Tue
Jun 5 2012 2:00pm

The Wheel of Time Re-read: Towers of Midnight, Part 4

It’s a Wheel of Time Re-read! Everybody HIDE!

Today’s entry covers Chapter 3 of Towers of Midnight, in which we discuss problems of perception, balance, and roadkill. Sort of.

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!

Chapter 3: The Amyrlin’s Anger

What Happens
Egwene floats in the space between dreams and the waking world, where she often goes now to meditate. She ignores the temptation to seek out Gawyn’s dream and finds Nynaeve’s instead, to instruct her firmly that it is time Nynaeve stopped avoiding her, and to meet her two nights hence in the Hall of the Tower or else. She reflects to herself that both Nynaeve and Elayne’s uncertain status as Aes Sedai needs to be put to rest. She decides against contacting any of the Wise Ones and slips into her own dream of Gawyn, but it is interrupted by a series of disturbing visions:

All was dust around her, and thirteen black towers rose in the distance beneath a tarlike sky.

One fell, and then another, crashing to the ground. As they did, the ones that remained grew taller and taller. The ground shook as several more towers fell. Another tower shook and cracked, collapsing most of the way to the ground—but then, it recovered and grew tallest of all.

At the end of the quake, six towers remained, looming above her.

The vision changes to that of a nest of fledgling eagles, being eaten one by one by a serpent coiled in their nest, and then again to a vision of an enormous sphere of crystal, sparkling in “the light of twenty-three enormous stars”, cracked and held together by ropes, and Rand walking up with an axe to chop the ropes free and allow the sphere to crack apart. Egwene wakes, deeply unsettled, and writes the dreams down in her diary. She knows that the middle one refers to Mesaana, still somehow hidden in the White Tower.

If Egwene did not find Mesaana and stop her, something terrible would happen. It could mean the fall of the White Tower, perhaps the victory of the Dark One. Dreams were not Foretellings—they didn’t show what would happen, but what could.

Egwene is interrupted by Silviana, who has come to tell her that the Dragon Reborn is in the Tower and has asked to see her.

Siuan demands to know how al’Thor got so far into Tar Valon without being seen, but Saerin replies that with the chaos in the city it is not that surprising. Captain Chubain adds that he just showed up at the Sunset Gates and asked to see the Amyrlin, “calm as spring rain”. Siuan supposes aloud that he might be frightened and turning himself in, but privately she doubts it. Saerin says she has heard that he is “mistrustful and erratic”, especially concerning Aes Sedai. Siuan thinks that she hasn’t seen the boy in two years, but that matches what she had heard as well.

Temperamental, distrustful, arrogant. Light burn Elaida! Siuan thought. If not for her, we’d have had him safely in Aes Sedai care long ago.

Most of the sisters in the Tower are heading toward the Hall, trying not to appear nervous. Siuan and Saerin enter a corridor whose tiles should have been yellow and white, but are instead blood-red and slick-looking, and hastily backtrack just in case. Outside the Hall, Siuan reflects that the choice of Silviana as Egwene’s new Keeper was a brilliant one; though she is a tiny bit disappointed not to be chosen herself, she acknowledges that she no longer has the stomach for the politicking involved, wanting only to dedicate herself to the issue of the Last Battle. Bryne arrives, and teases her gently about letting her famed Aes Sedai serenity slip. He asks her what is wrong as Egwene arrives, and Siuan confesses that she’d thought it would be her, Siuan, in there when this day arrived.

Bryne’s grip tightened. “Siuan, I…”

“Oh, don’t be like that,” she growled, looking at him. “I don’t regret a thing.”

He frowned.

“It’s for the best,” Siuan said, though it twisted her insides in knots to admit it. “For all her tyranny and foolishness, it is good that Elaida removed me, because that is what led us to Egwene. She’ll do better than I could have. It’s hard to swallow—I did well as Amyrlin, but I couldn’t do that. Lead by presence instead of force, uniting instead of dividing. And so, I’m glad that Egwene is receiving him.”

Bryne tells her he is proud of her; Siuan scoffs, but Bryne says firmly that whatever Egwene achieves, it is because Siuan paved the way for her, and Siuan is a bit mollified. Bryne comments that he saw al’Thor on his way in, shielded by no less than twenty-six sisters, but that the sisters all seemed “in a near panic”. Siuan asks if he seems frightened or angry.

“Honestly, Siuan? He looked like an Aes Sedai.”

Siuan snapped her jaw closed. Was he taunting her again? No, the general seemed serious. But what did he mean?

Egwene enters the Hall, and then the procession of Warders and Aes Sedai guarding the Dragon Reborn approaches. Siuan ignores the glow of ta’veren around him that her Talent lets her see, and observes that the boy she’d met two years ago seemed a full-grown man now, walking with assurance and confidence, and is shocked to see Bryne is right, and that his eyes looked ageless, as though he “was seeing through the light of a thousand lives compounded in one”. Al’Thor sees her and stops the proceedings to come to her, and no one has the nerve to stop him. Al’Thor remarks that she’s changed since they last met, and asks if he ever thanked her for taking an arrow for him. Siuan answers that she didn’t do it intentionally, startled by his relaxed smile. He asks what kind of Amyrlin Egwene is, and Siuan answers that she is one of the greatest they’ve had, even in so short a time.

He smiled again. “I should have expected nothing less. Strange, but I feel that seeing her again will hurt, though that is one wound that has well and truly healed. I can still remember the pain of it, I suppose.”

Light, but this man was making a muddle of her expectations! The White Tower was a place that should have unnerved any man who could channel, Dragon Reborn or not. Yet he didn’t seem worried in the least.

They are interrupted by an Aes Sedai named Tiana, who approaches and pulls out a letter with a red seal. She tells al’Thor nervously that it is for him, though she refuses to elaborate further. Al’Thor pockets it without reading it, and asks Siuan to do her best “to calm Egwene when he is done”. Then he enters the Hall.

Egwene thinks she is not ready for this as she watches Rand enter the Hall, and reminds herself that this is not her childhood sweetheart, but the most dangerous man in the world. He walks to the center of the floor and greets her by name, commenting that the stole fits her well. Egwene is surprised at his calm, and wonders if he has given up, but thinks it is something else. She asks what has happened to him.

“I was broken,” Rand said, hands behind his back. “And then, remarkably, I was reforged. I think he almost had me, Egwene. It was Cadsuane who set me to fixing it, though she did so by accident. Still, I shall have to lift her exile, I suspect.”

She thinks he sounds more cultured and educated than he should. She asks whether he has come to surrender himself to the White Tower’s guidance. Rand studies her and the other sisters in the room, and admits that he has hated the Aes Sedai before, but in avoiding their strings, he allowed more dangerous ones to be tied to him. He says he worried that if he listened to them they would control him.

“It wasn’t a desire for independence that drove me, but a fear of irrelevance. A fear that the acts I accomplished would be yours, and not my own.” He hesitated. “I should have wished for such a convenient set of backs upon which to heap the blame for my crimes.”

Egwene worries that he has gone completely mad, and tells Rand she wants some sisters to talk to him and see if there is anything wrong with him. Rand smiles, and tells her he is sorry, but he has too much to do and too little time to do it. He says that he regrets that he has to come into her center of power and then defy her, but it had to be done so that he could tell her his plan. He says that the last time he tried to seal the Bore, he was forced to do it without the women, and while there is blame on both sides for that, he will not make the same mistake twice.

Light, she thought. I’m wrong. I can’t think of him only as the Dragon Reborn. I’m here for a reason. He’s here for a reason. To me, he must be Rand. Because Rand can be trusted, while the Dragon Reborn must be feared.

“Which are you?” she whispered unconsciously.

He heard. “I am both, Egwene. I remember him. Lews Therin. I can see his entire life, every desperate moment. I see it like a dream, but a clear dream. My own dream. It’s part of me.”

He tells her that in one month’s time, he is going to Shayol Ghul to break the last remaining seal on the Dark One’s prison, and that he will meet with them the day before and give them his terms. Egwene realizes this is what her Dream about the crystal sphere meant. He goes to leave, and she rises and shouts that he will not turn his back on her. Rand stops and turns back.

“You can’t break the seals,” Egwene said. “That would risk letting the Dark One free.”

“A risk we must take. Clear away the rubble. The Bore must be opened fully again before it can be sealed.”

Egwene says they must discuss this, and other things, like the sisters his men have bonded, and Rand replies they can discuss that next time they meet. He formally asks her permission to withdraw.

She met his eyes. Don’t make me do anything I would regret, his expression seemed to say.

Could she really confine him here? After what she’d said to Elaida about him needing to be free?

“I will not let you break the seals,” she said. “That is madness.”

“Then meet with me at the place known as the Field of Merrilor, just to the north. We will talk before I go to Shayol Ghul. For now, I do not want to defy you, Egwene. But I must go.”

Neither of them looked away. The others in the room seemed not to breathe. The chamber was still enough for Egwene to hear the faint breeze making the rose window groan in its lead.

“Very well,” Egwene said. “But this is not ended, Rand.”

“There are no endings, Egwene,” he replied, then nodded to her and turned to walk from the Hall.

After he is gone, Silviana asks Egwene how she could even think during “that”, and Egwene doesn’t know what she means. Barasine says she felt like something was “gripping her heart”, and Yukiri says she tried to speak, but couldn’t. Saerin names it ta’veren, but so strong she felt it could crush her. Egwene is puzzled that she had not felt what the rest did, but dismisses it to order that the Hall shall convene to discuss the matter. Silviana agrees that Rand cannot be allowed to break the seals, but wonders what they are to do if Egwene refuses to hold him captive. Egwene replies that she got the sense that they couldn’t have done so anyway, and that they needed allies.

“He might be persuaded by people that he trusts.” Or he might be forced to change his mind if confronted by a large enough group united to stop him.

It was now more vital that she speak with Elayne and Nynaeve.

Commentary
So, if you look up the word “fraught” in the dictionary, you won’t find this chapter. But you probably should.

The tension here was unbelievable, in my opinion, and no less so on re-reading it than the first time – probably because from my current point of view as a reader, this is not a completed confrontation; this was just the set-up for what’s going to happen on the Field of Tolkien Shoutouts Merrilor in AMoL.

I was frankly astonished that the whole thing didn’t go spectacularly south, myself. Though it made more sense that it didn’t once Rand left, and the others revealed they had all been paralyzed by Rand’s Awesomely Awesome Aura Of Ta’veren Awesomeness, which is apparently so freakin’ awesome it’s like catching a deer in headlights and then SPLABAM!

Just kidding. I think.

By the way, this makes at least twice now that Egwene has successfully resisted the power of Rand’s Awesome ta’veren, and while Jordan is I believe on record as saying Egwene is definitely not ta’veren herself, I’m beginning to think there’s definitely something innate and perhaps Talent-related there, because she really seems to be damn near unique in that respect. I’m just saying.

(Although, it belatedly occurs to me that Siuan wasn’t flopping around like a fish out of water (ha) while talking to Rand in this chapter either, so maybe it really is just as simple as that being someone who even nominally knows him as a person lessens the effect. Or, alternately, he just hadn’t flicked on the high beams, IYKWIMAITYD, until he was inside the Hall. So, never mind, maybe.)

As for the actual confrontation itself, well, I am afraid that as usual I am not going to be a great deal of help in the ongoing Egwene Sucks! / Egwene Rules! Debate in the comments, because I am coming down pretty firmly in the arena of Switzerland in this particular iteration. By which I mean, I don’t think she did do a particularly good job of handling Rand here, actually – but I also don’t think she can really be blamed for that.

‘Cause, you know, it may behoove us all to remember that just because we know this new Zen Master Jesus Rand guy and the epiphany that made him that way is the real deal, having had the omniscient reader’s privilege of being in Rand’s head at the time, doesn’t mean this doesn’t look like just one more iteration of Supa Crazy Schizo Rand to everyone else. Egwene treats him like a dangerous madman here, and it is exasperatingly unproductive, but literally less than twenty-four hours earlier she would have been completely correct to do so.

(Well. Twenty-four hours ago a confrontation between her and Rand would have almost certainly resulted in a smoking crater where the Tower had been, so maybe saying it would have been the correct thing to do is not the right way to phrase that, but I can’t see how any other approach other than blind groveling – which would so never happen – wouldn’t have resulted in the same thing anyway, so it’s probably a moot point. And hell, blind groveling just might have set him off too. TGS-era Rand was pretty much just looking for an excuse to lose his shit, after all.)

And Rand, honestly, is not really making his case for being not-crazy to anyone not dazed by his stupefying Beam of Amazingness – like, say, Egwene – with his talking about things Lews Therin had done thousands of years ago as if they were things Rand al’Thor did last week. Again, sure, we get that everything’s all hunky dory in there now (or at least, er, hunky dorier), but to anyone else, that’s just crazy talk, not to put too fine a point on it.

All that said, while I understand why Egwene reacted the way she did, this is not to say that I am not frustrated by that reaction. But as Rand himself once observed, this is not like the stories where the chosen one shows up and is all “Behold!” and then everyone else is all “Yay!”, and falls in to beat up the bad guy, the end. (He may not have, you know, phrased it quite like that, but whatever.) Those kinds of stories may be less stressful, but they also kind of suck.

It also cannot be missed that Rand and Egwene are acting out a parallel drama to the one that occurred between Lews Therin and Latra Posae the last time the world had to go through this crap, and then as now I don’t think blame can be fully laid on either side, but rather on both. The obvious task here for Rand and Egwene is to make sure that history does not repeat itself, literally.

Also, unlike (I suspect) some readers, on reflection I actually applaud Egwene’s demand that Rand treat her as an equal even though my kneejerk reaction was to resent it. Because yes, Rand is the savior of the world and all, but he’s already acknowledged that he will not be able to save anything if he does not have the women with him this time, and ergo, that means Egwene is just as essential to the mission as he is, and, honestly, ought to have equal say. You can quibble about that, maybe, but for my money that fact, plus the fact that Egwene is essentially the closest thing Randland has to a supreme leader of the continent, makes it not only appropriate but necessary that she assert her equality to him, and that she demand – and receive – his respect.

Not to mention, the narrative function of the women in Rand’s life in WOT has always, always been to humanize him. To keep him on an even keel, by reminding him that he is not, in fact, All That, and that he is human and has needs and makes mistakes and should probably eat something, dammit. And unconsciously or not, that is still what Egwene is doing here.

Plus there is that whole overarching symbolic theme thingy with the female and the male and the yin and the yang and the Guardians balancing the Servants and the world never healing itself until the men and the women can work together and stuff probably having something to do with it. It’s, like, cosmical, you guys.

Of course, if it all goes horrifically wrong at Merrilor and the Aes Sedai end up in a pitched battle with the Asha’man, I will totally call “my bad” on the whole business, but I tend to think it’ll probably work out. Especially since Rand tacitly acknowledged, by asking Egwene’s permission to withdraw, that she was right – even if he was still a bit of a dick about it. Heh.

…Actually, it looks like once again I ended up coming down pretty solidly on the “Egwene Rules!” side of the debate, didn’t I? Ah well. I’ve never been the biggest fan of Swiss cheese anyway.

As a last note on Rand and Egwene, I would just like to remind everyone that this scene means Mat is now the undisputed champion among the main characters in the “who goes for the longest without being in the same room as Rand” contest. At this point, I’m not entirely sure what the count is in internal chronology, but it’s been at minimum eight months in story time since Mat and Rand have seen each other. In reader time? Seventeen years and counting. Just FYI.

Other notes:

Egwene’s Dreams: I saw that a couple of people in the comments to the previous entry were contesting that I was wrong, that the titular Towers of Midnight did refer to the towers in Seanchan we see in the wind opener of Chapter 1. And maybe they are right, but for my money I always assumed the title was referring to Egwene’s Dream here.

And of course, it also seemed obvious that the “towers” she Dreams about aren’t actually towers at all, but are meant to represent the thirteen Forsaken. In her Dream, all but six of the towers have fallen, and all but six of the Forsaken are (permanently) dead at this point in the story: Demandred, Graendal, Lanfear/Cyndane, Mesaana, Moghedien, and Ishamael/Moridin, who is obviously the tower that almost fell but rose up again to dwarf the others. So, assuming I’m right, that makes at least a little more sense (in my opinion) than the idea that the whole book is named after some random towers in Seanchan that have no bearing on the Randland mainland whatsoever.

Though it does still strike me as being a tad wonky even so, because I don’t seem to recall that the Forsaken as a group have any more to do in this plot of this book than they do in any of the others. Demandred is, as frickin’ usual, Sir Villain Not Appearing In This Novel, Moghedien is also a no-show, and Moridin and Cyndane each only show up for a hot second. Sure, Mesaana and Graendal have lots to do in ToM, but then why name the book after the whole kit and caboodle? I dunno, it’s weird. Oh, well.

As for the other two Dreams, the serpent and eagle one is so obvious the text doesn’t even try to be coy about it, and the last one is explained pretty succinctly by the end of the chapter. Though I do have to say my attention was caught by the line saying the sphere was bathed in “the light of twenty-three enormous stars”.

That’s… an awfully specific number. I racked my brains for a while trying to remember if there were any significant groups of items or people lying around in WOT that happened to number twenty-three, but I got nothing. Anyone? Bueller?

This is also an interesting little nugget:

Dreams were not Foretellings—they didn’t show what would happen, but what could.

Really. Because I do not think we had been told that in so many words before this. This smells like it has implications. Hmm. I may come back to this.

There was a nice little by-play between Siuan and Bryne in this chapter that I mostly left out, but I do have to say that I quite enjoy their snarky relationship now that all the awkwardly-rendered Unresolved Sexual Tension is thankfully in the past. I also got the impression that this was meant as a little bit of a wrap-up for Siuan’s character arc as a whole, as she reflects that she is content in her role now. Also, the fact that Rand singled her out contributes to that impression, as it seems a bit like a formal acknowledgment of her small-but-pivotal role in setting him on his fated path.

All of which makes me glad for her, but also makes me a smidge worried for the likelihood of her survival past the end of AMoL. Er.

And, okay, what was the deal with Tiana and the note? I didn’t even remember this happened until I re-read it just now, so I have to assume that whatever the note contains, we haven’t learned about it yet. Tiana was the Mistress of Novices in the Rebel camp (though I have no idea if she replaced Silviana in that capacity in the reunited Tower or not), and it’s clear from what she says that she’s giving the note to him on someone else’s behalf, so the only thing I could think was that maybe the note came from Nicola – given to Tiana before she ran away, of course, though I’m not sure why Tiana would have agreed to be an unruly novice’s errand-girl. But if so, that could mean it contains some posthumous Foretellings from Nicola, which would be cool because we really only got one or two prophecies out of her (on-screen) before she bit it in TGS. We’ll see, I guess.


And I am Done, boys and girls! Have a lovely week, and I will see you next time!

209 comments
smiller3
1. smiller3
Thanks Leigh. I needed my weekly WOT fix. Counting down the days AMOL!
smiller3
2. mutantalbinocrocodile
I may be misremembering, but I think I saw on another fansite that, depending on how you count, there could be twenty-three definable political entities left standing at this point. The number really intrigued me at the time and I spent an inordinate amount of time web-stalking it.
smiller3
3. Guardianofsome
Man, every time I reread Towers of Midnight, I realize just how much left there is to wrap up. Confrontation at the Black Tower, Rand/Mat/Fortuona, Callandor, Lan, Rand/Lanfear, Aveindha fixing the Aiel... this book is gonna be huge, yall.
Rajesh Vaidya
4. Buddhacat
ObVious: They named the book as ToM for all the forsaken, since they very well couldn't name it for just Mesaana and Graendal - because The Two Towers was already taken.
Roger Powell
5. forkroot
Leigh - I think Tiana was delivering a note from Verin telling Rand about Elaida's abduction of Mattin Stepaneos, as well as enough other information about Elaida's abduction programs for Rand to surmise that she had tried to abduct Alsalam (of Arad Doman) as well.
smiller3
6. NotInventedHere
RE: the note, I assumed that it was from Verin, although why Tiana would be passing it on I'm not sure. But it seems like it would be someone who expected Rand to show up at the White Tower at some point, and Verin strikes me as the type who would see it coming - more so than Nicola, surely. But I guess the timing wouldn't work out quite right for that, since Tiana wouldn't have been in the tower at the same time as Verin.
smiller3
7. Ogee Al'Gar
Doesn't "Towers of Midnight" represent ALL towers mentioned? The towers in Seandar, the Forsaken and the Tower of Ghenjei (msp?). Maybe a simplistic explanation, but it fits.
Michael Davies
8. TheWeatherman
The red sealed letter must be from Verin, as all the other characters who have received Verins letters have been of this form. Perhaps they'll have a red letter day at the Field of Merrilor. The only one we can be certain of at this point is Mats letter, which was pretty much the conclusion of TOM, surely as RJ has made the giving of the letters a common thread of the last two books they will be pivotal in the next book
Pat .
9. dolphineus
Gotta agree with forkroot here ... it was a letter from Verin.
Rand manages to rescue Alsalam and said a "friend" let him know Elaida had been kidnapping monarchs. Since we never see anyone tell Rand this, its gotta be the letter from Verin.
smiller3
10. Seraphyn
"By the way, this makes at least twice now that Egwene has successfully resisted the power of Rand’s Awesome ta’veren, and while Jordan is I believe on record as saying Egwene is definitely not ta’veren herself, I’m beginning to think there’s definitely something innate and perhaps Talent-related there, because she really seems to be damn near unique in that respect. I’m just saying."

I have this feeling that this has nothing to do with Egwene having a special Talent. Rand is ta'veren. Basically, the pattern changes to make sure he does what he should. I think that the conversation between them was of such importance that the pattern simply wouldn't allow others to talk/interfere with what was happening. We've seen other instances where actions were controlled by ta'veren, why couldn't this be the same? Egwene is quite an important figure in the world, and also (I think) will be important to sealing the bore again somehow. As Leigh said, she will play out the role of the leading woman of the time, and THIS time, they will get it right. (Yay Egwene!)

On the towers... I still have a feeling the towers mentioned at the start of the book have some importance... what, I don't know... but I just can't discount them!

Thanks for the commentary Leigh!
smiller3
11. RMee
Leigh -
I always thought that the letter handed to Rand was from Verin. Sort of a final good-bye/reveal along the lines of "You can certainly trust your friends, and I let Egwene know about the Black Ajah. Taim's been ruining your plans at the Black Tower for some time now, and I'm the one who told Logain to disappear. Good luck saving the world!" or something similar.
smiller3
12. Seamus1602
Leigh - I believe that Tiana's note was from Verin wrt to Alsalam's whereabouts.
smiller3
13. arby64
I assumed the note was one of many Verin left behind.
John Mann
14. jcmnyu
The best guess I have for 23 is the 11 Clan Chiefs and 11 Wise Ones (is there a head Wise One per clan?) of the 11 Aiel clans loyal to Rand, plus him. There is something about this in Avi's trip through the way forward machine where her granddaughter thinks of a council of the remaining leaders which was comprised of Chiefs and Wise Ones, IIRC.
smiller3
15. Kadere
The note is from Verin, just like EVERY note in this book with instructions from her. The only note we know the contents of is Mat's.

And Towers of Midnight means a whole junk load of things. As Brandon said "There are various reasons for this, which I'll go into more once the book is out next year." One is the actual Seanchan towers, one is the dream here and the Forsaken, one is the ACTUAL TOWERS THAT ARE INVOLVED IN THE BOOK such as: The White Tower, The Black Tower, The Tower of Ghenji, and the Seven Towers of Malkier. The title also refers to the fact that we've started the Last Battle. We've come from the Shadow Rising, to the Crossroads of Twilight, and now the Towers of Midnight. Things are at their darkest here. This isn't difficult. Titles don't have to mean one literal thing. In fact they're better if they mean multiple things.
smiller3
16. Nick S.
I assumed the note was from Verin. Also Egwene didn't bother me in this chapter cause she was totally manipulated by rand here. She reacting just the way he wanted and knew she would, so I don't get what's to be upset about.
Deana Whitney
17. Braid_Tug
Darn only one chapter?
Well, lets enjoy the show from the bunker.

@4, Buddhacat: oh, that was funny and bad all at the same time.

@ 15, Kadere: I like your thoughts about the title.
smiller3
18. Ralphy
1) I always assumed the note was from Verin, as her note for Mat also had a red seal, if I'm not mistaken.
2) Egwene wasn't alone in resisting Rand's ta'veren-ness - Tuon a.k.a. Fortuona also did in their summit and it was an obvious case of her fighting off his Jedi Mind Tricks.
smiller3
19. Jessemb
I'm pretty sure that the note comes from Verin, who seems to have mastered the "deliver this after I'm dead" method of getting around her Darkfriend oaths.

And I think that the note is what tells Rand about Aes Sedai having captured King Alsalam of Arad Doman.
smiller3
20. Seraphyn
Ralphy @18 makes a good point... Egwene, Siuan, and Tuon are women with extremely strong, well trained minds. If anyone could resist the ta'veren, it would be them.
smiller3
21. WoTNewbie
sorry about being the bonehead, folks.. but can someone explain the serpent and eagle thing? I am at a loss and it seems that everyone else knows it right off without explanation..
Erik
22. gadget
Note: I agree with previous posters who have stated that the letter was a Verin-a-gram telling Rand about (among possible other things) Eliada's abduction of the King of Illian.

The 23 stars in the dream seems to obviously represent the Hall of the Tower (21 Sitters) + the Amyrlin + the Keeper = 23.

While I have never been in Egwene haters club, I do think you are being a bit too charitable with her here Leigh. If you can't be expect Egwene to have the semi-omiscient view the reader has with regard to Zen-Rand, you also can't expect her to know how low and bad Dark-Rand was/is. Granted, she has been getting reports on him (along with others in the Tower), but these have no doubt been disrupted by the recent Tower Troubles and are likely second or third hand anyway. She does make the attempt to treat him as a person and friend (at least mentaly), but largely fails. Her instant obstancy to breaking the last seal does not seem terribly logicical: Everything is going to Hades in a handbasket anyway. It is hard to see how you seal away the Dark One's prison without first 'clearing away the rubble'. Though, Rand could have been a bit more forthcomming in explaining the whys and wherefores.
Brandon Daggerhart
23. BDaggerhart
I'm firmly in the camp that the 23 stars are the 21 Sitters, the Amyrlin, and the Keeper. Rand has to somehow "destroy the way the modern Tower works," and it's necessary to do so (or at least, he's going to try). that's my interpretation.
Matthew Hunter
24. matthew1215
Egwene v Rand: While I'm definitely not in the "Egwene Rules" camp, I think Egwene did about the best thing she possibly could here: essentially, nothing. She *didn't* try to capture Rand. She *didn't* try to manipulate him into some course of actoin she thought best. She *did* listen to him, and tell him honestly what she thought of his plans. She can't be blamed for not having a break-the-seals party on the strength of five minutes of chitchat and Rand won't stay longer in order to explain. So, while this doesn't resolve anything and just delays the confrontation till the last book, I nonetheless think Egwene was doing pretty well here.

It's on the Fields of Merrilor that the fit will hit the shan for these two.
Vincent Lane
25. Aegnor
Nicola bit it in TGS? I totally missed that, or forgot it.
smiller3
26. CorDarei
I think the note was from Verin....

/nothing more to add.
Douglas Miller
27. douglas
I don't think either Egwene or Siuan in this chapter are cases of anyone resisting Rand's ta'veren influence. In each case, the person in question is the one he was talking to. They didn't have to resist it because it wasn't exerting any pressure on them in the first place - it was keeping everyone else from interrupting.

Oh, and the letter is totally from Verin.
smiller3
28. TinkerPride
Regarding the "Towers" falling idea, Robert Jordan between TEOTW to KoD books mentions over 30 different Towers, who are not Forsaken/Chosen characters.

What did Mordeth once declare to Mat, Perrin & Rand?

“The towers are not safe,” said a man’s voice behind them. [TEOTW,
Chapter 19 ‘Shadow’s Waiting’—Rand POV, Mordeth speaks!]

What are the literal *Tower(s)*, Robert Jordan later writes of?


1. White Tower
2. Black Tower
3. Silver Tower
4. Tower of Metal [Tower of Metal]; Tower of Ghenjei
5. Tower of Tel’aran’rhiod
6. Tower of Ravens
7. Tower of Morning [Tanchico, Tarabon]
8. Tower of the Fortress [Fal Dara, Shienar]
9. Tower of logs
10. Tower of the City [Cairhien]
11. Tower of Dark Curls [Lady Colavaere]
12. Tower of Morning [A sword motion, LoC Chapter 1 ‘Lion on the Hill’]
13. Tower of Curls [Lady Colavaere]
14. Tower of the Largest Palace [Bethal, Ghealdin; Alliandre Maritha Kigarin’s scarlet banner hanging, TPoD Chapter 7 ‘A Goatpen’]
15. Tower of the Risen Sun [Cairhien, Tower destroyed… CoT Prologue, ‘Gimmers of the Pattern’ – Samitsu POV]
16. Tower of the Full Moon [Cairhien, Lord Dobraine’s apartment within… CoT Prologue, ‘Gimmers of the Pattern’ – Samitsu POV]
17. Tower of his own hidden inside the Black Tower [Logain speaking of Taim, KOD Chapter 18 ‘News for the Dragon”]
18. Tower of natural causes [humorous pun, KoD Chapter 24 ‘Honey in the Tea’ – Egwene al’Vere POV]
19. Hall of the Tower
20. Tower Library, including 13th Depository
21. Black Tower guard Towers | KoD Epilogue ‘Remember the Old Saying’—Pevara POV
22. Tower of Caemlyn, grey walls | KoD Chapter 35 ‘The Importance of Dyelin’ – Elayne POV
23. Tower of Caemlyn’s Palace, including gates
24. Towers of Illian
25. Seven Ruined Towers around his head
26. Towers of the City, Trumpets bare, brazen and bold [Blaes of Matuchin, TEOTW Chapter 17 ‘Watchers and Hunters’]
27. Lord of the Seven Towers
28. Guard Towers on the Wall [Aridhol]
29. Vine-encrusted watchtowers [Aridhol]
30. gray stone towers, of Maiden Altara | KoD Chapter 28 ‘In Maiden’ – Faile POV
31. “Rolan, towering over her” | KoD Chapter ‘As If theWorld Were Fog’ – Faile POV


More unique references exist to Tower(s) in the series, yet I've stopped here for reader's sake.

In terms of analysis, which Towers have already fallen?

Tower of Dark Curls/Tower of Curls - who is Lady Colavaere of Cairhien.
Tower of Ravens, in Seanchan.
Gray stone towers, of Maiden Altara
Damon Garner
29. IrishOmalley
- I do believe that Rand left his idea vague and unfinished to get Egwene to gather all the armies and nations for him.

- Egs dreams - I believe that some of her dreams have been possibilities rather than certainties. - The Gawyn dreams of him coming for her or not, resulted in differing outcomes in her dreams.
smiller3
30. TinkerPride
"Moghedien is also a no-show" -- Leigh.


Actually Moghedien could have been the so-called Kinswoman who almost killed Gawyn by closing a Waygate too early, between Caemlyn and Tar Valon.

Moghedien has quite a darkfriend network in Cairhien, Caemlyn, Tar Valon, Amadicia, Tarabon, Arad Doman and elsewhere.

There's a whole backstory, as to why Moghedien is in Caemlyn and after Elayne Trakand in particular. Ditto for Moggy's current master Moridin.

This backstory is in parallel to, Elayne Trakand's repeated prior Dreams of BEING KIDNAPPED in KoD book. However, Moghedien's army of spies isn't linked to Elaida's kidnapping (err, Fortuona's!) of Elayne Trakand. Moggy's will try to meet her promise to strike back at Birgitte.
Cameron Tucker
31. Loialson
Love the Recap Leigh, but one teensy bit of detail wrong here:

Nicola doesn't bite it in TGS, but in ToM.

She's in ToM ch 27 (A Call to Stand), where Egwene approves two accepted, Nissa and Nicola to train a bit with the Dream Ter'angreal after recovering some new ones from Elayne, so they'll blab about it, and lead a hook out for Mesaana to come to the TAR battle.

In ToM ch 38(Wounds), during the big battle, Nicola expressly disobeys Egwene's orders and violates her trust, coming to the BIG TAR battle when she shouldn't (only sisters in the Tower Egwene had approved of were supposed to fight), and perishes almost as soon as she appears.
Nadine L.
32. travyl
I love this chapter as a whole.
I liked Bryne's comment about the concerned face of Aes Sedai and I did enjoy Rand's entrance with the Aes Sedai all nervous and insecure. While I don't question that Rand Sedai would recognize Siuan on the spot, it felt a bit weird how he adressed Bryne (a tad too familiar).
I have critisized Egwene before, especially for her behaviour towards Siuan, so I look favorable on the fact that she nodded to her in this chapter ; )
The course of the meeting between her and Rand felt "natural" to me, both of them showing that they are accepting their role ...
So, I am quite happy as it went, although I know it could have worked out differently if they would have actually talked to each other and explained their reasonings.

Leigh, one could almost asume that you misinterpreted the origin of "Verin's note" on purpose, to steer the discussion in this thread away from Egwene/Rand ; )
Richard Boye
33. sarcastro
"Though I do have to say my attention was caught by the line saying the sphere was bathed in “the light of twenty-three enormous stars”.That’s… an awfully specific number. "

I gave a passing thought to it referring to the 23 nations of Randland... but are there 23 nations? -
Roger Powell
34. forkroot
gadget@22
Though, Rand could have been a bit more forthcoming in explaining the whys and wherefores.
At this point Rand Sedai is playing chess while Egwene is still mastering checkers. He is deliberately provoking her in order to ensure that she gets everybody to the Fields of Merrilor. He regrets doing it, as the new integrated Rand does not like to manipulate people; however he sees the necessity.

Hopefully, in the intervening month, Egwene will reflect on her relative knowledge level vs. a 400+ year old man who was the greatest Aes Sedai of the Second Age. This doesn't mean abandoning all decisions to him, but she should have a lot of humility and listen carefully to his explanations.
John Mann
35. jcmnyu
@30 TinkerPride

The reason the waygate almost kills Gawyn when it closes early is because it is at that exact moment that Perrin brings the dreamspike to Tar Valon in the wolf dream/world of dreams. The dreamspike prevents Traveling in the real world. It is a clue as to the chronology of different character arcs.
smiller3
36. Nick S.
@ 30
I think the gateway shut on Gawyn cause the dreamspike arrived at that moment.
smiller3
37. wcarter4
I'm far from an unquestioning fan of Egwene (or any WoT character other than Thom), but I can't say she did anything wrong here.
Yes, I think Rand--or rather Min and The Dead Philosopher Whose Name Escapes Me--are right, the seal has to be removed for a fresh, whole replacement to be put in place.
Egwene has not had that explained to her, and doesn't know it's actually a good idea and not that taint-fueled rantings of a madman. I she could have made a better decision than than letting him go and and trying to gather others given the information she had available to her at the time.
As for the idea that he was manipulating her to make that decision--I'm not entirely sure. Even the first time I read that chapter I thought the idea of the forces of the light being gathered for the meeting was implied by his request. Is it really manipulating if both parties know everyone is supposed to be there for The Big Reveal?
Kimani Rogers
38. KiManiak
Thanks, Leigh.

For now, I’ve decided to avoid the whole Egwene/Rand confrontation discussion, in regards to who’s right and who’s wrong. Been there; done that (a lot) in the ToM spoiler thread and in a few other posts in this reread. I have very little desire to address that specific (and incredibly polarizing) topic here. So, I’ll talk around it and hit a few other things.

Leigh’s definition of what the Towers of Midnight represents: Yes, Egwene’s dream appears to be about the Forsaken. Yes, the comments last week did submit that the Towers of Midnight are found in Seanchan, and were introduced into the storyline waaay back in TGH (thanks for the research, Freelancer). There are at least 2 Forsaken that are “active” in this novel (Mesaana and Graendal) so there is some connection there.

However, there is also a focus on the Black Tower and the Tower of Ghenji as well (2 “dark” towers; and yes, I’m excluding the White Tower even though there is a focus on that in the book as well). Plus, this is book 2 of a 3 part story that should read as one novel; it parallels the Lord of the Rings 2nd book, the Two Towers. I think the title was taken from the 12 towers in Seanchan, but is talking about the Two (“Dark”) Towers.
Edit: I like Kadere@15’s suggestions as we align on a number of things.

Sphere of Crystal sparkling from light of 23 stars: What does the 23 represent? I don’t agree with the speculation that it represents the AS sitters, Keeper and Amyrlin. However, I don’t have a strong alternative to suggest.

Bryne & Siuan’s relationship: I applaud there interaction. I think that this is along the lines of what a Warder and AS’s relationship should be. The Warders should be a sense of strength and comfort at times; not just watchdogs or lapdogs.

Egwene & Rand: Yes, this is their first time seeing each other since LoC. Definitely an eventful reunion. Their temperament and views on the responsibilities of authority have definitely changed since that last meeting as well.

Egwene’s resistance of Rand’s ta’vereness: I think something else is going on. I do subscribe to the theory that some “tinkering” may have happened by Arangar. I think a case has to be made for something. Egwene’s initial resistance to Rand’s (significantly weaker) ta’veren pull in LoC included a struggle.

When Tuon resisted, it was incredibly difficult for her to do; she struggled against Rand’s ta’vereness. Even if you argue that the good ta’veren force was counterbalancing Dark Rand’s malevolent ta’veren force, there is clearly a struggle.

Egwene didn’t struggle at all in this chapter. I will be very disappointed if there is nothing else to it then that, this time, someone was able to resist his pull with no hardship whatsoever.

One clarification to Leigh’s point about the perspective. The “omniscient reader” wasn’t in Rand’s head in this chapter; we were in Egwene’s. The reader has yet to be in Rand’s head except for at the end of ToM. We have no idea what he thinks; we just go off of what he says and how he acts.

For all we know, Rand still is batcrap crazy/paranoid/psycho in his thought processes, but is projecting an external appearance of calm and wisdom (although its highly unlikely, based upon being inside his head in Veins of Gold and a little bit at the end of ToM).

Tiana’s note: We don’t know for certain, obviously, but speculation is that Verin drafted the letter (she had letters that were sealed with red, similar to the one she gave Mat and possibly Galad) and informed Rand about a few things, one of which probably was that the King of Arad Doman was captured/chaperoned by Aes Sedai and on his way to the White Tower.

forkroot@5 – re: Tiana's letter - I see you got there first while I was writing this; followed by another of other folks. I still do wonder if Verin gave Rand more info.

jcmnyu@14 – I like your thinking, but I don’t believe that there is one “head” Wise One per clan. I think we learned in TGS that each Wise One is expected to stand up for herself and think for herself; that realization led to Aviendha finally being able to join their ranks.

Wotnewbie@21 – Egwene explains it in the chapter. The serpent is Mesaana, who is still in the White Tower. The eaglets are the AS, who will be devoured/destroyed if the serpent is left unaddressed.

Aegnor@25 – Nicola didn’t bite it in TGS. She does bite it in ToM, when they are battling Mesaana and the BA in the T’A’R version of the White Tower. I see Loialson@31 addresses this in more detail.

Tinkerpride@28 – Impressive list. Thank you for compiling. However, I do believe that the Towers in Egwene’s dream did represent the Forsaken. I just don’t think the title “The Towers of Midnight” represent the Forsaken.

travyl@32 – re: Leigh’s misdirection – maybe she was doing it with Verin’s note, Nicola and her statement about the Towers of Midnight? :-)
R B
39. MasterAlThor
One of the best chapters in the book and we get it early. Woot Woot!!!!

Leigh, for the most part I agree with your recap, but then you went off the rails a little bit. Rand gave Egwene respect from the moment he arrived in Tar Valon. He requested to see her, not demanded. He greeted her as befitting her position and spoke to her as her position requires. What she did was demand that he place himself under her by having him request permission to withdraw. Really? The Dragon Reborn has to request permission to leave? Better yet, the savior of the world has to do that?

Let's say they are equals (they aren't but lets just say they are) she needs to grant her ok for him to be about his business? No, I don't think so. Kings and Queens don't treat each other like that. If they do it is because they are not equal and they know it.

No I am afraid tha Egwene comes of here being a bit of a "Queen B".

Epic moment in smackdown history: "Don't force me to do something I would regret." All that said with a look. That makes you BA.

Also I am not buying Egwene's interpetation of the crystal dream. She doesn't know everything she thinks she does. Heh neither do I. But I just got a feeling about this. I will own it if I am wrong, but then we aren't going to know cause the world is going to end and we wouldn't have read the book anyway.

Dragon

PS. No I don't believe that the world is going to end this year. I just think the Mayan's got tired of counting.
smiller3
40. Curtain Jerker
Let me put my head in the lion's mouth here, but I'm firmly anti-Egwene here (and pretty much only here. I cheered out loud when she whipped up on the Seachean in TGS and Messaana in ToM).

She's not equal to Rand. No one on Team Light is equal to Rand. That isn't her fault. For her to demand of the Dragon, the literal savior of humanity, that he bow his head and ask permission to leave is the height of power-drunkeness. That's something Elaida would have done.

Plus, she goes out of her way to think "Rand is someone you could trust the fate of the world with" and then doesn't trust him when it comes to saving the world, because she had a dream. A dream, mind you, that she states is only what could, not what would, happen.

Besides, Rand doesn't need her and her scheming minions. He has Nyneave and presumably Moirane and her awesome angreal.

But that wasn't my biggest problem with this chapter. I was frankly disappointed with this whole confrontation between the Dragon and the Amyrlin. Hopefully when they meet again before TG that will be better. Maybe I was simply expecting too much?
Lon Kelley
41. Mathguy
23 Bright Stars. Well, what we aren't doing here, is including Rand in that. What if it's 24 working together, 12 males, 12 females?

Understanding the circular time thing really lends itself to seeing why the rubble needs to be cleared away (Harid Fel did a great job explaining this, even if he was distracted by the pretty Min).

"If they bored a hole in the DO's prison during the Age of Legends, then sometime prior to that, the prison was whole. So, when the wheel comes around again, it NEEDS to be made whole, in this Age, or another. We need to clear the way by removing the rubble, Egwene."

I don't think it would have taken him long to explain to her at all.
John Mann
42. jcmnyu
@38 KiManiak

Now you went and made me pull out my Nook and look it up. Here is the quote from ToM Chapter 49, Court of the Sun:
Three clan chiefs and two Wise Ones. They were all that remained from the Council of Twenty-Two.
This was during Avi's vision as Ladalin, Wise One of the Taardad Aiel. I didn't remember it being that specific. My guess is that it is something from the future as there are twelve clans including the Shaido. Maybe an informal group will be sent to the Field of Merrilor which will become formalized later. Lots of things in Avi's visions seem to decend from Rand's pact, maybe this is one of them.

On a side note, looking this up reminded me of a small gripe I have regarding the Seanchan. I understand why they are so dangerous when confronting small groups and individuals. But, since they have no ability to link due to the a'dam, isn't their defeat inevitable? A circle of 13 should win every time, right? If the Aiel are not bound by the oaths and if they go to war and the Wise Ones fight as well, how could they lose? And would the Aes Sedai be so obstinate to keep the oaths when it meant their deaths when fighting others who can channel? Who would join the Aes Sedai when they were handcuffed like that? Can anyone come up with a scenerio where the Seanchan win a huge war like this against the Aiel, Andor, Cairhien, and the White Tower simultaniously?
smiller3
43. SlappytheClown
My problems with Egwene in this chapter aren't with her decisions regarding Rand's plan (hearing it the first time without all the backup, busting up those seals would soon like an utterly insane idea to just about anyone). My problem is with Egwene's position regarding Rand as an independent entity.

From the moment of his entrance she half expects him to beg for forgiveness like a criminal. I'll have to disagree with Leigh here. She doesn't expect equality from Rand, she expects deference. She expects Rand to fall to his knees and beg for Aes Sedai aid, despite how utterly inept (and dangerously counter-productive) such 'aid' has been in the past, including specific instances she is personally aware of. She evens thinks about how poorly thought out Elaida's plan was, before immediately considering doing exactly the same thing (this, of course, being okay because it's her doing it). And this is while having strong suspicions that Mesana is hiding in the tower at that very moment. Because it's a really good idea to chain up the Hope of the World in the same building as an ancient creature dedicated to stopping him...

This will come to a head in a later chapter when she talks about the plan to the Wise Ones and Nynaeve and Elayne. Somehow I don't think she's going to have the support base she's expecting at the Fields of That-Place.
Kimani Rogers
44. KiManiak
I did want to address Leigh’s perception of Egwene and Rand’s roles in the overall story:

Are Egwene and Rand equals (and should the readers, or the in-book characters, treat them as such)?

As Leigh stated, Rand is the savior of the world (and the universe, for that matter). Egwene, on the other hand, leads some of the female channelers in a region of the world. She is not even close to the “supreme leader of the continent,” as Leigh suggests. I believe the Aiel, the Seanchan, the Sharans (can’t forget about them) and the Athan Miere (loosely affiliated, yet they do now own a portion of the land in Andor and Cairhien) would dispute that.

Rand has access to at least the same amount of female channelers that Egwene leads via his connections to the Wise Ones and the Windfinders, and if we are anticipating an alliance with the Seanchan, then there are even more female channelers available (unpalatable as many readers and characters might find it to be).

Rand and Egwene are not equals; she should have no more even say then Sorilea or the Mistress of the Ships or Tuon should.

I understand that there is a desire to draw a connection between RJ’s theme of balance, and the desire to see that Rand and Egwene balance one another. However, I believe that the imbalance was between men and women in relation to the One Power (and to a lesser degree, in regards to culture and society in WoTland); it’s not linked to the role of Savior.

Let’s put it another way:

The Dark One wasn’t trying to corrupt Egwene, because he knew she was irrelevant in the grand scheme of things. The Pattern did not choose to select Egwene as ta’veren; to it, she’s just another person (although she does have a lot of coincidences work in her favor, to be fair). The Wheel and all of Creation does not destabilize if Egwene “loses” to the Dark One, anymore then it would if Nynaeve or Elayne did.

The Dark One didn’t target Egwene (or even Nynaeve or Elayne) for assassination; he targeted Mat and Perrin (although the Forsaken did target the girls for kidnapping, and succeeded twice with Egwene, btw). Egwene is no more “essential to the mission” then Mat or Perrin (actually, its easy to argue that she’s less essential, as the 3 Superboys have been referred to as a “tripod” and they are clearly connected via the visions they have of one another).

Even then, no one is arguing that Mat and Perrin are Rand’s equals. They are there to support and assist Rand. That’s not quibbling; that’s the way this story has been written. Rand owes them respect for that, and should listen to their counsel when appropriate. But not as the counsel of equals.

The Creator has one Champion; that Champion does not have an equal.
Don Barkauskas
45. bad_platypus
jcmnyu @42: It's not unreasonable to suppose that the Shaido are done as a clan after the events of the previous books; at the very least, it would not be surprising if the remaining 11 clans formed a type of government without the Shaido post-TG.

Re: Egwene's vision:
I've always assumed that the 23 stars were the Council of 22 plus Rand, but I really like the idea of the Hall plus Keeper and Amyrlin. It would indicate that Rand is somehow dissatisfied with the White Tower as currently constructed and is going to break it, which certainly fits with everything else.
smiller3
46. MJF
@41: There are a lot of complicated rules for how a channeling circle can be formed and I don't remember them all, but a general guideline is that there always has to be at least one more women than men. Other than that I think you're right, and the 23 stars are the channelers who will work together to close the Bore. Now for guessing their identities...
Chris Lehotsky
47. Tel_Janin
Re: Rand's ta'veren power and Egwene

I read this as his ta'veren powers suppressing everyone else so that he could have a conversation with Egwene. The two of them are unaffected in the calm center of a ta'veren storm. We see throughout the novel that his rages are gone, and he even treats Cadsuane with respect. His discussion with Egwene here parallels those later. Really, he didn't need to ta'veren her. I think he let the conversation play out this way intentionally to get her to gather everyone because he presumably didn't have time to do it himself. Hopefully we'll find out in aMoL what he's been doing during the rest of the month, since we only saw less than a week-in-the-life of Rand Al'Thor in this book.
Tricia Irish
49. Tektonica
Haven't read the comments yet, so pardon me if I'm stepping on toes here......

It took me several years of dealing with my first teenager, to realize that "asking them questions" about their behavior, beliefs, intentions, etc, instead of "giving them my wisdom", even in a kind and most helpful way, was a FAR better approach to getting them to think and question and come to their own better decisions. (I know, I'm slow.)

Given the above, It seems like a simple question from Egwene here, could've really advanced the discussion, and lessened the confusion and stubborness between she and Rand, like: "Why do you think the seals have to be broken? What do you mean "clearing away the rubble?" Another WoT communication breakdown...cue music.

I agree with you, Leigh, about the Towers of Midnight being the Forsaken.

Dreams were not Foretellings—they didn’t show what would happen, but what could.
Leigh: Really. Because I do not think we had been told that in so many words before this. This smells like it has implications. Hmm. I may come back to this.

And this could mean that Avienda's dream at Rhuidean could come true, but might not, yes?

I assumed that the note with the red seal that Tiana passed to Rand was one of the infamous notes from Verin. She could've found Tiana in the rebel camp and given it to her, maybe?

And now to the comments....

Also: I suspect that Rand knows the Egwene will oppose his decision, as he mentioned to Siuan on the way into the Tower that she should calm Egwene down after he left. Thus, I do think he was consciously manipulating her to gather the nations for him at Merilor.
smiller3
50. Nick S.
@37 wcarter4

I disagree about the manipulation. Rand has already decided what he's going to do but he needs egween to gather the armies for him cause besides him she's the only one with the power to do so, so he delegated that job to her. He led her to believe there would be a "discussion" about it, which prompted her to gather the armies. She's not doing it because Rand needs them for the last battle, but to talk him out of breaking the seals, but rand already has made up his mind so you won't really be able to call their next meeting a discussion. It will be rand telling them what he wants done and they will have no choice but to do it. At least that's how I see it.
smiller3
51. vsthorvs
I'm all for Egwene Rules. What she's doing is frustrating, but only because we haven't seen the part where Rand comes in and is like good we're all united, now here's why we're doing this, are you all on board? He left her with just enough intel to gather his forces while he was dealing with oither stuff.
Gary Singer
52. AhoyMatey
I like the theory about the 23 being the Aes Sedai rulers. Makes sense to me - especially with Rand breaking the power structure. When it's over, you'll have a tower of men and women working together, just like in the Age of Legends. If the Light wins, it doesn't make sense that there would be separate towers for men and women.

Thanks for the great post as always Leigh. Always good for some insight and laughs!
Jim
53. JimmyMac80
Dreams were not Foretellings—they didn’t show what would happen, but what could.
This has always been the case, from tSR, Beyond the Stone, Bair says,
“Much is uncertain, even to a dreamwalker. Amys and Melaine are the best of us, and even they do not see all that is, or all that can be.” and
“The present is much clearer than the future even in Tel’aran’rhiod,” the sun-haired Wise One said. “What is happening or beginning is more easily seen than what will happen, or may.”
smiller3
54. wcarter4
@NickS
I don't think we do disagree actually at least in the part that he knows she knows he wants her to gather people for the meeting(does that make sense? It did in my head...) .
As far as the discussion goes, I actually think it will be Min, not Rand, that lays down the master plan. Egwene and the Aes Sedi can argue all they want about how they think the battle should be handled and they may or may not be right, but I don't think Rand will ultimately be the one who explains the clearing the rubble theory.
He knows all to well about the gender divide that happened last time, and lets face it, right or wrong the Aes Sedi (and most monarchs) are NEVER going to judge a plan based on its merits or lack thereof when it comes from a man, especially if it runs counter to the Amyrilin's opinions.
smiller3
55. lurker
The Wise Ones have been saying that about Dreams since way back when they told Moiraine they weren't sure if Lan would come with her. I don't remember specifics, but I think they tell Egwene the same a couple times.

I don't think it was that big a deal for Rand to ask permission to withdraw. If he had just left, he would be showing disrespect to her position. On a ship no one outranks the captain.
James Golden
56. Treemaster
Egwene's actions make perfect sense here. The problem, again, lies in the manner it is portrayed -- the prose. More specifically, this type of language makes me gag:
“It’s for the best,” Siuan said, though it twisted her insides in knots to admit it. “For all her tyranny and foolishness, it is good that Elaida removed me, because that is what led us to Egwene. She’ll do better than I could have. It’s hard to swallow—I did well as Amyrlin, but I couldn’t do that. Lead by presence instead of force, uniting instead of dividing. And so, I’m glad that Egwene is receiving him.”
I don't think Egwene is even objectively that much better than Siuan. Nor do I think this sentiment is a realistic portrayal of what any person would feel, much less Siuan. This example is just one more instance of the feeling that we, the reader, are meant to worship Egwene, and it leads me to dislike her.


It's even worse than Yankees' fans worship of Derek Jeter back in the day.
smiller3
57. Nick S.
@wcarter4

Yeah it made sense. But the manipulation I'm refering to is how rand gave her own reasons for gathering the armies. I don't think he could count on her doing it just because he wanted her to, and he knew that, so he just told her what she needed to hear. Does that make sense? Lol. I like your idea about min being the one to dish out the plans and reason etc, but I think this next meeting between the two of them has been built up too much for sanderson(or rj) to not deliver it.
JAMES MCCLELLAN
58. ZEXXES
I haven't read the comments yet, so forgive me if someone has mentioned this already. But I'm of the opinion that Rand Sedai (I too like the coin, who's was it?) displayed another act contrary to his Darth Rand days. I think what happened with Egwene and Siuan's lack of being effected by his White Ta'veren power, was his desire not to influence them with that power. In effect he dampened its effects towards them, whereas during his Darth Rand days he was using it specifically to dominate those around him directly through fear and as a side effect, corruption. Though I wonder, during the moments of the stare down, that he released his Ta'veren nature during that one moment to allow Egwene to be influenced into releasing him. Thats iffy I know, as there is no indications to support that thought. But there are indicators towards him lessening his effect towards those two. First, Siuan and Egwene's lack of effects and second, everyone elses apparent symptoms given there explainations.

I do agree with Egwene that she couldn't have stopped him from leaving. I think he has grown in power so much that with the 26 Aes Sedai shielding him and with all of the Aes Sedai there in his presence, he still could have bested them. He probably would have simply stilled the Aes Sedai and then left through a Gateway immediately after to avoid further harming the rest.

But if he is that strong, and I think he is, and if Egwene thinks he's that strong, and I think she doesn't know the half of it, what is the point of opposing him in the way she plans? I mean, I know she has her concerns about Rands plans and his state of mind. But she has spent a good amount of time concerning herself only with unifying the Tower and shoring up its power base. She has spent, to my knowledge, not one moment to consider what actually must be done to win Tarmon Gaidon other than unifying the Tower and finding Mesanna.

But taking hints in combination, I believe there aren't a 50 Aes Sedai who could take down Rand present in the Tower. Maybe if Nynaeve Cadsuane, Egwene, Elayne, Aviendha and twenty or so more of the strongest Aes Sedai come together they could subdue him. I know that seems a like I'm going a little too far, but I'd like to remind you what he did at Maradon. Ask yourself whether you think 50 Aes Sedai could do what was done there, without support and lacking Oaths to allow them to do it. I'm not so sure they could.

Rand has evolved into a power way beyond any single channeler out there, with the exception of Moridin and thats only because he is backed by the Dark One, as Rand is backed by the Creator. The difference, I think, will be that Rands power eminates directly from the Creator as all channelers are meant to. Whereas Moridin is a surrogate for a power who cannot fully come into the world as of yet. Even when the seals are all broken, the Dark One must enter the world fully before, hypothetically, he can fully bear down with its full might.

So I think what will happen is this. Rand won't seal the Bore. He will simply and probably fatally, keep the Dark One at bay while the Bore is sealed by others, whomever they may be. Possibly Fain will be the buffer, as some have theorized. Maybe the Ways will come into play as Aridhol was used, using Maichin Shin the way Mashadar was used. I don't know, haven't fleshed that out all the way yet. But thats my little theory.

Z
Matt Spencer
59. MisunderstoodMe
@Lurker
The admiral outranks the captain - but he doesn't neglect the chain of command. If a ship has the admirals flag the ship isn't under direct control of the admiral, any more than any other ship in the fleet, but the admiral isn't at the captains beck and call - nor does he have to ask permission to leave a room.
JAMES MCCLELLAN
60. ZEXXES
@Leigh
(Well. Twenty-four hours ago a confrontation between her and Rand would have almost certainly resulted in a smoking crater where the Tower had been, so maybe saying it would have been the correct thing to do is not the right way to phrase that, but I can’t see how any other approach other than blind groveling – which would so never happen – wouldn’t have resulted in the same thing anyway, so it’s probably a moot point. And hell, blind groveling just might have set him off too. TGS-era Rand was pretty much just looking for an excuse to lose his shit, after all.)
ROFL!!!! AHHhhh hahahaha cackle cackle.....LMFHO!!!! (Death throws!)

Yeah, that most certainly would not be a very wise thing to do, given Rands state during that time. (Which by the way, fully supports my theory about what would've happened to Cadsuane if she found her way atop Dragonmount that particular day.)


Z
JAMES MCCLELLAN
61. ZEXXES
@Leigh
Of course, if it all goes horrifically wrong at Merrilor and the Aes Sedai end up in a pitched battle with the Asha’man, I will totally call “my bad” on the whole business, but I tend to think it’ll probably work out. Especially since Rand tacitly acknowledged, by asking Egwene’s permission to withdraw, that she was right – even if he was still a bit of a dick about it. Heh.
Although you gotta say she was acting the bit of ... you know....... *whispers* the B word. I won't say it despite you calling Rand a dick even though.... In what way was he being a dick as you say? He was being as nice as a Man could possibly be! He was being as repectful as anyone has a right to expect.

AAAAAND! Respect deserves respect and since she clearly has none for him other than to note his strength in the Power, why should he show her ANY respect? What because of her station? What about his station? He actualy rules more territory than any other soverign on that continent. Shouldn't Rand be Supreme Leader, as you call it?

You can't demand respect. You can't expect it. And you can't ever ask for it. You earn Respect through action and deed and the wisdom of your words. Its how it has always been.

I will say this though. Both Rand and Egwene have to earn each others respect in each of their own eyes. We will see what happens at the Field of Merrilor. (Nice shout!)

Z
smiller3
62. AndrewB
I think that the 23 stars in Egwene's dream represent the following 23 existing nations/free cities/empires/and organizations in the Randland world. (I choose to count the Travelling People as their own "nation" as well as the "Ogier". Throughout the series, both have been identified as governing themselves).

1-4) Borderland nations;
5) Altara;
6) Andor;
7) Arad Doman;
8) Tar Valon;
9) Amadicia;
10) Cairhien;
11) Ghealdan;
12) Illian;
13) Murandy;
14) Tarabon;
15) Tear;
16) Far Madding;
17) Mayne;
18) Shara
19) Aiel;
20) Seanchan;
21) Sea Folk;
22) Ogier; and
23) Travelling People

"Wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then" - Bob Seger, Against the Wind
AndrewB
JAMES MCCLELLAN
63. ZEXXES
@Leigh
As a last note on Rand and Egwene, I would just like to remind everyone that this scene means Mat is now the undisputed champion among the main characters in the “who goes for the longest without being in the same room as Rand” contest. At this point, I’m not entirely sure what the count is in internal chronology, but it’s been at minimum eight months in story time since Mat and Rand have seen each other. In reader time? Seventeen years and counting. Just FYI.
Are you serious????? Seventeen years???? I never even thought..... Blood and Ashes!!!

Z
Alice Arneson
64. Wetlandernw
Towers of Midnight – Not sure why I didn’t say this last week, but I always assumed that the title was the typical multilayered WoT deal. On the surface, the name comes from the name of the Seanchan towers that we first read about back in TGH, but as shown in this dream, it also refers to the Forsaken; maybe when she figures it out, Egwene will see the confirmation that seven of the thirteen really are dead. (And maybe they’ll get totally confused trying to figure out which ones?) I sort of assumed that it also was a reference to the White Tower, the Black Tower and the Tower of Ghenji, all of which have major roles to play in this book and all of which are, at least at this point, rather… dark and dangerous places to be. FWIW, in support of that last, I got the impression from Brandon (at the WoK signing in 2010) that he had originally thought this book would contain more of the Black Tower plot than it really ended up with; his mental name for the book while working was “The Three Towers” – partly referencing the second LOTR book, and partly (hinted only) because he planned to be dealing significantly with all three towers. All that to say that I don’t think you can point to one single thing as The Meaning of the title.

About that third dream… I’m not quite sure it really does mean Rand breaking the Seals. When Rand says he’s going to break them, Egwene thinks of the dream and assumes that’s what it means, but I’m not sure. The wording isn’t as clear as it often is; most of the time, when she Knows what a dream means, we’re told so in no uncertain terms, and this isn’t. That specific wording about the twenty-three stars seems like it ought to be significant; in addition, I don’t get the imagery of a crystal sphere in that context. (It reminds me more of Rand destroying the Choedan Kal, but that has already happened.) IIRC, on the ToM spoiler threads there were some other speculations about possible meanings, but I don’t remember what they were. I think we were all searching for some meaning for the twenty-three enormous stars.

Siuan… I hadn’t thought of it that way, but this could very well be the wrap-up for her and the preparation for her to not survive the upcoming shenanigans. Bummer.

The letter delivered by Tiana – like others, I assumed it was from Verin because of the red seal, and I further assumed later that it was the one in which she informed him that Mattin Stepaneos was in the WT, leading him to realize that maybe Alsalam was also in AS custody. Odd that Verin would have left it with Tiana, though, because Tiana was still out in the rebel camp at the time Verin died. For what it’s worth, Egwene’s new Mistress of Novices is Rosil, a Yellow. (Ch. 20)

WoTNewbie @21 – Egwene explains the meaning of the eagle/serpent dream in the text; it’s about Mesaana hiding in the WT, trying to destroy the AS while seeming to be one of them. It’s one of those dreams that she instantly knows the meaning of.

gadget @22 – I don’t think I’d seen that notion for the 23 before, but it makes more sense than anything else. Especially if the sphere really does represent the DO’s prison, because the WT is nominally the bunch in charge of guarding the Seals (Watcher of the Seals, anyone?) even though they haven’t had physical control of them for centuries.

TinkerPride @30 – The Kinswoman didn’t close the Gateway too early; it was snapped by the placement of the dreamspike just a split second after Gawyn returned to the WT. Not that Moghedien couldn’t have been masquerading as a Kinswoman, but the snapped Gateway isn’t evidence.

Rats. Must go, so I can’t figure out how many (or whom) I’ve repeated here, but I want to post this before I leave. Sorry.
Stefan Mitev
65. Bergmaniac
I really don't see Egwene as "the closest thing Randland has to a supreme leader of the continent". In fact Rand fits the description much better. Car'a'carn, King of Illian, in control of Tear and Cairhien (at this point), commander of the Asha'man...

I got to say I was quite annoyed by Siuan's comments about Egwene. They just feel so forced, given that Siuan is extremely smart, ambitious and even arrogant woman (even Moiraine considered Suian more arrogant than herself despite her low birth), and that at least half of the success of Egwene as Amyrlin was based on her advice. It doesn't make sense for her to suddenly start saying Egwene is way better than her and it's a good thing she has replaced her as Amyrlin.
smiller3
66. Roket
@44. KiManiak
Well said. I could not agree more.
smiller3
67. NotInventedHere
@62:

I'm not sure about the 23 referring to the different nations/peoples, it seems like there are too many different ways to count to come up with 23. Shara counts, but not the people from the isle of madmen (or whatever it is called)? Tar Valon counts, but not the Black Tower? Not saying you're wrong, it just seems like the count is a little arbitrary - and I'm not sure how much sense it makes for these various nations/groups to be lights shining on the cracked crystal sphere - I don't really get the symbolism there.

Another option might be the 11 Aiel septs, the 7 Ajahs, plus the 5 borderlands nations (throwing in Malkier to make the numbers work out; but hey, Nyn at least will be at Merrilor so it counts, right?) that Rand has more or less bound together (okay, I'm reaching).

If Egwene is right and this is referring directly to the Seals, there are seven focuses (though only what, one to three remain intact), leaving us sixteen other things to come up with to reach the magic 23. If we go with channeling groups we'd have the seven ajahs, windfinders (8), wise ones (9), Seanchan (10), Asha'man (11)... and still needing another five groups.

This is one of those times where it is clear the number 23 is meaningful, but there just doesn't seem to be a good way to narrow down the possibilities of what those 23 things are.

On the other hand, what if Egwene is wrong and it has nothing to do with the seals on the Bore? Trying to come up with other crystal themes we've seen, there are the obvious sa'angreal for male and female (there were, anyway) that literally included crystal spheres; there's Callandor, the crystal sword; and there's the crystal throne of the Seanchan. I suppose this dream could represent Rand breaking free the damaine thereby shattering the already-cracked basis of power of the Crystal Throne, but that doesn't really help answer the question of what the 23 bright stars represent - and given Egwene's talent as a dreamer, I'd like to think that she is right in interpreting this dream as representative of something about Rand's plan to break open the Dark One's prison.
smiller3
68. desertpaladin
I may be crazy, but for some reason my first thought on reading the crystal sphere dream was that the sphere was a representation of the pattern itself.
smiller3
69. MRCHalifax
I disagree with the assessment about Egwene resisting Rand's ta'veren influence.

Other women talk about how they felt crushed by Rand's ta'veren warping. Egwene didn't feel that way, and the assumption I think that it's led you to is that she wasn't affected. However, a paragraphs earlier, Egwene raises a hand to her head feeling dizzy as Rand leaves. Dizzyness is often used as a sign in the books that a person has just been affected by ta'veren warping, as shown later in TOM when Galad has to sit down after being affected by Perrin's ta'veren effect.

I don't see it as Egwene resisting the effect at all, I see it as Egwene being affected in a substantially different way. She said everything that Rand needed and wanted her to say.
smiller3
70. Lsana
@56,

I had the exact same reaction to that passage where Suian is talking about Egwene. It felt a little too much like "Shilling the Wesley" to me. Egwene had quite a lot of screen time and opportunities for heroics in the last book. If I wasn't convinced that she was awesome after all that, having Suian tell me how awesome she is isn't going to do it.

In general, I felt like we did too much of that during the first part of the book. Suian tells us that Egwene is the best Amyrlin ever. Morgase tells us that Elayne is an absolute genius as a queen. Several characters explain to us that Perrin is an amazing ruler and a natural-born leader. Even Mat gets his cheering section. Even for the characters I liked, it got irritating, and for the ones I didn't, I was nearing CoT levels of boredome.
Stefan Mitev
71. Bergmaniac
MRCHalifax @69 - Agreed, Egwene was affected by Rand's ta'veren effect here. This makes all those tedious "Is Egwene right to oppose Rand about the seals?" discussions so pointless for me. She's doing exactly what Rand and the pattern want of her.

Lsana @70 - yeah, Sanderson is not exactly subtle about such things, unfortunately. There's way too much of people praising the awesomeness of the main characters in ToM.
smiller3
72. Faculty Guy
@several: I think Suian's comments re Egwene are justified. Egwene is depicted as having united the AS (at least the non-black ajahs) behind her. She does use some subtlety in getting authorized to deal singly with Rand as Amyrlin, but she winds up with the acknowledged right to do so openly. All seven Ajahs are behind her, or at least not in open opposition.

Contrast this with the situation under Suian earlier: she and Moraine were operating secretly and in fear of being discovered, stilled, and executed. The Ajahs were divided and squabling and (obviously, in light of what happened) on the verge of open rebellion.

Perhaps Suian could have pulled off an effective unification of the tower and open dealings, given enough time, but it is far from clear. Egwene DID IT!

FYI: I am not an overly enthusiastic Egwene fan in general. I think she comes off as self-righteous and smug too much. But I do think she is an extremely effective leader of an organization that is almost impossible to organize and unite.
TW L
73. Shadow_Jak
When Rand first enters, after Egwene asks why he has "come before the Amyrlin Seat" Pretty rudely asks, BTW. He doesn't reply at first.
"... He studied the room, looking at the various Sitters. His eyes lingered on the seats of the Reds, two of which were empty. Pevara and Javindhra hadn't yet returned from their unknown mission. Only Barasine--newly chosen to replace Duhara-- was in attendance. To her credit, she met Rand's eyes evenly."
Looking for Black Sisters, no doubt, and they all seem to have passed inspection.
Scientist, Father
74. Silvertip
@Tektonica 49:

If you got it on your first kid, at any point, you're not slow ... at least compared to some.

S

p.s. I like the Hall of the tower plus keeper plus Amyrlin theory. From Egwene's point of view, that's the structure keeping the world together that Rand is a threat to. Nice setup for what I assume will be an epic confrontation between the two of them in AMOL ...
smiller3
75. Wotman
I was puzzled by the letter from Tiana of all people, many say it was from Verin, but I find it difficult to have such a minor character be delivering when Verin could have easily given it to Egwene herself knowing she is close to Rand. Allana could have been another, or even Cads. That left me thinking it might actually be from Bode, after all Rand scared the bejesus out of her at their first meeting and maybe in her growing Aes Sedainess, she might be apologizing or something. She would have more contact with Tiana than Egwene in all her snootiness.

I think Egwene backed me up in my opinion of her because she proved again how singleminded she is with her "I am the leader of the White Tower and you are a woolhead" routine.
She had her dander up because he traipsed into her house and put her in the spotlight and forced her to be beligerant, (she just got the job for crying out loud), while all along, he was trying to be polite and simply let her know what was going down and even gave her a month notice (did you get that Mesaana?) She should have known when he did that that there was no way Rand was going to put up with any BS period and he still tried to throw her a bone by asking to leave. She is a pain in the patootie. I agree with the others about egwene not being affected by Taverness especially when she plays an important part and
I do believe that she will in the end - do the right thing.
William Fettes
76. Wolfmage
Seraphyn@10

Yep, IMO that’s the most plausible interpretation of her freedom and alacrity, which makes any excessive exasperation about this scene a little pointless.

Ralphy@18

It certainly relevant, though arguably the scene with Tuon was not a real control comparison case because that was Dark Rand. Obviously he still had a strong ta’veren presence, but he's probably not at the height of his pattern-sanctioned influence.

--

Regarding Egwene v Rand

I think Leigh's basic approach to the issue of balance is entirely correct here, though I don't personally apply it the same way.

Egwene certainly has the best case to represent the magical females at the leadership table. As a leader of powerful magic users, with a historical monopoly on such power, she obviously garners a lot of clout above and beyond other sovereigns. (Though I must say it's not obvious to me that the White Tower is entitled to be elevated above national power simply by right as implied by Leigh. I don't see the White Tower as a supreme sovereign; they are more like a super-power that has an important role in the world.)

IMO the corresponding position to her position is the leader of the Black Tower, ie. Taim / Logain - not Rand. The problem at the moment with that equation is that the Black Tower and the Asha'men, as new creations, simply don't have the same stature as the White Tower and Aes Sedai. They exist by virtue of Rand's acts as a sovereign so we tend to think of them under his umbrella - which isn't entirely right IMO. They are also filled with Black agents and not to be trusted - so that is another obstacle to conceptualising them as the equivilent institution. But ultimately that will hopefully be dealt with and then you have your proper balance.

I understand the allusion to Latra, and I agree, but I think it's a little wrongheaded to conflate the legitimacy that comes with being a direct agency of the light, ie. ta'veren - with the power-based and convention-based authority of a specific, ongoing institution like the White Tower.

As I said, the White Tower isn't the Confederation of Supreme Sovereignty accepted by every person and nation in the world. It is a Superpower which is accorded a lot of respect and deference to varying degrees. For some it is a legitimate moral authority, for others it is merely tolerated because it has magical power.It is an open question what role it will play in the future multi-polar world of Randland with Gunpowdered, nation-states and the Black Tower.

The White Tower is only as good as it's latest leader, rank and file and Hall. In contrast, Rand is a specific avatar of the light. Egwene, by virtue of her formidable qualities as a person, her leadership of the Tower and her childhood experiences with Rand, certainly has a properly auspicious and providential role in helping balance and diffuse Rand's overwhelming power on the world stage. But she isn't his equal. Not in any meaningful sense.

Eventually I suspect the Black Tower will be cleaned and find its proper footing, and then ultimately there will be a merger at Tarlon in a future Age so that the two become one. But for the time being, they are separate institutions that roughly represent male and female magic users. Egwene is the approximate representative of female channellers (and even this is an imperfect claim), not the female avatar of all creation - which would be counter-part to Rand if we keep thinking of his role in gendered terms - which I don't think is right.

Of course, none of that is to say Rand shouldn't treat Egwene according to the dignity and stature of her office. Of course, it is proper that he should. It's just they aren't equivilent.
JAMES MCCLELLAN
77. ZEXXES
Okie dokie, I've got another doosie. It is halfway a plagerization of another's theory, but it works.

First the main source of the theory: http://www.readandfindout.com/wheeloftime/messageboard/179545/ by one Iain83

Next, I'd like to paraphrase or give the short of the above theory, though I do encourage you to read from the link above, because it was quite interesting and it got me to thinking.

The jist of it is that the 23 stars are a representation of 21 Sitters of the Hall of the Tower and The Keeper and lastly The Amyrlin. Which by doing a little math equals twenty three. Easy part. Iain83 hypothosizes that these 23 stars are the Sitters and the cracked Crystal Sphere held together by ropes- the White Tower and that somehow someway Rand will bring about the downfall of the Tower. Iain83 also links the ropes as ties to the nations of Randland and Rand one by one supplanting their support of the Tower.

Now the first part I liked, it was the beginning of my theory wriggling its way to the fore of my consciousness. The last half of it just didn't fly for whatever reason. It just seemed wrong, given the time constraints we have, to exact that kind of influence on the leaders of the nations represented at the Field of Merrilor, where I think all would agree, would be the most likely meeting place for such a thing to occur.

My theory deviates after the Sitters+Keeper+Amyrlin=23. I think that Crystal Sphere is in fact a shield around the last remaining Seal. Put up to prevent Rand from "clearing the rubble" by destroying it and allowing the chance for a new improved (and hopefully more permanent) Sealing of the Bore. They probably have a discussion, then a negotiation, then an argument and then they leave Rand no choice. He probably first tries to brute force his way through the shield. And failing that, he wonders why it has cracked but has not failed completely, as he figures he has used more than enough power to destroy it. Rand then realizes that if the shield originated within Tel'aran'rhiod, that it would hold no matter what he did in the waking world. I think Elayne makes some more dream Ter'Angreal for the non dream talented Sitters. The Dream Spike probably gives her the idea to create the shield in this way. So he goes into the Dream world and sees the Sitters, the Keeper and the Amyrlin holding the shield together or maybe someone sits in Egwene's place (I hope so) so she can negotiate with Rand. Rand then decides after failing to turn them to his way of thinking, and this is where my theory gets really crazy, Rand decides to and does Still them. Or maybe he just shields them. But Egwene's Dream specifically shows him Cutting each rope until the Sphere falls apart. I think the ropes represent the 23 Aes Sedai links to Saidar. I believe and I could definitely be wrong...but I believe they leave him no choice somehow but to Still them. And I think its permanent if severed in Tel'aran'rhiod. I hope not, 'cus that would suck for all of them.

It is a Horrible, horrible scenario in that... Light!.... talk about screwed up events happening. I hope it doesn't go down like that. But even though Rand is Mr. Zen now, it doesn't prevent him from doing what must be done if he thinks it needs doing. If he thinks it needs doing then he'll do it. I don't think Rand would hesitate. Maybe thats where Tuon comes in.... I dunno after that.

So whatchu think?

Z
T C
78. Freelancer
Well, the overlap in the comments is quite notable this session. I must add to the jumble.

I will gladly accede the point that the specific reference of the volume's title is uncertain, and can mean several of the many persons/edifices mentioned in the post and commentary. My point in the previous post was that the Seanchan towers were called exactly the Towers of Midnight, and therefore could not so easily be dismissed as an appropriate connection to the title. As Wetlandernw has said, it can mean several of those things.

Gareth Bryne ~ "Honestly, Siuan? He looked like an Aes Sedai." That's just awesome stuff, right there. Utterly serene, self-controlled, fearless. I recall when Rand saw Logain being paraded through Caemlyn on a wagon, bound and shielded by eight Aes Sedai, and Rand noted that he projected the presence of a king, even as a captive. I suspect that perception would pale compared to what the Aes Sedai are witnessing in this scene. Also, when will everyone learn to not discount what Bryne says? Sheesh.

I have never been an Egwene-hater, and believe that for her age, experiences and abilities she does well above adequate, with justifiable reasons for the majority of her actions. Her biggest flaw is not hypocrisy, as so many declaim. It is making of herself a role, instead of a person who happens to be in that role. Currently, she is Amyrlin, and is trying so hard to BE Amyrlin that she completely misses some cold, hard truth which is staring her in the face. The Amyrlin Seat is what she is, not who she is. She is still Egwene al'Vere of the Two Rivers, and at the moment that is as important as her title among female channelers. But she misses it, and even when given several gigantic clues after Rand leaves, she misses it.

~ Egwene's first thought as Rand enters is that he is the most dangerous man in the world, instead of what she already knows and has been taught, that he is the best hope of humanity.

~ She mistakes his relaxed calm for surrender, instead of self-awareness and assurance.

~ Then, and I'll borrow Leigh's words; 'She thinks he sounds more cultured and educated than he should.' Say what? How is it within her mien to say how he should sound? This is the Amyrlin Seat displeased that someone else displays a stronger sense of authority than she possesses, and she is serious sour grapes over it.

~ She asks if he will surrender to Aes Sedai guidance, then she doesn't really try to understand his response, which simultaneously declares his regret for decisions regarding Aes Sedai, and nearly contempt for how little they really matter; "such a convenient set of backs upon which to heap the blame for my crimes." Instead she presumes that anything he says which isn't crystal clear is evidence of insanity.
Still, up to this point, she is handling things fine, being cautious and offering to have him examined. Yet after he tells her what he intends, and that he must go for now, her next thought is about attempting to confine him. The (I'll say it again) best hope for humanity.

Several people worked very hard, with varied success and impacts, to remind Rand of who he is and who he was. Someone needed to do the same with Egwene before this confrontation, and she wouldn't have done so poorly. Again, she did well, given what little was known about Rand's state, but Aes Sedai presumption prevented a better communication.

Any supposition that there is equity of position between Rand and Egwene is sorely mistaken. To use the most readily available yet crude analogy, if she is the Pope, he is Christ. Arguing with him at this point is about as inappropriate. He is offering her far more respect than is required of him, and she is not. Plain and simple.

Now, about Rand's ta'veren effect. Egwene did not resist it. There was nothing there for her to resist. It suppressed any interaction from the others while they two were conversing, and that is all that it did. It had no reason to do the same to Egwene, and that is why she felt nothing. I still insist that there are two effects at work within Rand now. His ta'verenness is distinct from what can be called the Dragon effect, that causes the land to heal near him as it caused the land to suffer near him before, and is a completely different phenomenon to the ta'veren influence on random events.

Finally, Rand's manipulation. Absolutely he knew exactly what was going to happen as a result of this meeting. He didn't have another engagement pressing on his time, he needed to leave as soon as possible after declaring his intention, knowing that Egwene would marshall every force possible to try and "convince" him that he's wrong. Rand is using the White Tower's authority and influence among the nations to gather the armies who are not already on their way to meet him.

I agree with Leigh that this confrontation (pt1 of two parts) is parallel to that of Lews Therin and Latra Posae, but not "the next time" the world is going through the same thing, for this isn't the same position on the overall turning of the Wheel. This is more of a bookend setting, the Strike having partially failed and resulting in the Breaking, and this one ... TBD.

Tektonica @49

Not a proper analogy between Egwene's Dreams and Aviendha's trip through the Aiel Way-Back machine. That doesn't mean that this, the only forward-looking view we've seen with this ter'angreal, is unavoidable destiny. Either may be subject to being changed by choices and actions. But the ter'angreal vision isn't a Dreamer's Dream.


The Crystal Sphere. The text does not say that there is a rope for each star. It says that the crystal is sparkling in the light of twenty-three enormous stars, and also that it is cracked and held together by ropes. If the ropes were the connections of saidar to the stars, that would have been stated clearly in the dream. That isn't to say that the 23 isn't the Sitters/Amyrlin/Keeper, but I strongly doubt it. We've seen more than enough of the current Sitters (both sets!) to know that they mostly don't qualify as "enormous stars". The Council of Twenty-Two referenced in Aviendha's future vision is not a much stronger theory, since it clearly represents a time far enough in the future to be after the Last Battle. The national/organizational leaders of non-shadow oriented peoples carries more weight, though I would balk at accepting the list offered by AndrewB. I would leave Shara out and replace it with Perrin's contingent as a virtual national constituency, especially given his position as major ta'veren, and in Rand's inner circle. Also, Amadicia having been severly damaged by the Seanchan could be replaced by Galad's COL entourage. Even so, It's hard to imagine the "enormous stars" as other than specific individuals who are impacting the sphere. This may be a first intimation of the opponents Rand must face before he can break the final shield, and I don't mean those Egwene will gather. I mean the remaining forsaken and the new dreadlords who will gather in T'a'R. If Rand is going to severe anyone from the Source, it would be them; not allies, even misguided ones.
William Fettes
79. Wolfmage
Freelancer@78

Well said!

I really like your analogy of the Pope versus Christ. You modestly say it's crude, but it's much more effective and easier to grasp than my clumsy attempt to explain it. Thank you.

We don't really have a male Pope yet who would be equivilent to Egwene, so I guess I can understand why Leigh places Rand in that role by default. But I think that's an overly schematic gendered approach when Dragon is a unique soul of the avatar of light and not something that is paired.

Also, I think it is suggestive that the person we suspect will lead the clean Black Tower, Logain, has glory in his future. Post-Rand that balance is going to be very important to building the future. But if Egwene was really equivilent to Rand (and assuming she survives) she would be above Logain - which would hardly represent the triumph of balance.
JAMES MCCLELLAN
80. ZEXXES
As I said before, Rand may not choose to sever them, he may simply shield them if the option is available. I don't think Rand and is going to choose not to do what needs to be done simply because there is a hard choice to be made. The fate of the Universe is on the line here. That is the reality.

It doesn't say that the Ropes are attached to the Stars, but its also a Dream. Its not going to spell out exactly whats going to happen. It's practically metaphoric in nature, as all Dreams have been so far. It doesn't say anything about the Ropes other than that they are holding the Crystal Sphere together and he takes an ax and cuts them. Or do you expect that there really will be ropes holding the Sphere together?

If Egwene really is and remains an advisary with regards to stopping him from clearing away the last Seal of the Bore; And if she is unwilling to yield on that point of contention: How then will she stop him? It seems reasonable that Egwene tries to physicaly prevent him from destroying the seal. It seems reasonable, having failed to convince him otherwise, Rand would then try to undo whatever was done to prevent him from completing his mission.

So I have to disagree with that line of assessment. Basing a contention that the Dream would be clear about this and that, when nothing is apparently clear about that Dream at all? We wouldn't even be having this discussion if any bit of it was clear. And by Enormous Stars do you not forget the heirarchy of the Aes Sedai, the Sitters are very likely some of the strongest in the Tower. And, I believe, with the exception of a few Accepted and Novices, besides Egwene, they are the strongest presently in the Tower. None of them are weak by any means. Does Enormous stars then mean that they have to be the Strongest Ever Channelers? Well there aren't 23 of those around right now on Team Dark, sooo....

And if that suggestion somehow is correct, where are the Dark Ones going to find 23 Dreadlords strong enough to stop Rand. The Black Ajah? Mmmm.... Maybe. Some of them were Sitters and some were quite strong, some among those who escaped execution. Or maybe its a combination of Forsaken and Black Ajah.

But there is one little problem. Don't they want him to open the Bore? Uhhh, because last time I looked, I think, its the whole point of their effort. I might be wrong there.

And even if for some reason they would try to prevent him from opening the Bore, why would they try? Well they could be waiting for the right time for the bore to be opened. Or maybe Moridin has to be there for things to be as they should be. I dunno! That it is a convoluted mess we're talking about, with only one book to do it in.

I think more likely, is the Dark Powers will wait for the Bore to open and then try to prevent its proper resealing. That seems far more likely to me.

I agree that it is hard to believe that the Enormous Stars are anything but those impacting the Crystal Sphere. I just feel, in my opinion, that I haven't heard said anything to make me believe that my scenario isn't as likely as any other.


Z
Roger Powell
81. forkroot
Wolf, Free
If I get my way, there will be no channeling in the Fourth Age. Logain will retire a hero for his role in cleaning the Black Tower. Egwene will retire a heroine for her bold leadership of the White Tower (until the True Source disappeared.) And neither of them will have any more influence on future affairs than a warm bucket of spit.
JAMES MCCLELLAN
82. ZEXXES
Oh yeah..
@78
I too enjoyed the Christ/Pope analogy. It was brilliant. Truthfully.

Now, *chuckle*... would it not be funny if the Pope was a fan of the series!?!

Z
Glen V
83. Ways
Re: a few earlier comments - do we have any evidence to suggest that any
ta'veren can control who he is influencing?
JAMES MCCLELLAN
84. ZEXXES
So someone got me thinking.

Metaphors and Dreams. In this instance we have:

A Crystal Sphere which sits atop a dark hill. Its cracked and it has ropes holding it together. It falls apart when the ropes are cut.

Twenty three Enormous stars are shining down on the Crystal Sphere.

Rand and his ax cutting the ropes holding the Crystal Sphere together. He shakes his head after his task is done. He walks up a dark hill to get to the ropes holding together the Sphere.

Thats all we got, basically.

So what we don't have is:

Whats in the Sphere? Is there anything in the Sphere? Can we see into the Sphere? What is the Sphere made out of? Is it holding in or is it keeping out? Why is the Sphere sitting on a dark hilltop? is it actually on the hilltop or does it hover just above? Is it attached to something below it? How did a cracked Sphere get on top of a hill? Was it made there or was it placed there? How did the Sphere get cracked?

Why is Rand cutting the ropes? Who put the ropes there? Why does Rand shake his head after he cuts the ropes? Are they ropes or something else that look like ropes?

Why are there stars above the Sphere? Why are stars there at all? Are they really stars or are they just something else giving off a really bright light? How did they get there? Who made them? Why are there twenty-three of them? What are the stars made of? How big is enormous?


Where is this hilltop? Is it in the real world or Tel'aran'rhiod or somewhere else? Why is the hill dark? Is it really a hill or something that looks like a hill?

Anyone care to add more?

So we have those questions about what we don't know. But metaphors are all about context. For instance if one said, "its sort of like the Bridge Over River Quai", and your talking about movies, anyone who saw the movie might know what your talking about. And anyone who didn't would be like, "What?". You need historical content to know what a metaphor means. And the context could change the meaning of the metaphor, within the content that, historically, falls within its informational bounds.

But this Dream we are discussing the meaning of, is of a future happening. It changes so many rules when trying to decipher the metaphors the Dream is presenting. We are all left with historical context of what is happening presently along with the past that make up our "present" only, to decipher our Dreamt future metaphors.

And so in that vein we can move forward to some degree.

So what is happening?

To be continued.... by anyone?
JAMES MCCLELLAN
85. ZEXXES
83. Ways

Nope. We have hints and guesses over happennings that lack defined and irrefutable explaination. There are parties for and against it and for the most part are immobile in opinion. But I would say that those lacking belief that Ta'veren can control their nature to any degree whatsoever, also have no better explanition of the written appearances of superlative happenings, that go beyond the norm of the easily explained away occurance, of seemingly supernatural content.

i.e. There is no proof yeah or nay.


Z
Thomas Keith
86. insectoid
Better late than never, here I be.
Great post as usual, Leigh!

The, uh, confrontation in the Tower between Rand and Egwene was less heated than I expected on first read; as you point out, the meeting at the FoM will probably have them hashing out the rest of it (for super-Zen values of "hash", in Rand's case).

Also, I'm firmly in the Egwene-Rules camp, for whatever it's worth.

IYKWIMAITYD? I understand the first half, but what's the rest? Also, LOL, high beams.

Edited to add: Bryne's remark to Siuan that Rand looks like an Aes Sedai was cool.
That’s… an awfully specific number. I racked my brains for a while trying to remember if there were any significant groups of items or people lying around in WOT that happened to number twenty-three, but I got nothing. Anyone? Bueller?
Bueller's sick, but I'll take it. ;) I don't have much to go on, though; 23 just isn't as obvious a number as 13. Perhaps it's the number of channelers in a circle somewhere? (After all, in this chapter, there were at least 26 sisters shielding Rand, possibly in a circle. Unfortunately, I've completely forgotten the rules regarding circles (how many women can link without a man, etc.) and can't find it at the moment.)

Seals: Only thing I can think of is this:
Break it break them all must break them must must must break them all break them and strike must strike quickly must strike now break it break it break it . . .
:P

Letter: I assumed that it was just another one of Sneaky Verin's letters; but it seems strange that she'd give a letter to Tiana, of all people, to give to Rand. Oh well.

Off to read comments. We'll probably be at 100 by morning...

Bzzz™.
Thomas Keith
87. insectoid
Apologies if I reiterate too much here.

Buddhacat @4: LOL!

Fork @5: Ah... that does make sense, considering his later (apropos of apparently nothing) wish to find the King of Arad Doman.

gadget @22, et al: That's an interesting theory, and it does add up, but (as ZEXXES pointed out) what does the crystal sphere represent in that context?

Sarcastro @33: (Looks like AndrewB @62 and others covered this pretty well already. But there are so many ways of coming up with 23, given the number of nations, peoples, and organizations in Randland.)

Mathguy @41: Ah! Interesting idea. Way to think outside the box! Alternatively, perhaps 23 is the number of organized groups that are meeting with Rand at Merrilor.

MJF @46: Alrighty... 12 women and 11 men, then. That works.

Free @78: Nicely summed up!

Bzzz™.
Birgit
88. birgit
The last time the Bore was opened, the sphere of the Collam Daan was shattered. The ropes are probably flows of the OP holding the Seals on the DO's prison.

I think Eg misinterpreted the eagle and snake dream. She is convinced that Mesaana is the one killing AS, but it is really the Bloodknives.

After all, in this chapter, there were at least 26 sisters shielding Rand, possibly in a circle. Unfortunately, I've completely forgotten the rules regarding circles (how many women can link without a man, etc.) and can't find it at the moment.

Only 13 women can link without including a man. There are probably 2 circles of 13 shielding Rand at the same time.

It doesn't really make sense to call the chapter the Amyrlin's anger. Eg isn't really angry, just shocked that Rand wants to break the Seals. The only way "face the Amyrlin's anger" makes sense is if Rand expected Eg to be angry and is ready to face her anger.
Rand Therin now understands diplomatic protocol. He is visiting the Amyrlin's stronghold. It makes sense that protocol demands that he asks to leave (as a courtesy, not an actual permission).
smiller3
89. danhar
Re: the shiny glass dome and 23 floodlights

My first assumption upon reading Egwene's Dream scene was that it symbolised the DO's prison/Bore and the Seals. To me this made, and still makes, the most sense because it's the only current or potentially pending plotline (yay alliteration!) wherein Rand is "breaking" something. I can't quite get behind the other theories that seem to add up almost random values to achieve the magic result (please, no offense intended). It just doesn't feel right that it should be referencing something post-TG or something from way out in left field. Given the other 2 scenes it's gotta be something more immediate, something relevant right now. For example, Rand (and Randland) needs stability and order ASAP if the world is gonna survive/win the LB. North and East, South and West, as one you know? Hence the proposed truce with the Seanchan, which backfired. Now that the White Tower is finally reunified why would Rand want to destabilise it again? He needs it to be whole and working cohesively, not messed up and disfunctional again at the last minute. To me this explains Rand's behaviour towards Egwene: publically respecting, and thus legitimising and reinforcing, her newly achieved authority is a very small immediate cost to him that gains him a much larger reward in the near future (a strong and unified WT). He can walk away knowing that he doesn't need to worry about the Aes Sedai being at each others throats anymore and can focus on the whole Golden Bough Sacrificial King thing (apologies to anyone not familiar with James Frazer. Look it up, it's an oldie but a goodie. Alternatively, Pratchetts Hogfather is a slightly funnier take on the mythos). The Aes Sedai, under Egwene, will now do what he wants/needs them to do. He's essentially delegated the task of organising the rest of Randland for TG so that he doesn't have to do it himself.

Okay, got slightly sidetracked there. Now, where was I? Oh yeah.

I know, I know, there is, or was, only 7 Seals. But according to the BWB the "Seals" were only focus points for the actual seals. Now, I'll be the first to admit that math isn't my strong point but even I know that 7 into 23 doesn't work. I don't know what the left-over 2 focal points are doing. Maybe they focus the focus points? Maybe they balance the other seals, ying for yang, black for white? As you can see, it's here that my little theory kinda falls down. But, damnit, I still like it!
smiller3
90. Zabulus
Insectoid @86:
IYKWIMAITYD - If You Know What I Mean And I Think You Do.
Tricia Irish
91. Tektonica
Free@78:
It is making of herself a role, instead of a person who happens to be in that role.

That is brilliant and the exact Egwene problem. She's more worried about what she's expected to do, rather than being in the moment as Egwene, and responding from her own beliefs and training. . She's still worried about credibility, and let's face it, the Aes Sedai do a lot of posing and value their ability to present a certain image. It is typical of someone new in a job, or young, or feeling a bit of an imposter, in that they're still amazed that they are in that position. I hope she gets over it soon!

I think Rand was very polite with Egwene, respecting her position. She was afraid of him. Her fear and her desire to appear Amrylin-like to the hall did not allow her to truly see Rand Sedai. That said, it was completely appropriate for him to ask permission to leave, as it is her "court", so to speak. (Love the pope/Christ metaphor.)

Thank you also for more accurately stating Rand's purpose in manipulating Egwene to do as he needs her to....gathering the nations.

You're right on the mis-stated Avienda dream...I was thinking she had her vision of the future when Nakomi visited her, but alas, the memory fails again, it was in Rhuidean itself...so cancel that thought.
Sam Mickel
92. Samadai
For those who don't know. Ray Bradbury has passed away today. He was a great influence in my younger years. May he shelter in the Light of the Creator
Thomas Keith
93. insectoid
Birgit @88: Ah. Two circles of 13. Yes. I totally knew that. ;)

Zabulus @90: Thanks.

RIP Ray Bradbury. :(

Bzzz™.
T C
94. Freelancer
Ways @83

No indeed. The influences upon people and events caused by a ta'veren are not under their control, and there has not been a single incident to suggest otherwise. That is precisely why I posit (and not independently, for the text supports it) that Rand's Dragon nature is responsible for the direct, non-random impacts on the land. It is surely his ta'veren nature which induces the Aes Sedai in the Hall to be unable to speak, barely able to breathe or think, but Rand is not directing that impact on them. It may be that his level of self-awareness allows him to know what's happening around him due to his nature(s), but that is observation, not control. It also only makes sense that as he has improved his sense of who he truly is in the global scheme of things, he would have more understanding of why his nature might or might not affect things or people.


The crystal sphere would be hard to imagine as anything other than a representation of the Bore and the seals placed by Lews Therin's Hundred Companions. It is good to actually question potential interpretations rather than making surface assumptions. The dream does not indicate that the stars are protecting the sphere, only that they are shining, and it sparkles in that light. The ropes are all that holds the cracked sphere together. No indication of how many ropes, or of what nature. The sphere may be the Creator-made prison itself, the ropes the representation of the Seals. The sphere may be the man-made Bore in the prison, and the ropes the Seals. The stars shining on the sphere may be people, probably are people, but they must be extremely significant people to be seen in the Dream as "enormous". The stars may be somehow energizing the sphere, or merely watching it. They may be in agreement with what Rand is doing, or opposing. Not a shred of indication in either direction.


Tektonica @91

No worries, I had to double-check myself. Aviendha wondered if Nakomi had been no more than a dream once she disappeared, it's very easy to conflate that with the ter'angreal vision.


Sam @92

I saw the sad news earlier. Definitely one of the biggest impacts on my young mind. Bradbury taught me more about critical thinking, and liberty of individual thought, than any school ever could have. RIP
smiller3
96. Tenesmus
I always thought the note was from Verin telling Rand, among other things, but most importantly, where the Horn of Valere is hidden. Am I wrong, or isn't still unaccounted for?
John Mann
97. jcmnyu
Let me flesh out my theory that the 23 stars represent the Aiel.

As of now, there are 11 clans loyal to Rand. It makes sense to me that at the Randland Convention and Expo Egwene has organized, the Aiel will demand and deserve representation. In fact, Egwene has already invited the Wise Ones. How will the Aiel be represented? I can see each clan sending their clan chief and one Wise One as representatives. Those 22 plus Rand equal 23.

Also, there are 11 clans and 12 warrior societies. If each sent a representative, that would total 23 as well.

Now, how does this relate to the vision of a cracked crystal sphere being held in place/together by ropes that Rand cuts with regret? We know from Aviendha's vision that in at least one version of the future, possibly the most likely at the point she entered the crystal columns, the Aiel were left out of the Dragon's Peace. The Dragon's Peace was described as the price for his going to confront the Dark One. It included all the countries of Randland, the Seanchan, and the White and Black Towers if you read between the lines a little. It specifically did not include the Aiel. Aviendha is determined to prevent the future that she sees and will presumably try to include the Aiel in the Dragon Peace and give them a purpose. This could be what the dream represents, Rand destroying the Aiel as they are. No more clans and societies. No more warring and raiding. He gives them a new structure and purpose. Maybe it is to return to their previous service to Aes Sedai, maybe as a police force. Maybe he carves out land for them from his holdings in Tear and Illian. Who knows. But there is more evidence that it could be the Aiel in Egwene's dream other than a random coincidence of numbers.
Craig Jarvis
98. hawkido
The note was from Bela, saying she will see him again on the slopes of Shayol Ghul.
Willie Sullitan
99. wsull
awesome chapter show the changes he really went throught
Ray Bradbury great story teller and world maker
Gwen Potter
100. tariqata
Tenesmus @96: The Horn of Valere is in Tar Valon; I'm not sure if Rand knows where it is, but Mat does, and that's the important thing.
"I want you to tell the Amyrlin something," he said. "If it's Egwene, this should be easy. But even if it isn't, you tell her. The White Tower has something of mine, and it's nearly time that I reclaimed it. I don't want to, but what I want never seems tomatter a whisker, these days. So I'll be coming, and I don't mean to be bloody turned away." He smiled. "Use that exact language." (ToM, p. 346, Ch. 17 "Partings, and a Meeting")
Gary Singer
101. AhoyMatey
@98: LOL! And we all know why she has to be there...

@91: It's amazing how ones perceptions color things, and Egwene definitely did not allow herself to see Rand in his Awesomeness.
JAMES MCCLELLAN
102. ZEXXES
Wouldn't it be something if Mat and the Band show up just before or just after the Seanchan arrived to do in the White Tower? He blows the Horn and Fortuona is forced to submit before Mat and then arrives at the Last Battle with Mat? I could then see Fortuona kneeling before Rand.

Can't wait for the final chapter in this saga to hit the shelves!

Z
Deana Whitney
103. Braid_Tug
@ 77, Zexxes: does Egwene know about the Dream Spike? Sure, Perrin was looking for it when they ran into each other. But I don't think she ever knew what was keeping everyone locked in the Tower.
The rest of your theory sounds good.

R.I.P Ray Bradbury. 451 was the first time I ever thought it would be possible to memorize an entire book.
Besides some children’s books, I never have.
Roger Powell
104. forkroot
ZEXXES@102
Ooh! I like your idea. Fortuona shows up all full of herself and her corrupted prophecy. Mat blows the Horn, Artur Hawkwing himself shows up and Fortuona is awestruck. (Note the clever foreshadowing that RJ did about this with Tuon's question to Mat about seeing Hawkwing's face!)

Hawkwing sets Fortuona sraight on the prophecies and the Seanchan join Team Light as true "team players".

I really like your idea. Hope something like that comes to pass.
smiller3
105. Curtain Jerker
@104 (and by extension, @102)

Love that idea. The shattered ego of the Seanchean once Hawkwing tells them to stop screwing around and join his buddy the Dragon (see the scene in TGH) would be so worth all their insufferableness up to this point.
Cameron Tucker
106. Loialson
94.Freelancer

Something to note: while you are correct in that we have no in-book/world concrete evidence that a ta'veren can consciously use his ta'vereness to affect others, there is this QandA from Brandon I did a while ago:
"Q: Can Rand consciously control his Ta'veren pull to any degree? Specifically referencing to his meeting with Tuon to will her to submit to him, and when he threatened Cadsuane to will her dead.
A: He, um, believes that he can.
Me: Still, even after the TGS reintegration?

Brandon: He has a more zen view on it now, but he still believes that he can have some influence."
Make what you will of that, but Rand, at least, thinks he can control it, even at this point in the story. He thought he could as Darth Rand back in TGS towards Cadsuane, Tuon, etc.


And from BS's body language at the time I recorded this, Brandon seemed to be hinting that Rand may be mistaken on that point, but BS hedged enough that I wasn't completely sure. :)

So to posit that Rand silenced the Hall with his pattern-swirly powers intentionally isn't completely far-fetched, we just don't know for sure if he can actually do it, but he thinks he can.

And that might just cause problems for him in aMoL (as it was with his interaction with Tuon).
smiller3
107. ZEXXES
To all whom it may concern,

Ah yes, I found it! The Sharom was structure that was building size and was used for advanced studies and experiments. It floated above the domes of the Collam Daan not for any general purpose. They had it above simply because they could. It was white in color and had a pearlescent hue to it.

Now, whats the importance of this? Well, no where does it say that the Sharom in itself was any part of the seal. No where does it say that it was used to contain any force of the Dark One, as they had no clue what was going to happen when the Bore was created (Although some would say Meiran did know or at least guessed). And finally no where do we have any description of the Sharom being Crystaline in any way, shape or form. Not its color and not its shape. Crystal Spheres are usually a globe like structure crusted with small flat sided facets lending the appearance of being spherical when in fact it is not (True Crystal Spheres can be created of courses but they appear as glass giving it the prerequisite translucent quality).

They key words here are White in color and pearlescent. So, no go on the Sphere being the remains of the Sharom. Besides what would be the purpose? Why would you want to reform a structure like that without even knowing what it looked like on the inside. The Sharom is opaque we have no way of knowing what it looked like inside. I doubt it was just a huge hollow ball floating in the air. It would make more sense to just create your own Sphere.

None of that explains why the Crystal Sphere has cracks in it. My explanation is purely a guess. Maybe they dropped it. Maybe it is the Choden Kal from Tremalking. Who knows?

My theory is only using what it situationaly possible to our knowledge. Given what is presently before us. Given that it was Egwene's Dream. Given that she had it just before her meet with Rand. Given that she opposes his plan to break the seal. Given that she has a month to plan.

Oh, the month to plan reminds me...

103. Braid_Tug

Egwene doesn't necessarily need to know about Perrin's Dream Spike right at this moment. She has a month to plan. She only needs to know what it can do to get the idea for her supposed plan. Why? Because there is another Dream Spike in the area. And with a large amount of Aes Sedai trapped within it, she very well may be made aware of whats going on there. She may well even take part in it dispruption.

Just a thought!

Z
Glen V
108. Ways
85. ZEXXES and 94. Freelancer
Yeah, that's what I thought (about ta'veren not, or probably not, being able to control who they influence). IIRC some of the earlier comments posited that Rand Sedai (yep, good choice IMHO) turned off his influence over Egwene and maybe Siuan. I expect those two and Fortuona either excerised a huge measure of self control (esp. in Tuon's case since I'm pretty sure her mental struggle was actually mentioned in the text) or they have some other method to resist Rand's influence. Apologies if this issue was resolved up stream. I was reading the comments between midnight and 2 AM and don't claim to recall everything with crystal clarity.

Nice segue to the crystal sphere discussion (heh, heh, pats self on back). Freelancer, I like your thoughts on the issue. Many possibilities have been thrown out for discussion and most seem a little contrived for my taste. Doesn't mean they are incorrect, just that they don't ring right to me personally.

@102 and 104: LOVE IT!

RIP Ray Bradbury! Something Wicked This Way Comes was the book that absolutely hooked me on the genre.
Tess Laird
109. thewindrose
I greatly enjoyed the Gareth Bryne moment -
"Honestly, Siuan? He looked like an Aes Sedai."
One of those moments where you see a character like Rand through another characters eyes that you respect, just makes it mean so much more.


Interesting that the place between dreams and the waking world was brought up here. If I was Elayne or Nynaeve, I would have learned how to ward my dreams - I mean Egwene can just check out what they are doing - as could other dreamers - Lanfear/Cyndane and Moridin come to mind.

Also interesting is Egwene getting yanked back into dreamer mode after deciding to slip back into her body and have normal dreams. I don't remember if any of the wiseones had mentioned that could happen. Although the 'Gawyn ripped apart as if made of sand' wasnt a bad image for me;) Anyways - back to how she arrived at these dreams - something seems hinky about how she returned to meaningful dreams after she had gone back into herself and out of dreamer mode.

Another winning moment for Rand;
Rand smiled. "Oh, I do understand, Egwene. And I am sorry to deny you, but I have too much to do."
Love it!! One of the reasons I think it was his plan from the start to get Egwene to gather all lightsiders.

tempest™
smiller3
110. NotInventedHere
@109:
No where does it say that it was used to contain any force of the Dark
One, as they had no clue what was going to happen when the Bore was
created (Although some would say Meiran did know or at least guessed)
I'm one of those who doesn't think Mierin knew what she was doing, and when she realized what she did, went over to the DO because her immense ego couldn't stand others seeing that she committed such a magnificently enormous eff-up; she'd rather be seen as an evil genius than a screwup. But I agree, the Sharom just doesn't fit with Eg's dream.

I'm liking the idea of the cracked crystal sphere representing the crystal throne/Seanchan power; could it be that Rand's zen-ness, which allows him to identify darkfriends on sight, might also let him see those who have been bound by the (theorized?) power of the crystal throne? Perhaps in bowing before it he is actually destroying it, and the Seanchan spehere of influence along with it (cracked already from the death of most of the imperial family)? Still no explanation for the 23 stars, but I'll conveniently ignore that for now.
smiller3
111. NotInventedHere
Oops, meant @107... sorry.
T C
112. Freelancer
@95

If, by Stranger, you are referring to Stranger in a Strange Land, that was written by Heinlein.


Most definitely the crystal sphere cannot be related to the Sharom. It is long gone, Rand cannot do anything to an object which was destroyed 3 millenia prior. Whatever the sphere represents, it is a 'present day' issue.


RE: The 23 stars being the Aiel Clan Chiefs, Wise Ones, and Rand. It would be a little bit odd for Rand to be represented by one of the stars, and also to be shown as himself chopping the ropes, in Egwene's Dream. Any theory which considers the stars to be people would seem to be indicating that they are likely to support or oppose the Dragon, or at the very least observing his actions. If so, then it doesn't fit to have him be one of those symbolic supporters/opponents/observers.
William Fettes
113. Wolfmage
Treemaster @ 56 and Lsana @ 70

I agree, it’s a little heavy handed, though I can also see the point made by Faculty Guy @ 72 that there is enough material shown in the text for Siuan to be legitimately impressed with Egwene. In particular, Siuan would be very impressed with how Egwene wins people over versus Siuan’s gruff confrontations of will whereby she wins the battle but not the war, how she successfully unifies the Tower, and how she at least partially unravels the gordian knot of secret Hall manoeuvring, achieving a more workable balance of power arrangement.

Notwithstanding that Siuan is responsible for many of Egwene’s victories, those aren’t trivial matters and they are fully owned by Egwene. IMO in making this comparison Siuan can be likened to Salieri in the film Amadeus somewhat. Salieri’s burden is that he can appreciate Mozart’s prodigious talent more than anyone precisely because he is so brilliant himself and knows the difficulty curve involved. So I do actually think it’s in character for her to be such a strong booster for Egwene.

That said, I still personally think the telling approach is over-used, especially with regard to Egwene. A bit more subtlety and wistfulness in her admiration, perhaps even with a twinge of bitterness, could have made the scene sing with powerful resonances. After all, though I do think Siuan’s personality was ultimately somewhat flawed, she was still a brilliant Amyrlin compared to all the Amyrlin’s of recent history, and mostly she was a victim of bad timing and Black Ajah plots.
Stefan Mitev
114. Bergmaniac
Any ideas on how Rand knew that Siuan had bonded Bryne? This always bugged me for some reason.

How did he manage to recognise Siuan for that matter? He barely knew her and even Aes Sedai who knew her well couldn't recognise her post-stilling.
William Fettes
115. Wolfmage
Bergmaniac@114

Presumably because he is so zen that he can see the subtle signs of intimacy and familiarity that go with the bond.

Most likely Rand recognises her from her distinctive eyes which are intense and knowning beyond her youthful face. After all, that is what almost jolts others to recognise her, including Bryne.
Jay Dauro
116. J.Dauro
Bergmanic

I think it's observation of tiny clues. Remember how Rand correctly identified Selucia as Tuon's bodyguard as soon as he met them. Mat still doesn't know, and he spent how long with them.

And Rand has seen Siuan since she was stilled. In LOC-32, Summoned in Haste, Rand sees her (in Tel'aran'rhiod) and she is identified as Siuan.
JAMES MCCLELLAN
117. ZEXXES
Darnit I always confuse those two. Well... I enjoyed the Martian Chronicles as well.

.....

..... That was Ray wasn't?
Terry McNamee
118. macster
I admit to being a little disappointed there was only one chapter this week...but then considering the topic, and the sheer amount of debate it's likely to generate, this may be just as well. Plus this allows us to focus on Perrin/Galad and, more importantly, Graendal/Moridin next week.

I'm...not going to get into the debate on Egwene/Rand very much, since it seems to me most of the good arguments for both sides have already been stated. What I will say is the following: I understand completely why Egwene reacted as she did, it makes perfect sense from what knowledge she does and does not have, and I am utterly convinced Rand did this on purpose; everything he says before going in, and afterward when he talks to Nynaeve and the Aes Sedai in Tear ("What have you done?" "What needed to be done."), suggests it was all planned and prepared in advance, that he knew what he was doing and manipulated her. That doesn't change the fact that I was furious with her at the time.

Since then I have cooled down and looked at her words and actions more objectively...so that now instead of being angry with her, I am merely deeply disappointed in her. She is indeed allowing herself to think too much of her role and her standing with the other Aes Sedai, and not with her childhood friend or what the world needs in order to be saved. I can only hope that she will come to her senses at Merrilor once she a) finds out she doesn't have the rock-solid unified support she thought she would and b) has Rand's plan explained to her fully. I have hope that she will, partly because of the parallel to Latra Posae and Lews Therin--no I don't think Rand and Egwene are equals, but that doesn't mean their confrontation and its resolution can't parallel Latra and Lews Therin's, and more importantly bring it to a satisfying conclusion that makes up for the original division between male and female channelers--but also partly because of what Egwene thinks right before Rand reveals his intention to break the seals:

"The words were those of a madman, but they were spoken evenly. She looked at him, and remembered the youth that he had been. The earnest young man. Not solemn like Perrin, but not wild like Mat. Solid, straightforward. The type of man you could trust with anything. Even the fate of the world."

This indicates to me that if Rand hadn't suddenly dropped his crazy terrifying bombshell, Egwene would have come around to his way of thinking and supported him. Not only does this underscore for me that Rand intentionally revealed this (and without any explanations) so as to galvanize her and make her gather all the forces of the Westlands for him, it suggests to me that once his rationale has been explained (hopefully by Min!) and she understands why it is not folly, then she will revert back to "trusting him with the fate of the world", and all their forces can at last peacefully unite (including the Black Tower, once Taim is taken care of). I suspect this will have something to do with Perrin and the second time he has to be there for Rand, since he has expressed to Faile that he agreed with Rand about breaking the seals; perhaps he will say or do something that will convince Egwene to listen, or that Rand is right.

Oh, and I agree that Egwene not being blindsided by Rand's ta'veren power isn't a sign of anything special about her, but about her doing what Rand wanted and Rand needing her able to speak. More on that shortly. And as for him respecting her and vice versa, and what her role in his life is...I agree there should be respect on both sides, both for what each has accomplished and because they will need to be working together closely, but she is certainly not his equal. And not only was she not doing anything in this scene to help humanize him, it seems to me that Min and Nynaeve fulfill that role right now. Whether Egwene will later, once this conflict between them is done, who knows.

I won't say more about the Towers than I already have, except to agree with Wet and Freelancer: there's no reason they can't have more than one meaning, and in fact Jordan has a track record for layered symbolism. So the Towers are indeed the ones in Seanchan, and as a result I suspect something important related to them and the Seanchan will happen in the last book (see my thoughts in the previous re-read), but they also represent the Forsaken and Egwene's Dream, and they also represent the various towers in the narrative.

Egwene's sphere Dream...hoo boy. Way too much speculation and theorizing here, and for what it's worth I don't think we have enough information to know for sure what it symbolizes, and intentionally so. Setting aside whether the Dream even comes true (and as others have stated, Leigh, we were indeed told by the Wise Ones on several occasions that dreams are not indicators of a definite future and I think Verin or Anaiya said that too), I remember reading a statement from Jordan that the closer the Dark One gets to breaking free and the more he can touch the Pattern, the less reliable and accurate Dreaming becomes. This close to Tarmon Gai'don, I don't know if we can trust every Dream any more.

All that said, there doesn't seem to be enough to make its meaning clear, and a lot of people are getting hung up on specific imagery or phrasing and trying to parse their meaning. Personally, I am leaning toward the dream meaning the Hall, the Amyrlin, and the Keeper even though Rand needs the Tower whole--it may be that he has to break them apart, either because of them standing up against his seal-breaking plan, or because their system of Ajahs is corrupt and troublesome and also pointless if they and the Black Tower are going to work together as equals post-Taim. The reason I lean this way is because I can't see the Aiel clans, the nations of the world, or the seals/Bore being represented by a crystal sphere. But of course the imagery may mean nothing, or it could be deliberately misleading to throw us off the scent. The one thing I think can be discounted is it meaning the nations of the world, because the whole point of Merrilor is to bring them all together and the Dragon's Peace from Aviendha's vision suggests unity after the Last Battle, not being fractured. Of course if her vision gets prevented in order to save the Aiel...

See what I mean? We can go round and round, coming up with points for and against every interpretation. And none of us will convince anybody or know who is right until the end. I do think the seals need to be broken; I also am very sure that the Aes Sedai's political structure will change and that something needs to change with the Aiel as well. What any of this has to do with the dream, though, I just don't know. It's too obscure and puzzling for me, so I am not going to bother trying to figure it out. I'll just wait and see what happens.

One note on Siuan: I loved her wry response to Rand thanking her for the arrow save. And it was really great seeing Sanderson call back to that moment, particularly since that was the last time he'd interacted with Siuan in the narrative--it makes sense he'd think of it and mention it to her when he saw her again, even after so much time had passed and so many things had happened to both of them.

The note: very obviously from Verin. The only thing I don't get is why Verin thought it so important to tell Rand that Elaida had Mattin Stepaneos and, by extension, other rulers. Of all the things she could have told him, that's it? It did turn out to be emotionally resonant, and will help piece the Westlands together into a unified whole again, but it seems to me there must be more to that letter. Hopefully we will find out in AMoL.
Terry McNamee
119. macster
@6 NotInventedHere, 64 Wetlander, 75 Wotman, 86 insectoid: It is indeed rather odd that she'd give it to Tiana of all people. Perhaps we will find out why she gave it to her in AMoL, but as others have pointed out, she could have given it to her timing-wise due to having stopped at the rebel camp before going to the Tower. Verin did say something about thinking she'd have to find Egwene out among her "friends outside the Tower"--perhaps she did visit there first, to give the message to Tiana, and then when she found out Egwene had been captured she went to her in the Tower? Another point in Tiana's favor--as Mistress of Novices she would be in charge of Bode and the other Two Rivers girls whom Verin sent from Caemlyn to join the rebels along with some of the Salidar delegation. Perhaps she used checking on them as a pretext to deliver the message?

@10 Seraphyn, @18 Ralphy, @47 Tel Janin: I agree. To expand on what I said above, I think the Pattern not only needed Egwene where she is, it needed her to be able to speak, listen, and react accordingly, and this is why she didn't feel the pressure or get frozen like the others. A similar thing happened in LOC, where she was able to resist telling Rand what he wanted to know because it wasn't time for him to know where Salidar was--everything had to be timed perfectly so that when he sent Mat, she would be there as Amyrlin and be able to use him and the Band to help Nynaeve and Elayne get the Bowl and galvanize the rebels, respectively. Just as it wasn't time for Tuon to ally with Rand since he was still Dark at the time. The Pattern prevents people from doing what they aren't supposed to, while facilitating those who are doing what they're supposed to.

@30 TinkerPride: To expand on what jcmnyu, Nick S., and Wetlander said, not only was the closing of the gateway due to Perrin bringing the dreamspike to Tar Valon, this was the fulfillment of Egwene's Dream about Gawyn running to save her while a door closed a narrowing beam of light on her, and if it closed she would be dead.

As for Moghedien, I am starting to have the sinking, sneaking suspicion that she may be disguised as Aravine. Yes, I know she was captured by the Shaido, but Moridin could have forced her to go along with it with the mindtrap, and having another Shadow agent nearby to watch Perrin would have helped with the traps set up for him in this book. Even if she isn't Moghedien, I suspect she's a Darkfriend; much is being made of how loyal and helpful she is to Perrin, but at the same time the fact she won't talk about her past and just seems to have been 'a noble in Amadicia'. The fact she's Perrin's liaison with all his armies would be a devastatingly perfect place for a Darkfriend to be situated...

@38 KiManiak: Love your thoughs on Siuan and Bryne. As for Egwene and Aran'gar, while you are most likely right that she did do something to her, I'm afraid your theory that she's responsible for Egwene not being affected by Rand here doesn't work because of the very example you referenced: yes, her resisting Rand back in LoC showed a struggle that wasn't evident here, but the fact was she did still end up resisting him--and she did that before she ever met Aran'gar. So while Aran'gar may have done something to her, and it may have facilitated this moment, it couldn't be the sole reason for it--unless you want to say the reason Tuon could also resist was because she'd been influenced by Semirhage. No, I think it's more likely what I said above, and what others have said: she didn't have to resist because she was doing what Rand wanted, because the Pattern wanted her able to speak and react, and it's nothing more momentous than that. That may be disappointing, but it is at least consistent with what we know about ta'veren. Though if Aran'gar did do anything more to Egwene, this will surely come out in AMoL.

Oh, and I think when Leigh was talking about us knowing what Rand was like in his head she meant Veins of Gold, and extrapolating that to affect how the reader would be viewing Rand in this scene even though we aren't actually in his head during it. Of course as has been pointed out that doesn't mean he really is as calm and sane as he appears, but it's a reasonable assumption to make especially after how we see him act for the rest of this book. It would be rather startling though if it turned out Egwene was right, and that even if her way of dealing with Rand was wrong and unfair and he is right about the seals, he might really still be unstable after all...

And re: Verin's letters, I agree that her one to Rand must contain more than just the bit about Mattin. We know the one Galad got is from her, the red seal clinches it...I really am burning to know what she told him. I can only see it being one of two things, or maybe both: that Luc is alive and an assassin for the Shadow, and that he is Rand's half-brother. Let's not also forget her letter to Alanna that makes her go haring off in Chapter 12. Rand thinks she went to Arafel...could it have been to get the Horn and meet Mat? Verin wouldn't have known about his trip to the Finn, and anyway he will likely be heading to the Tower at some point for the Horn...

@69 MRCHalifax: Interesting point, and it can even still work with what I was saying. Yes the Pattern needed Egwene to be there, and able to speak and react, but that doesn't mean his ta'veren effect couldn't still have been in action, just making her speak instead of preventing it, and ensuring she'd react as needed. Hence the dizziness.

@73 Shadow_Jak: A very interesting point, I never even thought of that! However that seems rather moot, since we know by this point Egwene has already had every sister still in the Tower re-swear the Oaths and prove themselves not Darkfriends; of course Rand doesn't know this, so he would be checking. Foreshadowing for what happens in Chapter 13!

@77 Zexxes: I'm not sure I can subscribe to that theory...but it's certainly a new and somewhat shocking one, and if that or something like it were to happen it would indeed be rather unfortunate.

@78 Freelancer, 109 thewindrose: I am rather surprised that in calling out how Bryne responded to Rand, Leigh didn't remark on this as another example of her favorite fantasy trope the paradigm shift, where the hero is viewed from the outside and it's shown how truly awesome they are. Also love the pope/Christ metaphor.

@98 hawkido: LOL!!!

@102 Zexxes, 104 forkroot: I've liked that idea for some time now. I really hope it will happen, and it would definitely be a great way of tying up/resolving Mat, the Horn, Tuon and the Seanchan, the attack on the Tower, and even the Seanchan woman with a sword dream (either Tuon herself or Egeanin coming to Egwene's rescue).

@106 Loialson: Very good point, I believe I made that myself back when Rand tried to influence Tuon in TGS--whether Rand really can control it or not, he thinks he can, and that is worrisome. Hopefully his plan itself, Egwene not having the support she thinks she does, or Perrin will be able to convince her without him relying on his ta'veren effect...

@107 Zexxes: While I can understand why people were confused at the time (TSR), I don't understand why, after reading the Guide, anybody could still think the Sharom has anything to do with the Bore or the Dark One's prison and the seals. It very clearly blew up just because of the Bore unleashing the Dark One's touch onto the world, not because his prison was above the Collam Daan or because that's where the seals were placed; Shayol Ghul was always clearly somewhere else--the paradise island which became the center of the Blight was obviously not Paaren Disen, because if it were then when the latter city fell to the Shadow the Dreadlords and Forsaken could have easily freed the Dark One, but even after the city's fall there was still a need to place the seals "before the forces of the Shadow could reach the Dark One and free him". And anyway if Shayol Ghul were near the remnants of the Collam Daan I'm sure it would have been remarked upon in the Guide or in Rand's ancestor memories. So the Sharom has nothing to do with the crystal sphere of the dream.

@113 Wolfmage: Nice assessment of Siuan vs. Egwene.

@114 Bergmaniac: It also helps that Rand is a Warder himself, and has spent a lot of time with Lan, so he knows the signs.

@116 J. Dauro: I'd forgotten about that, good catch!
Scientist, Father
121. Silvertip
RIP Mr. Bradbury. Consider the lilies ...

S
Craig Jarvis
123. hawkido
Edit... okay now they let the link through... *SIGH* thanks to our hard working mods for the review of the post tho...

Wow, can you not post a link to justfuckinggoogleitcom?

I was going to razz insectoid, by directing him there for IYKWIMAITYD...

Dang, woulda been funny...

clock bocked by the web site.
Thomas Keith
124. insectoid
Bradbury: Never read any of his other books besides 451; I never really got into that genre. Come to think of it, there is a copy of Heinlein's The Moon is a Harsh Mistress sitting unread on my shelf.

ZEXXES @102/Fork @104: That would be cool. The Seanchan need to be shown the error of their ways...

hawkido @123: I'd blame the swear word. ;) C'mon, it was tired and I was late, and I had to get up early today. That does justify being too lazy to look something up, right?

Bzzz™.
Craig Jarvis
125. hawkido
The 23 stars...

Best I can figure it would be peoples, generals/armies: Are there enough nations to account for it?
1 Aiel
2 Sheinar
3 Arafel
4 Saldaea
5 Chachin
6 Camelyn
7 Cairhein
8 Tear
9 Illian
10 Sea Folk
11 Seanchan
12 Arad Doman
13 Almoth Plain
14 Amadacia
15 Tarabon
16 Ogier
17 Altara
18 White Tower
19 Black Tower
21 Mayene
22 Murandy
23 Gheldan

Any other minor city-states haven't mentioned any fighting force or inclination to fight the dark one. Far Madding thinks it is isolated and safe...

So I see it as the various and varied peoples that are in clearly defined groups that are capable and willing to fight the Dark One. Assuming Murandy isn't in Demandred's hands.

Did I miss anyone? Well, I doubt that the Sharans will make a showing, and neither will the Isle of Madmen. The Tinkers won't show up to fight.

Or it could be Generals and their armies:
(5 borderlander generals [+Lan])
2 super boys' armies
the 2 towers
Tear
Illian
Camelyn
Cairhein
Seanchan
Arad Doman
Galad and his Douch... er I mean white cloaks
Sea Folk
Kin
Ogier
Aiel
Mayene
Gheldan
No other fighting forces have their own commanders. Yes, some have sworn fealty to others but they are still distinct.

This is a complete stab in the dark... I haven't thouroughly researched it... but this looks to be the best (IMO) options for it. Kinda depends if this dream is seeing the FoM or Shaol Ghul.
Craig Jarvis
126. hawkido
@124 Insectoid
Yes, but JFGI is funny... I just wanted you to click the link and get a laugh.
john mullen
127. johntheirishmongol
I thought that Egwene was a bit thrown off by Rand, expecting him to be crazy, or desperate, or lost, like the last she saw of him.
Thomas Keith
128. insectoid
hawkido @126: I'm sure I would. :)

Bzzz™.
smiller3
129. Ando
It was Verin's letter! Oh, we've already covered that. In that case, I'll just add that I was happy to see two WoT characters communicating in a mostly civil and respectful fashion.
Irene Gallo
130. Irene
Hawkido - our spam filter often targets comments that end in links. If it gievs you trouble, try putting a non-linked charcter at the end.
Jonathan Levy
131. JonathanLevy
but it’s been at minimum eight months in story time since Mat and Rand have seen each other.
You forgot Ta'veren Telepathy in Technicolor :)
Demandred is, as frickin’ usual, Sir Villain Not Appearing In This Novel
Did he personally wet himself at the battle of Badon hill?
That’s an awfully specific number.
I thought it hinted that a circle of twenty-three channelers would play a pivotal role at Shayol Ghul, the number being dictated by a combination of the strengths of the channelers available, their angreal/sa'angreal, and men/women constraints in circles.

I see 41.Mathguy and 46. MJF have had similar ideas.
32.travyl
Leigh, one could almost asume that you misinterpreted the origin of "Verin's note" on purpose, to steer the discussion in this thread away from Egwene/Rand ; )
Ha! :)


39.MasterAlThor
40. Curtain Jerker
43. SlappytheClown
And this is while having strong suspicions that Mesana is hiding in the tower at that very moment.
Ha! Wouldn't it have been great if Mesaana balefired Rand while he was being shielded by 26 mindless Aes Sedai, acting out of habit without any of them actually thinking?


42.jcmnyu
OOoh, thanks for pulling up that quote.
56.Treemaster
Egwene's actions make perfect sense here. The problem, again, lies in the manner it is portrayed -- the prose. More specifically, this type of language makes me gag:
I also think that much of this chapter is poorly written, and sometimes the poor writing fuels the flames of the pro/anti-Egwene debate. What riled me was how Egwene asks Rand if he has come to surrender himself to the Tower, as if Rand were some poor doomed male channeler fleeing from Red Sisters, who in despair throws himself upon the mercy of the Amyrlin. The language is more suitable to the Gentling ritual in Egwene's Accepted Test way back in TDR.


That's just one case, but I don't think it's the only example of stilted, awkward conversation here which seems to be more forced by the needs of the plot than flowing from the characters themselves. Another problem here is the mismatch between the amount of anger actually expressed by the Amyrlin (none) and the title of the chapter, plus Rand's expectations earlier in the book, plus Elaida's foretelling (which probably, though not certainly, refers to this chapter).

In short, three forces came to play on the text of this chapter, but the author was not able to make them mesh well together: The future need to set up the Field of Merrilor, the past predictions of the Amyrlin's anger, and the natural interaction of Rand and Egwene based on their established characters.

78.Freelancer In general I agree with what you say, I've just got one small nit to pick:
'She thinks he sounds more cultured and educated than he should.' Say what? How is it within her mien to say how he should sound?
Well, she grew up with him. She knows exactly how he should sound, how he should talk, how he thinks. He's a sheepherder, for crying out loud, not a nobleman's son, and Egwene knows this better than anyone. Of all the things she says in this chapter, this one is the most justified.
Now, about Rand's ta'veren effect. Egwene did not resist it. There was nothing there for her to resist. It suppressed any interaction from the others while they two were conversing, and that is all that it did.
Agreed 100%.


115.Wolfmage
Presumably because he is so zen that he can see the subtle signs of intimacy and familiarity that go with the bond.
I'm pretty sure this is the correct answer, but isn't the bond something which did not exist in the second age? I remember Moridin listing it with 'involuntary rings' as part of the surprises of this age.
Jay Dauro
132. J.Dauro
JonathanLevy
She knows exactly how he should sound, how he should talk, how he thinks. He's a sheepherder, for crying out loud, not a nobleman's son, and Egwene knows this better than anyone. Of all the things she says in this chapter, this one is the most justified.
Actually I think this shows why it is one of the least justified, at least if Egwene thinks. Rand knows how Egwene thinks, she is a village girl. She knows nothing of Aes Sedai, Aiel, etc. Except both of them watched the other until they split. Both saw the other soak up knowledge and change. Granted it is easier for Rand, since he now sees her on the Seat, but she saw Rand read and figure out parts of the prophecies of the Dragon, she saw him become Car'a'carn, she knows he has taken the Crown of Swords. She should realize that if she can learn large swaths of the history of the Tower, Rand can learn also.

(Granted, we know a large part of how he sounds is because of Lews Therin.)

Egwene is probably the least willing of the 4 from the Two Rivers to accept that the others have changed as much as she has. I believe a large part of this is women's attitude towards men in the TR. None of them really expect a man to learn.

Once again, communication would be welcome. We see some improvement here, but we have a long way to go.
T C
133. Freelancer
JL @131

Yes, Egwene grew up with Rand. But she was also with him after he took the Stone of Tear, when he went to Rhuidean, when he broke the Aiel at Alcar Dal, and when they came across the Jangai Pass to liberate Cairhien. She witnessed how much and how quickly he had learned, had grown, had begun to fit into his role(s) as the Dragon Reborn, the Car'a'carn, the liberator of Cairhien, and the Coramoor. Since shortly after the confrontation with Lanfear on the docks at Cairhien, she has not had direct contact with Rand at all. Does she think his state of learning, growing, improving goes static if she isn't there to witness it? No. Her presumption about how "cultured and educated" she thinks he "should" sound is not born of ignorance, given the above, therefore it is something less benign. She simply doesn't want him to have a more authoritative, more serene, more Aes Sedai presence than does she, especially in her Hall.

It is Egwene's nature to have a terribly prejudiced view concerning Rand. This is not a change of behavior for her, and that is why I bring it up. For all that she has gained in political savvy and leadership, she has this blind spot (and not this one alone) about the boy who was her sweetheart, which prevents her from handling a situation with him as well as possible.


ETA: ::high fives J.Dauro:: Tag-teaming, FTW!
Maiane Bakroeva
134. Isilel
Heh, frankly I was more disappointed with Rand than with Egwene in this chapter. Why did he feel that he needed to manipulate Egwene, that she wouldn't have done her part if he, you know, explained things to her?
Because lack of communication is all on him - that's how he set the whole thing up. For that matter, he could have just secretly sneaked in and talked to Egwene privately - but he chose to make a big public show of it, etc.
Meh. I expected better of Zen Rand. Of course, there was that pesky prophecy of Elaida's to tick off, so I guess that was the reason for this, admittedly, somewhat clumsy chapter.

Re: people talking up Egwene's awesomeness - yea, irritating, but then, the books were doing it with superboys from nearly the beginning and it was not minder annoying (more so, in fact, IMHO, because we were shown that the bulk of it was indeed the iron hand of t'averen without any real input from them)... but most readers seemed to just lap it up ;).

Re: whether one should blindly trust that Rand knows best, well the Dragon may be the Light's champion, but his record is seriously spotty, so, personally, no. And it is strange to bring up his 400 years of experience, because:

a. they didn't prevent a catastrophe the last time
b. experience doesn't count for anything in this series, since all the best decisions are made by people who don't have it, know little to nothing about the subject and usually in the nick of time to boot.

So yea, the way WoT has been going, Egwene not having thought about the Sealing so far doesn't preclude her coming up with the ideal solution :).

And really, going on with the theme of balance, women should make a significant contribution not just to the act of sealing, but to the planning of it, to get the things right...
smiller3
135. Faculty Guy
Isilel@ 134, RE: Whether Rand's judgment about breaking the seals is to be taken as "solid" or not.

Your point is well taken, but remember that it is not JUST Rand's judgment. IIRC he got the idea from Min who got it from interpreting something Harid Fel said (or wrote) combined with LOTS of reading and study. In fact, the point about Min's being a reader and thinker has been made numerous times, and I wondered along the way just what major contribution was going to come from it. It now seems likely that the necessity of breaking the seals is IT.
smiller3
136. wcarter4
@133 Freelancer

I think you hit the nail on the head, at the end of the day Egwene is predisposed to think of Rand, and men in general as well meaning but bumbling and ulimately needing the Women's Circle to hold their hand and make all of the 'Adult Decisons.'

Unlike Nyneave, who started out as worse about that than her, then mellowed out, she has kept this view and even reenforced it after her time with the Wise Ones and especially the Aes Sedi. That is why I think it HAS to be Min who ultimately reveals 'The Plan.'

I'm sure Rand will be there, but it was Min, not Rand who actually figured out the metaphysics behind the how and why of the seal, and (assuming Rand's not a moron) he will know that even if it hadn't been her idea to begin with (which gives her the right to explain it already in my mind) it has to be a woman to explain the plan or they will never get the Aes Sedi to agree to it in time.

Gender based differences are a running theme in this series it was the divison of men and women in the forces of the light that nearly led to their downfall in the War of Power, and Rand and co. cannot afford that mistake this time around. Egwene has every reason to be suspicious of Rand.

The fact is he HAS spent the last year or so book time dangerously insane. He HAS made stupid mistakes that got thousands of people killed and it was him who created the cluster f*ck that is currently the Black Tower. There is no reason she should trust him at his word just because he is the Dragon Reborn.

That being said, she will trust Min. They know each other, confide in each other, and while it's not a justifiable reason for her word to be taken over someone else's she is a woman.

What IS a justifiable reason is that Min's studies have probably made here one of the smartest non-white ajah philosophy types around. I have no doubt that her plan will make sencse to the Whites and probably the Greens as well (who lets face it, will be there at the field meeting).
Maiane Bakroeva
137. Isilel
Faculty Guy@135:
Your point is well taken, but remember that it is not JUST Rand's judgment.
Sure, but he refuses to explain his reasoning to Egwene. Also, he does not explain, leave alone convincingly, why he thinks that this time there will be no backlash to the sealing.
In fact, isn't there a hint later that he doesn't really know what he needs to do and hopes that Min manages to figure it out?

So, yea. As things stand, Egwene has all the reasons in the world to doubt his judgement. And I don't see that Rand opting for manipulation, instead of convincing her to willingly cooperate is that different from Dark Rand's MO, or in tune with what seems to be required for humanity to win the TG.

P.S. RIP Ray Bradbury, one of my whole family's favourite writers ever. It was our ritual to read "The Dandelion Wine" aloud every summer...
smiller3
138. jct
I'm in the "Egwene sucks" camp. She agrees that the Dark One is breaking free, that Rand is the Dragon Reborn, and the the end times are near. Rand offers up his solution (break the seals), and her reaction is simply 'No'. She spends this entire book attempting to persuade the entire world that this is a bad idea, but, critically, spends no effort coming up with an alternate solution to deal with the end-of-the-world crisis.
Rand has been pondering how to deal with the situation for something like 8 books (since Herid Fel), while Egwene hasn't given one ounce of thought to the issue, ever. If not break the seals, then what? Sit and wait while the Dark One breaks free anyway? I could respect her if she had an alternative solution like Latra Posae with the Choedan Kal, but she just says "ummm...no". She doesn't even task anyone else with coming up with an alternate solution.
JAMES MCCLELLAN
139. ZEXXES
@138jct

Gotta agree with you there. I said something along those lines as well. Taking only this chapter alone, it sounds reasonable for Egwene to have doubts about Rand's plan. Given Rand's past behavior and state of mind, I have no problem with Egwene's doubts. Her rudeness is another matter, but I will refrain from walking that path. (good boy Jaymus, good boy!)

But if we take a look at ToM as whole, Egwene's attitude feels lacking any real merit. And as you, I and others have said, she is still unwilling to deal with the ultimate of pressing matters: What are the Aes Sedai as a whole going to do about the Dark One. What role are the Aes Sedai going to play other than yet another adversary for Rand to stand against. What leadership role will Egwene have as adversary to the ultimate threat to all existence, whom it just so happens, is Not Rand.

No alternative- not one. No questions about the plan coming from her. Only stubborn obstinancy towards anything Rand related. Lack of respect. Its a "you can't do this, you can't do that! You need to listen to me" uhhhh listen to what "well, I don't know.... but you can't do that or anything, ok!"

Unless of course she comes up with the plan.

And you know whats coming.

Feild of Mellinor. Big, BIG Pow-wow. Lots of big bad Juju.
Rand. This is my plan. Lets execute.
Egwene. NO!
Rand. Alright so what do you want to do?
Egwene. ?????

Melodramatic? There is nothing mellow about the end of world.

*yes, I know*



Z
Craig Jarvis
140. hawkido
LOL why the mysterious not-so-informative meeting with Egs? Its the answer for the third question Rand asked in Finnland. How do I get the nations behind me? "They will align against you and you must turn your back on them to get them behind you..." or something like that.
smiller3
141. a guy
@138

I don't know if I'd go as far as Egwene sucks but I do agree that for all of her growth in leadership ability, she's more insistent on being firm than gaining an understanding.

I know that decisiveness in the face of ambiguity is an aspect of being a good leader, but she literally has the fate of the world in her hands and has spent her storyline rebuilding the tower, learning the power, and learning the Dream World.

While her arc has given her the power to reunite the tower, personally fight off the seanchan, and defeat mesaana in dreamland, its also given her hubris. Because she's won she thinks she is right.

Also foolish is how sent pushed away Gawyn. I know he had some growing up to do, but he took undertrained warriors and conducted raids against one of the five great captains. Surely as a leader you could put your personal stuff on hold and figure out how to direct the guy to help you without having him bow to you first. Egwene, you know how to pull strings, so pull them.
JAMES MCCLELLAN
142. ZEXXES
140. hawkido

LOL why the mysterious not-so-informative meeting with Egs? Its the answer for the third question Rand asked in Finnland. How do I get the nations behind me? "They will align against you and you must turn your back on them to get them behind you..." or something like that.
Oh that is soooo awesome that you brought that up again. I been think about that but could remember any of it.

Thats the answer to any question to Rands motives regarding the Meet of Egwene and Rand.


Z
Craig Jarvis
143. hawkido
If that is tru then we now know Rand's 3 questions:

Can I survive the last battle? 2 live you must die.

How can the male half be cleansed? Shadar Logoth and the male/female Choden Kal.

How can I get the Nations behind me? (my goofy answer @140)
smiller3
144. Faculty Guy
ZEXXES, hawkido, macster, JonathanLevy, Freelancer, and other too numerous to name: Wow. You guys (gals?) are doing some serious detective work and coming up with some really interesting analysis and prediction. I can envision BWS and Harriet reading this thread (wonder if they do?) and either cringing or smiling or . . . what?

I've read the books perhaps 3 times (average) and am currently listening to CDs. It's interesting what I'm picking up on the audio that I had not picked up in the reading - or is it just the one additional time through?

Anyway, the suspense for the final book is definitely building.
Sam Mickel
145. Samadai
Tomorrow will be 6 months until the release of AMoL, I sure hope Team Jordan and Tor will give us another little glimpse then. :D
William Fettes
146. Wolfmage
Isilel@134
“Heh, frankly I was more disappointed with Rand than with Egwene in this chapter. Why did he feel that he needed to manipulate Egwene, that she wouldn't have done her part if he, you know, explained things to her?”
It is a little discordant with the MO of Jesus Rand, but it makes sense in light of what hawkido suggests @ 140 and the Foretelling. If it has to happen this way, it has to happen this way.
“Re: people talking up Egwene's awesomeness - yea, irritating, but then, the books were doing it with superboys from nearly the beginning and it was not minder annoying (more so, in fact, IMHO, because we were shown that the bulk of it was indeed the iron hand of t'averen without any real input from them)... but most readers seemed to just lap it up ;).”
There’s certainly plenty of praise for the SuperBoys but IMO it’s still better grounded in and proximate to their actual accomplishments which are, of course, fortified by being ta’veren. In contrast, Egwene is flagged as a potential Amyrlin from virtually day one by Moiraine without her showing much beyond raw potential strength in the power and plucky determination and precociousness. Her fairly modest observational powers in Tear are lauded like they are political savvy. As the story progresses, she is obviously more and more deserving of this praise, but people routinely fall all over themselves lavishing credulous praise on her all throughout the story in situations of varying plausibility even before she has done very much of note. She is impressive, but I think she is the most blatant candidate for over-egging the balance between telling and showing - particularly early on and in relation to 'formidable characters' who inexplicably get weak-kneed around her.


I can't think of many occasions where the praise for Mat and Rand isn't backed by the momentous nature of their acts of using the power, statecraft, battle or luck, or by their ta'veren influence and stature in the world as perceived by others. Though I like Perrin a lot, he does have some moments of ham-fisted telling as well.
"Re: whether one should blindly trust that Rand knows best, well the Dragon may be the Light's champion, but his record is seriously spotty, so, personally, no. And it is strange to bring up his 400 years of experience, because:"
But he is not the same person. In neon lettering and authorial voice we know Rand is now better and less brittle than he was last time, whilst still having all those experiences and sophistication to draw upon.


Moreover, his plan is not just a gut instinct. It has theory and philosophy behind it which counts for something.
"b. experience doesn't count for anything in this series, since all the best decisions are made by people who don't have it, know little to nothing about the subject and usually in the nick of time to boot."
The Two Rivers folk would not have even survived Winternight, let alone made it out of Emond’s Field and found their way in the world without supervision, mentoring and training from those who do have voluminous experience such as Moiraine and Lan. Then you must account for the accumulative advice and input they have received along the way from key figures such as Thom, Siuan, Lan, Rhuarc, the Wise Ones, Cadsuane, and Birgitte to name a few. Moreover, Elayne, at least, has a decent education which has been pretty important in the adventures of the SuperGirls, and Mat’s generalship is impossible without his vast store of memories.


So I don’t think you can say experience doesn’t count – it’s just they are taking tremendous shortcuts by standing on the shoulders of giants.

That said, there are times when I do get a bit frustrated at the how this shortcut process sometimes seems to discount work ethic, study and earned knowledge, particularly around channelling, new weaves and study in the Tower. At least Rand has his nose in a book a lot of the time after he is proclaimed the Dragon. Egwene is tutored by Siuan, but we don't see the SuperGirls any worse off from missing their lessons in the Tower, and Egwene never suffers any blowback from not really knowing the history she is quoting which is overly convenient when she is dealing with long-livid historians.
"So yea, the way WoT has been going, Egwene not having thought about the Sealing so far doesn't preclude her coming up with the ideal solution :)."
I could take that more seriously if there was any suggestion whatsoever that she has given careful thought to the issue or delegated the task to someone else. I don't dispute that she is right to be extremely wary and concerned by the plan in the absence of an explanation, but she isn't even marginally informed about the issues involved, and there's no indication she even wants to remedy that. Perhaps this is all happening off-screen and she will make a contribution to the planning process in-turn - but it doesn't follow automatically from what we've seen thus far.
"And really, going on with the theme of balance, women should make a significant contribution not just to the act of sealing, but to the planning of it, to get the things right..."
Min and Cadsuane have already made substantive contributions to the planning process far in advance of Egwene's bare obstruction. Moreover, there is strong foreshadowing and allusion to the fact that they will be key to figuring things out so the gender balance is already covered.


Personally I think Egwene may make a contribution, but it's most plausible that it is grounded in her knowledge of heartstone, and the necessary directions to all the nations for the Last Battle, not that she is right about not breaking the seals.
Glen V
147. Ways
Both Egs and Rand have admittedly been pretty busy with local and regional issues for quite some time, while focusing minimal resources on the overarching problem of how to put the DO to rest for a few ages. At least Rand delegated the task to Min and she is working it diligently. As pointed out up-thread, Egs hasn't even considered the issue. Wouldn't it be interesting if she put the "power of Brown" to the task now that the WT is on the way to becoming whole again and the ajahs don't have to waste so much time looking over their collective shoulders. There are many potential resources available in the WT that aren't being used effectively - brain power and libraries chief among them. Perhaps the Browns would come to the same conclusion (as Rand) about breaking the seals and maybe even suggest a few options on the process to re-seal the bore. Sadly, we don't see that happening in this book and I doubt if it will in aMoL. Rand can't lead by consensus, it would likely take many moons to settle on a plan, and it could very well make for a less dramatic and more drawn-out story. Just a thought...
TW L
148. Shadow_Jak
The 23 stars may be guidance to Eggy about what is needed in preparation for the breaking of the last seal.
I think it will take 23 channelers ready to pounce in and make the repair on queue. Or maybe 23 circles?
T C
149. Freelancer
Nynaeve, as well as Min, may be what it takes to turn Egwene to Rand's support.

Nynaeve has learned to trust Rand's ascendancy, she saw what happened in Bandar Eban, both the balefiring of Natrin's Barrow and the miraculously protected cache of food. She has seen the post-epiphany Rand recognize darkfriends at a glance, pardon Cadsuane, apologize to the Aiel, and promise her that Lan will have aid at Tarwin's Gap. She saw him weep in shame before Tam. She asked Rand about wanting to break the seals, and his response satisfied her.

The next time it comes up, she might just tell Egwene to put a sock in it. She has already made it abundantly clear to the White Tower that she will do what's right sooner than what's "required" if there's a difference, and Egwene stood up for her on that count.


Quid pro quo, Egwene, quid pro quo..
Jay Dauro
150. J.Dauro
freelancer

Plus Nyneave has seen the taint on Rand, and the sheath that is keeping it from him. She may be able to reassure Egwene that he isn't mad.
Roger Powell
151. forkroot
Freelancer@150
The next time it comes up, she might just tell Egwene to put a sock in it. She has already made it abundantly clear to the White Tower that she will do what's right sooner than what's "required" if there's a difference, and Egwene stood up for her on that count.
Which is why I "heart" Nynaeve so much. It's truly amazing, considering that I didn't like her very much at the start.

She's by no means perfect, but she's incredibly brave, very resourceful, and she "gets" what the Aes Sedai should be much more than Egwene (who, at least to her credit, "gets" it more than a lot of Aes Sedai who should know better.)
William Fettes
152. Wolfmage
Yep, she is an amazing lady. The cool thing about Nynaeve is that she has the capacity to cut to the heart of the matter even though she obviously lacks self-awareness to comedic levels.

In particular, her qualities of bravery and loyalty are things that extend all the way back to the first book. That is, going after the boys alone (can you imagine what courage that took) and her treatment of Rand's doubts about his parentage at the Stag and Lion and everything that happens at Shienar.
Rob Munnelly
153. RobMRobM
Sam@145 - I believe that would make seven months rather than six - unless there is a December release planned .... :-)
smiller3
154. Cassie001
I thought Rand was very clever in this chapter. Not only is he making the Aes Sedei go to where the seals are, he also caused Egwene to bring other countries who opposed him to go there as well (explained later in the book). It was a neccessay, but smart move on his part to bring all the armies to one spot.
Alice Arneson
156. Wetlandernw
Sigh. I kept hoping someone else would do this, but they didn’t. Guess I have to.

Freelancer et al – I’m going to have to disagree with your assessment of Egwene’s reaction to Rand’s new tone. There’s nothing in that part of the text that indicates any affront or insult, or any negative reaction at all; she’s just puzzled. Granted that Egwene (like most of us) doesn’t think much about how others might have changed during the time she hasn’t seen them, it just doesn’t read as though she finds any offense or cause for envy in his speech. No “sour grapes” because “someone else displays a stronger sense of authority than she possesses.” Sorry, it’s just not there. This is at the very beginning of their interaction, and it says:
He spoke differently. There was a formality to his words that she didn't recognize. In another man, she would have assumed a cultured, educated background. But Rand didn't have that. Could tutors have trained him so quickly?
First, she knows precisely what background Rand has, and it’s that of a sheep farm in the Two Rivers, a.k.a. the back of beyond – it’s not a background of culture and education. She’s got pretty much the same background, after all. Second, she acknowledges the possibility of tutoring as being responsible for such a change in him, even though with all that’s been going on, we know Rand hasn’t had (or taken) a lot of time for that sort of thing.

I think the key is in her subconscious observation “In another man, she would have assumed…” What she doesn’t know is that she is actually hearing another man. Rand is coming willingly, for the first time ever, to the Aes Sedai, and right into the seat of their power. What is more natural than for him to draw heavily on his own memories of being Aes Sedai? So he speaks the way Lews Therin would have spoken in such a setting. Egwene is, after all, holding the position he held 3000 years ago; he knows the weight of the responsibility she bears, and he shows respect to both the position and the person. (For which, kudos. I’m glad he doesn’t treat her with the overbearing arrogance to which some readers seem to think he has a right, just because he’s the Dragon Reborn.)

I don’t recall that Egwene has had the opportunity to know much about the voice in Rand’s head or the memories he has from LTT, even prior to the integration on Dragonmount. Since there’s no reason for her to realize (prior to this conversation) that he has such free access to another man’s life experience, her thoughts don’t naturally turn to the conclusion we ought to reach: that the man before her is speaking like Lews Therin, not like Rand al’Thor. It’s supposed to clue us in to the integration of the two, and it’s pointed up again in a minute when she wonders whether he’s Rand or The Dragon Reborn, and he says that he’s both. I think this is, for Egwene, a hint of what she will later understand to be the full-up 3rd-Age Dragon; for us, it’s a (broad) hint that Rand is now fully able to draw on LTT’s experience at will.

As to the blame game, I don’t buy it. They are both doing what they ought to do here, based on their character, personality and experience. And… I will present my arguments on that later; I have errands to run.
Nadine L.
157. travyl
@Freelancer 78. It is interesting that we can read the same text but read it so differently at the same time. Where you think Egwene “displeased that someone else displays a stronger sense of authority than she possesses, and she is serious sour grapes over it” I see her “he sounds more cultured and educated than he should” completely neutral and normal: she grew up with him, she knows him and so she wonders about the change he went through. I did see no displeasure in said statement at all.
I also found it natural that she is looking for signs of insanity in Rand. Thousands of years it was known that a male channeler would become insane. And she had tons of reports about him being … unstable. How could she know he “healed” himself. Would you not look for signs of a possible threat, you have good reason to believe to be there, even in a childhood friend? Also consider that even his present entourage who is around him all the time is careful around him. If I remember correctly Min shivers several times when he mentions his merging with Lews Therin.

Re Rand manipulating Egwene:
I don’t say this is false, but I don’t see the sense of it. Egwene is gathering Rand’s allies. Rand gains no profit of letting her gather Darlin and the Ilian forces, they would have come anyway if he provided a gateway for them.

(PS: I haven't managed to read all the comments yet, so appologies if soomebody already said this)
James Golden
158. Treemaster
@113: On the merits, Siuan's comments may be justified. (I know I'm being equivocal by using the word "may"). It's the manner in which they are expressed that is the problem.
smiller3
159. Wookster125
@travyl 157

In regards to Rand manipulating Egwene

It would seem as if his intention was to get Egwene to gather those rulers who might oppose his plan, as well as those that already follow him.
Robert Crawley
160. Alphaleonis
156 Wetlander

Rand/LTT was once (3000 years ago) the President of Harvard. Egwene is principal of an (all girl) elementary school (or Jr. High, judging by their maturity level).

Maybe a little over the top, but Rand never held the position that Egwene does. Nor a comparable one.
Alice Arneson
161. Wetlandernw
Alphaleonis @160 - Egwene is the leader of the Aes Sedai. Lews Therin Telamon was once the leader of the Aes Sedai. Sounds pretty comparable to me.
T C
162. Freelancer
I began my comments in this chapter by saying that Egwene did well. That remains my opinion. Yes, she has every reason to be wary, every reason to question Rand's sanity. On the point under debate, I will walk back my opinion of that, given that I did not do what I usually do, which is to verify the text compared to Leigh's synopsis. The completed text given by Wetlandernw utterly changes the tenor of her thinking, where I took cues from the abbreviated version. Mea Culpa.

There is still something to be said for the events, and Rand's growth through them, which she did observe. If he could change so much, become so much of a leader, in the short period of time between Falme and Alcair Dal, why should he not continue to increase in those aspects when Egwene is not there to observe it?

I for one never suggested that Egwene insulted or affronted Rand. (In truth, I'm not sure it would have mattered. In his present state, Rand would have most likely simply smiled, nodded, and continued with what he came there for) In fact, after outlining a few points where she sees and hears Rand through a less than perfect filter, I wrote this:
Still, up to this point, she is handling things fine, being cautious and offering to have him examined. Yet after he tells her what he intends, and that he must go for now, her next thought is about attempting to confine him. The (I'll say it again) best hope for humanity.
And this:
Again, she did well, given what little was known about Rand's state, but Aes Sedai presumption prevented a better communication.
She is at least minimally misguided regarding the relative stations between herself and Rand. But she can be forgiven that, since she is following a path first laid down by Moiraine and Siuan in that regard.
Alice Arneson
163. Wetlandernw
Freelancer @162 - Hmm. Must have been unclear in my wording. I didn't intend to say that Egwene offered insult or affront to Rand, nor that you implied such; I meant that your interpretation sounded as if she took his tone as an insult or a personal affront. Come to think of it, they were remarkably well-behaved! :)

Generally, I had to chuckle about the number of people who got miffed at Egwene for her ""Rand al'Thor! You will not turn your back on the Amyrlin Seat!" Imagine, for a moment, that we're 3 years back in history. Rand has come to see Egwene at her father's inn, asking that she provide assistance (maybe food) for something he wants to do that he knows she won't approve (say, going hiking in the Misty Mountains of Mist). After telling her what he's going to do and what he expects from her, he turns to leave without waiting for her agreement. What do you think she'd say? I think her first words would be, "Rand al'Thor, you will not turn your back on me!"

In both cases she would be justified, IMO. Just or not, though, y'all know that's how she'd react. It's just part of who she is. :)
Robert Crawley
164. Alphaleonis
@Wetlander

I would agree that the positions were comparable if I thought the current White Tower were comparable to the Hall of the Servants in the Age of Legends. But I don't. Hence I will agree with you that the titles are the same - almost. She is not the head of all Aes Sedai. She is not the head of Rand Sedai or the Black Tower or the Seanchean channelers or Aiel or Athan Meier; whereas, in the Age of Legends, I believe Rand was the head of all known channelers that weren't darkfriends/dreadlords/ forsaken.
Alice Arneson
165. Wetlandernw
Under Lews Therin, a previously united Hall of Servants split and was ultimately destroyed. Under Egwene al'Vere, a divided White Tower reunited and was ultimately cleansed of the Darkfriends and Forsaken who had worked so hard to create that division.

Frankly, for all that Rand has 400+ years of experience in his head, a great chunk of that was absolute peace time; when the War of the Shadow came, Lews Therin didn't do that stellar a job. The best thing Rand gets from him is the hindsight that comes from an absolute debacle. Not that this is insignificant, once he (with Min's help) figures out how to correct the problem, but let's not forget that the Breaking and the past 3000 years of taint madness was a direct result of Lews Therin's plans and actions.

Edit: to remove sarcasm.
Robert Crawley
166. Alphaleonis
Perhaps this time Rand will do better, because he was raised better.

But I don't know that he didn't do that stellar a job last time either. He sealed away the Dark One for 3000 years, even though the Hall was split - twice split actually. First the followers of the Shadow split away, then the women. It sounds as though you put those defections on LTT?

And the breaking and taint madness you put on LTT? I would put it on the Dark One. And I don't think anyone had a clue he could do that before it happened. Hence a sealed bore of the peacefull age of legends without the taint, the Dark One's direct influence and all of the Forsaken except Ishamael would have been the result of LTT's plans and actions. You cannot possibly put the taint on LTT unless someone of known reliability warned LTT beforehand that it could happen and he ignored it. Should he have followed the women's plan? Perhaps. Leaders have to be leaders sometimes and choose between two alternatives. Followers then should follow, which the women didn't. LTT's fault? Perhaps the pattern knew that the results would have been worse had the women been involved and both sides tainted when the bore was sealed, so arranged for a prideful women's leadership that would say "our idea is better, so we will not follow". The pattern has been known to arrange things for the best like that. But that doesn't absolve the women from not following. They didn't follow because of pride. Perhaps the pattern knew that the results of their plan would have been worse. I suspect that would have been the case
Jeff Schweer
167. JeffS.
My take on the current discussion:
During the AOL, everything was perfect... fill in your own descriptions here. It always is in the old stories about such "Golden Ages."
If anything caused the breaking, it was hubris. These all so powerful people thought nothing could go wrong with anything they did and their individual plans were the best thing to do. It might be true that if Latrae had agreed to help it would have been worse, or better. We'll never know for sure.

What I do see is since "Veins of Gold" Rand (and Lews Therin) are more aware and introspective. Both are cured of their madness and have a combined clarity that allows them to seek out help, take in consideration of other points of view, even Cadsuane has a part to play, and not "go it alone." Even though LTT had a 100 companions, it wasn't a really a group effort.

A recurring theme is that communication is better than not. I already realize that some will say that Rand and Egwene's conversation does not fit that theme then. I disagree and say that it was a very Aes Sedai like conversation. Truth, just not all of it. In any case the pattern weaves and the full explanation will come at Merillor.

I think we'll be very surprised how the next conversation goes. Us loyal readers are all getting glimmers of how it will play out, but not the actuality.

The seals themselves are just patches, temporary fixes to limit the damage. To use a plumbing analogy, First you shut off the water, remove the leaky pipe AND the patches, then replace the pipe with a new length with no holes in it. Herid Fel understood this all to well.
Rand's job is to turn off the water. He will not survive it. Others will remove and replace the pipe. Perhaps Logain, as his glory is yet to come.

Oh by the way, the 23 stars and the crystal globe with ropes.

That represents the Aiel. He who comes with the dawn will break all ties, literally destroy the Aiel and only a fraction will survive.
At least that's my interpretation. It's already started but the last battle will be the clincher.
Jay Dauro
168. J.Dauro
Wetlander

Lews Therin did have one more small thing to contend with back then, that so far Egwene hasn't had to deal with, (but she is worried about it.) LT had to fight the Dark One, who was loose at the time.


As Alphaleonis has said, LTT did secure 3000 years that probably would not have existed without his attack. The alternative plan had hit a huge problem.
Just as the paired sa'angreal were completed, disaster struck. The access ter'angreal were being made at a place far removed from the sa'angreal (apparently because of a danger of "uncontrolled resonances during the final stages," whatever that means), and that region was overrun by forces under Sammael. The only good point in it was that the ter'angreal themselves had been hidden and the place where they were made destroyed (its very existence had been a secret at the highest levels all along) so that neither Sammael nor anyone else for the Shadow knew that any of these things were now within their grasp. The side of the Light still had the sa'angreal, but no safe way to access them; without the ter'angreal it was certain that even the strongest Aes Sedai would be burned out instantly by the huge flow of the One Power.
The Strike at Shayol Ghul


Apparently most folks in Randland do not know this, but it seems quite possible that without LTT's attack, there would be no Randland now.


And if you look closely at Herid fel's comments, he first thought breaking the Seals was a terrible idea.
Herid’s eyebrows shot up. “Break the seals? Break the seals? Why would anyone but a madman want to do that? Can they even be broken? I seem to remember reading somewhere they can’t, but I don’t recall now that it said why. What made you think of a thing like that?”
LOC-18

Later he sends the note.
Belief and order give strength. Have to clear rubble before you can build.
LOC-50



We all (including me) assume this comment refers to the Seals, but it is not explicitly stated.
Eric Hughes
169. CireNaes
Okay. Look at the database and do a word search on "taint."

http://www.theoryland.com/intvsresults.php

Good stuff. Here is a taste...

INTERVIEW: Jan 18th, 2003
COT Signing Report - Tallis (Paraphrased)
TALLIS
Other "revelations":
ROBERT JORDAN
Saidar would have definitely been tainted had female channelers participated in the sealing.
TAGS
saidar, the bore, war of power, taint,
Robert Crawley
170. Alphaleonis
Went to a Brandon Sanderson signing event recently and completely lost my chance to ask about the 23 stars. I only asked questions about Warbreaker and Elantris.

All I really want to know is if it is a RAFO or if we will never know. Until then my theory is that the 23 stars are Egwene's 23 favorite ice cream flavors at her favorite Baskin Robbins type chain the Crystal Creamery. And her nightmare is about Rand ruining it because all the stores are beating their scoops into spears and scythes.

I think he would have at least told me if that is correct or not. I had better write my list of questions before I attend another.

TIC
Jeff Schweer
171. JeffS.
One of the 23 flavors better be mint chip. Mmm, mint chip
Alice Arneson
172. Wetlandernw
TOR, can we please have a "like" button for the comments? :)
Thomas Keith
173. insectoid
In lurk mode. Enjoying the comments.

Alphaleonis @170: LOL!! (+like)

Bzzz™.
Jonathan Levy
174. JonathanLevy
132.J.Dauro
(Egwene) saw Rand read and figure out parts of the prophecies of the Dragon, she saw him become Car'a'carn, she knows he has taken the Crown of Swords. She should realize that if she can learn large swaths of the history of the Tower, Rand can learn also.
& 133.Freelancer who made similar points.

Reading books at the age of seventeen does not turn a country bumpkin into a cultured, educated man. Becoming a war leader ( = Car'a'carn) at the age of seventeen will influence a boy's character, but it will not turn him into a cultured, educated man. Neither does learning large swaths of history.

In fact it is very difficult to turn a country bumpkin into a cultured, educated man, even if you have as much time as you want. More relevantly, even once he has attained both culture and education, for many more years the first impression he will make on people he meets will still be that of a country bumpkin.

A motto commonly attributed to the Jesuits is "Give me a child until he is seven, and I will show you the man". Patterns of speech are established early, and when consistently reinforced become firmly set. This holds for regional accents (this do be very important), vocabulary (Snow in Illian?), expletives (Fortune prick me!), idioms (if my aged grandmother did say otherwise), and a mass of more subtle habits. It's worth remembering that in Britain, before the advent of mass communications, a few sentences would be enough to identify a man's home town and social rank.

Where great distances exist between social classes, speech patters often develop similar differences. Both Moiraine and Siuan Sanche have been Aes Sedai for several decades, yet one still carries with her the fisherman's daughter, and the other the Cairhienin princess.

156.Wetlandernw
Sigh. I kept hoping someone else would do this, but they didn’t. Guess I have to.
It might not have saved you the trouble - look at me. I waited until you posted a reply, but wound up writing one myself anyway :)

161.Wetlandernw
Egwene is the leader of the Aes Sedai. Lews Therin Telamon was once the leader of the Aes Sedai.
I think Alphaleonis' point is that the Aes Sedai have deteriorated a lot over 3,000 years. However, this does not at all detract from the point you were making @156. If we grant that Lews Therin was in charge of a larger, more sophisticated organization than Egwene it only reinforces your point.
smiller3
175. Xian
First time posting here. I thought that the thirteen towers might represent the 13 Aiel clans (if you also count the Jenn Aiel/Tuatha'an). In this case, the nearly-ruined-then-tallest tower would represent the Shaido, who very nearly destroyed themselves, but have a bright future if this interpretation is correct.
JAMES MCCLELLAN
176. ZEXXES
Wouldn't be funny if the Shaido were the clan to find the lost Song? For all they have done, they owe a huge amount of Toh. I wonder if finding the Song would make enough reparations.


Z
Cameron Tucker
177. Loialson
@175-176
Ooo, or...what if the fallen tower that rises highest could be...the Jenn Aiel coming back (one of my pet theories)?
smiller3
178. alreadymadwithegwene
On Rand's education vis-a-vis that of Egwene:
How exactly do we know for sure that they had the same? It's not like there is a public school in the two rivers. Egwene grew up an innkeeper's daughter in the middle of the town wrapped up in all the prejudices of the Women's Circle. Rand by comparison grew up under the tutelage of the most widely traveled man in the Two Rivers. Even at 19-20, people were already remarking that Rand would be ready for the Village Council soon. Of course as Wisdom's apprentice, Egwene would be on a fast track to the Women's Circle, but her selection had less to do with prior training and more to do with Nynaeve sensing the spark and not knowing what it is.
The point is Egwene has no basis upon which to draw her conclusions regarding Rand's education. She wasn't even privy to Moiraine's private sessions with him. The only other time he saw her deal with Aes Sedai as a group, he was deliberately trying to put them (and likely her as well) off balance.
Yes, some of it is probably bleed off from Lews Therin, but then again, I'm of the opinion that Lews Therin's mannerisms began to manifest in Rand almost as soon as he left the Two Rivers anyway. She was there as Rand began to manifest Lews Therin's arrogance. What reasoning did she use to think Rand would not be able to manifest Lews Therin's ettiquette as well?
smiller3
179. Faculty Guy
I apologize if this conjecture is too obvious, and/or if it has been raised and dismissed numerous times, but . . .

Isn't it likely that the Tinkers ARE the descendents of the Jenn Aiel?
Alice Arneson
180. Wetlandernw
Faculty Guy @179 - In a way they are, but then in a way, all the Aiel are. The Tinkers come from one of the first groups to split off from the massive Aiel caravan, the ones who said "forget the 'greal stash and our obligation to the Aes Sedai's orders, we need to go find the songs and a place to sing." It's in Rand's Way-Back-Viewer experience in TSR, Chapters 25 & 26. Those who came to be known as the Jenn were the few who held to their oaths to the Aes Sedai and built Rhuidean. I'm quite sure we're going to learn more about what happened to them and where they've been for the last 2500 years when we get AMoL.

alreadymad @178 - Egwene may not know the details of what Tam taught Rand, but if it didn't make him talk differently than everyone else back then, why would it suddenly start now? She's noticing a radical difference in his manner of speaking as compared to their interactions over her whole lifetime, right up until about seven months ago when she went to Salidar. It's not about what he knows in this scene, it's about how he talks. Again, here's the whole paragraph:
He spoke differently. There was a formality to his words that she didn't recognize. In another man, she would have assumed a cultured, educated background. But Rand didn't have that. Could tutors have trained him so quickly?
Unless Tam had a whole big setup out at the farm with a different culture, and then taught Rand to sound like a regular Two Rivers guy everywhere else, I don't really see how the specifics of Rand's education would make that kind of difference. I guess it would be good schizophrenia practice, though.
T C
181. Freelancer
Facult Guy @179,

During Rand's visit through the Aiel history (TSR, Chs 25-26), we witness two major splits of the people sent away from Paaren Disen by Solinda Sedai and her group during the Breaking.

The first, when Adan refuses to leave behind the "things" the Aes Sedai charged them with keeping safe, separates from Sulwin, who wants only to find a place of safety and return to singing. Adan yells at them, telling them that they have deserted their duty, that they are not Aiel, they are "lost".

The second is when Lewin and his friends attack a bandit camp to recover two girls who were kidnapped and abused, and they end up killing the men. Their parents turn them away as strangers, no longer Da'shain. Lewin insists that he is still Aiel.

Lewin's group is the foundation of the Aiel known in the current day. Those from whom they were split, were the Jenn. Sulwin's group who decided to seek the song(s) are the founding of the Tuatha'an.

Though from a common heritage, there is currently no direct linkage between the Jenn and the Tinkers.


ETA: Seriously? Tag-teaming once again...
Karen Fox
182. thepupxpert
@173 me too major lurking now, so busy at work but enjoying the comments!
smiller3
183. alreadymadwithreasoning
Wetlandernw @180
Yes, but up until she went to Salidar, she was never in the position of having to watch Rand try to negotiate from an equal position. Up until her departure Rand was a conquering Warlord who acted the part. Arrogance from a mountaintop. She noticed this in him when it was not apparent back in the Two Rivers. She just naturally assumed this was Rand's response to the Taint. Now she sees Rand being civil and she just assumes tutors. Why can't it be the Taint as well? Because a radical change in demeanor is not madness? Moiraine's lessons could not have included it? Tam's upbringing is no place to learn it? The successive courts of Cairhien, Tear, Illian and Arad Doman can't give Rand any clues?
My point is that Egwene's reasoning behind her assumptions just has so many holes in it.
Alice Arneson
184. Wetlandernw
I don't think it's a matter of reasoning at all - he just sounds different than he ever has before. It's not a matter of "Oh, he's being civil now" where he was being arrogant before, and it's not just a matter of demeanor. It's like if I went back to Montana with a South African accent (complete with idiom), but everyone knew I'd been living in Seattle the whole time. They'd wonder, right?

Okay, it's not a perfect analogy, but it's a bit similar. He would have to have had a speech coach working on him for months to change his basic conversational style that much.

Anyway, my point was that it's supposed to clue us all in to the idea that Rand can essentially be Lews Therin when he wants to be, he's got things that thoroughly integrated. And there might be something to note in that he goes all LTT when he goes to the White Tower.

Warning: Rabbit Trail Ahead


FWIW, I don't think Rand knew before he got to Tar Valon just who he was going to be meeting. Quite probably, he was expecting to see Elaida still wearing the stole, and was preparing his argument (or lack thereof) on that basis. Finding Egwene there instead must have been a bit of a surprise, though he obviously found out before he got into the Tower proper. Even so, I wonder if he expected what everyone else did - the little girl puppet Amyrlin that they originally thought they were getting in Salidar. His comment to Siuan ("I should have expected nothing less") implies that he wasn't completely confident that she'd truly be a good leader.
smiller3
185. Viddles
MasterAlThor@39:

>That makes you BA.

Rand is Black Ajah?!?

;-)
Thomas Keith
186. insectoid
thepupxpert @182: Kinda hard to think of something to comment about when it's all mostly been said. ;)

Wetlander @184: Rabbit trail... Buh? ::puzzled look::

*twitch*

Bzzz™.
JAMES MCCLELLAN
187. ZEXXES
I think everyone has it all wrong about the whole Rand/Lews Therin thing. They are one and the same now. So much so that there is no "They" now. Rand/Lews Therin just are. He just chooses to continue to call himself Rand... because thats his name. Rand was always going to be the dominant personality before the intergration, because it was his life ongoing, with a past life intruding. Now the memories are intermeshed and separate all at the same time. Rand remembers Lews Therin's as if they were his own, because they were... in another life. He remembers them just as thoroughly as those of his present life.

The consciousness side of the equation is where I feel things can get a little tricky and confusing. Having two seperate versions of the same personality is a mind f*&K of the highest order. Having one of them be an actual, long dead, entity residing inside of you, whom you yourself are actually a reincarnation of, is the galactic equivilent of crossing the terminator of an event horizon of a blackhole which just happens to be your own mind watching yourself crossing the terminator of an event horizon of a black hole.

So I think it would be disconcerting for anyone whom has known Rand for any length of time, to witness this New Person who is the same person and yet is not. I can imagine speech patterns changing. Not so much the accent, but the choice of words. Words that at one time may not have been known by the original Rand. I also see Rands knowledge base increasing, changing how he thinks of things. Suppose Rand was a great leader of a different time as Lews Therin. That management style would have noticeable differences in comparison and maybe in opposition to, many times, to what the original Rand would choose to operate as. The differences in education and upbringing shape these attitudes immensely. To integrate those differences is staggering. In some instances Rand will reject them as traits feeling unsavory or necessary given circumstance.

The only thing unlikely to change is Rands sense of right and wrong. Through all of this that has never changed within him. He just chose what he thought at the time was hard decision that had to be made. Sometimes he was right. amny times he was wrong. But hell at least he tried. At least he recognized at times the road he was walking down. Now as Rand Sedai its more clear the wrong turns he took.

It is all there for Rand Sedai. One might say the best way to describe Rand now is as an Evolved Merging of two people.

Thats just my 2

Z
Alice Arneson
188. Wetlandernw
Hey! It's never all been said - not while I'm around! :p

Give me a few minutes and I'll prove it....
Thomas Keith
189. insectoid
Wet @188: Better yet, we'll give you some dishes. *runs*

Bzzz™.
smiller3
190. alreadymadwithegwene
Wetlandernw @184
And this could not be due to the madness? The last time she saw Rand exhibit radically different behavior, she immediately assumed it was the madness. Not that she was wrong then, but this time, he shows a shred of formality and culture and she assumes he has taken the time to take tutors? Egwene knows nothing. She's just making assumptions out of her ass...
JAMES MCCLELLAN
191. ZEXXES
Okie here is the real Doozie titled

My Crazy Theory

(Imagine the rolling text in the prologue of Star Wars)


Egwene Al'Vere "Watcher of the Seals; The Flame of Tar Valon; The Amyrlin Seat", determined to stop Rand from breaking the last Seal of the Bore, marshals the strength of the White Tower and any nation that follows the Towers lead. But before her plans are laid, she must first participate in freeing her sisters trapped in the Black Tower. It is here where she learns of the Dream Spike and how it effected the outcome of her battle with and defeat of, the dread Forsaken Mesaana. At this time her last key to stopping Rand has fallen into place, as she realizes she may be able to overcome Rands vast advantage in the Power and stop him physically from being able to break the last Seal. Remembering the Dreamspike, she recruits the 22 most experienced and strongest Aes Sedai in the Tower: the Ajah Sitters along with the Keeper of the Chronicles, to create and hold a barrier around the last Seal.

Respecting Rands strength in the One Power, the Barrier is raised from within Tel'aran'rhiod, with the exception that one cannot enter through the bounds of the barrier via natural or Gateway means, opposite of the Dreamspike. Rand, realizing after only being able to crack the appearing crystalline barrier, needs to complete its destruction from Tel'aran'rhiod. But quickly he realizes the source of the shield: the Sitters, the Keeper and the Amyrlin herself, Egwene, are holding the barrier together. After warning the Aes Sedai to stand down, the Sisters preemptively assault Rand attempting to shield him, forcing Rand however unfortunate, to sever them from the power (or perhaps he can merely shield them) and hence, simultaneously removing the source of the barrier.

Meanwhile, as the main of the hierarchy of the White Tower are distracted by Rand, the notoriously inconvenient Seanchan's full force attack upon the White Tower commences. With Gateways opening in the sky, hundreds of Raken and To'Raken funnel through the power wrought holes. As well as those, Gateways start appearing in unison all around, within and outside of the Tower. With soldiers pouring through and Damane rocking the Tower Guard, it quickly looks to be an inevitable and devastating defeat of the Tower Aes Sedai.

Yet among the Aes Sedai, one Matrim Cauthon has arrived, only shortly before, to retrieve the Horn of Valere. Having been first denied access, to his great fury, seeing the wisdom during these precarious moments of looming defeat, the Aes Sedai glady release the legendary Horn to him. Mat blows the Horn once again and Artur Hawkwing and his truly ever victorious army, procede to decimate the Seanchan army.

Fortuona, Queen of the Seanchan, having accompanied her army and seeing her forefathers wrath, concedes the battle before any more damage can be done. Which, as an added benefit, allows a meeting between Fortuona, Hawkwing and Mat. What happens here is debatable even after the theory itself, But my guess is... Fortuona after hearing from Artur sees the errors within the corrupted Seanchan Prophecies and conceding the erroneous behavior and culture of the present and past generations of the Seanchan, decrees that all captured channelers should be freed as well as the native grown channelers, although the latter at a later time.


They all, Artur and his army, Mat and after retrieving them, the Band of the Red Hand and Fortuona's army, arrive at the Field of Merrilor ready to fight....

United at last.

Z
Alice Arneson
192. Wetlandernw
So I’ve been thinking about this conversation between Rand and Egwene. Frustrating as it is, I don’t think it could have gone down much differently in any case.

Let’s do Rand first. As I mentioned in my previous harepath, I believe Rand came into this expecting to meet Elaida, though he may have been hoping for Egwene. (As of the last possible intel he could have had, if he had any, Egwene was Elaida’s prisoner. I don’t know that he was aware of that situation, but that’s where things stood the day he nearly killed Tam.) I’m pretty sure he wasn’t preparing any arguments or explanations for Elaida; I can’t think of any more futile exercise he could possibly have undertaken. The only thing he could do with her was what he ended up doing with Egwene: tell her what’s coming and hope she has the sense to prepare.

Add to that, he doesn’t really have much rationale beyond a very cryptic statement from an absent-minded philosopher and his own & Min’s belief that Fel meant he needed to destroy the seals. Gut instinct is all well and good, but when you’ve been demonstrably wacko for months, who is going to place much confidence in that argument?

Further, he doesn’t have a plan yet. He probably isn’t entirely sure how to destroy the seals, though the LTT memories may help with that part. If he remembers placing them, he may know how to destroy them as well. But once they’re destroyed… what next? Later in the book he admits that he really doesn’t know how he’s going to do it. He knows he needs to work with the women this time, and he knows that he can’t let the OP touch the DO directly, but beyond that he doesn’t know much.

(For what it’s worth, I’m reasonably sure that Moiraine will provide some key details, and Min will figure out how to use Callandor in the process. And I think that Rand himself will figure out, based on his wounds and the Cleansing, that he can use Fain as a buffer. Rabbit! Or was it a squirrel?)

So there’s Rand. Time is getting short, he still has to deal with the BT, Shadowspawn are coming out of the Blight, he’s sure he has to break the seals but has no good argument to present, and he has no plan for resealing the Bore. Sitting down for a little heart-to-heart with Egwene (or any Amyrlin) is not going to work very well; all he’d do is convince her that, while he might be nicer now, he’s still crazy (after all these years…) Much easier and more effective to give her the one bit of information that will scare her half to death and give her real incentive, and give her a time and place for the meeting where (she would believe) she might be able to convince him not to do it.

What about Egwene? What should she have done? Well, she’s the very-newly-raised Amyrlin, and she knows her position is still a bit tenuous. She can’t show weakness or sentimentality, much less deference, in front of the entire Hall and a bunch of other sisters, or she’ll lose any hope of actually leading them in the months ahead. She absolutely has to be Amyrlin from head to toe, and play the position to the hilt. (Fortuitous, maybe, that the ta’veren effect worked as it did; she gained a certain amount of respect for simply being able to stand up straight and carry on an actual conversation.)

Along with that, the best information available says Rand is completely deranged. Barring an early-morning chat with Almen Bunt, Egwene has no way of knowing that Rand has had an epiphany and is no longer the unfeeling tyrant he was trying to become. She’s had both Dreamwalking and Traveling available as means of gathering information, and she’s had enough that Saerin says, “Reports call him mistrustful and erratic, with a demanding temper and an insistence on avoiding Aes Sedai." IIRC, Egwene has also been keeping in touch with the Wise Ones who have mostly been staying with him, and they are NOT pleased with his behavior.

So there he stands, shielded by two full circles and apparently not bothered by it. That in itself is pretty weird, and doesn’t do much to counter the idea that he’s lost all concept of sanity. He’s talking like someone else, and partway through the conversation he says he is someone else. Uh… Yikes? Or possibly even, Yeep? Everyone is on board with the idea of being reborn, but you don’t normally have any memories of the previous life when you’re reborn. This is… bizarre. No one knows quite what to expect with the Dragon being reborn, but I doubt too many were expecting Rand to still be Rand, but to be Lews Therin Telamon too. Is it any wonder that she’d like to do something to try to determine if he’s still got a nodding acquaintance with sanity?

He’s the one man chosen to specifically be The Champion of the Light, which is a point in his favor, but his recent activity hasn’t been very noteworthy for its brightness. Maybe if she’d been with him just before he left Tear, the difference would be more visible and she’d be able to tell that he really is all better now, but she wasn’t so she can’t. And if the Champion of the Light, without whom there is no hope for humanity, can’t be trusted to know the difference between right and wrong, or between friend and foe, or possibly between a Trolloc and a grasshopper, what can you do? If he’s sane, then it’s not a problem, but if he’s insane, their only hope is to guide and help him as best they can and hope for the Creator to intervene.

Add to all that uncertainty, then, the announcement that he’s going to do the one thing everyone has been trying to prevent for the last 3000 years. Sanity, this does not sound like it! And he has no explanation for it, no plan of action to convince her; he just says “I’m going to open up the Bore again, and I’ll need your help.” It’s easy for us, in our comfy recliners with the knowledge that it’s all a story and will not end in total annihilation, to say that Egwene should just trust him. He’s the Dragon Reborn, the savior of the world, and she should just smile and nod and trust him to do the right thing – except that she is the closest thing the world has to a single person in charge of channelers, as well as being his friend and childhood sweetheart. She has to try to help him, and help him the right way, but what is the right way?

So she takes what little information he gave her, and does the best thing she can think of to do with it: she gathers all the most influential people she can think of, hoping that if they all confront him together they can (maybe) reason with him and stop this crazy plan. I’m sure that at some point she’ll understand, but for now there’s precious little to give her confidence in his clear thinking abilities.

End result, for me, is that even while I grind my teeth at yet another failure of communication, I can see plenty of reason that each of them had to behave exactly as they did.

I’m really, really looking forward to that conversation at the Fields of Merrilor…
William Fettes
193. Wolfmage
Pretty much agree with that though I find it rather firmly anchored to Egwene's perspective which makes it somewhat more oblique than necessary to make the same point.

I personally don't think Rand would have gone to the White Tower if he really thought Elaida was in charge. As you say, we don't really have in-text evidence that he knows. But I rather think that would be a pointless and dangerous mission.

I think we can safely assume Jesus Rand is not suicidal. And whatever his demeanour of calm and assurance, I personally think he is still vulnerable to a circle of 13 women and I don't think he would place himself in danger like that, or indeed, back himself into a corner where he might be forced to hurt Aes Sedai or use the True Power just to escape. I think he went knowing Egwene was Amyrlin because he has some trust that Egwene would allow him to leave.

Moreover, his reference to doing something he's been putting it off, and something he doubts "she" will be pleased about makes little sense if it's Elaida IMO. As he had no intention of going anywhere near Elaida prior to Veins of Gold, he hasn't been putting off Elaida. I also doubt he would be so familiar about Elaida as the 'she' in question, anticipating her displeasure as necessary to his cause. As far as he is concerned Eliada is an inscrutable megalomaniac who tried to imprison him, so it makes much more sense if he is already contemplating Egwene as Amyrlin -- someone he was putting off dealing with, and someone he would be so familiar about.

Given the lack of evidence for Rand's knowledge, it is possible this is more subtle evidence that there is some part of the Finn answer or Rand's off-screen experience that relates to his dealings with Egwene as Amyrlin.
Birgit
194. birgit
Rand probably doesn't know about Eg's captivity. The rebels tried to keep that secret when the Ashaman made the bonding offer. But he does know that she is besieging Tar Valon. That is where he expected to find her.
JAMES MCCLELLAN
195. ZEXXES
194. birgit

I'm with you on that one. Rand did enter through the gates. It seems logical, that Rand would have seen that the seige was over and made hopeful assumptions from there. He may even have simply asked a passerby who the new Amyrlin was. He'd have his answer quickly.

I wonder whether he walked to Tar Valon. He did seem to walk down from the foothills of Dragonmount. Not likely, but he could have. If for no other reason to just let his enlightened Ta'veren aura effect his passing positively. So for me it stands to reason that he did some minor intelligence work on his own before walking in to that mamotheen lioness den.


Z
smiller3
196. alreadymadwithcrazytheory
Wetlandernw @192
Indeed. While Egwene's reasoning is shoddy, one can't ignore the fact that Rand has not been the paragon of stability either. At least before his epiphany... which no one has realized yet.

Wolfmage @193
It seems a plausible scenario that he realized the siege of Tar Valon was over and made hopeful assumptions from there.

ZEXXES @195
He probably did walk. With LTT's memories he knows there are ter'angreal that can detect a man channeling and may be wary of causing a panic. Besides he always was good at walking.

Crazy theory time:
What if it's all about his blood?
LTT says anything that touched the Dark One to push him back from the Bore got corrupted. This is how saidin got tainted. Meaning, if he was to touch the Dark One to seal him once more, he must use something else. Something already corrupted and anyway belonging to him already. Leaving saidin and saidar untainted. This is where my current theory of maybe having to use True Power channeled from Moridin to push the Dark One back.
What if, however, Rand already had within him a force that DOES repel the power of the Dark One. Right there in his wound, always fighting the counterpart stigma given by Ishamael.
Yes people, what if he has to open his wound to push the Dark One back. His blood on the rocks of Shayol Ghul.
Robert Crawley
197. Alphaleonis
Yea Tuesday. There are about 2 chapters a week remaining in TOM before the release of AMOL. What about if Leigh does one each Tuesday and another each Friday or Saturday. It would be no more work for her if some computer tech guru at Tor just takes what she posts on Tue. and splits it for release of the second chapters synopsis and comments on Fri. or Sat. Would that be better for anyone else beside me? I got so antsy waiting for Tuesday this week that I went back and started reading the reread over again. Read Leigh's summary and comments on the first 18 chapters of TEOTW and many of the comments from the readers. Interesting that, unless they have changed their names, most of the commenters in the beginning of the reread were not the regulars of today.
Ron Garrison
198. Man-0-Manetheran
Egwene: "Rand, you can't break the seals! That's insane!"

Rand: "Think about it Egwene, they are already breaking – some are broken and gone. Do you seriously think we should sit around until the remainder of them break? No. It's better if WE chose the time of the breaking. Chose the time and be ready to reseal the Dark One back in his prison. We can do it right this time."
Tess Laird
199. thewindrose
Man-0-Manatheran - Are you suggesting communication? Silly sheepherder;)

So close...

tempest™
Alice Arneson
201. Wetlandernw
insectoid @189 – Thhbbbbttt!

Wolfmage @193 & birgit @194 - You're probably correct in thinking that Rand was looking for Egwene in the rebel camp besieging Tar Valon. Obviously I was writing too late at night! So he was hoping to get a third of the Aes Sedai to work with him… which would still be better than none at all, I guess. I wonder if he sees it as a bonus that he gets the whole shooting match.

If that’s the case, then he probably wasn’t planning to confront Elaida, but I don’t think it was out of fear. In this scene he was shielded by two full circles, and it didn’t faze him in the least. Perhaps he didn’t know that ahead of time, but it certainly didn’t stop him from calmly walking in to the WT.

alreadymad @196 – You know, that’s entirely possible. I’ve been thinking in terms of using Fain himself, but there may be enough of the poison of Aridhol in Rand’s own wound to provide the buffer between the TP and the OP. Hmm. This may take a round of dishes to ponder properly…

Alphaleonis @197 – I’ve noticed that too. There are a few left, and some of those who aren’t posting here still lurk and occasionally keep in touch on facebook, and I think there are a few who now post with a different identity, but in general the group has changed. I think Life just happened to a lot of them.

Man-o-Manetheren @198 – Dare we hope to see that conversation by Chapter 6 or so of AMoL? :)
JAMES MCCLELLAN
202. ZEXXES
197. Alphaleonis
Interesting that, unless they have changed their names, most of the commenters in the beginning of the reread were not the regulars of today.
I thought that interesting too! But I suspect, my interest was for different reasons than yours.

Z
Thomas Keith
203. insectoid
Wet @201: I'll see your "Thhbbbbttt" and raise you:


Bzzz™.
Terry McNamee
204. macster
@131 JonathanLevy: You are right that the chapter name really doesn't match up to what happened. Even if Merrilor is where the true anger will happen (prior to Rand/Perrin setting Egwene straight), that doesn't explain why this chapter turned out as it did. Either Elaida's Foretelling was wrong, or Sanderson screwed up--not so much in the language but in not properly showing Egwene as angry. Of course if he had people would be even more pissed with her...

@134 Isilel: Your bias is showing again. ;)

And just to note, women are involved in the planning: not only are Nynaeve and Cadsuane a big part of it, as will be Moiraine we assume, it's Min who is doing all the research on both Callandor and the seals.

As to why he felt he had to manipulate her: past experience with Aes Sedai, TR women, and Egwene specifically. He really didn't have any reason to think she or the Aes Sedai would passively go along with his plan, do what he said, and gather all the nations for him even if he did prove to them he wasn't mad and explain his plan in detail. It's also a good thing he didn't, if Mesaana were listening in (the conversation wasn't warded, remember)...

@140 hawkido: That's certainly an interesting possibility. I don't know how much time has been devoted to what Rand's third answer was, but I don't think anyone's suggested it could apply to this scene.

@146 Wolfmage: While you are overall right in your assessment of Egwene, I am puzzled why you say she doesn't know the history she's quoting when you acknowledge she'd been getting training from Siuan? Granted we don't see it all but we know it's happening off-screen thanks to the moments where she does take lessons from Siuan. So I think it's pretty safe to say that even if she doesn't know everything about White Tower history, she does know what all Amyrlins know, which not many Aes Sedai do, and what's in the Thirteenth Depository, which no Aes Sedai except the Ajah Heads and the librarians know. That's a lot.

Also: your theory that Egwene's knowledge of heartstone will be key just about knocked me over. I didn't even think about that, despite the seals being made of it. Obviously it can't be done quite the same way as last time, especially with both halves of the Power being used for the sealing, but that's a wonderful possibility for her importance.

@149 Freelancer: While both Egwene and Siuan seemed less inclined to listen to Nynaeve when she spoke to them about Rand after she passed her Aes Sedai test, I agree that she will likely be important in convincing Egwene at Merrilor, as will Min and Cadsuane. Moiraine too, if she makes it there and has knowledgre from the Finn. But I am convinced Perrin will be key as well.

@157 travyl: That is true, however that doesn't explain why Rand acted as he did, nor his comments to Nynaeve and his own thoughts in the epilogue; it's clear he wanted Egwene to react the way he did (which means he was manipulating her, albeit for benign reasons), and I can't see why he'd do that unless he wanted her to get all the factions together both because he was too busy (Bandar Eban, the Black Tower, Maradon, the Borderlander army) and because some of them would not have met with him or agreed to come.

@163 Wetlander: LOL! That's a very good point.

@167 Jeff S.: Indeed, lack of communication now, full communication later.

@168: J.Dauro: Good point, we are all assuming that, but if breaking the seals isn't the answer I have no idea what the alternative could be (and neither does Egwene it seems), and if the last book is devoted to a plan which will turn out to be wrong and needs to be stopped, I'm not sure how there'd be time for the right plan to be used instead. Also, it is possible that after his initial reaction, Herid Fel did his research and changed his mind about breaking the seals: recall his conversation in that same book where he spoke to Rand about how the Dark One's prison had to be whole again for the next Age of Legends so that the Bore could be made again. Egwene, like Fel, may change her mind once it is all explained to her by Min.

@175 Xian: Interesting theory, though I don't think the Aiel would be represented by black towers. I do like the idea though that either the Jenn will come back or the Shaido will somehow meet their toh.

@191 Zexxes: That's quite a theory. Certainly possible, if not likely. As support for it there is Perrin's abilities in TAR--if he helps with Taim by removing the dreamspike from the Black Tower (and takes out Slayer in the bargain at last), he may be used by Rand to do the same thing with the shield the Aes Sedai make.

@192 Wetlander: Very, very well said. Pretty much the conclusions I came to, once I calmed down and re-read it all again. And as an aside, I still love the "Fain as buffer" theory, and I agree Moiraine likely has info which will be key to this situation.

@196 alreadymad: That works too. Maybe it's more than one thing needed to do the sealing.
Jeremy Vanneman
205. Jeribai
I don't know if anyone pointed this out yet (only read about 20 comments in), but I think the 23 is actually pretty obvious. It's the AS in the room with them during the discussion. 3 Sitters per Ajah * 7 Ajahs + Keeper and Amyrlin = 23 AS. Also, I'm kinda with the general idea that ToM is referring to the Tower of Ghenji, the Forsaken, the towers in Seanchan, and possibly the Black Tower. There are too many towers of dark/black/evil/whatever to not be a mass referral.
smiller3
206. Toby1kenobi
I'm not so sure that Egwene is correct about the interpretation of the serpent and eagles dream. Don't we find out later that it's the Seanchan assasins (who are also hiding in the White Tower) that are picking off the AS one by one, not Mesaana? Or was Mesaana doing that too?

Anyway, I think that Egwene immediately jumping to the wrong conclusion on this one is what almost gets her killed later on - but she gets saved when Gawyn jumps to the right conclusion and gets his Awsome on.
smiller3
207. Grie
Don't think anyone mentions this but couldn't Rand's lack of explanations also aim to mislead the Dark One. If he explains everything and she listens then the Dark One will be all the more motivated to upset their alliance or assassinate Egwene/Rand. Whereas at the moment, the two appear to be opposing each other misleading the Dark One to sit back and wait for them to fight before moving himself which enables them to gather their forces with less risk.
Alice Arneson
208. Wetlandernw
Grie @207 - good point! There may be more reason than manipulating Egwene in Rand's lack of information. Whether that was by Rand's intent or the Pattern, it's just as well Mesaana didn't have a chance to hear any detail of Rand's intent, though even the knowledge that he intended to clear out the seals might be dangerous too.
Alice Arneson
209. Wetlandernw
Huh. A month later, I notice the double post. Eurgh.
smiller3
210. DougL
What annoys me is that Siuan would have done a better job probably. She would have at least asked why he felt it necessary to break the Seals, even old school Siuan.

You know, to me, the Creator, or the Pattern itself prepared for this eventuality, this time, all of the female channelers are not under one authority. Now he's got Wise Ones, Windfinder (for all the help they will be), but most importantly he has Nynaeve. The more I think about it, the more I like to fanwank that she is the Creator's secret weapon of AWESOME. I like to believe the Creator was like, okay one champion was obviously not enough.

Yes she is Aes Sedai now, but you know she will support Rand. It should be her and Avi on Callandor. Elayne can lead Andor. Anyway, Rand has Alivia, Nynaeve and a bunch of other female channelers beholden to him this time.

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