May 29 2012 2:00pm

The Wheel of Time Re-read: Towers of Midnight, Part 3

Happy Tuesday, WOTers! Welcome back to the Wheel of Time Re-read!

Today’s entry covers Chapters 1 and 2 of Towers of Midnight, in which we discuss the merits of leadership, the probability of post-apocalyptic trans-dimensional commerce, and organic vs. messianic farming methods.

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!

But before the rest, this!


It soon became obvious, even within the stedding, that the Pattern was growing frail. The sky darkened. Our dead appeared, standing in rings outside the borders of the stedding, looking in. Most troublingly, trees fell ill, and no song would heal them.

It was in this time of sorrows that I stepped up to the Great Stump. At first, I was forbidden, but my mother, Covril, demanded I have my chance. I do not know what sparked her change of heart, as she herself had argued quite decisively for the opposing side. My hands shook. I would be the last speaker, and most seemed to have already made up their minds to open the Book of Translation. They considered me an afterthought.

And I knew that unless I spoke true, humanity would be left alone to face the Shadow. In that moment, my nervousness fled. I felt only a stillness, a calm sense of purpose. I opened my mouth, and I began to speak.

—from The Dragon Reborn, by Loial, son of Arent son of Halan, of Stedding Shangtai

By rights this should have gone before my commentary on the Prologue, for the very good reason that it comes, you know, before the Prologue, but I was a complete dumbass twice in a row and forgot to include it. So you’re getting it late and out of order. Sowwy!

So, the obvious reaction here is: Go, Loial, go!

Although, there really are two ways to look at this. The other way is to point out that Loial is convincing his people to fight and die and possibly even get wiped out entirely for the sake of a kind of crappy world they’d been actively shunning for thousands of years already. But there’s no need to be a Negative Nelly!

But, regardless, I have not the slightest doubt that Loial will succeed. If for no other reason than that I don’t think they will have perfected interdimensional book shipping in the Fourth Age, and ergo logically Loial must have stuck around for there to be a book by him floating around in Randland.

Of course, I could be wrong. And actually I am a little confused about this Book of Translation thingy anyway, because I was under the distinct impression that if the Dark One actually wins the Last Battle, he wins it on all possible worlds simultaneously. Game over, Wheel broken, lights out, universe. This was from a quote/interview/thing from Jordan himself which I am deeply certain someone can provide a link to in the comments, hint, hint.

Ergo, what on earth (no pun intended) would be the good of “translating” the Ogiers to a different, um, whatever (version of Randland? Alternate dimension? World without shrimp?), if that whatever will be just as doomed if Rand and Co. lose as this one will?

What am I missing here? Or is my basic premise wrong? DO tell.

(No, really. Tell me.)


Chapter 1: Apples First

What Happens
Wheel, Time, Ages, legend, myth, wind. The wind travels from Imfaral over the whole of a wrecked Seandar, where “a murderer openly ruled” and men believed the end times had come. The wind crosses the ocean to another continent, to an orchard of apple trees near the base of Dragonmount, where Almen Bunt stands with his nephews Adim and Hahn. Almen doesn’t know much about orchards, but he knows that it is not natural that the entire crop of apples fell off their trees and rotted in one night.

“We barely have a week’s grain left,” Adim said softly. “And what we’ve got, we got by promises on the crop. Nobody will give us anything, now. Nobody has anything.”

Almen thinks of mysterious disappearances and people scrawling Dragon Fangs on doors. He had thought they were fools, but now he is not so sure anymore. Hahn asks what they should do; Almen assures them this is only a temporary setback and sends them off on chores, but once alone admits to himself that he had never seen anything like this. The village is starving, and so are all the towns nearby, and the apples that were supposed to save them are gone. Almen feels despair, and wonders if it is time to give up.

He felt something on his neck. Warmth.

He hesitated, then turned weary eyes toward the sky. Sunlight bathed his face. He gaped; it seemed so long since he’d seen pure sunlight. It shone down through a large break in the clouds, comforting, like the warmth of an oven baking a loaf of Adrinne’s thick sourdough bread.

Then he smells apple blossoms, and realizes the trees are all flowering, and the rotted apples beneath them are disappearing. Almen wonders if he is going mad. Then he turns to see a tall young man in ragged clothes walking down from the foothills of the mountain. Almen greets him and asks if he got lost, and sees with a shock that his left hand is gone.

The stranger looked about, then breathed in deeply. “No. I’m not lost. Finally. It feels like a great long time since I’ve understood the path before me.”

Confused, Almen points out that that path only leads up Dragonmount, where all the game is long since hunted out. The stranger replies that there is always something useful to find if you look closely enough; “To learn but not be overwhelmed, that is the balance.” Almen wonders if maybe the man is not quite right in the head, but thinks there is something familiar about him. He asks if he knows the man, and the other tells him yes, and he’ll want to gather his people to collect the apples. Almen turns to see that the trees are loaded down with hundreds of perfect ripe apples.

“I am going mad,” Almen said, turning back to the man.

“It’s not you who is mad, friend,” the stranger said. “But the entire world. Gather those apples quickly. My presence will hold him off for a time, I think, and whatever you take now should be safe from his touch.”

Almen finally recognizes him as one of the two youths he’d given a ride to Caemlyn in his cart years ago, and further that he must be the Dragon Reborn, and feels a strange peace when looking at him. He goes to leave, and Almen asks him where he is going. The Dragon Reborn tells him he’s going to do something he’s been putting off, and that he doubts “she” will be pleased by what he tells her. As he leaves, Almen thinks he sees something around the man for a moment: “a lightness to the air, warped and bent”. He dashes toward his sister’s house, his pain gone, and meets Adim and two others. He points to the orchard, and tells them to gather everyone in the village to pick apples before the day ends. They run off to look, and Almen thinks that even the grass seems healthier.

He looked eastward. Almen felt a pull inside of him. Something was tugging him softly in the direction the stranger had gone.

Apples first, he thought. Then…well, then he’d see.


And it is pretty awesome.

Which is interesting, because I was not at all sure of that when I first read ToM. In fact, in my original spoiler review of the book I was fairly emphatic about my ambivalence re: Rand’s transformation:

True, this calm, collected, Jedi Master, Walkin’ On Sunshine Rand/Lews Therin hybrid guy is much more relaxing to be around—or at least, he’s now unnerving to be around in a much more relaxing way, if that makes any sense—and certainly he’s more, er, environmentally sound than the old Rand was, especially in the later books.

But you know, I’ve spent over a decade by now following the adventures of Just Rand al’Thor, in all his pissy, infuriating, bullheaded, scarily badass, semi-bugnuts, ridiculously noble, achingly damaged, eye-rollingly naïve and occasionally catastrophically stupid glory… and I want him back, dammit.

My first thought on this is, wow, sometimes I am waaay too excited about adverbial phrases. My second and much more relevant thought is that I see where 2010-era me (!) was coming from, and I still agree that I kind of miss Old School Rand, but I now emphatically disagree that I want him back.

Because I really, really don’t. No Way, José.

I can’t be sure, but I think this change in my perspective stems pretty much entirely from one factor, and that is the fact that this time, I am reading this having come straight off an intensive recap-and-commentary of the book preceding it, TGS. In which, as you no doubt recall, I spent weeks slogging my way inch by inch through Old School Rand being ugly and mean and (literally) toxic and broken, and being beaten down to his personal and utterly awful nadir. And it was wretched, and painful, and while it had to be done and I applaud it narratively, I never, ever, want to go there with this character again, and that is a fact.

Whereas the first (and second) time I read ToM, I had not actually read TGS in over a year, and therefore I think the visceral horror of Old School Semi-Evil Rand’s journey through that book had faded too much for me to properly appreciate what a frickin’ relief it was to see post-epiphany Jesus Zen Master Rand in his place.

Well, let’s just say I bloody well appreciate it now. And the symbolism there (the land growing healthier just from his presence), and the significance of it (when he’d been virtually causing the opposite before), could not be clearer or more welcome.

Plus, it was just so nice to see something, well, nice happen. After so long of things getting progressively worse and worse, to see it finally swing in the opposite direction was like a breath of fresh air. Er, literally, for Almen Bunt, anyway.

Speaking of which: Almen Bunt! Love that, a shoutout all the way back to TEOTW. Sometimes the Law of Conservation of Characters can be quite fun.

Although, I am a little befuddled by this bit:

[Almen] glanced eastward, toward Tar Valon. Could the witches be to blame for the failed crop?

Erm. Really? Because I am a bit confused as to how an Andorman and a self-professed Queen’s man (as Almen identifies himself earlier in the chapter) can also be in the habit of regarding Aes Sedai as “witches”. Even if he meant Morgase and not Elayne by “Queen’s man” (and even if it’s not general knowledge that Morgase has a minimal channeling ability herself, which I’m not sure whether it was), Morgase still trained in the Tower. Not to mention, the Andoran royal family has a long history of open and trusting association with the Tower, and Andor in general has had a very amicable relationship with the Aes Sedai, at least compared to many other nations. Such blatant prejudice against the Aes Sedai from Almen, then, seems… incongruous.


The lad had carved Almen a set of wooden teeth as an arrival gift earlier in the spring. Wondrous things, held together by wires, with gaps for the few remaining teeth he had. But if he chewed too hard, they’d go all out of shape.

OW. That is all.

(Except, randomly: did you know that contrary to popular legend, George Washington did not have wooden teeth? His falsies were made of hippotamus ivory! That cracks me up for some reason. And also, reading about Washington’s dental issues is one of the few times I’ve been happier to have my own teeth instead, because damn.)

As a final note on this chapter, I was extremely confused by the “wind” bit on first reading, mostly because I stopped to search for “Imfaral” on the map before reading far enough to realize that it was a place in Seandar and therefore not on the map, but even this time around I found it a little baffling from a timing perspective.

For instance, the “murderer who openly ruled” in Seandar is clearly Semirhage, but at the time the wind’s blowing around here, Semirhage has already been balefired with extreme TP-ness by Rand, and was in captivity before that for I think somewhere around a month (though the chronology on both TGS and ToM is, I am assured, very wonky, so I’m not sure of this, but it was definitely a while). So what, did Seandar just not notice that their new tyrannical overlord has been missing all that time?



The killing field surrounded thirteen fortresses, tall and cut entirely from unpolished black marble, their blocks left rough-hewn to give them a primal feeling of unformed strength. These were towers meant for war. By tradition they were unoccupied.

I thought for the longest time that these were meant to be the titular “Towers of Midnight”, and was equally puzzled and annoyed by that, because why the hell do we care about midnight-y towers in Seandar, where we have been assured the action will never go? Of course, we find out later that the title almost certainly refers to something else entirely, but I retain a mild annoyance, then, that these extraneous and confusing non-titular black towers had to be stuck in here in the first place.

Also also:

Out into the Sleeping Bay, [the wind] passed the attackers: enormous greatships with sails painted blood red. They sailed southward, their grisly work done.

Er. What? Semirhage had a fleet? Since when? Ooo…kay. I missed that…


Chapter 2: Questions of Leadership

What Happens
Perrin’s now enormous company of soldiers and refugees has almost reached the Jehannah Road, which Perrin had originally planned to reach in a week from Malden. But with the bubble of evil and the resulting sickness that had almost killed both his Asha’man, it had taken them over a month. Basel Gill’s party was supposed to be waiting for them, but the scouts sent ahead had been unable to find them. Perrin speaks to the leader of yet another ragtag group of men who had probably been bandits, who doesn’t care that Perrin doesn’t have wages for them; they only want food. Reluctantly, Perrin tells them to go to Tam al’Thor.

“Do you really have food?”

“We do,” Perrin said. “I just said so.”

“And it doesn’t spoil after a night left alone?”

“Course it doesn’t,” Perrin said sternly. “Not if you keep it right.” Some of their grain might have weevils in it, but it was edible. The man seemed to find that incredible, as if Perrin had said his wagons would soon sprout wings and fly off for the mountains.

He rides on, trying to ignore both his memories of his unsettling dreams and his unwanted bodyguards the Two Rivers men had insisted upon after Aram. Arganda approaches and opines that the “mercenaries” Perrin had taken in should be strung up instead, and Perrin tells him they aren’t executing anyone without proof of a crime. He thinks that Arganda and Gallenne had been tractable for a while after Malden, but now old divisions are resurfacing. Arganda goes off, and after a while Gaul returns from a scouting run, bringing a man named Fennel, who had been with Gill et al. He explains that the party had turned toward Lugard instead of continuing north as Perrin had ordered because they had heard the northern route was all but impassable for carts, which is why the scouts couldn’t find them. Perrin is annoyed, but supposes the choice was reasonable, and sends Fennel off with thanks.

“Somebody had to do it, my Lord.” He hesitated. “Most feared you hadn’t…well, that things had gone wrong, my Lord. You see, we figured you’d be faster than us, since we had those carts. But from the look of things here, you decided to bring the entire town with you!”

It wasn’t far from the truth, unfortunately. He waved Fennel on.

Gaul tells him of a good campsite up ahead, and Perrin decides to stop for a day to regroup and decide whether to wait for the Asha’man to recover enough to move everyone by gateway, or to continue on. He thinks that once Grady is strong enough, that he should send Alliandre and her men home, as well as the Two Rivers men, and go himself to Rand and “make up” their pretend fight, and then finally get rid of Berelain too, as their truce seems to be over now that Faile is back. He sees Annoura, and thinks that he still doesn’t know why she was meeting with Masema, and probably never will now that it is a moot point.

The Prophet was dead, killed by bandits. Well, perhaps that was a fitting end for him, but Perrin still felt he’d failed. Rand had wanted Masema brought to him. The colors swirled again.

Either way, it was time for Perrin to return to Rand. The colors swirled, showing Rand standing in front of a building with a burned front, staring westward. Perrin banished the image.

Perrin thinks that he should feel better now that his tasks have been carried out, but he still feels like something is wrong. Faile approaches, and he tells her the news. She listens, and then remarks thoughtfully on the oddness of how many people they’ve acquired in the last few weeks – some five thousand – even in these desolate lands. Perrin doesn’t understand how he can be so glad she is back and yet feel so awkward around her now. He tells her they have too many people, and he should start ordering them away.

“You can’t give orders to the Pattern itself, my husband.” She glanced over at the column of people as they moved onto the road.

“What do—” He cut off, catching her meaning. “You think this is me? Being ta’veren?”

“Every stop along our trip, you’ve gained more followers,” Faile said. “Despite our losses against the Aiel, we came out of Malden with a stronger force than when we started.”

Perrin tries to insist this is coincidence, but she is only amused. He tells her that he is sending them all away as soon as he can, but she is unconvinced this will actually happen. Perrin sighs and says he is not a good leader; Faile disagrees. Perrin angrily reminds her of how the whole thing almost fell apart while she was gone. She smells angry when he mentions the censure of the Two Rivers men for what they think he did with Berelain, but he reminds her that it was his fault for not squashing the rumor promptly, not Berelain’s. Faile counters that she’s heard a completely different story of his leadership: that Perrin contained the internal strife of his forces, formed a powerful alliance with the Seanchan, and acted decisively to get everyone to work together to pull off a nearly impossible campaign in Malden.

Those are the actions of a leader.”

“Faile…” he said, suppressing a growl. Why wouldn’t she listen? When she’d been a captive, nothing had mattered to him but recovering her. Nothing. It didn’t matter who had needed his help, or what orders he’d been given. Tarmon Gai’don itself could have started, and he’d have ignored it in order to find Faile.

He realized now how dangerous his actions had been. Trouble was, he’d take those same actions again. He didn’t regret what he’d done, not for a moment. A leader couldn’t be like that.

Faile goes on to remark that oddly, she thinks her captivity might have been just what both of them needed. Perrin is astounded by this, but the discussion is interrupted when the Maiden scouts return, smelling concerned; one of them tells him there is something beside the road he needs to see.

Galad wakes, naked, battered and bloody, and realizes he is in a tent, chained to a stake in the ground. He thinks it is unfortunate that it had ended up that the Questioners (and therefore the Seanchan) controlled the Children, but he feels neither anger at those who had betrayed him nor fear at what comes next.

Soon the Questioners would come for him, and then the true price for saving his men would be exacted with their hooks and knives. He had been aware of that price when he’d made his decision. In a way, he had won, for he had manipulated the situation best.

The other way to ensure his victory was to hold to the truth under their questioning. To deny being a Darkfriend with his final breath. It would be difficult, but it would be right.

He struggles to the side of the tent and uses the flaps to laboriously clean his face, determined that he would go to his fate with a clean face. When he hears men approaching the tent, he forces himself to ignore his pain and his lack of clothes, and hauls himself to his feet, to be standing when they enter. Several men enter the tent, and one of them exclaims that he is able to stand at all; Galad is confused to recognize the speaker as Trom. Then he sees that Bornhald and Byar are there too, and barks at them to stop, that he commanded them not to free him. Lords Captain Golever, Harnesh and Vordarian enter the tent and tell him his men did not disobey him.

“What is this?” Galad asked them.

Harnesh opened a sack and dumped something bulbous to the ground in front of Galad. A head.


All three men drew swords and knelt before him, the points of their weapons stabbing the canvas. Trom unlocked the manacles at Galad’s feet.

Galad says they have turned on their fellow Children, and Vordarian asks what else they should have done. Galad asks why they changed their minds, and Golever tells him that while Asunawa turned them over to the Seanchan and would have led them in battle against other Children, they saw how Galad acted to prevent the same, and saw no other course but to turn against Asunawa. Golever says that they were forced to kill a third of the Questioners, and have the Amadicians and the Questioners who tried to run under guard. Galad orders that those of the prisoners who wish to leave should be released, and accepts their allegiance to him as Lord Captain Commander. He tells them they are to march for Andor.

Galad didn’t feel wise or strong enough to bear the title he did. But the Children had made their decision.

The Light would protect them for it.

One of the more aptly named chapters, I think. Questions of leadership indeed.

As far as Perrin goes, one of the most interesting things about the argument he has with Faile over whether he is a good leader is that, in my opinion, they are both right. I want Faile to be more right than Perrin is on this subject, of course, and obviously ultimately she is, but Perrin does have a pretty strong point when he says that his willingness to chuck everything else for Faile’s sake is not a good thing to have in a leader. Because it isn’t.

Then again, as Steven Wright would say, you can’t have everything – where would you put it?

Perrin’s problem, clearly, is that he’s under the impression that you have to score a 2400 on the Leadership SAT to even earn the title, when the sadly substandard reality is that it’s more like No Honcho Left Behind. In other words, you generally need to have a hell of a lot more than just one glaring flaw in your leadership skillz before people will kick you to the curb, and sometimes even then they still won’t, as long as you’re sufficiently good at other things. Bashere should have told Perrin about his psycho tree-burying general, instead of Rand; maybe Perrin would have gotten more out of the example.

(For the sake of argument, I’m pretending that the theoretical followers here actually have the option of ousting bad leaders. They kind of don’t, of course, but that’s not really my point here. Though of course y’all can make it the point in the comments if you so desire.)

As for Galad, I’m never not going to have issues with his whacked-out philosophical underpinnings, but if leadership merit was measured strictly in terms of sheer bloody-minded fuck-you badassedness, he’d be President of the World.

Fortunately, this is not the case. But even so: Damn, boy.

And that’s really all there is to say about this chapter, other than that Perrin’s swirly Technicolor Ta’veren Telepathy™ finally establishes where his (and Galad’s) storyline is compared to everyone else’s. Which is to say, WAY the hell behind. So that’s good to know, I guess?

…And, yeah. So have a lovely post-Memorial Day Tuesday if that be your national inclination, and I will see you next week!

Matt Spencer
1. MisunderstoodMe
On the topic of the book of translation I suppose there could be other worlds that are distinct and seperate from wheel worlds. Or there could be pseudo victories where the Dark One wins but doesn't break out. The world would likely be very unpleasant to live in even if all of creation wasn't wiped out.

Was the title ever actually clarified by any of Team Jordan? Towers of Midnight still seems to be at least slighly refering to the Seanchan towers given that they are called the exact same thing as the book.
Stefan Mitev
2. Bergmaniac
Almer Bun speaking about Elaida back in EOTW:

"Caemlyn is the grandest there is. Couldn’t be grander. No, it couldn’t. Unless maybe Queen Morgase, the Light illumine her, got rid of that witch from Tar Valon.”

Rand was lying back with his head pillowed on his blanketroll atop the bundle of Thom’s cloak, watching the night drift by, letting the farmer’s words wash by him. A human voice kept the darkness at bay and muted the mournful wind. He twisted around to look up at the dark mass of Bunt’s back. “You mean an Aes Sedai?”

“What else would I mean? Sitting there in the Palace like a spider. I’m a good Queen’s man—never say I’m not—but it just isn’t right. I’m not one of those saying Elaida’s got too much influence over the Queen. Not me. And as for the fools who claim Elaida’s really the queen in all but name. . . .” He spat into the night. “That for them. Morgase is no puppet to dance for any Tar Valon witch.”

So it's consistent.

BTW, I much prefer Dark Rand to Jesus Rand so far, the former is much more interesting.

Good to see Galad's captivity ending so quickly, I remember I was worried we would have another one of those long "character X is captured and it takes a long time to be released" plotlines Jordan loved so much.

As for Perrin as a ledaer, I've always thought the Pattern and Faile do most of his work for him and he's nothing special.
3. arcee
I'm pretty sure the murderer in Seandar is not Semirhage, but one of the many people fighting for the crytal throne after Semirhage killed the Imperial family.
4. jmd
I too was relieved to see new Rand come down the mountain. And I wondered if this was another Arthurian reference - don't they call Avalon the Isle of Apples at one point?

And Buffy/Angel reference FTW!!
Rob Munnelly
5. RobMRobM
Randland is a small world but I wouldn't want to paint it. (Steven Wright reference RTW). EDIT: Bonus Wright bon mot, almost more on point re Rand: "You can try to change the world...but if the jack slips, you better get the hell out of the way."

Could the Seanchan murderer be: Demandred?
6. Faculty Guy
Usually I come in late in the commentary - frequently TOO late.

Leigh, the "all there is to say about this chapter" is correct if one addresses the major points, but there is at least one "small" item that I'd like to see resolved eventually: why DID Annoura repeatedly meet with Masema? And what WAS going on between Masema and the Seanchan?

There are "small" things like this strewn throughout the novels, and they increase my fascination with the saga. MANY of them are later resolved in brilliant ways that I really like. SOME of them are "never" (i.e., not yet) resolved, and there are enough of these that I despair of having a complete resolution, yet remain fascinated by their inclusion. Why include them if they are never resolved? Yet MOST are resolved, so there remains a slight hope the rest will be. (OR: could it be that I simply am not RECOGNIZING the explanation?)

Can hardly wait until the final book appears, and then I'll probably bitch if there are remaining unresolved mini-mysteries like this . . .
Bill Reamy
7. BillinHI
Have to agreee with arcee @ 3 that the "murderer in Seandar" has to be one of the Seanchan blood trying to grab the Empress's throne. I can't believe that Semirhage let it be known that she was the one who killed the royal family - to me, it's likely that whoever discovered the killing is assumed to be the killer by everyone else.

I guess that the contrast between where the wind started and where it finished was something that RJ/BWS wanted to show but if we don't get more details of what happened on the Seanchan continent, I'm not sure I see the point.
Rob Munnelly
8. RobMRobM
@6 - Seems clear that Masema was under control of a Foresaken (based on his POV in TGS). Likely guess is that Suroth's Foresaken (Semi?) made a connection so that Masema would add chaos to southern Randland. Re Annoura, she smells pretty Dark to me at this point.

Damon Garner
9. IrishOmalley
I believe I read somewhere that Towers represent the Forsaken?

Jedi Master Rand- We didn't get a POV from Rand until the end when he was dreaming about Lanfear. We'll see how Zen like he really is in AMOL me thinks.
10. a random dude
"bloody-minded fuck-you badassedness"

One of the best ever!!!
jeremiah gaster
11. jer
What i didn't get until this book was that the oiger were alien and that the "book of translation" would transport them off world.

But no one but me seems suprised, so how and when did people know?
12. Lsana
As far as "Where are the Ogier going to go that's safe from the Dark One," maybe that is part of the point that Loial made in his speech: that no distant planet or parallel world is safe, that if the DO breaks free, everyone everywhere is truly hosed, might as well stay and fight rather than hiding somewhere and hoping that the DO won't find you (because he will).

Other commentators have beaten me to it, but there doesn't seem to be much of a contradiction between being fond of Morgase and Elayne and loathing the Aes Sedai as an organization. Between them, Elaida and Suian did do quite a bit of damage to the reputation of Aes Sedai in Andor.

Like others, I suspect that the "murderer" who openly rules in Seanchan is one of Semi's minons rather than Semi herself, but I must admit that I really don't give a damn about the Seanchan or who rules them.
Kimani Rogers
13. KiManiak
Thanks again, Leigh.

Glad you started with the preface! I know it was mentioned in the last 2 posts, but I was curious about, and eager to read, your thoughts regarding Loial’s words. Yes, the fact that we are reading Loial’s words in a book he wrote lends weight to the likelihood that he was very convincing. Then again, you never know with Team Jordan.

As for the point of using the Book of Translation: I would suggest that from the Ogier’s point of view, maybe they don’t believe the Dark One would destroy all of creation. Just like the Forsaken (except for Ishmael/Moridin) and the Darkfriends, maybe they believe that the Dark One’s victory would lead to some form of dystopia where the Dark One rules supreme; not the End of Days. So opening the Book of Translation would allow them to leave that realm. Of course, this also has a ring of: screw the humans; leave them to fend for themselves. But, so be it.

Jesus Rand: Leigh, like your current 2012-incarnation, I disagree with your 2010-self about wanting old-school Rand back. Because, yes, old-school Rand had become detestable, and very painful to read. Even in this first chapter, you sense an air of peace around this new Rand.

Um, I don’t think the “murderer” who rules in Seandar is Semirhage, but someone else who has usurped the throne. It’s his/her fleet that’s doing the sacking and conquering. I’m just saying… Plus, wasn’t there a mention of the Towers of Midnight in Seanchan by a minor character books ago? Maybe by Egeanin or one of Turoth’s da’covale? I saw this as Team Jordan continuing to wrap all of the little things back together, similar to the call back to Almen Bunt.

Perrin: Still in the early stages of learning what type of leader (and man) he is, and accepting the mantle and burden of that leadership. Since he does do a lot of development and evolving in this book, I can go through this part with some patience.

Galad: Part of me actually believes that Galad could have hung on til the very end denying he was a Darkfriend, regardless of the amount of torture the Questioners subjected him to. His mentality of doing what’s right, no matter what, may have been strong enough to hold onto, no matter the atrocities inflicted upon him. Thankfully, we’ll never know.

Goodbye Asunawa. You will not be missed. By anyone. Ass.

Back to Galad, I think its an interesting compare/contrast this chapter between Galad and Perrin. Galad was willing to sacrifice it all for the sake of his people; Perrin was (he thinks) only willing to sacrifice it all for Faile. Both believe they would do the same thing over again. However, at the end of his section, Galad is willing to accept leadership because he must; Perrin still isn’t there yet. Both characters still need to develop and refine their perspectives. However, Galad’s issues aren’t with leadership; they are with accepting and working with others.

I do like (and agree) with Leigh’s observation regarding Bashere’s story about the psycho general. Perrin did need to hear that as much as Rand did.

Bergmaniac@2 – re: “witch” – good call back. I got the impression that Almen was a “Queens-man,” but that didn’t automatically make him an Aes Sedai supporter. The two can be mutally exclusive.

arcee@3 – re: “the murderer” – Clearly, I agree. I think we may even meet (or hear about) this person in AMoL by way of gateway (or, it could be Demandred as some speculate, like RobMRobM@5)

Faculty Guy@6 – re: Annoura – Yes, I also want to know. It seems that the table is being set for us to think she is a Darkfriend/Black Ajah, but now I’m thinking that’s too easy/obvious. I’m really curious to see how this is resolved. But, I don’t think an explanation was given yet.

Irish@9 – Egwene’s Dream later on in this book (I believe) provides some link between 13 towers and the Forsaken. But, I don’t think the actual Towers in Seandar were meant to represent the Forsaken. Or, at least, we have not been given reason to think that yet.
14. Hammerlock
Yeah, I think Semi's plan re Seanchan was just to off the entire line of succession on that side of the pond and then let the remaining "Blood" fight it out for themselves. Which they obliged in "Blood"y fashion.
The Seanchan towers are called the Towers of Midnight; from what I've gathered they are the Seanchan "Doom Bunkers" and that their use indicates just how bad/apocalyptic things are for their society. Of course, the title also uses that turn of phrase in a nice bit of multiple meanings.

As for the witch comment--Just because the Tower has close ties to the Royal Family, doesn't mean the Aes Sedai are trusted/liked individually. See: every scene with an AS in a village, ever. They are feared and respected for their power, but not trusted.
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
15. Lisamarie
Maybe the Ogier are just kind of banking on Team Light winning and hoping to not get involved. My impression is certainly that if the Dark One wins, the book of translation isn't going to help much (but if anything, this re-read has shown me I know a lot less about Wheel of Time than I'd like to think I do).

Anyway, Rob, I think you called me out in the previous post, thanks :) I'm definitely a lurker here, and the GRRM thread as well. Usually there are already so many posts by the time I read that I don't feel like I have much to add, and I'm not as good at keeping all the thoeries straight anyway. I'm more active on the TNG rewatch thread.

But, I enjoy and read every post, even when they are 'controversial' (which is more fun than somebody just writing about all the things they agree with, anyway...so if I seem nitpicky and like I only ever say contrary things when I do comment, it's because I don't think it's that interesting to say, "Yeah, I agree!' and that kind of goes without saying, unless it's something I'm really passionate about).
Roger Powell
16. forkroot
Re: Seandar .. Count me in with RobM who thinks Demandred might be the murderer (or at least behind him.) Remember that Semirhage and Demandred were allies. Seems to me that they might have been working together on the Seanchan continent.

Demandred is supposed to show up with an army - and nobody is particularly scared of a few ragtags from Murandy. But if he can show up with legions from Seanchan (including damane), all gated in (they are not shadowspawn, so they are easy to move) ... well, that's a potential formidable addition to Team Dark.

I must admit that the first time through I missed the significance of the mercenaries and the surprise over food not spoiling. Now I get that we're been shown that Rand is not the only ta'veren to have restorative (or at least preserving) power.

From the "Deeply Satisfying Moments" file: Asunawa losing his head. Too bad it happened off-screen. I would have enjoyed savoring the moment.

I have a distinct impression that Annoura's meetings with Masema will be one of those mysteries not tied up in AMoL. There will undoubtedly be plenty. We can pin our hopes on the Encyclopedia to get most of that stuff resolved.
Jack Jack
17. JackJack
I was going to make a point about the Perrin/Galad com/con, but KiManiak beat me to it.

Perrin vs. Leadership:
"Aw geez aw crap aw damn gaarrgggggg these people! I hate this crap."

Galad vs. Leadership:
"Ok, I got this, pretty much."
18. wcarter4
I seem to recall the same thing Leigh, in fact I thoutht that was the crux of Loial's argument to his mother on why they should fightn in KoD...'This Is Everyone's Fight/What's the point in leaving if we all die anyway if the light loses?'
Ted Herman
19. WinespringBrother
I would have liked to see more regarding the Towers of Midnight besides a passing mention in the Wind description, especially since it is rumored that they will be reoccupied by the Imperial Family at a time of great need (for what reason?). BTW, they are mentioned to be real towers in the city of Imfaral, located northwest of Seandar, both in the BWB and the glossary of Towers.
Jack Jack
20. JackJack
@19. WinespringBrother
You just made me theorize the ships could be from Shara.
21. nipper
I always thought Semi had help set up a new DF (like she tried with Suroth) to rule Seachan proper.

I still think Demandred is ruling in Murandy as the King. Too many clues point to that. Of course, they also pointed to him being Taim as well.
22. Curtain Jerker
I'm more partial to "Jesus al'Thor" over "Jesus Rand," but we're arguing semantics.

I like this new Rand, if for no other reason that it signifies that the End Times are upon us.
Gary Singer
23. AhoyMatey
Thanks as always for an entertaining post, Leigh.

I'm not sure if Jordan did say in a Q&A that the Dark One being freed on one world would free him on all worlds. I had thought that he did too, but couldn't find a link...

But Verin says in TDR specifically that the Creator, Dark One and TAR are constant in all worlds, and the DO being freed in one world frees him in the others. That's pretty much the only reference I could find.
Deana Whitney
24. Braid_Tug
I'll have more to say later, but I've been waiting to get this off my chest.

I hate that Perrin's time line is SO FAR behind the rest of the story!!! Wish RJ had advanced his story more in KoD.

The biggest thing that bugged me about ToM is that Tam kept popping up with Perrin when he was just with Rand.

It kept throwing me out of the story. Wish Brandon had moved Perrin's story along to catch up with everyone else - then we saw Jesus Rand. But since I did that on a re-read, I also realize you are over 400 pages into the story before "First Apples" would appear in the book. And everyone wanted to know what was going on with Rand after “Veins of Gold”, so his reappearance was great!

Yet we have the typical "Brandon Avalanche" starting, so POV has to keep jumping around.

Thank you for letting me get that out of my system.
j p
25. sps49
Maybe both are Towers of Midnight?

And I may have skipped the Preface entirely. I don't remember it at ALL. Where's my book...?
26. Seraphyn
I have to say, I had a great deal to say, but most of it was already covered by previous posters. KiManiac @13 hit most of my points.

I'd just like to add I too believe it wasn't Semi who was the murderer in Seanchan. I think that it's possible she had either someone under her there who continued work on her behalf or she just let the chaos take over. I am more inclined to believe the first however.

I was also thinking Demandred could be in Seanchan as well... no one knows where he is. Perhaps it's because he's literally been off the map. Semi had her hands on the leadership, but Seandar is huge. He could have been working to help overthrown the throne there to increase the chaos. Just a thought.

Back to Loial, I agree with others again here... I always assumed they were just running to stay out of the way during the fighting. Either the world would end or not, but they wouldn't be involved in the struggle. Perhaps they're from Switzerland? (Ha.) They remind me of the Ents from LOTR... beings that are peaceful and want to stay out of the doings of the "hasty" races, but when roused... watch out. I have this feeling that Loial will be leading a charge of them in the last battle.
Erin C
27. Wishflower
Organic vs. messianic farming methods, haha! Love that.

Even the first time I read ToM I was so releived when Jesus Rand walks onto the scene. I've never fully understood the dislike of his correct persona (as in the one the DR needs to win the LB), but your explaination about not reading TGS immediatly beforehand does explain it a bit.

I love that Loial is the "last" Speaker and I agree that he'll convince them to stay. He'd better, I've been waiting to see more Ogier battle action since the Elder Haman + Loial tag team scene a Lord Algarin's Manor!

Lovely re-read Leigh, thanks for your hard work! -^_^-
Pat .
28. dolphineus
What is a stedding?
You cannot touch the source in one.
Dark One's minions are reluctant to enter.
Ghosts cannot enter.
During the breaking some crazy males Aes Sedai took refuge within stedding, so we know they existed at least during the breaking, if not before.

But what are they?
Are they of this world? Part of another?
Were there always stedding? Were they created? By whom? I don't think it was a One Power thing.

Have we ever had a quote from Team Jordan on them? (other than RAFO)
My thinking has been leaning towards they have something to do with the song the Tinkers are looking for.
Gary Singer
29. AhoyMatey
KiManiac @13: You think Asunawa's close friends (if he had any) would have called him Ass for short? :)
Teresa Nielsen Hayden
30. tnh
Faculty Guy @6:
There are "small" things like this strewn throughout the novels, and they increase my fascination with the saga. MANY of them are later resolved in brilliant ways that I really like. SOME of them are "never" (i.e., not yet) resolved, and there are enough of these that I despair of having a complete resolution, yet remain fascinated by their inclusion. Why include them if they are never resolved?
I can answer this one: it's a genre technique.

Those things are there because you're fascinated by their inclusion. Because you know there's something interesting or beautiful or logical lurking in that unseen space. Because a book that spelled out and nailed down every one of these flickering marginal illuminations would simultaneously be glutted with exposition, yet be smaller overall because it would take place in an entirely known and finite universe. There'd be no roads diminishing to pinpoints in the distance, no further mountain ranges disappearing into bluer and bluer haze, no rooms half-glimpsed through a momentarily open door, and no unread histories on the bookshelves.

As we say at the workshop where I teach every autumn, "if your beta reader says 'That's fascinating, I'd love to know more about it,' the appropriate response may well be 'Good!'."
Samuel Walker
31. lambada
I always thought that the blood red ships heading south were a reference to the red veiled aiel in the blight...
Roger Powell
32. forkroot
I don't think KOD ends with the characters that far out of sync. The problem lies with the fact that RJ intended for AMoL to be one more (gigantic book.) When BWS realized that just wasn't possible, he made the decision to accelerate Rand and Egwene's story lines so that TGS could conclude with some spectacular scenes (vs mostly setup.)

It does lead to some awkwardness, but I think he made the right decision. Remember, we had been waiting four years for the next installment. If TGS was mostly setup, we'd have all been bitterly disappointed.

Well said - but I'm still hoping for lots of resolutions in the Encyclopedia. WoT is not just another fantasy series and deserves a bit more complete background. Of course, there's always room for a few mountain ranges in blue haze.
Kimani Rogers
33. KiManiak
JackJack@17 – Don’t let my (sometimes over-) wordiness stop you from making your points. My attitude: the more, the merrier. Plus, I like your succinctness.

Seraphyn@26 – Yeah, I may suffer from Wall-of-Text-itis, but I gladly welcome your input. I’m sure you probably have insights that I may miss. Btw, I’m with you on Semi; not sure about Demandred; and don’t know what’s going on with the Ogier :-)

Ahoymatey@29 –Doubt he had friends, but I’m betting they would do that behind his back. If I was in the Children of the Light (Heavens forbid!) then chances are high that I would probably refer to him as “Ass” whenever he wasn’t around, and I’m pretty sure I would detest the guy. However, that (and many other actions I would take) would probably lead to me being arrested, tortured and strung up by the Questioners in no time, flat. I’m polite (at times), but not really good at biting my tongue…
34. My Amyrlin > Your Amyrlin
@19 WinespringBrother
Moreover, these ships probably sneaked in from the other side, thus proving that the world is round!

Lord Captain Vordarian must have some handy Book of Translation of his own, or should we call him Count Vordarian?
35. My Amyrlin > Your Amyrlin
Uhm, that meant to be @20 JackJack, not
@19 WinespringBrother, sorry.
Thomas Keith
36. insectoid
Great post, Leigh, as always. Glad you finally remembered the Prelude. ;)

Loial: Is so smart. And is so totally going to lead the Ogier to the Last Battle. That is all.

Yay, Zen Master Rand! It being a relief that he's no longer icky-True-Power-leaking-colossal-jerk Rand would be the understatement of the Third Age.

I don't remember Almen Bunt from TEotW. I think I will let the Internets educate me for a moment...

...ah, there. Taught Mat and Rand about Caemlyn a bit. I see Bergmaniac @2 caught that bit about "witches".

"Murderer who openly ruled": Well, it's possible that Semi set up a puppet ruler. Alternatively, she could have just let the Lord of Chaos rule, and it is a random murderer ruling.

Blah, blah, emo Perrin...

Galad: Is so lucky that his men would follow him to the end of the world. But, severed heads? Eesh.

37. Wortmauer
One thing I noticed right off is that the wind's path is a lot longer than usual. Usually the wind blows over just a small portion of the map. This time it blows across much of Seanchan, then crosses the Aryth Ocean and most of Randland.
For hours, the wind blew — making what would have been called tradewinds in another Age
Hours? Days is more like it. If the Aryth Ocean is 600 leagues wide and the wind is 20 knots, that's roughly 4 days. Add the time to cross much of Seanchan and Randland, to end up in eastern Andor, and the opening paragraphs actually span at least a 10-day week, maybe two. There should have been a lot of "And there was evening, and there was morning" in there, yes?

(Does anyone know how wide the ocean actually is? Or how wide either Seanchan or Randland are? Maybe this information is in the BBoBA?)
matthew choat
38. choat
i think demandred is gathering an army of aiel male channelers in the blight
thats all i have
Daryl Strickler
39. Seacaptain13
Asunawa = Dead, One of the ones I have been waiting for, now if we can just add Fain to that list. I will say I like Dark Rand much better than Jesus Al'Thor. I remember reading something once that said that a character was so bloody goody two shoes that he had to die (I think it was Elistan from Dragonlance). I hope this doesn't happen with Rand even with the prophecies but if the Age Lace gets torn down anything can happen and prophecies be damned!
40. neverspeakawordagain
Re: Demandred: I'm 100% convinced (which, of course, probably means I'll end up being wrong) that he's ruling Shara, or at least assembling his army from Shara. Shara's got to be in a bit of chaos since Graendal stole their leaders, and since it's always been in the background but never quite come to the fore (although I do seem to recall a Sharan appearing in a bar with Thom... can't remember if it was in this book or The Gathering Storm), it makes sense as a place that Demandred -- who's also always been in the background but never come to the fore -- would be.

I was kind of filled with dread at the beginning here where it became evident that this book was going to be Perrin-heavy, since I'd last enjoyed Perrin chapters was in, uh, The Shadow Rises (although Dumai's Wells was of course very cool), but I honestly enjoyed Perrin's whole arc in this book, which was incredibly refreshing.

Although (spoiler for this book, which, duh) the first time I read Towers of Midnight, I was so eager to get to the Mat in Finland scene that I completely skipped over the whole Perrin forging scene (I skipped a total of about 300 pages of this book on my first readthrough in eagerness to get to Finland, and didn't read them until about a year later), which was kind of stupid of me.
Gary Singer
41. AhoyMatey
KiManiac @33: I should have put a smiley at the end of that post. Fixed! :)
42. alreadymadwithslaughter
IMHO Semirhage did not stay around for the aftermath of slaughtering the Imperial Family. She just went in, did the deeds and bailed out. The "murderer" who openly ruled was the next guy who took advantage of it.
43. andagil
I'll jump on the bandwagon of those saying they think the murderer in Seandar is an unknown-to-us usurper instead of Semirhage. I don't think it's Demandred either, though. I have a hunch that his reveal will truly surprise everyone.

I was ecstatic to see Jesus Rand coming down the mountain, although I remember having just re-read tGS right before first picking up ToM. Having said that, I thought that Rand's jouney up to this point was utterly compelling, with his long and painful plunge into darkness and despair necessary for his character, as well as for us to truly appreciate where he is at now. I started the series after tFoH was out for awhile (I remember having to wait six whole months for LoC, and thinking that that was an interminable length. HAH!). Having shared Rand's descent into darkness for lo these many years, my strongest feeling when reading this chapter (as well as his epiphany in Veins of Gold) was:

He's earned this.

Seacaptain13 @39 I don't believe that we need worry about Rand being too goody-two-shoes. The fact that Nynaeve Delves him later on and finds that he still has that HUGE Shadow cloud surrounding his brain that she is unable to extricate an indication that there are still more problems ahead for him in the emotional/psychological department, imo.

Not much to say about Perrin here as it's mostly setup for later awesomeness from him. However, it did remind me of a minor annoyance I had with this arc (even though it doesn't occur in this chapter). They make a big deal about Grady informing Perrin later on about saidin being clean, which was kinda cool... except for the fact that he'd already done so in KoD. It was minor, but it did take me out of the story for a moment.

I was a bit disconcerted initially that Galad's conflict w/ Asunawa was so quickly resolved. Then I asked myself, "Do I really want this drawn out any longer?" Yay for brevity sometimes.
44. Ryamano
On the topic of who rules in Seandar: I never thought about Semirhage. Way too much temporal discontinuity. So not "obvious" for me.

I think the murderer is either

1) some random general who got power and has spent the last book consolidating it (can't be one of Tuon's siblings, since Semirhage killed them all)

2) the same as 1, but the guy is a Darkfriend and is going to lead all those remaining Seanchan against the Light

3) almost the same as 2, but the guy is Demandred. Remember, all we know about him is "I'm gathering my armies. I'm prepared". These red-sailed fleet and armies could be his forces. I hope it's so. It's either that, Demandred being King Roedran of Murandy or ruling in Shara. Maybe all three?

Also, a pet peeve of mine. I don't like to call this Rand we saw "Jesus Rand", "Jedi Rand" or "Zen Rand". I think there's a more apt name.

Speaks philosophical things that are deep? Can be anyone of those.

Speaks philosophical things, has more than one wife and leads armies at the same time? That's Mohammed Rand, in my opinion.
45. HSonger
I always had the idea that Semihrage simply Travelled to Seandar, put on a Mask of Mirrors and walked through the palace laying light Compulsions on everyone she saw, then stood back to watch the party. I imagine with her background it would be simple to tip the Seanchan imperial household into all sorts of paranoid and wrathful delusions since they were already inclined to assassination as a method of promotion or self-preservation.

I also thought it was odd that the idea of a "murderer openly ruling" was somehow scandalous in Seandar. Pretty much everyone in the line of succession had some family member or another offed as a matter of course, including Tuon, so there was likely never a time that there wasn't a murderer sitting on the throne.
46. NotInventedHere
@34: Talk about jerking you out of the story, here we've got a head rolling around on the floor and Vordarian present and it isn't even his! So much confusion.

This sort of ties in with what is going on in Seanchan, though. I agree with others that Semi isn't the "murderer ruling openly" - the timing just seems wrong, as it seems the wind should be in the same timeframe as J.R. Al'Thor since they share the same chapter. My feeling is she offed the imperial family to cause chaos, but someone else stepped into the void (and likely continued the murder spree to cement their position, hence the 'title'). Obviously the most likely candidate is Vordarian's alter ego, Demandred - taking advantage of the situation to make a grab for the throne. I'm not sure if Tuon or Mat will cordially lop off his head in turn, but hopefully we'll get to see it. Wait; does Vordarian survive the "upcoming" battle(s)? My theory might already be full of holes miles wide.

(Just had to throw that in there - I'm not actually at all convinced that Demandred has anything going on in Seanchan, and that the murderer on the throne is some random person we may or may not ever meet)
47. Makloony
@43 As far as Grady informing Perrin about the taint being gone a second time. BS admitted that it was a mistake. I believe it was fixed in later printings.
Tricia Irish
48. Tektonica
I'm so excited to be doing this book finally! And Zen Rand is just fine with me, thanks. I agree with you Ryanmo, he's earned it. And yes, there's still that dark splotch that Nynaeve can't touch. I dread that coming into play, but it might. Anyway you slice it, Rand's got a tough row to hoe in the upcoming book. I just hope he's achieved lasting balance, and copes wisely and effectively.

As for the Seanchan..... This really threw me for a loop on the first read. What was Seandar doing in this book??? I don't expect the action to go there, but I do think it was a big 'ol hint that something/someone important is happening there. (Or just the completion of the Semiherge kills the Empress plot.)

It could be Demandred, even though I've been in the "Dem's posing as Roedran" camp. The ships with red sails? It could be Demandred's army from, Shara? I do hope the Sharan's don't show up. I know they've been mentioned throughout the series, but we've had no action there, no Sharan povs. I would find it rather deux et machina, actually.

I'm personally kind of p.o.'ed about the whole Demandred mystery. It seems like a waste of a good "baddie" character, and causes a lot of ueseless speculation on our part. *shrug* Just sour grapes on my part.

I do expect to see Loial leading the Ogiers, with their long handles on their axes, into the last battle! I do not believe they'll just "disappear".
Somewhere there was a statement that the DO was in all worlds, including T'ar'arn Rhioid (sp), so "translating" away won't do the Ogier any good. I don't believe they are cowards and would just leave.

Plus, of course, we have Loial's book, and he needs to be near Rand in the last battle to record it all.

Bye bye, Ass-unawa! Good freeking riddance! And I really liked Galad's moxie here. A very brave man.

Perrin....you're still emo. Hurry up and figure things out, will you?

Thanks, Leigh!
49. andagil
Makloony @47 Thanks! I hadn't come across that bit of info before.
50. s'rEDIT
I also thought it was odd that the idea of a "murderer openly ruling"
was somehow scandalous in Seandar. Pretty much everyone in the line of
succession had some family member or another offed as a matter of course
Hold on a moment . . .maybe that's the point! Since they always have a murderer ... at least what we'd call a murderer ... on the throne, maybe this person really is someone who has done something other than simply "offing" a relative who stood in the way? Maybe there's something else going on that is hinted at in this reference to a murderer being on the throne?

Or maybe I'm getting lost in minor details?

What do you all think?
Rob Munnelly
51. RobMRobM
Vordarian and a head in a bag, not his, LOL. Maybe he'll be in trouble next time Cordelia goes shopping in the capitol.

Demandred remains the biggest of the puzzles remaining in the series. Why did Sammael think trouble "in the South" had his fingerprints on it? Why did the DO congratulate him after Dumai's Wells? Why? Where the heck is he - Murandy, Seanchan, Shara, Surundychan?
Kimani Rogers
52. KiManiak
AhoyMatey@41 – Darn it. I forgot to put a smiley (or two) on mine. I knew you were joking; thought it was pretty good, too. One of my problems with me posting: it seems that my “tone” doesn’t always come across the way I mean it too. My post@33 can read as too serious, I guess, when it’s me being playful and sarcastic.

Anyway, Asunawa is an ass :-)

RobMRobM@51 – I echo the Demandred comment. I expect the reveal to answer some questions but not address others. What were the events in the south that appeared to have his hand on it? Why did the Dark One express pleasure at the end of LoC? Why did he inform Moridin that his armies are gathering for war in KoD (or was it TGS; I forget)? You combine those 3 events and a likely guess of his actions is either Murandy or Shara (both “south-ish” of Shayol Ghul), but then why be commended by the Dark One after LoC?

I don’t know. Unless we’re all missing something obvious, I think the reveal may still not address some of the questions surrounding him.
53. Wotman
I think the seanchar opening was good, it set up conditions where the high and mighty are not so mighty. Tuon has to make a decision that could cost her the throne, stay and fight the DO (even their myths indicate in a slightly skewed angle they need to fight at TG). She could go home and clean house but then she is an also ran and loses her newly acquired land along with the DO winning.
I think I read somewhere during one of those forsaken meetings that Demandred was mildly rebuked for spending too much time in Seandar and not focusing on Rand. I remmeber because it made me realize that the DO was not just focused on Randland. So I believe that Demadred was stirring up trouble but was not directly involved as a leader of the uprisng.

As for leadership between Galad and Perrin, unfortunately we in this world have many so called leaders like Perrin. Too focused on their own agendas to worry about anything else including the health and welfare of their own constituents. On the other hand, when you have someone in charge that is too holier than thou, well you get yet another set of problems. Perfect would be the blending of the two.

I agree with Perin's assessment, he screwed the pooch on that and he knows it, wifey only supports him by pointing out what she sees and ignores the rest and really does him a disservice by bolstering his ego at the wrong time.

I think the authors try to give you an idea of time frame by using the whirly color thingy gizmo to give you an idea of the timeline by showing who is doing what in a glimpse of each taveren.

Rand really is GOOD, yeah!! I knew that, I did get a kick out of his aura turning everything to good for a change.

I do feel the Ogier are aliens and they were ready to transport back to where they came from. They had already abandonded humanity back at the breaking so no big deal there. Loial did give a preview of his speaking skills in an earlier book so I expect great things, although I am not sure if it will be a live performance or they just show up in the nick of time thing.
I also agree that they are who the tinkers are looking for, because
when Rand he saw the history of the Aiel there was a scene with the Ogier singing to the fields and the aiel were connected with them. But I don't understand why they haven' realized that yet because there was some interaction between them I think, along with the Aiel.
54. Wotman
I forgot something, where can I buy Loials's book - The Dragon Reborn?
The Excerpt is making me want to read more!!
Jeff Schweer
55. JeffS.
"In that moment, my nervousness fled. I felt only a stillness, a calm sense of purpose. I opened my mouth, and I began to speak."
Ogier can attain the void and the flame as Tam taught Rand way back in TEOTW and Lan has spoken of often.
Do the different portal worlds imply that there are some beyond the DO's reach as well as some where he has already won like in TGH chapter 16? (Trolloc monument instead of Hawkwings victory tower)
Or, is that a delusion and as many have already stated, DO wins in one, he wins in all.

I'm firmly in the, "he wins in all" camp but wonder if this is where Loial's Mom is coming from.

If I'm missing something obvious here, break it to me gently...

As far as Galad and Perrin's bits here, JackJack @ 17 nailed it.

Apples First is the purest form of "The Dragon is one with the land" on a positive side of things and 180 degrees opposite from the time he walked out on the starving city of Bandar Eban in TGS. Took you long enough to get there Rand, but worth the wait.
Ready for "the Amyrlin's Anger" or not as the case may be...
I am only an egg
57. Shadow_Jak
...wrecked Seandar, where “a murderer openly ruled
I'm thinking maybe they mean the new Empress.
She could be considered to rule in Seandar, the capital, wherever she happend to actually be residing.

Maybe Semi pin'd the blame on Tuon when she 'iced' the Empress and company. And maybe the red-sailed ships are sailing for Randland to pull exact vengence.

Also, what does good ole Almurat Mor (the Seeker) think about Tuon's return and assumption of the Throne?
Robert Crawley
58. Alphaleonis
@44 Ryamano

I lean more toward the name "Moses Rand". He can do many of the things Moses did: Singlehandedly defeated the greatest military power on earth (trollock hordes/Pharoes army), created food out of nowhere (apples/manna). But unlike Jesus, he still can't raise the dead, unless I've missed something. Like Moses, he is a great "Champion of The Light"; but he is not The Light! So no, Jesus Rand does not fit.

Does Mohammed Rand fit? I don't know enough. Did Mohammed do any of these miraculous things?
Ron Garrison
59. Man-0-Manetheran
where “a murderer openly ruled”:

Where’s the evidence it’s Semirage? I still say it’s her ol' pal Demandred. Do you really think she would trust a puppet ruler? Does she trust anyone? And all those leftover damane: if I were Demandred, I'd want them for my army.
Karan J
60. karanj
@16 forkroot finally gives me a good reason to believe Dem is in Seanchan and has it "all under control" as we were assured. It also gives Tuon a reason to get on side with the Randlanders - she'd be best placed to handle anything incoming from Seanchan. Then again, I was kind of hoping we'd never hear nor see those guys again beyond the lot that are in Randland already...
Margot Virzana
61. LuvURphleb
Demandred in Seandar? That is plausible i suppose but didnt Jordan once say "its not Taim but hes right there." Or something along those lines?
To me that says that Demandred is on the main land.
Whitecloaks- check
Arad Doman- check
Aiel- check
what if he's hanging out with the borderlands?
Rand, and us readers, has only been there in bks one and two and that was only one town. The other times we jump over there it is a very short POV that usually ends in death (except Lan and hes already through the borderlands)
What if he is Beslan?
He's either the character we all should have known better or the character that will randomly pop up, go boo and we'll all just ignore him because we dont care anymore, his identity wasnt important.
So at this point I am pretty much open to any suggestion.
But if he is in Seandar that will be a let down since its pretty much a memory to a preview of a sideline.
He could be some Andoran Lord or ...
62. Ways
Ogier = aliens? Whoa! Didn't see that one coming. Discussed previously or foreshadowed somewhere? I suppose it almost tracks when you think about it.

IIRC portal worlds were possible alternate realities, not for sure.

I can't imagine the rag-tag remanants of Seanchan armies/navies in Seandar, or the Sharans for that matter, willing fighting on the dark side in the LB. Also, IMHO the Seachans in Rand Land will eventually come around to fight for the light side (facilitated by Mat).
Jack Jack
63. JackJack
Well, when Graendal noted that "events in the south" had Demandred's schtunk about it, the Return was pretty much underway, south of the meeting.
Philip Alan Smith
64. AlanS7
The references to cleansed saidin in KoD are unemphatic, whereas in ToM Grady stresses the importance to him, that he could now fight to live, rather than merely die, fighting or not. It feels very different to me.
Gary Singer
66. AhoyMatey
@55:This should help with different worlds and the DO: http://encyclopaedia-wot.org/books/tdr/ch21.html (My post gets swallowed if I make it an actual link. Funny, because preview works. Anyway...)
67. nae77blis77

I was convinced Demandred was Taim. However after that whole thing fell through I was convinced he was Asunawa, until he too got put out of commission.

Asunawa was "South", had control of an army, was caught reading books reserved for new recruits, had a deal with the Seanchan, who were being run by Semi. Then he was promptly beheaded off screen. Hardly the way to despose of a big baddie.

Now I don't bloody know where he is again! I guess I'll have to look into the 'King' Roderic of Murandy. I've never been so frustrated by those slippery chosen.
Jonathan Levy
68. JonathanLevy
2. Bergmaniac
Good job bringing that quote, makes it perfectly clear now.

Re: Ogier
I think the Ogier figure that the Dark One will be defeated, just like he was in all previous turnings of the wheel, but his defeat will entail much death and destruction in this world, and they prefer to wait things out in another world where his defeat won't affect them as much.
(I see 15.Lisamarie said pretty much the same thing)

Re: Semirhage
Yeah, you said exactly what I was thinking.

Re: Perrin vs. Galad
Good comparison.

22. Curtain Jerker
How about Randal Christ?

42. alreadymadwithslaughter
(Semirhage) just went in, did the deeds and bailed out. The "murderer" who openly ruled was the next guy who took advantage of it.
Not to nitpick, but I think the "murderer" who openly ruled was more likely to be the one *after* the next guy who took advantage of it. :)

47. Makloony
Re: Grady informing Perrin about Saidin a second time.
I missed that completely. Thanks for pointing it out, I'm going to try to remember to look it up and read it myself.
63.JackJack That was Sammael, during a conversation with Graendal (LoC 6):
"Of course he does. Not how much I tell you, but that I tell you something. I am trying to bring us together, Sammael, before it is too - "
He cut in sharply. "You deliver a message to Demandred from me. Tell him I know what he is up to." Events to the south had Demandred’s mark all over them. Demandred had always liked using proxies. "Tell him to be careful. I won’t have him or his friends interfering in my plans." Perhaps he could direct al’Thor’s attention there; that would likely put an end to him.
It's interesting to note that this argues against Demandred's being on another continent - otherwise, how likely is it that he would wind up interfering with the plans of Sammael (who is in Illian), and how practical would it be to direct Rand's attention half a world away?
Terry McNamee
69. macster
Loial: Awesome, though with everything else that has to happen in AMoL we likely won't get to see his speech and the Ogier will just show up to save the day. And yeah, I'm with everyone else that Loial's argument will match yours (and the one he gave his mother in KOD), that there is no world they can go that will be safe if the Dark One wins--or even if there is, to go there instead of helping to fight, as they did during the Trolloc Wars, would be cowardly.

Zen Rand: While we later see turns of phrase, attitudes, and knowledge that suggest more of Lews Therin than Rand, I think the point he makes to Min, that he is Lews Therin and Lews Therin is him, is valid and apt: it may not seem like it now, but this is indeed Rand, merely a more mature and knowledgeable Rand freed of the madness of the taint and all the stress, pressure, and brokenness that came with it. And he is indeed most welcome to see.

Almen: I just wanted to say I like the connection someone made on Theoryland, that it translates to "all men", implying he's a symbol here of the common man, all of Randland that needs Rand's healing Dragon/Fisher King touch and is now finally getting it through the apples. (Oh, the symbolism is delicious! Or should that be "Delicious"?)

The murderer in Seandar can't be Semirhage, the timing is way off as you said, Leigh. Personally I suspect Demandred (he did have dealings with Semi as others have noted), but it could also be some ambitious Seanchan noble, and/or a Darkfriend. I imagine we'll find out in AMoL. As for why the Towers of Midnight are mentioned: yes, the towers symbolically represent the Forsaken, and Egwene's dream about them, but they were also mentioned elsewhere, both in the Guide and by Egeanin I believe it was, though I searched and searched but couldn't find the reference. So they aren't just coming out of nowhere as symbols or to explain the title.

As to their importance, well if Demandred is the murderer in Seandar, then he and the Seanchan forces he commands will clearly be important in the last book, and therefore the Towers are both relevant and may figure into the story in some way even though we won't be going to Seandar. But there's another explanation, briefly touched on by Winespringbrother @19, from the glossary entry on the Towers in this book:

"Legend has it that in time of dire need, the Imperial family will return to the Towers of Midnight and 'right that which is wrong'." Note the resonance with the last stanza of the Dark Prophecy in The Great Hunt: "The seed of the Hammer burns the ancient tree... Again the seed slays ancient wrong, before the Great Lord comes."

The seed of the Hammer being the Seanchan suggests something very important will happen concerning them and the Towers in the last book. But what that could be, and how it ties to an "ancient wrong", I am not certain. Something relating to Ishamael/Moerad and Hawkwing, maybe--the wrong being how they enslaved the Aes Sedai, coupled with the way Ishy turned Hawkwing against the Aes Sedai? Perhaps "right that which is wrong" refers to freeing the damane. We can only hope.

On Perrin: You're absolutely right that he both is and is not a good leader. What he doesn't realize is that as long as he doesn't allow Faile and danger to her to keep him from doing his duty, he won't have any other flaws to undermine his leadership. Whether he can do so who knows, but then Faile did say she'd do all in her power to make sure nothing else happened to her, and I think by the end of his arc in this book Perrin has matured enough that if something did happen to her he wouldn't cast aside his duties again--now that he's accepted he's a leader and actually wants to lead the Two Rivers becuase no one else will do it right, I don't think he'd let them down, even if he lost Faile.

I do like the contrast here between him and Galad. The fact Galad accepts leadership but doesn't know what he's fighting for (he claims it's for the Light but really it is about following his own personal morality and bettering the Children) while Perrin is the opposite makes them perfect foils, which is why in the end they belong together as fellow warriors and leaders. To use TV Tropes terminology: Perrin is The Heart while Galad is The Stoic, The McCoy to Galad's Spock. Both are needed to have a good, balanced leader. And that's why they end up uniting by the end of this book, so that Perrin can learn that sometimes you have to suffer to do the right thing, while Galad can learn the right thing isn't always what you think it is, but what you feel.

Oh, and thank the Creator Asunawa has finally been gotten rid of. Tool.

@4 jmd: Now that's one I didn't know. Good catch, yet another layer of meaning. Though now that I think about it, I remember a snatch from Susan Cooper's Dark Is Rising, where Arthur tells his son that they will go home to their castle "behind the apple trees"...

@6 FacultyGuy 8 RobM: I'm pretty convinced both Annoura and Masuri are Black, and were involved with Masema and the Shiny Dragon Man. There's a theory all about it on Theoryland but it makes 100% sense to me. Whether we'll find out in AMoL, who knows, but then again Rand hasn't gotten the chance to meet Perrin's Aes Sedai since he gained his Darkfriend Detection Eyes, so a reveal like that could be slotted for the last book. Clearly Semirhage had to be involved to some extent since I can't see why else Suroth would give that letter to Masema, but beyond that...I still suspect Demandred could have been Shiny Dragon Man, since he was allied with Semi and would love the chance to a) impersonate/be Lews Therin and b) screw up his PR by getting Masema to do more atrocities in Rand's name. This would also explain Demandred's "proxy" to the south, especially if he was already in the area with the Whitecloaks.

@13 KiManiak: I see you and I are on the same page with the Galad/Perrin dichotomy. I tried to find the Seanchan who mentioned the Towers before but I couldn't, the WOT Encylopedia was of no help. Anyone?

@26 Seraphyn: Considering all the LOTR parallels Jordan put into TEotW, I'm fairly sure the whole bit about Loial thinking Rand and other humans are too "hasty" was another direct shoutout. Whether that translates to the Ogier coming to the rescue the way the Ents did, we can't be sure, but I hope so!

@28 dolphineus: The WOTFAQ posits the notion that the stedding are not of this world either, based on the Power not being able to work or be felt there and how they weren't damaged by the Breaking. We have no direct confirmation from Jordan but the theory seems to be that the stedding are part of the Ogier's world/dimension and would therefore disappear along with them should they use the Book of Translation; it seems logical, since the Longing means they can't leave the stedding so surely they wouldn't use the Book unless it would take the stedding along too.

This might even tie into why so many Ogier think using the Book will save them: if it will take not just them but also their homeland into another dimension, said dimension may not actually be part of the Pattern/creation and therefore outside the Dark One's touch. Note that the ghosts staying outside the stedding could mean the Dark One himself can't enter or affect the stedding, rather than just the dead can't, since he is responsible for their rising. On the other hand I don't see how something not of the Pattern could be made part of it when the Wheel/Creator wouldn't allow it and the only things we're told are outside the Pattern are the Creator, the Dark One, and TAR. So even if their world is very different/alien, thus explaining the immunity to the Power and irrelevance of outside geography, the Dark One could eventually find and destroy them.

Anyway, I'm sure Loial will convince them not to be cowards so the question is hopefully moot.

@37 Wortmauer: That...is a very interesting point. Jordan did something similar with the wind in KOD that blew all the way from Dragonmount to Ebou Dar and brought the awful stench, and again with the one from the Blight in TGS. It seems to me each wind is getting stronger, perhaps as the Dark One gets closer to breaking free. Still, the fact this one literally connects Seanchan to Randland may suggest, again, that the Towers and what is going on in Seandar will be more important than we realize. The fact it's included at all must mean something, but we won't know what until AMoL.

@43 andagil: I'm glad somebody else noticed that taint goof besides me. And @47 Makloony: it's been corrected? How so--was the whole conversation changed, or did they add into TOM that it had already been revealed before but now they would talk about it in more detail, or what?

@everyone talking about Demandred, but especially 44 Ryamano: I think he is indeed all three: Roedran to explain the "events to the south" bit, how Murandy could finally be united after all this time, and why he/Murandy are staying out of all Randland affairs including the Merrilor meeting (and also to have him nearby if he was indeed involved with Masema/Shiny Dragon Man/Whitecloaks); Seanchan to explain the murderer and because of his connection to Semirhage; and Shara to explain him being off-screen so long and, like Seanchan, the armies he controls.

@46 NotInventedHere: Now that's interesting. It's been mentioned before Demandred might be involved with the Whitecloaks to explain the "events to the south" comment. If you are right, this could have put him on hand to Compel Niall, Valda, or Asunawa, and he'd also still be well-located to be Roedran and be messing with Masema and the Dragonsworn (not to mention his tie to Semirhage could explain Suroth's letter). Hmmm...

@53 Wotman: What you're remembering is when Aran'gar got after Demandred by saying he was supposed to be watching Rand, implying he was off busy somewhere else and depending on Osan'gar to do the watching, or blind luck to help them stumble upon him. Nowhere in there did she actually say he was in Seandar, though he very well could have been in Seanchan. Or, as I said, he's been running around everywhere behind the scenes.

Side note: you may be on to something with the Ogier/Tinkers. I don't recall any time where the two groups interacted at all, save when Loial met the Tinkers in the Two Rivers in TSR, and at that point they were too busy trying to survive Trolloc raids to compare notes. As to how any kind of revelation can happen between them, it would seem the easiest way would be if the Seanchan and Rand do make an alliance; then, when the Ogier come to join Team Light, they could encounter the Tinkers who are all staying around Ebou Dar, and...

@57 Shadow_Jak: Hah, I forgot about Almurat Mor. Whatever did happen to him? Last we saw, I believe, he still believed Domon, Egeanin, and Thom were in on some White Tower plot against Tuon, and had tipped off Karede. I am a bit surprised he didn't appear in the Ebou Dar scene in TGS, but then I doubt a Seeker would come out and draw attention to himelf publicly among all the hoopla over Tuon's return, Beslan's swearing of the oaths, Tylee's return, or the planning of the assault on Tar Valon. With the reappearance of forgotten minor characters, I wonder if he'll show up one last time in AMoL. With the heroes' luck, it'll be to cause problems when Mat comes back to Ebou Dar, or to try and kill/capture Egeanin before she can help Egwene.

@61 LuvURphleb: Can't be Beslan, Jordan says he was no one we'd seen onscreen before KOD. He could be in the Borderlands themselves though, or with the Borderlander armies, but I still think he's Roedran, with all the other plots (Seanchan, Shara, Whitecloaks, Masema) going on on the side to cause chaos.

@64 AlanS7: You're right that the scenes are played differently and have different emotional reactions. I believe the point I and andagil were making (and that Sanderson acknowledged) was that the revelation about the cleansing was made as if it had never been made before (as in, Perrin acted surprised to learn it from Grady). There's nothing wrong with revisiting it to show the meaning the event had for Grady, but Perrin shouldn't have acted surprised about it is all.
Rob Munnelly
70. RobMRobM
"Events in the South." Not to complicate anyone's theories, but Sammael and Graendel were in Arad Doman at the time, and "the South" possibly could refer to Falme. If so, Demandred and/or Semi pushing the Return to enhance instability in Randland MIGHT be the answer. (And MIGHT NOT as well.)
Jonathan Levy
71. JonathanLevy

"Darkfriend Detection Eyes" - that's a great phrase! Did you just make it up, or did I miss it being used before?


Mmnnnnnn, possible, but strained. Let's say you're sitting in Canada and Travel to Mexico for 10 minutes, during which you think to yourself about something happening in the USA. Would you really think 'events to the north'? Or would you think 'Events to the South'?

Most likely you'd either unconsciously use the frame of reference you're used to, or, if you take notice of the changed circumstances, you'd think 'Events in the USA'. The least likely possibility is that you'd use the frame of reference you hopped into for such a short time, with so little effort.

I'm not saying it's logically inconsistent, mind you, just that it's a bit strained. That said, the alternatives are also strained:

Option 1) A location south of both Arad Doman and Illian. In my analogy that would be like saying 'Events to the North' about a location North of both Mexico and Canada, i.e. the North Pole.

Option 2) A location in the south in general, like Murandy or Ebou Dar. In my analogy that would be like saying 'Events to the North' and thinking about Siberia, or Greenland. But if this were the case, 'Events in the North' would be the correct way to say it.

I think we're all going to be a bit disappointed when we find out what Demandred is actually doing. Either he's gathered a big force elsewhere, and Sammael's thought is a red herring, or he's gathered a pitiful force in Murandy, in which case he's just lame, or he's gathered a huge and powerful force in Murandy, which makes no sense given what we know of Murandy.
Terry McNamee
72. macster
@JonathanLevy: I made it up. Consider it my contribution to the various phrases the fandom has come up with, assuming it catches on . ;)

I think it's option 2. But if aside from being in Murandy Demandred also had something to do with Masema or the Whitecloaks, then he could still have armies and the statement could be true instead of a red herring. As to being disappointed, Sanderson has hinted that we'll be shocked and excited, but it wouldn't be the first time the fandom's reaction has surprised a WOT author (Asmodean, Taimandred...). And with all the build-up and theorizing it's probably impossible for some people not to be disappointed. Hopefully it won't ruin the rest of the book for them.
Maiane Bakroeva
73. Isilel
Never understood what the Ogier were smoking with their Book of Translation either. Unless their cosmology doesn't include the notion that when the DO wins in one world, he wins in all of them, that is.

Still dislike Jesus Rand. Of course, I didn't follow Leigh's TGS re-read, LOL. But I did re-read TGS shortly before starting ToM.
While I agree that it was time for the Dark Rand to pull his head out of his posterior and transform into something more constructive, I'd still have wished for a human Dragon, with human limitations. This, along with super-powers displayed later was a disappointment.

Neither know nor care what is going on in Seanchan. It would be impossible to make most of them fight alongside Trollocs and there are far too few DF sul'dam to utilize their damane. IMHO, they won't be much of a factor in TG.

Interesting question re: actual Towers of Midnight, but I strongly suppose that they are a relic of Seanchan's remote past as a land ruled by the Shadow and then channelers steepled in it's traditions. Thus they are probably some kind of a booby trap designed to help the Dark side.

Perrin: meh. Why are we re-treading this again? Didn't we have a very similar material a zillion times before, most recently in TGS? Why not start the wolfy T'AR awesomeness sooner and expand on _that_ instead?

And yea, without the Pattern strong-arming and propping them at every turn, neither Perrin nor Mat would have been leaders, leave alone good ones, so whatever.

BTW, we now know that it isn't just ta'veren influence that keeps spoiling and wilting at bay. Belief and order brings strength indeed - which is why the area around Ebu Dar looked comparatively better, no matter the partial repulsiveness of that belief. Seanchan believe and they actively build and it seemingly gives them a measure of protection. Ditto Elayne's forces, IIRC.

Galad - it is amazingly refreshing to see a male character accepting leadership and doing what needs to be done and what only he can do, without a multi-volume "why meeeee!" whining orgy. Seriously, I don't think that "reluctant leader" is a wholly realistic trope as it is and IMHO WoT has really overdone it.
The only one, who had the right to prolongued denial and self-pity in my eyes was Rand.

P.S. - LOL Vordarian. Imagine that I didn't notice his name on the previous reads! So, is it a homage to Bujold or a blooper?
74. MrKistic
Holy shitballs I can't believe I've caught up! So this is what it feels like to have to wait for a post huh? Not good. Plus the international date line means its even longer. Well first time anyway.
77. alreadymadwithseandar
Man-0-Manetheran @59
She wouldn't have to trust anyone. As far as I am concerned she was done with Seandar. No more plans of ruling or controlling it, just all done.
The Westlands was where all the action was happenin'.
As for the damane, getting them out of Seandar and back into the Westlands would be a logistical nightmare and that's not including the red tape.

JonathanLevy @68
Maybe it's the next guy after the next guy after the next guy who took over?

On Vordarian:
Say what? How did we get from Vordarian to Demandred?

On Seandar:
I was under the impression that RJ was done w/ the Seandar. I.e. nothing more to be elaborated upon until the planned outrigger series. That means, neither Demandred nor Semirhage would care much who was in charge there. Beyond the forces of the Return, they are now reduced to a non-entity, wracked by chaos, destroyed from within.
As for the red-sailed ships.... they could be anybody. Forces loyal to Hawkwing's bloodline coming to reclaim the capital, another usurper come to claim the throne with his army, supporters of the current usurper come to reinforce him.....
Anthony Pero
78. anthonypero
I'm so far behind on comments from all three threads... this has probably been addressed, but I'm going to be annoying and just post it now, since I'm never going to catch up...

Regarding Ogier, the Book of Translation, etc...

Leigh said:
And actually I am a little confused about this Book of Translation thingy anyway, because I was under the distinct impression that if the Dark One actually wins the Last Battle, he wins it on all possible worlds simultaneously. --SNIP-- Ergo, what on earth (no pun intended) would be the good of “translating” the Ogiers to a different, um, whatever (version of Randland? Alternate dimension? World without shrimp?), if that whatever will be just as doomed if Rand and Co. lose as this one will?

What am I missing here? Or is my basic premise wrong? DO tell.
I think the Ogier are not just from another dimension (multiverse) beyond the Portal Stone... but from another universe entirely. One where the Source doesn't exist, no Creator, no Dark One, etc... An entirely separate place with a completely different cosmology. I think that's why the Source doesn't work in the stedding.

So, when they open the Book of Translation, they are going to a different place entirely, where the battle between the Creator and the Dark One doesn't exist. It's the equivelant of the Ships heading West in the Lord of the Rings.

Which is why I think when the Ogier do open the Book of Translation, Rand and Min, and possibly Avihendha and Elayne, will be going with them. This also fits with Avihendha's vision in the Way Way Forward Machine, where it didn't make sense that they wouldn't still be alive (except Min) during the last two visions.
Gary Singer
79. AhoyMatey
@78 anothonypero: That's an interesting theory. I was under the impression that the WoT multiverse is all encompassed by TAR. I don't get why the Ogier would be in Randland if they were from outside the multiverse. What would their motivations be? It's certainly not to defeat evil or the DO. They have long memories, and have fought, but they're not that motivated now. The Seanchan Ogier are even mercenaries.
Glen V
80. Ways
68. JonathanLevy
Randal Christ - (too?) close to Randall Flagg? The symbolic link to Dark Rand is interesting.

53. Wotman and 69. macster
The Tinker's missing song turning out to be the one used by Ogier to sing trees or seed/fields would be a tidy closure. Humans can't sing trees, though, so what's the point? Can they, perhaps, sing seed? Plenty of room for speculation here.

Edited for content
Ron Garrison
81. Man-0-Manetheran
Leigh: "Semirhage had a fleet? Since when? Ooo…kay. I missed that…"

Well, since the Epilogue of KoD, "Remember the Old Saying."
"The ship Semirhage had promised had brought word of the Empress's death and the Empire was racked by rebellion in every quarter."
A ship is not a fleet, but it implies that Semi could order up a ship as needed.

This Epilogue is where many found support for Taim being Demandred with the multiple references to red and black tiles and Taim being fond of them. And of course, the chapter title:
"...you must remember the old saying. Let the lord of chaos rule." The chamber erupted with men's laughter. Pevara had never heard any saying like that. The laugher made the hair on the back of her neck try to stand. {END OF BOOK}
OK, if the authors' declaration that Taim is not Demandred includes Demandred masquerading as Taim, then there are quite a few red herrings in this little epilogue. And what is the other part of the epilogue besides the Black Tower scene? The Seancean plot line and Semi's activities. Good place to sprinkle some red herrings, I say. Add to that the declaration elsewhere that Semi and Demandred liked to work together, well...

Just what is the point of the Seancean storyline anyway? I don't think we can ignore what is happening in Seandar. My gut tells me it is quite important - a lot more important than just what is happening with Tuon. And the towers? They may or may not be instrumental to the story, but they do stand out as a group of exclamation points in a book titled Towers of Midnight — as in, "pay attention here." Ignore Seandar at your peril.
Rob Munnelly
82. RobMRobM
@73 and 77. I'm betting it's a little inside baseball BS homage to Bujold, nothing more. I didn't pick it up on my initial read or first re-read but, to me anyway, it is very amusing and apt.

Roger Powell
83. forkroot
Red and Black are Moridin's colors, not Demandred's. The bit at the end of KoD has spawned a variety of looney theories where Taim is really Moridin in disguise or (more reasonably) Ishydin's protege.

Sorry, your analogy doesn't track. The Westlands in LOTR are certainly a part of the same world, same deities, etc. They are removed and protected post Numenor, but very much in the same world.
84. s'rEDIT
AP@78: Nope, sorry, can't use that analogy. Ships heading West in LOTR did not go to a different universe. They traveled to a different part (dimension?) of the very universe we're in, according to Tolkien's cosmology . . . still ultimately controlled by the Creator: Eru Illuvatar.
85. s'rEDIT
Oops! I see forkroot beat me to it.
86. Greyhawk
I was (and remain) conflicted about Zen Rand. On the one hand he is a much more pleasant character to be around and interact with, however, on the other hand he seems more remote and unknowable from a reader’s perspective. Even when Rand hit rock bottom in TGS, we as readers were able to share in his character’s POV. Now that Rand has “ascended” (Malazan reference) we interact with Rand through other characters almost exclusively. I get that as a literary technique this approach helps with the awe factor, but I have always been attracted to the idea in fantasy that the ordinary little guy can be the hero. If he becomes an unknowable godlike being then is he really the farm boy anymore? By that I do not mean that I am opposed to character growth and maturation, but I still look for a human being to connect with. It is the unknowable transcendent quality that frustrates me. Of course it is easy to sit in the peanut gallery and question what has been written, but it seems to me that it is a little bit of a cop out to write our main protagonist this way. We have been with him from the beginning and now we are shut out?
Chin Bawambi
87. bawambi
Ok, time to fact-check for the gurus. Is the only reference to the DO winning in all worlds a Verin one? Please tell me that team Jordan has confirmed this cosmology but if not (or other book canon) then the only confirm we have of our portal worlds cosmology is a sister who can lie?Don't forget while she was made of awesome she still had to be Black at times just to survive. We tend to white-wash that fact - perhaps she had a Black agenda to steer our heroes in the wrong direction? I don't have books handy can we really trust her in this regard?

88. andagil
Greyhawk @86: I would be more sympathetic to your perpective if this was the last book, but we do get Rand's POV-albeit a short one- at the end of the book, and it seems almost certain that we'll get more in aMoL. I felt that, given the context of the story in this book, it was appropriate to see his actions/behavior solely from outside. It contrasted nicely with all of his inner turmoil that we have witnessed for books and books now, and further emphasized the point that he is different now. Markedly so.
John Massey
89. subwoofer
Sorry for the late arrival... landscaping has been my life these days.

FYI Don't scare crows away, they keep all the lesser bird type creatures out of one's fur.

Loial- well it's about time you put on your big boy pants and stood up to mumsie and the Stump. The Elves didn't leave the humans to fight alone, the Ogier should not leave the humans to fight alone either.

Galad. Gives new meaning to the term "spit shine".

@Leigh- I see you have been hanging out with some Latino element. First we see rumblings of Jesus(pronounced Hay-zeus) Rand and then some Jose guy. So now I am wondering what you mean when you reference "Borderlanders";)

I think the Book of Translation is just a WoT reread, you open it and 20 years later you wonder what has happened with your life...

John Massey
90. subwoofer
Oh yeah, Perrin. Didn't want to admit it, but sometimes dude, listen to your wife...

Anthony Pero
91. anthonypero
I don't see why what I said @78 doesn't track. The point is the function, not RJ being a Tolkien clone. Being outside the pattern is the only way in RJs cosmology for the Dragon to actually find eternal rest. Same thing as Frodo heading to the West. The point was the literary analog, not the cosmic analog...
William Fettes
92. Wolfmage
I was under the impression that the WoT multiverse ia all encompassed by TAR.
Yep, I think that's strongly suggested by the fact that the in-between dream space associated with T'AR has dreamers from other worlds with dreams that are completely alien to Egwene. There may also be some comments by the Wise Ones that are relevant and some weird looking T'AR randoms.


Regarding the simultaneity of the DO across worlds. We need to be very careful about what we are referring to. For example, freedom-state versus military victory versus total victory. The freedom-state /imprisonment of the Dark One is simultaneous across worlds, but that isn’t the same thing as victory. Obviously a completely unencumbered Dark One is highly undesirable and we can suppose that the danger of ultimate victory is enhanced. But I would be cautious about conflating the two together as if there aren't intervening stages.

We have seen from Rand’s journey through the Portal Stones that a Dark Side military victory is possible in one world without it being multiverse total victory. Indeed, assuming the simultaneity of freedom state, military victory did not even enable him to be freed. From this, and the fact that war between light and dark is always resetting, I have always supposed that ultimate victory is a unique victory condition which probably involves some kind of special corruption of the Light’s avatar. Certainly that would make sense of this world's importance over other worlds (Rand is here) and the attempt to convert Rand when he could have been killed easily.

Accordingly, in terms of the Ogier's decision, it’s not so much a question of the urgency to fight the Dark Side's military victory, but more about solidarity and cooperation in denying the Dark One that kind of unique special kind of victory. We might suppose that Randland's military resistance is important. But I would rather say that it is a complementary battle to the more important battle of Rand’s true purpose. What really matters is denying the Dark One ultimate victory through breaking the Wheel of Time and remaking the universe in his image. IMO - that and only that would create simultaneous multiverse victory whereby opening the book of translation would be potentially meaningless.
Tricia Irish
93. Tektonica
Bawambi, Greayhawk, et al:

Don't forget that Zen Rand still has that dark splotch in his head that Nyneaeve couldn't touch, even though she'd removed the crazy tainted parts from other male channelers. The last book should be Rand's book, imho, as well as tying up a few other things, but he IS the hero. I suspect we'll get more of his povs, and I fear that the dark splotch thingy will be something he will have to overcome, again. Perhaps Cyndane/Lanfears appearance at the end of ToM leads me to this fear, being one more confusing temptation for him. I think we'll see the Rand we met in TEotW again, just much much wiser.
Cameron Tucker
94. Loialson

Hmm, I can sympathize with missing Rand viewpoints from ToM, but if you read what BS said about how ToM is set up(all the viewpoints getting timeline synced up to Merrilor that couldn't get close in TGS), it makes more sense that most of the POVs need to be outside Rand.

Especially if you consider what Brandon's said concerning almost all of Rand and Egwene's POVs/scenes were mostly completed by RJ already before he passed, and that much of AMoL will have Rand POVs in it.

I took that to mean that RJ intended Rand's viewpoints to turn out like this.

Think about what Leigh mentioned on past threads about some of the most awesome moments for our Heroes Three is seeing how they're viewed by outside characters, and they becoming aware of their awesomeness.

I think that once aMoL is out, the lack of Rand viewpoints from ToM wont be much of an issue, in the big scheme of things.

Regarding his unknowable godlike powers I actually spoke to Brandon about this, and he explained that if you pay attention, Rand's strength in the Power is increasing throughout the series. And that (according to the notes left by RJ) the battle in Saldaea is of a similar size as the trolloc horde he beat off with deathgates and such in KoD (assuming you're referring to that scene in ToM where Rand seems all Godlike powered).

He said RJ was intentionally not showing off Rand's true strength very often, so it just looks like Rand's all Leveled up, but the only real difference is his more zen outlook on life, and that he's at peace with himself.

So, while he's definitely superpowered, he's been that way for a while, we just don't see it that often.
john mullen
95. johntheirishmongol
Got busy yesterday and forgot to post, but I have to wonder why anyone would prefer Angst Rand over Jesus Rand. Besides, as much as I love the series, I don't want another 13 books to get to the finish, and you need JR to get there. The whole Johnny Appleseed thing worked for me too, since it's a great visual and there's something just amazingly lovely about fruit ripe and ready to go.

As for Perrin, 50 years down the road he will still be bitching about being in charge.
96. Gamera
Why can't the book of translation open onto the past of a portal stone world? I think some of the other theories are more attractive (light wins), but if your species is that long lived, why not translate to the past until you find all the things that need to occur? E. g., The Magicians (lev grossmann)? Granted, it doesn't fit with the cosmology here but the concept is attractive.
In that case Loial is arguing to stay and fight and his mother is arguing to set up the situation so that the fight is a fait accompli.
Karan J
97. karanj
@89 subwoofer
I think the Book of Translation is just a WoT reread, you open it and 20 years later you wonder what has happened with your life...
ROFL :) Given Loial is the official biographer of Rand et al, is it little wonder this series has rambled on a tad bit...

Re Demandred 'to the south' meaning he can't be in Seanchan - it's been a few books, he could have moved around after all. My favourite theory says Dem waygate'd a massive Trolloc army into Murandy and that's what attacked Caemlyn, but then it makes me wonder how all of Murandy's nobles didn't notice they were in league with the Shadow this whole time.

@86 Greyhawk:
That's a fantasy trope for the ages, but let's face it, the "little guy"/"ordinary guy" avatar as hero was thrown out the window a long time ago in WoT. Rand hasn't been ordinary/obvious underdog since the end of the tEotW / early tGH, when his power starts to manifest and he emerges as a 'Lord' in many eyes. He retains the 'sheepherder'/'country boy' persona even through this until roughly tFoH - from LoC onwards, he's playing the political game with the best of them, and he's far divorced from the farm boy we once knew.
Craig Jarvis
98. hawkido
The dark one's minions keep claiming that a victory of the DO will yield an end to all. Yet the DO has claimed victories in the past... and the present is still here...

There has been a victory of the light before (we presume) with the light side locking the DO away and forgetting about him for an age.

How can there be an END-ALL in a circular time scenario. I think the book of translation moves the ogier to a point on the wheel where the ogier first show up... as in the first age there were no ogier. It seems to appear in the second age, or near the end of the first age (BigFoot?). What if the book of translation is a warp device that puts them on the opposite side of the Wheel. That would mean that between mid-way through the fourth age and the fifth age the Ogier will use it. that would also mean the rest of the ages would be Ogier-less (seems grim and boring).

Or, if the dark one wins it perpetuates the cycle beginning again. I have always thought that the Wheel is actually the Dark One's trap. When he wins he gets to lock time in a loop for another go around. If the Creator wins the time is freed to continue in a "normalized" time stream. Thus if the Dark One "wins" time dies as it is locked in a loop. Light locked in a loop is invisible as the rays never strike. Ball Lightning doesn't behave like normal electricity (unusual discharge conditions). Whacky theory, i know, but I am looking for a Shyamalan twist.
My thoughts on the Stedding:

I always had the thought that the stedding were pockets of what is to come. A time where there is no Saidin or Saidar, no True Power, no Dark One. There'd only be the Pattern being spun off by the Creator, with ages going by and by. Until as time rolls along to a when, where the One Power takes hold again and becomes more prominent in our lives. New names for new legends, ever changing as the Wheel turns, until we no longer know the how or the when of any legend, as it turns and becomes myth.

Maybe we'd end up in a pig Farm next time. Or maybe its an Apple Orchard and some young man named whatever becomes the savior of the world. But somehow he comes to be named, through the mouths of everyone who maligns him or bows before him, the Dragon Reborn, time without end.

And so you'd have in these alter days, places like Avalon or the Lands of the Fae or The White House for those and Valhalla for some, the Spirit world for others. And they'd exist in the same way as the stedding except the opposite. In these places the rules are skewed towards the supernatural, intstead of the steddings without. It be as wonderous to the non channeling, as it is terrifying for the channeler within a stedding.

The how or when of the barriers to all things One Power coming down completly are insignificant, as the Wheel weaves as the Wheel wills. And eventually, if we could follow the whole revolution, we'd end up here with our beloved Robert Jordan and in his stead Brandon Sanderson and by extension Leigh Butler (I do admire you, you know that right? Wouldn't be here otherwise!) and Team Jordan. Reading and re-reading and discussing and enlightnening ourselves about a time long past. And yet maybe if the Wheel wills.....

It will be again.

I could get it right now, but I won't..... or maybe I will.

Edit- I started typing the above post when it was at 96. So I was fully expecting to come out at 97 or 98 maybe. It just so happened it fell at 99 and it made it too easy to snag.

so with out further ado


I always felt the hunny was for a core of regulars who hide in bunkers a lot. I like to to face the fire and simply duck or even better... hit the deck. Now if I could find the damn bunker I might just get in it. Especially if my Matrix Super Sexy Kung Fu Grip Style fails to allow me to dodge super heated supersonic particles of metal flying my way.


Craig Jarvis
101. hawkido
Demandred in the "South"... How many people keep forgetting about the Isle of Madmen?

It has been mentioned once or twice in the book proper, early in the series... and even made mention in the Big Book... Alot of detail, for a fairly large continent, that has had no play or say in the series. And it is most definately in the "South" tho I still pose Murandy, as Rand Screened all the Lords of Tear in this book. Mayene doesn't seem likely as if they had a large army they wouldn't fear Tear as much. Illian, seems overplayed, as Sammael was there and Dems and Sammy weren't exactly friends. I recall a truce as they were carving out their resspective turfs, and Dems had already started setting up before Sammy inhaled.

So make me and any others who might have mentioned IoMM as Demmy's Seat of Power. Else it could be Seanchan as it runs from the north to the south poles (see big book maps) but I would still refer to the Seanchan continent as more of a different east-west hemisphere, than a north-south hemisphere...
Craig Jarvis
102. hawkido
I thnk the song was pretty well explained in the big book and the book proper.

The Way of the Leaf is the key to human's singing seed. It requires Ogier and a Nym... of which there are none (bye shomesta *Tearfully waves*), and I don't think there will be any again until the second age comes around again as they were constructs of the power. Which the learning required to make one took an entire peace filled age of power usage and exploration (second age, not sure how far into the second age the Nym were created).
101. hawkido

I'm whicha there, with Damondred being either in the Isle of Madmen or Murandy. Besides, I always though the real power behind the Seanchans corruption was Ishy, not Semirhage. He's the one who put the seed into Hawkwing's mind to go there. He corrupted the Seanchan Prophecy. And he set some machinations in motion to seal some sort of doom there.

Remember that he sent Semirhage to capture Rand. She failed, yes. But she didn't do that on her own. She was ordered to go after Rand. Sounds like Ishy was running the show in Seandar, to me!

I also have this ichy feeling Ishy had a hand in the 13 Towers making. Imagine for a moment if there is a portal stone there. See where I'm going with that? Now look at the state of Seandar now. Imagine if 13 armies appeared via portal stone with 13 dreadlords at there helm. We are talking an utter nightmare for the Seanchan.

Ichy Ishy.....chuckle

William Fettes
104. Wolfmage
I don't think there will be any again until the second age comes around again as they were constructs of the power.
Aren't you forgetting Rand and the encylopedia of everything in
Caemlyn? They don't have to invent this stuff from scratch and I seem to recall there is a reference to the Dragon leading the song at one point. Now he has full Dragon memories it seems plausible that he will.

Do Nym need standing flows? If not, I don't see why their creation would be something far off.
Craig Jarvis
105. hawkido

Yes, but has he struck Iraq and made it spew forth oil?... wait that was G.W. Bush... sorry shoulda looked into that before I responded... As you were.
Craig Jarvis
106. hawkido
Trollocks and myrdraal don't need standing flows... they are constructs as well but twisted from human stock so they can reproduce. Nym were animated plants programmed for a purpose, and they cannot reproduce per the big book, I have lost my copy of the big book... so if my memory has failed me please refresh me :).

Rand can't sing, and neither can LTT. I believe he mentions that in the EoTW prologue, so he wouldn't be able to convey the song.

The encyclopedia won't help, else there would be books teaching flows. An animated hologram with a very high resolution would be about the only way to convey the 3D essence of a particular weave, even then I think it would leave out alot of detail. Plus there is a talent to making constructs... of the forsaken only Aginor was talented, and he was pulled form the best of the best.
104. Wolfmage

There is still the seed of the Nym growing at the Eye of the World as well. Maybe therein lies the way of maybe singing unto life a new Nym. Maybe even the Ogier will play a role at sealing the Bore. Rand and whomever using Callandor along with the Ogier singing and possibly (but less likely) a Grown Nym at the Bore sealing effort.

Just a thought.

Craig Jarvis
108. hawkido

Ogier and steading:
Only the Westlands Ogier suffer the longing, after the steading "disappeared/Moved/were lost" during the breaking, and the west lands Ogier wen't without for several hundred years. The Seanchan Ogier are not bound to the Steading. Thus the Gardeners are much more free roaming with no concern of the longing, nor any knowledge of it. It is just s silly westlands superstition, like Trollocs and Myrdraal.
William Fettes
109. Wolfmage
Trollocks and myrdraal don't need standing flows... they are constructs as well but twisted from human stock so they can reproduce.
No, that's not right. Trollocs are a genetically engineered cross between humans and animals that probably involves weaves (quite possibly of the True Power) which occasionally produces Myrddraal as a byproduct. Other Shadowspawn are products of similar genetic engineering and experimentation by Aginor, corruptions of human and non-human animals like Darkhounds and Grey Men, or otherwise are imports from other worlds. Constructs are things that are built from the power not breeding pairs. The only non-Nym constructs we know about are likely Gholam.
Rand can't sing, and neither can LTT. I believe he mentions that in the EoTW prologue, so he wouldn't be able to convey the song.
It's quite possible I'm wrong, but my recollection was that the Dragon led a song.
The encyclopedia won't help, else there would be books teaching flows.
I don't see how you can say what is and isn't in the statue library. All we have seen is the Fact and Fiction division displayed with holographic style lettering in the air. Who is to say it can't do images and 3D representations? It is an object of the power with unknown capacity and capability not a overhead projector!

For all we know it has the entire repository of ancient knowledge for the Age of Legands, including myriad stuff about the power, creating Nym, and engineering Standing Flows - and ways to communicate it effectively. Even if it was limited to text, it is very probable there is arcane theory in there which will help natural talents like Elayne connect the dots. Now, I'm not saying it has all of the above but it seems a bit presumptuous to think it is limited to a few books and poems that don't concern the power.
Craig Jarvis
110. hawkido
@ Zexxes and Wolfmage

While Ogier may have had a hand in the Nym construction (treesinging during the channeling?) I do not believe that Loial Singing on the tree that Shomesta grew (all he did was grow an acorn that was already on the ground) would produce a Nym... Else shomsta would have already reproduced as Ogier had visited him many times over the years.
Craig Jarvis
111. hawkido

Per Jordan, trollocs and myrdraal and grey men ARE constructs, and cannot pass through a gateway because of such... sorry. An understanding of genetics seems to have been needed (a lifelong field that is by itself, as we have only mapped 3% of the human genome at this point with all our supercomputers) but it was the power used to construct them.

I may be wrong about LTT singing in the song, Assumptions and inferences and all that. But I believe what you are referring to was one of those passages from a fourth age writing at the beginning or end of a book. Which information decay could be why it is wrongly attributed directly to the dragon, and as Violence seems to prevent sucessful singing, thus the ancient Aiel and the way of the leaf having purpose. I doubt Rand or LTT (at least once the WoP started) would be able to participate. Rand and LTT both seem to be very weak in the possesion of talents (Healing, Fortelling, etc...) His talents all seem to be strength buffs not additional capabilities.

All the Browns never thought to write a book about various flows? so that point is dead. As I said there would be a book if there could be a book. So far the ter'angreal you reference has only shown floating words. Pictures may be a possibility, and even descriptions can be useful, as seen with Rand and Moggy teaching Egwene traveling, but that would be the limit to the aid. Finding someone with the talent would take a lifetime as it was more rare than making ter'angreal.
Craig Jarvis
112. hawkido
Also why document the flow clumsily in a book when any channeler could just show you in a few seconds, plus in the AoL ALL channelers were centrally trained and quite throughly too, I believe.

We do not document that which we do not fear losing. Either because we do not place enough value on it, or because we do not believe it can be lost. No one expected the Spanish Inquisition War of Power.
William Fettes
113. Wolfmage
Fair enough if that's word of god. I was not thinking a construct was a apt word to describe products of breeding crosses, albeit magically-assisted husbandry, cf. entities that are created from magic. Similarly for corruptions of existing creatures.

But obviously RJ sets the nomenclature of world so that settles it. I'm nowhere near as familiar with RJ interviews and comments as I am with the text.
110. hawkido
(all he did was grow an acorn that was already on the ground)
Now correct me if I'm wrong, anyone, but I could have sworn the seed came from the body of the Nym and then held it out to save. With an outstretched hand, the Nym did so, to save from its smoldering body. As it did so the seed fell from the Nyms hand and it then immediately took root and grew. Thats when Moraine, I believe, protected the place from the Blight as its memorial. Thats when someone (I forget who, moraine maybe?) noted that the tree looked like Avensadora.

It could be that Avensadora trees are the living remains of the Nym and that the Aiel of the past held them as sacred in some sense. That maybe why the Aiel took such offense to the cutting down of the tree in Cairhein.

Is my memory of that sequence in TEotW correct? Or am I off, somewhere?

Jonathan Levy
115. JonathanLevy
77. alreadymadwithseandar
Maybe it's the next guy after the next guy after the next guy who took over?
That's crazy talk! :)


The isle of Madmen will still count as a disappointment, because it hasn't been mentioned in-text at all, it merely started appearing in maps at some very very late point.
Birgit F
116. birgit
Almen felt a pull inside of him. Something was tugging him softly in the direction the stranger had gone.

Will he defend the Tower against the next Seanchan attack?

although I do seem to recall a Sharan appearing in a bar with Thom... can't remember if it was in this book or The Gathering Storm

Rand heard a Sharan talk about silkworms in an inn near the Stone of Tear.

I always had the idea that Semihrage simply Travelled to Seandar, put on a Mask of Mirrors and walked through the palace laying light Compulsions on everyone she saw, then stood back to watch the party.

That's how Graendal would do it, Semi likes to torture people herself.

we're told are outside the Pattern are the Creator, the Dark One, and TAR

Vacuoles are also outside / split off from the normal Pattern.

perhaps she had a Black agenda to steer our heroes in the wrong direction?

She probably said what she believed in that lecture, but AS often know less than they think. Even Verin could be wrong about something.

Why can't the book of translation open onto the past of a portal stone world?

Time runs at different speeds in different worlds, but it doesn't run backward. There is no time travel in WoT. Translation is a movement in space, not spacetime.

Do Nym need standing flows?

Unless they still existed in the Eye of the World place Someshta didn't need them. Creating Nym probably requires channeling, but once they are created they can live on their own. Shadowspawn were created with the TP, a OP grid would be useless to keep them alive if they needed it.

The standing flows seem to have been some kind of power grid for ter'angreal that allowed non-channelers to use them. The Bowl of the Winds drew saidin without any male channelers. How is that possible if the standing flows no longer exist?

All the Browns never thought to write a book about various flows? so that point is dead. As I said there would be a book if there could be a book.

A written book may be unable to teach channeling, but if the ter'angreal library has 3D video maybe that could teach channeling (what special effects are needed to make flows visible in a video?).

Now correct me if I'm wrong, anyone, but I could have sworn the seed came from the body of the Nym and then held it out to save.

Someshta just made an acorn grow and Loial later sang to protect the tree from the Blight. An oak is no chora tree like Avendesora.
That's how you spell it. Avendesora. I must of went through three different spellings and still didn't get it right.

Thanks for the correction. I let a friend borrow the first three books. So I couldn't double check unless I got my first editions out of storage.

William Fettes
118. Wolfmage
Unless they still existed in the Eye of the World place Someshta didn't need them. Creating Nym probably requires channeling, but once they are created they can live on their own.
I don't doubt you're right, I was just speculatively asking whether such was possible, having in mind the Nym staying at the Eye. In truth, I think that was Someshta's duty.
Shadowspawn were created with the TP, a OP grid would be useless to keep them alive if they needed it.
Yes, obviously.
The standing flows seem to have been some kind of power grid for ter'angreal that allowed non-channelers to use them. The Bowl of the Winds drew saidin without any male channelers. How is that possible if the standing flows no longer exist?
Evidently only some ter'angreal require Standing Flows, (possibly some weave techniques as well for all we know). As we can safely assume there is no such surviving infrastructure covering the majority of Randland, any known working ter'angreal does not require them.
A written book may be unable to teach channeling, but if the ter'angreal library has 3D video maybe that could teach channeling (what special effects are needed to make flows visible in a video?).
The argument is very dubious IMO. Magic may be elemental in Randland but it is mechanistic and physics-based at least in part. It follows that even bare descriptions could be of great assistance in unlocking techniques, simply by pointing out the right path of experimentation or providing the vocabularly necessary to think about what you need to do, even where they are not sufficient to learn the technique outright (which is also possible if the weave is simple enough). Knowing which combination of powers would be a huge start. The fusion of engineering and magic in the AoL is also highly relevant as applied math and other conceptual tools in textbooks could be hugely relevant to technical matters of artifice and creation of constructs. Remember Elayne's ter'angreal arc is about her figuring out the absolutely identical matrices or whatever so conceptual language is

Moreover, as you say, the output is visual and we don't have any reason to rule out audio, photographs, diagrams, or even video until we see more interaction with the statue. After all, there are ter'angreal music boxes and cloth that changes colours. Pages of books could be the least that it does. It's magic.
They could have ter'angreal that teach in the same way that they test for being Accepted/Aes Sedai. For instance they could form a simulacrum of an Aes Sedai within the ter'angreal that would teach specific flows. Or it could be formed within ones mind simply by touching a book shaped ter'angreal placing you in T'R safely away from others. There's all sorts of ways I can think of that it could be done.

It would be kind of cool actually. You'd walk into the Ter'angreal and you'd see an Aes Sedai walk up to you and she'd say, "My name is Sensei, how may I assist you?"
You would say something like, "Sensei, what are the weaves for funneling air like a tornado?" And she might respond with something like, "First you must prepare weaves of Fire to heat the air and spirit to hold them in place while simultaneously moving air through the matrix in upward fashion. If done correctly the air should circulate as it rises. You would then force cool air through the middle of the circulation which would sustain the formation, wholly dependent on how much warm and cold air was used. Judging from your aura of the saidin you should sufficient power to sustain a circulation of....". And it would go on something like that. She would be channeling as she spoke so you could witness and learn from her example.

Oh man, if that were possible with the power it would be the Holy Grail!

Chin Bawambi
121. bawambi
Even if the Ter'angreal were not visual you would think the Browns would have a teaching syllabus at a minimum. How to teach the 100 flows by Random Brown or How to remove a wilder block by Librarian Brown maybe Earthen weaves by Mining Brown. Of course, no one would ever read them because every AS knows everything :). Until Eggy Sue found them in a dusty corner during her punishment while juggling 10 plates and healing stray cats natch...
Robert Crawley
122. Alphaleonis
105 Hawkido

No, but he did come down from a mountain with his face glowing. Then spent 40 years wandering around the wilderness in the Middle East. Folks don't think those 40 years were significant; but maybe he was putting the oil down there for G.W. to tap.
123. alreadymadwithsemiship
Man-0-Manetheran @81
"The ship Semirhage had promised had brought word of the Empress's death and the Empire was racked by rebellion in every quarter."

The only thing it implies is that Semirhage knew that whoever was left in Seandar would send word of what happened. It does not in any way indicate that it was Semirhage who personally sent the ship. Even with the death of the Royal Family there would still be a substantial support structure to send word. Seekers, Deathwatch Guard, and the like. It's not unlikely for some of these to strike out and head for the last remaining member of the Royal Family. That doesn't mean others will be coming either. The succeeding chaos will make it hard for any more efforts to send more ships.
I still think Ishy/Moridin is in Seandar. It wouldn't surprise me if he was holed up in one of the 13 Towers already. They're supposedly empty now anyway, it'd be a perfect spot to operate out of. It would fit the descriptions of the rooms Rand always met him in.

Craig Jarvis
125. hawkido
All this begs the question:
Gholam are also constructs, and special power absorbing constructs at that... yet one of them (a construct, this one in particular) enters a skimming gateway and neither does he drop dead, nor does he dissapate the weave of the gateway, causing bad gas... I dunno?. Eerrrmm. If anyone sees Brandon, or Marie ask them about that...

Else Skimming doesn't have that taboo and the forsaken just haven't thought about using skimming to move trollocs and myrdraal? Rand was able to bring 3000 Aiel to Camelyn with a skimming disc. So the average channeler (strong enough to make a skimming portal) should be able to bring 50 to 100 Trollocs with said skimming disc if this isn't just some... well we needed some way to kill the gholam...
I was more in favor of chopping him to little bits by blasting him with canister-shot from a dragon at close range, then feeding the bits to sharks in the ocean. Un-poop yourself from that, you shark scatted fool!
Craig Jarvis
126. hawkido
@ zexxes
I seem to remember Rand (or maybe it was another of the Forsaken) noting the blasted lands surrounding Morshydin's love shack out one of the window's. He must stay pretty close to the Bore as the DO still doesn't have his satellite phone service up and working yet.
Jay Dauro
127. J.Dauro
I did talk some to Brandon about this. His comment was that the Gholam could enter the gateway for skimming, but would start to experience problems. This was in connection with my question on whether the Gholam would fall forever. Brandon said that he would die from being in the "skim space."

He implied other shadowspawn would not do as well.
Craig Jarvis
128. hawkido
Thanks... I would like alittle better explanation, but I think my other hand would fill up faster.
Jerry Blair
129. Linekat62
This re-read was an enlighting one for me, I'd forgotton all about Almen Bunt till I just read it. When I first heard of the Towers of Midnight I thought it had something to do with the Seanchan home world, so I was a bit surprized that the action took place in the borderlands.
John Massey
130. subwoofer
Yes, but imagine CSI finding evidence for bite marks from wooden teeth. Rough pattern with splinters. And then the person ( lets assume they are zombies, 'cause live people don't bite each other, heh) discards said teeth and wittles themselves new teeth. Prove that.

@Hawkido, interesting idea... complicated as all get out, but interesting. What about fire? Lure buddy into a building, seal it shut, burn it. Use lamp oil. Lots of it. Pile on bacon fat, that sizzles like nobody's business. Stoke it. Let it burn down a bit, put on a roast pig, maybe in some banana leaf...

Rand. Look at it this way, he was the poster child for "Crazies 'r Us" a book or so ago. Now, he's all Yoda talking and stuff. What really puts me off about Rand is that in a way, he sounds like Maseama, without the blind zealotry. There is something about being "enlightened" that makes a person talk cryptically.

Craig Jarvis
131. hawkido
@ 130.subwoofer
There is something about being "enlightened" that makes a person talk cryptically.
Soo... enlightenment makes one unintelligible.

you must be highly enlightened... ;-)

About the gholam, He doesn't seem to suffer much from fire damage and he could squeeze outta the container (house, box, whatever) once it burns enough. Cuts don't bother him much either... but chummification would take a bit to get over... and that's about all the time you would need to "broom" him into several random deep parts of the ocean.... Wait a Minute! You said my idea was convoluted? Have you even read this book?

Okay here's what we will do: we will stage this elaborate fake midnight solo-walk through the city all the while being shadowed by a fair sized force so the foot pads don't spoil our fakery, then when the Gho-Gho dancer pops up we will surround him with lanterns, in some random part of the city that we will have just happened to have cleared of innocents, and at some point we will mark a building by "lighting it on freakin' fire!", so a channeler in the castle can see it and make a freaking skim portal to some random room in it and stand inside it while Matty tries to herd him into the room that he doesn't know exactly where in it she made the gateway, so we can pull the proverbial carpet out from under his feet. Oh and let's hope that he doesn't sense her when he steps into the gateway, else he'll just rip her throat out possibly spoiling the whole she-bang.

Yeah that's simple vs :

Mat throwing his Copy medallion at the Gholam, then running from the Gholam into an alley as the it chases after. Mat slids under the muzzle of the cannon that Olver is straddling as Talmanes lights the wick and Aludra, with her hands over her ears, does a hip pump as Olver yells "Suck It!" as the cannon booms and slices the Gholan into chum for the sharks.

Yeah! That's what I woulda done... the channelers would hear the boom and know it was safe to gateway into the designated spots to perform a quick street sweeping.

Now if only I ever had anywhere near the talent to make a short story, not even counting the magnitude of talent it would take to craft something as epic as this, so I could have put in this one tiny scene that I think I could have done better. Yeah, that's what I woulda done!

So many edits... I be doing grammar goodly two day.
Glen V
132. Ways
@130. subwoofer
Hawkido beat me to it - difficult to seal the Gholam anywhere, even before the fire burns holes in the building and it oozes out with minor damage (RJ: "fluid as quicksilver", "flowed aside like water").

"Hey buddy, climb in this little steel box so we can slam the hermetically sealable lid and drop it in the lava at Dragonmount."

I kinda like the idea of zapping the gholam with a huge lightning bolt, though - 1.21 GW or greater. Would that work? Dunno.

Hopefully, only 1 gholam survived and is now lost in space.
John Massey
133. subwoofer
mmmmm.... perhaps I should have been clear about the "seal it shut" idea... seal the building shut. No holes. Fire. To building. Crispy critter. We know that buddy sizzles. If you want to make it even simpler, dig a deep hole, stack it with wood. Cover it, but have a trap hole in the floor.. Get the Gholam to chase you, sneak past the trap and have the Gholam fall through. Aes Sedai fire starter. Crispy critter.

And yes, I did read the book. The whole "kill the Gholam" idea smacked of some kind of Rube Goldberg scheme. Very much like the convoluted back story Mat had concocted back in the day when he wanted to gather intel in yonder town.

John Massey
134. subwoofer
Doesn't have to be punji sticks, just flammable stuff for roasting Gholam.... and can't be used so buddy can climb up the sides. Maybe hot oil.

John Massey
135. subwoofer
... Or buddy falls into pit and it is lined with things that go "boom" from Aldura. Gholam falls in, we get some fast fuse action. "Boom". Crispy critter.

John Massey
136. subwoofer
Or maybe we get the Gholam to make comments about gender equality or the validity of "spankings" and let the flame war begin...

Roger Powell
137. forkroot
sub - I don't think the Gholam burns when subjected to normal fire. Mat's medallion is a special case that when it touches the Gholam produces an effect like burning would to a normal being.
Jeff Schweer
138. JeffS.
Forkroot @137
That's the final piece to the "kill the Gholam" sub thread here.
I almost liked the idea of using a dragon to chop the thing to very fine chum but didn't feel that normal shot would do the trick.
Now if Matt had Elayne make about 1000 dime sized medallion copies and he used that as scattershot, then you'd have Gholam burger.
Terry McNamee
139. macster
@73 Isilel: Maybe it's just me, but I thought the reason things are so much better in Caemlyn is because Rand's Dragon effect is leaking through the bond to Elayne after the end of TGS. Though the fact everything is so orderly and organized there now that Elayne's in charge surely helps.

@78 anthonypero: That...makes a lot of sense. In which case the Ogier could indeed escape the Dark One, in which case we really have to hope Loial will convince them that staying to fight is still the right thing to do.

@81 Man-o-Manetheren: I still have my own loony theory that the reason for all the Demandred red herrings connected to Taim is because it's an in-universe attempt to make Rand think he is Demandred--an attempt made possible because Taim is someone who knows Demandred very well and thus can imitate him. My theory is it's Be'lal (either never having died because he switched identities with the real Taim and let Moiraine kill him instead, or reborn since the Dark One can transmigrate souls killed by only a tiny amount of balefire like Moiraine's). But it could also be the other popular suspect, Moridin.

@86 Greyhawk: A good point, but keep in mind that as you yourself said, we are only seeing him from the outside, through everyone else who is awed by him. When we finally get into his head again in AMoL we could find much of the same old human Rand there to satisfy us. Tektonica also addresses this.

@97 karanj: Support for that idea (or Demandred using Portal Stones instead of Waygates) could lie in the mysterious channeler bringing in the Shadowspawn army to attack the Whitecloaks. Where did this happen? On the road to Lugard...

@107 Zexxes: That's an intriguing idea. We keep seeing things from early on returning (Almen Bunt, the whole arc with Perrin and the Whitecloaks, the Tower of Ghenjei, Tarwin's Gap, Fain and Mashadar, Waygates and Portal Stones), so why not the Eye of the World and the seed of Someshta?

@108 hawkido: Yes but it isn't the Gardeners proposing they use the Book of Translation. Surely the Westlands Ogier, who are indeed affected by the Longing, wouldn't open the Book unless it took the stedding with them. Unless the Book can cure the Longing, or make it no longer affect them, substitute for the stedding?

Also @110: The Ogier haven't visited that often (Loial said it had been "a long time" since Elder Haman and his father had done so, and if an Ogier says "a long time" it must be very long indeed). And if it does require more than the Ogier, well that is where Rand, the library, and/or the Tinkers/Aiel might come in.

And @111: The Browns can't write down something they don't know. A lot of knowledge of channeling was lost during the Breaking, then the Trolloc Wars and so on. If people were too busy fighting and dying to write down Age of Legends knowledge, or what they did write down was destroyed/lost, then modern-day Browns wouldn't have anywhere to start. They can write down modern weave knowledge of course, but beyond that...now of course the knowledge the Browns do have could help them readily interpret anything found, such as the library.

@116 birgit: Point, but I don't think stedding and vacuoles are the same thing. They may have the same effect (Moggy couldn't touch the Source could she? Though that was likely Shaidar Haran's doing) but I doubt vacuoles tap into the Ogier's home dimension. If they did though, that would definitely suggest the Dark One could touch them there...

@120 Zexxes: That's a pretty damn awesome notion.

And I love the way these threads go on tangents. We start from talking about the Ogier, to wondering if they know the Tinkers' Song, to whether their Song can create new Nym, to talking about other constructs of the Power, to gholam, to yet another recapitulation of how to destroy a gholam. What enjoyably wild madness!

So does anybody else think there's a connection between the Imperial family returning to the Towers of Midnight to 'right that which is wrong' and "Again the seed slays ancient wrong"? Or that this wrong might be freeing the damane?
John Massey
140. subwoofer
@forkroot- perhaps... but I'd like to put that theory to the test... with fire...

Seriously, the Gholam dodged from being burned, we can do the pit idea... and then roast marshmallows...

141. Freelancer
Comments on the commentary:

RE: The preface to the prelude to the prologue. I come up short of agreeing with anthonypero that the Ogier are, like Macross the Black, from beyond the beyond in terms of the known ~verse. Part of Loial's rebuttal to his mother's argument is that if it all falls down here and now, there will be no place safe for them to go. That strongly suggests that wherever the Book may take them, it will not be beyond the struggle between the Creator and the dark one.

Others have already said, but the phrase about Seandar where "a murderer openly ruled" is not mentioning a forsaken, certainly not Semirhage. She popped back to Seanchan to destroy the Imperial family, then popped back to continue her actions in Ebou Dar, the last of which prior to her attempt to ambush Rand was to offer the throne to Suroth as incentive to have Tuon killed. Since the wind ends up with Almen Bunt as Rand is coming down from Moriah Dragonmount, the omni-POV narration is occuring after Semirhage has been killed, yet uses the present tense. We don't have enough information to do more than guess who holds Seandar, but as likely as any other theory is whichever wickedly ambitious and heavily backed power-seeker got there first. In such utter chaos, anarchy will temporarily flourish until a despot siezes control and asserts an iron-fisted set of rules.

RE: Towers of Midnight. Leigh's first impression was the accurate one. The Towers of Midnight is a name referring to the thirteen black Seanchan towers. The textual reference is in The Great Hunt, Chapter 40. Renna explains the genesis of the a'dam and damane to Egwene, that an Aes Sedai named Deain invented the leash, and that when she herself was collared and enslaved for her ability, her screams shook the Towers of Midnight. That can only have happened on the Seanchan mainland, so there the towers are. As to additional alliterative definitions for Towers of Midnight, there is less to be said than of the obviously assigned Two Towers of LOTR's second volume.

RE: Perrin's leadership. Decisiveness is one of the most important traits of a leader. It really is ok to be wrong now and then about a leadership decision, but it is completely unsat to waffle and hedge and leave your followers blowing in the wind. So, on that count, Perrin is an excellent leader. He deliberates, but he doesn't flip-flop. As for everyone's ability to easily see how wrong Perrin is for caring more about his wife than anything else, this is why the Old Testament excuses newlywed (short of the first anniversary) men from military service. Interesting that Perrin gains clarity about his actions just after celebrating a year with Faile. Nah, must be coincidence.


From the guy who titled a comedy album "Skating on the Other Side of the Ice". Dude is about 14.3 degrees out of phase to reality.


I agree, there is little expectation of resolving Annoura's secret meetings with Masema. If a Black sister didn't take advantage of the situation between Perrin's entourage, the Children, and a shadowspawn ambush, there wasn't one there.

Caution should attend attributing too great a significance to the small portion of the landscape seen in the portal world. The evidence of victory for the Trolloc hordes is no surety of a global military victory for the shadow, and even if it were, the time of the Trolloc War had nothing to do with the Dragon or Tarmon Gai'don. That not-real place had a different Third Age history up to a point than the "real" world, but there our view into it ends, and with that any knowable facts.


Yes, Herid Fel's statement that belief and order give strength, includes the promise of stability, and opposition to decay and destruction. No mystery why this phrase comes up in the same volume as the shadow's command to let the Lord of Chaos rule.


Both Min and Lan serve to keep the Sheepherder reminded of who he was and still is, in spite of all that he has had to become.


I find no references to the Dragon leading a song. The closest is in the Prologue to TEotW, when the as-yet befuddled Lews Therin asks the visitor (Ishamael) if he has the voice, hoping that his wife may be entertained by the stranger, as he is not skilled thus.

The acorn brought to fruition as a mighty oak by Someshta's last act is not a seed of himself, but it could be argued that he infused his essence into the acorn. Whether that offers any source for the creation of a new Nym is fairly moot. It was Loial's treesinging which provided protection for that place against the Blight. No suggestion is made that the tree bore any resemblance to Avendesora.

RE: Trollocs/Myrddraal; Constructs or mix-breeds? It seems the truth is a hybrid of both. As with the Thakandar-forged blades, dark powers are employed in the crafting of the shadowspawn, yet it is clear that once concocted trollocs reproduce, though Myrddraal cannot. Something involved in their initial creation leaves them unable to safely pass a gateway of either saidin or saidar.


I saw what you did there.
Craig Jarvis
142. hawkido
i'm thinking sub is hungry... every solution of his involves eating afterwards.

@139 Macster

Once again if there could be a book there WOULD be a book... the Aes Sedai surely would rather shove a dusty tome under an accepted's nose that show her ONCE again the 100 weaves for the test for the shawl... The Aes Sedai may be out of touch with the world but they could be MORE SO if they didn't need to keep showing the same damn 100 weaves repeatedly to the novices. I am NOT talking about lost forgotten weaves from the AoL... I am talking about how to heat a pot of water for tea! If it could be taught through a book then all the simple things would be in a book with a table of contents and an index.

However, the "Encyclopedia" ter'angreal may hold some promise, as it has been repeatedly pointed out that we do not know if it can display video, or 3-d images... But even verbal descriptions could eliminate alot of trial and error and remove some of the danger from experimenting... Mat or Birgette may be the only ones with proper command of the old tongue to accurately understand the language... As I have studied semitic languages I fully understand that some things just don't translate at all... Arabic has ONE WORD that means "He placed his finger in a chicken's butt to determined how much longer it would be before the chick lays it's next egg." , and my favorite word is homelessification. Someday when I am feeling giddy I will tell you how to say "Only disipline oh, sugar cookie!" in arabic... (Monterey Dialect). Many languages are very context sensitive (english is a big one, I believe it is a Category 6 language, arabic is CAT 5 and spanish is CAT 1). Context sensitivity would make it VERY difficult for a non-channeler to explain to a channeler how to channel. And even someone like a Brown only knows the OLD tongue like I know arabic... I can understand it, but the logic of what is being said sometimes doesn't make sense.
143. Freelancer
However, the "Encyclopedia" ter'angreal may hold some promise, as it has been repeatedly pointed out that we do not know if it can display video, or 3-d images... But even verbal descriptions could eliminate alot of trial and error and remove some of the danger from experimenting...
"I'm sorry, my responses are limited. You must ask the right questions."

Three Oaths, three Laws. Coincidence?
Craig Jarvis
144. hawkido
I did find it interesting that the forsaken were reluctant to kill Shomesta. Aginore went out of his way to tell Shomesta to stand aside and live out what life you have left. I presume he means till the Dark One wins and kills everything, as Shomesta has lived since sometime (unknown) before the War of Power. So 3000+ years, I can't see him dieing of old age after so long living with a horrible head wound hasn't terminated him.
Karan J
146. karanj
A couple of thoughts on Things Forsaken I just had:

- Demandred-in-Murandy: Up until now, there's only two Forsaken we've seen who take the place of existing people - Graendal as the old Lady in Arad Doman, and (probably) Mesaana, and of these two only Mesaana needs to understand more than appearance, going into history etc.

All the others have been "outsiders who appear suddenly and rise fast" - we're debating whether King Reodiran's sudden grasp of power is evidence of this, but I wonder if we're missing something to shoe-horn him in.

For Dem to be Reodiran, he would have kidnapped the real one and tortured/extracted a boat load of information - and then slipped back in as the King to fool everybody. Have we got any evidence of this? Mysterious absences reported? People doubtful of his authenticity? It would really feel like a cop-out to show him as someone who simply hasn't been on screen in his disguised personality/no hints dropped, but I wonder occasionally if RJ was painted into a corner with avoiding the whole Taimandred theory.

- Semi plunging Seandar etc into chaos - who does this action serve, exactly? There's a quote from much earlier in the series about how the main action will be in Randland; we no longer have the 'let the lord of chaos' directive in place. So then why go kill the Seanchan royal family? To prevent them coming to the Light-side's aid? To give Tuon a boost up to Empress? I'm a little puzzled, so someone help me out with the motivation here...
John Massey
147. subwoofer
Moi? Hungry? But of course:)

It also fits into the natural order of things. After all, man did invent fire because Big Macs taste terrible raw...

As for the Mat and Gholam thing, I guess my main issue is that every time I read that chapter all I can think of is:

Melissa Spray
148. meowwl
@146 I'm guessing that Semi thought Tuon was deader than a doornail at that point, (wasn't Suroth supposed to make sure Tuon never returned from her eastern adventures? I mean, we already know the bald bitchoid was a DF from the convo with Liandrin when she handed over Egs and co.) leaving nothing but a permanent power vaccuum and mass chaos. Instead, there's a legitimate heir to the throne, with the determination and sheer ruthlessness needed to get and hold it.

I'm with the minority in liking Ghandi Rand better than Ruthless Rand...It's really simple, the difference. Ruthless Rand knew he was going to die, knew he was going to sacrifice himself for the world, for strangers. (And if he has to die, he may as well not go alone...drag a few thousand along with him, the ungrateful peons!) He's an open festering wound for the DO to pick at, and a ball of the sort of negative emotions the DO loves working with and through.

Ghandi Rand knows the same, but he's not sacrificing himself for strangers, but for those he loves, and by extension, for the world they live in, and all the people and things that nurture them and make them happy. He carries his pain, rather than wallowing in it, and can see the pain of others and try to help. In doing so, he's become a channel for the power of the creator...a living source of light. His very presence reestablishes the pattern, and banishes the DO's influence.

And now I don't know whether to start singing The Cruxshadows' "Winterborn"
http://youtu.be/SVNjx4k8mWk (in case you were wondering)
or just tack on a hearty "Boom de yada!" to the end of that last.
149. Freelancer

The death of the Seanchan imperial family precedes Pevara's visit to the Black Tower. To which you would probably reply "So what?" Well, we first learn that Semirhage has destroyed Radhanan and her family in the Knife of Dreams prologue. At the opposing end of this volume, Pevara and company request of Taim to bond fifty-one asha'man as a means of balancing out the sisters forcibly bonded by Black Tower occupants. When Taim acquiesces, he tells them to rememeber the old saying, "Let the Lord of Chaos rule".

So, it is abundantly evident that the directive does indeed remain active, and acted upon by minions of team dark at the least. I find no text to support the notion that it has been rescinded or otherwise fallen out of standing.

Semirhage is not a slave to her appetites as is Graendal, or worse yet Aran'gar, but neither is she emotionally stable. Her disregard for the well-being of those she considers inferior would permit her to induce any amount of pain and suffering without a second thought. She spent significant effort cultivating her position as Anath, and it has benefitted her little. Destroying the nation in spite is all the motive she might require.
150. Curtain Jerker
Let me be one of the first to point out that the whole "I hate Egwene/I love Egwene!" arguments that are going to be on this board on Tuesday when Leigh gets to "The Aymrlin's Anger" will be tremendously tremendous.
Steve Barkmeier
151. sbark
I think it is interesting the way Galad's relationship with Asunawa matches his relationship with Perrin only with his role reversed. Asunawa accuses Galad of being a darkfriend and imprisons and tortures him for it. If the other Children hadn't revolted, Asunawa would have killed Galad.

When he encounters Perrin, Galad accuses Perrin of being a darfriend and is ready to go to war to see him killed for it. Just as Galad turned himself over to Asunawa to avoid a battle between Children of the Light, Perrin submits himself to judgment and promises to turn himself over for punishment. Luckily (or tavereinly) for all, Galad ultimately makes a better decision that Asunawa. I am a little surprised that Galad never seems not notice that he put Perrin in the same position in which Asunawa had placed him though.
Steve Barkmeier
152. sbark
I don't think that the books support the statements people have made that you can't learn how to do weaves from a book. It's true that the AS don't teach that way. However, they put a lot of emphasis on supervision while their initiates are learning any weaves. I think the most you can really conclude is that the AS choose not to teach weaves using books.

There is also the example of Egwene working out traveling using only a very rough description from Moghedian. It might have been easier to learn by seeing the weaves. However, she got there with only a description that could have been in a book.

We don't know what information might be in Elayne's mobile library. It's hard to say how much usefull information it contains. I also doubt we find out in AMOL. There is enough that has to be wrapped up that I doubt we get to many new plot line developments like that.
150. Curtain Jerker

I'll tell you what! I aint gett'n invovlved in that can of wax....oh hell no!
More like a vat of hot wax waiting to be poured on some poor unsuspecting college kids head, just like in the movies.

Nah Surrrr. Imma just mozy over in dis heah kownah and dig a hole and stick my head in sing'n, "Lalalalalalalalalaaaaa! Laaaaalalalalalaaaaalalalaaaa!"

Glen V
154. Ways
Laying low for a while, eh?

Off to re-read ToM Chap. 3.
155. Freelancer
sbark @152

There is no telling which (if any) of the many Chekov's Guns lying about in the past text will be fired within the final volume, but it would strain credulity if not a single one of the many ter'angreal uncovered by Elayne and identified by Aviendha were used. Several which offer the ability to communicate over distances; the dull knife which can hide the bearer from the shadow; and the Jolly Bearded Man Kindle are rather more likely to be used than not.

Get Setalle Anan to contact with Damer Flinn, he heals her, she helps Elayne finish cataloguing and testing the ter'angreal, and they get ready to distribute them as necessary, as well as perusing the Kindle for useful historical information. The scenario could be accomplished in a single chapter, and then the items would be easily woven into the later scenes including their uses.

The symmetry of the last two Aes Sedai with the talent and desire to study ter'angreal, both handicapped - Elayne by her pregnancy and Martine by having been stilled - screams out for resolution. It wouldn't really be introducing new things to the plot, either. Once those items were defined by Aviendha, they became at least a partially known quantity, even if the mechanisms of use haven't yet been established.
Alice Arneson
156. Wetlandernw
One question: If the Randland Ogier open the Book of Translation, what happens to the Seanchan Ogier?

One comment: I like Moses Rand better than any of the other terms I've seen used, but I think of him more as Rand Telamon.
Nadine L.
157. travyl
Rand Sedai: (We haven't formed a consensus yet, so I take Rand's suggestion of a name for his new self.) I am very glad we left Darth Rand behind and I do enjoy Rand sedai in this book, it doesn't matter that we "only" experience him from the outside POV.

Demandred: I know this is not what happend, but reading nae77bliss77 (@67) I pondered this scenario: It would have been fun, if Demandred had been Asunawa - and had been killed while posing as this persona. A Forsaken might be tough to kill, but any channeler can be caught by surprise (that't the reason the Aes sedai have warders) and I suppose that the Children Captains did get rid of Asunawa stealthy. The DO could have brought him back to punish his stupiditiy then...

Loial & the Tinkers: (@ 53. Wotman, 69. macster & 80. Ways)
EotW, chapter 42, Remembrance of Dreams:
"The Traveling People live for their songs," Loial said. " I met some Tuatha'an a few years back, and they wanted to learn the songs we sing to trees. I taught the Tuatha'an what they could learn . For the Traveling People they were only songs, and just as well received for that, since none was the song they seek.
It seems to be more complicated than to just let the Ogier meet the Tinkers in order to let the song work.

@2. Bergmaniac: thank you very much for the witch quote from a "good Queen’s man" - I had forgotten that.
158. alreadymadwithkingroedran
macster @141
"Right that which is wrong" might have to wait until after the Last Battle. "Right the Ancient Wrong".... your guess is as good as mine...

karanj @146 & Freelancer @149
No indication that Roedran was ever replaced. Admittedly he might be a public figure, but the political landscape of Murandy is described in such a way that I suspect rising stars pop up and wink out all the time. If he did indeed get replaced, I doubt anybody in Murandy, let alone elsewhere, would have noticed. It might well have been Demandred from the start. He has after all, kept a low profile and where better to do this than an oft ignored nation with a ruling class that resembles a jigsaw puzzle.

Semirhage destroyed the Empire because she can. Because it was no longer of any use to her. Because the Westlands was centerstage for the Last Battle.

sbark @151
That's a good observation.

Wetlandernw @156
I'm under the impression that you have to be in a Steading for the effects to reach you.
Roger Powell
159. forkroot
Get Setalle Anan to contact with Damer Flinn, he heals her,
At the moment, I believe that Nynaeve and Flinn can heal channelers who have been stilled, but not burned out. So under the current known techniques, Flinn could not restore Setalle/Martine.

With that said, it wasn't that many books ago that Nyaeve did the "impossible" and healed stilling. So I guess it's not inconceivable that yet another "impossible" weave could be discovered. Given that Setalle is one of my favorite secondary characters, I'd sure like to see something wonderful like that happen for her.

I agree that some of the ter'angreal from the Ebou Dar stash will play a part in the next book. My vote is for the dull dagger to be pretty important and perhaps for the two-foot statue (the "Kindle") to play a part in the restoration of society after the presumed devastation on the way.
160. Freelancer
amw @158

Well, sure. Substantively, that is no different than what I suggested. I submit that your description would fall under the heading of "spite".

forkroot @159,

I accept that there is no Healing currently known for a channeler who is burned out rather than stilled. What if, as I believe, Martine Janata wasn't burned out by a ter'angreal under her study, but was ambushed by the Black? Still, that's just a theory. Can you really imagine the story ending without her back in full Sister status? I cannot.
Alice Arneson
161. Wetlandernw
travyl @157 – I’ll go along with you. Rand Sedai. He’s even got all the cryptic speech and annoying calm part down pat.

Re: the Ogier, and my question @156 – We don’t know a whole lot about the Ogier history or the Book of Translation, but from the brief arguments presented in KoD, Chapter 19, here’s what they seem to think:

1) They come from a different world
2) They come with every turning of the Wheel
3) They go back with every turning of the Wheel
4) All Ogier will go when the Book is opened
5) The place to which they go is still part of this universe

Covril argues that they must leave eventually, so that they can come back at the right time. This implies that she believes that all Ogier will go. Alternatively, if (as was suggested upthread) the stedding go too, she could believe that any Ogier who don’t go (and their progeny) will die from loss of the stedding long before it’s time for the return to this world. Is she assuming that all (most) Ogier will obediently return to the stedding to be Translated when the Stump decrees it? Is she assuming that all Ogier will automatically be sucked into the Translation whether they want it or not? Does she even know about the thousands of Ogier in Seanchan? Does she simply not care how many die, as long as enough are Translated so that they can survive as a people?

She certainly seems to imply that they should leave before the Last Battle and let the humans deal with that business. It sounds like she’s figuring that if they make a mess of the world again, it should at least have time to recover somewhat by the time the Ogier return, and it will keep her people safe from another Breaking. In her defense, the Randland Ogier suffered badly in the last Breaking, and it’s understandable that she has no desire to go through that again. I strongly suspect that she knows nothing of the Seanchan Ogier, and it should be very, very interesting to see what happens when the two groups learn of each other’s existence.

Loial’s counterargument is that they can’t go with any real hope of safety: “Tarmon Gai’don is coming, and on that hangs the fate not only of this world, but of any world we might flee to.” Given that neither Covril nor Haman disagree with his assessment that their other world will also be affected if the DO wins, I think it’s safe to say that they believe it to be true. Loial and Elder Haman clearly believe that it would be better to stay and fight the Shadow, adding to the powers arrayed against the DO, than to leave and hope that the humans can pull it off by themselves.

I don’t think Covril had considered that the Last Battle could really be the last Last Battle – that the DO might actually win and destroy the Wheel itself. And I think that her change of heart (in her insistence that Loial be allowed to speak, in the prelude) is partly due to his argument and partly to seeing firsthand the masses of Trollocs the Shadow was able to insert into the middle of Tear. And… maybe a little bit due to her own decision to take part in that battle if need be. Maybe she got that same shiver I did when Haman and Loial, with their long-handled war axes, charged down the stairs
bellowing at the top of their lungs a warning, and a battle cry that had not been heard in over two thousand years. “Trollocs coming! Up axes and clear the field! Trollocs coming!”
Glen V
162. Ways
161. Wetlandernw - I'm interested in sorting out whether or not Ogier must be in a stedding to be translated. If they are all "sucked in" regardless of their physical location when the Book is opened, then no problem. But what happens to the Seanchan Ogier if they must be in a stedding to be translated, they are not because they have not gotten the message (and don't typically hang out in a stedding), and the stedding are translated also?

Well, there will certainly be numerous Seanchan Ogier left hanging around without a stedding. Will they eventually suffer from the longing and die? They are said to be immune to the longing in general, but perhaps this is only due to the large number of stedding in their homeland and some kind of synergistic effect. I wouldn't think the Seachan Ogier in Randland have been away from home long enough to find out if this is a problem.

157. travyl
Thanks for the reference on Loial and Tinkers. The song the Tinkers are seeking is still in question.
Steve Barkmeier
163. sbark
Rand saw the song for which the Tinkers are searching in the way back machine. It sounds like every clan chief and wise one also saw the song first hand. IMO the best chance of the tinkers finding the song is either a wise one or clan chief.

However, I question whether a Tinker would know the song if he heard it. The physical descriptions of Tinkers no longer match the Aiel. We know that over the years numerous non-Tinkers have joined the Tinkers. how many of the Tinkers still even have Aiel blood? If a random person from Randland heard the song, there is no indication that he would recognize it for what it is. I don't think there is much more reason to assume that a Tinker would recognize the song.

I could see the plot going either way. From the standpoint of plot, this is a fairly major thread that might be resolved. Alternatively, this could be a WOT version of the Ents never finding the Entwives.
andrew smith
164. sillyslovene

The Seanchan ones will be stranded, and out of annoyance that they were abandoned will subsequently start calling themselves a different name, from either the Old Tongue or Ogier/tree-speak, meaning "those left behind": something like either ye-tii or sas-kwatch. (Oh and they will hang out in the forests and wild regions of the world where no human can find them, only leaving rather enigmatic clues of their existence such as grainy unfocused video)


edit to add: my vote is for Rand Sedai.
165. Wortmauer
Wetlandernw@156,161: Not Rand Al'Therin? I can hear Padan Fain now. "It's never over, Al'Therin." It also calls to mind a character from The Hobbit. Rand Al'Thorin son of Thráin. Almost sounds like an Ogier — who, given they are stonemasons, and know how to wield axes, have parallels to the Dwarves as well as the Ents. I'm hoping somewhere in AMOL is the Old Tongue rendition of the phrase: "Axes of the Ogier! The Ogier are upon you!" Or if you didn't want Rand to sound like an Ogier you could call him: Rand din Thorin Oaken Shield. Ahem ... where was I? Never mind.
Freelancer@:160 What if, as I believe, Martine Janata wasn't burned out by a ter'angreal under her study, but was ambushed by the Black?
Whoa ... oddly, that possibility never occurred to me. I like it. At first I wondered why the BA would still rather than kill, but really to the Aes Sedai mind there's little difference, and nobody would have to hide or explain the body. The amnesia she suffered fits too, assuming the BA know a way to induce this.

But, and this is a big but (which I like, and I cannot lie), she was unable to operate the a'dam, in WH, in her basement in Ebou Dar. Whereas Siuan, while stilled, could use the a'dam Elayne made for Marigan. So clearly there is something about Setalle's condition that is different to standard stilling.
166. alreadymadwithsetalle
Frankly I don't favor Setalle's reintroduction into the Aes Sedai. Or returning her ability to channel. It may seem cruel but let's not forget that Setalle already has a life outside of the White Tower. One she unflinchingly set aside to be drawn into Mat's shenanigans. Yes, she willingly set it aside due to certain considerations, but that is not the same as saying she will let things stand as they are permanently. She has accepted that she has a role to play. The role is not necessarily permanent or one that can be played only by her. Besides you don't have to be Aes Sedai or a channeler to be awesome. Setalle is awesome without any of these. Her bosom is awesome without any of those.

Seriously though, this lack of ability is what allows her to connect with Tuon. And I suspect this is not the last we will see of their connection.
Alice Arneson
167. Wetlandernw
Wow. Everyone else must be having nicer weather than I have... It's Monday, and we're only at 167. Sadly, I have very little to say that wouldn't be "yeah, I'm with that" or "well, I don't exactly agree but I don't feel like arguing the point." Lame.

Rand Sedai. Yup.
Kimani Rogers
168. KiManiak
As for the weather, I wish. Rainy in the Bay Area in June; not the best way to start off a week. Yes, June isn't always the sunniest of months here and the cloudy days do happen fairly often (okay, quite a bit actually) but it still is kind of a bummer.

CJ@150 - What about those of us who neither hate nor love her?

Other than that, I also don't really have much to add, right now. We could attempt to go sideways with the NBA playoffs, I guess:

Go OKC! Go Heat!

(There, let's see if that does anything towards getting us to 2 hunny)
Alice Arneson
169. Wetlandernw
KiManiak @168 - Those who don't wish to engage in the love/hate fest can evaluate the scene from an unbiased viewpoint and try to be fair to both parties. Whereupon, of course, we will be accused of taking sides one way or the other... ;)
Kimani Rogers
170. KiManiak
Just because it's slow, I thought I'd share something that's been on my mind:

Wetlander@169 - Yeah, I've thought about the subject of this Tuesday's post for the past couple of weeks, and I'm still unsure about the level of my participation.

When ToM first came out in November 2010, I was fairly active in discussing Rand and Egwene's meeting; who said what (and how), who did what (and what it could mean), from who'sperspective the chapter was told, the rationale, the gamesmanship, etc. I know a few of us had some pretty lively (to put it mildly) discussions then, and (at that time), I couldn't wait until Leigh's reread got there.

Even in the previous months, we've alluded to the events in the Amyrlin's Anger a few times, and I've been an active participant in most of those, although I've felt that some of us have rehashed the same points and made the same arguments for months; to the point where you could almost directly link a point made with a similar (if not almost excactly the same) point that someone else (or the same person) made in the post from the ToM spoiler thread (part 1 or 2). But now that we're (almost) there, I... don't know how active I want to be.

I've made my points numerous times; so have a number of the regulars. Most of them are solid, well thought out and have been stated and rebutted multiple times. Honestly, I had seriously contemplated in my head just listing (and linking) some of the different folks arguments from the spoiler thread as reference points to save us all time (who knows; maybe that will still be my contribution), if the topic went to when/how Rand was disrespectful or when/how Egwene was antagonistical. Lord knows we were very detailed and even had citations :-)

Let me be clear: I welcome the opinions and arguments of those who didn't participate in the spoiler thread or the 2 or 3 times since then we've discussed the events (and anyone/everyone else for that matter); I'm not trying to give the impression that I'm discouraging the discussion here. Even though I think I know where a number of regulars will fall in these discussions, I will definitely read each post; maybe there will be some new insight, or a different perspective on something that will be kind of cool to read.

(Hey, I read the 13th depository's reread post of Chapter 3, and I enjoyed reading it. But months after the initial discussions in TOR's spoiler thread, I didn't get out of that reread what I thought I would; regardless of whether I agreed with her or not. And so now I find my anticipation for Leigh's post to be nowhere near the levels I had 18+ months ago.)

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I'm still looking forward to tomorrow's post (of course; it's a WoT reread post after all), but I'm also slightly... wary(?) or maybe weary, regarding the possible path of the discussion. Hmm; I'm still not expressing myself as well as I would like to about this.

Oh, well; who knows. Leigh's take on things could put a completely different spin on the events, and I will gladly and eagerly participate a lot if that is the case (no pressure Leigh). But as far as a "Egwene should have done this; Rand should have done that" discussion, I may just give a post or 2 (possibly cut and pasted from one of my old ones) and sit back and let some of the many esteemed posters on this site go at it.

I don't know; we'll see.

Btw, I appreciate those who chose to actually read all of my little "thinking out loud" post. If not for the incredible slowness of the thread, I might've spared you all.

Happy Monday.
171. Curtain Jerker
Here's a question for the class, and sorry in advance if it has been asked/answered:

Since Loial is writing from teh 4th age, does that mean that Rand and Co. win at TG, since losing would mean the DO is free and then the DO can end all ages and stuff? Or am I reading too much into that?
Roger Powell
173. forkroot
He who Pulls with the Cloth@171

Well, technically speaking we don't know if Loial is writing from the Fourth Age, since we're not 100% certain exactly when the "Age" will turn over.

Consider the end of the Second Age. It could be argued that the "beginning" of the end was the drilling of the Bore - but another 100 years went by until the War of the Shadow. Then there was the Strike at Shayol Ghul, following the by the Breaking of the World - which took roughly another hundred years. So exactly at what point did the Third Age begin?

Given that the first set of dates were reckoned "AB" (After Breaking), it would certainly be reasonable to state that the Third Age began after the Breaking. Thus the "transition" between Ages took around two hundred years, if you want to look at it that way.

Now consider what's ahead: We've had many clues that although Rand's trip to Shayol Ghul is essential and may be the pivotal point of the change in Age, nevertheless there will be a lot of stuff likely to happen after that point.

Consider Nicola's foretelling:
"The lion sword, the dedicated spear, she who sees beyond. Three on the boat, and he who is dead yet lives. The great battle done, but the world not done with battle. The land divided by the return, and the guardians balance the servants. The future teeters on the edge of a blade."

This seems to indicate a dead/resurrected Rand post-SG. But with the Seanchan still facing off against the Aiel (see also, Avienda's experience in the way-forward ter'angreal.) Perhaps this situation takes many years to resolve?

My point is: Loial could well be writing from late in the Third Age during whatever transition is still occurring.

With that said, the end of TSR concludes with a note attributed as follows:
"—from The Wheel of Time by Sulamein so Bhagad Chief Historian at the Court of the Sun, the Fourth Age"
I would submit that this is a stronger textual clue to the existing of the Fourth Age. The "Court of the Sun" doesn't exist in the Third Age, although this could some forthcoming evolution of the Cairhienien Sun Throne?


OK - Time once again for one of my favorite rants:

If all that happens is Rand is somehow successful in sealing the DO , TG gets fought and won, and we go back to continuing to have Andor/Cairhein/etc., and channelers, and Seanchan, and Sea Folk and yada/yada - it would be an epic fail. (As in a failed ending to an epic fantasy.)

The end of an Age is supposed to be cataclysmic! Consider how different the world was between the Second and Third Ages. We should expect something of similar magnitude. If we keep the nations and peoples, there should be at least some wrenching change like the loss of Channeling with technology replacing it.
Alice Arneson
174. Wetlandernw
KiManiak @170 - I know what you mean. It's the one drawback to having discussed all this stuff for nearly three and a half years; we've covered the arguments so many times, and the vast majority of the points on each side have been made so many times, that it's a little less than inspiring to contemplate having the same discussion again.

Someone will rant about Egwene's arrogance in assuming that Rand is wrong, and someone else will rant about Rand's arrogance in telling without explaining, and there will be a lot of bickering about who is right and who is wrong, who bears what share of the burden for the lack of trust and communication, and the chances of any readers changing their minds about their assumptions are somewhere in the vicinity of anorexic.

(And that's a really run-on sentence. A whole paragraph worth.)

Like you, I feel that we've rehearsed the arguments plenty of times already; is there really anything new to be said? So, yes, I'm less eager about tomorrow's post than I'd like to be. Or maybe I'm just feeling cynical these days.
175. Freelancer
Wortmauer @165
But, and this is a big but (which I like, and I cannot lie), she was unable to operate the a'dam, in WH, in her basement in Ebou Dar. Whereas Siuan, while stilled, could use the a'dam Elayne made for Marigan. So clearly there is something about Setalle's condition that is different to standard stilling.
Yes, the argument for Setalle being burned out vs stilled has always been that distinction, and I can't say it's wrong. But we are nothing if not nit-pickers, and I suggest that the descriptions of the two scenes leave a tiny gap for doubt. Siuan puts on the a'dam with the express purpose of checking on whether she can sense Moghedien's presense through it. She doesn't attempt to walk about with it on. Conversely, Setalle puts on the a'dam bracelet while Joline wears the collar and almost immediately walks, with the attendant painful results to the erzats damane. None of the people in the room at that time knew what the a'dam could and couldn't do.

I totally agree that Setalle is awesome without the ability to channel. I just figure she deserves the chance to work with ter'angreal once again.
176. Curtain Jerker
@ forkroot 172/173

Agree 100% with your rant. Part of me wants chanelling to end, if for not other reason to make the Aes Sedai useless. Too many of them have become insufferable, starting with their leader. *ducks from the blowback*
Donna Harvey
177. snaggletoothedwoman
My favorite part of the first chapter, in regards to Almen Bunt, is his renewed energy level after talking to Rand. Feeling younger, no stiffness, a ready will to get to work...I could really use some of Rand's rejuvination aura right at this moment! ... sigh...could really use that!
For the Tinker Song, I wonder, if Elayne let the Tinkers listen to the "angreal music box" would they know IT, if it was in there??

Oh, and a question that has been bugging me for a long time now. (forgive me for waiting so long) In TEoTW Moiraine creates a diversion so that Lan can rescue Perrin and Egwene. How did she circumvent the oath not to use the power as a weapon? I checked back to the re-reads and couldn't find any reference to this. I might have missed it though....
Alice Arneson
178. Wetlandernw
snaggletoothedwoman @177 - Re: Moiraine at the Whitecloak camp - She didn't, technically, use the OP as a weapon. She used it to make lightning and thunder, but the lightning all struck outside the camp. (The burning tents were probably from men knocking over lanterns in the confusion.) She only used it to make a lot of flash and noise, to scare the horses and cause chaos in the camp. If anyone died, it was a result of stampeding horses, falling tentpoles, or wolves. Even Lan didn't kill; he just knocked out their guards.

They seem to make a fine distinction that we often don't recognize: a weapon is something used with intent to kill or cause severe injury. If it's just used to cause pain with no severe damage, it's not a weapon. In this case, it didn't even do that - it just frightened everyone and broke all the horses loose to make it possible for Lan to get Perrin and Egwene out, and to make it harder for the Whitecloaks to chase them.
Terry McNamee
179. macster
@141 Freelancer: Thank you! That was going to bug me forever if I didn't find out the answer; I knew the Towers were mentioned somewhere in Great Hunt, in fact I re-read it not too long ago, but for the life of me I couldn't remember where.

@142 hawkido: You seem to be falling prey to the fallacy "lack of evidence is not evidence of lack". Just because there is no book now does not mean there never was, and therefore such things could not be taught that way; all it means is there isn't such a book at the present time known to the Aes Sedai. My point was that any such book from the Age of Legends or the Breaking would have been lost or destroyed, and without it modern Aes Sedai would not know how to teach weaves from a book--something like the library, which shows things in three dimensions, is beyond the ability of modern Aes Sedai to create. Therefore the only way to teach three-dimensional weaves is by demonstration, creating them in the air in front of you. A verbal description is not enough, particularly for people who think visually rather than textually. And as you say, understanding the Old Tongue would be necessary to use any old books on the subject even if they did still exist. Modern ones wouldn't have that problem but as I said, between textual descriptions not being enough and the inability to replicate Age of Legends, 3-D book technology...

@146 karanj: Point re: Roedran, but we really have no idea how well known he is, and if any sudden changes in his personality coincided with him becoming a military genius and bringing power and unity to Murandy it had never had, do you really think anybody would question it or object? Also, it could be that Demandred is disguised as someone in Roedran's coterie, is even supplementing Roedran's book with his Age of Legends knowledge of war.

I suspect the motive for the murders was to make Tuon Empress, that way there was more chance she wouldn't ally with Rand as an equal, and that she'd keep causing problems for the Tower/the Westlands. Then again if it does allow Demandred to take control of Seanchan forces and bring them to Randland, that would fit her working with Demandred and him having armies without the narrative having to go to Seandar...

@148 meowwl: Absolutely beautiful.

@151 sbark: Very good point. Perhaps, despite not openly thinking of it, Galad did see the parallels and it was part of why he was so reluctant to attack Perrin off the cuff and was able to be swayed by Morgase. (BTW, that's another reason she was kept alive and is important to the plot.)

@155 Freelancer: That's a great theory! I hope it happens. Though fork is right about burning out. And to follow from alreadymad, not only would it seem wrong to deny her the life she's gained and her connections with Mat and Tuon, but I don't see why she'd need to be restored as an Aes Sedai to help Elayne with the ter'angreal. Just because she can't see or use the weaves any more doesn't mean she lacks knowledge which could work as advice.

@157 travyl: I did say that I remembered Loial having met Tinkers, and not just in the Two Rivers. What would need to happen, obviously, is not just meeting but a sharing of information, perhaps after the Tinkers got to witness some treesinging in preparation for battle. (Sungwood weapons.)

@158 alreadymad: Possibly, since Jordan did originally plan to write those outriggers. But since he knew he wouldn't get to do that when he gave all the info for the last book to Brandon, I don't think he'd have allowed that line to reference something we'd never get to see. Not to mention the two phrases are far too similar for coincidence, and since the "right that which is wrong" was included in the glossary of this book, well after Jordan would have known he wouldn't be writing the outriggers...

@161 Wetlander: Fascinating thoughts about the Ogier. I think you are right, Covril simply didn't know about the Seanchan Ogier. Whether they might also be pulled along during the Translation, or whether she wouldn't care so as long as enough Ogier were Translated to survive and come back with the next turning of the Wheel, we don't know...but it's all moot because Loial's argument and fighting the Shadowspawn changed her mind, hence her allowing him to speak at the Stump. What will happen when the two groups of Ogier meet, who knows.

On a side note, I had a very strange WOT dream the other night. I dreamed that I had AMoL in my hands, and when I opened it to the table of contents, I found that a good portion of the book had been written as if it were Loial's book The Dragon Reborn, with subsections and parts and chapters all divided out. I doubt this will actually happen, but it's kind of a cool idea, isn't it? Especially if the "Loial" sections were pieces of original Jordan writing he left behind, interspersed with the rest of the narrative as written by Sanderson.

@162 Ways: It's possible the Seanchan Ogier left behind will die, either eventually due to the Longing because all their stedding are gone too, or in the Last Battle. Aviendha's vision is of no help, since the Ogier (whether Gardeners or Randland Ogier) weren't mentioned one way or the other. Maybe they wouldn't die, but eventually the loss of the Power and the changing of the world (environment giving way to civilization and progress) would cause them to die out before our Age came about. But again, we know they won't leave so this discussion is moot.

@163 sbark: True, though if any of them could recognize it, they could do so just as easily when Rand's forces ally with the Seanchan, since the Aiel would be with him at Ebou Dar just as the Ogier would be once Loial brings them.

@164 sillyslovene: LOL!!!

@170 KiManiak: I know what you mean. (And I was involved in some of those discussions with you I believe LOL!) It's why I tried to keep my response to Egwene/Rand short (for me), and focused mostly on the ta'veren thing rather than their attitudes/comments. Though basically, I mostly agree with you about Egwene if I didn't before, but I have hope she'll get her head on straight in the last book.

@173 forkroot: The Court of the Sun is also referenced in Aviendha's vision; it's even one of the chapter names. But if that vision gets averted, the Court may not exist, so I am not sure if we can take that scholarly quote as full evidence any more than Loial's book. Still, it does seem likely the Light will win, and does anyone really doubt that at this point anyway? I think the narrative tension that remains is only related to how they win, who dies/is sacrificed in the process, and what happens afterward. Because as we know from Nicola's Foretelling and other sources, just because the Light wins doesn't mean everything will be roses and song. See also your theory about channeling being lost.

@177 snaggletoothedwoman: Well that's a new one! However, I can't see the Aiel/Ogier seed-singing song being preserved in a music box.
Nadine L.
180. travyl
macster, your idea for the last book is good (and I would like it) but I see a flaw: If as you suggest "Loial's book" would represent what Jordan wrote, we would likely lose some ogier awesomeness.
I picture that in Loial's book, his own contribution to the last battle would likely be "I was there as well" instead of what really happend. (Based on his behaviour after Gaul (and Loial) closed the Waygate in the Two Rivers ).
Terry McNamee
181. macster
@travyl: Good point (even though Jordan's wordiness would certainly match the Ogier way of speaking and thinking). But then I did say it was just a dream--doesn't mean it would work in reality, or be good for the series in the end. Though to be fair, the description of the Ogier's part in the Last Battle could come from the non-Loial, Sanderson-written parts.
William McDaniel
182. willmcd
I'm in the crowd that likes the new Rand. TGS is a dark and oppressive book, and while that kind of thing can be atmospheric and intriguing, I don't think it can go on forever. (Empire Strikes Back is everyone's favorite Star Wars movie, but recall audiences had a lukewarm reaction to it when it was released; it only becomes great when we know Return of the Jedi is coming). That's why horror never had much interest for me as a genre; if the bad guys can never really lose (they're always back for a twist ending or a sequel), it's not a story I'm ultimately interested in. Yet on the flip side, I do think they introduced Jedi Master Rand (my preferred appellation; I love that the fandom can't come to a consensus!) at the right time. Too many books of his lack of inner conflict might have become stale, but to have him for just one book (presented almost entirely from others' viewpoint) before the end was the perfect balance.

In the scene with Bunt, I liked the implication that it was the arrival of Darth Rand which caused the apple crop to fail in the first place. I also liked the fact that Rand travels from Dragonmount to the farm, and subsequently from the farm to Tar Valon, on foot rather than by making a gateway. Many themes resonated in this: it emphasized the Dragon/Land connection, it showed us that Rand now accomplishes things through who he is (as opposed to solely through his channeling), and it demonstrates that Rand has re-discovered a connection to the common man ("all men" echoes in "Almen", as many have pointed out).

I also noticed that as he walks to Tar Valon he does so on a pathway betweeen "trees laden with blood-red apples". This was a bit of a sinister twist on an otherwise uplifting chapter; despite Rand's new-found serenity, the path in front of him is still one that contains pain and violence.
183. asdjk
I'm sure someone has already said this, but Semihrage is obviously not the one ruling Seandar and has nothing to do with that fleet mentioned. Directly, at least.

And the black towers are the Forsaken, I don't know how anyone could miss that.

Also I was going to mention on the first post but forgot: I love that Graendal survived. She's always been one of the more subtle and interesting villains, and her frantic scheming was a pleasure to read.
It's darkly appropriate that psycho-Rand's mini-genocide didn't even accomplish his goal; evil doesn't pay!

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