Jun 19 2012 2:00pm

The Wheel of Time Re-read: Towers of Midnight, Part 6

The Wheel of Time reread on Tor.comClose the beaches and open the drive-in, kids, ‘cause it’s a Wheel of Time Re-read, coming soon to a blog near YOU!

Today’s entry covers Chapters 6 and 7 of Towers of Midnight, in which there is tea and sharks and appalling baby talk, and I finally get a chance to use my degree. So thank God for that.

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 6: Questioning Intentions

What Happens
Morgase serves tea in the large pavilion tent to Perrin, Faile, Elyas, Tam al’Thor, Balwer, Grady (Neald is still too sick from the snakes to be there), Seonid, Masuri, Annoura, the six Wise Ones, Gallenne, Berelain, Alliandre, and Arganda. As they discuss the strange village and Blight-like vegetation the Wise Ones had destroyed, Morgase reflects how Faile’s air of leadership seemed to have been enhanced by her time as a prisoner, and how while she had been equal to Faile and Alliandre in captivity, now she and Faile are firmly back to being mistress and servant, while Alliandre seems unsure of how to treat Morgase anymore. She reflects on how Seonid and Masuri seem to have accepted their roles vis–à–vis the Wise Ones, which Morgase finds galling, as it reminds her of how much a change in a person’s situation can change that person.

Gaebril, then Valda, had taught Morgase that lesson. The Aiel captivity had been merely another step in the process.

Each of these experiences had moved her farther away from the Queen she had been. Now she didn’t long for fine things or her throne. She just wanted some stability. That, it seemed, was a commodity more precious than gold.

[…] Morgase was no longer the person she had once been. She wasn’t sure what she was, but she would learn how to do her duty as a lady’s maid. This was becoming a passion for her. A way to prove to herself that she was still strong, still of value.

In a way, it was terrifying that she worried about that.

Perrin announces that they are to follow Gill et al on foot for now and hope to catch them before they reach Lugard. Morgase reminds herself that Perrin is a rebel against Andor, even if he had taken the Manetheren banner down, and that even if she wanted to reveal herself she shouldn’t give him advice anyway. She also admits to herself that Faile can advise Perrin just as well as she in any case. Alliandre asks why, if he is planning to send her and her men back to Ghealdan, why he has continued to recruit her countrymen for his army. Perrin counters that he’s not recruiting, just not turning people away, and both Alliandre and Berelain agree that he should keep what he has in preparation for the Last Battle, not break his army up. Alliandre adds that she swore to Perrin, not the Dragon Reborn, and wants Ghealdan to go to the Last Battle under his command. In answer, Perrin summons Wil al’Seen, carrying the wolfshead banner, and orders him to burn it and every other one like it in camp.

Wil paled. “But—”

“Do it,” Perrin said. “Alliandre, you’ll swear to Rand as soon as we find him. You won’t ride beneath my banner, because I won’t have a banner. I’m a blacksmith, and that’s the end of it. I’ve stomached this foolishness for too long.”

Wil leaves, looking betrayed, and Morgase is surprised to realize she feels a little the same. Masuri tells Perrin bluntly that he is a fool, and Tam points out that that banner means a lot to the Two Rivers men. Perrin tells him that is the problem, and that the Two Rivers men are returning home as well. He tells Berelain that he supposes he “can’t be rid” of her, and so she will go with him to Rand. Berelain doesn’t take that well, and observes that Perrin wasn’t so reluctant to have her men around when it came to rescuing his wife. Perrin replies that they did a good thing in Malden, but that’s over now.

“If you want to go on to follow Rand, I’m sure he’ll have you. But my Asha’man are exhausted, and the tasks I was given are complete. I’ve got these hooks inside of me, pulling me back to Rand. Before I can do that, I need to be done with all of you.”

Faile suggests, then, that maybe he should at least start with those who want to leave first, like the refugees. Perrin wants to move everyone, but Grady explains that it will take days to move the whole company at his and Neald’s current level of strength. Faile also suggests that he send messengers to the Lord Dragon and ask for more Asha’man; Seonid says he was last in Cairhien that they heard; Perrin says he isn’t there anymore, but flounders and backtracks when asked how he knows. Balwer then suggests they send scouts to ascertain the situation before they send the refugees anywhere, and Perrin agrees. Grady is still worried about exhausting himself excessively, and Edarra says that the apprentices (meaning Seonid and Masuri) have spoken of something called a “circle”; if they could form one with the Asha’man, they could lend him strength for larger gateways. Perrin demands to know why she hadn’t mentioned this before.

“You seem hardly interested in your position as chief, most of the time,” Edarra said coldly. “Respect is a thing earned and not demanded, Perrin Aybara.”

Morgase held her breath at that insolent comment. Many a lord would snap at someone for that tone. Perrin froze, but then nodded, as if that were the expected answer.

“Your Asha’man were sick when I first thought of this,” Edarra continued. “It would not have worked before. This is the appropriate time to raise the question. Therefore, I have done so.”

She insults Aes Sedai with one breath, Morgase thought, then acts just like one with the next.

Seonid and Balwer both arrange for themselves to go with the scouts to Cairhien, and Morgase wonders again whether Balwer has told Perrin who she really is, and whether she should have approached him to find out what his price for silence would be. She reflects that at first she had hoped to find her way back to Andor to help Elayne, but now she realizes how important it is to stay away and remain “dead,” so as not to undermine Elayne’s position, especially considering how many enemies she made before she left, which she still does not understand why she did that.

Niall had told her that Gaebril was dead, and al’Thor held Caemlyn. That would have prompted Elayne to return, wouldn’t it? Was she queen? Had the Houses supported her, or had they acted against her because of what Morgase had done?

As the meeting breaks up, she sees Tallanvor is outside, waiting for her as always, and feels guilty that she can’t make herself reject his devotion. Perrin stops her as she goes to leave and calls Tallanvor in as well, and tells them that he was given a suggestion a while back that he should marry them, and after watching them “moon” over each other lately he has decided to do so, now, and “get this silliness over with.” Morgase is first panicked, then enraged, and tells him she is his servant, but Andor’s subject, not his, and that furthermore even the Queen of Andor would not force two people to marry like this.

“If I choose to marry a man, I will make that decision on my own. For a man who claims he doesn’t like being in charge, you certainly do like giving commands. How can you be sure that I want this young man’s affections? Do you know my heart?”

To the side, Tallanvor stiffened. Then he bowed formally to Perrin and strode from the tent. He was an emotional one. Well, he needed to know that she would not be shoved around. Not anymore. First Gaebril, then Valda, and now Perrin Aybara? Tallanvor would be ill-served if he were to receive a woman who married him because she was told to do so.

Morgase tells Perrin that there are some things even a lord shouldn’t meddle in, and that in future he should talk to his wife about these things first. She leaves, intending to find Tallanvor and smooth things over, but then she notices a group of Maidens entering camp and heading for Perrin’s tent. She follows in time to overhear Sulin tell Perrin that there is a large force of Whitecloaks on the road directly ahead of them.

As I’ve probably mentioned ad nauseam by this point, I always tend to be a sucker for “outside POV” chapters. Morgase isn’t exactly an outsider, per se, but she is enough of one to get the job done, especially since she still doesn’t consider herself a true part of Perrin’s coterie.

That said, when I first read this chapter I could not for the life of me figure out whether it was trying to say that Morgase should forget her past Queen-ness and get on with being Maighdin, or whether she shouldn’t and was just erroneously trying to convince herself otherwise. Not that it is necessarily bad that it was ambiguous, but it was a tad surprising. Usually — at least to my recollection — when characters are conflicted about a course of action in WOT it’s pretty obvious which path they ought to take; it’s just a matter of getting them to see it.

See Perrin’s entire plot arc in — well, in the whole series, really, but especially in TOM for a prime example. It’s perfectly obvious throughout which path Perrin ought to take — namely, accepting his wolfness and leader-ness both and shutting the hell up about it already — it’s just a question of how much Perrin will jack things up before seeing that. Which, I might add, he is doing a RIDICULOUSLY good job of doing in this chapter. Grrr.

But concerning Morgase’s “right” path, it’s not obvious at all, at least not in my view. What happens later with Morgase only muddies the issue further as I recall it, but since my recollection of that bit is pretty fuzzy, rather than make an ass out of myself expounding on it I’ll just wait till we get there to discuss it further.

So instead let’s talk about Perrin, and the absolutely spectacular job he does in this chapter of inserting his head up his own anal orifice, twice, in less than ten minutes’ time. I mean, that’s just super special, right there. He ought to get whatever the opposite of a merit badge is for that. A demerit badge, maybe?

Because, SERIOUSLY, Perrin. At the risk of inserting modern-day politics into WOTish ones (because I never do that!), you may have the right to burn the flag your people believe in, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t basically a giant dick for doing it. And as Jesus Rand says, “Don’t be a dick.

There, that paragraph shouldn’t offend anyone. Whee!

And THANK YOU, Edarra, for calling him out on how he keeps telling everyone he’s not a leader, and then firing off ten thousand orders to everyone two seconds later. Walk it like you talk it, dude, or else shut up. Sheesh.

And let’s not even get me started on the marrying Morgase and Tallanvor episode, which had all the grace, charisma and tact of a diarrheic rhinoceros on acid in a Wedgwood outlet. I mean, good God. It’s like Perrin is trying to offend the sensibilities of every last person in range of his “leadership skills”…oh, wait.

At least Morgase thoroughly told him off, which I greatly appreciated even as I kind of raised my eyebrow at her equation of what Perrin did to what Gaebril and Valda did to her. Because, yeah, okay, that was a total dick move on Perrin’s part, no question, but there’s being an insensitive ham-handed clod, and then there’s being a brainwashing rapist. And yes, Valda counts on both scores just as much as Rahvin did; his methods were just more mundane.

And yes, Morgase still doesn’t really get what happened with Gaebril/Rahvin, but she certainly can’t be under any illusions as to what happened with Valda, so I really kind of question the… I dunno, the appropriateness of drawing that parallel. And I’m not even sure, really, whether I’m leveling the accusation of inappropriateness at Morgase the character, or at the way she was written here. If that makes any sense.

On a more random note, why didn’t Balwer ever tell Perrin about Morgase’s true identity? I mean, it’s pretty easy to speculate on why he might choose not to, despite how thoroughly he seems to have thrown his hat into Perrin’s ring, so to speak, but I can’t recall if we ever find out definitively why from the man himself. Not that it matters much, I suppose, but I remain vaguely curious.


Chapter 7: Lighter Than a Feather

What Happens
Bulen urges Lan (calling him “Master Andra” at Lan’s insistence) to turn south at the crossroads, but Lan replies that the easier road is also the more traveled road, and refuses. He is grateful to Bulen for inadvertently forewarning him of the stunt Nynaeve pulled, but wishes he wouldn’t talk so much. They pass an inn, Lan intending to keep traveling through the night, and three men lounging in front of it mount their horses and follow. Lan thinks them highwaymen and prepares for a fight, but Bulen tells him two of the men are wearing the hadori. As they pass, Lan recognizes all three of them and asks one, Andere, what he thinks he is doing. Andere pretends to be surprised to see him there, and the three ride on. Lan glares and takes an alternate route, but soon the three are behind him again.

Lan pulled Mandarb to a halt, teeth gritted. “I’m not raising the Golden Crane!”

“We didn’t say you were,” Nazar said. The three parted around him again, riding past.

Lan kicked Mandarb forward, riding up to them. “Then stop following me.”

“Last I checked, we were ahead of you,” Andere said.

Lan commands them to turn back, and Rakim laughs and says they don’t have to obey him. A king, on the other hand… Lan says there can be no king if he doesn’t have a kingdom, and Nazar points out that yet, he rides to this nonexistent kingdom anyway. Lan says it is his destiny, and the others shrug. He says his path leads to death, and Rakim replies that if so then the trail will be easy, for death is lighter than a feather.

Lan gritted his teeth, but what was he to do? Beat all three of them senseless and leave them beside the road? He nudged Mandarb forward.

The two had become five.

Byar comes to Galad’s tent to report that the army the captives told them about is a few days’ ride from them, and fly both the flag of Ghealdan and Mayene. He says that though the wolfshead banner had been taken down the day before, he is sure Goldeneyes is there. Galad asks if he really killed Bornhald’s father, and Byar confirms it. Galad is intrigued to hear that the man comes from the Two Rivers, where al’Thor is said to be from as well, and Byar tells him it is “a dark place,” crawling with Darkfriends. Galad sighs, but Byar insists he has proof, and Galad tells him to explain.

Perrin eats his mainly meat-based breakfast, which Faile finds amusingly disgusting before she leaves the tent. He’s decided to stay camped on the road until he has more news from his scouts about the Whitecloaks. He thinks uneasily of his visions from the wolf dreams, and wonders if the Whitecloaks are part of them. Gaul enters, and Perrin sits on the ground with him, momentarily dismayed by his urge to forego his utensils and tear the meat with his teeth.

Byar tells Galad of how he and Bornhald fought Trollocs in the Two Rivers, hundreds of leagues from the Blight, while Goldeneyes was raising the flag of Manetheren in the villages and gathering an army – of farmers, true, but some are surprisingly skilled with staff and bow.

“I am aware,” Galad said flatly, recalling a particularly embarrassing lesson he’d once been given.

Byar is convinced that Aybara had been bringing the Trollocs into the Two Rivers to scare the people into joining his army, and then tells Galad of his first encounter with the man two years ago, when he was running with wolves “like a wildman", and killed two of the Children and then escaped before he could be hanged. He also adds that Aybara was at Falme, and that the Light has delivered him to them for justice.

Gaul tells Perrin that Gill and the others are definitely among the Whitecloaks, according to Elyas and Sulin both, but appear to be unharmed. After a brief digression to complain about dealing with Bain and Chiad as gai’shain (“Almost better to have Sightblinder himself as a gai’shain than those two”), Gaul also reports that the flag the Whitecloaks are flying indicates that the Lord Captain Commander himself is with them. Perrin reflects that he had never met the Lord Captain Commander, but the last time he had met with a Lord Captain, that had been the night Hopper died, a night that haunted Perrin.

That had been the night when he had killed for the first time.

Byar asks what other evidence Galad needs, and Galad agrees that it is their duty to bring “justice to the wronged.” Eagerly, Byar tells him that the Queen of Ghealdan has sworn fealty to Goldeneyes, and that this could present an opportunity for them: a chance at a new home.

“You speak of the Last Battle, but it could be months away. What if we were to free an entire nation from the grip of a terrible Darkfriend? Surely the Queen—or her successor—would feel indebted to us.”

Galad points out that this is only if they can defeat this Aybara, but Byar is confident that even their smaller force can take a army of mostly farmers. Galad observes that he just said these farmers can be dangerous, but Byar counters that Aybara won’t have his “little village fortifications” to hide behind this time.

Perrin wonders if this is part of ta’veren, his inability to escape what had happened that night, and whether he will continue to run into Whitecloaks until he had faced and dealt with them. Gaul tells him there are some twenty thousand soldiers in the Whitecloak army, plus servants and camp followers, and further points out that they have no Aiel and also no channelers, male or female. Perrin tells him Whitecloaks think anyone who uses the One Power is a Darkfriend.

Byar asks if they are to move against Aybara, and Galad replies that they have no choice, but says they need more information. He intends to ask Aybara to meet with them first openly, on the field of battle.

Perrin tells Gaul to send more scouts and find them a better place to camp. He will offer parley, but says there is no way he’s leaving Gill et al in the hands of Whitecloaks.

“We’ll give the Children a chance to return our people. If they don’t…well, then we’ll see.”

Aw, Lan, you and your attempts to not have an army are adowable. Who’s my favorite widdle samurai-king? Yes, you are! Oh, yes, you are!

(Wow, sometimes I am evil.)

Also, Mat taking a level in Badass shoutout! I love it.

Moving on, I am totally intrigued by this chapter on a geeky narrative structure level, because it is what they call in screenplay parlance an intercut scene, where the action cuts back and forth between two (or more) locations in which things are happening more or less simultaneously, rather than showing them in sequence (i.e. showing the entirety of the events in one location, and then backing up to show the entirety of events in the second location, and so on).

Which is something I am about 99% sure has never really happened in WOT before, and I can say that with a fair amount of assurance because I’ve recapped about 95% of WOT and it’s never gone like this, except for maybe one or two of the Big Ass Ending scenes, to an extent, but certainly never for this kind of non-action scene, and this is pretty much (in my opinion) entirely because WOT is now being written by someone about half the age of the original author.

This is a theory of mine which may be entirely unsupported by anything more than anecdotal evidence and my own strange brain, but I feel it strongly so you’re getting it inflicted on you anyway (and I really hope I haven’t pontificated about this before, and if I have I apologize), and feel free to tear it down if you want, but I sincerely believe it is almost always extremely easy to tell when an author grew up before the movie Jaws came out, and those who grew up after the movie Jaws came out. Robert Jordan, obviously, belonged to the former group, and Brandon Sanderson, also obviously, belongs to the latter group, and this chapter is a sterling example of the difference.

And I know, you’re like, Jaws, what the hell, Leigh, why are you talking about a 70s horror flick centering around an animatronic shark in reference to plot structure in an epic fantasy novel? But see, if you are a former pretentious film major like me, you know that Jaws was not just a 70s horror flick centering around an animatronic shark, it is also widely considered the seminal example of the phenomenon known as the blockbuster film, and changed forever not only the way Hollywood made and marketed movies, but how those movies were written and directed – or, in other words, how the most widely seen and talked-about stories in the world got told. It is also, and just as significantly in my book, the movie that put Steven Spielberg on the map.

Blockbuster era means a lot of things depending on who you ask, but to me it means one thing, and that is the entrance of Steven Spielberg (and soon after, George Lucas) into the movie industry. Lucas and Spielberg between them did about a million things to turn the entire industry on its ear, but in the context of this discussion the most significant thing they did was speed things up.

Beginning with Jaws and then most especially in the Star Wars trilogy, and then even more in the Indiana Jones movies, Spielberg and Lucas’s formula for success was that everything goes faster: dialogue, plot, editing, effects, everything. (It was also everything gets bigger, but that’s a different discussion.) Never let the audience calm down, keep them on the edge of their seats, one thing after the other, bang bang bang, keep it moving at all costs.

(If you don’t believe me that Spielberg and Lucas basically invented speedy storytelling in movies, go and try to sit through The Towering Inferno, which was made the year before Jaws came out, and then attempt to convince me you didn’t think to yourself “Oh, for Christ’s sake just set the damn building on FIRE already!” at least once. Seriously, to a post-Spielberg audience the pace of that film is GLACIAL; when I watched it, by the end I didn’t even care about the climax of the film except in the sense that I was relieved that it was over and I could go do something else.)

And, less cynically perhaps, it was also the philosophy that speed creates a dramatic tension that, if maintained properly, builds to a much more satisfying narrative climax than otherwise. And, plus, you know, means more story can be told in less time.

There are plenty of things to be said about this story-telling philosophy, both good and bad, but one thing that cannot be denied about it is the HUGE influence it unavoidably had on the generation of storytellers and story consumers who grew up watching it. A group which includes me, and probably at least 80% of the people reading this right now. And, as well, Brandon Sanderson.

Mind you, I’m not saying this was the only or even the primary influence on all writers born in the seventies or later, or on Brandon in particular, but I am saying that to me, there is a definite move-it-along, building-dramatic-tension, quick-cut, blockbuster movie sensibility to the way this chapter is constructed that hearkens directly back to The Empire Strikes Back and E.T. and Raiders of the Lost Ark and all the million imitators and spiritual descendants they spawned, and that I tend to doubt that it would ever have occurred to Robert Jordan to write this scene quite this way, whereas to someone in my generation or later, to write this scene this way seems intuitively obvious.

*shrug* Call me crazy, but that’s what I see. And I don’t know about anyone else, but I loved The Empire Strikes Back and E.T. and Raiders of the Lost Ark and all (well, many) of the million imitators and spiritual descendants they spawned. I’m just saying.

There is a point, of course, at which speed becomes a detriment to the story (and we will definitely run into a few of those in this book), but at this stage of the game, let’s just say I am not averse to a philosophy which amounts to let’s take the shortest possible narrative route to setting this damn building on fire already. You know?

Yeah, you totally know. Or you totally disagree, and look! There’s a little comment box right below for you to tell me why! Share and Enjoy, and I’ll see you next week!

lake sidey
1. lakesidey
Thank God for Lan. By this time I was basically irritated with Perrin, Morgase, the lot of them...Lan with his almost naive strightforwardness was refreshing (helps that I always liked him from the start)

Rob Munnelly
3. RobMRobM
After last chapter, doesn't Byar almost remind one of Gawyn. "He is evil and we must kill him." LOL.
AJ Kiser
4. TheCookieGod
Hi all, been stalking the re-read since around TGS. Just figured I come in and say hello to everyone now.

I really, really love this whole reread. When I read, I'm generally not one to really consider some of the more subtle or elaborate things happening in the text, so reading this blog and then rereading the series again has been like reading an entirely new series again, and I love it for that.

At any rate, I'm in the middle of Winter's Heart on my own reread, but once I get up to speed and catch up in ToM I hope to be commenting with the rest of you fine people. I've only read ToM the one time when it first came out, which I'm sure makes me a horrible person or something, so my memory is obviously a bit fuzzy on some of the parts discussed in these blog posts so I'm mostly commenting from somewhat older memories.

For the chapters at hand, all I can remember thinking about the whole Morgase Tallanvor marriage thing was, "FINALLY." And also that Perrin should get over his leadership hangups, but hey - that's what this book was about (well, that and reminding us how awesome Mat is...and Egwene did some things...and Gawyn did a thing...)

I've never been as hung up, I feel, about the whole Perrin plotline in general as others seem to be. I think, maybe, this is because I came to the series extremely late in 200...8, I believe, so KoD was out by that point and TGS was relatively around the corner. So I never rolled my eyes as much at Perrin, I think, because I didn't read the Path of Daggers for instance, then have to wait for Winter's Heart and then think, "Oh Jesus Christ, Perrin, get over it!" And then have CoT come out and think, "Okay, NOW Perrin will get his head out of his-what? OH COME ON! Well, maybe in KoD...DAMN IT!"

So there wasn't as much frustration for me in Perrin's plodding, since I hadn't had to deal with it for quite as long as some long-time fans. That aside, the pay-off for all of Perrin's Perrin-ness in this book was incredible. When he finally decided to be awesome, it was a glorious thing and had me cheering mentally as I was reading through his plotline in this book.

...Where was I? Oh right.

Lan: Still a complete badass.

Galad: Meh. The only thing I remember about him from this book is that Asunawa dies and he hooks up with Berelain and decides that Perrin is actually a Pretty Cool Guy. I don't remember if anything significant comes from his and Berelain's hooking up, but I'm kind of hoping there's some sort of payoff for it. Otherwise it just kind of seems like a really random relationship, given the two's personalities.

That's all for now, I guess. Hi and bye, all.
Steven Pattingale
5. Pattingale
Enjoyed the re-read LB, thank you. I agree about the pacing/intercut narrative thing, neat observation! Good chapters and they get things nicely set up.

Hi to TheCookieGod! Welcome.
Matt Spencer
6. MisunderstoodMe

Gawyn doesn't have the excuse of hanging around with Fain at all does he?

Byar is a fair bit more twisted as he's taking what he believes and twisting what he actually sees to match it. Gawyn at least has rumor to do a lot of the willful fact twisting for him.
Stefan Mitev
7. Bergmaniac
I still don't get what's Perrin's problem with the wolfshead banner. The Manetheren one, sure, that was a stupid idea from the start, bound to cause problems with Andor, but the wolfshead? Let the Two Rivers guys have their symbol, dude...

Perrin's decision to have Morgase married - a major facepalm moment for me.

Morgase is 10 times better leader than Perrin (who, let's be honest, is a mediocre one without his ta'veren effect). It's bizarre having her serve him tea and watching him make blunders.

Galad - accorting to him apparently it's totally right to have a massive battle in which thousands would die to punish one Darkfriend. I am glad I am not so righteous as him then, this type of morality seems very wrong to me.
Craig Jarvis
8. hawkido
Great post! I agree Leigh, in the difference in narrative, I don't think it is a bad mechanic to utilize, It just hasn't been a tool Jordan used much. If he would have done more of this in the PLoD it could have been much more entertainerized (there's a new word for you) that whole segment. I believe the tarzan books (Edgar Rice Burroughs) were famous (at least in my mind) for the simultainious setup of a scene or sequence that leads to a climax... I remember my father reading them to me as a kid when I was growing up... You know back when TV's only had 2 channels and you had to move the antennea to switch between them because the reception wasn't that great.
j p
9. sps49
The Morgase arc depresses me. This series began with a lot of women living large and in charge, and many of them are ending up pretty low. How is Morgase being Morgase a bad thing? She abdicated (secretly); she should be communicating with, oh, EVERYBODY. Except that this is the Wheel of Time.

Action speed- well, we do have a lot of plot to wrap up in a short time. AS for movies and such, it is still taking place- my 8 years junior gf finds almost anything before the late 90s dull and tedious.

How is Byar blathering on and on "evidence"?
10. wcarter4
My sole complaint about Morgase in this section and Elayne a bit later is the whole Perrin is a traitor to Andor crap.

Um let's see per Morgase's own admision in Eye of the World the Two Rivers had not seen a tax collecter or four generations or a solider in seven.

That's well over 150 years of no governance. 150 years of no taxation, no protection from any sort of hardship--natural disaster, theives, political strife...anything... In what way is the Two Rivers a part of Andor? Andor didn't send help when thousands of White Cloaks and even Trollocs poured in and nearly wiped everyone out--did in fact wipe out Taren Ferry if Bornhald is to be believed.

So I ask you what loyalty does any man or woman in the Two Rivers owe Andor or its queen? Morgase herself told Elayne the lines on the map were outdated and meaningless, and that if she were to tell an Duopotamian that they were subjects of the Lionthrone they wouldn't liekly believe her.

On a side note, Nyneave is awesome and Lan is Ta'veren. Full stop.
Chris Lehotsky
11. Tel_Janin
I have to laugh at the reference to Raiders as a speedy film, but it's probably my age talking. Though it is my favorite Indy film, the pacing of Temple of Doom and Last Crusade make it seem unbelievably slow. I'm all about efficient storytelling, but if the Star Wars prequels and Crystal Skull are the price of progress, you can keep it.

More on topic, I really did enjoy the use of intercut scene here. It does its job well. Off the top of my head, I can think of one other in LoC that was similar. In Chapter 43, we get Tower AS offering the Sun Throne to various nobles for after they take Rand, but it doesn't repeat a viewpoint. It had the same feel and effect, though, with the one or two paragraph VPs.
Alice Arneson
12. Wetlandernw
RobM @3 - The juxtaposition of Gawyn & Bornhald/Byar is indeed interesting. "He was there, so he must have been the one who killed my father." Big difference is, we all expect it of Bornhald & Byar, because we've all loathed them from the beginning, while Gawyn started out as a really likable guy and then went all stupidly obsessed with killing Rand for something he didn't do. Bornhald might have just a little more justification in one way, because at least he has Byar's evidence that Perrin and Bornhald Sr. were in the same battle on the same day, but... nah. It was a battle. You don't claim murder for someone killed in battle - aside from the fact that the Whitecloaks were fighting the Seanchan when Bornhald died, and Perrin had nothing to do with it.
Craig Jarvis
13. hawkido
There is no Black Ajah... there are no bad Whitecloaks who would tell lies and bear false witness. Byar with a touch of Fain on the side. Fortunately the Fain Funk isn't catching... I believe the TOR Q&A spelled it out that Fain can corrupt but it cannot spread from corrupted to others. Else WoT would be screwed.
14. LogainsBrother
Hi leigh,

Your observation about speed and pacing was excellent!
I also love blockbuster movies, and I think a good dynamic approach can turn a good movie great.

Since you chose to keep the discussion to the comments though, I will point out one point:
It seems that for a long time, the concept of speed had gotten out of hand. Movies were faster paced, with shorter cuts and more frantic action. Not to mention MTV...
But I think that except a few exceptions (*cough cough* Michael Bay *cough cough*) Hollywood started rebalancing itself somewhere in the early 2000s.

I hope they keep having a grip on themselves...
Craig Jarvis
15. hawkido
@14. LogainsBrother
I hope they keep having a grip on themselves...
I believe if it lasts for more than 4 hours they have to call the hospital. Soo...
Holly Finnen-Stewart
16. Branwhin
Hello, TheCookieGod! Welcome to the Bunker. (particularly if you bring cookies)

Leigh - haven't commented in forever, but still LOVING the reread!

(sigh) Perrin, Perrin. I want to smack him for his stubborn refusal to see what he needs to (and for his, um, proposal that he could make Morgase marry Tallanvor), but I feel for him at the same time. It's a huge responsibility to be responsible for so many lives.

Feh. In other news I apparently work for the department of redundancy department.

Anyhow, hello people and enjoy! I've brought roasted garlic hummus to the Bunker. Somebody bring something minty. Please?
Charles Gaston
17. parrothead
I really do like Perrin, he's one of my faves in the series. But of all the stupid things he's done, this takes the cake.

Okay. Of the three things at issue here: his problems with the wolf thing? Well, of the two people he's met, one has (as far as he knows) completely lost himself and become a mindless beast. 50% odds, not so good. So while we think it would be really cool, his apprehension is justifiable.

His unwillingness to take leadership? Definitely grating, but then for the first couple decades of his life he's a blacksmith in a hamlet no one has ever heard of; being thrust into a world of kings and mages might not help. And even when he does get a new position against his will, his first major crisis he goes completely off-mission so it only reinforces his lack of confidence. So, aggravating, but perhaps understandable.

Telling two of his followers "well, I've decided that you're getting married, and right now"? Oh, fuck that shit. I didn't even much like it back in PoD when Faile had a similar (unvoiced, IIRC) idea, but she at least was being practical: she knew/assumed they were sleeping together, thought that that sort of thing might cause problems for both the couple and her household of which they were a part, so decided to see what she could do about it. Perrin? Ugh. I shall defer to our Captain's simile regarding a rhinoceros.

The bit with Lan, though, was funny as hell.
Maiane Bakroeva
18. Isilel
Did I mention how much I hate Morgase's arc? Seriously, everything that happened to her after she decided to go to Amadicia seems so pointless after she hit the rock bottom, yet still failed to do anything significant in Aiel captivity.
Yes, yes, Galad, but given how Perrin's ta'vereness manages to overcome his abysmal leadership every time, it could have won over Galad without her, too.

Oh, and Morgase being back to being lady's maid just shows how Faile continues to be utterly sucky and how women in WoT really aren't accorded much worth unless they are channelers, nobles, or the very rare female warriors. Having Morgase scrap for and laud Faile is totally blergh-inducing, as well. Add the stupid Tallanvor drama... sigh.

Perrin is infuriating and headdesk-inducing as always. Didn't we already have books and books of him being a douche? Thankfully, this is almost the last helping of it, IIRC, but I really can't enjoy a character that requires such a slog of slogs and massive strong-arming by the iron hand of fate to become tolerable.

I wholly agree that Lan's sheninigians are adorable, Galad's are interesting and Perrin finally shows some improvement in this chapter, so that's a relief, I guess.
19. Lurking Canadian
During the scene when Byar is recounting the hideous crimes of the monster Aybara, I am always reminded of the guy trying to convince King Arthur's friend that the witch turned him into a newt.
Jeremy Hanke
20. jlhanke

Your observations regarding the pacing/structure of the POVs for this chapter and the difference between Jordan/Sanderson was THE biggest difference for me between the pre- and post-Sanderson novels. For all of the discussion of "this chapter was DEFINITELY Brandon's writing" or "this chapter felt more like RJs work" - we as audience do not know what parts of the books RJ had finished, what parts were mostly done but Brandon had to polish, and what parts were just outlined and the prose is completely Brandon's. I think it's silly to assume what parts were written by whom, since we cannot know.

However, it is very clear that the structuring of TGS and TOM was Brandon's work, and it's there that I feel the difference between the writing styles. The clearest way to illustrate this is going to the book indices on the WOT Encyclopaedia and looking at the story arcs.

In RJ's writings, there are very few chapters where you jump around to different POVs - there are some, but not many. Also, in his books, RJ stayed with one group of characters for several chapters in a row multiple times throughout the book - none of the first 11 WOT books has fewer than 3 separate sections that stay with one storyline for at least 4 consecutive chapters.

Once you hit TGS, this changes dramatically. TGS has only 2 sections of 4+ consecutive chapters in the same storyline (resolution of White Tower battle and resolution of Rand's storyline). TOM doesn't have ANY stretches where there are 4+ consecutive chapters that focus on just one storyline (there are stretches where Perrin, Mat, Egwene, or Nynaeve are in 4+ consecutive chapters, but those chapters are split among several POVs).

I'm not gonna make a statement whether this is definitely "better" or "worse" than RJ's style, I just think it's interesting and the most jarring stylistic difference between RJ and BS WOT books for me. I think the intercutting works well for this chapter's content, but I also think that you actually LOSE momentum in the story doing this at times. The obvious counter-example is that the two best sequences in TGS in my mind (mentioned earlier) are also the only ones where we stick with a character/storyline for several chapters.
Maitrey Deshpande
21. LittleWolf
Hey Leigh!

I can't help but agree to your comments regarding Jaws and the generation divide! And while Brandon's writing vis-a-vis narration speed has brought in a much needed change to the WoT narrative, it has also brought in some detriment as you put it, something I find is not totally unforgivable, but also something that will remain as a griping point in the WoT fandom for generations more to come.

Morgase remains an unfathomable character as ever, Perrin plods on and we can't wait for Byar to cop it already!

Good times, good times.

Charles Gaston
22. parrothead
"how women in WoT really aren't accorded much worth unless they are channelers, nobles, or the very rare female warriors"

Or Wise Ones, who don't have to channel. Or Sailmistresses, chosen by merit. Or merchants, especially Domani. Or Idrien Tarsin, who heads up this world's first university. Or anyone from Far Madding, Ebou Dar, Seanchan, and to a certain extent Tar Valon and the Borderlands. For that matter, servants aren't as low as you imply; just ask Reene Harfor.

Plus, how many men are all that important who don't fall into one of those categories?
Tricia Irish
23. Tektonica
Welcome Cookie God! The Bunker needs you! What are you baking today? Seriously, welcome and post away.

Leigh...I really appreciated that Film class! I never realized that Jaws was the turning point in speed story telling. Mostly that's a good thing, but I do think a lot of character development has suffered because of it, in many films. I still like me a quiet little film sometimes....but then I'm old ;-)

At least Galad suggests talking before engaging in a battle for one darkfriend. Does Byar=Gawyn here? Had anyone ever told Byar what really happened at Falme? Well, I'm sure he wouldn't have listened anyway, and would've just named them Darkfriend.

Perrin is pretty confused and ham fisted here. How about some Romance? A quiet suggestion to Tallanvor and Morgase in private perhaps, instead of an order? Good for you Morgase for telling him what's for! So, so very tired of Perrin's angst. And dont' different "companies" in an army have their own bannars? What's wrong with the Wolf Head? It's not the flag of Manatheran. Mat has the Band of the Red Hand, after all?

Hi Branwhin! Where have you been???
Tricia Irish
24. Tektonica

What do you really think? LOL. Seriously, I love your outrage! And I agree with most of it....you just say it so,erm, straightforwardly!
Jeremy Vanneman
25. Jeribai
Side thought, that reading all of the reread posts since the start of ToM brought up. Do we know for sure whether or not Masuri or Annoura are BA? We know the list Egwene got has a number of AS that aren't at the tower ... and we know they were both meeting with Masema, who was clearly having his mind twisted to do stuff he really shouldn't be doing. Then again, Annoura did shout "Oh Light!" when Rand was cleansing the source ... eh ... something I was thinking about.

As for Perrin ... I usually used to understand where he was coming from, but the whole burning his flag thing? Doesn't make any sense to me, or why he suddenly had such a sudden backlash reaction to being a leader when he's been thinking it ever since TSR. That and the whole Tallanvor/Morgase marriage thing ... he's usually got a fairly good understanding of people, which he apparently decided to throw out the window for a moment. That, and as a literary device, I don't see how it served a purpose of any kind. Morgase rejected it, pissed off Tallanvor more, but they get married anyways, and Perrin was already a bad leader, but became a good leader anyways. It just seemed very pointless and annoying.

Leigh, I think the thing you're forgetting about is how Morgase's whole "who am I?" thing becomes a completely moot point by the end of the book. First she runs into Galad, who almost immediately restores her back to the position of a Lady ... who takes her to Elayne, who promotes her to head advisor or somesuch.

As far as Lan goes ... I got a chill every time I read "And the (x) became (y)." As readers of the series, we already know what's basically going to happen with that, which makes it all that more impressive how powerful it feels as it is happening.

Oh, and a final side note ... Perrin and Faile are both kind of douches. I mean I know he's all half-wolf and all ... but really? ... a large meat breakfast? ... when all of his followers are eating weevil-filled oats, and they don't know when they'll get their next meal. Faile just chuckles at it, and I doubt Perrin even thought of it.
26. MasterAlThor
Well I only have a couple of comments on this.

Morgase: Respect due!

CookieGod: Welcome and prove it. Prove you are the cookie god by showering us with your delicious cookies. Chocolate Chip please.

27. NotInventedHere
Love the shoutout to PA, though I'm not sure how much audience crossover you've got - I get the feeling many of the regular denizens of this forum might be a wee bit put out by some of Gabe and Tycho's antics. After all, we're high-brow literary types and video games kill people.

Thank you, Lan, for saving us from two chapters of People Who Annoy You. At least Perrin has nearly reached his head-desk quota and some sense will finally be seeping in soon.

Interesting discussion on the pacing. I wouldn't have picked out Jaws as the turning point or catalyst for a major change in storytelling across media, but you make a good argument for it. Although it's been much too long since I've seen it to decide whether I agree or not, a quick glance through top movies before and after Jaws (or at least 1975) does seem to bear out the idea that something changed.
Kimani Rogers
28. KiManiak
Thanks Leigh!

Chapter 6: So, yeah, this Morgase chapter. I really don’t have much to say. Actually, I applaud Leigh on trying to find discussion topics (Perrin’s annoyingly, sluggishly-slow development into the leader, man and wolfbrother that he needs to be is always a good go-to option, btw). I guess in hindsight, Morgase’s development was important because she plays a role in getting Galad and Elayne to “align” themselves with Perrin in their own ways. Otherwise, I don’t see Morgase as playing a large role in WoT.

Oh, and this section did introduce the concept of these Wise Ones and Aes Sedai forming circles with the Ashaman, which aids in the creation of Mjolnir further along in this book. So, that was nice.

Chapter 7: Lan. Love his arc in this books. The Two had become Five. To quote a favorite line from another great favorite fantasy series: And he is not yet done…

Leigh, using the “born pre/post Jaws” metric as an assessment tool? Wha…but… um, okay. If it works for her… Other than that, I have as much to say about the content of this chapter as she does (which is to say, not much).

CookieGod@4 – Welcome! Those are some valid (and somewhat common) points about Perrin’s plotline affecting certain readers in a negative way depending upon whether they had to wait each time for TPoD, WH, CoT and then finally KoD to come out; or if they were fortunate to read them all for the first time back-to-back, with minimal wait-time between each novel.

Wcarter4@10 – re: Traitor to Andor – You raise valid points, but I guess the argument is to see it as a sovereign would see it. They may not have sent tax-collectors or soldiers to a section of their realm, but it is most definitely still part of their realm (says so on the nice maps in the map room). If the sovereign were to allow folks in one area to rise up and do what they wanted whenever they pleased, then very shortly that sovereign would most likely have to deal with major revolts throughout their entire realm. It makes the sovereign look weak, not in control, and unable to handle their realm. That can’t be allowed.

parrothead@22 – Good point; there are a number of powerful and influential women in Wotland. We tend to focus on our Superboys and Lan (and I guess the fact that the Great Captains and most soldiers are male), but in most other circumstances women tend to be equals (Borderland sovereigns, Wise Ones/Clan Leaders, Lords/Ladies of Tear and Cairhien, Tarabon’s pre-Seanchan government) or dominate (Sailmistress, Queen of Andor, First of Mayene, Council in Far Madding, Empress of Seanchan) in important roles or positions of leadership.

Jeribai@25 – re: Masuri, Seonid and Annoura – We don’t know if they are Darkfriends. All we have is speculation. Lots.
29. Fyodor
Brandon Sanderson has written in a few places about how movies have influenced his style of writing and specifically about how he does quick cuts sometimes to create a cinematic quality to his work.


Scott Silver
31. hihosilver28
Does anyone know why the Asha'man are taking longer than normal to recover? I remember being confused about that at this point in the book. Mainly because Grady and Neal mention that it's taking them longer than normal and they aren't getting rested as soon as they thought they would. It's also a little confusing, because IIRC this is an isolated incident. None of the other Asha'man in Randland are having this exhaustion problem. I just wanted to know if this was addressed in text and I happened to skip over it or if everyone else was as confused as I was.
Rich Bennett
32. Neuralnet
As much as I hate Perrin here, I have to admit I am glad he didnt instantly change from Emo Perrin to King Perrin the moment he rescued Faile. Perrin is very annoying here but I can appreciate the character self-realization arc and the payoff is good. Still after years and years of emo Perrin... I somtimes want to toss the book across the room... I hate reading about characters who frustrate me and Perrin and Morgase are high on that list in these chapters
Rich Bennett
33. Neuralnet
also, I think it is funny that Lan is basically doing the same thing as Perrin here (trying to not be a king, getting rid of followers etc.) but somehow we all love Lan anyways.
35. Shadow_Jak
Great stuff as usual Leigh

Good point Neuralnet (33).
Guess it's just that it somehow looks better on Lan (to most, anyway)

I really enjoy seeing the old New Spring characters popping up here. First Bulen, then Andere and several others later on.
Conservation of minor characters is pretty cool.
Billy Abbey
36. felix
It was due to Jaws and the movie Gray Lady Down (a movie about a submarine accident) that I went to the Army instead of the Navy.
Spielberg scarred me for life!

@19. Lurking Canadian: It got better!

Perrin=tiresome (GET AWESOME ALREADY!)
Lan = awesomesauce

Now that we have cookies, we need Lactocl deity of Milk in the bunker.
37. Wotman
Well, Leigh, after all those paragraphs of explanation of a movie writing technique, yawn, OK.
I am a 3D artist , but don't jump up and tell everyone in a movie that I can do that, or did you see the flickering in that scene, they didn't use enough antialising there or they needed to adjust the GI , or how could they not have caught that in post? I just let them enjoy the movie. moving on.

Morgase, once a queen, always a queen, it is hard to step away but she is trying.

Lan, He needs to accept, something like Perrin should too.

Brandon is trying to move this monster along toward it's conclusion, so hence speeding things up a bit. Gotta lot of ground to cover in a realtively short time.

Galad; he is trying, finally understanding the end of the world is here. So start kicking butt, the right butts of course. Byar is as bad as Gawyn, once his mind is set, no matter what the evidence, you will not change his mind.

I was hoping Perrin had changed his attitude, but he still like a donkey, very stubborn and not as smart as I had hoped. Even with Tam explaining that all the bigshots make mistakes , you just pretend you know what you are doing and the rest will follow though. I am not sure the why the authors have kept him so dumb, but they need to give up on it, they are ruining the whole story arc by overdoing it.

I believe the Asha man are so tired, because for one, Perrin has been running them into the ground with all the work they have been doing. Two, they got sick and I can't recall if the AS have tried to heal them or not, they are only very slowly coming back on line.

Other than that, not too awful much to comment on besides - Tallanvar, run away before it is too late!
Chin Bawambi
38. bawambi
Couple of points:
Perrin isn't dumb he's just a woolhead :)
However, I see no evidence that Byar IQ + Gawyn IQ > Stone of Tear IQ.
Morgase + Tallanvor maybe the most annoying couple in WoT.
39. Tenesmus
Leigh, You are right, most older movies are BORING, and I doubt that RJ would have ever written a scene like this. When he did intercut, it was becasue he was telling intersecting story arcs.

Since Faile is mentioned early in this, I have to share the image of her I have in my head. Not a movie casting thingy, but this is how I pictured her in my head, and then I saw this lady on TV and my first thought was, "Hey, look, Faile is on TV." then remembered she wasn't a real person. Too much WOT on the brain I guess...
AJ Kiser
41. TheCookieGod
Many thanks for the welcome, everyone! Cookies of all kinds for all walks of life! Because I am generous god. You'll have to settle for mundane mortal cow milk, though. There is no Dairy Deity in the pantheon I belong to.

Also, let me go on record as stating that as far as getting on my good side, you can't go wrong with snickerdoodle cookies.

Trivia: Bela ate my cookies once and they not only made her into a main character, but moments later, she raced against Odin's Sleipnir and won.

Also, whenever WoT characters communicate with each other, they do so over a platter of my cookies. This is the real reason why the Dark One spoiled all of Randland's foodstores. He targeted flour in particular, just so that I couldn't create cookies.
43. Freelancer
RE: Film (and other media) norms and practices. I personally feel somewhat badly for those who cannot enjoy a movie if it isn't from the John Woo/Michael Bay school of non-stop. One of the most enjoyable movies of the last fifteen years for me is K-PAX. There is very little action, lots of gently paced dialogue, and quite a bit of cerebral-only suspense. Many folks to whom I've mentioned it say they've seen it, but hated it because it moved so slowly. I like it so much because it keeps you guessing, keeps you thinking throughout the story. Some folks have learned to enjoy a movie only when the plot is jammed down their throat with an RPG launcher.


Completely agree that Morgase choosing to list Perrin's marriage decree alongside her treatment by Gaebril and Valda is bogus. She has been treated as well as humanly possible by him at every turn. However, there is mitigation from being forced to think that she holds Perrin as even remotely akin to those two who abused her. The context is Tallanvor needing to know that she would not be "shoved around". She isn't drawing any other parallel among the three names. And given how she has been traumatized, any action forced upon her under the color of authority is going to draw a strong reaction.

Branwhin @16

Hey there, stranger. Long time. Hope things are well with you and yours.

parrothead @22

Easy there, you know how spanking is viewed around here. Still, amen.

hihosilver28 @31

Perrin's camp was victimized by a bubble of evil which included venomous snakes, the bites of which are immune to Healing. Both Grady and Neald were bitten, are recovering slowly, and cannot channel strongly in the meantime.
Roger Powell
44. forkroot
Hah! Props to Leigh for bringing up Jaws. I had been "heads down" on collegiate stuff way back then and had paid no attention to popular media. So when my girlfriend told me she was taking me out to see some movie called "Jaws" (for my birthday - 37 years ago, but not to the day as I think the movie came out a day or two after my birthday), I said "sure" without knowing anything about it.

Anyway ... we were late to the theater, and the only seats left were in the very first row. Bear in mind I had virtually no idea what the movie was about. I can tell you that the first time that shark came out of the water I was over my chair and in the lap of some very surprised people in the second row!
45. Faculty Guy
@7Bergmaniac: "accorting to him apparently it's totally right to have a massive battle in which thousands would die to punish one Darkfriend."

At the risk of injecting semi-modern political commentary: isn't this pretty much exactly what G.W. Bush, Dick Cheny, et al. did in Iraq?

Leigh: there was an article in THE NEW YORKER several years ago (maybe by David Denby, but I can't remember for sure and can't find the citation) that made a point similar to the one you make about movies. The "turning point" identified there was the original 1977 Star Wars ("A New Hope"), and the claim was that the time duration (i.e., "length") of a "scene" in a movie took a sudden and dramatic before/after drop.

I'm reminded of this when looking at, say, LAWRENCE OF ARABIA, which was a fantastic movie, but the scene shots seem terribly long now. The probably did not when the movie appeared in 1962.

I'll continue to search for the magazine reference and post it if I find it. After reading the article, I believe I can almost tell when watching a movie whether it was made pre or post 1977 . . .
Alice Arneson
47. Wetlandernw
hihosilver28 @31 – Grady and Neald were both completely worn out after the battle of Malden. They’d made a bunch of gateways to bring everyone in, plus creating the big fog, and I think they did some of the fighting as well (not sure about that last). In any case, they were too exhausted to make Gateways for at least a week afterwards; then the bubble of evil with the weird snakes hit the camp, they both get bit, and Healing doesn’t work properly on the snakebites. Grady recovered faster than Neald, but they both think it shouldn’t take this long. I’ve always assumed it had something to do with the snakes not being natural; we’re not told, but it sounds a bit like maybe the snakes were somehow anti-OP.

Neuralnet@33 – Yeah, that always makes me chuckle too. :)

Wotman @37 – Well, when your expertise sheds a particular light on something in WoT, feel free to share it.

Bawambi @38 – Nice IQ analysis. :)

FacultyGuy @ 45 – Please don't risk it.
John Massey
48. subwoofer
@Leigh- Spielberg and Lucas FTW! Major props for that. For the longest of time my handle and email @ were DrJones, until some schmuck started cornering the market on that. Raiders always gets me, tension, humor, snakes and a Big Rock™ right from the word "jump". Ahhhh, memories.

Perrin- y'know, I always thought Perrin accepted his wolfness- hence the beard. I thought that was why he married Faile too... having a b!*#h growling and snapping and basically being his pack mate, never saw the bird angle at all:D


Lan- well, Lan is bags of awesome, but hows about some props to the boys doing laps around him so they were following him but "not following him".

@Parrothead- mmmmmmm, cake.

I've got a serious jonesing for shortbread right about now...

edit for "e":)

Tricia Irish
49. Tektonica
Ummmm...Snickerdoodles! Yes, CookieGod! Thank you.

FacultyGuy@45: Lawrence of Arabia is my all time favorite movie. Ponderously slow by todays standards, and incredibly beautiful, thoughtful. Thanks for that reminder.

I'd forgotten about the Snakes biting the Ash'aman. Perhaps it was generated by the TP, since it is part of a bubble of evil. I wonder if Nynaeve could heal it?
Kimani Rogers
50. KiManiak
hihosilver@31 – re: Ashaman healing slowly– I believe it’s a combination of them being overworked, and those poisonous snakes that arose (linked to a Bubble of Evil?) and bit a number of Perrin’s entourage. I think in a previous chapter we are told that the Ashamen are recovering, but slowly. Apparently, they’re still recovering.
(EDIT: Freelance@43 seems to have answered this. And then Wetlander@47. I really should refresh the page more often)

Plus, it’s not like they can rest all day in a nice feather bed. They have to march right alongside the rest of the army/refugees.

bawambi@38 – re: Morgase & Tallanvor – More annoying then Gawyn and Egwene? Are you sure about that?

Cookiegod@41 – You are a kind and generous god. Double chocolate with white chocolate chips for me, please!

sub@48 – re: Perrin and his wolflike attributes – Hah! You had me busting up, especially your comments on Faile. Oh, and I agree: we should give all of those who follow/stalk Lan -before he accepts all followers- major props for their perseverance.
51. alreadymadwithlan&perrin
Welcome to the Lan and Perrin show. It's hard to tell which is being more bull headed and idiotic. Get over it already you two!
Jay Dauro
52. J.Dauro
wotman @37

I wouldn't expect you to do so in a movie. But at a meeting discussing the movie, its themes, and its quality, it would be perfectly appropriate. And we would love to hear parallels here also.
Charles Gaston
53. parrothead
Oy. We haven't even gotten to the wrecking her character receives and already my favorite Saldean gets maligned.
Bob Weld
54. WaitingShadows
So, I'm just going to throw a super crazy idea out there: Could Sebban Balwer be Demandred?

I know there is absolutely no evidence to support this, and only circumstantial evidence that makes me think this is a theory at all. He's done very well to avoid serious suspicion. He organized Cha Faile when Faile was taken, and seemed to help them. He also seems to be openly aiding Perrin now, and has always given him useful information. The biggest eidence against him is that he helped Morgase escape when the Seanchan came. I bet not very many readers of tWoT doubt that he is open about all of these intentions. Also, there is the big question of why hasn't he killed Perrin? I'll admit, I don't really have an answer for that one yet, but I'm still thinking...

However, since it's been running through my head for a while, and I've consulted a few FAQ, I feel that I should mention a couple items of possible interest:
1. Balwer frequently slips away in cities and no one really knows where he's going. He could be gathering information from darkfriends, going into T'A'R, getting a sufficient distance away to be able to travel undetected, and/or sending orders to his numerous proxies.
2. From the 13th Depository's article on the Forsaken, regarding Demandred: Was instructed on who will live and who not. The Dark One’s plan is a gamble.
3. Balwer has done exceedingly well at avoiding suspicion, mostly by supplying useful information (as well as helping Morgase and teaching Cha Faile), but if Demandred was instructed by the DO to keep Morgase alive for some reason (Rahvin didn't kill her either, but possibly/probably for completely different reasons), that would explain why he would want to help her both escape the Seanchan, and aid in the rescue of Faile (and her).
4. Masema said that someone was appearing to him. IIRC, a common answer is a forsaken disguised as the Dragon (whoever it was, a forsaken, Masema's own twisted brain or something else, it certainly wasn't Rand). Balwer was in the area, and I don't believe any other forsaken have come forward claiming to be/have been influencing Masema, so it could be him, at least theoretically.

This rambling has gone on longer than I expected, but it's a thought. I guess all I'm saying is that I wouldn't be surprised...

55. J.Dauro - Thanks, I haven't been reading up on the interviews. Scratch that idea :)
Jay Dauro
55. J.Dauro
Waiting Shadows

Brandon Interview 2010

Demandred hasn't been in-guise in the books at least up to Knife of Dreams.

Sebben Balwer first appears in Lord of Chaos


RJ has also said that we have not seen his alter ego before KOD, as I remember
Steve Barkmeier
56. sbark
I always wondered if the snakes were a reference to Numbers 21.

Lan's followers, uhm leaders, well whatever, are totally awesome here. They also totally crack me up. They do a great job of following LAN by ignoring his orders. I also love the whole, big deal, so what if we die routine. They totally stand LAN on his head with the Malkieri customs.
57. Nik_the_Heratik
Really enjoying the WoT re-read. I agree that Perrin can be annoying and the Morgase subplot bothered me so much that I've skipped it entirely the last time I read WoT, along with Faile's time in Malden. However, him not wanting to be in charge doesn't bother me nearly as much as the lack of good internal reasons why he doesn't want to be in charge.

He's never been ambitious and he tries to take responsibility for every bad thing that happens, but he can't give those reasons as they're basically the same flaws that Rand had to deal with. So they make him a bit on the dense side internally which is frustrating to read.
Billy Abbey
58. felix
Cookie....I refuse to think of a world where we have Godly cookies without Godly milk!!!!! There was a time I would start to make a PB&J and then find out I didn't have milk and put it all back. In a yin and yang universe I like to translate it to cookie and milk. I want a show of hands of who doesn't like cookies and/or milk.

PS being lactose intolerant doesn't count....that is not disliking that is allergic.

PPS Galad still rockin, Perrin hurry up and sack up
Billy Abbey
59. felix
Oh and thanks for the recap Leigh, I loves them muches.
60. XLCR
I immediatly recognized that as part of an old Japanese Haku;

"Duty is heavier than a mountain,
Death, lighter than a feather"
Ron Garrison
61. Man-0-Manetheran
I like the icon for Chapter 6. I’ve taken to calling it the Blacksmith’s Puzzle and think it symbolizes Perrin trying to figure things out. I got a chuckle at the end of TGS when I saw that Brandon used it as his personal icon on the “About the Authors” page. I’m sure putting together all of Jordan’s writings, notes, Harriet’s knowledge and the input from the rest of Team Light was quit a difficult puzzle indeed!

The only other interpretation I can think of for this icon is “Sevanna’s gold chains.” These being the chains that she placed on Faile and Morgase, but that idea no longer works for me. And I don’t know why Brandon would chose it for his icon. Chapter 7’s icon, by the way, is the one chosen to represent Robert Jordan on the “About the Authors” page.

P.S. - Does anyone know of a database for the chapter icons and what they are “officially?’ The only thing I’ve found is one that stopped many years ago and does not have the newer icons.

Oh, and thanks Leigh for the film history lesson. I never made that connection, but you are quite right. I have a similar story on how Bing Crosby forever changed popular music. I’ll tell it to you some day...

— Tai'Shar Manetheren
62. alreadymadwithicons
Man-0-Manetheran @61
Leigh's own WOTFAQ's have it, though it doesn't have the new ones introduced since Brandon took over. An updated version is on Dragonmount.
Thomas Keith
63. insectoid
Late to post today... hi everyone! Had a great b'day; thanks for the well wishes. And happy birthday Forkroot!

Great as always, Leigh.

Yawn, emo Perrin chapters. Perrin making a fool of himself, and being an idiot... what else is new?

The two had become five: Heh.

Galad: Is an idiot for believing anything Byar says.

Interesting tangent on movies. Which isn't too surprising, I guess. (I love Raiders of the Lost Ark, too.)

Welcome to TheCookieGod, and all the other new commenters! Mmmm... cookies. (I've no room for cookies, had cake.)

Branwhin @16: Hey there... where ya been? :)

WaitingShadows @54: That's about as likely as Taim being Moridin in disguise. (Which was what my mom insisted this afternoon, while reading through the book.)

Run for your lives... giant boulder!!


64. alreadymadwithicons
The old WOTFAQ's had it. Dragonmount has an updated guide in the Gallery.
I tried posting a link but it just got labelled as spam.

Happy birthday Forkroot
Tess Laird
65. thewindrose
Perrin's thought process really annoyed me in Questioning Intentions. He is going to send everyone away, back to where they came from - and yet he feels Rand pulling him. He knows why Rand is pulling him too, last battle / future hanging on a thread and all / pattern falling apart - hmmm, send everyone home. Argggg
Interesting that he doesn't talk about sending Berelian away (to Mayane or off to Rand right away) - isn't it?

I enjoyed how Lighter Than a Feather was constructed - nice set up for what is to follow between Perrin and Galad.

Deana Whitney
66. Braid_Tug
Intercut non-action screens. Someone already pointed out the AS and the Cairhien crown.
But wasn’t it also used when the Supergirls were manipulating the S Hall, so that Eqwene could pull her “Act of War” trick? Then again, that was a quick bounce between different perspectives, so that might have a different “proper” term.

Perrin: yes, he needs to move past his hang ups. But he is still less than 2 years out from the traumatic experience of losing his entire family. I know we don’t hear about it in his enteral dialog much, but you figured it is affecting how he behaves and the writers approach him. Guilt… Hard to feel you are worthy of leading people if you feel you couldn’t even protect your family.

A major difference between Perrin and Lan is their followers. Perrin’s listen to him and will follow the orders he gives, while he says “I’m no leader.” Lan’s follwers mostly say: “Be King, and I’ll listen to your orders. Until then, I don’t have to obey.” (yes, the kid is obeying better.)

History lesson of Heraldry: Only Nobles and those granted “The Rights of Arms” were allowed to have arms (banners) = Wolfhead. Others who used them without permission could be punished harshly.

By keeping it up, Perrin is being a self-declared nobleman. By the Two Rivers men carrying it around, they are declaring themselves “his.” Thus by Perrin ordering (yet again) the taking down of the banner, he’s trying to un-declare himself. But yes, it’s all better when he just accepts it already and all his actions match his words.

BTW: where did the term "Plotline of Doom" first show up? I first saw it here in the re-read.
67. Nandros
To me most of Perrins problems as a character come from:
a) being an idiot, in general it seems.
b) from finally realising that leading men in battle also means leading then to death which leads us to emo Perrin issue.
c) giving the reader more information then the character has which makes character flaws less bearable when you as a reader already know the right answers.
d) I had to read and wait for what 4-5 books for the said character to have them as well ?
Chin Bawambi
68. bawambi
@Kimaniak - Yeah for me upon further reflection its not even close. Most couples in WoT seem well matched. Gawyn and EggHead are perfect together - I can't see any reason why Morgase would be interested in the slightest in Tallanvor but perhaps Rahvin's complusion still has aftereffects.
Ron Garrison
69. Man-0-Manetheran
amw... @ 62 & 64:
Thanks. I have nothing but trouble with Dragonmount’s site. I’m clearly logged in, but on nearly every page but Home, I get a “you do not have permission” message. No one responds to my emails. I have clicked “Resend Validation” several times – nothing. Sorry to vent here, but hopefully one of you wonderful people has some insight into what I need to do.
Tricia Irish
70. Tektonica
Why is Morgase interested in Tallanvor?

Ummmm...he's young and handsome?? That might be enough right there, except that, seriously, he told her the truth in the Andor Palace, had stayed faithful to her, smuggled her out of said Palace safely, and has defended her for what, a year and a half, two? He's steady and devoted. (And handsome and young ;-)) She's not the queen anymore and one could infer that Tallanvor, being in a prime post in the Palace in Andor, is probably from some noble family. Why shouldn't Morgase finally find someone kind, and without guile to love? (That said....it's certainly not a very important plot line. More a kind of "texture of irrelevent detail" thing. It fleshes out these secondary characters, gives them depth, and motives for their actions.)

Man-O@69: Howdy, sir! Drop Jason Denzel a private shout...he runs Dragonmount, I think. He fixed it up for me, when I couldnt' get in.
Martyna Berek
71. missbee
Hello all again!
Apologies for the extended absence, RL intruded (rudely).
I thought I'd bring some hot chocolate (with brandy, for those who partake) by way of an apology.
Should go well with the cookies.

WaitingShadows @ 54
On the subject of Balwer, I was very suspicious of him for a long time too. Especially after Paitr & Co. failed in their attempt to 'rescue' Morgase back in 6-31.
But in the end, I came to the conclusion that he probably is what he seems. There is still a little wiggle room left for him to be some sort of an informant/sleeper agent (Graendal springs to mind), but if he was any more than that, then I think we would have had some hints via Perrin's nose at the very least

Lan - love the way he's written in TOM, and, love the way he wanders along, unperturbed and undisturbed, while behind him mayhem happens. I'm guessing Kandor and Heeth Tower must have fallen just after he went past, then the red-veiled 'Aiel' appeared, Ituralde arrived in Saldea with 100 AM, Maradon was beseiged, attacked and rescued (though I suppose he was a long way past by then)

Perrin - I like Perrin as a character, I can see where the emo comes from, still doesn't make it any easier to read. I wish his angst was compressed into fewer pages.

edit - weird space-bar problem
72. Ryamano
What I dislike about the Perrin arc is how fake and nonrealistic it seems sometimes.
What I’m trying to say is that if there’s some person who doesn’t want a position of leadership, soon enough there comes another person who’s ambitious enough to take that position of leadership from him or her, even if that person is less qualified. Leadership and lack of ambition don’t stay together for prolonged periods of time.
So, if Perrin constantly says that he shouldn’t be the leader (much less the lord) of these Two Rivers people, that the Ghealdanin should swear loyalty to Rand, etc, then the most likely scenario in reality would be people saying “OK”, shrugging their shoulders, and getting on with their business. What we see in these Perrin chapters is people saying “No, lord Perrin, we can’t work or do anything without your leadership. Please, be our leader” and Perrin saying “No, I’m not fit to be a leader” and this being repeated over and over again.
I know Leigh is reading the Song of Ice and Fire series, so I’ll try to not put spoilers, but this situation is better handled in book 4 of that series. Let’s us just say that if people don’t want to be in positions of power, soon enough they aren’t in those positions and others, less fit, take over.
Also, I guess the reason this wasn’t irritating in The Shadow Rising is because, in the situation described there, the motivation made more sense. Perrin didn’t want to lead the people of the Two Rivers against the trollocs, at first he just wanted to fight, but when he saw the terrible work people that led were doing, either because they were sabotaging the effort (lord Luc) or were just incompetent (Whitecloaks), then he took action and stepped in. I know this situation, it makes more sense. I know how irritating it can be to see bad decisions being taken and how you actually want people to go in the right direction. What I’ve never seen is a board of directors electing a CEO against his will, for example, and keeping him or her there even though she or he protests a lot about not being fit for the job, etc. Someone else just takes the job every time.
And also, it seems like people in Randland do need a lord to rule over them, and cases where this doesn’t happen are more due to the absence of the lord (due to the place being more rustic, like the Two Rivers) rather than people actually being more independent-minded. And this kind of grates on my republican-democratic ideals. The exceptions to this are the Aiel and the people of Far Madding.
Martyna Berek
73. missbee
Ryamano @ 72
You make a good point, but Perrin does have a huge advantage over an ordinary CEO - the minions already know what he can do (when he gets round to doing it). His reputation would have travelled with the Two Rivers folk and undoubtedly only increased with time.
He's taveren, they saw him deal with the Seanchan, then the Prophet, he trampled on the DO's beetles when others screamed ...etc
I'm not surprised they hang their hopes on him.
Maiane Bakroeva
74. Isilel
I guess I have to backtrack some, because I have noticed that Tallanvor, who basically brokered Perrin's alliance with the Seanchan(!) didn't get any recognition either and is back to being a servant or something too. So, it seems that Perrin & Faile have no eye for talent whatsoever and wouldn't be able to find their posteriors with a map and a compass, if the Pattern hadn't implacably propelled them to the top and kept them there despite their best attempts to fail. Heh.

Yes, Perrin knows that the Last Battle is coming, yet continues to be a complete idiot and wants to send people away piece-meal, so that they can be conveniently slaughtered come TG. Argh!!!!

Re: wolfiness, sorry, can't give him any slack there. Perrin has already been in many, many situations where he had to use wolf-dream without having any clue what he was doing and only scrapping by because of St. Hopper (yea, I am all for sainting him, too!).
Yes, learning wolf-dream skills may appear risky from Perrin's PoV, but it is obviously even more risky to have to use it in situations of extreme danger without any training whatsoever!
And yes, since Perrin knows that TG is imminent and things keep escalating, he can be sure that he will be required to use wolf-dream again soon. In fact, to anybody having two neurons to rub together that should have been abundantly clear after the rescue of Faile from T'AR in TDR.

Speaking of the most annoying couple in WoT - Failed Perrin take the cake, surely? All the others are afforded less space to spread their annoyingness, at least.

Re: Lan, yes, his intention to go fight and die alone in the Blight, when guarding and helping Nynaeve would accomplish so much more in the war against the Dark One is completely crazy.

OTOH, he is suffering from the broken Warder bond _and_ he had been conditioned to resist leading his people on a suicidal rush to reclaim their lost homeland, so I have more sympathy for him.
Oh, and his denial phase is incomparably shorter, significantly funnier and his followers are much cooler too. And not afraid to call him on his BS immediately.

Ryamano @73:
Let’s us just say that if people don’t want to be in positions ofpower, soon enough they aren’t in those positions and others, less fit, take over.
Or not even necessarily less fit. Seriously, it is widely aknowledged that people generally do a better job when they like/love what they are doing. Of course, the issue of people wanting the perks of power without giving much thought to responsibilities entailed muddles the situation, but still. History does have examples of unwilling leaders and honestly, they were terrible. Louis XVI was one, for instance ;).Washington or Cincinnatus are bad examples for reluctant leaders, BTW, in that they were picked _because_ of their whole preceding careers of leadership in which they engaged voluntarily and sucessfully.
75. Abraham Lincoln
Re: Perrin trying to get Morgase and Tallavanor to marry each other, I'd say that Faile was definitely behind it. We saw her thoughts on the subject in PoD, and Perrin even says to Morgase that the marriage was something someone else suggested to him.

I always thought it was a clever little joke at the end of Morgase's tirade, when she tells Perrin to consult his wife first next time. The irony!!!
Stefan Mitev
76. Bergmaniac
I am in two minds whether trying to have Morgase and Tallanvor married was Perrin's biggest doofus moment in ToM or if this position belongs to his "bright" idea to tell the Lord Captain Commander of the Whitecloaks at the start of a tense parley that his little sister is looking to marry the Dragon Reborn. Opinions?
Donna Harvey
77. snaggletoothedwoman
Abraham Lincoln@75 It was Lini that told Perrin about Morgase and Tallavanor.
Charles Gaston
78. parrothead
And the parade continues. Especially since we all know the worst couple title belongs to Mat and the imperialist bimbo.

And Citizen Capet wasn't unwilling, just incompetent and vacillating. He was unwilling to be a constitutional monarch, because he insisted that he was an absolute monarch.
Don Barkauskas
80. bad_platypus
BraidTug @66, et al.: The difference between those scenes and this one is that in the previous scenes, RJ did a quick look-in to several scenes happening simultaneously in different locations; barring some funky two-column typesetting, there's no other way for a book to show two or more scenes simultaneously (like a split-screen could in film).

On the other hand, in the scene Leigh's talking about, it goes back-and-forth between the scenes, with each scene split into multiple pieces. That is (I'm pretty sure) unique to this point in TWoT, as Leigh pointed out.
Karen Fox
81. thepupxpert
Hi everyone, RL is majorly intruding on me now but still lurking and enjoying the comments!
Alice Arneson
82. Wetlandernw
The problem wasn't really Perrin suggesting that Morgase and Tallanvor get on with it already. It was his peremptory order and his dismissive attitude ("this silliness") that was all wrong. He could have offered to perform the ceremony any time they wanted, or he could have suggested sending Tallanvor on some mission to get a reaction from either one, or... better yet, he could have done as Morgase said, and talked it over with his wife first. Faile might have meddled just as much, but she'd have done it in such a way that they Morgase didn't feel a need to dig in her heels and refuse. She might have made a firm suggestion to her maid that she either get on with it or turn him away, but she wouldn't have ordered her - in front of him! - to marry him right now.

Incidentally, I don't quite get the problem with Faile treating Morgase Maighdin as her maid again. That's what she's supposed to be; Faile has no knowledge of her true identity. While they were captives, they were both captive and on a relatively equal footing; now that they are back to their "rightful" positions, they should both step back into those roles. Yes, there might be a certain difference in their relationship due to their mutual sufferings, but that doesn't change their roles. If "Maighdin" really was trained as a lady's maid, and that was her accustomed position, Faile would have been doing her no favors by elevating her to some nebulous "you're not really a servant any more but no one knows what you are" position. If they were in more settled times, and Faile could choose to elevate her to nobility, she would give her some land to go with it and all that. As it stands, Faile has nothing to gift her with but an empty title, and neither one of them would really want that. IMO.

Okay, I exaggerate a little. I do understand that people in our nominally egalitarian society would like to see the "sisterhood of suffering" result in some form of similar equality once they are free. I just don't think it would make any sense in-world, so I think it smacks more than a little of an easy excuse to hate on Faile again.
Charles Gaston
83. parrothead
@82 Wetlandernw: Thank you for putting it so clearly, and to the point. I do tend to get distracted by historical references.
84. TBRaiders
@7. Bergmaniac "Morgase is 10 times better leader than Perrin (who, let's be honest, is a mediocre one without his ta'veren effect). It's bizarre having her serve him tea and watching him make blunders."

I don't know how anyone would quantify Morgase being a better leader than Perrin. I'd need to be reminded of any situation she showed leadership traits. Perrin is still coming into his own at this point in the book, but he has been put into multiple situations that have called for him to make decisions and display maturity well beyond his years. Don't get me wrong, he's acted like a heartsick teenage boy as well, but Morgase is a much older, experienced person who has made many terrible decisions. Going to the Whitecloaks for help, acting like to Tallanvor and others in the party who said her life getting her out of Andor, running away from her party and putting all their lives in danger before Perrin's group showed up to save them, still pretending to be a maid and thinking Perrin has somehow betrayed Andor? That entire line of thinking baffles me from Morgase and Elayne. It remind me of children who haven't played with a toy in years but see someone else picking it up and they immediately shout, "Mine!" I could continue, but really she was born with a silver spoon in her mouth and is going through her own growth and maturity. She isn't some Amazon warrior princess who won a crown and has gloriously led her people through any type of diversity.

@67. Nandros
Pretty rough list. Not sure why I decided to become a defender of Perrin in this thread today, because he's annoyed me for years, BUT he's annoyed me because we can see that he is smart, mature, caring, and has many characteristics a leader needs to have. We've wanted to see him embrace this role that he is already performing. He isn't an idiot and anyone who's ever had Soldiers die under their command who truly care for their people is going to have issues to overcome. As was mentioned in another post, almost all of his family has been killed and many people he's grown up and known all his life have died. His wife was kidnapped, he's battled creatures from childhood stories, he's been all over the world and seen amazing and terrifying things, one of his best friends (who might be going crazy) has immense power and is the fabled Dragon, the last battle for mankind's survival is at their doorstep, and oh yeah, he can hear wolves in his head. "Buck up Perrin and quit being emo"...lol. Military leadership requires the right blend of accomplishing the mission and the welfare of your Soldiers. We all know he is going to get there, just like Rand. What many seem to forget is they have zero formal schooling or training. They are learning on the fly. I will forgive Perrin his period of "being emo" because of what he did going back to Two Rivers, becoming the leader they needed, and saving those people. I will forgive him because of his loyalty to his friends, especially Rand, and how he goes about doing things because they need to be done. I will finally forgive him because we know what is about to happen further along in this book and because he finally embraced being a leader.
James Golden
85. Treemaster
Regarding Perrin's decision to just marry Talanvor and Morgase:

I haven't read through all the comments yet, so this has probably already been mentioned, but didn't Lini tell Perrin to do this several books back -- the Path of Daggers, perhaps? So if everyone is outraged with Perrin, they should be equally outraged with Lini. Myself, I think what Perrin attempted to do was wrong, but understandable in light of the stress he was under. He didn't want to have to deal with all the mooning between the two of them.
Alice Arneson
86. Wetlandernw
TBRaiders @84 - ::Applauds enthusiastically:: YES! Perrin does get annoying at times, but it's only because he's written so realistically. Given all that's happened to him, he has stepped up to the plate time and time again and done what had to be done, even though he didn't like being the leader and didn't like what he had to do.
Roger Powell
87. forkroot
He didn't want to have to deal with all the mooning between the two of them.
Hmmm ... that term has taken on quite a different meaning these days and now I need some brain bleach.

Meanwhile, I am reminded of a cartoon with a scene on the Moon (with Earth up in the sky.) A funny looking alien was bent over exposing his buttocks to two others of his kind who were pointing and giggling. The caption had one of them saying:

"Look! Xafph is earthing us!"
Stefan Mitev
88. Bergmaniac
Morgase won a civil war in which nobody gave her a chance when she was 18 (the war started when she was 16). She was a very successful queen for 25 years. And she did this without ta'veren effect doing most of the work for her, unlike Perrin. I'd take her over him as a leader any day of the week.
Nadine L.
89. travyl
Interessting that Leigh talks about "speeding up" Perrin's stroy arc in chapter 7. I do get the different style (simultaneous conversations of Perrin/Gaul and Byar/Galad) and appreciate the cinematic explanation, but I don't see any of the "let’s take the shortest possible narrative route" which Leigh implies that is achieved by it:
The only thing that happend in this chapter was two leaders deciding that they might want to meet with each other. If I remember correctly the story-arc will continue to drag along (postponed meetings, demanding more time etc before battle...). It just didn't felt that much speedy for me, which is a good thing, because although I share the feeling of "Perrin, please get it over already", if would have felt wrong and out of character if everything had gone suddenly different (besides the narratic style).

Lan: I did like how his companions behaved around and towards Lan, by "not following" but doing it all the same.

Morgase: I very much liked her POV, that she gains insight that even seeming menial task do require skill, that she tries to adopt to this role instead of being bitter and resentful, and of course as Leigh says, the outsider view she gives us on Perrin.
90. Freelancer

The answer is no, and if you request, I will send you a written treatise on the real scope and purpose of what you mistakenly believe was a war to punish one man.
William Fettes
91. Wolfmage
“I don't know how anyone would quantify Morgase being a better leader than Perrin. I'd need to be reminded of any situation she showed leadership traits.”
It’s not really fair to benchmark Morgase's leadership qualities only for the period when she is escaping the haze of heavy compulsion, possibly with semi-permanent brain damage. I agree that she is muddled and hardly impressive during this period, and going to the Whitecloaks was a poor decision, but she can hardly be blamed for the desparate situation she found herself in or her mental state for much of this time.

By all accounts, Morgase was an excellent ruler during normal times. She managed to win the Succession for House Trakand from competing claimants and she kept her family name in the process -- instead of becoming a Damodred. She brought peace and prosperity to Andor, cementing her House as a presumptive ruling House. She formed a close relationship with Tar Valon, with an Aes Sedai advisor and training for the First Prince and Daughter-Heir, whilst still having a good degree of independence. She showed restraint and wisdom in dealing with Elaida's formidable presence in Court. She was apparently hot-headed sometimes in a temper, but was generally accounted a good player of the game and a fair and wise ruler. Certainly she was considered in most of her judgements in terms of civil disputes and criminal trials. She also provided lots of attention and instruction to her children, was generally a good role model. She was adored by her subjects.

To this day she remains concious and reflective about one mistaken decision she made previously with tainted testemony.

There aren't many rulers that we know about with a better record.
90. Freelancer 45. Faculty Guy

There is what the Bush Administration officialy sited as their reasons for going to war in Iraq. There is what individuals working for the Bush Administration have said publicly were and weren't the reasons for going to war in Iraq. There is what has been released publicly about some of the information spoken of in the hearings about the reasons for going to war in Iraq; these hearings were mainly about the actionability of the information stated as the reasons for going to war in Iraq.

And last but not least, there is what the people believe were the reasons for going to war in Iraq. Some people believe the administration and their reasons. Some don't. There are very good reasons fore and against.

Very very good reasons for and against.

Glen V
93. Ways
71. missbee

Hot chocolate with brandy sounds wonderful.
94. AndrewB
Zexxes @92

Very good synopsis of the information available on that topic. You stuck to the facts without imposing your opinion on such a spirited topic. I am not sure that I could have said what you did with such brevity while including non-biased substance.

Well done.

Thanks for reading my musings,
John Massey
95. subwoofer
@Fork- belated Happy happy day:) .... still sketchy on whether you were born or not;)

As for mooning... remove the "n".
He didn't want to have to deal with all the mooing between the two of them.
@Parrothead, sorry about your Faile attachment, if it makes you feel better, I am a big Bashere fan and would argue his merit above the other great captains.

Oh yeah, before I forget again, as far as the accelerated pace of the story, give'r. Let's face it, there is one book left and a whack of things that should be wrapped up. RJ pace, we'd be doing this into book 25. Bandon is doing well.

96. ElusiveBookWorm
WOT is the first re read i've actually followed and it's been remarkable :) I've been stalking this thread the last few days at work (shh..) and its actually refresahing and energizing! Thanks a lot LB!
Roger Powell
97. forkroot
Thanks for all the well wishes folks! Mrs. forkroot ponied up for an iPad for my birthday present, so it was a Happy Birthday indeed.

I forgot to mention this point on the last post (when we were discussing the confirmation of Asmo's killer), but one thing ToM did was obsolete one of my WoT bumper stickers -- namely the "I killed Asmodean" bumper sticker.

I had even thought of taking my "Bela is a Darkfriend" bumper sticker, and with a little cut/paste I could have had "Bela killed Asmodean". Alas, nobody would believe that one now either.

So I figure it's time for some new WoT bumper stickers. Here are a few suggestions:

- "Blademasters do it with Heron-marked swords"

- "It's not Botox, I held the Oath Rod"

- "My son was Message Runner of the Month at Heeth Tower"

- "May you always find water and shade - otherwise go with at least SPF 30"

- "What happens at Shayol Ghul stays at Shayol Ghul"

- "My other vehicle is a skimming platform"

- "Channeler by birth - Green Ajah by choice!"

OK ... I'm sure all of you can do much better than these. Let's hear them!
98. Sly Drool Rockworm
FWLIW, I think a lot happened with Ernest Hemingway and novel-writing that Spielberg and Lucas took advantage of - Solzhenitsyn famously referred to Hemingway as one of his "mentors" and in August 1914 he chopped and changed characters, scenes, viewpoints per sometimes very short chapter/s.

You haven't read August 1914?

And more than one author has made use of the "roving third person universal viewpoint" - it drives me up the wall in Dune.

Oh well, if Demandred hasn't appeared on-scene disguised before KoD, there goes my favourite Galad=Demandred theory ... sad, really sad. I'll have to revert to the Narg=Demandred theory ...

I can't say that either Perrin or Galad impress me in this segment of their arcs. About the only time Morgase is impressive is when she - spoiler alert - passes judgement later.
Valentin M
99. ValMar
Morgase and Tallanvor mooning at each other? That's one interesting courtship. No wonder it was so chilly between them for so long, being winter and all...

As for the Iraq stuff, the "punishing one person war" tag is technically more appropriate* for the costly cock-up in Afganistan.

* but still extremely simplistic, even early on, before the stated objectives began to be changed.
Valentin M
100. ValMar
Nimble as a meerkat, here I come one hunny!

Funny bumper stickers, gave me a few chuckles.
How about:

"Pillowfriends are for life not just for The Feast Of Lights"*

* This is in reference to the discussion we had some time ago about how pillowfriends in the WT "grow out" of it.
Jonathan Levy
101. JonathanLevy
I am in two minds whether trying to have Morgase and Tallanvor married was Perrin's biggest doofus moment in ToM
Yeah, mucho embarassing for Perrin. That said, an argument can be made that it wasn't completely idiotic. Lini explicitly advised him to do this in the past, and he is ta'veren, after all. Perhaps he unthinkingly assumed that with a little push the wheel would weave out the best result, which was what everyone really wanted anyway.
Chris Lehotsky
102. Tel_Janin
@97 re: bumper stickers

"Have angreal, will Travel"

"Honk if you're taken by the Dragon"
103. Faculty Guy
ZEXXES and Freelancer: No political flame wars, certainly not on this site. But the parallels between WOT fantasyland and RL are surely interesting.

Reasons for "going to war" are often (usually) different from the reasons that motivate the actual war-fighters. If I'm a soldier risking my life and limb I need to be convinced of the worthiness of my cause, and this is different from a cool-headed (or not) political leader, whether king, president, or prime minister, weighing the reasons for or against fighting.

I grew up in the mid-20th century US South. In my childhood there were still folks living (e.g., my grandparents) whose OWN grandparents had fought as confederates. I can cite a lengthy argument justifying the nobility of the Southern Cause (capitalization always implied, as in "The Cause.") Today it is widely assumed that the war was over slavery, and that the Southern cause was hideously wrong. But almost none of the common Confederate soldiers owned slaves (fewer than 20% of white landowners in Southern states did). The Confederate troops MUST have been fighting for some other reason, and for a cause they considered noble and just.

In WOT there is at least a very clear distinction between the "Light" and the baddies. (Having trollocs as enemies enables our heros to kill without inducing guilt.) Yet RJ has created an amazingly complex and pretty realistic fantasy world, and there's lots of fighting beyond just killing trollocs and darkfriends. Thus the Whitecloaks are supposedly motivated by the struggle against "Darkness" but are willing to hang just about anyone who looks at them cross-eyed. The Aiel think fighting is fun, apparently ("dancing"). False dragons can instantly attract followers willing to die for them. And so it goes: fighting and killing is not limited to just pure good versus pure evil.

I wonder what cause motivates the foot-soldiers in, say, Berelain's army. Are they just risking death for pay? Are they on an adventure? Are they draftees who are forced into combat?

I recommend a Peter Meinke poem titled "Ode to Good Men Fallen Before Hero Come." You can find it on the on-line (I won't try to include a link here - it'd probably getted spammed - BTW did you all know that "SPAM" originally was short for "Spiced Ham?").
Rob Munnelly
104. RobMRobM
How about big yellow sign - "Dragon on Board"
Tricia Irish
106. Tektonica

Excellent...you had me spitting coffee! Please print those bumper stickers up and distribute in the Bunker. (I hope you got my latish B'day wishes on the old thread ;-)

.....and Tel_Janin...and RobM...and ValMar....keep 'em comin'!
James Whitehead
107. KatoCrossesTheCourtyard
For bumper stickers how about following:

"My boss is Twin Rivers blacksmith"

"My boss is the Dragon Reborn."

"Browns do it vaguely."

Roger Powell
108. forkroot
Um yeah. SPAM is a product of the Hormel corporation. Monty Python made fun of it in a one of their famous skits - and that sketch became the basis for the informal use of the term to denote unwarranted cross-posting in Usenet ... and then by extension, unwanted mass E-mails.

SPAM (the meat product) is quite popular on the Pacific Rim. As a child, I didn't care for it (too salty) but I rediscovered it (in a way) when I started going to Hawaii on a regular basis (and playing golf there.)

It turns out that a little bit of SPAM, wrapped in rice and nori makes something called a "SPAM Musubi" - these are not only delicious, they are much easier to handle on a windy golf course than a typical sandwich. (There's not enough time to eat a whole sandwich between golf shots - so you end up having 1/2 a sandwich in your cart at risk to the wind and critters.)

ValMar@105 (and others)
LOL! Keep 'em coming!
Valentin M
109. ValMar
"Figs and mice is not torture"

"Figs and mice is torture"
Deana Whitney
110. Braid_Tug
More Bumper Stickers:

“Yes, the birds and mice are watching You.”

“Born on a Ship, Raised on a Ship, Die on a Ship. Annoy everyone on Land.” - Sea Folk Creed

“Happiness is doing as you are Compelled”

“Wolf Up and Lead!”

Sorry Monty…
“No one expects the Whitecloak Questioners!”
On the back of a pick-up truck.

"My Hammer is bigger than your hammer "

And instead of the bull balls swinging underneath have a war hammer swinging.

112. AuttieB
I always thought Gawyn was so douche because he was feeling guilty himself. He's the one who should be somewhere else supporting his sister and stayed behind in Tar Valon even after it was obvious he was gone. His obsession with Rand being at fault is his way of dealing with throwing over his whole honor for a chick.
113. alreadymadwithmorgase
If you want an example of Morgase's leadership skills, the most glaring I can think of is how she stands up to her primary advisors during her first encounter with Rand. Both Bryne and Elaida recommended tossing Rand into prison at least until Logain's retinue had moved on. Instead she chose to uphold the rule of law.

As for the Morgase and Tallanvor wedding... I'd probably have done the same as Perrin did. It's easy for us to give him hell for it, but we must remember all the tension is happening in his household. That's on top of what he was already dealing with. As JonathanLevy @101 mentioned it wasn't even his idea to begin with. He supposed a little Ta'veren prodding might finally see this particular tangle resolved.

As for the bumper sticker:
Beware of the owner (w/ a picture of a heronmark icon)
Kimani Rogers
114. KiManiak
A few suggestions for the bumper sticker collection:

“My Daughter And My Money Go To The White Tower”

“My Far Dareis Mai Daughter Can Kick Your Honor Student Child’s Butt”

“99 Problems But A Bela Ain’t One”
Sam Mickel
116. Samadai
"I went to Shayol Ghul and all I got was my mind trapped in a cour'souvra.
117. Freelancer
I see your "Got Heron?" and raise you "Got Saidin?"/"Got Saidar?"

"Happiness is a First-Sister"

"Warder-Bonded and Proud"

"My boss is a seven-striped lass"

"Seven Ajahs; One Tower. The Amyrlin Seat wants you."

"Channeler by birth. Asha'man by choice. "

"Go Team Light!"

" How long have you been a Darkfriend?

"What happens in Mayene, stays in Mayene. First come, First-served"

"Borderlanders - Holding back the Blight for three millenia and counting"

"Malkier will rise again!"

"Taishar RJ!"
118. AndrewB
"Honk if you oppose the Dark One"

"Channel and be Merry"

Thanks for reading my musings,
Roger Powell
119. forkroot
I'm liking it! Here's a few more:

"Grolm - the other white meat"

"Beam me up Scotty, it's Tarmon Gaidon down here!"

"Shocklances don't kill people, people kill people"
Sam Mickel
120. Samadai
"I wear my Dragon's Fang with pride"

"I traveled the Ways and all I got was............."

"Can someone tell me where I am, I just passed a gholam and a maiden."
121. s'rEDIT
I have only one:

I love the smell of To'raken dung in the morning!
122. Blood_Drunk
Two-Rivers Tabac, kid tested surgeon-general approved

The Two Rivers: Trolloc free for 1,980 years
2 years

Happiness is a new sister-wife

Mother's Milk in a Cup! Mother's Milk with two girls and one cup!
124. Wookster125
"If you can read this, you're Skimming too close!"
33. Neuralnet
I guess the difference between Lan and Perrin in this instance, is Lan gets to the point of seeing the futility of trying to shed the duty of being a leader when everyone sees you as that leader, regardless of whether you want to be or not.

The conundrum that Perrin got stuck in was he sort of fell into being the leader because he saw no one else who fit the bill. He figured he knew what one looked like from Lan and Moraine's example, to name a few. Perrin just figured that someone more qualified would come along and relieve him. The problem was when one did come along they saw that there was no reason to do so, as they felt he had everything in hand well enough. And that's besides the fact that he had his armies loyalty.

While I have been just as frustrated as anyone with Perrin, I always felt that he just needed the one time, where someone he truly respected, someone experienced, older and wiser just had a talk and puffed him up a bit. Make him realize that while he wasn't fit to be a true leader when the responsibility fell in his lap, that destiny saw fit to choose him for a reason. And not only has Perrin become one now, that he has become Damn good one too!

Don't know if anyone else agrees with my opinion on that, but as I think we'll see in AMoL, that he will become a great leader. Not the best General mind you. Maybe the best leader.

mobile. sorry.
126. Blood_Drunk
You still fly a raken? I just upgraded to the Cho Wing E Class

Sea-Folk Windfinders like it Rough . . . ya know, 'cause their on the ocean

If this ships-a-rockin . . . ummm, It's probably just the Cemaros.

Who pays for Shay dancers when sea-folk do it for a Bargain.
Jeff Schweer
127. JeffS.
The only bumper sticker I want,

"Time to toss the dice"
128. AndrewB
"True Power is a terrible thing to waste."

Thanks for reading my musings.
129. high fantasy
Is my pattern unraveling ?

I could use some awesomesauce.

suffa!Is a good demane.
Valentin M
130. ValMar
"The only good damane is a free damane"

I dare you to put this on your horse cart in Ebou Dar.

PS fun as it is and a chance to show off my own cleverness, the thread is in danger of fizzling out except for the almost addictive urge to add to the bumper sticker collection.
Anyone care to add something else (nice try ZEX)?

PPS I duly note that it's a bit naughty of me to post the above paragraph just as I am off to bed...
Roger Powell
131. forkroot
And speaking of Ebou Dar

"No Mam! I was just, err, admiring your marriage knife"
132. Freelancer
"These are not the ta'varen that you are looking for"

"Don't drink the tea"

"Third Age Dreadlord Academy - Just a short skim from Caemlyn"
Jeff Schweer
133. JeffS.
Away from the Far Madding crowd?
134. Freelancer
"Shayol Ghul or bust!"

And since nobody else has taken it yet...

"Dovie'andi se tovya sagain."

"Ebou Dar Knitting Circle"

"Far Madding Male Escort Service"

Sam @120

We don't know who among the Aiel fell off the skimming platform. Rand starts to ask if it was a Maiden, but catches himself. Is there a warrior society named the Red Shirts?
135. Wookster125
"Badgers? We don't ease no stinking' badgers!"
Hold up! I got it, I got it, I got it!

"If all else fails... Saidar it! "
In case of an accident...

"Awwww rear ended. Lucky I got Balefire Auto Insurance!
It'll be like it never happened! "

Or just

" Balefire Auto Insurance, It'll be like it never happened! ".

Terry McNamee
140. macster
I'm with Branwhin--watching Perrin resist leadership and make mistakes is frustrating and despair-inducing, but at the same time we can understand why he feels as he does. He was just a blacksmith, and while the Pattern is forcing him to be something else and giving him the tools to do it, he is still catching up with where his thread is being woven. He's looking at himself and going "How can I possibly be a leader?" And from the sound of you and various commenters re: how much his successes are based on being ta'veren, it seems you agree he really isn't one. So is it any wonder he keeps going "This is wrong, you don't want me to lead you, you should all go home where it's safe or follow Rand"? It doesn't make it any less distressing to read, but I can understand how he feels. What he hasn't seen yet, but does eventually, is that he's been put where he is for a reason, and even if he doesn't have the skills to do the job (or thinks he doesn't), if he abrogates his responsibilities, he'll hurt more people than he helps (and get more Aram situations). So now that he's here, he'll do better to actually go along with it and do what he's been fated to do.

As for his telling Morgase and Tallanvor to get married: I can see why it angered Morgase, and Leigh and so many others, but I can also see why he did it, too. Basically, Perrin is reacting the same way so many of us have to various plot points and, may I note, the way Leigh herself did in this very blog entry: he saw that Morgase and Tallanvor were into each other and after watching them waffle and pine and be annoyingly wangsty about it, he put his foot down and said "Would you bloody get on with it already?!" The problem, of course, comes from the way in which he did it. If he'd been more gentle and subtle about it, probed their feelings, got them to admit them to each other so that they would realize the truth and ask him themselves to marry them as they do later, it would have been different.

There's also the whole his being their leader/master; it will be interesting to see how the reactions compare to Lini later (in Chapter 44) essentially telling them the same thing Perrin does here, but I suspect most weren't pissed at her about it. The fact she is on the same level as them, a servant/lower-tier member of the entourage, may have something to do with this. Treemaster @85 also addresses this.

In any event, Perrin being their leader, along with his generally blunt way of doing things and added to Tallanvor and especially Morgase not taking well to being given orders re: their love life (or for her, at all), explains what happened here. (As usual, Wetlander @82 addresses this better than me.)

On Morgase's plight itself: I would say that in the end she finds out (as does the reader) that it doesn't have to be an all-or-nothing deal. She does get to be Maighdin in a sense, moving on with her life and making choices for love and for her own independent benefit with Tallanvor; at the same time, her being revealed as Morgase, the trial, and meeting up with Elayne in Caemlyn lets her still be a leader of sorts and have some power and influence without returning to who and what she was. So she isn't obsolete, but she also has more freedom and a newer, happier life than she did before. May I also note that the part of this chapter where Morgase was ruminating on how much her life had changed because of what had happened to her seems to be a direct, in-story commentary on what Jordan had told a fan about what the point of Morgase's arc was: to show that the Wheel weaves as it wills, and the Pattern can lower and humble rulers as well as raise the commonborn up in their stead. It almost seems to me as if Sanderson (or perhaps Jordan, if this was in the original outline) was blatantly including this explanation in order placate fans who wondered why we had to keep seeing Morgase's travails. I'm not saying this is necessarily a bad thing (though it could have been handled a little more subtly), just noting it's there.

While what has happened to Morgase has always saddened me, I can't say I find it as off-putting and misogynistic as some might claim. Because in the end I would contend she did have important roles to fulfill in her new life, and that she does show a different kind of strength when all is said and done. Of course I imagine those people critical of this arc would say I say this because I'm a man. On the other hand I do agree that the fact the person Jordan chose to illustrate how the Pattern's "Wheel of Fortune" (as in "O Fortuna", not Pat and Vanna) motif works was a woman is...unfortunate, if not suspicious.

On a side note, I seem to be one of the few who likes Morgase and Tallanvor together. My reasons for doing so pretty much match Tektonica's explanation of Morgase's thought process.

Lan's comedy of errors re: his growing followers is easily one of the funniest (and unexpectedly so) plot arcs in WOT, particularly because of him (naturally enough) playing the straight man resignedly reacting to and accepting it all. It gets better later on, but this chapter was definitely where the humor, and the direction the plot would end up taking, becomes more apparent.

On the intercutting narrative device: I may be biased (because I am of the post-Jaws generation) but I generally prefer that to sticking to just one POV for long stretches. Now don't get me wrong, I like those long passages too and can definitely see the merit of them--the longer you stay with one charatcer the better you get to know them, and even with these passages there's enough moving around that you do get to know lots of people. But generally, I think switching from one character to another allows for a more varied Pattern of narrative, and gives more of a feel of this world having many stories to be told. Alternating between the two kinds of storytelling can also be good for contrast and raising and lowering tension. There may be times where one works better than the other, and the usage of one may seem unforunate, but overall I think I like that this switching is a trait of Sanderson's writing since it does increase the feel of urgency which the last book(s) of a series, particularly one focused on a huge conflict between good and evil, should have. It certainly works well here. The only thing I would note is that Sanderson's general lack of wordiness compared to Jordan does make it stand out a bit, since the intercutting sections in this chapter are far shorter than just about any sections we ever saw from Jordan.

I am still trying to figure out when Graendal got to Byar with her Compulsion. My best guess is sometime after TSR, since while Byar was against Perrin in that book he wasn't as bad as he is now, and we know all of it isn't due to Fain. Since he presumably stayed in Amadicia until the fall of Amador to the Seanchan, that would indicate either a) Graendal happened to be in Amadicia (or Ghealdan, while Galad and his Whitecloaks were there in TFOH) or b) after Amador fell and the Whitecloaks got scattered all over Amadicia and Ghealdan, she slipped over the Mountains of Mist (easy enough, considered Natrin's Barrow was at the edge of those very mountains) and encountered Galad's group then. This seems odd, since we only saw her leave Arad Doman to go to Illian after Sammael's defeat (and Caemlyn, to meet the other Forsaken/kill Asmodean), but she's mentioned numerous times that she has spies everywhere including among Rand's allies, which meant she had to leave her base sometime to obtain them since they couldn't all have come from Arad Doman. But maybe Moghedien Compelled him while they were both in Samara, and after Moridin mindtrapped her he forced her to pass Byar to Graendal, who was mostly in favor at that point?

Balwer: it's never stated why he didn't tell Perrin who Morgase was, but off the top of my head I would chalk it up to a combination of him having seen what happened to her when those in power knew who she was and were trying to gain leverage with her (Niall, Valda) and that he simply has too much respect for her after what Valda put her through. He may only care about information, but he also cares about what is done with said information, and for quite a while he had no evidence Perrin would do right by her. Also I got the impression that despite being a spymaster he was also an honorable man; things he learned were kept in confidence between himself and his master, so he similarly would have kept Morgase's secret because it was something she wanted kept hidden from all but her party.
Terry McNamee
141. macster
@19 LurkingCanadian: LOL! "He turned Lord Captain Bornhald into a newt! ...He got better."

@22 parrothead: Thank you for hitting the nail on the head.

@25 Jeribal: No, we don't know Annoura and Masuri's allegiance, and it may be we never will. Yet somehow I suspect this may get revealed in the last book. Also while it would seem to be an indicator otherwise, "Oh Light" isn't necessarily proof someone isn't a Darkfriend/Black Ajah; someone who had for a long time been of the Light before changing sides might still fall into the old habits--or if they're really good, fake it to hide the truth. And it's not like we've seen much of a comparative expletive from the Shadow side; Graendal's epithet "Darkness within!" from this book rather felt a bit contrived to me, not in-character with her previous attitude and diction (though she was never in danger before now, you'd think she'd have thought something like that when Shaidar Haran first came to her in TPOD). In general though we really haven't been in the mind of any villains as they're about to bite the big one or otherwise face something nasty, so we really don't know what they'd say. Still, the fact the Black Ajah still called the Chosen Forsaken (and so did Verin) is telling.

Side note: um, I was under the impression the food was spoiling less around Perrin (and the other ta'veren). Yes, there were weevils in the grain from So Habor, but I thought the food with Perrin's army is still generally better than anywhere else. In fact that's part of the reason for so many refugees coming to him and joining him, and the point is made later that the food they trade in Whitebridge saves the city from starvation. So I don't think Perrin's followers are eating as badly as you make them out to be.

@31 hihosilver: The implication seems to be because their injuries were caused by a bubble of evil. The Healing of them is having trouble working, just as Aviendha's water weaves couldn't put out the lava that poor Adrin turned into. If this is the case, it seems bubbles of evil have gotten more powerful as the Dark One gets closer to breaking free, since the injuries Rand got from the shattered mirrors and his doubles back in TSR were Healed just fine by Moiraine. (Yes, Wetlander and Freelancer answered this already, but I wanted to add a bit more detail that I found relevant.)

@53 parrothead: Interesting that you see it as wrecking Faile's character while most WOT fans seem to believe it improved, even saved, her. YMMV indeed.

@66 BraidTug: Good point on the Supergirls carrying out Egwene's plan with the Salidar Hall.

@74 Isilel: In Perrin's defense, he was so traumatized by Faile's kidnapping and so focused on getting her back that he was ignoring everything and everyone, so him not acknowledging Tallanvor's part in brokering the Seanchan alliance (after the initial scene in which he was told of it, that is) is just more of the same, and something he acknowledges in this book made him a bad leader. As for Faile, we don't even know if she was ever told Tallanvor's part in this. Morgase certainly doesn't seem to know when she later talks about how Tallanvor waited for her and did everything he could to see she was rescued.

What Perrin ends up realizing in the end, of course, is that while he can't exactly like leading nor does he desire it (which is good in terms of ambitions and those who love power), he does want to make sure it's done right and that his people are properly cared for.

@84 TBRaiders: Overall I agree with you, but one point re: Morgase--while she isn't an Amazon princess who fought for and gloriously won her crown the way you describe, she did, in fact, go through a succession crisis as Elayne did. So even if she didn't literally fight for it herself on the battlefield, she did at least have to make many leadership decisions in order to form alliances and gain enough House backing to gain the throne. Also of note was her decision afterward to pardon those who had opposed her so as to win their support and peaceful relations. And many of her decisions post-Caemlyn are surely a result of Rahvin mucking about in her head. (Note that even when she realizes the truth and breaks free of his hold, she still thinks of Bryne as a traitor.) For all we know he planted the notion that the Whitecloaks could be good allies in her head. Unlike Bergmaniac (who also points this out) I still think Perrin is a good leader, but Morgase certainly didn't suck.

And Wolfmage makes some of the same points too. Ah well. :)

@117 Freelancer: "Go Team Light!" Perfect! Perhaps some other ISAM references...

"I wear the special lock of hair"

"Let's go out into Shadar Logoth and touch things"

"Ending the Book"

"Smooth skirts are a must in today's world"

"I am a skilled chinmaster"

"Delicious fool tea"

"That's a cornfield"

Fine I know a lot of those wouldn't make sense to a non-fan, but they're still funny :P For a real one, how about "I'll kick your tickle-heart around the palace"?
Rob Munnelly
142. RobMRobM
How about "Daughter of the Sands - and Proud"?

How about "Team Elaida" ??? LOL.

Also, need to work in Elayne's funny expression - wasn't it calling someone a "Summer Ham"?

Tallanvor and Seanchan - keep in mind that Tallanvor took off without explanation or authorized mission, and Perrin had assumed he had gone AWOL. Nice that Tallanvor exceeded Perrin's nonexistent expectations, but not a surprise that Perrin didn't have a party for him either.

Balwer - I found it interesting to note during my recent re-read that the chapter in which Balwer begins to enlist the Cha Faile in his spying activities in Crossroads of Twilight is entitled "The Forging of a Hammer." He likes to be useful and has a strong sense of honor. Balwer is potentially a very powerful tool for Team Perrin that does not have a close counterpart in the other power centers in Randland.
Roger Powell
143. forkroot
Also I got the impression that despite being a spymaster he was also an honorable man; things he learned were kept in confidence between himself and his master, so he similarly would have kept Morgase's secret because it was something she wanted kept hidden from all but her party.
I think this is the answer. At no point (before encountering the Whitecloaks) would Morgase's identity have made much of a difference to Perrin's plans. I don't think Balwer anticipated that it would make a difference then either, but of course he didn't know about Galad.

In general, you don't get to learn a lot of secrets unless you yourself are a reliable keeper of secrets. So honor and habit both kept Balwer from revealing something he didn't believe had import to Perrin.

I believe that if Morgase's identity had mattered, Balwer would have probably gone to her first and encouraged her to identify herself or give him leave to. Balwer is very much Perrin's man at this point and I am sure he will continue to employ his considerable skills to the benefit of Perrin and his allies.
Kimani Rogers
144. KiManiak
Since its an election year:

Shaitan/Moridin 2012: For a Darker Non-Existent Tomorrow

Al Thor 2012: Enter the Dragon

Cauthon 2012: Luck Is On Your Side

Aybara 2012: A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing
145. TBRaiders
Nice reply. I did need the reminder. While we haven't seen her at her best during this series, she does have a historical background of success. The advantage we have with Perrin is seeing him grow into this role versus having a historical perspective. The disadvantage is that we get to see all of his mistakes as well. We don't get that with the history of Morgase. We have a very small summary of her past. I am sure she is like any of us and had her share of mistakes.
146. Freelancer
Balwer is a moral and honorable character. A confidence given is of extreme value to him, and not only as a currency of exchange. A personal confidence would be inviolable as long as he viewed the other party as not being an agent of evil. Even Niall, for all his ambition and desire to rule, was not an agent of evil. Asunawa and Valda were. Balwer would have considered any charge of confidence from them to be void if good could be accomplished by revealing their secrets.

While it is true that he has openly declared his allegiance to Perrin, and this is a trustworthy declaration, his decision to aid Morgase, including hiding her identity, takes precedent. It is no betrayal of Perrin for him to maintain the confidence given him by the Caemlyn entourage, but would be a terrible betrayal of Morgase and her followers.

If Balwer had reached a point where he felt that Perrin needed to know who Maighdin truly was, he would have gone to her and suggested that she reveal herself, rather than take that step himself.
AJ Kiser
147. TheCookieGod
"The wheels spin as the wheels will"

"December 21, 2012 - Tarmon Gaidon is coming"

"He Who Comes with the Dawn catches the worm." or alternatively, "He Who Comes with the Dawn is early for work."

"I put a long handle on my drive clutch."

"Free Headache Massages"

"Narg for President 2012"

"Herons, Dragons, and Cranes Oh My"
148. NotInventedHere
@138: Not sure why, but this reminded me of an ad I hear regularly on the radio for Lanfear and Associates.

Why yes, they are attorneys at law, funny you should ask. Makes me giggle every time I hear it.
@48 I here the Allstate guy....

Chin Bawambi
150. bawambi
Apparently there is a Lanfear Consulting & Investigations in Michigan as well. I guess she joined Ackroyd's assassin union ;)
151. Freelancer
"Mistress Melaidhrin's Tutelage & Behavior Modification
- Results Guaranteed - Bet the World on it!"
Question : Megan Fox as Lanfear or is she too young? If she is too young, what about Angelina Jolie or even better Jennifer Connelly. Or maybe even Liv Tyler. Monica Bellucci is credible but she's a little too old for a former Aes Sedai.

What say you?

Jeff Schweer
154. JeffS.
Jennifer Connelly, without a doubt.
John Massey
155. subwoofer
@JeffS. -yes!

- "Bela is my co-pilot"

-"Horn working, watch for finger too"

Jennifer Connelly was my first and favorite. I only mentioned Angie, well.... Just because.

Another one : Morgase - Michelle Pfeiffer? If so, Elayne would have to be someone stellar.

And another. This one Is confusing for me : Scarlet Johanneson as either- Berelain, Graendal or Leane.

Ohhh, Monica Bellucci as Tylin?

Jonathan Levy
157. JonathanLevy
Balwer also has a reason not to tell Morgase's secrets to Perrin which is entirely devoid of altruism. Balwer needs Perrin's trust to do his work properly; If Perrin sees that Balwer sells out Morgase as soon as he has a new employer, why should Perrin trust him with his secrets?
Jay Dauro
158. J.Dauro
Hinderstap Tourism Bureau
One night here, and you'll stay for a lifetime!

P.S. Try the pies.
Jeff Schweer
159. JeffS.
I seem to remember seeing multiple lists of actors for all of the roles in WOT. I can't remember if it was during this reread or on one of the information sites. That could have been years ago and the choices have the potential to be changed with the passing of time. I am more than happy to speculate on this subject but we should add in the male roles.

So, with that in mind, I'm thinking Chris Hemsworth as Galad. Tom Hiddleston as Mat. Why yes, I did just see "The Avengers" why do you ask? The point being that I think Tom would bring that touch of "smirkiness" to Mat that it absolutely requires.

Oh, and Monica Belluci as Tylin would be a nice choice but I don't really get Michelle Pfeiffer as Morgase. not that I have a better choice on tap.
Rob Munnelly
160. RobMRobM
We have discussed WoT casting several times through the re-reads. funny that someone pulled up a decade old web discussion that had Christian Slater as Mat - perhaps a bit old for the role at this point.

I always liked Kate Beckinsale as Min, but she is probably getting a bit old for that as well.
Rob Munnelly
161. RobMRobM
Quick search pulls up casting discussions on at leat TDR 6, TSR 21, Loc 22, the TGS spoiler thread, Part two, and a Blog Post - Twitter cases a Theoretical Rand al Thor in early Oct. 2010.
I am only mentioning them because it hasn't be done in a while and there are a lot of new people here now who might enjoy the topic as much as the veterans did in past discussions. The other reason is because.... well.... it's getting kind of quiet around the here. I guess this is the way some like it.

Also every tends to choose people who are way to old for these hypothetical roles. The Boys all start off around 18 years old. Think youth. And Chris Hemsworth is way to big. And to old. So is the Loki guy. The only Avenger I can see truly fitting in is Robert Downey Jr as Asmodeus.

Charles Gaston
163. parrothead
Edward Norton as Tallanvor.
Helena Bonham Carter as Moiraine.
Harrison Ford as Thom?
Mark Hamill as either Balthomel or Aginor.
Have to work Alan Rickman in somewhere; would like to give him a good guy role but he's so good at being bad! Dobraine, maybe.
164. alreadymadwithcasting
Hmmm... Alan Rickman and Helena Bonham Carter are both very good actors, but are probably too tall to be playing Cairhienin. Bashere?

The Loki guy I can see as Taim. Playing him as Mat would essentially be typecasting him as a trickster god.

Hemsworth... Maybe an Aiel. Gaul.

Add in Michael Fassbender as Logain.
Charles Gaston
165. parrothead
I know, the height thing crossed my mind, but Bashere is short, too.

He's too old for the part, but just imagine Ian McKellan as Taim. That sneer, that dry superiority, the capacity to be gloriously diabolical. Check out Richard III to see what I mean.
Ron Garrison
166. Man-0-Manetheran
In every discussion as to casting various parts of the WoT, it is inevitable that the words "too short", "too tall", "wrong hair color" come up as if that were of any significance.

We're talking Hollywood, people! Did Tom Cruise's diminutive size keep him from getting parts? Dream on... Hollywood has known how to overcome these things since before talkies. Hair color? Well, too bad no one has invented a way to change that...

Cast the best actor for the part and let Hollywood do the magic, I say.
167. alreadymadwithmovieparts
parrothead @165
Not so sure of Ian McKellen, I think he's too old. Now that you mention Taim, though, Alan Rickman would actually work in that role.

Christopher Lee as Pedron Niall.
Charles Gaston
168. parrothead
Well, yes, I said he was too old. I was imagining a younger version.

For Niall, if he were still alive, I'd say Richard Harris. In Gladiator he was killed in much the same way (big historical innacurracy, but whatever).
Craig Jarvis
169. hawkido
Age thing, Remember Morgase is in her early fourties.
Niall was probly in his mid to late 60's (edit: the wiki suggests his late 70's or early 80's, I didn't see him as that old...oh, well). I believe it was remarked that Cenn Buie was the oldest person in the Two Rivers. Probably placing him in his 70's. Moirane is probably about 44 years old. As Moiraine entered the tower when she was 16, and was AS 6 years later (fastest in recent memory, at the time) and it has been about 21-22 years since Rand was born.

"The Wheel turns and ages come and pass... But this Flamin' Traffic goes nowhere!"

"I see you"

Odd thoughts... Woulda been funny if Perrin killed Pedron, after he made the hammer... Hit the Niall on the head!" LOL, chronology, I screw with thee.
170. Freelancer
Don't worry about height. They turned John Rhys Davies into Gimli.

As for Berelain, interesting coincidence that this comes up just when a thread about her pops out here, but...Charlize Theron.

Christopher Lee has been playing bad guys for quite a while now, it would probably hit folks wrong to see him as a member of Team Light. He'd make a good Asunawa.
Deana Whitney
171. Braid_Tug
Wow, I expected the bumper stickers suggestions to skyrocket this past 200 quickly. Thanks for all the great ones that have been thrown out!

For the movie, I always thought it would be better served as a set of animated films. This way the world could be more true to books than Hollywood could make a live action movie. (Yes, yes, CGI does great things.) What a great project for Pixar to take up...

So if you just had the actors providing the voice (and some base for the animation), who would you cast?
Any changes?
Rob Munnelly
172. RobMRobM
Re a movie, check out The Wertzone's blog posts from a few months ago on what it would take to develop WoT as a mini series. He has interesting ideas - such as need to do three books per 15? episode seasons, he sets them up in a way that ends each with a big bang episode (taking of Calendor, Dumai's Wells, Cleansing of the Source), etc.
Rob Munnelly
173. RobMRobM
Bumper sticker for Leigh: A Spanking a Day Keeps the Wisdom Away
AJ Kiser
174. TheCookieGod
Braid_Tug @171

People just providing the voices? Time for my dream voice acting team.

Rand: Johnny Yong Bosch. I've always imagined Rand as having a bit of Lelouch in him.
Mat: Mat's kinda tough. Bryce Papenbrook, maybe.
Perrin: Travis Willingham
Lan: Steve Blum. There are no other options.
Moiraine: Kate Higgins
Thom: Michael McConnohie
Berelaine: Laura Bailey
Lanfear: Laura Bailey
Graendal: Laura Bailey (...what? It wouldn't be the first time Laura's voiced half a cast)
Ishamael/Moridin: Crispin Freeman
Egwene: Caitlin Glass
Nynaeve: Karen Strassman
175. Faculty Guy
Why do I always come into this at the very last minute , just before Leigh's next entry?

Anyway: I remember thinking WAY back in the late 1960s, reading LOTR as an undergraduate, that they could NEVER make a movie of THAT story! Then, of course, there were the animated versions, which I never liked.

But then, decades later, there comes a first-rate, high-class production. And it was, IMHO, quite good. A little long on battle scenes, and not very realistic (again, imo) about how easily the overwhelming-seeming super-orcs were killed by single sword-strokes, but all-in-all I thought it was a noble effort. (And New Zealand is near the top of my dream-trip list.)

I'm sure that the film version of LOTR has been thoroughly and critically analyzed on other blogs - I'm not very blog-sophisticated. Still, it is interesting that here we are again: it seems beyond imagination that Hollywood could do a first-rate job of making a movie of the WOT saga. But, having been wrong once, I hesitate to say it's impossible.
Ron Garrison
176. Man-0-Manetheran
105° in Denver today. Still 95° at 7 p.m. Another record set and the hottest June ever recorded. I humbly offer up this bumper sticker request:
Water and Shade
craig thrift
177. gagecreedlives
7.4 degrees celsius with rain expected over her MoM so your welcome to come take some
Ron Garrison
178. Man-0-Manetheran
Thanks gcl. You must be in the Southern Hemisphere.
craig thrift
179. gagecreedlives
Maybe :)

Anyway just thought Id stick my head in and say hey everyone. So hey everyone

Bumper Sticker Whitecloaks do it in the light.

Be a hero, blow my Horn of Valere

And a bumper sticker for Perrins carriage....Dont laugh, your queen could be in here

Dunno if Tor has a collective noun for its bloggers but what about something like I'm a TORist
Tricia Irish
180. Tektonica
Just a quickie here to say Hi to GCL...nice to see you on the Dark Tower thread too!

And Man-O....BAD in Denver!! Whew. That heat can't be helping the wildfires either.

I'm on vacation, so no time to get serious here, but I'm loving the bumper stickers! Keep 'em coming! Thanks for the entertainment, all you funny people!
Jeff Schweer
181. JeffS.
I'm a TORist.
Brilliant, you win.

I am only an egg
Alice Arneson
182. Wetlandernw
gagecreedlives - HI!! Long time no see! ::waves vigorously::

Man-o-Manetheran - Come visit me. We haven't gotten above 80 yet this summer. You might rust, but you won't burn here...
Ron Garrison
183. Man-0-Manetheran
Thanks for all the offers of Water & Shade! Yes, Tek, the temp combined with 4% humidity really accelerates the fires. Think of the firefighters in all their heavy gear combined with heat of the fire and heat of the weather. Whew. When I think of them, I can tolerate a paltry 105°.
Heidi Byrd
184. sweetlilflower
Real life has kept me away for awhile, but y'all crack me up with the bumper stickers....

"Don't be a woolhead-put down your phone!"
185. Freelancer
What up, GCL?!

88F and cloudless blue all day long...it's hard, but someone has to live here.
Craig Jarvis
186. hawkido
@ 175. Faculty Guy
LOL faculty guy, you failed to mention WHY it would be so difficult to make it into a movie... look at the Potter films.

We would be up against a HARSH timeline. Some of the girls will be starting at the age of 16 (Egs, Elaine, Avienda is closer to 18 I think by the time we meet her), and only be 19 by the end of the books. Each book taking super-duper bare minimum of 1 year. (and say we condense books 7 and 8 into one book (by collapsing the PLOD)) we are looking at some actresses that are near to thirty trying to play AS who aging is supposed to slow them so they end up looking in their early 20's for the next 30 years.

Plus the real world doesn't stop, just because the shooting is done. The actor who played Dumbledore died after the second Harry potter movie. He was replaced and I wondered who the new guy in the pointy hat was in the third book. Harry Potter was only an 8 part movie series, fairly well done given the scope, but the books included the ageing process as each book represented a year. LoTR is more like the WOT Pace, 3 books taking place over a few months. WoT these last few books have been over a few scant weeks.

IMO I really don't want to see, Burt Reynolds playing Mat, Arnold Scwartzneggar as Perrin, nor John Wayne as Rand. They are too old... Oh, they started as the f*king cast from Twilight but they ended up as the f*king California Raisins.

Pixar or Dreamworks could create dynamic and relatable characters that can actually move like they are supposed to, and voice actors can be replaced if they die, without the total jarring audio and visual effect.

Honestly where are you going to find a 6 foot 6 inch red headed bladesmaster that can act? How easy would it be to find someone with a voice who sounds like what we want Rand to sound like, Animators can get a blademaster to wear the motion capture suit.
187. Faculty Guy
@186hawkido: Yes, aging actors would definitely be a problem - as it was with the Potter movies even though make-up artists are pretty good these days.

An even bigger problem to me is simply that (as Robert Pirsig (of ZEN AND THE ART OF MOTORCYCLE MAINTENANCE fame) points out so eloquently in LILA, a book is always richer than a movie can be. There are just dozens (or scores, or maybe hundreds) of subtle sub-plots, some rather important and many of them interesting even if not vital to the main story - and a movie version simply (imho) COULD NOT do them justice.

I think this was a problem, though a lesser one, in LOTR and the Potter flicks. But in WOT the complexity and richness of the fantasy world, and of the characters inhabiting it, ARE the major attraction. Maybe it is a failure of my own imagination, but I cannot conceive how a movie (even a series of movies) could do it justice.
Craig Jarvis
188. hawkido
I cannot conceive how a movie (even a series of movies) could do it justice.
FG on that I could agree. But I think it would be an injustice to not even try. I think the CGI animation of Pixar or Dreamworks would have a better shot at making the transition. The first book breaks up into great 45 minute episodes... Without leaving too much detail out.

I am torn between just picking "A Book" to make into a movie for the fans. Just pick one and do a bang up job. Perhaps book 3 or 4. Then if the critics celebrate it then the series would have enough positive pressure to be done right... and right would mean alot of money and time being spent on it.

Book 4 would be awesome as a stand alone movie... you have both Rand and Mat with the stone doorways, Rand and the politics and skullduggery, and Perrin with the Ways and Trollocs, and the supergirls doing their mission. It would make a great 3.5 hour movie. It could lose newcommers, but it would be the best middle point book to join the series.

I always thought just doing a series of one person's point of view in the WoT would be awesome. Without the omniscient POV, the characters justifications would be easier to relate to.

Ohh, what about a movie about Avienda, she darts off with the DawnSeekers to avoid the WiseOnes (around the end of Book 2), and follow the tale up to Alcair'Dal. Alot of it is off screen, but then we could make what was seen as the main characters seem as minor characters to the newcommers. That would be cool, and we could keep most of the book material off the screen, while filling in most of what we "know" happened, but it just wasn't spelled out in the book series.
189. s'rEDIT
RE: LOTR movies

Let's remember too, how *much* time was freely devoted out of pure love for LOTR.

The writers had worked for how many years trying to create a usable script? On the tech end, much, much labor of love had already gone into design and trial and error with costumes and props, even before there was a contract, I believe. Sure actors were paid, some well enough I hope, but I think there were others (some extras?) who accepted the bare minimum or donated their time, in return for the privilege of being involved.

Would that happen for WOT? We'd have fans willing to donate time, yes, but how about the years of prep design work to recreate all these cultures?
Alice Arneson
190. Wetlandernw
Complete change of subject, here - nearly off topic, in fact! But Terez asked me for a writeup of my Nakomi theory, and I couldn't think of a better place to post it. Anyone who wants to discuss it can do so here, while those who don't can move on to Leigh's next post in a short while. So... here it is.

The basic theory, as it stands currently, is that Nakomi is of the Jenn Aiel, and probably is a Dreamwalker.

Within those parameters, there are a lot of possibilities; my preferred version is that Nakomi is a descendant of the Jenn Aiel, who found a relatively safe alternate world and have been living there for the last 2500 years or so. (There are a couple of Portal Stones not far from Rhuidean, IIRC.) They have been keeping an eye on the Aiel over the years, either popping in and out to observe/chat with the Aiel (and probably wetlanders as well) periodically, or watching their dreams, to maintain visibility of the current state of affairs. Being a Dreamwalker, Nakomi was able to find Aviendha dozing off by her campfire, brought a Hero-of-the-Horn-style “bubble” of Tel’Aran’Rhiod* with her, and had the conversation and meal together. When she left to “see to nature,” she walked away and simply hid nearby. When Aviendha went to look for her, she came back and removed her bubble, with her pack and herself, leaving no trace that she was ever there.

*This is based on another theory I haven’t seen discussed much: that when the Heroes are called by the Horn, they bring some of the effects of Tel’Aran’Rhiod with them. Several of the things observed at Falme can’t be explained by “natural” means in-world, so when the Heroes fight, they must have special powers similar to someone very experienced in the dream world. Perhaps they bring a “TAR-bubble” with them. In this case, the bubble would explain the food that cooked too fast and tasted too good, as well as Nakomi’s complete disappearance later.

There are various other possibilities, such as that Nakomi brought Aviendha into Tel’Aran’Rhiod for the conversation there, hence the food that cooked too fast, etc. It’s also possible, that Nakomi has the ability to Travel between the “real world” and the alternate worlds; there was in-world rumor that some Aes Sedai had that ability during the AOL.

Another possibility is that Nakomi is one of the original Jenn, who went bodily into the Tel’Aran’Rhiod version of Rhuidean, sealing it off from the rest of the dream world except to themselves, and they have been living there for the last 2500 years or so. Or perhaps they put the TAR version of Rhuidean outside of reality in some manner similar to Shayol Ghul or a vacuole, so that it is not entirely part of the Pattern and Wheel. (This is based solely on the observation that there are a very few places which cannot be entered in Tel’Aran’Rhiod, including Shayol Ghul and Rhuidean.)

My basis for all this theorizing is a combination of a few comments from Brandon, the text we’ve all read, and a series of leaps – whether of intuition, logic or lunacy remains to be seen.

First, at a signing in Seattle (November 2011) when asked what had happened to the Jenn Aiel, Brandon responded with a big smile, an “Ah! RAFO!” and an overall impression that this was going to be significant in the final book. When I reported this on the reread, several people complained that the return of the Jenn would be too “out-of-the-blue” and lacking in hints or foreshadowing. This made me start wondering just what we might have seen that we will look back and recognize as hints and clues; which of course brought me to the blatantly unanswered question, “Who is Nakomi?”

Rereading that chapter, it seemed reasonable that she was Aiel. She seemed to identify with them in a way that, for example, a Forsaken or Verin wouldn’t (those being the two theories I’ve seen most). At the same time, her words didn’t entirely fit with a modern Aiel perspective. One small leap of logic made me wonder if perhaps, since (I assume) the Jenn are still going to affect things, she might be Jenn. In addition, Aviendha’s camp was described as being next to a “tremendous stone” which reminded me of some of the Portal Stones which have been described elsewhere. The next logical leap was that the Jenn had simply removed themselves to an alternate world, and Nakomi was able to bring Aviendha through into that world via the Portal Stone, much like (I assume) Lanfear brought Rand, Hurin and Loial through way back when.

This led to the original theory: that Nakomi was of the Jenn Aiel, and the meeting between Nakomi and Aviendha actually took place on an “alternate” world, where Nakomi had brought Aviendha by means of the Portal Stone next to which she had camped. Sadly, that last part of it has been shot down, because Brandon stated unequivocally that the “tremendous stone” was not, in fact, a Portal Stone. In the meantime, however, Brandon had given ValMar a strong indication that we were on the right track in some regard, as per “sniffing under the right tree.” Given that, I think that Nakomi being of the Jenn is probably correct, whether she is one of the originals or (my current opinion) a descendant of them.

The big question, of course, is why Nakomi – whoever she is – would bother with this elaborate setup merely to suggest to Aviendha that the Aiel should not return to the Waste once the Last Battle is over. To me, this is one of the most significant reasons for thinking she might be Jenn. Why would any of the Forsaken, or even Verin, care about what the Aiel do after the Last Battle? But what if the Jenn have been watching over the rest of the Aiel for the last 2500 years, allowing (or helping) them to prepare for not only the Last Battle, hoping to guide them into a better way after it’s over. The Aiel believe the Waste was their punishment, their testing and their preparation for Tarmon Gai’don; it seems a very Jenn thing to suggest, as Nakomi does to Aviendha, that perhaps they should not return to the Waste after it’s over.

It seems reasonable that the Jenn would hope for the Aiel as a whole to grow beyond their current way of life, their constant fighting, raiding and killing one another. Nakomi points out that if they have done all this to harden themselves, to prepare to serve the Dragon by fighting the Last Battle, once it is over there is no need to continue the preparation. (Notice that she refers to the Dragon, not the Car’a’carn. This is, to me, a confirmation that she is of the Jenn and not a more modern Aiel. It might be an indication that she is one of the original Jenn, or it might just be a matter of education.)

It also seems reasonable that the Jenn would hope for the Aiel to return, in a manner, to their former role as the support system for the Aes Sedai. Not just the White Tower, of course, but in the hope that all channelers could be united in a loose association again, the Aiel could be dedicated to providing whatever support and infrastructure they need to be effective in serving the needs of the world in recovering from Tarmon Gai’don. It’s even possible that such support might involve defending them as warriors, as well as the kind of things they did in the AOL.

Please note, I personally do not see this as the Aiel becoming some sort of lower-class servant group; they certainly did not see themselves that way in the AOL, and I don’t think it’s a necessary class distinction in either situation. They are a highly adaptable people in many ways, and it seems fitting that they would maintain their identity as a people but without returning to the Waste to do it. Perhaps a big chunk of the Caralain Grass as a “homeland” for those who need not be out and about the land, but most of those who are now warriors would become the mobile support system that could make it more workable for all channelers to become a more integral part of society as a whole.

In any case, I think the Jenn hope for the Aiel to grow beyond simply a warrior society, needing constant battle to give them meaning. Whether this is based on prophecy/Foretelling, or on dreams and ideals, I have no evidence, but I would guess the former – this is the Wheel of Time, after all. And of course, that last bit is more speculation than actual theory, but it does tie into some possibilities for averting the future Aviendha saw in the ter’angreal.
191. s'rEDIT
I like it!

I now have a new reason for reading the final book . . . to find out!
Eric Hughes
192. CireNaes

It fits very nicely. I like it too.


I wondered if you had moved on or were fanclothing (WoT lurking). Good to see you posting.

I think this was a problem, though a lesser one, in LOTR and the Potter flicks. But in WOT the complexity and richness of the fantasy world, and of the characters inhabiting it, ARE the major attraction. Maybe it is a failure of my own imagination, but I cannot conceive how a movie (even a series of movies) could do it justice.
This is what I worry about too. Whereas the LOTR and Potter movies painted the visuals quite nicely and LOTR even had stellar acting throughout (child actors are a pox upon long term movie projects) I would worry about any attempt at a live action film with WoT. This is why I'm watching the comic books closely. They're a great approximation of a WoT story board. If WoT can be done well in a comic book medium, I think it could be done well as an HBO live miniseries or animated feature.
193. Faculty Guy
@190Wetlander: Fascinating theory. I need to re-read the scene with Nakomi, but your idea has the ring of soundness and I would like it to be at least partially right. Perhaps it would help resolve the problem of the Aiel future seen by Avi in the way-forward vision.

I'd like to see this thread continued. I sometimes wonder how many readers visit the "old" re-read commentaries. I do, now and then, and always check to see if there are "late" comments. It is sort of interesting to read some of the older comments in light of events revealed in the last couple of books, and compare theories and impressions that were "hot" then with later developments.

I guess I should frequent the much-referenced "theory threads" but there are only so many on-line sites I can visit on a regular basis . . .
Alice Arneson
194. Wetlandernw
FacultyGuy @193 - Well, depends on how much of a masochist you are... I can't cope with most of the theory sites! My inner hard-core-fan seems to go a different direction than most of them. I like having our own discussions here, with contributions from the more level-headed of the theoryland and dragonmount types. :)

For what it's worth, there are quite a few of us who notice when someone comments on one of the older threads; I, for one, usually go back and see what was written. Sometimes I add further comments, sometimes I don't, but I read it. We've been known to carry on a lot of conversation on a thread that's several weeks old, if we've had something going there. I think it's easier to keep it there than to try to transport it to the new thread, and we only get locked down if someone gets irretrievably insulting.
Tricia Irish
195. Tektonica
Wetlander: Excellent! The Verin theory never seemed timely to me....too many holes as to what she would know about Avienda's whereabouts...and why she would care? The Jenn Aiel always seemed more plausible, but I've never seen it spelled out that way before. I like your theory about Rhuidean being a sealed off place in Tel'aran'riod too. This will be interesting to see in MoL. Thank you!
Scientist, Father
196. Silvertip

Very, very interesting, and has a lot to recommend it. I'll look forward to rereading the Nakomi chapter with this hypothesis in my head to see what fits.

I'm not surprised that the tremendous stone = portal stone idea got shot down, though. Aviendha should recognize even a degraded portal stone -- IIRC, she didn't just travel by one in TSR but was actually the one to find it in Tear when the Aiel spread out looking.

I'm *not* as fond of the the "bubble of T'A'R" theory though. Just doesn't feel right. On the other hand, I don't really have any better ideas for the dreamlike quality of the events at the fire, so ...

Alice Arneson
197. Wetlandernw
Silvertip - Yeah, in some ways the bubble thing is a bit weird - unless Nakomi is like a Hero in more ways than one... It just seem mildly plausible, because anyone living in TAR for a couple thousand years should have figured out some very clever ways to make use of it. And it seemed more likely than pulling Aviendha in to TAR, given that she's not looking very sleepy at the end of the scene.

I'm not invested in that part of the theory, but there has to be something to explain why she could get so close before Aviendha heard her, why the food cooked too fast, why it was so much better-tasting than expected, and why Nakomi could disappear so completely afterward. Something to do with TAR seemed the most probable explanation. Or a very tricky ter'angreal, which is entirely plausible too; after all, they had access to an enormous stash, and (for many years) the company of Aes Sedai who would have been familiar with most of them.
Terry McNamee
198. macster
@142 RobM: That IS interesting. I've always liked Balwer, and found how he was helping Perrin's group to be fascinating and potentially very important for forging the peace after the Last Battle. I do wonder how he'll interact with the Whitecloaks now that the two groups have joined forces. I hope nobody with Galad knows who he was and reveals his identity to Perrin and Faile...

@143 forkroot, 146 Freelancer: Agree 100%.

@152 Zexxes: Angelina Jolie definitely has the stateliness, but personally I think Monica Bellucci has the appearance I've always given Lanfear in my mind. Looking young isn't necessarily a problem what with how long-lived Age of Legends Aes Sedai were. And her Selene disguise. Plus it would be fun to see her be a villain.

@156, 162: Funny, I always saw Michelle Pfeiffer as Siuan. And Downey as Asmodean? Interesting...can't really see it since he wasn't very snarky, but it might work.

@157 JonathanLevy: Good point, but I think it's established that Balwer is a good person in his own right.

@159 Jeff S: Chris Hemsworth as Galad? Yes indeed.

@163 parrothead: If he were bad, I'd say Rickman as either Valda or Asunawa. Or thanks to that nose of his, Demandred. ;) And Helena does have the right height and hair color for Moiraine. Ian McKellen would make a good Niall, I think, save for the fact Niall's small role in the series would seem like a waste for his talents.

@169 hawkido: LOL!! As for your point about the timeline and casting, it sounds like WOT would only work if they paced out the chronology (which would ruin the story) or if they filmed the movies/miniseries at the same time, the way Jackson did with LOTR. If they followed the format described by RobM @172, with each movie/miniseries installment covering three books at a time, that might make it easier to get the filming done without the actors aging too much. Though you're right, animation could get it done right--as long as the mistake wasn't made to market it to kids or, just as badly, sanitize it because of the Animation Age Ghetto.

Your idea @188 is interesting too. Windows into the minor characters and the off-screen plots.

@172 RobM: That's a pretty good idea actually.

@190 Wetlander: I was on board with your theory before and even with Sanderson shooting down the Portal Stone idea, I am even more convinced now it could be right. For it to be so, however, it would seem the Jenn or their descendants would have to be bodily in TAR. Which suggests that the Wise Ones' belief that going there in the flesh is evil and makes you lose your humanity is wrong...in which case how do we explain Slayer? That said, everything else you theorized makes sense to me. I especially like the Aiel living in the Caralain Grass but also being the support system that will help defend the Aes Sedai and tie all channelers together. If nothing else, they'd make great runners! :D

And I still think the choice of words of the Jenn Mordaine in Rand's ancestor memories is telling: "Our days dwindle" (as in, not necessarily that they are dying but that the time they are allowed to stay in the real world is coming to an end), "A day will come when the Jenn are no more and only you will remain to remember the Aiel" (no more=not Jenn any longer, only they will remain because the Jenn will be in another world). I had also forgotten about Rhuidean in TAR being seemingly cut off--Asmodean stayed on the outside because he was scouting and Lanfear never bothered to go in, but what if they actually couldn't?

Despite the lack of her sleepiness, Aviendha being pulled into TAR is more likely. Even without the "bubble" idea, someone who'd been in TAR a long time and could have been trained in it by Age of Legends Aes Sedai could have learned enough about how it works to manipulate and change it better than even the Wise Ones or Moghedien could. I always thought the food tasting so good was related to Rand's Fisher King/Dragon effect going through his bond to the three women, but your theory explains it just as well.

If the Jenn or their descendants are in TAR, I wonder if that means all the dreaming ter'angreal Liandrin's coven stole will become key in helping the Aiel and Aes Sedai make contact with the Jenn? Could this also be why Egwene was drawn to the Tinker camp in TAR, because they too are connected to the hidden Jenn? Could the Song, if it is found, help open a way between TAR and the real world? Loony ideas abound, but surely one of them is right...
199. Faculty Guy
Some "general" comments, with apologies and acknowledgment that I'm not as familiar with the books as some - have read them perhaps 3 or 4 times on average, but don't really have all the details clear or in order.

About the Nakomi/Avi/TAR etc. class of theories:

On the one hand, once you admit the existence and involvement of other realities, whether parallel-universes accessible by portal stones or TAR dream-worlds that have "real" consequences, pretty much anything goes. At that point, any story-line can be created, almost any event is explainable, and the danger is that the entire saga becomes chaotic. This would be very out-of-character with RJ, whose created world has been described as "fantasy but governed by physics-like laws of cause/effect" (I'm really paraphrasing from memory here, not directly quoting any specific source).

ON THE OTHER HAND: looking back, dreams have been vital to this saga even from the first book, when Rand's dream encounters with Ishy/Balzamon included obvious "real" consequences. Then TAR was introduced, with Egwene as a possible dreamer, and with the Aiel Wise Ones as dream-masters, and with Lanfear, Moghedian, Ishy, and then Birgitte and the Heroes of the Horn. And the curious fact that the Aiel refer to REAL LIFE as "the dream" and death as "awakening." Some (maybe, actually, MOST) of the important battles with Forsaken have taken place in TAR or TAR-like realities, both Rand's battles with Ishy early-on, with Rahvin, and then Egwene's battle with Mesaana.

I've read (on this site, I believe) that RJ originally intended the WOT books to be a trilogy, then six, then it just (like Topsy) grew! But there is at least trace evidence that he planned almost everything (well, maybe not the Plod) from the start, and DREAMS seem to have always been an important part of the plans, with the importance growing ever stronger throught the saga.

So Wetlander's current theory about Nakomi just might be part of an even bigger climax, where we find out that some of what we have taken as reality is, in fact, dream. Or maybe "reality" itself will be found to be equivalent with "dream" (as the Aiel attitude implies). If so, it will be the height of story-telling artistry to avoid a "deus-ex-machina" ending. But RJ and BWS have shown enough mastery to inspire confidence, and I would not say that it was beyond their ability.
Craig Jarvis
200. hawkido

I felt like screaming cause there are so few who haunt the vacoules of yesteryear's posts...
201. AndrewB
Wetlandernw @190: Thank you for such an inciteful explanation of your theory that Nakomi is a Jenn Aiel (be it an original or decendant). Many moons ago, you and I engaged in a dialogue on the re-read regarding Nakomi. I argued (and still believe) that the Nakomi scene was not necessary. That any statements made during that conversation, Aviendha could have thought to herself. It was in response to my arguement, that you first suggested (or at least that was the first time I have seen your Nakomi/Jenn Aiel theory suggested -- I do not frequent other WoT theory sites) the Nakomi/Jenn Aiel.

If the central premise of your theory turns out to be correct (i.e. that Nakomi is a Jenn Aiel), then, IMO, that will be cheesy. I think the reappearance of the Jenn Aiel as a living society in the last book would be completely out of left field. I cannot recall any hint or foreshadowing of the reappearance of the Jenn Aiel (cf - I am reminded of Mesaana's comment to Alviarin in ACoS that the problem with Foretellings are that often they are so ambigous the Foretelling could refer to a number of things. It is only after-the-fact where everything becomes clear ).

I do not like the concept of a reverse Ogier situation. By this I mean that the Ogier are discussing whethter to leave the WoT univerise through the Book of Translation. At the last minute, we have the appearance of the Jenn Aiel -- who somehow left to a parallel universe/world and now at the end of an Age, are set to come back.

(I compare Ogier leaving Randland to the elves leaving Middle Earth in LotR -- I do think the Book of Transaltion is foreshadowed in that I always viewed the Ogier as similar to the elven mythos of LoTR -- where the Elves (a more advanced race than man) will leave the realm where the action takes place. I have seen this archatype in other fantasy/SF series (e.g. the Ancient Races in Babylon5).

Even if the Jenn Aiel are instrumental in the aversion of the vision that Aviendha saw in the way-forward machine, I will be mildly disappointed. I beleive that Avi could have somehow taken the necessary steps to avoid that future without the reappearance and/or help of the Jenn Aiel.

The reappearance of the Jenn Aiel (IMO) would also have a secondary negative -- the Tinkers may now have an easier time of finding the Song. If one of my beleifs is correct Against the Wind
Thomas Keith
202. insectoid
Hawkido @200: So, you are like a human Hadron Collider? :P

Alice Arneson
203. Wetlandernw
AndrewB @201 - The most basic version of the theory is simply that Nakomi is of the Jenn Aiel, and I'm fairly well convinced of that. (As convinced as I can be, given that there's no conclusive evidence - if there were truly conclusive evidence, it wouldn't be a theory.) There are a lot of widely-varying scenarios that could play out in the last book.

One possibility is that there were only a few Jenn left, and they've been in TAR the whole time. Another is that they all died and some (or one) are in TAR in a Hero-like state, and Nakomi simply pulled Aviendha into TAR for that scene. Another is that she's a "holographic image" sort of thing, set up by the Jenn and the Aes Sedai before they all died off, with some sort of trigger that Aviendha set off. (I doubt this one, because Nakomi is too aware of current events, etc.) She may be the last representative of the Jenn, and we'll find out in the last book that they put everything they had into a way for one person (Nakomi) to survive/revive and give the remaining Aiel the rest of the story.

There are a lot of permutations; the "preferred version" described @190 is just the way I was feeling about things when I wrote that. Between now and next January, I'll probably come up with at least a half-dozen more possible scenarios, but they'll all have to do with Nakomi being Jenn rather than being Verin, a Forsaken, or some miscellaneous Aiel. If she is any of those things, then I'd be tempted to agree that the scene was unnecessary - but I won't make that assumption until I read the last book. RJ wasn't big on putting in wholly unnecessary scenes - everything was leading somewhere - and BWS would not have inserted this if it weren't already in the outline. It's there for a reason, and I think when we read the last book we'll find out that it was a good reason.
Theresa Gray
204. Terez27
A few comments:

First, I'm not sure that Brandon necessarily debunked the idea that Nakomi came via Portal Stone; he only debunked the idea that the stone Aviendha was sleeping next to was a Portal Stone. I know it's splitting hairs a bit, but it's not completely implausible that Brandon was trying to give an Aes Sedai answer there.

That said, there are issues with the idea that the Jenn took off to live in some other world, partly because they didn't just up and disappear one day; they died off slowly. We saw the beginnings of that in Rand's visions of the past; more and more joined the fighting Aiel until there were only a few Jenn left. Also, the way RJ wrote Mandein's POV, with the 'contempt fading into admiration', suggests that the Jenn were actually going to die out, that they were holding on to their purpose despite knowing their 'doom'. It's not as if RJ doesn't often lead the reader to believe things that aren't true, but this one seems overly complex.

Alternatively, it could be that she is simply one of the Jenn in a Mirror World where the Jenn never died out—if she is indeed Jenn—but in that case the two options are the hair-splitting Portal Stone theory or Tel'aran'rhiod.

Now, Tel'aran'rhiod is very tempting simply because of the nature of the strange things that happened during that scene. But although Egwene has access to parallel worlds in the Gap of Infinity (GOI), she doesn't seem to have access to Mirror Worlds as far as I can tell, and they are distinctly different things. The 'Finns are in a parallel world, and the Ogier are from a parallel world, but the Mirror Worlds are simply reflections of Randland, and Egwene never encounters herself or multiple dreams of people that she knows. Perhaps that's only because she has to find them randomly (she has no real attraction to them), and the dreams are nearly infinite from her perspective. But it would seem to me that you have the Real World, which includes all parallel worlds, and then you have reflections of that in the Mirror Worlds. So Egwene in a Mirror World would also be able to find the dreams in those parallel worlds, but they'd be slightly (or very) different from the dreams available to Egwene in the Real World. Tel'aran'rhiod itself only reflects Egwene's world to her; the Tel'aran'rhiod of Mirror Worlds would be different in many small details, if not many large ones.

There is another option, but I'm not sure that one makes much sense either. The deterioration of the Pattern has certain elements that do seem to point to Mirror Worlds, such as the slightly-changed corridors. We know that the ghosts are a result of the Dark One's touch on the loosening Pattern, but the ghosts take no notice of the living at all, and can't interact with them, so it seems unlikely that Nakomi is precisely a ghost, either. But apparently it's balefire that's causing the loosening of the Pattern in the first place, not the Dark One, and perhaps Nakomi is a result of the loosening Pattern rather than the Dark One's touch. It makes me think of the Wolf King prophecy; just as Perrin throwing away the axe was only a prelude to him actually carrying The Hammer, the Dark One's ghosts might have only been a prelude the dead actually walking.

In that context, I don't think it's necessarily locked that Nakomi was Jenn, despite the fact that Brandon said you were sniffing under the right tree. I think the most common theories he was hearing at that point were Lanfear (because of the Nokomis "Daughter of the Moon" connection) or Verin (mostly because of this line: "I've let myself ramble again. I am prone to it, I fear." and the guiding thing, which is Verin's specialty) so perhaps the "right tree" simply means "not Lanfear or Verin" or "an actual Aiel".

One possibility that also stems from Nokomis is that she is actually Aviendha's grandmother; that has a certain amount of resonance because she reminded Aviendha of her mother with the deepearth roots. It's not especially significant on its own terms, but from the storytelling perspective, it might be. Nokomis adds a certain something to it; clearly she's not Aviendha's mother, or Aviendha would recognize her, but perhaps she is an ancestor who lived after the Agreement of Rhuidean.

I tend to lean toward the loosening Pattern explanation because it seems to fit in that little niche of 'weird things happening before the Last Battle'. I'm not really all that solid on my reasoning, though, and there are some gaps. But there gaps in every theory we have at this point; the only real clue we have is Brandon's 'sniffing' comment. The main problem is trying to explain why Nakomi knew anything of Aviendha's world and current events at all if she just stepped in and out. She could be an actual hero of the horn, breaking the precepts.

Incidentally, the bubble theory is an old topic of discussion at Theoryland; there seems to be no other proper explanation for the Eye of the World. Its location changes, which is clearly not consistent with normal Real World locations, and the key to finding it is Need. The appearance of the Heroes is definitely an oddity along the same lines, but disappointingly RJ explained the visions in the sky above the two false Dragons as The Wheel Did It.
Teresa Nielsen Hayden
205. tnh
Hawkido, pray don't drive yourself into a fatal infarction when there's so little time left. Think how silly you'd feel if you popped off the day before it came out.
Alice Arneson
206. Wetlandernw
Terez, did RJ ever explain things like the Heroes riding on the clouds, Birgitte riding on the water, and her arrow acting like a firebomb on the ship? Those aren't things that people normally do, but the Heroes do. I recall reading RJ explain the battle in the sky (and the visions of it above the two false Dragons) as "the Wheel did it" - but did he apply that to the effects of the Heroes themselves?

I figured the bubble theory had been talked about at Theoryland - what hasn't? - although I'm not sure it's the same kind of effect at the Eye as at Falme.

You're quite right, though; what Brandon clearly debunked was the idea of the "tremendous stone" being a Portal Stone, not the possibility that Nakomi was from an alternate world or that she was able to take Aviendha there by some other means. In some ways, that still seems reasonable, but the issues with the food (speed, taste) seem more like TAR than an alternate world.
Theresa Gray
207. Terez27
You'd be surprised how many things aren't discussed at Theoryland. There are a ton of those things that come up at Dragonmount regularly
(and here for that matter). But when I said it's an old topic of discussion, I meant something that comes up fairly regularly. And in this case it's something that wasn't discussed much outside Theoryland, kind of like the Lews Therin thing. But I wasn't trying to say that it was the same thing as the Eye at all; not sure why you would think that. The point of bringing up the RJ quote regarding the sky visions is that we had theorized those were explained by the 'bubble' as you call it (the term at Theoryland was 'pocket', usually), but sadly RJ went for the lame answer rather than the interesting one. And as far as I know, the quote I linked is all he said on it.
Theresa Gray
208. Terez27
PS—In other words, I think both Falme and the Eye are examples of Tel'aran'rhiod and the Real World mixing to an extent, but Falme happened because of the Horn, and the Eye happened because of something else altogether; we're not sure what but presumably the Aes Sedai had something to do with it. If Nakomi is another example of such mixing, then she is no doubt something else again. It would be a lot simpler if she was in Tel'aran'rhiod and pulled Aviendha there briefly; the line between waking and sleeping did not seem very clear, but it also didn't when Amys caught Egwene sneaking in Tel'aran'rhiod and pulled her to her tent (she thought she was awake, but she wasn't), and Ishamael did something similar with Rand in TGH, twice. I asked Brandon about that, and he says he thinks it's something unique to Rand, but he made it clear he was theorizing at least a little bit.
Nadine L.
209. travyl
Wetlander @190+193
- the fact that Nakomi referenced the "Dragon" is certainly interesting - I hadn't noticed that, thanks.

- I always interpreted "the food tasting better than expected" as a means to connect Avi's timeline at that point to a post-Dragonmount/Veins-of-Gold time. After all Rand's coming to peace with himself not only altered the land around him, but also there was the "blue sky above Caemlyn and the food tasting good, if it came from Caemlyn", so I thought Avi (like Elayne) has her own improved meals, through her bond to Rand.
Of course this doesn't explain why the food cooked too fast, and has nothing to do with your theory.
I will certainly pay more attention to the scene in regards to your theory once we get there and/or I reread it.
Julian Augustus
210. Alisonwonderland

your theory has a nice ring, and some parts of it, like Nakomi pulling Aviendha into TAR, seem like the only logical explanation of the encounter. Some other parts, however, specifically the part about Nakomi being Jenn, raises some complex issues in my mind.

If it is possible that some AS such as the Jenn could become so learned as to be able to avoid death by entering TAR in the flesh and sealing themselves off (pulling in the door after themselves, so to speak), then we have such a giant contradiction in the nature of the wheel itself as to undermine the entire series. I mention them being in the flesh because of the mooted possibility of them having descendants, which I will discuss later. I find it hard to believe that Nakomi could be one of the original Jenn, still alive and kicking in the flesh, albeit living in TAR or on an alternate world, three thousand years later.

The next possibility is that they set things up so that as each one dies they are transformed into super-beings akin to the Heroes, and their souls go off to live in some parallel world or TAR. Perhaps they found the same "technology" that was used to create the Horn and are applying it to themselves. But if that is the case, how was Nakomi able to pull Aviendha into the parallel world they inhabit? We know the Heroes could show themselves to people who were already in TAR (principally because of Birgitte showing herself to Nynaeve and Perrin), but we have no evidence that the Heroes could appear at will in the real world.

Finally, could Nakomi be a descendant of the original Jenn? Well, having descendants can only mean some kind of breeding took or is taking place. Since the Jenn we met were all women, who fathered the descendants, and is breeding possible for the dead-in-the-real-world Jenn? All indications are that the Heroes are simply souls who reside in TAR while waiting to be re-born into the real world; there is nary a hint that they can breed while in waiting.

I guess I would need quite a bit more to show me how Nakomi could be Jenn, even though I admit the theory is quite attractive.
211. Faculty Guy
What is becoming clear to me, upon reading the comments of those who have closely analyzed the WOT world, is that EVEN AFTER AMOL IS PUBLISHED there are going to be lots of issues that will need explaining and clarifying for the rest of us.

Somehow, that does not depress me! It might just be fun to have a continuing discussion and commentary even after the saga is completed. A "Talmud" to follow the "Torah" so to speak . . .
Alice Arneson
212. Wetlandernw
Alisonwonderland @210 – Well, I have to say that this is one of the areas of theorization that has about the least by way of textual evidence to support any argument. That’s why I don’t really argue for it; there’s no proof. It’s just an idea, and I think it’s as valid as any of the other ideas about the identity of Nakomi – and, in my mind, better than most.

Terez mentioned the other day (elsewhere, I think) that there are really two issues here: who is Nakomi, and by what mechanism did she interact with Aviendha? They are related to some degree, but in many ways they are separate, too. The most common theories (that I’ve heard) for her identity are Verin, Lanfear, or some random Aiel woman, and I happen to think that the Jenn identity works better.

The primary basis for the Lanfear theory is the name. Nakomi sounds similar to Nokomis, “Daughter of the Moon,” from the poem “The Song of Hiawatha.” The correlation is fairly obvious, but as near as I can tell that’s the only real support for the theory. Nothing about the conversation sounds like anything Lanfear would be likely to do or say. The best support for the Verin theory is Nakomi’s self-stated tendency to ramble, which was rather a well-developed trait of Verin’s; she made regular use of it to distract people from her real purpose, and to encourage them to dismiss her as anything but another vague Brown. Along with that, Nakomi gives a couple of very Aes Sedai-style responses, evading a direct answer to a direct question when it would not be convenient to let the truth be known. One other support for those two theories: conservation of characters. It seems a bit late in the game, especially given that RJ intended these last three to all be one book, to be introducing a significant new character. On the other hand, there’s no apparent reason for either Lanfear or Verin to contact Aviendha and urge her to think about the Aiel staying in the Westlands after Tarmon Gai’don. Obviously someone with a good imagination could probably come up with something, but … yeah.

The random Aiel woman theory has a couple of permutations, including things like the ghost of Aviendha’s grandmother. This is probably as valid as any, because Nokomis also means “my grandmother” in the Ojibwe language (one of the bases for the Hiawatha story). As a theory, it suffers from the failure of conservation of characters, but at least she’d have a reason to care about what the Aiel do after the Last Battle is done with.

As I mentioned above, the entire trigger for my “Nakomi is Jenn” theory was Brandon’s indication that we will yet see what happened to the Jenn. RJ very deliberately didn’t finish their story back in TSR. Rand saw a few dozen Jenn and two very, very old Aes Sedai meet with the clan chiefs at the beginning of his walk through the columns, but at that point Rand’s thought was
“That’s Rhuidean, but without any fog, and only just begun.”
Obviously the Jenn were around for some time after that, because while they don’t seem to have really finished the construction, it was clearly much more complete by the time Rand & co. arrived, since he noticed the difference. However, no one knows what happened to them later; there’s a slight implication that they all died, but even the Aiel don’t actually know.

As far as being a descendant of the Jenn, I think you have your data off a little. All the Aiel were originally Jenn, and those who now think of themselves as Aiel were actually those who abandoned the Way of the Leaf. In the last (chronological) scene where the Jenn are seen by the other Aiel, there are “a few dozen Jenn” plus two Aes Sedai. We’re only introduced to three of the Jenn, one man and two women, all of whom are apparently older – the man is described as white-haired, the two women as graying – but we’re given nothing about the other 40 or 50 Jenn except that they don’t want to look at the Aiel. No genders, no ages, and no clue as to whether they are all of the surviving Jenn at that time, or merely representatives of a larger group who remained in the city.

In the conversation between Nakomi and Aviendha, Nakomi certainly seems to convince Aviendha that she is Aiel, at least. She apparently has the right physical appearance, although of course any channeler who was well-practiced in the Mask of Mirrors could do that. She knows a lot about the way Aiel think and what they believe; she also shows great familiarity with Aiel food, cooking methods, and how to get along in the Waste. And yet her first comment on Rand is to refer to him as “the one named Car’a’carn,” as though her perspective on him is slightly different from the typical Aiel. She understands all the background of the Aiel, but she has some very non-traditional thoughts about it.

It’s getting too late for me to present any further “evidence” tonight; if you read the chapter with the idea that Nakomi is Jenn, you’ll see most of it yourself. Try to set aside the question of “how” and just focus on the idea that she’s lived all her life with the truth of the Aiel history as seen in the columns, and that she’s known from day one what the purpose of the Jenn was. In the first column-scene in TSR, it’s clear that the Jenn have a specific purpose in mind, one to which they are completely dedicated but that requires the other Aiel to survive in the Waste with limited knowledge of their past. (Limited, in that only the chiefs and Wise Ones know the truth about their history.) It’s also clear that the rest of the Aiel don’t know that purpose, other than that they must watch for the one who will come from Rhuidean at dawn and all that. When I read Nakomi’s words, they all seem to fit so well with someone who cares about the Aiel as a people, but who has a slightly different perspective and background from most of them.

As for the “how Nakomi could be Jenn” in terms of the mechanism… That’s a bigger subject than I want to tackle tonight. There are so, so many possibilities, and you hit several of them yourself. I strongly suspect that TAR was involved at least in the meeting of Nakomi and Aviendha, for all the obvious reasons. As for where Nakomi has lived, how old she is, whether she is one of many or the last representative, or even whether she’s real and alive by “waking world” standards, we can only make wild guesses. As far as I know, there’s not a thing in either the text or the interviews that could give us a very strong indication that one possibility is greater than another. We’ve seen a few things, though, that could be easily imagined as part of the answer: worlds accessible through Portal Stones which might be habitable, Heroes who live in TAR and can interact with one another and those who come into TAR, alternate dimensions like the Finn, vacuoles… any of which could be a factor, without being a deus ex machina.

Remember that the Jenn had with them Aes Sedai who had access to a great store of ter’angreal and probably knowledge (or experience) of much of the channeling skills of the AOL. Not being bound by the Oath Rod, these women were very, very old. In the scene I keep referencing, they are described this way:
Women with hair so white it almost seemed transparent. Ageless faces with skin that looked as if the wind might tear it.
These women are probably 600 to 700 years old; that’s a lot of experience. If anyone could figure out a way to keep the Jenn alive (whether as a people, or a single “canned” representative who could appear to one person at the right time) for a period of 2500 years, they’d be the ones with a good shot at it. In any case, the details of the mechanism are sheer speculation, but it seems reasonable that they’d involve one or more of the other-worldly things we’ve already seen. I think the least complicated one (hence the one I like tonight) would be that they all moved to an alternate world via Portal Stone, where they have raised successive generations in all the knowledge and training that could be passed on, with an ongoing purpose to return at the right time to help the Aiel as a people before, during and after the Last Battle. With sufficient knowledge of channeling and the Portal Stones, it wouldn’t be difficult to keep an eye on current events. IIRC, there’s even a certain overlap in the dream-space, so that a really experienced dreamwalker from one alternative world could contact or observe those in another.

There’s plenty of in-text information about other worlds and dimensions, so I don’t find it at all a stretch to think that RJ had one (or more) of them in mind for what happened to the Jenn and how to bring them back or give them a means to affect the Aiel again at the end of the Age. Which one? RAFO.
Julian Augustus
213. Alisonwonderland

Like I said earlier, I found your theory quite attractive, for many of the reasons you have expounded on in 212. However, being originally trained as an engineer before morphing into economics later in life, the "how" is not something that is far from my mind as I read anything. The fact that Nakomi was brought into the narrative in the first place suggests some important purpose (setting up the future of the Aiel post TG),and we can expect some additional information about who she is and where she came from.

Your conjectures on these questions make more sense to me than all other theories proposed so far, but there is still a big information gap. So far, there is no in-world explanation for how Nakomi could be Jenn, and I would want, if that is the case, for Brandon to provide a "how" that fits in with what we already know of the world and doesn't insult the intelligence of WoT readers. I don't have any reason to believe that Brandon, Harriet and Team Jordan will let us down that badly. So, we will RAFO!

In the meantime, excellent theory and discussion, as always. Salute.
Alice Arneson
214. Wetlandernw
Alisonwonderland @213 - Having also been trained as an engineer, I too find it difficult (though not impossible) to separate the how from the who. When I try to list the possibilities for the mechanism, though, my mind goes numb from the multitude of permutations. :) The fact that we haven't seen anything specifically parallel only makes it worse, because I can imagine all sorts of twists and combinations!

I finally made an executive decision and told my mind to shut up about it - there are at least four "other/outside world" possibilities for the Jenn to have made use of in one way or another, so the uncertainty of a specific mechanism doesn't interfere with the basic theory. That said, though, the details are inextricably tied to the questions of whether Nakomi is real or a projection, whether she's dead but lives in TAR (like the Heroes), whether she's original (real or projected) or a descendant, etc. etc. etc. There are just too many permutations and not nearly enough information!

Now that I've gone so far as to actually try writing it out, I'll probably continue to mull on it and see if I can come up with any questions we could ask Brandon that would narrow things down. (Questions he'd be willing to answer, that is!) Then, if anyone has the chance to go to a con or signing and ask him questions...

This discussion has been really good for me, to see both the strengths and weaknesses of the basic theory as well as recognizing the areas where I don't have anything so solid as a theory to propound.
Terry McNamee
215. macster
@204 Terez: Nakomi being an actual dead person who suddenly lives again due to the weakening Pattern. That's an interesting idea...but I'm not sure why Jordan would include it then, particularly in relation to Aviendha. We already know the Pattern is coming apart, and the things she told Aviendha could have come from herself. So why was it particularly important to show one dead person alive again so as to help Aviendha? It's obviously going to be important in AMoL or Sanderson wouldn't have given a RAFO about Nakomi, but we don't know how or why...

I still wonder though if the name Nakomi, being similar to Nokomis, was meant to make us think of Lanfear--not that she was Nakomi, but to suggest Nakomi had abilities similar to Lanfear (i.e. Portal Stone traveling, TAR).

And to Wetlander, thanks again for providing all the details on your theory, including admitting where there is a gap of knowledge or you just don't know. It makes what you do know and explain all the more compelling, and leaves what we don't know to be all the more maddening. :P
216. asdjk
I think the Jaws theory is 100% off base. That typw of story-telling in literature is much older than movies, and if anything the changes of the blickbuster era should be seen as a cinematic adaptation of literat trends.

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