions still are , how? and what?

Charles Gaston
40. parrothead
@ thepupxprt 32:
Ah! Forgot them. But that might be the point; when you've become little more than a tacky fashion accessory to a severely unhinged philosopher, you lose quite a bit of your bite. Shame, too, because I look forward to Moggy and Nynaeve's final showdown. Hopefully in January! Can't believe I spaced on Lanfear, though...
Tricia Irish
41. Tektonica
Seacaptain@22: I don't understand why every strong male character in these books has such a hard time with leadership. I'm guessing Matt, Perrin, Lan etc. wouldn't ask for directions either... ROFLOL!!

81stShephard@37: Another one! Welcome. People are coming out of the closet woodwork now that we're getting to the final stretch! The more the merrier, I say!

I'm glad some others (Wortmauer?, RobM, etc.) thought Graendal was Dead dead, ala Sammael. I was certainly hoping.

I didn't see any change in Perrins Emo-ness here. I think you may be wishfully thinking, Leigh. He certainly improves later, but meh. I agree with SeaCaptain, quoted above. ;-)
Oh and welcome to all the new posters... I love posts from new comers, because in a way, they aren't new to us. They speak the same language, they have many of the same thoughts about different happenings in the story, and they have an enthusiasm that is infectious and well come.

But what I especially like is when the new blood brings something new to the fold. A thought on something that makes you go back an check up on it. And you realize that, no you don't know everything, yet again.

So welcome Near Brothers and Sisters! And enjoy the dream!

Matthew Hunter
43. matthew1215
Seacaptain@22 and Tektonic@41 agreeing: "I don't understand why every strong male character in these books has
such a hard time with leadership. I'm guessing Matt, Perrin, Lan etc.
wouldn't ask for directions either..."

I'm guessing that the strong male characters have problems with leadership because one of the main themes of the Wheel of Time is the effects of an unnatural (via the taint) culture of female dominance and denigration of powerful men, as typified by prejudicial and stereotyped attitudes held by the women of the wheel of time towards the powerful and prominent men... such as believing men are incompetent, need to be guided towards the correct course of action, and wouldn't ask for directions if they were lost.

Not that such an attitude is necessarily incorrect as applied to individuals. Perrin has certainly needed a gender-neutral kick in the ass for a book or three now.
Zayne Forehand
44. ShiningArmor
Hey Everyone! Been a follower of the re-read for a while but the sheer volume and speed of comments on these posts always intimidated me but I'm going to try and keep up because this was one of my favorite books of the series. Also, you guys and gals are much more knowledgable about these books than I am.

The opening with Lan was a great way to start off the prologue but the ending of this prologue was one of my favorite instances of imagery in these books. But, I'll talk more about that next week when we get there.

Knowing where Perrin eventually ends up makes this chapter easier to swallow now. I started out very frustrated in this book but thankfully that didn't last long.

Graendal's survival was not a surprise but still frustrating and as Leigh said we'd get to, her villain-y machinations in this book were slightly underwhelming.

@15 - Graendal still being alive was not irritating but Slayer surviving this book was really my only gripe. I hope he has something awesomely evil to do in MoL or I will be irritated.
45. gadget
TWGrace@19 & (@27)

Totally agree. Graendal's survival came off as very cheaty to me. It would be one thing if she 'figured out' his kewl plan and tricked him (although given the lengths to which Rand & co. went to set it up, would still feel a little 'unearned'), but this seemed like a major "pysch!" just for the heck of it. There's no indication of what possible benefit she thinks she is getting by having other compulse the fool; it's just because.
Thomas Keith
46. insectoid

You have no idea how much we missed you, Leigh... 740+ comments worth of missing! ;) Great post as always. Now lemme see... (retrieves brick)

Lan: Is being a stubborn mule, in an awesome sort of way. Interesting that Bulen refers to Nyn (who is equally awesome) as el'Nynaeve, though she isn't technically queen of anything yet.

Perrin: Busy being emo. Next!

Graendal: Escapes much too conveniently, but oh well. I did think her plan of having Delana and Halima'gar using Compulsion instead of her (so that Rand would believe she was really there) was clever. Too bad that "not harming women" bit didn't work out, huh? Buh-bye Delana and Halima'gar!

New, rather appropriate term: balescream.

TickTock, Seacaptain, all other new posters: Welcome all! We don't bite. Really.

Only 40 comments so far? Really? We've got a ways to go... ;P

47. Seraphyn
Hi all! This is my very first post on this re-read. I've been reading WOT since the early 90's, and happened on this re-read last summer. I spent the better part of the year getting caught up, and I've since then just been enjoying reading the commentary and comments. I even debated going to JordanCon this year, but just couldn't swing it.

Anyway, I thought I would do what TickTockTick! did and give you all a little more background on myself before launching into any discussions... I'm female, 33, have a Masters Degree in Education, my undergrad music education and teach orchestra in Minnesota. My husband has no interest in my epic fantasy novels, however he tolerates them taking up space in the basement (to be fair... it does take up a LOT of space...) I have 2 boys, 1 who is two and a half and the other was born in February (3 months). As far as ajah for myself... well, I think it would be brown, but there are days that it could be green...

On to the book! I don't have a lot to contribute today, but look forward to doing so more in the future.
Lan. Is. Awesome. If I had to choose to be a character, I would totally choose Nynaeve... just for Lan :)
I'm fairly over Perrin... even though his storyline gets better, I've really lost interest unfortunately. It was great in book 1, but then the constant stream of emo (as you all know) just ended it for me.
Graendal... eh. Hopefully she does something delightfully evilish before the end to justify keeping her around.
48. Jeff R.
I'm in the "Rand will kill the DO and seal the newly promoted-to-new-DO Fain up" camp, myself.
49. NotInventedHere
Hooray for more re-read!

Lan's accidental army is pretty funny, great interplay-by-proxy between Lan and Nyn there. Perrin still emo, annoyingly so, but I did feel like it was coming towards some sort of head - only about 9 books late.

Graendal's escape seemed off - there just didn't seem to be a good explanation for her actions. I was also a little put-off by the whole watching through the eyes of the bird - yes, we've been told that some animals act as the Dark One's eyes, but as far as I remember we haven't seen anything quite like this before - real time intelligence coming in from a UAV. Which seems strange, as it would have been exceedingly useful in a great many circumstances - why haven't we seen the forsaken doing this before? Coupled with the sketchy reasoning for Graendal having Delana and Asan'gar doing the compulsion, it almost seemed like a ret-con - which I'm sure it wasn't, I can't imaginge Team Jordan killing off Graendal and then going, "Doh! We still need her!" Besides, I'm pretty sure Nyn had caught on to the fact that the Compulsion on what's-is-name was different from the previous one she unravelled, so the clue was there in the last book - just sucks that a good plan didn't work out, only taking out Mistermiss Useless Forsaken instead of the real danger.
Gary Singer
50. AhoyMatey
Seeing I'm actually rereading along this time. (Well, until I lend the book to a buddy...) There is something before the prolog!

Loial's little excerpt about how the Ogier are about to open The Book of Translation and he stepped up and began to address the stump. And it's from Loial's book about the Dragon Reborn...

I'd been pretty convinced that Graendal was toast - we hadn't ever seen before how ravens, crows, rats etc were actually used as the dark one's eyes. And when the compulsion on whatsisname evaporated, I was as convinced as Rand she had been belafired. (Couldn't resist, that was still the best loony theory ever!)
Daryl Strickler
51. Seacaptain13
I've been reading this for so long I feel like I know everyone, especially the legends like subwoofer, insectoid, tek, robM plus all the other ones ticktock mentioned @5. I understand the gender war but geez some confidence would be nice. It's that they are ALL that way. Ahh shucks not me I can't do nuttin *moment of awesome* oh don't look at me I can't lead *win another battle*. At some point these leaders have to do just that, lead. This book is where it starts, that is why I it is my favorite!
52. NotInventedHere

Off-topic, but I had to laugh - 33, male, two boys who turned 3 and 1 in February. Fortunately my wife shares my love of epic fantasy, so no fights over shelf space - although I believe she stopped reading WOT around book 9, waiting for the series to be finished before progressing.

I was always under the impression that the dark one's eyes had to report back, that it wasn't a real-time thing. In fact I thought this had been specifically stated at some point (by Moiraine?), but then I also seem to recall Perrin wondering aloud about it while being harried by the swarms of crows a dozen books ago or so.
Matt Spencer
53. MisunderstoodMe
Possibly given that this is a dove not a crow, its a weave that could be done with the One Power as well. I doubt that Myrdraal weave the True Power to be able to see through Crows eyes.
I remember reading Rand balefiring Graendal and the unatural quite of it all. It was as if there should have been more to it. We don't see Graendal at all, but we know that she is there and know that she is gonna die and " Dammit Rand, shutup and kill the rotten !@#$%!" I remember saying to myself...

Its the old Evil Overlord convincing himself of his superiority; gloating, seemingly, upon a grave that hasn't been dug yet.

Why do the bad guys always do this? .... its a prerequisite I guess!

And I laughed when she appeared in the prologue here. No, no, no, it was more of a knowing chuckle. I especially love the fact she is acutely aware of the fact that she did get played and she was only alive by accident. She is not aware though, that timing is everything and had Rand not had his lonely destroyer talk with Nynaeve, Graendal would be dead along with the others. We are talking mere seconds if that. She Narrowly escaped, diving through gateway. She did have time to get through without tying the other two off to make sure they didn't escape as well, but still we're talking seconds here. The maybe 30 seconds a minute tops, required before he says "Forgive me... for calling this a mercy as well."

That exchange between Min knowing Rand was going to do something dreadful and trying quickly and desperately to try to waylay him. And Nynaeve mind numbling not realizing that she need not worry about the what that was done to Ramshalan, but the why of it being more horrifying.

Yeah that line, as it did for Leigh, made me shiver. It was then that he truly became Darth Rand. Just as Anakin became Vader, when he killed the child Padawans. (One could say it was when he helped kill Mace Windu....thankfully! But that was a panic moment more than a conscious, pre-meditated choice.) There was a line crossed then. We are just lucky he chose to cross back over.

Or this book wouldn't exist.

41. Tektonica

81stShephard@37: Another one! Welcome. People are coming out of thecloset woodwork now that we're getting to the final stretch! The more the merrier, I say!

I told you!

Roger Powell
56. forkroot
Welcome to all the new posters!

Hey Leigh! AhoyMatey@50 has the right of it ... you skipped the very start! (You also modestly skipped the dedication - but we haven't forgotten and we still think it's cool that you are in there!) Anyway, perhaps you can slip in a comment about Loial in the next post.

Slayer surviving this book was really my only gripe. I hope he has something awesomely evil to do in MoL or I will be irritated.
According to Gitara Moroso, he has something awesomely good to do (or at least something essential for the Light, whether he intends it that way or not. My pet theory is that he takes out Fain, preventing Fain from ruining things.)

{:: groans ::}

I was OK with Graendal escaping because we had another Forsaken snuff it - so it seemed like the plot did move along. BTW, thanks Leigh for pointing out that RJ/BWS hadn't gone down the "no body? no kill!" route until now. That makes Graendal's clever escape less predictable and more satisfying, IMO.

Thinking about Lan and Nynaeve: You all realize, of course, that Nynaeve is very prone to the opinion that men think with the hair on their chests and thus they need women (especially her) to set them straight?

What's scary is that Lan just proved her right (at least in this case.) He was all set to ride out and die a pointless death on his own. Nynaeve fixed things so that he couldn't do that. As much as it pains me to admit it, she was right.

Oh yeah - anybody else notice this was Lan's first POV, other than in New Spring? Gosh, it took until the 13th book!
Craig Jarvis
57. hawkido
@ Freelancer on the Al'conundrum.

Doh, you are right... here lets try this!

You are a Two river's lad named "Al Al'Alal" and you move to Sheinar and become king...

Al'Al Al'Alal?

There... now just how do you get a Two Rivers' lad made king of Sheinar.....
Richard Chapling
58. Chappers
It just occured to me: how the Graendal plot would have been set up in the one-book version (AKA luggage-cart edition) (or even the correctly-ordered books) of AMoL? Most of the effect of the twist would have been lost if this had been, say, even a couple of chapters after the events of A Force of Light. And chronological order would have been ruined otherwise...

To change topic somewhat, are we going to cover the Glossary? You know, for the fascinating details of linking a certain evil entry?

Anyway, great to have you back, Leigh; there's not too much further to go :)
Mike McD
59. msmcdon
D'oh! Am I the only one disappointed because I forgot about the prologue, and assumed we'd be seeing Leigh's reaction to Apples First and Jesus Rand?
Daniel Goss
60. Beren

As always, great post. I don't remember if I called the "Graendal isn't really dead" thing early or not, but I'm so glad that she got to come back for one more try, if for no other reason than the in-text mention of other forsaken dead by her hand.

And because I can:

With thanks to AnthonyPero for the suggestion, and apologies to the Charlie Daniels Band . . . for obvious reasons.

Ba’alzamon came to Andor he was looking for the one Reborn.
He brought his minions to the very last place that used to be a thorn.
When they came across these three young boys, whose ages were just right,
So he jumped in their dreams and said “It seems that you and I gotta fight!”
“I bet you didn’t know it but I read the pattern, kids.
I can find ta’veren wherever you go and see all that you did.
Now you might think that you can run, can go get yourself hid,
But I’ll take your lives and then your souls, if you won’t do as I bid.”
The boy’s said “My name’s Matrim” “I’m Perrin.” And “I’m Rand.”
“And by right of blood and birth we’ll be a bramble to your hand!”

Perrin loosen up your axe, Matt get your staff of wood,
‘Cause Ishy’s coming after you and you know that aint good.
And Rand you gotta spill your blood if you want to save the world,
But if you die you’ll never get the girl!

Ba’alzamon made his first move at the Eye of the World.
But all that happened is he got burned, the Dragon banner unfurled.
So he led the boys to Toman’s Head to face the Seanchan’s might,
And he dueled Rand above the land in the middle of the night.
Then they fought again in the Stone of Tear after Rand snuck into town,
And his friends said “Rand for the very last time will you take this bastard down?”

So he used,
Boar on the mountain, rushing on down.
Low wind rising, blowing around.
Rat’s in the grain bin, Heron takes flight,
Ba’alzamon falls to a sword of light!

Ishy stumbled to the ground, and crumpled in defeat,
And whispered as he fell “You haven’t seen the last of me.”
Rand said “Go ahead, come on back,” As his eyes filled up with scorn,
“‘Cause you’ll never win, you son of a goat. I’m the flaming Dragon Reborn.”

So he used,
Boar on the mountain, rushing on down.
Low wind rising, blowing around.
Rat’s in the grain bin, Heron takes flight,
Ba’alzamon falls to a sword of light!

Gary Singer
61. AhoyMatey
NotInventedHere@52: Yeah, I think I remember Jordan answering a question that crows or rats had to report back to the Dark One for him to get info. But that could be because he's trapped. Forsaken with the TP seem to have the ability of flying webcams with optional manual override.

Misunderstood@53: This is part of crows/vermin having to physically report back to DO servants, I guess. Wonder if the One Power can be used for remote control though. Seems to be an order of magnitude more evil than compulsion.
Gary Singer
62. AhoyMatey
forkroot@56: Yeah, that dedication was awesome! And well deserved...
63. AlwaysEnjoyed.NeverPosted
Another lurker comes out of the closet.

Glad you are back, Leigh. Was hoping the ToM re-read would start last week *sheds tear*. Had to re-read the actual book for a fix. It's definitely my fav of the more recent books. On to the post and commentary now.
Zayne Forehand
64. ShiningArmor
@57 - You can call him Al

Oooo, Paul Simon reference on a WoT post. Surely that has to be a first!
65. Freelancer
For those who posit that Fain will become a "new DO", I would respectfully disagree, and suggest that there is nothing in our world's history, mythologies or legends from which Jordan drew analogies in WoT, which supports a mortal-turned-devil scenario. I would have nearly a dozen questions about such construction, the simplest
of which to consider is, how would Fain acquire the access to, and control over the True Power if he was to become the substitute?

The DO is outside of the Pattern, and is immortal. Really, immortal. That's why he must be imprisoned, not destroyed. When they last met, Moridin confirmed this, in a way:

"There is a way to win, Moridin," Rand said. "I mean to kill him. Slay the Dark One. Let the wheel turn without his constant taint."
Moridin gave no reaction. He was still staring at the flames. "We are connected," Moridin finally said. "That is how you came here, I suspect, though I do not understand our bond myself. I doubt you can understand the magnitude of the stupidity in your statement."

Moridin was not goading Rand, not toying with him. He had already stated outright that balefire could put a victim beyond the dark one's reach, perhaps a piece of intelligence he shouldn't have shared (or perhaps, as some believe, setting up Graendal oops Aran'gar's demise). He admitted he was tired, said it was not time for them to fight, and explained that every victory of the Light simply brought another cycle of the Wheel, whereas any victory for the shadow would stop time and end all things.

Have to go attend an officer commissioning for a friend now, will deal with the Natrin's Barrow business later.
Jay Dauro
66. J.Dauro
Lan does not really have a problem with leadership. He has led in battle. He does not want to lead people to certain death. We will have to see what happens when he really does lead against the shadow.

No, Leigh should not get away with skipping the dedication.
I Imagine how it could of went...

"So is he infected?"
Nyaneve looks at him confused. Impatiently, Rand barks, " Is his mind compromised by Graendal's touch?"
Nynaeve walks over to Ramashalan and looks at him for a moment, hisses and says " Yes. Rand, he's under a heavy Compulsion. There are are a lot of weaves here. Not as bad as the chandler's apprentice, or maybe just more subtle". (hint, hint!)
"I say," Ramshalan said, "my Lord Dragon, what is going on? The lady of the castle down there was quite friendly___she is an ally, My lord. You have nothing to fear from...."

"This will only take a moment" Rand says as something brilliant and impossibly bright awakened in the air before Rand. Min tries in vane to plea with Rand, but the air itself seemed to warp, as if pulling away in from Rand in fear.....

Forgive the license I took there, but in such a scenario as that one Graendal would not have had the time to live through Rands trap. She would have just then have been realizing her peril as the peril arrived.

But the Wheel weaves as the Wheel would and thats that, huh?

Roger Powell
68. forkroot
I love it! Had the violin going in my head as I sang along. Bravo!
69. s'rEDIT
msmcdon@59: I confess.
70. Jonellin Stonebreaker
Welcome back, Leigh, and a belated HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!
Wortmauer@27: RanchoUnicorno@ 36 laid out Graendal's probable chain of thought and such actions would be perfectly in keeping with her deliberate and careful nature.

She was already alarmed to discover that the Dragon Reborn had found her, when throughout the entire series, her overriding obsession was to remain hidden, letting others take the risk of confronting TDR .
The last thing that she would want to do was to confirm that she was indeed here.
Others had underestimated the abilities of these Third Agers; who is to say that they couldn't somehow differentiate one Aes Sedai's weaving from another's? Best to operate at one remove, leaving doubt as to her presence or absence in Natrim's Barrow.

In this case, while she was as surprised as anyone by Rand's action, it opened up an unexpected opportunity for her. She now would have greater freedom and could operate without worrying about TDR's plans for opposing her.

Too bad for her that for the Dark One the destruction of Aran'gar was the final straw.
Thomas Keith
71. insectoid
81stShepard, Seraphyn, others: Welcome! Getting crowded in here. Think it's time to build a bigger bunker? Maybe add on a room?

AhoyMatey @50: Hey, that's right... how could we forget Loial? As for the dedication, Leigh is probably just being modest. :)

Seacaptain @51: I'm a legend? Shucks... *blushes*

hawkido @57: *LOL*

Beren @60: *claps* Well done! And now thanks to you I have that fiddling stuck in my head. ;)

Tricia Irish
72. Tektonica
I think the Captain was making a joke! I understand why the men have leadership issues in the WoT female dominant culture. The funny part was equating our heros to modern day men, who never ask for directions while driving a car! (I know it's a cliche, and there are exceptions, but it's a cliche for good reason, in my experience. ) I just found it very funny.

Welcome to ShiningArmor too! And Seraphyn! They just keep coming! Check in at the bunker for refreshments. AlwaysEnjoyed.NeverPosted, now don't be shy...speak up!

Thank all of the new posters for reading our crazy thoughts, as well as Leigh's commentary......and for the formal introductions! It makes you feel like family already.

AhoyMatey: Nice to see you here again! Glad you've stuck around.

And Leigh did skip the Loiol bit, didn't she?

Excellent Beren@61! Thanks for sharing that. Let's play it in the bunker.
73. CyberTrolloc
Leigh, curious as to which book edition you're using for this reread. It's probably more important to this book than others, i.e. your assessment of Egwene's motivations in a few scenes will depend on it.
74. s'rEDIT
CT@73: You lost me . . . care to elaborate?
Rowland Hills
75. TickTockTick
Thanks for the welcomes. A few comments more specific to today's reread:

It does feel slightly as though Graendal's use of someone else to do compulsion for her is BWS/RJ trying to be clever, as we've never seen or heard of her doing so before, but it is a devilishly clever way to survive, and a cool bit of writing, which I too failed to predict! It also stands out a bit because whenever any of the other Forsaken were killed, no-one tried to check they'd actually died, but here, where Rand comes up with a very clever way to check this exact thing, Graendal suddenly decides to be super extra cautious...

Lan - Awe inspiring. 'Nuff said.

Perrin - About to be awesome but not there yet...

Parrothead@25 - You're right, that's a lame pun...but it still made me giggle!

Beren@60 - Very good!

Insectoid@71 - Yep, bigger bunker time, I think, getting ready for the "Final Reread Big Blowout Party" come AMoL publication. I figure if we start now, the builders will just about have finished the extension in time...
Roger Powell
76. forkroot
Not to worry - rather than construct additional rooms, subwoofer has been working on a ter'angreal that will grow the extra space needed in the bunker. I think he's going to call it the "Talisman of Growling".

just sayin ...
Sam Mickel
77. Samadai
Great parts covered in the reread. Lan is awesome as usual, and Bulen makes him see that he does have a choice, and what it should be. I never have had a problem with Perrin, and really enjoyed this pov in his dreams, good stuff. I thought Graendal was D E A D, but alas not yet.

Welcome to the the wide world of rereader posters all you new ones. Very happy to see your povs'. TTT, thanks for the shoutout, it's nice to know I can entertain people.

Forkroot @76
I think he's going to call it the "Talisman of Growling".
That's funny, thanks
John Massey
78. subwoofer
@Beren- well done, the song flowed really well. I especially liked the part where Berelain get's spanked by Perrin with a feather duster:)

Good catch about Loial too. In my rereads I seem to constantly skip that myself.

Legendary? Moi? Nawwwww, I've spent too much time cultivating lowly douchebaggery credentials to throw them all away for respectability:)

What does Graendal do? She's a survivor and it gives another baddie to match up against come LB time. One of the SGs need something to do other than making babies or mooning over their sweet baboo...

John Massey
79. subwoofer
Wait.. what?

How did....?


John Massey
80. subwoofer
FYI, I have friends in low places... Ogier namely, they are helping me get some lebensraum going on here;)

Dale schenstrom
82. Dryheat77
Well here goes another one. Been lurking all along. Was commenting a long time ago (I may have been the first to bring up the issue with Sorelia and the male collar way back when). Now we are getting near the end and all need to join in to add to the mix.

Thanks for all you do.
To all the posters,
You have kept it interesting, sharing all the theories, the aurguments, the sheer insane amount of dicussion. I am and remain addicted.
83. MasterAlThor
Whoooooo Hoooooo!!!!!!!!! Hey I have achieved LEGENDARY STATUS too Bug. When is our first meeting??? It is great to belong to a new club.

I would like to thank all those who made it possible......


Ok lets be serious.

Happy belated Birthday Leigh. I won't ask your age but your 40/40 club membership is on it's way. (flees to bunker)
Oh and welcome back.

New guys. Thank you for the kind words and welcome to the last club you will ever need to join. Your new black coats look all shiny. Plus you are no longer part of the away team, which means that death is not imminent.

That was great. Can we have another?

Well folks we are on the way. Everybody bring it in. I am excited and you should be too. So lets get this party started.


Oh and Avengers rocked. Excelsior
Roger Powell
84. forkroot
More thoughts about Lan ...

His original idea was to go up and carry on his suicidal one-man fight, to avenge Malkier, right? Well if he just wanted to go get killed in the Blight he could ride due north from Saldea.

OK - Perhaps he's gotta ride laterally so he can charge into the Blight where Malkier used to be. Then why does he end up at Tarwin's Gap? We've seen from TEoTW that the ruins of the Seven Towers were somewhat east of the Gap.

Maybe the Gap includes land that used to be part of Malkier - and he'd rather meet a Trolloc army without the unpleasantness of the Blight?
Thomas Keith
85. insectoid
Fork @76: LOL!! I was gonna say earlier, that it wouldn't be possible to "change" something that's made of cuendillar.

Of course, if we're using a Talisman of Growing Growling, I suppose we could always go the Doctor Who route, and have the inside be bigger than the outside... :P

MAT @83: No idea... but I think we get jackets. ;)

Scientist, Father
86. Silvertip
@50 AhoyMatey, @52 NIH, @53 MisunderstoodMe, et al,

I think it's a different phenomenon. The "Dark One's Eyes" business is a very large number of rats, crows, whatever running around being spies in all sorts of different places. Makes sense they would have to report (to a Fade?), as Moiraine did indeed confirm somewhere. What's going on in the prologue to ToM is actually a projection of Graendal's consciousness into the poor bird's nervous system -- she can presumably only do one at a time, and can't really do much of anything else at the same time. The rats and so forth aren't being ROV'd like that. Just a different thing with a different set of rules, as I read it.

Welcome back all, and thanks Leigh! Home stretch time ...

Daniel Goss
87. Beren
@83 MaT
Ok, but only because you asked so nicely.

I just threw this one together, so it's kinda rough.

To the tune of Weird Al's "That's your horoscope for today"

Eye of the world!
There’s travel in your future when your village comes under a huge trolloc attack!
The flame and void might just save your life, except that Saidin will just taint and corrupt your brain.

The Great hunt!
Try to avoid any charter members of the Darkfriend Social club!
You are the true Dragon Reborn, no matter what Ba’alzamon might say.

Dragon Reborn!
The look on your face will be priceless when a whiny spoiled brat-child becomes a member of your party!
Trade hammers with a random blacksmith, then grab a sword right out of the air.

The Shadow Rising!
You don’t yet have any cool tattoos – whatcha gonna do, whine about it?
Prophecies predict at dawn you will come back; get inked, do some stuff, then break all the Aiel.

That’s the weaving of the wheel today –ay –ay –ay –ay –ay
That’s the weaving of the wheel today
That’s the weaving of the wheel today –ay –ay –ay –ay –ay
That’s the weaving of the wheel today

Fires of heaven!
Your status as car’a’carn will be challenged in battle by that jerk Couladin
Your love life will run into trouble when the far snows dance creates more problems than it solves.

Lord of Chaos
The position of Tar Valon is that you should spend the next two years face down in a box!
Try not to create a bunch of darkfriends while setting up your new channeling school.

Crown of Swords!
Now is not a good time to take over a throne, the Dragon will just want to see you hang.
Take a bunch of acrobatic horsemen to battle then fight the bad guy one-on-one.

Path of Daggers
All the books are quite exciting and engaging – except for this one
Actually throw in Winter’s Heart too – something something something something emo Perrin.

That’s the weaving of the wheel today –ay –ay –ay –ay –ay
That’s the weaving of the wheel today
That’s the weaving of the wheel today –ay –ay –ay –ay –ay
That’s the weaving of the wheel today

Now you may find it inconceivable or at the very least a bit unlikely that the book that you are reading at this moment could ever possibly have some solid relevance to your life or meaning that could ever just apply to only you but let me give you my water oath that these tellings of the pattern are all based on fact and not unsubstantiated conjecture because that would be just wrong and irresponsible and I would never ever lead you wrong like I have never ever done before!
Where was I?

Crossroads of Twilight!
A great big plot point is just about to happen – in another book or two
Laughter is the very best medicine, remember that when you watch Matt court Tuon!

Knife of Dreams!
Get ready for an unexpected delight when Faile is finally rescued!
Work a little bit harder on improving your future wife’s mood, you royal pain.

The Gathering Storm!
All your friends are appearing inside your head. (kill them)
Take a trip to the top of Dragonmount for some existential thoughts.

Towers of Midnight
The wheel says that Perrin’s wife is actually not a brat, but you know it’s lying!
If I were you I’d start at the beginning of the series, keep rereading, and never ever leave my house again.

That’s the weaving of the wheel today –ay –ay –ay –ay –ay
That’s the weaving of the wheel today
That’s the weaving of the wheel today –ay –ay –ay –ay –ay
That’s the weaving of the wheel today

Leigh Butler
88. leighdb
AhoyMatey @ 50 and others:

Er. Yes, I kind of forgot about the bit before the Prologue! Whoops. Duly noted, my error will be corrected.

CyberTrolloc @ 73:

I'm using the first edition, actually. Which I know is riddled with typos and such, but I'm not sure what you're referring to regarding Egwene. Is there such a major gaffe there that it changes the story?
Thomas Keith
89. insectoid
Beren @87: *dies laughing*

*gets back up* That was one of my favorite songs from that album. XD

Earlier my mom asked me if ToM was out in paperback yet. And I looked it up and saw that it's been in paperback since October! Boy do I feel sheepish...

Craig Jarvis
90. hawkido
Okay... for those newer to the series I thought you guys might like to re-live some of the stuff from 1994

like the Dark One's Dictionary... I believe it only contained entries up to book 4 but it is still hilarious!
Rob Munnelly
91. RobMRobM
I'm a legend? Not that - perhaps a Hero of the Internet, along with Bill of the Giant Gates and Steve of the Impossible Jobs - yeah, that's it.
92. Alexonthemovetx
@ 90 Hawkido... Great link, thanks! Doodad Aiel had me in ROFLMAO!
Jeff Schweer
93. JeffS.
Bulen showing up and Lan finally accepting him gave me chills and seemed to me to be a balancing passage to Nynaeve's moment in KOD where she asks the merchant to remember who he is. The Hadori is a simple thing really, but the symbology of the right to wear one is so strong. We will see another young man come of age in a fortress facing the blight very soon. 3 days before his official naming day. Another passage full of awesome.

I originally thought that Graendal was dead and I thought that Rand had figured a good way to accomplish it with the "how do you beat someone that's smarter than you" plan. When TOM came out and I read this part, I wasn't disappointed that she survived and didn't think it was cheapened. She is supposed to be the smart one and in this case, figured it out once she saw the Choedan Kal key arming up and just moved. No indecision, no second guessing, just move.

The other forsaken seemed to always underestimate her. So did I.

To the new folks, Welcome. We have a large and only semi-dysfunctional family here. Like in Hitchhikers guide we're "Mostly Harmless"

The Bunker doesn't need to be added to at all. I borrowed that spell from Glenda the Good that expands it automatically when more people show up. Just like the grand dining room in OZ. There's always enough seats at the table. I hope no one minds that I did it without asking. I just kinda figured that more people would show up.

I am only an egg
94. Freelancer
parrothead @25

Neither Moghedien nor Mesaana has died since their release from the Bore. Granted, Mesaana is mindless and Moghedien is mindtrapped, but still. Also, Cyndane (Lanfear) is still around, though also mindtrapped. There are 6 forsaken with heartbeats at the conclusion of ToM:


clintack @26 (and others)

I too was left feeling that the scene at Natrin's Barrow was crafted with the sole purpose of creating a scene with only one logical conclusion for the reader, then pulling a rabbit (dove) out of a hat and saying Gotcha!

The entire thing hinges on the dove, a True Power weave being introduced late in the 11th hour, and Graendal making a series of deductions that are slightly implausible. Without any of those out-of-left-field plot machinations, it doesn't work.

Rand's plan was flawless, given what he and Nynaeve know. From their experience with Kerb, Compulsion couldn't be removed easily, even by the original channeler, and it certainly can't be made to disappear instantly. So a sudden change in Ramshalan from being Compelled to not, is absolute proof that the Compelling channeler was balefired (prior to ToM's release, many argued that this couldn't be known with certainty, yet Graendal proves it true by realizing that she had to leave Aran'gar and Delana there to die in the balefire).

The forsaken are devious, crafty, and extremely cautious about approaching any of the Light side channelers. So with a basically perfect scrying tool like this BeastMaster™ weave, why is it only now that we learn it exists? It's just too sketchy that way. Better if it had been shown once, say with a rat wandering the Royal Palace at Cairhien but accomplishing nothing of value, then left as a Chekov's Gun for this scene.

Finally, Graendal "suspects" that Rand found her through Nynaeve's ability to read Compulsion? This conclusion is gained through multiple leaps past normal logic, each of which is unprecedented in the thought sequences seen in anyone's POV. I would have preferred that she simply question what Rand was doing, without arriving at any such drilled-down hypothesis, sent the bird, and scryed that Ramshalan's Compulsion was a litmus test. Ahh, but it couldn't go that way, because without the hypothesis she doesn't remove her own Compulsion or replace it with that of the other two channelers, and Rand would know that she survived his attack. Oh yeah, and so would the reader.

MisunderstoodMe @53

Myrrdraal don't weave anything, they can't channel. The rats and ravens as the dark one's eyes is a different thing than what Graendal did, though I'm sure it could have been used on any critter including rats.

Welcome to all the newbies. Don't hide, don't be shy, and don't pretend that your opinion is humble. Let'r rip, tater chip.
john mullen
95. johntheirishmongol
My only issue with the Graendel resurrection is that, as I understood it, when you remove compulsion, the recipient dies. So dropping it from the guy wouldn't have worked by having someone new add a one.

I didn't really get different vibe from Perrin here, but there were some indications he was getting close to his decision point too.

It's always good to see Lan and it is often funny to see how he talks himself into things.
96. CyberTrolloc
leighdb @ 88 and s'rEDIT

There's at least one or two things that you'd pick up as discontinuities or worse that were fixed according to luckers (dragonmount). Paperback edition has fewer typo/spelling/grammar issues.

Think there's some correlation between edition and how horrible you think Egwene comes off too (pre-TV in TaR battle and somewhere else I don't recall), but not certain there.
ana liese
97. analiese
CyberTrolloc @ 96

There's at least one or two things that you'd pick up as discontinuities or worse that were fixed according to luckers (dragonmount).

Could you post the link?

Think there's some correlation between edition and how horrible you think Egwene comes off too (pre-TV in TaR battle and somewhere else I don't recall), but not certain there.

I've read both the old and new edition and didn't notice any changes to make Egwene come off better except the line "Egwene would very much like to have control of Cairhien" (ToM ch 45) being changed to say Elayne, and it was pretty easy to tell from the start that was just a typo.
Rowland Hills
98. TickTockTick
Beren@87 - Superb!

To help push us over the first hunny, I had a couple of questions. I have to admit that I've not been through the many other WoT related sites out there, so these may be newbie thoughts, but I'd be grateful if someone could point me towards any discussion of these (or discuss them here!):

Firstly, we know that the three oaths leads to a shortened lifespan for the channeller. It has been suggested that swearing one "multipurpose" oath might get round some of the shortening, but that made me think of something. Are there three separate instances of channeling, one for each oath, or is saidar continually channelled into the oath rod while the oaths are being made? If the latter, is it the duration of speaking which defines the impact on life? In other words, would speaking really quickly and/or re-phrasing the oaths reduce the impact on lifespan, in preference to dropping down to a single "multipurpose" oath?

Secondly, if the AS are serious about minimising the risk of damage by channellers, given that they don't know about the ageless face effects of the oath rod but instead assume it's all about channeling, and they refuse to admit the existence of the black ajah and hence ability to remove oaths, why wait until becoming AS to get candidates to swear the oaths? If you agree with the oaths at all, the ones about not making weapons and not using the power as a weapon seem good for all channellers, not just AS. You wouldnt want an accepted to running around making weapons if they were kicked out of the tower, after all. If it was up to me, and I thought that oaths on the oath road were a good thing, I'd want people bound by them at the earliest possible chance...
Stefan Mitev
99. Bergmaniac
analiese @96 - "I've read both the old and new edition and didn't notice any changes to make Egwene come off better except the line "Egwene would very much like to have control of Cairhien" (ToM ch 45) being changed to say Elayne, and it was pretty easy to tell from the start that was just a typo. "
Apparently it wasn't so easy for many people, this line was the reason a pretty big Egwene bashing thread was started on a WoT message board and IIRC there were 40 replies or so before I was the first to point out it's most likely a typo. ;)
Valentin M
100. ValMar
Hi everyone, it's good to be back. And just how! The hunny is mine!, almost by accident.

Welcome to the newcomers from me too. It's brilliant to have you. Or marvelous. I'm not sure ;) And since at least one is from the same time zone as me (TTT) there will be more direct competition for the hunnies. Not that I care for getting them...

I am rather conflicted about the Greandal's survival. Freelancer @ 94 is rather compelling (no pun intended) and if anyone can counterargue him successfully, I'll get him a pint of their chosen beverage in the bunker.
Actually I'm more bothered by Greandal's actions, or lack of, after she got her second chance.

As for Lan's wish for a pointless death in the Blight, I hope he doesn't get it.

Blue Moon risen \m/
101. EmergentFromWoodwork
Yup, I'm another newcomer. I came across the re-read a few months ago and have been trying to catch up furiously (and enjoyed them enormously). Now that I have, I can join the discussions.

Graendal's survival felt a bit... contrived to me. Maybe because I read book 13 immediately after 12 so it was still quite fresh?

Lan is awesome. I hope he survives. But then I feel that way about all the major (good) characters. Except possibly Perrin. Even with his upcoming CMOA I'm still irritated with him from the last 7 books
Douglas Miller
102. douglas
johntheirishmongol @ 95
The removal=death thing is specifically for Super Extreme Ultra Overkill Heavy Duty Compulsion, not for Compulsion in general. More simple and subtle Compulsion is faster and easier to weave and has no significant consequences for removal. Graendal's Compulsion on Ramshalan wasn't particularly subtle, but it was simple and short term.
Jay Dauro
103. J.Dauro
I will admit to getting shivers from one word in the prologue.


I find this to be one of the most evocative words in WOT. I would love to discover if it comes from RJ or BWS.
Tricia Irish
104. Tektonica
Emergent at 101: Another welcome! I'm so pleased to see new posters here! And so many of you slogged through it all to get here in time for the last book before, er, the last book ;-)

Hawkido@90: Shame on you! That was a total time Sump! Hysterical.
Gary Singer
105. AhoyMatey
J.Dauro @103: That would be interesting to know. I don't think they'd tell us, but my money would be on Jordan.

@Tecktonica, @Hawkido: I remember reading that in the old days. It is pretty clever and funny :)
106. Looking Glass
Man-o-Manetheran @35: I wouldn’t put too much trust in Graendal’s philosophical outlook- especially since she doesn’t seem to have any better perspective on the Dark One’s agenda than her colleagues (save Moridin) do.

NotInventedHere @49: About seeing through birds: the Forsaken have different areas of ability, and they aren’t exactly big on information sharing, either. Just because Graendal knows how doesn’t mean The Forsaken all know how.

Though actually, now I think of it, there was that super creepy scene with Sammael’s messenger- not the same, but definitely showing they can do things beyond garden-variety compulsion. For that matter, I seem to recall Sammael drops lightning on Rand from way far away during the battle for Cairhein, which suggests some sort of remote targeting ability.

I do think Graendal needed a very very high paranoia level for her actions to be plausible, but I think it’s jarring only because the others have, in my view, been a lot less paranoid than they really should have been given the circumstances. Sammael aside, perhaps.

Forkroot @56: Well, they Never Found the Bodies of Moiraine and Lanfear either (though Lanfear admittedly did buy it at some point, if not immediately). Jordan wasn’t shy about bringing back villains over their own dead bodies, either.

Freelancer @65: I’m not especially committed to the Fain-to-DO theory, but it seems at least conceivable. On the True Power question- if the TP is the essence of the Dark One, then Fain playing a parallel role would need access to freaky world-threatening power drawn of his own nature- his own TP, not the TP.

He may well have it, too. Mordeth brought a supernatural evil apocalypse to an entire nation (or city-state, at least), apparently without drawing on the Dark One’s power at all. Fain in his current self hasn’t done anything on that scale, but some of what he does do suggests that time, death, and reality aren’t especially well-behaved around him either.

The plausibility may hinge on the question of whether the Dark One, as a “person”, is the source of all evil or just a particular vessel for it.
Neil Sood
107. RanchoUnicorno
@94 -
I too was left feeling that the scene at Natrin's Barrow was crafted with the sole purpose of creating a scene with only one logical conclusion for the reader, then pulling a rabbit (dove) out of a hat and saying Gotcha!
Of course it was. But, that's not a novel concept. In ASOIAF, who really thought that was ? Everybody thought that she was , logically it was the only solution. But, Martin had other plans. As mentioned earlier, this situation was set up in TGS, and not a last minute change.
The entire thing hinges on the dove, a True Power weave being introduced late in the 11th hour, and Graendal making a series of deductions that are slightly implausible. Without any of those out-of-left-field plot machinations, it doesn't work.
I don't think that they are all bad concepts to have been introduced, at the time that they are introduced.
Rand's plan was flawless, given what he and Nynaeve know. From their experience with Kerb, Compulsion couldn't be removed easily, even by the original channeler, and it certainly can't be made to disappear instantly. So a sudden change in Ramshalan from being Compelled to not, is absolute proof that the Compelling channeler was balefired (prior to ToM's release, many argued that this couldn't be known with certainty, yet Graendal proves it true by realizing that she had to leave Aran'gar and Delana there to die in the balefire).
Given what they knew, yes, it was flawless. But, I don't think that Rand was/is omnipotent, especially at this point in his emotional collapse. When you don't have perfect information, plans can and will go awry.

Did Graendal know that the balefire was coming or just some big, bad, channeling? It sounds like she wasn't sure what to expect from the surge and was surprised Rand balefired NB. I don't think she was leaving them to secure the Compulsion, so much as she saw a chance to eliminate a rival through some heavy artiliary brought down by Rand.
The forsaken are devious, crafty, and extremely cautious about approaching any of the Light side channelers. So with a basically perfect scrying tool like this BeastMaster™ weave, why is it only now that we learn it exists? It's just too sketchy that way. Better if it had been shown once, say with a rat wandering the Royal Palace at Cairhien but accomplishing nothing of value, then left as a Chekov's Gun for this scene.
It would have been nice to introduce the concept earlier, but we don't have a ton of Forsaken scouting scenes to begin with. Besides, this series likes introducing things as needed (it isn't Harry Potter bad, but pretty bad). Rand's sudden discovery of/LTT suddenly firing off those twirly fire gate things seemed awful convenient at the time - I don't remember LTT firing off his own weaves before that.
Finally, Graendal "suspects" that Rand found her through Nynaeve's ability to read Compulsion? This conclusion is gained through multiple leaps past normal logic, each of which is unprecedented in the thought sequences seen in anyone's POV.
I don't have a book in front of me, but I thought her frustration was that Rand found her and the only reliable way to do so would have been to ID her through the weaves. If so, wouldn't that render her logic reasonable? This would be especially reasonable when you think about each person having their own style of weave, and Rand/LTT being very familiar with the style and symptoms of the Forsaken's weaves (especially a go to weave like Graendal's Compulsion).
I would have preferred that she simply question what Rand was doing, without arriving at any such drilled-down hypothesis, sent the bird, and scryed that Ramshalan's Compulsion was a litmus test. Ahh, but it couldn't go that way, because without the hypothesis she doesn't remove her own Compulsion or replace it with that of the other two channelers, and Rand would know that she survived his attack. Oh yeah, and so would the reader.
I still think she would have replaced the weave anyway - she suspects Rand has tracked her through the weave, since it was the only method she could think of. She knew that Nyn was rumored to be a supremely gifted healer and she reasonably suspected that Nyn could have kept someone alive long enough to get a limited amount of information. By replacing the weave, she could ensure that Rand would be satisfied with knowing he had a DF/FS cornered but would be denied confirmation of Graendal's presence (either he confirms it isn't hers or doesn't confirm anything - both ways, she wins) and might be confused in the process when there are layers of Compulsion to make things even muddier.

Was the scene perfect? No. Can it be logical? Yes.
Tess Laird
108. thewindrose
Shake a tree and look what falls out! Welcome to all the new commenters. A big wow on some of you slogging through all the comments as well as the post - that is a huge undertaking.

Leigh - thanks for pointing out the inklings of a change in Perrin's 'emoness'. I have to admit that when I first read the ToM prologue I was worried. Of course racing throught the book when it came out didn't help.

I thought Graendal was finished as well, after the scene in tGS. Maybe one of the reasons it seems a bit clunky here is the 1 to 3 book rearangement. I also hope with matthew1215 that Halima's time with Egwene will be more then bad headaches.

Also - depending on the strength of balefire, it erases what has been done to someone - so Rand used a strong dose of balefire - whatever was done to Ramashamalamadingdong was removed when H&D were balefired.

Valmar - almost by accident - sure;)

Beren - love your work at 60 and 87. I hope to hear 60 at next years Jcon along with Forkroots Friends at Tor places:)

Valentin M
109. ValMar
Re: who "invented" balescream. I don't have any problem if it was Brandon who introduced it in the cannon. The word itself or the context. The concept of balefire needed something like that. Made it more visceral.

Re: Fain/Mordeth becoming the new DO. I don't have an axe to grind on this one. But I think that the DO dying and Fain/Mordeth becoming the new DO fits somewhat with the cyclical cosmology of the WOT. I personally can't wait to find out how this will get resolved. Stating the obvious or what...

Blue Moon risen \m/
110. Freelancer
TickTockTick @98

Be careful how addicted you get to the reread, you may develop a serious tick, and that could change your name. Don't vorry, ve haf vays to make you tock.

On the Three Oaths, the channeling is continuous, and the pace and duration of speaking matters not. It is intent which matters. Each Oath begins with "I vow", a separate declaration, and in the scenes where these are described to us, the binding of each Oath as a physical sensation increases, not as a steadily progressing pressure, but in stages with the completion of each declared Oath.

Therefore, a single Oath to live and act in service only to the Light, binding oneself to act lawfully, with honor and mercy, should suffice to constrain a sister against improper machinations while minimizing the impact to their lifespan. Somewhere in the murk of the reread's past, a carefully constructed "One Oath" was crafted which seemed to meet the requirements.
Rowland Hills
111. TickTockTick
Free@110 - Ah yes, I'd forgotten the sensation of tightening as each one settles. That indeed suggests that it's about each oath separately, not about the duration of speaking. Should have remembered that!

Still can't see why the AS don't get everyone to take the oaths the day they arrive though...

EDIT: For typos.
112. Freelancer
I don't think that they are all bad concepts to have been introduced, at the time that they are introduced.
Nor would I, individually. But all at the same time, only to accomodate an extremely convoluted scene, fails the smell test.
I don't think she was leaving them to secure the Compulsion, so much as she saw a chance to eliminate a rival through some heavy artiliary brought down by Rand.
An incorrect assumption. Let's go to the text:
Something burst alight in his hand. The access key. Graendal gasped. He'd brought that with him? It was nearly as bad as balefire.
Suddenly she understood. She'd been played.
Cold, terrified, she released the dove and snapped her eyes open. She was still sitting in the small, windowless room, Aran'gar leaning beside the doorway with arms folded.
Al'Thor had sent Ramshalan in, expecting him to be captured, expecting him to have Compulsion placed on him. Ramshalan's only purpose was to give al'Thor confirmation that Graendal was in the tower.
Light! How clever he's become.
She released the True Power and embraced less-wonderful saidar. Quickly! She was so unsettled that her embrace nearly failed. She was sweating.
Go. She had to go.
She opened a new gateway. Aran'gar turned, staring through the walls in the direction of al'Thor. "So much power! What is he doing?"
Aran'gar. She and Delana had made the waves of Compulsion.
Al'Thor must think Graendal dead. If he destroyed the place and those Compulsions remained, al'Thor would know that he'd missed and that Graendal lived.
She said that the access key itself was nearly as bad as balefire, so it might seem that she wasn't certain that balefire was going to be his manner of attack. But at the end, she was convinced that her only safety lie in Ramshalan's Compulsion disappearing, which could only happen if the Compulsion was never placed, meaning that the channeler who placed it died to balefire. Rand's "litmus test" as I called it earlier, required balefire to perform. Graendal deduced all of this, with a bare minimum of information, and under extreme duress.

As for her simply taking the opportunity to remove Aran'gar as its own end, back to the text:
Hundreds of beautiful men and women, the finest she'd gathered, gone. Her stronghold, dozens of items of Power, her greatest ally among the Chosen. Gone. This was a disaster.
No, she thought. I live. She'd anticipated him, if only by a few moments. Now he would think she was dead.
She was suddenly the safest she'd been since escaping the Dark One's prison. Except, of course, that she'd just caused the death of one of the Chosen. The Great Lord would not be pleased.
Graendal did not consider Aran'gar a rival, as you thought. "Her greatest ally among the Chosen", in her own words. We can debate the merits of the contrivance of this scene all day long, and I will admit that the scene is written well, is unflawed in regards continuity, and consistent with the behaviors of the characters involved. I am not denying the facts of the scene, only their implausible nature en toto. I would entertain any refutation which shows the scene to be more feasible than I consider it to be, but that refutation must have the facts of the scene correct as a starting point.
Alice Arneson
113. Wetlandernw
Freelancer - How's this for a starting point? She doesn't explicitly say so, but Graendal knew LTT's ways of thinking/operating as much as he knew hers.

Much, much more to say later when I have a real computer at hand.
114. gadget
RanchoUnicorno @ 107

I'm going to have to disagree, I just felt Graendal's survival was far to contrived, perhaps because Rand's attack was so well planned and set up. Incidentally, I don't find the whole issue of the new weave with the dove to be that off-putting, at least it is explained sufficiently. I can handle a new wrinkle thrown in like this; after all, it is supposedly a weave of the “True Power”, and Moridin and Graendal are the only ones we've seen channel it so far (besides Rand's little 'incident').

Where I get a little confused is why Graendal thought it would be a good idea to have other people place compulsion on our poor human canary in the first place. She surmises that Nyneave helped Rand find her by being able to “undermine and read” her weaves, whatever that means. Does that mean what Nyneave actually did: remove the compulsion and let him live long enough to spit out some info (the “undermine” part maybe); or does it mean some other skill or talent we have heretofore not heard of or understand what it does. Is she referring to Avihendra's skill of reading the residue of a weave that has been left behind and duplicating it? How would that help them find her? It seems at first that she wants Rand to think she is there while she flees to another location, so why not leave her compulsion on the poor man to enhance that belief if “reading” the weave allows one to recognize the work of a specific channeler?

So what does she hope to gain by her ploy? I can buy the dove thing, even if it is a never before seen ability. I just don't follow her logic, given what she knows at the time.
115. TBGH
Graendal's actions were implausible to say the least. As soon as she asked the others to lay on the compulsion I found myself thinking how contrived it was. I can see asking saidin to be added, but the rest serves no purpose unless she knows Rand is trying specifically to balefire her and use that as confirmation.

By the very nature of how many of us feel that way it has to go down as one of the failed plot points in the series.

I wish they'd just had Graendal escape with the compulsion intact. Then Rand can fume or be depressed over how he killed all those people and risked destroying the pattern for nothing. Have the others just be too slow and all the plot loses is a "Gotcha" moment that's not really necessary anyway.

On the other hand, I find myself much more tolerant of characters like Perrin (and Faile and Gawyn etc.) that behave stupidly/emotionally/in annoying ways. Real people do that and to me the story loses that feeling of reality if there's not someone in the corner being depressed/angsty/spiteful/stupid. I knew before hand of course that this book would be more Mat and Perrin centric and was excited to see them again.
116. metoo
I thought she was balefired too. My current thought is; that allowing her to live, was a a way to have Shadar talk to her and confirm who actually killed Asmodean.
117. re-read fan
Perrin's forging the hammer, Mat making the gholam his biatch, and Rand single handedly obliterating the largest Trolloc army since the Trolloc wars.
Single-handedly? Indeed. Well-played.
Roger Powell
118. forkroot
Your requoting of the text reminds me of another issue, as pointed out by others on the reread. Graendal complains about losing dozen of items of power to the balefiring of NB -- but assuming that at least some of them were cuendillar, then they should have survived and be scattered at the bottom of the eviscerated area where NB used to be. No mention is made of this.
Craig Jarvis
119. hawkido
Fain -> DO discussion:

The only big problem I have with that would be... Can you be reborn into the pattern if you are still in the pattern?

Different example: You (normal human person) get knocked into a stasis box (like the gholam) and are able to survive 3000+ years (like the gholam) could you be spun out again? I don't believe so... so Fain could not be the DO reborn and therefore replace himself.

The DO (IMHO) is a necessary force, but worshipping this force is evil. Just as worshipping death/disease/the sun/the rain/the river/etc... is evil. There is no appeasing your destruction. You cannot stall your ultimate demise, but you can hasten it.

Moridin seems to be in the Hasten crowd, much as if he has Taint madness. I don't think we have seen a victory of the DO nor of the light... the draw seems to continue the cycle. "Victory" seems to be a hollow illusion that both sides are chasing, but just as positive and negative infinity can be goals, they can never be reached, at lease not from within the finite universe.
Roger Powell
120. forkroot
Forkroot @56: Well, they Never Found the Bodies of Moiraine and Lanfear either (though Lanfear admittedly did buy it at some point, if not immediately). Jordan wasn’t shy about bringing back villains over their own dead bodies, either.
Well and artfully said :-)

But since you mentioned it, I'll point out that inconsistency too. Moiraine never died, yet Lan's warder bond snapped. You can't blame it on her being in Finnland - she had already visited Finnland (from Tear) with no effect on the warder bond.

Face it - WOT is riddled with these sorts of plot holes and inconsistencies. You can either let it ruin the story, or you can suspend disbelief (like I do) and enjoy a wonderful story. In the same vein, although I'm happy to discuss how "believable" Graendal's escape was, in the end it doesn't affect my enjoyment of the story.
@75. TickTockTick
@114 gadget

I considered your words there and I agree with you to a great degree. But what I just can't get past, is that Rand has been very successful against the Forsaken. Most that are dead, have died by Rands hand or by Rands hand in it. So it comes to no surprise to me, that as soon as she realizes that Rand has found her, she becomes ultra paranoid.

This man is hunting her with no good intent. No, his intent is to wipe Graendal from existance. Every Forsaken that has underestimated him has died. They call each other fools when yet another falls to Rands might. And so realizing this failing among them, as she herself has probably done so, she is the first to stop and think for a moment. Just after her first extinct, which she controlled, was to run.

So first she sees an opportunity to gain information about his plans and quickly considers her usual modus operandi. Then she stops and says wait a minute. What do I really know about this young man other than rumors that go contrary to his actions? Rumors of underestimation? I don't consider that to be paranoid at that point. What was paranoid was her choice of action. She then removes her weaves from Ramshalan and bids Aran'gar and Delena to weave a Compulsion in her place. They should have been paranoid and at least asked why! This was a wise move, paranoid yes, but many paranoia's that have been perpetrated by the greatest of us, have been called shrewd or genius and even wise at times. In my opinion a good amount of paranoia is directly related to wisdom.

Now what happened next with the dove, was pertinent necessity. She needed more information. Not wise per say, but intelligent deduction. And it was not just dumb luck what happened next. She was acting exactly they way she should have from that point on. Seeing the access key gave her the key piece of info beyond the fact that Rand was there waiting for the confirmation.

Graendal's thought process at the time was one of rememberance, you see. She was wondering whether or not Rands memories of Lews Therin had come to the fore. If so, then her actions had to match that of her opponant. She new Lews Therin to be shrewd, and her mentioning of some pass trangression against Lews Therin led her to believe that Rand would be particularly focused and aware of her intellect and what she was capable of. These thought processes led her to be very wary of the situation as presented. She rightly took precautions against unseen machinations on Rands part.

So I don't even feel it was luck that saved Graendal. It was her past knowledge of Lews Therin and her wary regard for Rands win/loss count against the Forsaken, that led her to the actions she chose. The little bit with Graendal faking her death, was the only luck we could conceivably give her. For if she had not requested a substitution, with regards to the compulsion, which was simply a ruse to confuse lending her time to set her own counter, she would have lost her life from ignorance.

In hindsight, it mattered not that she didn't set her own compulsion. It only mattered that she used the Dove to spy the effect of her ruse and to spy the playing field she was gaming on.

The question is whether she would have followed Ramshalan back if she had not set the ruse in motion.

Ron Garrison
122. Man-0-Manetheran
Looking Glass @ 106:
“Never trust a Forsaken” is good advice, but I’m inclined to read it as something the authors put in for our benefit, especially the “Whatever the Creator could build, the Great Lord could destroy” part.

and ValMar @ 109:
Fain to DO: The important point that Freelancer made was that the DO is outside the pattern. He is immortal. So, I just don't see that happening.

forkroot @ 118:
All those power weapons of cuendillar. Yes, I thought that too. Quite a treasure trove for channelers. Will they ever play a part, or is it just something left behind?
Karen Fox
123. thepupxpert
@114 gadget - Grandael placed her compulsion on Ramshalan as soon as he walked through the door. Her first reaction upon hearing that he had been sent from Rand was to flee and remove that compulsion, knowing that she had been outed by someone (probably Nyn) who recognized her weaves. She hesitated, however, because she didn't want to act too rashly, she needed more information. I think that's totally within her character arc to be overly cautious and having Delana reapply the compulsion instead makes sense to me. It was only through the dove's eyes that she figured out that she'd been played and by then she had mere seconds to weave a gateway and jump through. She was mortified that all she had worked for was gone, and was also worried that the DO would blame her for Aran'gar's demise. Overall, I think the scene works true to her character.
Karen Fox
124. thepupxpert
fork @ 120 - well said! I haven't been right about a single prediction this entire series and frankly nothing would surprise me at this point, but that doesn't stop me from enjoying the story!
Deana Whitney
125. Braid_Tug
@ Beren, 60 & 87 - Great Job!

You know it would be really cool to have all the filk on this Re-Read collected into one place. Both music and short stories. Encountering them at random in the comments is great, but finding them again can be a real pain. (Even with bookmarking.)

Re: Oath Rods - I really have to wonder about all the un-swearing & re-swearing that has been going on in the last few months (book time). Will these ladies have even shorter lives because of this? (or did I miss that conversation?)

Edit: About a minute after posting my music player randomly started playing "Devil went down to Georgia." I found the timing very funny.
123. thepupxpert

We're on the same page! Correct on every count.

You know what gets me is, Nynaeve being as pouty as ever didn't recognize that part of the Compulsion was Male. She should have or at least I think she should have at least, seen that there was things missing within the Compulsion; That it didn't look right, because as we know, while Aran'gar looks female, she is a he and channels Saidin. Thus the stuff missing. And in fact she does mention a discrepency, now that I think of it. It should have given her pause! Nynaeves's delving was not very thorough, being quite a bit irritated in Rands presence. If she had seen this disrepency for what it was, things might have gone a whole lot different. I'm not too sure Rand would have gone through with the balefiring at all.

Then again....what else would he have done?

Rob Munnelly
127. RobMRobM
Fork - The evident in-story explanation is that the bond snapped as a result of the Finnland gateway melting down. It doesn't strike me as ridiculously implausible. (I have more problem with in-story assertions that Mat's Old Tongue abilties come exclusively from the filled in memories, conveniently forgetting that he had full discussions in Old Tongue on his first trip to Finnland.)
Craig Jarvis
128. hawkido
I believe the shortening effect is partially negated when removed... however in Siuan and Leanne's case, the effect seems to have been completely removed (due to the rough treatment as stated in the books).

Egwene's plan to retire Aes Sedai into the Kin, would be interesting... would the retired AS regain a percentage of the "Lost Years" of life once released? would they only have lost the years that were passed under the oaths? or would they lose a percentage of the remaining years of their life even tho the oaths have been removed? I lean more to the first option: They would age as slowly as any other Channeler, and might begin regaining some of their youth as more time passes (look like they are getting younger for a time), but there would certainly be a loss over a never-been-bound channeler.
Karen Fox
129. thepupxpert
Z @126 - I think Rand had this planned all along; but now I'm confused, I thought Delana was the one who replaced the compulsion on Ramshalan not Aran'gar - Grandael asked Aran'gar how Delana's compulson was and she said it was passable. Or was it a combination of both?

I think that even if Nyn suspected something was off about the compulsion, she had no idea what Rand was planning and it never entered her mind that he just needed confirmation that Ramshalan was compulsed to make his decision.

And yes I see we are in agreement on this subject, you posted as I was putting the finishing touches on mine, with a lot more detail!
125. WouldbeBrownAjah

I think TGS re-read part 24 has a great discussion on it. It was all about the difference between Fealty and Obediance. It was mind numbing. But you know, I like my mind to be numb every once in awhile. So if you want to discuss, please put forth hence forward.

129. thepupxpert

No, Aran'gar and Delana both took part in Ramshalan's Compulsion. I thought that odd too! But it seems, as Graendal said, that she wanted to confuse Rand. Maybe to make Rand think Graendal wasn't alone and so not to approach with a frontal attack. As I said she was lacking a great deal of information.

So her intent, was to confuse with the duel Compulsion. I believe that Aran'gar's weave was simply there to hide Delana's lack of talent with regards to the weave. Even Nynaeve remarked on the difference between Ferbs and Ramshalan's Compulsion. Without Aran'gars weaves hiding things, Nynaeve would have recognized the lack of complexity.

This all played into Graendals hand, giving her time to gleen Rands intent using the doves eyes. It shows how formidable Graendal is, to quickly come up with reasonable deductions and act upon them with cunning and speed.

Karen Fox
132. thepupxpert
Z @ 131 - Got it, sounds reasonable. And yes I think Graendal was very quick to assess her situation and get the hell out, it's one of the reasons she's stayed alive all this time when the others confronted Rand and lost.
133. Looking Glass
Forkroot @118: Are Cuendillar power objects really all that common? The seals and the domination band are the only ones I can think of offhand.

That would make a certain kind of sense, actually. Cuendillar isn’t exactly biodegradable. It seems like you wouldn’t really want to make anything out of it unless either it were vital it not break, or it was something you could envision people never wanting to throw away, replace, or upgrade.


Hawkido @119: Potential workarounds there include the following possibilities:

a) The mortal that became the Dark One discarded whatever mortal soul he had, freeing it up for the next cycle.
b) A soul can, in fact, occupy two or more bodies at once.
c) More than one dark one per cycle- if the Dark One is replaced twice a cycle rather than once, the problem goes away. Though this explanation is unwieldy and even further out on the hypothetical limb.
d) The actual person involved isn’t the same across the cycles. Hawkwing’s statement that new Heroes can arise would appear to suggest not every soul plays exactly the same role every time. It’s wouldn't be important that it’s Fain particularly, just some banal evil darkfriend that got worse and worse.

Forkroot @120: I’m not sure that’s so much even a plot hole as just a handwave- there’s all kinds of weird stuff there that could have caused it (their connection running through a broken portal, something the Finns did, etc) that Jordan was just content to say something did it.

Matt Spencer
134. MisunderstoodMe
Freelancer @ 94 and SilverTip @56 -

Yeah, that's essentially what I was trying to say - as a dove isn't a 'dark ones eyes' vermin, and myrdraal don't channel that I know of - the piggybacking consciousness probably isn't the same thing as the dark ones eyes.

In regards to the believability of Graendal’s escape it seems weak, but not to the point where it’s unbelievable. I think the evidence for this is in how many people are on both sides of the question with good arguments for their opinion.
Jonathan Levy
135. JonathanLevy
Welcome aboard! You too, 12. Seacaptain13

26. clintack
I felt cheated by the Graendal thing -- after Rand went to *such* lengths to confirm her death, the sheer number of coincidences involved made it pretty implausible.
I also felt a bit cheated, but there's really only one element which strikes me as implausible. Apriori, why would she make Delana - a half-trained girl of pitiful strength, in Graendal's mind - weave Compulsion on Ramshalan? It makes no sense unless you already know what Rand's planning. The rest (bird-spy, split-second decision to sacrifice Aran'gar, etc) didn't seem out-of-place to me.

27. Wortmauer

Ok, you said it better than I did.

29. chosen
Even Jedi Rand would sooooooo balefire that post! :D

43. matthew1215
I'm guessing that the strong male characters have problems with leadership because one of the main themes of the Wheel of Time is the effects of an unnatural (via the taint) culture of female dominance
Wow, very original way of looking at it. But what if the author is just trying to convey to the reader the difficulty of Leadership and Command? The same motifs are present in many works without Jordan's unique gender-balance.

46. insectoid
Perrin: Busy being emo. Next!
TickTock, Seacaptain, all other new posters: Welcome all! We don't bite. Really.
Insectoid bites, the rest of us don't ;)

47. Seraphyn
Welcome! Do your footfalls tinkle on the tufted floor? If so, we have spelling issues to discuss... /ends Poe ref

49. NotInventedHere
Lan's accidental army is pretty funny,
Great phrase :)
I can't imaginge Team Jordan killing off Graendal and then going, "Doh! We still need her!"
Question: Why did they need her? I'm guessing Demandred could have been given all her tasks in ToM without anything feeling out of place. Of course, she may have a big role yet in AMoL.

58. Chappers
It just occured to me: how the Graendal plot would have been set up in the one-book version (AKA luggage-cart edition) (or even the correctly-ordered books) of AMoL?
I think you, me and NotInventedHere have all the ingredients for a conspiracy theory. Mix well and cook at @180 C for 45 minutes.

50. AhoyMatey
Belafired? Was that a Freudian slip? :)

65. Freelancer
For those who posit that Fain will become a "new DO", I would respectfully disagree, and suggest that there is nothing in our world's history, mythologies or legends from which Jordan drew analogies in WoT, which supports a mortal-turned-devil scenario.
Uhh.... Raistlin Majere? ;)
how would Fain acquire the access to, and control over the True Power if he was to become the substitute
Fain has his own power now. Next time the bore is sealed people would call it 'The True Power' and never know the difference.
When they last met, Moridin confirmed this, in a way:
Moridin has been mistaken before.

Enough for one post, I think.
Ron Garrison
136. Man-0-Manetheran
Looking Glass @ 133
“indestructible weapons” - I was referring the the cuendillar ter’angreal, etc. While not specifically weapons, many can be used as such. I was too casual in terminology.

Speaking of cuendillar objects, the dream ring that Verin gave Egwene was one. Most that Elayne examined were cuendillar, if I recall correctly.
134. MisunderstoodMe

Yeah I can totally understand the resistance to the believability of Graendals escape. A lot of things had to happen in order for it fall as it did. Rands plan was set perfectly, given the info he had.

But how unlucky Rand was to have Aran'gar and Delana there at Natrins Barrow, leaving Graendal options that, had she not had them the two of them there, she likely would have gone ahead with her orignal instincts. Which were to Run and then stop and think about Moridin's and the Dark Ones displeasure if she did run. And then changing from instinct to cunning, and then went along with her original thought process to Compell Ramshalan and thus hand Rand his confirmation and her utter demise.

Craig Jarvis
138. hawkido
Graendal's escape = unbelievable.

Mat tossing 100 coins into the air and having all of them stay on the table and show the side he called = well that's just natural.
Craig Jarvis
139. hawkido
As to Graendal... what I would have preferred:
Graendal bites it... Aran'Gar escapes (he/she could possibly feel Rand's intent and bolt) and sets up attack on Perrin while laughing that Graendal only thought she was so clever with the Asmo bit. Only to fall into Shadar Haran's loving embrace at the end of it all... See, that's irony, as the womanizer gets raped to death by a Myrdraal which were created by his buddy Osan'Gar. Which begs the question, have we really confirmed his death (Callendor Hilltop fire during the cleansing)? Cause he really was a wasted bad guy... other than the castle smash in Caerhien.

Had Mesaana and Aran'Gar been swapped how much better would the Dark side have fared...
I wonder if Maichin Shin is going to play a part in all AMoL. I keep trying to find scenario's where it could play a part. And the only one I can think of is the destruction of Padan Fain/Mordeth.

I'm not of the opinion that Fain's power would be conducive to replacing The Dark One. Maybe the conciousness of the Dark One could be displaced with Mordeth. Or it could be that the nature and power of the Dark One overwelms Mordeths power with is sheer vastness, but the consequence of the meeting is, along with the death of Fain/Mordeth, comes the death of the consiousness of the Dark One. Free the world from is influence forever. Or maybe Fain's power is a danger enough to become a distraction, allowing Rand to do whatever he plans to do at that time.

I just feel that Machin Shin will play more of a role, other than a deterrent to using the ways.

Valentin M
141. ValMar
hawkido @ 138

I'll take this comment at face value. You know that there is a well established in-story mechanism which makes it possible for Mat to do things like that. Or Perrin talking to wolves, the existance of AS and trollocs...
Osan'gar is with his buddy Osam'a. Unless he's got another ressurection, but this would just be taking the piss. Enough is enough, I say!
142. dj pon3
RE: Oath Rod

I remember (I think) in one of the books a Foresaken mentioning that the Oath Rod was actually originally used as a binding punishment for criminals who could channel, but somewhere along the way the AS forgot this and began using it as it is now.

I wonder if the life shortening has anything to do with that?

I also seem to remember that Egwene had some good thoughts on how the Oaths are supposed to make people trust them, but over the years as the AS have gotten so good at twisting truths due to the Oath, now they are always regarded suspiciously. I know she's ultimately decided to keep them, but I wonder if someone won't find a better way to achieve these goals, perhaps Elayne creating a "new and improved" oath rod along with some new oaths.
Douglas Miller
143. douglas
Belafired? Was that a Freudian slip? :)
No, that was a reference to the Loony Theories panel at JordanCon. As I recall, that theory involved some excuse for Bela to be at Shayol Ghul for the Last Battle, her facing down the mountain away from the big pit (or whatever) entrance, and releasing a fart that caught fire, thereby killing the Dark One with "belafire".

It was more of a pun than a theory, Loony or otherwise, but it still got a favorable enough reception to get put on the list for voting.
144. Looking Glass
Man-o-Manetheran @136: Hm. I don’t have the book in front of me, so perhaps I’m wrong, but I don’t recall any of that stuff being heartstone. I’m fairly certain the twisted ring wasn’t, at least- Elayne was making knockoffs of that well before Egwene figured out cuendillar. I think it would have rated enough mention for me to recall if it were heartstone.

Certainly some ter’angreal are made of mundane materials, since we see broken ones every so often.
John Massey
145. subwoofer
I agree. That has to be the case or there is no way Rand could destroy the Choeden Kal minis, the female one melts, and why in (edit) the Panarch's Palace there was a broken statue as well.

146. neverspeakawordagain
I haven't seen a lot of activity on rec.arts.sf.written.robert-jordan lately... does anybody know where everybody went? Haven't heard from Mark Loy or John Novak recently...
Gary Singer
147. AhoyMatey
Douglas @143: Hey, the only reason that the theory about the last battle being a pillow fight won (and even got put on the list) was because at the end everybody becomes pillow friends! I don't think Belafired is that far off :)
148. Wortmauer
neverspeakawordagain: 1998 called, they want their newsgroup back.

As for the old guard, I have no idea where any of them are, except I do see Richard Boyé here very occasionally, as sarcastro.
Craig Jarvis
149. hawkido
@ 141 Valmar

Okay facevalue.. then since Ta'veren can only incite that which is possible, even if not even plausible... Rand being DEEP in the badlands of of the abyss stopped causing the possible good things, and only caused the possible bad things... so how is Graendal escaping by a sheer coincidence that while possible, isn't very plausible and falls deeply into the possible bad things that could happen category...
How are you surprised, with Dark Rand on the doorstep, when one of the worst possible outcomes happen? I would have been expecting it.

As it falls into your quote from above "You know that there is a well established in-story mechanism..."

good day... try again next time... LOL

/edited for repeated words and spelling/
150. Freelancer
forkroot @118

Looking Glass has it @133. We have seen no Objects of the Power which were made of cuendillar other than the Domination Band. I had the same reaction during my first read of Graendal's thoughts in that scene, then realized I was making a false assumption that such objects must all be cuendillar, when that clearly isn't true.

JonathanLevy @135

The key words in my comment were from which Jordan drew analogies in WoT. He certainly didn't source his cosmology from TSR. None of the major religions, none of the key mythologies which include a Satan analog, provide for that office to be transferrable to a previously mortal party. There is no fit for this to be done with Fain.

dj pon3 @142

Yes, Semirhage has a POV where she remembers being given the choice of being severed (stilled), or bound to prevent her from repeating her crimes of torturing patients. She thinks about knowing that the end of life would be approaching. So the AoL channelers knew that the Binding Rods caused, whether intentionally or as only a side-effect, a cap on the bound person's lifespan, and apparently at a knowable age. One would have to guess near or just beyond 300 years, considering that current age Aes Sedai only rarely attain that age. Heads up, Miss Melaidhrin, you may want to get unbound RSN.
Roger Powell
151. forkroot
Well, the seals are cuendillar, of course ... but you're right that we don't see any of the other ter'angreal (besides the sad bracelets) being described as made out of cuendillar. Interesting that the fluted black rod produces balefire, but is not itself made of cuendillar, so presumably the rod could be balefired away!

I guess this makes sense, as channelers who know the weave can produce balefire, but they are certainly vulnerable to it.

We've seen the rich and powerful in the Third Age covet cuendillar and I suppose that Graendal might have had a few pieces in NB that would have been at the bottom of the pit -- nevertheless her objects of the power would indeed have been destroyed and I take your correction.
152. Freelancer
Wetlandernw @113 (and others)

Please understand. I am not saying that the scene is illogical, or somehow wrong, in that it couldn't happen as it did. I am saying that the hoops through which it was necessary to jump to craft this escape method blows suspension of disbelief into the gutter. And for me, that's a difficult task. When I'm into a story, I am in. Typos are noticed, but must be severe or very frequent to pull me out of immersion. Odd phrasings don't slow me down, weird plot twists are part of the ride to be expected. This scene ... the entire time I was reading it was like

She what? Naww, no way she ... wait what? She did what? How could she have ... oh come on, pull the other one!

Seriously, and that just never happens while I'm reading. In fact, the other issues are so large, it always makes me forget that I have a hard time with Graendal accepting Delana in her crib un-Compelled. She wouldn't even tell the other forsaken where she was, now suddenly she's going to trust a Black Aes Sedai on the word of Baltha'gar?
Roger Powell
153. forkroot
Apriori, why would she make Delana - a half-trained girl of pitiful strength, in Graendal's mind - weave Compulsion on Ramshalan?
I always assumed it was because the weave would be done with saidar. Graendal was improvising at the moment and wanted both saidar and saidan weaves, but none of her own. I think she was just going on instinct at that point and wanted to confuse Rand.
Matthew Hunter
154. matthew1215
Wortmauer & neverspeakawordagain @ 148 & 146: I'm a member of the old guard from rasfwr-j. Haven't been back in ages though.
Roger Powell
155. forkroot
You make an interesting point about Delana in NB. Although once Graendal has allowed Aran'gar to know where she is, she has merged her "web of trust" with Aran'gar's "web of trust".

We don't know, but we can speculate, that Aran'gar might have put a mild compulsion weave on Delana or had some other mechanism to ensure her loyalty.

Actually, the fact that Graendal allowed Aran'gar to join her at NB underscores your earlier point that she considered him(her?) a valuable ally.
156. Wortmauer
hawkido: How are you surprised, with Dark Rand on the doorstep, when one of the worst possible outcomes happen? I would have been expecting it.
"Would have been" expecting it? Why the conditional? Or did you mean to say, "I was expecting it"?

Anyway, worst possible outcomes for whom? For Delana and Aran'gar ... a pretty bad outcome, but not the worst. For Graendal, a disaster, but she finds a silver lining. For Graendal's human zoo ... could be (and is) argued either way. For Rand and Team Light, I think it's actually a wash. You could say Rand's plan failed, but he did knock off one of the top 13 cards in the most wanted deck. Think about it. Aran'gar was basically under the radar, a Forsaken running loose that Team Light wasn't really accounting for. After Natrin's Barrow, Graendal is now a wild card, but Aran'gar is gone. As I said, I think it's a wash. (Not counting taking out Delana, but who seriously thought she was a threat to anyone?)
Being balefired might be bad, but there are many worse outcomes for those who serve the Shadow than to be put beyond the Great Lord's reach.
It did probably suck to be that dove, though.

Speaking of which. When and why did Graendal get permission to use the True Power? I'd felt it was something reserved for the Dark One's favorite fancy pants boy, these days. Do any of the other Chosen, such as Demandred, or even Moridin's acolyte Taim, have permission? (Now that could be fun.) Will Graendal experience either saa or withdrawal symptoms at some point? Also, given Graendal was still holding the TP, I wonder why she didn't Travel that way. True Power Traveling is well-established in canon — remember how the air "shimmered and coalesced" into Ishamael on Tar Valon at the end of the EOTW prologue. I suppose Graendal is out of practice with TP weaves and in the split second decision to get out of Dodge, she reached for the kind of gateway she could do more or less on instinct.
Roger Powell
157. forkroot
Perhaps Graendal was granted limited TP use when Moridin praised her work (TGS prologue.) I don't have the text with me to see if there are any hints about that.
Daniel Goss
158. Beren
@156 Wortmauer

re: Graendal using TP

I thought it had been established that she had been granted "limited use" of the TP as a sign of favor from Ishydin.

And as far as TP travelling -- we know that it involves making tears in the pattern, but presumably they'd use a gateway just like any other. I always thought (well, once we established who, exactly Ba'alzamon was and the mechanism by which he was only 'partially-bound') that the shimmering and coalescing was either the result of:

a) He wasn't really there, and it was only a projection of some sort of consciousness / presence to the place where he wanted to observe and interact with events. Keep in mind the scene outside Shadar Logoth where he is described (by Fain?) as 'flickering.'

b) The Author had not yet worked out precisely the mechanism by which Travelling would work, and how it would look.

I'm more inclined to believe the first option, as I'd like to think he had it planned out far in advance, and the reasons that I gave (partially bound, etc) make sense from both a physical and metaphysical standpoint. However, given that we saw the 'watcher' use the TP to Travel and the process was explicitly described a tearing a rent in the Pattern, I don't think we can assume that the outward manifestation of that method would look any different than OP travelling, except possibly with jagged edges on the Gateway.

-Beren. Good for more than the occasional song.
Daniel Goss
159. Beren
@me @158

@157 Forkroot is right.

from the TGS prologue
It threatened to overwhelm and consume her, and despite being filled with the True Power, she could channel only a thin trickle of it. A gift to her by Moridin.
She then goes on to say that it's really from the Great Lord, but her first thought was of Moridin.

160. Freelancer
forkroot @155

I don't think ally when I think of Delana's relationship to Balthima'gar. She was used in Salidar because she abetted the false backstory about Halima's connection to Cabriana. Beyond that, she was nothing but weak. She wasn't even strong enough to be reliable in all of the SAS machinations she was ordered to stall, requiring periodic beatings. Sheriam probably caused more trouble for the SAS. Once Narishma's pronouncement forced that situation to end, she would be little more than a loose end. If Graendal and Aran'gar are close allies, why would he/she need another saidar channeler? Why reward her with knowledge of the hideout of yet another forsaken?

As for whether Aran'gar was under any Compulsion herself, I default to saying not, based on no mention. If her story weren't at an end, it might have been possible to retro-refer to her time at Natrin's Barrow, but there's no reason for that. Besides, Delana questions the order to weave Compulsion on Ramshalan, something one of Graendal's Compelled people never do. Even a light Compulsion, such as Moghedien used on Elayne and Nynaeve, induces obedience.
Roger Powell
161. forkroot
Freelancer - My post @155 pointed out that Graendal considered Aran'gar (not Delana) a valuable ally (as you yourself had pointed out earlier). I'm sure both Graendal and Aran'gar considered Delana a tool at best.

There are different forms of compulsion weaves - we know this because of Verin's compulsions laid on the captured AS post Dumai's Wells. Certainly those AS later behaved in such a fashion that no one suspected they were under any compulsion.

Thus I don't think Delana's questioning the order necessarily proves that she wasn't under any form of compulsion.

OTOH, there's no particular text to support the notion that Delana was under compulsion. Like so many other theories here, it's a way of trying to make sense of an otherwise unusual situation (Graendal allowing an AS to learn her location.) So it remains speculation, of course.
Jonathan Levy
162. JonathanLevy
That's an interesting sequence, which I should read together with the actual chapter. The fact that I haven't won't stop me from replying to it :)
3) Graendal realizes that putting on her own Compulsion will confirm that she is there - that she is the opponent that is being sought.
This is where I call foul.

Graendal's first reaction is to assume that Rand knows she is there. She thinks it explicitly - the Dragon Reborn had found her. She speculates how it might have happened.

Then she switches to doubt, thinking that perhaps he doesn't know, perhaps he is checking by sending in bait to identify her own personal weaves? Even when Graendal concludes that Nynaeve can recognize Compulsion weaves, and undo them to interrogate the victim, why would she think that Nynaeve can distinguish between Graendal's weaves and Delana's?

If she wanted to compulse Ramshalan without giving herself away, Aran'gar's weaves were enough. Going out of her way to add Delana's makes no sense.

It's strange because the scene could have been done in a much more credible way. If Delana had been reduced to the role of a butler, with standard orders to compulse unexpected visitors and bring them to Graendal for proper interrogation, the Saidar weaves would have been in place without any difficulty.

Thanks for the clarification!
The key words in my comment were from which Jordan drew analogies in WoT.
The key word in my comment was "/joke", which I perhaps should have typed out explicitly. :)

The lack of analogies (mortals rising to an evil Godhood) is granted. However, RJ was bound to his analogies only to the degree which he desired. A few points to consider:

1) Fain can be an alternative to the DO only because he contains Mashadar, which is more than a mortal force.

2) Mashadar is an evil which Men created. If the replacement of the DO turns out to be part of the cosmology of the Wheel, then the evil which afflicts Mankind turns out to have been created by Mankind. For this motif, there are many analogies.

3) The story now has two conflicting forces: One, the circular cosmology which precludes the death of the DO; Two, Rand's desire to kill the DO. Now it may well be that one of these forces will be simply overturned (probably Rand's). However, if Jordan had planned to accomodate both of them, then this would be the way to do it.

I'm not predicting it will happen - I'm just saying it's a possible, though unlikely, resolution.

I always assumed it was because the weave would be done with saidar. Graendal was improvising at the moment and wanted both saidar and saidan weaves, but none of her own. I think she was just going on instinct at that point and wanted to confuse Rand.
"Graendal wanting Saidar weaves" is not a reason to bring Delana - it's a reason to do it herself.

"Graendal not wanting any of her own weaves" only makes sense if she has divined Rand's plan at this point.

"Graendal wanting to confuse Rand" is a reason to use the most skilled Compulser - herself - not a half-trained ignoramus.
163. juan denver
As someone who has (in the past, of course) done some shady things, I don't find the Graendal escape problematic. If there are real consequences, and you know certain people are after you, paranoia kicks in, and rational thought becomes mostly rational. I've changed routines for no reason at all, just because of a small nagging if.
Valentin M
164. ValMar
hawkido @ 149

So your point was that Mat being Ta'veren had weird stuff happening to him and the same is true for Rand. Essentially for the same reason- bending probability.
If so, it does make sense. All the improbable choices that Greandal makes that eventually lead to her escape could be explained by the state Rand is. We have been shown how, recently, only negative unlikely things happen to people around him.

In my defence, you could've made your analogy a bit more clearer or merely mentioned the word "ta'veren". Otherwise it sounded like "this is fantasy fiction, weird stuff happens all the time and it doesn't have to make sense".
Basically I assumed the worst there, which I shouldn't have since I know you post here often and it's not crap :) Next time I'll be slower to jump to conclusions.
Maiane Bakroeva
165. Isilel
Well, gotta jump in after hiatus. Have to maintain those high post/word count positions in Birgit's polls, after all ;).

Anyway, my first-time impressions of this prologue were:

Lan - bad-ass

Perrin - after all the suffering he put us through, he is still struggling with leadership?! I wanna scream.

Graendal - I always insisted that she had survived and did so by substituting Delana, so some auto-back-slapping here, but the manner of it was clumsy and uninteresting. So, half-full, half-empty, I guess.

Oh, and I really hated the throw-away death of A'rangar. Yea, she was a lame villain, but all those tens of thousands of Light-aligned channelers need somebody to fight come the Last Battle. Why waste perfectly good cannon fodder?

embraces the True Power and uses it to caress Aran’gar’s cheek, revealing that she had permission to use it along with Moridin.

And how did the Gar know that it was TP as opposed to Graendal hiding her power and inverting saidar weaves? As we have seen with Semiraghe's ambush in KoD, a male channeler wouldn't feel anything in such a case either.
Naturally, one may wonder why the FS don't hide/invert as a matter of course, but this way lies easy defeat of the protagonists and madness, I guess :).

Yea, and LOL at Graendal thinking that she had been so careful, when the whole matter of the murder of what's her name looked like a purposeful bread-crumb trail. And this woman is supposed to be the most intelligent, the most subtle? Sigh.

Also, why did Graendal ask A'rangar to put Compulsion on Ramshalan? Rand wouldn't expect a male channeler in Natrin's Barrow.
And why did she feel the need to sacrifice A'rangar? She saw that Nynaeve was the one with the ability to detect Compulsion, not Rand. Or is it possible for Nyn to detect saidin Compulsion?

None of this makes sense, IMHO, it was just a sloppy sop to the readers, so that Rand's atrocity wouldn't have been completely in vain. Which is a pity, as I think that the story would have been stronger if it was.
Rob Munnelly
166. RobMRobM
Jonathan Levy - haven't we had years of discussion that the preferred term is "compelled" rather than "compulsed"? I thought we settled it at the same time as we stoped using balefire to nuke cities.

Rob Munnelly
167. RobMRobM
And welcome back Isilel. Despite your long and unexplained absence, you have no toh to me.

Ron Garrison
168. Man-0-Manetheran
Looking Glass @ 133, subwoofer @ 145, freelancer @ 150:
In the words of George Dubya Bush, “I misremembered.” Thanks for setting me straight. I’m not sure how I got that in my head, but its been there for a long time.
Maiane Bakroeva
169. Isilel
Hawkido? (sorry, I seem to have lost attribution while wading through all the comments):

I just felt Graendal's survival was far to contrived, perhaps because Rand's attack was so well planned and set up.

I have felt from the beginning that Rand's plan had huge holes in it. Namely, that:

a) Compulsion could have been put on by any Dark-side channeler - Nyn even warned him that the weaves were different from those on Kerb!

b) that Graendal would have monitored Ramshalan, if not by dove, then by inverted Travelling/ inverted invisibility weave, and made herself scarce.

c) that this amount of balefire would seriously hurt the already weakened Pattern and in the end do more damage than continued existence of one FS.

The notion that Graendal wouldn't work with other channelers is the opposite of her MO during the War of the Shadow, when she very much did.

In fact, back before ToM came out I was sure that all the facts pointed at Graendal setting up some BA, most likely Delana, as a decoy for Rand to kill, so that he'd stop looking for herself.

Rand was telling everybody who'd listen that he was searching for her, after all, and some of Graendal's spies should have overheard him.

The whole messenger - Lady whatever - Kerb thing was so clumsy (you bring somebody to your secret lair to Compel, but don't provide them with good poison for their tasks?) , that I thought that it could only be on purpose.

I.e. if Greandal had been at least half-competent, leave alone a hyper-intelligent manipulator that she was touted as, she wouldn't even have been at Natrin's Barrow.

But alas, in TGM she was revealed as a foolish bumbler, like all the other FS, and only escaped NB through extreme contrivance and luck.

Some particularly low points:

Rand wouldn't kill women?!! Don't you have spies, to tell you about Semiraghe and Elsa, Graendal?!

Why Compel Ramshalan at all? Surely, the most confusing move of all would be to send him back free?

And while you are about it, wouldn't it make sense to gather your OP doo-dads before sending Ramshalan back out? Just in case you'd need to de-camp quickly, you know...

Hawkido @139:

See, that's irony, as the womanizer gets raped to death by a Myrdraal which were created by his buddy Osan'Gar.

In Jordanland "fate worse than death" only befalls those of 100% female persuasion, though. As does prolongued torture and degradation. Men are always the privileged ones, dang! :).

RobMRobM @167:

And welcome back Isilel. Despite your long and unexplained absence, you have no toh to me.

Thanks, I guess... you guys fought on bravely without me, anyway, so no, I don't have toh!
Daryl Strickler
170. Seacaptain13
One of the things that has bothered me with Graendal's Houdini act was Why? Why save her and for what purpose? Unless it was like Isilel (Another Legend! Sorry I missed you!) pointed out to lessen Rand's Atrocity. But I also agree it would have worked better had she remained dead. It is not like there wasn't any more baddies for the Light to fight in the final book. Bringing her back after book 5 (or so) would make sense but not now. But now that she is back who gets to kill her? No one but Rand really has beef with her. Or is she one who will turn back to the light?
171. azuarc
I'm going to respond to Leigh's no body no kill comments, and how obviously Asmodean and Sammael are dead. Well, yes, they are, but why is it I've never seen anyone comment on how they could come back? Actually, I have seen that for Asmodean, and Jordan himself answers that, but what about Sammael? Mashadar is not balefire, so why does nobody ever suspect that Sammael might return? Every other non-balefired Forsaken has, (and for that matter might Osan'gar return for a third life?)
Sam Mickel
172. Samadai
Azuarc, I believe That RJ, in an interview, said that Sammael is gone for good. Something about the way he died made it so the DarkOne couldn't grab his soul.
173. gadget
azuarc @171 Sammael was killed by Mashadar, & RJ has stated that the DO would like to bring him back but his soul was corrupted by Mashadar, and that made it impossible to bring back in any form that was useful to the DO.

all - good comments on plausability of Graendal's escape, but not completely sold on it. I'm not sure how "being paraniod" affects her decision not to compell the man herself, unless she figures out Rand's plan ahead of time, which she does not. Maybe she thinks Nyneave can recognize the weaves as belonging to a specific channeler and want's Rand to think she isn't there? That seems a bit flimsy anyway, especially for one who is paraniod to begin with. It seems like a paranoid person would but the weave in place, allow it to be recognized, then abandone the place for a new hideout, secure in the knowledge that your enemy thinks he knows where you are, but in reality does not.
174. Faculty Guy
azuarc @171: I've wondered about Asmodean also, and for a short while thought that perhaps Taim was ASMODEAN (b/c Taim just seems TOO MUCH like a refugee from AOL: he uses idioms that only other Forsaken use, refers to the AS as "so-called AS", etc.) and Asmodean was the only unaccounted-for male Forsaken. I've given up that idea, but I've not seen what Jordan said about why the DO has not brought him back in SOME capacity. Could you - or someone knowledgeable - educate me, since I'm really too damn lazy to search out the source of your reference to RJ's explanation. Thanks to anyone who knows and will respond.
Rob Munnelly
175. RobMRobM
The bigger question re Forsaken rebirth chances is Dashiva, who got blown up (had a hill dropped on him) rather than being bf'd.

Demandred is still the guy with the unanswered questions re his activities. I just reread LoC with its disturbing ending with Dem and DO laughing together and Dem says "Didn't I do a great job." What are they talking about? Something with Dumai's Wells (if so how does that fit into Seanchan theory) or is it entirely offscreen?
Roger Powell
176. forkroot
Faculty Guy
Since we know that Graendal did Asmo in, and there was no body found, isn't it reasonable to assume that she just balefired him? If so, then the DO can't bring him back.

Even if she didn't balefire him, I don't think the DO was happy with Asmo going over to Rand. So it seems unlikely that the DO would even want to bring him back.
177. neverspeakawordagain
@ Wortmauer, matthew1215 -- I'm a member of the old guard too. Only stopped when I graduated college and didn't have access to Usenet through my new provider; don't run into too many online communities that fun any more, which is kind of a shame.
178. dj pon3
@174. Faculty Guy - Asmo had his ties to the DO severed by Rand, so I don't think he could be brought back. Also, the way his death scene was written with his final words hanging in the air (or however it was put) made me, and I believe several others, believe it was balefire.
M Peters
179. DJ_Pon3
Well I decided to go ahead and register to join the conversation. Been following the re-read for the last year. One of the best re-reads I've seen, nice blend of recapping, humor, insight and rants about spankings. :D
Craig Jarvis
180. hawkido
@165 - isilel

"And how did the Gar know that it was TP as opposed to Graendal hiding her power and inverting saidar weaves?"

My understanding is that only tied off weaves can be inverted.

Held weaves cannot be inverted until they are tied off.

Aran'Gar would be able to tell if she grabbed the one Power as he/she would feel goosebumps, which he/she did not.
Craig Jarvis
181. hawkido
156. Wortmauer

okay Wort... my statement was a turn of phrase, and if your beef with my statement is the english language.. then I guess that is a compliment, so THANKS?

As to worst possible outcome:

Worst for Rand... period. Rand will never know that he scored a BA and another Forsaken in that strike... He does know that he exterminated potentially hundreds of mind washed people.. and, justifications aside, THAT did and does hurt him... He mentions Natrim's Barrow later as one of his horrible actions I believe. Plus I believe that it will come out that Greandal survived that attack just to cause him more pain (though it seems that Greandal won't make another appearance, no soul cage for her) I believe that Moridin will toss it in Rand's face at some point... or Shadar Haran will, or the Dark One himself.

So yes the worst possible outcome. How could it be any worse? Other than the whole pattern unraveling... which at the time of Dark Rand, part of him REALLY wanted that.

But again, thanks for playing.
Gary Singer
182. AhoyMatey
@180: The Forsaken know of another way to hide weaves. I think it's called reversing weaves. The weave is already hidden at the time of creation. It's what Mesaana did when she was swearing on the oath rod.
183. Wortmauer
hawkido@181: my statement was a turn of phrase, and if your beef with my statement is the english language.. then I guess that is a compliment, so THANKS?
You said "I would have been expecting it." It just seemed strange that you worded it that way instead of the much simpler "I was expecting it," which in context, seems closer to what you meant. But perhaps you meant exactly what you said. If you really did mean you would have been expecting it, then there's a conditional there and it left me hanging. So ... you as a reader did not expect it, but in some other circumstance, you would have? Explain! Inquiring minds, etc.
Worst for Rand... period. Rand will never know that he scored a BA and another Forsaken in that strike... He does know that he exterminated potentially hundreds of mind washed people.. and, justifications aside, THAT did and does hurt him... He mentions Natrim's Barrow later as one of his horrible actions I believe. Plus I believe that it will come out that Greandal survived that attack just to cause him more pain (though it seems that Greandal won't make another appearance, no soul cage for her) I believe that Moridin will toss it in Rand's face at some point... or Shadar Haran will, or the Dark One himself.
Balefiring Natrin's Barrow had no good outcomes for Rand's state of mind, and in terms of his mental health, Graendal's escape is entirely beside the point. He'd beat himself up about it either way.

But it's not the worst possible outcome at all. Worse would be if his actions really did cause irreversible damage to the Pattern. Worse would be if both Graendal and Aran'gar got away. Worse would be if his action caused some ally of his to withdraw some much-needed support from Team Light. Worse would be if a potential ally such as King Alsalam had been toasted in the balefire. Best I can tell, there are a lot of things that could have gone more wrong for Rand here than they did.

Rand's goal in this mission was to eliminate one of the top 13 bad guys. He did. It was the "wrong one," so in a sense he failed ... but given the status of the Forsaken especially as imagined by Team Light, is there such a thing, really, as killing the wrong Forsaken? (Aside from Asmodean, who at the time of his demise was giving Rand some valuable, if grudging, aid.) One fewer Forsaken on the playing field is one fewer Forsaken on the playing field.

Rand also eliminated a major base of operations from which Graendal was quite a poisonous influence on Arad Doman. It will take time for her to reestablish herself and cause that sort of chaos in the future. (Would take time, if her path didn't lead to other problems later in this book.) And it's becoming obvious to everyone, in-world and out, that Book 14 is around the corner and nobody has a lot of time.

He will feel pain of heart for his actions at Natrin's Barrow. But I don't think the fact that Graendal is now out there on the lam instead of Aran'gar out there on the lam is going to cause him further anguish. Heck, his old Two Rivers persona would actually prefer to kill a male enemy than a female, right? Unless Team Dark throws it in his face that he missed Graendal, while not letting him know that in the process he re-killed Balthamel and some random Grey/Black Ajah was also in the crossfire.

Of course one could argue that Graendal is a worthy villain and Balthamel/Aran'gar is just lame, and therefore Team Light didn't really gain much in the transaction. I won't go there, except to reiterate that I think killing Aran'gar was a better outcome than not killing Aran'gar.
But again, thanks for playing.
That's a pretty rude way to sign off. Maybe you didn't intend it that way; just so you know, to me that line sounds like a TV game show host telling a contestant that he just lost the game. In that context, the host is asserting that (a) it's a contest rather than a discussion; (b) I lost, perhaps because I'm just not as smart as you; and (c) you have the intellectual authority to judge the outcome, and neither I nor anyone else here does. Frankly I think it's belittling and not a little arrogant.

If that's not how you meant your sign-off to sound, then I'm sorry for misjudging you, but that's how it does sound, at least to me.
Goodness gracious, Wort! And you think I'm bad?

Teresa Nielsen Hayden
185. tnh
Wortmauer, let's just assume that Hawkido said that with as much innocent good cheer as you've ever seen before in one location.
Jonathan Levy
186. JonathanLevy
165. Isilel
and others
Re: Graendal.

A thought just occurred to me. Why aren't Compulsion weaves inverted, so Nynaeve wouldn't be able to see them? Am I missing something here?

175. RobMRobM
The bigger question re Forsaken rebirth chances is Dashiva, who got blown up (had a hill dropped on him) rather than being bf'd.
Agreed, though I can think of one (non-compelling) reason for him not to reappear. In the first scene after his resurrection, he notices how much of himself has been lost (including his memories) during his sleep of death. This reincarnation might not work so well the second time around.

179. DJ_Pon3
A hearty welcome to you too!

181. hawkido
Worst for Rand... period.... So yes the worst possible outcome. How could it be any worse?
I think with a little effort we can imagine something worse.

How about: A pigeon flaps its wings, Rand jerks back and balefires Nynaeve by mistake. That's worse, isn't it? Moghedien made a similar mistake in ACOS with no Ta'veren effect to excuse it.

How about: Nynaeve argues with Rand, choosing the worst possible words ("Cadsuane! CadsuaneCadsuaneCadsuaneCadsuaneCadsuane!") a la Merana/Tam, Rand loses his cool and balefires her on purpose. Not worse? There's plenty more where those came from.

Another thought - so far most of the Ta'veren effects have been either very subtle across years/centuries/millenia or intensive-but-fairly-obvious. If we expand those criteria to include anything we can't explain, well..... there won't be anything we can't explain. That's not a good thing.

I see 183. Wortmauer is thinking along the same lines. Hi Wortmauer! :)

182. AhoyMatey
The Forsaken know of another way to hide weaves. I think it's called reversing weaves. The weave is already hidden at the time of creation. It's what Mesaana did when she was swearing on the oath rod.

Are you sure about that? My impression was always that 'reversing' is merely the AOL term for 'inverting', much as they use 'Rings' for 'Circles', 'Spinning' for 'Weaving', 'Severing' for 'Stilling', etc.

When Moghedien fights Nynaeve in TSR, Nynaeve can see all her weaves and desperately counters them. If Moghedien's weaves could have been hidden at creation, that battle would have been over very quickly.

That's how I understand it, but of course, I will welcome a correction with references.
Birgit F
187. birgit
A dove would be unobtrusive, but using one was more difficult than a raven or a rat, the Dark One's favored eyes. The weave worked better on those than it did other animals. Though, most vermin that watched for the Dark One had to report back before he knew what they'd seen. Why that was, she was not certain - the intricacies of the True Power's special weaves never had made much sense to her.
Graendal's thoughts about it sound as if all animal spies are somehow controlled by the TP. That doesn't really make sense if Fades can't channel and only Ishy had permission to use the TP until Graendal.

She should have or at least I think she should have at least, seen that there was things missing within the Compulsion; That it didn't look right, because as we know, while Aran'gar looks female, she is a he and channels Saidin. Thus the stuff missing.

Aran'gar and Delana didn't link to create a Compulsion weave together, first Delana did hers and then Aran'gar added another one.

there is nothing in our world's history, mythologies or legends from which Jordan drew analogies in WoT, which supports a mortal-turned-devil scenario.

Uhh.... Raistlin Majere? ;)

If you count fantasy as a source there are others, like Piers Anthony's Incarnations of Immortality. The difference is that there the gods are not Manichaen forces outside the Pattern.

Fain is two souls (Fain and Mordeth) in one body, like Slayer. It would be fitting if those two fight each other.

Also, given Graendal was still holding the TP, I wonder why she didn't Travel that way.

She can only channel a trickle of the TP. Travelling requires a minimum strength that she probably doesn't have with the TP.

However, given that we saw the 'watcher' use the TP to Travel and the process was explicitly described a tearing a rent in the Pattern, I don't think we can assume that the outward manifestation of that method would look any different than OP travelling, except possibly with jagged edges on the Gateway.
Netherlands tour 8 April 2001, Elf Fantasy Fair - Aan'allein reporting
KuraFire asked about the prologue of The Eye of the World, where Ishamael Traveled, but with a different description than that of usual Traveling.
Jordan said that that was because the Traveling was done by using the True Power. We'd seen the same since, when Moridin Travels somewhere... "The Pattern screamed."
Asmo had his ties to the DO severed by Rand, so I don't think he could be brought back.

The same happened first to Ishy (that gave Rand the idea), and he did come back.

And it's becoming obvious to everyone, in-world and out, that Book 14 is around the corner and nobody has a lot of time.

Everyone knows that the Last Battle is coming, but Randlanders know nothing of Book 14 (Loial is writing only one book, though it is probably larger than human-sized books).
Gary Singer
188. AhoyMatey
JonathanLevy @186: I found the reference in the WoTFAQ. http://wotfaq.dragonmount.com/node/109
Daryl Strickler
189. Seacaptain13
Is it just me or does it seem like the pattern has to go? It is already unstable and when the last battle comes I imagine balefire galore. Or Rand destroys the pattern. Instead of the end of everything it would mean end of everything as we know it. That the future is not set (Aviendha-aiel vision) and people have more freedom without the pattern (wheel weaves etc). Plus gets rid of traveling, very annoying power, especially now that everyone has it.
M Peters
190. DJ_Pon3
Thanks for the welcome!

birgit @187-
Asmo had his ties to the DO severed by Rand, so I don't think he could be brought back.
The same happened first to Ishy (that gave Rand the idea), and he did come back.
I don't recall anyone but Asmo having their actual link to the DO severed. Did I miss that about Ishy? I need to go re-read!

@ 189. Seacaptain13

The pattern going would be the end of it all, right?

The DO's goal isn't to destroy the pattern but to reshape it to his
whim. If he wanted it destroyed, then the Forsaken would be out there
balefireing the holy heck out of everything and everyone I'd think.

So I don't think we're going to see balefire galore. Even the Forsaken are reluctant to use it, remembering how bad it got in the WoS. The pattern recovered from that, and it will recover from what's going on now.

But perhaps there will be a point in AMOL where we get very very close to it all unraveling.
ana liese
191. analiese
forkroot @ 120

But since you mentioned it, I'll point out that inconsistency too. Moiraine never died, yet Lan's warder bond snapped. You can't blame it on her being in Finnland - she had already visited Finnland (from Tear) with no effect on the warder bond.

Brandon already answered that one. It's because the doorway in Cairhien was completely destroyed which apparently severed the link between the worlds. The one in Tear was open the whole time.
Terez: Why did Moiraine's bond with Lan break when the doorway burned? Did she intentionally release it?

Brandon: She did not intentionally release it. RJ has something about this in the notes, but I don't have the quote handy. It basically has to do with the severing of the link between worlds.
Craig Jarvis
192. hawkido
@186 and @183 Wortmauer and JonathanLevy

Worst Possible outcome:
King alsalam wasn't in Natrim's Barrow so it wasn't possible for him to get toasted... and Ta'veren can only play with what is possible. If Aran'Gar escaped then Rand would know his attack failed (as compulsion still existed on Ramalamadingdong), and thus wouldn't assume he eliminated his target, which would seem worse at the moment, but better in the long run as he would know his target was still out there , and not have false hopes which will be crushed in the last book and be far worse IMHO.

Rand's Bale fire strike was not a Beam originating from him... (unless he arc'ed it, which doesn't seem possible as we haven't seen bent Balefire before, refracted yes, bent no) as Natrim's Barrow was struck from above, I had wondered how cities were razed in the WoP, if the beam always emerged from the channeler (would always need to be above the target to make a good strike), but several times LTT has stated that limits are placed upon oneself and implied some are placed too close and some too far. I think Rand has realized that the beam doesn't need to eminate the BF beam from his body. So accidentally striking Nyneve wasn't a possibility, as he was striking from a fixed point down upon another fixed point, irrelative of his position.

From what we have read about compulsion there are 2 forms... Temporary and Permanent... if they hold the weaves, it is temporary and has very little side effects. If they make it permanent then the weaves do not seem to be tied off and inverted but rather make a permanent change to the subjects mind/brain. Thus the weaves aren't there any more, only the "damage" I think that is what made Nyneve state that there was something different about Ramalamadingdong as about half the "damage" was cause by the male half and tho the effect could be the same as what a woman would do the marks would look different. That is why she wouldn't say "Hey, some dude compelled him!" Once Nyneve examines Morgase (I think she will in aMoL) she will see the tracks of the subtle (Ravin didn't completely re-write her brain, but permanently adjusted her to always be smitten with the thought of him) male channeling of compulsion on her, and at that time she may declare to Rand that Ramalamadingdong was subjected to Male compulsion at the time, thus issuing the "Crushing blow" mentioned above .

Thanks for Playing commenting!
(That better?)
(edited for a missing negative)
Craig Jarvis
193. hawkido
@188 AhoyMatey
That is a good find... I don't believe I ever caught that they were different...I thought it was just different terms for the same thing (spinning vs. weaving, web vs. weave, etc...)

There must be a trade off to reversing tho... more difficult, takes longer to weave/spin... You can't get something for nothing, I wonder if they will ever mention the trade off... if there is to be a game the mechanic should be made canon.
Craig Jarvis
194. hawkido
@188 AhoyMatey
The quote from the clensing in that wotfaq concerning Verin channeling at the woman, I had assumed in the busyness of battle that she was striking at Aran'Gar, she couldn't see the barrier cause it was Saidin. If it was Greandal or Sindain then wow I need to re-read that section again. LOL
Craig Jarvis
195. hawkido
@164 ValMar
That was what I was working towards. But you are right... I wasn't there. I didn't state it... I should really not post at work... but Work Sucks, and goes on for hours.

thanks for playing commenting,
(Since Wortmauer hates me for using that colloquialism)
Deana Whitney
196. Braid_Tug
@ Zexxes, thanks for the directions to the other discussion.

@ 107 - re: LTT. He's been showing Rand what to do from the being. I saw the deathgates as the first time he struggled with LTT that way. Not so much as a first time, but just presented differently in his POV.

@ "Taking the Black" comments.
It's funny. Both of Leigh's current re/reads have black coats be significant. In the real medieval world, do you know how expensive black dye are?! It was one of the hardest colors to achieve and maintain (even with black sheep wool). Thus, having all these men running around in black would make them stand out. It's a type of bragging.
Sorry, my crafter’s brain will take a rest until the Perrin hammer making.
M Peters
197. DJ_Pon3
@188 AhoyMatey, 194 hawkido

I, too, always read that part as being Aran'Gar. I had thought someone at the battle pointed out that the "woman" was channeling Saidin. If so then that explains it.

It it was indeed Graendal, could she possibly have been using TP? Would the timeline be right in her having access to it at the Cleansing?

I just have a hard time believing that Jordan would have paid so much detail about channelers slicing flows during battles with each other, making it the only viable defence in a channeler vs channeler battle, then turned around and said, oh by the way Forsaken can totally hide their flows as they weave them. Neat trick!

If so, why isn't it used by every Forsaken? I could buy that maybe only a few know how. I could buy that maybe on Graendel knows how, but do we ever see her use it again?

EDIT: Here's a link to an older discussion of this on theoryland. The original theory here was that it was Sammael, which I think we can all agree is not possible.

Craig Jarvis
198. hawkido
@all of us, me included

It is/should be seen as the most tremendous of flatteries to Jordan, that he has created such a rich and full world with a whole new set of changed physics and laws to accomodate channeling and accessible parallel universes, circular time, diverse cultures (even disgusting practices), and RICH history of this world, that is so nearly perfect and believeable that we have to try this hard to find vague ambiguities where the rules and laws he created don't line up just right. Bravo, not only for being nearly perfect (which is an impossible goal), but for being right most of the time and it takes the rest of us so much work to find that Jordan was right after all and we were just missing the clues, or ignoring the information he gave us in the story (which is why we began reading this in the first place, not the rules and laws) just so a few of us can say "Aha! I gotcha Jordan! You aren't perfect, and I knew it all along!"

Relax alittle and let you mind/imagination fill in the ambiguities, and when you mind does so incorrectly, imagine that the flaw was due to translation/transcription, as the WoT doesn't speak english (or insert your language version here) and has been revised/rewritten through the ages before it got to us (again one of the far-reaching themes of WoT).
199. mat2rivs
First of all, thanks to all those posters who have made my work-time lunch hours more enjoyable. I've probably only posted about one or two times, but that's because I channel most of my Wheel of Time energy into modding, rather than forum comments. Look up Mount and Blade: Warband mods if you care.

On topic...

While it's a little annoying that Graendal survived the cleansing of NB, its pretty obvious why she did. Because the Pattern still needed her. Why? My guess is to make Perrin the man/wolf/leader he needed to be for the Last Battle. We've heard from the start that the Wheel Weaves as the Wheel Wills. What's more important? Killing off Graendal or making Perrin the Wolf King? I feel that the answer is that simple. Feel free to disagree if you like.

Now if AMOL has a scene that includes Shaidar Haran and Graendal "exchanging affections" then we'll know that the Wheel wove justice on our pretty pet keeper.

(Not holding my breath on that one though...)

Sam Mickel
200. Samadai
I'll take that 2 hunny.

I am thinking of the ending of this book, and the ending of the Eye of the world, and how they could match up a little bit.
Gary Singer
201. AhoyMatey
hawkido @193,@194: I think it's just a technique or weave no other channelers know about. Big advantage for the Forsaken, eh? Although Rand should know it...
Sam Mickel
202. Samadai
Specifically how the end of Eye of the World might match up with the title of A Memory of Light. Some of us speculate that it refers to Moridin remembering the Light and finding hope again.
I just reread ToM and had another weird idea. The end when Lanfear is in Rands dream, most people assume it is a trap for Rand( wise assumption of course) but just for a moment consider maybe it isn't. Obviously Lanfear soul is being tortured by Moridin/shaidar Haran/the DarkOne, or a combo of the above. What if she really does want Rands help freeing her from that/the mind trap.
Lets say that's it for a moment. Rand helps her out somehow and in the process Mierin remembers (something, a feeling of love, a sadness at what she has done, remorse for actions, understands that there is hope for love in another life(grasping for blades of grass here ;) ))

How this meshes with the end of The Eye of the World is this

Rand held a blade of Light in his hand. Even as he raised it, a fiery white boltshot from the pointas if the blade itself had reached out.It touched the nearestFade, and blinding canenscence filled the chamber, shining through the Halfmen like a candle through paper, burning through them, blinding his eyes to the scene.
From the midst of the brilliance, he heard a whisper. "Thank you, my son. The Light, The blessed Light."
It is like Kari Al'Thor is remembering the Light, and embracing it.

So not sure that this has any water in it or not, but it is a thought I had while reading ToM and EoTW.
Nadine L.
203. travyl
LookingGlass @133, woof @145 and Freelancer @150 covered the fact about most ter’angreal not being made of cuendillar. I just wanted to add: the fuss Moiraine made while transporting the angreals out of the Blight to Cairhien clearly marked them to be fragile instead of indestructible. It stands to reason most of them aren't.

forkroot@161: Graendal allowing Delana to learn her location: Graendal kept so many pets at NB, it’s only fair to allow her ally a pet (to exchange affections) as well. (Especially because I was under the impression (cannot prove it) that Delana was under 'gars control).

I didn't mind about the plot that allowed Graendal to escape Rand's "fail-safe" plan. Though I agree with J.Levy @162 that it would have been better if Delana had compelled Ramshalan before he was brought to Graendal.
Don Barkauskas
204. bad_platypus
hawkido @ 194: It's clear from the descripton in WH that Verin encountered Graendel in her streith gown. It also explicitly states that Verin "could not see the weaves" when Graendel attacked.
to all,

I think some confusion about Graendals thought processes are a matter of circumstance. The situation was quite complex, believe it or not and yet things were happening so fast, snap decisions were having to be made.

First is Rands intention. We can all agree, that Rands intent was to use Graendals own intellect against her. He chose the most simple of solutions to deal with the problem of not being able to approach her stronghold in strength without her running. He set things in motion to allow her to make assumptions about his intent. Her assumption was that he was laying some kind of lure for her to bring her out of hiding into a field of his choosing. She correctly assumed, given the info she had at the time, this negotiation he perpetrated onto Ramshalan, had some underlying motive. It was only incorrect because that underlying motive was the con. In fact all he wanted to know is whether she was there or not. This we all know.

What seems to be under dispute is why she chose not to perform the compelling that would have given her away. But I submit that it doesn't matter whether she set the Compelling or not. Rand only wanted Comformation that Graendal was there. The only way anything could be contrary to that is if Nynaeve recognized that it wasn't Greandals stylistic weaves. Not a signature so much as a matter of skill of the art. And since Rand didn't delve Ramshalan at all, Graendals ruse was wasted.

And as it happens, Graendal was worried about this very problem of recognition. She did make it a point of wondering whether Nynaeve had the ability to recognize a Compelling of her skill level. She also recognized that simply having someone else perform the weaves was not enough of a deception. She bid Aran'gar to lay a weave down also, thinking that Rand would take some part in the delving and see Saidin wrought weavings. I hypothesize that she meant for Rand to think that she was not alone there (which she of course was not, but how was he to know this unless she told him somehow), and that perhaps a male Forsaken was along with her, showing a strength in numbers and thus waylaying a frontal assault upon Natrins Burrow. I also believe this was part of her plan to disrupt his supposed plans at trapping her in some convoluted strategem.

She of course was wrong, but it was a sound assumption. And it in effect gave her, unknowingly at the time, her own way out of the trap that Rand had laid. You must consider, that Rands plan being successful was predicated on her being alone at Natrins Burrow. How could he have known beforehand that she was not? You see, it matters not that she had set her own deception. Rands plan rendered her machinations moot.

What was of great importance is: what would Graendal have done if she was alone? Would she have spied Rand following Ramshalan with the Dove. She would of course, in that situation, have done the compelling herself; waiting for Ramshalans return at some later time to glean what information his close presence with Rand would have belied. And this would have sealed her doom. Because of course, as discussed before, Rand simply wanted conformation of her presence within Natrins Burrow.

Not only that, Graendal would have been screwed, two times. Lets say she was alone and somehow figured out Rands scheme. She escapes at the last second. So now she's alive, Rand knows she still alive and continues to hunt her. She would have lost her base of operations, she is in effect alone, losing whatever was lost at Natrins Burrow and leaving her threat towards Rand severely weakend. Her only real move at that point would be to then ally with another Forsaken, laying new plans in a weakened position. Or she could try and exact some form of revenge which would probably be suicidal.

That took longer than I thought it would!

206. Freelancer
Faculty Guy @174

Picking nits, Taim did indeed make AoL style references to Aes Sedai, but it was about the Aiel that he used the term "so-called". Your point remains, Taim said and thought some things more in keeping with inhabitants of the previous age, and there are still no answers to the meaning of these.

birgit @187

Graendal's musings about the BeastMaster™ weave working best on rats and ravens is meant, not to suggest that such a True Power weave is always involved with animal spying, but that those particular animals, already being available for such duty, accept and work with the weave more readily, where others such as the dove are more resistant to being so used. In other news, run-ons rule.

Seacaptain13 @189

As much as I prefer linear time to cyclical as a cosmological philosophy, within this story I don't believe there is any chance to change from one to the other. The Dark One wants to stop the Wheel, which won't convert cyclical time to linear, but will end the progression of time altogether.

DJ_pon3 @190

In TEotW, after Rand runs up a magical stairway from Tarwin's Gap, Rand cut Ishamael's cord in T'a'R, in the same place Ba'alzamon had first introduced himself to Rand in a dream. Rand also has a cord in this scene, but his is pure white, and is the link to the pool of saidin at the Eye of the World.

hawkido @192

Very sorry, another nit to pick. Refraction of light is bending its path. Effects on light:

Refract: Bend
Reflect: Bounce
Diffract: Scatter (under controlled conditions, can also be bouncing)
Diffuse: Randomize (can also be called scattering under the correct circumstances)
Collimate: De-Randomize, in terms of vector, wavelength and phase (not a natural effect, must be mechanized. Permits lasing)
Rarefy: Disperse (become less dense. Not commonly associated with light, more with gases)
Daniel Goss
207. Beren
@206 freelancer

You mention that we have no explanation for Taim's references to "so-called Aiel" and his AOL attitudes. I believe I have an answer. I've posted this theory before, but I can't find it.

First. What do we know about Taim? He is Saldaean. He definitely plays for Team Dark. He knows a ton about channelling, including things that it might be difficult (impossible?) to learn on his own. Let's look at just those three things for the moment.

Saldaean. Saldaea borders the Blight, and is subject to frequent raids. We know that not all of those taken in the raids are immediately killed. Some are, of course, taken to the forges at Thakan'dar to lend their mite to a fade's blade.

Darkfriend. It is not a huge leap to ask if some who are taken in raids might not be given the chance to join up. Heck, some might even walk into the blight with that in mind. Everyone loves a winner, and staring at the blight as it gets closer every year could make even a stout heart think about the inevitability of defeat, and of joining the side that seems to be doing all of the winning. Especially a young man who just learned that he can channel, and now has a death from slow despair as the most pleasant of his possible ends.

He channels, and apparently does so with a great deal of skill. While I suppose it is possible that he learned entirely on his own, let's look at how Rand was doing before he scored a teacher. As in, not well. With a teacher, though, he grew by leaps and bounds. Would it not be a reasonable assumption, then, that Taim also had a teacher? I think you see where I'm going with this.

Somewhere in the Blight there is a school for male channellers
Daniel Goss
208. Beren
Stupid phone. Where was I. Oh, yes.

A school for male channellers. In the blight. Presumably, this could even be the longest-operating school of channelling on the planet, as it would have been running continuously since the breaking. Therefore, many of the attitudes instilled by this evil Hogwarts would probably be fairly AOLish in nature. Hence, so-called Aiel, etc.

Just a theory, and a couple of logical leaps, but I think it tracks.

@ 207.- 208. Beren

That is an interesting theory, but who then is the Sith Lord. Ishy? Well he could be. He is the most likely candidate seeing as how he was only partially trapt within the Seal. The Dark Lord himself? Doubtful, because he's only had any true influence recently with the weakening and failing of the Seals on the Bore.

Now what would be more interesting is if there is a Black Tower for the Black Ajah.... it would be the more likely candidate for any kind of school for Black channelers. I mean, even the Black Ajah wouldn't be crazy enough to harbor any male channelers as long as the Taint was around. Which by the way is the big hiccup in your theory. The only male channelers in such a school would have to have some kind reprieve from the ickyness of the Taint and its dire side effects. And to my knowledge the only reprieve I'm aware of is in the form of the TP, which access to, is handed out very sparingly.

So Imma go with- If there was any training going on, it likely started some time after Rand was born. Even more likely than that, the very first student would've been Taim and ,theoretically speaking, would in that scenario be taught by Demandred. Which is where I think Demandred has his mysterious army. What better army than a couple hundred Compulsion enslaved Asha'man. We saw what Rand did by himself. lets say Rand is a ten or maybe even 20 to one level channeler by average, before his transformation. So if you have groups of 20 Asha'man with a guard of a 1000 each group. 200 Asha'man like that would be devastating.

Just a theory mind you.

210. Hopper's Mum
Hi Leigh! thanks for the re-read again. I haven't found your comments about JordanCon - was it good?

Just a pedantic comment "destructor"? Really? Don't you mean destroyer? :-)
211. Freelancer

I didn't say that we had no theories, no speculation about Taim's anomalous behavior. I said that we had no answers. Of course the obvious suggestion is that he was taught by a channeler from the AoL. Those tidbits were the genesis of the Taimandred theory, this is not news.

As for a "school for male channelers" in the Blight, it is certainly not impossible, but there are problems. A male channeler's life isn't terribly long, and it ends violently, usually attended by damage to other people and things along the way. Over the course of 3,000 years, it would only take one significant period of time where no "recruits" were found, or wandered in, to render such a place defunct. Alternatively, one event of a disgruntled student in the throes of taint madness tears the place apart. And no, no darkfriend channelers who are not forsaken are given protection against the taint, that question has been asked and answered. Taim may indeed be an exception to that rule, but again, there remains much mystery around him, with significant hints at a relationship to Isha'alzidin.
Birgit F
212. birgit
The only male channelers in such a school would have to have some kind reprieve from the ickyness of the Taint and its dire side effects. And to my knowledge the only reprieve I'm aware of is in the form of the TP, which access to, is handed out very sparingly.

It's the black cords that protect from the Taint, not being allowed to channel the TP.
212. birgit

Hmmm! Reading that, I find it inconclusive as to exactly what the Black Chords are. The Black Chords are what I was referring to, as well. I just always thought that those chords were the access to the True Power. I reasoned this, because we've only ever seen them with the Chosen who were granted access to the TP. Now granted we haven't seen the chords attached to every TP user either. So I'm thinking that it's inconclusive until confirmed, yeah or nay, by the Big Dogs.

Your statement above is only one of the theories there. My theory on it, is predicated on my belief that, only Rand has seen these Black Chords. I'm thinking Rand has a Talent, that allows him to see and/or feel manifestations or any presence of the TP, such as his now burgeoning ability to know, conciously and immediately when a Darkfriend is in his immediate vicinity. This is probably due to their swearing on a Oath Rod. I wonder if there is a TP version of the Oath Rod. Or whether the Oath Rods works with both the OP and the TP. If either of those are so, than that would go even further toward supporting my theory.

I might be wrong about it, but I'm pretty sure that no one else besides Rand has seen those chords.

Jonathan Levy
214. JonathanLevy
188. AhoyMatey

Well, that does give me something to think about - I will have to re-read the battle of Shadar Logoth.

With that caveat, the one example provided in that wotfaq link does not prove the claim which is made. The text quoted there only shows the ability to hide the glow of embracing Saidar, not the actual flows woven. In addition, the inconsistency with Moghedien's weaves in TSR remains.

But as I said, final judgment will have to wait until I have the books in front of me. Thanks for the link :)

189. Seacaptain13
Maybe Rand can pull a Corwin and found his own Pattern? :D

192. hawkido
Rand's Bale fire strike was not a Beam originating from him...
Any quotes to support this? All the balefire we've seen so far has originated from the channeler. This include's Ishy's Balefire in TDR which Rand split in two using Callandor.

194. hawkido

Yes, if it was Aran'gar that would explain the quote, but I don't think the circle which fought Aran'gar included Verin. There was a bonded Asha'man who was killed. But I would not rely on my memory in this matter.

204. bad_platypus
Argh, more food for thought. Not going to be able to get to the books for a week, though - very frustrating :(

A minor addition to my point #3 at @162: In the ToM prologue Fain thinks to himself that he will kill Rand, and then the Dark One. This might (though of course it is far from certain) be foreshadowing of precisely what happens in AMoL - Fain might actually do exactly what he's planning to do, which would be quite a twist! :)
215. Freelancer
The black chords are only seen in Tel'aran'rhiod, and the 'talent' required to see them is the ability to channel saidin. How many POV characters have we gotten from saidin channelers in T'a'R? It seems to be a set of one, Rand.

From The Traps of Rhuidean, ch51 of The Shadow Rising:
Rand stopped dead on one of the steps. He had no idea what that platform was, shining like polished metal, but. . . . The steps ahead of him vanished. The piece of stone beneath his boots began to glide forward, faster and faster. There was no wind in his face to tell him he was moving, nothing in the vast black to mark motion at all--except that he was beginning to catch up to Asmodean. He did not know if he was doing this with the Power; it just seemed to happen. The step wobbled, and he made himself stop wondering. I don't know enough yet.
The dark-haired man stood at his ease, one hand on a hip, pensively fingering his chin. A spill of white lace dropped from his neck; more half-hid his hands. His high-collared red coat seemed shinier than silk satin, and was oddly cut, with tails hanging almost to his knees. What seemed to be black threads, like fine steel wires, ran off from the man, disappearing into the surrounding dark. Those Rand had surely seen before.
And then, while they fought:
He had not seen those strange things like black steel wires around Asmodean since leaving the dark place, but he could visualize them even in the Void, place them in his mind around the Forsaken. Tam had taught him the Void as an aid to archery, to be one with the bow, the arrow, the target. He made himself one with those imagined black wires. He barely saw Asmodean frown. The man must be wondering why his face had grown calm; there was always calm in the moment before the arrow was loosed. He reached through the small angreal in his waistband, and more of the Power flowed into him. He did not waste time on exulting; it was such a small flow beside what he already contained, and this was his final blow. This would use his final strength. He formed it like a sword of Power, a sword of Light, and struck; one with the sword, one with the imagined wires.
Asmodean's eyes went wide, and he screamed, a howl from the depths of horror; like a struck gong the Forsaken quivered. For an instant there seemed to be two of him, shivering away from each other; then they slid back together. He fell over on his back, arms flung out in his now dirty, tattered red coat, chest heaving, staring up at nothing, his dark eyes looked lost.
Rand has seen Lanfear in T'a'R as well, but did not see any cords or wires connected to her as he did with the male forsaken. Next, after Lanfear has arrived in Rhuidean:
"Help me!" Asmodean crawled toward her unsteadily, his upraised face painted in dread. "You don't know what he has done. You must help me. I would not have come here if not for you."
"What has he done?" she sniffed. "Beaten you like a dog, and not half so well as you deserve. You were never meant for greatness, Asmodean, only to follow those who are great."
Somehow, Rand managed to stand, still holding the stone-and-crystal figure to his chest. He would not continue on his knees in her presence. "You Chosen"--he knew taunting her was dangerous, but he could not stop himself-- "gave your souls to the Dark One. You let him attach himself to you." How many times had he replayed his battle with Ba'alzamon? How many times before he began to suspect what those black wires were? "I cut him off from the Dark One, Lanfear. I cut him off!"
Her eyes widened in shock, staring from him to Asmodean. The man had begun to weep. "I did not think that was possible. Why? Do you think to bring him to the Light? You've changed nothing about him."
"He is still the same man who gave himself ot the Shadow in the first place," Rand agreed. "You told me how little you Chosen trust one another. How long could he keep it secret? How many of you would believe he didn't do it himself somehow? I am glad you thought it impossible; maybe the rest of you will as well. You gave me the whole idea, Lanfear. A man to teach me how to control the Power. But I won't be taught by a man linked to the Dark One. Now I don't have to be.
Now, in the Prologue of The Fires of Heaven, first an encounter with Rahvin and Lanfear in the Palace at Caemlyn:
"One of your play pretties?" a woman's voice said behind him as the carved door closed. "Have you taken to dressing them like that?"
Snatching at saidin, he filled himself with the Power, the taint on the male half of the True Source rolling off the protection of his bonds and oaths, the ties to what he knew as a greater power than the Light, or even the Creator.
And after several others join them:
"Should I expect more, Lanfear?" he growled. "Have you convinced Demandred to stop thinking he is all but the Great Lord's heir?"
"I doubt he is arrogant enough for that," Lanfear replied smoothly. "He can see where it took Ishamael. And that is the point. A point Graendal raised. Once we were thirteen, immortal. Now four are dead, and one has betrayed us. We four are all who meet here today, and enough."
"Are you certain Asmodean went over?" Sammael demanded. "He never had the courage to take a chance before. Where did he find the heart to join a lost cause?"
Lanfear's brief smile was amused. "He had the courage for an ambush he thought would set him above the rest of us. And when his choice became death or a doomed cause, it took little courage for him to choose."
In Winter's Heart, Graendal warns the remaining male forsaken to be concerned if Rand should succeed in cleansing the taint from saidin, that if they no longer needed the dark one's "special protection", he might begin to question their loyalty, which is currently assured by that protection. One must immediately question why only the males' loyalty would be less certain if they didn't have to depend upon that protection? The answer is that only a male, one who had lost that protection, had abandoned his oaths to the dark one. She opens up the concept that any of them would run from the shadow if not for that shield against the taint.

There is not one word suggesting that the cords/wires have anything to do with the True Power. Asmodean did not have permission to channel it before Rhuidean, losing such a connection would not have been half as terrifying for him as what he really lost. It is quite clear that the connection has at least two functions; a shield to protect the male channelers from the madness and decay of the taint, and a binding of loyalty to the dark one. Were this not true, Graendal's taunt could have had no impact.

Also, the forsaken's oaths to the dark one are not taken using an Oath Rod. They find it amusing that the Aes Sedai bind themselves so, as criminals, and they know it would shorten their own lifespan.
216. Freelancer
JonathanLevy @214

In the fighting during the Cleansing:
~ Verin is linked with Kumira and Shalon, and they encounter Graendal.
~ Eben, Daigian, Nesune and Beldeine are linked, and they encounter Aran'gar.
~ Cyndane encounters Alivia.
~ Damer, Sarene and Corele are linked, and they attack Demandred.
~ Jahar, Merise and Elza are linked, wielding Callandor, and they fight Osan'gar (Dashiva).
217. Faculty Guy
Freelancer@206: thanks for the correction.

Taim continues to fascinate me, not the least because of his casual use of "so-called Aiel." This just seems to me something that only someone who actually remembers the AOL Aiel would say - not someone who learned it from contact with Forsaken. Another item (I'm drawing from memory here) is Taim's intense contempt for swords (when Rand is first telling him to instruct his Ashaman in military arts). Again: I wonder if Taim has connection with the original (or maybe the Jenn) Aiel?

But I don't really want the final book to spring TOO many surprises about complex plot-lines that have been happening off-screen all along and only now become (1) revealed and (2) crucial to resolving the story. My God, we've got enough to resolve already! And we have seemingly new plot-lines (the red-veiled "Aiel," renewed Lanfear/Rand interplay, a 13x13 Black Tower army of evil Ashaman . . .) even as we begin the last book.

I honestly don't see how all this is going to be resolved in a satisfactory way. Yet Taim remains one of the most intriguing characters. It simply wasn't like RJ to drop hints that were not significance. I am almost as eager to find out the answers to such "minor" things as Taim's background as I am to learn the "major" resolutions such as Rand's death/resurrection/merger, the fate of the Aiel, etc.
Eric Hughes
218. CireNaes
Gah! What a hike. I finally caught back up. And those 700+ comments for TGS 28 took me back to the good'ol days.

And a warm welcome to those whose indefatigability saw them through their reread of both Posts and Comments.
Eric Hughes
219. CireNaes
A few comments about the comments.

I had hoped Graendal was dead as well. I only wanted Slayer to be the antagonistic means of bringing out Perrin's better leadership and wolfiship qualities. No biggie. I'll get over it.

I'm curious if Fain is capable of doing to channelers what he is currently doing with Shadow Spawn and how that might play out. I'm looking at you, Sammael:::Cue Thriller Theme Music:::Fain as a DO buffer or just a loose cannon I'm on board with, but as the DO's understudy? I hope not.


Rand's raw channeling strength has not increased nor did it need to for him to do what he did at Merrilor. Loialson's
interview with Brandon (where he so kindly asked some of my proposed questions) settled that. Check out TGS Part 13.


Surreal eh? Behold the power of my unconscious mind released in a dazzling display of irrationally juxtaposed imagery, the like of which you have never seen before! Oh, you meant the more standard definition. Well then, I suppose I do mix fact with fantasy.

A hearty welcome to you, Sir. May your 8 week old develop an awesomely brilliant (glances trepidatiously at Wet/Wort) circadian sleep rythm. And the more traditional WoT water and shade, of course.

Edit: Spelling
Rowland Hills
220. TickTockTick
Cirenaes@219 - Thanks for the welcome and the hopes for sleep rhythms. He's doing okay so far, although I suspect that he may become a night owl like me in later life...

Free@216, JonathanLevy@214, bad_platypus@204, hawkido@194 etc. - Thanks for clarifying. I have to admit that I'd always thought Verin encountered Aran'gar,not Graendal, purely because of the "woman, can't see weaves" bit, thinking that it was a reminder of Halima'gar to setup the reveal in the next book. However, I've just re-read it, and we have this:
Verin frowned at the apparition making its way through the trees off to her left. She could think of no other term for a woman walking through the forest in gems and a gown that shifted through every color from black to white and sometimes even turned transparent! She was not hurrying, but she was heading toward the hill where Rand was. And unless Verin was very much mistaken, she was one of the Forsaken.


Using the full strength of her circle, she wove her shield, and watched aghast as it rebounded. The woman was already embracing saidar, though no light shone around her, and she was immensely strong!

Then she had no time for thought of anything as the golden-haired woman spun around and began channeling. Verin could not see the weaves, but she knew when she was fighting off an attack on her life, and she had come too far to die here.
Then, a page later, we have:
Suddenly, Eben felt the blood drain from his face. What he felt was impossible! The green-eyed woman frowned in surprise, and he did the only thing that he could.

"She's holding saidin" he shouted, and threw himself at her as he felt Daigian draw deeply on the Power.
As has been said, clearly, Verin encountered Graendal in her streith gown, and Hopwil encountered Aran'gar, so the reason Verin couldn't see the weaves is not that they are Saidin.
Tim FItches
221. El Fitcho
TickTockTick @5 - wow, I also live near Cambridge, England, I'm 32 (WoT age of just 7), male, and I've got a 13 week-old baby! (And by golly am I amazed you even have time to write all that with a littl-un to look after!)

Wouldn't it be odd if we knew each other but didn't...er...know it?

I'm just an occasional poster here (as you would know from reading every comment!) but am totally hooked on the re-read too. I'm looking forward to some Padan Fain discussion after his passage in the Prologue in Leigh's next blog.
Rowland Hills
222. TickTockTick
El Fitcho@221 - It's often a surprisingly small world, isn't it! Have put a few more details about myself in a private shoutbox message for you.
Alice Arneson
223. Wetlandernw
Comments on the chapter:

Speaking of “you’ve been played,” uh, Lan? You’ve been played. Twice now. And a good thing, too!

Perrin seemed different to me, here, too. Moving forward. Actually considering the things that he’s done and their ramifications – and how to deal with it. He’s not really denying things any more, I think, just trying to figure out what has to be done about it. Considering what comes up later in the book, this is the first step of really facing something that came up way back in book 3 when Perrin met Noam. I LOVE the resolution that’s coming, but I’ll leave that discussion for the appropriate time. Still, it’s not general fear of the unknown or “emo Perrin” – it’s a very real fear of losing his humanity. (Haven’t I heard that song somewhere else, in a different key?) Don’t know about y’all, but I think he’s got a valid concern. An even 50% of the Wolfbrothers he’s met have done just that, and the sample size is just too small to know what his odds are. Top that with his responsibilities to Rand as well as to his wife, and it’s not a risk to be taken lightly.

Graendal I will address in a separate post, because my thoughts there are getting pretty lengthy. I’ll have to finish it tomorrow, probably after the dishes are done. :) Anyway, my two bits there will come later.

Leigh, I had to crack up all over again on “the author was obviously mistaken”… We had a debate about that on (I think) the TGS Open Spoiler thread – someone insisted that RJ was only making an assumption (and therefore, by implication, could have been wrong) when he said that if the women had gone along with LTT’s plan, both saidin and saidar would have been tainted. It didn’t fit their pet theory, or something, so they tried to write it off as not necessarily true. As you say, the mind boggles. Oh well.

Comments on the comments:
TickTockTick @5 – Welcome! And you really did read most of the comments! Congratulations are truly in order. (When anyone asks, I always recommend at least scanning the comments, because there’s so much good stuff there, but it truly is a daunting prospect.) I’m deeply honored by your compliment. I’ve enjoyed this reread process more than I can say, and have learned so much here; I’m pleased that my reflections have proved helpful to someone else as well. Stick around and have fun with us now!

bchurch @10 – Wow, it has been a while since you commented! Welcome back. ;)

Seacaptain13 @12 – And a hearty welcome to you, too! Glad you hurried to catch up – it’s much more fun to participate than just to read it all after the fact. Spankings FTW! ;)

denari6 @13 – Yeah, one thing RJ definitely didn’t do was create two-dimensional main characters, or situations for those characters. I know a lot of people got tired of Perrin’s habit of stewing over everything, but I have to admit that given what he’s had to deal with, a certain amount of stew was rather appropriate. In a way, Lan and Perrin are a lot alike. They’re both averse to the idea of allowing people to follow them, because they know that the things they personally must do will end up endangering the lives of anyone who follows them. They don’t mind dying for their own causes, but they don’t want to be responsible for leading someone else to die for them. And of course, both of them need to realize that their causes aren’t really so personal and individual after all; they’re part of the big picture that’s forming for the Last Battle. Deal, boys.

Also: “Even when you walk up and punch her in the nose, she still outsmarts you.” There’s that… LOL.

Tektonica @18 – Us? Sideways?? Nevah!
Actually, I’m not sure we can tell the difference between forward and sideways anymore… At least we don’t go backwards very often.

Seacaptain13 @22 – I don't understand why every strong male character in these books has such a hard time with leadership.”Heh. I think it goes back to the old adage about “those who are qualified for the job don’t want it, and those who want it are not qualified.” In many cases, it’s quite true, and for these guys in particular there are things in their background that make them reluctant to lead. That said, there comes a time when “wanting the job” is irrelevant. When (your) people are in desperate need of leadership and you’re the best qualified for the job, it’s time to quit whingeing and just do it. I think this applies most to Lan and Mat – they both know they have unique qualifications. (Oddly enough, Mat stepped up to the job much more willingly than Lan did. Willing only by comparison, of course, but he only rebelled against the idea for a matter of months. Lan has been refusing it for 20 years, and only finally accepts it through the machinations of his wife.) Perrin still isn’t convinced that he’s got any qualifications; he certainly didn’t have the training Lan did, or the info-dump Mat has. Then again, that’s what his story line in ToM is all about – learning that even without the formal training or the other men’s memories, he’s got his own natural qualifications along with plenty of OJT and being a ta’veren, so it’s time to step up and do the job. Which he does, of course, but we haven’t got there yet.

snaggletoothedwoman @30 – Greandal did indeed start “tying strings” to Tuon, but we don’t read about it until the Epilogue, and even then only in that she thinks that project will have to be abandoned. Whether we will see more about it in AMoL remains to be RAFOed.

Man-o-Manetheran @35 – I’ll touch on this in my comments on Graendal, but I don’t think you can entirely take her word for it that “whatever the Creator could build, the Dark One could destroy.” I know she believes it, or at least chooses to believe it, but it’s patently false. If the DO could destroy whatever the Creator could build, no prison built by the Creator could have held him; he wouldn’t have needed Mierin to drill the Bore in order to affect the world. OTOH, the DO isn’t the sole source of evil in the WoT; along with the evil of Mordeth/Shadar Logoth/Mashadar, RJ wrote his world with people who could be bad eggs all on their own. While the DO may be the single most powerful force for evil opposing the Creator, any individual can be evil without necessarily being directly influenced by the DO.

81stShepard @37 – Welcome to you, too! My, my, isn’t this fun? Love having people suddenly start to chime in with good thoughts and insightful wots. FWIW, my vote (expectation) is that Rand cannot kill the DO. That was something he thought he could do when he was being all cold and insane; I think now he knows (or will when he thinks about it) that it’s simply not possible for a human to kill the Dark One. He will seal the DO again, but this time he’ll do a better job. (I could give you my looney theory on how, but that’s off the subject of your question. And if you’ve been reading the comments, you’ve read it several times by now.)

parrothead @40 – “…little more than a tacky fashion accessory to a severely unhinged philosopher…” ROFL!! Nice way to put it. Although Cyndane did have enough “bite” to injure Alivia pretty badly at the Cleansing; can’t remember that Moghedien has done anything worth mentioning beyond breaking Nynaeve’s block for her. They seem to mostly serve as messenger girls for Moridin.

ShiningArmor @44 – Wow! More and more! And a hearty welcome to you, too. FWIW, I do think Slayer has an important part yet to play. That business of being Rand’s uncle and Lan’s cousin combined has to be more significant than just a dude who can change bodies when he steps in/out of TAR. The importance of blood relationships is a secondary-level theme in WoT, so it has to mean something in the endgame. (If it doesn’t, I’ll be terribly disappointed – but I simply can’t imagine that it’s been set up for so long and will be left unused.)

Seraphyn @47 – Hey, I’m running out of things to say to welcome the new folks. Still, welcome!! Glad you’re here and hope you stay.

AhoyMatey @50 – Thanks for bringing the opening statement into view! I had particularly noticed it when I started my own reread a couple of weeks ago; it’s not exactly proof that Loial convinces the Ogier to stay and fight instead of opening the Book of Translation, but it’s a pretty good indicator. I’m SO looking forward to seeing the Randland Ogier picking up axes like they did in KoD – but this time, a whole army of them. Wheeeee!!

NotInventedHere @52 – you are not mistaken about the DO’s eyes having to report back. Graendal specifically mentions it here in the prologue. More on that in my upcoming wot on Graendal.

forkroot @56 – Ironic, isn’t it, that one of Nynaeve’s most irritating characteristics is the impetus for the single most necessary thing she does for Lan? The final scene in this book is much more exciting as it is, than if it was a mirror image of the opening lines…

Beren @60 – Good times! Had to go back and play the original to get it set in my head while I was reading. Nice job!

AlwaysEnjoyed.NeverPosted @63 – Yay! Hey, for what it’s worth, the air is usually fresher out here than in the closet. Unless someone’s been at the Bowl of the Winds again… Welcome!

Freelancer @65 – Indeed. Once again, full agreement. Neither the real-world legends from which RJ drew, nor any implications in the previous books, give any indication that any mortal could become a new Dark One. Then again, I’m pretty sure no mortal can kill the existing DO, so who needs a replacement?

forkroot @76 – “Talisman of Growling” indeed! Well played.

subwoofer @78 – Not to worry – you can be a legendary douchebag. ;)

Dryheat77 @82 – And another! Welcome, again! This is pretty cool, although if I’d known there were so many more people reading, I might have been hesitant to ramble on so much… Nah, probably not. Anyway, thanks for coming out into the daylight.

forkroot @84 – I did some scrounging, and it appears that Malkier used to lie north of Shienar and Arafel, which probably included the land on the other side of Tarwin’s Gap. While the capital of Seven Towers was farther west, the Gap is the prime Trolloc-fighting location. Presumably it’s the easiest place for the Trollocs to cross the mountains from their primary home area into the Borderlands. So while there’s a chance of meeting up with Trollocs anywhere along the Blight, for Lan it was probably mostly a matter of fighting them in his homeland, and aiming for the place they’d be most likely to come through.

insectoid @85 – “go the Doctor Who route, and have the inside be bigger than the outside” – LOL! Sounds like a plan to me.

Freelancer @94 – Not sure it will affect your perspective, but I’ll address some of your concerns in my Graendal post.

johntheirishmongol @95 – Removing Compulsion only kills the person if it’s the kind of deep, mind-robbing version Graendal uses on her pets. Presumably (and without stretching believability) Graendal didn’t use that level on Ramshalan immediately; she just grabbed his mind to make him tell her the truth. Probably not a gentle and harmless weave, but not deadly either. When she removed it, he might have been damaged a bit, but not greatly. And of course, when Rand balefired the joint, the Compulsion by Delana and Aran’gar never happened.

TickTockTick @98 – I’m sure others have answered your first question adequately, but maybe not the second one. If I see they have, hopefully I’ll remember to delete this… but my take on it is that by now it’s simply Aes Sedai tradition kicking in. Of course, there aren’t all that many Accepted that leave the Tower anyway, and we don’t know much about the circumstances surrounding the initial adoption of each Oath. Given what little we know, I’d suggest that the first Oath to be adopted (not to make weapons) was probably a point of pride for the Aes Sedai. If so, it would be a status symbol of sorts, to be allowed to take the Oath. Once the precedent is set, it probably just didn’t occur to anyone to change it. I would also suggest that the original intent was not so simple as refusing to use the Power to help forge a sword (or a hammer), but refusing to create the ter’angreal weapons that made use of the One Power. Those were the ones that were so terrifying during the War of Power. The skills and knowledge required to make ter’angreal probably would not have been generally taught to Accepted, so the Oath would be irrelevant until they were raised to full AS and would have access to that information.

ValMar @100 – You’re a Woozle, you are. Stealing the hunny like that…

EmergentFromWoodwork @101 – Okay, this is getting funny! Welcome to the zoo!

RanchoUnicorno @107 – I’m with you. I’ll get there soon…

TBGH @115 – “By the very nature of how many of us feel that way it has to go down as one of the failed plot points in the series.” Do you really think this little group here, with the few vocal ones who have expressed their dissatisfaction with the scene, is adequate evidence to claim that it’s a “failed plot point”? Really? I don’t think so. There are far more people, even here, who either find it plausible or haven’t given their opinion one way or the other.

forkroot @120 – Lan’s Warder bond didn’t snap because Moiraine was in Finnland, but because when the ter’angreal melted the link between the two dimensions was broken. Lan assumed she was dead, but given how little they really knew about Finnland, you can’t use that as evidence. So… I don’t think it was even a hole requiring suspension of disbelief. Then again, I’m so good at that, it doesn’t prove much of anything.

WouldbeBrownAjah @125 – We should probably create a forum thread for all the good stories and poetry. Anyone want to volunteer? Also… you know, we really have no idea what effect un-swearing and re-swearing on the Oath Rod might have on one’s physiology. I’m pretty sure that in-story, there won’t be any effect, but it’s an interesting thing to contemplate.

RobMRobM @127 – I don’t think there’s much in-story assertion that Mat’s OT comes solely from his memories. IIRC, that debate was triggered by a comment by RJ to that effect; in context, however, I always thought that people were reading too much into his statement. He was referring to the memories Mat got from the Finn, and refuting the idea that they were all his own memories from his own past lives. The context of the question didn’t reference the kinds of memories that surfaced in the first couple of books and his memory of the OT.

LookingGlass @133 – Just a nitpick, but RJ was pretty definitive that a single soul can only occupy one body at a time.

Okay, people, I’ve been trying to post something for 5 days now, and every time I check in there are more comments! So… I’m going to break my general rule and post this much, without reading the rest of the comments. I’m sure that by so doing, I’ll end up repeating points already made, but I’ll have to live with being redundant. More tomorrow. *sigh* This beast is long enough (too long?) anyway.
Rowland Hills
224. TickTockTick
Wet@223 - Thanks. I hadn't really thought through the implications of the fact that the first oath was the making weapons one, and hence a point of pride and one where accepted simply wouldn't know the weaves. I agree that there's little need for that to be extended to anyone beyond Aes Sedai (from their perspective, anyway) and that tradition does then probably explain the rest. I still would have thought that an oath to tell the truth and not use the one power as a weapon would be handy for all, but I can see how the history would arise...
Rowland Hills
225. TickTockTick
So, I may have missed discussion of this somewhere else (perhaps in the commentary on the last few chapters of TGS, which I'm still working through - you guys really got loquacious there, didn't you?) but I've just seen the UK cover art and text announced by Orbit, the UK publisher. Not yet on their proper website for some reason, but here's the Facebook link:


The interesting thing is in the text:
‘And it came to pass in those days, as it had come before and would come again, that the Dark lay heavy on the land and weighed down the hearts of men, and the green things failed, and hope died.’ From Charal Drianaan te Calamon, The Cycle of the Dragon.

In the Field of Merrilor the rulers of the nations gather to join behind Rand al’Thor, or to stop him from his plan to break the seals on the Dark One’s prison – which may be a sign of his madness, or the last hope of humankind. Egwene, the Amyrlin Seat, leans toward the former.

In Andor, the Trollocs seize Caemlyn.

In the wolf dream, Perrin Aybara battles Slayer.

Approaching Ebou Dar, Mat Cauthon plans to visit his wife Tuon, now Fortuona, Empress of the Seanchan.

All humanity is in peril – and the outcome will be decided in Shayol Ghul itself. The Wheel is turning, and the Age is coming to its end. The Last Battle will determine the fate of the world..
Those three bold bits (my emphasis) seem particularly interesting. Sounds like Caemlyn will fall, rather than be boldly defended, that Mat's heading to Ebou Dar not helping out in Caemlyn or on the Fields of Merillor, and (as expected) that Rand's heading to Shayol Ghul rather than going on a nice package holiday to the Bahamas...
Ron Garrison
226. Man-0-Manetheran
wetlandernw @ 223:
“no prison built by the Creator could have held him” Very good point. Perhaps I need to stop using the dishwasher so often and wash them by hand. Naaah.
Roger Powell
227. forkroot
Wetlandernw(channeling her inner macster)@223
snaggletoothedwoman @30 – Greandal did indeed start “tying strings” to Tuon, but we don’t read about it until the Epilogue, and even then only in that she thinks that project will have to be abandoned. Whether we will see more about it in AMoL remains to be RAFOed.
I had posted about this earlier in the reread and someone produced a quotation from Brandon to the effect that Graendal had not influenced Tuon. As best as I can recall, the implication was that this was a plot dead end and we'll hear no more about it.
228. Ryanus
Just had one point to go over in detail and two of Freelancer's posts I wanted to address.

Reguarding the forsaken being unimpressive. I can see how it comes off that way, but really, you're holding them up as unimpressive because the heroes beat them. Let's look at them as a whole and individually. As a whole remember they have a couple of major weaknesses. They "KNOW" they are superior to every channeler alive in current Rand-Land. And they are inately selfish and more concerned with personal vices and victories than winning in the long run (Exceptions exist). But going through the 13.

Ishy/Mori : Legitimate threat, we've seen him snap once when half mad and fail, but in general he's been a good villain.

Aginor/Osan: Brilliant Geneticist. He's fairly pathetic in the modern day, but then we're seeing him trying to be a soldier when he never was. His having invented pretty much ALL of the shadowspawn alone speaks to his competence and ability.

Balthamael/Aran : I'm actually fairly unimpressed with him/her. But then I seem to recall reading that s/he was mostly where s/he was due to be a strong channeler, not for being competent beyond basics.

Bel'al : Conquered a land, legitimately beat Rand, only died because of that above mentioned hubris of dismissing all the modern day channelers as useless.

Asmodean: Considered the weakest of them. Played Lanfear, lost only because Lanfear played him better and gave him away to Rand.

Moghedian: Actually a legitimate villain for the most part. Her only "Weakness" or incompetance was the Adam in TAR. Because considering how good in the dream she was stated to be, I can't imagine her not willing the necklace away. Her only failures were in toying with her opponents, which can again go back to the hubris. But also because if she could break and control Nynaeve she has a new weapon to use against the others.

Rahvin: Controlled and took Andor. Successfully killed Mat and Avhienda. Lost only because he was blindsided by Nynaeve/Mogy out of nowhere, otherwise would have beaten Rand.

Sammael: Legitimately beaten by Rand, but it wasn't all that one sided a victory and he could have escaped.

Semirhage: Destroyed Seanchan, lost Tuon only due to having to play against Mat's luck really. Fell to her hubris against Cadsuane and because she didn't expect anyone to still have a Paralis Net. Then successfully captured and beat Rand, Lost because Rand had an ability to access the TP that she had no idea of and could not possibly have predicted.

Mesanna: Broke the tower, manipulated Elaida, beat the Oath Rod, lead an attack that killed a lot of sisters, lost in part because Egwene was a better Dreamer and in part because Perrin showed up out of nowhere with the Dreamspike.

Lanfear: Completely insane, controlled and danced through the series and lost because she underestimated Moraine.

Demandred: I still think he's behind the Tower even with not being Taim. Side loony theory. I believe RJ said "Taim is not Demandred" But could that be a literal answer, IE the original Mazrim Taim was not Demandred, but Demandred might still be masquerading as Taim.

Graendal: Brought two kingdoms into utter chaos, escaped Rand (will talk on that in a minute), almost trapped Perrin but failed to realize he was a Dreamer. Even then her second plan would have worked in Bornhald hadn't made enough of a character development to save Perrin.

All in all their only 'poor' showing was during the cleansing, which I blaim on their flaw of selfishness and not working together. That and being up against Callandor.

Onto the discussion points with Freelancer. :)

@65 you mention no real world source for evil replacing evil. I'd point out that Hinduism has a Death god replaced by an evil mare then by a Goddess of Doom. Most Celtic myths have evolving and changing villains. Greek has the titans thrown down and replaced by gods, some of whom are still villainous. Not to use TSR deliberately but you'll note the Baator layer of existance draws heavily from real world mythology and has Asmodeas replacing a previous evil. For that matter if you look deeply into angelic and hebrew points about the Satan figure there's arguement that it's a job, not an individual, and an arguement that there was an Archangel named Auriel(various spellings) who was tied to the earth and material things and then became Lucifer (again, one of dozens of interpretations)

Your main point seems to be that there's no source of a mortal replacing a god. Which in itself is fair, but I'd counter that Mat as Odin/Loki, Perrin as Thor/Fenrir and Rand as Tyr don't really work either. I don't really recall anywhere in Asatru mythology that any of the gods were humans who became gods. So the same bending that turned them immortal could be the same for Fain.

Reguarding your concern that Graendal doesn't notice the balefire until the end and so it makes no sense that she'd have laid the trap earlier. I disagree. In the initial removal of her weave and adding Delana's and Aran'gar's she does it because she grossly overestimates Nynaeve, she actually somehow jumps to the conclusion that Nynaeve can actually fix her compulsion, read her weaves, and use them to follow her somehow. So she does Delana's to throw off the scent. Then at the end when she realizes what's actually happening she on the spot forms her new plan and traps the two of them to make Rand think she's dead.

To me it came off much less of jumping through hoops and much more of two separate actions that worked together based on quick thinking.
Roger Powell
229. forkroot
Side loony theory. I believe RJ said "Taim is not Demandred" But could that be a literal answer, IE the original Mazrim Taim was not Demandred, but Demandred might still be masquerading as Taim.
At the end of Winter's Heart (the cleansing), Demandred is surprised that Damer Flinn can channel. Taim knows Flinn well. That should put to rest any idea that Demandred is masquerading as Taim, quite apart from trying to twist RJ's words.
Valentin M
230. ValMar
forkroot @ 227

This was probably me. I think this was more than an year ago so my memory on the exchange isn't perfect and I'm too lazy to look for my write up of it around here.
The jist of it was whether the different (i.e. more beligerent) attitide of Tuon back with the Seanchan was due to Greandal's "strings" or not. Brandon gave me rather detailed reasoning why Tuon was so mellow, relatively!, with Mat and co and not when back among the hawks. No mention of Greandal there. When I tried to press more directly if Greandal may have a hand in this, he directly said that nothing would be found digging there.
This doesn't mean Greandal hasn't done anything of note with Tuon/Seanchan. Just that Tuon not being so cute anymore is her own doing.

@ 229

Also, IIRC, we haven't seen Demandred (i.e. whoever he is mascarading as) on screen yet, right?
231. Ryanus
As I recall one of the authors said we have not seen Demandred onscreen in a disguise. That's why I'm on loony theory mode with my joke about "Taim isn't Demandred, but Demandred could be Taim."

Fork, actually, I have an easy enough answer for that. Taim who showed up at the beginning of LoC was Taim. He was arrogant but legitimately a good guy, gave the seal to Rand, started training, et all. Anytime after this Taim could be removed and Demandred slipped into his place without any glitches in the story. If the change took place after Dumais Wells and Damer going to Rand then that would fit with Demandred not recognizing him.

That said, the flat out "We haven't seen him in disguise" puts end to that theory, but it could have worked.
Sam Mickel
232. Samadai
I am reading Eye of the World and found some cool little bits of foreshadowing that I had not noticed before. They both happen in Shadar Logoth.

First, Rand Mat and Perrin are talking to each other when they are taking care of the horses.

"Aemon's warcry, she said-right? Maybe your Aemon come back again. The way you go on about how dull Emond's field is, I'd think you would like that- being a king and hero reborn"

"Don't say that!" Thom drew a deep breath; everyobdy stared at him now. "That is dangerous talk, stupid talk. The dead can be reborn, or take a living body, and it is not something to speak of lightly." He took another breath to calm himself before going on.

I told you he was real ;)

The next part is a few pages later, after the boys are back with the others. Rand wakes up.

He had no idea what had wakened him from his unpleasant dream. He had been a little boy again, carrying Tam's sword and with a cradle strapped to his back, running through empty streets, pursued my Mordeth, who shouted that he only wanted his hand. And there had been an old man who watched them and cackled with mad laughter the whole time.

This could be foreshadowing Mat being taken over by the daggers taint. Some people (myself included) consider Mat and Perrin to be The Hands that shelter or slay, in the prophecies. Or perhaps it is What will happen to Rand when he sees Fain again ( no clue really)
233. rynox2000
To the point of Greandal still being alive, and the lack of a body thing. I always thought that balefire was the secret to killing someone is a way that didn't allow the Dark One to reincarnate them. I think Sammael was the exception since the smoke/fog monster got him (could it have a similar effect on the pattarn that balefire does??). Asmodean could have been killed with balefire also...
Alice Arneson
234. Wetlandernw
Okay, here's my bit on Graendal. I hope it makes sense; it's late, and my ability to proofread and critique is asleep already. (Like I should be.) It's put together from things I wrote in several different times and places, so I hope there aren't too many disconnects in the logic. I don't expect it to change anyone's mind, but it might give people something to talk about until tomorrow's post.

Graendal… took me by surprise, I think. I can see why some say it feels like cheating, but at the same time, we haven’t really been inside Graendal’s head enough to know whether or not it’s out of character for her to sidestep like this. We do have a few things to go on, though. According to her thoughts, “She had covered herself perfectly. The only minions she’d let out of her sight were under Complusion so heavy that it would kill them to remove it.”The simple fact that Rand found her is the basic problem for her, because there are only three possibilities:

A) Moridin betrayed her to Rand
B) Her security measures were inadequate
C) Someone broke the Compulsion on one of her “minions”

Okay, technically there’s also the possibility that he found her completely by accident, but she’s not stupid enough to assume that. So: Option A doesn’t make any sense; Moridin favors her lately, and has even given her access to the True Power, so the idea that he’s suddenly changed his mind – while leaving her that access – doesn’t ring. Option B may make more sense to us, but to her it’s inconceivable that her precautions missed even one person. “When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.” What remains is option C – that someone broke her Compulsion on one of her minions and gained some intelligence from them. She’s obviously heard that Nynaeve has come up with some bizarre new stuff – Aran’gar would presumably have told her some of the things Nynaeve discovered at Salidar, such as Healing someone who was stilled. If she’s done the “impossible” once, why not again? It’s at least more probable (to her) than that her security failed.

Option C is the only logical choice.

While she may or may not have any guesses as to the identity of the person whose Compulsion was broken, she would certainly have no clue as to how much Rand was able to learn from that person. We know that he only barely managed to give them the location, but she can’t assume that. If the Compulsion was broken without killing the person, she’d have to assume that he was able to tell them everything he knew, whatever that might be. At that point, no precautions are absurd. In addition, she has no idea what more could be done by Nynaeve (or whoever broke the Compulsion), so caution is definitely in order.

I think it’s believable that Graendal assumed that someone had broken the Compulsion, and that she made the next logic step (possibly subconsciously) that Compulsion might be a key factor in whatever was going down.

As near as I can tell, the biggest part of the problem hinges on the notion that for no apparent reason, Graendal chose to have a lowly tool like Delana set the Compulsion instead of doing it herself. I’ll agree that there’s not enough in the text to deduce clearly just why she made that rather odd-looking step, but I think there are hints. First, there’s a strong indication that when she thinks it possible that Nynaeve may be able to actually read the weave, it means more than just recognizing it; she may be thinking that Nynaeve could read both who laid the weave and the specifics of what the Compulsion required of the subject. Second, she is (per her own thoughts) trying to buy time to figure out what Rand knows; if Nynaeve can tell who wove a Compulsion, having someone else weave this one will cause confusion and delay. Depending on what she can observe of Nynaeve, she may learn more about what kind of things she can do as well as learn what Rand knows and what he’s planning. Third, she clearly isn’t expecting this to result in an attack: she’s convinced that as Rand, he won’t deliberately attack a woman, and as LTT, he won’t launch a sudden attack. “He liked to plan, to spend time building to a crescendo of an assault.” So by having Delana weave the Compulsion, she’s just trying to mix things up, confuse Rand, and test Nynaeve.

Speaking of buying time, that was where the dove came in. In order to make use of the time she was buying, she sent the dove to follow Ramshalan in the hope that she could see something of Nynaeve’s and Rand’s actions. A reasonable decision in itself, but one that turned out to be supremely lucky for her, giving her that second or two of warning that let her get away.

(Someone else already quoted the paragraph on the Dark One’s eyes; if you look at it carefully, it makes perfect sense. Graendal comments that she doesn’t really understand the intricacies of the True Power’s special weaves – not like Aginor... The Fades can’t channel, but they are Shadowspawn, created by Aginor with the True Power. So while they can’t do the weave that lets them see directly through the critter’s eyes, they can read what the small one has seen when it reports back. It’s an artifact of being made by the TP. The fact that it’s a distinctly TP weave would also explain why we haven’t seen it in use before this; Moridin hasn’t needed it, and no one else has had access to the TP until just now when Graendal has been given a trickle.)

Yes, there were a couple of “just the right leap of logic” moments to lead to “just the right effect” even though Graendal didn’t know the whole story. I’m not sure why that’s a problem, though; any fiction is full of “just the right” coincidences, or there would be no story. There have been plenty of those all through the series; if Lan had got to Ebou Dar half an hour later, Nynaeve would be dead. If Rand hadn’t been supremely lucky with a sword, though he’d never held one before, Narg would have had a prize. And so on and on; at any point, you can pick out a dozen coincidences and odd decisions that come together to result in the MOA. As I see it, that’s the nature of fiction. Any story (real or imaginary) that doesn’t have those moments isn’t really any fun to tell, hear or read.

I realize that part of the problem is the number of small twists that go into the “she really lucked out” result, but any one of them by itself wouldn’t even raise an eyebrow from most readers. I think it’s the cumulative result – especially after the way we saw the scene in TGS – that makes it so difficult for some to swallow. However, I think hawkido’s insight is quite relevant: Rand’s ta’veren effect might well be in play here. We know that it causes things to happen that are possible but highly unlikely. Why could it not provide that odd twist to Graendal’s thinking that makes her decide to have someone else do the Compulsion? And really, that’s the only really odd decision she makes. The rest of them, while contributing to the unexpected outcome, are all pretty reasonable.

I still wish she was dead. She does damage enough in this book, even if it’s mitigated by Perrin’s ta’veren effect. I’m sure she’ll come up with something else to stink up the joint in the final book, unless her… chat… with Shadar Haran turns out to be her last. I think she’ll still be around, though; Moghedien went through the SH treatment and came out still alive but with a mindtrap. The same may happen to Graendal. Alternatively, she could be dead, or she could be free.
Rowland Hills
235. TickTockTick

That's very clear logic leading to your option C, although if she was tht confident in her skills I can't see why she wouldn't think option B was just as likely, since both options B & C imply a failure on her part.
Tess Laird
236. thewindrose
I just thought of a new 3 parallel for Rand and Moridin. At the end of ToM, Graendal is seen with Shadar Haran. I think she is going to get mindtrapped like Cyndane and Moghedien. So Moridin will have his three women that are 'bonded' to him, just like Rand has with Min, Elayne and Aviendha(I really don't consider Alanna to be a part of this - Elayne did a special sort of bond that is above and beyond the warder bond.)

Alice Arneson
238. Wetlandernw
TickTockTick @235 - I think it has to do with her knowledge that Nynaeve has been doing "impossible" things with the One Power already. Still, even if you discount that leap, if she had to choose between B and C, there's a 50/50 chance she'd pick the right one.

What kind of precautions would she have taken in this scene if she'd chosen option B as the most likely? Mostly the same, except that she might have been less paranoid about the Compulsion questions. It's written to focus on the Compulsion, but really, aside from her thinking, how would the scene have been different if she'd been trying to counter both possibilities? Seems to me she'd have done exactly the same actions, just with slightly different rationale presented. For all we know, that was written in at one point and edited out because the book needed tightening up. I seem to remember Brandon tweeting things like "400 words cut from Chapter X" and "Only managed to cut 120 words out of Chapter Y, but it's a short one anyway." Maybe the extra thinking to account for Option B was part of what got cut.

thewindrose @236 - Oh, I like it! I didn't even think of that when I suggested that after SH's attentions, Graendal might be mindtrapped like Moghedien was. Now I'm expecting to see it.
239. Freelancer
Ryanus @228
Your main point seems to be that there's no source of a mortal replacing a god. Which in itself is fair, but I'd counter that Mat as Odin/Loki, Perrin as Thor/Fenrir and Rand as Tyr don't really work either. I don't really recall anywhere in Asatru mythology that any of the gods were humans who became gods. So the same bending that turned them immortal could be the same for Fain.
I'm sorry, but it is not a valid parallel. The events of the lives of Rand, Mat and Perrin turning into mythological stories of Gods over ages is just that, the changing of stories over great amounts of time. The "personhood" of the created Evil is a fact, he really is imprisoned, and he has real power to influence the world through the breach in that prison. Shifting Fain into that role isn't the migration of history through legend into myth, nor could it be.

RE: Graendal. Once again, I never have said that the scene is illogical, or in any way impossible. My point was, is, and shall remain that this scene reads to me as so convoluted and contrived to accomplish an end, that it threw me out of suspension of disbelief. That is a very difficult thing to do to me, from the immersive manner in which I engage a story, but the drastically implausible nature of the collimation of actions in this scene did so. There is no use in trying to prove to me that everything in the scene could indeed happen as written. I've never said otherwise, and an author is well within his privilege to introduce new elements when and as they choose. But when it seems that they are introduced simply to craft a method by which a seemingly inescapable situation is escaped, it carries a consequence to the credibility of some readers. That is the only stand I have ever taken about this scene, and it is pointless to try and "prove" me around that.

Wetlandernw @234

I agree completely. This is the point. Once read, the analysis of that scene must follow the logical path you have delineated, and there is no escaping (intended) that this analysis of the scenario's sequence must be so. I'm sure there is no need, at this point, to repeat what I've just written above. It still smells of contrivance, as if an author wanted to thumb his nose at the reader with a thought of "Hah, they were so sure they could prove that Graendal couldn't escape, well, lookie what I did."
Alice Arneson
240. Wetlandernw
Well, while we're waiting for the new post, I'll add in my few more comments on the comments.

@several re: Delana - We obviously don't know for sure whether or not she was under Compulsion, but I don't think it was necessary. She's been so thoroughly cowed by her association with the "Chosen" that she's already terrified of doing anything they might not like; not even questioning their orders except to clarify the details. It's clearly not in her observable best interest to betray them, and to whom would she go if she did? She makes a perfectly good tool as she is, and certainly wouldn't be much good under Graendal's usual level of Compulsion.

@ several others re: verb form of compulsion - Yes, we have most thoroughly established that the verb is compel, not compulse. (It's like fingernails on a blackboard to read that, much less type it.) Both RJ's usage and the English language require that compel be used as the verb form of compulsion, unless you make an extended verb by saying "weave Compulsion" or "lay a web of Compulsion." Besides, it makes my brain hurt.

Isilel @165 - Hey, stranger! It's been a while! Re: "half full/half empty" - it was pointed out to me recently that the glass is always completely full, because whatever is in the bottom half, the top half is still full of air... :) Also, nice summary of the holes in Rand's plan. It was a good plan (for a certain definition of "good"), but it certainly wasn't perfect. His idea of "if you can't outthink her, just punch her in the face when she doesn't expect it" almost worked, because she was actually thinking about how LTT always liked to build up to a good assault, and certainly he wouldn't attack right now. She still outsmarted him by virtue of her sheer cover-all-the-bases paranoia, though.

(By the way, I've been working on a new fanfic, based on a suggestion of yours. I hope it comes together sometime soon...)

DJ_Pon3 @179 - Was your comment @142 your first here? If so, a hearty welcome to another poor soul who's been sucked into the abyss. :)

Seacaptain13 @189 - FWIW, my perspective has always been that the Pattern has to be restored, not destroyed. That's why Rand's overuse of balefire was such a bad thing all along; yes, it was necessary to destroy the Forsaken and certain of the Darkhounds, but he was using it as his first choice rather than as a last resort in too many other situations.

Jonathan Levy @214 (and others, I think) - We've seen weaves being prepared and inverted for later use, the way Leane did at Southharbor, but I don't recall anyone being able to invert a weave before it was made. The only possible exception is the one brought up about Graendal at the Cleansing, but it's quite possible that she already had several things ready and inverted. It's also faintly possible that she'd been given access to the TP for that particular event, but it seems like we'd have heard about it. In any event, we really don't know for sure why Verin & co. were unable to see her weaves before she used them, but we don't know about anyone being able to create invisible weaves on the spot.

TickTockTick @220 (and others) - I highly recommend www.encyclopaedia-wot.org for quick reference on these things. Not only do they have incident-by-incident lists of what every character did, and even where they were referenced by others, they have pretty good chapter summaries and lots of other goodies. It's one of the best go-to sites for quick reference to what happened in the books. The interview database at theoryland.com is your best source for extra-textual information.

forkroot @227 - Graendal & Tuon - I seem to remember reading that comment from Brandon. In any event, even what is in the book sounds like it wasn't much in the first place, and wasn't going to come to anything later either.

Ryanus @228 - Nice summary of the Forsaken. They haven't won yet, but Our Heroes aren't exactly sitting comfortably in their positions either, are they? It ain't over till the fat lady sings.
Deana Whitney
242. Braid_Tug
236, thewindrose: good theory for Graendal's future. I just reread that bit of the chapter.
I think her immediate future is to be raped by Shaidar Hanran. What I’m finding odd is why he enjoys doing this. This will be the second female Forsaken he’s raped (that we know about). Yes, it’s about control, but really?

The “guy” is the avatar of the Dark One, shouldn’t he be less petty than the average myrddrall?
243. Ryanus
Freelancer, actually, I'd argue it's a valid comparison.

Fain replaces Shai'tan. Very few people will know this, only those there and those told by direct witnesses. For all intents and purposes the DO was just defeated. The knowledge of the replacement fades to nothing.

Or for another choice, Fain replaces Shai'tan and the knowledge spreads. At first it's close to the truth. But an age later stories of Fain and his powers elevate, as does his status as a Darkfriend. He moves from being a mortal darkfriend given wierd powers from Shadar'Logoth into being a direct servant, scion, or some such of Shai'tan. Who then inherits his power when Shai'tan is defeated at TA.

I don't really fully take the Fain theory, but it could work out fairly well and stay consistant with the way the story flows.
Terry McNamee
244. macster
I meant to reply to this last week and got very delayed, so I'll just make my response to Leigh's part quick and sweet: loved Lan, loved Perrin's dream experiences (even as I wondered what in the world it actually meant beyond the obvious and where it was going) and I too thought it looked like his emo-ness and internal struggle were actually going somewhere, and I actually enjoyed seeing how Graendal got out of her apparently ironclad death.

I won't go into too much detail because I don't feel like hashing it out after so many have delved into it deeply and intelligently, but I'll say I overall agree with Wetlander's assessment, but that in general here's how I felt: at the time Graendal "died", I was shocked at first at yet another Forsaken finally dying, and even if it made sense how Nynaeve and Rand tracked her down, then got rid of her, it still seemed somehow anticlimactic. I didn't immediately think she must not be dead because we never saw a body--very good to point out that flaw vs. how Jordan conceived of balefire, Leigh!--but I did have this niggling suspicion things didn't happen the way they appeared. Having Graendal not actually die would indeed make Rand's actions at Natrin's Barrow seem even worse, even with taking out Aran'gar in the bargain. I wish I could say I thought of Jordan playing with our expectations--that because we knew balefire never leaves bodies, we'd assume the lack of one didn't mean she wasn't really dead, when that is exactly what happened. But I appreciated the "Gotcha!" all the same.

I think Graendal's thought processes based on her intelligence, manipulative abilities, and paranoia made sense. And I was actually glad to both tie up Aran'gar's story and get rid of her loose end. I would have figured out she was with Graendal and guessed how she could be used to help the latter escape her fate if I'd re-read either KOD (when they made their alliance) or TGS (when Graendal mentioned it in her thoughts in the prologue) before reading TOM. Ah well.

I actually did feel a bit sorry for Delana though. Ever since she was introduced, first seeming to be a good friend to Siuan but then turning out to be Black, I've never thought of her as being particularly evil; I've always loved the FAQ's description of her as a "wet hen" when it came to evildoing. So having her come to this ignominious end is kind of sad, really. True she did join the Shadow but like Sheriam I rather think she didn't do it For the Evulz and she never expected matters to come to a head like they did. As to why she ended up at Natrin's Barrow, I can only assume that for some reason the pervert Aran'gar actually found her sexy and so wanted her around for that reason, or to have a pawn to manipulate, or perhaps he/she thought she could be useful in going back after Egwene again or something. (Yeah I too think there will still be more to come related to her massages...) And Graendal let her keep Delana because she did trust Aran'gar, who vouched for her, and anyway Delana was so weak and cowardly that she didn't seem a threat to Graendal's plans. They might even have thought they could use her to go out into Arad Doman to spy or manipulate, if her being Black hadn't been passed on to other Aes Sedai and if the Seanchan didn't catch her.

Anyway...I'll leave it to later to talk more about her effectiveness as an evildoer, but other than the reasons she might have been saved by the Pattern, I think she actually didn't do that badly a job with Perrin, save for not knowing about/underestimating his skill as a dreamer, and indeed if not for Bornhald Byar would have succeeded. (I still wonder when she got to him--maybe that will be revealed in the encyclopedia?) So maybe sparing her had other good reasons too. I have to admit that despite the Compulsion I always rather liked Graendal for her cleverness and manipulative nature; the ways in which that failed here, and later with Perrin, was a bit disappointing, but all the Forsaken were selfish and arrogant so she had to make mistakes eventually--if she didn't, the heroes didn't stand a chance.

But I was glad she didn't get taken out as quickly and easily as it seemed, though I can see why others felt cheated or taken out of the story, and that another character could have filled her role. It may be she was spared just to make the reveal about Asmo, but I suspect there will be more to come in AMoL. And it may be true that Aran'gar or Demandred could have taken on the important role of forging the Wolf King, but I don't think either of them was as good at manipulating and plotting as Graendal. She still failed, yes, but I think one of the other two would have failed even worse, especially Aran'gar. (Keep in mind the Asha'man with Perrin would have had an easier time against other saidin users than saidar. And it may be Demandred was still involved, with those mysterious channelers bringing in the Shadowspawn army. More on that later.) So maybe it did all have to happen this way.

@26 clintack: Ryanus already covered this in more detail, but they did accomplish some things: Lanfear took Moiraine out of the story, with all the relevant repercussions that had; Rahvin removed Morgase from power and nearly killed Rand (he likely would have, if not for Nynaeve); Moghedien ripped Birgitte out of TAR; Aran'gar blocked Egwene's dreams; Mesaana set off the White Tower coup and split; Semirhage murdered the whole Seanchan royal family save Tuon and was instrumental (as in, she was the instrument herself) of Rand's fall into darkness; Sammael scattered the Shaido and got hold of at least some of the angreal stash; and Graendal did enflame and encourage all the destruction and anarchy in Arad Doman, as well as kill Asmo which deprived Rand of a teacher. Admittedly some of these weren't very big things, and a lot of Forsaken did something that inadvertently helped the Light instead, but if the Shadow had been too effective, the heroes never would have had a chance at winning.

@60 Beren: That...was utterly awesome.

@103 J.Dauro: I have to agree. *shivers*

@121 Zexxes: Good points.

@128 hawkido: I was fairly sure myself that removing the Oaths did restore the Aes Sedai's lives if not their youth. It seems logical to think some portion would be irrevocably gone, to differentiate from a never-bound channeler, but also that the rest would come back. Of course the question then becomes what about those who swore an extra oath (Zerah and the other ferrets) or those who unswore and reswore several times (the Black Ajah Hunters). I don't think they'd get much, if any, additional life taken away since the number of oaths was the same except for the ferrets, who had their fourth oath of obedience removed...but then again, there might be a cumulative effect, especially if the cutting of life happens each time you swear, regardless of if the oaths are later removed...but then again, they unswore and reswore immediately, so there may not have been time for the life-cutting to happen and sink in...

Also @138--very good point! We can argue till the cows come home whether her escape was plausibly written based on her character, knowledge, and thought process, but it can't be denied that everything working out the way it did to have Graendal escape could have been arranged by the Pattern as well as any other ta'veren effect. Which suggests either she was needed to do what she did in this book so as to make Perrin be a true leader and bring him and Galad together as allies, or there's something more she has to do in AMoL...

And 139 is certainly an interesting variation on the story!

@147 AhoyMatey: ROTFL!!

@156 Wortmauer: It isn't proven, but it's my assumption that Graendal was granted access to the True Power before Ishy was resurrected as Moridin and made Nae'blis, and allowed to keep it after this because she was doing well as a Forsaken and not failing like so many others. And that specifically she used it to kill Asmo. Though it may indeed be she was granted it in TGS's prologue. As for Taim, it's been theorized he does have access to the True Power because of that weird shaodw aura Elayne saw around him in the prologue of Winter's Heart, which was rather similar to Rand's dark warp in the air.

@192 hawkido: Actually, when Nynaeve undoes the Compulsion on Kerb she does in fact need to unweave each thread of Power, and lay her own weavings upon them as well, so the weaves of Compulsion are indeed still there so they must be tied off in some fashion. Why aren't they inverted? Maybe Compulsion can't be inverted; or maybe Graendal doesn't bother to because she doesn't think anyone will ever have the skill (or opportunity) to see them, let alone undo them.

@219 CireNaes: Fain raising Sammael through Mashadar? That is a twisted possibility...and compelling. Though one would wonder how effective he could be if he was merely a zombie, since Fain surely couldn't control or direct him in his channeling.

@225 TickTockTick: First, welcome! Secondly...that is some very interesting revelations indeed. Since points as major as that couldn't be changed in the editing and the blurb would have been written based on what had already been completed, I think we can assume those are the actual events and won't be changed. I'm not sure how to feel about it...I rather worried Caemlyn wouldn't be saved, partly due to the Camlaan angle and partly because the Light had to have some sort of loss to keep the outcome in doubt. And I knew Mat had to meet with Tuon at some point...but there's much more he could and should be doing than that, so unless for some reason Demandred's forced attack Ebou Dar (maybe he IS the murderer ruling in Seandar, and he brings the rest of Seanchan's armies to attack Tuon's?), there must be more Mat will do we don't know about yet. As for Rand...well, going to Shayol Ghul still doesn't preclude him dying, living again, and going off with his women. So who knows.

@227 forkroot: LOL! And...that's kind of lame. If it was a dead-end, why did they leave it in? I like ValMar's explanation, that Graendal did tie strings, which could conceivably be important in the last book (see Mat going to Ebou Dar from TickTockTick's post), but she didn't Compel Tuon specifically.

@228 Ryanus: Very good points about Graendal's thought process.

@234 Wetlander: Can't really find any flaws in your reasoning, but then I pretty much already agreed with you anyway.

@236 thewindrose: I think you may be on to something.
darren vickers
245. darvick
Hi,I am going to join the debate for a minute. I saw earlier that the Dark One was imprisoned at Shaoyal Goule " I know Spelling" No, he was imprisoned outside at the time of creation. Also the only other thing I saw was about Egwene's massages. I believe they were just what they were, massages. Arangar brought on the headaches to get into Egwene's good graces and be near her. Maybe learn something along the way. Remember to most Aes Sedai Egwene was a child Amyrlin . To the Forsaken, who think Aes Sedai are children, she must look like a pushover.
246. hesuchia
Lots of info in the Prologue, but I still think Loial is a freaking badass. He's never thought highly of himself, like Mat he thinks he's "no bloody hero", but time after time he does crazy awesome things. Aside from battles and such, he was terrified of his mother, but stood up to her and even convinced her -- the hot-headed, opinionated, pushy speaker -- that his opinion was valid and that it really deserved careful thought. He was terrified of public speaking, but he cares about humans and realized that if the Dark One won in that world + age, then all worlds and times are screwed. He conquered his fear and faced it like a badass. No wonder he's Erith's hero. He's easily overlooked as young, soft-spoken and somewhat unassuming, but when he really feels strongly about something he's one of the most reliable people you can count on. Props, Loial.
247. asdjk
"She'd been played!" isn't an anachronistic phrase in the framework of this setting, if that's what Leigh was getting at. It's used in Shakespeare for goodness' sake. Just because a term sounds modern doesn't mean it is.

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