Jul 31 2012 2:00pm

The Wheel of Time Re-read: Towers of Midnight, Part 12

Hello, and welcome back to the Wheel of Time Re-read!

Today’s entry covers Chapter 19 of Towers of Midnight, in which a bargain is made, and a box is unknowingly opened.

The post is short today due to an unexpected family medical issue, which is currently ongoing. I’ll try to make it up for next week.

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 19: Talk of Dragons

What Happens
Mat is on his way out of the camp to head for the city when he is intercepted by Olver, who excitedly tells him he has some ideas about how to defeat the Snakes and Foxes, and wants to plan. Mat curses himself for talking about any of that in front of the boy, and tells him he has to go talk to a Queen right now, but will come by Olver’s inn and talk to him tomorrow. He is dismayed to learn that Olver has talked about their mission to several Redarms as well as Talmanes, and warns him to be more discreet.

Olver nodded. “All right, Mat. But… blood and bloody ashes!” He turned and walked away.

“And stop swearing!” Mat called after him, then shook his head. Bloody soldiers would have Olver corrupted by the time he was twelve.

Mat joins Thom and Talmanes, and is shocked to see Thom decked out in finery for once; Thom says that if he is going to go back to Caemlyn after all this time, he may as well look the part. Talmanes is critical of Mat’s own coat, which is rather the worse for wear, and Mat retorts that he is a farmer, no matter what Musenge called him.

“He was mistaken,” Mat said. “Just because a man marries someone doesn’t mean he suddenly becomes bloody nobility.”

Thom and Talmanes exchanged a look.

“Mat,” Thom said. “That’s actually exactly how it works. It’s pretty much one of the only ways to become nobility.”

Mat insists that it might not be that way in Seanchan, and suspects that Talmanes is laughing at him. Thom asks dryly if he doesn’t want to also roll in the mud first, and they set out with fifty of the Band as escort. Mat spends the ride worrying about how to convince Elayne to give him the exorbitant amount of materiel Aludra claims to require, and wondering how he gets himself into these situations. He also wonders if Elayne knows how unstable the situation out here is, with almost ten thousand mercenaries camped around the city in various groups, though the Band is larger and more organized than any of them. He is unnerved by the number of people who come to watch them pass. They enter the city and wind their way to the Inner City and the Palace, where Charlz Guybon meets them at the gate, and Mat wonders what it signifies that Elayne sent someone so high-ranking to meet him. Guybon comments that he’s heard a lot about Mat, and Mat replies that half are lies and the rest wasn’t his fault.

Guybon laughed. “What of the story of you hanging from a tree for nine days?”

“Didn’t happen,” Mat said, resisting the urge to tug at the scarf around his neck. Nine days? Where did that come from? He had not even hung for nine bloody minutes! Nine seconds had been too long.

“They also say,” Guybon continued, “that you never lose at dice or at love, and that your spear never misses its target.”

“Wish those second two were true. Burn me, but I wish they were.”

Mat also denies the rumor that he had killed one of the Forsaken, but admits he killed Couladin, though he tries to make light of it.

“Well, there’s this rumor that says you stepped into death’s domain to challenge him and demand answers to your questions,” Guybon said, looking more embarrassed. “And that he gave you that spear you hold and foretold to you your own death.”

Mat felt a chill. That one was close enough to the truth to be frightening.

“Silly, I know,” Guybon said.

“Sure,” Mat said. “Silly.” He tried to laugh, but it came out as a cough. Guybon regarded him curiously.

Light, Mat realized, he thinks I’m dodging the question! “Only rumors, of course,” Mat said quickly. Too quickly, maybe. Blood and bloody ashes!

Guybon nodded, looking thoughtful.

Mat then realizes that many of the onlookers are looking at Thom, not him, the court bard returned from exile. Guybon takes him and Thom to a sitting room (Talmanes is disappointed to be left behind), and Mat gathers himself, preparing to be humiliated at Elayne’s hands. They enter to find Elayne and Birgitte inside, and Elayne immediately rushes to embrace Thom tearfully, and then welcomes Mat warmly, saying Andor owes him a debt for his service. Disconcerted, Mat warns her he’s not going to bow or anything, and Elayne laughs and replies she would only expect it in public for appearance’s sake. Birgitte hugs Mat, and Elayne apologizes to him for making him wait so long, explaining about the mix-up with Norry, and offers to let the Band move closer to the walls. Mat is astounded to learn she is pregnant with twins, and divines that Rand is the father, though Elayne does not confirm that. Birgitte asks after Olver, and Thom says he fears the boy is destined to be a soldier.

“Not a bad life,” Birgitte said. “Eh, Mat?”

“There are worse,” he said, still trying to get his legs underneath him. How had becoming Queen made Elayne less high-and-mighty? Had he missed something? She actually seemed agreeable now!

Thom (dramatically) tells the story of their escape from Ebou Dar, but Mat cuts him off before he gets to the part where he married Tuon, and asks if they’d seen Verin. Elayne says they haven’t, and Mat gets down to business, showing them Aludra’s lists and what they’re for. Elayne doesn’t get it at first, but Birgitte immediately realizes the dragons’ purpose. Mat tells them Aludra claims that fifty dragons could knock down a wall like the one around Caemlyn in a few hours. Elayne pales, and Mat hastens to explain to her how they could also be used to fight Trollocs, against whose numbers they will be at a distinct disadvantage otherwise. Mat thinks she is upset, but:

“Mat, I could kiss you,” she declared. “This is exactly what I needed!”

Mat blinked. What?

Elayne says they’ll need proof the dragons work as promised of course, but if so she will put every man she can on building them. Mat is puzzled by her generosity until he realizes she means them to be for Andor, not the Band. He protests that they are his plans, and Elayne counters that they are her resources. Mat tells her he doesn’t trust these weapons in any hands but his own, and Elayne offers to make the Band part of Andor’s forces, with full backing from the Crown. Mat is tempted, but doesn’t think Elayne will be pleased when she finds out his connection with the Seanchan, who he doesn’t want to have the dragons either. He offers to split the dragons with Andor, and Elayne counteroffers to limit their use to the Band until they leave Andor. Mat insists that the Band must be able to keep one quarter of them even when they do leave, and to sweeten the deal, offers to let her study his medallion for one day. Elayne demands a one-year contract and to keep four out of five dragons. Mat counters that he wants one out of four, and a new serving man.

“A what?” Elayne said.

“A serving man,” Mat said. “You know, to take care of my clothing. You’d do a better job of picking than I would.”

Elayne looked at his coat, then up at his hair. “That,” she said, “I’ll give you regardless of how the other negotiations go.”

She wants the medallion for three days, and Mat shivers, thinking of the gholam, and asks what she wants to do with it. Elayne says she wants to copy it, and Mat is relieved that she doesn’t seem to want to find a way to counteract it. He tells her about the gholam being in town, and worried, she promises to return the medallion to him in three days promptly. He agrees to the deal, and she tells him she will want the Band to move to Cairhien right away. Mat realizes she is making a play for the Sun Throne, and has no problem with that, but warns her that the Band must be free to fight in the Last Battle, and that she cannot sell the technology to others. She comments that someone will replicate it eventually, but Mat says they won’t be as good as Aludra. Elayne campaigns once more to have the Band a fully commissioned Andoran force, but Mat refuses to let anyone but him decide when his men are put to risk. Elayne hesitates, and then agrees, and they spit and shake on it.

“Did you know that I might ask you to take arms against the Two Rivers?” she asked. “Is that why you demanded the right to leave if you want?”

Against the Two Rivers? Why under the Light would she want to do that? “You don’t need to fight them, Elayne.”

“We shall see what Perrin forces me to do,” she replied.

She invites them to dinner, and gives a paper to Thom, telling him it is an offer to reinstate him as court bard. Thom is honored, but tells her there are things he needs to do. She replies he would be free to come and go as he wishes, and he says he will consider it. Elayne is pleased, and comments she looks forward to finding out what Mat had meant in his letter about being a married man, and Mat curses himself for mentioning it. She teases him about lending him money for a proper coat, and he declares he is no nobleman; she says she’ll see about getting him a title, and adroitly dismisses them. Outside, Thom examines the paper she gave him and is startled to see it includes a pardon for all crimes “known or unknown” he may have committed in Andor or Cairhien.

“I wonder who told her….”

“Told her what?”

“Nothing, Mat. Nothing at all. We have a few hours until dinner with Elayne. What do you say we go buy you a new coat?”

“All right,” Mat said. “You think I could get one of those pardons, too, if I asked for it?”

“Do you need one?”

Mat shrugged, walking down the hallway with him. “Can’t hurt to be safe. What kind of coat are you going to buy me, anyway?”

“I didn’t say I’d pay.”

“Don’t be so stingy,” Mat said. “I’ll pay for dinner.” And bloody ashes, somehow, Mat knew, he would.

Well, that was unexpectedly refreshing, wasn’t it?

Perhaps it is just wish-fulfillment at this stage, but nevertheless I really liked how Elayne so confounded Mat’s expectations. It’s really nice to have the characters finally come to something resembling maturity and surpass some of their fundamental flaws and actually be nice to each other for once. And I also think that it is something that should absolutely happen as the series begins to wind to a close, because otherwise what was the point? A triumph of good over bad doesn’t only just have to be on the macro, world-affecting scale, after all.

And Mat’s observation that Elayne’s snottiness has largely receded once she gained actual power rang very true to me, as well. How much of people’s unnecessary (and obnoxious) bravado has resulted from insecurity, after all? It makes total sense to me that once Elayne had some assurance that her place in the world was not only secured, but that she was worthy of it, that her need to insist on the appearance of power, rather than the actuality of it, was greatly reduced. So I greatly enjoyed their haggling-as-equals shtick here. Also, the bit about the serving man made me laugh out loud.

That bargaining session itself brought up some interesting issues, though. Most particularly the unavoidable truth of any kind of arms race, which is that discovering new ways to wage war is like opening Pandora’s box: once released, it can never be stuffed back into where it came from. What Mat and Elayne were really haggling over wasn’t who gets to have this shiny, deadly new innovation; it was over who gets to enjoy the advantage of the first shock of deploying it, before everyone else has it too.

Mind you, this is an extremely significant advantage to have, as everything from the English bowmen at Crécy to the bombing of Hiroshima can tell you. It is interesting to contemplate that even as much as both Elayne and Mat grasp of the importance of the dragons, neither of them (I think) really have any clue how far-reaching the eventual consequences of the invention will actually be. Part of what is fascinating about watershed moments in history is how seldom anyone recognizes their significance when they are actually occurring. It’s kind of awesome and terrible at the same time, which is a pretty neat trick when you think about it.

This chapter also featured one of my other favorite things, which is people getting to realize the awesomeness of Mat even despite his attempts not to let it happen. It’s even nicer when that includes some very nice references to Mat’s series-long association with the Norse god Odin, who (among many other things which have already been associated with Mat) was supposed to have been hanged from the world tree Yggdrasil for nine days and nights in order to learn wisdom. Also, Odin’s spear, Gungnir, was supposed to never miss its target, and while Mat’s ashanderei is not quite so infallible, perhaps, it can be agreed that it hits far more often than it misses, eh?

The only sour note, really, was Elayne’s mention of the Two Rivers and Perrin, which I’m still pretty ambivalent on as a thing. Because, yes, Elayne’s basically in Secure-All-The-Things mode right now, which I can get behind on a practical level even if it makes my anti-imperialist subconscious go all twitchy, but on the other, come ON. If you haven’t even collected taxes from the place in umpty-however many generations, much less extended the protection of the Crown to them in, say, their very recent influx of murderous monsters, how much of a self-righteous leg do you have to stand on here if someone else comes in and takes up the slack? Go build something on the Caralain Grass or something, sheesh. Or conquer Cairhien, whatever.

And that’s all for now, y’all! Have a week, and I’ll see you in the next one!

Sam Mickel
1. Samadai
A great Mat chapter, very happy to see the respect flowing around from everyone. A true communication chapter(one of ToM's "talk" chapters)
2. Quantumeve
Thanks, Leigh! As much as I dislike how Mat's written in this book, I really enjoyed this chapter.
Deana Whitney
3. Braid_Tug
Thank you Leigh for the post. Hope the family gets better soon!

And thank you for the Elyane / Two Rivers thing. She really must like maps. Because even her mother was more fair about the reality of the Two Rivers than Elyane ever becomes.

Really need to brush up on my Norse mythology.
Tina Pierce
4. scissorrunner
"No, I'm not a nobleman, but could you pick out someone to take care of my clothes?"

"Those soldiers need to watch their language around Olver."

We could make a book just with the "Mat-isms".

Leigh, I hope all in your family heal quickly!!
Deana Whitney
5. Braid_Tug
Oh, I think I'm about to burn...
Suddenly the scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail popped into my head.
(Dennis is from the Two Rivers!)
ARTHUR: Well, we all are. we're all Britons and I am your king.
WOMAN: I didn't know we had a king. I thought we were an autonomous collective.
DENNIS: You're fooling yourself. We're living in a dictatorship. A self-perpetuating autocracy in which the working classes--
WOMAN: Oh there you go, bringing class into it again.DENNIS: That's what it's all about if only people would--
Noneo Yourbusiness
6. Longtimefan
Mercifully Elayne does not have to do anything so drastic as deploying troops to the Two Rivers but of the Super boys Elayne has not spent much time with Perrin so her suspicions are perhaps understandable. not nice but understandable.

We the readers have spent a long time with Perrin and know him to be an upstanding character. Elayne knows he is a friend of Rand and Mat but Rand is a bit stubborn and Mat is a rascal so what would she know of Perrin other wise?

Not much. In book the last time she was around Perrin was in the Stone of Tear and she was with Rand most of the time as Perrin was with Faile.
7. Taryntula
They may have been English bowmen, but they were using Welsh longbows. I always think of Andor as England and the Two Rivers as Wales in this whole WOTverse...too many similarities.

Andor wants control of the hamlet, and the hamlet has the mojo to win the war. Perrin is Llewelyn the Great and Elayne is Richard the Lionheart.
8. gadget
I think Elayne understands the history of the TR fairly well, and she would have been perfectly fine with letting the status quo continue, but the rise of a new Lord there who has no direct ties or allegiance to the Crown would be a very different matter. I'm not even sure she knows about the Trolloc attack/White Cloak invasion (The whole lack of communication thing they have going on in WOT you know). She can't afford to be seen as weak by letting this happen unchallenged. At least, this would have been the reasoning a year or two before, though with the world falling apart politically and literally, I don't think it matters much at this point.
9. Lsana
I liked Elayne in this chapter.

There. I said it. Let no one say I am an unthinking Elayne-hater.

This was the reunion I wanted between Mat and Elayne, frankly the one that I wanted back in book 7. We have here a man and a woman who treat each other, not only as equals, but as a pair of rational human beings capable of understanding reasonable arguments. If Team Light could have had a few dozen such conversations back in the early books, the Dark One would have been toast right now, and we'd all be sipping Margaritas in Ilian.
10. Notaposterusually
"come see the violence inherent in the system! come see the violence inherent in the system! 'elp, 'elp! I'm being repressed!!"
Roger Powell
11. forkroot
How much of people’s unnecessary (and obnoxious) bravado has resulted from insecurity, after all?
True dat!

Although it's not a perfect guide, one rule of thumb that I've used to separate "wannabes" from those who have arrived (in whatever sphere of endeavor under consideration) is how they treat others.

In just one example, I've been fortunate to play Contract Bridge at a high level (well .. at least with World-Class players ... we won't mention my level.) Almost invariably, the really good ones (World Champions and the like) are gracious, classy, and patient with those of us who aren't at that level. However, the "wannabes" on the next level down are often rude, sarcastic, defensive, etc.

I've seen similar patterns in other fields to the point where it's become a rule of thumb for judging who has it together and who doesn't.
Margot Virzana
12. LuvURphleb
Bring out your dead!

I agree that Elayne is acting like a child who didnt want a toy but now that someone has it she wants it back even though she wont play with it
Brenda Alexander
13. endertek
OK - I'm now VERY looking forward to Elayne meeting Faile! Can you imagine the imminent smack-down that would be? My bet is on Faile.
Matthew Smith
14. Blocksmith1
Hope the family health situation improves quickly. Re-reads can wait. Some things are more important.
15. Looking Glass
That's quite the pardon, given that Thom's guilty of serial regicide.

On Elayne and Perrin: Manetheren was a whole lot more than just the Two Rivers. If Perrin were serious about bringing it back, Elayne wouldn't be looking at The Two Rivers Independence Initiative, she'd be looking at a full-scale invasion of Andor. By someone who has already claimed the allegiance of the only other monarch ruling former Manetheren territory. After he basically invaded her country.

Yeah, she's got reason to be a bit jumpy.
Marcus W
16. toryx
I hope the family's medical issues are resolved successfully, Leigh.

And Mat’s observation that Elayne’s snottiness has largely receded once she gained actual power rang very true to me, as well.

Personally, this is an area where the writing has changed substantially from books that were written previous to TGS that bugs the crap out of me. It's a perfect example of the Reader being told something rather than simply showed it. It happens a lot in these two novels where something that was previously illustrated by action is confirmed by character thought or word as if the Reader is somehow unable to figure it out for him or herself.

Sanderson does that in all of his writings (those I've read anyway) but it's becoming increasingly common from other writers as well.

I'm also a little dismayed that Mat's being treated as an ignoramous more often, especially in his letter to Elayne (have we seen that yet?) but also in the following passage that Leigh quoted:
“He was mistaken,” Mat said. “Just because a man marries someone doesn’t mean he suddenly becomes bloody nobility.”
Thom and Talmanes exchanged a look.
“Mat,” Thom said. “That’s actually exactly how it works. It’s pretty much one of the only ways to become nobility.”
I know it's supposed to be funny and out of context it is but Mat of all people should know that. He's got the memories of nobility, after all. One of the big differences between Pre-TSR Mat and post is that he isn't really just a simple farmboy anymore and even if he protests it verbally he's aware that he doesn't think like one.

Here he's regressing to Pre-TSR Mat again and it just doesn't work for me.

Those critiques aside, I really do like the way Mat and Elayne's meeting went. She definitely sees him as closer to an equal (which again contradicts the above quote) and their negotiations represent them both very well. I also like the little call out to Perrin as a potential threat to Elayne's sovereignty.

Definitely one of the more satisfying Elayne-centric chapters.
Charles Gaston
17. parrothead
A very good and amusing chapter, but I don't have much to say about it. I've always liked Elayne, and while I'm not the world's biggest Mat fan, I think he comes across well here. I like the genuine friendship he has with Birgitte, and the working relationship he has with Elayne - I'd like to point out that she has been far more generous of her opinion of him than the other way around. While I don't care much for her Two Rivers policy (since I've always liked Perrin and Faile), otherwise I'm in pretty solid agreement; she's just taken one throne, about to take another, and the last thing she wants is several thousand mercenaries armed with superweapons. So glad she won't go do something stupid in a few chapters!...wait...
Marcus W
18. toryx
I forgot to comment on the subject of Mat offering up his medallion for Elayne's study. I remember thinking at the time, "Are you barking mad!"

Because seriously: There's one item in the world so far that Mat knows gives the gholam pause. He knows the gholam's in the city, he knows that he and everyone in Andor is in danger of it...and he's willing to give it up for three days? That's just nuts.

But it sure does accentuate Mat's unconscious bravado.

Edit for typos.
19. Blood_Drunk
With respect to Elayne thinking that she will have to go to war with the Two Rivers to keep them as part of Andor. I agree with Elayne's because all she says is that she will wait to see what Perrin forces her to do. I think that all she is really contemplating is the worst case scenario and what all of her options are. A good leader must plan for all eventualities and if Perrin was still waving the flag of Manetheren, then that could pose a serious threat to all of Andor (it was said that much of western Andor, including the two rivers was part of Manetheren). Elayne must see this a double threat. Not only could the two rivers secede but they could take parts of western Andor and those lucrative gold mines in the mountains of mist that Andor relies on as well. There is also the fact that she is a new queen and while her mother had 15 years to cement her strength, Elayne has considerably less time. Therefore she cannot afford to look weak and allow the two rivers to declare themselves their own country, lest she invite other enemies to test her resolve.

I actually think that the resolution that they come up with later on is really a great negotiation for both sides. But more on that when it comes up.
Rob Munnelly
20. RobMRobM
Lady Leeh - hope all are well at home. I liked this chapter for all sorts of reasons. I especially like the way that Mat is embracing the Loki-like trickster figure he is intended to be at an archetypal level. Thom's why don't you roll in the mud first line is one of the funnier comments in the series (on a par with "Don't go eating the table" in TDR).
Tricia Irish
21. Tektonica
Thanks Leigh...hope the family infirmity works out positively. We can wait.

I've always been an Elayne fan. Yes, she's headstrong and privileged, but she was raised to be in charge. This is her life's work, so I do excuse her much of her arrogance. She is full of compassion for the less fortunate, and is rightly concerned with the protection of, and the well being of her country. Here she proves herself to be a shrewd negotiator (unlike with the Seafolk ;-). I wouldn't want an unaligned army running around with these weapons either, unless I had my own to counter them.

I like the way she deals with Mat as an old and trusted friend, and as an equal. (Which he is, if she only knew!) It's nice to see our heros coming back together again...Mat, Birgitte, Thom, Elayne.

And.....I thought there might be some sort of foreshadowing going on in the beginning in the Mat/Olver exchange, and not just the Snakes and Foxes part.

He is dismayed to learn that Olver has talked about their mission to several Redarms as well as Talmanes, and warns him to be more discreet.

I know Fiddler, and perhaps some others, have theories about Olver being a Dark Friend. And several here have speculated on who the Rat in the pack is. Perhaps, Olver isn't a DF, but blabbed about Mat's mission to some DF Redarm? Or Talmanes? (I hope not)

It doesn't effect Mat's mission, per se, but it does let the planners of the Trolloc raid on Camelyn know when Mat is gone. Thoughts?
William Carter
22. wcarter
Aside from the timeframe issues which I have mentioned before and Leigh mentioned again quite well I have one other problem with Elayne's stance on Perrin and the Two Rivers:
Everyone and their blind cousin can see that the Last Battle is weeks away at best. Does she really think its a good idea to waste soliders (and I'm talking about on both sides of the battle here) trying to take a land that hasn't legitimately been a part of her country in nearly 200 years?

Yeah Elayne lets weaken two forces that should be fighting shadowspawn and dark friends instead of each other.

That's almost as smart as General Custer was when he attacked what he thought was a much smaller force in a village (a force that turned out to be the combined forces of the Lakota, Northern Cheyenne and Arapaho in a quaint little place called Little Big Horn).
Rob Munnelly
23. RobMRobM
Tek - Olver is a mirror of Mat so it is highly unlikely he is a DF (IMO). Mat has loose lips regarding Ghejie, Olver has loose lips, etc.
24. Herb193
@22. This is a big problem I have with Elayne and Egwene (although I otherwise like Egwene much more). We've spent an entire series watching nobles thwart our hero and endanger the entire world. So what do two main characters--who should know the danger better than anyone--do as soon as they get a taste of power? Start endangering the world by acting in their own narrow self interest. Contrast Elayne and Egwene's actions with those of Perrin or Mat, or heck, even Dobraine or Darlin.
Nadine L.
25. travyl
I also really liked the chapter, everything in it, starting with his choice of clothing (and how he later sees reason), their treatment of each other, how the "haggling" goes and Mat's demand for a new servant.

Aside from that, I'd like to discuss this quote:
"I'm not going to bow to you or anything," he warned. "Or bother with that Your Majesty' nonsense."
"I wouldn't expect it," Elayne said. "Unless we're in public, of course. I mean, I have to keep up appearances for the people."
I can't help to compare Elayne here with Egwene, who unlike Elayne demands that Nynaeve and Gawyn treat her as "Mother, Aes Sedai" privately as well as publicly - there must be some insecurity there.
26. Herb194
@25. Elayne is being manipulative, as is her wont.
27. Wotman
I am happy that even though Mat is under a lot of stress with the Gholam, he manages to be carefree with his friends. That is just the way he is, pretty laid back.

I disagree with the suggestion Olver might be a DF, or Talmanes for that matter. There was a lot of training and displays going on with those weapons so, pretty much anyone could have seen them and given a report.
I have a (ominously) bad feeling about Talmanes in this next book, I fear he is not going to make it, I hope I am wrong.
I grate with the queenship of Elayne, although she is prety much all business with her kingdome, butI felt she was pretty thoughtless about the danger Mat was in and still taking the medal, but I guess it set up her big confrontation, so; oh well.

Her fear of Perrin, I feel is overstated, like someone else (Wearter) points out, they are on the verge on the end of the world as they know it, and she is worried about territories Andor hasn't bothered about in ages. It is that power syndrome that lies in everyone, about never giving up anything someone else might want. I don't believe she is aware that Perrin is so anti leader-ish or she might not have been so concerned.

I do give Leigh my best wishes for her family, I've been there done that myself.
28. Faculty Guy
I like this chapter a lot - one of my favorites in the series.

But the "dragons" (i.e., cannons) thing. It's had a long development and is now coming into reality, but isn't it happening MUCH too late to be of any consequence for TG? I mean, at the end of ToM are we not only a DAY or so from the beginning of that battle: Rand is gathering his army, Camelyn is being invaded, and the cannons are only going into production!

I'm just having trouble visualizing how "dragons" are going to be important.

Leigh, hope the family health matters are resolved quickly and everyone is well.
29. MasterAlThor
Best wishes Leigh to you and your family.

Will post more later.

Stefan Mitev
30. Bergmaniac
I've been waiting for this meeting between Elayne and Mat for 9 years, ever since i read the series for the first time, those two have always been my favourite main characters. I was mostly satisfied with how it turned out - plenty of humorous moments and I like that they respect each other now.

I'd have to disagree with Leigh's suggestion that Elayne looks less snotty to Mat now because she feels secure in her power. I'd say it's much more simply because she came to like him and respect him in the last day or two they were together now in Ebou Dar and she was able to see he's a better person than Egwene and Nynaeve kept telling her and he liked to pretend being to annoy Elayne. And Elayne has never cared all that much about the appearance of being in power (to an almost implausible degree given her birth and rank) and has never had a problem treating commoners nicely (like Rand and Min who were nobodies when she met them)

A shame we never got to see mat telling Elayne he married the Seanchan Empress - did this even happen offscreen? I hope not, but then what did he tell about his marriage during the dinner?
31. Looking Glass
Toryx @16: I didn’t think Mat was actually being ignorant there- rather, I read it as him speaking metaphorically, and Thom pointing out that the literal meaning of his words was the opposite of true. But maybe I’m just inclined to give Mat the benefit of the doubt.

But Mat’s basic argument is that just having a title shouldn’t make you entitled. Which is also literally untrue.

WCarter @22: I think Elayne’s actually planning for Andor’s survival beyond the last battle there (as she was with long-term Kin resettlement plans and the like). Which, as you say, amount to planning only a few weeks ahead. The band’s probably much better equipped to survive as a fighting force than most.

Though Elayne does have to be prepared for the possibility that Perrin will take offensive action between now and then. She doesn’t know him from Adam.

Ok, that’s an exaggeration- she knows he’s Rand’s buddy, and may have met him in Tear. But still, when it comes to leaders for rapidly-expanding independent territories in your backyard, the list of Rand’s military commanders is not one you’d want to pick someone off at random.

Actually, Elayne does have two rapidly expanding independent territories in Andor’s backyard, both run by Rand’s chosen subordinates and their private armies. One is Perrin’s. The other is Taim’s.

Yeah, I don’t blame her for wanting to do due diligence.

Bergmaniac @30: On Mat's marriage: I suspect they're saving it up for one continent-wide spit-take at Merillor.
32. Blood_Drunk
@ 15. Looking Glass; I agree, and I like that you pointed out that Perrin has lordship over the Queen of Ghealdan. Elayne may have heard rumors, and thinking of a worst case scenario he could definitely undermine her authority.

@ 16. toryx; Mat has often said that most of the memories that fill his head are of battles. In fact at one point he comments on how much he hates to remember dying (even though it was someone else's death). Also, he is from the Two Rivers, which hasn't seen a lord in many generations. Nor has he ever tried to learn anything about how lordship works. I don't think his ignorance in this regard would be that unbelievable.

@ 21. Tektonica; I don't think the person in charge of the attack on Camlyn would necessarily want Mat to be gone. Remember, the DO wants Rand alive but has wanted Mat and Perrin dead from book one.

@ 22. wcarter; The Last Battle might be nigh but there are always opportunists in war. If those seeking power or land see weakness in Elayne they may challenge her, so I see no reason why Elayne shouldn't be preparing herself for any eventuality. We know that Perrin and Elayne will not seek war if there is another way, however, fortune favors the prepared. Also, we know that there are people testing Elayne and trying to take her power, as we will see when she tries to sit on the Sun Throne later in this book. Furthermore, there are still dark friends out there. I'm sure she doesn't think that the friend of the Dragon is a DF but a good rule rules out no possibilities.

@ 27. Wotman; I too feel safe in saying that neither Olver nor Talmanes is a DF. I also think you are right that I don't think that Talmanes will survive the next book. Here is my reasoning . . . he is talking more. Up until tSR Talmanes wasn't talking all that much and it seems like he has been given more of a personality and more lines before he gets 'off'ed.' Just an opinion. I cringed a bit when Mat agreed to give up his medallion for 3 days. I don't think that Elayne was wrong though, precisely because Mat has the only weapon that can hurt the gholam. It sucks that she put him in danger, but if the gholam didn't feel compelled to go after Mat first and foremost, then that think could wreak an enormous amount of havoc. Good thing team dark is dumb and gutless. Finally, I once again would like to stat that I don't think Elayne is concerned about Perrin because she wants to exert power over the Two Rivers, she really just cant afford to look weak especially after a succession that was very close and heated. Last Battle or no Last Battle, there are power hungry idiots out there that are looking for any weakness to capitalize on.
Rob Munnelly
33. RobMRobM
@31 - that plus it could be a fun scene if Mat shows up in the middle of the Seanchan forces with the full "avert your eyes, subjects, here come da Raven prince" schtick.
Jeremy Vanneman
34. Jeribai
Like most people, I really liked this chapter. It was one of those long-time-coming reunions. I especially liked the subtelty with the whole Cairhien assasination plot with Thom ... and how it wasn't overtly explained to the reader.
Bethany Pratt
35. LiC
I feel like Elayne's not taking the Final Battle seriously. It's like because she "knows" her kids are going to be born, the Light must win. I kind of hope they LOSE so she'll die and the Dark One will be free. I really, really want her to die. Her obsession and unwillingness to deal with Perrin annoy the crap out of me, in particular her reticence to recognize Perrin's achievements at all, and instead wants to put the Two Rivers under her thumb. GAWD, isn't Cairhien + Andor enough for this beee-yotch?
William Carter
36. wcarter
@Blood_Drunk and Looking Glass

I agree that Elayne has every right to prepare for the possibility of war with the Two Rivers, but the way her speech and thoughts read both here and when she meets Perrin make it look like her plan is less "watch my back" and more organizing an all out invasion.

One makes sense, the other wouldn't be a great option even if 'Apocolypse Now' wasn't an apporpriate title for her first public speech as queen.

Think about it, you have a group of people that you know (And Elayne does know because her own mother flat out told her) haven't considered themselves a part of your kingdom in a long time. Why? Because your government has had nothing to do with them in so long they have actually had time to FORGET they were a part of the kingdom.

Would it really be a good idea to bring those people back into the fold--people that until recently were made up entirely of poor dirt farmers by sending in an army to crush them?

No one reacts well to having their homeland invaded or their leader assassinated. For God's sake she even knows that the Two Rivers people are stubborn, even more so than most Andorans. So what in the world makes her expect an act of war could do anything other than ensure the Two Rivers becomes an openly hostile land to her country for a generation or more?
37. Blood_Drunk
@ 28. Faculty Guy; It is not necessarily too late. By the end of the book they have dozens stored in warehouses. Also, just because Rand has collected his armies doesn't mean that TG will start right then. They still have the Seanchan to deal with and the black tower and maybe even Shara. I think there is still time, and we are not even certain how closely the timelines come together.

@ 35. LiC; wow, that was funny, even though I think you meant it. Elayne hasn't heard anything but rumors about a guy that raised his own banner and the banner of Manetheren. She has no reason to think his intentions are good. And if she allows the precedent of letting them leave Andor, then her enemies and even her allies will see weakness. It is only because later on she is able to spin everything as a positive that she can allow this to happen. If you are the monarch of a nation and do not plan for the worst case scenario then your reign will be short lived. I don't see why so many people have a problem with Elayne planning for every contingency. That is what a leader does; they hope for the best but they plan for the worst. She didn't say that she will attack Perrin or bring him to call, she said that she will wait and see what he forces her to do. Knowing that Perrin is a reasonable guy, we assume that he will treat her to tea and crumpets . . . and talk. She does not have the luxury of being reactive to someone that has an army, the love of his people, a foreign crown and a Beralain to do with as he pleases.
38. ChocolateRob
Bad news Leigh, the entry I put in the TVtropes/WOT/characters/Aiel on the Maiden Leeh has been removed as was inevitable but it does live on in the page history. I'm surprised I got away with it for nearly two weeks.
Here's a copy though. -

Maiden of the spear entrusted with keeping an eye on two Darkfriends.
* ActionGirl:
* AmazonBrigade:
* BerserkButton: Spanking.
* BladeOnAStick: Bangs spear on things.
* TheGlomp: Cuddles shoutout "whoo"
* HappyDance "I’m a Maiden, yes I am! Whoo!"
* Headdesk: Often
* QuizzicalTilt: "Hmmm"
* Shoutout:
Stefan Mitev
39. Bergmaniac
Not sure where the idea comes from that Elayne planned to invade the Two Rivers or assassinate Perrin. Where do you see evidence for this? She was considering defensive actions against Perrin's implied claim for half of her realm (which the Manetheren flag symbolised for most people) and his army entering Andor, that was it. And her first preference was clearly negotiations and a deal.

Travyl@25 -"I can't help to compare Elayne here with Egwene, who unlike Elayne demands that Nynaeve and Gawyn treat her as "Mother, Aes Sedai" privately as well as publicly - there must be some insecurity there. "
I think it mostly shows a difference in experience . Elayne has been raised to be a Queen and was always a public figure, for her switching between her public persona and the private one is completely natural and almost effortless by now, she doesn't even have to think about it most of the time. She knows how much familiarity she can allow the likes of Birgitte in public without raising eyebrows too much. Egwene is still struggling to learn how to do this, and the fact that the White Tower places much higher importance on ceremonies and propriety than the royal court of Andor doesn't help matters for her.
William Carter
40. wcarter
I'll have to recheck my book later, (I have been wrong before) but I seem to recall her opening question to Perrin being something along the lines of why she shouldn't have him beheaded.

Between that and her conversation with Mat implying she was at least considering using the band as shock troops against the implies she is considering taking the Two Rivers by force and soon.

As diplomatic negotiations go, that's less staving hostilities and more "I will crush you."

Again I could be wrong as it has been a few months since I read the book, I'll check when I get home. Heaven forbid I own Elayne an apology.
William Fettes
41. Wolfmage
Mat's memories aren't just battles. He knows the old tongue with a composite of different accents and idioms. He remembers the court customs of various nations during the period around the War of the Hundred Years. He understands Birgitte's pithy cultural references to disapproving Tovan counsellors and other things that aren’t battle related. He remembers dances and music of the era. He remembers interactions and ranks of Sea Folk dignitaries. He remembers reading Comadrin’s Fog and Steel after being defeated by him in a battle. He is actually well acquainted with many things from his memories aside from battle - they're just jumbled up together.

In terms of the alleged Mat regression, I'm somewhat torn. I do agree with toryx that Brandon's attempts at comedy sometimes infantilise Mat (though this is a million times better than the scenes in tGS), and there is definitely too much "telling" at times. But I am also mindful that in KoD Mat was oblivious to being the Prince of the Ravens and had compartmentalised and contorted things so he did not acknowledge it. So it's not entirely out of character for him to be using convoluted reasoning on this particular issue.
Marcus W
42. toryx
Blood_Drunk @ 32: I recognize your point but Mat has a lot of other memories as well that have nothing to do with battle. After all, one memory concerns dancing with a beautiful member of the Atha'an Miere; he knows more about them and their culture than even Elayne does, as seen when he took part in the negotiations in Ebou Dar (helping Elayne and Nynaeve at the same time).

And don't forget that his memories include many from Manetheren, who were nobles as well as generals.

Wolfmage @ 41: The thing with Mat and the Seanchan is totally different than every thing else. The Seanchan are absolutely foreign to everyone in Randland; even Elayne doesn't understand them. Nothing in Mat's memories can prepare him for it. He has no reference point for what the Daughter of the Nine Moons is (or what the Nine Moons means) and naturally Prince of Ravens means nothing to him as well. There is no Randland equivalent.
Sydo Zandstra
43. Fiddler

My (Looney) theory about Olver being a DF is mainly based on a gut feeling I got a few chapters ago when reading too many facts phrased in two chapters in a row where the gholam knew where to find Mat in the Tarasin Palace (and found a bound Tylin), the gholam listing a number of people he'd would kill until Mat showed up (which included Tuon, but NOT Olver), and Olver being accidentally away from Mat's tent when the gholam was in there.

Part of it too is that BS is not as skilled at hiding DF's in plain sight as RJ was. (Remember all the Verin and Sheriam debates from the past?)

I could sum up another few things that RJ put up there. A little boy wanting to kill an Aiel (Aviendha) with a knife because his parents were killed by Aiel? Bad basic attitude for somebody not in Team Light. I can understand the thought of wanting, but how many small kids do you see running at people with a knife to want to kill? Bad intentions, DO likes...

Olver disappearing in Ebou Dar just when the shit hits the fan forcing Mat to stay around? Could be a plot device. Could also be to try and keeping him around in Suroth/Semirhage's influence (but if so, ordered by another Forsaken; this is a stretch though).

Anyway, I'm not going to debate, since I'm not on daily in here. Just trying to point out to keep an open mind. We'll know in a few months. :)

I might as well address it here: a few weeks ago we talked about the Dragons that were in Caemlyn when the Trollocs hit. I finished the book a short while ago, and actually Talmanes' main reason to go into Caemlyn and fight was to preserve those dragons that were in there :)

(To get back on Olver in this chapter, yes he opened the letter. When it was all too late to help Caemlyn's people in any case)

Lastly, I loved this chapter, but my main peeve with it is that Elaine gives Thom a pardon for crimes committed in Cairhien, while she has no legal position yet to do so. And this regicide was one with heavy complications coming from it...

As for how Elayne (maybe) knew about Thom's regicidal actions, she probably heard it from Rand during pillow talk...
Jeff Schweer
44. JeffS.
Just a few thoughts on todays reading.
First Mat:
He isn't the Queen but he is the Prince of De-Nile. Let's face it, everything Mat has been doing including wearing his torn up coats and spelling atrociously is an internal rebellion against what he finds himself becoming. He tries to rationalize away everything that people say to him and digs in his heels when he feels his accustomed role slipping away. It explains a lot, at least to me.

In this chapter, he has his most honest conversation with himself as he's talking with Guybon. He doesn't really realize it, but he slips into a role as equal to Elayne during the negotiations. The prior, "I'm not going to bow or anything" is a nice prelude to the discussion.

Can any one of us say that we have never lied to ourselves and put together elaborate concoctions so we don't have to accept the truth about ourselves or our situation? Any one?
Than why are we so surprised when Mat does it?

I'm not going to get into the 'Elayne did this wrong/right, is a pain/knows what she's doing, thing. By this time all of our opinions are pretty much set in stone on what we think of the various characters. Of course the only character I have sustained a complete dislike for is Elaida, all the way back in the first book when we met her. Everyone else, pretty much act like people do given their situations at the time.

Jeff S.
I am only an egg
45. Blood_Drunk
@ 36. wcarter; I agree that what she is contemplating is a bit overkill. For years I have also been working on this great speech in my head on how Perrin was going to convince her that he was no threat to Andor. Before ToM came out I imagined it going something like this . . .

In the throne room with her newly sworn nobles to either side, Elayne waited to receive Perrin's informal audience.

Perrin bowed, "I have come here today to assure you that I pose no threat to Andor. Manetheren is dead and its flag will not be raised by me again. And though I didn't not seek it, my people have raised me as their lord. I ask that you confirm the title of High Lord of the Two Rivers on me."
Elayne raised an eyebrow, but it was Lir Baryn that sputtered and in another effort to show his newfound support of Elayne, he retorted, "You dare come before the Lion Throne and make demands? The Two Rivers is nothing but back-woods farmers and sheppards, you pose no threat to Andor. You have no right to claim the title of lord far less to put yourself amongst our rank. You can't just claim lordship over a group of pitchfork wielding commoners and call yourself . . . "
Perrin's cut in with a low guttural noise and snapped back at him, "No right!?! Where was Andor's support when the Whitecloaks invaded our homes and held prisoner any they named darkfriend? Where were Andor's soldiers when trollocs ran free across our farms killing and burning everything in their wake? Where were Andor's armies when ten thousand trollocs surrounded Emonds field? When all seemed lost; when trollocs fell by the hundreds and thousands yet still showed no sign of slowing. When even our women came to our aid to bolster our lines and still the trollocs pressed and advanced. In our darkest hour, who rode into battle, who came to our aide? It was not the Lion that fell on the flanks of our enemies, but our neighbors to the north and south, farmers and sheppards, that marched to our aide. I will be doomed to the pit before I let some pompous lord question the honor of the men and women that fell defending their families and friends from the armies of the Dark One. No Right? What right do you have to call our homes part of your land?"
Elayne stood, "Enough, both of you. We have all made mistakes in the past, but we are here to discuss our future. Perrin, you have done a great service to Andor. Though all you may have intended was to defend your home, Andor none the less owes you a great debt. However, you raised your own banner, how can I trust that you will not raise the flag of Manetheren again?"
Perrin's anger had cooled so he was able to formulate his answer carefully, "I gave up the banner of Manetheren and on my honor vowed never to take it up again in an agreement to defeat the Shaido that had settled in a city called Malden." he had chosen to leave out the details, as he did not know how an agreement with the Seanchan would be received.
Elayne could tell that there was more to this story, but rather than forcing the issue, she decided that she could get more information from him in private. "And what do you offer to prove your loyalty to the crown?"
Perrin motioned one of the two rivers men forward with a trunk. It was full of gold from the mines that the Domani had found on their trek to safety through the mountains of mist. "Taxes," Perrin stated simply.
Elayne looked at the gold, the two rivers had not seen a tax collector in many generations, Perrin could be her way of bringing them back into the fold, but chose to measure her response, "While some lords believe that the common people only exist to serve them, it is in fact we that only exist to serve the common people. I think many have forgotten that," some of the nobles around her shifted nervously. "A lords duties are many, one of which is support to the crown. What is the size of the force you command?"
Perrin tallied it up in his head, "I have 5,000 long bowman with me though I could call as many as 4000 more. At least 3000 of the refugees that found a home in the two rivers are handy with a weapon. With the people we rescued from Malden, I'd say there are another 30,000 and if you count the whitecloaks sworn to me, that's another 7000. Of course Ghealdan and Mayene will fight under my banner in the last battle, but if we don't include those, I'd say it is roughly 50,000.
Elanye's mouth nearly dropped open and she could tell that the other high lords were not nearly as composed. Houses Pendar, Norwelyn, Renshar, Coelan, Carand, and Traemanene together had mustered a force of 60,000 but they had stripped their lands of every able bodied man. Abara nearly equaled that without even counting on support from Ghealdean or Mayene. It seemed her decision today would be easy, by granting Abara title over the two rivers she would gain a powerful ally.

With my little story here we have learned 2 things. One, I am not a writer. And two that I am not very good at predicting what happens in these books, because none of these things actually happened. This was what I imagined would happen after KoD, though I have to say that I actually liked the resolution that actually occurred even better. Anyway, I wasted all that time writing that story because I was in the same boat of wanting Perrin to kick some butt and have Elayne realize that she is far better off having Perrin as an ally than as an enemy. That said, Elayne has far more to lose by looking weak than by losing territory that Andor has claim to in name only.
46. Freelancer
Looking Glass has it right. From the information available, Elayne sees the flag of Manetheren raised, campaigning about, armed and willing to fight. Without knowing more, all of western Andor is at risk of being usurped by one of Rand's childhood friends. At a time when her rule is still barely solidified from the capital, and she intends to declare for the throne of Cairhien, having her realm clipped at from an upstart is purely unacceptable, and must be answered.

This isn't being childish. It is the only valid response which can be expected from a benevolent ruler. Leigh, there is nothing specifically "imperialistic" in Elayne's decision-making. Whether Andor could be considered an empire from a historical standpoint (and I doubt it), her intentions here are not to add to the realm, but to retain and maintain the status quo. You might as well call Israel imperialist for wanting to not lose any more ground than they already have. Completely invalid.

I agree with Jeff S., the vast majority of responses to situations with which so many readers take exception in the case of whichever character(s) they don't care for, are actually extremely common human responses, and utterly in keeping with rational behavior for those characters given the circumstances, and the information available at the time. Elayne and Gawyn take the brunt of this treatment, though Perrin, Faile, and Rand each get a share. At the same time, Mat and Nynaeve, arguably the two least rationally grounded main characters at the outset of the story, seem to get a pass in this regard more often than anyone else, just out of popularity. I chalk this up to low expectations. The first impressions offered of each in TEotW are mostly negative, with Mat the inconsiderate troublemaker, and Nynaeve the overbearing, know-it-all busybody. They don't help themselves out of those negative impressions for some time, what with Mat harassing Whitecloaks in Baerlon, keeping the Shadar Logoth dagger, and assorted other misdeeds, and Nynaeve grumping that she will learn saidar just to retaliate against Moiraine for ... what, exactly? Saving her home from repeated shadowspawn attacks, which she finally and grudgingly admits after the Shadar Logoth affair?

Anyway, the point is that those two very popular and later awesome characters get away with "being themselves" with all manner of justification from many readers, while every thought and deed of Elayne, Gawyn or Egwene seems to be picked to pieces as thoughtless and stupid when they are no moreso than the others.
Tricia Irish
47. Tektonica

I like your story too! And I do think you could do some writing! Thanks for sharing your internal dialogue!
Karan J
48. karanj
Blood_Drunk @ 45 and others hit on what I thought was behind Elayne's attitude towards Perrin - the matter boils down to two things, Manetheren and Baerlon.

For Manetheren, the issue is the symbol, which obviously Elayne takes as a threat. Given the symbolism was perceived as a threat in Ghealdean, and now Perrin has Alliandre as a vassal, he could easily threaten greater parts of Andor, and Elayne has no desire to see her presumptive reach threatened, even if it hasn't been enforced in generations.

This leads into the question of Baerlon. Being as close as it is to the Two Rivers, it would be easy to see it falling under Perrin's sway - now where you had a primarily agricultural region, you've got the mines around Baerlon providing ore, and probably silver & gold. If Perrin was to extend his control further east, it's not far from there to Whitebridge - which gives access to the river, and the fast trade routes that enables. New Manetheren then has everything it needs to be a separate entity altogether.

Her mother may have only been able to send guards to Whitebridge on any regular basis, but it's quite another to suddenly see a source of income and materials (Baerlon) and access to trade (Whitebridge) potentially threatened.

Of course, Elayne has no idea that Perrin detests his title or position, so the fog of war makes it easy to perceive it differently.
William Fettes
49. Wolfmage
Whilst it’s certainly likely that some people downplay flaws in characters they like and fixate on flaws in characters they dislike, or vice versa for virtues, I don’t think we should assume that’s the main explanation for differing levels of scrutiny and intensity of feeling about different characters.

Reconciling between thoughts, deeds and opinions of characters involves a multidirectional interplay of pushes, pulls, and reinforcement, and our initial judgements don’t come from nowhere. It is almost never the case that someone forms an opinion based on “pure personality” and then applies a filter to any morally relevant information according to a pre-determined bias about the personality. More likely, they’ve incorporated a mixture of personality and morally relevant information into their view of the character from the outset. That picture might become sticky in the face of new information, but very few people are going to cling to a set picture in the face of repeated information that doesn't fit.

Also, to say that all characters react humanly isn’t to say that they are equally creditable, flawed or likeable. Not liking someone based on their reasoning, decisions, or actions isn’t to say they are unrecognisable or alien. Meta criticism of character realism does happen, but that’s a separate discussion. To me, you can freely like or dislike any character (or be ambivalent or whatever) without impugning literary realism. As long as you’re internally consistent in applying your values and reasoning to like-situations, and you make a decent effort at stepping into the character’s shoes and understanding where they are coming from, I say criticise away. People will form different opinions on these matters in good faith without it being about bias. Only the people who can't express any qualification to their opinions are likely to be making jaundiced judgements.

Mat is a good case to consider. Few people would dispute he was pretty awful prior to tDR. I’ve seen some allowance made for his regression to baser characteristics whilst under the influence of Mordeth’s taint which seems obviously reasonable. I’ve seen some reflected toleration of his puerile and selfish behaviour in lieu of the future development of his character and the path of plot necessity he treads to get there which I think is unavoidable for anyone who re-reads these books in sequence. But tolerating something bad isn’t the same thing as mitigating it or explaining it away. Compared to the other SBs, he was unquestionably a cad and a callow person.

But over time we got a new picture of him that was much more likeable and laudible. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t still have flaws, however. But people are going to differ about where those flaws sit on the scale of harmless peccadillos to major wrongdoing. Some people, for example, might find Mat’s womanising deeply morally problematic, whereas others won’t. That’s not an inconsistency, it’s a value judgement. Some might find Mat’s bellyaching about women objectionable, whilst others might believe that his thoughts are entirely on the surface (and not actioned to any harmful consequence) and that his real actions speak louder than words in that regard. I don’t think we can assume a necessary contradiction if that same person turns around and finds something unsettling about a different character's complaints – simply because they are both instances of scrutinising thoughts or dialogue.

There are many possible reasonable explanations for divergent opinions in the scenario outlined above. Perhaps they judge that this other character to be more straightforward and considered in all their thoughts and utterances, and therefore, they feel freer to judge literal expression more closely and seriously than for someone, like Mat, who obviously has some surface glibness that does not match his true inner disposition.

Nynaeve is very similar in a way to Mat in that her character offers us countless examples of the radical difference between her outward bluster and her inner self. So I won't restate the argument for her.

Of course, that will only take you so far - and I don't support such a liberal approach to a "charitable true spirit" that discounts everything that a character says. But that was the gist of it to make the point.

Mat is also interesting because some of his vices are simultaneously necessary to his virtues. That is, very arguably he could not be the general he is without his appetite for risk and rakish personality. It is precisely because he is a risk-taker who has an affinity for gambling and chance that he is so well placed to leverage his memories to win in battle. I personally don't think you can reimagine Mat as a straight-laced morally prudent man without destroying his abilities as a commander. Food for thought anyway.
Jim Millen
50. jim.millen
@ 46 Freelancer: A touchy topic I know but wow, of all the countries you could have mentioned, you chose Israel? Really? Less of a parallel to Andor I can barely imagine.

I would say apart from the little fact of it not being an island nation, Andor is most similar to the UK - and as has already been pointed out, the Two Rivers would be in Wales or Scotland. Or maybe Cornwall, for a little variety!
Terry McNamee
51. macster
I hope things go well for you and your family, Leigh. A lack of coverage is completely understandable.

Loved this chapter. Mat was hilariously in-character while Elayne was quite likable. We finally get a meeting we've been waiting for since they parted ways in Ebou Dar, and thanks to her having her opinion of him changed in their last days together and the character growth she's gone through since, Elayne pretty much treats him with the respect he deserves. I loved her little coy way of getting him to agree to bow to her in public ("one must keep up appearances", indeed!)--yes it's manipulation but it's funny manipulation, and it shows she does understand Mat's glib, rakish ways and knows how to work around them. At the same time he's shown to be clever, insightful, and even sophisticated at times here, and their negotiations are rational and realistic. Seeing him reunite with Birgitte was also awesome, as was Thom's reunion with Elayne.

I myself am puzzled how Elayne knew of Thom killing Galldrian...I can only conclude that either the innkeeper gossiped about Galldrian's men having killed Dena, or that some noble or other saw Thom in the Sun Palace while he was there to kill the king, and that's how the rumors spread. Either way, Elayne could then have heard about it either from Guybon when he came from Aringill, or from the nobles in both Andor and Cairhien when she was sussing out her chances at the Sun Throne. (The Andorans would have known because of the same rumors reaching Caemlyn after various nobles fled Cairhien.)

Speaking of Guybon, while this scene was yet another example of an outside character seeing a main character's awesomeness (and while it being within said main character's POV), I have to say I am puzzled by the rumor he heard about Mat stepping in death's domain and getting answers and his spear and the foretelling of his death. As Mat himself thought, that's far too close to the truth...and Mat has told no one of what happened in Finnland; Rand has guessed some of it but doesn't know all, and he certainly didn't tell anyone anyway. Mat confessed it to Noal, Thom, and Olver after the reading of Moiraine's letter, but none of them would have told except Olver, and even if he told other Redarms, how could they have told anyone for the rumors to reach Caemlyn?

This bit of info made me suspicious of Guybon for some time. The fact he wasn't on-screen prior to KOD made me wonder if he might be Demandred in disguise--if I recall correctly we were told by Jordan that Demandred's alter ego had not been seen on-screen as of COT; I can't recall if Sanderson extended that to TGS or ToM but I keep thinking he did leave one of those two open for him to have appeared in. It does seem suspicious this handsome, likable, seemingly loyal man who is also a damn good soldier appears out of nowhere to help Elayne, particularly when he contrasts so much with Obviously Evil Mellar. The fact he was in Aringill, where the Andoran nobles were being held by Dyelin, is suspicious; even assuming Dyelin isn't a Darkfriend, couldn't he have ensured their escape by being conveniently inattentive/distracted? Then there's how his rescue of Elayne is much more believable and genuine than the staged one for Mellar; the irony of Elayne thinking he'd make a good Warder; and the fact that Demandred had been seen in the TAR version of the Royal Palace--while proximity doesn't matter much, if his alter ego were in Aringill that would certainly put him close enough to explain it.

And that might also explain Caemlyn falling so easily to the Shadowspawn just as much as Dyelin being a Darkfriend, and how he knows these details about Mat--assuming that Moridin found out from the Finn what they gave Mat while he was there fetching Lanfear, and he passed this on to Demandred. That seems an odd thing to do, though, and we have no definitive proof Moridin was the one whom Moiraine saw, nor that the Finn would tell him anything about Mat, nor why Demandred would test Mat this way. But otherwise, Guybon knowing this about Mat, and such rumors existing, is a puzzlement.

Oh, and I loved the bit where Elayne wanted to kiss Mat, and Birgitte wryly referenced her saying the same about Norry and that Rand might get jealous! :D

@22 wcarter: I agree with Longtimefan and Looking Glass. Indeed we've never actually been told that Perrin and Elayne even met, we certainly never saw it happen on-screen. The only indication we have that they know each other is Perrin recognizing her hair in his wolfdream vision in TSR when she's bowing to Amyrlin Egwene (and various references he later makes about her while in Ghealdan, especially in this book as lead-ups to their meeting), and her speaking to Nynaeve about him when they're getting ready to depart Tear for Tanchico. Between that, her being busy canoodling with Rand, and Perrin always being busy with Faile, I imagine they barely spoke at all, they may not even have been introduced, just been told of each other or seen each other at noble fuctions. She certainly doesn't know him well at all. Add in the fears of Manetheren rising again, the power given him by both Faile and Alliandre (and at this point she doesn't even know Faile's connection to Bashere and Tenobia!), and you can see why she'd be concerned. Not only would she want to make sure Andor would survive the Last Battle and have a strong future, she has no way of knowing if the Two Rivers might cause a rebellion/civil war under Perrin or Faile's initiative, which if that had happened would have caused the very "Lightsiders fighting each other aids the Shadow" scenario you describe. So Elayne is actually trying to prevent that.

@27 Wotman: Agreed on Talmanes; if Min's vision of the dead men surrounded by Trollocs and the pipe is connected to him, that definitely suggests an ominous fate. But, someboy has to die in the last book...

@28 Faculty Guy: I suspect this is more of Jordan planning ahead for what happens atfer the series ends. Remember, "the great battle done but the world not done with battle". Also, we know the world will be changing even if the One Power doesn't disappear (yet) thanks to all the innovations like the things at Rand's school, so this is also Jordan giving us a hint for what is to come even though we likely won't get to see it. Then again who knows, maybe somehow the production on them went faster than we thought; they did have prototypes to test later, so...

@30 Bergmaniac: I'd love to have seen that myself. If it doesn't get revealed until Merrilor that does make one wonder what was discussed at the dinner...

@38 ChocolateRob: LOL!

@40 wcarter: Yes, she said that, but first off, I was under the impression she didn't actually mean it but was instead using hyperbole or dramatic effect. Also note she said "tell me why I shouldn't have you beheaded", not that she would do it; "should" because he seems to be starting a rebellion against Andor, possibly even taking Baerlon and the iron mines away, but not that she intended to go through with it. Mentioning the possibility would act as a way to let him know how serious the situation was, not a sign she really was going to do it. Based on her saying here "it depends what he does and forces me to do", it seems more like she would only do that as a last resort, if he really was intending to invade Andor or break free and thus undermine her power and credibility as a ruler. Her conversation with Mat is again merely preparing for the worst; she said she "might" have to order the Band to attack the Two Rivers, that again being contingent on what Perrin said and did.

@41 Wolfmage: You're right, that does suggest Mat would know how one becomes a noble. But that doesn't mean Sanderson goofed in making him look like a country bumpkin. The simple answer is: Mat knows good and well that he is one, but because of his long-standing issues with nobles he is in major denial. So he fruitlessly hopes that if he keeps Thom and Talmanes from making their arguments, or claims that customs are different in Seanchan, he can stave off the inevitable en-lordening a little longer. You may not find this funny, but it seems pretty clear to me that is what Mat's doing--it isn't "dur I don't know how you become a noble" it's "blood and bloody ashes now I'm a noble, the last thing I ever wanted to be! Maybe if I pretend it didn't happen no one will notice..." JeffS covers this well, too.

@43 Fiddler: You have some good points, but I would note that nothing in Olver's POV in the epilogue suggests he was a Darkfriend. Yes he still wants vengeance on the Shaido but that proves nothing, and the fact he is so loyal to Mat, and is planning for the future and being with him after the Last Battle, seems rather odd for a Shadow agent. Also, he wins the game of Snakes and Foxes as a parallel to Mat escaping the Tower of Ghenjei; it would be rather odd for the Pattern to make that happen if Olver was a Darkfriend. Finally, if he were a Darkfriend why would he consider the letter so important as to make Talmanes read it, or care that there were Trollocs in Caemlyn and it would be like the Shaido in Cairhien?

The gholam could easily have found Tylin on its own, especially if it had seen or heard of him being connected with her; not listing Olver as a victim could be because it (or Moridin) doesn't see a child as important; and being away from the tent could simply be ta'veren or the Pattern at work. I still suspect random Redarm Darkfriends being responsible, or simple gossip after Olver blabbed.

@45 Blood_Drunk: That may not be well-polished but it's still a very nice speech. I especially love how you had Perrin stand up to Lir.
Valentin M
52. ValMar
A refreshing chapter.
I agree with the opinions that Elayne's attitude towards Mat is due to genuine gladness of seeing him and also the Band. She likes him and wants the Band to serve Andor. She always appeared comfortable in her royal skin so in her specific case it wasn't insecurity that made her act badly towards Mat. It was fans' favourite Nyneave.

Being concerned towards "Manetheren" is also understandable. And in practice such concern doesn't mean hot chocolate and hugs. It will involve, among other things, sabre rattling and axe sharpening. Elayne will have to talk the talk and be prepared to walk the walk, if it comes to it.
The comparison between Andor/TR and Israel is a bit odd, to put it mildly. If one wants to go down this road, modern examples, which at least vaguely resemble the Andor/TR situation and are controversial, are many:
China/Tibet; Russia/Chechnia; Serbia/Kosovo; Yougoslavia(Serbia)/Bosnia-Croatia; Sudan/Darfur; Mali/Northern Mali; Georgia/S.Ossetia; Azerbaijan/N Karabakh; Turkey/Kurds in the east; Iraq/Kurds in the north...

The cannons (dragons feels a bit silly to call them still) feel to me a bit late too, for TG. But I'll wait to see how it pans out in AMOL before making any judgements on it.
53. Giacomo
On similarities to Odin: Lets not forget about Odin's two ravens - Thought and Memory - go along with the ravens and inscription on Mat's spear.
54. Looking Glass
Elayne definitely is building an empire- if nothing else, her taking the throne of Cairhien will create a bigger power bloc than anything seen between Hawkwing's time and Rand's, though not the biggest in the present day.

That said, the Two Rivers is the only place she’s actually considered invading despite the will of the populace. Based on the limited information she has, there are several possible reasons for the difference in her attitude (all of which may apply).

First, from what she knows, there’s a legitimate concern that the Two Rivers (as Manetheren reborn, or just as the power base of a local warlord) might threaten parts of Andor that, er, actually are parts of Andor.

Second, there’s the possibility that the local populace isn’t really willingly following Perrin (any more than, say, the territory Taim conquered during his false-dragon career wanted to be under him). In that situation she’d have a reasonable case to claim (indeed, she'd have an obligation to protect) her citizens. If Rand is her TR baseline, he was surprised but not unhappy to be Andoran. Elayne also seems to lack information about just how badly the Andoran crown failed to protect the Two Rivers before, and the fact that Perrin met that obligation himself when the crown failed.

Third, she may actually be interested in what the lines on the map say over, or at least in addition to, the reality on the ground.

While I don’t know that the third factor is completely absent from her consideration (or even that it should be completely absent in a responsible ruler), based on what we’ve seen of Elayne and her motivation everywhere else I’m inclined to think that the first two factors would be much more important to her.

Macster @51: I don’t actually think she does know about Galldrian (not impossible, but not likely). It’s more likely that she found out about that other royal personage Thom knocked off (Taringail). As well as the other sorts of things Thom did that might annoy the crown. I was just amused that, intentionally or no, her pardon happened to cover not one but two royal assassinations.

About Mat’s stories: He’s dropped a lot of half-truths and semi-informative evasions about his story and his scar and all the other wierdness around him. Rumor’s naturally going to run wild on anyone in his situation; add in the fact that “chance” alterations and combinations of stories will act the way chance does around Mat, and suddenly it’s not at all surprising that some very pointed stories have come home to roost.

Country Correlations: I think Andor/TR gets a fair bit out of historical England/Wales, as Andor/Cairhien similarly draws on England/France.
55. Faculty Guy
More Country Correlations: And does Tear seem faintly Germanic? And is Ilian a little Italian (or at least Venetian)? What about Ebou Dar and Spain? And surely this has been discussed somewhere before. Or am I the only one?

And is Sheinar Scotland? Others?
john mullen
56. johntheirishmongol
I really enjoyed this chapter. Mat and Elayne had already pretty much gotten past any issues they had. The haggling is really funny, and they are friends enough to work it out without spending too much time.
57. pwl
And does Tear seem faintly Germanic?
And is Ilian a little Italian (or at least Venetian)?
And is Sheinar Scotland?

You might find this interesting:

Roger Powell
58. forkroot
I believe Charlz Guybon is based on a real-life person (ala "Leeh" and "Lannis".) I don't think RJ would make him a Darkfriend.

Furthermore, I doubt a DF would march willingly into the line of Asne's balefire. Guybon would have bought it then and there if Birgitte hadn't convinced the Sea Folk Windfinders to stop Asne.

Guybon is what he is: A minor character with a bit of "awesome sauce".
William Carter
61. wcarter
Reread some of the relevant chapters last night?...this morning...? Whenever I finanally got home from my job of reporting on the Primary election results.

Anywho I'll amend some of my previous statements. Elayne does come off very harsh, and I still think her attitude towards Perrin and willingness to try to send in Mat against his own people is over the top.

But at least some of my critisims stimmed from something I forgot--No one freaking talkes to each other in this damned series! I mean it's something that I've realised and RJ himself pointed out as a major point of conflict both in his books, and real life.

But it's easy to forget how pandemic the problem in until it smacks you in the face for the umpteenth time with charcters who should be friends draw the worst possible conclusions about each others' actions/motivations.
Rob Munnelly
62. RobMRobM
I doubt Elayne knows of Thom's regicide in Carhien. Only one of Superboys/girls who might know is Mat (from Thom's hints during the TDR bar scene, and I doubt Mat had the knowledge to figure that out.) I don't recall any way Rand could have known. I think Elayne is thinking of Tarengill and covering bases now that she is expanding her territory into Carhien so that Thom can feel safe there whatever Thom has done in his past.
Stefan Mitev
63. Bergmaniac
I really doubt Elayne knows about Thom's assassination of Taringail. He was her father after all, learning such an important thing should've been shown in her PoV.
Alice Arneson
64. Wetlandernw
Re: Charlz Guybon:
...I already put up naming rights in an auction for a British organization that works with victims of torture. The woman who won asked that a character be named after her husband. Thus, after some checking back and forth, Charles Guybon Hudson became Charlz Guybon in Knife of Dreams.
(From RJ's blog, July 14, 2006)
William Carter
65. wcarter
I've always thought her pardon had little or nothing to do with regicide(s) that he covered up so well there may not be anyone who more than half-suspects he might have been involved and more to do with the harsh words between himself and Morgase/Elaida after the incident with his nephew Owen. You know--the one that got him leaving Caemlyn half a step ahead of the headsman in the first place.
Roger Powell
66. forkroot
Thanks for the reference! Given that, I am now 100% sure that RJ would not make Charlz a DF.

Something fun today - I actually read a piece of WoT canon that I had never read before. I was aware of the "Earlier-Ravens" prequel chapter to TEoTW, and seen the comic book summary, but I'd actually never read the text until now.

I had to google to find the text on line, since I don't have the split version of TEotW.

It's told from 9-year old Egwene's POV. Even then we see her inner determination (she wanted to be the "best water carrier ever".) There's also foreshadowing of Nyn's channeling ability, Tam's involvement in the Aiel war, and some other goodies.

So the question is: Would the original TEoTW have been better if it started with "Earlier-Ravens" ? I think the answer is "no".

Part of the attraction of WoT is teasing out the false information from the real stuff. (That's why I don't recommend that first-time readers start with New Spring.) This little prequel is a nice early look at some of the main characters, but it's primarily a vehicle for Tam's all-too-accurate infodump on what went on at the end of the AoL.

I think RJ got it right the first time, and "Earlier-Ravens" should, like other prequels, be enjoyed as a fun excursion once you are up to speed in the main series.
Charles Gaston
67. parrothead
pwl @ 57:
The accent of Illian is Dutch, but in many other ways it is indeed Venetian: canals, King and Council of 9 = Doge and Senate, Square of Tammuz = Piazza San Marco, the swampy environs to the north, rivalry with Tear possibly reflecting the economic and political quarrels between Spain and the Italian states, etc. People's names are Greek, and the name "Illian" itself comes from Illium, the Latin name of Troy.

The one nation I've never been able to figure out is Ghealdan. Any ideas?
68. Blood_Drunk
Thank you for your benevolent reviews of my story, I didn't want to spend too much time polishing, and like I said, I'm not really a writer. That doesn't stop me from commenting though!
69. Gambit
Personally, I dislike how Elayne acts towards Mat in this chapter because I feel like she's disrespecting him when she's all like "Cannons? Great idea Mat, now how about I keep them all for myself and put you in a position so that I can order you around and treat you like an inferior even more than I already do?". Plus I did a big eye-roll when she discussed Perrin, because any competition between a Ta'veren main character and anybody else will inevitably end up with complete defeat on the other character's side. Seriously, her cavalier assumptions that she could take Perrin if she wanted to are completely irritating.

Now that I'm done preaching *kicks soapbox into a corner*, I really enjoyed yet another subtle nod that Thom is such a badass that he assassinated the king of Cairhien in TGH and still almost nobody knows about it. I'm interested in seeing other character's reactions when (if) this ever becomes common knowledge. Apparently Elayne MAY know (from the letter of pardon) but still I doubt Mat does, and he and Thom have traveled together alot. How did Elayne find out anyhow?
Chris Chriserson
70. Captchas_are_annoying
Freelancer@46: Eh, Andor = Israel? That's a very odd parallel to draw. Genuinely makes me wonder what history books you've been reading.

jim@50 and others: Personally, I'd say the Two Rivers is more of an Ireland than a Wales in the Andor=Britain analogy. Based largely on it having (mostly) seceded from the United Kingdom, and it's economic status relative to its powerfull neighbour. I see more parallels there than with Wales. But there are many similar analogies you could draw, its hard to argue one is more correct than the other.

parrothead@67: Amsterdam is also famous for it's canals, was ruled by a council of regents, and was surrounded by low lying swampy land (although most of the swamps were reclaimed as polders), and if we're going with Tear as Spain (as pwl@57 and yourself have suggested) then the rivalry still makes sense. Neither of them fit perfectly, but I'd me more inclined to go with Dutch than Venetian.

Elayne bashers in general: I think Elayne is perfectly justified in her contingency plan - and it IS a contingency plan ("let's see what Perrin forces me to do") to keep her country stable, not a land grab. There's a very big difference between the current status quo (where everyone lives happily an no one (Two River's men or Andorans) attempts to take more power than they have), and a situation where individual lords are allowed to declare themselves independant from the crown without a fight. The former has worked fine for years, the latter just sets a precedent for other lords (out west or closer to home) to rebel and declare themselves independant, which will ultimately result in an unstable ineffective country which can't protect its citizens from its own lords, never mind foregin powers. Stability is the utmost concern of any ruler, even in good times, because without stability the country can't prosper. That goes double for a country pulling out of what was essentiall civil war. It's a perfectly sound, logical policy if you ask me.

Oh, and for those saying they have bigger fish to fry - do you seriously think either Elayne or Perrin are going to go to battle BEFORE the last frickin battle? They're both very level headed people and they both know what's at stake. Elayne is dedicated to winning Tarmon Gaidon like everyone else - she's just making contingency plans for afterwards, in the hope that it all goes well.
Chris Chriserson
71. Captchas_are_annoying
Gambit @69 and others: I just took Elayne's "knowledge" of Thom's actions as a shrewd guess based on her Daes Dae'mar assessment of what was happening in Cairhein at the time, and her knowledge of Thom as a person. I think it's meant to just be a nod towards her as a shrewd and politically clued-in ruler, not that she actually has some insider knowledge on the subject.
Charles Gaston
72. parrothead
Captchas_are_annoying @ 70: To me it still looks more like Venice - example: dueling between Aragonese and Venetian trading empires instead of the Dutch wars of independence - but there's probably a good deal of both. This is one of the aspects that drew me into the series to begin with, the way Jordan wove together bits of history and legend. The Mat as Odin stuff, including what we get here, I absolutely love.
Tomas Gerst
73. IamnotSpam
Sorry for family troubles hope they get better or are resolved for the better.
Loved Mat, not sure Elayne was genuine when she caught on so fast to use of cannons to solve some of her problems.
Also on seperate thought was trying to put name in sweepstakes for Wheel of Time back packs and it was already closed even though it said it would be taking names till 12:00 Pm on the First. Did it blow up or what. I would have used it at work in the schools I fix computers at.
Take care all of you,
Nadine L.
74. travyl
On Elayne / Perrin / Manetheren thread
Although Perrin is an unwilling leader, and was pushed into his "Lord" position and into raising the Manetheren flag, let's not forget that Faile does stand behind him, does a lot of pushing and works hard that Perrin will become a proper lord. So even if Elanye knows that Perrin is a friend of Rand, it's not completely unfounded to be weary and to prepare for the worst. Though I have to say I was a little shocked, when Elayne casually considered if she should get Perrin assassinated.

Bergmaniac @39:
I disagree with your assessment of switching between public and private life. Yes, Elayne has always been a public figure, while Egwene has not. I’m pretty certain that Elanye was addressed as Princess "privately" rather often, and even her brothers were raised to defer to her, because of the position she once is expected to hold. Egwene on the other hand in the past had only a private persona, and should feel uncomfortable with new titles added to her name. At least I myself would want to maintain casual with my friends, who knew me before I achieved said title.
Joe Walters
75. josepph
so i started reading this whole blog deal maybe 8 or 9 months ago and have enjoyed cracking out on it during my free moments... this whole wait a week business is for the birds! I want more more more now now now!!!

temper tantrum in 5...4...3...2...
76. NotInventedHere
@65: I agree, I don't think her pardons had anything to do with Thom's regicide(s) (I don't think you can really call Taringail's killing a regicide; he was trying to make himself king, but he wasn't the ruler). I think later there is a scene where Elayne appears to be completely ignorant of Thom's having killed Galldrian; I don't think she would be able to forgive that, perhaps not even if she knew the details. She isn't the sort of queen to allow the idea of regicide to go unpunished, even if the regent in question wasn't a terribly good one, and even if the one to be punished was a friend. I think it is also pretty clear that she didn't know about Thom having killed her father; the pardon in Andor is to clear up the execution order Morgase had issued.
Tess Laird
77. thewindrose
I enjoyed the meet up between Mat, Thom, Elayne and Birgitte. And we get the resolution of Mat dicing the Queen of Andor to make the dragons!

I was on Facebook earlier and found this from BwS - on wraping up WoT - it brought tears to my eyes - fee free to skip - but I wanted to share with those who care:) - tempest™ (Tai'daishar Mr Sanderson)
Today I got up, and I did not have a Wheel of Time book to work on. I finished the final revision on A Memory of Light early in the morning Saturday, then sent it off to Team Jordan. And I was done. Team Jordan will handle the copyedits and proofreads; I might have a chime-in now and then on how a passage should be tweaked or how a continuity issue should be addressed, but essentially, my involvement as a writer in the Wheel of Time has come to an end.

Now, that doesn't mean my involvement with Wheel of Time fandom is over. I'll have my appearance at Dragon*Con this year, as well as the tour in January for A Memory of Light. Beyond that, I intend to frequently attend JordanCon and be available to WoT fans for years, even decades, to come. I intend to talk a great deal about the experience of writing these books, perhaps even post some blog entries about the subject.

But the writing is done. I'm still a little in shock about that.

Just about five years ago, I got that fateful call from Harriet. Since that time, I have always had a Wheel of Time book that I needed to be working on. Occasionally I would take breaks, as I did to write The Alloy of Law a couple years ago. However, the knowledge that I soon needed to be back to work on the Wheel of Time was always there.

That work has been my constant companion. For reference, when I got that call, I had only released a couple of books: the second Mistborn novel had come out the month before. I had written others that were awaiting publication—including several Alcatraz books, the last Mistborn book, and Warbreaker. I also had a draft done of The Way of Kings, another done of The Rithmatist, and some preliminary work done on a book called Steelheart.

Yes, I'd written a lot. I still had only a handful of books out in stores. It had been two years since Elantris was released. I was brand new at this.

I still feel brand new. Yet, oddly, I also feel weathered. Finishing the Wheel of Time has been a wonderful experience, but it has also been grueling. I have always respected Robert Jordan, but now I respect him even more—and for a multitude of reasons. One of those is the fact that during most of his career, he was able to release a Wheel of Time book every year or two. That's an awesome amount of work. Doing three books has worn me out.

For five years, whatever I've been doing—whether it be going out to dinner, sitting down to write, or checking my email—I've known that there was more to do on the Wheel of Time. I've known that I gave my word to Harriet and to the fans that I would work hard to get those books out quickly, and I carried a weight of responsibility for the book being split and people being forced to wait years beyond when they expected to get the ending. For five years, I have worked long hours because of those reasons. All the time I could find, I dedicated to the Wheel of Time in one way or another.

And then, today, I did not have a Wheel of Time book to work on.

I've reached the end of the journey and set down my burdens. It's wonderful, relaxing, and solemn all at once. I love the Wheel of Time. It's also great to be done.

And so, today, I officially take a step toward a line. I step away from being pilot of this series, and toward once again being just a fan. I will never cross back over that line—whatever else happens, I will have written three books in this series. I will continue to support and engage with Wheel of Time fandom. However, an ending has arrived for me, and it is time for my attention to be turned elsewhere.

Now I stroll back into my workshop and find that a little bit of dust has gathered. Out of necessity, the Stormlight Archive has been neglected. I am pleased I made the choice to work on A Memory of Light instead of Stormlight 2. However, it is time to pick up that story again and make this series all of the awesome things I've dreamed of it being for some twenty years.

The stories of Mat, Rand, Egwene, and Perrin are now done. Returning to the stories of Kaladin, Shallan, Jasnah, and Dalinar will be my next major project. You'll also see me doing revisions on both The Rithmatist and Steelheart this fall—as I've made arrangements for both to be published next year or the year after. You'll probably hear more about them in the days to come. And yes, I WILL be doing a sequel to The Alloy of Law.

It has been an incredible experience finishing the Wheel of Time. I hope that some of you who were with me on that journey will join me for the Stormlight books, but I want to note that I don't automatically assume that if someone reads the Wheel of Time they will read my other work. I occasionally have someone come through one of my signing lines who feels guilty for "only" having a Wheel of Time book. There is no need to feel guilty for this; I love the Wheel of Time as you do, and we share that. I'm glad you've enjoyed some of my writing, and I feel as close to those books as I do to any I've written. Yes, the Wheel of Time is not mine. But those three books are mine. I love them just as much as any I've worked on.

I look forward to continuing to meet many of you at conventions and signings as the years move forward. Thank you, Wheel of Time fandom, for accepting me in and putting up with my mistakes. (There have been many.) Thank you, Brandon Sanderson fandom, for putting up with my deviations in the Wheel of Time universe. I know it has slowed down you getting your books, but this was something very important for me to do.

Robert Jordan was a great man, and was the single greatest influence on my development as a writer. What I have done these last five years has been an attempt—a sometimes flawed but always earnest attempt—to show my appreciation. This entire genre owes him an enormous debt. My debt to him, and to Harriet, is greatest of all.

Mr. Jordan, may you rest in the Light. Everyone else, take a breath and get ready for the end. May you find his final words as satisfying to read as I did when I first picked them up five years ago. The very last scene is his, touched very little by me, as are significant chunks of the ending at large. I have achieved my goal in writing the books so that they pointed toward this ending he wrote, allowing us to include his words with as little alteration as possible.

Once again, thank you. May you always find water and shade.

Brandon Sanderson
Written July 30th, 2012
Posted August 1st, 2012
Roger Powell
78. forkroot
BWS(via tempest™)@77
This was not the Ending. There are no Beginnings or Endings to the Wheel to Time. But it was an Ending.
Valentin M
79. ValMar
Thanks for reposting this here Windrose. Yeah, one can get a bit misty eyed reading it... I hope I get the chance to thank Brandon personally, again, if he comes by near me in his tours. This was one tremendous feat that he pulled off.
Jay Dauro
80. J.Dauro
Goodness gracious folks, please read. Freelancer did not say that Andor was patterned after Israel. He said
Whether Andor could be considered an empire from a historical standpoint (and I doubt it), her intentions here are not to add to the realm, but to retain and maintain the status quo. You might as well call Israel imperialist for wanting to not lose any more ground than they already have. Completely invalid.
Freelancer @46

Here he makes a parallel on a specific point about Elayne to illustrate a specific argument. And does it quite well too.

I am sure everyone who reads WOT has some idea of what using longbows implies, as well as many other things. (In fact, in the audiobook, many of the Andorian Characters have an English Accent.)

But none of the countries in WOT has influences from just a single real-life country. RJ was not that simple.

If you haven't read the FAQ article on real-life influences, you should. You can also find (lots) more about real-life, mythological and fictional influences on lands, people, plots, etc. in WOT at the 13th Depository.


Have you ever haggled? You can't start too close to where you want to end up, or you will get screwed. ;^)
81. Freelancer

Thanks for actually reading what someone wrote as they wrote it.

I did NOT equate Andor with Israel. That's seriously, mind-numblingly wrong, and a misread of my words which I cannot even begin to comprehend. The mention of Israel was meant to make a point comparing one thought's lack of validity to another's. Leigh referred to Elayne's wish to "subdue" Perrin's ressurection of Manetheren under Andor's flag as imperialistic. But the thrust of imperialism is toward the expansion of a realm, and Elayne's objective is no such thing. She isn't even interested in "recapturing" a piece of land which has been allowed to drift apart. She is refusing to permit an uprising on Andoran land which threatens regional stability and would, if left unchecked, put her rule in question. That is how she sees it, and based on that perspective, she must act.

Now, having pointed out how that isn't an imperialistic move on her part, I drew a comparative with those who falsely claim that Israel is an imperialist state, even though they also are not interested in expanding a realm, but merely keeping it as it is/was. This in no way intends to suggest that the fictional Andor is similar in any way to real Israel. It intends only to say that one thought is as invalid as the other.

wcarter @65

You could think that Elayne's pardon letter for Thom is focused only on his actions vis-a-vis Morgase, except that her pardon was for crimes, real or imagined, in Andor AND Cairhien. Thom is a great player of the Game, he knows that she knows. How she knows is yet to be learned, but clearly she wouldn't have wasted ink on pardoning him for events in Cairhien unless there had been some of which she became aware.


Thank you very much for posting that. I would have caught it before long, but have been buried at work and not paying attention to Facebook at all. Brandon is a wonderful man, and we are blessed that he was willing, able, and available to complete this amazing saga.
Chris Chriserson
82. Captchas_are_annoying
Freelancer @ 81:
"I did NOT equate Andor with Israel. That's seriously, mind-numblingly wrong, and a misread of my words which I cannot even begin to comprehend."
Your annoyance at being misunderstood is perfectly reasonable, but just to clear up where the "misread" has occured: You did say that Andor is not imperialistic for trying to keep control of territory it claims, and neither is Isreal imperialistic for trying to keep control of the territory it claims. You may not have intended to draw a comparison between the two countries, but you did draw a comparison between their politics, and also people's perceptions of their politics. Your point has been extended by other posters (including myself, for which I appologise), but I think the basic misunderstanding is not wholly unreasonable.

I do apologise for the misunderstanding, but I do feel that you did imply a connection between the two, whether intentionally or not.

Also, part of the problem may just be that people don't agree with your assessment of Israel. I would consider Isreal imperialistic, but you dismiss that point as "completely invalid". I don't wish to get into middle-eastern politics here (and if people want to debate it further down, please leave me out of it). I only bring it up because I feel that our differing viewpoints has muddled your original point for me, which makes your point less clear and therefore makes the (apparent) Andor/Israel comparison stand out more (at least for me).
Steve Barkmeier
83. sbark
@15. Looking Glass. When did Thom kill Count Chocula and why am I always the last to find out these things? Also, does killing a count even count as regicide? You might also want to double check your spelling with those homonyms. It's all so confusing.
William Carter
84. wcarter
And what makes you think there is signifance to the addition to Carhein in the pardon Freelancer?
She is trying to put forth a legitimate claim to the Sun Throne, it would make sense that she include it in a pardon. It's inclusion does not constitute evidence that she knows what he did or did not do while he was in Carhein or anywhere else at any time in the more than a decade since his falling out with Morgase.
She knows good and well he is a player in the game and you're being naive if you think in all that time the only plots he ever got involved in were because of Rand.
Also I never said the pardon had "nothing" to do with his killing the king there. I said it probably had "little or nothing" to do with it. Everyone in Caemlyn knows he and Morgase had a falling out--and Caemlyn is where they were when she gave it to him.
If there are more than two or three people in all the world who know what he did in Cairhein then The Grey Fox is losing his touch. Not to mention I'm pretty sure most people suspect Rand or the Lord Damodred (forget his first name but the one who was rivals with him in TGH) or any one of the dozens of back stabbing nobles in that country killed the king.
Stefan Mitev
85. Bergmaniac
I think the Cairhen pardon is because of those men Thom killed for murdering Dena. It's likely there were some rumours about the incident after Thom left suddenly, even though Zera tried to cover it up. This is something that Elayne could've plausibly learned through Norry's informants in Cairhien. But his assassination of Galldrian - now this is really unlikely to have been discovered this way. Besides, it would'be a bad political move for Elayne to knowingly give a pardon for the murder of the last king of Cairhien right when she's presenting her own claim for the Sun Throne.
William Carter
86. wcarter
Now see that makes sense. Excellent point
87. @miathecanecorso
I don't think anyone has brought this up, yet, but Elayne's opinion of Perrin and the Two Rivers being rightfully Andor's is predicated on her ignorance of the fact that her mother (Morgase) is his bloody handmaiden.

Imagine you're a ruler of a kingdom and have reconciled the (pereceived) truth that your mother (and predecessor) was killed. Then you hear about a potential secession of a backwater part of your kingdom, led by the best friend of your babydaddy/husband/warder/. Then you find out that your mother (the former queen) is alive and kicking, serving wine and doing laundry of the same potential upstart in your backyard (well, back forty in this case). What would you do?

We have the opportunity here in AMOL for Morgase to change Elayne's opinion and influence her decision as to whether she will accept the independence of The Two Rivers and Perrin's rule over it as a separate nation or not. Morgase has seen him handle things over time, including the Seanchan and the whole Shaido/Malden bored to tears thread not to mention rescuing her from the Shaido as well. She may tell Elayne to back off or to fry his butt with saidar, but him being a ta'veren will most likely influence the former.

Hopefully, AMOL will involve a tearful, hugfest reunion between Morgase and Elayne and this potential thread will be resolved (without the dues ex machina of ta'veren-ness)
88. Looking Glass
Wcarter @65: Hm… I’d had the nature of Thom and Morgase’s disagreement in my mind as knowledge sufficiently public that Thom wouldn’t wonder about Elayne’s source, but it’s possible that’s not so. Though Thom obviously didn’t cover up Taringail perfectly- Moiraine, at least, managed to learn (or solidly infer) his involvement. Who knows who knows about Galldrian.

I’m not sure how much reaction Elayne would have had either, since Taringail apparently apparently predates her memory (Thom himself was a barely-remembered father figure). If Elayne had already learned and come to terms with the fact that her father was Not A Nice Person, I’m not sure his intended usurpationa or the specifics of his demise would have hit her all that hard.

Really, though, the pardon could be about both dead royals, or neither, or even an educated guess on Elayne’s part. She knows Thom, and the odds that Thom spent a while in Cairhien without doing something illegal are pretty slim. Not nonexistent, given he was semi-retired, but it’s not like it really costs Elayne anything to include both countries. Indeed, if she sees herself as the rightful ruler of both countries (which she does), it would be almost weird to pardon Thom in one but not the other.

NotInventedHere @76: Good point- I’ve apparently used regicide to mean killing royalty while it should properly only be the actual ruler.

I suppose that makes Thom guilty of one regicide and one counter-regicide, then. Or anti-regicide. Think those average out to zero? Maybe they cancel out and create a photon.

Wcarter @84: This is utterly incidental to the point you were making, but Barthanes Damodred was already (publicly known to have been) torn to pieces before Galldrian died. (If anything, that Cairhien was already disintegrating into civil disorder would probably further obscure Thom’s involvement there.)

Though I suppose a little thing like violent dismemberment wouldn't disqualify him from any Randlander's favorite conspiracy theory.

(I was going to make a snide comment about WoT-ers and jumping to conclusions, but on consideration, I'm not sure the real world can throw stones on that one.)
Stefan Mitev
89. Bergmaniac
@87 - This already happened in ToM - Elayne had her reunion with Morgase and Morgase offered a solution for the status of Two Rivers which Perrin and Elayne accepted.
Jonathan Levy
90. JonathanLevy
46. Freelancer
Freelancer: Red isn't Green. You might as well call Black Green.
Others: OMG, you're saying Black is Red???
Did I understand correctly the conversation that's been going on? :)

50. jim.millen
I would say apart from the little fact of it not being an island nation, Andor is most similar to the UK - and as has already been pointed out, the Two Rivers would be in Wales or Scotland. Or maybe Cornwall, for a little variety!
We could say that Andor is England, Cairhien is Scotland, and the year is 1296 :)

51. macster
I myself am puzzled how Elayne knew of Thom killing Galldrian
I've always thought that she doesn't know, and it's just a delicious coincidence for the enjoyment of the reader. It's not at all far-fetched. Elayne has laid claim to Cairhien. She considers herself as having the right to grant pardons which are valid in Cairhien. Also, granting pardons which are valid in Cairhien is a way of staking her claim. I see

I'm in partial agreement with 62. RobMRobM, and full agreement with 63. Bergmaniac.

54. Looking Glass
That said, the Two Rivers is the only place she’s actually considered invading despite the will of the populace
The Will of the Populace is not a thing easily defined, or ascertained. I am sure there are many in Cairhien who don't want Elayne Queen, and many in the Two Rivers who would not mind her presence at all. For example, the Taren Ferry folk, having had their town destroyed, might welcome Andoran soldiers to protect them.

67. parrothead
The one nation I've never been able to figure out is Ghealdan. Any ideas?
Um, how about pre-napoleonic Germany? All split up into a thousand littly duchies, no central control?
91. desertpaladin
Here's my 2 cents regarding the Elayne and Mat conversation. I dont attribute any malice to Elayne for considering what Perrin's position means for her realm and by extension her rulership of it, and by even further extension the lives of her family. Its logical that she be concerned, just as any country/ruler would if a potentially powerful movement began within its established borders. She is right to consider the Two Rivers part of her realm, because it is. Its not her fault that previous queens (her mother included) let the Two Rivers fall by the wayside. It is her duty (as the current queen) to resolve that situation. To her credit she is doing this in a very calm levelheaded manner. She's waiting on Perrin's actions to act, and in the interim preparing for all the possibilities. Her wheeling and dealing to get the cannons makes perfect sense when you consider that Mat is Perrin's friend (and Mat is from the Two Rivers as well) If she has any brain in her head she would move heaven and earth to keep those weapons as far from potential dissidents hands as she could. The same goes for trying to get the Band to be exclusive to Andor. She knows Mat's loyalty would likely sway in the favor of his home/Perrin, so she does all she can to get the band's allegiance to her/Andor. Which speaks alot to just how much she trusts Mat to keep his word if he gives it. That's pretty impressive stuff.
Glen V
92. Ways
Freelancer @46
I took it the way you intended, FWIW.

Now where's that hunny?
95. Faculty Guy
The reflective piece by BWS (see thewindrose @77) was moving. I am not a habitual fantasy reader, growing up on SF in the era of Clarke, Heinlein, Asimov, Bradbury, Simak etc. and lasting through Zelazny, Ellison, Niven, and on to Dan Simmons, but reading less of it as it grew more ubiquitous in the culture. It now seems that about 40% of all movies feature SF content - but mostly in the way of special effects and "action" shots. Even the gems such as THE MATRIX, which is based on a brilliant core idea (taken from Plato, as so much is) gets repetitive with endless choreographed martial arts, high-speed chases, firefights where only the bad guys are ever hit, and the usual crap.

Not sure how I wandered into WOT. I think my son - then in HS, now a professional - introduced me to it in the mid-90s. It isn't SF exactly, but it is a wonderfully (amazingly) well-constructed, logically consistent, and complex imaginary universe.

My mind boggles at the prospect of doing what BWS did - of taking over a partially completed multi-million word epic, and bringing all (well, most) of the loose ends together. The probability of mis-step and the absolute certainty of consequent harsh criticism would be intimidating, and would simply freeze me into writer's block. I realize that BWS had help, but still.

I did read ELANTRIS a year or so ago (while waiting for ToM I think). It is entertaining, but did not grip me. But I WILL read some of Sanderson's other work, even though (as I say) I'm not really much of a fantasy fan.

I hope for a great finale, even while being pretty sure there will be some unresolved plot strands, and dreading the resulting complaints. But my admiration for Sanderson will be high no matter what. He clearly has put forth a heroic effort. Personally, I LIKE his writing in WOT, and the accelerated rate of significant events. Perhaps this would have happened if RJ had lived to complete the epic; we'll never know (and if it hadn't, we'd now be on our way to 16 or more books). In any case, my compliments to the authors, and thanks to BWS for the above reflections and self-revelations.
Valentin M
96. ValMar
Freelancer @ 81

I got your point. It is pretty straightforward. But I don't think it's a good example. To make a reasonable analogy between, say, Israel and Andor one has to make some contextual similarities between the two and I see much less than with many other RL examples I listed @ 52 (though minus Russia and China due to your Imperialist point). E.g. the regions I gave as examples tend to be relatively remote from the main states' centres but important for strategic/economic/historic reasons. Also most are rather widely known; e.g. you guys bombed the crap out of Serbia over Kosovo for weeks... Darfour, Tibet, the recent conflict in Georgia... So we don't have to scrape the bottom of the barrel for more vague comparisons.
The context makes it hard enough. One has to look for a remote but important region (for Baerlon) of a otherwise wealthy and well-ordered state. Which has been ignored for ages as long as it keeps producing the ore. As we could see, a smallish WC force could take control of Baerlon when it wanted to.
Actually the Serbia/Kosovo example is a good one. The Serbian state originated from that mountainous region. Gradually the centre of the state moved away into more prosperous areas, eventually to the Danube plains at the modern capital Belgrade. But Kosovo remained very important in the minds of the Serbs- their Church was centered there and because of the state's origins and Kosovo Battle 1389AD.
But in practical terms the place was left underdeveloped, isolated, and became one of the poorest areas of the country. Most Serbs moved away and Albanians became the majority. Cue in even more isolation and lack of development. And then things got nasty.

But even this is not that similar. Which is good. We recognise many similarities with RL in the cultures and history of WOT lands but they are always limited. E.g. Tear appears like Spain in some ways but differs a lot in others- like Spain being an absolute monarchy and Tear not; Spain being very regionalised state whilst Tear is very centralised; Tear's main military force being cavalry, Spain's the pike Tercios... etc.

JL @ 90

Re: Ghealdan. Not at all like Germany/HRE. I'm pretty sure before its current troubles Ghealdan was small and compact country. IMO, we simply don't have enough info on it to make any vague comparison to RL state. Altara and Murandy are the messy ones.
James Golden
97. Treemaster
In just one example, I've been fortunate to play Contract Bridge at a high level (well .. at least with World-Class players ... we won't mention my level.) Almost invariably, the really good ones (World Champions and the like) are gracious, classy, and patient with those of us who aren't at that level. However, the "wannabes" on the next level down are often rude, sarcastic, defensive, etc.
Wow, you just never know what you'll find on here. A fellow bridge player! I used to play as well, and had the EXACT SAME thought. Work and family have taken me away from the game, both sadly and happily.
Jeff Schweer
98. JeffS.
You know, I could do two or three posts and snatch the hunny but I think I'll just set it up for someone.
I'll be over in the bunker having a glass a wine...

Jeff S.
I am just an egg
100. AndrewB
It appears to be me with the c-note.

Thanks for reading my musings
Sent from my smartphone
101. AndrewB
Yes I did win the 100. Party in the bunker. We can also celebrate Brandon's progress with AMoL.

Thanks for ready my musings.
Sent from my smartphone. Please excuse any typos.
102. Freelancer

I did not make a comparison between their politics. See below for the correct read of my words. As for your belief that Israel is imperialistic, huh. Weird viewpoint, and based in nothing like reality. Check how much land they have gained, or tried to gain, in the past 63 years. The result is a negative, that isn't anything one could call imperialistic. Also, they permit citizens of other nations to live and work there freely, unlike every other nation in the area. Yes, I'll stop there.


You didn't get my point. I was making NO analogy between Israel and Andor. I was making an analogy between a story-related comment made by Leigh, and politically-related comments made by others, and how neither is accurate. Full stop. Attempting to extend any additional similarities about the nations themselves exits the discussion in which I engaged, and is intellectually useless.

wcarter @84

Bergmaniac filled in the blanks for you. Elayne, through Norry, has been gaining intel on Cairhien for quite a while. I made the presumption that the directed information-gathering there yielded a connection regarding Thom. And to be specific about Bergmaniac's comments, beyond the two men who killed Dena and tried to attack him, we only know of one other slain for that reason; Galldrian. So, a connection could easily be made if someone managed to ferret a bit of information from Zera. Looking Glass also makes an extremely valid point, that Moiraine, while still in the Stone of Tear, already knew that Thom was responsible for Galldrian's death. So it isn't quite the deeply buried secret Thom could wish. True that Moiraine is also an excellent player of the Game, as well as being a Damodred herself, but still, she's been BUSY chasing down a certain twenty-year-old, and still gained knowledge of this assassination...

JonathanLevy @90

Yes, that's a fairly approximate summation. But next time, include a Venn diagram.
Thomas Keith
103. insectoid
Drat, missed the hunny again!

I'm a bit late to the party—RL getting in the way—so I'll try not to be too redundant. But I probably will be.

Great post as usual, Leigh. Hope your family crisis turns out okay.

My two cents:

Stories about Mat: This line says it all:
They do? Mat thought. "I didn't do half of what they say," he grumbled, "and the other half wasn't my bloody fault."
LOL, that's our Mat.

Elayne seems to have gotten better at negotiating since the Bowl debacle, and they were fun to read. Also, this line:
"Whose side are you on?" Mat said.
"Everyone's," Thom said.
"That's not a bloody side," Mat said.
Serving man: Heh.
She eyed Mat, smiling slyly. "Expurgation means 'parts cut out,' Mat. In case you weren't bloody aware."

Thom's pardon: Poor, dear regicidal Thom. Elayne probably already knows about her mother kicking Thom out, but does she know anything else? Hmm.

Time to play catsup...

Thomas Keith
104. insectoid
Political parallels? Not going there.

Braid_Tug @5: Oh no... speaking of opening boxes! Don't start quoting MP or we'll be drowning in it... (Too late.)

Lsana @9: I liked Elayne here too... because she hasn't done anything incredibly stupid yet! :P

Looking Glass @31:
I suspect they're saving it up for one continent-wide spit-take at Merillor.
Mat will probably mention Tuon in passing, and someone will say:
"How do you know the Seanchan Empress?"
"Oh, I'm married to her."

RobM² @33: Hmm, I don't know if I can picture Mat doing something like that. But anything's possible.

ChocolateRob @38: LOL!!

Blood_Drunk @45: Nice! Not quite what happened in chapter 47, but more entertaining. ;)

Wind @77, Fork @78: *applauds*

sbark @83: LOL!!

JLevy @90:
Freelancer: Red isn't Green. You might as well call Black Green.
Others: OMG, you're saying Black is Red???
Yeah, that's about the size of it. XD

Two cents? I must be up to at least a buck and a quarter by now...

Glen V
105. Ways
Someday, before the end of the road, Ima get some hunny. Will just have to pay more attention to the digital device as it gets closer. Instead, I'm happy to settle for a glass of vino in the bunker with a few compatriots. Perhaps a nice Pinot N. or a well-chilled Riesling from the NW?

Faculty Guy @95
That was a very eloquent post regarding the BWS reflection and I agree 100%.
Did you ever read Simak or Van Vogt? They were my seminal influences and I still have dozens of their paperbacks moldering away in a box in the basement somewhere. I plan on digging them out to reread when I get old and senile, have forgotten their content and don't mind what would surely seem to be an amateurish style these days.
Glen V
106. Ways
More like $1.04
That is all, Quirk out.
Alice Arneson
107. Wetlandernw
Ways @105 - Might I offer this lovely Cold Creek Riesling from Ste Michelle? It's one of my favorites. Alternatively, though I'm not usually big on sauvignons, this Horse Heaven SB is extremely tasty. And I'll join you in a glass, since I can't think of anything WoT-related to say that's of any interest to anyone tonight (including me). :)
Glen V
108. Ways
Wet @107
Let's head for the bunker! Either vintage sounds great. I (obviously) haven't come up with anything relevant either. And it's well past my bed time here on the right coast.
109. Freelancer

Van Vogt's Isher novellas are among the best pure sci-fi of any age. His is a name which has far too little recognition today.
Alice Arneson
110. Wetlandernw
Um... Am I on the left coast or the wrong coast? Either way, the bunker is looking good.
Thomas Keith
111. insectoid
Ways @106: Out of curiosity, how did you reach that amount?

Wet @110: I suppose it depends on your point of view: if you want to be near JordanCon, then we're on the wrong coast. If you're left-handed or enjoy the absence of hurricanes, then it's the left coast. :P

I think I'll just sit here with my 7-up and enjoy watching you guys try to drink each other under the table...

Alice Arneson
112. Wetlandernw
Okay, I'll go with the lack of hurricanes for now. I like lack of hurricanes. Lack of hurricanes is a very good thing. I'll take a handful of mostly-dormant volcanos any day. :)

Table? What table? Just a small stand, big enough to hold a wine bottle, a water pitcher and a few glasses... Oh, and a small plate of crackers, aged gouda and fig spread. I'm set. Ways, are you with me?
Chris Chriserson
113. Captchas_are_annoying
Freelancer @ 102: My comment at 82 was just trying to explain why I'd misinterpreted your comment at 46. I wasn't trying to defend my comment, or justify it, or draw you into an arguement on the politics of Israel. I was just trying to explain.
Rob Munnelly
114. RobMRobM
Wet @110. Perhaps you happened to be looking south?

This wine talk is making my thirsty. I had a Kris pinot grigio with the grilled chicken last night - a nice wine for summer. Always up for a good Riesling but my wife always complains they are too sweet, so they never get into the shopping cart.
Valentin M
115. ValMar
Freelancer @ 102

Third time lucky, I see you didn't make direct analogy. I actually agree with the point you were making @ 46. It was one of those cases when someone here expressed an opinion I share very well so that I don't have to do it myself. FWIW, whatever faults one can attribute to Israel in this sorry affair, being "Imperialist" is not one. If anything, it's the opposite of being Imperialist.
116. Faculty Guy
Ways@105, Freelancer@109, et al. - yes, Simak was always wonderful with his love of dogs. And I think TIME IS THE SIMPLEST THING is a great read. I usually completed a Simak novel with moist eyes, he was a sentimentalist par excellence. Van Vogt was always interesting, and I remember his SLAN books as well as the Isher ones. (Fragments stick in memory: from Van Vogt, the fact that a person in a crowd will not be obstructed if he walks purposefully and as if he has a mission. I've used that in real life.) These, and many other early SF authors were probably not great writers by literary standards, but as a physics student surrounded by engineering students, I was at home with them. The notion (I think John Campbell's) that the sore IDEA in a story was the "hero" appealed to me. Looking back, the plots of these novels were usually incredibly simplistic compared not only to WOT but to most later SF novels. Usually a single hero fought alone against overwhelming odds and emerged triumphant. Women rarely made any appearance at all, though there were notable exceptions. Asimov was a little more creative in, for example, his FOUNDATIONS trilogy, with the idea that history itself was the hero (which, at the time, I did not connect to Tolstoy, although now it appears obvious to me!).

Ah, those were the days.
117. Faculty Guy
Are the captchas getting more difficult systematically? It seems so. The last post I had to try three times to make out the damned things. Usually one is trivial, the other pretty impossible, with me just guessing.
Jonathan Levy
119. JonathanLevy
96. ValMar

You're right, I got confused with Murandy. Probably because we don't know all that much about it, as you said.

Wasn't the inn where Siuan learned about Salidar in Ghealdean? If so, we could re-read that chapter and look for accent clues...

102. Freelancer

A Venn diagram? I may have to :)

Perhaps there's a lesson to be learned here after all. Casual explanatory asides work best with topics on which everyone agrees, and everyone knows that everyone agrees. Like kittens. With mushrooms and Soy Sauce, that is.


104. insectoid
I liked Elayne here too... because she hasn't done anything incredibly stupid yet! :P
Roger Powell
120. forkroot
Nope - Siuan is in Lugard (Murandy) when she learns of the rebel location.
121. Jeff S.
I'm in the RED at work, darn it.
RobMx2 at 114
If the Rieslings are a bit too sweet for the wife but you both like the Grigio's might I suggest a nice Moscato or Pinot Gris. They are between on the sweet to dry scale for me. Both are available in NW vintages but I happen to like the Barefoot wineries Moscato. I think it's from California.
I do agree with WetlanderNW though, I have not had a bad bottle of wine from Chateau St Michelle. I live less than 20 minutes from the winery. It can be a problem at times...
funny thing about captchas, my first word was Suffa
Thomas Keith
122. insectoid
Wet @112: Are you telling me the bunker doesn't have a table??

Faculty Guy @117: Time for you to take the black. We don't bite... really!

Jeff S @121:
funny thing about captchas, my first word was Suffa
Seriously? How bizarre... XD

Valentin M
123. ValMar
JL @ 119

Yes, it was in Lugard, Murandy. That country is one big caricature.
Alice Arneson
124. Wetlandernw
Jeff S. @121 - Wow - I had no idea you were so close! Depending on which direction you live, we're either next door neighbors or live less than 40 minutes apart.

insectoid @22 - Oh, I'm sure there's a table here somewhere. I just don't use a dining table to have a glass with a friend or two. When there are more than two or three, though, the table starts to come in handy. I try to avoid being under it, though. :)
Tess Laird
125. thewindrose
Sounds like there is a wine meet up in Wetlandernw and Jeff S.'s future;)

macster! What do you you think of this from Talk of Dragons about Mat:
"If you say so," Elayne said. "I will see you at dinner. I'll have to bring Dyelin. She's very curious to meet you."
You know where my thoughts are going, just wonder if you were going to give it a more positive spin;)

126. Freelancer
JonathanLevy @119

Yes, but without the chosen manner of my comments, and the subsequent misread of them, we wouldn't have had more than a dozen comments concerned with the tie-ins between nations of the WoT-verse and our own. Not an intended outgrowth, but neither a valueless one. Serendipity, by definition, cannot be created, but once in awhile it can be jumpstarted.

Just between you and me, I expected at least one riposte bashing Israel, not several presuming an analogy which was never made. ::shhhh::

Most curious captcha on TOR.com: TIME ~ REVOLVE
It's like they know...
Jeff Schweer
127. JeffS.
Yes it was, that's why I thought the family should know.

South Snohomish Co. 4 miles as the crow flies from the largest building in the world with some of the largest jets inside.
I work in a hospital in Seattle though.
My wife and I have two daughters in college at the moment, so about all we can afford for ourselves is good coffee(plentiful here) and a decent bottle of wine once in a while. We started getting more interested in wines about a year ago and are still in the "We get what tastes good to us" stage.

Beside the table instead of under it. Yes, good plan...

Oh, by the way. It was actually more fun setting up the "Hunny" than actually getting it. You're welcome AndrewB
Jeff S.
I am only an egg
Sandy Brewer
128. ShaggyBella
So, when Mat meets Elayne, he compares her to his wife.
She was a pretty thing. Not as pretty as Tuon, of course. Elayne was far too pale, and too tall, and had too much hair. It was distracting. Still, She was pretty. Seemed a waste as a queen. She would have made an excellent serving girl. Ah, well. Somebody had to be Queen.
So is Mat really in love with Tuon or is he just rationalizing, since he is married now?

Also, since RJ was from the South, it is interesting to me that color is completely ignored in Randland. There are biases against certain culture groups, i.e. Aiel, Sea folk, etc. And classes: servants and nobility, da'covale and high blood, Aes Sedai and the rest of the world. But not color, which is refreshing. Skin color is mentioned a lot but doesn't matter. An interracial marriage of a main character probably took some guts for him to write about.

Just stirring the pot a little
Alice Arneson
129. Wetlandernw
JeffS. @127 - So, looks like we really are next-door neighbors! Cheers! I have to say, the "figure out what we like" stage of wine is really fun, even though you end up with a few duds. Lucky (?) for us, we started before we had kids and cellared some good stuff once we found it; can't afford to buy much of it right now. :) Discovered a lost half-case of Chatter Creek the other day, though, so that was a good find. Housecleaning can be productive at times...

ShaggyBella @128 - Re: Mat... I think it's a bit of both. I think he really does love Tuon and (contrary to the way we often think of such things) his "taste" is changing to suit. Not that he doesn't still... notice... but he really doesn't quite want to notice much any more. So he gives himself conscious reminders, too.

Re: the rest, I've rather enjoyed the way RJ played with race and color. He included the natural human tendency toward international and culture clashes, but color itself is a mere descriptor. I like it, since that's pretty much the way I've always considered it myself. Skin color is as relevant as hair or eye color in describing someone, along the same lines as height, build, or any other physical characteristic. And RJ got them all in, but without any particular prejudice associated (except for the occasional person in the early books who looks at Rand suspiciously because he looks like an Aiel).

At the same time, he didn't do a simplistic world where there is no prejudice; it wouldn't work well, because that's such an inherent part of human nature. So he gave each culture a set of customs with regard to clothing, hairstyle, etc. and some dialectic quirks to make them distinguishable from one another.

I remember wondering once why it was so easy (in WoT) to distinguish nationality based on clothing; why wouldn't fashions spread across national boundaries? They do IRL, after all. I decided to accept that national pride is adequate for most people to maintain their national dress in spite of outside influences, especially combined with the fact that the general population doesn't travel all that much. Some of the nobles do, and a few others, but in those cases their nationality is important to them, so... maybe it works. :) OTOH, the Two Rivers folks seem to be more willing than anyone else to adopt outside fashions when they are appealing for one reason or another. Does this bear closer inspection?

And... we're on a roll! There have been no comments deleted from either of the last two posts so far! It had been a while since that happened, as I recall.
Glen V
130. Ways
Drat. I'm away for 24 hours and miss all manner of good Sci Fi and wine discussions.

insectoid @111:
That post was #104. OK, perhaps a bit lame, but I claim sleep deprivation as an excuse.

Wet, JeffS and others:
Once again demonstrating it is indeed a small world. Bravo Chateau St. Michelle! I was impressed with their Rieslings when I lived on the left (not wrong) coast. I'm thinking that they were the first WA (or NW more generally) wines commercially marketed, and they definitely hit the spot.

RobM^2 @114
There are some nice South African Rieslings that are reasonably dry.

No table in the bunker?? We'll just have to stack up wine crates to use as a table and (sort of) chairs.

Hurricanes vs. earthquakes
I live far enough inland on the right coast to not suffer the full impact of those nasty hurricanes, just mild to moderate showers as one rolls up the coast. No problem. OTOH, I don't miss the earthquakes I grew up with on the left coast. I woke up on the floor after the Sylmar quake. Then there was the mag. 5 in Santa Barbara that almost toppled a rickety old barn on top of me. That one was interseting because the epicenter was quite close and there was no warning rumble, just a sudden feeling of extreme disorientation from finding yourself leaned over 30 deg. from vertical.

Apologies for the deviation from WOT topics. Hope no one is terribly offended.
Glen V
131. Ways
Now I'm wondering why there are no earthquakes on the in-book continents. One could speculate that stresses on the plates caused by the breaking would necessitate some serious readjustments post-breaking. Perhaps quakes are mentioned and my memory is vague.
Birgit F
132. birgit
Still, She was pretty. Seemed a waste as a queen. She would have made an excellent serving girl.

The Prince of Ravens seems to like at least some Seanchan customs. Does he want to turn El into a second Thera?
Thomas Keith
133. insectoid
Free @126: Maybe they generate the captchas using words from the TGS Open-Spoiler Thread of Doom. That might explain Suffa. XD

Ways @130: I use that excuse a lot. ;) Shame on me! Also, no need to apologize for encouraging the lateral deviation of the thread; that happens all the time!

same @131: Interesting point. My lazy IdealSeek search turned up many instances of 'quake' and 'earthquake' being used as a simile, but no mention of actual (naturally-occuring) quakes as far as I can tell.

I personally have never experienced a serious quake before; the most notable I've felt was the 2010 Easter quake; house shook for half a minute! I do have a dim memory of feeling a quake when I was a child; it may have been Northridge. (Which wouldn't be too surprising.)

Rob Munnelly
134. RobMRobM
Rieslings - It doesn't matter how dry they are, my wife will assert they are sweet and reject them. Arrrgghhh. Prejudice is an ugly thing. Perhaps wine type should be a descriptor just like "hair or eye color" (thanks Wet) - why can't we all just get along????
Jeff Schweer
135. JeffS.
YAY, neighbors with common interests. WOT and wine.
Quakes versus Hurricanes.
I grew up in Nebraska, which like a large part of the middle of the U.S. is prone to Tornados. I also was in the Navy. So it seems that I have experienced both Hurricanes (Hugo in Particular) Tornados, and Quakes (Nisqually)
Here's the deal:
Tornados, Dangerous, Scary, but you can go down into the storm cellar (everyone has them back home) ride it out, rebuild and move on.
Hurricanes: Also very dangerous and harder to ride out but there is usually some warning. You can batten down the hatches as it were and head inland if you really need to.

Earthquakes: Can't go in the storm cellar CAUSE IT'S THE GROUND that's the problem. No warning CAUSE IT"S THE GROUND that's the problem. DID YOU HEAR ME? IT's the ground that's the problem.
Sorry, got a little excited there.

Obviously, Earthquakes scare me a lot more than the others but here I sit, literally on top of the South Whidby fault, calmly drinking my coffee on a Saturday morning. People are strange and I are one.

Back more on topic, kinda...
I don't recall any quakes in WOT at all unless a Balescream has a tectonic element.
James Hogan
136. Sonofthunder
I just wanted to let y'all know that you are a terrible influence...as quiet as I've been lately, been following the discussion nevertheless. And so last night I couldn't resist picking up a nice Riesling from Germany...looking forward to a glass of that tonight to go with my Olympic-watching. So yeah, thanks for that.

And to go back on topic, um...Mat and Elayne finally meeting up again is definitely awesome. It makes me happy to see them interacting as (fairly) mature adults. Also, Mat's mentally comparing Elayne to Tuon was *hilarious*. I don't think he even realized he was doing it. Oh Mat.
Valentin M
137. ValMar
Freelancer @ 126

I am happy to have been a tool for your serendipity ;) Also pleased that nobody derailed the thread with the political hot potato of Israel. Though you were a bit naughty to put it out there if you expected it to happen.

Anyway, it's all to the good. Otherwise the thread has been usurped by the Wine Club of Seattle members and their acolytes. I wonder if Wetlander or Jeff have managed to wrestle the Corkmaster's Sash from the Crane boys :)

Also, for those watching the Olympics, I feel sorry for you across the ocean. I am hearing that the coverage is less than perfect.
Jeff Schweer
138. JeffS.
Frasier reference for the win.
Well played, well played indeed.
And no, I am merely a wine minion, no sash for me.
Tricia Irish
139. Tektonica
Geez...I get busy and the whole thread goes sideways...in a fun way. I enjoyed a lovely St. Michelle Reisling just last night! Great summer wine. RobM: Can't you and your wife have separate bottles? Don't deprive yourself!

Earthquakes vs Hurricanes and Tornadoes.....I grew up in the midwest and have witnessed many tornadoes. They are incredibley destructive, albeit, in a very narrow swath. Complete destruction. I've never experienced an earthquake, thank the powers that be.

But hurricanes, ah....I've been through 8-9 of them now in SoFla. Yes, we get lots of warning, and we spend weeks battening down the hatches, laying in supplies, and watching the TV endlessly, while they whip us all into a nervous frenzy. The anxiety is palpable.

The big blow itself is pretty hairy. Anything not pinned down is a missle. (Coconuts, shutters, lawn furniture.) There's sand knee deep in the pools and on roads, and shredded leaves are plastered onto the sides of houses. Trees come down and destroy most the power lines, and block roads. It is nature at it's rawest and most violent. Humbling.

The worst part is the aftermath. Weeks of cleaning and street/electrical repair. In the meantime, it's boiling hot, there's no air-conditioning, natch, the stores run out of food and ice, the gas stations run dry. Pools turn black and breed frogs and mosquitos. The food in your fridge rots faster than you can cook/eat it (if you have a gas grill and stove). Miserable. Obviously, New Orleans has seen worse than this, but either way, it's no fun. And it's state-wide. Flooding might have similar after effects.

Why do I live here?

On topic....You guys have said it all...I AM following along. Thanks!
Ron Garrison
140. Man-0-Manetheran
Hi all! So we're sitting 'round the bunker drinking wine, eh? I can do that. I prefer reds though – a good rioja, malbec or tempranillo usually meets with my hearty approval. Note to Jordon.con attendees: bring along a bottle of your favorite. We'll do a wine tasting in the bunker!

The other day I was home when the recycling truck came through the alley. As each bin was picked up and dumped, I heard the characteristic clinks of a preponderance of wine bottles. "Now how cool is that?" I thought to myself, "What a classy neighborhood..."
Nadine L.
141. travyl
I agree RJ did a great job by creating a universe with different skin color, but not making it an issue, while cultural bias is.

132. birgit:
I don’t think Mat wants to humble Elayne into a da’covale … but rather fondly remembers the *fun* he had with serving girls in taverns (before he got married and restricted himself to looking).

137. Valmar:
since you reside in London: did you see anything from the Olympics live (not Tv)?
Glen V
142. Ways
Tek @139
I was avoiding using the term "sideways" since that takes us back to wine. :-) Love a good Pinot.
Tricia Irish
143. Tektonica
Man-O and Ways: Usually I'm a red wine person myself....Pinot, Malbec, Cab, Shiraz, Meritage, Cote du Rhone....oh well, anything big! White is strictly a hot weather beverage for me.

ManO...I love your wine tasting idea for the Jcon Bunker. We also need a sign that says "Bunker". I'll see what I can do ;-)
144. Freelancer
Ways @130

I woke up on Feb 9, 1971 to my dad crashing through our bedroom door and pulling my little brother out of the lower bunk, just before it caved in with me still in the top bunk. We lived in Lake View Terrace, about half a mile from the Veteran's Hospital which transformed from a three-story building into just one. Not a pleasant week, at all. But I've also lived through tornadoes in Memphis, TN and hurricanes near Virginia Beach, VA, as well as a major hurricane at sea and other various heavy storms. I'll take earthquakes and California weather every time. Earthquakes in the U.S., where we build with them in mind, don't often tear entire buildings into kindling. Tornadoes, no matter how you build a house, do exactly that. Hurricanes are very easy to avoid, since they let you know that they're coming, but they still pull trash apart with much more relative damage than all but the very worst earthquakes. Also, we don't have those very worst earthquakes nearly as often as very bad hurricanes and tornadoes. The resultant total risk rating favors living where quakes, but not the others, happen.
Glen V
145. Ways
Freelancer @144
I was in Riverside at the time. It took a while to piece together why I woke up on the floor shortly after 6 am. There wasn't much damage in my area, though, other than a few jars falling off shelves. You most definitely had the more terrifying experience.

It's fascinating how we're finding common ground this week, in addition to a love of WOT.

Now about that wine tasting at the next JCon: I'm in if I can make it. Stared at the reg form this year for several minutes before opting out - not enough connections. That's changing.
Alice Arneson
146. Wetlandernw
@ several - I knew there was a reason I like Montana! Seasons that actually change, no tornados, no hurricanes, only a very few mild earthquakes, and the best scenery ever. :) (What can I say - I grew up about 20 miles west of Glacier Park.)

All in all, though, I'm with Freelancer on this: in spite of the lack of warning, I'd rather have the occasional earthquake in a place that builds for them, than a yearly hurricane or tornado season.

As for JCon... ::wannawannawannawanna:: Don't know if I'll be able to make it happen or not, but oh, I would love to be there. Not sure they approve of carrying a bottle of wine on the airplane, though...
Jonathan Levy
147. JonathanLevy
Just goes to show I never sorted out Murandy and Lugard in my mind. :)

Ha! The Light protects madmen, as Agelmar once said.

Still, She was pretty. Seemed a waste as a queen. She would have made an excellent serving girl.
Maybe someone should tell Mat about Elayne's little stint as a tightrope-walker.
I don't recall any quakes in WOT at all unless a Balescream has a tectonic element.
There's a little aftershock in the very first line of the prologue of the very first book :)
Jeff Schweer
148. JeffS.
You're right, of course.
Hmm, maybe I should do another reread on my own starting with the very beginning...
It's only August, I have, what, 4 and a 1/2 months give or take? Should be plenty of time.

I mean to be at Jordancon and will bring a nice wine to the Bunker. I can't imagine not being there this time. Besides, running into the bunker FOR REALS would be awesome.
Tricia Irish
149. Tektonica
Oh goodie! New recruits for JCon.

The mistress of ceremonies next year is our very own Leigh Butler too!! And of course, Brandon will be there with Harriet, and the whole editorial entourage, and Wilson, who's wonderful. We have been under represented compared to the Theoryland and Dragonmount folks, who are all quite welcoming.

It really really is fun, and I encourage all who can make it, to please do so. There WILL be a real Bunker!
Jay Dauro
150. J.Dauro
I will second Tektonica, you need to be there if you can.

Wetlander, you can't carry them on, but most wineries and some wine shops have a shipping case for 3 or 6 bottles. You should be able to check them. Or Atlanta does have stores that carry alcohol (we're not that backward in the South. Some even carry commerically prepared alcohol.)

Actually, one of the top rated stores in the Atlanta area, Hinton's Wine Store, is just a couple of miles from the hotel.
Valentin M
151. ValMar
travyl @ 141

Nothing paid for, just road races in the centre of town. It's a combination of the anal ticket system, me only wanting to go to specific evenents (not just anything), lazyness, etc. E.g. I fancied seeing Bulgaria in men's Volleyball but even before we qualified the tickets were pretty much gone. Many of the tickets being bought by people who had only heard of beach volley before but wanted to get any tickets possible. I can only hope that at least this annoying thing increases the popularity of the sport, and others.
Now, I would've loved a place in the Olympic stadium tonight but so would a few million others.
Ron Garrison
153. Man-0-Manetheran
Lady Leeh’s Bunker

Let’s make it a reality! Tek, you’re down for signage. I’ve got some surprises for every one of Lady Leeh’s Re-Read Gang. Wet: You can put it in your checked luggage and it will be OK. Just don’t put it in the carry-on. Or, take J.Dauro’s advice and pick up your favorite there. (A cab ride to the liquor store might be a “necessary” in any case!)
Tricia Irish
154. Tektonica
You're on, Man-O.

I'll see about obtaining a Bunker. Jay and I have discussed this before. Anyone with any ideas, feel free to Shoutbox us!
Bill Reamy
155. BillinHI
Not a huge wine drinker at home (tends to put me to sleep earlier than usual) but have certainly enjoyed it on the cruises we have done (no worries about driving, just get back to your stateroom!). Unless there are some major changes in our son's wedding plans (now scheduled for 2 weeks after JCon), I will be at JCon for the first time. Afterwards we plan to head further east, all the way to East Africa for a safari as the timing just all came together at the right time. Certainly looking forward to meeting all the re-readers that make it!!
I am of the opinion that Elayne is walking a thin line, trying to re-establish control of the Two Rivers area. Let's say that Perrin did want to raise the banner of Manetheren. And let's say that Elayne was inclined to not excepting that. It wouldn't be just Perrin she'd be going up against. One Matrim Cauthon is also from the Two Rivers and has a even more capable army at his back. I think Elayne's words about Perrin's intentions were reflected upon without any respect to what Mat's words implied. Mat telling Elayne not to worry over the the Two Rivers was taken by many as simple exasperation. But what I got from it was a very cool warning to Elayne that she might want to rethink going there regardless of Perrin's intent. A nation could break itself going against a Taveren. Going up against two, one of whom is "The Son of Battles", I think would equate to defeat before you even got started.

It never comes to that of course. The pattern and the nature of the function of Taveren and cool heads, prevented such a terrible scenario from occuring. And I realize the predicament Elayne was dealing with, but I always thought Elayne was acting as "mule headed" as Egwene has been about Rands master plan.

Which is why I think everything will work out with Egwene vs Rand as well. I have ideas about that too, but I realize many disagree, so I won't mention them again at this time. I don't want to side track this discussion, as it is enlightening as well as entertaining.


It's a different subject entirely, but now you know how I feel. It's tricksey, when someone or some people refuse to see the true intent and meaning of your words. Perceptions often are beholden to the "Eye of the Beholder" and despite your own intent, their perceptions of you can color their idea of what you meant by your own words. Defending yourself, I have found, is an effort in futility at times as sometimes people refuse to see you as you'd want and thus read into your words however they would choose, however logically you extrapolate.

Just as I know very well that you might not except this writing as comparable or even acknowledge it as an endeavor to heal a rift. Either way I am content. Just thought your plight amusing as I agree one hundred percent with you.

Jay Dauro
158. J.Dauro
Man-0-Manetheran. I will be driving in (since I live 3:45 away, and I have to bring some of the sound system.) So I would be glad to drive to a wine store.
Sandy Brewer
159. ShaggyBella
Iwould love to go to JCon sometime, but alas, living in the Borderlands (MT) I am a long ways away. Also none of my family are fans or will even read WOT, so there you go.
I would like to find some Mosel Zeller Schwarz Katz Riesling (Black Cat) for the Bunker; it was a favorite of mine in Germany.

note: I am a bit jealous as my sister is heading to GENCON Indy soon. Lots of fun there.
Alice Arneson
160. Wetlandernw
ShaggyBella @159 - Wish I could swing by and pick you up, but I have to admit that there's no way I'm driving to Georgia... For that matter, I'm still only a wannabee myself. *sigh* Too bad they don't decide to move JCon to Coeur d'Alene... :)
Rob Munnelly
161. RobMRobM
Tek - I'll have the occasional Riesling when out for dinner - same reason I tend to eat Shrimp while out, as I never get that at home either.

I'm also a red guy and am quite impressed by the reds selected above - I tend towards non-traditional reds, including Malbec, Cote du Rhone and southern country French, Tempranillo and a whole bunch of Italians (Valpolicella, Barbera, etc). But I'll head for a Cab or Pinot Noir anytime.

ShaggyB - I actually had a bottle of that when I spent a semester in Germany in 1983. Maybe even more than one.....

No Jcon for me but I'll be part of a virtual wine tasting anytime.
Tricia Irish
162. Tektonica
Maybe you western folks could get a group rate on a plane or bus or train or something....there's Wetlander, Subb, mis-fortuona, shaggybella, Samadai, faculty guy.... isn't JonathanLevy out there too..and then there's the SanDiego crew, Free, the Bug ...quite an illustrious group! Jcon needs you all!

And RobM....we know you're busy, but you're east coast....easy peasy...come on down!
Jonathan Levy
163. JonathanLevy

I'd love to be there, but I'm afraid I'm a bit further out East than the average reader here. Specifically, in the Middle East. The ten-hour flight makes my arrival... unlikely. But if by chance I find myself in the area, I will do my best to show up with a sample of Israeli red wines. :)

Speaking of which, there's an annual 3-day wine festival in Jerusalem, with dozens of vineyards offering their finest samples. It makes for quite an evening, especially if you brought a few good cheeses.
164. Freelancer
Wetlandernw @160

Now you're talking. Coeur d'Alene is an outstanding place to hold a fantasy gathering. The mountains, the lake, the river, the rock formations along the riverbed, a short drive to the Canadian rockies. Yes, that would be lovely.

@ 157

I don't know how you feel, and I don't try. There are many differences to be noted that I understand you will refuse to acknowledge, so I won't waste other folks' attention with that. The real intent of my words @81 stand on their own, and any careful read discovers that real intent with ease. I have not revised those words, nor backpedaled from what they mean or were intended to mean. That others chose to insert a meaning in them which was never there is not a "plight" of mine, but of theirs. While I find it a duty to point out misperceptions of others regarding my words, I don't find it to be a "plight".

You are not the only one who seems to thing I have been "defending" myself. Check again. I am not. I said what I meant, meant what I said, and haven't budged an inch from that position while correcting a misread some, whether accidentally or not, chose to perceive. And you can pretend all you wish, but you are not attempting to heal something by ressurecting its corpse. Not even a good try.
Chin Bawambi
165. bawambi
I am highly encouraged about the fact that others recommend the Van Vogt books as I just read "Weapon Shops of Isher" last week and didn't know that there are others in that universe. Also just read LeGuin's "The Dispossessed" glad to know that are others in the universe as well. I liked the Elayne/Mat meeting but I'm not upset at Elayne's internal POV about killing Perrin - me thinks she's already had shades of gray incidents before LOL!
Goodness gracious Freelancer!

No one can say I didn't try.

But as a note, anytime one feels the need to respond to misrepresentation of themselves, their words or their likeness, that one is indeed defending themselves. Whether it be mistaken perception or outright vehement misrepresentation due to a acute lack of acumen or gentile conversation and even mansplaining, call it what you will, you're still defending yourself. If you find yourself revising explanations in different ways, but are still saying the same basic things? It counts as defending yourself. And, if in fact the need to defend oneself has no meaningful sway over the opinions of your opinion, then it has become a plight. As I have tried (repeatedly so) to apologize to you over an unintentional offense, it has been for me at the very least (but not limited to) in fact a plight.

I have persisted with this line occasionally out of pure goodwill. I realize now that you feel it represents an annoyance. That no matter what I say or do, you will have nothing but vehemence for whatever effort I present. I have don't and never have had any ill will towards you. My comments above specifying you Freelancer, were meant as an example of how out of hand a mistaken meaning can occur from ones original intent. I also seeyou will except no good intent from me.

So to that I say, have a good one anyway.

Sorry for the bad typing errors. They were done on the phone and in mobile mode at least, things can get a little glitchy. This edit was done from the phone as well but it is on the full site. Why can't we be allowed to edit posts in mobile mode too? And is it possible to key in bold type from a mobile keyboard?

167. s'rEDIT
Ways @145: Really? You were in Riverside for that one? So was I, a student rooming off-campus in an old house just a few feet from an old railroad branch line that ran only one train per day. Slept right through the quake, with just a moment of wakefulness to wonder why the train came through early that morning.

(Since we all went sideways already, and I'm late to the party here.)
Heidi Byrd
168. sweetlilflower
I am local as well and would love to help prepare the bunker. I love to bake and had already planned on making lots of goodies to donate to the Con*Suite.

The only type of wine I like is pinot grigio, so I am afraid I don't have much to offer on that topic. Except...a lot of restaurants around here have an excellent pinot grigio called Ecco Domani. I bet you all get why I tried it the first time!

I think Elayne was showing some political savvy, Mat was trying to rationalize away his panic, and Olver is not a darkfriend; just in case anyone cares :-)
Glen V
169. Ways
s'rEDIT @167
Yes indeedy. UCR. So I have to wonder if our paths crossed back then. Hope we weren't mortal enemies (unlikely, but a somewhat intimidating thought).
I had a mortal enemy once... Once.

@167 s'rEDIT, are you intimidated because there was an actual mortal enemy?

Alice Arneson
171. Wetlandernw
Z - have you been imbibing in the bunker? That didn't make any sense whatsoever.
I've never been in a bunker before. I've been in a silo. And I guess you've never seen that TV show before for that to not make sense. It figures... No one ever catches my Metallica references either.

Damn double posts! I didn't even double tap it.

Alice Arneson
174. Wetlandernw
Z - just trying to figure out why you were addressing the "intimidation & mortal enemy" business to s'rEDIT when the comment which mentioned them was from Ways.
Thomas Keith
175. insectoid
Maybe it's the heat talking. I know it's been talking to me this week...

ETA: It could also be all this wine that's being passed around. :P

Ahhh! I see, I'm not to comment on anyone's commentary of someone else's comments who was commenting about them, even if in a friendly and jokingly way. Gotcha! I'll try not to make the same mistake again, but I can't promise you anything. It's not in my nature, you see. On account that it equates to a conversation in a very public forum which its sole purpose is to comment about any given commentary. But maybe I'm misunderstanding some rules of etiquette or something. I didn't say anything offensive did I? I seem to do that sometimes.


Edit: maybe I need to add something to let some know my intent. It seems to work for others, so here it goes.


Thomas Keith
177. insectoid
Z @176: Calm down; we're just teasing you. Hence the :P.
ETA: Besides, some of us are kind of twitchy for a new post...

James Hogan
179. Sonofthunder
Also, just for fun while we wait for a new post...when is everyone starting their "Last series re-read before a new WoT book EVER"? I'm currently reading TDR in my nightly reading. So weird knowing that next time I read it, I will know how the series ends. Wow.

Tonight will be reading one of my all-time favorite scenes, Perrin forging his hammer in Tear! Love it.
Rob Munnelly
180. RobMRobM
@179 - not sure it's my last re-read but I'm concluding my latest one. Happen to be in ToM - up to Shannahar chapter. Maybe have to start a final one in November.
Tricia Irish
181. Tektonica
Sweetlilflower@168: Next year don't be so shy and introduce yourself!

Looking forward to your goodies in the Bunker! And Pinot Grigio can be on the tasting menu too!
Deana Whitney
182. Braid_Tug
@RobMRobM: a final re-read in November? So all 13 books in 2 months? Wow, you're fast!

I can just see the Con brochure now...
Session: Bunker (or even Re-Read Bunker)

With many Con goers scratching their heads and going: "What's up with that one?"

Looking forward to my first JordanCon next year!!!
And a trip without the baby! Camp Grandma, there he goes! Wine and Cookiee Bunker, here I come!
183. srEDIT
ZEXXES @ 170: I confess to being at a loss to follow your question. Should I be intimidated that Ways implied he might have had mortal enemies eons ago?

@everyone: No final reread for me. With as much time as I have these days, I'd be reading until 2015.
Sam Mickel
184. Samadai
I have 14 days off (not counting Labor Day, Thansgiving or Christmas) before January 8th, so just enough days to get all the books read by the time AMoL arrives
Ron Garrison
185. Man-0-Manetheran
sweetlilflower @ 168:
Sweeeeeet! I think Lady Leeh’s Bunker will be THE spot! And while I prefer reds, my favorite white is pinot grigio. ALL wines are welcome in the wine tasting, and an Ecco Domani seems like a natural choice.

And might I also add, ALL cookies are welcome in the bunker. (Come on wetlandernw. It won't be the same without you. You know you wanna.)
Roger Powell
186. forkroot
My pre-AMoL reread is off to a slow start - I did all of the "prelims" (BBoBA, TEoTW prologue, New Spring, Ravens) and once the Olympics are over it will be time to resume with TEoTW again (at Chapter 1.)

I think this will be only my third time through all the books, although I've gone back and read snippets at other times.

I know I will have quite a different perspective on what might be going on (e.g. virtually every chapter with Verin.) RJ was a master at hiding subtleties in plain sight -- I'm sure I will pick up many more of his foreshadowing, hints, etc.
Tricia Irish
187. Tektonica
Samadai got me onto a complete reread last year, so no more rereads for me (at this time). I think it was #4. This thread will have to do to get me prepped for AMoL, and I think you all will do just fine!

Forkroot: It was interesting rereading with the Verin info in mind. Enjoy! And connecting much of the info in Book One was interesting too, in light of all we know. Wow, the changes Rand has been through!

Glad to hear Braid_Tug will be there too! The ranks are growing and the more the merrier!
Alice Arneson
188. Wetlandernw
Z@176 - Obviously, I did not say you couldn't comment. I just thought it was a bit strange and that you were perhaps addressing the wrong person. Equally obviously, I've never watched the show you reference - or we took away completely different things from it, since I don't know what you're talking about there either. It just read very... oddly... to my eyes. And to others, apparently.
No, no, no! You see, he said he hoped they weren't mortal enemies. So I was joking about having a mortal enemy once. Just once, as in, the mortal enemy isn't around anymore.

There was a TV show that had a character who would always say something to the effect of " My father gave me a spanking once... Once!" or "I had a teacher who gave me an F once... Once!" as in he killed anyone who did anything he didn't like. I can't for the life of me recall the name of the show. I'm thinking Hogan's Heroes or Get Smart or some such from that era.

The intimidating thing was just a question of whether if they were mortal enemies then and unbeknownst friends now, how do you reconcile that? Did you have an enemy then? Wouldn't it be funny if you're friends now?

I wasn't distressed at all during any of my commentary. I have been told that my humor is quite wry and dry, which doesn't always translate to the written word. Which is probably how Free and Leigh ended up hating my guts. And that's kool. I'm just a firm believer in forgiveness and redemption. So I just smile and keep on keep'n on; brush my shoulders off and keep my head up.

Peace and love yall. Unless we're enemies. To those, I say.. Check your six. But I don't have any enemies here, just mistaken adversaries.

190. srEDIT
@Z: ahhhhhhhhh..........OK. I think I get it now. As with most jokes, having to explain it kind of spoils the effect, but at least now I can appreciate the attempt!
Glen V
192. Ways
I'm sooooo confused.

I REALLY don't believe s'rEDIT and I were mortal enemies back in the day. That was just idle late night speculation (and the DO was intimidating me). I can't recall any mortal enemies, plus that was many moons ago and we all know time wounds all heals. Neither s'rEDIT nor I seem to be seriously wounded. So then, let's apply whatever Latin phrase or logical syllogism thing-a-magiggy that means it can't have happened because it didn't (is that some sort of time paradox?), and move on to the post today for more awesome entertainment! Unless we want to see more hunny here.

ZEXXES - We are not mortal enemies, no problem. But beware the
(good-natured) teasing machine.
Jay Dauro
193. J.Dauro

Not a TV Show. The movie, Johnny Dangerously. The character was Danny Vermin, played by Joe Piscopo.

"You shouldn't hang me on a hook, Johnny. My father hung me on a hook once. Once!"
Yessss! Hahaaaaa! I love that movie! Not great movie mind you but it always gave me the giggles.

Rob Munnelly
195. RobMRobM
@168 and all the bunker wine lovers - so the family and I go to our best friends' house for dinner and what wine is open and sitting on the table? Ecco Domani pinot grigio, that's what. LOL.

(I had a porter stout from a Portland ME microbrewery because my friend is part of a beer of the month club and was proud of it, but I came THIS CLOSE to grabbing a glass of the Ecco Domani. Next time perhaps....)
Rob Munnelly
197. RobMRobM
More likely sweetlilflower.... Tied to the pattern indeed.
Terry McNamee
198. macster
@58 forkroot: Ah yes, I'd forgotten about that. Yeah, both the source of the character's name and what he did makes it unlikely he'd be a Darkfriend--though in my defense, if my theory of him being Demandred was right, he'd have a pretty good reason to feel okay with charging out there: that presumably, Moridin would have ordered the Black Ajah not to kill him. But in any event I had said I was suspicious of Guybon, as in not any more. Since, you know, I am still convinced Demandred is Roedran (or controlling him).

@61 wcarter: Indeed. No one even knows what happened in the Two Rivers! Perrin told Rand, when he came to Caemlyn in LoC, but Rand never told anybody else; he didn't get to tell Mat, since Mat had already gone to Salidar by then, so there was nobody who could have told Elayne and Nynaeve when he was with them; and though Nynaeve, Elayne, and Egwene compared notes and realized Perrin had gone off with Faile, they didn't know why and never found out what they did.

@62 RobM, 63/85 Bergmaniac, @76 NotInventedHere, 81 Freelancer, 90 JonathanLevy: A lot of good arguments on both sides. I think Freelancer made a good case that Elayne could have figured it out based on Zera (and others) having talked about Dena and the death of Galldrian's men, info from Norry, and her own Daes Dae'mar training, but it could also have been just the deaths of those men which she knows about and the fact this happens to also apply to him killing Galldrian is a nice irony for the reader to appreciate.

As a side note, NIH, I'm sure you're remembering correctly, but that would have been at some point when she was traveling with Thom, either in Tanchico, the menagerie, Salidar, or Ebou Dar. I was referring to after she got back to Caemlyn and had a chance to sift through news from Cairhien. She would not have known prior to that, but could have figured it out before their reunion in ToM, thus explaining the pardon. And since her finding out he killed Galldrian doesn't mean it's common knowledge, I doubt her pardoning Thom would endanger her chances at the Sun Throne.

As for personally not being happy with Thom for committing regicide, Galldrian was not a good king at all, being corrupt, extravagant, and not at all caring for the plight of the common people--rather than helping rebuild after the Aiel War and making sure the country had food and prosperity, he spent all his time and money having festivals and Illuminator displays to keep the Foregaters distracted and happy--the fact his death led to the country collapsing into civil war and famine just proves how precarious everything was. Knowledge of the way Galldrian ran things was surely something Elayne knew of, either on her own or from Morgase's teachings, so I doubt she'd be too upset with Thom for killing him--she'd likely consider it karmic justice for how he treated his people.

Another side note to Freelancer @102: You misspoke yourself, it was Taringail whom Looking Glass said Moiraine knew had been killed by Thom, not Galldrian. Despite this, I agree with your assessment of how Elayne could have learned it.

@67 parrothead, 90 JonathanLevy re: Ghealdan: From what I can tell it's one of the few Randland nations with no Earth antecedents; the WOTFAQ doesn't list any, anyway. I can't recall much about how the villages there were described or the people's dress, other than Perrin thinking they didn't seem too different from the Two Rivers, but based on its location, squeezed between Amadicia (compared to Commonwealth England) and Andor, the fact that one border is Garen's Wall (despite being a cliff, it might be a reference to Hadrian's Wall), that the nation is constantly in danger of being taken over by Amadicia, and that in the end it falls apart thanks to the religious hysteria of the Prophet, it could be comparable to either Scotland or Ireland. (Would that make Alliandre an analogue of Mary, Queen of Scots?)

At the same time...not to bring up what almost was a touchy subject...there are some interesting parallels to Israel, at least in terms of location, place names, and role in the plot. Another name for Hadrian's Wall is the Broad Wall, which is also a wall in Jerusalem. Cities in Ghealdan include Bethal (Bethel), Jehannah (Gehenna, the trash pit whose name became synonymous with Hell), Samara (Samarra, in Iraq), and Sidon (in Lebanon). It's a small nation endangered by the ones surrounding and enclosing it, and once belonged to a much larger, fabled, powerful nation (as Israel's land did to Babylonia). It gets taken over by an intense, charismatic religious zealot who is essentially a much darker take on John the Baptist (the voice in the wilderness), and it's the home of Logain who in many ways could be said to hold a Peter-like role (second-in-command to the Chosen One, reluctant to follow his will and even at times hostile to him, will lead the group he created after the Chosen One has died/moved on).

The flag isn't of much use though; the only ones I can find involving three stars and a field of red are the flag of the Philippines and that of the state of Tennessee.

@77 thewindrose: Thanks for posting that from Sanderson, very powerful and moving.

@91 desertpaladin: Well said.

@125 thewindrose: LOL! You have a good point, if she's a Darkfriend and has been told of him by Moridin then that could be why she wants to meet with him. But there's plenty of other innocuous (or at least, non-Shadow-related) reasons for her interest: because he is so chummy with Elayne (and Thom, if Dyelin remembers him), because he's purported to be friends with Rand, because he's a womanizing, handsome rake that she finds attractive. Maybe she wants to pull a Tylin? Is that the bunker over there calling me? *ducks in* ;)

@128 ShaggyBella: Very good point, both about the color-blindness of Randland and the admirability of Jordan writing an interracial marriage.

@129 Wetlander: Well don't forget that even in our world, people can be very proud of the nation they come from and thus wear its clothes, eat and drink its food and drinks, follow its sports or national pastimes, and so on. Like the Scottish kilt, or certain kinds of African garb, or the English love of rugby, the Brazilian love of soccer... Randland just takes it a step farther.

@179 Sonofthunder: I'm currently re-reading TFoH.
199. srEDIT
@Ways: my curiosity was piqued. I had hoped you'd answer my Shout.

Oooo . . . do we still claim hunny when it's so belated? This will probably be my only chance, so . . .
200. srEDIT
My turn.

@ macster: interesting parallels you suggest.
Hahaaaaa! A hunny is a hunny no matter the time!

If you found a hunny on the sidewalk and you note that you could of really used it the week before, are you still not happy that you found a hunny?

Hunnyzzzz for everyone! Weeeeee!


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