Tue
Jul 17 2012 1:00pm

The Wheel of Time Re-read: Towers of Midnight, Part 10

Greetings and salutations, alla y’all! It’s a Wheel of Time Re-read!

Today’s entry covers Chapters 15 and 16 of Towers of Midnight, in which Nynaeve is awesome, productive picnics provide progress, and I have to forcibly restrain myself from being extremely tacky with Kansas lyrics.

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 15: Use a Pebble

What Happens
Nynaeve and the Asha’man Naeff head through the streets of Tear to where a bubble of evil had been reported. Naeff warns her to be careful of the Myrddraal following them, and Nynaeve reflects sadly that while Naeff’s residual madness from the taint isn’t getting worse, it isn’t getting better either. Rand has left the city “to fetch something,” and Nynaeve knows she must leave for the Tower as soon as he returns, though it galls her to have to obey Egwene. They reach the area where the bubble struck, which looks washed-out compared to the buildings around it, and as soon as she and Naeff venture into the area they discover that everything inside the bubble’s radius — including people – has turned to a fine, lifeless powder that crumbles the moment anyone touches it. She and Naeff sweep the area with weaves of Air, shattering the buildings to search for survivors, but everything is dust. Nynaeve curiously touches the gathered dust with Fire, and is shocked when it all ignites instantly; she is grateful they had gathered it all first.

Nynaeve closed her eyes. The entire world was falling apart, and she was powerless to Heal it. She felt sick and angry.

Naeff tells her maybe the Fades watching them caused it, and on impulse she Delves him, trying to figure out how to Heal the madness in him. She notes that it seems similar to Compulsion, and wonders if perhaps the madness from the taint could be considered the Dark One’s own kind of Compulsion. She tries a counterweave, but it fails, and in frustration she Delves deeper, and sees that the darkness has tiny “thorns” embedded in Naeff’s mind. She uses Spirit to pry one free, and it works. She moves on to the others, prying them all loose, and then tries the counterweave again, and this time the darkness vanishes.

Nynaeve stumbled back, drained near to exhaustion. Naeff blinked, then looked around. He raised a hand to his head.

Light! she thought. Did I hurt him? I shouldn’t have barreled into that. I could have

“They’re gone,” Naeff said. “The Fades… I can’t see them anymore.” He blinked. “Why would Fades be hiding in the shadows anyway? If I could see them, they’d have killed me, and—” He looked at her, focusing. “What did you do?”

“I… I think I just Healed your madness.” Well, she’d done something to it. What she’d done hadn’t been any standard Healing, and hadn’t even used Healing weaves. But it had worked, it seemed.

Naeff smiled deeply, seeming bewildered. He took her hand with both of his, then knelt before her, growing teary-eyed. “For months, I have felt as if I were always being watched. As if I would be murdered the moment I turned my back on the shadows. Now I… Thank you. I need to go find Nelavaire.”

“Off with you, then,” Nynaeve said. Naeff left her in a dash, running back toward the Stone to search out his Aes Sedai.

I can’t let myself begin to think that nothing I do matters. That’s what the Dark One wants.

She notes the clouds breaking up, signaling Rand’s return. He finds her there talking with the families of the victims, trying to comfort them, and thanks her for caring for his people, even those who don’t need it. She asks if that includes him, and he replies that no, he’s always needed it. She is surprised by the admission. Rand nods to the destroyed area and says that the Dark One wants to do this to the entire world, and the longer they wait the more he destroys. Nynaeve asks if letting the Dark One free won’t make it even worse; Rand replies that perhaps it will, but opening the Bore will not free him immediately, and it must be done while they are still strong enough to fight him. Nynaeve realizes she believes him, and says so; Rand is relieved, and asks her to try and convince Egwene of it. She tells him Egwene has called her back to the Tower; Rand looks sad, but accepts it. He asks her, though, to try not to let them “ruin” her.

“Your passion is part of you,” Rand said. “I tried to be like them, though I wouldn’t have admitted it. Cold. Always in control. It nearly destroyed me. That is strength to some, but it is not the only type of strength. […] I would not see you become another ‘perfect’ Aes Sedai with a painted mask of a face and no care for the feelings and emotions of others.”

“To be Aes Sedai is to be calm,” Nynaeve replied.

“To be Aes Sedai is to be what you decide it is,” Rand said, his stump still held behind his back. “Moiraine cared. You could see it in her, even when she was calm. The best Aes Sedai I’ve known are the ones who others complain aren’t what an Aes Sedai should be.”

Nynaeve is surprised again to realize Rand seems like the kind of person she could take advice from now. Rand tells her to go to Egwene, but asks that she return after, at least to be with him when he goes to Shayol Ghul; if he is to use Callandor, he will need two women with him, and while he has not decided on the other, he definitely wants her to be one of them. She promises, feeling proud, and then asks to Delve him, hoping to do for him what she had done for Naeff.

She stiffened. The darkness was enormous, covering the entirety of his mind. Thousands upon thousands of the tiny black thorns pricked into his brain, but beneath them was a brilliant white lacing of something. A white radiance, like liquid Power. Light given form and life. She gasped. It coated each of the dark tines, driving into his mind alongside them. What did it mean?

She retreats, and apologizes that she cannot Heal him. Rand is deeply impressed to learn what she did with Naeff, and tells her even the most Talented Healers in the Age of Legends did not believe possible what she had just done. Nynaeve promises to Heal the other Asha’man before she goes, but is not sure she can go to the Black Tower. Rand tells her not to do that, as “something’s happening” there. Nynaeve hugs him in farewell, feeling foolish.

Egwene stands on the top of the White Tower, reflecting that the clouds had returned, and the tea was back to tasting stale again. She remembers the saying: The Land is One with the Dragon. Saerin, Yukiri and Seaine are with her, and she asks how their search is going. Seaine says there may be no way to discover how Mesaana defeated the Oath Rod, since even though the Aes Sedai have been using it for millennia they still do not entirely understand how it works; there may be a very simple way to bypass it that they just don’t know about. She has three theories, though: (a) there is another Oath Rod, and Mesaana managed to unswear the Oaths on it in between swearing on the main Oath Rod and declaring she is not a Darkfriend; (b) she sent a double, cloaked in the Mirror of Mists and under Compulsion, to take the Oaths in her place; or (c) they have discovered weaves that altered sound, so possibly Mesaana could have arranged it so that they all heard her giving the Oaths when in reality she was saying something completely different.

Egwene gritted her teeth. She’d assumed that defeating the Oath Rod would be difficult. And yet here was a simple weave capable of the feat. She should have known—never use a boulder when a pebble will do, as her mother had often said.

Egwene points out that Black Ajah could have been using this for years, then, but Saerin counters that none of the Black sisters they’d captured knew of it, so likely it was something only Mesaana had known before now. Egwene is leery of the proposition to make all the sisters swear the Oaths again, to check for this weave, but Yukiri opines that it might be worth it to catch a Forsaken. Egwene doesn’t think it will be that easy, and asks Saerin what she has unearthed about Mesaana herself. Saerin says there isn’t much; she mentions the accounts of the “schools” she ran in lands conquered by the Shadow during the War of Power, and how Mesaana had turned when she been thwarted in her desire to become a researcher. She was supposedly the leader of the Aes Sedai on the Shadow’s side in battle, and something of a “realist” among the Forsaken, capable, organized, and willing to get her own hands dirty, unlike Moghedien or Graendal.

“The only other thing I could find of relevance, Mother,” Saerin said, “was a curious reference from the Blue scholar Lannis, who indicated that Mesaana was second only to Demandred in sheer anger.”

Egwene frowned. “I’d assume that all of the Forsaken are full of hate.”

“Not hate,” Saerin said. “Anger. Lannis thought Mesaana was angry—at herself, at the world, at the other Forsaken—because she wasn’t one of those at the forefront. That could make her very dangerous.”

Egwene reflects that perhaps this is why Mesaana has stayed on in the Tower even after her original scheme failed: the need to bring some great victory to the Dark One to offset her failures. She considers that her own death would possibly achieve that very well, and wondered whether she dared use herself as bait again when so many people needed her.

If what Saerin said was true, then the woman would be willing to fight directly—she wouldn’t hide and poke from the shadows. Egwene’s task, then, was to tempt her with an opportunity, one that didn’t seem obvious, one she couldn’t resist.

“Come,” Egwene said, walking toward the ramp back down into the Tower. “I have some preparations to make.”

Commentary
YAY AWESOME NYNAEVEISHNESS

Wow, that is really not a word. And yet, I stand by it, because when I first read this I didn’t even realize how much I had missed the days of Awesome Nynaeveishness until they came back again. I think the last time was in ACOS or thereabouts, though there may be an incident of Nynaeve being Awesome since then that I am currently forgetting. But even so, it’s been a while and my point stands.

Healing madness would be impressive no matter what, but Rand’s comment to the effect that even Healers in the Age of Legends probably wouldn’t have been able to pull it off just makes it that much cooler. Sometimes it may be tempting to rag on Nynaeve for her lack of impulse control (like with the dust cloud in this chapter, for instance), but it has to be admitted that most if not all of her most awesome achievements (defeating Moghedien, Healing severing, breaking her block) have been a result of her flinging herself in headfirst and damn the consequences. It’s the kind of thing that we all tell ourselves we’re against in principle but secretly love to see in our heroes. (Don’t click that.)

I also loved Rand and Nynaeve’s interaction in this chapter (she gave him a hug! AWWWW) even as I was disturbed by what Nynaeve found when she Delved Rand. Even though on reflection, I was kind of like, “Yeah, I don’t know exactly what is going on there, but it sounds about right.”

That’s in hindsight, of course. The lack of a real POV from Rand in this book makes it more speculation than it might otherwise be, but this is the first real indication since the end of TGS that New Zen Master Rand has not, in fact, defeated his demons (pun, er, probably not really a pun) so much as he has fought them into a Mexican standoff of sorts. In his brain. Which is pretty wacky.

And which also implies that calling him Jesus Rand isn’t exactly accurate, but as I am easily amused I continue to use it anyway. And hey, even the actual Jesus had that whole episode in the desert. And we know that however much equilibrium Rand may have regained since going to the mountain (yup), he still has at least one very major temptation to deal with, i.e. the True Power. So, he’s gotten better, but it ain’t over by a long shot, I think is the point here.

Re: bubble of evil: I’m a little skeptical that Nynaeve didn’t realize that such fine dust would be so flammable. Surely anyone who grew up in an agrarian culture would be aware of the danger of dust explosions, which can occur in pretty much any finely powdered substance, including milled flour, grain and sawdust? If it can happen in an ordinary mill or granary, why on earth would you think Evil Dust™ would be any less volatile? *shrug*

The other thought I had while reading that bit was to be a little appalled that Nynaeve and Naeff were just blasting the corpses of all these poor people apart without even attempting to identify them first – for the sakes of the victims’ families, if no other reason – but on reflection I suppose it probably wouldn’t have been very practical, given the circumstances and time constraints. And Nynaeve did make a point of sticking around to comfort who she could, so that’s something, anyway.

As for Egwene’s scene, the only thing I really found interesting about it was the description of Mesaana as a sort of Dark Side Amyrlin, which made for some nice parallels. I’m not a hundred percent convinced, though, that the contention that she is a “hands on” go-getter type really matches up with the weapons-grade lurking she has been doing since… well, since forever, basically. I mean, yes, she’s more direct than Graendal and Moghedien, but that’s sort of like saying a wet sponge is less squashy than a bowl of Jello, if you know what I mean. Sure, it’s true, but only in the most misleading way possible, in my opinion.

The Oath Rod thing, I really don’t care about. Especially since this scene makes it clear that how Mesaana actually got around it hardly even matters; Egwene says flat out that the only important thing is that she did, and they can assume she can continue to do so. In fact I don’t think we ever find out how Mesaana actually did it at all, though I could be wrong about that. So, clearly, whatever.

“The Blue scholar Lannis”: shoutout? Shoutout! Whee! Go Leslie!

I’m sure there are more shoutouts I am missing, by the way – I’m only mentioning the ones I know for sure are there. If there are others I missed feel free to point them out in the comments.

(Which reminds me, “tomfeltes” confirmed in the comments to the last post that Word of God says “Leeh” in Chapter 13 was indeed my very own personal shoutout, so that is super double plus awesomecakes. My shoutout! Mine! MINE!)

 

Chapter 16: Shanna’har

What Happens
Faile walks the camp, thinking of Perrin’s attempts to set a second parley with the Whitecloaks and her choice words to him for sneaking off without her the first time. She also reflects that she will have to deal with Berelain soon, and shocks herself by wishing she could ask her mother for advice. She thinks of how essential all the things her mother had taught her had been to her these past two years, and realizes ruefully how immature and irresponsible it had been of her to run away from home.

She was glad she’d left and met Perrin, but that didn’t excuse her actions. With a grimace, she remembered forcing Perrin to travel the Ways in the darkness, alone. She didn’t even recall what he’d done to set her off, though she’d never admit that to him.

Her mother had once called her spoiled, and she’d been right.

[…] Light bless you, Mother, Faile thought. What would she, or Perrin, have done without that training? Without her mother’s teachings, Faile would have been useless.

She visits the quartermaster and artfully manages to warn him to curb his doctoring of the books without accusing him of anything outright, using Perrin’s reputation for his temper when his people are wronged as an incentive. She then heads to meet with Perrin, reflecting that her mother had warned her what would be expected of her in married life, but hadn’t mentioned how fulfilling it could be.

Perrin waits on a hilltop a little ways off from the camp, searching for wolves, but there are none in the vicinity. Faile arrives and comments that he looks concerned, and Perrin tells her that his failures as a leader continue to pile up, and he doesn’t understand why anyone follows him. Faile asks why he continues to fight the notion that he is a good leader, and Perrin points out that while he was willing to give himself up for the Cauthons and the Luhhans in the Two Rivers, he is no longer willing to do the same for Basel Gill et al, which he thinks makes him callous.

“It’s not callous,” Faile said, “or selfish. You’re a lord now, and you can’t let it be known that capturing your subjects will undermine your rule. Do you think Queen Morgase would abdicate to tyrants who kidnapped her subjects? No leader could rule that way. Your inability to stop evil men does not make you evil yourself.”

Perrin just wants to go back to what he was after this is over, be a blacksmith in a village somewhere, but then considers whether Faile could ever be a balcksmith’s wife. Faile tells him she would go if he wanted her to, but asks if he is sure that’s what he really wants, to leave the Two Rivers without a lord. Perrin tries to convince himself that they would pick someone better to be their lord if he left, but feels surprisingly upset at the notion of someone else taking over and possibly mucking it up. Faile changes the subject by announcing they have other plans for this evening, and summons servants to the hill to start laying out a lovely dinner spread. Perrin is confused, and Faile explains that it is their first shanna’har, or wedding anniversary. She explains in Saldaea this would normally last a month, but they will probably not have time for more than this evening. Perrin initially protests the idea of feasting when “the world itself may die.”

“If the world itself is going to die,” Faile said, “is this not the time when a man must take time to appreciate what he has? Before it is all taken?”

Perrin hesitates, but agrees, and Faile explains that the notion to have the celebration outside came from Tam al’Thor, and this is her attempt to combine the Saldaean tradition with the Two Rivers one. They eat, and Perrin is mortified when she observes his enthusiasm over the meat and comments that there is “much of the wolf” in him. Perrin freezes, and counters that there is too much of it in him, but Faile disagrees. Perrin hesitates, and confesses to her his belief that he’d acted entirely inappropriately during her captivity. Faile says she’d heard about what he did, and opines that he did what he had to do.

“I’d have gone much farther,” Perrin admitted. “Hating myself all the way. You spoke of a lord being strong enough to resist letting himself be manipulated. Well, I’ll never be that strong. Not if you’re taken.”

“We shall have to make certain I don’t get taken.”

“It could ruin me, Faile,” he said softly. “Anything else, I think I could handle. But if you are used against me, nothing will matter. I’d do anything to protect you, Faile. Anything.”

“Perhaps you should wrap me up in soft cloth, then,” she said dryly, “and tuck me away in a locked room.” Oddly, her scent was not offended.

“I wouldn’t do that,” Perrin said. “You know I wouldn’t. But this means I have a weakness, a terrible one. The type a leader can’t have.”

Faile snorts, and tells him stories of various great kings and queens of Saldaea, and their sometimes flagrant personal flaws or weaknesses, and how they were considered great leaders anyway. She says that Perrin claims that he was a terrible leader while Faile was captured, but she sees that he kept his people focused and inspired. Perrin comments that Berelain had a lot to do with that, and tries to say more, but Faile assures him that she will deal with Berelain. She tells him he is driven and dedicated, and these are wonderful traits for a leader to have, and she doesn’t understand why he had the banners burned.

She smelled curious, almost desperately so.

I can’t lead them, he thought. Not until I know if I can master the wolf. How could he explain? Explain that he feared the way it took control when he fought, when he wanted something too badly?

He would not rid himself of the wolves; they had become too much a part of him. But where would he leave his people, where would he leave Faile, if he lost himself to what was inside of him?

Perrin then tells Faile the entire story, from Shadar Logoth to Elyas to his first encounter with the Whitecloaks to Noam to Hopper to how he felt in battle, and his frenzy when searching for her. He feels relief to finally tell her the whole truth. Afterwards, she thanks him, and in return tells him about Malden and what she had gone through there. Perrin thinks she has left some things out, probably about the Brotherless Aiel who had captured her, but decides he doesn’t mind, and that the man had still deserved his death even if he was kind to Faile. He comments that he is surprised she wasn’t angry at him for ruining her own escape plans; Faile says she’d considered having a “proper” argument and reconciliation over it with him, but decided this night should be in Two Rivers fashion.

“And you think husbands and wives don’t argue in the Two Rivers?” he asked, amused.

“Well, perhaps they do. But you, husband, always seem uncomfortable when we yell. I’m very glad you’ve begun to stand up for yourself, as is proper. But I have asked much from you to adapt to my ways. I thought, tonight, I would try to adapt to yours.”

Perrin hugs her, and apologizes for not considering she would escape on her own, and she forgives him. He asks if that means they can skip to the reconciliation, and she smiles and says she can allow it this once. He kisses her, and reflects that the awkwardness they’d had between them since Malden was now gone.

He had Faile back, truly and completely.

Commentary
Awwwww.

So this chapter could be called The One Where Faile ‘N Perrin Straighten Out Their Shit, and other than rather stripping all of the romance out of it would be perfectly accurate to say. And as usual in WOT, the hallmark of significant progression of any kind in a relationship between characters (romantic or otherwise) is the (usually horrifically belated) application of actual real honesty.

This is, once again, one of the most consistently major themes in the series, which is that true candidness from Lightside characters is always (a) exceedingly rare, but (b) effusively rewarded once it finally happens. You’d think Our Heroes would catch on to the formula at some point, heh.

Anyway, lots and lots of honesty going on in this chapter, all of it highly appreciated by me. I love that Faile totally calls herself on what an immature brat she was back when we first met her, because boy howdy do I agree. And while she may be a tad bit self-congratulatory on how she has Grown As A Person since then, she’s also not wrong, at least not in my opinion. Her foregoing of The Yelling at the end of the chapter (not to mention her actual recognition of the fact that the fight-and-make-up thing is actually a specific Saldaean cultural thing and not a universal truth of marriages) is enough by itself to prove that.

(And I note that she makes specific mention of A Certain Incident that happened back in TSR, which I have to confess made me snort out loud when I first read it. Not that I think that was any kind of shoutout or anything, but I snorted anyway, because at least that proves I wasn’t the only one who found that particular interlude – memorable, shall we say.)

Anyway. Of course, while Faile and Perrin’s marital issues are (more or less) resolved in this chapter, we do not make nearly as much headway with Perrin’s leadership and/or wolfy issues. I do note, however, that Faile’s very reasoned explanation here of how no leader, no matter how exalted, is a flawless human being like Perrin seems to think a leader must be (and very diplomatically did not tack on the “you moron” I might have felt compelled to add in her place) was perhaps the first time Perrin actually seemed to listen when someone told him he was a good leader. Not believe, of course, not yet, but progress is progress. At this point I am certainly not in the mood to look a gift sense-talking in the mouth.

There are a lot of really good thoughts in here, in fact, about leadership and what it should and should not entail, mostly from Faile, but I think I’m going to save those to talk about another time. Mostly, this chapter is about their relationship, and while I still have some residual issues with Perrin and Faile that are probably never going to go away entirely, the forward motion their reconciliation indicates is far too pleasing for me to get too twisted up about it.


So, yay for post-escape-and-or-rescue snuggles, and Doublemint Yay for Awesome Nynaeveishness, right right? Right! Have a week, kiddies, and I’ll see you next Tuesday!

179 comments
Sam Mickel
1. Samadai
YAY Nynaeve is completely awesome. I just knew she would be the one to cure Taint madness. I love the bond her and Rand have now.

I really like the Faile/Perrin chapter. Finally they talk to each other.
Andrew Haiko
2. ahaiko
I like the Faile/Perrin chapter, too. Especially when it's over, because then I don't have to read about Faile and Perrin anymore
neverspeakawordagain
3. neverspeakawordagain
Weird -- maybe just because I'm NYC born and raised, but I'd never heard of dust explosions until you just linked there.

I was a big fan of Nynaeve and Rand's chapter there, but OH MY GOD did I hate the Faile / Perrin chapter here. There hasn't been a single point in the series where Faile came on screen without me wanting to shout "just get the fuck over yourself already!" up to this point -- the very first time I had a Faile moment where I could remotely stand her is her meeting with Elayne later on in this book. And Perrin is, to borrow a phrase from you, Leigh, just making me want to headdesk over and over again over his lunatic issues with lordship and, especially, the wolves (which should have been crystal clear waaaaaaaayyy before his little epiphony in the epilogue).

Short answer: Yay Nynaeve, Boo on everything to do with Perrin and Faile (whose name I pronounce as if it didn't have the "e" at the end, but she's nothing but a giant ball of fail throughout the whole series).
LT Tortora
4. Lucubratrix
I also liked Faile's recognition that the way things are done in her culture isn't the only way things should be done all the time ever. That attitude is something that's bothered me a bit in the series, and not just with her. While it's understandable for people who've never left their village to have no understanding of the idea that other cultures exist, you'd think that people who are nobility, who would be expected to interact with people from other countries, would have some concept that other people do certain things differently. Surely people who are in line to the throne would have been taught about customs in other countries.
neverspeakawordagain
5. NotInventedHere
Nyn's moment of awesome is great, and it is really nice to see her getting along so well with Rand. I also find his recognition that the greatest Aes Sedai Rand has known have been the ones that other AS think don't act like AS should. This could be seen as a rather pointed criticism of Egwene, as she is pretty much acting like the quintessential AS at the moment. Makes me wonder if we are going to see a real conflict between the two in the final book.

Hooray, Perrin and Faile more or less sorted themselves out. If only it had happened 9 books ago, I wouldn't cringe so at the appearance of his chapter icons...
neverspeakawordagain
6. NotInventedHere
I also find his recognition that the greatest Aes Sedai Rand has known have been the ones that other AS think don't act like AS should.
Oops, editing fail. One of these days I might go black so I can fix stupidities like this. Should have read something like, "I find Rand's recognition that the greatest AS he has known have all been ones whom other AS think don't act as AS should to be very interesting."
neverspeakawordagain
7. @miathecanecorso
Does anyone think that the "Light given form and life" in Rand's mind was put there by the Creator to sort of negate the Evil Black Thorns of Saidin Compulsion? I don't think that it was a conscious (or unconscious) act on Rand's part when became Jesus Rand like Leigh suggests.
William Carter
8. wcarter
Mat may be the most amusing to read, and Thom is actually my favorite character overall, but I think Nyneave has had the most interesting growth arc in the series. It takes guts and wits to do what she has has done time and again. From the moment she set out following the party to facing Moghedian, breaking her block to finally outwitting even Lan when he decided "And Now I Must Fight To The Death For My Honor.
Deana Whitney
9. Braid_Tug
Nynaeve: so love her. Her healing was great. Wonder how long Naeff could have held on always thinking something was about to get him. Not a pleasant thought.

Glad she:“realize Rand seems like the kind of person she could take advice from now.” Hopefully she can talk some sense to Egwene.
Really liked their talk about what being a AS means. But more on that when we get to her testing.


Shanna’har - I like the concept, but it seems weird that the celebration would go on as long as Faile implies.
“Well, perhaps they do. But you, husband, always seem uncomfortable when we yell. I’m very glad you’ve begun to stand up for yourself, as is proper. But I have asked much from you to adapt to my ways. I thought, tonight, I would try to adapt to yours.”
Here’s the thing. She never told him any of this. Elys had to give him the clue. Wonder if Elys had not been around if the kidnapping would have matured her enough that she would tell her husband what she expected? Either way, glad they can be the cute happy couple now.
Sam Mickel
10. Samadai
Well, the celebration is only for the very first anniversary.
neverspeakawordagain
11. Lsana
I do think that the Oath Rod discussion matters for one reason only: they never even consider that Mesaana is using the obvious method of beating the Oath Rod, the one every Aes Sedai has been using since the series started: twisting the truth like a pretzel until it isn't recognizable as the truth anymore. It's an important blind spot to note.
Christa Warden
12. lizy
I assumed the reason she (Mesaana) was able to remain unmasked was because she does not consider herself a darkfriend so it would not be a lie for her to say she is not a darkfriend.
Tess Laird
13. thewindrose
Shanna'har - I wonder what the stats are on Saldean's surviving the 1st year of marriage? Maybe that is why it is a month long;)

I really enjoyed Rand's chat with Nynaeve - 'don't turn into a pretentious Aes Sedai' - Amen to that Rand! I have been thinking about Rand and Egwene's next meeting and I find this an interesting conversation between Rand and Nynaeve about what makes a good Aes Sedai. I can see the fireworks already - anyone else ready to see Egwene lose her temper?

tempest™
Sanctume Spiritstone
14. Sanctume
Is "Nelavaire" a shoutout too?

I tend to gloss over Perrin/Faile.
Robert Crawley
15. Alphaleonis
Leigh: Thanks so much for the "boy howdy". I've been away from the south too long. It must have been over 40 years since I've heard that phrase. But just a little curious as to how it got into your vocabulary, since it is a redneck phrase, and not so much a native New Orleanian one. I grew up in the New Orleans area (Luling), but also had relatives in Arkansas, which is where I heard that phrase a lot. Anyhow thanks again for using it. It's amazing how sweet nostalgia can be awakened by small things.
neverspeakawordagain
16. fragrantelephant
Leigh -- don't Two Rivers folk mainly raise sheep and farm tabac, which I assume is a cross between tobacco and cannabis? Not much fine powdering there, I think, and especially not for the sheep! Eeek!

I agree with neverspeakawordagain -- Faile is a huge, smoldering ball of fail and poop and every chapter that includes her makes me want to skip ahead.

YAY AWESOME NYNAEVEISHNESS
Rich Bennett
17. Neuralnet
the Nyneave chapter is so awesome... After reading this I daydreamed a sort of cult arising among the Asha'man in the future that follows her around worshiping her as a sort of mother/protector figure. Seriously though, the black tower should erect a statue for her... first she helps cure the taint then she cures the taint madness. what a great chapter.

The Perrin/Faile chapter was nice too... at least it gave me a good sense that the story was moving towards a conclusion now. Perrin was finally working through his issues and Faile was growing up.
Jessica McAlister
18. dellyphio
I also thought that Mesaana had "beat" the oath rod because she doesn't think of herself as a darkfriend. The Forsaken are way too arrogant for that.
neverspeakawordagain
19. av willis--
I think if we're going to berate Sanderson for potentially-depending on your perspective-butchering Mat's character, among other things, we should also give him kudos for making Faile a much more plausible character. Granted part of it may be her mellowing out,and a bunch of it is no doubt a side effect of her Shaido captivity, and her subsequent homecoming. But however you want to spin it, for the last two books, it's become a lot easier to pin a method to her madness, as opposed to just passing it off as "oh those crazy Saldeans and their shennanigans".
neverspeakawordagain
20. JustSomeReader
Also mesaana doesn't need anything specific just a bit of compulsion when it's her turn "I'm not her look elsewhere" -compulsion for those searching her and she never needs to go anywhere near the oath rod.

You don't need to be all that sneaky when you can just 'mind fuck' everyone around you with ease.
Don Barkauskas
22. bad_platypus
lizy @12, dellyphio @18:
That is a very popular theory, and it might very well work, but I strongly suspect there was more to it than that; while it's highly likely that Mesaana is arrogant enough to assume that's the way it would work, I think it's even more likely that she had some saidar-related way to do it. At any rate, as Leigh points out, we never find out how Mesaana did it, and I doubt we ever will.

JustSomeReader @20: I highly doubt Mesaana could split her Compulsion weave several hundred ways on a group of Aes Sedai, many of whom would be holding saidar; remember, it's not enough for her to just avoid the testing---in order to maintain her cover as Danelle, she has to be seen taking the Oath.
Tricia Irish
23. Tektonica
Yay Leeh and Lannis! Nice to see the shoutouts!

I LOVE the Rand/Nynaeve chapter. She is awesome, and he is generous, and insightful. They are a great team! I do hope she has a positive influence on Egs in the last book. Hopefully, Egwene will take it seriously in Merrilor when she sees Nynaeve, whom she respects immensely, standing with Rand. Nynaeve was one of my very least favorite people at the start of this series, but as stated above, she has a great character arc. I just love her loyalty and passion and clear vision.

Faile however......oh ug. She's so smug I want to slap her. Even when she's trying to be nice and understanding. ug. ug. ug. I too want to skip all the Perrin/Faile interactions. And I can't believe Perrin is STILL going on and on about the leadership/wolf thing. 11 BOOKs, for lords sake. So. Over. It.
JAMES MCCLELLAN
24. ZEXXES
I like the Arthurian reference with the "The Dragon is one with the land". Excalibur has been getting airplay on cable tv recently and having watched it, I remember Merlin noting the same tome.

I wonder now if Nynaeve will have a part in the possible turning of Moridin. She may even have a part to play with turning male Forsaken or any Dark Channelers on the Saidin side of things. For instance, what if Taim is captured and not killed. Has he always been a evil bastard or is it a deeply Taint influenced malady.

I don't know if there'd be time enough for that much Nynaeve awesomeness, but it would certainly solve and close a couple of plot lines.

Z
Jay Dauro
25. J.Dauro
I would doubt that Mesaana would want to be in public bound by the Three Oaths at any time. She may not consider herself a Darkfriend, and so could state she wasn't one without speaking a falsehood, but to be exposed and unable to use the Power as a Weapon? Nope, not going to happen. She is going to have some way of appearing to swear the Oaths but not be bound by them.

(Yes, she could convince herself that if caught, she would be killed. I do not think she would take that chance.)
Zayne Forehand
26. ShiningArmor
The friendship and trust that Nynaeve and Rand have developed over the course of the later books is really one of my favorite aspects of the later novels. I think it's very believable that these two people would find common ground and that Rand would trust her above anyone else.

The genuiness of this interaction lands it solidly in the top 5 (maybe 3) moments of this book. Also, healing of madness....face-meltingly awesome!
neverspeakawordagain
27. MJF
Personally, I can't help feeling that Nynaeve's discovery comes with a big dose of Fridge Horror*: "Hey, you know all those countless thousands of people we ended up having to execute because once a man starts channeling, he simply can't be saved? Yeah, about that, as it turns out..."

*Obligatory note of warning from the Institute for Health and Safety on the Internet: Clicking may cause impaired productivity, unhealthy sleeping patterns, and a permanent obsession with analysing everything you read.
Nadine L.
28. travyl
Loved it, that Nynaeve and Rand were talking to each other "on equal footing". Yes in this chapter she is amazing.

Mesanaa: I know the Forsaken/Chosen don't count themselves AesSedai, but they revere the Dark One, work to achive his goals. I can't believe that, if bound by the OathRod not to lie - she could just "imagine" herself to not be a Darkfriend.
j p
29. sps49
Dust of something flammable can be explosive if it's airborne in the right concentration- dust has a lot of surface area compared to the regular form of whatever, and the right mix of flammable surface area and oxygen can cause a rapid conflagration (um, explosion). Oil system leaks that spray oil into the air have caused serious shipboard fires.

The dust has to be flammable, though. Stone won't, some metals will (like aluminum).

I am glad that Faile regrets some of her early mean stuff.

And I still hope Nynaeve avoids the Oath Rod. What ever happened to that, anyway? Egwene had her Dream of "I have never held the Oath Rod, bwa ha ha!" and hasn't returned to that?
neverspeakawordagain
30. s'rEDIT
ZEXXES: What tome is that?

MJF @27: Fridge Horror it is . . . or ought to be, anyway.
Jason Maceda
31. Metalstorm
What does Nynaeve have to gain from becoming Aes Sedai?
Michelle Simpson
32. MSimpsonPhotos
The Nynaeve/Rand chapter is just so good!

I had no idea about dust explosions...thanks for the information to freak me out!
lake sidey
33. lakesidey
I think the last time was in ACOS or thereabouts, though there may be an incident of Nynaeve being Awesome since then that I am currently
forgetting.

Umm...sending Lan to World's End and raising the Malkieri to go follow him? And cleansing the taint (helping, at any rate)?

~lakesidey
neverspeakawordagain
34. Clubbavich
Am I the only one thinking that the reason that the madness couldn't be healed was because Saidin was still tainted for each and every prior attempt? It's possible that the madnesss could not be healed until the taint was cleansed.
Stefan Mitev
35. Bergmaniac
I am pretty sure Brandon confirmed when asked that Mesaana used one of the three methods mentioned in this chapter to beat the Oath Rod.

Anyway, obviously a good Nynaeve chapter. She's really cool talking with Rand. I am not much of a fan of her discovering how to Heal insanity just like that though, but oh well, it's fantasy after all.

@31 - thousand gold crown per year are a lot of money. ;)

Nice to see Faile and Perrin actually sharing important info. I like Faile when he's not in extreme jealousy mode, she's competent and do what's needed while Perrin still whines about leadership for about 347th time in the series...
neverspeakawordagain
36. rhandric
Clubbavich @34 Since we don't know how the taint worked, it's hard to know for sure, but I can almost guarantee you the reason it couldn't be Healed before is because everyone had an idea of what Healing was and nobody strayed from that definition of Healing (what, Spirit and Water, maybe Air?). I would suspect, however, that the taints effect would only accumulate when you channeled, but if it could be purged then you wouldn't go mad.
neverspeakawordagain
37. neverspeakawordagain
@29 - sps49: Nynaeve does hold the oath rod later in this book; it's required of all Aes Sedai now that they hold the oath rod and swear they're not a darkfriend. She does that the day after she gets Lan's bond passed to her.
Chin Bawambi
38. bawambi
I actually think that option c for Messana would be quite simple and wouldn't require any pre-planning whatsoever. You have to channel into the Oath Rod so who would be watching for a split "ventriloquist" weave? She is just re-affirming her Dark Oaths but every one else hears the Light Oaths. Simple but effective.
Lee VanDyke
39. Cloric
"Healed the wounds of madness and the cutting of hope," anyone?

Always sounded like healing stilling/gentling & curing Taint-induced madness to me. I've never bought that that particular line referred to the Cleansing.
Jeremy Vanneman
40. Jeribai
I'm with everyone else ... Nynaeve is awesome here. Also, didn't like her at all at the beginning of this series, but she has grown to be one of my more favorable characters. I find it interesting that there are still so many theories on who the two people with Rand will be to wield callandor, when we find out here exactly who one will be.

Mesaana talk half of the chapter ... could take it or leave it. It didn't seem like anything happened aside from discussing an issue we already knew about, other than letting us know they were still considering it.

Perrin/Faile chapter ... reminded me why I like Perrin so much, and still don't like Faile at all. Yes, he's still mulling over the same issue he has been for a while, but it does make sense. Absolutely no one has given him a valid reason as to why he is a good leader, or should continue to lead. Also, not until he finds out about Noam at the end of the book does it make any sense for him to just accept that the wolf in him won't take over. He continues to discuss his issues until they're solved, which thankfully they're just about to be.

Faile on the other hand ... thank you Leigh for pointing out how she has grown as a character, because I wouldn't have seen it without the pointer. I do agree that she has grown, but she's got a whole lot more to go. Perrin opens up absolutely everything going on in his life ... and Faile opens up by giving a half-truth that makes him feel like he did something wrong by trying to rescue her from being surrounded by thousands of Aiel. Oh, and to start the chapter, she's still going behind Perrin's back to deal with issues, while she's mulling over how ridiculous it is that Perrin did the same freaking thing that she's in the process of doing! Then, on top of that she has the audacity to think that Perrin couldn't have possibly survived without her mother's teaching of her. Possibly the courage her father provided sure, but her mother's teaching seems to result in unnecessary fights, and her going behind her husband's back about everything.
Thomas Keith
41. insectoid
But Leigh, Kansas is cool! (On the other hand, I now have half the songs on that album stuck in my head, and they'll probably be there all day...)
Great post as always.

Nynaeve: Is buckets of Awesome YAY. That is all.

Rand: Well, at least he won't be going mad anytime soon. And he apparently understands that Very Bad Things are happening at the BT...

Oath Rod: Too complicated to think about. Makes brain hurt.

Lannis: YAY!! :D

Indy Ploy, heh heh.

Perrin: Still emo. *eyeroll* But he and Faile actually TALK to each other! Honestly! Amazing.

Bzzz™.
Charles Gaston
42. parrothead
OOOOkay, here is where I call complete bullshit character derailment. I believe that aside from the funeral scene in TGS, this is the first time we've been inside Faile's head since the author change. What a shock! She suddenly doesn't like who she used to be! Piss on that. And I see that "brat" must mean something very different in the WoT world, and most likely among WoT readers, too, than what I understand it to mean. When I hear "brat" the image I get isn't forcing a 12 year old to become an accountant. And great job, too, making her responsible for the Ways. I don't mean any specific incident, either; the whole episode. Even though that was Perrin's idea, as part of his plot to send her away For Her Own Good. If you'll remember, she called him out for it, and good for her.

The worst part is, after that bout of mental diarrhea, I rather like the rest of the chapter...

Nynaeve: ehn. I always thought things came too easily for her. And I'm going to go out on a limb and say that she hasn't gotten as much character development as is commonly thought; now she's just less likely to hit people with sticks. She's still provincial, sanctimonious, and hypocritical. I don't exactly dislike her, and she's frequently hilarious albeit unintentionally so, but she was definitely my least favorite before the cast expansion in ACoS.
JAMES MCCLELLAN
44. ZEXXES
30. s'rEDIT

It was in that scene where Merlin and Arthur were in that misty cave and Merlin was explaining about Excalibur and Arthurs role as some sort of prophesied savior of the kingdom, destined to unify the land. Don't ask me to quote it because I can't.

Also there are texts of old Arthurian legends that describe such as Arthur being one with the land. I believe it to be part of the Grail stories where Arthur illness was the lands illness and drinking from the Grail restores Arthur and thus connected, the land restores to health as well. I might be getting two different passages mixed up in my somewhere, but they equate to the same thing. It's been a pretty long while since I've read any Arthurian legends and folklore. I think there are some legends about Taliesin that hint at it as well. Maybe I need to go back and read that stuff. It hasn't been twenty years though. I have a twenty year rule you see.


Z
Charles Gaston
45. parrothead
@ 44 ZEXXES That's more the Fisher King than Arthur himself, although it's based on a common theme in Celtic mythology: Divine Sovereignty, where the king is essentially wed to the land, and Arthur's relationship with various women - Morgana, Guinivere, the Lady of the Lake - is often interpreted in the same way. The Fisher King is healed by drinking from the Chalice and then letting blood from the Holy Lance wash away his wound. The wound is either at his groin/thigh or side, depending on whether the version is the older, fertility based one, or the Christian one which draws more upon the imagery of the Crucifixion. Either case uses the old belief that a king must be physically whole in order to retain his crown, or disaster befalls the land.
JAMES MCCLELLAN
46. ZEXXES
28. travyl

It's called suspension of disbelief. People use it in RL all the time. A little more complicated here, but I don't see why it still wouldn't be doable. Granted we haven't seen the term or the act used at all in Randland, but I don't think that diminishes the possibility of having the knowledge of how to.

On another subject, I think maybe that the reason why no one was able to heal Madness could possibly be because the only channelers strong enough (remember how drained Nynaeve was after Naefs healing) and talented enough had gone over to the dark side. You've got Graendal who quite possibly could have figured it out. Maybe Semirhage and definitely Lanfear (through shear power and talent to boot). But none of the Forsaken (or Dreadlords for that matter) would have any incentive to heal Madness. There could possibly have been talented men who could have done the healing, but they are already mad or dead (many of the Hundred Companions died during the sealing of the Bore).

But it is also quite possible that Nynaeve has just discovered something that thousands of years and thousands of Aes Sedai before and throughout this age and others, never did. And it is likely because her talent was shaped as a Wilder and not as a Tower trained Aes Sedai. I like this sentiment better. It fits better with Nynaeve's awesomeness.



Z
Scientist, Father
47. Silvertip
Kansas. heh. yes, that would indeed have been tacky.
I close my eyes
Only for a moment and the moment's gone ...
S
neverspeakawordagain
48. s'rEDIT
Nynaeve. We all find her awesome. We know we'll have legends and myths and . . . whatever. So could Neuralnet's Ashaman cult contract her name to Eve?

ZEXXES: Thanks for filling me in. I guess I was confused by the word you used, not the reference (i.e., "tome," which I thought meant big, heavy book . . . a picture I couldn't quite fit into the context.)
Don Barkauskas
49. bad_platypus
Clubbavic @ 34, rhandric @36:
From the description of the Healing, I bet that it would have worked pre-Cleansing, but that the madness would then have come back when the patient started channeling again.

(And as a note @36, the type of Healing you describe is the only one that survived to the current Age, but it was considered quick-and-dirty, crude "battlefield" medicine in the Age of Legends. The type of Healing used by Semirhage, for example, would definitely have used all five powers like Nynaeve's. So at the beginning, the Age of Legend-ers could have fixed the madness if they had figured out how.)
neverspeakawordagain
50. AndrewB
I agree with J.Dauro @25 that Mesaana would not bound herself by the Oath Rod. I am not sure whether we the reader are privy, in a prior book, to i) a conversation invilving Mesaana; or ii) Mesaana's thoughts regarding the Aes Sedai's use of the Oath Rod to swear oaths.

Even if we do not, I am sure that her opinion is similar to that of the other Chosen. In the Age of Legends, ter'angreal such as the Oath Rod were referred to as binders. Binders were used those channelers to prevent them from using the power in a certain way. For example, Semirhage recalls that when her proclivities were discovered, one of the options that the Aes Sedai gave her was to swear on a binder that she would not cause pain in those she healed. Given the peaceful society of the Age of Legends (pre-drilling of the Bore), it is safe to assume that the binder was reserved for those channelers who society at that time would consider to be evil and/or criminals.

Further, it is safe to assume that Mesaana would have knowledge that the swearing of multiple oaths on a binder would lessen her lifespan. Mesaana hopes to live for as long as posible. (I do not know whether she believes the Dark One can or will grant immortality to those Chosen who please him. It is only Mordin/Ishy who believes that if the Dark One wins, then all life (including the Chosen) will cease to exist.) Thus, she would not want to give up some her years on an Oath Rod.

bawambi @38 -- Unlike members of the Black Ajah, Mesaana has never sworn on a binder (i.e. the Oath Rod). She has no "Dark Oaths" to reaffirm on a binder. It is possible that in swearing to the Dark One at Shayol Ghul, she had to make certain oaths. However, I would wager a pretty penny that such oaths were not made on a binder and would thus not, in of itself, shorten the lifespan of the maker. Somehow, I do not see the Dark One requiring an Oath that would shorten the lifespan of his elite followers.

Thanks for reading my musings,
AndrewB
JAMES MCCLELLAN
51. ZEXXES
48. s'rEDIT

Well if you ever find the want (it's interesting, but Umm... Don't) or the need, you’ll find out how big and heavy those "tomes" can be. Hell, just one passage of folklore can take up a Page. They were very wordy back then. Aaaaand unfortunately, so are the authors writing about them.

Z
neverspeakawordagain
52. alreadymadwithmadness
Clubbavic @ 34, rhandric @36, bad_platypus @49:
We must also consider the time period of when the Taint's effects became known. As the Breaking began, everyone and his mother became more concerned with either taking cover or trying to stop the madmen. Who being males were stronger than the females, and if the male in question had been with LTT's raid on Shayol Ghul, most likely carrying angreal and sa'angreal. It's entirely possible nobody ever got the opportunity to hold down a madman long enough to investigate healing the madness, or if someone did, the knowledge was never disseminated due to the general breakdown of communication at the time.
john mullen
53. johntheirishmongol
Pretty cool of Nynaeve to figure out a cure for madness..at least that particular kind of madness. I thought the bit with her and Rand was actually great, especially the part where she admits he is the kind of person from who she would take advice.

The Perrin and Faile chapter is ok, probably needed to be done but it was not like there were any great revelations.
Roger Powell
54. forkroot
Metalstorm@31
What does Nynaeve have to gain from becoming Aes Sedai?
Technically speaking, she already is Aes Sedai since Egwene raised her in Salidar. However, in the view of many AS, she wasn't completely legitimate since she had not done the final test nor held the Oath Rod.

I think Nynaeve was motivated to answer any doubt about her status, primarily so she could demand Lan's bond from Myrelle.
neverspeakawordagain
55. Seomus
Once upon a time, Nynaeve was my least favorite female character, and in the last few books she has become one of my absolute favorites (probably since ACOS or TPOD). Go Nynaeve!
Karan J
56. karanj
ZEXXES@46.:
But none of the Forsaken (or Dreadlords for that matter) would have any incentive to heal Madness.
Given the taint appeared in the blowback to the sealing, the Foresaken never had a shot at examining a tainted channeller; I assume that the Dreadlords below them were wiped out in short order after the DO's sealing so they didn't have a shot either. I can only assume Rand is talking of post-sealing efforts, and if there had been a technique it might have been considered futile since there was no obvious way to cleanse the taint.


@7. mia...
Does anyone think that the "Light given form and life" in Rand's mind was put there by the Creator to sort of negate the Evil Black Thorns of Saidin Compulsion?
Yes, this exactly. A safety mechanism built into your saviour to protect against the biggest weakness seems pretty useful.
Birgit
57. birgit
Would the cutting short of the lifespan by the OR really matter to a Forsaken who expects to live forever? A fraction of infinity is still infinity. Of course being unable to fight might be a bad thing for Mesaana.

Ny did several exhausting Healings before taking her AS test. Should she not do the test when she is well rested?
James Hogan
58. Sonofthunder
Good couple of chapters here!!

Firstly, yes, Nynaeve is awesome. How many times has she done what no one else thought possible? And I love her and Rand together. She understands and sympathizes with Rand better than almost anyone(except maybe Min).

As for the Perrin and Faile chapter, awww...their anniversary!! I may not be in the majority on this, but I really like this chapter, as I like Faile. She *has* grown quite a bit over the course of the books, and I think that's both a good and realistic thing. Her and Perrin don't have a perfect relationship. But then again, who does? They both love each other dearly and are fully committed to the well-being of the other. And now they're finally communicating!

So yes, I liked this chapter.
neverspeakawordagain
59. Looking Glass
MJF @27: It does, but until the taint was cleansed, it would always come back. At best, any guy healed would need to be under constant supervision by talented healers. At worst… some forms of madness take a guy from zero to dangerously insane in zero time flat; if the actual internal onset is as sudden as the symptoms, then there might still be no way to guarantee a guy who was perfectly fine one night wouldn’t go on a murderous rampage the next morning.
--

Travyl @28, Zexxes @46: I don’t think it’s even suspension of disbelief- it’s quite possible Mesaana never views herself as a darkfriend. In the same way that, say, a lot of the more stuck-up nobility in this series could fight in a battle all day, yet would be deeply offended if anyone said he was “a soldier”, or could be deeply into trade, yet never think of themselves as “a merchant”.

It’s also possible that “darkfriends” have to swear to certain specific things before they get their secret evil decoder rings, and the Forsaken oaths just encompass different things while still including fealty to the shadow.

It would be even easier not to think of herself as “Black Ajah”.
--

Parrothead @42: Yes, clearly if a character thinks she was acting immature way back at the opposite end of her character arc, it must be a sign of character derailment. Because character development means never having to admit you’re wrong. Likewise, Rand and Nynaeve are now terribly written for thinking that yeah, they’ve done stupid and immature things in the past.

(Okay, I’m going to put the sarcasm down now, before I put an eye out.)

Faile treated a lot of her supporters, friends and loved ones as little more than weapons to hit other people with. Using Perrin as a battleground against Berelain is a particularly long-running example, but another great example would be how she wound up treating Loial during the whole Ways incident. That’s pretty bratty, yes.

She also ran off on her responsibilities, solely for the sake of fun and adventure, while still considering herself entitled to her position and everything that entailed. It's not that she didn't want to be heir to house Bashere- she did, and never stopped thinking of herself so- just that she didn't want to deal with the mundane details of the job.

Yes, her parents were teaching her to manage accounts, and etiquette and horse-riding and everything else a young noblewoman would need to know. Ducking all that out of boredom just adds up to ditching school on a grand scale. And, shockingly, now that she is a young noblewoman it turns out that she did need all that stuff they taught her.

In the Ways incident specifically, neither Perrin nor Faile exactly covered themselves with glory (poor Loial got the dirty end of the stick). They were both acting kind of on the childish side. Still, while there are issues with his “Avoid Her For Her Own Good” thing, I’d argue that’s still a worthier motivation than “Imma One-Up That Mayene B*tch”.
neverspeakawordagain
60. Faculty Guy
Sorry if this has already been said - given the amount of commentary and number of websites, probably EVERYTHING has been said in the way of speculating about end scenarios, but this week's chapters made me think again . . .

Is Nynaeve being set up to "heal" Rand's death after TG?

She already has proved herself superior to all past healers, even those in AOL, by healing stilling. Now, here, she heals madness, which we had been told (I think) was un-healable. The only thing left, it would seem, would be to heal death, which we have often been told couldn't be healed. And we all remember the disastrous try in the Stone of Tear when Rand used Calandor to "heal" the dead girl.

But Nyneave will be linked with Rand and another woman (presumably of extraordinary strength) using Calandor during TG. Can't help but wonder if Rand will die (or some form of death) and then Nyneave will bring him back. I realize this doesn't address the long-term aftermath, the Seandar vs. Aiel, nations rising and falling, etc. But there MUST be a reason for developing Nyneave even further as THE master healer.
Mikey Bennett
61. EvilMonkey
I may be the only one on this thread who finds similarities in the character arcs of Nanaeve and Faile. For the record I think Nanaeve is awesome but she wasn't one of my favorite characters to start with. And although Faile is still not one of my favorite characters I like her a lot more now than I did when she was first introduced. But when I look at them I see two women who left their homeland, yet still expected everything to conform to their cultural baseline. This affects all their dealings with the outside world. Nanaeve expects everyone to behave as though they are a part of the Two Rivers, Faile expects everyone to act like Saldean noblepeople. It takes a lot of personal experience and trial to begin to act as if people from other cultures have merit and that things don't exactly have to be done according to their own cultural background. They are both fiercely loyal, brave, passionate, and not above getting physical to achieve a goal. I liked both the chapters in this weeks reread. Nanaeve's displaying her awesomeness is always a treat, and as far as Faile and Perrin goes, I believe this is the first time since the Malden rescue that Faile 1) acknowledges that she was wrong about something and willing to say it out loud to the person she wronged and 2) She makes an effort to do things from Perrin's cultural perspective instead of her own. Is Faile still arrogant and self centered? Incredibly so. Yet she still shows growth. And my opinion of her in this book is miles ahead of my opinion of her at any other time in this series since the Trolloc battles at Emonds Field. The way she handles Berelain later in the book was also priceless.
Lastly, am I the only one who believes that Perrin and Faile make a great team? Before everyone starts barking at me, think about it for a second. Look at the Superboys and their gifts. Rand has Saidin and the voice of probably the most noble person of his age inside his head. One of his girlfriends is a princess and now queen. He had two of the most politically atute people of this age to guide him in Moirane and Thom. As someone expected to rule nations, you couldn't ask for more of a resume than that. Mat has voices in his head as well. They were mostly of battles but he had some experiences at Court as well. And anyone in the military will tell you that the position of General is not just about fighting battles, it is also inherently political. He married a ruler, but he isn't really expected to rule, only to advise. His challenge is one to be taken seriously by his wife so that she will actually take his advice and not just make him property. Now look at Perrin. The gentlest of the three, slow and plodding of thought (albeit those thoughts are deep), prone to self doubt, his gift from the pattern was becomming a wolf. Savage in battle yes, but since he saved his homeland he's been destined to become a ruler too. His gifts and his temperment are at odds with each other. And although he got some training from Moiraine, her focus was naturally on Rand. He gets a much bigger chunk of land in this book, all for him to rule, and he is totally unequipped to handle it. Faile has been trained to do so and has performed admirably. It is obvious to me that she learned her lessons well, both by the way she is regarded in the Two Rivers and the way she kept her people alive in Malden. She proves it again in later negotiations with Elayne. He provides the ferocity and long term planning, she keeps the kingdom running, ensures that short term goals are met, and provides the emotional anchor for her husband.
R B
62. MasterAlThor
Woot Woot Lannis!!!!

Nyneave earns major points in this chapter. It's hard to move off a grudge guys. But HE is not done with me yet, so you'll just have to wait.

Faile,
While Leigh might not agree and I am pretty sure there are other that will not either...my family always said a hard head makes for a soft behind. Glad to see that she is starting to soften that head of hers.

It is always good to see chapters where the characters grow. I enjoyed these chapters and it gave the book a nice balance.

Dragon
neverspeakawordagain
63. Faculty Guy
EvilMonkay@61 et al. - I am sympathetic to your viewpoint. I've never understood the vehemance with which some commenters dislike Faile and (to a lesser extent) Perrin. Neither are my favorita characters, but they have their strong points.

I think the PLOD was so disliked that it poisoned the attitude toward both characters. And, even apart from the kidnapping and Faile's lengthy adventures in the Shaido camp, Perrin's character evolves veeerrrryyyy slowly in the wolf dream. He just KEEPS ON struggling with the same issue interminably.

Yet he is a likeable fellow, and does some very good things. And Faile, remember, is very, very young, so her hot temper and changeable moods can be somewhat excused (and, besides, she's not the only one as EvilMonkay points out). So, all in all, Perrin and Faile carry their weight, in my view.
neverspeakawordagain
64. RoyanRannedos
Crazy thought - remembering the circumstances of Rand's mountaintop epiphany, could the shiny light shield be the Triple Love Bond(tm)? The TLB wouldn't be active for Stressball Doom Guy Rand, but now that he's loving too, it's at full power. That makes sense to me.
Stefan Mitev
65. Bergmaniac
Parrothead @42 And great job, too, making her responsible for the Ways. I don't mean any specific incident, either; the whole episode. Even though that was Perrin's idea, as part of his plot to send her away For Her Own Good. If you'll remember, she called him out for it, and good for her.
What I remember is that Faile was being really childish forcing Perrin to stay behind in the Ways, away from her group, and thus risking to get lost in the dark and die. This is exactly what she feels ashamed about here, and rightfully so. Not that Perrin wasn't even more childish during the whole episode, but two wrongs doesn't make a right.
Deana Whitney
66. Braid_Tug
Re: Healing: She heals the "taint madness."
In the AOL, they probably still had people with the normal "madness" of our times - stress and life induced. Hard to cure that with a magic wave of the hands.

I like 17, Neuralnet's idea of the Black Tower making a statue in her honor. Maybe after they kick out all the 13/13 guys.
Gary Singer
67. AhoyMatey
Way to go Lannis! And a scholar too, no less...
JAMES MCCLELLAN
68. ZEXXES
I think we all tend to forget and Faculty Guy reminds me of it, is that Perrin and Faile or for that matter all of the Two River adventurers are primarily very young. We're talking 26 maybe for Nynaeve and the youngest what 23 or 22? Think about your maturity at that age. Now think about these kids ruling Nations and heading large Political organizations, leading whole Armies and rescuing the entire world from imminent destruction. These are no ordinary people at all. These may not be the cream of the crop Or maybe they are and the Creator has decided to lay these uniquely impressive souls all in one small backwoods town, together, so they may know each other, trust each other and support each other.

I feel as though none of us give them the true credit they deserve. Even the supporting cast, so to speak, of Faile and Elayne, Tuon and Aviendha, are so very remarkable in what they have indured and accomplished.

Have we ever in our Real World history ever had so many young heroes of this magnitude come together at the same time? I think not. Not with the depth of experience that these young people have gone through and... persevered!

So, for me at least, I have a little more patience with these young peoples tribulations of the mind heart and soul. I know I'd like to be able to say I could do as they have done as well as they have. But really? I'm not so sure I could.

Z
neverspeakawordagain
69. Huudu
Long time lerker here, but I wanted to comment to Faculty Guy @60.

There are several ways that people could die, for the most part because it was said that "His blood will stain the rocks" we have all assumed that it would be a mortal wound that would kill Rand, something that probally would not be able to be healed as shown by Rand in the Stone.

Loony theory here: If for some reason Rand's heart gave out, or he was suffocated, something that didn't leave hugh gapping wounds in his body, wouldn't that be something that could be healed?

The other option would be to be able to focus the healing, something that never been shown.. Heal the wound, then start the heart beating, lungs breathing ect.
neverspeakawordagain
70. KurtisM
@ 57

Don't forget the prologue from tEoW when Ishmael healed Lews Therin from the taint.
neverspeakawordagain
71. Rhandric
@70

Didn't Ishmael use the TP for that?
John Massey
72. subwoofer
Wowza, was going to comment that we are already at 70+ posts but then it dawned on me that it is Wednesday, so now I'm going to say "we're only at 70+ posts?" C'mon people, there is so much fodder here!

Is it me or didn't we have a flame war in recent history about feminism and double standards? Well here we have Perrin laying it all out for Faile and Faile, even though she has vastly improved as a character, holding things back- two things to date:

1. Killing the Prophet.
2. The connection with her and the Brotherless dude.

Last time I checked, being honest didn't involve holding crap back. Truth, the whole truth and nuthin' but, your husband did it, give the respect back that he deserves.

Nynaeve. Love her. And yes, she does go hardcore. Let's face it, she left her "world" to go out and chase some of her flock and protect them from the big, bad "Aes Sedai".... and she stole the Warder out from under... er figuratively speaking of course.... her nemesis at the time. Ny doesn't seem to half ass anything. She get's sea sick hard, swears hard, fights hard, does the slap and tickle hard... no give in the girl. Yay.

Woof™.
neverspeakawordagain
73. Wortmauer
Jeribai@40: Perrin opens up absolutely everything going on in his life ... and Faile opens up by giving a half-truth that makes him feel like he did something wrong by trying to rescue her from being surrounded by thousands of Aiel. Oh, and to start the chapter, she's still going behind Perrin's back to deal with issues, while she's mulling over how ridiculous it is that Perrin did the same freaking thing that she's in the process of doing! Then, on top of that she has the audacity to think that Perrin couldn't have possibly survived without her mother's teaching of her. Possibly the courage her father provided sure, but her mother's teaching seems to result in unnecessary fights, and her going behind her husband's back about everything.
This.

I guess it's nice that Faile has some desire to be a tiny bit more open with her husband, and it's definitely nice that she finally figured out that not everyone in the world shares the customs of Saldaean nobility. (In terms of cultural assumptions, she was almost as blind as Aviendha!)

But I do wish Perrin had thought to say "Hmmm, I wonder whatever happened to Masema — it's a little weird how he just disappeared, eh?" It would have been ... amusing ... to see just how far Faile's new-found openness would actually go. My guess? Not very.
Valentin M
74. ValMar
Yeah, Faile did take a few steps in the right direction. But she started from a very low base and I hope she's got some sturdy and comfy boots on and a tough (and thick-skinned) sherpa because the path is looong.
It was very cute and all but, basically, the only concrete thing that happpened was that Faile extracted an apology from Perrin for rescuing her.
Glen V
75. Ways
forkroot @54
And don't forget that even after Nyn does the final test and oaths, she will still not be completely legitimate in the eyes of some AS (despite her outstanding achievements) because she is a ::shudder:: wilder. Poor girl has to be instrumental in helping save the world during TG in order to gain creds (hopefully). Not that she cares.
Glen V
76. Ways
Wow! Two comments stripped by management already. Did I read them before removal? Hmmm...don't recall. Didn't see anything resembling over-the-top bickering starting up. Must have been random nastieness.
Alice Arneson
77. Wetlandernw
Okay, here’s my “stream of consciousness” reaction as I go down through the recaps, commentary and comments…

Ever since I read this scene, I’ve had this sneaking worry that Naeff was seeing real Myrddraal, enabled somehow by the essence of the DO in his mind, and that now they’re still there but he can’t see them. I don’t really think so, and he certainly doesn’t, but… what if he was?

Quick note on the conversation between Rand and Nynaeve:
Nynaeve frowned.
"But Rand, if you let him free, won't that make it even worse?"
"Perhaps for a short burst," Rand said. "Opening the Bore will not free him immediately, though it will give him more strength. It must be done regardless. Think of our task as climbing a tall stone wall. Unfortunately, we are delaying, running laps before attempting the climb. Each step tires us for the fight to come. We must face him while still strong. That is why I must break the seals."
If anyone, ever, had actually used this explanation with Egwene, it just might make a difference for her. So far, she’s gotten nothing but “I’m going to break the seals;” "Well, there are only three seals left, and they're crumbling;" and "The Dark One will be freed when the final seal crumbles; best if it happens when Rand is there to battle him." An ultimatum and a bunch of fatalism. Yeah, not a good way to convince someone like Egwene, people. No one ever pointed out that he would not be immediately freed, just strenghthened to some unknown extent – and, if you think about it, only Rand Sedai has yet been in a position to be fully aware of that. He’s the only one (on Team Light) who has actual memories of the War of Power and first-hand knowledge that the DO was still meaningfully contained prior to the placement of the seals. If he’s really been thinking about that all along, it certainly supports the idea that he didn’t want Egwene thinking about it and he was totally trying to manipulate her into opposing him at least long enough to gather everyone at the FoM. On the other hand, if he really wanted that, he shouldn’t tell Nynaeve here, either. My bet is that he hadn’t really thought it through that far at the time he’d talked to Egwene.

And then there’s this:
I tried to be like them, though I wouldn’t have admitted it. Cold. Always in control. It nearly destroyed me. That is strength to some, but it is not the only type of strength.
That’s exactly what Sorilea and Cadsuane wanted Rand to recognize, but he misunderstood the basis of what he thought he was trying to be. In his defense, many of the Aes Sedai misunderstand – or at least misrepresent – what they need to be, so it’s probably not too surprising that he didn’t get it either. Truly, I think he still misunderstands the Aes Sedai, but Nynaeve will get it and influence some of the other AS to get it as well in a few chapters. Aes Sedai – including Rand – should always be in control of themselves; they have too much power to allow themselves to be ruled by their every whim and passion. Self-controlled is not the same as passionless or emotionless, though; it’s an important distinction, and one that is too readily lost.

I was mildly amused to read Seaine’s list of ways to defeat the Oath Rod. Sounds about like a summary of the stuff we came up with on the TGS spoiler thread!

Lannis! Lannis! The Blue scholar Lannis!! Woot! :)

Somehow I can’t help thinking that the first part of Chapter 16 should be subtitled “Faile Grows Up” or something like that. Haven’t we all had something like that in our lives, where we can’t regret certain results of our actions, but at the same time, we regret the immaturity, stupidity and insensitivity so clearly inherent in those actions? Yeah… all part of growing up.

I love this chapter. Communication, self-awareness, a desire to see from the other’s perspective without blame, a deep enjoyment of complementary roles, a recognition of their individual strengths and weaknesses, comprehension of where those strengths and weakness work for or against their marriage… I love this chapter. I’m also a little apprehensive about reading Leigh commentary as well as the comments… and hoping that y’all will prove me wrong.

YAYAYAYAY!! Leigh proved me wrong!! Whee! Yes, there are times I love to be proved wrong. Thank you thank you. Because she’s so right – there are so many good things going on here. FWIW, I’m actually kind of glad Perrin still has some issues with his wolf and leadership perceptions – it would be a little too much to resolve all of that in the same chapter where Faile acknowledges her previous idiocy. It’ll come soon, but there really are some significant issues, especially re: the wolves, and he doesn’t have all the pieces of the puzzle yet.

Okay… the comments, not so much. But on the whole, it’s just the usual “I hate Faile” stuff, not the worst of what I was expecting. Yay?

Lsana @11 – I think the wording they use with the Oath Rod is fairly straightforward and relatively resistant to pretzel-twisting – and most likely not the means Mesaana used to get around it. IMO, the Oath Rod discussion matters because they don’t really need to know the exact mechanism, but they do need to prove to themselves that it’s possible. Now they know that there are several ways around it; it’s not really 100% effective after all. If there’s ever going to be a way to convince them that this particular form of “integrity enforcement” is useless, it’s going to be less about the way they can weasel around the wording and more about the fact that it can be faked.

Please note: I’m not saying that the faking is actually more important than the weaseling, but that to the AS it’s more significant. Among themselves, they know perfectly well how to weasel, and have a pretty good idea when someone else is weaseling, but they’re arrogant enough to have thought that’s all that matters. They’re not concerned with the fact that no one outside the Tower entirely trusts them; they only care that their Oaths hold them to a certain minimum standard. Lame, but it’s Tradition, after all. Now they’re getting a double shock – first that the BA has routinely been using the Oath Rod to unswear the Oaths in secret, and second that even an apparently straight-out swearing can be faked. If that doesn’t undermine their faith in The Three Oaths, I don’t know what will.

sps49 @29 Nope. Nynaeve swore the oaths during ToM: “Newly raised, she'd taken the oaths earlier in the day.” – beginning of Chapter 33, “A Good Soup.”

Metalstorm @31 – She gains the status and backing of the White Tower. Readers may dismiss it lightly, but Randlanders don’t.

Clubbavich @34 – It’s quite true that Healing the taint madness before the Cleansing wouldn’t have worked very well, because the taint was still there and would have dug in again; however, I think it’s also highly improbable that anyone ever figured it out before this. The Wheel is spinning out cool new things in preparation for the end of the Third Age.

EvilMonkey @61 – No, you are not the only one who thinks Perrin and Faile make a great team. Especially now that they’re actually being open with one another!! But I’ve always liked them together, even when I didn’t like certain specific actions of one or the other.
Karen Fox
78. thepupxpert
EvilMonkey @ 61 - I've also liked Faile and Perrin together, they act like a real married couple to me, there's always something to debate and argue over. I grew up in a house full of yellers so I can relate to Faile's attitude about standing up for yourself in an argument. I'm not saying it's my preferred method of living but I can relate. I think she's made some great character growth. However I do think we're in the minority here!
Glen V
79. Ways
subwoofer @72
Perrin didn't want to learn more about Faile's exploits in Malden (IIRC). Her holding back killing the Prophet, well, yes, a definite oversight (ahem). Perhaps she feels justified doing so as a result of her Saldean culture.

Wet @77
You are my hero(ine).
Alice Arneson
80. Wetlandernw
Ways @79 - ::blushes:: Aww... thank you. But can I ask why?
neverspeakawordagain
81. Hanzam
Faculty Guy @60

Why is it when people bring up the “His blood will stain the rocks” I think of Elayne and the kids making a mess on a the mountain side. I see crayons, but I guess it would have to be magic markers or something like that.
Tricia Irish
82. Tektonica
.....first that the BA has routinely been using the Oath Rod to unswear the Oaths in secret, and second that even an apparently straight-out swearing can be faked. If that doesn’t undermine their faith in The Three Oaths, I don’t know what will.

Great point, Wetlander@77! I hope they realize this! I'd love to see the three oaths done away with, and exposed for the lame standard that they are.
Bridget McGovern
83. BMcGovern
Ways @76 Just some spam and a link that got snagged, for the record: the spam filter is a harsh mistress...
Roger Powell
84. forkroot
Wortmauer@73
But I do wish Perrin had thought to say "Hmmm, I wonder whatever happened to Masema — it's a little weird how he just disappeared, eh?
Perrin muses (in ToM Chap 2) how they found Masema's remains and assumes he'd been done in by bandits.
Glen V
85. Ways
Wet @80
Well thought-out, on-point arguments that are consistent with my humble opinion. Tek @82 said it in fewer words, but I'm lobbying for a cookie. Something to go with the hunny I smell.

BMcGovern @83
Phew. Thanks. Didn't think we were getting too crazy.
Alice Arneson
86. Wetlandernw
Ways - Snickerdoodle or chocolate chip? :)
James Hogan
87. Sonofthunder
Wet - I'll take a chocolate chip!! And let me echo Ways on the appreciation for your post - you said what I was thinking about Perrin/Faile much more eloquently than I could have.
neverspeakawordagain
88. @miathecanecorso
Thanks, 56. karanj! It doesn't make sense if he did it himself. Also, I suspect this is a seed planted in ToM leading up to AMOL where the Creator influences events from the sidelines (and tie off the storyline that started way back in TEOTW.
Julian Augustus
89. Alisonwonderland
Wetlander @77:

And then there’s this:

I tried to be like them, though I wouldn’t have admitted it. Cold. Always in control. It nearly destroyed me. That is strength to some, but it is not the only type of strength.

That’s exactly what Sorilea and Cadsuane wanted Rand to recognize ...


Well, they may have wanted him to recognize that, but did Sorilea or Cadsuane, ever, tell Rand or in any way intimate to him that he needed to rethink his concept of strength? All we've seen Cadsuane do is chastise Rand about his "manners" and hit him with invisible switches to reinforce her point, while Sorilea has had very little or no face to face interaction with Rand. We do know Sorilea mentioned to Cadsuane that Rand needed to be strong but instead was making himself hard, and that the two things are not the same. We've had zero evidence (at least none that I recall) that either Cadsuane or Sorilea actually talked to Rand about it. I posit that is another huge failure on Cadsuane's part since she was Rand's AS advisor, to not discuss with him the concepts of strength and hardness if she thought it was so important.
Julian Augustus
90. Alisonwonderland
Re Blue Scholar Lannis.

Yay about the shoutout. But isn't 'Blue Scholar' a contradiction in terms?
Valentin M
91. ValMar
Alisonwonderland @ 90

I don't think so. All ajahs share in each others' specialities. I'm sure there are Browns who mediate on occasion, Reds who fight, Whites that Heal, etc. Adeleas and Vandene weren't Brown (right?), in fact one may have been Blue. But they were scholars, at least post retirement. Plus, the Blues mission statement is so vague that it's almost redundant.
I hope I addressed the point you were making.
Thomas Keith
92. insectoid
Wet @77: Nice stream of consciousness! Must have been dish night... *runs*

I agree that Rand could have done a better job of convincing Egs that breaking the Seals was the right thing to do. But maybe at the Field of Pelennor Merrilor he'll be able to explain it better.

ValMar @91: Actually, Adeleas was Brown, but Vandene was Green. Your point is still valid, though: who's to say a Blue's "cause" can't be to be a "student of history", like Moiraine claimed at the beginning of TEotW?

Mmmm... cookies. Like the hunny, they're so close, yet so far away...

Bzzz™.
Valentin M
93. ValMar
Thanks for the correction Bug, I remember one of them being Green. Just couldn't tell them apart :) But the point stands, indeed.

I think Rand didn't explain it properly to Egwene on purpose, for the commonly accepted purpose of Egs doing the menial work for him- gathering everyone together for the Last Picnik.
An amusing irony of the WOT's "lack of communication" trope.
Glen V
94. Ways
Wet @86
Choc. chip are one of my favorites. Will share with Sonofthunder.

I can hear the bees buzzing. Hunny must be close.
Lannis .
95. Lannis
Hey! Thanks for the shoutout, Leigh! :D

Alisonwonderland @ 90: re: Blue scholar contradiction... FWIW, Wetlander and I messaged Brandon on Facebook to swing the Tor handle insertion when my name came up in the lottery (he was going to use "Leslin Ani" until we suggested that "Lannis" would be a WoTish name and more recognizable to us rereaders). Then Brandon graciously asked me what Ajah I would prefer and stuck it in. (Seriously--we've all said it before, but it's true: Brandon is an awesome guy!)

I had no idea about the "scholar" part until I came across it in TOM, but I like to think it's a teeny shoutout to our Tor rereaders and how we enjoy picking apart the series in this close reading led by Leigh. A group of WoT scholars, perhaps? ;)
Karan J
96. karanj
Wet@77:
No one ever pointed out that he would not be immediately freed, just strenghthened to some unknown extent – and, if you think about it, only Rand Sedai has yet been in a position to be fully aware of that. He’s the only one (on Team Light) who has actual memories of the War of Power and first-hand knowledge that the DO was still meaningfully contained prior to the placement of the seals.
See, I take issue with this assumption... surely there's enough framgentary history left over from the AoL/War of the Shadow for the Aes Sedai to know that the DO wasn't freed immediately after the Bore was drilled - it's not as though the DO was free while the War of the Shadow was going on, and his only access to the world was the Bore. (sidebar: does that mean during the WotS there was a whole lot of pattern unravelling/weakening stuff going on too? how about the crazy weather?)

So to me, the logical conclusion would be that yes, opening the Bore is a Bad Thing, but it certainly wouldn't be the end of life as we know it - it'd be an escalation in the battle of Tarmon Gaidon, one where they have to face the power of a godlike entity in a more direct manner, but certainly not the doomsday that is painted here.

Or are we assuming the hole got a little bigger between the initial drilling and the sealing?
Thomas Keith
97. insectoid
Lannis @95: Hey, there you are! :D Long time no see!

Hunny is close enough to smell now...

Bzzz™.
neverspeakawordagain
98. Wortmauer
Blue scholar Lannis: "Leslin Ani"? Ugh. This just confirms my impression that the author has a tin ear for much of what the WOT should "feel" like. (See also: Mat.) So glad you convinced him to go with Lannis, it fits so much better. And I think there's nothing at all wrong with having a scholar appear out of the Blue. I don't mind saying this was only bought name I recognised that seemed like it actually fit the text. (Meaning, I guess, if any of the others fit the world as well, they succeeded in that I didn't recognise them.)

Though, as for the tor.com reread being "scholarly" ... ha! We're a lot of things, but leighdb and most of the rest of us are rank amateurs, compared to the folks at Theoryland and especially 13th Depository. For the most part our "scholarship" starts at movie clips and ends at tvtropes.
karanj@96: See, I take issue with this assumption... surely there's enough framgentary history left over from the AoL/War of the Shadow for the Aes Sedai to know that the DO wasn't freed immediately after the Bore was drilled - it's not as though the DO was free while the War of the Shadow was going on, and his only access to the world was the Bore.
Quite so. Sure, a lot of history has been lost, but the Aes Sedai must at least know that the Bore was wide open for ten years of war, even if they no longer realise that Mierin actually drilled it some 100 years prior. (Is that right? I don't own the BBoBA. That's an awfully long time between drilling and sealing.) Rand shouldn't have had to explain this. He should have assumed — maybe did assume — that the woman claiming the title Watcher of the Seals, seeing signs of the Last Battle all around them for the past few months, would at least delegate somebody to do a little research into this stuff. That apparently nobody did is hardly Rand's fault.
Deana Whitney
99. Braid_Tug
Still no honey? Well almost there...

Poll to get things going:
Best moment of open & honest communication between characters.
Chin Bawambi
100. bawambi
I wanted to respond back to the way Mesanna got around the Oath but Wet made the larger point about how it should get the Tower to finally realize that the Oaths themselves are useless.

EDIT: MMM Wild Blackberry Honey over Graham Crackers is currently being served in the bunker.
Tina Aydon
101. Taydon
~dis-engage lurk mode~

Respect to the Blue Scholar Lannis. Wasn't she from Ebou dar?

~re-engage lurk mode~
Alice Arneson
102. Wetlandernw
Taydon - Well played!!! I believe you are correct. :)
Alice Arneson
103. Wetlandernw
Alisonwonderland @89 “Well, they may have wanted him to recognize that, but did Sorilea or Cadsuane, ever, tell Rand or in any way intimate to him that he needed to rethink his concept of strength?”

Heresy! Heresy, I say!! You suggest that actual communication take place, and the giving and taking of counsel unasked and unresented!! What are you thinking?? This is WOT!!!!!

Oh. Yeah. I just suggested that someone should have given Egwene some better reasons, too, didn’t I? Well, it is rather a theme… people don’t tell others what they need to hear to make informed decisions, so they make uninformed decisions instead. Surprise!

The funny thing is, if you get your head into one space you can insist that A ought to have told B whatever-it-is, but if you get your head into a different space you can see why B didn’t tell A that at all. In both of these cases, and many others, I could take either side of the argument and give a full rationalization for why A or B didn’t say or should have said whatever-it-was. So yes, it could readily be argued that Cadsuane or Sorilea should have talked to Rand about his concept of strength; it could also readily be argued that it would have been a complete waste of breath even if there had been an opportunity. It can be argued that Rand should have told Egwene that the DO wouldn’t actually be freed the moment the seals are broken; it can also be argued that there are some very good (if only potential for now) reasons that Rand might not have done so.

And the list could go on… which is, as I’ve said before, one aspect of the genius of RJ’s writing – his characters behave in ways that are totally, humanly believable. They say things they shouldn’t, they don’t have all their ducks properly lined up, they don’t have a full plan before they jump in with both feet, they don’t tell others things they need to know, they don’t ask all the right questions. Neither do I. Do you? ;)

karanj @96 & Wortmauer @98 – And this is another example. We know that very little reliable history survived from the AOL or the War of Power; we don’t even know how much time elapsed between drilling the Bore and resealing it. There’s been some evidence presented in-story that there is (in some circles) an awareness that the DO was not completely freed during the War of Power – that the Strike occurred when it did precisely because it was felt (at least by LTT) that it needed to be done before the DO got any more access to the world. Much of that is based less on documentation than on speculation and extrapolation, but it’s there – in some circles: primarily, those Aes Sedai who, for whatever reason, have made a study of the Shadow’s activities “then and now” in preparation for the Last Battle. That would mostly include Browns who just like to study, and a few others – the occasional Blue scholar, Verin, Cadsuane, Moiraine, Siuan – plus those with whom they might have discussed it.

So within the WT, and to a very limited extent in scholarly circles outside the WT, there’s some understanding of the sequence of events:
- the Bore is drilled (and the Sharom is destroyed in the backlash, along with some of the Collam Daan)
- the DO begins to affect the world
- (after some unknown length of time – best I can find is a hint at 50 years, but I don’t have the full context) there is a War of Power between Team Light and Team Dark
- (after roughly ten years of warfare) LTT and the Hundred Companions conduct the attack on Shayol Ghul; they seal the Bore, they all go mad, saidin is tainted, and the Breaking begins
- (approximately 100 years later) the last of the male Aes Sedai die and the world begins to slowly recover from the Breaking.

We know all of this, because we have a lot better documentation than they did, including the BBoBA and “The Strike at Shayol Ghul,” so we can be quite sure this is the proper sequence, and we even know roughly the timeframes involved. (The info in parentheses above is what they may or may not know; that outside is fairly well established among those who know.) However, look what the average Randlander believes from the time he is born:
“The Dark One and all of the Forsaken are bound in Shayol Ghul, beyond the Great Blight, bound by the Creator at the moment of Creation, bound until the end of time.”
Despite what we know, and even what Moiraine knows, it’s hardly reasonable to suggest that it’s common knowledge that the Bore was open for many years without the DO actually getting out. KaranJ – I know you didn’t say common knowledge, you said Aes Sedai. Bear with me. Wortmauer: “the Bore was wide open” – yes, but exactly how big is the Bore? How big is “wide open”? Was it “wide open” the moment Mieren & Beidomon drilled it, or did it get bigger before LTT plugged it? Will it be the same size when the Seals are removed as it was when they were placed, or are they crumbling because the edges of the hole have been stretched? How big does it have to be for the DO to escape his prison? These are things no one knows; how much do you risk on speculation?

Egwene believed, or tried to believe, right up until the end of the first book, that the DO & Forsaken were bound since the moment of Creation. Clearly she’s been fully disabused of that notion by now, having met several of the Forsaken (and held an a’dam on one) and seen the effect of the crumbling Seals. Sitting here at our computers, it’s easy for us to recognize that, logically, removing the Seals wouldn’t necessarily mean breaking the prison wide open. For someone who grew up in Randland, that wouldn’t be such an easy assumption. Sure, we can grouse about how she ought to know, or someone ought to have told her, or she ought to set someone to researching it, but the fact remains that her studies have had other point of focus for the last couple of years and she’s terribly busy now, so there may be some validation for the fact that she doesn’t have all this at her fingertips the way we do.

The point remains: Rand Sedai, with his new free access to LTT’s memories, is the only person who really knows the answers to any of those questions I posed above, and even his knowledge is limited to the human frame. He’s not the Creator, after all. What if Rand had thought about it, and said something like, “Well, Egwene, the Bore was open for __ years before we Sealed it, and the DO wasn’t really free then. I think we can make the assumption that I can clear out the rubble without letting him loose, especially if I’m prepared with a new Seal to put in place right away. In any case, there’s no way I can make a new Seal with the remains of the old one in the way, so I think we’ll have to do it this way.” She might still have had the same gut reaction, but there’d at least be something to chew on for the next month.

Instead, he said “"In one month's time, I'm going to travel to Shayol Ghul and break the last remaining seals on the Dark One's prison. I want your help." And in response to her gut-reaction “Rand, no! That would risk letting the Dark One free!” all he gives her is "A risk we must take. Clear away the rubble. The Bore must be opened fully again before it can be sealed." And then he tells her he’s leaving her to plan for it while he goes off to do other (unspecified) stuff, and he’ll meet her in a month to discuss his “terms.”

The only conclusions I can see are that either he hadn’t thought it all the way through himself, or he didn’t really want to convince her. Or both. Quite possibly, he didn’t want to get involved in explaining anything, because (as we know) he didn’t have a plan for the new Seal and didn’t want to let her know that yet. Easier for his image, at least, and probably his timing, to stop before the end of what he knew rather than risk her and all the AS realizing that he still had no clue how to play the end game.
Alice Arneson
104. Wetlandernw
I have a new looney theory. We know that Terez has come up with a lot of theories, and we know that she's a musician with a love for beautiful sound. I just found, in her very own database, a quote from RJ that may provide the link between the two:
I have always thought that the small whimper of a theory as it dies is a beautiful sound.
There it is! She loves to come up with theories because they make such a beautiful sound when they die!

Of course, if she just wanted lots of theories to die, she should come up with lots of lame ones instead of good ones that don't die as easily. Speculation: the better a theory is, the more beautiful the whimper it makes when it dies.
Jonathan Levy
105. JonathanLevy
104. Wetlandernw

Did you mean, perhaps, this quote?
Smiling, Terez took the theory between her hands and
twisted sharply. The sound of its chain of reasoning breaking was like a dry branch snapping. She let it drop in a boneless heap and gazed down at it. For a moment, her smile looked . . . rapturous.
Alice Arneson
106. Wetlandernw
Oh, wow, I never noticed that one. There are two ways to get that beautiful whimper - proposing theories which later die, and killing other theories. Oh, my. Great find! My theory grows...
Tricia Irish
107. Tektonica
Taydon@101:

Indeed! And consistant with her award winning costume at JCon this year!
Tricia Irish
108. Tektonica
Wetlander@103:

I know Verin said this war wasn't going to be what everyone thinks it will be, but aside from that.....

The descriptions here sound so concrete, like the Bore is a specific place, where seals were placed, yet people seem to be wandering around the world with them in their backpacks ?? (Yes, I'm confused on this point.) I think I've been seeing the Bore as some sort of metaphor, or other dimension? Fact is: I don't really know what it is!

That aside.....It occurred to me, while reading your post, that if they reseal the Bore with new Cuendilar seals, Egwene might be in on that caper, since she is the Queen of Cuendilar production. (Witness the quick making of the chain across the Tar Valon harbor.)

I didn't really think Egwene would be one of the women that Rand uses to fight the Dark One. Perhaps Rand's part of this battle will be two
fold, and Egwene will be there for the second part, the resealing, perhaps after his "resurrection"?

Thoughts?
Alice Arneson
109. Wetlandernw
Tektonica - In spite of the way people talk about it, RJ has said specifically that the Bore itself isn't "located" anywhere - it's just that you can sense it better at Shayol Ghul than anywhere else. I expect that's why LTT went there back when, and why Rand is talking about going there now. As for the Seals... yeah, it's pretty metaphysical! Best I can come up with is that they were described as the focal points for the weaves, so their physical location isn't as important as the weaves they hold in place. (FWIW - the WT had them for a time, but lost them during the Trolloc war, presumably when the Dreadlords & Trollocs plundered part of the WT.) The fact that they're crumbling could be either the cause or the effect of the weaves failing. Will we ever know?

Good thought about Egwene the Queen of Cuendillar! I hadn't really considered that, but it seems logical. There really should be more to the rediscovery of cuendillar-making than the harbor chain business. So I think you're right - somehow Egwene will play a major role in the construction of the new Seal.

We already know the identities of the two women who will help Rand wield Callandor (spoiler for some: it's Nynaeve and Moiraine), but in some ways that just opens up a whole new can of worms regarding the various other people who have been prophecied to play certain roles. Come on, January!!

(Not really. I'd like to have an actual summer before we get into winter again.)
neverspeakawordagain
110. rhandric
@108 and @109 re: Egwene as Queen of Cuendillar. While we don't actually know how the Bore will be sealed, I highly doubt they'll use another patch with 7 (or any number of) Seals of Cuendillar. I could see Rand possibly doing a bait-and-switch on Egwene, waving that in front of her as the bait before revealing, after clearing the rubble, that Team Light is using a different plan, but that doesn't seem in Rand Sedai's (new) nature.
Nadine L.
111. travyl
@61. Evil Monkey:
Very good comparison between Faile and Nynaeve.

Wetlander @77, Tectonica @82 & bawambi @100:
The planning from Egwene for the Kin (retiring into them) and her stance so far, IMO unfortunately make it unlikely that the Aes Sedai will give up the swearing on the oath rod. I agree though that it's really stupid to bind themselves, while the WiseOnes, Windfinders, Kin and quite possibly future Black members will not be restricted the same way.
@85. Ways: maybe we should eat the cookies but leave the dirty dishes to wetlander to clear up afterwards? Although right now it doesn't seem necessary, her posts are already great.
Sam Mickel
112. Samadai
Tek, from what I think I undertand about the seals, they were used as focal points for the weaves that Lews Therin and the Companions used to set up the "door" to the Dark Ones prison. So as I (think I ) understand it, they wove the weaves through the focal points(Seals) and turned them into Cuendilar( if they weren't Cuendillar already) in the process. So what I am trying to say is each seal holds a portion of a bunch of tied off weaves that as they decay the weaves are released alowing the "Door" on the Bore to decay. At first it was a little chip in the door frame that Ishamael was able to squeek through as a "Rat"(there all over in his dreams). then eventually it turned into a hole big enough for some of the other Rats to escape. When the seals are all gone, the "gate" will disappear, leaving the gaping hole in the pattern, through which the Dark one has his "butt" pressed against so he can let out his "miasma" to affect the pattern. ;)
neverspeakawordagain
113. calieraen
Wartmauer@98:And I think there's nothing at all wrong with having a scholar appear out of the Blue

I see what you did there.
Tricia Irish
114. Tektonica
LOL, Samadai! Thanks to you and Wetlander for giving me a "visual" of the Bore ;-)

I was very confused about it being a Place, as the DO effects All worlds. (That's why my personal pet theory has Rand battling the DO, in some way, in Tel' Aran Riod. )

Whether they use Seals again is anyones guess. Hopefully, Min will come up with some idea, and between she and Rand Sedai's memories of what didnt' work, they will find a better solution, perhaps involving the Queen of Cuendillar....or not.
Roger Powell
115. forkroot
Sam@112
So as I (think I ) understand it, they wove the weaves through the focal points(Seals) and turned them into Cuendilar( if they weren't Cuendillar already) in the process.
They were already cuendillar. From the Strike at Shayol Ghul:
Seven "focus points" (there seems no better translation from the old tongue, although they are obviously the Seals of Legend) were constructed of cuendillar
---
I'm clinging to the theory (looney or otherwise) that Rand will actually heal the Bore this time. We know that this is destined to happen at some point, presumably at the end of one of the Ages. Why not now?

If he truly heals the Bore (essentially restoring the complete separation of the DO's prison from the rest of creation), then there shouldn't be any need for seals this time.
Roger Powell
116. forkroot
Wet@103
but exactly how big is the Bore? How big is “wide open”? Was it “wide open” the moment Mieren & Beidomon drilled it, or did it get bigger before LTT plugged it?
It did grow. Again, from The Strike at Shayol Ghul:
Detractors pointed out that the Bore had enlarged since it was first drilled
Alice Arneson
117. Wetlandernw
forkroot @116 - Thanks! I thought I knew that, but I didn't really have time to do all the research for it.
Lannis .
118. Lannis
@ insectiod: Hiya! :D Believe it or not, I'm still kicking. ;)

Wortmauer @ 98: What can I say? I’m partial to “Lannis” over “Leslin Ani”, too. ;)

Taydon @ 101: “disengage lurk mode”... haha! You mean you’ve surfaced temporarily? ;)

Erm, and yes. She’s probably Ebou Dari. And single, too, I hear... ha!

Re: The bore... lately I’ve found some things in WoT I don’t bother thinking too much about... maybe it’s because of the fandom’s communal (and basically correct) take on Mat’s Tower of Ghenjei adventure... I’d rather be surprised. The bore is certainly one of those things I’m content to let sit... whereas Nynaeve healing death (thanks to the repeated foreshadowing), I figure is a done deal, but how it comes about is up in the air... :)
Theresa Gray
119. Terez27
The foreshadowing for the method of Nynaeve 'healing' death is actually much more intricate and plentiful than the more immediately obvious foreshadowing that she will do it.
Glen V
120. Ways
Terez27 @119
What's jumping out at me is that you are alluding to the Thorns of Compulsion/Taint Madness or, possibly, the way Nyn heals stilled/gentled channelers.

I'm having trouble connecting either with healing death...probably because it's so late here on the Right Coast (or early depending on one's POV) and I should turn off this infernal machine and get some shut-eye.
Sandy Brewer
121. ShaggyBella
"Come on January"

....Winter is coming!
:-)
neverspeakawordagain
122. Wortmauer
Wetlander@106: ...break the theories, the theories so sweet, so sweet to smash the theories, crack the theories to suck the logic, lovely logic, singing logic, sing the logic...

Ways@120: Actually no, Terez is referring to ripping Rand out of Tel'aran'rhiod after he dies and goes there, possibly as a Hero of the Horn. Nynaeve saw Moghedien do exactly this, and we've seen multiple times that Nynaeve is unusually talented at copying weaves she has only seen once.

It's all in her FAQ at Theoryland.
neverspeakawordagain
123. Wortmauer
(I knew I shouldn't have put a URL in that last post. I knew it. Oh well, should get fished out of the spam folder soon enough.)
Terry McNamee
124. macster
Random thoughts in response this week.

The bubble of evil: Maybe it's just me but for some reason this seemed like a very detailed, very realistic description of one, or at least of its aftereffects. The way Nynaeve and Naeff went into the dust radius, the eerie way everything looked, the discovery that none of the people were alive any more...chilling, tragic, and extremely visceral for me. I could really visualize it quite well. Nynaeve herself, of course, was absolutely awesome, but not just with how she Healed madness, tried to help Rand, or listened to his wisdom. I loved how she was first so upset she couldn't do anything to stop the Dark One, then proved what a Determinator she is by saying "No, I'm not going to let him win!" And once she'd done her Healing, she reassured herself "Don't let him make you think you're worthless".

What got me the most though was how good a job Sanderson did, as he did in TGS, of once again bringing a character back to her core traits--Nynaeve's determination to heal and help others. The way she spoke to the families of those who died was so poignant and kind, it really got me choked up. And I also think it's an example of Sanderson's simpler style being a benefit: something about the direct, plain way he described that poor, thin commoner woman...how she was looking so desperately for her husband, even though the dissolution of the inn made it obvious what happened to him, how Nynaeve tried to comfort her, her tears and the money Nynaeve pressed on her...it really made me tear up. It's moments like these, where minor characters are briefly spotlighted and you can see the sheer scope of this world and how these major events affect everyone, that truly makes WOT shine with its realism. And I think Sanderson's language here was absolutely perfect for that...instead of being lost in convoluted words or descriptions, we get the unvarnished truth, and it made it all the more painful and powerful to me.

Rand's speech: while seeing him better explain how and why the seals must be broken was heartening, most of all I have to love, like everyone else, the bond here between him and Nynaeve. We never would have guessed it at the start, considering how she treated him when she was Wisdom, but she really does respect him and his wisdom now, as well she should, just as he respects her not only for her amazing talents and skills but also for her heart and passion. And what he said to her about what an Aes Sedai is, or should be, and how it was exemplified in Moiraine, was really quite touching--not just for the obvious reasons, but because Nynaeve, she who once hated Moiraine with a fiery passion, does not even dispute his claim. And of course, his advice here just calls ahead to what she realized during and after her testing, and what she says to Egwene. Particularly her speech that essentially defines what it means to be a "Servant of All". I am also heartened that Nynaeve realizing Rand, like Tam, is a good and wise man she can trust and listen to, is a nice parallel to what Egwene realized prior to him dropping the seal bombshell--that he was one she could trust with the fate of the world. It gives me hope that eventually she will listen to Nynaeve and trust Rand again.

The white light: No clue here, other than my agreeing with the theory that it has something to do with the Creator. Whatever it is and whether it is in danger of wearing off or proves Rand is still in jeopardy, I don't see how him realizing what he did about the value of living and loving could miraculously create some unknown Power-weave to protect himself. Clearly Lews Therin couldn't do such a thing when he was mad (although even with as bad as Darth Rand was, he was never as lacking in lucidity as Lews Therin), so in some way or another the Creator must have been involved, if only as a conduit Rand drew on without knowing it. What this means and what happens next, who knows.

Nynaeve was clearly awesome in helping to cleanse the taint, BTW. Also, though it isn't One Power-related, her rallying the Malkieri counts. (Lakesidey @33 also noted this.)

Mesaana: her not seeming like a go-getter may just be because she's been busily plotting and scheming in the shadows. That could be viewed as either cowardice or caution, wussiness or a cleverly calculated ploy. So YMMV, but while she had lame plans that didn't come to fruition (other than the coup and Tower split) and was far too much a Smug Snake boasting when she shouldn't have been, I don't think she was quite the sneaky weakling you think she was, the way Moghedien is. I even have to give her props for how she faces down Egwene later. She's twisted and vile, arrogant and far too convinced of her own cleverness, but she at least has the balls to stand her ground and go head-to-head instead of running away.

Faile: what she forgot, of course, is that what Perrin did was mistreat her to get her to leave him, so he could go to the Two Rivers to give himself to the Whitecloaks and die. *rolls eyes* Still, I can see why she'd forget about it--because once he realized doing that would do no good and he should focus on helping his people, he could be forgiven for being an idiotic martyr (and he did apologize to Faile)...and because remembering it would force her to remember the spanking. :P In any event, though, I thought Faile showing she'd grown up here was believable and well-done character development, the reconciliation and anniversary were wonderful and romantic, and this is one of my favorite Faile/Perrin chapters ever. It's good to have them back, showing their good sides and why they are good for each other. :)

@7 mia: That has been my theory too.

@17 Neuralnet: Well we do see a statue of a great Malkieri Aes Sedai in Tar Valon, in TGS, so why not one of Nynaeve? :D

@34 Clubbavich: Good point.

@40 Jeribai: Actually, she wasn't trying to make Perrin feel bad at all, she was trying to spare him pain by not telling him exactly what Rolan was to her. And he wasn't even bothered by it nor did he feel remorse for killing him. As for "going behind his back" it's more that she's taking care of things he would never have noticed, and doing it in a clever way that puts people in their place without having to bother him. I admired how she used a perceived aspect of Perrin to make a cheater toe the line.

@58 Sonofthunder: You aren't alone. Barring various idiocies (which happened on both sides) and a certain impudence on her part, I've always liked Faile and enjoyed her and Perrin, and I think they are great together. So There.

@61 EvilMonkey: *claps* This, a thousand times this!

@64 RoyanRannedos: I am still convinced the triple bond has something to do with why Rand needed three women in the first place--that something about that bond would be key to him winning. Whether it relates to him dying and living again, being pulled bodily out of TAR as a Hero, the circle with Callandor, or something else, it seems like it must be very important since it is how Rand's Fisher King-effect is dispersing to wherever one of his women is.

@77 Wetlander: You're my hero too. (I also admit to being saddened and even startled at the hate, since I didn't see how anyone could get anything but relief, happiness, and pleasure out of Shanna'har, but I had forgotten how every segment of the story, every character, every relationship or development, has a part of the fandom that hates it and we just have to accept that. Still, you're right it wasn't as bad as I had feared either.)

@84 forkroot: I completely forgot about that. A key point.

@96 karanj: We have no evidence that such things as the unraveling of reality and all the other strange phenomena happened before or during the War of Power, in fact it's something that was a matter of some contention on Theoryland. If it did happen, it may have been no one noticed or remarked on it because they were too busy fighting Shadowspawn and Forsaken.

@104 Wetlander: LOL!
Alice Arneson
125. Wetlandernw
macster - I just spent a fun morning break catching up on you catching up on a bunch of threads. Lovely to start the day with coffee and rational thought! :)

(Also - check your shoutbox.)
Eric Hughes
126. CireNaes
Royan@64

A nice connection. We shall see how their bonding plays out soon enough. The source of Rand's inner Lite-Brite has been on my mind of late too.

Wort@98

A tin ear in comparison to a silver tongue is much more forgivable. Odd that they share a similar hue.
T C
127. Freelancer
RE: Rand being misguided in how to go about being "what he needed to be". It begins with Moiraine. First impressions matter, and Rand's ideal of a channeler/leader/defender of causes is established by Moiraine's behavior in Emond's Field. Aloof, mysterious, apparently hard as stone, and unwilling to bend for anything. His following encounters with Aes Sedai, those who believed themselves responsible for keeping the world safe, did nothing to alter these impressions. At the end, Moiraine learned better, and changed her behavior towards him, but didn't bother to explain the differences of how and why. He assumed that it was because she knew she was going to be taken out with Lanfear, and not because she had learned a greater lesson about candid treatment of a friend.

The Wise Ones, the Sea Folk women, Cadsuane, nobody ever spoke plainly to him about these things, and by the time anyone tried, he was already on a steep descent.

And here is Jordan's genius at work. Only after his reunion with Tam, followed by his narrowly avoided destruction of an entire city, does the truth become recognizable to him. Facing the first person who ever trusted him, the man who saved him from death on the frozen slope of Dragonmount, no mental evasion was available to him to redefine what was meant by what Tam said. No riddles, no veiled meanings. Straight truth, precipitating the agonizing reappraisal we refer to as his epiphany.


RE: The madness. Another bit of genius. Rand's attachment to the taint-induced madness is several orders of magnitude worse than Naeff's, and is countered by an opposing force attached to his brain. This brings some questions. If the net effect of the two is to neutralize each other, does that mean that the resulting "Rand" is what he would be without either present? Is the Light-sourced attachment stronger, imparting the extra calmness, self-awareness, and clarity which he now exhibits? Would an attempt, even a successful one, by Nynaeve to remove the evil connection also destroy the good one, and in what state would that have left him?

Christianity teaches that even one who comes to Jesus for salvation and forgiveness never loses their fleshly nature, which desires to appease the base appetites of human nature. Instead, they are shown to focus on the spirit nature, and to deny the flesh, with the strength of an attachment to the Creator, a desire to serve Him superior to their desire to serve their flesh. The black stuff is not removed, but it is covered and defeated, on the condition that the Christian obeys the guidance to ignore the black stuff and focus on the Light stuff.

So it will be with Rand. If a circumstance arises that causes him to be willing to focus on the black stuff, it will regain a measure of its power over him. Only while he ignores its attraction and focuses on the Light stuff will he remain as we see him in these chapters. This leaves the possibility of a return descent toward despair in crisis, a very likely consideration for the final volume.
Jonathan Levy
128. JonathanLevy
@several re: Seals

A thought just crossed my mind. If the DO is tainting Saidin through contact with the seals, due to the fact that the seals are made of Saidin, then wouldn't breaking the seals disconnect the DO from Saidin and remove the taint?


124. macster
What got me the most though was how good a job Sanderson did, as he did in TGS, of once again bringing a character back to her core traits--Nynaeve's determination to heal and help others.
I wonder - are those really Nynaeve's core character traits from TEotW to KoD? Or did Sanderson just do such a good job of bringing those traits out that we unthinkingly attribute it to Jordan?


Nynaeve has always been a passionate character, but her motivations have changed throughout the books. She has one or two moments of introspection when she acknowledges this - I think one of them was in LoC - at first she wanted to help save Two Rivers people from the clutches of Aes Sedai, then she wanted to get even with Moiraine, get Lan for herself, and finally learn to Heal. Some of these fit well with the 'heal and help others' motif of TGS and ToM, but some don't (revenge against Moiraine).

But in some books Healing and Helping seem quite far from her mind: TDR+TSR she's hunting the Black Ajah, and in TSR + TFoH she's running from or chasing Moghedien; That's not quite putting Healing as her priority. In LoC she does concentrate on learning and Healing, but then she goes to Ebou Dar and spends the next four books hunting for the bowl, getting used to being married, and jockeying for position with the windfinders and Kin. She does quite a bit by choice that has nothing to do with Healing or helping a particular person in need.

What I'm trying to do is suggest the following theory: Nynaeve in TGS and ToM harks back to the Nynaeve of TEoTW, and this is done well enough that it seems that she's always been like this, even though there were long stretches of time when she had other priorities.
ana liese
129. analiese
JonathanLevy @ 128

I wonder - are those really Nynaeve's core character traits from TEotW to KoD? Or did Sanderson just do such a good job of bringing those traits out that we unthinkingly attribute it to Jordan?

In some books she had other priorities, but she still did a fair bit of Healing and helping people along the way. Those parts just aren't as memorable as the "action scenes" with Moghedien and the Black Ajah.
“Rendra,” Nynaeve said quietly, “does anyone here help the poor? I can lay my hands on a good bit of gold if it would help.” --TSR
For the Samarans, it was the beginning of uncertainty. They had their lives ahead of them, and to begin anew, what they stood up in and what Nynaeve and Elayne had given them. ... Vexation painted Elayne’s face. She always wanted to take care of everyone. Nynaeve hoped Elayne did not discover that she had slipped a few more silvers to some of the women. --TFoH
In TFoH it's made clear that Healing is still her top priority.
Hunting the Black Ajah was good and right and satisfying—and also terrifying, though she tried to hide that part; she was a grown woman, not a girl who needed to hide in her mother’s apron—yet that was not the main reason she was willing to keep on bashing her head against a wall, keep on trying to learn to use the Power when most of the time she could not channel any more than Thom. That reason was the Talent called Healing. ... She had done it, fumbling, curing what her other skills never could. The joy of it was enough to bring tears. One day she meant to Heal Thom and watch him dance. One day she would even Heal that wound in Rand’s side. Surely there was nothing that could not be Healed, not if the woman wielding the Power was determined enough.
In the last Nynaeve POV that Jordan wrote, she had exhausted herself Healing wounded Saldaean soldiers after the attack at Algarin's mansion and was about to head out again until Lan stopped her. So I would say those have always been her core character traits from TEotW to KoD.
Roger Powell
130. forkroot
JL@128
A thought just crossed my mind. If the DO is tainting Saidin through contact with the seals, due to the fact that the seals are made of Saidin, then wouldn't breaking the seals disconnect the DO from Saidin and remove the taint?
The DO is no longer tainting saidin - it was a one-shot deal, done at the last instant before the Bore was sealed. Rand removed the taint on saidin at the end of Winter's Heart.

If you were speculating that prior to the removal of the taint, the corruption from the taint was weakening the seals, I'll address that now:

The seals are made of cuendillar, and served as "focus" points for the weaves (whatever the heck that means.)

We don't know too much about the weaves employed - some sort of tied-off weaves, or something unknown to the 3rd Age channelers such as the standing weaves that power certain ter'angreal? So it's not clear if the seals touch (and would be tainted by) the weaves.

It's also not clear that the taint on saidin affected the weaves that channelers of saidin made. We know it affected the channelers themselves, eventually driving them mad, and there has been speculation that things like the Darkness in the Ways came from eventual corruption of the weaves that created and sustained them. But I'm not sure we have definitive confirmation.

Lastly: The weaves for the sealing were already done (with presumably untainted saidin) before the DO's counterstroke. The counterstroke occurred at the moment of sealing which, as I understand it, had something to do with "placing" the seals. Of course there was likely channeling involved with that, but still ... the 100 companions would have already filled up with saidin prior to any final weaving.

In conclusion, I don't see the text directly refuting the idea of tainted saidin weakening the seals, but there's enough questions that I would say the idea is unlikely.

EDIT: To spell "saidin" correctly (Thanks insectoid!) I gotta watch these late-night posts!
Thomas Keith
131. insectoid
JLevy @105: Wow... who knew Terez was so vicious? ;)

Sam @112: LOL!! That's one way to look at it...

Wort @122: LOL... well played!

Fork @130: You sure have a funny way of spelling saidin. :P
*runs*

Bzzz™.
Jonathan Levy
132. JonathanLevy
130.forkroot
The DO is no longer tainting saidin - it was a one-shot deal, done at the last instant before the Bore was sealed.
I guess the fact that Saidin was cleansed (by opening the spigot and waiting) proves that the taint was a one-shot deal.

Other random thoughts on the matter:

Some seals are broken and some are not; This means that each Seal is a separate Weave of Saidin.

Men can't link, so each of these Weaves must have been created by one man.

Most likely, each Weave was created by a different man, probably with an angreal or sa'angreal.

We are told the Hundred Companions went mad in one instant, unlike other male Aes Sedai who went mad more slowly afterwards.

Presumably, this was because they were holding Saidin at the moment of the counterstroke.

However, if they had gone mad before all the seals were placed, they wouldn't have been able to finish the job, right? So they counterstroke must have happened after all the seals were placed.

But if the DO could taint Saidin after all the seals were placed, why can't he taint it again after Rand cleanses it, when only 3 seals are still in place?

A way around this difficulty is to say that all seven seals were placed simultaneously, and the counterstroke happened at the very moment they were placed, and that this was the only moment where it could be done.

Ok, let's bring in another fact. Lews Therin tells Rand that something has to touch the DO, and this is what let him taint Saidin. It suggests that the DO reached the True Source through the weave of Saidin which is touching him, and tainted it.

So why can't he taint it again? There seem to be two requirements here. The DO can only taint Saidin if:

1) A Saidin seal is touching him.
2) The bore is open, or is at the very instant of being sealed.

These two requirements seem to be mutually contradictory. If the DO can taint Saidin by reaching through the Saidin which is touching him to seal him in, then why can't he do it over and over again?

I see two solutions:
1) The Counterstroke is a unique, cosmic event, so stop trying to shoehorn it into the regular rules of the cosmology.
2) The Dark One did not taint Saidin through the Saidin Weave of the Seals which are touching him. After all, these Weaves are tied off, and have no direct contact to the True Source anymore.

The DO tainted the True Source through the minds of the men who were actively channeling Saidin at the moment of the sealing. This is why they went mad instantly instead of gradually.

Thoughts, anyone?
Valentin M
133. ValMar
JL @ 132

This is on an issue on which I don't tend to think in too much detail so my own comment will be rather limited.
You are saying that the Hundred Companions went mad instantly because they were holding Saidin at the precise moment of the Counterstroke. It's fair assumption but doesn't it mean that other male channelers who were holding Saidin at the same time would've gone mad too?
It's been a while so my memory is sketchy on the details so I'm making a few assumptions here- 1) Many other male Aes Sedai would happen to be channeling at the moment of disaster 2) It doesn't matter were they were and what exactly were they doing with Saidin. 3) There aren't any indications that any other Male AS went mad in the instant of the Tainting.
Jonathan Levy
134. JonathanLevy
133. ValMar

I'm kind of assuming that no-one would have bothered to notice if a particular Aes Sedai went mad at the precise moment of the sealing. Also, apart from the Hundred Companions, no-one else knew the precise moment of the sealing.

And keep in mind that at least one fellow at the Black Tower went mad in less than a day, so someone going instantaneously mad might have been thought to simply be very unlucky.
Sandy Brewer
135. ShaggyBella
So, How old was Faile when she and Perrin married? When they meet up with her father in LOC he says she is still not old enough to marry without her mother's permission. I think marriages happened early so maybe she was only sixteen or seventeen. That could account for much of her immaturity in the earlier parts of her and Perrin's relationship.
neverspeakawordagain
136. Wortmauer
ShaggyBela: I'm too lazy to double-check, but I believe in one estimate, she's about 14 when she meets Perrin in TDR, so 14 or 15 by the time they get married in TSR. As I recall, this is based on someone thinking she's about Ewin Finngar's age. I believe later consensus ages her up a couple years, though. It's an inexact science, as we never hear canonically exactly how old she is.

Either way, yes, she was high school age when she ran away from home and eloped. Probably still is. We could speculate on exactly how young she was when she learned the sa'sara, but that may not be proper.
Karan J
137. karanj
@103. Wet
Sure, we can grouse about how she ought to know, or someone ought to have told her, or she ought to set someone to researching it, but the fact remains that her studies have had other point of focus for the last couple of years and she’s terribly busy now, so there may be some validation for the fact that she doesn’t have all this at her fingertips the way we do.
I'm not saying that Egwene specifically should know what the circumstances around the War of Power were, or that there hasn't been plenty to be getting on with in any case - however I feel here that something is missing from the Rand-Egwene scene (we really should be discussing this on that post), as, after Rand leaves, none of the more senior Aes Sedai in the Hall around her contradict her at all.

I'm not picking on Eg - she might have had an interrupted time in the Tower, but she has sat through history lessons, and I can't imagine her history lessons haven't covered the War of Power at some point. But assuming that Eg hasn't had those lessons, and coming back to the earlier point about the Hall - surely someone in there knows enough of the history to at least raise a moment of doubt?

This action could have happened off-screen for all we know, but in my mind, it has been perhaps 10 - 15 lifetimes of Aes Sedai living for 300 years - that should mean a lot of knowledge and history is preserved that isn't otherwise; this has something that has bothered me through this series, that so much is seemingly 'forgotten' despite the fact that there is an entity populated with super long-lived (pre-Oaths/pre-Trolloc Wars(?) Aes Sedai would have been even longer living) members that has survived for 3000 years.

It may have become somewhat ossified, but given that there is an Ajah dedicated to fighting the Last Battle, some memories or records of the previous round should survive. After all, the Borderlanders remember how a clerk died in the War of Power - why would Aes Sedai not recall the fact that the War lasted far longer than when the DO was freed?
The point remains: Rand Sedai, with his new free access to LTT’s memories, is the only person who really knows the answers to any of those questions I posed above, and even his knowledge is limited to the human frame.
Rand Sedai is unique in that he has direct knowledge of the events & circumstances that led up to it, and retrospectively he has the clarity of memory and knowledge that LTT didn't have post-Sealing. He hasn't made it clear to Eg & co that he has this knowledge, and that's something I expect will be discussed in aMoL. That doesn't excuse the Aes Sedai from their seemingly automatic opposition to his methods, unless there's a bit of deus ex patterna about repeating history. Someone in the Tower should raise the objection and argue that perhaps Rand is right, but it doesn't seem to be happening that we can see.

* * * *


Finally, on to the matter of how to seal again that's being discussed in the comments here too - I agree that there won't be new seals of focus/cuendillar being relied upon to keep the DO tied up. I'd say it would have something to do with 'healing' the pattern - rather than patching over the Bore, literally re-weaving the pattern at Shayol Ghul would finally knock out the influence the DO has. Nynaeve is key to this as much as Rand with his super channelling ability and access to the TP - something that is constantly emphasised is how Nyn and Rand both have an amazing ability to split flows and handle uber complex weaves, and come up with new and unimagined solution...

So after all: what is the 'ultimate healing'? The damn pattern itself, in a combination of the TP to hold the DO off while the OP is used to re-weave the pattern itself. How about that for healing the impossible?

edit: whoa, looney theory time: what if Rand rescues Lanfear/"Meirin" from the soul trap/torment-he-saw-at-the-end-of-ToM and as a way to redeem herself she offers up the knowledge of how she drilled the bore in the first place, and with it the knowledge of how to re-weave/patch the pattern over the Bore?
Karan J
138. karanj
@135 ShaggyBella / 136. Wort Mauer - From here (minor ret-con!):
I asked Maria very specifically about Faile’s age, and the canonical answer is “Faile is about the same age as Perrin. She is not jailbait.” A correction has been submitted to Lord of Chaos where the confusion of her placing herself of the same age as Ewin that now “he is only a few years younger than her.” So there!.
Alice Arneson
139. Wetlandernw
@several re: Faile - In a 1995 interview, RJ was quoted as saying that Bashere's negative reaction to Faile becoming a Hunter of the Horn was not her gender, but her age - she was only 17 years old.
Alice Arneson
140. Wetlandernw
karanj @137 – Hmm. Not that I think this needs to be an argument, you understand, but I think there are some things to point out in regard to your very good… uh… points. (If you say it enough times, it ceases to sound like a real word…)

First, the conversation in the Hall: Egwene was the only one who was able to talk; others said they felt like they couldn’t move, almost couldn’t breathe. It’s entirely conceivable that anyone there who might have known better was simply struggling to even think, much less be able to pick apart the logic involved. If someone there should have been able to catch the implication, I don’t think we can necessarily assume that she would have caught it, or thought to say anything about it to the right person later. I get the idea that the feeling of being caught in such a tight ta’maral’ailen was a very disconcerting thing for a bunch of women who are used to being in control, and that it overshadowed pretty much everything else. That’s not an excuse for any Sitter who didn’t bring it up in the ensuing discussion, but would the Sitters necessarily be the ones who would know? I don’t know.

More importantly, though, is the simple fact of how much information has been lost over the last 3000 years. For example, we know that there were a great many weaves that were lost; some were remembered by name though no one knew how to do them (e.g. Travelling), while others weren’t even remembered at all (inverting weaves, hiding the ability to channel). Many, many more are still in use but in a diminished form (Healing) or by a different name altogether (Illusion/Mask of Mirrors). Given the extent to which things so very important to the Aes Sedai were lost, it seems pretty reasonable that a lot of other information was lost or forgotten as well.

RJ repeatedly pointed out in his conversations that the past 3000 years have not been a steady cultural climb for Randland, even aside from the massive loss and destruction of the Breaking. The BBoBA strongly implies that there were no Aes Sedai alive at the end of the Breaking who had survived the entire span of the drilling of the Bore, through the subsequent rise of chaos, through the War of Power and the Breaking – or even a significant portion of that time, despite their normally-longer lifespans. Whether or not that is true, we know that documentation from before the Breaking is almost non-existent.

In addition, about 1000 years after the Breaking, when civilization seemed to have mostly recovered and things were going well, the Trollocs came sweeping out of the Blight and set it back almost to where it started. Nations were destroyed, vast areas were depopulated, and even the White Tower was partially plundered by the Trollocs and the Dreadlords. After roughly 350 years of warfare, when the Trollocs were sufficiently destroyed to mostly fade back into the Blight, humanity was practically starting from ground zero again in terms of restoring civilization and collecting historical data – and then they spent another hundred years in turmoil trying to sort out new nations, etc.

As if that weren’t enough, less than a thousand years later they had the whole Guaire Amalasan conquest and the Hawkwing counter-conquest, which was looking pretty good until he died, and then they had another hundred years of chaos and destruction. This is not conducive to the maintenance of historical documentation and research.

Is that enough to prove that no one could possibly realize that the Bore was open for over a hundred years without the DO actually escaping? Absolutely not. It is, however, IMO, enough to cast doubt on the obviousness of that realization. Should some Brown come to this conclusion soon? Probably, but it’s not guaranteed; since that scene, they’ve been a mite concerned with reorganizations and assassinations and modifications, oh my. Does anyone besides Rand have memories of a time when the Bore was open but the DO was still free? Sure! Moridin, Graendal, Mesaana, Demandred, Cyndane, Moghedien… For anyone else, it’s a matter of historical studies that may or may not have been a focal point. That’s why I think Rand is “at fault” for not explaining it: either he’s not thinking clearly about how much that knowledge would convince Egwene, or he’s deliberately not telling her in order to get her to do what he wants done anyway.
Jay Dauro
141. J.Dauro
karanj

And I do not believe the Borderlanders remembered how a clerk died in the breaking. An Aes Sedai had a viewing that included it.
“Speak them to me,” Rand said. “Please.”
“I see him before you!” Paitar quoted. “Him, the one who lives many lives, the one who gives deaths, the one who raises mountains. He will break what he must break, but first he stands here, before our king. You will bloody him! Measure his restraint. He speaks! How was the fallen slain? Tellindal Tirraso, murdered by his hand, the darkness that came the day after the light. You must ask, and you must know your fate. If he cannot answer…”
He trailed off, falling silent.
“What?” Min asked.
“If he cannot answer,” Paitar said, “then you will be lost. You will bring his end swiftly, so that the final days may have their storm. So that Light may not be consumed by he who was to have preserved it. I see him. And I weep.”
Towers of Midnight - 51

So we do not know how far back it went, but no further than the War of a Hundred Years, since that is when Arafel was formed, and the words were passed from monarch to monarch. So this is after Hawkwing. Still a long time, but not near 3000 years.
Tricia Irish
142. Tektonica
karanj@137:

One of my pet looney theories has Aviendha reweaving the pattern over the Bore. She is, after all, the one who un-wove the weave, successfully, in the Bowl of the Winds segment. (I think it was there.) I always thought she might do it in Tel'AranRiod too...as it's in all worlds.

Wetlander...thanks so much for that repeat of the background. With all the time gone by, and so many other books cluttering and confusing my memory, I needed that!

I do think that the 13th Depository in the White Tower Library ought to have some musty old tomes containing some relevent info to the past wars, and perhaps the coming Battle. And shouldn't Siuan have been studying this stuff while she was Amyrlin? She knew the Dragon was reborn, after all. It was her, and Moraines lifes' work to find him, and guide him. I have always been a bit stumped about her apparant lack of preparations for the LB, given her knowledge of the birth of the Dragon.

We have been given no indication that the Greens had a battle plan, or that Siuan herself was studying the archives in this regard. We also haven't been told about her imparting any of this info, specifically, to Egwene, as she tutored her in Amyrlin-craft. Of course, it doesn't mean she didn't, we just didnt' get to hear about it. Siuan would probably be the perfect person for Egwene to assign to this task, as she already has more propriatary knowledge than most of the AS.
Valentin M
143. ValMar
JL @ 134

Yeah, I guess.
1)- People must've noticed a male AS going mad.
2)- They must've survived it and recorded the timing.
3)- The many records of starts of madness must've been noted to be at the same/similar time by people having the possibility to look at and analyze the overall data.
4)- The recorded realisation that many male AS went mad at a similar time from 3) must have survived the chaos or copies of it.
5) A POV character in WOT must have read such a record or have been told of it.
6) Said POV character should "tell" us this by thinking or talking about it.
All these in the context of the Breaking, Trolloc Wars, 100 Years Wars, Black Ajah sabbotage...

Pretty long stretch. So, indeed, it's perfectly plausible that many male AS, besides the Hetairoi, went mad at the moment of the tainting but it hasn't been implicitly stated in the books.

Perhaps I elaborated a bit too much here but it fascinates me how knowledge reaches us from the past, how we use it to make conclusions and turn it into "History".

PS points 1) through 6) apply to Wetlander's point @ 140, to an extent. The AS reluctance of sharing knowledge and dying with it are the biggest culprit re: Channeling knowledge, IMO.
Craig Jarvis
144. hawkido
@ 132.JonathanLevy

That last one makes the best/most sense.
It explains the hundred companions going mad instantly, and the one shot nature of the tainting, also there is a quote that ties into this theory. I believe it was either Fain or a Forsaken noting or musing that there are some things that can only be done at shayol ghul. Perhaps it was in the musings of the mindtraps. I can't seem to find the quote and as I only have audio books on hand, skimming isn't really a possibility.
So with a sufficient number of channelers drawing the OP all in Shayol Ghul at the same time the DO must have pushed back at them and oozed his substance upstream against the flow into Saidin. It was referred to as a backlash at one point wasn't it? All the channeling flows may have been focused into the Bore at the time, creating a stasis box effect on the Forsaken, else the DO did that to shelter them, but I don't see him as being that benevolent... Perhaps the DO's prison was always a vacoul outside of time and the Bore was just a standing weave gateway into the DO's prison, which the DO using the OP prevented from closing (this is also listed as a LTT and Rand Talent), and also began enlarging as he could. Perhaps all Rand needs to do is "unravel the weave", ala Elayne with the Seanchan... No fighting just walk up and pluck the first thread, no going back then, oh but the one that wove it is the only one that can unravel it, right? Thus Elayne who was untrained was the only one who could attempt unraveling her gateway, because she wove it. So that would mean only Lanfear can unweave the bore, as she and some other guy created it... Whacky and unfounded... but fun to think about.

Someone questioned the linking laws in WoT and expressed confusion... I just stumbled across this which contradicts what someone else had posted in response, Someone else may have beat me to this, I was on the road and it was hard to check, From WoT FAQ:

"The LoC and ACoS glossaries along with the Guide are mutually inconsistent on the details of linking. Per Team Jordan, the correct language is:Linking: the ability of women who can channel to combine their flows of the One Power. While the combined flow is not as great as the sum total of the individual flows, it is directed by the person who leads the link and that can be used much more precisely and to far greater effect than the individual flows could be. Men cannot link their abilities without the presence of a woman or women in the circle. Up to thirteen women can link without the presence of a man. With the addition of one man, the circle can increase to twenty-six women. Two men can take the circle to include thirty-four women, and so on until the limit of six men and sixty-six women is reached. There are links that include more men and fewer women, but except in the linking of one man and one woman, one woman and two men, or of course, two men and two women, there must always be at least one more woman in the circle than there are men. In most circles, either a man or a woman can control the link, but a man must control in the circle of seventy-two as well in mixed circles of fewer than thirteen. Although men are in general stronger in the Power than women, the strongest circles are those which contain as near as possible to equal numbers of men and women. See also: Aes Sedai."
Alice Arneson
145. Wetlandernw
ValMar @143 - Maria Simons made some comments on "lost weaves" not too long ago. One thing she pointed out was that, unless you have someone to teach a weave who can actually make it work, you're going to have a tough time passing it on. Certain weaves require a certain level of sheer strength; others require a Talent; still others require extra skill/strength in one of the five powers (Earth, Air, Fire, Water, Spirit). Again in context of the Collapse and the Breaking, it was not always possible to find someone to whom you could teach the more specialized or difficult weaves you knew. By the time the Aes Sedai were able to gather again, much of the AOL knowledge of weaves had been lost.

Even when they began to regather, there were smaller groups and factions created by geography, interest and priorities; for quite some time, there was very little openness to sharing across those lines. When they finally reunited, at least in name, I'm sure there was some of that "reluctance to share knowledge" in action; there are indications that the various Ajah's of the present are in part descended from the different factions present in the development of the White Tower.

Throw in on top of that the Trolloc Wars, where not only were there defections to the Dark Side (all those Dreadlords had to come from somewhere, and it's a stretch to assume that they were all from outside the Tower), but many of the Aes Sedai were out fighting alongside the armies of the various nations. Since many of the strongest and most skilled would have gone out to battle against the Shadowspawn, it's a fair bet that many of them died, too. If you lost everyone who was strong enough and had enough of that Talent to Travel, well, yes, the knowledge would die with them even if they deeply desired to pass it on.

I'm not saying that only a miniscule amount of knowledge was lost to the hoarding mentality, but it's only fair to acknowledge that there were other significant causes as well.
Valentin M
146. ValMar
Wetlander @ 145

All true, nice sum up or analysis of how knowledge was lost during the bad times. It makes it even sadder (other more explicit adjectives come to mind too) that during the "better" times, without external turmoil, the AS continued the process of losing knowledge and stagnation.
Roger Powell
147. forkroot
Hmmm ... the above discussions make me wonder. Is Rand (who now has all sorts of AoL knowledge in his head) going to toodle off to SG and die before passing that stuff on?

At a minimum, he should get a set of trusted Ashaman and pass on all of the lost AoL saidin (let's spell it right the first time here) weaves.

Furthermore, he should get a bunch of Browns together and dictate key points of AoL history, etc. Anything he could do to preserve that knowledge would be helpful.

I know time is of the essence, but Rand has already shown a great concern for caring for the post-TG world (e.g. the founding of the University in Cairhien and so forth.)
JAMES MCCLELLAN
148. ZEXXES
@127 I'm not so sure we can attribute or call Lews Therin a symptom of Taint madness. I think sometimes tend to go from one theory to another ignoring their opposing theories anytime it suits us. And then turn around and use the opposite for a different discussion. It's confusing to me at least and so I'm not accusing in any way.

But I always thought of Lews Therin being separate from the madness and not simply a symptom. My feelings were that Rand wasn't taint madned until somewhere around KoD. Lews Therin has to me been a abhorition of the pattern; or a sort of last ditch effort to get it right along with it's other weavings. I remember when Perrin was on Dragonmount in the Dream and was watching as Rand was succumbing to the Dark. How it was described, it defined the taint as making its final constriction on Rands mind and soul. He watched and begged Rand, cheered him on; hoping. We got to see Rands true struggle as Perrin did not. I find it hard to believe, that if Lews Therin was a manifestation of Taint, that he could find a way to defy its own nature and say the one thing that could turn Rand to the light. I feel because both the madness and Lews Therin were present, that we may mistakenly believe that one was a part of the other. But I'm not so sure.

It was Rand that made the choices he made not Lews Therin. Lews Therin time and again sought to rest control of the Power from Rand to destroy any he perceived to be of the dark, madned though he was.

No I think the taint was preventing the continuation of the rebirth of the Dragon. The Dragon isn't Lews Therin, Lews Therin is the Dragon. But now it's different, Rand is the Dragon. Rand absorbed Lews Therin. Not the other way around. But Rand also almost fell anyway. It's why Lews Therin was so fearful of Rand at the end. He was terrified of what Rand was going to do. Even though it was what LT claimed he wanted.

I know not many want to give Lews Therin much credit there. But I for one believe that Dragonmount was Lews Therin, victory not Rands. I haven't seen enough to assume that Lews Therin is tied up in the mess of darkness prickling Rands mind. I like to think that the countering Light is what allowed Rand and Lews Therin to become one. The madness was Natrones Burrow. The madness was the meeting with Tuon. The madness was the threatening of Cadsuane. The Taint was the failure of his efforts to feed the cities. The madness was his almost murdering Tam or the destruction of Ebou Dar. All of that was the madness and the Taint. Lews Therin had no part in any of that. Lews Therin was another life intertwined within the same soul.

Well that's my opinion on it anyway!

Z
Dale schenstrom
149. Dryheat77
Wet @ 145
The only problem I see with the attrition thoery (not enough power to learn) is in regards to Cads teaching Sorelia(?) the weave for traveling presumably to teach others. Or was that the other way around? Memory can be a dull tool at times.
Dryheat77
Roger Powell
150. forkroot
Dryheat77@149
Yeah, it was actually Sorilea teaching Cadsuane, but your point stands.
Terry McNamee
151. macster
@125 Wetlander: And replied!

@128 JonathanLevy: Analiese said what I would have said, but basically just because Nynaeve had other things on her mind, other goals and activities, and that her reason for going on the adventure changed throughout the series, doesn't mean she never stopped caring about healing and helping others. And even if you are right, Sanderson returning to Nynaeve's characterization from TEotW would suggest to me that he was correcting how Jordan had drifted away from Nynaeve's initial characterization. Yes she has changed in many ways, including good ones, but caring about healing and helping others isn't something she should lose, and it's good that Sanderson returned to that. So yes, Jordan did initially characterize her that way (so it isn't Sanderson's invention), and it appearing again now would be Sanderson trying to show (and, it seems, succeeding) that however much she has changed, she hasn't lost that.

Also, I've always thought the seals were weakened merely by the Dark One's touch upon them, as his touch is now affecting the Pattern and Randland itself, not due to the taint. If this is happening due to the True Power (as in, it raidates from the Dark One or whatever he touches) rather than from the miasma that rises from him to create bubbles of evil, then there is a tenuous connection (assuming the True Power is what created the taint), but it's not a one-to-one-correspondence.

@132 JonathanLevy: Good theorizing, but you're missing one point--you say that the Dark One could just taint saidin again and again. But that can only happen if saidin is touching him. Based on Lews Therin's comment that "something has to touch him", this suggests that the Bore being open doesn't let him just randomly use the True Power on the One Power--he can touch the world and cause the terrible things he did during the War of Power (and the things he's currently doing to the Pattern), but he can't touch the One Power because, I guess, the True Source, being the power that turns the Wheel of Time, is beyond his reach until he is actually free--at which point he would simply destroy the Wheel and remake reality in his image, and then it would be moot since he/the True Power would corrupt saidin, saidar, and everything else. What this means is that it is indeed critical for Rand to find something else to touch the Dark One with when he reseals him, since otherwise we will get a repeat of the taint--but only when he is touched, not before.

@137 karanj: You're quite right, that is a definite oversight. Hopefully someone among the Aes Sedai will come forward with it in the last book--though when Rand reveals his knowledge, and is supported by Nynaeve and others, Egwene may simply be forced to see reason and capitulate without the matter being addressed. And Wetlander makes a good case that that information might well have been lost and forgotten; and even if it isn't, Egwene could be swayed to his side without it ever being brought up, particularly if, because she was so sure the seals should not be broken, she didn't even bother to have any Aes Sedai research whether they should be, or how long the Dark One was able to touch the world during the War of Power and what happened while he was.

And I realize my previous response suggests I think actual seals will be used again--no, of course, the Pattern needs to be healed as if the Bore had never been, for the Age of Legends to come around again. However whatever is holding back the Dark One while this re-weaving is happening could still be tainted just as saidin was, thus requiring an intermediary. You seem to think the True Power will be that intermediary. I still don't see how that can be, unless it is used via Callandor or the link to Moridin, since otherwise there's no way a) the Dark One would allow Zen Rand to use it and b) we don't want Rand to be in the mindset again where he could. If Callandor or the link does it, I could get behind that. But there's still the possibility of Fain...

@142 Tektonica: That is rather annoying, yes. I really hope they do address this in the last book. If it has been going on off-screen and we just weren't told about it, that will be shoddy storytelling...but at least it will have happened and they'll have information to help during the Last Battle. If it hasn't, the Aes Sedai will be of no use at all except in battling Shadowspawn and Dreadlords (assuming they even know how to fight) and in aiding Rand while he uses the knowledge he does have.

@144 hawkido: Fascinating theory. If correct it seems to imply Lanfear will have to turn good to help them. Unless Moridin turns good, as many have thought will happen, and then he forces her to unweave the Bore through the mindtrap... Even if your theory isn't right in the specifics, it may well be that Moridin turning good and forcing Lanfear to help may be key.

@147 forkroot: I truly hope he does. Though as you say, time being of the essence will make it hard--and even though we know he will die and live again, if as we suspect he will go off in private seclusion to a normal life after the Last Battle, it will be rather hard for him to pass on the knowledge then. We don't even know if he'll still have Lews Therin's memories afterward--the shadow on his mind may vanish when the Dark One is sealed away, and without it the white light may go, which will take with it the integration and knowledge. But that is just speculation. We also don't know if the Tower will be amenable to being taught even after Rand has saved the world. But at the very least I expect he'll teach Logain and the good Asha'man before he goes into seclusion, so whether AOL history will be recovered, saidin weaves will.

@148 Zexxes: I agree. The taint may have made it easier for Lews Therin (whether he was real or a construct) to manifest and to affect Rand, but it didn't actually create him--Rand did that, either by shoving his past life knowledge into a new split personality or by keeping Lews Therin's personality and knowledge from joining with his.

@Dryheat: Good point, but if everyone who had knowledge of the weave chose not to share it, or died before they could, and the texts in which descriptions of the weave were written down were lost, then it wouldn't matter if a particular Aes Sedai had the strength or not--she'd still have nowhere to learn it from. We still don't know if the library ter'angreal can demonstrate and teach weaves because it uses three-dimensional images; if ter'angreal can't be used for this then it's irrelevant, and if they can, they were lost during the Breaking, so either way the knowledge would still be lost.
Karan J
152. karanj
@140. Wetlandernw, indeed, good point ( ;] ) - though from memory the Trollocs didn't raid the tower, but they certainly had hit Tar Valon the city. Also, the Aes Sedai in the Aiel WayBack machine appeared to be from the Breaking, if not necessarily before.

@141. J.Dauro, oh ok, thanks for clearing that up... my memory made that stick out like a sore thumb.

@142. Tektonica, from Avi's words, all Aiel Wise Ones have to practice the unweaving, so I don't think it's unique to her or a particular Talent. But yes, it seems incredibly frustrating to find the Green Ajah at the Last Battle without a plan of goddamn action...

@151. macster, here's hoping! though I was reading your solution as being new seals created, whereas I think it'll be a more permanent solution. I've assumed the TP will play a role, but yes, the DO noticing it and yanking access would make it a nice pull-the-rug-out moment. And yeah, I know, Fain has a role to play but I for one would be more than happy for him to get the kill-it-with-balefire treatment before Rand goes on to deal with the DO.


separately...

@144. hawkido - this is interesting; in WH when the roving bands of defenders are roaming around Foresaken Huntin', I distinctly recall that the Asha'man weren't in charge of the circle...
Jonathan Levy
153. JonathanLevy
144.hawkido
I believe it was either Fain or a Forsaken noting or musing that there are some things that can only be done at shayol ghul.
Perhaps this is the quote you were thinking of (ACOS:25)?
Some things could only be done here, some only to those who could channel, and she (Moghedien) had brought a number of men and women for this very purpose.
Perhaps the DO's prison was always a vacoul outside of time and the Bore was just a standing weave gateway into the DO's prison,
I like the Vacuole idea, though there's probably a bit more to it than that. It's worth noting that the Dark One's prison seems to push him outside of time in some way. Those Foresaken who were sealed deep in the bore came out of it the same age as when they went in; but those who were not deep aged very much (Aginor and Balthamel).

That said, Lanfear describes her imprisonment as a long, dreamless sleep, which is not the same as the Gholam's description of coming out of a stasis box.

On the other hand, I don't really see the Bore as a tied-off weave which can be unravelled. One Power weaves can be cut easily (Lanfear vs. Rand in TSR, Rand vs. Lanfear in TFoH, Rand vs. SAS in LoC, etc.) so if it was just a matter of getting rid of a weave to close the Bore, it would have been quite easy to do it. There is a difference between cutting a weave (in theory, anyone can do it if they know how) and unravelling a weave (only the weaver can do it), but in both cases the weave is gone - it's just a question of whether the residues can be read or not.

145.Wetlandernw
Well put.
151.macster
you say that the Dark One could just taint saidin again and again. But that can only happen if saidin is touching him
My reasoning is this: There are currently three intact seals. Therefore, Saidin is touching the DO. Therefore, he should be able to taint Saidin again.

I am not suggesting that he could re-taint Saidin after Rand breaks the last seals. I am suggesting that the DO could have re-tainted Saidin between CoT and AMoL.
if everyone who had knowledge of the weave chose not to share it, or died before they could, and the texts in which descriptions of the weave were written down were lost, then it wouldn't matter if a particular Aes Sedai had the strength or not
A small point about descriptions of weaves - it's very hard to learn any skill from a description, even with illustrations. I would expect there are dozens of books in the White Tower describing weaves, which are hard to understand, and even when they seem to make sense you cannot produce the desired result.
Craig Jarvis
154. hawkido
@152 Karanj

Okay I think the grammar gets confusing on the WoT FAQ statement, I am going to try to unravel it, and see if you guys think you agree, or if you are just as confused:

Original quote:
Men cannot link their abilities without the presence of a woman or women in the circle. Up to thirteen women can link without the presence of a man. With the addition of one man, the circle can increase to twenty-six women. Two men can take the circle to include thirty-four women, and so on until the limit of six men and sixty-six women is reached. There are links that include more men and fewer women, but except in the linking of one man and one woman, one woman and two men, or of course, two men and two women, there must always be at least one more woman in the circle than there are men. In most circles, either a man or a woman can control the link, but a man must control in the circle of seventy-two as well in mixed circles of fewer than thirteen.

Uh, my untanglificationating:

fact 1:Men cannot link their abilities without the presence of a woman or women in the circle. no confusion here.
fact 2:Up to thirteen women can link without the presence of a man. no confusion here.
fact 3:With the addition of one man, the circle can increase to twenty-six women. Two men can take the circle to include thirty-four women, and so on until the limit of six men and sixty-six women is reached. no confusion here... we just haven't seen anything this big in the books yet.
fact 4:There are links that include more men and fewer women. Well, okay but we certainly haven't seen that, but not much confusion yet.
Fuzzy fact 5:Except in the linking of one man and one woman, one woman and two men, or of course, two men and two women, there must always be at least one more woman in the circle than there are men. Okay getting some confusion here.
Fuzzy fact 6:In most circles, either a man or a woman can control the link, but a man must control in the circle of seventy-two as well in mixed circles of fewer than thirteen. Okay, now I am confused.

Calendor requires 2 women and one man. And Cads (falsely?) states that a woman must guide the weaves, but neither the exception in Fuzzy Fact 5 (if it extends to Fuzzy Fact 6), nor the rules in Fuzzy Fact 6 seem to allow this. Did someone post some better info last post? Maybe they meant to say if the gender balance is equal or man favored in a sub-13 circle then the man has to lead, but if the balance favors the women then the woman has to lead in a sub-13 circle... Kinda like men win the ties in a sub-13 circle?

With all of this gender ratio linking talk, why does porn music keep playing in my head?

Joke: What are the sexiest animals in the barnyard?
Answer: Brown Chicken Cow Cow


for those who don't get it: Bow Chikka Wowwow


For those who still don't get it: Cheesie porn music

Also didn't they say that 100 AS (Male and Female) shortly after the breaking created the Eye of the World (they may not have been linked and may have only used the females to purify the liquid Saidin)? Also if something has to touch the dark one, why not refill the EotW then use it to create the barrier/ heal the bore? Why did they create the Eye in the first place? RANDOM Eye and Well are the same word in Arabic, and most of the other semetic languages. /RANDOM What if they (the remaining AS) saw that the seals would not be a lasting fix and the taint was the result of attempting it. If you used an isolated container of the OP to create the seal/heal the bore, then even if the DO did backlash upon it, it would only poison the Eye, not the True Source.

YMNGMMAL -You may not get much mileage at all.
Craig Jarvis
155. hawkido
@153 JL

Yeah that is the quote I was looking for.
Hey if I get the books on e-book, could I use a word/phrase search type thing in them? I would think so, but maybe not on every type of e-book reader...
Any suggestions as to which e-book reader I should get?
Sam Mickel
156. Samadai
Not that it matters, but I don't think he tainted Saidin. I think what he did was taint the access to Saidin. Rands comparison of an oil slick over an ocean is very apt. Oil and water don't mix, neither does the taint and Saidin. It is just that you can't get to Saidin anymore without going through the taint to reach it. (obviously I mean before it was cleansed). If the True Source is the essence of the Creator, and the True Power is the essence of the Dark One, then I doubt the Dark One has the power to actually corrupt the Creators power, or he would be able to escape the pattern on his own. But he would be able to put some of his essence in between the Creators power and Mens access to it.
Craig Jarvis
157. hawkido
I think the DO has no access to saidar/saidin at all, at least from inside his prison, else he could have done this anytime. I think the DO just like the Creator has to act through human agents. The DO despises his human agents and seeks to find a way to directly touch the world without need of agents, where the creator loves his agents. The Balance of neither the DO nor the Creator directly touching the world is what drives time. but if the DO gets direct access to the world then the balance will be broken, and time will end.

But, back to the tainting, I think it was tainted the first time by the presence of the hundred companions in SG wielding saidin. In or very very near the Bore which has no physical attributes and may actually be in TAR. Their connection to saidin was hijacked, and used to back feed the taint into saidin using LTT and the HC as conduits, and thus throughly saturating them with taint thus the insta-maddness (TM) by Shai'Tan Industries. I think this makes the most sense. The standing weaves used in the construction of the Ways (not the talisman of growing, which just makes the branches in the Ways, but the original construction of the Ways), allowed the taint to creep and manifest itself in the Ways as Machin'Shin.

*EDIT* Mens - Double plural FTW!
neverspeakawordagain
158. re-read fan
And which also implies that calling him Jesus Rand isn’t exactly accurate, but as I am easily amused I continue to use it anyway. And hey, even the actual Jesus had that whole episode in the desert. And we know that however much equilibrium Rand may have regained since going to the mountain (yup), he still has at least one very major temptation to deal with, i.e. the True Power...
Hmm... The Last Temptation ... of Rand?
Julian Augustus
159. Alisonwonderland
Tektonica @108:
That aside.....It occurred to me, while reading your post, that if they reseal the Bore with new Cuendilar seals, Egwene might be in on that caper, since she is the Queen of Cuendilar production.


and Wetlander @109:
Good thought about Egwene the Queen of Cuendillar! I hadn't really considered that, but it seems logical. There really should be more to the rediscovery of cuendillar-making than the harbor chain business. So I think you're right - somehow Egwene will play a major role in the construction of the new Seal.


The existing cuendillar seals are a temporary patch, but we know that when the next turning of the Wheel comes around the DO's prison should appear pristine, as if never opened before. That is the way it appeared to Mierin. This means, assuming he is successful, Rand will reseal in the DO just as the Creator did, with no patches anywhere. I will consider it a fatal letdown if Egwene is needed to create new cuendillar seals for yet another patch on the bore. (Sorry if someone else has already made a similar response)
neverspeakawordagain
160. alreadymadwiththetaint
JonathanLevy @132
The popular story goes that the One Hundred Companions went mad in the instant the Bore was sealed. But this is secondhand information. LTT claims the Dark One was able to taint saidin because they had to touch saidin to him in the process of sealing the Bore. This implies the Taint was already working its way into saidin at the same time they were placing the weaves on the Seals. I can only conclude that as the work was completed, then the first ones succumbed to the madness, taken by surprise and not realizing something was horribly wrong. Modern channelers are aware of the Taint and are therefore always on the lookout for its signs. LTT's task force never knew what hit them.

forkroot @150
Sorilea was exceptional in this regard. Practically speaking most channelers won't bother remembering a weave they are not strong enough to make functional.
Roger Powell
161. forkroot
alreadymad(oratleastalreadyloopy)@160
Sorilea was exceptional in this regard. Practically speaking most channelers won't bother remembering a weave they are not strong enough to make functional.
I would imagine if they've been specifically charged to remember it, that would be different. Of course at the end of the Breaking, there was no organization or coordination among channelers that might have enabled specific plans to remember weaves. Thus it might have been like you said ... weaves would disappear because was nobody strong enough (or was specifically motivated to remember them.)
Julian Augustus
163. Alisonwonderland
Hawkido @154

Let's untangle the confusion.

Fuzzy Fact 5: When there are only one or only two women, she or they can link with two or less men. In all other cases where there are three or more women, the number of women MUST be at least one more than the number of men.

Fuzzy Fact 6: In a mixed circle of 72, a man MUST lead. Also, in mixed circle of 13 or less, a man MUST lead. In all other cases, either a man or a woman can lead.

I don't see any ambiguity here. This means, either the rule is incorrectly stated, or the rules of linking don't apply to Callandor, or Cadsuane is mistaken in her belief that a woman must lead when Rand links with two women to use Callandor.
Karan J
164. karanj
Alisonwonderland/hawkido:
fact 1:Men cannot link their abilities without the presence of a woman or women in the circle. no confusion here.
fact 2:Up to thirteen women can link without the presence of a man. no confusion here.
fact 3:With the addition of one man, the circle can increase to twenty-six women. Two men can take the circle to include thirty-four women, and so on until the limit of six men and sixty-six women is reached. no confusion here... we just haven't seen anything this big in the books yet.
fact 4:There are links that include more men and fewer women. Well, okay but we certainly haven't seen that, but not much confusion yet.
Fuzzy fact 5:Except in the linking of one man and one woman, one woman and two men, or of course, two men and two women, there must always be at least one more woman in the circle than there are men. Okay getting some confusion here.
Fuzzy fact 6:In most circles, either a man or a woman can control the link, but a man must control in the circle of seventy-two as well in mixed circles of fewer than thirteen. Okay, now I am confused.
Let's enumerate:

By rule 5 - 1xM 1xF, 2xM 1xF, 2xM, 2xF - are all ok combinations. Any more, and you hit the rule of Men in Circle = Females in Circle - 1 - meaning you would require four women for 3 men to link.

But this hits up against rule 4, unless you count the 2xM-1xF as being "links that include..." - so there's either a contradiction or something misread here.

Rule 6 says "anyone can control the link, except when total channelers > 72 (35xM, 37xF is the most even combination), OR where total channelers is less than 13 and not only women, then a man must lead (excepting the cases from rule 5!)"

If you look at bad_playtpus' comment from the earlier post, that's something different again - and this contradicts Cads' comments... so can someone with the source material update us?
Birgit
165. birgit
Practically speaking most channelers won't bother remembering a weave they are not strong enough to make functional.

If they use circles it does make sense to learn weaves they cannot use alone.
Can someone have a Talent for a weave they cannot use alone?
Jonathan Levy
166. JonathanLevy
155.hawkido

If I don't remember which chapter contains a certain quote, I use idealseek and/or encyclopedia-wot to find it, then search for it in the correct chapter. If you use this method, I'm not sure the reader matters.

160. alreadymadwiththetaint
The popular story goes that the One Hundred Companions went mad in the instant the Bore was sealed. But this is secondhand information.
I'm not sure it's fair to dismiss this as secondhand information. There shouldn't be any ambiguity about whether the Hundred Companions went mad in an instant (option A) or not (option B).

If the next day they are back from Shayol Ghul, boast about sealing away the DO, throw parties, help hunt down Trollocs and Myrddraal, and occasionally complain that Saidin feels really funny but hopefully it will go away in a few days, then it's option (B).

If the next day nobody has come back from Shayol Ghul, nobody knows what happened to them, and instead cities are being flattened and mountains thrown down - whenever anyone happens to see one of the Hundred Companions, they're acting totally murderous and crazy - then it's option (A).
Don Barkauskas
167. bad_platypus
hawkido @154:

Here's the problem: the LoC glossary (which is what the FAQ quotes from) and TBBoBA (which is where I derived my information from) disagree. I copied the rules exactly as laid out in TBBoBA; follow the link in comment 162 above and go to post 6. My analysis in post 66 of that thread is based on that and is pretty clear except for the definition of "most," as indicated there.

I think your fact 4 is misinterpreting the text (which is understandable, since the entry is not clearly written); it is not saying #Men >= #Women is possible; it's saying that although 1 man can let 26 women link, it's also possible for there to be more men (than 1) and fewer women (than 26) in a circle of 27; but by fact 5 (which isn't at all fuzzy once you interpret 4 correctly) there can be at most 13 men (with 14 women) in a circle of 27.

I tend to believe TBBoBA on the whole process, since at the very least it allows for the possibility of a woman leading in a 1+2 circle.
Anthony Pero
168. anthonypero
Wetlander@77:

I'm positive someone must have brought this up already, but I'm just skimming the comments to catch up, and yours caught my eye:
---
Quick note on the conversation between Rand and Nynaeve: Nynaeve frowned."But Rand, if you let him free, won't that make it even worse?" "Perhaps for a short burst," Rand said. "Opening the Bore will not free him immediately, though it will give him more strength. It must be done regardless. Think of our task as climbing a tall stone wall. Unfortunately, we are delaying, running laps before attempting the climb. Each step tires us for the fight to come. We must face him while still strong. That is why I must break the seals."If anyone, ever, had actually used this explanation with Egwene, it just might make a difference for her. So far, she’s gotten nothing but “I’m going to break the seals;”
-----

You know I'm not an Egwene haiter, by any stretch, but I'd like to point out that "I'm going to break the seals" is all Nynaeve got as well, but then she, unlike Egwene, asked the most important question: Why? Egwene simply ordered Rand not to do it. She didn't ask why Rand thought it was a good idea. Because it didn't occur to her to care what Rand thought about the matter. To Egwene, the world is her responsibility. She has been surrounded by people that she had to order and manipulate for months, or they would have destroyed themselves. She is defaulting to this in her dealings with Rand.

Mostly because Rand played her, and manipulated her. But Egwene still should have asked Rand why, rather than telling him that he can't. If only because we've had Egwene's PoV a number of times in which she thought that the worst way to handle Rand was to tell him he couoldn't do something. Him being a pig-headed two rivers man and all.
T C
169. Freelancer
AP,

It's good for Rand that Egwene didn't pursue the issue any further than the default "I know better than the wool-headed mule of a manling who has gotten too big for his britches". Rand depended upon that. He wants her to oppose him, at least during the time until they meet once again at Merrilor. That will ensure that she marshals as much potential opposition to him as possible. Too many peoples and nations are currently unlikely to follow Rand (whether through fear, hatred, or any other motive) without him spending the time to explain himself to each of them; better to delegate the task.

Once everyone arrives, Rand will reveal his hand in a way which will preclude any dissension or discussion, or else he will have preparations made to dismiss those who try. The biggest wild card remains the Black Tower.

As for Nynaeve, she has been forced to face not only Rand's progression along this insane journey, but herself as well. Having faced herself so thoroughly in recent months, she no longer presumes she knows better than any man, especially Lews Therin. The final nail in that coffin came when she hunted down Kerb. Even though that turned out right, she was side-stepping him to do so, and he let her know it. Egwene hasn't had that advantage, and being the big cheese in the Tower with a recent (though somewhat phyrric) victory to her name, she forgets that he does indeed outrank her, both in his universal position in nature, and in ability.

The White Tower should, according to their own methods, have submitted to him simply due to his overwhelming strength in the Power, once they had acknowledged him as the Dragon Reborn and NOT their enemy.

As if.
Anthony Pero
170. anthonypero
Oh, I completely agree, Freelancer. I said what I said to point out that Wet's argument wasn't really a strong one in Egwene's favor.
JAMES MCCLELLAN
171. ZEXXES
@169 Freelancer

Sorry Freelancer, something was wrong with copy and paste. But what I would have quoted was your observations of the hierarchy structures of the Aes Sedai and how Egwene should, according to how they currently function, defer to Rand as the preeminent power of any living channeler. I had never even thought of that until you mentioned it. My only questions are whether female Aes Sedai deferred to more powerful male channelers or were they separate in their ranking even then. I could imagine it separate, but still acknowledging the rank of a different branch, so to speak, as being hypothetically higher or lower as in our armed forces.

Has that been established to any degree? Or have we assumed something along the way. Anybody?

Z
Anthony Pero
172. anthonypero
I find it hard to credit that stregnth in the power had anything to do with rank in the AoL, but I have nothing to base that on other than that an Age like the AoL could never occur with such nonsense being the norm.
T C
173. Freelancer
There is no evidence to suggest that strength in the Power had any bearing on status pre-Breaking. I think it's a fair assumption that it is a behavior begun after the founding of the White Tower. As such, there would be no precedent for any female Aes Sedai to defer, much less submit, to a male, and everything about them would prevent such a thought from entering their heads. I wasn't entirely serious about that being a reason for them to consider Rand as possessing authority over them.

While there is no way for the Sisters of the White Tower to sense his strength, there should be no doubt in their mind of his innate authority and the Power which attends that. For every Sitter to be rendered unable to speak, barely able to think or even breath in his presence, should be more than enough to make them consider what he is likely capable of. Has not the purpose of the White Tower's existence included preparing the world for the Last Battle? And who do all of the prophecies say will lead the Light's only chance at victory? If there are no other reasons for him to receive their deference, this one alone remains adequate.

They should take a note from Galad's behavior. After running away from the White Tower conflict, taking up with the Children of the Light, becoming their Lord Captain Commander, a position historically in direct opposition to the Aes Sedai, he comes to the realization that everyone with even the most tenuous connection to the Light must join together to fight at Tarmon Gaidon. To put aside relatively petty disputes in favor of uniting against the greater enemy.

Now, can Egwene do the same? Rand must believe that she will, or he wouldn't have wasted time going to her.
neverspeakawordagain
174. Wortmauer
Alisonwonderland@159: we know that when the next turning of the Wheel comes around the DO's prison should appear pristine, as if never opened before. That is the way it appeared to Mierin. This means, assuming he is successful, Rand will reseal in the DO just as the Creator did, with no patches anywhere.
That's faulty logic. There are 5 more Ages. The "permanent" sealing doesn't have to happen now, it could happen in any age before the Second comes 'round.

Certainly Fel was thinking along the lines of sealing the Bore good as new. But these days it sounds like Rand just wants to kill the Dark One, which is quite a different matter. Either way, I've not seen anything to convince me that he will be successful at either of those two options. I believe Team Light will successfully neutralize the Dark One, sure. But not necessarily forever and not necessarily until the next Second Age Mierin. I think there are more things in Heaven and earth, etc.
Freelancer@173: There is no evidence to suggest that strength in the Power had any bearing on status pre-Breaking.
You mean except for that odd coincidence where the supreme leader of the Aes Sedai just happened to also be the strongest channeler in the known world? It's not proof of anything, but I think it's pretty telling.
Alice Arneson
175. Wetlandernw
karanj @152 - I don't make statements like that based on my memory alone; I get them from the text:
In the Trolloc Wars, an army of Dreadlord-led Trollocs had actually plundered and burned a part of the White Tower itself.
- A Crown of Swords, Chapter 11, "An Oath"
Terry McNamee
176. macster
@153 JonathanLevy: But I contest the assumption that there is saidin in the seals to be touched. The seals are merely focus points for the weaves, not the weaves themselves, and since said weaves must have been tied off when they were made, I don't see how the Dark One touching them would allow him to reach out into all of saidin. In any event, your own argument suggests that it can't be true, by virtue of the fact we haven't seen the Dark One re-tainting saidin after it was cleansed; if he could, and with everything else he's been doing to the world/Pattern he surely is strong enough, then he would have by now. So, he can't. We can theorize as to why he can't, but the fact he can't seems irrefutable. Unless you think he is merely choosing to wait until the right time to do it.

@154 hawkido: Nothing in what Cadsuane said proves that the circle with Callandor must be led by a woman due to the nature of linking. She could just as easily have meant a woman must lead to counteract the effects of the taint, or to keep the man from going wild with the Power due to the flaw that makes it buffer-less.

As for remaking the Eye, even if you are right that it doesn't involve linking, wouldn't that require the Aes Sedai to have knowledge of the weaves their predecessors used to clean the taint out of the Eye the first time? Lews Therin wouldn't have that knowledge as it was after his time... You may be on to something though, since so much from early in the series has resurfaced; perhaps the Eye will end up proving not the one-shot MacGuffin of the first book and have a key use in the Last Battle! If so, however, that would suggest knowledge of those straining weaves would need to be recovered or worked out again. Perhaps from the library ter'angreal, or something Moiraine learned from the Finn? She was the one who found the Eye before, so perhaps she knows more of its importance than she let on...

@173 Freelancer: Very good points.
neverspeakawordagain
177. King of Flames
I don't know how it doesn't occur to anyone that Mesaana might be hiding the same way Aran'gar was... as a servant or secretary. I know it turns out she wasn't, but that seems an obvious way not to be found by the oath rod. She could even be a novice or Accepted.
neverspeakawordagain
178. Alex F
Late posting... Anyone know what Rand was off "fetching?" Callandor? Maybe Alanna? Maybe the person in the Caralain Grass he asked about just a little while ago?

Also, I think the descriptions of Rand's protective halo thingy sound similar to the description of the Eye of the World. Maybe his apparent absorbtion of the Eye is connected to this filter?
Alice Arneson
179. Wetlandernw
Alex - I don't quite understand your first question... The person in the Caralain Grass turned out to be King Alsalam; Cadsuane also had to fetch Callandor because she was the only person who knew where she'd hidden it.
neverspeakawordagain
180. MGP
It boggles my mind that Egwene, who has personal experience with a Forsaken-in-hiding, wouldn't suspect that, rather than finding some way to defeat the Oaths, Mesaana is simply masquerading as a servant/supplicant in the Tower and never swore them in the first place. (Servant is more likely simply because it allows for greater freedom of movement and access.) Even if she decided that that doesn't fit Mesaana's MO, it should at the very least occur to her. Even if she's kept the weave that masks the ability to channel to herself since Moghedien's escape, she knows of its existence. She also knows about inverting disguise weaves.

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