Aug 14 2012 2:00pm

The Wheel of Time Re-read: Towers of Midnight, Part 14

You-ooooh-ooeeooh set my soul alight, WOTers, and so I have crafted yet another Wheel of Time Re-read, just for you. Now give me a pony!

Today’s entry covers Chapter 22 and 23 of Towers of Midnight, in which pretty much everyone has entitlement issues, or in some cases lack of entitlement issues (ha, that’s a pun), and some people’s issues annoy me a LOT more than others’ do.

What can I say, I feel entitled to make my own decisions on who I think IS a total douchenozzle, and who isn’t. Also, where’s my damn pony?

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 22: The End of a Legend

What Happens
Gawyn walks the Tower grounds, aimless now that he is forbidden from guarding Egwene’s door, and then goes back to find several Younglings dicing with some of the Tower Guard. He reprimands them for behavior unbecoming to Warder hopefuls, but when one of the men (Celark) confesses that some of the Younglings are now rethinking their ambitions to become Warders, he offers to speak with the Guard commander about letting those Youngling who want to remain soldiers join the Guard instead. Grateful, Celark asks if Gawyn will be joining them, but Gawyn answers he is on another path, and leaves. He goes to visit Bryne, to find the general making plans to defend Tar Valon itself against a Trolloc incursion.

It wasn’t until Gawyn stood there—smelling the musty scent of old paper and burning candles—that he felt the reality of the impending war. It was coming soon. The Dragon would break the seals of the Dark One’s prison. The place he had told Egwene to meet him, the Field of Merrilor, was marked in bright red on the maps. It was north, on the border of Shienar.

The Dark One. Loose upon the world. Light! It made Gawyn’s own problems insignificant.

Gawyn asks for Bryne’s advice on what to do about Egwene and her refusal to let Gawyn protect her. Bryne points out that the last time Gawyn decided to help Egwene against her wishes, they almost wrecked her attempt to reunite the Tower. Gawyn complains that Egwene makes no sense to him, and Bryne asks what he wants. Gawyn answers, to be Egwene’s Warder, but Bryne counters that he thought he wanted to marry her, and comments that those are two different things. He asks what Gawyn wants besides Egwene, and Gawyn answers, nothing. Bryne tells him this is his problem. He says that Gawyn has always acted with passion, but because his instincts are good, Gawyn has rarely had to deal with what happens when his passion leads him astray.

“A man is more than one drive, one goal. No woman wants that in a man. It seems to me that men who spend time making something of themselves—rather than professing their devotion—are the ones who get somewhere. Both with women, and with life itself.”

Siuan enters and (having been eavesdropping) ribs Bryne lightly for thinking he understands women, and then chastises Gawyn for thinking he could give orders to the Amyrlin. Gawyn leaves hastily, and wanders the halls until he finds himself near Egwene’s quarters. He realizes where he is and is about to leave when he hears footfalls. He peeks around the corner, but sees no one. Then he notices a patch of shadow near Egwene’s door which is difficult to focus on.

There was a flash of movement, and something spun in the air. Gawyn threw himself to the side, and steel struck stone. One boot on, he dropped the other as he pulled his sword free. The knife that had been thrown for his heart skidded across the tiled floor.

A figure in black flees down the corridor, and Gawyn chases it, bellowing an alarm. He loses the assassin for a moment, and then thinks to check the shadows. The assassin leaps out of the darkness next to a doorway and attacks with blinding speed, and Gawyn barely holds him off. The assassin flings another knife and runs again, too fast to be natural, and Gawyn loses him again. Chubain arrives and sends guards after the assassin, and Gawyn suddenly thinks that perhaps he had encountered the assassin on the way out rather than in. He sprints for Egwene’s quarters and barges inside, only to find himself trussed and gagged in Air and Egwene herself, wide awake and very displeased.

Incognito, Mat sits in an inn in Low Caemlyn, feeling naked without his medallion, talking to an old war vet named Chet. Chet is telling him that there are a lot of people asking about the leader of the Band, but advises Mat that he’d be a fool to go after him.

“Prince of Ravens, Lord of Luck. He faced old death himself and diced for his future, he did. Ain’t never lost a fight.”

Mat reflects on all the crazy stories he’s heard about both himself and Rand, as well as the sketches of himself circulating, and thinks that the larger his reputation grows, the more likely it is he’ll be challenged over it. Noal joins him, and comments that soon Mat will be more famous than Jain Farstrider, and also that Jain used to complain that fame isn’t nearly what it’s cracked up to be. Thom arrives next, and ribs Mat laughingly for his lofty exalted reputation. Noal says they know where the tower is now, but not how to get in; Mat counters that they know how, through the game, but Noal is skeptical.

“That game can’t be won, Mat,” Noal said, rubbing his leathery chin.

“And that’s the point of it. You need to cheat.”

Thom suggests trying to find out what they want, in order to make a deal. Mat replies that the Aelfinn and Eelfinn had to know they were coming, just as they’d known Moiraine was, and yet answered both Moiraine’s and Mat’s questions anyway; what they want is them. He opines that they can’t surprise the creatures unless they break the rules. Thom is reluctant, but Mat reminds him Moiraine specifically mentioned the game in her letter.

“She knows there’s no way to win when dealing with them,” Mat said. “No trades, Thom, no bargains. We go in fighting and we don’t leave until we have her.”

He offers to let Noal out of it, but Noal refuses, saying this is something he needs to do. Mat says they’ll bring lanterns and torches as well as some of Aludra’s fireworks for the “fire to blind.” Thom is appalled to realize Mat has the fireworks with him, and scoots away from his chair. Thom is bringing his harp and flute as well as several percussion instruments for “music to dazzle,” and Noal contributes throwing knives, shortswords, and chains made of pure iron for “iron to bind,” as well as an iron band to clip onto Mat’s spear. They reflect in silence on the task ahead of them.

That place was another world. The preparations he did with Thom and Noal might help, but they might also be useless. There was no telling until they stepped into that tower. It felt like not knowing if you had the right antidote until after the snake’s teeth were already clamped down on your arm.

Noal and Thom leave for the Band’s camp, taking the fireworks with them, and Mat wanders the streets for a while, ruminating on his life, until he suddenly remembers there is one person who knows more about the Aelfinn and Eelfinn: Birgitte. He heads for the Palace, unnerved by the unusually quiet streets, and is relieved to come across a mugging in progress. He quickly dispatches the thugs, killing one. He helps up the victim, who recognizes Mat and promptly attacks him. Mat fends him off and throws two knives, which to his shock pierce each of the man’s eyes. He finds a sketch of himself in the dead man’s possession and quickly leaves.

Birgitte watches a “play” with Elayne (a new entertainment she disapproves of) and reflects that even though she shouldn’t have her memories of her past lives, it still terrifies her every time one fades away; she feels like she has no place in the Pattern the way she is. She and another Guardswoman, Kaila Bent, make fun of the “play,” but Birgitte observes how Elayne has used it to get Ellorien in the same room with her.

She shook her head. Elayne was a queen. Volatility and all. She’d be good for Andor. Assuming Birgitte could keep that golden-haired head from being lopped off its neck.

Kaila returns and reports a disturbance at the Plum Gate; someone tried to sneak through and is now being held at the gatehouse. Birgitte takes the opportunity to escape and goes to check it out herself. She finds a wiry man with a scarf covering his face dicing with the guards who are supposed to be holding him.

“You could charm the helmet off a general on a battlefield, couldn’t you, Mat?” she said.

“Mat?” the man asked in a familiar voice. “I don’t know what you mean, my good woman. My name is Garard, a simple beggar who has a quite interesting past, if you care to listen to it—”

She eyed him with a firm gaze.

“Oh, bloody ashes, Birgitte,” he complained, taking off the scarf. “I only wanted to get warm for a spell.”

“And win the coin off my men.”

“A friendly game never hurt a man,” Mat said.

She tells the men they can release “Master Cauthon” to her custody, and one of them recognizes the name as belonging to “the Raven Prince.” Mat stalks out in a huff, and complains to Birgitte that he’s getting “too bloody famous” for his own good. Birgitte advises him to wait until it tracks him across generations. Mat drags her out for a drink, though she warns him she won’t be drinking alcohol for fear it will affect Elayne’s babies. Mat confesses he came to see her, not Elayne, and Birgitte almost leaves when she realizes he wants to talk about the Tower of Ghenjei, but Mat convinces her to hear him out, and tells her a friend of his is trapped there, and he owes her a debt. Birgitte tells him they’ll never get anywhere if they go through the portals, and Mat asks about going in through the tower. Birgitte tells him that way the treaties won’t be in effect, so the creatures are free to draw blood, and they will still win. Mat asks about cheating with iron, music and fire, and Birgitte says that even then, only one out of thousand will make it out.

He hesitated, then fished a small handful of coins out of his pocket. “What do you think the odds are that if I toss these into the air, they will all come up heads? One in a thousand?”


He tossed them above the table. They came down in a spray, hitting the tabletop. Not a single one of them bounced or rolled from the table onto the floor.

Mat didn’t look down at the coins. He met her eyes as they all rolled and vibrated to a stop. She glanced at them. Two dozen coins. Each had landed face up.

“One in a thousand is good odds,” he said. “For me.”

Exasperated, Birgitte points out that even Mat misses once in a while, but he replies that he has to take the chance, and asks how she knows so much about it. She tells him that she’d gone in, in one of her past lives, and that she and Gaidal had both died inside; she is rather irked that that particular legend did not survive. Mat is unnerved by her story, but undeterred. Birgitte tells him that iron, fire and music will help, but be less effective the longer they are used. Mat asks what they want.

“Emotion,” Birgitte said. “That’s why they built portals into our world, that’s why they entice us in. They feed off what we feel. They like Aes Sedai in particular, for some reason. Perhaps those with the One Power taste like a strong ale."

Mat shivered visibly.

She warns him that the inside will be confusing, but if he can reach the grand hall he’ll be able to make a deal, though she never made it. Mat is further unnerved to hear she was lost in the tower for over two months before dying, and comments that Moiraine had better appreciate his efforts. They are interrupted when Birgitte feels a jolt of anger and pain from Elayne, and she and Mat dash out.


YAY, MAT AND BIRGITTE. They are still my very favorite friendship in all of WOT, and pretty darn high on my list of best relationships overall, romantic or otherwise. I grinned like a loon when Birgitte found Mat in the guardhouse and knew immediately who he was. They are just fun together, and I heart them.

That said, 90% of Mat’s POV in this chapter was pure infodumping on the topic of How You’re Probably Going To Die Horribly In Alternate Dimensions, Yay. This is not to disparage it on its merits, necessarily, because that information needed to be gotten across, and I enjoyed it perfectly well the first time around, but it’s the kind of thing that I rather wish I’d been able to skim over now that I already know this stuff.

But no, I had to summarize it this time. My life of hardship, how do I stand it. Woe.

Also, it’s adorable how Mat thinks there’s any chance that that ball o’ fame is going to stop rolling now it’s gotten started. Sorry, dude, that cat is pretty firmly out of the bag: you’re a living legend whether you want to be or not.

There was a lot of commentary in this chapter, in fact, about the not-always-awesome consequences of being a living legend, not just from Mat but from Noal/Jain, who certainly knows a thing or two about the subject, and from Birgitte, who is the actual literal version of the term. (Though it was kind of hilarious that Birgitte was simultaneously disgruntled that one of her legends had been forgotten.)

But even acknowledging the sucky aspects of it, I still admit to a certain perverse vicarious delight in Mat’s fame anyway. Shame on me!

Gawyn: *headdesk* *headdesk* *headdesk* *headdesk* *headdesk* *headdesk* *headdesk* *headdesk* *headdesk* *headdesk* *headdesk* *headdesk* *headdesk*

The Dark One. Loose upon the world. Light! It made Gawyn’s own problems insignificant.


Sheesh. At least Bryne is there to speak sweet, sweet words of not-stupidity, even if Gawyn doesn’t listen. Because, dude: thank you. Exactly.

You know, I remember that the big upcoming showdown with the Black Knives (or whatever they’re called) and Gawyn induced me to mostly forgive him for his asshattery on first reading, but I’m really wondering whether that feeling will survive this more detailed examination of how incredibly much Gawyn is That Guy. We shall see, I suppose.


Chapter 23: Foxheads

What Happens
At the play, Elayne carefully ignores Ellorien and examines Mat’s medallion, marveling at the intricacy of its creation, far outstripping the dream rings’. She has a copy in her pouch, but it does not deflect more powerful weaves like the original, and also one cannot channel while holding the copy as one can with the original. Frustrated, she briefly toys with the idea of giving a copy to Mat and keeping the original, but firmly squashes the temptation and puts them both away. The play ends, and Elayne claps politely before exiting to a sitting room, other guests following. Elayne ignores Ellorien again, talking to Sylvase Caeren instead, who asks icily why Ellorien was invited.

“House Caeren was at odds with Trakand once, too,” Elayne said. “Often, those whose loyalty is most difficult to win are the most valuable once it is yours.”

To herself, she thinks it is also about righting the wrongs her mother did to Andor while under Gaebril’s influence. Sylvase asks how her secretary is doing, and Elayne replies “well enough,” though she hasn’t allowed him to do anything too “drastic” yet in his questioning of the prisoners. She thinks it is a conundrum; the Black sisters know their fate is sealed, so they have no reason to talk to her unless she either bargains with them or tortures them, and she is not sure she wants to stoop to the latter or even if it will do any good, since Ispan had had some kind of binding on her that prevented her from talking anyway. Then a thought occurs to her, and she excuses herself to Sylvase. She goes to leave without speaking to Ellorien, and then Ellorien stops her to demand if she was invited only to be ignored.

“Not at all,” Elayne said. “I was merely under the impression that you would have a more pleasant time if I did not force you to interact with me. This evening was not intended for political purposes.”

Ellorien frowned. “Well what was it for, then?”

“To enjoy a good ballad, Lady Ellorien,” Elayne said. “And, perhaps, to remind you of days when you often enjoyed entertainment in the company of House Trakand.” She smiled and nodded slightly, then left.

Let her think about that, Elayne thought with satisfaction.

Kaila tells Elayne Birgitte has gone to the gates to “question” Matrim Cauthon, which Elayne interprets to mean they have gone out drinking. She sends for a black cloak, and embraces the Source, though it takes three tries, and weaves the Mirror of Mists to make herself appear as a frightening, red-eyed, faceless figure before inverting the weaves and tying them off. She instructs her guards to leave her and to turn off the lights, over their protests. She then Travels from the room to the dungeon cell where Chesmal is incarcerated. On seeing her, Chesmal prostrates herself, and Elayne thunders imprecations at her for allowing herself to be captured, and demands to know what she has done that she should be allowed to live. Chesmal wails that she has discovered that one of the two men who must be killed “at all costs” is in Caemlyn; Elayne recognizes Mat from her description, and demands to know how Chesmal knows about him, since Mat had not arrived in the city until after the Black sisters’ imprisonment. Chesmal says they are planning an assassination, and is confused when Elayne asks how she can do that from a prison cell; Elayne then curses herself for the slip.

“Great One,” Chesmal said. “I have been following my orders carefully. We are almost in a position to begin the invasion, as commanded. Soon, Andor will be awash with the blood of our enemies and the Great Lord shall reign in fire and ash. We will see it done.”

This alarms Elayne considerably. Then Chesmal asks if Elayne is the same Chosen who visited before, and Elayne whips her with Air and says she must test Chesmal’s ignorance. Chesmal says she knows the deadline is approaching, but before she can say more, Sylvase’s secretary enters with Temaile and Eldrith. Temaile kneels immediately, but Eldrith hesitates, and Elayne shields her. Eldrith shouts that she is a dupe before Elayne can gag her, though, and Temaile and Chesmal both go to attack. Elayne shields Chesmal, and Temaile’s weaves bounce off the medallion, but the secretary attacks her physically, knocking her down.

Pain laced out from her shoulder, and she felt something crack. Her shoulder bone? The babes! she thought immediately. It was a primal flash of horror and instant terror that defied all thoughts about Min and viewings. In her surprise, she let go of the gateway leading back to her room above. It winked out.

She throws the secretary off her, but he grabs the medallion and takes it with him, and Elayne and Temaile get into a standoff, which Elayne soon wins, knocking Temaile unconscious. The secretary bolts for the door, and Elayne throws Chesmal at him. He goes down, and Elayne binds all of them and retrieves the medallion, now in considerable pain, and knows Birgitte is on her way.

“Hello, my Queen,” a man’s voice whispered in her ear right before a second pain blossomed in her side. She gasped, stumbling forward. A hand reached out and yanked the medallion from her fingers.

Elayne sees it is Doilin Mellar, and realizes she’s lost Chesmal’s shield. Chesmal shields her.

She couldn’t die. Min had said… We could be misinterpreting. Birgitte’s voice returned to her. Any number of things could still go wrong.

Mellar then demands that Chesmal Heal her, to Chesmal’s outrage; he retorts that Elayne was promised to him, and he won’t let her die until he’s had time to “enjoy” her. Chesmal tells Elayne that she’d saw through the ruse the whole time as she goes to Heal her, and Elayne remembers she still has the medallion copy.

Elayne’s veins became ice water, her body overwhelmed by a wave of Power. She drew in a deep breath, the agony in her side and shoulder vanishing.

“There,” Chesmal said. “Now, quickly, we need to—”

Elayne whipped free the other medallion and held it up. By reflex, Chesmal grabbed it. That made the woman unable to channel. Her weaves vanished, including Elayne’s shield.

Elayne sets Chesmal on fire, and tries to do the same to Mellar, but he is holding the original medallion, so it doesn’t work. She pushes Eldrith (who is still shielded and tied) between them, and Mellar leaps forward and slits Eldrith’s throat, and then apologizes, saying “orders are orders” before stabbing Temaile as well. Desperate to keep him from taking the medallions, Elayne weaves Earth to pull the ceiling down on him, but he scrambles out from the rockfall and flees. Then she sees he’d left one of the medallions behind, and Elayne is deeply relieved to find it is the original. Mat and Birgitte arrive soon after, and tell her the Guards and Kin on guard at the dungeon are all dead.

Elayne pressed her hands to her abdomen. Her babes would be all right, wouldn’t they? “I did something very rash, Birgitte, and I know that you are going to scream at me for it. But would you first please take me to my rooms? I think we should have Melfane look at me. Just in case.”

An hour after the assassination attempt, Egwene comes back to her rooms where Gawyn is waiting for her. She asks if he realizes what he’s done, and replies he saw an assassin outside the door of the woman he loves and went to check on her. Egwene counters that he sprung her trap, and now everyone, including the assassin probably, knows about it.

“Light, Egwene! You talk as if I did it on purpose. I was only trying to protect you.”

“I didn’t ask for your protection! I asked for your obedience! Gawyn, don’t you see the opportunity we’ve missed? If you hadn’t scared Mesaana away, she’d have walked into my traps!”

Gawyn counters that it wasn’t Mesaana, it was a man who fought with a sword, and Egwene asks what he would have done if it had been Mesaana, besides die; Gawyn has no answer for that. She says the murderer will be more careful now, and more people may die because of Gawyn. Furious, Gawyn tells her that if she can’t stand to be looked after, then maybe no man would do to be her Warder. Egwene replies that perhaps he is right, and leaves. Gawyn slips out while she is occupied and finds Chubain, who shows him the knife the assassin had thrown, which is inset with three blood-colored stones. He keeps the knife, and discusses his offer to the Younglings who don’t want to be Warders; Chubain accepts the proposal, and Gawyn asks him to watch over the Amyrlin. Chubain asks where he will be.

“She made it clear that she wants no Warder,” Gawyn said, his mind drifting back to the things Bryne had said to him earlier. What did he want, aside from Egwene? Perhaps it was time to find out. “I think it’s past time I went to visit my sister.”

He gathers his things and goes to the Traveling ground, where he has the sister on duty make him a gateway to Caemlyn.

Lan is incensed to see that old Nazar, one of three newcomers who’d simply started riding with him without asking permission, is carrying a flag of Malkier in his saddlebags, but Nazar ignores him. Lan stalks back to camp, only to find that eight more men (three Malkieri merchants and five Shienarans) have appeared there. Andere shrugs that they met them earlier and suggested they wait on the roadway to meet them. The merchants kneel to Lan, weeping, and say they have brought what they could to the cause of the Golden Crane. Lan starts to tell them he doesn’t need what they brought, but Andere stops him and directs his attention past the trees.

Two dozen wagons were approaching, each piled high with supplies—weapons, sacks of grain, tents. Lan opened his eyes wide. A good dozen warhorses were hitched in a line, and strong oxen pulled the wagons. Teamsters and servants walked alongside them.

“When they said they sold what they could and brought supplies,” Andere said, “they meant it.”

Lan complains that they will never be able to move with stealth now, and Andere shrugs. At length, Lan decides they will pose as a Shienaran supply caravan, and tells the others they will swear not to reveal who he is or send word to anyone else.

Nazar looked like he would object, but Lan silenced him with a stern look. One by one, they swore.

The five had become dozens, but it would stop there.

Holy hell, this was the chapter that would not frickin’ end.

Okay, let’s deal with Elayne first. I can just see the anti-Elayners lining up at the comment gate, so we might as well get that done right off.

And here’s my thing: did she act stupidly? Hell to the yes she did. No question, no argument from me on that score.

HOWEVER, the subterfuge itself wasn’t actually a bad idea, in my opinion. Ethically responsible, even, as an alternative to torture. Where Elayne was stupid was in insisting on going in and doing it herself, with no backup and no fallback plan. That part was just rank foolishness, and there’s no excuse for it.

In my view, Murphy’s Law isn’t so much a manifesto on futility as it is a caution to prepare for any eventuality, especially when it comes to tactics. So sure, the odds against Lounalt (the secretary) waltzing in there with Eldrith and Temaile in tow right when Elayne was busy impersonating a Forsaken might be astronomically high, but if you PREPARE for as many eventualities as you can, even the wildly improbable ones, then maybe your ass will not end up grass quite so often, hmm?

At the very least, you have to assume that your mission will go belly-up in some way that you can’t foresee, and attempt to have some kind of panic button in place for when that happens. And no, having your psychically-bonded Warder only halfway across town does not count, Elayne. Sheesh. And Elayne had better thank her lucky stars that Mellar ended up holding onto the copy medallion and not the real one.

(You think Mat’s luck rubs off on objects that are important to him? Hmm…)

And again, Elayne justifies her actions to herself by using Min’s viewing, which I think we’ve already pretty well beaten into the ground why that’s a boneheaded idea of epic proportions. No, Elayne, you do get to make things mean only what you want them to mean! Argh.

What I do appreciate is that Elayne’s insane overconfidence was recognized as such by the text, and there were appropriate consequences for it. And, moreover, that Elayne herself does actually learn from the experience (as least as far as I can recall).

Also, I do give Elayne props, at least, for being fairly clever and thinking-on-her-feet once the thing did go FUBAR. I kind of liked, really, that she made both mistakes and brilliant moves in her reactions (I really chuckled when she physically threw Chesmal at Lounalt), which is a hell of a lot more realistic than having everything proceed in a Jackie Chan-like ballet of frictionless wire-assisted kung-fu improbableness. That shit is just boring.


Also also: Jaq Lounalt, torturer extraordinaire, turns out to be a Darkfriend. I’ll just be over here completely failing to contain my deep and abiding shock at this development.

Also cubed: nice hint at the upcoming Trolloc invasion, which I totally missed the first time around. Like, what Chesmal said didn’t even register with me initially. Bad Leigh, no biscuit. But then, I never see these things coming, so I have no idea why I’m surprised.

Okay, moving on: to Gawyn! Let’s see, what do I have to say here?

*headdesk* *headdesk* *headdesk* *headdesk* *head- Oh, wait, you’re leaving? Like, for reals?

You are actually taking Bryne’s advice and getting your supermassive black hole of entitlement issues up out of Egwene’s grill for two seconds? Well, I’ll be a monkey’s uncle!

I mean, you’re still a douche, dude, but at least you’re being a douche from several hundred miles away now. Words cannot express what an improvement this is.

As for Lan: Hahaha, he is so put upon and adorable. I love how everyone just keeps shrugging at his objections. You’re gonna be a king whether you like it or not, buddy.

This whole storyline is strongly reminding me of something similar, in fact, and I can’t put my finger on what it is. Other than Perrin’s shtick, I mean, or the other involuntary lordenings rather rife in WOT. Any ideas from outside WOT?

Tell me tell me tell me! And in the meantime, have a lovely week, and come back next Tuesday for Moar! With my pony!

Sam Mickel
2. Samadai
Thanks for the post Leigh.

Two good chapters. Mat is awesome as usual. Birgitte is very endearing to her "Idiots"

Elaynes plan was a good one, with the exception of not having back up in place.
It wasn't her fault that a break out was planned for that time (she still should have had back up

Lan is awesome, and getting better
Stefan Mitev
3. Bergmaniac
I still agree with the complaints about Elayne's behaviou s here. there were guards and Kin women right outside. And she couldn't take bodyguards with her in the cell because Forsaken don't go around with such escort.
Rob Munnelly
4. RobMRobM
"This whole storyline is strongly reminding me of something similar, in fact, and I can’t put my finger on what it is."

I've got it - Pride and Prejudice - Elayne will realize she's been misreading Mellar's character and he'll turn out to be an absolute peach and they'll fall madly in wuv.
F Shelley
5. FSS
Regarding Lan: "Only the true Messiah would deny his divinity."
Rob Munnelly
6. RobMRobM
While I am a big Egwene fan, more than most, she deserves her own major headdesk for ignoring that Gawyn's fighting someone with a sword and dodging a knife thrown at him likely implies something other than BA is afoot. *headesk*
7. DougL
Thanks Leigh

I guess my ultimate problem with WoT is that people don't seem to get what is coming to them, in that respect it is too much like reality. Gawyn was one of the primary combatants in the plot to overthrow Siuan, killed good men and ultimately put Elaida in charge, who promptly tried to get him killed.

I don't think he ever self reflects, he wants to be with Egwene, but doesn't trust her, he thinks Rand killed his Mom despite people he professes to love saying that is not the case. He is the most frustrating character in the series because in my estimation he deserves execution. Unfortunately, much like the Seanchan, I don't think he will get what's coming to him.
Bill Reamy
8. BillinHI
Wow! First to the party!! Great post, Leigh, with the possible exception of the lost negative in the sentence about Elayne:

No, Elayne, you do get to make things mean only what you want them to mean! Argh.

Shouldn't that read:

No, Elayne, you do NOT get to make things mean only what you want them to mean! Argh.

Totally agree on Gawyn's continuing idiocy.

More later when I digest my second breakfast.

ETA: Oh well, I guess I took too long to read the post so seven commenters got in ahead of me.
Roger Powell
9. forkroot
While we're beating up Gawyn for being an idiot, how about we take a little time to beat up on Eqwene too? She is so sure that any assassination attempt was going to come from Mesaana and Co. that she completely discounts the evidence that Gawyn presents that something else is afoot. So they are both deserving of razz-berries and have the Pattern to thank that their mistakes don't get them killed.

And ... I see that while I was composing this, RobMRobM made much the same point. {::waves ::}
F Shelley
10. FSS
@7. Gawyn didn't plot to overthrow Suian. He fought to uphold Tower Law from rebellious Aes Sedai and Warders who were looking to overthrow the lawfully raised Amyrlin Seat.
Roger Powell
11. forkroot
Confidential to BillinHi:
ETA: Oh well, I guess I took too long to read the post so seven commenters got in ahead of me.
Wanna take bets that's down to six once Irene or tnh gets a look at #1?
William Carter
12. wcarter
I bash Elayne for stupidity and arrogance all the time so I'll give credit were credit is due: she didn't decide to steal Mat's medallion and foist a second-rate copy on him.
I suppose you could call that damning with faint praise, but the truth is it would be really easy to rationalise something like that in the mind of a channeler.
Rejecting the idea as quickly as she did, especially when it's likely no one would ever know, proves that Elayne is a woman of integrity, even if she is overly cofident sometimes.
13. RoyanRannedos
When Leigh gets her concussion checked, she should ask the ER doctor if he's had any other cases of Gawyn Headdesk Syndrome. I hear GHS is a growing problem.
Chris Chriserson
14. Captchas_are_annoying
@11: Not allowed? Hmmm, better do some editing, then :/
15. AgingComputer
Gawyn WOULD be a huge Muse fan, wouldn't he?
Jeff Weston
16. JWezy
RobMRobM@4: No, "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" - it will all happen after Mellar is finally dead.
Roger Powell
17. forkroot
There was quite a bit of irony for one of the most disgusting, evil characters in all of WoT - Chesmal Emry:

Here was a gifted healer who used her talent to kill instead. She was responsible for killing the Amyrlin and probably a number of Tamra's key helpers in New Spring. She killed Vandene and Sareitha in KoD.

How ironic that her last act was to heal someone (Elayne) albeit grudgingly.

Then she was set on fire, presumably suffering as she died. A fitting end for one of the most evil characters in all of WoT.
18. Rancho Unicorno
I'm a little bothered by some of the anger with Gawyn here.

His return trip during the assassination attempt doesn't merit a headdesk. He was wondering absentmindedly, realized where he was, was about to leave, and got attacked. Reasonable. Once he gets the attack resolved, he realizes that the attacker could just as likely have been exiting as entering and went to check. Reasonable. He points out that the attacker was a swordsman. Reasonable.

Was he a bit whiny and should he have moved on? Sure. But nothing unreasonable. Besides, shouldn't Superlyn get a headdesk for ignoring good advice from someone who is a pretty good observer of tactics, even if she is mad at him. I mean a swordsman who can handle Gawyn is nothing to ignore.
19. Qurtyslyn
Dang it, Leigh, now you've got Muse stuck in my head. I do not want Muse associated with Gawyn.
20. NotInventedHere
Wow, I totally missed Chesmal's reference to the upcoming invasion my first read-through too. Not sure how that happened. And yes, Elayne acted stupidly. Good idea, lousy planning. Actually not lousy planning, just failure to plan whatsoever. Of course, it turns out that if she hadn't acted so spontaneously she would have missed her chance, but still - not very smart. Added to that, once she does carry it off, as far as I recall she doesn't act on her hard-earned intelligence; I don't remember any planning or even much thought given to the apparently imminent invasion.
Mo -
21. Astus
Yeah, aside from the awesomeness that's about every time Mat/Birgette interact, a few things in these chapters led to some frustration.

First at Gawyn for being Gawyn. Second for Elayne and her gung-ho attempt at impersonating a Forsaken. Not that the idea wasn't sound but that she rushed into it in vintage Elayne fashion without consulting anyone or considering alternate strategies (maybe get someone else to do the impersonation?) and still viewing Min's fortelling as a 'Get out of Jail free' card. Third for Egwenne completely blanking out on Gawyn's point. Yeah, he's generally an idiot but he clearly can identify if a guy has got a sword or not. Though, I guess you're less likely to pay attention to the finer details when you're incensed.

It's always very 'surprising' in this series when the dude that's moustache twirling in the corner turns out to be a darkfriend! Whouda thunk it?
And we have Liandran's 13 abruptly lose another 3. How many does that leave now? I also wonder if those that exited stage left in FoH will make a return.
22. RoyanRannedos
I guess Gawyn and Egwene prove that you're always stupidest when you're young and in love.

Hmm...so if your significant other has told you time and time again not to do something, and you end up doing it on accident (dubious here), and it ends up being a good thing, will your excuses make them any less mad? (especially when just waking up in the middle of the night?)

We can afford to be logical, since we're well-rested and enjoying a good read. The characters don't have that luxury.
Tricia Irish
23. Tektonica
Thank you, Gareth Byrne....a wise wise man.

“A man is more than one drive, one goal. No woman wants that in a man. It seems to me that men who spend time making something of themselves—rather than professing their devotion—are the ones who get somewhere. Both with women, and with life itself.”

Gawn=Asshat. At least he finally buggered off to Camelyn.

Elayne: Yes silly reckless. A good plan, but would've been alot better with backup. I love that Mellar has Elayne healed, instead of just being content to have her die, so he can "have his way with her". Selfish much? "I'm gonna get mine, then we'll do the DO's bidding." Jerk. Thankfully.

And I'm still wondering about Sylvase. If her secretary is a DO, is she? Is there a tie there, or not? She's pretty snippy and hostile these days, but that could just be who she is. Thoughts?

Lan....love Lan. Why do these guys (Perrin, Mat, Lan, Rand), but especially Lan (who really IS a King), have such a hard time embracing their destiny. You need an army, dude! These volunteers WANT to be there, fighting beside you. Let them embrace their own destiny. Don't deny their aid!

btw...I completely missed Chesmal's BIG HINT too, the first time through. Could it be more obvious that something's coming down? I guess it was the idiocy of Elayne was taking my attention.

Thanks Leigh!
Deana Whitney
24. Braid_Tug
// \\

Leigh, here is your pony. Sorry it's so small.

Now the post!
Rich Bennett
25. Neuralnet
Thanks for the rereads Leigh. count me in the camp that didnt take the hint from this chapter (and it was more of a sledghammer hint over the head in hindsight) that Caemlyn was about to be attacked... I cant believe I didnt see it coming.

Also, how lucky is Elayne that Mat's medallion was left behind.

Really suprised that Mellar was not killed off (or is he killed off later and I am forgetting about it). I was sure his role in the series was over, but now I wonder what his part in the last book will be.... he has that medallion copy so is he sort of the anti-mat? For some reason Mellar reminds me a little of of Paiden Fain. PF has Mat's daggar and now Mellor has a copy of the medallion and they both just sort of seem to spread chaos... of course Mellar is not insane like Fain.
Tricia Irish
26. Tektonica
Good point about Elayne not taking Chesmal's revelations to heart. I don't remember any more discussion of the "eminent attack of Camelyn" taking place in this book....is there? It's been awhile since I reread this one.

Also, I loved Mat and Birgitte together again. I totally agree, Leigh...one of the best friendships in all of WoT. They are about the only two people who really, honestly, level with each other. How refreshing!
Kurt Lorey
27. Shimrod

I think Elayne forgot all about the invasion slip after getting stabbed in the side.
Deana Whitney
28. Braid_Tug
Eqwene: never even considers attacks might be non-Forsaken. Talk about laser focus. Does no on the guard staff consider the S. left people behind? Then again kamikaze attacks are not the mainland WOT's way.

Gareth: Love him and his advice. He, Tom, and Tam just rock all around as men who have their act together. The interaction with Siuan is just great.

Gawn: is what, about 20? 22? really bad ass to take on the Bloodknives. Really happy when he mentally matures.

Chesma: burning to death. Painful!!! Surprised Elayne had the "balls" to do such an attack. Didn't expect that as a response.

Others have covered the Mat & Birgitte bit. Such a great bit.
Terry McNamee
29. macster
Leigh is absolutely right--these two chapters are filled with moments of utter idiocy from almost everybody. And several characters who rather than stupid are simply willfully clueless or amusingly ignorant.

Gawyn is...a dunce when it comes to what he wants, and being both a proper Warder and future husband to Egwene, not to mention realizing there are bigger things than his problems but ignoring them in favor of himself anyway--though to be fair, being Egwene's Warder at least is actually critical to fighting the Dark One, if his protection of her allows her to in turn do something very important during the Last Battle. (Aside from getting rid of Mesaana so she can't cause trouble later, and help rebuild the world after Tarmon Gai'don.) But then he stops the Bloodknives, realizes exactly how dangerous it is of Egwene to assume they are Black Ajah or Darkfriends, and after dealing with Miss Arrogant Amyrlin's glaring blind spot does the right thing by listening to Bryne and finally going to see his sister. So...I guess he's batting even for the moment. Still... *headdesk*

Then there's Egwene. She had some points about what would have happened if it had been Mesaana, and it may well be that when the Bloodknives try and kill her the second time, the reason they don't get caught in Egwene's weaves is because Gawyn tipped them off to their presence this time--in fact they may even have made her maid set them off deliberately so they could get into her quarters undisturbed, in which case he really did screw up. Even so...to completely discount the nature of the intruders--men with swords, not Black Ajah, and surrounded by shadow which moved unnaturally rather than sliding past your sight like Gray Men--is the height of arrogance and idiocy. It makes me so look forward to when Egwene realizes what an idiot she was. Smackings for her!

And finally Elayne...I have been one of her strongest defenders, including (as I'm sure KiManiak well remembers) ardently standing up for her plan to take out the Black Ajah in KoD. At the time I did so, I stated that there were other times I would not defend her and explicitly mentioned this moment in ToM. Now that we are here...

Elayne: Is an idiot. The End.

Okay fine, the plan in and of itself was clever, and I had to admire the freaky disguise she created, how she browbeat Chesmal, and as Leigh said, how she thought fast on her feet when things went pear-shaped. But otherwise, no: idiot. She may not have been able to bring anyone with her, and warning the Kin and guardsmen to ignore what happened in the cell kept the interrogation uninterrupted...but that also guaranteed when things went wrong that she would be alone and helpless. And, it turned out, it got those poor Kinswomen and guards killed. Add in the fact she almost died and they lost one of the medallion copies (which is an indication of impending doom during the attack on Caemlyn if ever I saw one), and "her failure is complete". The only good to come out of it, aside from a warning which she and Birgitte subsequently discount or prepare for improperly, is the deaths of Lounalt, Chesmal, Eldrith, and Temaile (good riddance!). Yes, both the text itself and Elayne realize her idiocy, and after discovering at last how stupid she was to so foolhardily depend upon Min's viewing to protect her it seems she has finally learned her lesson, but that doesn't change the fact she screwed up. In fact all of this simply underscores her errors.

So yes: she's an idiot, The End.

Other tidbits: loved Bryne's advice to Gawyn, and Siuan's teasing of him. The detail of the circled village on the map, the one from the prologue where Rand met Almen Bunt again (or is it the one from TGS's prologue with all the men who feel the storm coming?) is nice, as is the way Gawyn helps the former Younglings fit into life in Tar Valon again. I loved the rumors Mat heard (the one about Rand visiting women in their sleep and getting them with child sounds like an interestingly garbled account of Rand and Elayne in WH!), and his continued attempts to pretend he is trying to find women for men he knows (this time Talmanes) instead of admiring them himself, and the bit about Thom freaking out when he saw the fireworks were near the hearth was a nice callback to the scene with him and Mat at the campfire in TDR.

And it seems that even after all this time trying to escape the ta'veren pull, and wanting nothing to do with a mad channeling man, Mat does still care about Rand after all. Birgitte making fun of plays was a hoot, especially her It Will Never Catch On assessment. Little does she know! ("Why did the players need so many new names for things?" LOL!) And of course her talk with Mat was by turns hilarious, fascinating, and deeply sobering. Though even with how much reason she has to believe no one can win against the Finn, I have to shake my head at her for discounting Mat and his luck. She may not know everything it can do, but for Light's sake, Silverbow, trust your drinking buddy!

Lounalt happening to take advantage of everyone being at the play and freeing the Black Ajah makes for some wonderful Shadow-favored timing (so presumably even aside from their Oaths precluding them from speaking, I imagine he wasn't trying too hard when interrogating them), but I guess we can't blame it on Dyelin this time since she was at the play too. *grins impishly at thewindrose* And of course Lan's continued "travails" in his journey eastward remain hilarious and heartwarming at the same time.

One last thing, which I've noted before but nobody responded to me (probably because it's obvious): the fact she had a man like Lounalt working for her at all is suspicious, especially now that we know he was a Darkfriend, but the way she acted after the play had me going "Yeek!" at Sylvase Caeren. I liked her in KoD, particularly how she cleverly undermined Arymilla, but... "expressionless look...faintly eerie monotone...flat, almost inhuman voice"? What in the name of the Light is wrong with her?? If I didn't know better I'd say Sylvase was a latent channeler (capable of being taught) and she's been turned a la Tarna and the others at the Black Tower. She's certainly acting different than she was before, and I'm almost 100% certain she's a Darkfriend. Or...could she be Moghedien or Cyndane in an inverted Mirror of Mists, replacing the real (slain) Sylvase? In any event, I expect she will be a key factor in the fall of Caemlyn...

@4 RobM: Thanks ever so for that wonderful mental image. Now that I've been traumatized... *looks around for an Aes Sedai to wipe his memory*

@17 forkroot: Well said, very well said. Though as I noted above, add the horrific Temaile to the list of those whose deaths are so deliciously long-awaited and well-deserved. (Everything we were told about her is bad enough, but what she did to poor Amathera!) Even Eldrith deserves a mention since she was, apparently, dissecting Marillin's cats with the Power. *shudders*

@21 Astus: We have still among the living Falion and Marillin (who it will be revealed next time we see Elayne fled with Mellar), and the three you mention from TFoH--Rianna Andomeran, Berylla Naron, and Jeaine Caide. Someone at Theoryland made a very good case that the first two were secretly helping Masema on first Moghedien, then Moridin's orders. My pet theory is Jeaine is at the Black Tower helping with the Dreadlord factory. But I'm sure they'll all show up in the last book, as part of the attack on Caemlyn.

@Tektonica: Birgitte and Elayne talk about the impending invasion in their next chapter. All they decide to do is beef up the army and guard the borders of Andor more...which is absolutely useless against an attack from the Waygate. As for Sylvase, see my thoughts above. If she's not a Darkfriend, I'll eat Mat's hat.
John Massey
30. subwoofer
Why hello there Leigh, fancy meeting you here:D

Erm, a few points to make.

Firstly, Gawyn is a boob.

Second, Elayne has two boobs makes the second boob in the Trakand family, I suppose you could say that they make a good pair of boobs. Normally that is a good thing.
You know, I remember that the big upcoming showdown with the Black Knives (or whatever they’re called) and Gawyn induced me to mostly forgive him for his asshattery on first reading, but I’m really
wondering whether that feeling will survive this more detailed examination of how incredibly much Gawyn is That Guy. We shall see, I suppose.
Thank you for that Leigh, much appreciated. I have said and I stand by it: Gawyn gets fancy with a sword and folks forgive him for infinite volumes of dumbassness that should not be forgiven. I am not sure what they used for douche bags back in the day, but I seriously doubt that Gawyn can clean a vijajay of unwanted odors because, let's face it, he stinks up the joint. Using the same logic, folks should be all over Lord Luc/Slayer because he can take down Myrddraal and the like and is all kinda fancy with his sword too. For me, Gawyn does not get a pass just because he knows the pointy end of a sword from the end that a person holds, he is still a clanking bag of hammers.

Elayne? Brilliant plan? Ummmm, no. Not unless said plan was originated by the team of officers on board the USS Enterprise and there are a whack of Red Shirts going down to planet side. It always baffled me when the command team of a space ship risks life and limb doing what the folks under their command should do, and yet here we are. Elayne, send somebody expendable and less pregnant.

Lan: Classic Moment=

"Well, don't you be getting all self-centered about this. A man has a right to carry his kingdom's flag with him."

"You're a baker, Nazar."

Heh. As demonstrated by the Olympics, do not underestimate the power of national pride and patriotism.

@Leigh, suggestion: you know Gawyn chapters are going to be coming up, invest in a helmet.

Edit@Tormoddudes/etts... the quote function blows goats. Some formatting needs to be done there.

Tess Laird
31. thewindrose
Leigh - this pony was found wandering aroung Rivendell:)

These two chapters brought to you by Sleepwell™. Do you have head trama caused by hits to the head? Nynaeve Sedai encourges you to try her Sleepwell Tea™.

It was nice to see Elayne finally admit to herself that just becaase Min saw healthy kids - don't mean jack! Think Elayne!! I like that she thought to trick the dark friends - but really - have some others help you. I mean, she can obviously trust Birgette - but good that she didn't go to Dylin;)

I will touch upon other topics later, must get some cushions for my desk first;)

32. Pam1456465
Great, I love that song, but now it's associated with both Gawyn and that appalling Twilight movie. (I saw the first one out of curiosity, and have regretted it ever since.) Bah!!
Sam Mickel
33. Samadai

BWS told Forkroot and I that Sylvase is not a forsaken in disguise.

Jac Lounalt was Arymilla's secretary first. Sylvase retained him sometime later. I doubt she is a darkfriend or can learn to channel( though I have no proof). She was molested( I infer that from some of what is said about her in the book ) by her grandfather and has a very pessimistic view of life. I think she saw how much Lounalt intimidated the other two high ladies of houses that were Arylillas "guests", and decided she wanted him on her side
Kimani Rogers
34. KiManiak
Thanks Leigh,

I take a couple weeks hiatus from the reread and I come back just in time for a Mat and Birgitte chapter (YEAH!) and a boneheaded Elayne chapter (Good Lord, WHY!?!?). And since I’ve been gone for a little while, I may have a few words stored up that kinda need to be unleashed.

Chapter 22

Gawyn: Nice little bit of leadership with the former Younglings. Good interaction with Bryne. Gawyn doesn’t always act stupidly; he just lets his passion (and his sometimes naïve opinions/perceptions) rule him without the temperance of reason or thought. He can still annoy, though.

And then, the encounter with the Bloodknife. And the disruption of the Amyrlin’s plan. You know, I can’t really fault Gawyn for any of this. He encountered (what he rightly assumed to be) an assassin. He runs to check on the Leader of the Aes Sedai; the most likely target for an assassination. All reasonable. He didn’t know a trap was set; he accidentally springs it because he wanted to make sure Egwene was safe. This is not Gawyn’s fault.

Mat: I enjoyed the camaraderie between Mat, Noal and Thom. It just felt… right for them to do that, knowing they have to defeat the gholam, infiltrate the Tower of Ghenji and save Moiraine. They should have this kind of bond. And yet, still be uncertain/wary of how to accomplish their major task. Nice bit of writing by Team Jordan, in my opinion.

Mat and Birgitte have one of the best friendships/relationships in WoT, though; I completely agree with Leigh there. Their interactions are great, and the ease with which they interact with one another is a pleasure to read.

Birgitte: I like her insight. She makes some valid points about Elayne: she is a good queen and great at political maneuvering; but Elayne often needs someone to make sure that Elayne doesn’t kill herself by her own bravery (combined with her lack of common sense and her perceived pregnancy-associated-invulnerability).

I also liked her quip about fame and how it could morph (and distort) who someone really was over the generations. Which ultimately led to the story of her and Gaidal going into the Tower (which we learn later on –via Thom- that the story had morphed and distorted the characters and actions).

And I like how the chapter ends with the cliffhanger about Elayne, who the reader knows has probably done something incredibly stupid and dangerous…

Chapter 23

Elayne: Oh dear God. Please help me. I could rant about her stupidity and arrogance and perceived superiority (She wants to STEAL Mat’s medallion and replace it with a cheap imitation?!?! After they bargained fair and square for her to keep it for a short amount of time?!?) for a pretty long time, but even I would get sick of me doing that after awhile.

How about this: I commend Elayne for her political savviness and her ability to manipulate Ellorien into actually coming to –and speaking to- Elayne. She handled that quite well.

I (::embrace the calm; breathe slowly in and out::)… disagree and do not like (MASSIVE UNDERSTATEMENT) her decision to attempt to infiltrate and interrogate the prisoners on her own (as Leigh said, that was the crux of what was dumb in this plan). I… find it unfortunate that her actions resulted in the loss of the copy of Mat’s medallion (which was just plain lucky as she almost lost the freaking original and would have screwed Mat and the Lightside over something fierce!! Ok…; I’ve retained my calm). I… am hopeful that the threat to her and the babies may have shocked her enough to realize that she is not magically protected from harm, just because of Min’s viewings.

Moving on…

Egwene: I grant that Egwene is incredibly intelligent and clever. But one of the things that continue to bother me (yes, I know that I and others have said this before) is her arrogance in thinking that she knows what is best and that other peoples’ contributions are rarely worthy of consideration or merit. Why can’t she factor in Gawyn’s concerns into her plan? Why does it have to be only Mesaana and the BA who are gunning for her? The White Tower did just get attacked by the Seanchan; she knows, she was there after all.

Look, both Gawyn and Egwene are incredibly stubborn and think they know what’s best in how their relationship would work. They both are like a lot of couples in that way. But there comes a point in a relationship where you need to compromise. Gawyn seems more willing to do that than Egwene does at this point in time; and they both almost mess up what they both feel to be a good thing because they are both too freaking stupid and stubborn.

I honestly feel they deserve each other, since they’re both infuriating and prone to feel that their uninformed opinions are right, even with substantial evidence (and trusted friends words of wisdom) to the contrary. But sometimes it is just painful to read their interactions. Sometimes I want them both to drop into a vat of acid or a pit of lava and spare us the misery.

Lan: Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU to Team Jordan for ending the chapter (that contains 3 of the most infuriating characters in all of WoTdom) on an upswing with Lan’s tale. We get reacquainted with our Malkieri from “The Golden Crane” chapter of KoD, and it feels so good. The five had become dozens, and it doesn’t stop there…

Okay, let’s see what my fellow commenters had to say; I’m sure there’s all kinds of Elayne-defender and Egwene-defender action going on…
Alice Arneson
35. Wetlandernw
macster @29 – in at least one case, you’re blaming Elayne for something she didn’t do. She gave orders to her guardswomen in her quarters to keep the lights off and keep quiet – she was opening a Gateway from her quarters to Chesmal’s cell, and keeping it open, and she didn’t want anything from the other side of the Gateway to give it away. That had nothing to do with the death of the guards and Kinswomen outside the prison cells; they were killed in the breakout headed up by Lounalt, which only coincided with Elayne’s escapade by sheer bad luck. (Or the Pattern, or authorial let’s-make-things-awful fiat, depending on how you want to look at it.) In any case, Elayne had nothing to do with the Kin and guards who were killed.

Also – you lost me on “The detail of the circled village on the map, the one from the prologue where Rand met Almen Bunt again (or is it the one from TGS's prologue with all the men who feel the storm coming?) is nice…” The only specific place marked on the map “in bright red” was the Field of Merrilor, up on the border of Shienar, where Rand told Egwene to meet him. The rest is just a matter of what fortifications are available and what might need to be defended by Bryne & his army.

As Samadai mentioned, Brandon made it quite clear that Sylvase is not a Forsaken. He didn't comment (at least not anywhere that theoryland got hold of) on whether or not she might be a DF.

Gah. Must go - again. Back later with more.
36. TBGH
I still remember finding WOT fandom online for the first time and being shocked at how much Gawyn and Egwene hate there was out there. They've always been two of my favorites through the series.

I doubt I can convert any of you to the Gawyn fan club at this point and Egwene does make a mistake here, so all I'll say is that like all the male viewpoint characters Gawyn is growing. He looks worse in comparison because while Rand, Mat, and Perrin do most of their growing up in books 1-5; he doesn't really start his maturation until book 10 or so. They're all going to end up as great leaders and great men in general, does it matter who got there first?
37. Rancho Unicorno
@22 - I can do you one better, sort of. I kind of depends on whether Egwene is thinking of herself as Mother or as a woman. Here, she seems to be acting more like the Amyrlin.

When I tell me kids for the th time to not do something and they do it, I get frustrated and angry. Probably just like she did here. But, when my kid interjects why they did it - how it was an accident when they were trying to do something good, I still have enough brainpower to process their words. I may get a couple more words of reprimand out - but I do catch myself. I may still use the moment to teach, but in a calm and you-could-say more Sedai-like manner.
Jay Dauro
38. J.Dauro
As we will soon see, Elayne does talk about the invasion, at least with Brigette and Dyelin. Mat asks what she learned, and she blows him off. Of course, he is the only one who has been through the Waygate there, and might have made the connection. What was that about communication?

This is one of the chapters I have a hard time re-reading. What can I say, my head is sensitive to being beaten against a desk.
39. AuttieB
"This whole storyline is strongly reminding me of something similar, in fact, and I can’t put my finger on what it is."

Makes me think of Aragorn in LORD OF THE RINGS...how everyone was always saying (paraphrasing here) "Dude, you're a KING!" and he was always all "No, I'm just a Ranger"
40. Keralys
AuttieB: I feel compelled to shout at the top of my lungs: only in the movies! Only in the movies!

*goes back to lurking*
Vincent Lane
41. Aegnor
If my math is right, the odds of 2 dozen coins thrown up into the air all coming up heads is closer to 1 in 20 million that 1 in a thousand.
Jay Dauro
42. J.Dauro

1 in 16,777,216

Still better than winning the Powerball Lottery.

1 in 175,223,510

But I'll bet on Mat for that too.
Jack Liang
43. fuzz1717
I love the whole Mat/Birgitte interaction, Mat posing as a begger and dicing with his captors was pretty funny. But other than that, and the brief Lan segments, these chapters were filled with Trankand fails left and right. Honestly, I'm usually not anti-Elayne (although I'm ALWAYS anti-Gawyn), she was an idiot in these chapters thinking (for the 2nd time, if i remember correctly) that Min's viewing would save her from any injury. Sheesh, oh well, at least the Trankands redeem themselves in the chapters to come.
Kimani Rogers
44. KiManiak
RobM@4 – Hah! Wouldn’t that be great. Elayne sets aside Rand, their kids and her kingdom and decides to take up a new life with Mellar (okay, that’s a slightly different interpretation of Pride and Prejudice, there).

DougL@7 – Yeah, Gawyn doesn’t have a strong sense of self-reflection, self-awareness, irony or poetic justice. That’s why we all love him. No, wait, the opposite…

wcarter@12 – Hmm. I’m not sure that it is commendable that Elayne chose to be a woman of her word, follow through on her and Mat’s bargain and return the correct medallion to Mat after the allotted time. I know I’m hard on her, but I wouldn’t call her a woman of integrity just because she did the bare minimum, while considering the alternative.

To me, integrity would be something like Mat losing the medallion, her finding it (without Mat being aware of that fact), and her returning the medallion to Mat. I’m not sure if she is worthy of (even faint) praise regarding Mat’s medallion in this regard.

forkroot@17 – Nice observation about Chesmal. She really was a piece of work; kind of cool that her last act with the Power was to actually Heal someone.

Rancho Unicorno@18 – Fair points, all. I agree that his actions weren’t all that bad in this situation, and that Egwene deserves more of the criticism for her actions in this regard. Having said all of that, Gawyn has done a lot to have many readers predisposed to chastise him.

Royan@22 – re: Egwene being mad at Gawyn- That is part of the burden of being in charge. One of your subordinates comes to you with intel regarding a potential assault on your life. You’re already prepping for an assault on your life from one particular direction, and this subordinate just warned you that you need to worry about an attack from a different direction. I don’t care how pissed off you are that you were woken up (although the text implies that Egwene was already awake), you need to pay attention to a credible warning.

Shimrod@27 – I agree with you regarding Elayne and forgetting about the invasion. I won’t come down hard on her when I don’t think its warranted. She was quite distracted from talk about the invasion, fearing for her life and all. And, to be fair to Elayne, she wouldn’t have even known that something was afoot with the Darkfriends in Caemlyn if she had not gone into the dungeons. So a stupid, reckless, poorly planned and slightly-less-better executed action does provide some beneficial information.

Macster@29 – I like how you spell out Gawyn’s pros and cons in this situation. He is kind of shooting 50% right now (to use another sports metaphor), but he still frustrates and annoys.

Your points about Egwene are also fair and valid. Her trap was now no longer secret. The Bloodknives were warned and that information probably did lead to their actions in the future when attempting to assassinate Egwene again. Gawyn would have been no match against Mesaana (or any member of the Black Ajah, for that matter). And… I also agree that I look forward to the time when Egwene can reflect on how much of an idiot she can sometimes be when discounting her friends advice/opinions.

As for your opinion on Elayne: Hah! You made me crack up at work! I do… vaguely remember some of the discussions regarding the plan in KoD. As for here, I (grudgingly) agree with you, Leigh and others that part of what she did here was rather clever and fairly incredible “thinking-on-her-feet.” Also, I appreciated the Star Wars quote; I then read the rest of your post in Darth Vader’s voice in my head.

Finally, interesting theories about Sylvase. I still have a feeling that she’s not a Darkfriend, just a “damaged” person who is now socially awkward/dysfunctional. I could see Team Jordan using her as a red herring (But don’t eat Mat’s hat; Mat would seem wrong without it). As to Lounalt, he was one of the other contender for the throne (Arymilla?) secretary first. Maybe he decided to latch onto Sylvase when he saw the tables turned? Okay, Samadai@33 makes a lot of these points. I should have read further before opening my big mouth, or the writing equivalent.

sub@30 – Okay, now folks are looking at me weird as I continue to crack up! Thanks for the “boob” and vijayjay comments!

Aegnor@41 & JDauro@42 – “Never tell me the odds!”
Craig Jarvis
45. hawkido
This whole storyline is strongly reminding me of something similar, in fact, and I can’t put my finger on what it is.
If you are referring to Lan's trickle in effect, what occurs to me is the "endwarfening" of Beorn in The Hobbit. When Gandalf and Bilbo enter Beorn's house just the two, then slowly one at a time keep adding dwarves till he gets the whole lot in Beorn's house. As Beorn was very hermitish, and would have refused a group no matter how much respect he had for Gandalf. I refer to this as Gandalf'ing things in. Just one or two at a time so the target isn't shocked into outright rejection.
Thomas Keith
46. insectoid
Chapters 22 and 23, huh? Well gosh, it must be Trakand Siblings Act Stupid Day! :P

Great post as usual, Leigh.

Gawyn: Finds a Bloodknife and gets all tied up. Still an idiot.

Leigh, I do hope you have a pillow or something for your desk—you might break it. (The desk, that is.)

Mat: Is totally awesome.

Birgitte: Is awesome hanging out with Mat.

Elayne: You idiot. Walking right into a viper's den and expecting to come out alive just because Min saw it?! GAH.

The only smart things she did that I can think of was the clever use of the medallions—having Chesmal grab one, for instance, and then setting her on fire. She has to have Mat's luck to have gotten the original back.

That said, though: MELLAR, WHY... WON'T... YOU... DIE?

Egwene: Is too stubborn to realize there's someone besides Mesaana out for blood in the Tower.

Gawyn: Hey, look, he's actually listening to advice and going to see Elayne! How many books has she been in Caemlyn now? Five? Six? Doofus.

The five become dozens: Well, sorry to disappoint you, Lan, but it won't stop there!

Off to read comments!

Stefan Mitev
47. Bergmaniac
It was Elayne's own dungeons, with her guards right outside. I really don't get why so many of you make it seem as if she was infiltrating enemy territory on her own or something like this. Chesmal was shielded, Elayne was holding saidar, the risk was extremely low. The trouble came purely because of really bad luck and a very unlikely coincidence in timing between the jailbreak and her visit. It was a dumb or reckless plan at all.

BTW, it's funny that the first time Chesmal's name is mentioned in the series back in TDR, it was by Elayne and she said "“Chesmal Emry is one of the most talented Healers anyone has seen in years. Light, could you imagine being Healed by one of the Black Ajah?”

Someone should've told Egwene or she should've realised herself that any bad guy who wants to harm her and isn't a complete idiot would realise something is fishy if there are no guards of any kind protecting the Amirlyn at night. Especially after the last one was kidnapped and the recent murders in the White Tower.
Craig Jarvis
48. hawkido
@44 KiManiac

Actually, because she really wanted the medallion but had promised to return it, even tho she had a way to decieve Mat and he would probably never know, chose to return the original to Mat despite strong Internal resistance, IS in fact Integrety.

Your example would be honesty. Don't confuse them, the later is Goodness the former is Lawfulness. You can be Lawful Evil and have perfect integrity. Thus the statement "I promise I will not kill you if you surrender. Okay, now that you have surrendered... Minion Kill them.
Thomas Keith
49. insectoid
No one ever expects the super ninja assassins. ;)

Bryne: Nice bit of advice there. Still love his interaction with Siuan.

Invasion: Elayne is justifiably alarmed about Chesmal's mention of an invasion... but later takes most of Caemlyn's armies with her to either Cairhien or the Field of Merrilor. Evidently she didn't twig on that the 'invasion of Andor' meant Caemlyn itself! Stupid.

RobM² @6/Fork @9: Totally agree.

RoyanRannedos @13: LOL!!

Fork @17: Well said. Bye Bye Chesmal! (And Temaile—she was a nasty one, too!)

Rancho Unicorno @18: Good points. I think Leigh is more upset about Gawyn's ignorance of Bryne's advice than anything else in that chapter.

Sub @30: Oh Sub... XD

Wind @31: BILL! :D

Aegnor @41/J.Dauro @42: Heh.

hawkido @45: LOL! I'd forgotten about that scene.

Bergmaniac @47: You're right, of course; Elayne had no reason to believe that there'd be a jailbreak happening at the same time.

Bill Stusser
50. billiam
So to begin with, I do not like Gawyn. That being said, I don't think he deserves the beating he is getting here. As others have pointed out, he doesn't do anything wrong in this chapter and is actually right about the assassins. I think that the level of one's dislike (hatred) for Gawyn depends on how much someone likes Eg. I do not like Eg, I am not an Eg hater but I have also never drunk her koolaid so to say, so Gawyn doesn't infuriate me so much here. I'd be willing to bet that those that love Eg are some of the biggest Gawyn haters.

I commented a couple of posts ago why I think that Elayne is reckless. Yes its her dungeon and her guards, etc but why didn't she tell anyone what she was doing. When making a plan you have to expect that shit is going to hit the fan because you know, shit does always hit the fan and at the moment you least want it to. Of course the jailbreak was going to happen right then, that is not just a coincidence, that is life. Always expect the unexpected and all that.

Also, about the guards and kinswomen. I may be wrong about this, Wetlandernw, but what I think macster was getting at is that if Elayne had told the guards or Kinswomen that she was going to be inside interrogating the prisoners and to be on extra guard becuase of that fact, maybe they wouldn't have been taken by surprise like they were.

One last thing, I have always thought that Sylvase was a DF. I didn't like her from the moment she was introduced. I just got a thought, what if Sylvase is Demandred. Not that she is actually Demandred but one of the proxies he likes using. It would not surprise me if the whole Trolloc invasion was his.

Oh yeah, Mat & Birgitte FTW!
Stacy Berger
51. anIceFan
This is a question that I should have asked last week. But I just thought of it over the weekend. It involves Nynaeve and her "give me my man" moment.

From the moment that Egwene raiseses Nynaeve and Elayne to full AS, they are insistant that they are full sisters. It is noted many times that they insist on this, and are accepted that way, to a degree. Further, Elayne has a warder(s).

Why then does Nynaeve wait until she has gone through the test to go and claim the bond for Lan? Wouldn't/shouldn't she have done this as soon as she knew where Merilile was? Doesn't this put the lie to all of the we are full sisters stuff?
John Massey
52. subwoofer
@Insectoid- what? The dog did it... the er, other dog...

.... and nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition.

About Egwene and her blind spot regarding advice given from Gawyn, on the one hand I am stunned and amazed that anything regarding credible advice passed from Gawyn's lips... insert potty humor here. On the other hand, that is an ongoing theme in WoT in general. Remember Nynaeve and Elayne turning up their noses at Thom's and Juilin's help in Ebou Dar and were almost kidnapped but for the help of Egeanin things would have gone bad. Mat was also sent to help by Rand, first it was Egwene, but under duress he went to help Elayne and Nynaeve too, and it was received fairly backhanded. And he still left the Band to help Egwene. If Egwene had a Warder, we may not have had chapter upon chapter of Egwene being spanked by the Mistress. The ongoing theme being: dude- "let's make sure that we are there when these ladies need a hand, but we have to ask permission to help them"; dudette- "we don't need no stinkin' help, hear me roar." Meh.

My favorite WoT relationship is the Hopper/Perrin one, it is very Jedi, love it.

William Fettes
53. Wolfmage
Leigh's *headdesks* about Gawyn's self-pitying sulk to Bryne are perfectly understandable. His attitude about their relationship and his identity as a protector is annoying. But his subsequent actions don't deserve rebuke. He only found himself near her door by aimlessly wandering whereupon he stumbles on the assassin as he is about to leave in obedience to her stricture. After the danger was revealed, I think it was perfectly justified to check on Egwene.

Yes, it’s true her traps were revealed and this probably has an effect on the Blood Knifes’ approach. But the traps are meant for Mesanna not the Blood Knifes. Egwene is so outraged because she considers it a huge lost opportunity cost in terms of not capturing a Forsaken (apparently she thought Mesanna would simply walk into her bedroom?) with simple wards which I think is pretty presumptuous and underestimates her opponent. So I don’t see how she can have much high moral ground here. The real problem was this causes a change-up amongst the Blood Knifes, but she doesn’t listen to Gawyn about that separate danger anyway.

Now perhaps the traps might have netted a BA or grey man but that's still just guesswork. As Gawyn wasn't disobeying her directly in being around, and he happened upon a reasonable overriding excuse to check on her, I don't think he's in the wrong.

The trouble is this is hard to explain in the heat of the moment - as it looks very much like he was just disobeying her - and she isn't in a good space to listen to his pleading. So that is somewhat understandable I guess but still frustrating. Both of them are incredibly stubborn and somewhat narrow in their laser-like focus.
Ron Garrison
54. Man-0-Manetheran
While I’ve rolled my eyes and silently bemoaned PRINCESS Elayne’s usual horseassery, I nearly threw the book across the room when I thought she had lost Mat’s medallion to the dark side. You crazy...!?!?! I did like her “Hulk thrash Loki” moment when she set Chesmal on fire, though.

I too missed the reference to the upcoming invasion of Caemlyn — well, rather dismissed it as just so much typical bragging by a dark friend.

Woofer! Welcome back! Boobs. ||smirk||
Valentin M
55. ValMar
Gawyn: not at fault here, for the reasons stated already by others, as usual :). But it played out about right, given the situation it was difficult to explain and he was dealing with Egwene and her power issues.

Elayne: also not at fault, essentially I agree with Bergmaniac @ 47. And the guards and kinswomen were not killed because of El. Her impulsive action prevented the breakout, by good luck. Bad luck made the breakout happen during her mascarade interogation. Nevertheless, maybe she could've made additional precautions- e.g. had couple more kinswomen wait in the darkness on the other side of the Gateway. Though with hindsight we can see that it most likely would've meant that the breakout would've been completed.
I liked her thought about giving Mat the copy. Anyone of us would've had to deal with this thought if we were in a similar situation, if only fleetingly. Realistic. I hope I would react the way she did. It made Elayne human. Very nice touch.
Tess Laird
56. thewindrose
Maybe the breakout was not so arbitrary. If Elayne is at a play, then her guards are at the play, and there is most likely no interrogations going on. Therefore, this would be a good time for a planned breakout.

Have to agree with ValMar - it is very human to consider the medalion switch - she thought of it on stomped on the idea a second later - she is not duplicitous.

And she is now over the babies will be born healthy so I can do what I want - although that was a very sobering lesson. She did atleast think about getting Birgette in on the plan, but when she found out that Birgette was out with Mat - she couldn't pass up the temptation to just go ahead and do what she was planning(with the added bonus of not having to get Birgitte's endorsement(in Elayne's mind).)

Back to one of my favs - Gawyn! I think Bryne outlined in a simplistic way what drives me batty about Gawyn - he acts in passion - he doesn't think before he does(yes I know Elayne does this as well, but I am not as annoyed by her for some reason.) He keeps holding on to an idea even when everyone else he 'respects/loves/friendship' tells him he is mistaken/wrong/insane - Yargg!! (This probably explains why Elayne doesn't bug me as much - she does listen to others.) So I don't know about the Egwene test - as she is not a favorite of mine - and Gawyn drives me to massive headdesking!

Ahh, my Sylvase theory - Cyndane taking over as her - shot down by BwS himself. She does have the awful childhood - but she is acting really wierd now - something is up!

Macster - the mastermind always is seen in public - so there;)

Bergmaniac - great catch!

Roger Powell
57. forkroot
A thought about Elayne at the play (messing with Ellorien's head):

I always tend to think of Elayne as "Morgase's daughter" when analyzing her personality, actions, etc. It's worth remembering that she is also Taringail Damodred's daughter, thus Daes Dae'mar is in her blood.
Cameron Tucker
58. Loialson
51. anIceFan

Re: Why Nynaeve may have waited with the bonding of Lan.

1. Myrelle probably wouldn't let her have him until she felt Ny was ready.

2. It's been abundantly established in the books that that El, Ny, Theodrin and Faolain were considered higher than Accepted by the Sisters in the Rebels, but not quite AS. Thus the AS kerfluffle learning of El bonding Birgitte in aCoS; they didn't feel it appropriate, yet.

3. While both Ny and El adamantly say they're full AS (and feel frustrated throughout books 6-12 that the other AS tend not to treat them as such), once Egwene explains to them the necessity of taking the Testing and the Oaths, they see the value of legitimacy (esp. re: gaining the support of their Sisters in the now reunified tower), and agree to it. Ny is roaring to go.

IMO I think Nynaeve wants any excuse Myrelle could possibly throw at her to keep her husband's bond gone, as well as the backing AS mantle could give her (though she'd leave it if necessary).

Also, more important than that was not only her successful testing and legitimacy from the Tower that led her to want the bond NOW, but also the last weave/test Egwene gave her.

It showed her something about herself. She may want to be an Aes Sedai, but her husband is far more important to her; and that relationship, that bond is more important to her now than ever.
Birgit F
59. birgit
Also – you lost me on “The detail of the circled village on the map, the one from the prologue where Rand met Almen Bunt again (or is it the one from TGS's prologue with all the men who feel the storm coming?) is nice…” The only specific place marked on the map “in bright red” was the Field of Merrilor, up on the border of Shienar, where Rand told Egwene to meet him.

Gawyn sees a map showing food supplies where the apples from the prologue are marked.

It didn't make sense to me that one of the bad guys heals an enemy in the middle of a fight. Even the good guys probably wouldn't do that. It is just a plot device to make Min's vision be true after all despite El's foolishness.
Kimani Rogers
60. KiManiak
Hawkido@48- re: Integrity- So, I think you do have a point. I was using my personal understanding and interpretation of integrity, which I admit has a higher threshold then the official definition. If someone holds true to their principles/values (and their word) then they do have integrity.

I still don’t agree that Elayne should be lauded for it. To me, she did what she was supposed to do; what the average person is expected to do every day. So (to me), it wasn’t a great example or demonstration of integrity; it was an average display.

But Elayne did demonstrate that average display of integrity by deciding to keep her word, not steal Mat’s medallion and keep up her end of the bargain. And, to her credit, she barely entertained the thought before she “squash(ed) that temptation before it could fly too high.”

So, kudos to Elayne for doing what she should have done (and was expected to do) by deciding to give Mat his property back, and in not deciding to be a deceiver and a common thief.

wcarter@12, you had it right to give her faint praise, yet label her a woman of integrity.
Craig Jarvis
61. hawkido
@60 KiManiac

*edit* all this below could probably be dumped and replaced with the line: the barest minimum of integrity is all that is EVER needed. Because in the end if integrity IS kept, then it held. Elaine never promised not to struggle over the medallion. Yeah that sounds so much better than this crap I wrote below... geeze. *end edit*

I agree there should be a higher threshold/standard than mere Integrity, but do not falsly convey extra meaning to words that they do not have. There is a danger in believeing that a handkerchief is a parachute.

As to lauding...
You may not have reached this point in your life or been faced with it. Some people may never be faced with it. Think of a Junkie who is trying to get clean... and he is presented (through whatever means) a dose of his favorite drug. He does resist the urge, but listening to the internal struggle, even knowing that he suceeds in resisting, would you still call him weak? Doesn't it take the strongest person to fight his strongest desires? A Brave person feels fear and defeats it. Galad is all integrity and hosesty, but no mearcy.

Integrity has a cost, else it is not Integrity at all. Tested Integrity is the only true Integrity. To say a Bridge can hold 1000 Tons, even to swear it, is one thing. To see a bridge holding 1000 tons is something else entirely.

You seem to be bagging on Elaine (which my though was initially the same as yours I admit) but hearing the internal dialog in her head, lends you to pass unfair judgement. How many times have you been presented with a moral choice that you struggled with, even thou the right choice won.. should you still be condemned for the struggle? That's like winning the war but being condemned for loosing it because the battles took too long, too many/few of your troops/enemy troops died. subjective qualifiers SUCK! They cannot be predetermined. Objective qualifiers can always be pre-determined. Wars with Objectives can be won... Subjective wars cannot (Vietnam, Afganistan, maybe Iraq), honestly how are we going to find terror/drugs/poverty/hunger and kill them? Then why did we declare war on them? Declare war on Bob Saget... At least you can find and kill him, there, done, war over, we win.

wow, how did i get here???

Little billy just looked up from his toy truck and realized that he is no longer in the toy department... *crickets chirping*
62. Freelancer
Integrity has never been a problem for Elayne. In spite of her displeasure with Galad's habit of "doing what's right, no matter who it hurts", she is very much the same. She is introspective about her own faults, and works to overcome them. And there is no example of her being faced with a decision involving honor where she chose wrongly. There is no reason to be surprised that she did not permit herself to cheat Mat out of the real medallion. It would have been shockingly out of character if she had done otherwise.

Being tempted is not sin. Permitting appetite to win over honor in the face of temptation, that is sin.

This is why I cannot hate Elayne, or Gawyn, or Egwene. They are human, meaning they are fallible. And while they make unwise decisions from time to time, they do act, and they act according to conscience, and the information available at the moment. They do not act for personal glory or satisfaction, but what they understand to be right. Agree or disagree with their assessment of right, but you cannot claim that they are guided by ego, ala Elaida, or Niall, or Berelain.
Kimani Rogers
63. KiManiak
Hawkido@61 – I appreciate that you kept the original, even after the edit (I had a nice chuckle at the “handkerchief is a parachute” line).

Your edited summation is a fair point, the lowest level of integrity is still integrity (and therefore all that is needed for an action –and by extension, the actor- to have integrity assigned to it). I think I granted that in my post@60.

I’m still not going to think its laudable or even noteworthy beyond the “faint praise” wcarter@12 gave it, nor do I think its even worthy of that much attention (Yes, I notice the irony; the more I post about it, the more attention it gets. At times I’m a contradictory fellow, I guess).

Let’s put it another way: When folks do what they agreed to do, they are acting with integrity. This has gone to the point where we (society) see it as the norm, and look down upon those who don’t (liars, con artists, politicians, etc).

You “bargain” with Amazon.com to receive the brand new WoT novel (and you preorder so that you can receive it the day it comes out). You receive the actual novel, complete with all of its pages. Do you laud Amazon.com for completing the bargain? Do you even find it noteworthy? Or do you shout in glee, pump your fist a few times and immediately stick your nose in the book, only to resurface for food, sleep and the bathroom? (If you’re likely to thank anyone, it’s probably Team Jordan, right? And maybe the world, for not coming to an end like some folks thought the Mayans had predicted.) Because Amazon.com did what you and they “bargained.” It was expected.

Of course that example could be shot up with a few holes (also, I’m sure that there are folks out there who, when receiving their book, would thank the postman, Amazon.com, the creator of the internal combustion engine, the creator of the alphabet and everyone else that led to this moment).

(And yes, to your point in the original section, I am often hard on Elayne (I make no bones about mentioning her as my least favorite of the Superkids… by far). Yes, she only briefly entertained the idea of stealing Mat’s medallion and replacing it with an inferior replica. I think that, combined with the fact that she almost lost his original to Mellar, and then didn’t (to my recollection) inform him that she did almost lose his medallion, and in the process lost a weaker but still effective copy, all of that adds to my being hard on her at this point in the story. Well that, and the stupid actions in the dungeon that almost cost her life (or freedom) that continue to represent her recklessness and lack of common sense or caution or self-preservation, and that often lead to massive collateral damage. (Wow, 2 run on sentences in that paragraph))

Anyway Hawkido, you get the gist of what I’m saying (before my digression in that last paragraph). To paraphrase Chris Rock: Elayne did what she was supposed to do. What, do you want a cookie?
(Click that link only if you’re okay with Chris Rock’s vocab and humor)
William Carter
64. wcarter
@60 and 61

The reason I said it was faint praise was because she did a lot of other completely stupid stuff both in this chapter and in the past/future. The reason I said it actually took real ingrity to do it is precisely because giving Mat the original medallion back is a pretty big deal.

It probably doesn't seem like it at first glance but think about it. Mat's medallion is one of the rarest, most powerful types of terangreal there is. It's a type of battle protection terangreal that was only made during the narrow time period of the breaking itself when Aes Sedi were facing hundreds of mad channelers and didn't even know who they could trust.
Cyndane Cyndane mind you didn't even know what the hell it was when she faced Alvia with her similar one (thanks to Nyneave) at the cleansing. Based on that it's probable they weren't made prior to the breaking and after no one was left alive who knew how.

Mat can't channel. Elayne can--and so can Rand, Ahviendha, Egwene, etc. How easy would it be for her to rationalize giving him a copy that doesn't work for channelers. She has good reason to believe she wont be able to make a 100 percent effect one prior to TLB. Having a "master copy" would go a long way towards rememdying that or at least--give the option of giving the high quality version to someone who "really neads it" read: fit's Elayne's definition of really needs it.

Even the lessened protection a copy would afford Mat could be rationalized away because "It would still protect him from bad people, but having him vulnerable to some weaves would teach him 'proper respect for Aes Sedi.'"

The fact of the matter is Mat would probably never have known if she had foisted off a second rate copy on him. He can't channel so he wouldn't have noticed that flaw and he already knows the real thing has other weaknesses (He even thinks it doesn't protect against Saidin which is incorrect--it just doesn't protect against indirect attacks of which lightning is one).
Craig Jarvis
65. hawkido
@ wcarter KiManiac Freelancer

Thanks guys that was an awesome discussion... I think everyone made great points and expanded everyone's knowledgefullness (*GIGGLES*)

@ Kimaniac
Thanks for the reminder that doing the right thing has no reward. Else everyone would just be a mercenary.
You know that is a point I kept meaning to bring up about Mellar and the copy. I wonder if he will fall to a forsaken now. He thinks he has the original ( if he can even tell the difference)... I bet he will sass a Forsaken and at first cackle with glee then get totally pwned when they up the power. Then a forsaken will have the copy, but can't use it due to the copy's limitation. conundrum.
Stacy Berger
66. anIceFan
58. Loialson

Thanks for the response. All are good points, however.

I don't think that 1 or 2 would have stopped her trying. She would have tried to run all over them. Cause reasonable and Nynaeve don't necessrily go hand in hand.

I figure she would have tried before #3 because an issue, but it is a good point.

The part that I find the most persuasive about what you said is the bit about te testing showing her something about herself.

IMO, it is just something that BS thought was missed earlier and this was the first time there was an opportunity in story to resolve the issue.
Sandy Brewer
67. ShaggyBella
I really like Mellor as a villan. He is evil and takes delight in his work. How many of Elayne's spys did he kill, with pleasure? The reason he had Elayne healed is because he wants to have his way with her, as he was promised. She would be no use to him dead. He will be back! He is much more beleivable than Fain, who is just batsh*t crazy.

Gawyn had a few important things in this chapter. He obtained a Bloodknive knife, to be later identified by one of Elayne's Sul'dam. When he is gone, maybe Ewgene won't take him for granted. She really has loved him for the whole series, or at least in her dreams. Sometimes you have to leave to be appreciated. Personally, I would have left a long time ago, after the way he has been treated.
Turning the Younglings into the Tenth Tower Guard was a good solution for Gawyn's soldiers.

Poor bodyguard Brigette. Her statement says it all. "Elayne. In trouble. Again. She's hurt."
Steve Barkmeier
68. sbark
I don't find Elayne's decision to return the proper medalion especially praiseworthy. If she had decided to switch, that would have been despicable and would not have fit her character. I mostly found her thoughts in that section as being very human. We all have momentary thoughts that we could do something that we would never really do. Those thoughts don't represent any failing on our part because we decide against those actions. On the other hand, not actually taking the action doesn't make us any sort of hero.
69. DF chucker
Gawyn and Egwene are the same person, almost like they are brother and sister. They have passion and make up for with raw talent. Like the Ocho Cinco of WOT. They have their place, some people enjoy their antics and others do not.
Ummm, I don't know about you, but... Um, wouldn't it have made sense for Egwene to let the guy who has a bad habit of showing up where he doesn't belong know that he shouldn't wander around so he doesn't screw up her masterful plan.

Lucky she didn't though, I guess.

Terry McNamee
71. macster
@35 Wetlander: You already e-mailed me regarding this, but just to set the record straight and be specific on what I was referring to: "Smiling to herself, Elayne began giving orders. One of the Guardswomen ran off to deliver them, though she looked confused at the strange list of commands" (p. 368). Followed by: "Chesmal cringed, then glanced to the side, as if waiting for the Guards outside to peek in. There would be Kinswomen there to hold Chesmal's shield; Elayne could feel them. Nobody came, despite the sound. The Kin were following Elayne's orders, odd though those orders were" (p. 369-370). While you are very correct that they probably would have died in the escape attempt anyway, I was pointing out that her orders to stay out there and ignore what was happening meant they had no chance to survive what Lounalt and the others did to break the BA out; if they'd come rushing into the cell to check on Chesmal, it's possible they could have rallied behind Elayne and thus been protected from the assault, and even if they'd been killed by Mellar or the BA, at least they would have died less ignominiously.

Birgit already addressed the bit with the circled village, but for reference's sake: "Gawyn folded his arms, unable to lean against the wall, lest he disturb a map showing orchards across the surrounding countryside. One village near Dragonmount was circled four times, for some reason" (p. 339).

@38 J.Dauro: I can see that just as easily being the Pattern or ta'veren twisting; on the one hand, if Mat had known about the invasion and tried to help stop it, it might have prevented him from leaving to rescue Moiraine (to stay and protect the dragons or the Band, if nothing else). On the other hand, it may be that Caemlyn has to fall for the Light to win. Either way, the Pattern would make sure Mat didn't get told, just like it made sure he resisted opening Verin's letter. We really won't know until we get to the last book and see what role Moiraine has, and what happens because of the fall of Caemlyn.

@39 AuttieB: Well Lan is an Aragorn figure.

@44 KiManiak: I should clarify, while seeing Egwene admit she was being an idiot is satisfying because of how often she's been arrogant, discounted others, and convinced of her own infallibility, I also enjoy seeing it because it shows, however much we come down on her for her faults, Egwene does realize, eventually, when she screws up, and admits to it. I am reminded of her confessing her lies to the Wise Ones, accepting toh and the beatings to expiate it. Egwene doesn't reflect on her own actions often, and when she does she usually finds excuses for herself or reasons to reject others as being more in the wrong. But when she does realize her mistakes and admits them, it is refreshing and shows she is still at heart a good person. She just needs to do it more often, and the contrast makes us harder on her because of how rare these moments are.

*smirks* You vaguely remember? Not only were you and I going back and forth on it (with several others taking both sides in the debate), but it was enough for Leigh herself to make note of it by commenting, with her usual brand of delicious understatement, that there was "quite the wrangle in the comments" about Elayne's plan. Did you really block it out, or are you being charitable for my benefit? :) As for Elayne's cleverness, I think I agree with Leigh--the way she got Chesmal to instinctively grab the medallion was pretty awesome, and you're right about how she manipulated Ellorien. And haha, James Earl Jones FTW!

To you and Samadai: oops, I'd forgotten Sanderson rejected the Forsaken-in-disguise theory, and that Lounalt was Arymilla's first. And you and Samadai are right about Sylvase clearly being damaged (I wasn't 100% sure about her being an actual abuse victim, but there's certainly enough subtext to make it a viable conclusion to reach). However, I think thewindrose has a point--even for an abuse victim she is acting very strangely, and more importantly, the way she's acting and how she's described is different from how she was in KoD. Yes, that scene was from Arymilla's POV, but I think even she would have noticed if Sylvase was acting emotionless and inhuman. I know the chance of her being a latent channeler and turned to the Shadow is very slim, but I am very struck by the way she's described here, the language reminds me a lot of Mezar and Tarna. Something very strange is going on with her, that's all I'm saying.

And okay you're right, Mat's hat is too cool to eat. Perhaps Lady Shiaine's? ;)

@47 Bergmaniac and 55 ValMar: The issue isn't that she didn't guess something could go wrong in her own dungeons, it was that she a) didn't plan for if it did go wrong b) didn't take anyone else with her c) didn't tell anyone what she was doing (and in fact deliberately made sure Birgitte wasn't around to stop her) and d) her orders to the Kinswomen and guards practically guaranteed that if anything went wrong, no one would be able to help her because she'd told them to ignore whatever they heard in the cell. If they'd gone to get help when they heard strange noises, they could have prevented the breakout or at least not gotten killed. And while the breakout might have fully succeeded, Mellar might not have gotten the medallion copy either. Also thewindrose makes a good point that the plan was likely made precisely to coincide with the play so that no one would be around to stop it, meaning it isn't merely bad timing; and Elayne should have taken that into account.

On a side note, I had completely forgotten Elayne said that about Chesmal. Wonderful foreshadowing, if Jordan planned that from the start! And if that's actually something Sanderson came up with himself after re-reading the series, that's even more delicious.

@49 insectoid: In Elayne's defense, why would she think that the planned invasion would be aimed directly at the capital, when as far as she knows anyone invading would have to get across the border first? It's been so long since TGH she's probably forgotten all about the Ways, and it's not as if Mat or Rand has told her about the gate in the city. Plus if Rand had, he'd have told her he had it guarded, so...

@50 billiam: While I have liked and disliked Egwene at various points in the series, it's never been connected for me with how I feel about Gawyn. His supporting Elaida during the coup and his idiocy in believing rumors about Morgase and Rand against what Egwene and everyone else tells him, is why he's been in my doghouse, and I will call him on his stupidity. But outside that, he's a good fighter, and a good man, and I did observe his absolute correctness about the Bloodknives and Egwene's blindness in not seeing his points. I don't hate him as a character, I just think he's made some really bad decisions, and also some good ones, and that these are mostly independent of Egwene and whether she's being awesome or an idiot herself.

Also yes, you're exactly right about the point I was making about the Kin and Guardswomen. As for Sylvase, I'll need to pay attention again when I get to her in my re-read; it may be that I only liked her because she stood up to Arymilla and helped bring her down, not because she was necessarily likable or a good guy. If the way she acts is solely because of having been abused, and she isn't a Darkfriend, I will apologize. But I don't think her having been abused is a good excuse either; aside from the fact she could be using that as a smokescreen to deflect suspicion ("oh the poor lady, how could anyone ever think she served the Shadow after what she's been through, you'd have to be a monster to think so!"), it's also possible the abuse is why she went to the Shadow. Which if so...abuse is awful of course, but I don't think that justifies serving the embodiment of all evil. It's reason to pity her, but it doesn't excuse the things she does for the Shadow, if she really is a Darkfriend. I mean, Mili Skane was just a poor miller's daughter downtrodden by life, and heartbroken that she couldn't be Aes Sedai, but I don't see anybody defending her decision to become a Darkfriend because of it.

@51 AnIceFan: I may be wrong but I don't think it is common knowledge yet that Birgitte is Elayne's Warder. I think only the sisters who were with her in Ebou Dar know, and...they're all dead now, save Merilille who is on the run. As for Nynaeve, it is also noted that the Aes Sedai at large are still not accepting her as full Aes Sedai, and that is the reason for her testing. Prior to this she was busy breaking her block, then helping Elayne and Rand. She didn't go to Myrelle until now because she knew Myrelle wouldn't give her the bond until she deemed her "fit" for it, and part of that included being a full Aes Sedai. Egwene may have raised her in Salidar, but Myrelle being one of the original Salidar Six means she didn't put much stock in the things Egwene did, so her decree that Nynaeve was Aes Sedai didn't mean as much to her as having passed the test, and Nynaeve knew that. Loialson also makes many great points @58.

@52 Subwoofer: Slight correction, you mean Tanchico where Elayne and Nynaeve almost got kidnapped and needed Egeanin's help. Also, let's not forget the Ronde Macura incident...

@56 thewindrose: Hah! Good point. Arghhh, but I must still defend Lady Dyelin's honor...after all, it'd be a terrible shame if the reason she seems so honorable, good-hearted, supportive, and brave is only because she's a Darkfriend plant, not because she happens to be one of those rare people who is as good and honest as she appears to be. Also, I make note of this bit from the Jordan interview database (October 13th, 2005):
Allen Bryan: Dyelin is like Cincinnatus of Rome. True or false?
Robert Jordan:
True, pretty much, except Dyelin was never really offered power; she had it for a little while as Elayne's not-quite-authorized regent, but otherwise wasn't really called upon to save Andor the way Cincinnatus was called upon to save Rome. Otherwise, yes.
If you aren't familiar with history, Cincinnatus is known for being one of those rare people who didn't want power, only took it because it was the only way to preserve order and justice, and immediately gave it back once the crisis was past so they could go back to their normal life. Jordan's answer may not completely exonerate her, but the fact he equates her with a known do-gooder who never had any secret designs for power or who wasn't actually a traitor is telling. It's hard to believe she could be helping Elayne gain power instead of herself, all so she could later bring her down, when she could have just stepped into the power vacuum herself after Rand left Caemlyn and Darkfriends are all about lusting after power. To do so she'd have to be the first long-sighted Darkfriend we've ever encountered in the series who can actually see the bigger picture and know that supporting Elayne now will give her unmitigated power later.

To put it another way, if Dyelin is a Darkfriend, the Light's in trouble.

@59 birgit: Actually that does make sense to me. Mellar was all about wanting to make Elayne his "pretty" so he could have his way with/rape her; can't do that if she's dead. (Well, he could, but even he seems to be beyond that level of depravity.) Also, it seems that whether or not Dyelin is a Darkfriend, for some reason the Shadow wants her on the throne, perhaps because she makes so many bone-headed decisions haha, or more likely because they believe they can use/manipulate her. Note the BA didn't kill her outright either when they kidnapped her in KoD; I'm fairly sure that cart would have been bound for the Black Tower and Taim's Dreadlord factory, if not to Moridin himself. Imagine what the Shadow could do with someone of Elayne's power on the throne and serving them, not to mention her being bonded to Rand...

@61 hawkido, 62 Freelancer: Well said.

@63 KiManiak: Just to say, your Amazon.com comparison does indeed have a few holes, since I'm sure we all know of many people who complain and raise hell when they don't get what they ordered. While it's true you usually don't see lots of attention when they get what they ordered, the fact people get so bent out of shape when the "bargain" is breached does imply that keeping one's word is considered not only the norm, but a praiseworthy thing. The fact people don't go on about this as much as they do when it is breached is a combination of accentuating the negative and that people have gotten used to and accepted integrity as the norm; if it weren't, I'm sure many people would call attention to it when it happens. By definition, if something has become the norm it's because enough people consider it right and appropriate for it to be something an average number of them do.

@64 wcarter: Very good points about the medallion!
Jeff Schweer
72. JeffS.
Hi everyone,
Back after a week of real life. (which included my 32nd anniversary so I was distracted all last week)
Not going to touch the hot buttons this week, 2 Trakand and one Amyrlin, but I think I might be up for a crazy theory that may not make any difference.
wcarter at 64 said this
"Cyndane Cyndane mind you didn't even know what the hell it was when she faced Alvia with her similar one (thanks to Nyneave) at the cleansing. Based on that it's probable they weren't made prior to the breaking and after no one was left alive who knew how.

OK, there is a base assumption here that caught me in a funny way and I don't have anything to prove or disprove my theory but here goes.
Mat's Medallion was made either before or after the breaking. We know this how?
I'm not trying to be difficult but since Mat got the medallion from the snakes and foxes, why does that mean they got it from Randland? We have not seen them use the source but that doesn't mean they can't. The doorways take you to their reality but there is a physical door frame on both sides. They had to get there somehow.

I guess there are two reasons this quote jammed this idea together in my head.
First, The Medallion has the Fox head on it and that's where Mat got it.
Second, and this may be a spoiler, later on Moraine describes how the snakes and foxes drained her, making her weaker in the power than some unraised accepteds. They "savor" Aes Sedai when they get their hands on them, draining them of their ability to use saidar.

SO, either they can use the source, stolen or not, to make Ter' Angreal or they could have had one of their captives make it before they drained them to death.

Or, it was made in Randland and they got their hands on it through someone that passed through the doors or tower and screwed up.

If anyone of you know and can disprove this crazy theory, please do.
Just be gentle...

I am only an egg
Roger Powell
73. forkroot
Up to now, I've never really thought about how the Eelfinn were able to produce the medallion, but it seems likely that they created it (given the foxhead.) What's even more likely is that they created Mat's ashandarei, since the inscription refers specifically to their bargain -- but remember that the ashandarei has a power-wrought blade. (This blade also has the interesting property of not being able to harm the *Finn.)

So, it seems that they have the ability to produce items that involve the use of the OP. I guess this isn't all that surprising ... any beings who can (in theory) grant three wishes would pretty much have to have a mechanism for producing arbitrary objects including those of the OP.
Jonathan Levy
74. JonathanLevy
Ah, thank you :)

It was Elayne's own dungeons, with her guards right outside. I really don't get why so many of you make it seem as if she was infiltrating enemy territory on her own or something like this.
If you recall, there were two BA being held captive in the Stone of Tear who were murdered by Slayer (though Elayne doesn't know this). But Elayne was there and it's she who figures out that they were killed by Team Dark as punishment for their failures.

She therefore logically concludes that no precautions are necessary when visiting imprisoned BA members in her own dungeon!

It's almost as if she's related to Gawyn. Oh wait...
William Fettes
75. Wolfmage
73. forkroot
(This blade also has the interesting property of not being able to harm the *Finn.)
Huh? I thought it was just that all weapons didn't hurt the 'Finn. Hence, the reason you need iron. I think the blade of Mat's ashandarei is just a normal power wrought steel blade.

Re: Finn ter'angreal

Interesting debate.

I don't know whether the Finn can make stuff or not. At first glance it might seem a little artificial to suppose they can impant memories, and prey on Aes Sedai powers, but not create the super-rare or unique ter'angreal they grant to others. But it could be. We know they have an ability and appetite to inhale and feed off sensations, emotions and experiences. So it's somewhat suggestive that they are like inter-dimensional cognitive parasites that exist on the margins of reality to feed off the table scraps of human consciousness.

Also, we know the source of their human memories is visitors, so why not ter'angreal too? It's always possible their devices are brought from Randland or other worlds connected to the Finn dimension, and they simply lift them off their corpses or perhaps enslave the unwary into making them. This would also explain why they don't seem to use magic when not bound by the Treaty.
Thomas Keith
76. insectoid
macster @71:
It's been so long since TGH she's probably forgotten all about the Ways, and it's not as if Mat or Rand has told her about the gate in the city. Plus if Rand had, he'd have told her he had it guarded, so...
Good point.

Re: Dyelin. I can't believe that she'd be a Darkfriend; she seems to me one of the most likable nobles in the series. And, as you quoted, RJ's comparison of her to Cincinnatus is supportive of her Light-sidedness.

JLevy @74:
She therefore logically concludes that no precautions are necessary when visiting imprisoned BA members in her own dungeon!

It's almost as if she's related to Gawyn. Oh wait...

Birgit F
77. birgit
Interview: Sep 2nd, 2005
DragonCon Report - Isabel (Paraphrased)
Matt Hatch
The Snakes and Foxes seem to have a lot of powers. Do they also have the Power?
Robert Jordan
Stefan Mitev
78. Bergmaniac
Macster @71 "Also thewindrose makes a good point that the plan was likely made precisely to coincide with the play so that no one would be around to stop it, meaning it isn't merely bad timing; and Elayne should have taken that into account. "
Now this is really reaching. What does the play got to do with the number of guards in the dungeon? There are more than enough of them to guard both, and the guardwomen who were at the play are Elayne's personal bodyguards, they don't take shifts as prison guards. And it's not like Elayne was visiting the dungeons often before.

" The issue isn't that she didn't guess something could go wrong in her own dungeons, it was that she a) didn't plan for if it did go wrong a) didn't plan for if it did go wrong b) didn't take anyone else with her c) didn't tell anyone what she was doing (and in fact deliberately made sure Birgitte wasn't around to stop her) and d) her orders to the Kinswomen and guards practically guaranteed that if anything went wrong, no one would be able to help her because she'd told them to ignore whatever they heard in the cell."

a)Why was there a need for a plan? If Chesmal realised she was not a Forsaken, so what? She's still shielded against a strong channeller holding saidar. Elayne leaves,and that's it.
b)how would she explain someone else? The Forsaken are too arrogant for bodyguards.
d)nothing dangerous could happen in the cell if nobody from outside had intervened. Chesmal was shielded, plus Elayne was carrying Mat's medallion anyway.

"If they'd gone to get help when they heard strange noises, they could have prevented the breakout or at least not gotten killed." - how do you figure? They were told to ignore strange noises coming from Chesmal's cell, But obviously Jaq Lounalt didn't come from there. When he and the 2 BA came to this cell, the Kin and guards were already dead. Otherwise there's no reason to release the shield on Chesmal and for Elayne not being able to sense the Kin women.
Benjamin Moldovan
79. benpmoldovan
Elayne impersonating a FS reminds me of an excellent episode of Veronica Mars. In this class, half played prisoners with knowledge of a bomb, and half played cops/interrogators. Torture didn't work - they refused to talk or to give correct information. One of them finally got the info by fooling the prisoners. It's actually a very brilliant idea, if not so brilliantly executed in Elayne's case. But reading everyone's arguments, I can't think how she could have done it differently - it was spur of the moment, and it wasn't her fault that her warder happened to be out on the town at the time. Maybe Birgitte would have just gotten killed if she had been there. I don't know.

Ben M.
Rob Munnelly
80. RobMRobM
Hey - DragonCon peeps. I just heard the coolest thing. One of my favorite non-genre websites is Fark.com, which aggregates funny news articles across a host of subject matters and has a huge website community that suggests the stories and comments on them in forums (kind of like Tordotcom). Anyway, the Fark community periodically schedules meet ups and I just saw that they are having one at DragonCon.

If you're not familiar with Fark.com, I suggest you go to the site and have a few laughs. Give thought to whether your schedule will permit having a drink with the farkers. I won't be there but thought you'd want to know.

To find details, look at main page of fark.com for Wednesday at a FARK party link about one quarter of the way down the page.

William Carter
81. wcarter
@72 I don't know for sure that the Medallion was made during the breaking. But I do have a load of evidence to support my theory. Also I stress that I believe that the medallion was made during the breaking because there was a considerable drain of knowledge and power after.

1. Cadusane and Nyneave both have battle sets of angreal and ter'angreal that among other things: interfere with channeling in a manner similar to if not identical Mat's, point out the direction of a channeler, provide a "well" for stedding and of course tha angreal/sa'angreal amplify channeling strength. Cads explained to Nyneave that the sets were made during the breaking for female channelers to use when they were not only hunting down scores of insane male Aes Sedi, but litteraly cound't trust each other.

2. If the disruption terangreal were made before the breaking, why aren't there more of them? We've seen at most three (and we aren't sure they all work the same way). The Aes Sedi don't like to mess with their terangreal but they have studied them. In 2,500 +/- years someone would have noticed if one dissolved weaves.

3. Cyndane---Lanfear---didn't know what Nyneave's was when Alvia was wearing it at the cleansing. If something that powerful had existed in terangreal form prior to the breaking a major player in the War of the Shadow would have known. All the Forsaken certainly feard golems, why not ordinary men with the same ability.

4. We know that there were other things invented after the breaking. The warder bond, The adam, and the unwilling channeling circle used by the Black Ajah being the examples that come to my mind immediately.

Even if my theory is wrong, or it was the Finn who created the medallion, my point about it being exceedingly rare--and therefore far beyond and ordinary temptation--remains valid.
Roger Powell
82. forkroot
Yeah, I had forgotten that anything that is isn't pure iron won't harm the Finns - your correction is duly noted. It's curious that steel (which is about 98% iron) doesn't hurt them.

With that correction noted, I suppose it's possible that the Finn collected the power-wrought blade of the ashandarei from a previous adventurer, and just remanufactured the shaft. Of course there's still the question of whatever enchantment was placed on the ashandarei that gave it the "magical exit cutter" property - but since that property pertains to Finnland physics, it seems well within the Finns capabilities.

Per birgit@77's reference to RJ's interview, we know that that Finns cannot touch the OP directly. This begs the question of how they might fulfill certain requests though. If they truly can grant "three wishes", so to speak, then how would they handle a wish that required them to channel?

For that matter, how would they handle something like "I want a Maseratti in my garage?" - I doubt they have a Maseratti kicking around in inventory (ridiculous example, but substitute any arbitray WoT object for the car.)

In the end we must assume that, lacking the powers of the Creator himself, there are just certain wishes that the Finns can't grant. Presumably they disavow such during the bargaining phase.
83. desertpaladin
d) her orders to the Kinswomen and guards practically guaranteed that if anything went wrong, no one would be able to help her because she'd told them to ignore whatever they heard in the cell. If they'd gone to get help when they heard strange noises, they could have prevented the breakout or at least not gotten killed.
Ok, just felt the need to comment on this because I've seen this mentioned a few times and nobody's pointed out a potential flaw in the logic. In order for Elayne's plan to work she had to keep everybody else out of the dungeons with her. Not just so that her cover wasn't blown, but also so that nobody popped in and tried to slip a sword/dagger/one power enema into her. Her plan hinged on her portraying a forsaken to get intel. If she didn't tell the Kin to stay out, they barge in and see her creepy ass forsaken disguise and try to kill her. At best the shield her and the whole plan goes awry, at worst they still her, or the chaos that ensues gives the imprisoned ones a chance to escape.

Now why didn't she tell them all the plan you might ask? Simply put, who can she really trust at this point? To tell the guards/kin would be to again risk the plan not working.

Was the plan foolhardy? Of course, its Elayne. But laying the deaths of the guards at her feet seems a little over the top.
Tess Laird
84. thewindrose
From Terez's Database on the 'finn:
Interview: Jul 19th, 2005 TOR Questions of the Week Part III (Verbatim) Week 1 Question Are the Eelfinn limited in their power to grant wishes? To what degree can they affect the outside world? Also, is there any relation between what the Aelfinn do and Min's ability?

Robert Jordan Oh, yes, there definitely are limits to the powers of the Eelfinn. For one thing, they cannot affect the outside world at all. If you said that you wanted to be King of the World, you might well find that what you received was not what you expected. For example, they might put you out of their world into a world with no other sentient life, where you would be king by default. Then again, you might find yourself with the necessary skills to make yourself King of the World, if you were able. Actually achieving it would be up to you. But then, many of their "gifts" are skewed in this way. You must be very careful as you're asking if you want to receive what you are hoping for. And yet, remember that Mat actually did receive very much what he asked for. Just not in the way that he wanted.
No, there is no connection between what the Aelfinn do and what Min does.
Also, this one is relevent to the discussion of where do they get the items of Power:
Matt Hatch ...so Lanfear, the theory goes, that maybe she was accentuated from a beauty and/or power perspective by going to the Finnland previously...
Brandon Sanderson ...ok...
Matt Hatch ...would the Finns have the ability to accentuate someone’s beauty and/or quantity or access to the One Power through their own capabilities and talents?
Brandon Sanderson Yes, but it might involve third party ter’angreal, angreal, this sort of thing...
Matt Hatch ...so, they don’t have power to affect the soul’s capability of increasing its total channeling?
Brandon Sanderson Certainly not permanently, as far I understand, that is outside the realm of their ability…
Matt Hatch ...from a beauty perspective can they affect the outer body of some individual?
Brandon Sanderson I would say that, yes they can, but they may have to be using some type of ter’angreal or...
Matt Hatch ...some item of power?
Brandon Sanderson Some item of power, something like that...of which they have great stores...
Matt Hatch ...Really...heh, so the obvious question, where did the Finns get great stores of ter’angreal, angreal, and is that part of the Pact they made.?
Brandon Sanderson RAFO...but if you just think about it, we don’t even have to go to the notes for this if you think about it logically, we know of them providing certain items of power to certain individuals that they were able to match very nicely with certain requests very easily. If you run the statistics on that its either a huge coincidence or they have very many to choose from.
So it really doesn't go into exactally where they get the items - but they don't make them. BTW - this interview question was on Lanfear and the possibilty that she received some items to accentuate her beauty/power.

Alice Arneson
85. Wetlandernw
*sigh* 50 more comments to read, and no time to read, much less respond. *sigh*

Just popped in to apologize to macster. You're right, Elayne did send a message to the Kin; in context, we can assume it had something to do with "pay no attention to the strange noises inside the cell." I was reading and responding too fast, and skimmed over the bit where the Kin were following their "odd" orders.

I'm betting that Lounalt had planned for them - as in, taking them out - and their orders to ignore the strange noises inside the cells wouldn't affect that. It's also possible that their orders included something about guards coming, which allowed L&Co. to get closer before attacking them, but... we really don't know. We can speculate either way, but I'm inclined to think that they were goners via the breakout plan and Elayne's caper didn't change that one way or the other. I guess as usual, I'm giving the character the benefit of the doubt, since we can't prove it either way. Just call me DA. Or GA.
Valentin M
86. ValMar
Ufff, this Alfin Elfin stuff is so confusing it's making my head hurt, despite my famous intelligence! Fortunately there are folks here who do the dirty work* and help make things clearer, including digging up quotes from the authors. I remember finding Alf hilarious as a child.

* by "dirty work" I mean here: stuff that a reader finds relatively boring/not very interesting, and/or doesn't understand well, etc, but is important for the story and for the reader's understanding and enjoyment of said story.
For me such "stuff" includes, besides Alf and Elfs, Tal'... bugger it- the Dream World stuff particularly with Perrin in it, Male-Female channeler linking ratios (I mean working with the power ;-)), etc.
William Fettes
87. Wolfmage
thewindrose @ 84

Thanks for the quotes. The reference to 'third party' is certainly suggestive that tghe 'Finn don't make them though BS doesn't say it outright.

The store must be vast indeed. It's interesting that Mat's medallion and his ashandarei have customisations that are related to the 'Finn (ie. Foxhead, ravens, and shaft text) which is in tension with the idea of a generic storehouse. It seems they have some control or influence over production or the types and form of items they do acquire otherwise it is too concidental.
Alice Arneson
88. Wetlandernw
Well, I daresay I’m going to repeat some other folks’ comments here, but I’m still going to just go through the comments and… comment. If there’s an echo, we’ll just talk about great minds and suchlike.

KiManiak @44 – I think you’re being more than a little over-hard on Elayne regarding the fake medallion. Here’s exactly the extent of what she thinks:
Could she, perhaps, give one of the copies to Mat? He'd never know, since he couldn't channel himself. . . .

No, she thought, squashing that temptation before it could fly too high. She had promised to return Mat's medallion, and she would. Not some copy that didn't work as well.
She thinks later about the possibility of getting him to grant her more time with it, but the truth is, she immediately refused the temptation to give Mat a copy instead of the original. In her situation, she’d have to be completely unthinking to not at least be tempted by the possibility; after all, the inability to channel while wearing it wouldn’t hamper Mat any more than it would Birgitte or the other Guardsmen she contemplated giving copies. Anyone in their right mind would be tempted to do it. But she didn’t “consider the alternative” as you accuse her of doing – she squashed the temptation as soon as she recognized it, for the sole reason that she had promised to return it to Mat. (See also hawkido @48.)

Re: Egwene – You’re quite right that she wasn’t pissed off about being awakened – she was furious that her trap had been visibly and obviously sprung by the one person who keeps claiming that he wants to help her. Her anger was all about two things: He claimed to want to be her Warder, but refused to obey her direct orders; and he sprang a trap she had worked hard to set, making it impossible to expect the trap to ever work on the one for whom it had been prepared. While I totally give Gawyn a pass on rushing in to check on her (since he didn’t know anything about traps and he just saw a super-stealth assassin lurking in the vicinity of her quarters), I also fully understand her frustration re: his stomping around in his size 12s making a mess of her plans. And the truth is, if he hadn’t happened along right then, the assassin might well have been caught in her trap and given her proof positive that there was someone besides Mesaana to worry about.

Could it have been avoided? Maybe. If Egwene trusted Gawyn enough to tell him something like, “Look, I have reliable evidence that Mesaana is lurking around the Tower and wants to kill me. I’m setting traps, and I don’t want you to spring them accidentally; I don’t want to warn her, and I don’t want you hurt by them. Please stay away from the vicinity of my rooms so my trap has a chance of working.” Then he could have known that she was not completely a sitting duck for assassins, and he could have asked (and she could have verified, obviously!) that the trap would catch non-channelers as well as Forsaken. But that would have required both communication and trust, and neither of them has given the other much reason (or opportunity) for either.

(Why did I have to be a born member of the Grey Ajah? I can so easily see why Egwene didn’t trust him enough to tell him, but at the same time I can also quite readily see why he did exactly what he did. It would be so much easier if one of them were merely being stupid and obviously deserved all the blame, but they’re both completely believable. Also completely frustrating. And I think I mostly repeated what macster said, just in different words. Hopefully.)

Bergmaniac @47 – Obviously, I agree with you on Elayne’s plan. It was sheer bad luck (in book) that her intimidation/interrogation of Chesmal happened at exactly the same time that Lounalt was in the process of breaking the BA & DFs out of there. Also – more foreshadowing FTW! I’d forgotten that…

insectoid @49 – As you noticed, all Chesmal said was that Andor was going to be invaded. There’s a whole lot of Andor, so I’m not sure why it’s “stupid” not to assume that means Caemlyn itself. After all, the Waygate is guarded, and talk of invading Andor is far more naturally going to be interpreted as coming from somewhere else across the borders. In fact, at some point she talks about strengthening the borders in preparation for this exact event. In light of what we learn later, it’s easy for us to say she should have known, but did any readers honestly even think at this point that Trollocs might come through the well-guarded Waygate to invade Caemlyn? It was set so that it couldn’t be opened from the inside (inner leaf removed), and the outside was guarded. I haven’t heard anyone claim yet that they thought of the Waygate at this point; more people are saying they’d forgotten about it and were blindsided by the info from Verin’s letter. If you want to blame someone, blame Mat for being so stubborn about not trusting Verin. If he’d opened the letter at any time, he could have given it to Elayne so she could prepare; he’d have “done something about it” and still been free to go to the ToG. As it is, no one knew that the local DFs would infiltrate and kill the guards and open the Waygate to the invasion. (No, I don't blame Mat for the invasion, but it's as reasonable to blame him for not opening the letter as it is to blame Elayne for not thinking about the Waygate. )

billiam @50 – FWIW, I’ve always liked Egwene, but I don’t hate Gawyn either. I’d like to smack him sometimes, but mostly I think he acts in relatively normal, rational ways – or as normal and rational as he can, given the mushroom treatment he suffered for so long. That’s the one thing that gets me about the way Egwene treats him - although since she doesn’t really know that much about what he’s been through, she wouldn’t realize she’s giving him the same. Still, no guy is going to function well in a scenario where he’s expected to follow orders he’s pretty sure are flawed, where no one will tell him anything about why they might be good orders, and no one will listen to his input. Worse, now the person giving the orders is the woman he loves, whose respect and trust he craves more than anything else, and she’s treating him like the proverbial mushroom just like Siuan and Elaida did. I have some hope that when we see them in AMoL, the change that we see later in ToM will continue and grow. IIRC, once Egwene realized that not only was he right about the assassin, but he risked her anger and his life to protect her from a threat she didn’t see, she changed her treatment of (and attitude toward) him. Funny thing is, they were both right. Hmm.

Wolfmage @53 – See? Great minds. ;)

Valmar @55 – See? Great minds.

forkroot @57 – So much other stuff happens in these chapters that we tend to overlook the Ellorien moment, but it was a good one. The two houses were strong allies for a long time, until Rahvin twisted things. I hope (if there’s time) that we get to see Ellorien get an apology and a reveal from Morgase about what really happened; while she was treated awfully in a very successful attempt to alienate all Morgase’s allies, she’s a smart enough woman to figure out how little control Morgase had once she’s convinced that Gaebril was Rahvin. Meanwhile, Elayne’s doing a good job keeping her engaged to (hopefully) get her to a point where she can accept the explanation.

Loialson @58 – Good answer.

birgit @59 – “It is just a plot device to make Min's vision be true after all despite El's foolishness.” I dunno – it totally fits with Hanlon’s character, and at this point they aren’t in the middle of a fight. Elayne is the only Light-sider there, and she’s down. Battle over, Team Dark won – until Chesmal Heals Elayne and gets tricked into taking the copy medallion, when oops! battle NOT over.

hawkido @61 – Good answer.

Freelancer @62 ::applauds::

macster @71 – It occurs to me that a great deal depends on exactly where the Kin were positioned. If they were directly outside the cells of the respective BA they were shielding, you have one scenario; if they were outside the dungeons altogether, you have a very different one. If there’s a block of cells containing the BA and the Kin are inside the dungeon but outside the block, or if they are all together inside the block… However, if the Kin had come running at the strange noises, Elayne would have had to either block them or reveal the fact that they were her people, which would rather have blown the operation.

Also – I seem to have been very bad at reading that afternoon. Anyone got a towel? There’s this egg everywhere, and it's getting in my eyes…

And wasn’t there something about great minds going on up in here? Maybe only partly great, though, because we still don’t agree about Elayne’s culpability for the death of the Kin.

(What? Clearly, the definition of “great mind” means “thinks like me.”)

Jeff S. @72 – RJ specifically stated that the ‘Finn don’t have the One Power.
The Snakes and Foxes seem to have a lot of powers. Do they also have the Power?
I have two questions: can they transmigrate souls? Two: can they hold the soul of an individual they have killed?
No to both.
I’m also reasonably sure, though I can’t find it, that Brandon clearly indicated that the ‘Finn have a fair stash of *angreal. (Since I can’t find it on theoryland, I’m a little worried that this is something he said at a signing I attended but didn’t document properly…) The implication, IIRC, was that over the centuries (or possibly Ages) the ‘Finn have collected a number of angreal, including sa’angreal and ter’angreal, probably because they were carried by people who either left them behind or just… never left. (Like Birgitte in her other life as Jethari Moondancer.) Given Birgitte’s statement that “They like Aes Sedai in particular, for some reason. Perhaps those with the One Power taste like a strong ale,” it’s apparent that a number of AS have gone into their realms, and that would be a logical source for their *greal stash, since they’d be especially reluctant to let the AS go.

RJ also said that the ashandarei came from the AOL.

forkroot @73 – I’d forgotten that the ashandarei blade passed right through the ‘Finn. Good thing he’d banded the shaft with iron, since the blade was something else.

Birgit @77 – See? Great minds.

Bergmaniac @78 – See? Great minds.

(I’m really repeating a lot of people!)

wcarter @81 – While it certainly can’t be proven, I agree that the most logical assumption is that the medallion was made during the Breaking. It could have been earlier; Rand knew about the paralis-net Cadsuane was wearing, which has a similar item. On the other hand, Rand also noted that Cadsuane’s had a few things he didn’t recognize, so I think it’s probable that the invention of a ter’angreal that blocks weaves came after the Strike at SG took out both LTT and all the FS – therefore, technically during the Breaking. Might have still been during the last parts of the War of Power, since it blocks both halves of the Power, but it would definitely have been very late in the war.

Or, as you say, the blocking of both halves might have been a result of the development of factions of equally distrustful channelers during and after the Breaking. It's faintly possible that it was invented during the Trolloc Wars, when the BA was started and some of the AS defected to Team Dark, but if that were the case, there's far less chance that the making would have been lost. (IMO, most of the loss of weaves and skills came between the Strike and the formation of the White Tower - in other words, the Breaking and the immediate aftermath.)

thewindrose @84 – THANK YOU! I knew I’d read that somewhere, and as soon as I saw the first Hatch question I knew where. *sigh* I feel better now.
Jeff Schweer
89. JeffS.
wcarter @ 81
Sorry, I didn't make that clear. I wasn't disputing your evidence at all, it was just the thing that you mentioned about Cyndane triggered an off track thought in my head. I do that sometimes, it's not always successful. which leads me to...

Birgit @ 77 and wetlandernw @88 and others
That's good enough for me. The master has spoken and crazy theory is relegated to the dust bin of history. I knew it was crazy, I just hoped it had some validity. I was leaning toward an on demand wish fufillment factory but from Brandon's quotes we seem to have the universes largest automat. Except instead of paying first, opening the door and pulling out your prize, you have to go through the door first and pay after, but you might not like the price much
Jeff Schweer
90. JeffS.
Oh, since there's been talk of Omelettes and egg everywhere and all, maybe I should change my Icon to Humpty Dumpty... 8^D
Thomas Keith
91. insectoid
Wet @88: No one said you couldn't be Gray Ajah. With all the great minds you seem to be thinking alike to, you could be First Clerk if you wanted. :)

Good points re: Elayne. I guess it's just easier to blame her and Gawyn for doing stupid things than it is to blame Mat? Sure, it isn't very bright in hindsight that Mat didn't open Verin's letter, but still.

*hands Wetlander a towel*

JeffS. @90: I personally like your current icon. Looks like something you'd buy at a Gem Faire. :P

Jeff Schweer
92. JeffS.
Thanks, I have a number of stone eggs actually. Part of the reason I chose it.
I vote for Wetlander to be a sitter for the Gray.
Sandy Brewer
93. ShaggyBella
RED EAGLE GAMES AND JET SET GAMES TO CO-DEVELOP WHEEL OF TIME MOBILE GAMES Malibu, California and Las Vegas, Nevada — August 14, 2012 — Red Eagle Games and Jet Set Games today announced they are collaborating on the development of a mobile game for smartphones and tablets based on Robert Jordan's best-selling fantasy series, The Wheel of Time.
Titled First Banner of the Rising Sun, the game will be a tactical RPG designed to run on smartphones and tablet computers using Apple's iOS and Google's Android operating system software. Exploring the back stories of the published novels, the game will chronicle the desperate days of the Aiel War, when a ragtag unit of old soldiers and stable boys was pressed into action to defend the people of Cairhein from the onslaught of a savage invading army. Players will take command of these soldiers and lead them into battle against an army comprised of the greatest warriors in the world.
Game publisher Red Eagle Games plans to publish a series of video games based on The Wheel of Time on all major platforms.
@88 Wetlandernw

Re: Egwene - I believe it's called "covering all your bases". Egwene in hindsight (up to this point) is more of a situational tactician. Long term plans don't seem to be her forte. It seems as long as there is an ongoing problem to be solved, Egwene performs admirably. She's like House in one sense in that she treats symptoms while trying to actually find the actual ailment. Which modern medicine rarely does nowadays. Imagine Egwene walking around calling everyone liars and idiots because they spend all their time ignoring the ailments right in front of them in favor of the tried and true treatment of symptoms. If the Aes Sedai physicians guess the right answer.... Groovy! If they're wrong... well... that's what insurance is for.

I guess Egwene is sorta like House as long as there's an obvious debilitating ailment to heal. But as soon as it turns into stage 4 cancer she's clueless.

Leaving Gawyn out of the loop knowing he will likely inject himself unknowingly is beyond foolish. It's strategically like sending your best commander to wander around taking as much territory as possible, while setting a trap for an enemy commander and not telling your commander that there is a trap set for the enemy in the middle of your commanders own field of battle.

Being bull headed doesn't excuse that kind of error. And that's beyond the annoying habit of some of our younger channelers believing that they are invincible and need no one to watch their six.

Which is why our spirited leaders need to lean on their less gifted comrades. Rand realized this right away. It's why all the Ash'aman all learn swordplay to guard there own skins as well as their wing mans. It's what Warders are for.

Don't get me wrong, though. The plan was sound. All the way up to not, at least, letting Gawyn know something was going down.

Just my opinion.
James M
95. Otoahhastis
The Snakes and Foxes seem to have a lot of powers. Do they also have the Power?
Was RJ ever known to be duplicitous in his answers to questions that weren't completely specific?
Maybe i'm just overly suspicious, but my first thought on reading that comment was that the questioner didn't ask if the 'Finn had the One Power...

Also, He-Man has the Power! He told me so. :)
Birgit F
96. birgit
Lounalt could easily kill the Kin guarding the prison because he was El's official torturer and had a right to be there.
Craig Jarvis
97. hawkido
@ everyone in the egwene and gawyn discussion...

Not that I am defending Egs... she doesn't really need defending, but she does make mistakes. The question has been posed by a few+ that Egs should have confided with Gawyn more so he wouldn't be bungling her plans. Well, it hasn't been stated as such, but here is the reason I see her as not doing such:

The Wiseone's have informed Egs on more than one occasion that the FS have access to the dream world. I believe RJ confirmed that natural access to T'A'R was a specific attribute the DO was looking for in his generals. Dreamwalkers can peer into peoples dreams and interrogate them. If she confided in Gawyn then she would have to shield his dreams each night, or else risk having Messy find out. Also shielding his dreams might be detected then gawyn would be at risk. There is no proof... but this is what I see as her justification. At it fits the lore and also how Egs would think... it was just never stated in the books. So if you add an interior dialog in one of Egwene's scene's where she thinks this, then her position becomes alittle less troublesome.
Roger Powell
98. forkroot
Jaq Lounalt: "Official Torturer of Andor" - now doesn't that look nice on a business card?

Makes you wonder what other business cards in WoT might look like?

Gawyn Trakand: "First Prince of the Sword (and Official Doofus) of Andor"

Galad Damodred: "Lord Commander of the Children of the Light (and official Prig)"
Kimani Rogers
99. KiManiak
Macster@71- re: Egwene realizing and owning up to her mistakes. Other than Egwene admitting to lying to, deceiving and disobeying the Wise Ones, when has Egwene ever truly admitted that she was wrong about something?

Even later on in ToM with Gawyn (after he nearly dies from saving her from the assassin attempts of the 3 Bloodknives), she doesn’t really admit to her error (outside of her own head, anyway on p597). When she speaks with Gawyn in the aftermath of the assassination attempt (p638-639) there wasn’t any discussion about how she was wrong. She does acknowledge that Gawyn didn’t disobey her and that he saved her life. But admit the error of her ways and ask forgiveness of him? Doesn’t happen.

However, like you, I look forward to her someday doing it. To each of the Superfriends that she owes an apology to (mostly Rand, but Perrin, Mat and Nynaeve deserve a little sugar too).

Re: our discussion in KoD about Elayne’s plan: Okay, I may not be so vague about my recall :-) I’ll say this again (like I, and many others have said before), discussions like that are part of why I love this reread. It was a pretty good one with you and a few other folks who made some rational, detailed arguments in an intelligent and persuasive manner (and those who thought the plan was poor also made rational, detailed arguments). That was fun, I enjoy those times, and I applaud that we can do it yet still be respectful of one another. As for me being charitable, maybe just a little bit. :-) As always, thanks for the fun!

Re: My Amazon.com comparison: You know, about 30 minutes after I posted @63, I considered removing that section, as it had a lot of holes and didn’t really say what I wanted to all that well. The point I was trying to make had to deal with how basic integrity is expected of friends and respected colleagues (and even your average person) in a society such as ours and in Randland. Rulers, leaders, generals and their ilk especially are expected to keep their word when they bargain. I think that point was made to Rand by Cadsuane and the AS (and a crazed Lews Therin) after Rand’s AS emissaries established a bargain in his name with either the Sea Folk or the rebels in Tear, I forget which one. Anyway, I would argue what Elayne did still wasn’t noteworthy, because its expected.

I do agree that we are in a society where we focus on the negative, without often cherishing (or even respecting) when people normally act in a positive manner. It’s sad that we rarely reward everyday, normal behavior, and that you have to do something extraordinarily positive or good in order to receive praise (or even acknowledgement). While if you do one major antisocial action, you are condemned and subject to punishment, and that action can define you. It’s unfortunate that what the average American (I can’t speak for our international friends) newscast or 24 hour news network thinks is most newsworthy tends to be the negative things in life (5 People Died In A 3-Car Crash, Full Story At 11!) to the point where a number of people choose to no longer get a lot of their news from traditional TV newscasts, and instead get it via alternate sources (although I do have a problem with those who cite the Daily Show as their predominant news source).

And boy did I go off on a tangent that is pretty much a topic of its own (and that I’m sure I could probably write paragraphs about). So, to try to bring it back, I don’t think what Elayne did was all that noteworthy. I will grant that she exercised integrity in deciding to uphold her bargain with Mat. I will also grant that it is human nature to consider the alternative; I have no issues with Team Jordan’s writing of her in this scene. They did an excellent job in writing Elayne true to character (because her character almost always frustrates me when it isn’t giving someone a politics lesson).
Kimani Rogers
100. KiManiak
No way! The Hunny!

Wow, I guess sometimes its worth it to be incredibly longwinded. When I started typing my Previous post I was a few posts away from this remarkable achievement.

My first Hunny! I don't know what to say. I want to thank Team Jordan for making this all possible. Leigh, for her posts of course.

My parents...

hey, why are they playing that music?

I'm not done yet....
@97 hawkido

You know that is a sound theory right there. I forget sometimes that we need to think about the field of Intelligence in a different light with such tools as T'A'R and Dreamers around lurking everywhere. The fact that Egwene is a Dreamer does lend credence to her lack of cooperation in sharing her plans with Gawyn.

But I would like to point out though, that there was no indication that his dreams were being spied on by anyone but Egwene. Secondly, it still doesn't excuse her from not take Gawyn in to account when she was forming her plans. Some contingency should have been made in the event that he did become involved, however unexpected and accidentally.

Kimani Rogers
102. KiManiak
Re: the Finns and their *angreal stash: This is actually pretty interesting; I admit I hadn’t given this topic too much thought before. Since RJ made it clear that the Finns can not create *angreal, but that the Finns have a huge stash, we know that they had to get it from others somehow. I agree that the most likely source could have been Aes Sedai who brought these items with them; and gave them to the Finn either in exchange for some wish/information, or the Finns… took the items from the AS (possibly over their dead, One-Power-drained bodies) or other adventurers who had *angreal in their possession.

But… we have just been made aware (in ToM) of another substantial collection of *angreal in Randland. Moridin (or the Dark One) has at least one huge warehouse full of *angreal. What if Moridin (or other minions of the Dark One) played a major role in the Finns acquiring *angreal?

Later on in ToM, we hear Moiraine state that someone came and bargained for Lanfear, or the like. I think it’s fair to assume that that was not the first time Moridin (or an emissary of the Dark One) has worked with the Finns. What if over the 3000 years since the AoL, Moridin has traveled numerous times to the Finns for some purpose or another, and traded objects of the Power for information or wishes? To go one further, what if Moridin has traded some items of the Power for others that he knows the Finn have acquired, over time?

I’m sure that would be a RAFO if posed to Team Jordan; guess I’ll have to wait approximately 5 months or so to see if this theory pans out.

Wet@88 – Oh she of the Great Mind, I agree that I am, on occasion, “over-hard” on Elayne; although in one of my previous posts above I did explain why in this case I was hard on her in this situation. Agreed; she is human, it was human to consider breaking an agreement and screwing over your friend/colleague/ally, and then to realize that to do that would be wrong and unworthy of her, and their relationship.

As for Egwene: I rarely question that her assumptions/rationale don’t/doesn’t have some basis in reality, or rarely would argue that I can’t even a little bit understand why she thought-what-she-thought/did-what-she-did. My issue is almost always with how she treats others (especially those close to her) and why, when she would (and does) expect them to treat her differently in similar circumstances.

In other words, do I get why she’s pissed? Sure. Do I have an issue with how she conducted herself (and treated Gawyn) leading up to and including the actions that led to her being pissed (and the lack of willingness to listen to an explanation immediately thereafter)? You bet.

Oh, and I would recommend you for Head of the Grey Ajah (First Clerk is the title; thanks Insectoid@91!). Although, since I fluctuate between seeing myself as Green, Grey and (very rarely, but when I’m in my “I wonder why this is what it is?” mode) Brown, I don’t know if I would be in a position to actively recommend you.
Alice Arneson
103. Wetlandernw
KiManiak @102 - With my oh-so-great mind (now that I've wiped most of the egg off my face) I should say that I wasn't intending to pile on. I just went through the comments making my responses in a document, and I was being too lazy to go back and delete or modify my already-written comments when someone had made the point or even when the original commenter had made further comments. (Well, a couple times.) So really, we agree except in perspective. You understand why they do what they do, but it annoys you when they do it. I understand why they do it, so it annoys me less for being understandable. I think that's just one of those personality disorders differences. :) In any case, we agree 100% that they are well-written, believably human characters.

Also... I remember all too well being a nineteen-year-old girl; I wasn't made the head of a super-powerful organization, and didn't even have any super-powers of my own, but I still remember all too well what relationships felt like at that age, and I think RJ did an incredible job of writing them accurately. This applies especially to the scene last week, of Egwene & Nynaeve at the testing. I liked Egwene there, partly because I saw some real maturing taking place compared to her earlier (also terribly understandable) behavior in relation to Nynaeve. For that matter, I saw a lot of maturing in Nynaeve, too. So in some ways, I may have more sympathy for the girls because I've been them...
104. gadget
I'm going to go against the grain here and say that while Elayne was a bit fool-hardy, her plan was not that bad. The most she could have done was have Brigette and an extra squad of gaurds outside the cell for added security. Otherwise, it was a faily decent plan that would have worked. Where I really criticize her is that she should have totally owned the whole lot of them, full of the power as she was and as strong as she is in the Power. I guess inexperience does factor into it.
Kimani Rogers
105. KiManiak
Wet@103 - I sometimes forget that tone doesn't translate so well on my posts, and I neglected to place my normal smiley-faces after some comments that could be read more serious (Wait, "seriouser" is acceptable English? Seriously!? That can't be right; I'm sticking with "more serious") than my intent.

Anyway, I didn't think you piled on; I like that many of us on this reread have personality differences (and disorders, too; some may argue we tend to fixate/obsess on these books a little too much). I also appreciate our diversity of experiences, training, expertise, etc. (For example, I thought I had a fairly decent grasp of the Bible as a "layperson," but some of the theological discussions here are waaaay above my head. Interesting to read, though).

Also, based on what we've seen here, I would be inclined to think that you may do a pretty good job as a nineteen-year-old-head-of-a-super-powerful-organization; I'd feel comfortable stating that you'd definitely be above average in comparison to any other nineteen-year old heads. :-)
Sam Mickel
106. Samadai
Interesting thought just popped into my head reading KiManiac comment at 102.

Lanfear stated in The Dragon Reborn ( I think) that only 2 more powerful Sa'angreal exist besides Caalandor. The Choedan Kal, and one other, (though she claims she doesn't know if it still exists) What if it does still exist and Moridin has it? Or what if there is a Ter'angreal created by team dark (during the War of Power) that controls the Sword. If someone who was working behind the scenes as a spy for team light knew the sword was being built, they could sabotage it that way (Team dark has their own prophecies), leave some flaws in it that make it unsafe to be operated alone by a male( so he would have to link with 2 females.)

total bunk most likely, but interesting thought at least
Mikey Bennett
107. EvilMonkey
The second most powerful angreal is at the museum in Tanchio. It's broken. Nanayeve found it in book four
Glen V
108. Ways
The pure iron vs. steel criteria for wounding the *finn has bothered me for a number of years. Notwithstanding the huge variety of types and elemental compositions of steel in real time, I think you are on-point saying that steel is about 98% iron (balance essentially carbon). This would be a good estimate of the compositon of Randland (read "medievel") steel. Some common steels actually contain much less carbon, say >99.5% iron, which is pretty darn pure by medievel standards. These could probably also be fabricated by Randlandians. OTOH, a common form of iron that we call cast iron contains >2% carbon, so there is much less iron present than in some steels; yet it is still called iron. And there lies the conundrum.

Now, I'm not trying to go too far sideways by bringing this up (yeah, right)...but I'm just saying...

(I really don't expect RJ was, or should have been, a consumate metallurgist in addition to his many other accomplishments)
Alice Arneson
109. Wetlandernw
EvilMonkey - Are you talking about the broken access key that Egwene found via Need in TSR ch 11? That's a female one, so it can't be what Lanfear is talking about when (in TSR ch. 9) she says, "There are only two more powerful that a man can use. One at least, I know, still exists." She's speaking in context of not trusting Rand with Callandor yet, so I assume she means two more powerful sa'angreal.

As far as I know, Samadai is correct that we still do not know what Lanfear was referring to other than the Choedan Kal. If she specifically meant sa'angreal, she had to mean the male Choedan Kal and something else. If she meant ter'angreal, she could have been referring to two different access keys for the Choedan Kal, but I don't think that makes as much sense in context. I think (fear?) Samadai is correct, that Moridin may have the other super-powerful sa'angreal. As Ishamael, he had more access to the world in the past 3000 years than anyone else, and knowing what it was would probably have made every effort to get hold of it. As Moridin, we know he has quite a collection, so it's at least probable that it's there.
Thomas Keith
110. insectoid
KiManiak @100:
I'm not done yet....
That's right, you haven't thanked the Academy yet. :P

Ways @108: I agree 100%; that had me puzzled too. You'd think that anything with a large amount of iron in it would work. Oh well...

Wet @109: Like the theory about the "Ring of Tamyrlin" from awhile back. An unsettling thought, for sure.

Mikey Bennett
111. EvilMonkey
I could be wrong since it's been awhile for me reading shadow rising, but I thought Nana touched it just before her confrontation with Moggy. It gave her an uncontrolled power feedback loop. And it's in one of Moggy 's POV s that identifies the object as the broken angreal.
Alice Arneson
112. Wetlandernw
One thing actually seemed familiar, though she could not say why. Tucked into a corner of one of the cabinets, as if whoever put it there was uncertain that it was worthy of display, lay the upper half of a broken figure carved from some shiny white stone, a woman holding a crystal sphere in one upraised hand, her face calm and dignified and full of wise authority. Whole, she would have been perhaps a foot tall. But why did she appear so familiar? She almost seemed to call to Egwene to pick her up.

Not until Egwene’s fingers closed on the broken statuette did she realize she had climbed over the rope. Foolish, when I don’t know what it is, she thought, but it was already too late.

As her hand grasped it, the Power surged within her, into the half-figure then back into her, into the figure and back, in and back. The crystal sphere flickered in fitful, lurid flashes, and needles stabbed her brain with each flash. With a sob of agony, she loosed her hold and clasped both hands to her head.
That’s from TSR Chapter 11, when Egwene webt to Tanchico in TAR to search with Need. When Nynaeve was searching in TAR (chapter 52) and in the flesh (chapter 54), the only items she interacted with were the sad bracelets and the Seal. And Moghedien, of course.

ETA: for what it's worth, it was Egwene who saw the Mercedes-Benz symbol, too, and I could have sworn it was Nynaeve. Oh well.
Steve Barkmeier
113. sbark
Ways and Forkroot

Steel is an alloy of iron and carbon. Alloys often have very different properties than the componant metals. For instance, bronze doesn't share much in common with tin or copper. Even though steel contains such a high proportion of iron, it behaves much differently than iron. For example, it is much more elastic than iron. It's also much harder.
Glen V
114. Ways
Of course you are correct about the properties of an alloy differing from the properties of its component elements. My point was only that some compositions called steel actually have a greater iron content than some compositions called iron (i.e. cast iron, like an engine block).

So, if Mat threw a 289 Ford short block at a *finn, would it have any effect? (The prospect has me ROFL.) More appropriately: What about a cast iron knife, if such were practical to make? It's just a question about the purity necessary to achieve the desired outcome. (Sorry, it's the "engineer" in me.)

I think most who noticed this (apparent) inconsistency are willing to forgive it without further ado.
Glen V
115. Ways
But a discussion of the iron-carbon phase diagram could be on the agenda in the bunker sessions at JCon - over a glass of wine.
Thomas Keith
116. insectoid
Ways @114: I'm ROFLing too... XD

Jonathan Levy
117. JonathanLevy
If (Egwene) confided in Gawyn then she would have to shield his dreams each night, or else risk having Messy find out.
I'm not sure much of a danger this really is, since finding a specific person's dreams is a very difficult task. No-one's been poking into Min's dreams, and she knows quite a bit. Also, I'm pretty sure being a Warder means your dreams are also warded via your Aes Sedai, so bonding Gawyn should take care of that problem.

That said, Lanfear once told Rand she could break the wards on his dreams. Hmm...

Other than Egwene admitting to lying to, deceiving and disobeying the Wise Ones, when has Egwene ever truly admitted that she was wrong about something?
Ha. Good question. Does changing her mind about the Three Oaths count?

Since RJ made it clear that the Finns can not create *angreal, but that the Finns have a huge stash, we know that they had to get it from others somehow
Oh that's easy, it's a result of the Great Aiel Wagon Chain-Accident of '54 A.B., when they discovered why it's a bad idea to put the wagon with the redstone doorway first in line.


Strictly speaking, that's just a ter'angreal to access the Choedan Kal, so we've already counted it, which implies there might still be another one.

Ah, 109. She-of-great-mind got there ahead of me :)
118. Freelancer
gadget @104

Before I get started, a reminder that Elayne was not prepared to permit the torture of Chesmal in the dungeon, which left her in a conundrum about getting useful information from her. This is why she concocted the plan to masquerade in the first place. After that, a number of factors conspired to make this surprise assault difficult for Elayne to overcome alone. The physical attacks by first Lunault, causing her to lose her gateway, and then Mellar, causing her to lose her grasp of saidar. The medallions, the copy of which Elayne uses to cause Chesmal to lose the shield on her, and the real one which blocks her attempt to incinerate Mellar, add to the chaos. Mellar slaying Temaile and Eldreth seems a little extreme, as it occurs while Elayne is not holding the advantage in the confrontation, and it gives Elayne fewer contenders to focus upon.

The net result of the entire event, for as much as many readers wish to chastise Elayne, is a significant positive for Team Light. Elayne did learn more about the interaction of the forsaken with Black sisters and other darkfriends; Lunault and Mellar are uncovered as agents for the shadow; three troublesome BA sisters are dead; it can be reasonably supposed that one or more among those darkfriends is responsible for murdering the Kinswomen in the Palace, so those deaths will have come to an end; the deaths of Kinswomen and guards this night would have happened whether Elayne had chosen that time to visit the dungeon or not, but since she did, no Black sister went free; oh, and if she remembers to act upon it, the pending invasion of Andor. Bad luck for Elayne that they chose that same time to retrieve Chesmal, worse luck for them that Elayne chose that same time to question her.

For a five-on-one fight against three channelers, a seasoned and cold-blooded mercenary, and a killer spy, Elayne comes away relatively victorious, less Mellar gaining a copy Medallion. Not much of a fail, overall.

re: Iron v Steel

Most assuredly, Jordan wouldn't have ignored that steel and iron might be considered so close in composition to one another, but close from one perspective might be a very distant from another. Many behavioral properties of un-forged iron are changed on the way to becoming steel. The chemical doping of bi-valent iron by quatri-valent carbon permits a far denser lattice structure, lending steel it's tighter grain, smoother finish, greater resistance to corrosion, and improved tensile strength. Including alkaline elements such as sodium/magnesium to quenching water used in the forging will impart additional structural changes to the resultant steel. All that, to say that while iron is yet the majority component of steel, it is absolutely no longer iron. Without knowing the specific property of iron which is harmful to the 'Finn, there is no valid foundation for claiming that steel should perform even remotely like it upon them.

To further make this case, in the solid-state electronics world, the primary substrate materials are either silicon (a quatri-valent non-metal) or germanium (a quatri-valent weak metal). Each is a very strong resistor to electrical conductivity in it's pure, crystalline form. When heated to the melting point, and doped with a 10ppm infusion of either gallium (a tri-valent weak metal) or arsenic (a penta-valent non-metal), the silicon/germanium crystal lattice is no longer a resistor, but a semi-conductor capable of very well-controlled attributes. A 10ppm doping means 0.001% of gallium or arsenic. In relation, a 0.5% ~ 2.0% infusion of carbon to iron in forged steel is a huge change in the composition.

Just saying.
Roger Powell
119. forkroot
it can be reasonably supposed that one or more among those darkfriends is responsible for murdering the Kinswomen in the Palace, so those deaths will have come to an end;
Actually Careane was responsible for the Kin deaths and those deaths stopped after Vandene killed her. Elayne noted that back in chapter 17 of this book.

That said, Lanfear once told Rand she could break the wards on his dreams. Hmm...
Really? I had forgotten (or not noticed that.) Interesting in light of the upcoming Epilogue.
Oh that's easy, it's a result of the Great Aiel Wagon Chain-Accident of '54 A.B., when they discovered why it's a bad idea to put the wagon with the redstone doorway first in line.
LOL! That one really tickled my funny bone! Well done!
Thomas Keith
120. insectoid
JLevy @117:
That said, Lanfear once told Rand she could break the wards on his dreams. Hmm...
An interesting thought, considering she shows up in the Epilogue in (what we presume is) Rand's dream. So, did she really break in, or is this another strange connection (possibly via Moridin)? Too bad we have to WAFO...
Oh that's easy, it's a result of the Great Aiel Wagon Chain-Accident of '54 A.B., when they discovered why it's a bad idea to put the wagon with the redstone doorway first in line.
Picturing that wreck is making me bust up laughing. And it makes me think of what would happen if someone had, say, dropped a banana peel near one of the doorways... XDD

Free @118: Good point re: chemical changes to iron.
Re: semiconductors: True; and that's not counting all the other weird stuff they dope gallium with, like indium and nitrogen. But I probably don't need to tell you that. ;)

With knives, flexibility isn't as great an issue than with a sword. Knives are either tools for cutting with it's edge or stabbing or slashing as a weapon. There tensile strength isn't an issue, because of what they are used for. Bone, stone, wood or metal and now carbon fiber can be used to make a knife for weaponry and will do just fine as long as they don't encounter something it cannot penetrate. Which is partially the reason for swords in the first place. Beyond reach, swords weight and length lend well to penetrating armored opponents as they hammer through light armor, as well as being better suited to slide their points between plates of armor.

Beyond that, everyone seems to be quite correct about the metallurgy of steel. I would only add that there are numerous kinds of steel. Tool steel, for instance, is contains very high amounts of carbon as they need to be particularly hard. They usually have very little else but iron and carbon, with the exception of tungsten, so that they rust very easily and so tend to be packed and wrapped with a light oil applied to the metals surface.

Sword steel on the other hand, has all kinds of things going on. They'll have vanadium, nickel, silicon and many other substances in dozens and dozens of combinations. They almost never contain chromium, thus the need to oil them. Stainless steel of course has good amounts of chromium and nickel for their innate resistance to rust. Knife steel tends toward the hard side and has a lot in common with tool steel, with high amounts of tungsten. But they also have trace amounts of chromium and nickel as we tend to like our knives shiny and rust resistant. The reasons for a lack of chromium in most sword steels is that they tend to be weak in tensile strength and if tungsten or magnesium is added for strength they tend toward being brittle and are prone to shattering when struck hard.

Regardless of all of that, I think RJ's inclusion of pure iron as a weapon against the Finn, probably has something to do with his love of Gaelic mythology. In short the old myths mention True Iron or Cold Iron or even Cold Steel as a weapon against the Fae. The myth has been used in many a book, written by many a writer. Why? I have no earthly clue. But in RJ's case I suppose this is another origin myth come to play its role, while it rolls about, twisting and turning until we no longer know its origins or its true meanings. All as it changes through the revolutions of the Wheel of Time.

I went into that a little more than I intended, so I'll stop here. Sorry!

Jonathan Levy
122. JonathanLevy

On breaking Rand's wards, here's the conversation he had with Lanfear (TFoH:6):
"You ward your dreams against me."
"Against everyone." That was simple truth, though she was at least as prominent in the list as the Wise Ones.

"Dreams are mine. You and your dreams are mine especially." Her face remained smooth, but her voice hardened. "I can break through your warding. You would not like it."
This suggests she can do it, but that there would be unpleasant side effects. I'm not sure how well this fits with the ToM Epilogue.

And it makes me think of what would happen if someone had, say, dropped a banana peel near one of the doorways... XDD
We had one of Kadere's workmen fall halfway through in early TFoH. Gave him a bit of a fright. :)
Just to let you know how crazy the composition of any given steel can be, check this out.

V .36%
Cr 8.25%
Fe 87.79%
Co .95%
Ni .74%
Mo 1.3%
C .5%
N .11%


Edit - @Valmar

Yep, your right. I just pasted it on there. Didn't even notice that iron was already there. It was late. Really late.

Valentin M
124. ValMar
ZEXXES @ 123

I think you need to edit out the last line.

JL @ 117

Great Aiel Wagon Chain-Accident- LOL!

Freelancer @ 118

I also think that on balance the outcome of Elayne's action was positive. Particularly given the record of imprisonment of DFs so far. Wouldn't their oaths make torture useless for info gathering from the BA?

All this talk of the complexity of steel made me wonder about how did pre-modern era blacksmiths managed it? Those works one can see in museums seem even more impressive to me now.
Jay Dauro
125. J.Dauro
I still wonder why the darkfriend channelers (OK Elayne, I won't call them Aes Sedai) are not just stilled when you are sure they are Black.

Elayne knows that BA appear to have a Oath against revealing information that will harm the BA. (This is confirmed by Verin for us, but only to Egwene, still Elayne does have some knowledge that applies.) She also knows that stilling breaks the Oaths on the Oath Rod. (From Siuan and Leane.) Looking back at the Stone of Tear, Amico (who was stilled) gave information that was confirmed and timely, Joiya gave information that was less useful, and possibly too late to help.

So as a conjecture, stilling a BA could release her from her oaths, and reduce her threat level.

Elayne has watched Chesmal use the power to kill. So she can start by stilling Chesmal and questioning her. This should soon lead to all of them being stilled, and that's a good thing for the Light.

OK, I know this is against Tower law. But so was taking their rings.
126. Freelancer
The point I was making, backing it up with some technical data, is that steel is, for many purposes, no longer iron. So, concerns that steel should be able to harm the 'Finn as iron does, or that the author erred in not considering such, are unfounded.
@124 ValMar.

The steel composition I posted above actually happens to be one of the rare instances where chromium is used in modest amounts for sword steel. It is a very rare formula and is patented. Despite the brittle properties of Cr this steel has a high tensile strength and yet still has a hardness of 63 HRC. It can spring back to true from 38° of bend (if you have the arm strength) , is tough and holds an edge very well. It can be easily sharpened, though one must know the proper way to sharpen this particular steel. Since it has Cr within its make up it can be brought to a very fine polish. Though I have yet to see anyone attempt a mirror finish as the steel is very hard and thus would take quite a bit of time to get there. To date no one has managed to shatter this steel. And BELIEVE me, it has been tried. I have tried as well. I failed. Almost took my leg off, too.*stupid* This steel can get scary sharp. Put it this way- this isn't a test the edge with your finger, kind of sharp.

(different steels have different sharpening behaviors and thus some knowledge about the metal is needed. A lot of people think their knife sucks because it won't hold an edge, when in fact they don't know how to sharpen that particular steel, with angle being the usual culprit. Hardness is a factor as well. )

Anyway, we may have had enough of that line of conversation and so...

Glen V
128. Ways
Ahhh, this is totally excellent. It's clear we have plenty of engineers/chemists/metallurgists playing in here. We can have some truly fascinating discussions in the bunker at JCon over a glass of wine (or whatever).

Let's assume for now that a cast-iron knife - with 2+% carbon content - wouldn't help Mat much when facing the *finn.

I agree with Zex that we maybe we should move on.

With that in mind...
JL @117:
I'm not sure much of a danger this really is, since finding a specific person's dreams is a very difficult task. No-one's been poking into Min's dreams, and she knows quite a bit. Also, I'm pretty sure being a Warder means your dreams are also warded via your Aes Sedai, so bonding Gawyn should take care of that problem.
Egwene pretty easily found and broke into Gawyn's dreams way back when, IIRC; maybe also Nyn finding Rand's. (Please correct if I'm off-target here, didn't check) The Warder bond conferring protection, provided your AS wards their own dreams, is food for thought. That probably wouldn't help much, though, if a skilled dreamwalker (like Lanfear or even Messy) wanted to break in - as noted upthread. Egwene could have offered Gawyn a very basic explanation like "I could tell you, but then I'd have to kill you it wouldn't be a secret any longer, and this MUST be kept under wraps." However, the rest of that plot arc may have had to change as a result since Gawyn may not have departed and come back to the WT at a crucial moment. Who can say?

As to Min's dreams...I'm thinking some of Team Dark may be aware of her abilities, and maybe the viewing info could be useful to them. So why hasn't one of them gone after her dreams? Possibly because being bonded to Rand, who we know wards his dreams, confers protection, and the Forsaken don't want to mess with the DR on this level. Well, except for Lanfear breaking into his dream in the Epilogue to beg for help. That's a different situation entirely, which may be a counter-example to her earlier statement about him not liking the result.

Great Aiel Wagon Chain-Accident - awesome!
Alice Arneson
129. Wetlandernw
Freelancer @118 - you reminded me of something I kept forgetting to say, which you mostly said...

If Elayne had not gone to the dungeons that night, the Kin and guards would have died; Mellar, Shiaine, Chesmal, Eldrith, Marillin, Falion and Temaile would all have been freed, and Lounalt would have remained unexposed in Elayne's employ.

As a result of her presence, Lounalt was exposed and killed, and only two of the five BA escaped. The one negative that can be blamed on her is the loss of the medallion copy. (I'm pretty sure she would consider the following week's bedrest a negative too, but the lesson about Min's vision not exactly ensuring her complete safety was more than adequate balance IMO.) While Mellar may get some protection from the medallion copy, there's also the probability that at some point it will backfire on a channeler again, so that loss may turn out to be a net positive as well.
Charles Gaston
130. parrothead
ZEXXES @ 121 is correct; cold iron is the preferred material for confronting elves/fairies (their Gaelic names should look familiar: aes sídhe, Tuatha de Danaan). As for why, one theory is that it is the memory of real events passed down through oral tradition of an iron-using culture vanquishing an earlier culture that used only bronze or stone.
Birgit F
131. birgit
Egwene pretty easily found and broke into Gawyn's dreams way back when, IIRC; maybe also Nyn finding Rand's.

Eg was drawn into Gawyn's dream because she loved him. Ny cannot enter anyone's dreams, she can only use the ter'angreal to go to TAR. Eg did find Rand's dreams, but cannot enter because of his wards.
Jonathan Levy
132. JonathanLevy
Egwene pretty easily found and broke into Gawyn's dreams way back when, IIRC;
Egwene and Gawyn are an exception - there love so strong actually pulled Egwene into his dream against her will. Egwene was able to find the dreams of some of the Wise Ones, after much effort.
The Warder bond conferring protection, provided your AS wards their own dreams, is food for thought. That probably wouldn't help much, though, if a skilled dreamwalker (like Lanfear or even Messy) wanted to break in - as noted upthread.
Keep in mind that Egwene doesn't know the Foresaken can break Dream Wards. This was information conveyed (more precisely, a boast made) by Lanfear to Rand.
As to Min's dreams...I'm thinking some of Team Dark may be aware of her abilities, and maybe the viewing info could be useful to them. So why hasn't one of them gone after her dreams?
Maybe because of the difficulty of identifying another person's dreams. Another problem is this: Which Foresaken are skilled in T'A'R?

Lanfear? She's been gone since TFoH, before Min entered the picture, and since she came back as Cyndane she's been under Moridin's thumb.

Moghedien? She's been busy with Nynaeve, Salidar, Moridin.

Moridin? Previously he was able to find Rand because Rand was ta'veren; I'm not so sure he could find other people. Bah, I'm not sure if this list leads anywhere.
Nadine L.
133. travyl
Really great comments this week. I'm soo late :(

I do like how Gawyn is written, he might be a boob (great joke Sub), but he is a really believable one, and has reasons for what he is doing, even if some of his reasoning can provoke head-injury in certain re-readers.

Re Aelfinn angreal stash:
Really great quotes, but I am not really convinced about the stash and all.
WOT has a thorough fandom, which dissects every word ever written. I know Robert Jordan must have had the whole story in his mind almost from the beginning, and it shows by his great forshadowing-skills. Nevertheless it's natural, if he hadn't considered every plot twist, etc. I don't fault him for inconsistencies deriving from new ideas coming up (like the origin of Mat speaking the old tongue...). I just think that we should consider this, when proving our points with quotes. It is even harder because the change of author, who now has to write in a universe which is not originating in his own imagination ...
That said, I don't really have a theory of my own, and it was great reading the discussion.
Glen V
134. Ways
JL @132
We haven't heard much from Lanfear since she was reconstituted as Cyndane in WH. She could still be stirring up trouble when Ishydin isn't torturing her (ditto Moggy). She apparently finds Rand's dream pretty easily in the ToM Epilogue. Perhaps that's also a special case due to her love for LTT, but I'm betting she could find just about anyone she wanted in the dreamworld (since the presumably less-skilled Egs did manage to find the Wise Ones). And ditto for Moggy again.

Min's viewings were first described (to Rand) in TEotW. Do the Forsaken know of her abilty? It's not clear, but I wouldn't write the possibility off. I'm not sure where this is going either, but it's an interesting line to explore (which, ahem, you started).

Point taken about Egs not knowing that the Forsaken/Lanfear can break dream wards. Then Egs shouldn't have given her secret plans up to Gawyn. It pretty well had to play out the way it did, otherwise the plot arc would have been vastly different. Who is writing these books anyway, us or RJ/BS? *chuckle*
Thomas Keith
135. insectoid
Ways @134:
Min's viewings were first described (to Rand) in TEotW. Do the Forsaken know of her abilty?
Alright then, let's explore. ;) Only a handful of Aes Sedai and a few Wise Ones know about her ability... let's see...

Aside from the Superboys/girls, Siuan, Leane, and Moiraine know. I don't know if Elaida knows, or Sheriam. Verin might know; but would she have passed on that information to the BA if she did? Cadsuane knows about Min's bond, but I don't know if she knows about her viewings. Bryne, Melaine, Rafela, Merana, Harine... the list goes on.

Bottom line: I wouldn't rule out the Dark Side knowing about it, either.

How'd we get on this track anyway? Min, and dream wards, and the 'Finn, and iron... We must have run out of things to blame the Trakand siblings for. :P

Sandy Brewer
136. ShaggyBella
Well, this topic has died on the vine.
Great stuff coming up! I was listening to this weeks chapters, couldn't stop and went quite a bit farther. Can't wait. I had forgotten how much happened in the next chapters.
Kimani Rogers
137. KiManiak
Insecticon@135 – Re: Min’s viewings- I agree that we shouldn’t rule the Dark Side out in regards to being aware of her abilities. If I remember correctly, some knowledge (although nothing too detailed, I believe) of Min’s abilities became fairly well known in Cairhien, to the point where some folks were asking her to tell them their fortune, or the like. Didn’t they refer to her as “Milady Ta’veren?” I think that was her; lately I’ve been a little faulty on my recall from the middle books.

Suffice it to say, Min’s superhuman abilities are not that big of a kept secret. The question is: can the Dark Side access her knowledge in a dream? Would they even care to?

As for picking on the Trakand's some more: I think I've picked on Elayne enough, and actually I kind of have Gawyn's back in this particular episode of "Who's the least annoying: Gawyn or Egwene?"

You want a different track of discussion?


I guess we could always discuss spanking, or whether Tylin raped Mat :-P

:::sprints for the bunker:::
Birgit F
138. birgit
Cadsuane knows about Min's bond, but I don't know if she knows about her viewings.

She knows, though Min often doesn't want to tell her what she sees.
Deana Whitney
139. Braid_Tug
Min: I thought her viewings became common knowledge around the Aiel, but not others. She was called "Milady Ta’veren" becasue of her clothes. All the young noble women wearing pants like her.

Missed the lively steel vs. iron talk. My husband is a hobby blacksmith. He will go on ad nauseum about the different types of tool steels and other metals he works with. So yes, I don’t see the Finns having a problem of being affected by one type of metal, but not it’s alloy.

One thing that just struck me, is here you have an old fairy tale being placed on its head.
The Brownies of England, could be around the iron nails of the medieval era, but the “cold steel” metal of the modern era was harmful to them.

Wonder if that was some of RJ inspiration for this. He pulled from every other mythology.

Wish I could give shout out to all the great comments this week, but that would create a wall of words to rival Wetlandernw. But thanks for all the counter arguments people!
140. Toby1kenobi
Firstly, how can Birgitte expect the legend of her death in the tower to get off the ground at all since none came out of the tower to tell the story? Also her wanting this story to survive doesn't conflict with her dislike of fame because she fails in this one.

Secondly, I agree with RanchoUnicorno@18 what should Gawyn have done differently here? BTW RoyanRannedos@22 he wasn't saying it was unreasonable for Egwene to get angry at him, he was saying it's unreasonable for us commentors to have a go at him.
Craig Jarvis
141. hawkido
@ 133 travyl

I might not be understanding you correctly, so forgive me if I misspeak. The Mat Old-Toungue connection, was mapped out... Jordan didn't "justify" it later with the Finn's... Mat Spoke the Old Tongue sporadically due to a high concentration of the "Old Blood" Which confers a "genetic" (if you will) knowledge of the language. Egwene and Perrin both have a spark next to Mat's fire. Rand has none of it as he was only raised in 2R. LTT is fluent in the Old Tongue, Rand Isn't.

The Old Tongue, (my looney theory) is more akin to direct psychic conveyance via an audible medium. That is why the prophesies were written in it. That is also why the talent for speaking and understanding can be a natural born skill. It can also be learned, just like people can learn to Paint, but only those "Born-to-it" will be fantastic at it. Funny that the language they use now, was called "the Vulgar tongue" in the age of legends. As if those who spoke only it were lesser people, as they lacked the natural talent and training for the Old Tongue.
Nadine L.
142. travyl
A quick search in terez database revealed nothing, so I might be entirely wrong about what I say below, but:
I "kind of remeber" that there was an interview, where RJ said that the old tongue and memories all came from the Finn, and only when it was pointed out to him, that Mat spoke the old tongue before already, RJ did remeber otherwise, and correctly gave the explanation about the manetheran blood connection.
143. BPR
I personally think Gawyn gets a lot of flack, but I actually think he's one of the more relatable characters, at least when it comes to pining for someone you can't be with (at least not in the way you want). Maybe because I've been in his shoes where I've wanted to be with someone, and larger events prevented it from happening, and can see how and why he feels the way he does, and you lose perspective. He's actually extremely well-written and "real" in that, yes, there are more important things going on in the world that make his issues insignificant, but he's still bothered by his issues because that's what he's dealing with in front of him. I think a lot of people's disdain for him is a reaction to how well-developed the character is.
144. Wortmauer
hawkido@141: Mat Spoke the Old Tongue sporadically due to a high concentration of the "Old Blood" Which confers a "genetic" (if you will) knowledge of the language.
So here's another thing on the long list of things that have always bothered me:

Say you're not from the Two Rivers and you don't have a lot of "the Old Blood" in you. You don't tend to spout the Old Tongue in battle situations. So, what sort of blood do you have? Where did it come from? Who were your ancestors?
Craig Jarvis
146. hawkido
as to the Mutt statement we would need Sub to sniff their butt to find out.

--don't know wheter to sprint for the bunker or not!--

No really... the "blood" that they keep referring to is probably a genetic trait that they have been breeding/cultivating through eugenics. It is not a "Specific" heretige but a specific trait that has been selectively bred into the population. NOT that I am a fan of eugenics, I think it is the precursor to genocide, or used as the "Justification" for genocide by tyrants.
147. Wortmauer
hawkido: No really... the "blood" that they keep referring to is probably a genetic trait that they have been breeding/cultivating through eugenics.
That's quite a bit more plausible than what the text implies to me, which is that if you can trace your lineage all the way back to the Trolloc Wars, that confers a certain amount of tai'shar and subconscious knowledge of Old Tongue phrases and all that. But, well, didn't everyone descend from the population that lived during the Trolloc Wars and spoke the Old Tongue? Maybe tai'shar is Old Tongue for "inbreeding"?

Anyway, I think Bashere would disagree about all this:
Bashere studied him up and down, then shook his head. "It might be a shame to kill you. We need some new blood. It's getting thin in the House. My grandfather used to say we were all becoming soft, and he was right. I'm half the man he was, and much as it shames me to say it, Zarine is terribly soft. Not weak, mind ..." He frowned for a moment, nodding when he saw Perrin was not going to say Faile was weak. "... but soft, just the same."
— LOC, Ch. 46, "Beyond the Gate"
That's kind of the opposite of believing that keeping it all in the family since the Trolloc Wars means you get to keep some of the ancestral tai'shars.

Anyway I don't think it works so well in the real world. I'm a reasonably purebred Viking, but my old blood hasn't conferred any special gifts on me that I've noticed, aside from a faint fondness for lutfisk. Oh and I did understand what all the gods were saying in Thor, but that might not prove anything, since all the Americans in the movie seemed to understand them too.
That's assuming Thor, a God- son of and second in power only to Odin the All Father, wouldn't know every mortal language spoken during all the time of his ancient life.

149. Wortmauer
OK, Thor is so ancient and wise that he has presumably been trained in tens of thousands of human languages. When he washes up in wherever-it-was USA in the 21st century, you'd think he would put on a midwestern American accent, you know, to fit in a little better. And that his godlike knowledge of human culture would have clued him in that these days, you don't just smash a glass after draining it, or that if you need transportation, maybe think taxi rather than horse.

I mean, if they put in those touches of medieval/modern culture clash for the lulz, why no language barrier? Or vice versa.

(Not that Thor is the worst offender in the category of Implausibly Convenient Lack of Language Barrier in Hollywood. Yeah, Buffy, I'm looking at you. The hundreds of ancient supernatural beings we encounter from alternate dimensions and whatnot almost all happen to understand either Modern English, poorly pronounced Latin, or occasionally Romani? Really?)

ObWOT: Maybe sometimes it's well to be reminded that, whether or not it is plausible that Randland goes 3000 years with basically no language splintering, but a continent-wide (including the Aiel, who have very minimal contact with the wetlanders) evolution of a vulgar tongue almost, but not quite, entirely unlike the Old Tongue ... that, regardless, Hollywood is full of storytellers who botched these questions far, far worse.
Craig Jarvis
150. hawkido
@147 Wort
Without the knowledge of eugenics and the pit falls of inbreeding. It isn't incredible to believe that they thought that merely breeding like-blood would strengthen it without understanding exactly what the desirable trait was that they wanted to preserve (so much was lost in both the breaking and the trolloc wars)... So inbreeding (well blue-blooding) became prevalent in king /queen selection.
For proper eugenics you need to breed different lines that have the same trait in order to strengthen it, and each generation you need to keep bringing in fresh lines to breed with the offspring that also share the same trait. Pure breed dogs have several genetic weaknesses and are prone to illnesses. However if you breed two pure breed dogs of different breeds that have the same trait (non-shedding hair, etc...) then the hybrid will be far more healthy and more illness resistant, also it will strenghthen the likely hood that the trait will be passed on to future generations.
Terry McNamee
151. macster
@78 Bergmaniac: It wasn't just Elayne at the play though, lots of nobles were as well, so I imagine there were more guards there than just Elayne's Guardswomen. In any event, the point is that with some other activity going on at the time, a lot of attention would be on the play and the rooms near it, which someone could take advantage of to perform a break-out. Regardless of the number of guards, Elayne should have thought that everyone being busy at the play could be seen as a good opportunity to break out the BA/kill them for their failure, and taken precautions.

Uh...of course there was a need for a plan. Not for if Chesmal realized she wasn't a Forsaken, but for if other BA or Forsaken or Darkfriends were to come in while she was interrogating them. As was pointed out above, Elayne knows captured BA have been taken out by the Shadow before, it could happen again. What she needed to plan for was if someone from the outside intervened, and she didn't do that. As for the strange noises from the cell, you're missing my point: if they had not been warned of what was happening, one of two things would have happened: they would have come into the cell, or they would have gone for help. The latter would have kept them from being there to be killed, and could have allowed them to come back in time with more Kin and guards who could have taken care of Lounalt, Mellar, or the BA. The former, as I said, could have allowed them to defend Elayne once she revealed herself, thus keeping them alive and on-hand, again, to fight off Lounalt, Mellar, and the BA.

@84 thewindrose: Fascinating. So they don't make them, they take them from those who visit/bargain with them, and they've done it over enough time as to have a large storehouse, probably with modifications made by them to fit their interests and those to whom they grant them. That doesn't answer the question though of what happens to the Power they drain (I guess they "eat" it?) or where the items came from in the first place that no one in the Age of Legends could know of them. Wcarter's theory is making more and more sense--dating from the Breaking would explain it, since Lanfear was sealed away at the time and any knowledge of their existence or manner of creation would have been lost during the Breaking. And then when the items themselves were taken by the Finn, no one later could know of their existence either.

@88 Wetlander: Well, Ellorien pledged her troops to go to the Last Battle but said she wouldn't go herself, which means she probably couldn't meet Morgase at Merrilor. But perhaps it could still happen, or Morgase could end up back in Caemlyn and encounter Ellorien there. Or she could have spoken with her off-screen before they went to Merrilor. Who knows.

And you're right, it really does depend where the Kin and guards were stationed. Based on the fact she didn't see any bodies when she came out of the cell, and that Mat and Birgitte later said they were stashed in a stairwell outside, I think we can assume the guards were stationed farther outside the dungeons, and the Kin with them. It couldn't have been too far though, or the Kin wouldn't be able to maintain the shields. Far enough, though, that I still think if they'd run for help they wouldn't have been there to be killed and could possibly have come back in time with more reinforcements to help. As for what would have happened if they'd burst in--yes, Elayne would have had to block them and/or reveal herself to keep from being killed/shielded/stilled which would have ruined her plan, but my point was that this would have prevented the breakout if the guards and Kin had been with Elayne when Lounalt arrived.

And really, what was learned from this that made it worthwhile in the end? She finds out Darkfriends are after Mat...which he already knew. She finds out about an invasion that she doesn't do much of anything to prevent and which turns out to be useless because it comes through the Ways. And she loses a medallion copy. The only good I can see came of it is that a bunch of BA (and Lounalt) died, and that Elayne finally realized her trust in the viewing was foolhardy and flawed. That's pretty important, but it's also a meta benefit, not one really acknowledged in-story or even seen as a benefit (except by Birgitte, I imagine). Anyway, I'm happy the BA died, but Mellar or some other Darkfriend now being immune to channeling is going to be a disaster...and the fact good things came of it doesn't change the fact Elayne was stupid. I'm not hating on her--I think she's brave, admirable, and a strong queen and fighter. I just think we need to acknowledge her flaws.

I do think, though, that you'd make a great First Clerk (and Amyrlin too)!

@89 Jeff S Nice analogy.

@99 KiManiak: I really only meant the bit with the Wise Ones, and what happens later with Gawyn. And yes, she didn't admit she was wrong to him, but she still admitted it to herself and that is a pretty big thing. Because not only do we usually never see introspection from Egwene, but being able to admit your mistakes to yourself even if you never tell anyone else is still quite a step up from never admitting them at all. Yes, she needs to admit them aloud and apologize, but I am giving her props for at least being able to admit them to herself. This may be the same argument as you had with Elayne and her not taking the medallion, that we shouldn't commend Egwene for doing what any normal person would and instead we should hold her to the higher standard of actually owning up to her mistakes...but considering how badly characters in WOT have bungled their communication and relationships, even being able to be like normal people in not giving in to temptation/keeping your word, and admitting mistakes to yourself, is far better than what they had been doing or could have been doing. Every little bit of humanizing and integrity helps.

Thanks for the praise, I enjoyed the debate too even if it did feel like we were arguing in circles after a while. :P As for your point about integrity, all I will say is that my point was, you don't think she should get points just for maintaining basic integrity. My point was the same one you just said--that no one ever gets points for basic integrity any more, because it is expected, only when they do something extraordinary. That doesn't mean we shouldn't care she still maintains basic integrity. Going above and beyond is wonderful, but maintaining the basic standards is still noteworthy compared to the alternative, particularly when it proves that as annoying, frustrating, and human as Elayne is, it still reminds us she is at heart a good person.

Also to you @102...for Moridin/Ishamael to do that, he would have had to either work through numerous Darkfriend proxies (since one can only go through each doorway once) or he had to go through the Tower of Ghenjei. Which if he can do that and emerge alive (and with items/wishes he wants) even once, let alone multiple times, that just proves how powerful, intelligent, and badass he is.

@107 EvilMonkey: Wetlander and others have already covered this--it's another access key for the Choedan Kal. I think Samadai may be on to something. Even if the second sa'angreal isn't made specifically to counter/control Callandor, I bet that Moridin has it. Assuming it will have any relevance on the story at all, though I can't see why Jordan would have Lanfear mention it otherwise unless to play silly buggers/red herring with us.

@110 insectoid: I haven't seen that theory, but that...makes a lot of sense. Heck, with Lews Therin going crazy in his home and killing his family, Ishamael could have gone back there to fetch the ring as soon as he killed himself...

@117 JonathanLevy re: the Greal Aiel Wagon etc.: LOL!!

@118 Freelancer: No BA got away? You're forgetting about Falion and Marillin.

@119 forkroot: Also of note though is the link between Rand and Moridin that allows them to be drawn into TAR together. While Cyndane could have broken Rand's wards, it's also possible Moridin was able to slip her in via the link and the mindtrap. I see insectoid covers that too, and JonathanLevy's point about the ward-breaking being dangerous lends more credence to it being Moridin link shenanigans.

@125 J.Dauro: Not only that, but while Aes Sedai still have a squick reaction to stilling, it can now be Healed if there's really an issue with it. I guess the only answer is wanting to do it by Tower law, and that if she'd just gone ahead and done it extra-judiciously, she'd be in as much trouble as the Reds who gentled men without trial during the Vileness.

@129 Wetlander: All good points. But I still say that even though positives came of it (or may still come of it) this doesn't change the fact that what she did was still stupid and foolish. What we can hope is that one of those positives, her learning not to trust the viewing any more, will result in her changing her behavior so that in future, if she does still do brave things, she'll at least think and plan better first.

@132 JonathanLevy: If anybody could be skilled enough to find Min, it's Moridin. We do know Min was targeted when Rand was kidnapped in LoC, but that may just have been because she was close to him and they wanted leverage--Min's talent was not known to any in the Tower at first except the Blues, and even though Elaida knows of her connection to Rand and the girls, I don't think even she knows of the viewings. If she did she clearly didn't tell Galina since I am pretty sure Galina didn't know of them. And if there was anything behind Min's kidnapping beyond trying to hurt/control Rand, it would have come from the BA, not the Forsaken.

In the end though, it seems no Darkfriends/BA around Rand have ever told Mesaana or Moridin about Min; even Semirhage didn't know, just that, again, she mattered to Rand, which also implies Shaidar Haran doesn't know or he'd have told her. Note that Moridin knows of Egwene because of seeing her in TAR, thus explaining him sending Halima to block her Dreaming, but he never sent anyone to deal with Min. So I think that means he doesn't know about her even now. Even if Cyndane told him about seeing Min in Rand's dreams, that would only reveal he loves her, not about her viewings.

Although KiManiak has a good point, I'd forgotten about Min becoming known in Cairhien. Could it be Moridin has discounted the importance/value of her visions? That would suggest either they are something new to this turning of the Wheel, or that Ishamael really doesn't know as much as he thinks (and maybe wasn't even the Dark One's champion in every turning). Either way, this may be a key mistake for the Shadow, since we already know Min is figuring things out about the seals and Callandor, and how key her visions have been at many points.

@140 Tony1kenobi: Good point re: Birgitte.
Alice Arneson
152. Wetlandernw
macster - I just have to throw in one more quibble. There's no way the Kin would have gone for help; at best, they'd have sent one of the guards. They were holding the shields on the BA, and I don't think a bunch of weird noises from the cell would make them drop the shields and run for help. So they'd either have stayed and been killed, or gone in the cells and... something.
Terry McNamee
153. macster
@Wetlander: Sending guards for help could have brought more guards before Lounalt arrived, and then he wouldn't have been able to free anybody. And if they'd gone into the cell, as I said they'd have been onhand to help when the BA were freed. They probably still would have died since they aren't trained for OP battles, but at least they'd have gone down fighting.

In the end, it's best it happened the way it did since at least some BA (and Lounalt) died rather than all of them escaping, but that doesn't change the fact Elayne could have planned better this time.
154. carl S
One of the things I found interesting was the "1 in a thousand" being good odds for him. the odds of 24 coins all ending up heads? 1 in 16 MILLION.

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