Jul 3 2012 2:00pm

The Wheel of Time Re-read: Towers of Midnight, Part 8

The Wheel of Time reread on Tor.comDrink up, me hearties, for it’s a Wheel of Time Re-read!

Today’s entry covers Chapters 10 and 11 of Towers of Midnight, in which we contemplate the vagaries of theoretically fallacious linkage, the misappropriation of incongruous Latinate abbreviations, and the gratuitous invocation of admonitory AT-ATs.


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 10: After the Taint

What Happens
Perrin walks the camp with Elyas and Grady, berating himself for sending Gill et al off. Elyas counters that he couldn’t have done any differently, as the alternative would have been risking the camp followers getting caught between two armies of Shaido if their campaign at Malden had failed. Perrin notes that the Two Rivers sentries smell both disappointed and embarrassed, which Perrin attributes to the fact that they still believe he cheated on Faile with Berelain. Grady doesn’t see why Perrin doesn’t just send him and Neald to “pound those Children down” until they release their hostages. Perrin thinks he will do that if he has to, though he can’t help remembering the horror of Dumai’s Wells; he tells Grady that hopefully their alliance with the Queen of Ghealdan and their larger numbers will persuade the Whitecloaks to return them without violence, though he is not convinced himself.

There are no coincidences with ta’veren. The wolves, the Whitecloaks. Things he had been outrunning for some time were returning to hunt him.

[…]It felt like the time had come. Time to make an end to his troubles with them, one way or another.

Grady alerts Perrin that he thinks the Wise Ones and Neald have succeeded, and they go over to where Neald, Edarra and Masuri have created a large gateway between them. Neald is exuberant, and tells Grady that feeling saidar is “beautiful”; he explains to Perrin that he is not weaving saidar himself, but in a circle he can use it to augment what he does with saidin. Perrin notes that the women are not as enthused; Masuri smells afraid, Edarra wary, and Perrin remembers that apparently this kind of circle requires Neald to be in control, though Neald does not seem to be taking advantage of it. Grady then pulls Perrin aside to ask permission to go to the Black Tower for an afternoon to see his family. Perrin is reluctant to be without either of the Asha’man even for a short time, but tells Grady he will find time for it soon. He asks Grady what has changed that he has asked now, and Grady tells him it’s because the taint has been cleansed. Perrin tells Grady that he trusts Grady’s word that it is true, but doesn’t see the connection.

“When I joined the Lord Dragon, I knew what would happen to me. A few more years and I’d be gone. Might as well spend them fighting. The Lord Dragon told me I was a soldier, and a soldier can’t leave his duty. So I haven’t asked to go back before now. You needed me.”

“That’s changed?”

“My Lord, the taint is gone. I’m not going to go mad. That means… well, I always had a reason to fight. But now I’ve got a reason to live, too.”

Perrin realizes this must be how Rand feels too, and sees Rand riding through a muddy city with Nynaeve in the colors. He promises Grady he will see his family before “the end comes,” and Grady leaves, satisfied. A Maiden scout approaches to report that a Whitecloak is approaching the camp, and Perrin gathers Tam and heads to meet him; his heart sinks to see it is Dain Bornhald. Bornhald calls for “the criminal Perrin,” and tells him they have unfinished business. Perrin demands the release of his people, and Bornhald replies that the Lord Captain Commander is waiting ahead on the road to meet with him, and swears on oath that Perrin will return from the meeting safely, and that he may bring Aes Sedai with him if he wishes. Bornhald leaves, and Perrin tells a doubtful Tam that he has to at least try to parley with the Whitecloaks before attacking. Perrin has Grady dress like a Two Rivers man, to join him, Tam, Gaul, Sulin, and Edarra to go to the meeting.

As he and the others neared, someone stepped from the small tent, wearing white. The tall man had fine features and short, dark hair. Most women would probably call him handsome. He smelled… better than the other Whitecloaks. They had a wild scent to them, like that of a rabid animal. This leader of theirs smelled calm, and not sickly at all.

The Lord Captain Commander comments on his eyes, and Perrin asks what it will take to get him to release Perrin’s people. The other man says that his Whitecloaks tell him that Perrin offered such an exchange before and then betrayed it; Perrin counters that the price demanded was his own life, and warns the other not to make him force the issue a second time. The Lord Captain Commander replies that he has been told Perrin murdered several of the Children, and that he leads Trollocs to attack villages. Perrin answers that his men are not very reliable, and demands a formal parley. The Lord Captain Commander replies that he merely wanted to see Perrin for himself, and tells him that if Perrin’s forces meet his on the field of battle, he will release the prisoners regardless of the outcome.

“And if I refuse?” Perrin asked.

“Then it will not bode…well for their health.”

Perrin ground his teeth.

“Your force will face ours under the Light,” the Whitecloak leader said. “Those are our terms.”

Grady looks a question at him, and Perrin is tempted to have him capture the man right there, but decides not to break the oath of peace, and leaves instead.

Galad watches Aybara go, and wonders if he had been wrong to discount Byar’s contention that the man was not just a Darkfriend but Shadowspawn, with those eyes. Bornhald thinks the meeting was foolhardy, considering the risk of the One Power, but Galad points out that if Aybara had wanted to kill him that way he would already have done so, but judging from what Byar and Bornhald say, is too invested in his appearance as a good guy to be so overt. Galad recalls that Aybara had stiffened at the mention of the murdered Whitecloaks, and the rumors that he had allied with the Seanchan and had men who could channel with him.

Better to defeat this Aybara now, than to wait and face him at the Last Battle. As quickly as that, he made his decision. The right decision. They would fight.

“Come,” Galad said, waving to his men. “Let’s get back to camp.”

I didn’t actually shout “YOU ARE A DUMBASS” at the book out loud, the first time I read that last bit, but probably only because I read most of TOM for the first time in a crowded coffee shop on Broadway, and even in New York people will give you funny looks for that sort of thing.

And… well, now that I’m thinking about it, I’m not actually sure whether I thought it would All Come Right In The End between Perrin and Galad/the Whitecloaks or not, the first time around. Probably, but I don’t remember speculating on it specifically, mainly because I was distracted by being all agog for Galad to catch a glimpse of his mom and be all HOLY SHITBALLS (or, er, the Galadian equivalent of “holy shitballs,” which is probably a lot more upstanding and spit-polished, and also much less funny, neener), and also being pissed that his rejection of a more formal parley lessened the chances of that.

Well, not lessened, because I was absolutely dead sure that they were going to run into each other at some point, but I was pissed because now it was going to take longer, or so I assumed. Hence, dumbass. Q.E.D.

But I guess it’s nice to know that Galad doesn’t have Crazy Smell – although I’m still not entirely sold on the idea that fanaticism arrived at via logic and moral stick-up-assery rectitude is any better than achieving fanaticism via vigorous application of fear, ignorance and prejudice. Just because the former smells prettier doesn’t mean it isn’t just as dangerous as the latter – if not even more so, actually.

And I love the “logic” here, too. Right, Galad, Perrin only refrained from killing you because it would be bad PR. There couldn’t possibly be any other explanation!

Montem al’San and Azi al’Thone—Perrin’s two guards for the day—trailed behind.

*raises eyebrow* I’m… going to assume those are fan shout-out names, and… move on.

Faile didn’t seem to have heard what was happening. Perrin would bring her if there was a longer parley or discussion, but he intended this trip to be quick, and he needed to be able to move without worrying about her.



Um, no, Perrin. Either Faile is your partner and your equal, and therefore gets to be in on all major decisions that potentially involve you getting killed or kidnapped or starting a war, just as I have ABSOLUTELY NO DOUBT you would expect from her as well, or she is your fragile little flower who must be protected from hurting her darling widdle head with all that tactical thinking, and you fail.

At least have the decency inside your own head to admit why you really sneaked off without talking to your wife first, which is that you just didn’t want to give her the chance to object to the idea. Which is also fail-boaty, but at least has the virtue of not making you come off like a condescending prick. Sheesh.

Randomly, do you have any clue how annoying it is to have to type “Lord Captain Commander” over and over again? Here’s a hint: VERY. Whitecloaks: so annoying that even their titles are annoying. Gah.

Also: nice little interlude with Grady and Perrin, though hindsight makes me extremely grateful Grady didn’t go to the Black Tower just then. I really do like how much Perrin is treating both Asha’man more like people and less like weapons that need to be handled with metaphorical tongs, even with his memories of Dumai’s Wells and all to incline him the opposite way. I was also going to congratulate him on believing Grady about the taint being cleansed, but I think Perrin kind of has an unfair advantage there in that he can smell that Grady’s not being delusional about it. Still, it’s good that he makes a point of telling Grady that he believes him. So now if Perrin could only treat everyone else that well…

On linking: okay, I don’t know if I just missed a memo or what, but I am confused by the “who controls the link” rules of One Power circles. Not because of what happened here, but because what happened here reminded me of what happened elsewhere that doesn’t jibe with what happened here.

…Perhaps I should unpack that a bit. Use, like, nouns, and stuff. Ahem.

Right, so, the glossaries for LOC and ACOS (which are the only ones with an entry on linking, and yes, I actually checked them all, because I am a giant nerd) says that the only times a man must control the circle is when there are (a) seventy-two people in it (the largest number possible), or (b) in “mixed circles of less than thirteen.”

So, groovy, whatever, and that works just fine for what we see in this chapter, and what we saw when Sammael and Graendal were working together, but then how does that square with what has to be used to safely wield Callandor, which is, according to Cadsuane (and proven during the Cleansing), a circle of one man and two women, but with one of the women controlling the circle? Thems not the rules, y’all!

I don’t know if that’s a mistake or what, but now that I’ve thought of it I find it rather bothersome. I suppose it’s possible that the addition of The Sword That Ain’t means that the regular rules of linking no longer apply, but I have no idea why that would be. It makes even less sense when you consider that Callandor is a male sa’angreal, and so you’d think that it would be more, um, happy (or whatever) with the guy in control of the link anyway.

But then again, the whole reason it has to be wielded that way in the first place is because it’s kind of broken, so, sure, I guess. *shrug*


Chapter 11: An Unexpected Letter

What Happens
Elayne hurls Ellorien’s “proposal” (which contains a bunch of “empty promises” in return for the release of the nobles who opposed her during the Succession) to the floor, to Birgitte’s amusement, and declares it an insult. Dyelin points out that she can’t keep the nobles imprisoned forever; Elayne had been considering releasing them, in fact, but knows that if she does so now, their gratitude (and loyalty) would go to Ellorien instead of her. Elayne reflects that Ellorien is one of the last holdouts against her rule, but Elayne’s support from the other Houses is still too precarious in this delicate period. She points out that the captive nobles are a resource, and Dyelin counters, not if she never uses them. Birgitte suggests executing them, to Dyelin and Elayne’s shock.

“What?” Birgitte said. “It’s what they deserve, and it would establish a hardfisted reputation.”

“It’s not right,” Elayne said. “They should not be killed for supporting someone else for the throne. There can be no treason where there is no Queen.”

“So our soldiers can die, but the nobles bloody walk away?” Birgitte asked. Then she raised a hand before Elayne could protest. “Spare the lecture, Elayne. I understand. I don’t agree, but I understand. It’s always been this way.”

Elayne says that she cannot allow this jockeying for power among the Houses to continue, with the Last Battle fast approaching, and needs something to either unify them behind her or scare them off from challenging her:

“It’s time to seize Cairhien.”

Birgitte choked quietly on her tea. Dyelin merely raised an eyebrow. “A bold move.”

“Bold?” Birgitte asked, wiping her chin. “It’s bloody insane. Elayne, you barely have your fingers on Andor.”

Elayne says this is why it’s a good idea; she doesn’t have fifteen years to stabilize her rule like her mother did, and this will show she is not to be trifled with. Dyelin points out that it could look like she’s letting al’Thor hand it to her, but Elayne is unconcerned by that. She tells Dyelin that it was important that she take Andor by herself, but she has no problem with accepting Cairhien from Rand. She further points out that with Cairhien, she will be one of the most powerful monarchs since Artur Hawkwing. Norry enters, and hesitantly informs Elayne that he has been using Hark to watch Duhara Basaheen, the Aes Sedai emissary from Elaida Elayne has been consistently refusing to see; Elayne is delighted, to his surprise, and he goes on to tell her that Duhara was seen visiting with Ellorien. Elayne is momentarily intrigued by this until she realizes that Duhara had meant to be seen, as a warning to Elayne.

“Ah,” Norry said, deflated. “So my initiative wasn’t so keen after all.”

“Oh, it was still valuable,” Elayne said. “If you hadn’t had her watched, we’d have missed this—which would have been embarrassing. If someone is going to go out of her way to insult me, then I at least want to be aware of it.”

Elayne wishes Egwene would hurry up and oust Elaida. Norry goes on to tell her thathe has been obeying her edict regarding mercenary bands (to let them stay near the city but otherwise ignore them for now), but he has received a very “familiar” letter from one of their captains that Norry was hesitant to ignore in case his “outlandish” claims had any truth. Curiously, Elayne takes the letter.

Your Royal Bloody Pain in My Back,

We’re bloody waiting here to talk to you, and we’re getting angry perturbed. (That means angry.) Thom says that you’re a queen now, but I figure that changes nothing, sense you acted like a queen all the time anyway. Don’t forget that I carried halled your pretty little backside out of a hole in Tear, but you acted like a queen then, so I guess I don’t know why I’m suprised now that you act like one when you really are a queen.

So I’m thinking I should treat you like a bloody Queen and send you a bloody letter and all, speaking with high talk and getting your attention. I even used my ring as a signet, like it was paper proper. So here is my formal salutation. So BLOODY STOP TURNING ME AWAY so we can talk. I need your bellfounders. It’s bloody important.


p.s. Salutation means greeting.  

p.p.s. Don’t mind the scratched out words and bad spellings. I was going to rewrite this letter, but Thom is laffing so hard at me that I want to be done.  

p.p.s. Don’t mind me calling your backside pretty. I hardly ever spent any time looking at it, as I’ve an awareness that you’d pull my eyes out if you saw me. Besides, I’m married now, so that all doesn’t matter.

Elayne is torn between outrage and exultation to hear that Thom is alive and Mat is in Andor. Birgitte thinks she is upset until she bursts out laughing, and gives the letter to Birgitte; Birgitte chuckles and comments that Mat’s backside is just as nice as Elayne’s (Norry is appalled), and that it will be good to have a drink with someone who doesn’t think of her as their “bloody military superior.” Elayne tells Norry that Mat and the Band are friends and hopefully allies; she thinks Mat is “a scoundrel,” but has a surprisingly good eye for tactics. She tells Norry to arrange a meeting with Mat and Thom, and Norry bows and leaves. Birgitte wonders why he mentioned bellfounders; Elayne isn’t sure, but has no doubt it has to do with some scheme of Mat’s. Confused, Dyelin asks who this man is, and Birgitte tells her he is one of the other two ta’veren who grew up with Rand; Elayne adds that he is useful when “harnessed” properly, and a disaster when not, but he knows how to fight.

“And, from what I remember Mat saying, he has a lot of Cairhienin in the Band. They are native sons. If I arrive with that section of the Band as part of my army, perhaps the transition will be easier.”

“So you really do intend to go through with this?” Dyelin asked. “Taking the Sun Throne? Now?”

“The world needs unity,” Elayne said, standing. “With Cairhien, I begin knitting us all together. Rand already controls Illian and Tear, and has bonds to the Aiel. We’re all connected.”

She feels only cold anger from Rand these days, and reflects that she doesn’t intend for Andor to become merely part of the Dragon’s empire, especially since that empire might fall to another if Rand dies at Shayol Ghul, though it pains her to be that coldly practical about it. Dyelin comments ruefully that she seems committed to this course of action, and Elayne agrees, but says they will need reliable Traveling ability to do it.

“Let’s set up a meeting for me with Sumeko and Alise. We need to discuss the future of the Kin.”

There was no way on earth I was even going to try to summarize Mat’s letter, so you get it fully quoted in all its dubious glory.

And… well, I laughed, so there’s that at least. I don’t know if I quite buy that this is how Mat would write, but as far as I know we’ve never seen Mat write anything longer than a very brief note, and by his own admission he’s no more than adequate in the literacy department, so it would certainly make sense that his spelling isn’t spectacular. (Though you’d think his memories would compensate for some of that… but then again I guess they would only help if he was trying to write in the Old Tongue, so never mind.) And quite often people “sound” very differently in writing than they do in speech, even when they’re not trying to be formal. So, okay, fine, I’m not going to harp on it.

The only really major problem I have, therefore, is the use of “p.s./p.p.s”, which is not anachronistic so much as it is just flat-out inappropriate to use in this context, in my opinion. “Postscript” comes from the Latin post scriptum, and while I suppose you can make a case that this is just a “translation” of a similar letter-writing convention in Randland Basic, it’s just – enh. It feels wrong to have it there, just as Min’s only-makes-sense-in-English “toe/toh” pun felt in WH. What can I say, it threw me out of the story, and, well, yeah.

Although I did enjoy Birgitte’s reaction to the letter, and her obvious pleasure at the thought of seeing Mat again. Their simple and uncomplicated (and, therefore, apparently incredibly rare) friendship remains one of my favorite relationships in all of WOT.

Also, lookit Birgitte and her populist self! Not that I don’t agree with her sentiments, because she’s absolutely right that it sucks that commonfolk die and the nobles get spared, but she probably should have thought of that before she got herself bonded to royalty, eh?

…Er, not that she was actually consulted about that, of course. Whoops?

(I’m not really drawing a connection between the two, by the way. Elayne saved Birgitte’s life by bonding her, and totally would have asked permission if such had been possible, and Birgitte has stated outright that she is perfectly fine with Elayne’s decision. So, yeah, not the same thing at all.)

As far as Elayne’s decision to take Cairhien goes, maybe this is just hindsight talking but all I have to say is BLOODY FINALLY. Let’s get this show on the road already, Lightside people. And after all the belly-aching over not letting Rand give her Andor (which I actually agreed with in principle but was violently against in terms of how much it stretched out that plot narratively), I found her shrug of “So?” about taking Cairhien as a gift from Rand to be delightfully practical and efficient.

I even agreed with her reasoning that she should attempt to keep Andor (and Cairhien) at least nominally separate from Rand’s “empire.” Which I put in quotes because of course Rand pretty much designed it to fall apart once he dies, insofar as there was any organized designing involved in the first place. That Elayne recognizes this (even if she doesn’t quite seem to realize that Rand is just as well aware of the inevitability of it as she is) speaks well of her political astuteness, in my opinion.

And if she gets more power out of it, well, as long as we’re going with the Randlandian premise that absolute(ish) monarchy is the best system of government possible (and actually, historically monarchies have always been the most stable form of government even in the real world), then that can be construed as civic responsibility just as much as it could be considered a straight power grab. Because if there’s one thing Cairhien in particular could use at the moment, it’s some stability.

Lastly and least relevantly, I really don’t understand why the dragon icon was used for this chapter. Sure, Rand was mentioned in it, but then he’s mentioned pretty much in all the chapters. Because of that whole protagonist/central character/Messiah thing he’s got going on, dontcha know. Just having a mention of him is not sufficient reason to give him the icon, in my opinion.

Especially since there would have been at least three icons that would have been ten times more appropriate for the subject matter: the rampant lion of Andor, most obviously, followed closely by the rising sun of Cairhien, since that was the central subject discussed, and lastly Mat’s dice icon, considering the chapter’s named after his letter. Hell, even the Aes Sedai white flame would have made more sense than the dragon, given the talk about Duhara and the Tower and so on. So yeah, I don’t get that icon choice at all.

Instead, I leave you to contemplate it, and the many other things I have perhaps nonsensically said! So have a lovely week, and may it include many yummy barbeques and sparkly explosions and general red-white-and-blueage for the USAians in the audience. Well, the rest of you can have all that too if you want, but I figured you’re probably, y’know, not as into it. And… yes. Yo ho!

TW Grace
1. TWGrace
Mat's letter really threw me out of the story.

It, much like most of Mat in TGS, didnt strike me as being correct.

Plus the multiple PSs made me wonder if Mat had read Tolkien at some point.
Kat Blom
2. pro_star
I'll agree with the oddness of Mat's letter. Granted, it did make me giggle a little bit but...

Leigh, bonus points for Pirates reference ;)
3. Bartz
I see we get another feminism rant from Leigh. I thought by now that Perrin's attitude is in character for him and is representative of his cultural upbringing.

I can't really see the need to bring this up EVERY time it happens.

Anyway, Mat's letter was incredibly out of character and out of that world. It makes no sense
4. Kadere
I hate everything about that letter. Especially since we've seen Mat write letters before, and he doesn't write anything like that. And why would he add the P.S.'s about Thom laughing or any of that? He'd never want to look that foolish. Seriously hate that letter. It's just Sanderson attempting his usual kind of humor that doesn't work here.
5. s'rEDIT
@ Bartz 3: Some of us agree with Leigh and some don't, but this is her blog. If you want to stick around, we'd prefer to discuss the book and not use up space to take her to task for her stance. Get over it already!
Don Barkauskas
6. bad_platypus
The rules were updated from those glossaries. From TBBoBA, pg. 23, et seq.:
A circle of up to thirteen female channelers can be linked together without the presence of a man. If a man is added to the link of thirteen, then they can increase the link to include thirteen more women, or a total of twenty-six women and one man. Two men can take the circle to inlcude thirty-four women. The next total is forty-five, with three men linked with forty-two women, then fifty-four (four men and fifty women), then sixty-three (five men and fifty-eight women), and finally seventy-two (six men and sixty-six women). This last, a circle of seventy-two, is the maximum possible link in terms of numbers.

Other gender mixes are possible in a link as well. The number of men in a circle is limited only by the fact that with the exceptions of the linking of one man and one woman or of two men and one woman (and, of course, two men and two women), there must be at least one more woman in the circle than the number of men. Thus, three men would need four women to be in a cirlce together, four men owuld need five women, and so on. There can also be smaller circles than thirteen, whether of women alone or of men and women.

The cumulative strength of a circle depends on its size, the strengths of the individuals linked, whether or not angreal or sa'angreal are used, and the balance between male and female members in the circle. Although men are stronger than women, the strongest circles were those which contained nearly equal numbers of men and women. A smaller circle with a closer balance can be stronger than a larger, unbalanced circle.

The most powerful circle potentially, depending on the strengths and gifts of those linked, would be one containing thirty-five men and thirty-seven women, achieving the maxmimum possible size of seventy-two members as well as the greatest possible balance of male and female.

In most cases, either a man or woman can control the link---this is called leading, focusing, or guiding---but in the case of a circle of seventy-two, a circle of only one man and one woman, or in most circles of up to thirteen which contain more than one man, a man must lead. Excepting the examples given above, and other circles of thirteen or less, a woman must lead when the minimum number of men are present.
7. neverspeakawordagain
I started reading the series right after A Crown of Swords came out. Thus, the slight detour of Mat running out to find Olver that seperated the group in Ebou Dar led to FIFTEEN YEARS of me waiting for Mat and Elayne to rejoin each other. You have no idea how much I looked forward to their reunion here, just because it meant that there would finally be some consolidation of forces in anticipation of the last battle. Of course, now that the Band is stuck defending the doomed city of Caemlyn while Elayne's off in the Fields of Merillor, that's all fallen by the wayside, but... whatever, it was really good to see Mat finally get back to Elayne where he belonged.

Also, I'm pretty sure this chapter was the first time I hadn't absolutely hated a Perrin chapter since Dumai's Wells.
Neil Sood
8. RanchoUnicorno
@3 - I'm more than happy to call out Leigh when she pulls out tired or specious feminism observations/arguments instead of novel points, but I don't think I'm going to agree with you here. Leigh is right about Perrin lying to himself because he is more concerned with protecting "helpless" Faile than treating her as an equal.

I just think she's wrong about it being a bad thing here, for two reasons:

1) The lying to himself - Every (or near enough) WoT character does this, justifying their behavior. I've got no problem here, since I think Perrin doesn't rely on the tactic and it makes sense with the timing;

2) The timing - He just rescued Faile (who was surviving, but I'm not sure for how much longer) from the Shaido. Of course he is going to be overprotective. Any time something bad happens to someone you care about, you become a little more cautious until you can mentally move on.
Roger Powell
9. forkroot
Leigh - I'll ask again ... any chance of picking up the pace so the reread finishes in time for the inevitable AMoL prologue/run-up/etc. ??
John Massey
10. subwoofer
I'm kinda sad that Dyelin's character is minimized in the last few books. In a way it reminds me of the back seat that Bashere and Rhuarc took in the last little bit. It is my hope that these characters get more screen time in the last book, hopefully not as cannon fodder.

The letter felt over the top and out of sorts with Mat... unless Mat was drunk at the time. IMHO the levity around Mat is because Mat is unaware of what a douche he is.... the whole "where does Olver learn this stuff from?" is a prime example. Mat digging a trench in the pouring rain to hide the a'dam is another. This letter smacks of trying to hard, something Mat is not known for.

Edit for spelling.

Gary Singer
11. AhoyMatey
Thanks for a great post as always, Leigh.

I thought Matt's letter was awesome. Very funny. I liked how he ended up explaining "big words" to Elayne :)
Stefan Mitev
12. Bergmaniac
Elayne is back, awesome. She's my favourite character and I really missed her in TGS. I like that she decided to take over Cairhien, about time.

The letter made me laugh, and that's the important thing for me. Sure, it's a bit over the top, but acceptable for me, and let's not forget Mat wanted to make it blatant. And I know that the previous note Mat wrote had no mistakes, but logically someone like him who barely ever reads books, was notoriously lazy as a kid and has no formal education, should have bad spelling. The memories help them, the most recent of them are 500 years old or more IIRC, surely the spelling has changed drastically since then.

Galad - his plan makes no sense. The Whitecloacks had no chance against an army with much superior numbers and channellers to boot.
Charles Gaston
13. parrothead
The infamous letter.

I never had a huge problem with it, but then I'm not the world's biggest Mat fan, either. It has already been claimed, and doubtless will be again, that we've seen his letters before. Well, no, not exactly. Take the note from ACoS, for example. We see him writing it, but not the SuperGirls reading it, if that makes sense. In other words, we see the thoughts he puts on paper, not the paper that receives those thoughts like we do here. Plus, the standardization of the English language is itself a fairly new concept; who is to say that this letter doesn't represent the basic level of literacy one might find in an isolated farming village like Emond's Field?
14. Ryanus
Two comments. First towards Perrin's call to not have Faile at the meeting.

Sorry, I'm on bored with this, you can call me sexist, but I call it practical and intelligent. I am walking into an unknown situation that I feel I HAVE to handle. I am legitimately worried for the safety of everyone that comes with, which would include my wife if she came. Quite frankly, I would have come with just Grady, two through a Gateway is the easiest escape possible, more just adds risk.

This situation is COMPLETELY different from a formal parlay where there will be more guards and a greater promise of safety for all involved.

In closing I'd ask Leigh to do what she very legitimately suggests in many other situations. Reverse all the genders and see what she thinks. If Perrin, a woman, was concerned for her husband's safety and left him out of it does it come off as bad?

As a side note I would seriously recommend L.E. Modeitt Jr's Fall of Angels, Chaos Balance and Arms Commander as a good look at dealing with a sexist society and strong women trying to deal with it.

Onto Mat's letter. There's a single statement in that letter that makes it completely okay in my eyes. "p.p.s. Don’t mind the scratched out words and bad spellings. I was going to rewrite this letter, but Thom is laffing so hard at me that I want to be done."

I will absolutely believe that Mat, while quickly writing a draft, as an admitted poor scholar and scribe, would have all kinds of glitches, spelling issues, etc, etc. It seems very clear that these were his quick thoughts that he was then going to go back over and fix to be more respectable, but then he became annoyed with Thom and just basically said to heck with it.

Some of those spelling errors seem off to me, but then I have a heavy educational background in writing and as such my spelling tends to be fairly solid. But I KNOW if I don't proof-read things I slip in the wrong word here or there, or type something that made sense as I wrote but in retrospect is off.
16. s'rEDIT
@fork9: I've been waiting to hear something in response to that request. It sounded helpful and reasonable to me.

And, just to say something a propos to the actual reread thread: I chuckled at Mat's letter when I read it; it's definitely an attention-getter. But the attention it got was that of the reader, i.e., it was supposed to get Elayne's attention, in world; but what it really got was everyone's attention, even in the RW.
17. MasterAlThor
Mat's letter was hilarious. I enjoyed it cause it was exactly the way I would picture Mat writting it. The PS's are a non starter for me.

But I have a bone to pick with you Leigh about Perrin and sneaking out on his wife. Any man who just had his wife kidnapped and tottured would do everything they could to "coddle" her until they came to terms with it. So I believe that Perrin made the right choice here. The fact that it has been what??? A few weeks later at the most.

I suppose one could say that the best place for her is right next to him, but she is actually better off in the middle of his army. Perrin only took a few people with him.

All I am saying is cut the man some slack.

18. Cody91
Elayne becoming Queen of Cairhien has always rubbed me the wrong way. In order to do so (well) she would have to be able to treat the two nations as 100% equal, and I don't think she has it in her. I don't think she's capable of not favouring her homeland, or looking down on the
Cairihienen as most everone we've seen does. Which, ya know, racism is bad, but it's even worse when it's coming from the leader of your country.

Also, Mat's letter was fine, you people need to stop being so nit-picky. Toe/toh is too much for you? Really? This is the third time I've noticed you've made a stink over your disagreement with language and it really comes across as kind of petty.
Nadine L.
19. travyl
@6. if I read this explanation, especially the last few lines correctly, (Excepting the examples given above, and other circles of thirteen or less, a woman must lead when the minimum number of men are present) then what happens here is totally false? Neald, singel man is leading this circle of about him and 3 woman - that would be a mistake, right?
EDIT: i am very much confused, I guess it's right, never mind.

Re Perrin: I agree with the above comment that Perrin was right to leave his wife behind. As long as he is going alone (with Grady), the risk is reasonable, arguing with his wife about it wouldn't do any good and lying to oneself about the justification fits into the WOT-world.

Re Mat's letter: some month ago, when we discussed it, I argued, that Mat might have done some of it to exagerate on purpose, to meet the expectation Elayne might have of him. - I don't think that anymore, but I really like Ryanus's explanation about it being a draft, which he then sent, like his coat later on, he refuses to change, before meeting Elayne. - over the top or not, in all I found the whole scene really funny, have often reread it, and therefore don't really mind about it being exagerated.
20. NotInventedHere
Perrin totally should have told Galad he was disinclined to acquiesce to his proposal. Fricking parley.

I hate the letter. Yes, Mat's spelling is probably less than perfect, but it just seems so out of place. Too over-the-top played for laughs to feel appropriate, it really breaks the immersion. It is great to (almost) have Birgitte and Mat back together again, even if very briefly - no end of fun when those two get going.
21. Darth Touma
RE: Perrin sneaking out.

The "coddling" aside, it is good leadership to not have your entire leadership put in what can be mortal danger at the same time. If things had gone South and Perrin had been captured/killed, it made sense for Faile to have stayed behind so that the command structure of the group remained intact.

Whether this was his intent or not, it made good sense since the chain of command would have remained intact in a worst-case scenario.
22. Bartz

I do agree that this IS Leigh's blog and she is putting these things out for people to see. The fact that comments are allowed means she wants to see what people have to say about what she thinks. I respect her enough to believe that she doesn't want to just surround herself with sycophants.

My point in bringing that up is that her views, (including feminism and gender equality and so on) are perfectly fine for her to have, and I don't have a problem with that. However, as I've been reading this blog I have become increasingly irritated with her tendency to bring up each and every time that a character in the series acts or thinks in a way that conflicts with her world view, even when this is completely in character for Perrin (or whoever) to do this.

We know that Leigh finds human enslavement disgusting. Her bringing it up each and every instance it is mentioned in the books is broken-record status. I'd much rather hear her thoughts on subjects that haven't yet been thoroughly explored here.
John Massey
23. subwoofer
I also never picked up on any issues with leaving Faile behind. Let's face it, if things hit the fan, Faile and her twirling knives would do little good. I liken it to any slow fat friends I have, in the event of a wild animal attack or zombies, they're the ones that are getting pulled down first, 'cause there is no way they're outrunning me unless they are shot out of a cannon.

Nice pic btw.

I do agree that Galad's logic is kinda sketchy, but what I am surprised at is that Bornhald is still alive. The guy keeps on turning up like a bad penny. Gah. And Perrin, hoping the Whitecloaks will be reasonable? It's a bit early to be into the sauce, isn't it?

Warren Soulard
24. Hrothgordo
There are a number of clues that Rand visited Caemlyn at some point during ToM. Specifically the weather changes that occur in the city, Nynaeve’s “good” soup, and Perrin’s thoughts during his meeting with Elayne.

I just believed that the Dragon icon was used to establish the timing of that visit despite the lack of (visible) Rand.

These first chapter starts some of my criticisms of ToM in that some plots and characters became a little too simplistic. It seems to be about using the most direct path to fulfill any requirements of any foreshadowing/prophecy from the previous books (ex: The Tower of Ghenji).

Galad really only has 3 items on that list: the Galad/Morgase reunion, the Berelain love thing, and the final revelation of Rand as his half-brother. We fulfill two of these in about 4 paragraphs.

Perrin has to resolve the EMO-leadership thing (as well as waste a lot of time doing nothing until he can catch up to the rest of the cast in the timeline) so we get the “Law & Order: WoT” trial. All because Perrin feels some guilt over the two Whitecloaks he killed in EotW; and yet never thinking about the group he and Gaul turned into sausage in tDR.
25. wcarter4
On Circles

We haven't actually been told all of the exact rules regarding circles, but we have been told that the rules of Whose In Charge are based on the ratios of men to women in the circle. Certain ratios necessitate a woman lead, others a man and at least of few exist where it doesn't matter i.e a circle of 72 made up of 36 men and 36 women.

One of the few rules that has been mentioned is that a man must control a link between one man and one woman between two women.
In the case of Callendor based off what Cadsuane said to Rand I think two women and a man is actually a circle that can be controlled by either party.
In the case of Callendor it "needs" to be controlled by a woman not because that's the type of circle it is, but because if a man is in controll then Callendor's flaw creates a risk of drawing too much power and burning out all three channelers.

It's been said before that Aes Sedi can't draw too much power when linked or when channeling through a (Sa')angreal. So if a woman is in control they're safe, if not I guess the man could accidentially draw too much power through Callandor.
Charles Gaston
26. parrothead
@ Bartz 22:

Given that the gender issue is a (perhaps THE) major theme of the series, not talking about it would be intellectually dishonest. Given that slavery is a recurring source of conflict, ignoring it would be dereliction of her job as recapper/commentator. Not discussing such aspects would be an insult to the author, who obviously felt that such conversations were important enough to spend two decades of his life on.
27. wcarter4
Correction, looking at some of the above posts it seems like it's been too long since I've read the Big White Book of Lies.
Still I don't recall there being anything that explilcitily stated a man couldn't lead a circle with three women?
David W
28. DavidW
Wasn't Sammael leading the circle between him and Graendal back when they Sammael was messing with the Shaido Wise Ones?
29. LogainsBrother
About the letter: I just fell over laughing when I read it!
In my view this would be Mat completely. Not only does he admit to not being a scholar, as some people here mentioned. I also remember him spefically thinking about how he never gets around to reading books.
A man who doesn't read, won't ever spell correctly. A man who does, might do fine. (But it's not guaranteed)

I love how you remember that many non Americans also read the books and your post. Most Americans don't bother with that.

So have a fun 4th of July! I'll just be having me a work day :(
30. Gentleman Farmer
I think the better examples for men vs women leading in circles of three are found at the cleansing of the taint on Saidin.

In the protection of Rand and Nynaeve, there are examples of both women leading (Eben Hopwil and Narishma were both in circles of with women leading) and men leading (Damer Flinn)... that being said, I think Narishma had Callandor, so maybe there is a special exception there, although it appears everyone must have known about it at the time, and didn't comment on it.
31. Batonga
I assumed the dragon was used as the icon, beacuse of the mention of the bellfounders..... everything is nice and fun in the chapter, but I think the idea that the Rand's "Dragons" are going to be operational at some point will be key. IMHO
Margot Virzana
32. LuvURphleb
You are not a nerd but a thorough archivist deep in the annals of WOT. Any true WOT master would expect nothing less than a check of all published books.
(hereby decree masters degrees in jordanian WOT to all who qualify)
John Massey
33. subwoofer

Since we are posting pics of AT-ATs...

Roger Powell
34. forkroot
Re Elayne taking over Cairhien:

Who cares?? At this point in the plot, Tarmon Gaidon and the end of the Age loom. The political maneuvering involved would have been interesting about five books ago. Now it's an annoying distraction.

Regular readers of my rants will recognize this restatement: {:: hmmm, alliteration can be fun! ::}

If, at the end of TOM, there is still an Andor and a Caihien then I call epic fail on the whole series. It's the end of a Frickin Age. OK?! Maybe we don't blow the whole world up ala the "Breaking"™, but there had better be a cataclysm of major significance, or we have a fourteen book fizzle on our hands.
35. Ryanus
@24. That's not really clue that Rand visited. Rand's effects seem to occur where-ever his presence is, such as via his bond to Elayne, Min and Avhienda, or his Tav link to Mat and Perrin. I always assumed Caemlyn was healthier due to Elayne's presence and bond to Rand.

This is further confirmed, I believe, when she goes to Cairhien and the clouds there break around her. (Or am I remembering wrong?)
John Massey
36. subwoofer
@Fork- that would be interesting... maybe it starts raining on a regular basis in the Waste? Maybe California Tarabon falls into the ocean? Tear gets flooded and the Stone becomes and island. If general terrain on a tectonic plate basis gets drastically landscaped, I'm hoping the Blight gets a wee bit of a trim:)

Roger Powell
37. forkroot
I will amend @34 to note that if the "cataclysm" were something like the loss of the True Source, then that could certainly mark the end of an Age. Furthermore the transitions between Ages do take time (the Breaking took about a 100 years), so when I say at the "end of ToM" I really mean the end of the story of this Age, Harry Potter epilogue or not.

I'm not backing a whit off my assertion that the whole bit about the Sun throne was a waste of time. Since we've already designated a "Plot line of Doom", how about a "Plot line of Insignificance?" (henceforth PLOI).

Fortunately the PLOI wasted a lot less ink than the PLOD. BWS did a fairly good job of moving through it and disposing of it.
38. Ryanus
I would point out that "End of an Age" doesn't automatically mean loss of existing countries.

From a real life perspective, WW2 was the end of an age/dawn of a new age, and while some countries were weakened, I don't recall any disolving.

For a fictional choice we can look at LotR, where in the story ends with the end of the age. One human kingdom has weakened but remained, the other has strengthened with the return of its king. The Shire is stronger than ever, etc..

While destruction wouldn't surprise me, I don't see why we feel it has to happen. More to the point, Ahvienda's way forward trip shows the Pact of the Gryphon, which is basically what Elayne does in this book. I'd say the countries will be around a good while.
5. s'rEDIT

Yes it is Leigh's blog. But isn't your blog or whomever "we" you're referring to. So until Leigh asks us to not comment about specific subjects pertaining to her opinions, then it's very much fair game as so many like to say about other subject matters.

40. Blood_Drunk
Ok, so on the whole I thought Mat's letter was pretty funny. I did feel that writing P.S. threw me off a bit, because I started wondering if that wording really belonged in this world. Other than that, it definitely changed the pace of the chapter and made me laugh, mostly because it was not expected. Saying that the errors were out of character for a kid that was raised on a farm and taught how to barter and haggle is different from being taught how to write. It seems like some people Want him to act more educated than he is, however even the memories that he has been given were mostly of scenes from battles not of guys sitting in English class. Also, he was writing things phonetically so I really don't see a problem with that when he had no formal education. Don't get me wrong I know that his dad taught him numbers, otherwise you could get cheated when you were selling your wares, but when there were precious few books in the two rivers I doubt that there was a ton of parchment that he could practice his writing on. Nor do I recall there being a formal school. Lastly, we all make spelling mistakes and more people make them now a days than they did before the advent of spell-check. Since spell-check was invented, most people don't spend as much time making sure that they spell things correctly, when all they have to do is hit a button and have a program fix it for them. All in all I liked the letter and I don't feel like it strayed too far from his character.
LT Tortora
41. Lucubratrix
I know I don't comment much, so forgive the butting in, but I have to say, I liked the letter. I've got no problem believing that Mat wasn't much for learning how to spell, and if it's a bit heavy-handed in the comic relief department, so be it. Mat in this book is a huge improvement over TGS. Also, to be honest, the letter made me "laff" at a time when not a whole lot had that effect. As far as the P.S., yes, the Latin nerd in me twitched a bit, but there must have been some equivalent best translated as P.S.
Thomas Keith
42. insectoid
Great post, Leigh! (I'm LOL at the Pirates quote.) You all have a great 4th tomorrow—I'll be AWOL as usual, playing cameraman for Uncle Sam.

Yawn, Perrin chapter. Memo to Grady: Going to the Black Tower = BAD idea.

Oh, Galad, believing everything you hear, just like your idiot brother. If one of you were told your mother ran off to the circus and was walking the high-wire, you would believe it, yes?

LOL at random AT-AT.

Lord Captain Commander: At least it's easier to type than Ba'alzamon or Tel'aran'rhiod, right? Right?

Linking + Callandor... hmm, that's a puzzle! I don't remember anything about a man being required to lead a mixed circle of less than 13.

Mat's letter: I still LOL reading it. Sure, it's a little awkward writing-wise, but I don't have a problem with it.

bad_platypus @6: Thanks for the reference! That clears things up nicely.

Fork @9: Oh, give it a rest... it's not like we never had a problem keeping up with the Re-read and the preview chapters before. ;)

Sub @33: LOL!!

Fork @37: PLOI... I like it!

Jeremy Vanneman
43. Jeribai
On linking: People have already stated the general rules, but it still seems kinda confusing. Basically, what happened totally follows the rules. Forsaken grumbling ... man had to channel, because it was one man and one woman. Gateway ... Neald didn't technically have to lead, but there may have been reason why he did. Remember, Circles aren't instant ... you bring in each person one at a time. If Masuri linked with Neald, then he with Edarra, he would've had to have control the link when it was just the two of them, and therefore would have maintained control of the link. Also, I could be wrong, but I believe he was the only one of the three that actually knew how to Travel. Callandor ... either a woman or man can lead when it's two women, one man ... but I think Leigh was right when she said that it might be because Callandor is broken that it requires a woman to lead it ... either that, or Cads was simply wrong when she said that a woman had to lead.

I totally loved the back and forth between Perrin and Grady in this chapter. Grady has a very similar realization to Rand on Dragonmount, and makes me like him even more as a character.

I am kinda confused as to why Perrin brought who he did for the informal parley. I understand why he didn't bring an AS, considering the general dislike between them and WCs. I also understand why he brought Grady. Why bring Tam, when Perrin is the one who represents the Two Rivers? Why bring a Wise One at all? Why bring Gaul and Sulin if you have two channlers? If you're going to bring important people, a Queen, a First, and a Lady make sense ... if not, bring guards. All could be considered guards, but then why not just bring TR bowmen, and Grady? ... or TR guys and Aiel? I dunno, it just felt like a random assortment, but I'm sure I'm just nitpicking.

I, again nitpicking, was a little confused by the informal parley in-world. I mean as a literary device it works perfectly ... it allows Galad and Perrin a chance to face off without Galad being completely thrown off by seeing his mom (who would be at a formal parley as we soon see), and it allows them to set up their armies to build the tension in the story. As far as Galad's "I just want to see him before I kill him" line ... it doesn't feel in character for him ... and aside from that, there is no reason. Why get together to discuss that you're about to have a battle that you already knew you were going to have?

As far as the Ellorien letter, I think that's almost more to remind us that people exist in this world that aren't main characters ... and to lead us into the prologue excerpt we've gotten. Personally, I don't think I would've remembered the prisoner noble's husband and his band if not for little mentions here and there, like this one.

Oh, and totally love that Mat and Brigitte are back together. I'm with you Leigh as having them as one of my favorite WoT relationships. The Perrin/Gaul/Loial team is another one. Mat's letter, I could take it or leave it. It feels a bit out of character, but I much more enjoyed Elayne, Brigitte, and especially Norry's reaction to it all than I did the letter itself, so it's all good.

@42 ... Love the reference to the highwire ... especially since that's exactly what their sister did :-P They have a tendency to do the same thing that everyone (minus Thom, Moiraine, and other geniuses) did in the early books ... which is only believe the thing that is farthest from the truth, and ignore what actually happened completely. The two of them just never grew out of it, Gawyn especially.
Deana Whitney
44. Braid_Tug
Mat - the letter always makes me laugh, but yes using the 'big words', then translating them, does seem off.

RL history note - Spelling was not "standardized" until the wide spread distribution of dictionaries, c. late-1800s. So the apology for bad spelling would be the oddest thing about his letter. Since even mothers would spell their children's names several different ways in the same letter prior to that.

Re-reading this chapter I was aware of something Leigh said before - that Brandon is a much younger writer than Jordan . The word "played." Elyane uses in when taking to Norry about Duhara. It's not used in the summary.
This threw me out of the story this time. I don't remember if it did the first time. I just don't see someone from Renaissance-ish world using the word "played" to mean "to be deceived, or manipulated.” It is used one other time and it is just a jarring moment.

EDIT: it was pointed out to me that Jordan did indeed used "played" to mean manipulated. Still think "You've been played" reads as more modern than "played them like a drum."

@ 33, subwoofer; Your At-Ats is so cute!
Kimani Rogers
45. KiManiak
Thanks for the post, Leigh! And for dropping an AT-AT into a WoT post!

So a Perrin chapter followed by an Elayne chapter. Oh well; it could be worse (it could be 2 Elayne chapters, back to back, for instance). Plus, we get a little bit of Mat sprinkled in to take the harsh edge off of the Elayne.

Perrin: I echo those who had no problem with Perrin’s decision to not include Faile in the group. Yes, he’s lying to himself in his head (shocking and unheard of in the WoTverse, I know). Yes, they’re “partners,” but that doesn’t mean they have to do everything together, nor does that mean they step out of their roles. Perrin didn’t include representatives from his entire retinue (Berelain and her entourage, Queen of Ghealdan and her entourage, etc).

Perrin included Tam (his best swordsman and tactical advisor), Gaul and Sulin (2 Aiel; nuff said), Edarra (Wise One and channeler) and Grady (Ashaman and shaved knuckle in the hole). Everyone who went with him would be able to assess the situation and provide insight, and he wouldn’t be distracted by worrying about keeping any of them safe.

Also, Faile doesn’t always include Perrin in her leadership decisions (Masema, Cha Faile, etc). They are partners and equals, but did Leigh make such a big stink over Faile not including Perrin in the decision to eliminate Masema? I don’t think so, but I admit I’m too lazy to go check. Other commenters can feel free to correct me if I’m wrong. Otherwise, I think Leigh is making a mountain out of a molehill on this one.

Galad: Yeah, not his finest hour. I respect the sentiment that it’s wise to eliminate a potential major enemy of the Lightside before Tarmon Gaidon; so if his plan was to “take one for the team” then that was very noble. But, he was outnumbered and outgunned (he suspected that Perrin had channelers). Sometimes discretion really is the better (or wiser) part of valor.

Elayne: Actually didn’t really annoy me that much this chapter, surprisingly enough. Go ahead; take Cairhien. I agree with her (and others) there that doing that is no big deal.

I do get irritated when she sees our main (or even secondary) characters mostly as resources that she can use/exploit; we came down hard on Dark Rand for that perception (although his approach was a lot crueler). All this talk of Mat being useful when “harnessed” and a disaster when not is rather condescending regarding the man who saved your ass from the Black Ajah, the Forsaken and the Gholam. And the desire to take Mat’s army (or at least, part of it) to ease her takeover of Cairhien without acknowledging that maybe Mat’s being able to lead them has more to do then just him knowing how to fight.

But whatever; most things about Elayne rub me the wrong way (wait until later in the dungeons; she once again disproves Darwin’s theory that the stupid and unfit don’t survive), and her constant disregard for Mat doesn’t help matters. As far as this chapters rating on the “Elayne is annoying” scale, it rates relatively low.

Birgitte: I like her more and more each book. Excellent point about the common man dying while the nobles/upper class folks tend not to. I understand the political counterargument, but I appreciated Team Jordan inserting that little point in the dialogue. It also makes sense that it would come from Birgitte; she is the average, down-to-earth woman that now sits on the council of the elite. Its good for her to give that perspective, and good for Elayne to hear it.

Mat’s letter: Loved it. Absolutely loved it. Each time I read it, I still crack up a little. If it throws other commenters out the story, then that is unfortunate for them. I wish they would be able to appreciate it for what it is, but I respect that they find it… wrong somehow. I liked Mat in TGS (yes I noticed a difference, but I was fine with it), and I love Mat in ToM, so I have no beef. If nothing else, I think the spirit of the letter holds true with the essence of Mat Cauthon, whether or not the individual reader likes the actual execution.
46. Looking Glass
Mat does have memories of attending court, composing music, dealing with diplomats, and so on. He clearly got some non-military education out of it, possibly a lot.

This is exactly the context in which that's least likely to come through. Partly because Mat does his best work, and uses his extra memories most, when thinking on his feet- which he isn't now. Partly because he clearly wants his own personality to shine through, since he's annoyed and wants to be a bit obnoxious in return. And partly because the sheer cheekiness and incongruity of the message is exactly what gets it to Elayne- presumably, if his ta'verening kicked in at all, it made the message less refined.
John Smith
47. TheHardTruth
Quick TOR Question: To anyone who can help - or at least tell me who to ask, I really appreciate it. I just can NOT seem to be able to POST on here from ANY of my mobile devices. Oddly, I can on the discussion forums here at Tor.Com but NOT on any of the reread blog pages like this one.(The text box just wont interface with my kindle fire, cell phones, etc ) - Help Please! Thanks! - Hardy :)
Roger Powell
48. forkroot
Yeah, I "heart" me some Birgitte.

Hey! If Leigh would speed it up, why I .. I would be willing to double what I'm paying now!

Sorry, I don't buy the end of WWII as the end of an "Age" the way Ages are described in WoT. Good heavens, the Trolloc Wars were substantially more catastrophic to Randland vs WWII to our real life world (and I intend no minimization of how awful WWII was.)

Humanity barely survived the Trolloc Wars. All but five nations were totally wiped out, the remaining five dwindled quickly thereafter and yet THAT wasn't considered cataclysmic enough to end an Age.
Kimani Rogers
49. KiManiak
Bad_platypus@6 – Thanks for that excerpt. I do believe that Rand would initially have control of the circle (with him, Nynaeve and Moiraine along with Callandor) but would then pass control of it to one of the women. I think it will be Moiraine based upon the mystery that still hangs around her encounters with the Finn, but I guess we’ll find out for sure in 6 months or so.

Rancho_unicorno@8 – Good points; I obviously concur. The timing is very important; Faile had recently been captured. I understand why he would not want to expose her to Whitecloaks, who already captured some of his people. I see that Master al Thor@17 and others expand on this point.

Sub@10 – re: Dyelin, Rhuarc and Bashere: I agree, especially regarding Rhuarc. They were great characters in earlier novels and we really got to see them shine. Now, they just seem like members of an entourage. I really hope we get to see great things from them in AMoL.

Bartz@22 – I hear (see) what you’re saying, but I think your response to Leigh’s actions is misguided. I would suggest that instead of complaining about Leigh often bringing up the gender issue (or the enslavement issue) to the point where you think the horse has been beaten, battered and turned into glue, take it as an opportunity to show her why you disagree. If Leigh brings it up in the post, its fair game for discussion. Show her why (you think) she’s wrong. As long as you’re polite and respectful, you can’t be accused of inappropriate behavior.

Who knows, if you do it each and every time, maybe Leigh will get as sick of it as you are of her doing it, and will decrease doing it, or stop. Doubtful, but hey, your options in this case are limited.

Hrothgordo@24 – re: Dragon icon: That’s a really good suggestion; I hadn’t thought of that. I had just assigned the weather and other benefits of the “Dragon effect” to those who are bonded to him being able to broadcast a muted “Dragon effect” aura. I see Ryanus@35 made a similar point. But your theory sounds good.

sub@33 – That was hilarious! Hopefully the dog enjoyed it as much as I have!

Jeribai@43 – re: Neald and linking – Neald was the only one who knew how to create a gateway; that’s an excellent point. He had to lead the circle in this case, and the Wise Ones/Aes Sedai would have had to get used to giving control of these circles to Neald and/or Grady to facilitate Perrin’s plan of creating large gateways. Also, this sets the foundation later for when we see Neald quickly link with the Wise Ones to help forge Mjolnir.

forkroot@48 – If Leigh were to speed it up, I would double your double, easily. Hell, I might even triple it. I hope it happens, but I’m not holding my breath. I think her silence is all the answer we’ll get regarding this, and an answer in and of itself.
Dawn Boyall
50. deebee
I agree about the PLOI, Elayne`s motivation seems far more like personal ambition than anything else, with a line about needing to get ready for TG thrown in as a feeble justification.

But then, I find myself groaning through all the endless discussion of the pregnancy- is she allowed honey in her tea, does she have to drink warm milk...is she an adult who will be responsible for two children or is she a pre-teen who gets told when it`s bedtime?

And all the time the whole world is creaking towards some messy and scary end and those babies will be months off being born when it happens.

The problem with channelling while pregnant could make for an interesting twist in Elayne`s arc. Mostly though , the pregnancy seems to be an opportunity to express some patronising and infantilising assumptions that a woman`s brain cells decline at about the same rate as the foetus grows.

I`m still hoping for an Aviendha moment when Elayne announces that she`s a grown woman who will no longer be dictated to by others but will make her own decisions about the welfare of her babies.
51. Ryanus
@48 Fork,

I'd disagree, but I think the divide is our view of what the end of an age needs to be. I note you didn't disagree with the LotR point, which also ended an age without mass destruction and chaos.

As for WWII at the end of the conflict the world saw the rise of its first super power, it saw the end of empires, and politics aside, the bomb utterly changed the scale and scope of warfare. I would place WWII as the end of an age IRL along with the Industrial Revolution, the Renassaince and the decay of Rome.

Honestly, we tend to not remember apocalypses so much as we remember massive change. You know what happened to Japan, you know about the US being born, about the effects of Industry, or what the loss of Rome's centralized government meant to the world. In a similar vein, what's the average person's take on the fact that America exists atop the collapse and utter destruction of an entire civilization. (If you don't know what I'm talking about, between Columbus' expedition and the landing at Plymouth the americas saw a plague that wiped out more than 90% of the popoulation.)
Stefan Mitev
52. Bergmaniac
IMO the series ending with countries being destroyed would be pretty bad writing. After spending what 400-500 pages on Elayne taking control of Andor and Cairhien and a lot of other political stuff, to end it with "It doesn't matter in the end because those countries don't exist anymore" would be really pointless and a waste of pages.

What about Tuon and the Seanchan Emprire? If it's destroyed too, it would make many more pages pretty pointless too. All the setup about the secret of sul'dam, how it would affect the Empire, etc, would turn to be a waste which goes nowhere.
Alice Arneson
53. Wetlandernw
ACOS ch 35: "I think he played the Tower like a harp."

TPoD ch 12: "Either way, she would see how they enjoyed being played."

Clearly, for all that people have complained about the two times Brandon has used the term "played" in ToM, he didn't do anything with it that RJ hadn't also done. In fact, the same person used the term the same way in TPoD and in the ToM prologue.

Re: fanaticism Galad-style vs. most-of-the-Whitecloaks-style - On the bright side, fanaticism due to logic and moral rectitude has a better chance of reevaluating itself when new evidence is presented. I don't think Byar would change his mind about Perrin if the Light itself sat on his head and told him that it had specially chosen Perrin to be a Wolfbrother and ta'veren and that he was vitally important to the victory of the Light. He'd insist that it was somehow a trick of the Dark One, and he'd still hate Perrin. Galad at least will reconsider when his presumed-dead-but-here-she-is mother tells him that Perrin is not a friend of the Shadow.
Thomas Keith
54. insectoid
Fork @48: Twice nothing is still nothing... I'd pay triple my share of nothing if it would help. :P

Also, PLOI looks and sounds like "ploy". XD

John Smith
55. TheHardTruth
OMG - I know I will get FLAMED for what I am about to say, but I can't help it.

Another FEMINISM RANT, Leigh? Really? Seriously?

I mean...REALLY?

I swear, this is not mean-spirited but just honest feedback.

It has to stop.

I used to love this blog. But two things ruined it for me. One was the ability to turn EVERY POST into a feminism thing. Its beyond unbearable. We GET it!

The other is the constant missed weeks, obvious loss of enthusiams for this reread and glacier-like pace that this reread has slowed to as well as the substantial DECREASE in material covered/posted each week.

I was here for DAY ONE, gang. I will bet money that I am not the only one here that remembers the adorably naive LB speculating that the reread (the whole enchilada) could take between ''10 months and a year.''

It is now inits FOURTH YEAR.

IMO it is fair to ask: WHAT HAPPENED???


These aren't ''bashings'' - these are natural questions. Questions we wouldn't have to keep asking if they had ever been ANSWERED instead of ignored time and time again and posters being banned merely for daring to ask them - and ask them in very civil ways, at that.

Why commenting on these thingsand asking about them has been ''taboo'' around here so long has always been a huge mystery to me.

Could someone please explain it to me?

Guys, please hear me. Im not bashing.

Im sure LB is a GREAT PERSON. I am criticizing her ONLY as in pertaining to this blog.

Yes, its her blog,(but that doesn't make her Lord Voldemort, lol) but its OUR comment section.

Im using no vulgarity or profanity and not attacking LB as a person.

Every writer has to understand that criticism is part of what comes with the territoty. Most embrace it. Leigh's blog should be no different.

Ive never understood why tnh/irene/anthony pero etc hover protectively around LB so much. We have a right to criticize. YOU have a RIGHT to criticize. YOU (my fellow poster) are entitled to fair criticism of this blog.

***I*** am entitled!

Also, Leigh is a big girl. tnh/irene/anthony pero act like she is made of glass. I have every belief she is a much tougher girl than they give her credit for.

Please, let my post stand. Please realize, I am not violating TOR.COMS code of posting conduct, not using any profanity or vulgarity. Not commenting on anyone PERSONALLY.

I am sharing criticism of this blog itself.

Listen, lets be honest - we all follow MULTIPLE blogs on this website and we all know that none of the others hardly ever miss posting as often as this blog misses getting posted and we all know that most of them do not inject things like the feminism stuff into THEIR blogs the way that it is done here.

Ive said my piece. I am a longtime WOTer and a longtime and LOYAL supporter of TOR.COM.

Please take what I said in the spirit of honest criticism of the work as it was intended.

Thank you.
Charles Gaston
56. parrothead
@ 55:

For someone who "was here for DAY ONE", you sure haven't contributed much. Taunting about football and complaints that Leigh's blog, which she does for free, doesn't conform to your desires and expectations make up the sum total of your 5 comments.
57. Bartz
Re: Galad, I think that his heart is in the right place. However, he allowed himself to be deluded in a couple ways.

First, he seems very much to believe here that the Children are following The Way of the Light as it was originally intended by Lothair Mantelar. He has shown that he has a good knowledge of the book, and it was because of the book that he decided to become a Whitecloak (Eamon Valda gave him a copy). I'm assuming that he joined the organization under the pretense that they followed The Way in the same manner as the original Children of the Light, and that the organization hadn't become corrupted.

Second, I think he has rationalized following the Whitecloak way because he believes the organization to be right. In his PoVs he is constantly thinking about his intentions (to do right) but isn't really concerned with how he fulfills these intentions. He listens to and trusts the other Whitecloaks because he believes in the organization. He's sort of a blind follower here.

Meeting his mother again proves to be a bit of a wake-up call as she helps him realize that the Whitecloaks aren't doing things right and he should rethink his actions. By the end of the book you can tell that he's adjusted his actions to be more in harmony with his intentions.
Scientist, Father
58. Silvertip
I'm tired of repeating the same old rebuttal, so let's just make some general observations.

If you find yourself saying, "I don't mean to be rude," you are probably being so.

If you find yourself saying, "I don't mean to offend," you're about to.

If you find yourself typing "LOL", you're not being amusing, you're being obnoxious.

If you find yourself saying "I'm not bashing" ... !

59. Blood_Drunk
@ 53. Wetlandernw
Good Catch on the 'played'

Also, I thought that Elayne only started seeing the clouds open up after we catch her plotline up to Rands when he destroyed the Choedan Kal and the skys opened up in a circle around dragonmount.
Matt Spencer
60. MisunderstoodMe
@ 53

I think the problem with true logical fanaticism is that often in complex situations no argument can be come up with that there isn't some fairly reasonable logic why it isn't valid. Political extremists of any type probably fall into this category. Its easy to do on complex issues where any position is going to have faults - and perhaps its not even always problematic.
Matt Spencer
61. MisunderstoodMe
@ 55
Wow! You just did a much better rendition of TNH's list than I did, and I suspect you weren't even trying. :'(
Lee VanDyke
62. Cloric

While I wasn't here from the first post, I came in soon after. And I remember part of the reason for the slow-down (at least initially) was the 3-book split gave Leigh the time to do the re-read properly. And given the choice between 2 chapters a post with in-depth analysis and a 6 or more chapter post with basically a quick and dirty "just the facts." I know which I prefer.

edit to add:

Oh, and to comment on the chapters themselves: Maybe its because Mat has always been near the bottom of my favorites list, but I had no problem with his letter. It sounded pitch perfect Matrim to me, but then again, I had no issues with his "voice" in TGS either.

Perrin: Perfectly in character for him to try to keep Faile out of this quick parley. He knows her temper and free tongue, and he know just how badly the Whitecloaks want him dead. He also has this wonky (to her eyes) view of duty at this point, so she would have no idea what he might agree to.
Genevieve Williams
63. welltemperedwriter
I like the discussions of gender and think they're germane since, as someone else pointed out, it's a major theme of the series. If you don't like it, sure, you can say so. You can also, I dunno, not read the paragraph or so Leigh typically spends on the topic, and/or start a discussion of another element of the chapter in the comments. My point being, your preferences are not everyone's, and it's a bit annoying when you act as though they are. (I've been here since day one too, though I don't comment often, and I don't see why it matters.)

As far as the pace of the re-read goes, eh. Whatever. Personally, with as little free time as I have to read this blog, the pace suits me just fine.
Leigh Butler
64. leighdb
Bartz @ 3 and others:

Once again:

From Day One, this blog has been written from a feminist point of view, and given that power balance between the sexes is a central theme of WOT, examining it from that perspective remains relevant. It would be relevant, actually, even if that weren't one of WOT's central themes, just as much as any other so-called "hot-button" topic that comes to mind - most or all of which have also been discussed on this blog at one time or another. It's interesting how often people seem to disregard the many times I have focused on any of the other million issues that come with building an entire world, and assume I do nothing but "rant" about feminism, when that is demonstrably not the case.

Beyond that, my commentary has always been about writing what I feel - my honest reactions to the text. Those reactions are what they are, and while all are more than welcome to discuss whether they agree or disagree with those reactions (hopefully with a cogent explanation of why), you are not welcome to tell me I have no right to have those reactions, or that I ought to shut up about them.

If you are tired of all that dreadful feminism or whatever it is that you don't like about what I'm writing about, that is of course your prerogative, and you are more than welcome to stop reading if it makes you uncomfortable or bored. It is entirely up to you how you choose to spend your time on the Internet. I am grateful for every single person who chooses to spend it reading my words, but at the same time I have a greater obligation to be true to myself than I do to attempt to cater to the tastes and preferences of everyone else - not least because that would be patently impossible to do anyway.

As to the specific incident at hand, if it makes anyone feel better I would have had the exact same complaint if the situation were reversed. I don't feel Faile should be haring off doing her own thing without consulting Perrin any more than he should. Partners means partners. I am not sure how anyone has managed to come to the conclusion that feminism in general or my brand of it in particular means anything other than a call for equality.

bad_playpus @ 6:

Well, if we take the BBOBA's word for it, then it is Neald's case which seems wrong. He was outnumbered by the women in the circle, so according to what you quoted then either Edarra or Masuri should have been leading. So either way it seems like a gaffe.

forkroot @ 9:

No worries, my dear. One way or another we will make sure it all comes out right in the end. Trust your Auntie Leigh.

subwoofer @ 33:

Best AT-AT ever.
Tricia Irish
65. Tektonica

Not all of us are bored or offended by Leigh's Feminism...in fact many of us like the insightful take she has on this topic, as it is a major theme of this series. Don't read what you don't like...skip those paragraphs.

Thank you for being respectful here, but just know, we don't all agree with you.
Don Barkauskas
66. bad_platypus
leighdb @64:

The key is the line "Excepting the examples given above, and other circles of thirteen or less, a woman must lead when the minimum number of men are present." So circles of 13 or less that don't specifically require a man to lead them can be lead by anyone.

Here's what the rules boil down to (I think):
A man must lead:
- Any circle of seventy-two
- A circle of one man and one woman
- "Most" circles of 2 or more men + women to bring the circle to 13 or less
A woman must lead:
- 1 man, 14-26 women
- 2 men, 27-34 women
- 3 men, 35-42 women
- 4 men, 43-50 women
- 5 men, 51-58 women
- 6 men, 59-65 women
Anything not listed above can be lead by either gender. So the only ambiguity is in what "most" means.
John Massey
67. subwoofer
@55- so there's this horse... we'll call her "Bela". It is not taboo to talk about it, it's just been done. To death. As in beating a dead horse. Most of us that have been around have moved on and all our opinions on said topic have been expressed already. If you want to chime in, fine, give'r. Start your criticism with the word "spank".

@Fork, as stated by others, much happened post WWII. WWII was the end of that scale of global instability. It also ushered in the era of the Cold War. A new Age, if you will. It saw the rise of a new Superpower, the USSR. Erm anyways, enough blathering about history, major Age ending stuff happened in WWII. Poo vs. Fan. Very comparable to the end of an Age.... unless you are thinking more cataclysmic dinosaur dying or the movie Ice Age or something(edit)

John Smith
68. TheHardTruth
@63 Wert - I hear you. Well stated and understood.

@67 - Exactly. Many HAVE said their piece already. I never have. I finally did. In a way that I sincerely hope contained no profanity, vulgarity, personal life cheap shots, etc. Im now done because I also, now, have had my say. And the chance was appreciated.

@56 Ive read all your comments and spelling nazi corrections (''bored'') in this weeks post so far and you are on quite a roll this week. My congragulations.

@65Tek. Thank you. I said my piece. I continue to support these blogs (a scarcity of posted comments does not equal level of support) and Tor.Com, with whom, I am afraid, I have, sadly, spent waaaaay too much money over the years! If only it really DID grow on trees, LOL! ;)

@64 LB - Keep rolling. Do your thing. It IS your thing. Thank you for letting critical feedback be shared now and then. Btw - I meant to share this above, but your ASOIAF Blog is fresh, invigorating and AWESOME!
Charles Gaston
69. parrothead
If we're looking for another "end of the Age" situation, and one closer to Randland in terms of social and technological development, there's the Thirty Years' War and the 1648 Treaty of Westphalia...and now the other history majors are nodding while no one else knows what I'm talking about.

That was one of the worst wars in history (which is kind of saying something). Germany was especially hit hard, cities destroyed, regions depopulated, famine, plague; the final death toll was well into the millions. It was also the last (overtly) religious war in Europe, with the final phase seeing Catholic France enter on the Protestant side for political reasons. The treaty that ended it is largely responsible for the modern nation-state, even as it doomed Germany to another two centuries of division. Because of these reasons - an end to war for the sake of religion, the new geo-political infrastructure - it's often looked at as the beginning of the modern world.
brianna long
70. allthingssifi
p.p.s. Don’t mind me calling your backside pretty. I hardly ever spent any time looking at it, as I’ve an awareness that you’d pull my eyes out if you saw me. Besides, I’m married now, so that all doesn’t matter. haha i laugh every time i read this chapter but this is my favorite part :P
71. Ryanus
@leigh, hopefully I wasn't grouped in there, but in case I was just want to say I have no issue with anything you write. I may disagree with specific points (Such as this one with Perrin) but I usually find you to be correct in what you have to say.

Now that that's out of the way, the important point I have to make. I contest cutest AT-AT and raise you...

Charles Gaston
72. parrothead
@ 68:

Given that the topic of the conversation was the tendency to misspell or misuse words, a topic that further is relevant to the text in question, I'm going to have to disagree with your characterization of "spelling nazi corrections". Now if I were to do the same to you...well, we'd be here quite a while, but that wouldn't make it right, as it isn't topical in this case.
John Massey
74. subwoofer
Here's the thing that grinds me about the Whitecloaks, their prejudice blinds them. On some level there has to be a separation of what they term as the "truth" and whether or not truth vs. lies is a line in the sand between the Light and a Darkfriend. Folks lie, it happens, that doesn't mean that they have decided to wear black hats. I think that is the black and white world of Galad's that will be abruptly shattered. We see that a bit when he is parlaying with Asunawa.

This isn't quite a headdesk moment as Galad's ignorance is not as pigheaded as Gawyn's. I guess there is an upside to being a half brother.

The end/begining of an Age is hard to define. Are we talking catastrophe or something landmark that changed the world from that point on? Like Enrique Iglesias post mole operation?

edit- btw, starwars gave me that pic.

76. Shadow_Jak

Great job as always.
Personally, I always enjoy your feminist rants. They are just so darn cute!

:mad dash for the bunker:
John Massey
77. subwoofer
@THT glad you had the chance to voice your opinion. Nothing wrong with that. For me, it felt like you were asking me why I don't say anything. My simple answer was that I already have. It could go in circles and I have bigger fish to fry. I liken it to those folks that have just discovered LotR after seeing the movies. "Hey guys, there's these awesome books about elves and dwarfs and midgets and wizards and stuff! You gotta check it out!" Truth is "yep, we have". You were here from the begining, you know.

As for Leigh, well, I think she has her "big girl" panties on. Leigh has demonstrated time and again that she can hold her own. And Leigh also knows when to respond and when to let things slide. She's good like that.

As Leigh points out tho', the gender role thing is pretty big. Can't dodge it. Not so long as female Aes Sedai are carrying every guy's tenders around in their carry-all. There's this whole conversation that Egwene has with Rand back in book 2 that sums it up nicely.

But let's face it, from a guy point of view, meh. I don't see any Aes Sedai winning the Tour this year either.

78. Shadow_Jak

Seriously, I am often surprised and sometimes puzzled by your feminist viewpoints. But I almost always enjoy reading them. They make me think, which can often be pretty hard to accomplish with my rusty old brain.

For those few comments that I may not enjoy, I just employ my trusty 'fast forward' to scroll on by...
(just like I always do for Sub's comments :-))
79. Shadow_Jak
I too agree with Perrin's choice of companions for the meeting.
-Gaul and Sulin, obviously good choice and obvious even to Whitecloaks that they are capable guards
-Tam, Blade Master, trusted counselor, very familiar with the Whitecloaks
- Grady and Edarra, both channelors, but neither obviously so.
-No Faile, very wise choice, for Perrin's peace of mind.

Mat's letter. Yeah, it was a little over the top, but I still enjoyed it. And, of course, it was meant it to be annoy. He was getting tired of being ignored.
Roger Powell
80. forkroot
Auntie Leigh@64
Thanks for the reassurance! I am at peace. And, BTW, nice measured response to Bartz@3 and others.

I suspect we might be talking past each other, so I'm going to restate my contentions a bit differently:

I think we need to consider what the end of an "Age" looks like in terms of the world of WoT. I didn't comment on the end of the Age in LOTR because it was appropriate within that fantasy world and cosmology, but had no relevance to WoT.

We're working with limited data of course. The only Age transition we know about was cataclysmic by anyone's reckoning. To get a real-life analogy, we'd have to have a near-extinction level comet hit, or nuke ourselves back to the Stone Age, etc.

With respect to WWII - I really don't like this because here we go comparing a fantasy world to our own world. There was an enormous amount of suffering brought on by WWII as well as shift in geopolitical power.

However ... all of the nations survived, no national boundaries were significantly redrawn (Caveat - it set the stage for Israel.) Total Deaths: Somewhere around 70 million which would be about 4% of the world's population.

The BBoBA doesn't give a specific head count for the Trolloc Wars, but it says that the population fell "drastically" (implying at least a 50% death rate?)

By any measure, the Trolloc Wars as described in this fantasy were substantially more horrific than WWII. Thank God we have no real life analogy to the Trolloc Wars.

And yet for all that ... the Trolloc Wars did not denote the passing of an Age. From this I think it is safe to infer that in the WoT cosmology, the end of Age brings world-shaking change. (sorry about the pun)

OK - With that point probably overargued, I want to acknowledge your (Ryanus@28) point about Avienda's trip through the wayforward machine as well as Bergmaniac@52's point that we've already been through hundreds of pages of politics, etc. and it would be sort of silly to have none of that matter.

Furthermore I must now admit that the fact that the Second Age ended in a monstrous cataclysm does not prove that all Ages must do so. I had previously speculated that the loss of the True Source would make such fundamental changes in society that it could indeed be the demarcation of an Age.

Which makes for an interesting idea ...

I had to go back and reread Avienda's trip to see if her vision included channeling (it does.) It occurs to me now that the Aiel Seanchan conflict is inevitable (with the rest of the nations drawn in) because of the insoluble problem of the damane. The Seanchan won't budge an inch on this issue, and the Aiel want their Wise Ones back (as will the Tower want their own - except they might not want Suffa!)

What if... What if Avienda'a vision is the key? What if the only way for the Dragon's Peace to succeed is for the True Source to go away? No True Source, no collars, no problem. If Avi can convince Rand of this, then maybe that is part of what he will do.
Ron Garrison
81. Man-0-Manetheran
Well, since there hasn’t been a whole heck of a lot of male-female linking since the Breaking, I’m thinking the “rules” may just be a lot of hearsay and a liddle bid o’ fact.

(And when did the BBoBA become an authority?)

I gotta say it,

If I said LB had "big girl" panties, I do believe I'd get banned somehow.

Scientist, Father
83. Silvertip
OK, a couple more Rules To Live By I thought about while putting my kids to bed, with the others from my earlier comment echoed so they're all in one place:

If you find yourself saying, "I don't mean to be rude," you are probably being so.

If you find yourself saying, "I don't mean to offend but ...," you're about to.

If you find yourself typing "LOL" a lot, you're not actually being amusing, you're being obnoxious.

If you find yourself starting a sentence with "I really shouldn't say this but ...," you're right.

If you start a sentence with "I know it's not 'PC' to say this but ...," you're not really being courageous.

If you find yourself saying "I'm not bashing" ... !

OK, I'll repeat just a few words summarizing my prior rebuttals: It's Leigh's party blog and she'll cry rant if she wants to.

John Massey
84. subwoofer
@Z- but I'm a dumbass so it's not that I get away with things, see, it's that the powers that be know I just blunder through things. There do be a difference :) FTR it is an urban slang. Blogger mums use it all the time.- edit-

@er...Shadow_Jak, sorry, I didn't know you were a midget;)

@Fork- so we are looking around for dinosaurs. We do have Rand's school, which may indicate a shift from "magic" to the more mundane "technology" which gives everyone power... or at least those with the coin to pay for it.

85. Ryanus

I'll concede your points as well thought out and very possible. Still disagree that I expect such a cataclsym, but it is very possible.

I also like your notion about the True Source being the cost of the Dragon's Peace. That said I hope not. Don't know why, but I always dislike the stories where the magic system dies in the end. So far the only real exception for me has been Recluce, but the main reason for that is that while the ending has happened Mr. Modesit his continued stories cover the whole history of the world and there's a lot of past stories left to tell.

I'll also have to concede that even if Andor and Cairhien died in the last battle the politics wouldn't have been pointless. Elayne's securing of the thrones ensures both armies ready for the last battle. So the plotline doesn't really become meaningless if your scenario happens. Somewhat sad, but not meaningless.

And as a last point because my other post is stuck in the filter. Google Image "My Little AT-AT" for another cute Walker.
86. Shadow_Jak
Sub, I'm sure you meant, "vertically challenged"
John Massey
87. subwoofer
And seeing as Independence Day is playing on AMC, that would be a clear cut case of the ending of an Age.

John Massey
88. subwoofer
@Shadow_Jak(why oh why the underscore?) we all have our challenges in life, I was suggesting you were offended because you were short :D

I know I'm pushing it here, although quite a few ignore me anyway , so away I go...

Themes. There are quite a few "major" themes rolling around this world of RJ's. Some get touched on more than others during Leigh's analysis and some may as well be considered ignored.

I feel what many seem to get miffed about is the focus towards the female side of the equation as it relates to the characters motivations, the cultural ramifications and what is presented to the reader in totality.

We know and I at least acknowledge Leigh's stated bent, and most times I can agree with her. But there seems a sort of discrimination of interest underneath it all. There is, most times, a lack of flip side commentary with regards to the great breadth of female transgressions. The commentary about how stupid some of the actions or spoken dialog of various characters doesn't count.

There is narrow focus towards feminine plight. It doesn't occur every posting as some would say, but with its current frequency it may as well be. And as guy, it could be quite tiresome. One analogy could be a likeness to some Caucasians aversion to having to even acknowledge racism, let alone acknowledging the fact that many Caucasians ancestors did indeed own slaves or perpetrated great evil upon another regardless of whether that person themselves don't have consciously racist tendencies. That black mark still rests on those people past or no. Some agree with that some don't. But that's point.

I feel it would be easier to take for some, if there was more acknowledgement of the female affronts towards the male characters. Leigh does go there occasionally, but I feel even she would acknowledge her lack in that regard.

But regardless of all of that, this Leigh's show. Her rules. She says what she wants here folks, she doesn't have to acquiesce to any wishes we may have. I feel that no matter how loud one may complain or no matter how often, her mind isn't gonna change upon any reflections she may have regarding sexism. She is who she is and I feel her logic is set within her belief systems.

And last but not least and once again, this her show. If you don't like it...

I for one will read this blog until its end. I genuinely love her despite, what I consider it to be, her character flaw. She doesn't care what I think anyway and probably has some choice words about my opinion of her.

But do feel the need to let anyone know that, I have love for Leigh, I respect her and her opinions. I think she's funny and amusing. I think she's insightful and helps me to see things I wouldn't have seen on my own. I extremely grateful for her work here and giving us all a place to come together.

In short Leigh... you are The Bomb! And thats with the down low voice. Think Atomic Dog.

Das it.


Mobile text... Forgive please
Rob Munnelly
92. RobMRobM
Silvertip - I have a vague memory of an entire book - Metatalk? - devoted to the types of examples you are pointing out. "I have to be honest with you" means keep a good hold on your valuables.
Thomas Keith
93. insectoid
Yeah... Team Leigh! Whooo!! :D

Kimani Rogers
94. KiManiak
Leighdb@64 – I know you can’t (don’t want to and probably shouldn’t) respond to all of the different comments (and commenters) that critique some aspect of your posts, but I do appreciate when you do.

First, because your comments are usually fun, insightful and a good blend of analysis and emotion, and it’s always good to have you be part of the discussion. Second, because it’s easy to drop some type of controversial “opinion-bomb” in the form of a post and then run and hide; but you have all types of intestinal fortitude and will stand behind your comments. And call people out if their observations/comments/rebuttals are lame. I like that a lot of Tor.com posters do that; it makes you all easier to relate to.

However, I’m going to have to call “shenanigans” on your comment that you would have called Faile out if the situation were reversed, how you “don’t feel Faile should be haring off doing her own thing without consulting Perrin any more than he should.” As I mentioned earlier, Faile did something similar with Masema (confronted a potentially dangerous enemy, didn’t consult with her partner, went to a pained effort to not even let her partner be aware of that particular course of action, surrounded herself with trusted subordinates that she felt could get the job done) in the prologue of TGS.

After your comments@64 I decided to stop being lazy and check out your comments regarding Faile’s unilateral action. There were no comments regarding her excluding her partner and supposed equal, how Perrin “gets to be in on all major decisions that potentially involve you getting killed or kidnapped or starting a war,” no picture of a downed AT-AT with the phrase “YOU FAIL” (still love that btw, and it would have so worked when talking about Faile), etc. Your main issue was that Faile just didn’t feel like the right person to kill him, not that Faile set out to do it without talking it out with her partner.

As I said, I like your posts and comments. I appreciate the feminist (or at least, this particular feminist’s) insight, as it sometimes has me look at things from a different perspective; to question some of my preconceptions and assumptions (and introduce me to terms like “mansplaining;” that was pretty funny/interesting and led to me hitting a few different sites and articles for etymology and history).

But I have an issue (and maybe I’m not alone) when it appears that you may not also allow yourself to be… informed or educated by the feedback of your commenters in a similar manner to how you are seeking to inform or educate them. I think this is a case where you did have expectations of Perrin that you did not extend to Faile, and for (what appears to be) the sole (or main) reason that Perrin is male. It’s cool; we all are subject to our own preconceptions and biases, and even the strongest advocate for equality (of the sexes, races, or whatever) isn’t perfect and has blind spots. I just see no issue with you owning it in this case.

Regardless of whether you agree with my argument or not, I want you to know that I truly enjoy your posts and respect your point of view. If we end up agreeing to disagree about our different perspectives of Perrin and Faile’s actions in regards to how they treat/inform/include their partner when risking their own lives, then so be it. Que Sarah, Sarah, and all that jazz…

Oh, and in regards to your response to forkroot@9 about trusting Auntie Leigh, I will, and look forward to it.
Heather Tollerud
95. Smalt
Thank you for doing this reread! After more than a year, I've finally caught up! I'd put in one of those big sparkly YAYs if I knew how. I'm not sure I ever would've made it through some of the middle books without these posts. They also helped distract me (at least a little) from a kidney stone, which took some doing! My only major quibble is the occasional analysis section that felt shorter ;) Anyway, I really appreciate the effort that you have put into this reread.

I do hope this isn't the wrong day to post my happy catch-up post, even if there are some rather critical posts above it.

Re: linking
Thanks to bad_platypus (I like the pic, btw) for the excerpt on linking. I've never read the BBoBA. One problem from the last chapter of WH (I'm not sure how to quote properly): "Saidin flowed through him ... and he could not control a hair-thin thread. He could see the flow from him into Nynaeve." Then Rand takes control of the link for the rest of the cleansing, but that seems like a pretty clear break with those rules. I also could've sworn I remembered reading about a full circle of 144, although I don't remember where.

Re: The Letter
I agree with all who say that Matt could be expected to write at least this poorly. However, I still dislike it, partly because of the change in tone (I don't remember any other letter with grammatical errors out of 13 books), but mostly because it was badly enough written that I had stop and reread parts of it, which threw me out of the story.

Again, thanks to Leigh for the reread!
john mullen
96. johntheirishmongol
I thought the Mat note was pretty funny, but for a guy who has read all those military texts in his past lives, all the misspelling didn't seem to make a lot of sense. But I like humor so didn't care too much.

I know some people care about figuring out all the ramifications of how many can be in a circle, but I don't really care, since I figure it will be explained out or it doesn't really matter. Besides, what if using Callandor creates a multiplier effect and throws off all your calculations?

Someone was complaining about how everything was wrapping up too quickly. I don't know what you want but I certainly don't want to wait another dozen books to wrap things up. I may not live that long! It is not simple, it is hard to match things up so that you can resolve multiple problems in a couple of sentences.

I don't have any issues with Leigh having the comments she wants. I don't always agree with them, but that's fine. I also don't mind someone complaining about them. I don't always agree with those either. We are all entitled to our opinions, and as long as it is civil, criticism and commentary is fine.
Benjamin Moldovan
97. benpmoldovan
I've enjoyed Leigh's blogs from the get go, although her politico-cultural POV is often very different than mine. And in spite of the occasional, seeming flogging of deceased equines. But she is funny, interesting, and make you think many times, and I love the series, so it's fun talking and/or thinking about it. Thanks, Leigh.

Ben M
Scientist, Father
98. Silvertip
@92 RobM^2 -- it wouldn't surprise me, but I couldn't come up with the reference to save my soul. These are the kind of pithy little things that get repeated, stripped of author, copied to a t-shirt, misquoted on another t-shirt, and finally attributed to Albert Einstein.

Team Leigh? Works for me!

Roger Powell
99. forkroot
I also really enjoy Modesitt's Recluce series so we are in agreement on that. It's been a while since I read Lerris' second book (effectively the "latest" story in the Saga of Recluce), but I don't recall Order and Chaos going away as much as just being heavily reduced (much like at the end of the Order War earlier.) In other words, I don't think he killed off the Magic system entirely. I might be wrong.

I guess that in WoT, should the Fourth Age feature the loss of the True Source we could be comforted that it's due to be rediscovered when the Wheel comes around.

Come to think of it, I suspect that the True Source will have be lost at some point, because legend has it that the (re)discovery of the TS was the start of the Second Age. (I think this legend comes from one the glossaries, but I don't have the reference. The legend might be wrong anyway as the Portal Stones are confirmed to predate the AoL and they require channeling to work.)
100. Wortmauer
The letter: Ah, we've finally got to the post where it's on-topic to complain about it. It shatters the illusion that we're reading of an Age long past, an Age yet to come.

First there's the comically exaggerated poor spelling. As many others have noted, if we're supposed to believe these characters are speaking the Vulgar Tongue of Randland instead of English, well, English language spelling mistakes throw all that away as surely as puns do. (Yes, I hated toe/toh, too.) I mean, are we really supposed to believe "laugh" is just as hard to spell in Randish as it is in English, prone to a drastic misspelling due to phonetics? What a coincidence, eh.

(Aside: rhyming, too, can destroy the vibe of "this really happened in a world where they didn't speak anything like English." But that bothers me far less, because there's a long tradition of preserving scansion and rhyme when translating poetry. People do it all the time, with old German or Swedish or Latin hymns. I've seen it done in opera, e.g., the Ballad of Kleinzach in Tales of Hoffman. Also, of course, Tolkien.)

Then, am I just failing to remember some ordeal Mat recently underwent to regress his mind to that of a 12-year-old? I kept expecting his sentences to end in "LOL". No surprise that he wants to put veiled insults into his correspondence. His offhand insults are great ("Birgitte and Aviendha don't need minders"), but he's never resorted to things like using a "big word" and then explaining it.

I don't buy that the horrid mess of a note is because it was his first draft. Let's see what his last first draft looked like, a few months prior:
Dipping a golden pen — what else would a queen have? — he composed what he wanted to write in his head before bending over the paper with an arm curled around it. His hand was awkward and square. He had no love of writing.
I followed a Darkfriend to the palace Jaichim Carridin is renting. She tried to kill me once, and maybe Rand as well. She was greeted like an old friend of the house.
For a moment he studied that, biting the end of the pen before realizing he was scoring the soft gold. Maybe Tylin would not notice. They needed to know about Carridin. What else? He added a few more reasonably worded lines. The last thing he wanted was to put their backs up.
Be sensible. If you have to go traipsing around, let me send a few men along to keep you from having your heads split open. Anyway, isn't it about time I took you back to Egwene? There's nothing here but heat and flies, and we can find plenty of those in Caemlyn.
There. They could not ask for pleasanter than that.

Blotting the page carefully, he folded it four times.
No crossed out words. Perfect spelling and grammar. Nicely organized thoughts. And it was a first draft!

I also don't buy why he would be intentionally annoying in his writing. The condescension. What some have theorized were intentional errors just to troll Elayne. It's just not his style. If he's annoyed at her — well, he was annoyed with the Supergirls back in ACOS, too. His insults are so much more nuanced than "im using a big word let me define it for u lol." Or they used to be.

After TGS came out and BWS got a lot of flak for writing Lightsong in place of Mat, he sometimes explained that Mat is all wonky in part because he's just now coming to terms with having suddenly gotten married. All I can say is, if that's what getting married does to a fellow, Light send I never do.

Perrin: Maybe he should learn to bring his wife with him when he does important stuff, but so long as she works so hard to keep her own secrets (e.g., the comings and goings of the Cha Faile spy network, the assassination of Masema, many more mundane things like keeping the Two Rivers wisdoms in line), I say she has it coming. Maybe she's a little more forthcoming than she was back in the days she tried to hide who her father was, but she still clearly does not want a marriage based on mutual openness.
101. Thalinius
Wortmauer, earlier in this thread someone pointed out that we just see him writing the letter, not someone else reading it. I personally don't notice when I make any spelling errors, or I wouldn't make them. For the sake of continuity, I'll go with this line of thinking. Paper thin argument, but o well.
I don't have much else to contribute, so I'll keep it at this for now.
102. Heron
I know this has been done to death (evidently not quite though ha!) but on LINKING: Everyone seems to be each only think of half the ruleset on why Rand needs 2 women for the circle:
1: Callandor has no buffer from overdrawing BUT you can't overdraw in a circle, a circle comes with it's own natural buffer against that particular allure.

2: The taint rushing effect causes a man to become unstable (making Rule 1 much more important!). The reason 2 women might solve this is that as with the Choedan Kal, they draw Saidin (and the taint) while Rand draws Saidar and just funnels Saidin from the women.

With the taint gone Rule 2 isn't important anymore and it's purely safety to have the circle (plus for the last battle i'm sure you'd want to pack in a bit of extra juice in the form of a few women you can trust).

SEALING BORE: It's been repeatedly stated that the sealing didn't work because only Saidin was used => women must be involved in the circle, which will almost certainly be Alivia and Nynaeve. Moiraine's probably too weak now to be of much use in the circle, although no doubt she'll be crucial to get everyone to agree to his plan using some tidbit she learned from the Aelfinn/3 rings or from her 2nd and 3rd wish from the Eelfinn, come on Deus Ex Damodred!).
103. Phedre
I'm just chiming in to also say that I have loved this blog for a while now. I even decided to finally read the series because of it a few months ago and have now caught up with you all.

I really appreciate the insightful commentary and all the things I would have completely missed if not for Leigh and the commenters.

But I will also say that I sometimes disagree with Leigh on her reading of the perceived sexism of some of the male characters. As a grown woman I have encountered all kinds of sexist situations in my life and so believe that I can speak from experience on this topic.

And sometimes the women in this series just behave like complete idiots and deserve to be not only called on it but also face the consequences of their actions.
So I am not mad at Perrin for not taking Faile with him to this parley. The question is not whether she is his partner but whether she had anything to contribute in this situation. She has no magical abilities, the Whitecloaks aren't there for her but for Perrin and she would be an actual liability in a fight (suere she has knives, but the Whitecloaks have swords). But I am sure that she would have insisted on going in her annoying way despite all of these perfectly good reasons to just stay put for once.

If it were a man who had been left behind for the same reasons I am sure that we wouldn't have a conversation about this. So I feel that sometimes Leigh tends to take the question of equality too far. Faile is not anybodys equal in this situation and therefore has no business going along. She would have insisted on going anyway and Perrin did not want to discuss it with her. Actually a tactically good way to handle it.

Also, one could argue that in this case he is her superior in a military way and chain of command does not allow for long discussions. Sometimes a leader just has to make a decision.

Ok done ranting on this. Sometimes Faile gets me that way...
Dawn Boyall
104. deebee
The relationship between Faile and Perrin has been deeply frustrating to me since the beginning. (Let`s not talk about spanking...)
Mostly it`s been Faile who sets my teeth on edge, with her spies and her "secrets" and her constant needling. Emo Perrin has sometimes seemed like the struggles of an understandably baffled man who loves and respects his wife and doesn`t understand how what she does matches up to what she says she feels for him.

And in the end Perrin is driven to avoid conflict by not involving Faile in the important decisions he has to make-as in not telling her about the parley. (which incidentally is a very minor issue compared to deciding to commit judicial murder and carrying it out, all without a passing mention to Perrin,)
So here I was uncomfortable at his deception-by-omission, and sad that the relationship was still on such a shaky footing even after the resolution of the PLOD.

But thankfully TOM shows real signs of growth for the relationship. When Perrin learns to accept the wolf and to accept his leadership role so they begin to trust each other. Faile accepts Perrin seeking out Slayer in the wolf dream despite the danger, and Perrin follows her advice in negotiating with Elayne over the TR lordship.

Maybe by the end of AMOL they`ll have completely sorted all their issues. Though whether they`ll be ruling in Saldaea or the Two Rivers is anyone`s guess-assuming they survive the Big Bang.

I guess you`re a Jacqueline Carey fan?
105. Ryanus
Even aside from the "You don't notice your own mistakes." there's an easy issue to Mat's letter vs his earlier note.

In the current writing he is trying to make sure it is phrased just right to get through the various red tape to Elayne's hand and then ensure that Elayne recognizes and believes it to come from him. So he sits down with pen and paper and starts writing, making notes as he goes, correcting things along the way, etc, etc, etc. Then gets frustrated with Thom's laughing at him and just sends it as is.

In Tylin's palace he's carefully wording something in front of a queen that is quick, simple and to the point. He doesn't need to think about exactly what he wants to say or sort through anything, just a quick warning and reminder that they should leave.

As for the spelling, I will freely admit I doubt RJ would have done that. But that's not really an issue. As for your claim that it's unrealistic. I'd point out what others have already pointed out. Uniform spelling is relatively new. At the real world time comparitive to Rand Land spelling laff or laugh, or laf or laph is all the same. So I'm sorry it bothered you and I do concede it's an author's choice and somewhat different, but it is neither wrong nor really out of character for Mat.

These spelling concerns remind me of the issue with Gladiator (with Russel Crowe) Where they cut scenes of the Gladiators doing advertisements and having ad sponsors because they felt no one would believe it was realistic. Even though it was documented fact.
Valentin M
106. ValMar
Happy 4 July to the USAians! Though holiday or not, I can't imagine how can anyone survive 40 degrees C without electricity... With this freakish weather it looks like someone has been playing with the Bowl of the Winds.

Re the letter. It may be fine (with some caveats) or not. But I noticed some strange logic in some arguments- "it made me laugh so it's ok". Well, the AT-AT dog picture, courtesy of Sub, made me laugh. So I should be happy to see dog/robot hybrids battle trollocs in AMOL?
Stefan Mitev
107. Bergmaniac
It's called Rule of Funny, Valmar. "Any violation of continuity, logic or physics is permissible if the result gets enough of a laugh." Courtesy of TV Tropes, so it's definitely true.
Ron Garrison
108. Man-0-Manetheran
Wortmauer @ The Hunny:

Great research and analysis on Mat’s writing skills and humor. I couldn’t have said it better. I even learned a new word!

Perrin/Faile: Ah, yeah. She does keep a lot of secrets from him, now doesn’t she? Silly man. He just wouldn’t understand.
Glen V
109. Ways
@94 KiManiak, @97 benpmoldovan, @103 Phedre and @104 deebee:

@106 ValMar: As one caught up in the Bowl of the Winds conflagration, I sincerely appreciate your shout out. Electricity and phone/internet service were restored to my house after 38 hours and we never lost water service. Others are not nearly so fortunate, but the community is actively working to help each other get through the mess.

Edit syntax
Valentin M
110. ValMar
Fair enough, Bergmaniac, I get it. But I don't feel the posters meant it in this spirit. I may be wrong, of course. Still, I'm pretty sure RJ and Team Jordan (incl Brandon) intend the WOT to read as Epic Fantasy, not Farce.
Mat, and this letter, being funny has nothing to do with the complaints some readers are making and the proper counter-arguments others are presenting.


As someone who wilts every time it gets above 25 degrees C, I can really commiserate. Plus there are these awful storms and I guess hellish humidity. Also, Dr Queen's town may burn down too! Luckily the UK has one of the most boring weathers in the world.
Birgit F
111. birgit
Randomly, do you have any clue how annoying it is to have to type “Lord Captain Commander” over and over again?

LCC or Galad might be easier.

I just believed that the Dragon icon was used to establish the timing of that visit despite the lack of (visible) Rand.

That timing doesn't work because El thinks about Rand's feelings at the end of this chapter:
The only thing she ever sensed from him these days was a cold anger, buried deeply. Was he in Arad Doman?
I think Narishma had Callandor, so maybe there is a special exception there, although it appears everyone must have known about it at the time, and didn't comment on it.

Making circles with men is new to the present AS. Why should they know the rules and realize if there is anything unusual about using Callandor?

From a real life perspective, WW2 was the end of an age/dawn of a new age, and while some countries were weakened, I don't recall any disolving.

Germany was split into two countries. The world was split by the Cold War.

As far as Galad's "I just want to see him before I kill him" line ... it doesn't feel in character for him ... and aside from that, there is no reason.

He wanted to see for himself if the story about Perrin's "shadowspawn" eyes was true and he watched for Perrin's reaction to mentioning the murder of Whitecloaks. For him it was important to confirm that what Byar and Bornhald said was true because he knows they are fanatics who see darkfriends everywhere.

After spending what 400-500 pages on Elayne taking control of Andor and Cairhien and a lot of other political stuff, to end it with "It doesn't matter in the end because those countries don't exist anymore" would be really pointless and a waste of pages.

One of RJ's themes was how everybody is more concerned with their own business than with the end of the world. It would fit that if all their plotting turned out to be pointless because TG gets in the way of their plans.

I was looking for a time efficient way to recap what happened.

Look at encyclopedia wot if you only want a summary. This blog is for discussing our reactions to the books. If you don't care for that, just don't read it.

As I mentioned earlier, Faile did something similar with Masema (confronted a potentially dangerous enemy, didn’t consult with her partner, went to a pained effort to not even let her partner be aware of that particular course of action, surrounded herself with trusted subordinates that she felt could get the job done) in the prologue of TGS.

Faile did that behind Perrin's back because she knew he wouldn't approve of murdering Masema, not to keep him out of danger.

It's been repeatedly stated that the sealing didn't work because only Saidin was used => women must be involved in the circle, which will almost certainly be Alivia and Nynaeve.

RJ said that saidar would have been tainted, too, if LTT had used women. The cover for AMOL suggests that Moiraine and Nynaeve are in the Callandor circle.

Mat's insulting language is deliberate to get some reaction from El because he thinks she knows he is there and just ignores him. His bad spelling might also be deliberate or he just doesn't care (I sometimes think that my brother might deliberately ignore spelling rules just to annoy those who care).
112. Wortmauer
Thalinius@101: earlier in this thread someone pointed out that we just see him writing the letter, not someone else reading it.
I wonder why people keep saying that, because it's just not true.
The sitting-room stand-lamps made reading easy, though Mat's unformed, boyish hand did present difficulties. It was the contents that clenched Nynaeve's middle into knots.
There's nothing but heat and flies, and we can find plenty of those in Caemlyn.
"Are you sure you didn't tell him anything?" she demanded.
— ACOS, Ch. 21 "Swovan Night"
We don't see the whole letter — narratively it makes sense to only quote a little bit of it, to remind the reader of it. And that little bit is word-for-word what we saw Mat write earlier. But while Nynaeve is put off by his poor penmanship, there's no mention of any other outrageous errors. And I think if there had been any, Nynaeve would have pointed them out in her mind. She doesn't have a very high opinion of Mat and she doesn't care for the letter.

I also disagree that the first note was Mat at ease and the second was him trying to figure out how to say something difficult. We seem him putting time and thought into his first note. It wasn't just dashed off. You can argue whether a fellow is under more pressure in his own tent, surrounded by his own army, with Thom standing behind him chuckling — or in Queen Tylin's apartments, surrounded by, you know, the Queen and her many hands. I say he was under more pressure the first time. Here's a bit more from that scene, just before he writes the note; judge for yourselves:
Tall triple-arched windows opening onto a wrought-iron balcony admitted a sea breeze that was surprisingly pleasant, if not exactly cool, yet Mat felt hotter than in the street, and it had nothing to do with her stare. Deyeniye, dyu ninte concion ca'lyet ye. ("Majesty, by your summons do I come." -ed.) That was what he had said. The bloody Old Tongue popping out of his mouth again without him knowing it. He had thought he had that little bother under control. No telling when those bloody dice would stop or for what. Best to keep his eyes to himself and his mouth shut as much as possible. "I thank you, Majesty." He made very sure of those words.

Thick sheets of pale paper already waited on the slanted table, at a comfortable height for writing. He propped his hat against the table leg. He could see her in the mirror. Watching. Why had he let his tongue run loose?
— ACOS, Ch. 16 "A Touch on the Cheek"

As for "how do I make her believe it's really me?" ... I don't buy that as a big issue for him. Doesn't everyone in Randland have that exact problem? The usual solution is to use a personal wax seal, if you have one, and particularly if it's one the recipient will recognize. Mat has one, and Elayne has seen it before — on his first note! She knows he commands the Band. If he needed to do more, he could have, I dunno, made a reference to the heat and flies in Caemlyn, or something.

A few have argued that he wrote as he did in order to ensure he got past Elayne's bureaucratic spam filters. Seems to me, making yourself seem as comically uneducated as possible is pretty unlikely to work. If his poor style actually helped him get through, I say it's more due to ta'veren, i.e., Pattern required it, which is often hard to distinguish from plot required it.
Alice Arneson
113. Wetlandernw
Wortmauer @112 - As I read it, the argument wasn't that "he wrote as he did in order to ensure he got past Elayne's bureaucratic spam filters." I don't think anyone was suggesting that this would get it past Norry, but that it would get Elayne's attention more effectively.

In defense of that argument, it doesn't seem from the text that Mat thought about the bureaucracy filter; he assumed Elayne had seen his letters and didn't really notice them because they didn't stand out, or that she didn't believe they really came from him. His purpose was to a) get her attention and b) convince her it was really from him. Since she appeared to consider him an uneducated buffoon in most ways, it's not too much of a stretch for a reader to assume that he went out of his way to appear to be exactly that.

Which is not to say that either argument is correct or incorrect; I just had to point out that the argument wasn't (near as I could see) based on the bureaucratic spam filter consideration.
Maiane Bakroeva
114. Isilel
I liked the letter, personally, even though it is indeed a departure from his previous one.

Speaking of linking rules - I distinctly remember that there are several mentions in the previous books that in a circle of 3 or more with just one man, a woman has to lead, so yea, I found this scene very jarring on the first read.
Also, if a man is not weaving saidar, how can he use it to "strengthen" whatever he is doing? And from Rand's PoV during the Cleansing, he was definitely weaving it. Semirhage knew how to make saidin weave too (when she had a captive source of it in collared Rand,) which makes much more sense to me as the underlying mechanic of guiding a circle.

But of course, I also think that rediscovery of the mixed circles should have been a major plot point, taking some of the space of endless PLOD, because it is somehing that the very basis for the magic system of WoT should have made very difficult. After all, one has to go against all one's instincts as a channeler to properly weave the opposite half of OP.

Call me obsessive-compulsive, but in a book where magic is explained in some detail and where it is quite"mechanistic", I wish that the limits and the rules of it had been decided on early. And that Jordan had gone lightly on overpowered abilities, such as Travelling, mixed linking, etc. Make them available just to a few key characters and folks not communicating and being out of reach would have felt natural, rather than extremely contrived. Ditto such things as "holding territory" or feeling safe in one's bed even making sense. Oh, well....

I was relieved that Faile killed Masema, because I couldn't have stood any more of him and his delays, but yes, not a lot of trust in her husband. Of course, I know that Perrin would have continued to be completely unreasonable about Masema and drawn the whole thing out even more, so it is difficult for me to summon much indignation.

Re: Cha Faile, if Perrin had known early on, he would have tried to prevent women among them from doing anything useful, cause he wouldn't have been able to concede them the right to take risks. Which, extremely patronizing, argh, headdesk, etc.
Alice Arneson
115. Wetlandernw
Well, if you insist...

Isilel, you're obsessive-compulsive.

(Of course, some would say this is a pot/kettle issue...)
Stefan Mitev
116. Bergmaniac
The Travelling weave is fundamentally different for male and female channellers, right? Then how could a mixed circle including one man and two women produce bigger Gateways than the man on his own, especially the female channellers don't know the Travelling weave at this point.
Alice Arneson
117. Wetlandernw
Bergmaniac - The size of the Gateway formed depends on the strength of the channeler, so in this case it's a matter of more power = bigger Gateway. The women aren't making the Gateway, they're just providing more OP to allow Neald to make his Gateway bigger.
118. PeaceofWestphalia
Quoting Oton @75
"When this recap started I looked forward to a decent recap with light analysis. Now I just skip the analysis. Because it's more reaction than analysis. It's not even deep commentary. I felt this. I loved this. I forgot that happened. And I'm tired of hearing what offended Leigh this week. TOR allows you to do this recap for all their customers to enjoy, not just the ones yearning for a weekly rant on feminist theory. And in an economy this bad my hard-earned dollars can go to publishers who aren't funding a weekly lecture on gender studies."
Verbatim my thoughts!! I have read this blog since the day it began and I have never given two hoots about Leigh's drastically biased rantings. I certainly enjoy her sense of humour, which is unfortunately less common then her rants on one of her pet subjetcs (read : feminism). I believe LB is a wonderful person, however as Oton pointed out a SciFi novel is written for entertainment and not as a study on social niceties and behaviour and how-to-have-equality-between-sexes. Discussing something close to her heart is her right as the autor of this blog (even though its tecnically owned by TOR.COM), but constantly ranting about her pet grouse is not at all entertaining and it makes me always and unfailingly SKIP her whole analysis even though I am aware I might miss her awesome jokes in the process. :(

We all know One power does not exist in real world but we dont discuss how weird the magic or the ta'vereenness (sp?) is. We just accept it because we love it and its SciFi! Same way I think we should accept the social structure of Randland and move ahead. They gotta face the DO, so give thema break ;)
Kimani Rogers
119. KiManiak
Birgit@111 – Hmm. Look, I don’t want to beat a dead horse or be perceived as continuously attacking Leigh (she is who she is; she believes what she believes; I enjoy reading her), but I am going to respond to your rebuttal of my comment@94 (which will probably be perceived as me beating Bela beyond death; but whatever, believe what you will).

You said:
Faile did that behind Perrin's back because she knew he wouldn't approve of murdering Masema, not to keep him out of danger.

That’s you interpretation (and most likely a popular one). Regardless, Faile killed Masema (or technically, finished him off) without consulting Perrin first (or telling him at all). There is no dispute about that. Faile’s actions are clear; her intentions are open to discussion.

So the question is, was my post@94 regarding my issue with Leigh’s problem regarding Perrin’s intentions, or his actions? Did I challenger her for her stated problem with what Perrin did, or why (she perceived) he did it (or even both)? I would argue that it’s the former, based upon my challenging of her statement that they are partners and equals who should “be in on all major decisions that potentially involve you getting killed…”

According to that quote, she took issue with the fact that Perrin acted to not include Faile in the decision making, not why he didn’t include her. Also this: “don’t feel Faile should be haring off doing her own thing without consulting Perrin any more than he should.” Again, the issue here is with the action. But, let’s look at the intention angle…

Actually Birgit, to your point about the “why,” Leigh even talks about her perception of his intentions and motivations (which I didn’t bring up in my post@94): “At least have the decency inside your own head to admit why you really sneaked off without talking to your wife first, which is that you just didn’t want to give her the chance to object to the idea,” which would support that Leigh favors the idea that both Perrin and Faile engaged in actions without consulting the other because they knew the other wouldn’t approve (assuming Leigh subscribes to the aforementioned popular belief that Faile didn’t tell Perrin because she assumed he wouldn’t let her kill Masema). So I would argue that should make the 2 situations even more similar for her. Yet there was no call out of Faile in a post; just a call out of Perin.

I maintain that Faile did something incredible similar with Masema (likely for different reasons) and yet Leigh did not take Faile to task, like she said she would have done above.

Leigh said:"I am not sure how anyone has managed to come to the conclusion that feminism in general or my brand of it in particular means anything other than a call for equality." I like that quote; I think that is something to aspire to. I just don’t think Leigh is treating Perrin's actions and Faile's similar actions equally at all.

So that's why I called shenanigans.
120. PeaceofWestphalia
happy 4th of July to al Americans! God bless America!
Peter Mitev
121. Jack Shaftoe
I don't get why Mat needed to write a letter at all. Surely someone in the palace would have remembered him from the time he helped Rand conquer Caemlyn? Did he leave Caemlyn immediately after The Fires of Heaven? Or at least some of the nobles who fight under his command would know other nobles who reside in Caemlyn and would tell them that yes, this is indeed Matrim Cauthon, the close friend of the Dragon Reborn. Last but not least, how many mercenaries show up with a thousands strong army? It just doesn't make sense that he wouldn't be believed to be who he said he was or at least be important enough to get an audience for no other reason than the fact that he was a leader of a big army and Elayne was in need of mercenaries.
Valentin M
122. ValMar
Jack @ 121

Yeah, a thought I've tried to avoid. The Band is by far the largest single foreign force near Caemlyn. The whole thing is really contrived. I guess it's just a matter of timing. Mat had to be away from Elayne for the time. If the story called for him to see her sooner or immediately, he would've managed easily. This is something that occurs in story telling, in all it's forms, all the time.
One could argue that, knowing Mat, writing a letter to gain an audience would've been the last thing we would expect him to do. And without his Memories he wouldn't have thought of it at all.
Dawn Boyall
123. deebee
To all of those who don`t enjoy this blog:

it isn`t compulsory to read it, so why don`t you find another you prefer and leave those who do enjoy it to read it in peace?
Hey at least I didn't start it this time! And I do love this blog. And everyone in it. Even Freelancer :-)

Wooo hoooo! I love beer!

Happy Fourth of July!

Robert Crawley
125. Alphaleonis
To deebee @123

I do like this blog. I don't enjoy some things about it. Especially the profanity. But even the profanity has provided some entertainment. As in when a debate over it in some of the earlier discussions included the single most stupid statement I have read in all the posts of all the boards on which I am a regular participant: "If you don't like the profanity, don't read it." This would be a stupid statement no matter to whom it was addressed, but here it is even more moronic. Think for a minute. Who are we here? Readaholics who read at the fabulous pace of several gajillion words a minute in order to read a 10,000 page series once a year or more. Yea right, since I don't want to read any prifanities, I shouldn't have read the one that appeared 200 words or 3 tenths of a second ago. I can't remember who gave that little piece of brilliant advice, or whether it is one of the still active regular posters; but there are 4 boards that I have been regularly reading and posting on for the past several years, and that takes the cake for the stupidist post ever.

Profanity is unnecessary, and unprofessional. I am surprised that Tor allows it on their board. I remember some posters in the early days who left over this factor.

I have two of my sons, and 3 grandsons who are reading the series, and I would not recommend this board to them for the reason of the profanity.

Another thing, deebee, if one wants to participate in a reread of the WOT; it is compulsory to read this blog. Have you seen what else is out there? Nothing.
126. av willis
With regards to birgitte's "populist" comments there really is a simple explanation. She consider's herself a soldier first and foremost and therefore has a soldier's sensibilities regarding politicians. She recognizes them as necessary evils, but that by no means has to like them. Look at how she's gotten along with Dyellin, they've been plinking at each other's egos from the beginning. Does that mean they can't work together? by no means, but i think it's safe to say they won't be on each other's christmas card list any time soon.
Stefan Mitev
127. Bergmaniac
@Wetlandernw - but saidin and saidar are very different powers, and they create different types of Gateways. How does holding a given amount of saidar help a channeller make a bigger gateway with saidin? It doesn't make sense to me.
KiManiak, I'm witcha. But that isn't the firsty. Just the most recent. But like I said... Her show.

Profanity. This production is one of adult content. The books have adult content. I don't think it was ever said that this was a Disney like production, rated G and all. Nope, this here is for mature minds many of which think of creative ways to express themselves. But some times a simple obtusely direct approach improves one's perception of what another is trying to convey. So, being as that has been so from the beginning I see no reason to change it because of the occasionally stung ear.

Mat's letter. He worded it that way on purpose, because that is what Elayne perceives him to be. He was reinforcing her flawed ideal about himself. Later, Elayne realizes her error during their negotiations. He easily got the better deal of it. He lost nothing and gained one quarter of the weapons he gets to use for free. He'll have the most powerful non channeling army in Randland. With channelers? Wow.

Das it again... Need more beer! Be right back!

129. Freelancer
Silvertip @58

Agreed, and adding that if you think your opinion is humble...

Regarding the Perrin/Galad confrontation which had been anticipated since before Faile/Morgase/Alliandre et al were captured, it went through some very interesting and unexpected bumps and twists and hiccups, but it resulted pretty much identically to what many had predicted ages ago, say the moment Morgase's retinue joined Perrin's.

That is to say that eventually, Galad and whoever of the Whitecloaks were with him at the time would encounter Perrin's crowd, they would plan to fight, Galad would discover Morgase, Byar would again accuse Perrin, Morgase would defend Perrin and Galad would accept that, and the Galad-Berelain connection would be formed. The details made for great reading, but the result was never really so much in question. Go back and review the predictions threads during the long wait after KoD, and you'll see such descriptions forecasted by many.

Another thing which was commonly predicted was that only Morgase appearing in the flesh would turn Gawyn from his intention of learning if Rand could live with a sword through his heart. Since this has been the case, one wonders at the amazement with which the commentary foams regarding Gawyn's "idiocy". While I tend to be much less critical of Gawyn than most, I've never defended his insistent refusal to hear any statement repudiating the gossip that Rand murdered Morgase. And initially, the gossip included Elayne. When a travelling peddler says someone killed your mom and your sister, and then your sister turns up alive, you ought to discard said gossip as wholly unreliable. This is Gawyn's largest and only notable fail in my book, as several succeeding misguided decisions flow from it.

To specifically address Leigh's feeling that Perrin is somehow denigrating Faile by not wishing her present at the pseudo-parlay with Galad, I find it completely in character for him, and therefore expected. I also wonder why no similar feeling of denigrating the spouse was brought up regarding Faile murdering Masema and then swearing everyone involved to secrecy so that Perrin does not find out. Who doesn't trust whom more, in this relationship? I've never liked that Masema didn't face Rand and learn his error. He deserved to die, but done without any justice is a shame.

Mat's letter to Elayne? It was fine. As for deciding what to include/exclude from the contents and postscripts, it's acceptable to consider that it was Mat making sure Elayne knew it was him. There is no question he would do such a thing, especially after telling Joline that he would swear in the letter for just such a reason. I'm good with it.

While thinking of Joline, several have suggested that she may be a darkfriend, but that doesn't pass the smell test. Just because she, a Green, is less pleasant than Teslyn, a Red, doesn't make her evil. And, if she were a Team Shadow plant, a Black Ajah member who is not bound by the Oaths, why in blazes would she not kill him as soon as possible after he heated up her backside? If bopping Mat killed the goat as far as he was concerned, spanking her silly would clearly have earned him a death sentence with a Black Sister. And before anyone speculates that just perhaps she actually liked it, remember the reactions of Fen and Blearic.

And there's the dinner bell. Blackened salmon with mango chutney. Much goodness.

Stay Independent, my friends.
130. Heeler
I'd like to weigh in on the whole "Leigh/feminist" issue, because this is an issue that I've been aware of for some time. My comment is specifically directed at Leigh.

Leigh, don't get me wrong, you're doing pretty much a thankless job. You're treking through these books and putting up a post every week despite your own commitments, and for that, well done. I think everyone who reads your posts would applaud you for your commitment and hard work. Sincerely.

And, obviously, your own opinions will influence how you view the material. If I was reading through this stuff, I'm sure I'd find plenty of gay rights issues in there to bang on about. Because that's what I'd respond the most to, and therefore it would come accross in my recap as "the big issue." You (fairly obviously) resonate strongly with the feminist issues, so they come through the most. Or, in your words, the blog is written "from a feminist point of view". Which is perfectly legitimate.

That said.... This isn't your personal diary. This is a public blog that people are reading because they enjoy the series and want to read through it again, in a forum where they can discuss the material. You are (in this regard) an agent of Tor.com who is fullfilling this possibilty for the fans.

As an agent of Tor.com, I do feel that you have a responsibilty to take on board the feelings of the commenters. I am NOT saying that any reference to feminism/femisnist issues should be balefired from your posts. Obviously it'll come through. I'm just saying it's something you should be aware of, and which you should consider trying to tone down.

For my own part, at several points in your re-read (and, also in your equally commendable Read of Ice and Fire (which, I should point out, does NOT have the excuse of gender roles being a major theme/plotpoint)), I have squinted in confusion trying to see how you have pulled a gender equality issue out of the woodwork. And, more irritatingly, rolled my eyes in irritation as the gender equality "rant" (other poster's words!) extended for a not-inconsiderable portion of the post.

Basically, my point is that it's perfectly fine to bring up feminist issues, especially in this series where it is often a thematic issue. But I think, in light of the volume of posts taking issue with the topic, and considering your position as a writer for tor.com, it is definitely something you should be aware of when writing furture posts. Once again, I am NOT saying ditch your ideals, and obviously the issues that you feel are important will surface repeatedly in the reread. Just consider if its a completely relevant issue in furture posts.

For example, in a chapter where the all-female power structure of the Aes Sedai/Domani/Far Dareis Mai is a prevalent theme, thats obviously perfectly legitimate. Ditto for chapters concerning the power struggles between the Wisdom and the Mayor of Emmond's Field. But Perrin not brining Faile somewhere... Is that a feminist issue or a commentary on their relationship dynamic?

Once again, I would like to thank you for your incredible commitment to the reread. Your dedication is nothing short of remarkable, especially considering your lack of reward. Nevertheless, you are acting as an agent of a third party for the benefit of your readers, not your own personal enjoyment. So don't tell your readers to "stop reading". It comes accross as incredibly snarky, not to mention demeaning and insulting to your readers. This reread is not intrinsically "yours". This reread can continue without you, but not without your readers. You should consider that.

(Also, you say in your above rebuttal that "often people seem to disregard the many times I have focused on any of the other million issues"... But that's kinda the whole point. You give the other issues due consideration when they arise. But in the opinion of many posters, you give feminist issues consideration whether or not they are relevant.)

(Also, on a further note (indeed, as a PPS), I think it is important to point out that the above post did not EXPLICITLY mention gender as the problem... but given your obvious prediliction for feminist ideology, and the language used in the complaint ("your partner and your equal", "your fragile little flower who must be protected"), I think we can all agree that that's the overarching issue here. Certainly the issue is obviously worth talking about, either way, since there are several posters who feel this way).
Jay Dauro
131. J.Dauro
I understand why Perrin did not bring Faile. I also understand why Faile is upset, and can sort of agree with her. What if Perrin does not return from this meeting? His "second in command" doesn't even know where he went, and his military second has gone with him? In that case, he has pretty much screwed everything.

I see this as another example of Perrin not leading. He needs to tell her where he is going, and then tell her she has to stay behind. Which eventually he comes to understand and does, although it's not an exact duplicate.

Hrothgordo. Ryanus

Actually, I believe the weather in Caemlyn, as well as the general "health" of the city are more related to the presence of Rand's kids, than to the presence of one of Rand's women (or of Rand sneaking in.) Of course, at this point, to have Rand's kids there, we do sort of have to have Elayne.

Forkroot @34

Depends. Could be that a change in the state of the Dark One (bound to unbound or vice-versa) is considered as one definition of the End of an Age. At least, if I was the Dark One, I would consider it so. ;^)
John Smith
132. TheHardTruth
Just to clear up a misconception:

ALL of Tor.Com's blogger's are paid employees.
Yeah now that I'm reasonably sober *wink wink* I'd like to reiterate how wonderful its been to be able to discuss the WoT series with all of you.

Leigh, I humbly apologize for any damage to your tranquility writing these posts, with regards to my words that you may take offense to. You toil for us week in and week out, uncompensated and at most times in my eyes at least, unappreciated. Well not appreciated enough. I know I am lacking in that regard and for that apologize again.

My father used to say if you feel the need to apologize multiple times in one conversation then you done screwed up. I think we could all remember that Leigh's obligation to do this is Nil. She could walk away at any time. It is a testament to her character that she is still willing to do this at all. I think maybe she feels like she hadn't started this up sometimes or maybe she pauses before hitting the send button. Maybe she's thinking "wouldn't it be funny if I just didn't post today?".
I don't think she's gone there yet or ever will, buy she sure deserves to. She does deserve more from us and if that means we hav

have to suck it up and listen to her thoughts on feminine injustice within the WoT series then I feel we should. I will from here on out. It serves no purpose to do otherwise, and I might learn something along the way. In fact, I have already.

To You Leigh... Salutations.

With every bit of sincerity I have.

Alice Arneson
135. Wetlandernw
To clear up another misconception - there are other bloggers on tordotcom who have specific hot issues they repeatedly bring up on their blogs - some far more than Leigh. Several, in fact, make it clear from the start that the purpose of their blog is to approach the material specifically from their own "-ism" perspective. Most of them don't have nearly as many followers, though, and their faithful few tend to agree with their perspectives on the issues.
Robert Crawley
136. Alphaleonis
Zexxes @128

This is not an adult production. The series is not an adult production. There is no R or X posted on the covers. I have a 9 year old granddaughter who started reading the series, and was enjoying it. My 3 grandsons ages 9, 12 and 14 were reading the series before I was. There is very little in the actual series that is objectionable. But this blog drops the F bomb frequently for no valid reason. In fact, it has been dropped so many times that it truly has lost all impact other than revealing imaturity. That's the irony, it's childish, not "adult" to use language to try to prove you are big. Early teen stuff. Like the young kids I grew up with who would say "It's my ball, if you don't play my way, I will go home." Now it's "It's my blog, if you don't like it you can go." Most of my friends began to realize the childishness of that attitude before mid teens.
Robert Crawley
137. Alphaleonis
TheHardTruth @132

Makes me wonder even more why Tor puts up with the unprofessional profanity.
lake sidey
138. lakesidey
Mat's letter? I love it. Made me laugh, which was the intent I am sure, and after that it would be hypocritical to say I didn't enjoy it, nein? Besides, while I felt Mat (and a couple of other things) were somewhat off in TGS, it didn't really put me off my stride - I was more miffed by the huge number of typos in TOM (and I am therefore glad Brandon and co are taking the extra six months on this one - even if it means I have to wait a bit.)

Perrin's decision? Right, imho. For all of the reasons listed above (he just got his wife back, he is anyway taking only a skeleton crew, he might say/do something which she would lose her temper about...). Also, Faile keeps doing stuff without informing him, and even without the Masema info he knows of a good bit of it by now (the fact that she was using the Cairhienin as spies, for one). Finally, she wants him to be (a) a good leader and (b) a masterful Saldaean who will yell at her, right? So she can't very well complain if he decides to do his own thing. Another thing is, though I doubt Perrin is thinking on these lines, it would be bad for his leadership cred in the long run if people thought his wife was the real decision maker.

But most importantly his decision is right from my POV, because if something happens to her we will have another PLOD. Perrin possibly being sexist >> Perrin being emo, imo.

Leigh? Well, it's her blog. She can write what she wants, and if I don't like it (which I frequently don't, when we spank this particular dead horse) I am forced to ignore it. It is definitely a factor which has reduced my active participation in terms of commenting, though I still read every post; but it is not the only predeceased equine in play there, work pressures have a lot more say in my online reclusiveness (which is why I have also well-nigh vanished from the Rothfuss re-read and other places I used to be active). I will continue to be miffed when the feminist fires are undeserved or irrelevant (which is the case in this chapter, in my opinion) or if there is excessive profanity (which I also find pointless), but I will not stop reading because there is enough goodness in the reread to make up. One might as well stop reading George Martin because one is on a diet and can't stand all that food porn :P

Steve Barkmeier
139. sbark
I'm surprised that nobody has commented on Grady's statement that before he had something to die for but now he has something to live for. It was one of my favorite lines from WOT.

On a different topic I don't understand why people insist that the end of an age needs to include the destruction of all the countries in the world. Sure that happened with the breaking of the world. However, it's not like that is a representative sample. I think that every age ends with major changes to the culture of Randland. I don't think that those changes need to be of the catastrophic variety.

I also don't see the whole deal with the leading of the circles as really an error in the story. The people making the statement have minimal experience with linking with men or linking in general. It doesn't surprise me that they might not understand the rules or possibilities fully.

I don't want to be rude.

However, I need to stick to what I'm good at.
@136 Alphaleonis

No it doesn't have x and o's anywhere. This is a free speech zone for the most part. The only real rules are be nice to each other. Don't call anyone names. And if your behavior is overly disruptive you'll be warned and if you don't chill out you'll be banned. People speak the way they will. If you yourself pride yourself in your lack of foul language, great. If you don't like it when people use foul language, that's your problem. If someone chooses to drop the f bomb that's their prerogative. It's also your prerogative to "ask" them not to. And it's also my prerogative to say "hell Fucking no" if I so choose.

Noneo Yourbusiness
141. Longtimefan
It is web log. It happens as it happens and should not really surprise anyone this far along. The deeply personal tone is a risk but is also very engaging and if it stops being interesting then it is not interesting.

However if it is causing people to write long and detailed post about how irritating certain things have become then the writing is, in a way, still interesting because the person is interested enough to write about it.

As for the profanity. It is not everyone's cup of tea. I had a grandfather who swore often and loudly every day no matter how old the grandchildren were when we were over to visit. He was also a bit of a racist. Well he was completely a racist to be fair.

But even as a child I made my own choices about how I used this information. I chose not to accept this information as valid or usable. Yes, my parents encouraged me to not follow his example but as people become teen agers parental encouragement is not always regarded well. :)
Life is full of people who say things. Not everyone likes what everyone else says. How one choses to deal with it or speak to it or emulate it (or not) is more important than being afraid of how other people chose to deal with it.

Said by someone who has in past posts been fairly ranty and probably guilty of similar indiscreesions on certian subjects my self. :)

So I know in some way emotionally where you are coming from, oh people of the less feminism and swearing persuasion, but i cannot agree with you in these topics because I accept Ms. Butlers honesty about who she is and appreciate that she really feels passionately about certain things and has no censorship from Tor.com (that I am aware of) which in America is a pretty great thing (most of the time because obviously there will be things said that one may not agree with) and on this day of July the Fourth when Americans are celebrating their independence by blowing things up and getting really really drunk they are going to say things they may or may not mean but have been given a rather broad freedom to do so in the founding of this nation.

In the spirit of that, Leigh is fucking awesome!

As for Mat's Letter of Contention. Not fond.
I do not like Mat as a character, never been a big trickster fan, that is just me. I will say that I would rather have a clever Mat being sly or unintentionally insulting while thinking he is charming than a baffoonish Mat who tries to hard. One is not my cup of tea, the other is just irritating.

But as it has also been said (somewhere) it has been written and it is what it is, clicking the dislike button a hundred times is not going to change the letter. More the loss for those of us who expect better from Mat. :) I may not like his character but he is a hero and I like my heroes heroic or at least literate, in books anyway.

For a charater who just wrote a large number of pages of fictional development so several men could infiltrate a small town just a few weeks back it does seem a bit odd that he would not write well. Not impossible but odd.

I feel that Mat's character gets under other characters skins because he is bold, direct and confident but perhaps a bit unpolished. That is not the same thing as being a poor speaker or prone to exaggerated gestures. I would say that even Mats grandest events or actions have been from things he thought would have been small and hoped they would go unnoticed.

The rescue at the Stone of Tear pops to mind as he expected the fireworks to be a distraction not an wall breaker and then the rescue was complicated by the trolloc attack. His intentions are small, direct and bold. They become grand and complicated and much more heroic and the humor comes from the way he shoulders this burden of being more than he intends to be.

I know it is what it is but I was just trying to get my feeling on why it did not fit for me.

Like the words or dislike the words a person's charater is consistent and when it is not people would notice a difference but not be able to pin it down and discect it.

If Ms. Butler set up the next blog post with no swearing not mentioning feminist issues if they are there to be seen them some might find it to be better reading but I feel that many of us would wonder what was wrong and express concern that something had changed.

As language is the key to our social connection it is completely vaild to notice differences and comment on them. Passionately, deeply, truly.

Thank goodness dead horses are so durable.
By the way, that was my very first expletive on this here blog (I think!) . I choose not to use them to express myself in forums such as these. But I don't have a problem with them, as I use expletives in my normal vocal speech. So for those who do here... Go ahead with your bad self!

Glen V
143. Ways
I considered weighing in on the profanity issue after Alphaleonis' first comment on the topic, however, opted out at the time since it seemed like a distraction from the direction in which the comments were headed. The topic is gaining a little momentum now, so here goes...

I agree that profanity is largely unecessary, unprofessional and really doesn't have a place here, regardless of the audience (age). I don't get the feeling, though, that the moderators are tasked with bouncing every comment that crosses the line. It likely depends on exactly how the line is crossed. Over-censorship would be just as offensive to me as an overly profane post. We'd also lose a lot of otherwise-valuable comments.

I have been impressed with the restraint shown by commenters in recent weeks (with respect to the lack of profanity), given the diversity of viewpoints on hot-button topics. Perhaps I just read-through some, or even many, F-bombs without noticing. Personally, I am much more offended when someone uses God (and similar) inappropriately than I am by the occassional F-bomb or other "lightweight" cussing.

Edit - hadn't seen 140 and 141 when I wrote this. :-)
Jonathan Levy
144. JonathanLevy
Re: Perrin leaving Faile behind.
Don't care.

Did anyone complain when Rand made Bashere leave his wife behind when attacking Illian, because that would be - meh, don't care.

Re: Mat's letter Discussed to death, but in a fun way, so I'll repeat my opinion in a nutshell:
(1) The writing styles of the two letters clash horribly.
(2) They highlight the difference in the humor styles of the two authors. RJ's humor is subtle, based on misunderstandings between the characters due to their different perceptions of themselves and others.

and 101. Thalinius
Nice try, but we do see Nynaeve re-reading the letter (ACoS:21), and hear the last sentence in her thoughts, and it matches what Mat wrote "There’s nothing here but heat and flies, and we can find plenty of those in Caemlyn."

14. Ryanus
Re: Mat's letter.

Nice try too, but Mat writes the letter to Nynaeve and Elayne under Tylin's watchful eye, with no chance to edit it, and no thought of editing it either.
100. Wortmauer has the quote.

I don't think there was a circle between Sammael and Graendal. It was just her channeling.

29. LogainsBrother
The problem with Mat's letter is that its style clashes horribly with his previous letter. If there were just the TOM letter there wouldn't be a problem.

38. Ryanus
I don't recall any disolving.
See: British Empire, Former

Also, almost every nation in the Middle East was established one way or another in the aftermath of WWII, not to mention India, Pakistan, and other non-British European possessions in the far east.

51. Ryanus
Re: Trolloc Wars, WWII, End of an age.

How about this: WWI + WWII = about 1/2 of the Trolloc Wars.

Considering that the Trolloc Wars lasted several generations, all we need is another world war in the next 15-20 years and we'll have caught up!

I'm pretty sure that as the Fourth Age arrives Elayne's little kingdom will exist, though in a very different form and under a different name.

Also, PLOI looks and sounds like "ploy". XD
We got Ploi'ed by Sanderson - or was this in Jordan's notes? Ask Wetlandernw! :)
to turn EVERY POST into a feminism thing. Its beyond unbearable
Is pressing the pgdn key also unbearable? I also find about 10% of the total material posted here to be repetitive/redundant/irritating. I press page down and continue enjoying the remaining 90%. It really works, you should try it. For example, it only took two presses to skip the last two pages of your post, after it became obvious they were just repeating the first page.


What if the only way for the Dragon's Peace to succeed is for the True Source to go away? No True Source, no collars, no problem. If Avi can convince Rand of this, then maybe that is part of what he will do.
Are you suggesting that the True Source can be made to disappear for humanity by an act of will of the Dragon? That he can choose to make this happen? Wow, that is an original idea.

I also fancy the idea of channeling disappearing, but the wayforward visions forced me to abandon the notion that the True Source will just turn itself off. However, there are other ways this can happen - for example, channelers are simply no longer being born. Those who can channel already continue channeling, but no more are born. It would take 20-30 years before anyone noticed this.

Does anyone remember if there is anything in the wayforward visions which disproves this theory?

100. Wortmauer
Ah, thank you for that post. Every word true. There's more to say on the topic, but this post is already far too long.
145. Planeswalker
Hehe, all these feminist rantings. Just accept it already. ;)

I still see you guys! Hello! ;)
Jonathan Levy
146. JonathanLevy
It's called Rule of Funny, Valmar. "Any violation of continuity, logic or physics is permissible if the result gets enough of a laugh." Courtesy of TV Tropes, so it's definitely true.
Also, it made me laugh, so even if it wasn't true, it would still be true.

112. Wortmauer

Ah, bravo again.
As for "how do I make her believe it's really me?"
Yeah, all he needs to do is drop a piece of information that Elayne will recognize that only he can know. For example, he can quote from the letter she gave him to bring to her mother in TDR which he wasn't supposed to have opened.

Maybe Olver wrote the letter? :)

Ha! :)

Also 127.Bergmaniac, who addressed this same point.
The size of the Gateway formed depends on the strength of the channeler, so in this case it's a matter of more power = bigger Gateway. The women aren't making the Gateway, they're just providing more OP to allow Neald to make his Gateway bigger.
I'm not sure it's that simple. My assumptions are:
1) Different travelling weaves are required for Saidin and Saidar.
2) One man in a circle draws the same amount of Saidin as by himself, he just also has Saidar at his disposal.

So if he tries to weave a gateway using only Saidin, he shouldn't be able to create a larger one. Only if he can find a way to incorporate Saidar into his Male Travelling Weave will Linking help him create a larger gateway.

That said, assumption (1) is not at all certain. In LoC Moghedien says "that is how Men Travel", not "that is how to Travel with Saidin". It is possible that men always have to create a gateway the same way, even if they only use Saidar to open it (via a circle).
121.Jack Shaftoe
Surely someone in the palace would have remembered him from the time he helped Rand conquer Caemlyn?
Thanks to Balefire, most people remember Mat walking into Caemlyn and dying instantly from Rahvin's lightning.
147. Freelancer
Ways @143

I disagree with you in absolutely the mildest possible manner. You say that profanity is largely unnecessary, unprofessional... I say that it is entirely so. There is no possible example which can be provided, that using an expletive increases the clarity, determination, or passion of a thought above using appropriate language. It is completely valueless aside from the misperceived sense of power the user draws from it, and possibly the corrolary sense of powerlessness they might hope to engender in the target of same. It is the weak-minded method of exclaiming the magnitude of interest one has in a subject or a declaration, and it never leaves its user in a better light with anyone on the receiving end. It never enhances, and regularly complicates communication.

All that said, I agree with you wholeheartedly that misusing God's name is more offensive than merely juvenile vulgarity.
Alice Arneson
148. Wetlandernw
JonathanLevy @144 - Actually, the Trolloc Wars lasted approximately 350 years, destroying many cities and nations completely. Only five of the ten nations in the Compact survived in any form, and they were greatly weakened and impoverished. Population dropped dramatically, partly from the depredations of war and partly from decreased birth rate, although the latter could probably be a result of the former. WWI and WWII combined didn't have that kind of effect on the world as a whole, although there are certainly areas of the globe whose international boundaries were significantly affected. FWIW, though, as far as we know the Trolloc Wars only affected the Westlands of this particular continent.

ditto @146, and several others - I'm basing my evaluation totally on the text:
"It's beautiful, Jur," Neald said softly. His voice bore no hint of the bravado he often displayed. "I can feel saidar. It's like I'm more complete now."
"You're channeling it?" Perrin asked.
"No. I don't need to. I can use it."
"Use it how?" Grady asked, eager.
"I . . . It's hard to explain. The weaves are saidin, but I seem to be able to strengthen them with saidar. So long as I can make a gateway on my own, it appears that I can increase the Power—and size—with what the women lend me. Light! It's wonderful. We should have done this months ago."
Neald is quite clear that the One Power works well with itself; he has to be able to make the gateway, but the sheer availablity of the OP (be it saidin or saidar) increases the amount of power he can pour into the weave, increasing the size of the gateway he can make. Saidin and saidar are not completely different powers - they are the two halves of the One Power, and they complement one another. Why on earth not?

This is really the first description we get of the workings of a mixed circle; several were formed during the Cleansing, but we didn't see much of this sort of description. Then too, these people did not learn from those, but have figured it out for themselves; it may be that they do things a little differently than the way others thought it had to work. For the first time ever, we have an Asha'man, an Aes Sedai and a Wise One working together to figure out something none of them have either seen or attempted before, and this is how it works. Just because it doesn't seem to us like it ought to work this way, doesn't mean that we're right and they're wrong - or that it was written wrong.
Birgit F
149. birgit
The difference in using the other half of the power is that the Ashaman here use saidar to make a saidin weave more powerful (bigger Gateway) while Rand at the cleansing did one thing with saidar and another with saidin and Semi used only saidin when she made Rand channel.
Maiane Bakroeva
151. Isilel

It doesn't take much. Run a search for "fuck" when you finish your post, and remove it. Pause for a moment before you bring up gender equality and ask yourself if its really relevant. That's not such a big thing to ask.

What about those of us, the majority I dare say, who like things as they are? Why should Leigh pander to the minority suffering from entitlement issues?

And IMHO, people who don't see that problems of gender are pretty fundamental to WoT and ASOIAF both, are working at their "see no evil, hear no evil" routine pretty hard.

P.S. Bergmaniac - yes, Neald's explanation doesn't make sense. But people learning to weave the opposite half of OP, which is supposed to be difficult and going against all the natural instincts of a channeler in a nonce, doesn't make sense either. RJ backed himself into a corner there and employed the good old " with mighty .... he was free", so popular in the comics.
Irene Gallo
154. Irene
Hey Guys,
We have hired Leigh to expres her opinions about WoT and to express them in her own manner -- and she’s done great job entertaining the thousands that read her articles each week. This thread has covered the issue of feminist readings and cursing. Please move on to other topics.
Jonathan Levy
155. JonathanLevy
Actually, the Trolloc Wars lasted approximately 350 years
Serves me right for not double-checking the BBoBA before posting :)

RE: WWI + WWII vs. Trolloc wars

Well, between WWI and WWII we can get quite a few parallels, especially if we take into account that the Trolloc Wars' depredations were limited to the equivalent of Europe (as you said).

The Hapsburg empire dissolved into Austria, Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia; Poland was carved out of Russia and Germany; Human losses don't need to be mentioned at length; Quite a few cities were razed to the ground in WWII (especially in Germany); and the birthrate in Europe has dropped drastically over the last 50 years.

I hope I don't sound as if I'm saying they're equivalent - the Trolloc wars were much worse, relative to the size of the population - but we've put in a good show considering the fact that we don't have Trollocs.
...This is really the first description we get of the workings of a mixed circle...
Thanks for going to the trouble of quoting that description - it had entirely escaped my memory. It certainly clarifies things.
Anthony Pero
157. anthonypero
RE: Mat's Letter.

Probably been expressed before, but anachronisms notwithstanding, I thought, for my part at least, that Chapter 9 of ToM made it pretty clear that Mat intentionally wrote the letter as "country bumpkin" as possible, because of the way he perceived Elayne's condesention towards him. It was meant as a joke, an identifier of who he was, and an insult to Elayne all at the same time. In my "re-read" (audiobooks) of th series, I am in LoC right now, while they travel to Ebu Dar. The way Mat is "acting" in the letter is a DEAD RINGER for how he perceives Elayne treated him on that trip.
Don Barkauskas
158. bad_platypus
Smalt @95:
I seem to remember a bunch of us having this discussion a long time ago in this re-read (anyone want to search for that?), and I think the upshot was that the woman had to initiate the link but couldn't actually weave anything once the link was done; she had to pass control to the man before anything could be done. I think the discussion was about the viability of linking with men but refusing to relinquish control to them as a means of preventing the taint from driving them mad---they wouldn't be able to channel saidin and therefore wouldn't go crazy.

JonathanLevy @144:
It was a circle between Sammael and Graendal; from the Watcher's POV it explicitly says "He had let the link between them dissolve, too." However, other descriptions seem to imply that Graendal was channeling saidar while in the link ("Graendal maintained the Mirror of Mists that hid her true form," emphasis added) so...

birgit @149:
Semirhage controlling Rand is different because she used the Domination Bands, so I don't know how much we can deduce about general links from that scenario.
160. Ryanus
@131 Dauro,

I hadn't even thought about it being Rand's kids. That could actually make a great deal of sense as well, though I don't know that we'll really be able to find out short of her having the babies and then seeing if the pretty weather follows them. But it's a very cool idea none the less.

@144 and Later Johnathan.
re: Mat's letter. my argument wasn't him needing to edit what he writes each time. It was that the first letter was written quickly and with basic info needing to be conveyed where as the last letter was a concentrated effort to make it exactly what he wanted. No backspace with pen and paper, you cross out, rewrite, etc, etc then write a fresh copy without all the editing.

I like your points on the WW's vs Trolloc Wars. You said it much better than I could have..

And I don't think Fork was suggesting Rand could or would deliberately turn off the power. I was taking it more that there would be a choice that could be made, one where Aviendha can influence the decission, that would lead to the loss of channeling. Don't want it to happen, but I can see it.
Stefan Mitev
162. Bergmaniac
It's not Rand's kids driving the clouds away, it's the effect of Elayne's bond to Rand. The same thing was happening in Tear while Min was there after VoG and before Rand came back. It's mentioned in the next chapter.
163. DorseyPender
Agree with the many who said that Mat's letter was dreadful, probably the worst and most jarring part of the entire series for me. It's inevitable that a change in authors will result in a change of styles, particularly with regard to sense of humor, but this was such an egregious example of Sanderson's... I don't want to call it "dumb" humor, but certainly lowest common denominator... that it was totally out of place. Should have been scrapped or re-done.
164. Christoff
On the subject of Mat's letter, I'm afraid I'm in the minority who thinks Mat sounds way BETTER under Brandon. I was not a fan of Jordan-era Mat. I found him irritating and pig-headed under Jordan. I could go into details if you'd like. But with Brandon, Mat shifted to a much more Chandler Bing-type wisecracker. For me, this was a tremendous improvement. I felt he was 10 times funnier and entertaining, and (in a sense) more relatable to boot.
Pat .
166. dolphineus
Leigh. Gender issues. /headdesk.

My big question on this chapter is how does Elayne know about Mat's tactical genius? Did Birgitte tattle? Doubt it. So where did she come by this information? She stated pretty definitively that The Band can fight. Not that they have a reputation. Not that she heard it or it was rumored.

Mat's mililtary genius comes from the memories the Finns gave him. Elayne was in Tanchico when that happened and didn't see Mat again until Salidar. Sure, they spent lots of time together in Ebou Dar, but nothing really military tactics happened there. Sure, Mat saved her backside, again, this time from the gholam. They parted ways shortly after that and have not seen or talked to each other since Ebou Dar.

So where did she have a chance to find out about his tactical genius and the bands sterling reputation in battle?
Alice Arneson
168. Wetlandernw
Christoff @165 - Nah, the mods actually read the posts before they delete them, so it'll probably stand - unless Irene is feeling quirky this morning and says "Okay, if you like, I can delete that for you." :) Good choice to put it in a separate post, just in case, maybe...

{Edit: Looks like Irene or Teresa did just that. Happy birthday to you.}

birgit @149 - That kind of fits into my thinking that as each small group reinvents linking, different things happen. I had overlooked the 800-pound gorilla, though; I was thinking in terms of the other circles at the cleansing and forgot about the much more detailed description of how Rand was able to use each half independently.

It seems that perhaps there are several ways of using the OP in a mixed circle; the simplest is probably what Neald, Edarra and Masuri do here, simply using the other half of the Power to augment what the leader does with his or her own half. The more complex (and presumably available to Rand so readily only because of who he is) would be actively using both halves, or even just the other half as Semirhage did. Seems logical to me.

FWIW, having gone back and reread that chapter, it's pretty clear that Semirhage wanted Rand to bear the weight of what "he" was doing, but she wanted a very specific thing done, so she (via the DB) made him draw saidin, and then wove the torture web through him somehow. She was clearly forming the weaves with saidin, because she commented on how odd the male version of the weave was as she concentrated on forming it, but... it's almost like she was doing a hand-over-hand with Rand, making him form the weaves the way she wanted them. In any case, she clearly knew how the male weave was done.

I'd say it's a fair indication that with sufficient training (or being ta'veren + Dragon + Fisher King) it's possible to learn to use the other half actively. Seems that it would be awfully like trying to quilt with 5 needles at once with your eyes closed, since you supposedly can't actually see the other half, but if you're sufficiently clever, maybe that can be learned too. It's quite possible that the modern AS are simply wrong about the "impossibility" of a woman teaching a man to channel. (Not that they've ever been wrong about what is impossible before, but it could happen, right?) Maybe a woman who was sufficiently experienced in mixed links, who learned how to manipulate saidin, could teach a man. I think it would be limited to teaching him weaves, though; she still couldn't do much to teach him how to seize or control saidin, merely some ways to use it once he had hold of it. If I'm right in my visualization of how this works, it might also explain why Lanfear decided Rand needed a male teacher instead of just linking with him to teach him herself.
Gary Singer
169. AhoyMatey
anthonypero @157: I think you hit the nail on the head. Matt is no dummy...
Alice Arneson
170. Wetlandernw
Okay, people. We're not even to 200 comments yet on this thread, and we've already had 10 deleted. Methinks we need to spend some time considering our statements more carefully before posting them. Damp the flames down just a touch, maybe?
171. bobbert
dragon icon becasue pieces of prophecy are upheld - being fulfilled - about to be fulfilled
173. Wortmauer
lakesidey@138: Besides, while I felt Mat (and a couple of other things) were somewhat off in TGS, it didn't really put me off my stride - I was more miffed by the huge number of typos in TOM
New theory! Mat's letter wasn't actually supposed to look so horrible and first-draft-y, those errors were just symptoms of TOM's rush through copyediting!

Jay Dauro
174. J.Dauro

However, the effect does not appear to be consistent. IIRC, we see Avi at times without the effect, and Min also. So I would like to figure why.
Noneo Yourbusiness
175. Longtimefan
"It's quite possible that the modern AS are simply wrong about the "impossibility" of a woman teaching a man to channel. (Not that they've ever been wrong about what is impossible before, but it could happen, right?) "

Why, my dearest Wetlandernw, what ever could you mean...


I also agree with you about the possibility that forming circles may be different than what the in book characters "know" The information in the story(or glossary) is specific about how circles are formed and who leads; it is also information from documents that survived the age of legends since no one has formed a circle with both halves of the one power for almost 3000 years. (well no one we know of)

Yes this does lead for some wibbly wobbly, saidary saidiny stuff to not have to behave the way we may think it should behave. Part of that could be a small misstep in writing or it could be a legitamate reveal that the combination of the two halves as it is rediscovered has new possibilities that the channelers from the age of legends did not think of or use or have available to them. It is possible that they link a bit differnently. We the reader have no real details on how one set of circles has been created versus another. Thread specific is what I mean, not just the "0pening up" that has been described.

Even the channelers in the age of legends did not know that stilling could be healed. Maybe it could not be healed back then or maybe no one figured it out.

could it be possible that the one power, while a universal constant, has some variablitiy in its stregnths and weaknesses and possibilities in different ages?

If one uses the river metephor of Saidar then do not rivers change courses over time or become deeper or shallower or fill in with weeds while still flowing but perhaps with different strenghts and clarity.

Perhaps the essence of Saidar is the same but little nuances of it are different because of time.

Or circles are different now because all of Saidar has been used to filter all of Saidin and the two were in constant contact for a long enough time to alter certain aspects of their polarities.

Using one to cleanse the other may have created a stronger connection between them that makes the creation of circles follow new rules.

Using the two sides of the one power together frequently is not the same as using the two sides of the one power pressed against eachother in their entirety.

and then blowing up the taint and Shadar Logoth. :)
Stefan Mitev
176. Bergmaniac
@J. Dauro - IIRC most Avi scenes in ToM are before Veins of Gold, so there's no reason for the effect to appear.

@dolphineus - I think the most plausible explanation is that Elayne got reports from some of the soldiers of Queen's Guard about Mat's success when he was fighting against Andoran forces back in Cairhien. The Band crushed the Andorans quite a few times in a really impressive way, and it's quite likely Guybon himself was directly involved in this - he was stationed at Aryngil.
Deana Whitney
177. Braid_Tug
@ 53, Wetlandernw: Thank you for the correction. Has the whole "played" topic come up before? You pulled those quotes really fast. Or is your memory just that scary good?

@ 55, THT: different aspect of your complaint - timing.
Sorry, but Leigh has documented the changing of her post timing very well. The biggest slowing down was to allow her to provide more commentary. And to allow the fans to have more time to react to the commentary. Because that is what the fans asked for.
Skipped weeks due to national holidays, sick family members and moving across the country were addressed in the opening volley of her posts.
Personally I look forward to her openings. She puts much effort into many of them to make them a real treat.

Re: Perrin - dude has issues. Leigh has issues with his issues. We all have pet peeves that our friends have to listen to. If you don't want to listen, tune them out and move on to next topic.

Personally if my husband just returned to me after being kidnapped for 2 months, I'd be a little weird about taking him with me into a situation of unknown potential danger.

@173, Wort: love the copyediting theory. Let's hope AMOL has more time to fix any issues of a similar nature.
178. NotInventedHere
@157: I dislike the letter, but on consideration I agree with you here. Mat notes that he has been trying to get in contact with Elayne for some time, so it is likely that this is not the first letter he has written to her. Presumably the earlier letters were better written, or at least more polite, yet failed to evince any reaction whatsoever. So, I could see him deciding to be as bumpkinesque and insulting as he can manage so that she has to respond in some way. That said, I just don't like the way the letter was done, either in terms of the somewhat anachronistic multiple post scripts or the childish writing and spelling.

@170: But we wouldn't want the mods' jobs to become boring now, would we?
Irene Gallo
179. Irene
“@170: But we wouldn't want the mods' jobs to become boring now, would we? ”
I'd love to be bored in this duty. :-P
Matt Spencer
180. MisunderstoodMe
Somewhat off topic - but this sciencedaily article about a robot that is able to express emotion is amusing. The inventor decided that starting with a face was too complicated, so he designed a robotic butt that was emotionally expressive when it was spanked. . . maybe an appropriate gift for Leigh next Jordancon. :p
Nadine L.
181. travyl
Freelancer @129.
I'm not familiar with predictions threads and other WOT forums. Why would people have speculated about a Galad/Berelain connection after KOD? Did I miss a foretelling or another (not-so-)obvious hint?
- help, anyone?

PS: I liked your reasoning, why Joline isn't a DF, and not just becaused it involved spanking.

@173: LOL about the spelling / copyediting theory
@176: I thought that the good-tasting food Avi ate with Nakomi was an indication that her timeline had arrived at post-Veins-of-Gold-Rand time. But I haven't re-read her scenes in a long time, and I haven't ever checked this assumption.
( Edit for spelling / layout )
Alice Arneson
182. Wetlandernw
Bergmaniac @176 et al - Exactly what incidents of weather effects are you all taking about? We saw (ch 8) the weather clear around Caemlyn, at least for a bit, but this all takes place (chronologically) before Veins of Gold. Sixth paragraph from the end of this chapter says:
She glanced to the west, where she could feel that knot of emotions that was Rand. The only thing she ever sensed from him these days was a cold anger, buried deeply. Was he in Arad Doman?
The things we see that make it most clear that the weather is tied to both Rand and the women are:

In Ch. 12 (next week) where the clouds around Tear are broken in "an unnatural ring" around the city where Min is, and she is thinking about how Rand had been feeling all that pain and anguish, and then suddenly had come the warmth (clearly the mountaintop event) and now the clouds are broken. Shortly afterwards, Rand himself comes, but since we're seeing it all from Min's POV, we know that the clear skies came before he arrived.

In Ch. 33, Elayne knew that something happened with Rand on Dragonmount, and suddenly the clouds over Caemlyn cleared - but nowhere else in Andor. In Ch. 45, she specifically thinks about how the moment she began feeling the warmth from Rand, the cloud cover had broken.

We have no similar clear scene for Aviendha, but the ones for Min and Elayne are pretty convincing.
Alice Arneson
183. Wetlandernw
Braid_Tug @177 - It's been discussed before, but I never looked up the quotes until this time. I scanned all the books for "played" and found exactly those two. :)

NotInventedHere @178 - As per Irene @179, I'd love for the mods to be bored with the lack of balefire needed in the comments, and thoroughly entertained by the quality thereof! :)

travyl @181 - Sadly, I don't think we have a very clear timeline for Aviendha at this point, so it will be really hard to tell (without her conscious thought re: Rand's mental state) exactly when in her arc Veins of Gold took place. I certainly don't recall her thinking of either his anger or the new warmth.
Dawn Boyall
184. deebee
Methinks we need to spend some time considering our statements more carefully before posting them.
Umm-having re-read my post at 123, as a case in point-apologies to all, that did NOT come out the way I meant it, and wasn`t meant to offend. But it`s made me realise quite how easy for the tone to come out completely wrong so I shall follow your advice in future-mea culpa.

And returning to the matter in hand-I was a bit taken aback at quite how readily Grady suggested flattening the Whitecloaks as an alternative to talking to them. Maybe an oath or two wouldn`t come amiss.
Jay Dauro
185. J.Dauro

Min has a viewing of Berelain falling head over heels for a man in white. LOC 50

Galad is a Whitecloak

In KOD we see Galad moving toward Perrin and his army. We know both Morgase and Berelain are there. Most felt that the enounter with Galad would reveal Morgase. And there is the possible meetingbetween the physically perfect male and female couple. Fate.
186. Bartz
I fear my original comment was a product of me being annoyed. I appreciate the feedback that was given for it. I did think it was useful however for feedback to be expressed in the blog comments. Everyone is entitled to an opinion.

That being said, I think a ton of legitimate points have been given be the other readers, and I will rest.
Thomas Keith
187. insectoid
APero @157: Agreed! Makes perfect sense.

Wet @170: I agree completely. Let's bury the hatchet, folks, hmm?

Alice Arneson
188. Wetlandernw
deebee & Bartz - Believe me, my comment was based on my own experience!! When I write something while I'm hot under the collar and post it right away, I usually regret it. I've learned that it's best for me to write it and then walk away - go get a drink, wash dishes, use the restroom, ANYTHING to physically move away from it, and then come back and ask searching questions:

Are there flames licking the edges?
Will someone else see flames licking the edges?
Am I going to feel stupid if someone calls me on this?

Stuff like that, you know. Think about how it will be received, and whether the other guy is likely to understand it the way I meant. And... rewrite or delete if necessary prior to posting.

::Now if I'd only do that all the time, I wouldn't have to feel stupid nearly as often...::
189. Wotman
10 SubW; I agree, Dyelin needs a job and should be rewarded and I think she needs to be Steward of Carhien, but Elayne needs a good advisor so I would be loathe to reward her right away anyway.

12 Bergmaniac; That is Galad, as stated more than once in the books, He will do what is right regardless the cost.

21 Darth; If you honestly think she would have maintained control of the army in lew of Perrin, I think you would be terrbly disappointed. Those Wise Ones and AS would have taken over qicker than I can type it. Has to do with Taveren magic.

23 SubW; Ditti baby, (on Bornhold) I thought He would have been Fain's right hand man long ago.

34 Fork ; You seem to think that the end of ages is starting over with a clean slate. I honestly don't, in fact it will be historians that decide if and when the age actually ended. I think that like most people today, people might talk about it, but deep in their hearts, they still either don't believe or have hope it doesn't happen. Even though the ones in the know realize, they still have not let the full import sink in and so they simply do what everyone does and that is to continue to plan for the future. That does seem to be the wise thing to do.
Matt Spencer
190. MisunderstoodMe
@ 189

Does it make sense to make an Andoran into the steward of Cairhein? It possibly would be an action that would cause a fair bit of resentment.

It might make more sense - tho its less likely - to make her the steward of Andor.
Alice Arneson
192. Wetlandernw
Hey, if we work at it a bit, we can get to 200 before the weekend!

Not that I have much to contribute at the moment, beyond the fact that I'm still trying to figure out how I feel about Elayne's decision to take Cairhien. I was reading ahead, and there's a very interesting discussion about alliances in the chapter where Elayne & Morgase meet with Perrin & Faile...
Roger Powell
193. forkroot
You seem to think that the end of ages is starting over with a clean slate. I honestly don't, in fact it will be historians that decide if and when the age actually ended.
There's certainly some support for your position. Even the Breaking took a hundred years, which would mean that few if any non-channelers lived through the entire Age transition. One can surmise that nobody spent a lot of time during the Breaking thinking "Gee .. we're transitioning to a new Age" (possibly because they were spending more of their thinking on how to stay alive another day.)

Anyway, I'm not suggesting a "clean slate" as some things did survive the transition ... language, some technology (e.g., they never lost the printing press.) It would be more accurate to note that in my earliest comments I was suggesting that each Age might be marked by cataclysmic change.

After some good discussion point, I'm backing off a bit. After all, a sample size of "one" is not a very good thing to extrapolate from, and we have no other information about what signified the change of any other Age except the one legend that somebody named Tamyrlin discovered channeling at the start of the Second Age.

Strangely enough, there is a way that someone could determine the end of Age - assuming a little cooperation from the Heroes of the Horn. Just go to T'AR and see if Shivan and Callian have been spun out.
194. Wotman
I don't see tooo much difference between Queen Elayne (Andorran) and Dyelin, I am sure Carhienans are knowledgeable in the affairs of Andor, especially since Rand Al Thor stepped in and declaring that Elayne would sit on the throne. I would agree that Elayne needs to take authority before she handed it over, We haven't gotten to the part yet where she too cleverly took care of any plotting for power ater in the book.
John Massey
195. subwoofer
Posts got smoked? Hmmmm... methinks folks took the "drink up me hearties" straight to heart. Heh. There's this "edit" feature that allows you to correct your gaffes upon second blush.

The letter... I suppose I get why it is what it is, it still doesn't feel like "Mat" to me. Mat has always been the "blame the dog" type person, not the "pull my finger" type person. The letter felt like the latter. Heh.

Leigh's a feminist? When did that happen? I suppose it should faze me, but I'm a guy, so meh;)

I'm not sold on the circle thing myself. Here's the deal; we are told time and again by the Aes Sedai that their "expanded circles" are what they are going to use when dealing with trouble. And we have a debate going on on how this works. For me it will be when there is truly cooperation between men and women that this will be hammered out. There is still an existing prejudice that men will go crazy or are tainted or at the very least, imcompetent, so cannot lead. Women have been channeling successfully for over 3000 years. This is one case of gender bias that has to be corrected in order for team Light to survive the Last Battle.

Roger Powell
196. forkroot
Are you suggesting that the True Source can be made to disappear for humanity by an act of will of the Dragon? That he can choose to make this happen? Wow, that is an original idea.
I was suggesting that a possible byproduct of whatever Rand needs to do to close the Bore might involve the loss of access to the True Source.

Perhaps the Bore itself is held open by the TS? After all, Mierin and Beidomon used the OP to open the Bore. Could loss of access to the TS be the only way the Bore could truly be closed?
I also fancy the idea of channeling disappearing, but the wayforward visions forced me to abandon the notion that the True Source will just turn itself off. However, there are other ways this can happen - for example, channelers are simply no longer being born. Those who can channel already continue channeling, but no more are born. It would take 20-30 years before anyone noticed this.

Does anyone remember if there is anything in the wayforward visions which disproves this theory?
Funny you should mention that. When I reviewed Avi's trip through the Wayforward machine, the first few visions (the most distant) made no mention of channeling, but seemed to imply a more mechanized future. It's only as the visions get earlier (closer to the end of the Last Battle) that any mention is made of channeling. This is 100% consistent with the scenario you described. Hmmm.....
John Massey
197. subwoofer
This Bore thing got me to thinking, there is this circular pattern going on about a the DO breaking through the Seals and it being patched up again and in a little bit the DO does it again....

Anybody reminded of the song "there's a hole in the bucket" ?

198. MickeyDee
Leigh: Elayne saved Birgitte’s life by bonding her, and totally would have asked permission if such had been possible, and Birgitte has stated outright that she is perfectly fine with Elayne’s decision. So, yeah, not the same thing at all.

When doing the re-read with you I remember being a bit skivvy when Elayne bonded Birgitte to "save her life".

Why? Well we've already been told bonding someone against their will is equitable to rape. It really is an incredidibly intimate act (can you call it an act if it keeps going and going? Like an Energizer Bunny?). So if you bond someone with their permission it's like consensual sex. though given the extreme ages of most Aes Sedai I now have a very disturbing mental image - which I shall keep to myself!

So, let's do a mental exercise here shall we? Let's pretend that Elayne had to have sex with Birgitte to "SAVE HER LIFE". And Birgitte is unconcious.......And dying......Still, unconcious y'all....

So, can you get why I'm a bity ambivalent about this? And Birgitte is totally, 100% OK with it, yeah? Well how about Elayne releases her from the Bond and then asks her permission before re-bonding her?

Or at least we all acknowledge that Birgitte is yet another tawdry example of a "child-bride" (hey c'mon - she was only "born" a few books back) in a forced marriage with a mentally deranged and self-important aristocrat. ;)
Noneo Yourbusiness
199. Longtimefan
just helping get to the 200

although there are 199 marked posts there are only 189 posts total.

When this is the case do we count the total number of posts or the number next to the post as the 100 or 200 and so on?

Just wondering. I do not recall so many posts being balefired before. although it may have happened. I have been busy these past few months and missed a number of active post weeks.

Why are you tripp'n on Elayne taking Caerhien? Goodness, I've been wondering what's taking her so long! It's vulnerable. Rand all but left it to her. It would show strength just when she needs to. The timing is absolutely perfect. It ties Caerhien almost permanently to Andor and could if manipulated right, become part of Andor. It binds whatever armies it can muster under the flag of Light. And lastly, Caerhien is in need of a ruler to fill that vacuum.

It's all elementary!

John Massey
201. subwoofer
It counts. Lemme tell ya, it counts:)

And Elayne is not self-important. She has a crown to prove that:D

Wait, what? When did the Cairhein thing get going? I dunno, it's pretty much a non- starter for me. Elayne's bum can get big enough to sit on two thrones, but I think there is bigger fish to fry. Unless this is Rand's save what can be saved idea. I wonder if Elayne has a clue as to what Rand started?

Aww would you look at that! Da hunnyzzzz!


Pat .
203. dolphineus
@ Bergmaniac

First, good point about Guybon telling Elayne. Its possible he was there, but that is a lot of supposition. One of the points Leigh is always harping on, quite rightly, is the lack of info sharing by our heroes
We don't usually see that kind of unexplained info transfer in WoT.

Onto another theory ... you're statement
It's not Rand's kids driving the clouds away, it's the effect of Elayne's bond to Rand.
Reminded me of my rambling theory ...

Yes, Rand's influence on the pattern exerts a strong influence, as do the other two legs of the tripod. Less food spoilage, clouds breaking etc. But they aren't the only thing that does.

Places in Randland where chaos rules and society has broken down experience large amounts of miasmas and food spoilage. Places where order has been restored do not. Since Elayne took the throne we haven't had random hallway rearrangements. Since Egwene became Amyrlin we haven't seen them in the Tower either.

The Seanchan, for all their issues, are very good at establishing order. Rand himself witnessed this in TGS. We haven't heard of Seanchan controlled lands having the same problems with food spoilage. Tuon never even mentions it. She complains of the world in chaos, but talks about the civil war in Seanchan and the armies opposing her, but no mention of food spoilage or random stuff caused by miasma.

Chaos is one of the Dark One's weapons. The more there is chaos, the more food spoiled despite wards meant to prevent it. The more there is chaos, the more random impossible things happened. I'm sure there are exceptions, like the Miasma in Tear in ToM, but it is pretty clear.

To quote Ferid Hel, belief and order give strength.
204. Freelancer
travyl @181

J.Dauro @185 has the gist of the matter. Berelain was forecasted to fall head over heels for a man in white. Who is more likely to cause a woman to temporarily shelve any common sense she possesses, than Galad? When even elderly Aes Sedai drop by to watch whenever he was sparring at the White Tower, it makes something of a statement.

Berelain, ruler of a weak and precariously defended city-state, has earned her position and maintained Mayene's independence, through the skillful and passionless manipulation of men using her brains and her ... tracts of land. She sought to influence the Dragon Reborn via the bedchamber, hoping to improve Mayene's standing. When that turned to disaster, she shifted her target to one of the Dragon's closest allies. She would have dropped her run at Perrin fairly quickly if it hadn't become a challenge to best Faile.

All of that to say that someone so jaded regarding personal relationships would be very unlikely to "fall head over heels" for any man, unless he was a paragon of physical beauty surpassing even her own. In the WOTverse, that compass in the hands of Berelain will be pointing at Galad.

Given that strong supposition, once Galad got free of the Seanchan, then free of Valda, the location of his forces relative to those of Perrin made it all too likely that they couldn't avoid one another for very long. Somebody needed to clue in Perrin that he had more than one Queen under his thumb, and it wasn't going to be Gawyn anytime soon, so the predictions were not too difficult to construct.
205. Freelancer
forkroot @196

I agree that nothing will cause the Source to disappear. It cannot do so, as it is the essence which drives the Wheel. So, for there to be an age such as ours, with no channeling of the Power, there must be an event, or a transition, which effects the loss of access to the Source. Perhaps surge of solar radiation following, say, an eclipse, results in a cellular alteration, rendering future generations unable to sense or act upon the One Power. Not to rip off Heroes too much.
Glen V
206. Ways
@198 MickeyDee:
I certainly agree that forced warder bonding is a bit...ummm...repugnant (regardless of the circumstances ). I also believe Birgitte would stay in-world, rather than being immediately transported back into T'A'R, if released from the bond. But why risk something unexpected if Birgitte admits she is OK with what happened? However, if she really wants to go back to T'A'R or to be released from the bond, then it's a whole different kettle of Silverpike.

ZEXXES - You have an uncanny ability to capture the hunny. Any hunny. And other commenters still insist on setting you up. Do I detect some kind of Ta'veren-ness at work here? Perhaps it's the beer??? I'll have to try that approach. :-)

Edited for clarity.
Roger Powell
207. forkroot
We haven't heard of Seanchan controlled lands having the same problems with food spoilage.
Sure we have. In the prologue to TGS, Tylee thinks about all the strange signs they've been seeing including a specific incident that morning with food spoilage. She goes on to think:
Rotting food was so common here. Karm blamed the heart of this strange land. But travel rations couldn't rot or spoil, at least not this unpredictably.
Note this is fairly close to Ebou Dar, well within Seanchan controlled land.
John Smith
208. TheHardTruth
As to the whole ''Forced Bonding'' of Warders thing goes, I think there is an obligation to ALWAYS cry out against it and persecute and prosecute it, in order to protect against the next person it may happen to who may NOT be quite so ''Ok'' with it.

Many women have been known to report having orgasms during a rape - does that make the rape acceptable? Of course not.
You know, I was wondering, thinking... or whatever. Mat, the Horn, the Death Knights, the two Towers.. His memories. Has anyone theoried whether or not the memories Mat has are the Heroes of the Horn? So Mat blows the Horn so now he has the power, right? So later he's in one of the Towers and the foxes(?) drop the memories of all the heroes in his head. It would make sense because they simply used a connection that was already there. They just augmented it and him to fill the holes in his memory.

Does that sound plausible?

Karan J
211. karanj
wotman @194:
I don't see tooo much difference between Queen Elayne (Andorran) and Dyelin,
Elayne is Taringail Damordred's daughter - Taringail being nephew of King Laman, he of Treekilling fame.
Irene Gallo
212. Irene
quick note to Silvertip - let's move on from the topic of cursing. Enough has been said about it in this thread.
Alice Arneson
213. Wetlandernw
Irene - He's sleep-deprived and can't be held accountable for his behavior. "New baby" is always an excuse, isn't it?? ;)
Roger Powell
214. forkroot
Caught you plagiarizing that Elbert Hubbard classic!
Sandy Brewer
215. ShaggyBella
Mat to Noal and Thom: "I still have to talk to Elayne. I want Aludra's Dragons started. I'll have to write her ANOTHER letter. Stronger, this time.......(Then to Jolene) "I need to write a letter to Her Royal bloody Majesty Queen Elayne the Prim."
I think he had already tried contacting her, he was anxious to get started with the bell founders. Also he was annoyed.

Perrin was only having a quick parlay with the LCC. He did not need Faile along, he needed to be able to move quickly. She is his weak spot.

Rand should have left Min behind when he met with the Seanchan. There would have been a very different outcome without Rand having to protect Min and losing his hand with Semirrage's attack. If she hadn't been there he could have dodged the fireball, and a lot of grief.

Elayne is one of the few characters who is thinking ahead to when Rand might be gone. She doesn't like it but is trying to deal with the future. She needs a strong position for her land and is facing Seanchan, Rand's successor (She thinks Darlin) and the Borderlanders. It makes sense to take Cairhein.

Hey, y'all...it's been a while. I've got some Mike's lemonade in the Bunker tonight, and some of those Hot Buffalo flavor pretzel pieces...

I do skip many of theses posts when they are just beating a subject to death or are off topic rants. My choice.
Edit for spelling
William Fettes
216. Wolfmage

I believe it's been confirmed by RJ that the memories are from visitors to Finnland who were generally adventurers and people of daring. Don't think there's any comment or evidence that they are heroes of the horn, however.
William Fettes
217. Wolfmage
Very late to this but I just wanted to say I'm not a fan of the letter as RJ writes Mat's buffonery much more subtlely.

It's conceivable that he was hamming it up but the slapstic and idiom is not quite right. Also, Mat is not illiterate. He reads books "sometimes" and is actively concerned with Olver's education. Additionally, his memories give him access to bundles of memories that impart book-learning and erudition. Remember he can quote Fog and Steal verbatim without having ever read the book personally.

But compared to tGS BS's Mat is considerably improved.
Jonathan Levy
218. JonathanLevy
188. Wetlandernw
I've learned that it's best for me to write it and then walk away - go get a drink, wash dishes, wash wash wash the dishes dishes must wash wash them all must wash wash wash - "
Wetlandernw shook with the effort of fighting that voice down, forcing away a mist that clung like spiderwebs. Abruptly she heard the words she was muttering hoarsely. "Must wash it now wash them all wash it wash it wash it." Abruptly she realized she had her hands elbow-deep in the sink, with soap suds overflowing to the floor.
Mr. Wetlandernw was leaning over, grabbing her hands tightly, shoulders clenched with the effort. "I don't know what dish that is" he said, "but I think maybe you've washed it enough, eh?"
“Yes.” Wetlandernw swallowed; her throat hurt. “I think I have.”
Fixed it for you :)

196. forkroot
I think there's a distinct possibility that might happen one way or another, though of course other outcomes are certainly more probable.

If the loss of access to the TP were a sacrifice consciously made by Rand, rather than some sort of cosmic event, it would make it much more poignant. If such a fate is planned, then the wayforward visions are a perfect way to set it up without spoiling it.

Here's a scenario:

Rand breaks the seals, and starts to execute his plan to re-seal the Dark One. Fain intervenes, Rand dies, the plan fails and the Dark One is loose. The cause of the Light seems doomed.

Three days later Rand comes back (one way or another), and in desperation severs humanity from the True Source, as discussed above. The side effect of this is that humanity is also severed from the True Power, greatly reducing the DO's influence in the world.

All the Myrddraal die instantly, Trollocs fight amongst themselves and are no longer a threat - within a few generations all are dead. In the next age there is no channeling. The Dark One is loose, but has been reduced to the level of our Satan - he can influence the world only through the actions of men and women who seek him out.
Pat .
219. dolphineus
@207 Forkroot
Suroth, was/is a darkfriend. Of course there was spoilage when a minion of the Dark One was leading The Return. Only reinforces my point.
Jay Dauro
220. J.Dauro
dolphineus @219

The incident occurs when Tylee is returning to Ebou Dar. Suroth is long gone. (She is growing her hair for sale.) Fortuona is in control. And we can be fairly sure that Fortuona is not a Darkfriend.
Alice Arneson
221. Wetlandernw
Jonathan Levy @218 - ::gravely:: Thank you, kind sir, for fixing that for me.

::bursts into laughter yet again:: Oh, help!! My son thinks I've lost it completely. "Why is Mom sitting there laughing and crying? This is really weird..."

Honestly, I had tears running down my face, and it wasn't just from trying not to snort coffee all over my keyboard. Thank you for a great laugh to start my day - and many upcoming snickers over the dishes for days to come. :)
222. Ryanus
I always got the impression that with the order and stability of the Empire the Seanchan held lands are more stable and have less spoilage than the lands in chaos, but are definately still suffering it.

Similar to how that excerpt from the new book shows that doing something constructive, building, can hold his influence away, though again, not to the level Rand's presence does.
Irene Gallo
224. Irene
(quick note to Wendy-- thoughtfully put but, with respect, I've asked everyone to move on from the topic in this thread. It's been well gone over.)
Kimani Rogers
225. KiManiak
Dolphineus@203 and 219 – Also, don’t forget that Siuan and Saerin experienced a “Bubble of Evil” type event in ToM (Amyrlin’s Anger) when walking down to see Rand confront the Amyrlin. The tiles turned to blood red (or possibly red with blood). Egwene was clearly Amyrlin, and had been for awhile.

There may not have been mention of food spoilage (although I think that later in ToM there is some discussion that food spoilage is also still occurring in the White Tower), but I would label the floor turning blood red and slick as “random stuff caused by miasma.”
Jonathan Levy
227. JonathanLevy
221. Wetlandernw

My pleasure! Please consider it a small token of my appreciation for all your insightful comments and timely quotes :)
228. Wortmauer
Wash the dishes — while the sun climbs high.
Wash the dishes — while the sun falls low.
Wash the dishes — who fears to die?
Wash the dishes — no one I know!
The best line in that song being, of course,
Wash the dishes — till water turns dry.

Elayne and Cairhien: Tactically for her it probably makes sense. To me, though, I'm looking at Mistress Snoot, born with a silver spoon in her mouth. Really? One nation isn't enough for you? Do you really need to be another Hawkwing? Also, as was established way back in TEOTW, Andor already can't hold on to Baerlon and points south. How about you actually try to govern the territory you already claim, before trying to swallow another country? (And by "govern" I mean a bit more than just calling Perrin in and saying "that's my land, even though last year when the Whitecloaks and Trollocs invaded, there were no Andoran soldiers in sight, just like there haven't been for the last 200 years.")

I just can't see it as anything more than "hey check out this new car my three-timing boyfriend gave me, even though I already have an even better car I worked really hard to buy with my own money."

Yes, Cairhien needs someone to govern competently. This is why we have Dobraine. (Other Cairhienin I frankly like better than Elayne, whether or not they're as qualified: Moiraine, Caraline, Talmanes, Olver.)
Kimani Rogers
229. KiManiak
Wortmauer@228 - Okay, when you listed Olver as a possible monarch of Cairhien you had me darn near spit out my drink onto my keyboard!

Thanks for that :-)
Thomas Keith
230. insectoid
JLevy @218, Wort @228: *ROFL*

That made my day. XD

Sam Mickel
231. Samadai
Hmmmm, I wonder if Laman Damodred had a "dream" to get him to chop down Avendoraldera. I bet he was a darkfriend.
Scientist, Father
232. Silvertip
@213 Wet, works for me, thanks! How long do you suppose I can milk this? (Baby and mama continue to do swimmingly, btw).

Pat .
233. dolphineus
@220. J.Dauro

See what I get for posting before coffee?

Still, Tylee has been out of Seanchan controlled lands, confronting the Shaido. The area where she has been for the last couple months was not Seanchan controlled land. It was chaotic.

@225. KiManiak
Dolphineus@203 and 219 – Also, don’t forget that Siuan and Saerin experienced a “Bubble of Evil” type event in ToM (Amyrlin’s Anger) when walking down to see Rand confront the Amyrlin.
Yep. Rand was in the tower and ta'veren attract bubbles of evil.

Belief and order give strength. It does not stop it, just lessens the problems. Perrin still has trouble with miasma (the snakes and the weapons coming alive). But he is out in the wild, not in an area where there is order. He is in an area where there is still a lot of chaos. Same with Tylee.
Scientist, Father
234. Silvertip
@Irene, I do appreciate your position and admire your work on this board, and having somebody keeping the discussion on the rails really is kind of nice. Notice, however, that you deleted a post in which I actually *agreed with Freelancer*, in the same thread in which he earlier *agreed with me*. This is an unusual series of events that perhaps might be worthy of note, at least to those of us easily amused souls in the sleep-deprivation caucus.

Alice Arneson
235. Wetlandernw
Wortmauer @228 - LOL! Well done. And... I'm in deep trouble on that last line...

Silvertip @232 - You're welcome. :) As I recall, the sleep deprivation lasted several years - although that impression might be the result of the sleep deprivation. The calendar always insisted that it was only a couple of months, but I still think it was lying. I'm sure it was a matter of years.
Scientist, Father
236. Silvertip
@214 Forkroot -- I think I missed something? Elbert Hubbard?

James Hogan
237. Sonofthunder
Just wanted to say - these last few posts have been truly endangering my dignity as I sit here in Starbucks this Saturday morning! Must...not...laugh. Oh gosh, can't help it.

And now next time I wash my dishes, I know what song will be running through my head.

Also, while I think this has been gone over quite a bit, just wanted to put in my two cents about Mat's letter. I also winced a bit at it. It was hilarious, true. But it also wasn't quite Mat. Ah well. It still made me laugh. I think I justify it by thinking Mat being extremely irritated with Elayne and so intentionally trying to sound as backwards and obnoxious as possible. It works, a little.

Also, for Perrin and Galad - wow. I remember my first time reading this, I kept expecting them to be reasonable(since they both are awesome and usually logical individuals) and kiss and make up. But no. I forgot the fact that they're both also extremely stubborn. And so as it dragged on...I came to the conclusion that maybe the Whitecloaks and Perrin's army may actually fight it out after all. Which I was horrified at, because truly - Randland does not lack for proper enemies to fight. Thankfully, this did not end up being the case(barely), but this whole plot arc still took a lot longer than I was expecting.

But because I always like reading Perrin's sections(as well as Galad's!), I didn't mind too much.

Now this has been a bit longer of a post than I planned, but I feel I've been slacking in my duty in posting here - feel bad that I've been away for so long!
Kimani Rogers
238. KiManiak
Dolphineus@233 - Okay, I admit to being confused as it appears that maybe you’re switching your story up a little bit. In your post@203 you’re saying that Rand’s influence on the pattern is a strong, positive one (“Less food spoilage, clouds breaking etc“). Order brings strength, and combats/counteracts the chaos of the Dark One. And, in ToM, we see that Rand’s Dragon Effect does just that, counteracts the effect of the Dark One when it comes to the weather, the food supplies in Arad Doman, etc.

So now you’re proposing that Rand’s presence does indeed do all of that, but it still attracts the presence of the Bubbles of Evil in the White Tower? Even when it would hypothetically be aided by the “order” and “strength” that the stability of Egwene as the Amyrlin Seat would provide, as you previously suggested?

Would you please explain your logic? How can the presence of the Chosen One (post his Veins of Gold epiphany and “ascension” on Dragonmount) and Champion of the Creator (and therefore of order in the Pattern) simultaneously push back the Dark Ones influence while also attracting Bubbles of Evil?

My intent is not to be antagonistical; I truly am interested in your logic and/or reasoning in this matter.
239. Captcha's_are_annoying
Broadly, I'd say I agree with Dolphineus's assessment. In general, there does seem to be less food spoilage and the like in places with high levels of order and staility. Less, not none, but still, definitely less. Just because there are exceptions, doesn't mean the effect isn't, in the main, true.

KiManiac@238: The effect of order is a general effect. Not an absolute effect. Meanwhile, the bubbles of evil (which move about by floating through the pattern) will tend to congregate around Ta'vern, by virtue of Ta'vern being the focal points of the pattern.

Thus, Rand, Mat and Perrin have had less problems with food spoilage, but more problems with bubbles of evil (off the top of my head, anyway).
240. Freelancer
The only possible overlap involving Mat's memories and Heroes of the Horn would be those who had the nerve to enter the Tower of Ghenjei, and who also were or became Heroes. He has memories from thousands of people, but when he blew the Horn at Falme, fewer than a hundred answered it's call. The denizens of Ghenjei have access to the memories of only those humans who have entered their domain and "made a deal". Consider Brigitte's conversation with Perrin in the Wolfdream (T'a'R). She is fully cognizant of the workings of the Tower of Ghenjei, warns him to stay away. If they foxes could reach the Heroes in T'a'R (and presumably other visitors to the World of Dreams), she would warn him to be very cautious there as well.

ShaggyBella! Good to hear from you again. Not a drinker, but the pretzels sound right up my alley. Gracias.

KiManiak @238

There are distinctions of effect. As I've noted previously, there are multiple effects at work concerning Rand.

His Dragon Nature, tying him to the land, was amplifying the negatives while his personality was in chaos, and most strongly after he'd consummated his connection with the True Power, bringing stronger decay and corruption to the land near him. After he threw off the encroaching darkness on his soul, those impacts reversed. The clouds part, apple trees blossom, food spoilage disappears or is even reversed where he is present. I concur with the theses presented in this thread that this positive impact is even delivered, via the Veins of Gold, to the areas around Elayne, Min and Aviendha.

His Ta'veren nature, a completely separate attribute, continues to influence probabilities around him as it has since his solo escapade in TDR. But this nature's strong pull on random or pseudo-random events continues to include bubbles of evil. Those things are describe as drifting along the edges of the Pattern looking for a place to be released, and they are attracted to the more constrained weaving related to ta'veren.
Nadine L.
241. travyl
J.Dauro @185 & Freelancer @205:
Thanks so much for the explanation. I am mostly oblivious of the hints given in viewings and dreams. I don't mind, though I have a lot less "I so knew this would happen" moments. I do however enjoy finding the hints on subsequent readings (after being fulfilled). So, again, thank you.

@217. Wolfmage: Mat is not illiterate. He reads books "sometimes"
Reading books does not necessarily make one a good writer. I frequently find spelling errors in my posts, although I do read books - and the posts are not even first draft, I usually correct the most obvious mistakes before I post. -
The reasons given upthread (Mat having written before without mistakes, him explaining "high" words to a queen) do not fit with what we know of him and only some of it we might expain away (him doing it on purpose, to finally get a reaction from Elayne; it being first draft, rule of Funny).
I'm just saying that having read books and having the memories of people from past times in your head wouldn't prevent "all" from making errors. (I guess having Shakespeare in my head wouldn't help me to improve my spelling). Like braid_Tug @44. said: it's likely there wouldn't be any grammar rules anyway.

@Wetlander: I can't help but seeing some Pixar alien in your new icon :)
Roger Powell
242. forkroot
For a while (tor.com bug?) Irene's comment at 212 was showing up as completely blank - hence my comment.
Not having a talent for writing isn't a qualification for being lamented as illiterate. The take I got from Mat and his letter was it was supposed to be exactly as it was, ridiculously flawed and filled with uncouth remarks. It was written that way for two reasons:

The first was to give some kind of conformation that it was indeed Mat who wrote it.

The second was to reinforce the ideal that he is a childish, brutish, philandering, prancing, trickster with no idea how to how to handle himself in front of his betters. Despite the fact that he has only grown out of a small number of those traits is moot. Because what he has grown into no, one has ever seen before and he knows it and very few others do. Much of his luck isn't luck at all but everyone else's excellent ability to underestimate him time and again. Which he is counting on with Elayne and their upcoming negotiations. We can tell his childish effort succeeded by Elayne's comments about him.

Considering what he gained for giving so little I feel that given my scenario of events that the letter sounds just like Mat. Acting the fool with purpose. Something he has done many times. It only seems different now because his motivations are a lot less personally selfish.

Kimani Rogers
244. KiManiak
Dolphineus, Freelancer and Captcha’s - Solid points on the distinction between the Dragon Effect vs the ta’veren effect; thanks. I think that it was established (maybe via an interview) that ta’veren do tend to attract the Bubbles of Evil.

I have to admit; I still have doubts about whether this is valid for the Dragon as he currently is in ToM, though. I think it can be contested whether we’ve proof of Bubbles of Evil (BoE) still gathering in areas around Rand post-Dragonmount epiphany. Even in Chapter 15 of ToM when Nynaeve and Neaff deal with the after effects of a BoE in Tear, we find out that Rand wasn’t in the area. The effects fade away, Nynaeve Heals Neaff and then Rand returns and the clouds around Tear disperse.

(The possible counter being that the bloody floors in TV in Chapter 3 did happen while Rand was in the general vicinity. Maybe he hadn't entered the Tower yet? I'm sure we could speculate about range of BoE's and their proximity to ta'verent and the Dragon Effect and it's Area of Influence when it comes to counteracting spoiled food, etc. )

Do we have proof that BoEs are still attracted to Rand? Or is there just as much likeliness that the bloody floor in Tar Valon is due to the other chaotic factors that have plagued Tar Valon for the past few months (hallways shifting; Brown quarters switching with Novice quarters; etc)?

I still challenge Dolphineus’s core argument that just because order (in the role of a permanent Amyrlin) has been restored that Tar Valon is immune to the effects. Food is still bad, as Egwene, Nynaeve and Siuan note in ToM Chapter 33 (they note the soup is good because it came from Caemlyn, implying normal food supplies in TV are in pretty bad shape). The cloud cover had returned to Tar Valon shortly after Rand left. The stability of the Amyrlin seat didn’t appear to have any effect on that. There still is evidence of food spoilage and (obviously we contest the origin of) random stuff caused by miasma.

I don’t think that just belief and order are enough. Actually, Tear was incredibly orderly and they all had belief in the Dragon. Yet, they still will be subject to the events in Chapter 15. And again, no ta’veren was present at the time to call the BoE; the Dragon came by after Nynaeve and Naeff cleaned things up.

Anyway, Happy Sunday to all.
Birgit F
245. birgit
The only possible overlap involving Mat's memories and Heroes of the Horn would be those who had the nerve to enter the Tower of Ghenjei, and who also were or became Heroes.

Birgitte tells Mat about her visit to the ToG. They probably did't have a chance to collect memories from her because she didn't come back out. It would be strange if the two had the same memories and talked about them.
Sandy Brewer
246. ShaggyBella
I always thought it was strange that neither Elayne or Brigette said anything about Mat being married. I would think that would have caught their attention.
Jonathan Levy
247. JonathanLevy
Birgitte tells Mat about her visit to the ToG. They probably did't have a chance to collect memories from her because she didn't come back out. It would be strange if the two had the same memories and talked about them.
What a clever idea! But did Mat get any memories from women at all?I don't think he did, though I'm hard-pressed to find a quote for that.
Maybe the memories are incompatible, or maybe they just gave him memories of battles which would not have been likely to originate from a woman.

If it's just a question of compatibility, he might have gotten Gaidal Cain's memories from the moment he entered the tower until he died there. And they might not have been very coherent, considering his condition. Still, even if he had just remembered Birgitte's face (from that life), it would have been great.

That said, I'm inclined to believe that the finns only have access to the memories from the moment a deal is struck, so that would rule out any such possibility.

It's a nice idea though.
@246 ShaggyBella

Yeah, I thought that was strange too. Especially to women. Every woman I know would have been like, "Married? Married to who?" Well now that I think of it.... Any guy would have too. Anyway that to me was a pretty big oversight of BS's. Although I find it amusing that Elayne and Birgitte could be so distracted by everything else in the letter that they missed him announcing his being married.

Glen V
249. Ways
@244 KiManiak and others upthread:
The floor turning red in The Amyrlin's Anger was pretty innocuous for a BoE. Siuan mused that she was afraid something else disastrous might happen and turned around to take a different path when she saw it. We don't hear anything else on the topic, so apparently that was the extent of this particular BoE. It wasn't especially evil at all.

Every other BoE described to date had more serious consequences (IIRC), even if sections of buildings shifting around didn't cause illness or loss of life. Perhaps post-Dragonmount Rand mitigated the red-floor BoE, but I'm not convinced this is a reasonable hypothesis yet (comments please). Maybe the red floor wasn't really a BoE, but I'm at a loss to propose an alternative explanation. So, what's up, does the DO need a tune up?
Tess Laird
250. thewindrose
Quick question for those who have a problem with Elayne taking over Cairhien - 'to much land for one ruler' 'Elayne is incompetent' 'Elayne does't have a good hold on Andor'.

Do you have the same issues with Tuon/Fortuona? She now rules over a whole continent(that is at war with itself at the moment), she has large chunks of Randland that are under her control - and they are under her control, is she any more competent then Elayne?

Mat's letter - honestly when I first read it, my first thought was - 'this is going to be a huge point of contention among fans'. Heh -was not let down in that assesment.

So - some more food for my Dyelin is a darkfriend campaign. After Norry tells Elayne he was having Duhara watched and Elayne was joking about kissing him:
Dyelin didn't seem pleased. Well, she could go suck on a goat's foot, for all Elayne cared.
Of course I am reading this as she is not pleased that Elayne is happy that Norry has started spying on high ranking individuals - which may at some point mean her...

Dawn Boyall
251. deebee
The Fields of Peace were aflame, the Tower of Ravens was broken as prophesied and a murderer openly ruled in Seandar.
I`m not sure that Fortuona does rule Seanchan, however secure she may be on this side of the Aryth Ocean.

The Seanchan believe they are reclaiming their birthright and bringing civilisation to a backward continent. I can understand that, though I find their culture and beliefs mostly pretty despicable. Slavery, secret police and torture...great values there. Yes they bring order and stability. Many totalitarian regimes have done the same, repressive regimes don`t tolerate dissension or individual autonomy in the main.

But in a sense I don`t expect any better of Tuon, she is a product of her culture and her beliefs, however misguided they seem from a Randland perspective.

My problem with Elayne is that I can`t shake the feeling that her primary motivation is personal ambition. She pays a bit of lip-service to the idea that the TG is approaching and she has to unify the nobles behind her-but most of her statements are about her personal power.
"if we move for Cairhien now it will show that I mean to be more than a simpering puff of a queen." and
"In one step I could become one of the most powerful monarchs since Artur Hawkwing."

Okay I can see that other people might see this simply as a pragmatic step to take control of Cairhien, which is what Rand intended all along. And if we`re looking at the need for belief and order to strengthen the Pattern and counteract the Dark One`s effect on the world- well I guess someone has to step up and take control of Cairhien so that all the Lightside nations can be united ahead of TG.

So I guess this is my personal reaction-all around I see people starving as the end time comes, dying in the fight against the Dark One, people sacrificing everything to fight Trollocs in the borderlands, Egwene taking on Mesaana, Perrin taking on Luc/Isam, Mat risking everything to free Moiraine...it doesn`t sit easily with me that Elayne thinks her most useful contribution is " I know, I`ll be queen of another country too, that`ll really be useful."

So no, I`m not an Elayne fan at this point.
Roger Powell
252. forkroot
The floor turning red in The Amyrlin's Anger was pretty innocuous for a BoE.
Maybe it was just the Pattern groaning, similar to things like reshuffling parts of the White Tower, etc. I can't remember the source, but we've had it confirmed that those sorts of events are the Pattern being stressed, not the DO's touch nor Bubbles of Evil.

By the way, apparently another source of Bubbles of Evil can be the use of Subwoofer's "Bowl of the Winds" followed by a soak in the jacuzzi.
William Fettes
253. Wolfmage
"Reading books does not necessarily make one a good writer."
Agreed. I wasn't saying he must necessarily be a good writer. But it counts against several aspects of the letter in so far as they aren't deliberate affectations. I mean, the awkward expression is rather different from the way Mat thinks and expresses himself normally. If you go back and read any Mat chapter in KoD, such as A Hell in Maderin or A Stave and a Razor, or even as far back as A Difference Dance in LoC, and his vocabulary and fluidity and sophistication of expression (internal and external) is not simple. Rough edges and buffoonishness are definitely still there but he is still a complex, wordly man who is more than merely proficient with language. He demonstrates on many occasions that he is capable of witty and colourful expression, cogent and incisive commentary, as well as almost poetic insight - alongside his legacy immaturity.

Even allowing for some awkwardness in translating his thoughts into written word, the letter significantly infantilises his voice and makes it suddenly regress to a level of clumsinessand limited lexicon he has never shown in the series prior.

Perhaps it being a deliberate affectation saves it, but it's still not funny, at least to me.
"I frequently find spelling errors in my posts, although I do read books - and the posts are not even first draft, I usually correct the most obvious mistakes before I post."
Oh absolutely. I was not implying that spelling mistakes are impossible. I'm pretty bad at this myself. I make numerous mistakes in my first drafts and I seldom pick up everything before I post, so I end up doing a few rounds of edits, which I confess is a bad habit.

If there were only a few mild spelling errors due to phonetic spelling I doubt there would be any valid complaint about the letter.
Roger Powell
254. forkroot
I makes a legion of mistakes in my first drafts
Did you do that on purpose? {:: chuckles ::}
Glen V
255. Ways
forkroot@252 - Great alternative, thanks. Subwoofer's Bowl of the Winds sounds like a dish containing excessive quantities of legumes.
Terry McNamee
256. macster
I delayed coming to this particular entry as long as I could because I knew there would be lots and lots of arguing about Mat and his letter. I was not disappointed. *sighs* But I couldn't stay away any longer, so here goes.

Leigh: In reference to something you mentioned back near the start of Perrin's plot in this book: I think this chapter explains properly why Perrin sent Gill and the others on ahead and that, not knowing the Whitecloaks were in the area, it was a good decision at the time. If they hadn't won at Malden, Gill's group would have been caught between the Shaido there and the ones who were still approaching. Even with them winning, if they had stayed behind they could still have been attacked by the approaching Shaido, and their presence would also have slowed Perrin's whole group down, allowing the Shaido to catch up. No matter which way Malden turned out, someone had to get to the safety of civilization, whether to get help for Perrin or simply to get to Rand or Elayne. Of course if our theorizing is correct getting to Lugard would have been a disaster too, but the point is, based on what Perrin knew, getting Gill and his group out of the area was the best choice for all concerned.

The revelation of the taint being cleansed: I don't have the paperback version of ToM so I still don't know--what if anything was changed about this scene? Because as I and someone else pointed out, Grady revealing this to Perrin here duplicates it being revealed to him just before Malden in KoD. Granted having this heartfelt discussion about Grady having something to live for and worrying about his family is important, and couldn't have worked when they still had the Shaido to stop and Faile to save, but was anything changed about the wording itself to suggest Perrin had already been told this and now wanted details/further confirmation?

Perrin's treatment of the Asha'man--I love Grady now. Neald becomes awesome later for the forging scene, but this one right here gives us that window into the world of the Asha'man Leigh has always been wanting. We've not gotten much of anything from the Asha'man with Rand or Cadsuane--a little from Flinn, Narishma, and Eben Hopwil--but here we get to really know an Asha'man better, one who never went mad and now never will. (Nynaeve should still examine them but it seems to me they must have very little taint madness.) And I find it very interesting that the characterization of Grady and Perrin's reactions to him mirrors our own. At first the Asha'man were rather flat, distant, and Perrin barely knew them or liked them. But as he got to know them better, he saw their humanity, their individuality, came to trust and respect them, and they him--they went from being there just because Rand told them to go, to seeing the value and importance of this task and becoming loyal to Perrin as well. And as he got to like them, so did we; them being distant, undeveloped characters for us is how Perrin himself saw them, and the further delving into their characters made them real and likable to him as well as to us. Sort of a reverse of Leigh's usual favorite tactic of seeing one of the main characters from the outside in order to show their awesomeness. Very well done here, and subtle until you pay attention to it.

Perrin trying to leave Faile out: it isn't because he is trying to protect her (or at least not just this) but because he knows she will fight him on it and he doesn't want to have to deal with that. Considering how everything works out, he's actually right to leave her out, because his choices (not fighting the Whitecloaks, having the parley, the trial, and eventually going after the Whitecloaks to save them) were all the right choices in the end. If she objected because she thought it was wrong or would get him killed, either they wouldn't have happened, or he would have had to shout her down to get her to lay off...which while some of us might have enjoyed seeing that would have led to more angsting from Perrin which we do not want to see.

Galad's idiocy vs. his scent: I think I agree with Wetlander @53. Yes, fanaticism is bad no matter how you arrive at it but his scent, suggesting he is logical, reasonable, and able to reach a position based on these and not mere prejudice and passionate hatred, means he can actually change his mind and realize the truth about Perrin. And then once he does so, the others (sans Compelled Byar) can eventually fall in line too. We see Bornhald manages it, but it takes Galad's example to show the way.

"Montem al’San and Azi al’Thone" --why fan shoutout names? They don't seem out of place to me.

Linking: you're right, except in the case of Callandor I don't think it's that the women must control the flow for it to work, it's that the women have to control the flow to mitigate the taint and the lack of a buffer. Although it seems from the updated glossary that if there are circles less than thirteen with only one man (such as the Callandor one), the women lead.

Mat's letter: I'm glad someone recognized that his memories wouldn't help him here when they only gave him knowledge of the Old Tongue, not the current language. As for his previous knowledge of literacy, the only example we have is his note to Nynaeve and Elayne about Carridin, which concerned critical info (him being a Darkfriend) so I don't think he'd mess around with deliberately bad language to get their attention as he did here--which I still think he did, that he wrote badly on purpose to get Elayne's attention, and also to fit her royal/womanly view of him as a no-good scoundrel (that despite his previous note, which she may even have forgotten about, she expects him to write like this). So I'll leave it at that, except to say I thought it was funny and in-character.

Oh, and that while you're right about "p.s." being anachronistic, by pointing out the toe/toh pun you've highlighted the fact that, whether this inclusion is appropriate or not, at least it is consistent. Which means Sanderson didn't screw up, he was simply following in Jordan's footsteps. Whether Jordan was right to do that or not is a separate matter. (And I think the p.s. probably is a translation for our benefit.)

Thank the Light for stability in Cairhien. Such as there can be with the Game of Houses still being played even now. Some may argue Elayne, either by virtue of her precarious position or her personality, will not bring much stability at all, but it has to be better than what Cairhien currently has. The only better option, post-Dragonmount, is Rand himself, but since he's about to die (and, hopefully, live again but go off to have his own separate private life after the Last Battle), and he doesn't have the blood tie Elayne does...

Maybe the icon is there because they're soon to meet one of the ta'veren who grew up with Rand? Or because they were discussing not just Rand himself, but the system of alliances he's created which will likely be falling apart?

Also: while I have disagreed as well with some of your posts, points, and rants, I too have no problem with you posting whatever you wish in whatever way you like (as long as it is respectful of your readers). I might wish that at times you would focus on other issues, or analyze rather than merely react, but that is what the rest of us are for. And this late in the game there isn't as much to analyze, other than the Big Questions which will all get answered for us in AMoL anyway.
Terry McNamee
257. macster
@8 RanchoUnicorno: Good points.

@12 Bergmaniac: You're right. In fact it may be that Jordan is the one who screwed up by not making Mat illiterate enough in ACOS. If that letter had had errors we wouldn't have this problem now. But I think he was being blatant as I said, so the letter would be like this regardless.

@13 parrothead: Also a good point. The letter in ACOS was from Mat's POV, so if there were mistakes in it we wouldn't be aware of them because he wasn't. And there was no one nearby when he wrote it to notice, correct him, and laugh like Thom. (Tylin didn't look over his shoulder or read it for him.)

@14 Ryanus: And another good point! If he is usually in the habit of re-reading and proofreading his letters (and did so in ACOS, for example) but this time he didn't, of course it would suffer.

@24 Hrothgordo: That's an interesting theory. It makes as much sense as anything else. As to your criticism, you have a point, but I would note that it may be the case that in many of the past plots, simplicity could have been accomplished and the reason it wasn't was because too many characters were making things more complicated than they needed to be, and that only now, when people are feeling the urgency of the Last Battle's approach, being guided by the Pattern and pulled by the ta'veren, and communicating properly, are these complexities able to be shoved aside so that things can get done swiftly and easily.

@26 parrothead: True, but I think he has a point there are other things worth discussing besides gender issues and slavery. The problem is those things are such large, contentious topics that cause a great deal of debate that everything else gets forgotten about or drowned out. And to go along with KiManiak's response, a better way for him to deal with what he dislikes seeing from Leigh than castigating her for it would be to bring up himself the things he would rather discuss. He may not get to hear Leigh's thoughts on them, but I guarantee he'll get replies from the rest of us. :)

@37 forkroot: Actually I would argue that Cairhien getting a ruler and stability, new Breaking aside, is in fact important. Why? Think about it...everything that went wrong in Randland 20+ years ago can be related to Cairhien in one way or another. Taringail married Tigraine but then Tigraine runs away and when he marries Morgase, he loses his bid to become King of Andor. Laman, having lost face, cuts down the tree for his throne and sets off the Aiel War which is what leads to Rand being born on Dragonmount. Galldrian takes over, but ends up losing his life to Thom thanks to killing Dena as part of his plot against...Rand. Cairhien then ends up nearly destroyed again by the Aiel thanks to Couladin running off after...Rand reveals himself as Car'a'carn. Considering all the crap that has happened to Cairhien simply to help fulfill the prophecies related to Rand and the Aiel, when Cairhien was the only place to offer the Aiel water way back when, it seems only fair to me that the place finally get some peace and stability now. Not everything should survive the Last Battle intact, but I think there's a good, cyclical storytelling reason why Cairhien should.

To boil it down to the basics, it was their compassion after the Breaking that made possible the survival of the Aiel and the war which would later allow Rand to be born and fulfill the prophecies. For that, I think they deserve some sort of reward from the Pattern, and thanks to Elayne they may finally get it.

@40 Blood_Drunk: More good points.

@42 insectoid: "Oh, Galad, believing everything you hear, just like your idiot brother. If one of you were told your mother ran off to the circus and was walking the high-wire, you would believe it, yes?" I see what you did there. LOL!

@43 Jeribai: That makes a lot of sense. It isn't that men must lead these circles, it's the opposite in fact--women usually lead, but they're being forced to pass control to Neald because he knows how to Travel and they don't. The fact them getting used to doing this is critical for their upcoming battles may also just be key to the Last Battle itself. And of course underscores what we've been shown by Jordan all along, that things will only improve when men and women work together with the Power again (and in general too) and when the women just plain learn to trust the men again.

@45 KiManiak: While you are right that Elayne isn't acknowledging Mat's ability to lead armies, I would point out that not only was Leigh right in noting, way back in LOC/ACOS, that Elayne views Mat the way she does because of the way Egwene and Nynaeve treat him (which is in turn based on how he appeared to them growing up which they haven't realized has changed some as he's been out in the world), she quotes right here in the re-read that Elayne says he has "a strangely good eye for tactics and warfare". Which proves she indeed does not know about his memories (no one does outside Thom, Noal, possibly Olver, Perrin after their meeting near the end of this book, and maybe Rand). So while she may know he is good at leading armies she doesn't know why, and therefore has to rely on her past judgment of Mat's reliability to decide if he can lead the Band without her supervision or authority. If she knew about the memories she would likely trust him more, perhaps even implicitly, but since she doesn't...

Also, well said on the letter being true to Mat's spirit. I couldn't have said it better myself.

@50 deebee: That would be good to see. But all else aside, I expect the "inability to channel while pregnant" plot will be very important in the last book.

@80 forkroot: That's entirely possible. Another possibility of course is the ending of the damane system which could happen if the truth about the sul'dam comes out, if Tuon is forced to channel, something from Rand, Mat, or Hawkwing, and so on. Also of note...if the loss of the True Source consituted the end of an Age, wouldn't the discovery of it as well? Seeing as this would herald the coming of a new Age of Legends. The whole world and society are changed forever, but through peace, growth, and prosperity rather than destruction and cataclysm. And your post @99 seems to agree, since it's said the Second Age started with the discovery of channeling.

@95 Smalt: First, the fact he saw his saidin flow into her first is neither here nor there; regardless who controls a link, only a woman can initiate one, so of course he'd see his flow go into her. Second, just because someone creates the link doesn't mean it can't then be passed to the other person, as in fact happened with Rand and Nynaeve. And third as noted above, in a link of one man and one woman, the man does lead.

@100 Wortmauer: Since whether Mat was deliberately being annoying or not, and whether these are the kinds of insults he'd use, are something we can't agree on because everyone views him subjectively, I will only say this: you dismiss too readily the points regarding first drafts and also that we are seeing the ACOS scene from Mat's POV and never see the corresponding reading scene from the girls as we do here with Elayne.

On the first one, yes Mat in ACOS would be upset by Tylin's presence, but while it's important to tell them about Carridin, it's not as urgent as the bellfounders or the imminent Last Battle or the gholam or Mat getting access to gateways so he can rescue Moiraine. It makes sense to me he'd be much more rushed this time around and not able to properly revise his letter. A first draft composed at Tylin's palace would be much different than one composed now when Mat is in a hurry to get into Caemlyn and is much more frustrated and angry.

Secondly and more importantly, we are seeing the ACOS from Mat's POV. It all seems right to him, but if he is a poor speller/writer he wouldn't know the mistakes he was making, would he? Nor would he acknowledge them in what he had written. Note he thinks the note is "reasonably worded" which relates to how he phrased things rather than the actual spelling or grammar, and that it was "pleasant", not necessarily correct. Remember that Jordan was very good at giving us unreliable narrators or ones whose views and beliefs make us doubt what they say or how they say it--everyone in WOT has an agenda or has their own world-view, and we can't trust them to tell us what actually happens or why when how they interpret things or what they do and don't know influences their reports.

It wouldn't surprise me at all that in his own head Mat refuses to admit or notice that his spelling and grammar are atrocious. And personally, with how little he reads books, the lack of information on the Two Rivers educational system, and the simple fact that reading and writing would be far less important there than knowing your figures, I would actually be more surprised if he was educated enough to write as well as ACOS makes it seem he can. Tam, Master Luhhan, and Perrin's parents may be conscientious teachers but that doesn't mean the Cauthons are, or that rakish Mat would settle down and pay proper attention to his lessons even if they were.

You're right that it does seem odd Nynaeve did not remark on this in her thoughts, but that still isn't proof it was as well written as it seemed to be from Mat's POV. And I still contend Mat wouldn't have much reason to be that well-educated.
Terry McNamee
258. macster
@102 Heron: Why do people keep missing this? Yes Moiraine is weak due to being drained by the Finn. But she explicitly says that with the angreal she took from Lanfear she is as strong as she ever was. And she can use that with Callandor the same way Rand could use the fat man angreal with the Choedan Kal.

@114 Isilel: It seems that, per usual, what the modern Aes Sedai think is true of the Power is not the case. While it is true men and women can't teach each other how to channel, there were ways in the Age of Legends to at least understand how the other half wove the flows, for both Semirhage and Rand (via Lews Therin) to do so. So that doesn't mean what we know about linking is correct, even setting aside whether the BBoBA is correct since it is, after all, based on present-day Randland thinking. Still, the reasoning given above could explain why this scene with Neald seems to go against what we were told--that the reason a man was in charge was because control was passed to him, since he was the one who knew how to Travel, not because a man had to be in control, and that his usage of saidar is similar to Rand using it during the Cleansing.

@127 Bergmaniac: I am not sure how it works either, but clearly it worked in the Age of Legends since the BBoBA talks about the greatest feats being performed by men and women working together. It seems that regardless of the method by which you channel, once the two halves are working together through a link it all just becomes pure Power that can be used as one. See also Wetlander's explanation.

@148 Wetlander: Well said.

@157 anthonypero: Exactly, and good point.

@158 bad_platypus: True, but the fact Semirhage can recognize saidin weaves at all, and know how to direct them, must mean something.

@166 dolphineus: Elayne knew that the Band was good at fighting because she knew of Talmanes being hired by Roedran--not only did she meet with the Murandians and Andorans (Pelivar and his allies), but she was told by Egwene who met with Talmanes herself. As to how she knew of Mat's skills, I'd say Bergmaniac has it right.

@168 Wetlander: Good point re: Lanfear. Though we don't know she has lots of experience with mixed circles, but considering she worked at the Collam Daan and had male Aes Sedai on her research team, she probably did.

@174 J.Dauro: Didn't the sun come out around Avi at some point before or during her talk with Nakomi, or when she was at Rhuidean? And couldn't Nakomi's food tasting good have been due to the bond with Rand?

@175 Longtimefan: That's a fascinating theory!

@196 forkroot: That is a disquieting, and plausible, notion indeed. (The Bore not being closed without access to the Source being gone.)

@198 MickeyDee: Would you like some cookies for your stay in the bunker? ;)

@203 dolphineus: There's no reason it can't be both, of course. Rand's Dragon-Fisher King effect leaking through the bond (which would be another possible explanation for why it's prophetically important to have three women who would then bond him, to spread his protective influence more around Randland), but also people establishing order to combat the chaos. Particularly since Rand's presence is itself a form of order combating chaos, since he is trying to gather everyone together, make peace for after he's dead, and save what can be saved. It seems that the Dark One is still causing negative things even now among the Seanchan and in the White Tower, but the fact there is less than there used to be does suggest the increase in order (and Rand's presence) is staving him off. In other words, I agree with you @233. What we've seen of the prologue of AMoL seems to support your theory to some degree, after all.

@209 Zexxes: Interesting idea. If it were true obviously it had to be only the male Heroes whose memories he received. But why would he only have memories from the Trolloc Wars to the War of the Hundred Years? Okay not much heroic going on after that time, but what about before? Are the Heroes only spun out during the Age of Legends/War of Power, then later on during major wars, but no time in between? And then the Finn could only use the most recent Hero memories for Mat? But there are only supposed to be around a hundred Heroes, aren't there? While Mat has the memories of "hundreds of men"? Unless there was duplication of the same souls spun out multiple times...hmmm...

@215 ShaggyBella: Good point. But good luck getting many people to admit Elayne was actually having foresight and doing something right. :P

@217 Wolfmage: Except much if not all of what he learned from his memories would have been in the Old Tongue. Particularly Fog and Steel, I wager. Knowing that wouldn't help him much with his spelling and grammar in the modern tongue. And wanting Olver to be educated could in fact be him realizing, belatedly, that he should have paid better attention in his own studies. Remember he doesn't want Olver to take after him, to the point of denying he is where Olver is getting his bad language and womanizing from...

@218 JonathanLevy and 228 Wortmauer: LOL!

@228 Wortmauer: Whether or not Elayne is the best candidate to rule Cairhien (I do agree Dobraine and Caraline for sure would be great alternatives; Moiraine is a qualified possibility, since I'm sure she has other things she'll be doing), I think "Cairhien needing someone to govern" does fall under my sentiment that after all the terrible things it's been through, it deserves some peace and stability, regardless what else may suffer or be destroyed at the end of this Age.

@231 Samadai: Never ascribe to malice what can be easily explained by ignorance.

@238 KiManiak: I see why that seeming contradiction bothers you, but I don't think it's that hard to resolve. Unless she was wrong, Moiraine said that ta'veren will attract bubbles of evil. Rand is the Dragon, but he's also still a ta'veren. Just because one aspect of him (the Fisher King effect) has now been jumpstarted thanks to Dragonmount doesn't mean the ta'veren effect has been turned off. The question of course is how well the Dragon effect can fight off the bubbles of evil he'd attract. Freelancer puts it beautifully. Also re-read what Dolphineus said: he didn't say places with order were immune to bubbles of evil and rending of the Pattern, just that there was less of these things there than elsewhere. There is a difference. See also what I said to Ways below.

@247 JonathanLevy: That is a neat idea indeed, however unlikely.

@249 Ways: Bubbles of evil are not the same thing as unravelings in the Pattern. The former are just the Dark One's miasma rising up and attaching to the threads; the latter seem to be due to either his active will trying to remake reality or as a result of him trying to break through the weakening seals. (Or, possibly, lots of balefire usage.) Sanderson has said the two are not the same. So the blood on the floor wouldn't have to be a bubble of evil, just another change in reality as the Pattern unravels, like halls moving, the painting of the Amyrlin with blood on it, and Leane's melting cell. These would have nothing to do with ta'veren, so that actually suggests Dolphineus could be right--if the blood on the floor was not a bubble of evil, Rand's presence didn't attract it, and the presence of order wouldn't be able to repel or mitigate it the way it can the Dark One's touch. As to why his Dragon effect didn't repel it...perhaps it's easier to repel the food spoilage and decay than it is actual changes in the threads of the Pattern?

@250 thewindrose: You sure love to harp on Dyelin don't you? :P Maybe she just doesn't like Elayne encouraging the use of something underhanded and dirty like espionage, or using Hark in particular. Dyelin does seem to have high morals/scruples. Or maybe she knows Duhara is Black and is afraid she'll get found out? Seriously, I don't have a problem with your theory, and it could well turn out to be true. I'm just amused by the way we all grasp at threads to find proof of our theories. It's because Jordan trained us to give every detail portentous significance.

@251 deebee: Without knowing how critical it will be to have Cairhien and its armies in the Last Battle, and setting aside my contention above that saving Cairhien is the Pattern's way of rewarding it for making the birth of the Dragon and the fulfillment of prophecy possible, I will only say that there's nothing wrong with Elayne wanting to prove she is a strong queen to be taken seriously. Aside from her knowing all the stories of great Andoran queens of the past and feeling she needs to live up to them, there's the mess that happened under Morgase thanks to Rahvin. After all that, and then the Succession, it makes sense Elayne wants to present a strong face to the world to live up to her heritage, make up for the mistakes her mother made, and offer solace and relief to the people who are so terrified and worried after all that has happened to Andor and with the Last Battle coming. Besides, flaws aside, I think Elayne would do a damn good job as queen for either nation--her personal errors in judgment don't reflect on the decisions she's made for Andor, which have all been good ones. Whether she can handle both it and Cairhien remains to be seen, but I think she at least can be trusted to try.

@253 Wolfmage: Since you seem to see things a little differently than Wortmauer (though I extend the question to him as well), why does it seem so hard to believe Mat would be writing his letter this way deliberately, to get attention, because he is mad, and because he thinks that's the way Elayne sees him, what she expects to see? I think anthonypero gave a very good explanation and reasoning which suggest that's exactly what he was doing and why.
William Fettes
259. Wolfmage
@253 Wolfmage: Since you seem to see things a little differently than Wortmauer (though I extend the question to him as well), why does it seem so hard to believe Mat would be writing his letter this way deliberately, to get attention, because he is mad, and because he thinks that's the way Elayne sees him, what she expects to see? I think anthonypero gave a very good explanation and reasoning which suggest that's exactly what he was doing and why.
Fair enough. I deliberately framed my answers above to avoid that question as a separate issue but it's a legitimate question.

I guess my answer is that I can get the character motivation for such an affectation, in that I can intellectually understand it, though I think it's a little strained as a plot device in terms of the exaggerated nature of the letter compared to the organic plot justification behind it and the break of continuity with normal Mat. Similar to the "backstories" in tGS, I think the primary purpose of the letter scene is meant to be comedy, rather than overcoming a real plot obstacle, and I personally thought it fell flat.
260. silence
The whole Elayne knowing about Mat's tactical abilites - the most obvious answer is actually Lan. He is a highly trained Warder - indeed from comments he is a legend even amongst Warders. And he was hanging out with her and Nynaeve for quite some time. His opinion in matters of war, would have probably carried quite some weight, and he learned about Mat a long time ago.
261. Freelancer
KiManiak @244

No occurence of a bubble of evil near Rand in some time. But, to confuse things as much as possible, buildings such as the palace in Caemlyn or the White Tower suddenly rearranging themselves might be a more general effect of the Pattern weakening, rather than a specific case of shadow flatulence.

As for the food in Tar Valon vs Caemlyn, the difference is clearly Rand. Remember the name of the chapter, Veins of Gold. Rand, and via his bond of love to Minaviyne, heals the land near him/them. Egwene, no matter the "stability of the Amyrlin Seat", has no such intimate connection to the Dragon.

birgit @245

Yes, but my comments were specifically addressing a flawed theory that the foxes had special access to memories of T'a'R residents, primarily being the Heroes. In fact, they only have access to memories of those who have visited their domain, and have struck a deal with them. That would give them a small chance of collecting memories from a Hero, only while they were spun into the waking world, and only from their visit to Ghenjei until their death. So no memories from a Hero while they are cognizant of their many lives and adventures.

Ways @249

See above regarding my opinion that morphing buildings are not bubbles of evil, but the weakening of the Pattern.

macster @256

Grady explaining why he wanted to visit his wife at the Black Tower wasn't necessarily revealing the cleansing to Perrin, but his argument for returning home is based on saidin being clean, therefore giving him a reprieve from his certain sentence of death as a male channeler.
Jonathan Levy
262. JonathanLevy
258. macster
why does it seem so hard to believe Mat would be writing his letter this way deliberately, to get attention, because he is mad, and because he thinks that's the way Elayne sees him, what she expects to see?
I think 259. Wolfmage's points are valid, but I would like to add to them.

For the sake of argument, let us suppose that Mat decides to write a rude, overly-familiar letter to Elayne to get her attention. Might it contain phrases like 'Your Royal Bloody Pain in My Back', or 'your pretty little backside'? Yes, it might. Might it contain deliberate spelling mistakes? Yes, it might. But it would still not be like the ToM letter.

The most salient feature of the ToM letter is that its author spills his words onto the sheet of paper before thinking them through. This is at variance with the ACoS letter, where the thoughts are phrased precisely, and is incompatible with the writing process we see in Tylin's chambers, where Mat pauses to think before writing.

We’re bloody waiting here to talk to you, and we’re getting angry perturbed. (That means angry.)
The double switch between angry and perturbed is typical of a person who types first and thinks later. He writes 'angry', then is beset by doubts - should he have used a fancier word? He crosses it out and writes 'perturbed'. Then more doubts - so he explains his decision.
Thom says that you’re a queen now, but I figure that changes nothing, sense you acted like a queen all the time anyway.
This is a wandering thought. It is a reflection of a conversation Mat had with Thom a few minutes ago, arguing over Elayne's behavior, and found its way to the paper because it is still in the forefront of the writer's mind, not because it is relevant.
Don’t forget that I carried halled your pretty little backside out of a hole in Tear,
This is a reminder of Elayne's debt to Mat, and does advance the purpose of the letter, in contrast to the previous sentence.
but you acted like a queen then, so I guess I don’t know why I’m suprised now that you act like one when you really are a queen.
See how the writer's thoughts wander as he is writing the whole paragraph. We're waiting and getting angry, Thom says you're a queen, but you acted like a queen, I saved you in Tear, you acted like a queen then, you're acting like a queen now.
So I’m thinking I should treat you like a bloody Queen and send you a bloody letter and all, speaking with high talk and getting your attention. I even used my ring as a signet, like it was paper proper. So here is my formal salutation. So BLOODY STOP TURNING ME AWAY so we can talk.
This is a confused description of a reasonable progression: Mat thought he should treat Elayne like a Queen by writing a proper letter with his his signet ring, he tried it, Elayne ignored it, so now he's trying again sarcastically. But the description is confused, the tenses are mixed up (I am thinking (present) vs. I even used (past)), and it fails to convey what the writer is thinking.

So in short: Even if Mat is deliberately trying to write a rude, overly familiar, misspelled letter to catch attention, it does not follow from this that his letter should be so confused. These aspects of writing are usually not consciously affected.

On this re-read we've seen writers who spill out their stream of consciousness into a four-page-long post, and writers who ponder and structure their arguments, and both types stick to their style regardless of whether they're being thoughtful, angry, deliberately provocative, or concilliating.
Alice Arneson
263. Wetlandernw
Jonathan Levy @262 - True, but then most of us who post here are in the habit of writing. A lot. Daily. Mat doesn't write much of anything if he can help it, most of the time, so I'm not sure he'd have much of a "writing style" developed.

Just playing DA. I have no horse in this race. :)
264. Makloony
I would just like to point out that all this talk of numbers when linking and who is in control doen't matter in this scene. The only reason the guy is in control is because only the guy knows how to make a gateway. The prupose of linking was to make a bigger gateway and so control would have to be given to the guy in order to make it.
Alice Arneson
265. Wetlandernw
Hmm. We seem to have fizzled.

Anyone have a *twitch* for me?

How about a poll? What's your favorite spanking scene?

::runs for bunker::
Alice Arneson
266. Wetlandernw
::whistling innocently::

Who me? I'm real busy... baking cookies. That's it. Cookies. With chocolate chips. Got milk?
267. Wortmauer
macster@257: I will only say this: you dismiss too readily the points regarding first drafts and also that we are seeing the ACOS scene from Mat's POV and never see the corresponding reading scene from the girls as we do here with Elayne.
Did you miss my post @112? You are repeating an argument based on a false premise. (To wit: yes, we do see Nynaeve reading Mat's note in ACOS.)

Also, 257 is my favorite prime. (As I'm sure you all wanted to know.)
Wetlandernw@263: Mat doesn't write much of anything if he can help it, most of the time
That used to be true. When he wrote the note in ACOS, he "had no love of writing." But after all those multi-page modern Hollywood "backstories" for all his men of hench....
Makloony@264: all this talk of numbers when linking and who is in control doen't matter in this scene.
I think you misunderstand the back-and-forth here. The debate is not about who should control the link, it is about whether it is possible for a man to control this particular type of link. The evidence from multiple sources (the texts and the glossaries, which are canon, and the BBoBA, which is somewhat canon; but further complicated by the fact that at least some of the textual evidence is from POV of 3rd-Age characters whose knowledge of large circles may be incomplete or inaccurate) seems not entirely consistent. I haven't weighed all the evidence firsthand (I'm pretty much staying on the sidelines on this one), so I can't easily rehash the specifics.

Wetlandernw: OK, here's a *twitch*.
Glen V
268. Ways
265 & 266. Wetlandernw
You bad (heh, heh).
How about...umm...I think we did "your favoroite cookie" already. Gimme a minute. Maybe something relevant will come to mind.
Glen V
269. Ways
*Plays straight man to Wet*

The Windfinders were mentioned briefly in Chap. 11 (the "sliver" of land requested) before the pow-wow about taking over Cairhien got rolling.

So, a poll is suggested until Leigh's post tomorrow: who is the least oboxious, and/or most likely to be relevant, Windfinder? (Yeah, maybe that's a bit oxymorononic)

I vote for Talaan. She is young, strong in the power, and asked Nyn to take her to the WT (thereby demonstrating an open mind).

(Will accept mild rebuke if we covered this one before too)
Roger Powell
270. forkroot
and the BBoBA, which is somewhat canon;
Yeah, I believe the term is "loose canon".

{:: giggles insanely ::}
271. Freelancer
Ways @269

I'd counter that Talaan's interest is not open-minded, but selfish. She is far less attracted to the prospect of White Tower training, than in escaping an unpleasant family situation, and giving herself plausible deniability to boot. If Nynaeve "takes her" away to become a novice, then it wasn't really her decision. At least, that is her hope which comes across from this passage.

forkroot @270

Have some tea. Wait! Not that t..::poof:: Uh-oh. Well, now we know what happens when forkroot drinks forkroot.
Roger Powell
272. forkroot
Don't mind if I do.

Ah! I love this minty flavor ...

A%Sgkl;yooenas .. aduiwf2lao ??!?

273. Wortmauer
In case we still need something to stir the pot....

Would the Rule of Funny, by itself, be sufficient to justify Mat's letter?

Would the Rule of Funny, by itself, be sufficient to justify Jar Jar?

Discuss. Inside or outside your bunker.
Thomas Keith
274. insectoid
Fork @270/272, Free @271: LOL!!

Wort @273:
Would the Rule of Funny, by itself, be sufficient to justify Jar Jar?
I doubt it. :P


Glen V
275. Ways
Freelancer @271:
Talaan must certainly have had some desire to escape her family situation, or perhaps Sea Folk culture in general, since she eventually ran away with Merilille and hasn't arrived at the WT yet. However, her choice to abandon family (in particular) and her Sea Folk upbrining (in general) for whatever reason, speaks volumes on being open minded to me. That's a tough decision to make! I expect she will play an important role in AMOL and put my chips on her as the least obnoxious and most likely to be relevant (apprentice) Windfinder.
Jonathan Levy
277. JonathanLevy
True, but then most of us who post here are in the habit of writing. A lot. Daily. Mat doesn't write much of anything if he can help it, most of the time, so I'm not sure he'd have much of a "writing style" developed.
The less a person writes, the more his writing style will reflect his thinking/speaking style. This usually means that his it will be much more consistent (since he will be unconscious of it), and much closer to the stream-of-thought style.

There is also a question of literary convention. When people speak, they repeat themselves, the scatter 'umms' and 'uhhs', they change tenses. When writers write about people speaking they clean all this up (This rule is violated occasionally, when it serves some point in the plot). But in the main the words in the book convey the sense of what was said, they are not a recording of it.

Similarly, when writers write about people writing they clean up analogous writing artifacts. The words in the book convey the sense of what was written, they are not a photocopy of the letter. This rule is also violated occasionally, when it serves some point.

In Mat's case, Jordan chose not to break this rule in ACoS, and made the letter funny by more subtle means. Sanderson tried to make his letter funny by violating the rule, and it fell flat. A lot of people have argued here that Mat's letter was *possible*. I don't think anyone's tried argue that it's so funny that we should just sit back and enjoy it and stop being pedantic.
278. alreadymadwithtalaan
Wortmauer @267
Mat may have come up with elaborate back stories, but who's to say those were in any way more coherent than the writing style he displayed now?

Ways @275
In some ways Talaan is leaving the culture she knows, yet on the other hand that culture has been horribly unfair to her. She finds herself having to prove herself twice over against less gifted people. The lure of a group where she instantly gains standing just on her Power ability alone, without having to contend with her family or allegations of favoritism may well be unbearable. To me it's not so much being open-minded as just plain being sick of it all.

macster @258
I'm not sure what you mean. Rand explicitly created weaves using saidar during the Cleansing. He tried to form a tube, but it ended up more like a flower, nevertheless it served the purpose he needed. Neald in this case did not create weaves of saidar. He was still creating gateways using saidin weaves. He was however, using the saidar to boost his own reserves, making the gateway larger.
Dawn Boyall
279. deebee
263 JonathanLevy
The less a person writes, the more his writing style will reflect his thinking/speaking style. This usually means that his it will be much more consistent (since he will be unconscious of it), and much closer to the stream-of-thought style.
I don`t agree with you there, I think that most people who aren`t used to writing become stiff and stilted if they have to write something which they know will be read by others. Informality/stream of consciousness stuff is more likely to happen in a diary than a letter in my opinion.On a personal level, I hated the letter, but I think there have been many good arguments made to explain why it`s in character so I`ll give it a pass for now.
Valentin M
280. ValMar
Wartmauer @ 273

I raised this point earlier in this thread and my opinion is a resounding No. WOT is not a work of Comedy, let alone Farce.

JL @ 277

Very good points. I have been seating on the fance though strongly leaning towards "letter very iffy" side but you and others pulled me down on your side. Without too many splinters in my backside, but that's what you get for seating on fences.
One point has been made that Mat doesn't write much as to explain the letter. Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I got the feeling that many of the same folks were insisting how normal was the long scenarios Mat wrote for the infiltration of that village. You can't have it both ways.
Jonathan Levy
281. JonathanLevy
I think that most people who aren`t used to writing become stiff and stilted if they have to write something which they know will be read by others
Even if you don't agree that the style they will wind up using, do you agree that it will remain consistent? Or would you expect a person who produced a stream-of-consciousness text in letter #1 to produce a stiff and stilted text in letter #2?

That is my main point, after all.
Jonathan Levy
282. JonathanLevy
...Without too many splinters in my backside, but that's what you get for seating on fences...
Perhaps you should write one of them a letter: "Dear Royal Bloody Pain in my Backside" :)
283. alreadymadwithmatstories
Valmar @280
Mat creating long back stories for his people can be seen as preparation for a campaign, which Mat is well able to do with great attention to detail. That said, while he did write back stories, in no way was it ever mentioned what form the back stories took. Are we sure it was a narrative? A bare bones outline? Did it involve whole paragraphs? Bullet points? Even the amount of detail does not necessarily dictate what form the back stories took. Nor does it give any clue as to what Mat's writing style was.
Rob Munnelly
284. RobMRobM
I did not buy the Trustair Mat efforts to create backstories in TGS, insofar as he did so using very extensive written product. There's no evidence of him taking detailed written notes regarding anything anywhere in the series. Even in developing the complex battle plans in KoD, there is no mention of doing it in writing.

I actually did not have a similarly large issue with the letter here. There's a logic that if a simple note from a clerk or a signed note from Mat wouldn't suffice he'd try to escalate in a way that would engender a response from Elayne. Thus, writing becomes a tool to achieve a strategic goal - that is sufficiently Mat-like to me. The text of the letter was a bit precious but fell far short of Jar-Jar levels (heaven forbid).

Valentin M
285. ValMar

Fair enough. But what I recall is that the back stories were pretty long and detailed, Mat being particularly pedantic about it. The impression, at least, this gave was that it was in a narrative form. Plus I don't recall anyone making this point at the time. Other explanations were being offered, such as yours in the first sentence.
Add on- I see RobM added to this pretty nicely.

Basically, I am aware of the reasons offered for the letter, in-book and in-here. I am making them to myself. It's ok, as opposed to the the "back stories incident" which bugs me a lot. But it never sat easy with me and the reasons for this were crystalised by comments such as the ones of JL and Wortmauer above.
The letter of Mat to Elayne has felt to me redundant and inserted into the story for comedy effect which didn't quite match Mat's persona.
Again, I get the point of it and the fact the RJ and Brandon's styles differ so I am not making a big deal of it.

Just wanted to give thumbs up for JL, Wolfmage, and Wortmauer, for crystalising and putting into words what has bugged me about it. And to the valiant but naive attempts to refute their arguments ;) After all all these guys were making the effort as I sat on the fence and watched.
Dawn Boyall
286. deebee

Absolutely I agree that you would normally expect two letters by the same character to be written in a similar style. And my gut reaction to this letter is to hate it.

BUT- I have to acknowledge that some powerful arguments have been made that this letter was written to achieve a particular purpose that a standard letter wouldn`t have achieved - to get Elayne`s attention amidst all her other correspondence now she`s Queen and to prove the writer really is Mat. So I`m not sure it`s fair to equate the two letters without acknowledging they were written in very different circumstances.

I`m still a bit uncomfortable with Mat in a lot of his TOM scenes, and I don`t buy the getting-used-to-being-married explanation either. Later there`s a badger that gets my goat...and some sprinklewort. But in the Tower of Ghenjei he`s awesome. I guess I don`t like Mat-the -buffoon very much.

But in the case of the letter I guess I`ll just join Valmar on that fence-anyone got any tweezers handy?
Valentin M
287. ValMar

I was pulled off the fence, though I'm still leaning on it.
Deana Whitney
288. Braid_Tug
Many make a good point. The letter was to get attention.
Mat says he's going to write "another" letter. Master Norry or his under clerks have ignored all others which were potentially written "normally."

Only when Mat was "outrageous" was he noticed by the clerks and bought to the attention of the Queen. One of the ladies makes a point of saying "Next time someone claims to know Elyane, bring it to our attention." (aka, don't ignore them - as Mat had been ignored. )

Wouldn’t it be a shock to everyone if we found out the letter was RJ's work in its entirety?

Waiting for next post and it's dead Bela's...
289. Wortmauer
And it does seem a little contrived, doesn't it, that Mat has to write that letter at all? If he really wants an audience with her royal pain in the back:

— He's done this before, right, in TDR? Scaled a wall, eavesdropped on Gaebril and Comar, and was found by the guards and marched to an audience with Morgase. Though I suppose that tactic wouldn't work again.

— Why not send Thom? Mat may not know the extent of Thom and Elayne's history, but he knows they're close, and he knows Thom is pretty good at maneuvering these kinds of things and would have little trouble getting the queen's attention even if he didn't already know her.

— Or just try the front door. The Band is a foreign military force on Andoran soil, a pretty big one; surely the queen would be willing to talk to their commander. Plus, despite their differences of station and personality when they interacted in Ebou Dar, he does know her and he does know she owes him one or two. He should just walk in. Just walking in is, IMO, exactly his style anyway. Would've made for a nice reunion scene with Birgitte, too. ("You are he! Mat, for true! Burn my bones to ash, it's impossible!")
Alice Arneson
290. Wetlandernw
ValMar @280 - I have been seating on the fance though strongly leaning towards "letter very iffy" side but you and others pulled me down on your side. I’m sorry, but I find this utterly bizarre. You let a bunch of arguments make you decide that you think something doesn’t fit in the book after all? Are you now going to have to skip this chapter because you don’t like it anymore? Or find your enjoyment of it spoiled because you’ve now concluded that it’s out of character? If it didn’t bother you enough to throw you out of the story in the first place, I don’t comprehend a reason to allow the arguments of others to make you decide to let it bother you more.

As I said before, I have no horse in this race. I have deliberately chosen to enjoy the story and accept what’s written as in character by definition; it was put there by the author and approved by the various editors, and I find no value in trying to pick it apart. Some people enjoy picking it apart, and that’s their choice, so I won’t bother to try to convince anyone of anything in this regard. I merely point out things that don’t fit the arguments – on either side.

(Then again, I don’t try to claim that a scene should have been written differently, either. I figure that both RJ and Brandon are better writers than I am, so thinking that I know better how it “should” have been done would be arrogant and pretentious. I can decide I don’t like it, although that doesn’t really happen in WoT, but I can’t claim that I know better how their story should have been written.)

So. If you want something that hasn’t been mentioned, here are two:
In The Gathering Storm, Egwene was mostly RJ, Rand mostly Brandon. In Towers of Midnight, Mat mostly RJ,Perrin mostly Brandon.
Per Brandon himself, this past April, obviously paraphrased, copied verbatim from the theoryland database. Of course, you can choose to assume that the RJ part was the ToG section, and everything else was Brandon, but you certainly don’t know. As Braid_Tug pointed out, it would be purely funny if you found out later that the letter was original RJ.

There’s also the fact that the one backstory we “see” is described as “five pages covered in scrawled handwriting.” One, we don’t have any idea of the size of paper; maybe it’s about the size of what we’d think of as “notepaper” – say, 5x7, which is much more practical for carrying in saddlebags than 8.5x11. Two, this is not five pages, neatly typed out, single spaced, Courier 10. This is the “scrawled handwriting” of someone who (self-confessed) doesn’t often choose to write if he can help it. It may be full of misspellings, strikeouts, and scribbled notes all over the place. If it were rewritten as we would do it for a report, or even for a post on the reread, it could well be about a half-page for each person. Since we also don’t get any idea of the style of composition, it hardly qualifies as evidence that Mat writes well (or even tolerably); just that, on this one occasion, he got carried away and wrote down a lot. Which means, IMO, that you can’t use it as evidence one way or the other regarding the plausibility of his letter to Elayne.
@277 JonathanLevy

I think people haven't come right and said Mat's letter was funny and we should just sit back and enjoy, is because quite a few here would get a "fig tree" up their butt and start whining about people telling them what to do!

I, personally, had no problems with the letter. I'm not one to read with an intent to be any level of critic. Not once, did I get interrupted by a "hey now" moment. My only interruptions came in the form of reading back to confirm thoughts or theories. But never ever, "oh that's not right" or " so and so wouldn't do that". Ever.

I've always let a book be and let it flow into my imagination. If I can "See", then it's good. If not it sucks. I always give a book a half read before putting it away on the "it sucks shelf" or the "it's not my cup of tea section" of the "it sucks shelf". For example, half of the George RR Martin series is in the "not my cup of tea" section. Whilst the first half is on the "its good" section. Sorry it wandered to far.

Anyway, I just wanted to at least convey that, yes, some do think the letter was AOK and do wish people would shut up about it.

But like I said before.... Sticks, Butts...

292. Wortmauer
Z: I don't think your characterization of some of us as having sticks up our butts is particularly helpful. I know you aren't actually trying to squash discussion or censor anyone, but when you opine that certain opinions are not being freely aired because other people (with stick-enhanced backsides) would whine about them, this is in fact a way of whining about the behavior of whining about the behavior you're talking about.

(Yes, I know what that makes this post. I'm whining about you whining about other people hypothetically whining about those who hypothetically think Mat's whining is to be enjoyed rather than whined about.)

(Eventually that word just loses all meaning, doesn't it?)

Oh ... and to answer my own post upthread a bit: I do not think the Rule of Funny justifies either this letter or Jar Jar Binks. Even though both are considered very funny by quite a lot of people. (Not necessarily the same people.)
I'm glad you saw what that post was. A friendly dig. Which, I must say, is really hard to do and should qualify as some sort of art form. I have failed to quantify a presentation of such in the past. Thus we have certain persons responding to my posts as if the person who wrote them isn't there, which I find amusing enough to give me the giggles every time they do it.

That said, I'm afraid people actually do not opine about things exactly because certain persons will get bent. I know I have. I know of others too. Light! You can't even be dyslexic around here without hearing a diatribe about the English language and illiteracy! I shrug about it now, but I sometimes wonder how many people have abandoned Leigh's blog because of such. I considered it, but chose to hang around out of spite. Especially because of one in particular. But I also hung around because one person reached out graciously. And to her.... I bow.

Jonathan Levy
294. JonathanLevy
I have to acknowledge that some powerful arguments have been made that this letter was written to achieve a particular purpose that a standard letter wouldn`t have achieved - to get Elayne`s attention amidst all her other correspondence now she`s Queen and to prove the writer really is Mat
There are many hypothetical letters which could have replaced this one which would have achieved Mat's aims (getting attention and proving his identity) without the artifacts which I tried to point out. Such a letter would not have seemed out-of-place, as this one does.

289. Wortmauer

Agreed. I like your last line as well :)


There is nothing wrong with being convinced by an argument. It's happened to most of us at least once in this re-read. I'm sure ValMar will continue enjoying the book and the chapter (as I do) even if he now believes one part of it does not fit so well. At least, I hope he will.

292. Wortmauer
Terry McNamee
295. macster
@259 Wolfmage: Hmm. Fair enough. I think we will have to agree to disagree on whether this was in-character for Mat to make this choice and act in this manner, but I can understand where you're coming from. I don't find it strained as a plot device, but I can see why you and others would. So, thanks for explaining your stance.

@260 silence: Good point, and Lan was with them all in Ebou Dar (and then on the way to and in Caemlyn as well) long enough to have told her.

@261 Freelancer: "Shadow flatulence"--LOL!

As for your point about Grady, I don't deny the validity of why the taint being cleansed would make him feel differently about his life and thus necessitate him speaking to Perrin about going back to visit his family at the Black Tower. I was addressing the fact he told Perrin at all that the taint was cleansed, when this had already been told to him in KoD just before Malden, and Perrin acted here as if he'd never heard it before. Someone posted on a previous thread that something about this had been corrected or altered in the paperback edition. Not having seen it, I was curious what the change was--not about why Grady was telling Perrin about this, but whether Perrin's thoughts or actions differed to show he had already been told about the cleansing and was now only seeking confirmation or wondering what this had to do with Grady's request.

@262 JonathanLevy: You have some good points, but I think your underlying premise is flawed. You're trying to compare one note Mat wrote, when he wasn't under very much pressure at all, with one where he was. (I really don't think having Tylin hovering over him constitutes the same thing as the Last Battle looming, the dragons needing to be made, Moiraine needing rescuing, and the other points I made above, particularly in light of him having sent notes before and being dismissed/ignored, thus heightening his sense of urgency, frustration, and annoyance.) The problem isn't that Mat used stream of consciousness when writing this letter, it's that he didn't for the one in ACOS when I would contend that that is, in fact, the normal way Mat thinks and writes (when he even does the latter).

It also seems odd that you dismiss the idea that if he weren't annoyed and frustrated by Elayne seemingly ignoring him, and Thom laughing at him, Mat wouldn't have rethought or rewritten this letter to be more in line with the one in ACOS. He explicitly says in his P.S. that he was going to rewrite it but didn't because of Thom and being in a hurry. How do you know his other letter wouldn't have been as bad if he hadn't thought and reworded it before writing it, or that this one couldn't have been as well-written as the ACOS one if he had in fact gotten to rewrite it?

Basically, you yourself touch on what the problem is in your post @277: Jordan made the mistake in ACOS of ignoring the trope Realistic Diction Is Unrealistic for the sake of clarity and producing an intelligent, reasonable piece of correspondence, which makes this example of being true-to-life stand out and seem inappropriate or out-of-character. Either the other letter was just as badly written but Jordan prettied it up (which in my mind fits the level of education Mat should rightly have), or they differ because Mat got the chance to edit and revise the first letter but not this one. Either way, it doesn't suggest a reason to be upset, to me.

@265, 266 Wetlander: LOL! *wipes away tears of mirth* Thank you so much!

@267 Wortmauer: No, I didn't miss your post. You did prove that indeed we got to see the scene of the girls reading the note. Sorry for not being clearer, let me explain.

The reason I phrased it the way I did was because it was within the context of the notion that they didn't get to read it that other points were raised which you did dismiss--namely, that though we do get to see at least Nynaeve's reaction to the note, this doesn't address the fact that the scene where the entirety of the note is given to us is all from Mat's POV, and that Mat might very well either be unaware of his failings as a writer, or aware but denying them. I didn't mean you were wrong to dismiss the point that we never got to see the girls read the note; I was referring to my own point in response to that false argument, that seeing Nynaeve read the note doesn't mean we can dismiss the possibility of an unreliable narrator in Mat's POV.

Even though I agree it is odd Nynaeve didn't remark on his bad spelling and grammar, that doesn't mean we can still trust Mat's assessment of his own writing skills or that we can believe the full text of the letter when it is seen from his POV. Whether or not we got to see them reading his note doesn't change the fact that the actual scene of writing it is still from his POV, and that we cannot necessarily trust what he thinks to himself about his writing skills or what he wrote. And since in fact we only got to see one line...

Of course this sets aside the fact that Mat's ability and inclination to proofread and re-write his letter is different between the scenes--in ACOS he has the time and desire to fix any mistakes he made, but here in ToM he doesn't have the time (because of Thom laughing at him and him being in a hurry to send it) nor the desire (because he's angry, frustrated, and wanting to get Elayne's attention by being the bumpkin she thinks he is).

@278 alreadymad: I was referencing what Isilel had said: "Also, if a man is not weaving saidar, how can he use it to "strengthen" whatever he is doing? And from Rand's PoV during the Cleansing, he was definitely weaving it." She seemed to think that because Rand actually weaved saidar at the Cleansing, this means Neald must have too or it is inconsistent. Setting aside whether Rand as the Dragon with his Age of Legends knowledge can do things other saidin users can't, you are quite right that Neald wasn't using saidar to make the gateway, merely to strengthen his weaves by pouring more Power into them. My answer to her was meant to say, not that he did the same thing Rand did (explicitly weaving saidar) but that like Rand, he was able to still use saidar despite being a saidin user--the difference being he used it in an additive sense rather than through actual weaves.

We were told that when women link their Power is not increased in an additive sense, but not only could the Aes Sedai be mistaken, it may be different for men, or when men and women work together. Since, as has been pointed out, we never really delve much into the minds of the Asha'man and Aes Sedai working together at the Cleansing, this is the first scene where we can get a chance to find out how using saidin and saidar together works. It shouldn't be surprising that we'll learn things aren't what we thought, as old things long lost (or possibly new ones, if the theory is correct about the way saidar was kept in contact with all of saidin during the Cleansing could have affected how they work together now) are discovered.
Terry McNamee
296. macster
@281 JonathanLevy: Again, Mat had the chance to "pretty up" the first letter due to not being under pressure, hence why it comes off as more formal and stilted (by comparison) than this letter.

@284 RobM: Exactly.

@285 ValMar: Setting aside Wetlander's very astute point that merely hearing convincing arguments shouldn't change how you view the appropriateness, characterization, or non-immersive qualities of this letter compared to how you felt on first reading (because you do say you never really felt comfortable with it, only now can you put into words why thanks to the arguments you've read), it seems rather unfair of you to dismiss the opposing arguments as "valiant but naive attempts". JonathanLevy did something similar higher up, rather condescendingly (in my opinion) dismissing people who made refuting arguments with "nice try". If people wish to disagree by pointing out flaws in reasoning, or simply by producing textual evidence to the contrary, that's fine, but calling the other side's arguments "naive" or generally acting patronizing toward them is something that has no place in a proper debate or discussion.

@289 Wortmauer: All good points, but that still doesn't change the fact that, whether or not there were different or better options for getting attention, Mat using the letter in this manner to do so is not out of character for him. Particularly when the only explicit evidence to contradict this (as opposed to the implicit backstories, of which we never got to see the actual text) comes from a scene told entirely in the possibly unreliable POV of the less well-educated person, and in completely different circumstances and emotions.

@290 Wetlander: As always, the voice of reason and moderation. :) And for what it's worth, I can see that information from Sanderson as being accurate. However you fall on the love-or-hate-Egwene spectrum, her overall sense of superiority, knowledge, and attitude toward those with whom she disagrees (and the amazing things she did) sounds a lot like how Jordan wrote her; same with Mat here and his buffoonish, cheeky, prankish ways. While Rand in TGS did seem a lot more direct and blunt at times, and at others more convoluted, than Jordan wrote him while Perrin in ToM seems more sensible and able to comprehend Faile's motives. Yet at heart they still felt the same to me, particularly how and why Rand resolved his despair and path of darkness, and Perrin being haunted by the past and needing to resolve his Whitecloak and wolf issues.

@292 Wortmauer: I think that was Zexxes' exact point--because of the expectation he has of how certain members of the re-read might respond to praising Mat's letter as funny, he (and others, he theorizes) is afraid to state how he feels about it. Whether or not such an attitude would truly be taken by some commenters, the possibility it might happen makes him feel less inclined to share, which is indeed not "helpful" at all. Since if people are afraid to say what they think for fear of being demeaned or shouted down (or called naive...), there will be a lot less open sharing going on. (And he has in fact explained this was his meaning, but I'm leaving my words because I agree with him.)

@294 JonathanLevy: It's not out of place if, as I suggested, Mat's usual way of thinking/writing is to be wandering and confused, and it only appeared otherwise in ACOS because of a) Mat getting the chance to edit and revise which he didn't here and b) Jordan in general not writing in a way close to real-life diction. The only question I have is why Harriet and the other editors allowed this to pass, but also the more polished letter in ACOS; by your assessment one of them has to be wrong, so why were both allowed? Unless of course, as I and others have said, the reason relates to the different circumstances and mindsets when they were written.
297. Wortmauer
macster: You've made at least two points about Mat's letters that I don't think the text supports.

First, that Mat revised his letter in ACOS. My reading of the passage has zero indication of that. We see his writing process from start to finish and at no point do we see anything about picking up a second sheet of paper or rewriting anything. I just can't see how you could infer it from the text. Sure, he might have rewritten the note and RJ just didn't mention it, but then again, he might have stopped to eat some roast chicken while writing the note and RJ didn't mention it. Reread the scene yourself, I think you'll agree it is quite detailed. If either a second draft or a chicken dinner had occurred, it would be pretty odd for RJ to just skip over it.

Your second point is that he was not really under either time pressure or emotional pressure in Tylin's apartments in ACOS, as he was in his tent in TOM. To that I would say:

(a) In neither case was he under any real time pressure. There is no indication, either in Tylin's palace or in his camp outside Caemlyn, that he couldn't take an extra 15 minutes on his writing if he wanted. No indication. He's getting impatient, sure ... but this isn't email. Mat is camped well outside Caemlyn, and the palace is well inside. His note will be sent to the palace, passed along by multiple functionaries, maybe eventually reach the Queen. Should he get a reply at all, he certainly can't expect one for at least half a day. Probably more like a full day or more. What's an extra 15 minutes? And it's not like he has any other demands on his time right now. Thanks to Verin, he's basically just sitting around. (Yes, it makes him antsy, but it doesn't make him busy.)

(b) As for emotional pressure ... I think that argument is backwards. I mean, if you don't think being in Tylin's apartments put him off balance in general, I'm not sure what to say except that's totally not how I perceived his interactions with her. And that's putting aside the fact that, two minutes earlier, he had slipped up and addressed her in the Old Tongue — which he always hates doing, as it raises questions he would sooner not answer. Tylin comments on it and is now watching him with interest; he assumes his Old Tongue speech is why. Though the fact that a queen is standing behind him watching at all would, IMO, be enough. Anyway, it's quite clear from the text that he is on edge. I just can't see how Thom "laffing" at him can hold a candle to that. Thom has never intimidated Mat.

Another allegation people have raised (though I don't think you mentioned it) is that Mat's first note was a lot easier to write, because its contents were so simple. Huh? The second note was very simple, or should have been. All it needed to say was: "I need to see you on an urgent military matter, an important opportunity for you, me, and Andor. Don't pass it up. Love, Mat."

While I'm continuing to beat the horse ... if he really thinks Elayne is personally blowing him off, and needs a sure-fire way to get her attention ... "P.S. Remember that foxhead medallion you wanted to study? I still have it."

Mat as unreliable witness: I can't buy this line of reasoning either, as I don't think RJ ever plays it that way. It is true that many works of literature use the concept of an unreliable narrator, whose narration turns out to be distorted or flat out untrue. I don't remember any such instances in the Wheel of Time, however. Not in matters of fact. POV in RJ's work is certainly unreliable, in that a POV character can have bad information, or can misjudge a situation or another character (or herself, cf. Nynaeve or Perrin). But I don't ever remember seeing RJ feed us an unequivocal observation that, due to an unreliable POV, turns out to actually be false. An example would be if we heard specifically that a given building has five stories, then later it turns out the building has six. I think RJ always signals these things with doubts and equivocations; he might indicate that a character thinks there were five stories, or that the character can't remember if it was five or six. Thus, I don't think it would fit RJ's style to have Mat's POV unreliably report the content and style of the letter that we apparently see verbatim. I think in RJ's world, if we're shown something verbatim, it's really verbatim.

Note that Mat does misjudge the tone of his first note — he thinks the Supergirls will find it reasonable, which Nynaeve certainly does not. That is the kind of narrative unreliability I expect from RJ. Intangibles like opinions and character traits.
Valentin M
298. ValMar
Wetlander @ 290

You find it bizzare that an argument was made by one person and another (in this case I) was persuaded by it? Being born and raised in a dictatorship I can appreciate the lack of understanding how debating works ;) This, as the emoticon implies, is a friendly poke just like my "valiant but naive" line above or Zexxes lobs in the other direction. You probably know that, just making sure.

As I wrote already
1) I felt something was wrong with the letter even though I accept at face value the reasoning about it. Arguments were made why it's perfectly fine and why it's not. I find the latter more compelling and putting into words my vague early opinion.
2) A reason why my opinion was vague and why I entered the debate so late was that I wasn't particularly bothered by the letter and haven't thought about it much. My enjoyment of the books isn't affected by this issue or the heretical writings of Wortmauer, Wolfmage, JL, Isilel, etc.
When I have a feeling about something I can't simply push a button to make it disappear. Fortunately for me, my enjoyment of WOT doesn't depend on finding everything about it perfect. In fact an occasional whine is a part of the fun...

macster, as I noted just above, the "valiant but naive" was followed by an emoticon which I hoped would at least suggest that it was a tongue in cheek phrase. Whilst the post following my 290 further confirmed my opinion, I don't truly consider yours, Wetlander's, etc, counterarguments naive.
Teresa Nielsen Hayden
299. tnh
ValMar, emoticons are best for clarifying which is the preferred reading when two hang in the balance. They have limited power to override apparent meaning.

I would never call this thread a debate. It isn't focused on a sufficiently clear, polarized yea-or-nay proposition, no one's paying attention to the order of speeches and rebuttals, and we haven't even established which side has the burden of proof. What it is, then, is a friendly discussion, and should be conducted as such.
Mikey Bennett
300. EvilMonkey
Z@ 209
Hawkwing is one of the Heroes of the Horn. Although Mat remembers fighting him on numerous occasions he doesn't have memories of ever being him.

As far as Mat's letter goes, just another thing to add to the arguement. Mat is not above playing the village idiot as a tactical gesture. In TDR, during his escape from Tar Valon, he specifically says that he is playing the fool deliberately and out in the open so that people dismiss his attempt to escape. The two situations are not similar but the underlying theme is the same. He is using others perception of him to garner a response that fits with his goals. In Tar Valon, his goal was to have people dismiss him. In Andor, it was to make a queen that he knew personally grant him a meeting. As far as the phrasing of the letter goes? Eh. We don't know how he wrote the other letters he sent to Elayne, for all we know it could have been worded similar to the one he wrote in ACOS. It may have fell into the iffy category for some, but it was totally in character for me. Plus it was awfully funny.
Cool, Never got a Hunny before!
Valentin M
301. ValMar
tnh @ 299

Alright, it's a friendly discussion, not a debate. I still can't see it being bizzare that among two disparate opinions in the discussion I lean towards one of them.

As for the emoticons, I am aware that this is a tricky ground. But how else am I to aproach it when I want to say something "tongue in cheek" but make sure people don't take it seriously and get offended? Anyway, I'll be more careful in the future. I assume it's about the "valiant and naive" line which among people who don't really know each other may lead to suspicion, bad feelings and escalation of the language.
@301 ValMar

Hey man, I'm feeling you. It's funny to some when they're writing to each other in their clic, but just don't think that you can be free to include yourself within that comraderie. Every time that I've tried I have been shunned. So I tend to align against them in the most polite way I can. Unless something is said which comes off as being hypocritical. Then I opine to remind. I know the past is the past and should be left there. But sometimes things are such that they should not be forgotten and when one see's it rise again... It hasn't though. But I just thought that those who would err and speak as if such things don't occur should be corrected.

But I also honestly did not mean for it to turn in to a discussion, which evidently will enevitably become toxic. It was not my intent and it sort of corrupted what you were trying to convey. Sorry about that.

Alice Arneson
303. Wetlandernw
ValMar - it's not bizarre that you lean toward one instead of the other. What I thought (and still think) is bizarre is letting this kind of discussion persuade you that the letter was done wrong. Either you think it fits or you don't.

If, as you implied @298, you were always convinced it was wrong but now you have words to say what's wrong with it, fine. OTOH, if you weren't sure whether you thought it was right or wrong, as implied by the term "sitting on the fence" then I, personally, find it bizarre to be swayed toward "the author did it wrong" by a discussion here. Maybe that's just because I tend to give an author the benefit of the doubt; it's his world, and he knows how things ought to work in it better than I do. If I find that an author is frequently inconsistent with his characterizations, I'll soon stop reading that author's work; it's not a mark of a good writer. Otherwise, I assume that he's done it right, and if I can't see it, maybe I need to tilt my head the other direction.
Valentin M
304. ValMar
No worries Zexxes. I am still trying, and failing, to get what's happening here. Now that the Powers That Be are on to me for a first time, I am worried that I'm getting a reputation of a notorious hooligan.

The thing is, when having a friendly get together with someone in RL I'm used to a bit of jokey sparring. E.g. one very touchy English guy that may have a bit of Irish in him I keep ribbing him about being Irish, St Pat's day etc, and in return he calls me a Turk or uncouth wildman from the Balkan Mts.... There's sports, physical attributes, etc, etc....

It's not the same in a medium such as this and I'm aware of this, but occasionally a turn of phrase that I use may be considered a bit out of line. I try to avoid this particular thing.

And lastly, maybe we all should try to give the benefit of the doubt to each other a bit more? Although, since I am not sure about the whole thing in the last dozen or so comments, I may be blabbering nonsence right now.
Valentin M
305. ValMar
Wetlander, on this issue I never had "either or" opinion, and I still don't. I wasn't reading the comments to affirm my opinion and skipping the ones opposite it. I was about to write that in other cases I am certain, such as the Rand and Tam's tearful moment recently- unlike Leigh I think it's fine. But the fact is- such thoughts don't even enter my mind whilst reading the books for the vast proportion of time. I just enjoy the book, or read what Gawyn is doing.

But I am a pragmatist and don't expect everything to be to my liking. Also, I am a sports fan and as such I, and all other fans, am convinced that I know better than the manager of my football team and every weekend bitch about it with other "managers" like me ;) We do a bit of this here too. It's in the fabric of the Reread-Commentary-Comments set-up. And we take our lead from the Great Leader herself.

That's about it, not a perfect post, the two "But"s bother me and my thoughts are a mess, but it's way too late and I don't have brains left to edit it. I'm open to suggestions on improving it tomorrow :D
Steve Barkmeier
306. sbark
I think with all the discussion about the letter,we're missing the more important question. Leigh has labeled the DO as a big spider. That raises the issue of what RL creepy crawly best represents the DO. I like the idea of a spider. I would say a snake but that is too close to a dragon. I'll go with a centipede because they're really creepy.
Jonathan Levy
307. JonathanLevy
You raise some serious points which are worthy of a serious reply. Fortunately for my lazy side, 297. Wortmauer has addressed them as well as I could have hoped to. I agree with him that Mat had far more opportunity to revise the second letter than the first.

Two or three small points which I might profitably add nonetheless:

1) One could argue that it would better fit Mat to always produce letters in the style of the second one. There are weighty counter-arguments to this, for example, that it does not fit RJ's style, or his world (e.g. compare with the touching and romantic letter of another farmboy - Perrin to Faile in TSR). But this argument is moot once RJ chose to make Mat's first letter in the style which he did.

Even though I agree it is odd Nynaeve didn't remark on his bad spelling and grammar... Whether or not we got to see them reading his note doesn't change the fact that the actual scene of writing it is still from his POV,
From ACOS:21:
The sitting-room stand-lamps made reading easy, though Mat’s unformed, boyish hand did present difficulties. It was the contents that clenched Nynaeve’s middle into knots.
There’s nothing here but heat and flies, and we can find plenty of those in Caemlyn.
First, it's not just that Nynaeve does not remark on his spelling - she does not remark on his spelling while complaining about the difficulty of making out what he wrote.

Second, it's not just that we see Nynaeve reading the letter - we have an actual quote from it, and it is precisely as Mat wrote it.

3) I do recall typing out a quick note with a couple of 'nice trys' in it. I must apologize to all those who saw it as condescending - that was certainly not my intention. I do believe that it did contain facts which constituted a reasonable rebuttal to the ideas I was addressing. This, I think, is relevant to some of the points you made about that note, but is not an excuse for impolite phrasing, for which I again apologize.

297. Wortmauer

As said above, I'm quite happy I read your comment before trying to address macster's - it spared me a lot of work which would have been in vain. :)

306. sbark
Have you considered a scorpion? Nothing quite focuses the mind like opening the door to your home and discovering there was a scorpion resting under it.
Nah, man spiders of all the creatures that inhabit our world, are easily the creepiest. I imagine that some poor insect would rather burn alive than go through the horror of the spiders web and then the poisonous injection that leads to your insides turning into vampire juice. Yick ickyicky!
309. Wortmauer
JL@307: If I saved you some trouble by articulating arguments similar to ones you would have written, great! A small payback for the many times you've done the same for me. We're on the same page more often than not, I think, and many's the time I've read your posts and thought "couldn't have put it better myself." So, thanks.

Same goes, to a degree, for quite a few posters here. But for JL more than most.
310. alreadymadwithlinking
macster @295
It is definitely additive in that the additional power is definitely added on to the pool of whoever's doing the weaving. The limitation is that not all of the linking sister's strength is added on, only some of it in some esoteric formula RJ never bothered to elaborate on.
Valentin M
312. ValMar
People should stop insulting the DO by comparing him to a spider. Surely he/she/it is not that bad!
313. PeaceofWestphalia
It's sad the way every blogger who dares to criticize LB receives a curt response. I have observed that since a long time. The only rule this blog seems to follow is 'Either you worship LB, or you get lost/stop reading the blog/stop criticizing her'.
I would like to point out that Tor.com has kept this blog in public domain. This blog is not the personal property of LB or LB defenders and therefore every single person person who has read the awesome WoT series has every right to vent his/her views on this blog. The way LB's supporters hijack any criticism directed at LB and rudely tell the critic to 'get lost' is apalling. I am saddened that Tor.com takes no initiative to make this blog more democratic. The recurrent attitude of LB and her dear defenders is 'Join us/tolerate us or get lost; and beware! your views are unwelcome here since LB doesn't agree with them'.
314. Wortmauer
Peace@313: Maybe, but it is what it is. First of all, a certain amount of bellyaching is just personal attacks, which are not appropriate in any case. We should resist and reject personal attacks whether the target is paid by tor.com or not.

But beyond that, the fact is that leighdb has been at the helm of this reread from the beginning, and it is one of the more popular features on tor.com, with a very lively community. Of course it doesn't belong to her, it belongs to tor.com ... but, understandably enough, she is often credited with building it up to where it is, and I think even if the tor.com management wanted to tweak things — exercise editorial control of Leigh's posts, give her "suggestions" on tone and content, "suggest" that she write her posts a week early so as to avoid those "oops, something came up, no post this week, sorry" events, add or change the blogger lineup, etc. — they would be afraid to tinker with something that is, to all evidence, working very well.

I happen to think the popularity of this reread is largely due, not to the skill of the blogger, but to the nature of the book series, the size and nature of the WOT fan base, and the timing of doing a reread during the "last days" of the AMOL trilogy. (In other words, I think leighdb often gets more credit for building this community than is warranted.) But, be that as it may, it does make sense for tor.com management to want to stay hands-off, editorially, and for tor.com moderators to not want readers bellyaching about the blogger.

Obviously this isn't Leigh's personal blog — it belongs to tor.com — but just as obviously, it isn't ours. Say what they will about how this is a "community", it is not an editorial democracy, and tor.com management opinion matters much more than yours or mine. Even if 5% of readers are put off by one thing or another, well, the remaining 95% are still a force to be reckoned with. Accept it and move on.
Mikey Bennett
315. EvilMonkey
Not to be a jerk about it, but why do you care so much? You like the series, you come here to read commentary and what other like minded individuals say about something you care about. The blog is written by someone who has made their opinions and the style of her commentary known from the very beginning. She has been a constant throughout this entire exercise. I don't like it when people whine about the product Leigh puts out not because I am a defender of Leigh (pretty sure she can take care of herself) but because its pointless. She has stated many times that she is not going to change her style and she has stayed true to that mantra. Why bother commenting on it at this point? If you are going to continue to read this blog you should know what you are stepping into, and if you don't like the product no one is forcing you to read it. Hell, you don't have to read Leigh's comments at all, just chime in on the opinions that other readers have. Or the last resort, find another reread that caters more to what you want to read about or even do your own. As long as her bosses are fine with her performance then she will keep doing what she does. If they weren't then she would have quit or got canned years ago. In the end you are free to comment on whatever you want to comment on, just as Leigh is free to write what she wants. I can't step on you or others who choose to express dissatisfaction with Leigh on what she writes or how she chooses to interpret the text. I'm just saying you are fighting a losing battle here.

Finally, I got into reading this post to find a different perspective on the the reading than I could get on my own. I feel that I have found that and more with this reread. Personally I would find it pretty boring if all I saw on here were my same opinions regurgitated back to me. I wouldn't want any commentors on this post to change a thing, and even if I could I wouldn't want Leigh to change what she writes about or how she writes. That is one windmill I just don't care to charge.
Irene Gallo
317. Irene

Everyone is free to express a different reading of the series but we draw the line when either:
a) differences of opinions turn into attacks on individuals
b) a topic devolves into repeated "like-it/hate-it" arguments at the expense of all other conversations.

At this point I feel the topics of feminism and strong language have been played out in this thread so I have asked people to move onto other conversations. We've left your original criticism up, but in the interest of moving on with the conversation, let's avoid further reiteration of the same points in this thread and focus on the books.
319. ChocolateRob
OK so I'm down here at 319 so no-one is likely to read this, just as I gave up reading the rest once I slogged through to the 40's somewhere but I've got to add my frustrated observation about Mat's oh so controversial letter anyway

Are you people all just purposely failing to see the blindingly obvious point of the letter.

Mat thinks he is being deliberately ignored by Elayne so he PURPOSELY plays up the illiterate, irresponsible commoner to her right royal primness. He is deliberately trying to get a rise out of her.
This is not indicative of his general literacy at all, it's not supposed to be. I'm quite sure he could write a letter to make Cyranno de Bergerac weep if he chose to but in this case he is just being annoying because he is downright annoyed with waiting and being ignored.
Such a letter is exactly in character with Mat.


(Or maybe we English are just better at spotting sarcasm.)

As to the issue about who controls the flows in the circle isn't it simply that the men are the only ones who know how to create gateways (in this case) therefor they must be the ones in charge. It's no good increasing the Wise One's power if they don't know how to Travel and it's not like the men can teach them.
Terry McNamee
320. macster
@297 Wortmauer: First off, the point about Mat revising the ACOS letter wasn't mine; I'd need to look back through the thread and find out who said it, but someone had stated that Mat did revise it and I was merely supporting them. If they were wrong, I retract that. However, what I do recall is that what was quoted from the Mat scene showed him writing the letter, pausing, thinking about it, then writing some more. I.e., he revised it in his head, rather than on paper. This would beg the question why he didn't do that with the letter here, except for the argument I still support that he was angry, annoyed, and in a hurry, and that he was doing it on purpose.

Your second point: I don't deny Tylin specifically, as well as any queen watching and the spouting the Old Tongue bit, would make him uneasy and under pressure. But I would strongly contend that, whether or not an extra 15 minutes will make a difference, Mat would, in fact, feel more urgent about this letter to Elayne. First off, while warning the girls about Carridin is important, I really think trying to get the dragons manufactured in time for the Last Battle, warning Elayne about the gholam, and getting a gateway so they can go rescue Moiraine are all much, much more critical and would justify Mat being determined to force the issue and get in to speak to her. And as has been stated many times already, he had been shut out, refused, and ignored prior to this when he sent properly written, literate letters. We have no idea how many he sent; we do know that he was ignored by Norry as just another mercenary band, but Mat thinks it is Elayne herself who is ignoring him, and as part of the same "looking down the nose" behavior he has received from her, particularly the last time they were together in Ebou Dar. This completely justifies, in my opinion, him being so frustrated and on edge that, when combined with the importance of what he has to tell her, he would create a letter like this out of spite as well as to get attention.

On the unreliable narrator: That is, in fact, exactly what I meant, that Mat (like Nynaeve) has shown an inability to properly judge himself and his actions, or a refusal to admit the truth about himself. I would contend this could also extend to his literacy skill or lack thereof, particularly when, prior to leaving the Two Rivers, he neither had much call for writing nor did he seem to have any particular respect for it beyond entertaining stories like The Travels of Jain Farstrider. If Nynaeve can not see her own hypocrisy, and if Mat can't see that he's the one causing Olver's delinquency or that he is a hero at heart, I don't see why he couldn't also fail to see (or refuse to admit) that his writing sucks. But this was just one possible explanation I offered to explain this; in truth I am convinced the real answer is the one I said above, that he was deliberately doing this not just to make Elayne notice him, but to get back at her for perceived slights. You don't think that holds water with his character, so we'll just have to agree to disagree.

@ValMar 298 et al. : Understandable. Sorry if I came off too harsh, but even though (as tnh pointed out) this is not a true debate, I think it is always best in deep, convoluted discussions, especially ones where feelings can run high, especially ones online, that we all strive to be as careful as we can in how we word things. People, being people, will always make mistakes, and some people are oversensitive or simply are wired in such a way as to see offenses which aren't there/aren't noticeable on first glance, but when that happens we can apologize and work to correct them (assuming the one bringing it to our attention isn't being trollish about it). While calling our efforts "valiant" is perhaps slightly questionable (implying that while we are trying hard and bravely it's also in vain), it was really the "naive" that bothered me. A person can be misinformed, ignorant, unaware, confused, mistaken, and so on, but naive has connotations of newbie, rookie, and other condescending terms. Maybe that's just me reading too much into it though.

Also: "I just enjoy the book, or read what Gawyn is doing." LOL!

@307 JonathanLevy: Your first point just makes me want to ask, again, why Harriet and the other editors allowed two such different styles in letter-writing to pass by. If it was because of a difference in style between Sanderson and Jordan, I think they made a mistake in erring on that side--while Sanderson shouldn't be forced to write like Jordan, something so starkly different is bound to stand out and be polarizing. Your second point--I was pointing out that just because one line appeared exactly as we saw it doesn't mean the whole letter was identical and perfectly written. Yes, I know that's hair-splitting, but by the same token it isn't fair to assume Mat's other letters to Elayne, or his backstories, were written just as badly, or were written as well as the ACOS letter. Without ever getting to see them, we really can't assume anything. Lastly, not only do I thank you for the apology (not needed, as I was just trying to help people be aware of how things might come across in text, but thank you all the same), but may I say your phrasing this time ("You raise some serious points which are worthy of a serious reply") is not only much more polite, but I think it's the intent and feel you were going for to begin with. :)

@310 alreadymad: Ah, thank you for that nuanced correction! Which suggests to me that the idea Neald could additively use saidar to strengthen his saidin Traveling weave is even more likely. No one said that he was gaining all the strength of the Wise Ones and Aes Sedai, just that they added enough to allow him to increase the size of the gateway.

@319 ChocolateRob: While I would have put it more politely, I think your reasoning on Mat and the letter aligns perfectly with mine. Agreed 100%.
321. Wortmauer
ChocolateRob: Yes, we've discussed the point you think is so obvious. We didn't miss it. When you choose to skip most of the discussion you are replying to, I don't think "duh" is an appropriate thing to say. (Actually I don't think "duh" is appropriate even if you had bothered to read what we wrote before writing us off as fools.)
322. Wortmauer
macster@320: Your first point just makes me want to ask, again, why Harriet and the other editors allowed two such different styles in letter-writing to pass by. If it was because of a difference in style between Sanderson and Jordan, I think they made a mistake in erring on that side--while Sanderson shouldn't be forced to write like Jordan, something so starkly different is bound to stand out and be polarizing.
I've asked myself that very question many times regarding a lot of the material for the character I call Lightsong Mat. My own loony theory: Team Jordan went back and forth with Sanderson for several drafts of TGS, eventually just got frustrated and concluded that the man just wasn't going to get Mat's voice right, this was the best they were going to get, and for whatever reason decided to pick their battles and let that one go. Then by TOM, they were a bit more used to Lightsong Mat and, again, picked their battles. (We know TOM was a bit rushed to print, so picking battles was probably important.)
William McDaniel
323. willmcd
My complete post is at 327 below. (Which is the number of the docking bay in the Death Star that the Millenium Falcon was pulled into, by the way, and also the number of the Cloud City landing platform on which it alighted)
William McDaniel
324. willmcd
I'm having tremendous difficulty getting my entire post to print on the website.
William McDaniel
327. willmcd
Trying again.

322 posts and not a single mention of the "Grady's son is Gaidal Cain" theory?

Seems like a good match on the timing. Gaidal is last seen is TSR Ch52, and is mentioned as having been spun out of T'A'R in TFoH Ch14. We first meet Sora and little Gadren in LoC Ch3. Here we find out that, in a series full of beautiful people, Gadren is notably ugly.

Chapter 11 is not my favorite in the series from a literary standpoint, being markedly different in tone from what is typical for the series. It is by far slanted toward dialogue over descriptive text (reading a bit more like a David Eddings scene than WoT), leaving little room for the subtle development of themes and symbols, which is my favorite aspect of WoT. Though I won’t complain that we managed to get an entire scene of noblewomen talking with a single word being written describing their dresses.

The spelling errors in Mat's letter don't trouble me overmuch, as I agree they can be explained by lack of standard spelling, lack of proofing, or the difference between Mat's `own PoV or that of the reader. Instead, it's his constant attempts to explain/justify his behavior that don’t ring true, even to the level of pointing out his own cleverness . This is the Mat of TGS Ch20, who comes across like a bad stand-up comedian, believing that if he only explains his jokes in a little more depth, all the people who aren’t laughing at them will start.

I did think that Mat was very much “back to his old self” in Ch8-9 of ToM, and as Bilbo Baggins once said, thank goodness for that.
Alice Arneson
328. Wetlandernw
willmcd @327 - Unfortunately, while the time difference isn't as bad as Olver, Gadren is still too old to be Gaidal Cain. When Rand first sees him, he thinks the kid is about four years old. While he could be wrong, of course, he's not likely to mistake a four-month-old for a four-year-old. And I don't know a single four-month-old kids who can stand next to his mother, clutching her skirts... :)

FWIW, my personal theory is that Sora Grady got pregnant again shortly before Jur left the Black Tower, and that baby will be Gaidal Cain.
William McDaniel
329. willmcd
Ah, you're quite right, Wetlander, now that I go back and look. I was thinking he was a "babe in arms" back in the Lord of Chaos scene.

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